Like most of the film’s this year, Halloween doesn’t play a very prominent role in this weird little supernatural revenge slasher from 1987, but what’s there is pretty cool and it makes Retribution that much cooler than it would be without it.
Essentially George Miller is a depressed painter who decides to jump off the roof of his apartment building on Halloween night. Incidentally, local street gambler Vito is being gunned down at the same time on the other side of town.
For no apparent reason, Vito’s soul travels into George’s body at the moment of death and George is spared. However he then becomes a vessel for Vito’s ethereal revenge, and his psychological nightmare begins.
This is a fun, sometimes grisly and effective horror yarn that starts off with a bang on Halloween night. It’s the kind of thing slashers started becoming in Freddy’s genre-changing wake. But it’s not a bad use of post-Elm Street supernatural elements and it comes correct with the violence and intensity. It also crafts an interesting story around it’s horror that belies its 1987 release. This one feels a bit more 70’s than it is.
While it’s pretty much one-and-done with Halloween after the opening, the plot is intriguing, the death scenes are neat and Dennis Lipscomb makes for a good conflicted villain/hero. When he’s in revenge-dream mode he’s formiably intense. When he’s not, he’s convincingly feeble.
Plus there’s a suitably 80’s synth score from Alan Howarth, frequent Carpenter collaborator and composer for Halloweens 2 through 6. A solid draft.
So, if you’ve seen ’em all, toss on Retribution this week for a slight dose of Halloween horror. If you haven’t seen ’em all, we’ll get to it, you only have a week left.
I give it 1 hotdog-eating, mask-wearing, lookie-loo up.