Watched June 2, 2013
Starring: Michael Gross, Alexis Arquette, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Elise Cox
While I was in Portland a lot of the movies I picked up are sequels, but I feel often it doesn't really matter if you've seen the original to have fun with the sequel. I'll be putting that to the test and hopefully it won't be ruining the VHS movies for me. If anything it should make me want to watch the original since the first one is usually the best. I haven't seen Sometimes They Come Back, but based on some minor IMDB research the future star power seems to reside in the sequel. After watching it, that isn't saying much.
It begins with an old lady washing her dishes basically in the dark. She cuts her hand washing a knife and when she goes to get the band-aids off the very stop shelf she falls off a rickety stool and hits her head on an iron pig. The old woman's son, Jon (Michael Gross) comes with his teen daughter Michelle (Hilary Swank) to take care of the funeral and clean up the house. It turns out that when Jon was a kid, his older sister Lisa started dating a greaser named Tony (Alexis Arquette.) Jon got a bad feeling about Tony, especially since Tony was always taking his sister to a creepy cave/electrical transformer station to make out, and then some. One of those nights, Tony wasn't just making the moves on Lisa, he was performing a ritual using Lisa to turn him and his cronies into immortal demons. Jon interrupted them during their ritual, supposedly killing them through electrocution, but also killing Lisa in the process. Well, now they're back and they need to complete the ritual using Jon's daughter Michelle.
This is where the movie really turned into a bummer for me and made it pretty blah. While explaining what previously happened they also explained what needs to happen, so now I'm just waiting for those things to happen and they do. All the mystery and suspense is taken out of the story. Alexis Arquette plays Tony but it appears that Tony is supposed to have some sort of sex appeal to the young girls in town and he doesn't. This is also before Alexis fully transitioned from living as a man to living as a women. Either way, the casting is kinda off for me if Tony is supposed to be a hunky but sinister guy, but is really just a weird dude. Both Alexis and Hilary do have some huge front teeth, so maybe that's the big attraction.
There are some awesome death scenes, one is the mentally challenged guy who mows everyone lawn is pulled underground by some grass tentacles then run over by his own lawnmower. Jules (Jennifer Elise Cox) is a psychic teen who makes friend with Michelle, but is then Gambit-style cut to death with her own deck of tarot cards. I did hope she was going to make it to the end.
There is a priest in town that was aware of the first time that Jon tried to get rid of the demons, he's the guy that explains the plot to everyone. He also has a great holy book that explains what can be done to stop the demons. In the book there is an illustration of a false prophet needs to cut off a finger, and it shows the tip of a middle finger being chopped off. The priest thinks he's the false prophet and completely cuts off his thumb to try to stop the demon ritual. This doesn't work and the priest dies. Of all the digits you could cut off to stop some demons at bay, why would you choose the thumb? For me that the most important digit to keep, that's what lets us grab things. Then when it finally comes down to it Jon cuts off the exact same thumb, but luckily this time it works and the demons are expelled and Michelle is saved from being a sacrifice. Still, cut off a pinky if you need to cut of a finger is my motto.
The first movie is based on the concept or characters from the Stephen King story Sometimes They Come Back. I could easily see the interest in the first telling of the story, or in the detailed reading of this in story version, it doesn't come across well as a video. The special effects were good especially in a time when CGI was becoming the norm even for straight to video releases like this one. Nonetheless I don't think I'll be keeping this one as part of the permanent collection, it just doesn't have anything endearing that I haven't seen somewhere else.