Deadly Blessing (1981)

“Pray you’re not blessed.” Okay, so the ending is really lame – a total letdown – Deadly Blessing, which was directed by Wes Craven (The Last House on the Left) managed to keep me reasonably entertained as an offbeat, atmospheric horror film with some very effective scares. After her husband, Jim (Douglas Barr) is killed in a mysterious tractor accident, the beautiful Martha Schmidt (Maren Jensen) struggles to maintain her isolated farmhouse, while also dealing with continued harassment from a nearby, somewhat fanatical Amish-like sect called the “Hittites” led by “Isaiah Schmidt” (Ernest Borgnine). You see Jim was also a Hittite (he’s Isaiah’s son) who broke free of the sect and was therefore shunned by the community. All hell breaks loose when Martha’s two friends arrive for the funeral: “Lana Marcus” (Sharon Stone, in one of her first film roles) and “Vicky Anderson” (Susan Buckner). Highlights include Lana getting trapped in the barn, Martha taking a bath and discovering a snake creeping up right between her legs, Lana having a nightmare about a spider and Vicky trying to score with John (Jeff East, who portrayed the teenage “Clark Kent” in Superman), a horny Hittite dude who also happens to be Jim’s brother. Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes) portrays the creepiest of the Hittites, “William Gluntz” (he roams around the countryside scaring the shit out of everyone and calling every non-Hittite an “incubus”). Colleen Riley (as “Melissa”), Lisa Hartman (as “Faith”) and Lois Nettleton (as “Louisa”) round out the cast. Although I personally enjoyed his performance, Borgnine was actually nominated for a Razzie Award for “Worst Supporting Actor” (Steve Forrest “won” for Mommie Dearest). Perhaps the scariest thing in Deadly Blessing is Borgnine’s beard – truly frightening! Unfortunately, Deadly Blessing was the last film role for Jensen, who also portrayed “Athena” in the Battlestar Galactica TV series. Her acting career was reportedly cut short after she became ill with Epstein-Barr Syndrome. Does anyone know whatever happened to Jensen?

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