In bed, I sometimes flip through the movie channels looking for the odd flick or two or three thatï¿½ll kindly usher me into dreamland. The movie offerings can get pretty stagnant – I can usually count on Blade: Trinity playing on at least one channel, for example. And, for some reason, Screamers, starring the great Peter Weller, is on constant rotation. Sometimes, however, you hit gold. And, sometimes, Uleeï¿½s Gold is on. This column will serve as a repository for some of the more interesting pieces of movies that Iï¿½ve seen late at night. This is something I started doing on the great, expansive CHUD message boards. You can check out where it all began right here. And here’s a link to the last column
Seduced by Evil (1994): When the Channel Guide spat up the title Seduced by Evil, I depressed the Info button on my remote (by calling it fat and dumb) and was presented with this beautiful, semi-poetic overview:
A New Mexico journalist (Suzanne Somers) falls under the spell of a sorcerer who threatens to harm her family.
Here’s a tiny bit of math for you folks: Sorcerer + Suzanne Somers = me firing up the TiVo at four in the morning in case I fell asleep during the movie. Which I did. So, I had to watch the intense conclusion the next morning. Anyway, it turns out that the word “sorcerer” is not the best description for the villain of the piece. He did possess magical powers, for sure. But he wore no purple pointy hat adorned with silver stars atop his head of stringy, white hair. I was hoping for the old Cookie Crisp cereal mascot, but instead got a guy with sharply-defined facial hair who wore a leather jacket with fringe hanging from its sleeves. Basically, a Vegas stage magician. Channel Guide, you lied, sir. Still, thank you. Thank you, terror/ thank you, disillusionment….
This made-for-TV movie is actually based on a book called Brujo: Seduced by Evil. They snipped a vital word off of the title for the movie adaptation, unfortunately. A brujo, according to my deep Internet research, is “a folk magician or witch or if Cujo was coffee instead of a killer dog.” Three’s Company (classic sitcom) and Day by Day (classic-er sitcom) star Suzanne Somers plays Leigh Lindsay, the happily married-with-child main character who sleeps with the Brujo (John Vargas – so, a Vargas stage magician, I guess) while her husband is away on business. I missed the sex scene, but Leigh is tricked into giving the Brujo the old “up and around” via persuasive mind control (represented by his hypnotic soap opera stare). The guilt-ridden and Brujo-ridden Leigh, leaning heavily on her journalistic skills, begins digging up information about this mysterious man and the powerful grip he has on her. It seems that in a past life, the Brujo and Leigh were this scorching couple. She left him when he started using his magiks for evil. Anyway, I guess the Brujo’s ex died and was reborn into Suzanne Somers. But, screw that – you can’t escape the Brujo with those parlor tricks. The magic man wants Leigh to come with him willingly (*wink*) to leave her life in New Mexico and take her rightful place at his magical side. Kind of like the story of Hades and Persephone…but even dumber. So basically you have your typical, run-of-the-mill TV movie stalking story w/ superpowers. The Brujo hangs outside his beloved’s house and hounds her teenage daughter and walks around in the brush that frames their yard. He also shapeshifts into a raven sometimes.
Yep, the Brujo can (Power #1) change himself into a raven. Keeping track of his powers here, there’s the aforementioned (Power #2) mind control to get ladies into the sack. He can also (Power #3) put temporary tattoos on a woman’s lower abdominal area. He does that last bit of trickery to disrupt the love-making of Leigh and her husband, played by veteran character actor James Sikking. Leigh notices the tattoo during fore-foreplay (it is 90s TV, after all) and snaps her robe shut so her husband won’t see the ink down there. (Brujo: The Ink Down There was a working title for the flick.) Speaking of not seeing, the husband is later blinded by the Brujo while the Brujo is in raven form. Now, the bird doesn’t pluck out his eyeballs or anything utterly great like that. The Brujo-raven just flashes some light from his small birdhead into the husband’s unsuspecting eyes. And then the husband is hospitalized. So, he’s away on business for the first part of the movie and then recovering in the hospital bed for the rest of its runtime. Easy payday for Sikking, I guess. But you have to feel a little sorry for the guy. He’s probably the only actor that has ever taken this bit of direction:
“Pretend you have been blinded by the Brujo.”
Actually, just so he’s not alone, I pretended to be blinded by the Brujo in my backyard the other day. Kind of let out a very quiet “Ahh” under my breath, glanced around to make sure the neighbors weren’t watching, and then stumbled around for a few seconds with my arms out in front of me. Now, I’m in no position to give CHUD readers orders, so may I humbly suggest that you take a small portion of your day and do the same. Poor James Sikking and I can’t be the only people on planet Earth that have pretended to be blinded by the Brujo in bird form. We need rescuing from this very obscure and lonely fate.
“Pretend to be date-raped by the Brujo.”
Suzanne, you are on your own.
At the end of the film, the Brujo kidnaps the daughter to lure Leigh to him. He climbs with the enchanted, sleeping teen into the cliffs, puts her on a big rock, and then (Power #4) surrounds the rock with fire. Fucking Brujo! Oops, not so fast. Leigh tracks him down and, I shit you not, shapeshifts into a wolf and pushes the Brujo off of the cliff and kills him.
Allow me to restate for emphasis: Suzanne Somers shapeshifts into a wolf. Rick Baker obviously wasn’t consulted for this transformation scene because it’s this: They just kind of overlay a shot of a real wolf’s face over Suzanne’s. And then there’s full body shot of a wolf. Then I think a wolf puppet is thrown against the Brujo actor. And then, in the best shot of the movie, the Brujo is shown falling over a cliff, back first. And the camera is set up under him, so he falls towards the viewer. And, well, he is wearing chaps over his jeans. So that means that a) the Brujo went to Kohl’s or the mall or somewhere and bought chaps or b) he used his powers to conjure a pair of chaps or c) created the illusion of chaps on him. I’ll let you pick the saddest option. Shit, I guess d) he could have stolen the chaps or e) even made them. Any way you slice it, that’s Power #5. Of course, this helps distract from the real question here: Why didn’t he transform into a raven as he was fucking falling? Brujo, are you kidding me? Kind of makes me feel for him, the poor Brujo. Startled by the shapeshift, perhaps.
Anyway, in honor of Halloween, here’s how you can create your very own Brujo costume:
- 1 pair of black leather chaps
- 1 pair of newish-looking jeans
- 1 leather coat with a shitload of fringe hanging from the sleeves
- 1 earring with feather and/or beads and/or rabbit’s foot dangling from it
- 1 pair of black boots
- 1 bird stuffed animal to leave on a chair while you “disappear” to the restroom
- 1 look of sadness because you made a Brujo costume
Introducing the Pieces of Movies (I’ve Caught Lately) End of the Column Contest
The first person to identify the featured movie line will win a prize. “What prize?” you ask. Now, don’t get too excited. It’s going to be a prize I win from the Bouncy Ball pinball machine that I play in the pizza place by my work. If you can hit the plunger in the middle eight times before your ball disappears into the depths of the machine, you win the super prize. If you don’t manage to hit it the requisite number of times, you just get a bouncy ball. (Bragging) I am awesome at it. “Why not send this super prize to a lucky CHUD reader?” I ask myself. So, here’s the line:
“Sometimes I think you like that elephant more than you like me.”
If you know the line or think you might, send your name, address, and the name of the movie that contains the line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck! And thanks for reading. Sleeping with the Enemy (originally titled Bergin: Sleeping with the Enemy) will be discussed in the next column.