Superstition (1982)

Brought to us by producer Ed Carlin and co-producers Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna, who gave us haunted house horrors The Evil and The Changeling, Superstition is yet another supernatural offering set in and around a creepy old property. This time around, the spooky shenanigans are accompanied by a whole handful of creative, bloody deaths, and lots of jump scares (probably in an attempt to draw in the slasher crowd)—a good job since the plot is an often illogical mish-mash of hoary old horror clichés.

In 1692, a witch is executed—drowned in a pond, and trapped there with a crucifix. For almost three hundred years, the evil woman’s spirit is the cause of violent deaths in and around the nearby church-owned property. When Reverand George Leahy (Larry Pennell) and his family move into the old house, the witch soon starts to cause trouble, now even more powerful thanks to the removal of the crucifix during the dredging of the pond. Reverand David Thompson (James Houghton) discovers the truth behind the killings and tries to put an end to the witch once and for all.

The film opens in terrific style with a juicy double death scene: having played a prank on a courting couple (thereby providing the film with the first of many jump scares), a pair of pranksters meet their fate in the creepy property, one being decapitated, his severed head exploding inside a microwave oven, the other getting chopped in two by a sash window. Several other macabre set-pieces follow in quick succession, including the hanging of an electrician in an elevator shaft and the death of a priest, a circular saw blade spinning into his chest and exiting through his back.

Also adding to the fun: Sheryl and Ann (Maylo McCaslin and Heidi Bohay), sexy teenage daughters of Reverand Leahy, going down to the pond for a spot of fun in the sun (wearing bikinis, naturally), only for one of them to be grabbed around the ankle by a severed hand; a flashback to the trial of the witch that allows for some silly Exorcist style guttural utterings, a few cool facial bladder effects, and the sight of a priest being crushed in a wine press; some memorable visuals with impressive lighting effects (somewhat reminiscent of Argento); Reverand Thompson’s surprised expression every time he uses the crucifix to open (or blow up) a locked door; George having his face lacerated by flying shards of glass from an exploding mirror; Sheryl getting nailed through the head with a big spike; and blonde daughter Ann (Heidi Bohay) running around in skimpy silk night-gear.