DARK POWER with Lash LaRue

Dr Acula
Member
Joined: 2:16 AM - Jan 28, 2007

5:15 PM - May 18, 2008 #1

Just watched this incredibly cheesy, incredibly entertaining 80's era horror starring the whipmaster Lash LaRue. Y'see, there are these 4 undead Toltec sorcerers who have been kept in place by a Native American holy man. Unfortunately, he dies at the begining, and his snot-nosed grandson decides to rent out the house on top of the gravesite to college students. Too bad they move in right at the one point in history when the Toltecs' evil power is strongest. Fortunately, Lash LaRue has a magic whip, and that combined with the wits of a intellegent victims might be enough to deal with the dead Toltec sorcerer threat.

What's good is that, even on this low-budget flick, everybody seemed to give it there all, Lash was great and got some great lines in, and there was an interesting racism angle that the film worked in that helped explain much of the strange ways the characters had to interact for the Toltec assault to happen the way they planned. It's definately worth picking up.
Quote
Like
Share

Dr Acula
Member
Joined: 2:16 AM - Jan 28, 2007

1:44 PM - May 19, 2008 #2

And here is the TRAILER ON YOUTUBE!
Quote
Like
Share

count yorga1
Member
Joined: 2:49 PM - Oct 11, 2011

5:30 PM - Dec 01, 2011 #3

Anyone know if this had a theatrical release? or maybe it went straight to video.
Quote
Like
Share

Balladeer
Member
Joined: 12:39 AM - Dec 23, 2011

11:25 PM - Dec 29, 2011 #4

I've heard it had a commercial release in Mexico but I'm not sure about the U.S.
Quote
Like
Share

Dr Acula
Member
Joined: 2:16 AM - Jan 28, 2007

1:17 PM - Oct 10, 2018 #5

I’ve now rewatched the Dark Power and have some questions about this regional gem as well.
 
1)  I thought it was interesting to use Toltecs as the villains. In the southeast there were numerous mound-building cultures, and I’ve often wondered what trade existed between groups like the Cherokee and Seminoles and the Central American groups of Aztecs, Toltecs, Olmecs, and Mayan. Were you interested in this, or was it just a good plot point?
2) In the documentary you mention that the house was owned by a helpful couple who lived just a few houses away. Did that house ever make it into the film in a background?
3) Mary Dalton was quite photogenic (and actually looks like a dead ringer for a former gal I went on exactly one disastrous date with). Did you ever consider her for a role in Alien Outlaw?
4) When the “dog-o-cam” shot following the kid in the woods as the dog pack follows him just before Lash arrives on the scene – was that a conscious use of the kind of camera movement used by Sam Raimi in the Evil Dead, or did it just occur naturally due to the terrain you were shooting on?
5) In exactly one scene there is an Eagle patch on Lash’s jacket – was that a hint that he would have access to the same kind of “eagle over skull” power that the shaman had to help defeat the sorcerers?

Quote
Like
Share

Smoot
Member
Smoot
Member
Joined: 4:36 PM - Oct 07, 2017

10:12 PM - Oct 10, 2018 #6

Dr Acula wrote: I’ve now rewatched the Dark Power and have some questions about this regional gem as well.
 
1)  I thought it was interesting to use Toltecs as the villains. In the southeast there were numerous mound-building cultures, and I’ve often wondered what trade existed between groups like the Cherokee and Seminoles and the Central American groups of Aztecs, Toltecs, Olmecs, and Mayan. Were you interested in this, or was it just a good plot point?

I have to give credit to Rodger Painter, a great still photographer and excellent motion picture focus puller & assistant cameraman, as I was discussing an idea with him and he suggested that I do some research on the Toltecs. I'll add that Tony Elwood, who at the time I knew as a makeup artist, also did some research for me. I would not have come up with the Toltecs had Rodger not introduced me, and Tony added suggestions once he started working in pre-production on the film.

2) In the documentary you mention that the house was owned by a helpful couple who lived just a few houses away. Did that house ever make it into the film in a background?

The backyard of David & Barbara Hill's home was the location for the pontoon boat scenes (day and night). Their house may have been in a daytime pan shot of the neighborhood.

3) Mary Dalton was quite photogenic (and actually looks like a dead ringer for a former gal I went on exactly one disastrous date with). Did you ever consider her for a role in Alien Outlaw?

Mary and I married in February of 1985, two months after the filming of The Dark Power and some 4 or 5 months before filming Alien Outlaw. As I had written the screenplay for Alien Outlaw in 1978, there was not a role that I considered for her in that film. While we divorced some 20 years ago, we remain good friends -- I photographed her Niece's wedding last month and we totally agreed on how to raise our son (who is now 26).

4) When the “dog-o-cam” shot following the kid in the woods as the dog pack follows him just before Lash arrives on the scene – was that a conscious use of the kind of camera movement used by Sam Raimi in the Evil Dead, or did it just occur naturally due to the terrain you were shooting on?

I shot that scene months after the main body of the film as I felt that we needed something to establish Lash with the whip. I admit that I did admire Raimi's technique in The Evil Dead, and I can't say that it did not have a subconscious influence on me (as it may have). My main reason for shooting that way was to give the "dog-eye" point-of-view. I may have been more influenced by the 1953 Invaders from Mars use of the camera height as being the height of the young boy protagonist in that film.  

5) In exactly one scene there is an Eagle patch on Lash’s jacket – was that a hint that he would have access to the same kind of “eagle over skull” power that the shaman had to help defeat the sorcerers?

Yes. I will add that we had to be careful about the patches that we used and in what manner as many organizations use such patches on their uniforms. I recall asking and getting permission from a couple groups, but it was so long ago that I don't remember the particulars.
Quote
Like
Share

Dr Acula
Member
Joined: 2:16 AM - Jan 28, 2007

12:30 PM - Oct 11, 2018 #7

Thanks for all those answers!

 - The eagle patch was interesting to me, because it seemed like it disappeared from the film after the closeup in that scene.

 - I totally bought the idea that the dock was right there behind the house, so great use of editing on that score.

 - I didn't realize you & Mary Dalton were married! I just checked her online and she's been making some well received documentaries like Living In The Overlap about an LGBT couple's fight to wed, and the recent Queer Knitter In Queen City

And now for even more questions if you are up for it!

1) Were the posters in the house ones that you owned yourself, or were they bought specifically for the production?

2) When you shot at the Hall of Records, was that the actual Hall of Records or was it a local library? I was curious as a library worker myself.

3) Also, Tony Elwood as the court student in the scene in the house with Mary Dalton. It is kind of an unusual scene, but it sets up the appearance of Lash at the house very nicely. Was it a last minute addition to help motivate why Lash shows up when he did, or was it always in the script?

4) I agree with your assessment in the short documentary about Suzan's character - yowza! But I think that she did connect with audiences, and I appreciated that she totally cleaned the clock of all the guys who were messing with the other ladies in the house. I would have preferred if there were three survivors at the house, and I did think it odd that she was so tough in the other scenes yet never really got any licks in against the Toltecs.

5) Speaking of Suzan giving the jerky dudes trouble, Craig getting the swirly in the toilet is still hilarious. Did the actor have any trepidation about doing the scene? Did everybody rib him about it for the rest of the suit. Still, I'd say it was worth it to get roughed up by Suzan!

6) Did Earl (the late great Paul Holman) ever get a death scene filmed? I'd think we'd hear something more from him, or see his corpse, but he just disappears from the film.
Quote
Like
Share

Smoot
Member
Smoot
Member
Joined: 4:36 PM - Oct 07, 2017

7:11 PM - Oct 11, 2018 #8

Dr Acula wrote: Thanks for all those answers!

 - The eagle patch was interesting to me, because it seemed like it disappeared from the film after the closeup in that scene.

While the Eagle Patch may not be noticed in other shots, it was never changed so it is always there.

 - I totally bought the idea that the dock was right there behind the house, so great use of editing on that score.

 - I didn't realize you & Mary Dalton were married! I just checked her online and she's been making some well received documentaries like Living In The Overlap about an LGBT couple's fight to wed, and the recent Queer Knitter In Queen City

Mary, now Dr. Dalton and long a professor at Wake Forest University in NC, has written several books and made many short documentaries. I shot a few of them and Sherwood Jones, who has lived in Los Angeles since 1990-91 (and edited both The Dark Power & Alien Outlaw), has edited several of them. Mary picks interesting docs, and, just for the record, she is totally straight but is a supporter of the rights of all people.

And now for even more questions if you are up for it!

1) Were the posters in the house ones that you owned yourself, or were they bought specifically for the production?

Oh, you ask an embarrassing question that will show how cheap I had to be on The Dark Power. The Art Director purchased a few posters, and I told him never to do that again as we could find all the posters we need without buying any -- Yep, the budget was that low. I would have to look at the film again to see if any of them belonged to me. I am not a poster collector, but I do have a dozen hidden around.

2) When you shot at the Hall of Records, was that the actual Hall of Records or was it a local library? I was curious as a library worker myself.

The location for the Hall of Records was next to the Old Stokes County Courthouse (also seen in the movie just before the Hall of Records scene and shot the same day) in Danbury, North Carolina. That was one of the very few days that we did not shoot in or around the principal location at the house in Belews Creek NC. I don't remember what the location was called, but we used what was there. 

3) Also, Tony Elwood as the court student in the scene in the house with Mary Dalton. It is kind of an unusual scene, but it sets up the appearance of Lash at the house very nicely. Was it a last minute addition to help motivate why Lash shows up when he did, or was it always in the script?

That scene was always in the script. The location was the home of Attorney A.L. "Buddy" Collins and his wife in (or near) Kernersville, NC. At the time he was a partner in Producer John G. Wolfe III law office in downtown Kernersville.

4) I agree with your assessment in the short documentary about Suzan's character - yowza! But I think that she did connect with audiences, and I appreciated that she totally cleaned the clock of all the guys who were messing with the other ladies in the house. I would have preferred if there were three survivors at the house, and I did think it odd that she was so tough in the other scenes yet never really got any licks in against the Toltecs.

Having the Suzan character meet her last onscreen encounter was not in the script. It was after a week of filming that I felt there is no real sense of loss if only the "bad boys and bad girl" get the worst of it all. I will say that if there had been a sequel, I would have considered the idea that Suzan is an older female with a scar around her neck. After all, while the Tammie character does say "They killed Suzan," it does not mean that she fully knows such in the midst of all the confusion. Still, I think that not having one of the likeable characters suffer would seem to make the Toltecs some kind of carrier of justice, and I don't think of them in that way.

I once had a one-off filmmaker tell me that he let all the "bad teens" who slept with their boy or girl friend die by the killer, but he let the "good girl" who did not sleep with her boyfriend live as some kind of moral justice: I thought that was about the most sick thing that I have ever heard a "gore movie filmmaker" say. 


5) Speaking of Suzan giving the jerky dudes trouble, Craig getting the swirly in the toilet is still hilarious. Did the actor have any trepidation about doing the scene? Did everybody rib him about it for the rest of the suit. Still, I'd say it was worth it to get roughed up by Suzan!

While the house was newly completed and no one had lived there, plus we closed off that part of that bathroom, actor Marc Matney did take it upon himself to clean that bowl about a dozen times before doing the scene. Had it not been new and unused, we would have needed to build a separate toilet area and provide water to it from another source. As it was, you could have performed aquatic surgery in that bowl as it was so incredibly sanitized by the time we filmed the scene.

6) Did Earl (the late great Paul Holman) ever get a death scene filmed? I'd think we'd hear something more from him, or see his corpse, but he just disappears from the film.

No. His death is an off-screen event and that was planned from the start. Paul was a wonderful and talented man. I so wish that he had made more films. A really funny man, but he could also play a bad guy if he needed to do so. Really talented.
Quote
Like
Share

Dr Acula
Member
Joined: 2:16 AM - Jan 28, 2007

8:57 PM - Oct 11, 2018 #9

Most excellent!
-        I’ll have to check out some of Dr. Dalton’s documentaries at some time. I’m also totally straight and totally for LGBT rights – I had some friends of mine make a well-received documentary about a female to male dying of ovarian cancer called Southern Comfort if you ever get a chance to see it.
Quote
Like
Share

Dr Acula
Member
Joined: 2:16 AM - Jan 28, 2007

11:57 AM - Oct 16, 2018 #10

Here is my last set of questions for this awesome film if you again can find the time!
 
1) There is an interesting lost plot point about the Toltecs seemingly hating to hear people’s screams, like maybe the sound could have been destructive to them. Was that just the case, or did they just hate all that scared human caterwauling?
2) There was a sense of humor to the Toltecs, like everybody seemed to pick on the one with long black hair who got an arrow to the noggin, like he was the Curley or Shemp of the group. Was that also in the script, or was it just down to performance and editing?
3) I lost track of all the knives in the ground around the house, but I assume they were holding the Toltecs in? I’m pretty sure we see three of them get unearthed, but I never saw the fourth.
4) The whip duel was awesome to behold. I’m sure that the Toltec actor wasn’t too worried, since Lash was an expert at the art, but was Lash worried about a stray whipping from the Toltec actor?
5) Who did the painted poster art? And do you still have the original art, or has it disappeared in the mists of time?

Thanks for taking the time to answer some fan questions!
Quote
Like
Share