Lurkers (1988)

One of the things that you can always count on in Mister Joshuas household circa Christmas/Hanukkah (we hold dual religious citizenship here) are the gifts from aunts or cousins that really only know nothing about you. These folks put as much thoughtfulness in selecting a gift as it takes to pull up a Facebook page and look at your likes. For myself, that usually has something to do with horror films (or The Simpson, if you must know), which leads to some interesting gifts. Chrismakkah (copyright me -just now) this year was no exception. Having received something called 'Cult Terror Cinema' a film collection with such highlights as 'Carnival of Crime', 'Fleshburn' and the film whose review you are reading 'Lurkers.'

Cathy had a pretty shitty childhood. Her mother killed her father with a butcher knife. She then tried to slice and dice little Kathy, chasing her around the building and down the street. He dreams are haunted by beings she calls 'lurkers' who are wrinkly old folks that hover over her as she sleeps. Kathy tries to be normal, she even tries to jump into a double dutch game with some neighborhood girls until the rope tries to kill her. To make matters even worse, her brother blames her for everything that has happened to her, including their murderous mother, and wants nothing to do with her.

All grown up, Kathy has become a professional cellist, not unlike 'Ghostbusters' Dana Barrett. She may be a good cellist but she is still pretty fucked in the head. Her boyfriend/fiance, Bob, is a late '80s New York uber-douche. He's a photographer, although the only pictures we see him take are with a polaroid of some girl he's trying to get with. He has a mysterious business partner named Monica, whom Kathy has never met. Ladies, if the man you're engaged to has yet to introduce you to his attractive, female "business partner" - that's a deal breaker.

Bob finally agrees to introduce his fiance to Monica at some swank party up in of all places -Washington Heights (note to those not from New York or without working knowledge of the area, nothing swank has ever happened in Washington Heights. Not in 1988, 2008...never). Turns out Monicas apartment/studio is located in the same building Kathy grew up in. She of course refuses to go in, that is until she sees some chick get bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer outside the building (New York...right?). Once inside she learns that Bob, Monica, the building and everything else that has been going on has been an elaborate scheme by none other than the dark lord Satan himself to get Kathy back in to his building.

This is the one part of the film that is even remotely interesting. As she is threatened by Satans evil minions (that's kind of redundant isn't it? Satans minions would have to be evil...I digress.) Kathy enters a series of rooms that could be something from a Fellini satirical. All kinds of perversions are being explored - lesbianism, BDSM, I think there was a goat at some point, it's a pretty intense series of shots. Although it really makes no sense - no apartment in New York has that type of square footage.

Directed by former adult film director Roberta Findlay (although she is more well known for being the DP on many of her husband Michaels projects). Findlay proves incontrovertibly that she is a better director of photography than an actual director. She is able to get nothing even remotely resembling a good performance from any of the actors.

The only thing that may be worse than the directing and the acting is the script. It makes absolutely no sense. Why did Kathys mom kill her father and try to kill her but not her brother? If Satans overall goal is to get Kathy back to the building so she can die there, why did he let her escape in the first place? Why has he waited so long to spring his devious (?) trap. It's not like Kathy moved to Montana - she's been in the city her entire life? Are we supposed to believe that Satan is that lazy? Plus, Satan owns an apartment building? Is it rent controlled? I know plenty of people that will deal with a few 'lurkers' in exchange for a deal on monthly rent.

'Lurkers' is a terrible film to say the least. Bad acting, bad directing, terrible story. It hit's the trifecta of shittyness. But you are in luck, because the film is now considered 'public domain' you can watch the whole thing by clicking the link above! Have fun!

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