Sunday, July 20, 2014

Welcome the Storm bringer: A Day of Judgement (1981)

A Day of Judgement (AKA "Stormbringer") (1981)
Rating: **
Starring:  William T. Hicks, Harris Bloodworth, Deborah Bloodworth

I say a lot of times around here that I'm a religious skeptic; I believe in a higher power but I don't see and believe in a single true religion or belief, thus making me a very open kind of guy. 

Now, can I say the same for my bodycount viewings? Honestly, though I would like some variation from your standard "teens go to a bad place then die horribly", a movie of this formulaic sub-genre has to do something really worthwhile to satisfy my bloodlust. Thus my curiosity peaked when I read about this Pro-Christian slasher, where most reviews are overwhelmingly negative. Will its preachy taters show me otherwise or will I join the many who consider this as utter garbage?

It's America in the 1920s and we follow a series of individuals who are busy living their lives tainted with sin; we have two scheming lovers, a greedy bank owner who's trying to run out a poor farmer from his home, a businessman who forces his parents to a retirement home in order to get their property, a brother who blames every ill turn in his life at his kin, and a grumpy old woman who poisons a pet goat. This sad display of Godlessness forces a local priest to move out of town but in his journey, he spots a ghostly specter moving towards town in a horse carriage, wielding a huge scythe. This is the Stormbringer and he is in his way to reap the evil out of this town one sinner at a time.

This may sound like your average death counter but A Day of Judgement is less of that and more of your preachy Sunday special, jumping back and forth from one focused character to another, some of them barely interacting with the other and simply goes forth on their own story in a direction not entirely different from the anthology Trick'R Treat (2007). With a low-budget look and hasty-looking editing, the movie spends more of its time showing us how deserving these people are of being sent to hell, to the point it's melodramatic and the horror happening only in the last minute in each "segment". Unsurprisingly, said horrors are also rushed and disappointingly dry with only one scene wherein a scythe was put to use and the rest being either tame or done off camera.

With much of its running time (100 minutes!) focusing on building characters and their assorted schemes, it's no surprise why this movie is such a drag for many true slasher fans. Personally, however, I come to appreciate the intentions of the film (I mean how often do you see the Ten Commandments listed for you in a horror movie before the ending credits roll?) but this is one of those times when they overcook the motif and simply messed up the entire movie. I could still give kudos to the props and the wonderful setting they have that sides well with the story's supposed time era (impressive given the budget) but the totality barely had enough to even give A Day of Judgment a passing remark.

I'm not saying this is a bad movie but I really can't recommend this to just anyone. The overly religious theme sided with two-third plot ratio that's made up of pure Sunday school dramatics will surely scurry off viewers who do not share a similar belief, or at least those who don't have the patience to sit through it. But if you're curious to see how Christians take on a cheesy "slasher film" in the early days then this is a fine example that you could check out. 

Of course if you want real Christian-themed slashers then I suggest Alice, Sweet Alice (1976), Babysitter Wanted (2010) or the epic End of The Line (2009)

1 elderly female dragged into the earth
1 male shot himself with a shotgun
1 male hits his head on a hearth
1 male murdered offcamera
1 male shot
1 female shot
1 male and 1 female burned to death
1 male beheaded with a scythe
Total: 9

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