Judge David Walks-With-The-Zombies Johnson will be honest with you: the White Man had this coming.
Our review of Alien Outlaw / The Dark Power, published October 28th, 2011, is also available.
Your appointment with fear!
When you're faced with four marauding undead Native American witch doctors who have clawed themselves out of their graves to feast on human flesh, what are you going to do? Easy. Attack them with a bullwhip.
Facts of the Case
B-Western vet Lash LaRue stars in this low-budget horror movie from 1987. An elderly Native American man, who may possibly have ties to the mystical plane, croaks and leaves his house empty and waiting to be inhabited by college coeds.
A group of fun-loving girls (and one racist) rent the house. Despite the lack of modern-day amenities like a phone, the low price and convenient location are attractive features. Unfortunately, the new tenants are unaware of the local legend about the four evil sorcerers who buried themselves alive hoping to one day roam the Earth again.
When one of the girls invites her brother to live with them, the potential
body count spikes as a flock of obnoxious alpha males pile into the house. As
soon as the house fills up the "dark power" kicks in, and the quartet
of zombie braves rise up, weapons in hand, and make ready to pick off the
This is what I call a B-movie. Some great gore effects. A handful of despicable characters who are itching to die in creative ways. Some fun monsters. A crazy guy with a whip. These are the ingredients for a tasty dish of '80s trash.
The Dark Power is not grand filmmaking. A quick glance at a capsule plot review would tell you that. The film is a scant 82 minutes long, though the front end meanders too much. Luckily, Phil Smoot gets to the nitty-gritty with plenty of time to spare, leaving a good thirty minutes for his splatter hijinks. This, mixed with some unique characters, a non-pretentious tone, and some sweet face-ripping, makes The Dark Power an amusing '80s horror romp.
VCI has crafted a loving tribute of a disc here. A newly adapted 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer suffers from occasional grain and uneven color, but for the most part it's a noteworthy visual presentation. The mono sound is surprisingly robust (for what it is), though the film's score—from what I can tell, one guy pounding away on a xylophone—does little to stretch it.
The extra features are very Lash LaRue heavy. A commentary track from Smoot and editor Sherwood Jones, while technical about the production in some spots, is heavily Lash-anecdotal. This is bolstered by a retrospect of Lash's career, consisting of a photo documentary narrated by Smoot. The stuff is handy for B-western fans or followers of La Rue, but as supplements to the movie The Dark Power, there really isn't much here.
This would make a nice addition to any low-budget horror movie fan's collection. The Dark Power is funny and bloody and retro, and features the most on-screen whip action since…well, let's leave well enough alone.
The accused is—WHA-PSHA! WHA-PSHA!—hey get that thing away from me! I was going to say "not guilty!" Leave me alone!
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: VCI Home Video
• Commentary with Editor and Director
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2016 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.