Reviewed by John Weber
Rating: 8 Beans
e know what made writer-director William Girdler write and direct "Abby". It wasn't the desire to tell
a touching, thoughtful story of a young newlywed couple in a nightmarish situation. Rather, it was the lure of $$$$$. As in, "Gee, if "The Exorcist" is raking in big bucks, and if I did a movie just 1/16th as good as that, and I did it for the blaxploitation market, why I'd be rolling in the $$$$$".
Oh, I was rolling all right. My sides hurt from laughing.
"The Blaxorcist"...uh, I mean "Abby" is the story of a young married couple, the Reverend and Mrs. Williams (Terry Carter and Carol Speed). Unfortunately, Abby's father-in-law, Bishop Williams (William Marshall of "Blacula") unleashes some sort of ancient spirit in Nigeria. Of course, that spirit lands in Abby's body in Louisville, Kentucky halfway around the world. Of course.
Abby starts to display antisocial behavior, like boning her arm with a kitchen knife (an ugly scene). She foams at the mouth during one of her husband's sermons. Tells the rev he ain't man enough, and she ain't his "ho". Beats the crap out of the kindly church organist and causes her to have a heart attack.
Did I mention she's a marriage counselor? At a session, she comes up with this valuable advice, and I'm quoting from the exquisite script (using a demonic voice, natch): "All men are not created equal, so you better make sure what he's got. That's why I'm gonna take ol' long George upstairs and f**k the shit outta him". Hmmm...more marriages could be saved with this unorthodox procedure, doncha think?
There are just sooooooo many bad movie highlights in "Abby". Here's just a couple more to whet your appetite:
· After the marriage counselor scene, the rev says to her "My God, Abby, whatever possessed you to do a thing like that"...
· Abby, in her demon persona, threatens Bishop Williams: "I'm going to get your ass!!"...
· The climatic scene (yeah, the exorcism) takes place in a garish nightclub (don't miss the utter destruction of the disco ball. Oh, the humanity!).
Carol Speed just chomps the scenery as Abby, although someone named Bob Holt gets "credit" for the demon voice. William Marshall is very prim and proper as the father-in-law, Bishop Williams, although this character very easily could have been the basis for the King of Cartoons character he played on "Pee-wee's Playhouse"
One more thing: Warner Brothers actually kept this gem out of circulation for many years, saying it was a blatant rip-off of their pea-soup-spouting classic. Aside from Carol Speed's amazing resemblance to Max von Sydow, I don't know what the hell they were worried about.
See this with others. It's an (unintentional) scream!! And don't forget to thank William Girdler who, because of that Warner Brothers legal action, didn't make too much $$$$$ on "Abby".
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