By JEFF SZPIRGLAS
Starring Scott Davis, Jude Johnson and Blue Thompson
Written and Directed by Bret McCormick
You have to hand it to Visual Vengeance to serve up a slice of low-rent vintage schlock and give it a substantially more professional presentation than it ever received in the 1980s. Directed with an eye for spurting blood and pulsating creature effects by Bret McCormick (Repligator, Time Tracers), THE ABOMINATION wears its low-fi trappings like a badge of honor, shot on a combination of Super 8 and video and still looking like someone dragged it across a basement floor and let mildew seep into the negative.
Featuring a plot that owes a solid debt to Little Shop of Horrors by way of early David Cronenberg, the threadbare narrative concerns twentysomething Cody (Scott Davis), plagued by violent dreams in which he goes on a killing spree, spurred on by a demonic “abomination.” Said creature is actually a malevolent living tumor coughed up by his sickly mother (Jude Johnson), which buries itself in his stomach where it grows to monstrous size, moves into various cupboards and appliances and compels him to do evil.
While this ever-growing tumor is all killer, the movie is packed with filler in a desperate attempt to pad the running time to a passable 90 minutes. You get a sense of this from the get-go. The film opens with a disjointed and repetitive dream sequence showcasing bloody effects from throughout the movie, including practical effects shots of the larger creature (which brings to mind the monster from The Deadly Spawn), essentially summing up what you’re in for – if you can get over the lurching plot, cutaway shots of horses, and the one-note performances, including that of Cody’s incessantly screaming mother. THE ABOMINATION uses these as springboards to get to the spurting fountains of blood and gnashing-toothed-jumbo-cancer creatures, and while seen in excess, they deliver the goods. (The budget was clearly spent on the solid effects work instead of more pedestrian elements – like color correction.)
Visual Vengeance has done its best to exhume the last remaining bits and pieces of McCormick’s gorefest for the first time on Blu-ray. The video hasn’t aged terribly well, complete with dropout and tracking interference, but that adds to the charm and probably disguises flaws in the oozing effects. What’s most of interest to collectors is the wealth of extras that Visual Vengeance has crammed onto the disc (which take up more copy on the back cover than the actual description of the movie). Of note is a series of 2022 interviews, with Bret McCormick’s being the big highlight, running nearly as long as the movie itself. McCormick discusses his love of the genre and early projects like Tabloid (featuring a young Lisa Loeb) off the ground. McCormick’s partners, Blue Thompson and Victoria Chaney, are also profiled along with the original VHS distributors.
The packaging is simply next level for a video nasty that got short shrift upon its initial release. In addition to the titillating pullout poster courtesy of The Dude Designs, the disc includes vintage-style VHS stickers and informative liner notes from Tony Strauss. Best of all is a lurid 13-page mini-comic adaptation from illustrator Marc Gras.
THE ABOMINATION on Blu-ray is now available for pre-order from Visual Vengeance.