Abby (1974)

abby-1974-poster
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some decent visuals, Carol Speed does a nice job as the lead

Exorcist rip-off, gets slow toward the end

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Abby

Studio:  American International Pictures

Genre(s):  Blaxploitation/Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  December 25, 1974

MPAA Rating:  R

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Yep…this is my Sunday best!

Travelling to Nigeria, Bishop Garnet Williams (William Marshall) accidentally unleashes a West African chaos demon named Eshu.  At the same time his son Reverend Emmett Williams (Terry Carter) and daughter-in-law Abby (Carol Speed) have just moved into their new home in Louisville, Kentucky and hope to spread the word of God through their expanding church.  When Abby begins to act strange, drugs are suspected, but drugs soon do not explain her strange behavior or powers.  Now possessed by Eshu (or a similar spirit), Abby is in danger of losing her soul forever unless Bishop Williams, her husband, and her brother Cass (Austin Stoker) can save it.

Directed by William Girdler, Abby was released a year after The Exorcist and was yanked from theaters when Warner Bros. accused the film of ripping off the plot of the movie.  The movie has since gained a cult following and has been released a few times on DVD.

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The Exorcist…Abby-style!

Abby is a pretty blatant rip-off The Exorcist.  It has many of the same visuals, the demon has many of the same powers and tricks, and the movie’s basic plot does have some parallels (with Abby being a suspect of murder).  Even the set-up of the story is the same with Marshall headed to Africa on a dig…releasing Eshu (or a similar demon) who is also a wind demon like Pazuzu of The Exorcist.  Despite similarities, Abby does have some of its own chills and scares.

The blaxploitation aspect of the story doesn’t provide much other than a mostly black cast and the obligatory club scene which has Abby going into a “funky” club looking for problems.  If you are a fan of this style of movie, the movie doesn’t disappoint, but it is unfortunate that these scenes pop-up in the third act of the story because it really slows down the pacing.

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That Abby is one fly girl…

The Exorcist really provided a shock, and this movie alternated the plot by making the possessed character an adult which allowed for a more sexual (and less controversial) character.  There are some genuinely creepy scenes with Abby, and I particularly liked the scene where you see the shadow of the beast take her in the shower.

Carol Speed does a nice job as Abby.  She got the role after the actress before her was canned due to requesting a masseuse in the budget.  Speed’s supposed to be the sweet reverend’s wife who has had a switch flipped inside of her to bring out everything sexual.  The movie is also aided by veteran blaxploitation star William Marshall (star of Blacula) who brings his booming voice to the exorcist.

Abby isn’t a great movie, but isn’t a bad movie.  It is a fun short movie, however, and if you are a fan of horror or blaxploitation, you should seek it out.  The DVDs of the movies have gone in and out of print, but you can often find it online.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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