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Vestron Blu-Ray Review: The Unholy is a Lost Classic

The Unholy

After a near death experience, Father Michael is chosen to take over a parish with a history of unexplained murders involving fellow clergymen. Shortly after establishing residence in the parish, Father Michael begins to experience unexplained phenomena and starts to wonder if he will be the next to die.

The film stars Ben Cross (Star Trek), Ned Beatty (Deliverance), William Russ (American History X), Jill Carroll (Psycho II), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), Trevor Howard (Superman), and Nicole Fortier (Scared Stiff).

Finding an enjoyable horror film you’ve barely heard of, let alone seen is like finding a good friend. It doesn’t happen every day but when it does, it’s something to be celebrated. And that’s precisely how I feel about The Unholy. It’s far from perfect and it certainly shows its age. But I had a great time with this flick. It features several of my favorite things, not limited to but including well-executed jump scares, over-the-top 80s fashion, and Ned Beatty.

The performances aren’t Oscar contenders–they are on a par with much of Vestron’s other output. But everyone is likable and turns in a serviceable showing. Ned Beatty is a personal favorite of mine and he is likable here (as usual). Ben Cross is a great choice to play Father Michael. He is stoic but not so much so that he’s hard to warm up to. Even Nicole Fortier and her impossibly perky breasts are great as The Demon.

The real standout in The Unholy is the FX work. The film is full of expertly rendered creature designs and exceptionally gory death sequences. It’s hard to believe that this film was so largely forgotten for such a long time when it boasts such impressive effects.

My chief criticism of The Unholy is that it is terribly predictable. Exposition regarding the demon often feels shoehorned in and the ‘twist’ is painfully obvious. But, if you can get past that, there is much to enjoy here.

Vestron has once again outdone themselves with a barrage of kick-ass special features and a restored 1080P transfer of the film. Bonus content includes an audio commentary track with director Camilo Vila, isolated score selections, featurettes, interviews with the cast and crew, the original storyboard gallery, the original ending, and more. The transfer and audio are far better than I would have expected from such an old film. But this line of Vestron re-releases has yet to fail to impress me in that regard.

If you haven’t yet seen The Unholy, you need to check it out. It is now available on Blu-Ray via Vestron and LionsGate Home Entertainment.


Director(s):  Camilo Vila
Writer(s):  Philip Yordan, Fernando Fonseca
Stars: Ben Cross, Ned Beatty, William Russ, Jill Carroll, Hal Holbrook, and Trevor Howard
Release: June 27, 2017 (Blu-Ray)
Studio/ Production Co: Vestron Video
Language: English
Length: 1 Hour and 42 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Supernatural

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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