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Article Archive >> Entertainment

Movies From the Black Lagoon: Hallowed Ground

Movies From the Black Lagoon
Hallowed Ground-2007, Not Rated

A young woman hits the road to get some distance from her problems but runs head long into new ones in this direct to video chiller that incorporates elements from such classic films as "The Thing" and "Rosemary's Baby".
The stage is set with an intense prologue, set a hundred years ago, that finds one poor sap dressed up as a scarecrow and nailed to a tree in the middle of a cornfield. Meanwhile, a deranged holy man and about half the population of the town of Hope (irony?) chant while their victim pitifully screams for mercy. Now this is a horror movie so there isn't pity on the menu but he is assured that he'll have plenty of company where he's going, a fact that's confirmed when he scans the field and observes that several poor souls have already suffered the same treatment.
Cut to present day and a car chugging along the highway. The vehicle begins to make an unpleasant noise but the driver is in luck as she is only a half-mile from you-guessed-it the exit for Hope. The car pulls into the town gas station where its pilot, Liz Chambers, learns that she'll be stuck in Hope for one day while the part her auto needs is delivered. She hits the local diner and meets the only other tourist in the area. She's a tabloid reporter who is on hand to take pictures of Hathaway's Farm. As it turns out, that's the location spied in the prologue and our ethically challenged journalist (hey she writes for a tabloid) is able to provide a rundown on the tragic events that befell the farm.
Liz agrees to go along for the photo shoot despite the fact that the farm was the site of many hangings due to Hathaway's misreading of the Bible. It appears that Hathaway was under the impression that God would make his corn crop return if he was appeased by sacrificing human sinners, making Hathaway the first guy to ever confuse Christianity with Aztec rituals. The story goes on to say that he also anticipated that the "Rapture" was at hand. Thus, he built a shelter under his cornfield and hid out there with some other believers (actually they were easily led morons lacking in a healthy value system). Sensing that things were stable again above ground, he sent a little girl out to check the lay of the land (wow all this and brave, too). That move, though, would come back to haunt him as the child was found by neighboring people whom she treated to a whole lot of facts about Mr. Hathaway. Said people quickly reached a consensus that he's dangerous and proceeded to nail him to a post, sporting the latest in straw man threads.
Things go bad in a hurry at the farm as our reporter pays the ultimate price for staging a photo when a scarecrow dummy (constructed by her editor) comes to life and makes a statement about tabloid journalism by pounding nails through her head. Bad as that is, it only gets worse for Liz. She finds out that the scarecrow is possessed by Hathaway and his followers are still active. Their beliefs are still questionable; especially the part about Hathaway needing to be implanted in her womb before daybreak, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous. It makes for a long night and a surprisingly effective thriller that benefits from sustained tension and a villain who can only survive by hopping into a freshly killed corpse. Good stuff and a reminder that direct to video horror movies have come a long way.
Best Line: "Your cop is dead. Someone, dressed as a scarecrow, killed him"

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@pennswoods.net.

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