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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

THE FIRST POWER (1990) Dir. Robert Renikoff. Written by Robert Renikoff. Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Tracy Griffith, Jeff Kober, Mykelti Williamson, and David Gale.

 Satan has created the perfect killer. One who cannot be stopped. Be warned.

I saw The First Power upon its release in theaters, and I'm pretty sure I took my Mother to see it for Mother's Day. Being probably know more than 12 at the time, I am totally sure this was a mere ploy on my part to ensure the badass with the ceiling fan that I saw in the trailers haunted my nightmares for the next week. Plus, I was a pretty big fan of Chavez Chavez from Young Guns aka Lou Diamond Phillips. Outside of The Hidden which I also saw in the theater as a child, this is probably the first film I can recall that fit into that burgeoning sweet spot in my movie-going soul that I now hold so dear - the Urban Horror film. Urban Horror is often a patchwork genre sometimes bordering on Thriller and sometimes Police Procedural that none the less almost always includes a villain or situation straight out of a horror film setup. The First Power starts out strong in this vein with Logan (Phillips) hard up to catch the Pentagram killer (Kober), a truly unnerving psycho who wears masks and recites the Lord's Prayer in reverse. After a bloody stand-off that gets one undercover cop dead and Logan's guts stabbed up real good, the Pentagram killer is caught and sentenced to die. The only problem is the Psychic (Melanie Griffith's half-sister Tracy) that put Logan on the killer's trail made him promise the killer would get life in prison and not death. Sure enough, Penty gets the gas chamber and before long is back from the grave possessing bodies and having a grand old time killing again and taunting Logan. What follows is a series of near misses and one epic showdown mid-movie involving the aforementioned ceiling fan. The movie never quite goes full horror, but straddles a pretty fine line and does have a few genuinely solid scares including one of my favorite jump scares ever - Bag Lady anyone? Jeff Kober as the Pentagram killer is ultimately the best thing about the film and every scene he's in is one worth watching. Plus, my Mom liked it so, what else do you need? 

 

 

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