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  • Taking place during the early colonization of America, "Eyes of Fire" is a remarkable hybrid of horror and mysticism within a western setting. Will Smythe (Dennis Lipscomb) is a hypocritical, but charismatic preacher who is relatively new to the small settlement of Dalton's Ferry. Traveling with him is Leah, an odd girl, who seemingly possesses otherworldly powers. Her mother, suspected of being a witch, was burned alive. While residing in the settlement, Smythe beds a bevy of women, among them the wife of Marion Dalton (Guy Boyd), a trapper spending most of his time away from home. The townsfolk disapprove of Smythe's extracurricular activities and attempt to hang him, but he's rescued by both Leah and a small group of the settlers who see something in the man. They flee the township, hoping to find their own personal "promised land" in which to settle down. Eventually forced into a valley by marauding Indians, Smythe promptly declares it to be the sanctuary they've been seeking. As they begin to start a new life, little do they know that this place is already inhabited by a devil witch and her ghastly minions.

    Filmed in the wilds of Missouri, Avery Crounse's wondrously offbeat gem is one of the most beautifully photographed horror films of the 80's, American or otherwise. The dense woodlands are naturally pleasing to the eye, but they become something else entirely when seen through the stunning direction of Crounse. His style combines the contemplative visual poetry of a Terrence Malick with truly nightmarish imagery and acidic color fades. He makes sure that, while lovely in appearance, these woods are deeply foreboding. There's an eeriness in the air, one that never quite goes away. Brad Fiedel's score adds to the unease of the situation and gives off an otherworldly vibe to match.

    In spite of a low budget, the period setting feels authentic. You never once believe that these people aren't living in the colonial era. What a fascinating period that was, and I feel that more horror films should be set in and around that time. The all-encompassing isolation, the lack of modern weapons or technology and the endless amount of rich history are all elements which are positively ripe for tales of the macabre. Most of all, though, there are the superstitions and folklore which were so rampant back in those days. This continent was still a relatively unknown place then, none of the settlers really having a clue as to what they might encounter. I don't think there is anything more terrifying than the unknown, so what better time than the days of the unknown to tell a story of this nature? Crounse certainly realizes this, as he milks the period setting and the olden days mythology for all that they're worth.

    I've seen many reviews deriding the special effects, which is absurd. They are not only perfectly believable, but quite well-done at that. The hideous look of the devil witch herself and the surprisingly numerous explosions were especially impressive. On the acting front, Lipscomb plays slimy as if it were second nature to him. Boyd is strong in the role of foil, while Kathleen Crockett steals the show as Leah, a character that could have fallen into camp if not played correctly.

    "Eyes of Fire" is right up there with "Black Rainbow" as one of the unsung genre classics of the 80's. It's a one-of-a-kind experience in desperate need of a proper release, one which preferably restores the original "Cry Blue Sky" cut, an ultimate holy grail for me, and allows the film's brilliant photography to shine through to it's fullest extent. The work of a true visionary, gems like this one shouldn't be forgotten.
  • Don't you just love coming across films that you've never heard of before and to your surprise it turns out better than it expected. The independent low-budget horror drama "Eyes of Fire" would be one of those films you'll either become attach to or simply can't fathom the fuss. It's easy to see why it's a sleeper though --- just look when it came out (just think of the horror of this period) and there's no-one in the cast that would really stand-out on paper. However the story alone had me intrigued. From beginning to end, it projects up as nothing more than a bizarre, hallucinating mood piece. While not completely satisfying (due to its experimental tailoring consisting of some convoluted writing in the latter acts with a weak ending and cheap tacked on final frame), its unconventional style holds you there despite its purposely slow-grinding pace. The mysteriously spooky nature of it had me thinking of the similar in vein western / horror variation "The Shadow of Chikara (1977)".

    A creepy folklore / witchcraft horror with absorbing atmospherics (the rich Missouri locations are alienating and suitably eerie) and a mystical layer is formed by it inspired narrative (where its told through narrated flashback) and distinctively lyrical script as we follow some western pioneers led by a reverend on the American frontier in the search of the promised land, but they stumble upon a valley that's inhabited by a devil witch and her captured souls.

    What really came out of left field was the dazzling direction of writer / director Avery Crounse. While methodical and low-scale, he managed some visually breath-taking imagery of edgy horror and haunting beauty caught by the elegantly earthy and unhinged cinematography. Even during the daylight sequences, it remains just as unsettling and also the authentic, fidgety sound effects of the forest simply unnerve. Brad Fiedel's music score is slight, but skin-crawling and the variable special effects feature plenty of tripped-out colour schemes, tree decorations (you'll see) and loud explosions. It's serviceable, and the make-up FX is decently projected with a spooky looking phantom witch. It's those eyes! There are modest performances by the likes of Dennis Lipscomb, Guy Boyd, Rebecca Stanley and Kathleen Crockett in a very contemplative turn.

    Fascinatingly offbeat, if meandering and jaded mystical spook flick.
  • Eyes Of Fire is one of those wonderful little discoveries that makes seeking out obscure films so much fun. I went in not expecting a lot and found myself absorbed in the story, the scenery (I lived in St. Louis at the time and was amazed to read in the credits it was shot in Missouri), and the overall unusual atmosphere. It's the ideal film for those who love folklore and creepy legends. While it won't scare you out of your wits, it is spooky enough that you can cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate and get wrapped up in the story.

    The story follows a group of settlers that were banished from their town for being accused of witchcraft, they endure dangerous travels (going down the river and being shot at by arrows was harrowing), and end up making their home in an abandoned house in woods full of Indian spirits. After realizing things are not going well, they cannot escape the wooded area and are tormented by strange figures that appear and suddenly disappear (the visuals are subtle yet extremely effective). Souls trapped in trees, swirling leaves, and a witch with glowing eyes that sinks into the ground add to the chilling story.

    I'm not an expert in period detail, but I found the costumes, accents, and acting by all involved to be very good, if accurate. There were a few recognizable faces, but in general the fact that this was an unknown cast helps you believe in what you are seeing. This nice attention to detail, and the use of generally simple effects that work amazingly well keep this film at a nice spooky level. Like a folk tale, and if you accept it as that, you'll appreciate that it takes its time on the pacing of the story and uses that to its advantage. It may make a sudden stop at the end but does it wisely.

    I've recommended this to history and folklore buffs many times, this is such a satisfying piece of storytelling. After all these years, I love to view it every once in a while and hope that more will discover this enduring gem.

    I even have the poster for Eyes Of Fire and feel I've been very lucky to have been given the opportunity of seeing this film!
  • This unjustly overlooked movie, the first directed by Avery Crounse, ranks along with Pumpkinhead as one of the best examples of dark fantasy rooted in pure Americana. A period piece, it's set in the mid-18th century in the American colonies, before there was a United States, and is the tale of settlers encountering the supernatural in the form of a previously unexplored forest's resident evil spirit.

    Narrated by one of the two young survivors of the weird encounter, it starts with the two being interrogated by the equivalent of district militia regarding the disappearance of their fellow settlers. The story begins with adultery committed by a minister, somewhat hammily played by Dennis Lipscomb, and a settler's wife, resulting in the cuckolded husband taking his children off into the forest where they meet up with a strange girl who shows them much they never knew before about the ways of the land.

    Crounse gets his setting just right and also does a great job fusing the real with the fantastic--not always an easy thing to do. One of the absolutely critical ingredients in any fantasy film--whether high fantasy, sword and sorcery, dark fantasy or horror--is atmosphere, and in that this movie excels. The brooding forest scenes are superb, making the viewer feel that at any moment the trees could come alive and snatch you up right from where you're standing.

    Aside from Lipscomb, the other actors are excellent. The momentum of the story is escape from a known evil to an unknown evil and that drives the movie to its strong finish.

    Highly recommended.
  • Some movies haunt me for long after I see them. In the case of Eyes of Fire, this isn't because the movie is all that hot, but because I haven't been able to get the darn thing out of my brain since I saw it.

    Plot: It's been a while, but right off the top of my head, Eyes of Fire is set during days of early American life. A "wicked" polygamist dude is kicked out of his village for his ways, so he packs up his stuff, and leaves town, taking his flock of naive followers with him.

    He promises to find them a new place to live where they can all start a new society of sorts where they can live their lives the way they want to. But he ignores his Native American tourguide, and chooses to set up shop in a spooky, foreboding area of the woods which is supposedly cursed by evil spirits.

    After that, I can't really remember too much about the plot, other than that it dissolves into nothingness, and in its place we get quite a bit nightmarish images of ghosts, slime, and spectral zap rays, all backed with a lot of screaming.

    I tend to remain fascinated with movies that seem to exist in their own world of reality, where our rules of logic don't always apply. If the world of movies were a giant city, these films would be brief snapshots of dangerous streets you don't want to drive down. These don't always have to be horror movies; Over the years I can think of several examples of these kind of films; Gummo, Elephant, The Toolbox Murders (the 70's one), and Impulse (the meg tilly one) all come to mind off hand. These movies all have a worldview that depressed me enough that I just cant shake the characters and their environment afterwards.

    Eyes of Fire is like that, really. I don't recall one character, actor, or line of dialog. Nor am I really sure I've got the story down right. But the memory of being totally freaked out by it has stuck with me ever since.
  • "Eyes of Fire" has a pretty impressive script to start out with. It lets the surreal events unfold in the most offbeat, unpredictable way, that you can easily view it several times and still discover things. The forest with its many "trees" is so vividly filmed; I never realized simple things like trees, bushes, and pure earth could be made so threatening!

    The film is just drenched in atmosphere: The haunting sounds of the woods; the often off-kilter camera angles; and the excellent narration by a young lady with an accent so thick you could cut it with a knife! I loved listening to her.

    The film has a logic and a language all its own. You have to pay attention to the film to appreciate all the developments of the highly "elemental" plot. This isn't a "brain candy" horror flick; you'll have to make an effort to understand certain things, but it's highly worth it.

    My favorite performance in the film is Karlene Crockett as the fairy Leah. Many of the most beautiful moments in the film involve her, like where Leah crawls into a barrel with the children to keep out of the rain, and a rainbow appears beside it; and Leah playing joyfully in the field of feathers.

    Then, of course, there's the dark scenes, like the ones where the grotesque figure in black roams the forest, sinking in and out of the ground; and Leah's numerous encounters with the elusive ghosts. I've heard people rag on the special effects, which are a mixed bag; but it's important to remember that this was 1983, and the filmmakers didn't have the budget of E.T. -- or anywhere near it. The effects serve their purpose, and are often quite creepy. They compliment the film, rather than overrun it like many films today.

    This is a really great film to watch late at night; it has the atmosphere of one of those low-budget chillers network stations would show in the early morning hours before the age of the infomercial, only with more originality. I would rush out and buy this if it were released on DVD; for now I'll just have to settle for my Vestron Video copy. I think this little gem is a masterpiece in its own right; definitely thought-provoking horror, a genre that is too rarely explored.

    My rating: 8.5/10
  • This motion picture is perhaps the most bizarre film I have ever seen for such a low budget. The film itself brings out more horror than what you would think. The film is about a group of western pioneers set in the early American Frontier around 1750, who travel into an uncharted land and forest and are haunted by evil spirits living in the trees. Director Avery Crounse and his team of special effects rely on old fashion suspense, which is way better than some of the films we have today. Composer Brad Fiedel (who also created the score for James Cameron's The Terminator) conducts a fascinating Irish musical score. The all star cast including Dennis Lipscomb (WarGames), Guy Boyd (Jagged Edge), Will Hare (Back to the Future), Fran Ryan (The Sure Thing) and Emmy award winning actress Karlene Crockett all do a wonderful job at acting. It's a shame that this film isn't around anymore, it should be released to DVD and it's obvioius that films like The Blair Witch Project and Ravenous ripped off this film. Eyes of Fire is highly recommended for fans of early ghost stories.
  • I saw this film by accident back in 1983 as a rental from Blockbuster. I have been hooked ever since, turning many people on to it's original story. The movie is creepy and eerie and yes the ending is open ended by the references and the characters make up for this trust me! It is an old American settlement in the woods with references to witches and druids and the evil that lies within us all. There are some neat Hitchcock like quick pans and sounds with only references to the actual happenings allowing your brain to fill in the pieces nicely. The scenes mostly take place in a dark and omniscient woods. There are some religious references which play into the plot as well. I am looking for it on DVD, you should too.
  • This is a little known gem from the 80's. I was amazed that someone else saw it. I watched this the same night as I watched Nomads and was never quite the same since. I do agree the ending was weak, but it was incredibly confusing and creepy at the same time. I recommend this to anyone trying to find something different in horror films. It could be best compared to some of the current western horror films that have come out in the last couple of years. Even with that though, this is different. Most of those films have an outright horror edge and don't build the suspense like this does. The closest I have had the chance to see in the last couple years would have been Legend of the Phantom Rider. Also a highly recommended film.
  • This singularly distinct horror film concerns a colonial minister, his married mistress, and a group of their friends and supporters who flee the wrath of the people in their village and travel via raft up the Hudson river to what will eventually be upstate New York, staying one step ahead of savage indians to settle in a strange valley. Strange, because it has already been settled by French settlers, all of whom have vanished, and because the bloodthirsty indians in the area won't set foot in it. Because of the lack of a scalping epidemic(not to mention a ready-made village all set to go), the party settles down to life in the valley, unaware that a decidedly evil entity is moving among them, embodied in a strange, dark-haired little girl found in the village alone . ..

    The choice of setting(Colonial-era America)is unique in itself, but the strange concept, of a village that is home to an entity made up of the lifeforces of many beings who have died violently and that entity's seduction of most of the group, is unusual. There's a weird dis-ease in the atmosphere of this place, one that sets it apart from most films like this. Recommended for those who savor atmosphere.
  • To anyone interested in this movie, I say you have to see it. If you find it at your local video store and are the type to be intrigued by the title and video box, you will enjoy it.

    The poor lighting and practically non-existent special effects actually make the mood more effective, although it may be slow going for some horror movie fans.

    Some movies in a similar vein are The Company of Wolves, el Topo- if you can find it, and Ravenous (1999)
  • galensaysyes24 August 2000
    This is a very low-budget movie about demons in the American countryside two hundred years ago. It has a lot of the feel of a genuine folk tale: for instance the demons steal into farmers' barns by night and suck milk from cows' teats. The shadowy unpredictability of their comings and goings is well caught and strangely unnerving. The movie is too academic, as if it had been made to partially fulfill the requirements of a Master's in American Folklore, and most of the performances would fit right into a small-town little-theatre production, but those qualities help to set the movie apart from others. It's rather like "The Blair Witch Project" set in period, but with real spirits and a real story. It doesn't always escape absurdity but it seems to be communicating somebody's real and unusual vision. That's no mean achievement.
  • This film did not get the well deserve attention it should have recieved. Back in the early 80's when other horror films were taken over the theatres, Eyes Of Fire played for a while and then was thrown on the shelf to be forgotten. If you want to see a movie that is full of ghost, creepy woods and witches, then this is the movie for you. The characters are settlers who have witnessed evrything from adultry, stealing, hangings, witch burnings and the false teaching of a minister. The story is so entertaining that the viewer finds themselves caught up in the story. The music is very chilling and goes perfect with the scenes. I still love this film and it's one of my favorites. I wish they would re-release it on video and dvd. (Hey Anchor Bay...let this be your new project.) I feel that several other movies have gotten their storylines from Eyes Of Fire. And yet the other movies went on to become very successful. If you want to see a movie that deals with the early times in the early settlers way of ife and to witness the secrets of the unknown, get this movie if you can find a copy. You will be entertained.
  • I finally watched EYES OF FIRE and I have to say that it was good. Not great. Just good, certainly for a low budget independent movie. The story, about a bunch of quirky people cast out of an uptight colonial town and decide to live in a cursed area of the forest, was really captivating in some part, while slightly laughable in other parts. The project has a "Shakespeare in the Park" kinda feel to it. I'll let you decide whether that's a good thing or not. Speaking of Shakespeare, the dialogue was pretty good (the words and expressions used sounded authentic).

    Some of the horror elements in EYES OF FIRE now look like something from your average MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGER episode, which is unfortunate because the rest is fairly good (acting, location, mood...). The really creepy moments in EOF was the woman finding the place with all the feathers. And the shots of the little indian girl with the "eyes of fire". But, in the end, if the nudity was removed from EOF, this would basically be a kid's film, which doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing but EOF is certainly not in the same league as the grueling Canadian backwoods slasher, RITUALS.

    The only really bad thing in EOF is the ending (I don't think they had any idea how to end it) and the "surprised ending." Geez!

    Thinking about EYES OF FIRE, I'm shocked to see how much of William Friedkin's THE GUARDIAN owes to this small budget horror film. In EYES OF FIRE, the evil element is a tree (sculpted with human faces on it, like a totem), guarded by a creature who looks like a walking tree, and who controls the spirits of the people it killed/possessed (shown as naked actors). The tree/devil tries to get the group's kids. This is basically the story in THE GUARDIAN, except that it takes place in modern times.

    If you're into obscure horror films, like I am, make sure to check out EYES OF FIRE. It's an interesting, if not all too successful, atmospheric period horror film.
  • Totally forgotten but excellent. Where's Anchor Bay when you need them? Blair Witch is a total rip-off of this film (among others). Eyes of Fire is actually scary. If you see an old copy of this movie, rent or buy it. It is a true original that deserves to be seen.
  • This is a wonderful find for any horror film buff who can appreciate the slow-build of the typical "giallo" film, to which it compares stylistically, with a good dose of Gothic influence. Rather than load all of the budget toward the effects and skimp everywhere else, the film-makers opted to use the relatively unknown and overlooked talents of the best low-budget effects and pyrotechnics person in the business, Tassilo Baur. (I personally witnessed him put together special effects on a USC student film in 1981, on a budget of about $100 that looked like thousands. If you look carefully at the effects here, you'll see how well-realized they are for such little money.) Anyway, the effort in this gem was well-placed in the story, the direction and the acting. Overall good production values make this look as good as most studio stuff, and it's much more thoughtful. Great eerie locations and soundtrack add to the atmosphere. Fans of horror films that offer more than violence only for the sake of violence will appreciate this find. Recommended!
  • Watched 'Eyes of Fire' shortly after its release in 1983. Haunting, atmospheric and portraying nature spirits at their most potent. Something about it just captures your soul and stays with you - Leah the Irish faery.. and the faces of the spirits emerging from the trees... It felt as though you were really out there in the woods.

    Managed to get hold of a video about a month ago - WOW - even better than I had remembered it.

    I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who would jump at the chance to experience this unique, enchanting film. After all, if 'The Company of Wolves' (1984) has just been re-released on DVD, why can't Eyes of Fire...
  • In 1750, in a French base in the American frontier, the teenager Fanny Dalton (Sally Klein) and two children are found alone by the French soldiers. Asked about their families, they tell an amazing story to the skeptical commandants. The lived in Dalton's Ferry, a place far from the frontier, where Fanny's father Marion Dalton (Guy Boyd) was a hunter and absent of home most of the time. The local preacher Will Smythe (Dennis Lipscomb) is accused of adultery with Fanny's mother Eloise Dalton (Rebecca Stanley) and Leah (Karlene Crockett), a powerful young woman who lost her mother when she was very young, accused of witchcraft and burnt in a fire, and the locals decide to hang him. However, Will is saved by his followers and they leave the town, being chased by the Indians and Marion. They reach a valley, where an evil witch and the spirits of ancient settlers live in the trees and haunt the newcomers. Leah enhances her powers and protects the children. "Eyes of Fire" is a great tale of witch, very mystic, but with a weak conclusion. It is a low-budget movie, the special effects are very poor, but the story is original and very creepy. I regret only the open conclusion, which deserved to be much better. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Olhos de Fogo" ("Eyes of Fire")
  • Frankly, I was expecting a much more engrossing film from the almost unanimously positive word-of-mouth I had read about this on the internet. For a truly original idea - an exploration of dark early American frontier mythology - this movie failed due to one overriding problem: a lack of story focus. It is a shame, because director Avery Crounse, whose work I was unfamiliar with before seeing this, displays a visual talent on par with such macabre masters as Roman Polansky and Alejandro Jodorowsky. This movie contains one striking, horrifying image after another. Unfortunately, these images don't add up to a strong film because most of them make no sense in connection to the storyline. The basic barebones that I picked up on the plot is that a preacher, aided by the mysterious witch-like powers of his teenage daughter, steals from a local town and heads off on the river with his mistress and some others to the "promised land" where he can form a new Christian society. However, once they arrive in an abandoned Indian encampment in the deserted woods, they fall prey to some forest witches or ghosts.

    It is at this point that the story completely confused me. There never is a good explanation for all of the bizarre supernatural events in the woods, and especially the connection they have with the preacher's daughter, who seems to only speak in some archaic tongue. The supernatural imagery is riveting, but it was not enough to keep me interested. Because I really could not care less about any of these numbskull Puritans, watching the movie became an additional chore. I'll be honest: I hated reading "The Scarlet Letter" in high school, and watching this movie, with its laughable Puritanical superstitions, reminded me of slogging through that book. I would watch this again if I thought I could gain from a repeat viewing, but unfortunately I strongly doubt that I would.
  • This is a story of Protestant pioneers, a single family that travels into the wilderness following the prophetic misguidance of a single man whose desires outweigh his prudence. At the height of the witch terrors, this historical horror is more accurate than many another film, and does not overstretch its portrayals to suit audience expectation.

    The horror is supernatural and draws primal reaction. Politically, it founders right wing and supports traditional viewpoints to gender role, and can be seen as excellent propaganda, subtle in its execution and manuevering through social issues, and disturbing in its opinion to folk like myself, who do not feel that sexual libertinism is wrong and immature in essence. The burly frontiersman wins against the effeminate, vegetarian minister who turns out to be apathetic, vainglorious, and egocentric. It's the common Hollywood message: do not trust male weaklings, especially if they say it's ok to have sex, and do not trust ugly women nor allow them any power, because they're all evil witches. Did I say this is a beautiful film? It just so happens to be aesthetically pleasing and marvellously crafted, despite its polemic distance from my own viewpoint. I recognize that Eyes of Fire is a wonderful film and continue to view it as well formed. That is all I have to say about that.

    This film makes lovely use of simple film processes that are common to horror of its period, but differs in its use of setting, its use of lighting, and makeup. The actors are never afraid to get dirty or wade through a real river til subsumed by water.

    Now, let us talk about the script: it is noteworthy that Avery Crounse scripts and directs his own work, always. When possible, he also produces and edits his own work too. The script is the best written in a recent horror film, and is executed magnificently by the actors. The entire concept is original: who else has managed a pre-20th century horror film with a completely straight handling? No tongue in cheek gimmics, no men waving shotguns around at knights. This is pretty tough and believable stuff, and has its roots in Lovecraft as well as Washington Irving and folklore.

    The complaints as to the flashback sequences hold some merit, but when this film was released, flashbacks were seen as necessary for the handling of the audience; they do not differ largely from flashback sequences in other eighties films, and in fact, there are no flashbacks within flashbacks in this entire film. The directing is excellent, and the characters act like pioneers, act tough and stupid, ignorant and noble, by turns.

    While I love the film, I despise its message.
  • Avery Crounse's Eyes Of Fire is so rare and forgotten that it's only available on YouTube, as far as I could tell, which is saying a lot because my net of sources stretches pretty far these days. It's truly something special and who knows how long that video will be up for. Belonging to one of my favourite sub genres, the horror western, I'm almost convinced it largely inspired 2014's celebrated horror flick The VVitch, as well as a few others over the years. It's a bit of a heartbreak that it isn't more widely recognized or even available (a DVD release seems to be nonexistent). On the American frontier in the 1700's, a creepy minister (Dennis Lipscomb) is banished from a settlement for suspected adultery and witchcraft. The man and his followers venture out into a mysterious, little traversed valley and find themselves preyed upon by... something. The region is haunted by nature spirits who have imprisoned deceased Natives, now phantom spectres who stalk through the trees consuming souls of the living, also controlled by what the clan's children call a 'devil witch'. There's various plot threads involving women in the group, one of whom has a mountain man ex husband (Guy Boyd) who has been living in the wilderness and has intuitive knowledge about the forces there, imparted in a well written, spooky campfire monologue. There's also a Celtic witch (Karlene Crockett) who acts as a force of good against the dark magic. Once the folk start encountering all this though, plot takes a backseat to a spectacular array of very surreal and thoroughly scary special effects, colour filters, hallucinatory nightmares, unnerving musical sound design and all mannered spook-house atmospherics. It's hectic as all hell and the acting sometimes gets super melodramatic, but what wonders of practical effects they've used here, a showcase of prosthetics, eerie photo-negative filters, Wiccan lore, earth magic and terrifying phantasms. Trees have faces, weird charcoal demons plague everyone, all set to a wonderfully warped score that uses experimental white noise, Gaelic thrums, ethereal tones and elemental cues to chill the spine. A hopelessly forgotten gem, but one of incredible value to any fan of unconventional horror.
  • Eyes of Fire is one of the most visually stunning horror dramas I've seen. The film is masterfully shot and beautifully photographed, which is a shame because I didn't thoroughly enjoy it. The story follows some pioneers forced to leave their village after being suspected of witchcraft. They settle in a valley where not even the native Indians will set foot on. That should have tipped them off to the cursed earth and set them on their way. Fortunately for us, they stay and nightmarish scenes follow. It has a creepy atmosphere and an almost drug-induced imagery. Unfortunately the pace was too uneven. It has long periods of lows and short bursts of highs. That is my main complaint. It just needed to be punched up some more in certain areas. A few characters could have been omitted altogether. I also didn't enjoy the performances. Most of the actors are a bit on the hammy side. But, I can't fault the actors. If anything they add to the overall weirdness of the film. And that is the most positive thing I can say: this is one of the most unusual and outright bizarre movies period. If you're looking for something WAY off the beaten path, check out Eyes of Fire.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    North-America circa 1750. English-speaking colonists are threatened by dangers both seen and guessed-at : natural perils, Indians, disease. Mister Will, a charismatic but disquieting "preacher", entices a married woman away from her husband. The wife and her teenage daughter become part of a small group of followers who believe Mister Will's tales about a promised land. The little band sets out on a journey into the unknown...

    "Eyes of fire" is basically an allegory about the difficult life of early colonists, who face two great dangers : that of committing suicide through internal strife and that of being swallowed whole by a vast wilderness. It's a pleasantly quirky and unpredictable little horror movie, with interesting characters and an unusual plot. The imagery is both original and unsettling, although some of the visual and special effects, watched anno Domini 2018, can seem somewhat dated or home-spun.

    "Eyes" also has some intelligent things to say about the kind of religiously inspired guide - or Guide with a capital G - who is all manly and brave and determined when it comes to leading his flock into trouble, but is as useful as a wet sock when it comes to finding solutions.

    On the minus side : some VERY annoying music.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The American Frontier, 1750: A motley bunch of Irish pioneers led by the meek Reverand Will Smythe (a strikingly quirky performance by Dennis Lipscomb) trespass onto sacred Native American territory that's haunted by a malevolent devil witch who turns pesky interlopers into tortured souls whose faces are implanted on trees. Although marred by a confusing story and often lethargic pacing, this compellingly peculiar horror-Western oddity nonetheless casts an effectively spooky and arresting spell on the viewer thanks to Avery Crounse's stylish direction (Crounse also wrote the idiosyncratic script), a creepily off-kilter and nightmarish atmosphere, plenty of stunningly bizarre and beautiful visuals, Brad Fiedel's fine, eerie score and the sheer fascinating weirdness of the outré story. The uniformly solid acting from a tip-top cast constitutes as another additional plus, with noteworthy turns by Kathleen Crockett as a strange mute psychic teenage girl who knows what's going on, Guy Boyd as a rugged mountain man, and Will Hare as an ill-fated old-timer. By no means a perfect fright flick (it's rather slow, sometimes unfathomable and the ending is dissatisfying), but an admirably unusual, inspired and unconventional genre-blending low-budget indie effort just the same.
  • If you remotely interested in any of the above, check this flick. If you like to dig up weird movies from the 80's that no one heard of, then find this movie. The witch easily ranks as one of the scariest looking creatures of recent memory, kinda like a backwoods cousin to the homeless demon behind the restaurant in David Lynch's MUHOLLAND DRIVE.

    Do not expect a traditional plot line to build suspense a la BLAIR WITCH. These are second- rate actors sloughing through difficult dialog penned in an antiquated tongue. Once the characters settle in the cabin, the action becomes convoluted, fragmentary-- hard to follow what's happening or even who's who-- but still manages to be unsettling despite its confusing logic. This indie project was written and directed by one man, one vision, so I would give him the benefit of the doubt that this affect was intentional. Admittedly, the little girl's voice-over feels forced and tacked on, like trying to tie loose ends together, but in the process it brings up more information that leaves the viewer pondering. It's actually rare that voice-overs HELP the story (FIGHT CLUB jumps to mind as a positive example).

    Though the beginning was slow and the backstory negligible, once the conflict started, I was engrossed. I kept wondering where this movie was from, and if I didn't know it was early 80's, it could have passed for a '70's unknown Nicolas Roeg or Ken Russell picture, with those quick edits and trippy effects. So it had a kinda timeless quality that has helped it to endure among the dung heap of horror movies that have been cranked out in the last half- century. Check it.
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