Fiend (1980)

Director: Don Leifert.
Starring. Don Leifert, Richard Nelson, Elaine White, George Stover, Greg Dohler, USA. 1h 30m.

A gothic styled ghoul horror with a touch of mom and pa sleuths is the strange workable combination that Don Leifert had forged together for his follow up to the B Movie cult classic The Alien Factor (1978). Starring in his second feature but taking on an entirely different role is adaptability is certainly one of his strong points and I have to say despite all the limitations with budget, he seems constantly determined to develop wonderful psychotropic movies and I think I’m a bit of a fan already and I’m only 2 films in.

Instead of wowing us with dark science and haphazardly designed killer aliens this fearful ghoul story keeps itself firmly grounded as a husband and wife sleuthing team start to investigate why their neighbours keep disappearing and then turning up dead.

Opening with a red animated blob floating through the graveyard and a cautionary tale about Fiends, entities which stalk graveyards to inhabit corpses then have to keep killing in order to stay alive there’s no mystery for the clued in audience how this is going to go down, but the clandestine going ons seems to bother Gary (Nelson) He’s never liked his music teacher neighbour but suddenly he seems so much different, more sinister but Gary can’t put his finger on why. Is it the fact his neighbour is constantly pale, moody, and now lives in his basement and is being mean to the local kids?? Or is that he’s now a blood thirsty Fiend who has to suck the life from innocent victims and does so with his red glowing hands? It’s so hard to tell..

Much of the movie is strained dialog between Gary and his adorable wife, as they attempt to work out how their neighbour, a music teacher doesn’t seem to bothered that strangled girls turn up in the backyard, and why he’s taken to spending his time in the basement drinking wine and setting up what looks like a black magic altar, but after a trip to a metaphysical bookshop things start to fall into place.

Don Leifert plays the lead bad guy, Eric Longfellow and based his character off Iago from Shakespeare’s Othello, considering the hard work and effort that went into tons of alien designs in his debut only 2 years prior for the most part this production, filmed in his home, see’s the best of the effect at the bitter end, as his character is supposed to be nearly dead and almost fit into society the high end of the effects seems to be a dried face mask.

With an similar but less impressive synth soundtrack to The Alien Factor (1978), there’s a definite eerie feeling in this quiet cul de sac, underpar acting but a movie that brims with creativity and from what I understand from my limited look into the back catalog a lot of unique Leifertesque flare.

TLDR

Rating 6 /10

R -Blood Massacre (1991), Asphyx (1972), The Ghoul (1933)
L – Undead Undead Undead!

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