Monday, September 2, 2019

Invitation to Hell

Invitation to Hell (1984)

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In this made-for-TV horror film, a family moves to a new town because the husband/father (Robert Urich) got a job at some big space-tech company. He learns that everyone at the company is obsessed with a local country club, run by Jessica, a glamourous but sinister woman (Susan Lucci). Matt doesn't want to join the club because he's very anticonformist, but his social climber wife, Patricia (Joanna Cassidy), goes ahead and accepts the invitation to hell.

  • The what-the-fuck factor is extremely high in this movie in the first minute (+2)
  • Wes Craven directed this movie? He's known for a handful of movies but directed a whole bunch of weird shit that nobody ever talks about (+1)
  • Despite a strongly weird opening, the movie goes from 60 to 0 in about two minutes (-1)
  • The reason Matt goes to work at the space tech company is to design a fancy spacesuit that is going to be used in the upcoming manned mission to Venus - a detail that doesn't really matter to the movie for the most part. Like... a manned mission to Venus should be a huge fucking deal but nobody really talks about it that much, outside of where it's relevant to the spacesuit design. (-1)
    • Speaking of which, the spacesuit has a built in flamethrower which seems really unnecessary for a couple of reasons. One, have any astronauts actually needed a flamethrower while in space, and would not having a flamethrower literally built into your suit be more dangerous than helpful? Two, the average surface temperature of Venus is 462 degrees Celsius, so if the astronauts encounter something that's not already on fire, chances are it can't be burned (-1)
    • In fact, the only reason that the spacesuit makes any sense is because the surface of Venus and hell apparently have similar properties, which is just super convenient (-1)
  • The villain of the movie is some kind of demon who runs a glorified spa (+1)
  • There's always kids running around Matt and Patricia's house and I was never entirely sure which ones were their's (-1)
  • The spa has a literal door to hell that exudes smoke and the screams of the damned and that door is not behind another locked door (-1)
  • The pacing of the movie is extremely uneven - people start thinking about doing something (like joining the country club without your husband's permission) and then the next scene is them just doing that thing completely unphased by all of it. As sloppy as it is, it really adds to how fucking weird the movie is (+1)
  • The message at the heart of Invitation to Hell is that you should let your wife have a job so she doesn't get bored and do weird shit like selling your kids' souls to the devil (-1)
    • Another major theme is that women asking for what they want are inherently scary and evil (-1)
  • The dog survives! (+1)
  • Once Patricia accepts the invitation to hell, she gives the interior design of their home a classy goth makeover (+1)
  • I love computers in '80s movies because you could straight up type a question in, like "how many employees were promoted in the last year?", and it would spit out an answer that meant something and was organized in a comprehensible way (+1)
  • There's a scene at a halloween party and one of the company higher-ups is casually wearing a Nazi costume which is a big fuckin yikes (-1)
  • The weird dreamy scene where Matt actually goes to hell is well done (+1)
  • Ultimately, I don't understand why Jessica is doing the things that she does - specifically, she is sucking the souls out of people (?), trapping them in a hell dimension, and then putting either a demon or the evil version of that person into their body and letting them roam around. What does she gain by doing this? Is she Satan? (-1)
    • At the end she is defeated by the family, like... being together and loving each other or something? I don't understand why that kills her (-1)
    • But it does make it her explode and that's fuckin awesome (+1)
  • Matt leaves a 2+ million dollar spacesuit in hell (-1)
Final Score: -2 thumbs up

Invitation to Hell is kind of weird but not really very good

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