Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Damn you Warner Brothers and your alleged… intellectual properties!  I mean movies have been liberally borrowing from each other for years but in 1974 Warner was so incensed at the late William Girdlers soon-to-be Blaxsploitation classic ‘Abby’ that they sued the poor company that made this movie… and get this… they won.  Well, they didn’t win in the legal sense but they did win by having American World Pictures delay the pictures release for years and by the time the smoke cleared I guess nobody really wanted to see a Demon Possession film, or Blaxsploitation films all that much.   Just big sharks and space operas and ‘Abby’ was placed in movie limbo.  Regardless, after seeing both movies there really isn’t much linking the two outside of demon possession.  At least I don’t think so, but I’m no copyrights lawyer so what the hell would I know.  Because of this that means that for all intents and purposes ‘Abby’ doesn’t exist.  But now we live in a day an age where everything exists in some form or fashion, just ask Traci Lords, and we have seen ‘Abby’ and ‘Abby’ was awesome.  At least in its own special compartment of awesomeness.

Our film opens with the legendary William Marshall as Professor Bishop Garnet Williams holding archeology class in the park with his afro enabled students.  They’re talking about stuff, and the stuff they’re talking about is plot relevant, but I was distracted by the gift they gave the professor that he refused to open.  The one chick would say ‘open the gift!’ and Professor Williams would prattle on and on about the Eshu or something, only to be interrupted by the girl saying ‘open the gift!’ at least eight more times.  Open the Damn Gift Already!  He finally opens the gift and it’s a blinged out cross.  I think that’s a graven image which violates on or the ten commandments, but I’m not a degreed theologian so what the hell do I know?

Actually that whole scene was just a bloated way to let us know that Bishop Williams was heading to Africa to f’up some stuff, and now we meet the really important person in this film, that being Abby herself (Carol Speed).  Abby is good God fearing woman married to the Bishops son, Pastor Emmett Williams (Terry Carter).  The Williams have new house, life is good, and Abby is about to become a marriage counselor.  All that changed

when Bishop Williams, all the way over in Africa, opened that box he dug up by stroking the phallus.  Apparently the only way to open this box was to rotate the erect penis that was sticking out of the box.  I’m sure William Marshall was like ‘Seriously Girdler?  I mean seriously.’  But if EVER there was a trooper in cinema, it was the Shakespearean trained William Marshall. 

Opening the box caused quite the disturbance in Africa, but more importantly the evil spirit inside traveled all the way across the world and now has possessed poor Abby.  Where Abby was a sweet girl, now she’s a foul mouthed hussy constantly belittling her poor husband for coming up short in the maleness department.  This movie is filled with wonderful scenes, but probably the best is when Emmitt came into the bedroom to get some love wearing only a towel, got insulted by Abby for being a little on the small side, and then got kicked in the nuts.  But it doesn’t end there!  The next scene is Abby trying out her Marriage Counselor skills on a young George and Sue, which is odd because by now it’s clear that Abby is psycho and shouldn’t be around anybody, but Abby informs the wife to be that you have to try a man out before you marry him, and she’s about to give ‘Long George’ a ride while ripping off her clothes.  That’s what Abby said. 

Now we got trouble.  Bishop Williams had to cut his trip short, meet up with his son and Abby’s police officer brother Cass (Austin Stoker) and track Abby down who is running around town sexing and killing folks.  It’s Exorcism Time and Warner Brothers didn’t like this, but we do hope that Bishop can free the sexual demon in Abby before it’s too late.  Actually… we hope he fails because Abby the Sexual Demon is stone trip. 

William Girdler, who was a busy man in his six year film career before he tragically died in a helicopter crash in 1978, probably won’t ever be remembered as great film director but my man had a style, that’s for damn sure.  Watch ‘The Manitou’ for further proof of this style of his.  ‘Abby’ is so crazy and so insane and so nutty that it's completely irresistible.  It certainly helps to have William Marshall, Terry Carter, Austin Stoker, and Academy Award nominated actress Juanita Moore as Abby’s mom on board, but it is Carol Speed and her manic performance as Abby which makes this nonsense flow.  With her sneering and pimping and the fact that everybody she ran into at some point was called a ‘mutha fuckaaaaaahhhh’ ‘Abby’ probably would’ve made Carole Speed a superstar if Warner Brothers weren’t such assholes back in ’74.

There are points where the movie does drag, like the entire second act when Cass and Emmitt are searching for Abby, and if William Girdler wanted to pep up the whole exorcism thing just a bit we wouldn’t have been upset with him.  And if I’m not mistaken Abby did kill a few people so maybe charges should be in order even if they did manage to get rid of the demon, but I guess ‘possessed by demon’ gave one a free out back in the seventies.

‘Abby’ probably isn’t a good movie, all things considered, but gosh darn it was an entertaining one.  Imagine the horrible movies that William Girdler would still be making for us today if he wasn’t snatched away from us at such a young age, so long ago.

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