Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Night of the Bastard

This is why most people are suspicious of hippie gatherings in the desert. Th particular cult in question talks like the Age of Aquarius and acts like the Manson family. The 1970s retro-grindhouse vibe really drives the message home. Beware of New Age sects, especially those led by a suggestively clad priestess, like the one terrorizing the hermit and the potential final girl in Eric Boccio’s The Night of the Bastard, which releases this Friday in theaters and on VOD.

Forty years ago, really bad things happened to a young pregnant couple. Reed wouldn’t know anything about that. He lives way out nowhere in the desert, because he wants to mind his own business. That’s why he tries to scare off Kiera and her loser friends with a shotgun, when they try to camp on his property. Unfortunately, Reed is our good guy, whether Kiera likes it or not. The bad guys will be Claire’s satanic cult, who have big plans for transformative ritual. Sacrificing Kiera’s friends in process suits them just fine.

Despite a stabbing wound, Kiera manages to find shelter with the reluctant Reed. His old steel-reinforced farmhouse will hold for a while, but her blood loss definitely adds to the urgency of the siege that unfolds.

Boccio’s film certainly isn’t fancy, unless you count the authenticate feel of the grubby 1970’s exploitation-evoking production design. However, if you are in the mood for some violent satanic panic, Boccio delivers with single-minded consistency. Claire’s ultimate intentions also turn out to be extraordinarily lurid, so don’t worry about Boccio wimping out. If you are the sort of infantile cry-baby who needs trigger warnings, pretty much consider them all applicable to

Regardless, Hannah Pierce is a spectacularly flamboyant villainess as Claire. Fans of 80s horror should definitely appreciate her lusty, zesty scenery chewing. London May is sufficiently gritty and hardnosed to counterbalance her as Reed. However, everyone else stuck in the middle ground between them suffers for it. Of course, the stand out exception is Marlena, who is terrific playing Reed’s pet turtle Marlon.

is not kidding around, even though it is a little tongue-in-cheek. You can feel the heat and mugginess wafting through the screen, while Boccio and company rub your nose in the trashy carnage. Truly, its grindhouse spirit is legit. Recommended for viewers of grungy killer cult horror, The Night of the Bastard opens Friday (1/13) at Film Noir in Brooklyn.