Do you suffer from crippling insomnia? Do you have an affinity for unintentionally hilarious horror movies? Do you have an unhealthy obsession with all things William Shatner? All of the above apply to me; if any apply to you, you should check out this gem from 70s “Made for TV” heaven.
Still not convinced? What if I said the movie had Buddy Ebsen (TV’s Jed Clampett) appearing as a—wait for it—millionaire? Only in this movie, showing a tremendous stretch of Ebsen’s acting chops, the character is a real suit-wearing millionaire, and not one of the nouveau riche hillbilly variety. You will almost overlook the fact that he still sounds exactly like Jed Clampett.
Also appearing in thankless roles are Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) and the Professor from Gilligan’s Island, who is flash frozen in an especially hilarious scene. Other characters include: a girl with a creepy doll, a deliciously bad “spaghetti western” actor complete with laughable accent, an over-the-top British witch lady slightly reminiscent of a less talented Piper Laurie, a polyester pants-suited woman whose only function in the movie is to scream a lot, and—last but not least—there is Shatner. Shatner here portrays a drunken priest who has lost his faith. No movie since has achieved this level of clichéd stock characters, except possibly for 1994’s Speed.
You want to know the plot? All right then. Some part of an old British abbey has been dismantled and is being transported to the US by its owners for absolutely no reason whatsoever. It is of course Halloween, because why wouldn’t it be? The naughty evil spirits that were in the abbey are now haunting the passengers aboard this mysteriously low occupancy 747 (There are only about a dozen people on a huge plane from Heathrow to New York? Really? Okay.), and they need a human sacrifice.
The cast of characters attempt to appease the evil spirit (which has now taken the form of what appears to be oozing fecal matter that seeps up from the floor) by gluing some human fingernails and hair onto above girl’s creepy doll. This is because, apparently, ancient spirits who demand human sacrifices are easily fooled by such ministrations.
The doll ultimately doesn’t work, and Shatner the drunken ex-priest has to sacrifice himself by getting sucked out of the plane. This, for no apparent reason, appeases the spirits and the movie abruptly ends. The plane is able to land safely, and the rest of the cast is saved.
Yes. That is the whole movie. No. Very little of it makes any sense. There is almost no plot. The characters are laughable. The dialogue is cringe-worthy. And yet, I guarantee you will not regret watching it. It is bad. It is Showgirls bad. And that’s what makes it so good.