Power, The (1984)

There are many, many types of power—solar, wind, black, white, to name a few. There’s the power of you, the power of positive thinking, the power to make grown men cry, and the power of Castle Greyskull. There’s also simply, The Power, which is perhaps the most powerful power. It’s not like the soy-based garbage of flower power or the unreliable genius bullshit of brain power. No, The Power is beyond all of that. No other power comes close to The Power. And no other power looks like a Mexican saltshaker.

Professor “Mad Man” Wilson lectures his students about the Aztec spirits who controlled, fire, water, and wind, and the dark side of a person’s soul. Desacatyl, an ancient idol (and the name of my new sludgecore/no wave band), bewitched people to commit unthinkable acts of evil. Murder. Destruction. Death, which goes along with the murder part. The Power could not be denied; it was too . . . powerful. Professor Wilson’s students are unimpressed, proving that college really is wasted on the young. When I was in college, I took a class on parasitic insects. I don’t even like insects. I fucking hate them; I hate feeling outnumbered. But you know what I do like? Easy As.

A bored student acts up. Clearly the Aztecs were dipshit assholes, with their precious sun worshipping and human sacrifices. The professor glares at the student intensely. The fog starts rolling in. Lights starts flashing. The student gets a nosebleed and  someone’s impaled by a flagpole. No A for that guy.

Julie, Tommy, and Matt hang out under a full moon at a cemetery, with a Ouija board. They each present a protective talisman: a grandmother’s necklace, a lucky rabbit’s foot, and oh hey, a strange saltshaker-cum-ancient idol Tommy’s parents just got on a trip. The kids try to summon spirits from beyond the grave. The juice gets loose and soon paints cans are flying around and a stone coffin falls on a groundskeeper.

Sandy is a dogged reporter who writes hard-hitting pieces about killer bees, talking dogs, and UFOs. The kids approach her about the strange occurrences at the cemetery, but Sandy doesn’t have time for that shit because there’s a “legion of killer bees” hassling townfolk and that’s way more interesting than a guy who got crushed by a coffin. Remember, “Journalism is the pursuit of truth.” So guy named Jerry who sports nuthugger shorts and a wicked whiteboy fro picks up the story lead—and also the idol.

Soon dishes start flying. Papers start swirling around the room. Record players melt. The fish tank starts boiling. A fork gets stuck into a wall, making it bleed. What exactly is this Power? Can you turn it off? Does it run out?

The Power is a solidly entertaining ride filled with stage fog, plot holes, and respectably decent monster makeup effects. Even though the movie lacks twists and turns and nothing is outrageously over-the-top, it still has a sense of fun. Plus, a little boy gets shot, which is always a good time. The Power is a classic, old-fashioned demon possession movie that doesn’t try to shock or go for the grotesque, which is refreshing every once in awhile. Similar to One Dark Night, The Power delivers genuine, good-natured fun that’s still memorable, despite the lack of graphic kills or sleaze. It’s like hanging out with an old friend, comfortable and comforting, relaxed and easy, just like a pair of jeans or your mom. And at the end of the night when you leave, you say “Let’s do this again soon” and you mean it.

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