Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

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The 13th Child

The 13th Child
{Year XXXII A.S. Directors: Thomas Ashley, Steven Stockage. Starring Cliff Robertson, Robert Guillaume, Michelle Maryk, Lesley-Anne Down}

Briefly, the legend of The Jersey Devil is quite an interesting one, going back some 260 years. A demonic entity supposedly appears before some impending disaster to unsuspecting folk in the enchanted pine barrens area of New Jersey. Its origins stem from a mother who cursed her child by proclaiming that The Devil could take it - in consequence, a devilish child with horns, wings, tail, and cloven hooves issued from her loins and took to flight, thus beginning this urban legend. There are several other variations, including a really interesting one about its mother being a witch, and The Devil, its father. Older pIctures drawn by purported 'witnesses' describe a very Baphomet-looking creature, as well as a sort of horse-demon synthesis.

The Pine Barrens are a natural environment overgrown with wonderful foliage, swamps, and residences transcending modern civilization. Such wildly lush locations tend to breed folktales because of these seeming opposing conditions to the 'big city', thus rendering them intriguing and mysterious places, as well as the residents themselves propagating continual superstition.

In this cinematic adaptation, an investigator named "Kathryn" {Michelle Maryk} is assigned to follow up the apparent murder of a redneck hunter who just so happened to be listening to a decidedly "Coast to Coast"-sounding program on the radio, before being attacked by a red-eyed creature, apparently attracted by the carcass of a deer hooked onto his truck, which was to be the hick's dinner. Apparently, he became the main course!

Kathryn meets up with a law-enforcement acquaintance {although a more personal relationship is suggested}, subsequently finding a large black 'tooth', along with the mutilated torso of the hunter, and take it to be examined at the Coroner's office - predictably, it turns out that there is no matching DNA with the relic, but instead seems to be a composit of a goat's, bat's, and something else they cannot identify.

She eventually meets with a "Mr. Shroud" {Cliff Robertson} - a charming and enigmatic gentleman with many remarkable de-facto Satanic qualities, from his appearence, demeanor, to even his total environment. He graciously offers her a stay for the night, and over pleasant dinner conversation, reveals his agreeable misanthropy.

During the course of the investigation, Mr. Shroud's deadly 'secret' is discovered, but even through some difficulty, manages to preserve his Magical and timeless existence.

As a humorous aside, a scene wherein a bumpkin couple drive around seeking a spot to copulate, find an abandoned trailer in the woods, where they are frightened by some hillbillies, and are sent scampering back to the car, eventually being stopped by the Police in a half-naked hysteria.

In a seemingly gratuitous element of the plot, a mental patient named 'Riley' {Robert Guillaume} recounts his experience with The Jersey Devil, and holds onto a talisman to protect him and keep him alive. His eventual misbehavior lands him in solitary confinement where he eventually receives a visit from the creature, who takes his due.

On a visual basis, I did like the appearence of the Jersey Devil monster itself, very demonic with horns, wings, hooves, and Giger-like alienesque jaws.

The 13th Child is a dramatic take on the urban legend, incorperating some blood and gore similar to 'Jeepers Creepers', although there are no accounts of The Jersey Devil actually killing anyone, so artistic license was taken for this presentation. Also on the DVD, deleted scenes, previews, and a documentary of this 'Demon of the Pine Barrens".

Rating: 3/5.

Tags: reviews

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