From the film’s IMDB.com page citation:
“An old woman coughs up what she believes to be a tumor. While asleep, the thing crawls inside of her son and reproduces inside him, then causes him to go on a killing spree to feed it.”
From the forgotten films from the days of the corner video store comes another magnum opus (snicker snicker): writer/director Bret McCormick’s The Abomination is seeing the light of day after lying in wait for oh so long. I suspect fans of obscure titles and/or old school guerilla filmmaking along with practical effects aficionados might trumpet the news to the four corners of the Earth, but look for little more than looks of confusion on the face of mainstream viewers who are likely to find this over-long diversion a bit too looney for the rest of mankind’s entertainment diet.
I’ve been searching my brain since absorbing this one yesterday afternoon. Honestly, I thought I’d seen it before – having grown up in that era as well as having worked a few years in video retail, the name was very, very, very familiar – but I may’ve confused it with another film entirely or perhaps I watched a vastly shorter version of it. (I recognize the creature effects, but the story as presented didn’t ring any particular bells.) Basically, what one has with it is little more than a backwoods kinda/sorta monster movie – with a small-town shack being healthily drenched in buckets of blood – and there likely were a good handful of such horrors back in the day. The fact that it might resemble such like-minded fodder should come as no surprise.
As for the story, The Abomination is little more than a community theater interpretation of Roger Corman’s Little Shop Of Horrors (either the 1960 original or the big budget remake in 1986). Cody (played by Scott Davis) inadvertently digests the living tumor his mother coughed up the night before – it’s apparently the spawn of a local farting televangelist who goes by the name of Brother Fogg (Rex Morton). The monster somehow seizes control of Cody’s mind – even after being coughed back up by him —and it forces him to seek out the necessary flesh and blood for sustenance. Naturally, everyone in this backwater suburb is fated to be eaten alive, so a good time will not be had by all.
Credited as McCormick’s debut picture, The Abomination both is and isn’t an abomination all its own. The pacing for this 100-minute fare is entirely (entirely!) too long – there isn’t more than 30 minutes of plot and probably not even 15 minutes of dialogue from start-to-finish – and it feels as if the production was padded even unnecessarily to prolong the experience. Sequences stretch on interminably long – well past the point of any logical reason – and the whole thing is kinda/sorta plagued with continuity issues. The audio commentary and interviews suggest that it was largely a family affair, so it goes without saying that the acting for all involved is a bit substandard. The sum total of what’s supposed to instill a sense of terror or fright in the audience will likely have most folks laughing outright if not reaching for the fast-forward button on the DVD player remote. (Yes, it’s that drawn out.)
But because this was a debut experience (for what I suspect was possibly everyone involved), The Abomination is plagued with one huge narrative shortcoming that stuck with me, and it’s almost a ‘how-to-NOT’ to craft a story of this type.
Our lead Cody begins the film by narrating a session with what sounds like a psychotherapist or analyst, detailing some of his dreams along with the events of the bloody episode we see unfolding in camera. Well, it isn’t too long in, and he starts to even detail some happenings that he both wasn’t and couldn’t have been present to observe; and this is where the wheels started to come off the bus for me. (For some, this is a phenomenon called the ‘unreliable narrator,’ but I won’t get into those particulars.) Because he couldn’t have had direct knowledge of moments he wasn’t present to witness, I started to question the nature of his accounting. While I won’t spoil the ‘twist’ McCormick tries to spin in the last reel, let’s just say that I was on the right track to defusing the bomb, thus cheapening its impact.
The Abomination (1986) was produced by Donna Michelle Productions. DVD distribution (for this particular release) is being coordinated by the fine folks at Visual Vengeance and Wild Eye Releasing. As for the technical specifications? Erm … well, while I’m no trained video expert, I can assure you that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the amount of grain along with the occasional lack of focus that’s a bit pervasive to this extremely low-budget thriller/chiller. This was likely shot on video back in the day, and it looks it. Also, the sound leaves a good deal to the imagination. It’s bearable but not much else.
Lastly, if you’re looking for special features? Visual Vengeance has served up a wealth of materials for this otherwise forgotten flick from yesterday. The product packaging indicates that this is an all-new SD master, and they’ve dished up a pair of audio commentaries. The disc also boasts a handful of talent interviews along with some respectable behind-the-scenes featurettes, some short films, trailers, and a bit more. It also bears mentioning that the product packaging includes some nifty extras – artwork, collector’s booklet, poster, stickers, etc. – and that is a very nice and nostalgic touch, indeed. Well done, Visual Vengeance!
Alas … only mildly recommended.
I’ve no doubt that The Abomination might very well have been a bit of a corner video store sensation back in the fertile 1980’s. It has a hint of such appeal – a young antagonist/protagonist, a direct-to-video hook, and some probable bloody packaging – but could it both build and sustain an audience today? I’m inclined to think otherwise. Still, film nerds might find a bit to enjoy – along with learning some lessons about how to affordably package their own monstrous efforts – in this slim treasure.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Visual Vengeance and Wild Eye Releasing provided me with a complimentary Blu-ray of The Abomination (1986) by request for the expressed purpose of completing this review. Their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.