The Merits of Sin: Scared Stiff aka The Masterson Curse (1987) (USA)

More than a year after some mental troubles, a pretty musician takes her son and moves into an old house with her former psychiatrist now boyfriend. One hundred and thirty years before the house was under the ownership of one slave owning son of a bitch named George Masterton. Fed up with his cruelty, a handful of his slaves placed a curse on the man. They passed on a stone totem to protect his kind hearted wife Elizabeth and their young son. Judging by the skeletal remains that Dr. Young finds stashed in a trunk in the house’s hidden attic, something went wrong.

You alright?

Katie begins seeing strange things and picking up on the home’s bad vibes but her chooch of a boyfriend is convinced she may be slipping back into insanity. It also seems that George Masterson’s evil spirit may be taking possession of the good doctor. A few deaths happen along the way and soon Katie comes to learn that the curse transformed Mr. Masterson into a horrific monster. She’s going to have fix the broken stone totem and make a stand if she wants to escape with her and her son’s lives.

She’s got the power

Oddly enough for a film that takes so long to get down to the mayhem, Scared Stiff is an entertaining treat throughout. There’s enough fun to be had in the shoddy laser effects and quirky characters (my favorite being a sports obsessed detective). There’s not much violence for most of the run time but a few dark touches (a decaying handyman hanging just outside the son’s window, death bringing pigeons) help the film to stand out.

Stank boy

The monster doesn’t show his ugly mug till way late in the game but there’s enough to chew on to keep you satisfied. Mary Page Keller is a sympathetic heroine and her son is likable enough. Andrew Stevens plays an excellent dick. The makeup is rubbery in the best way and one wishes we got to see more of it. Completely entertaining late 80s horror shot in Miami. 8/10


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