Film #165: ABBY: THE STORY OF A WOMAN POSSESSED
Abby: The Story of a Woman Possessed
3 out of 5 stars
This ultra-rare film from 1974 is pretty damn amazing. Made at the height of The Exorcist culture furor, this is a blaxploitation version of that film only with a minister‘s wife as the possessee. It is so similar that the makers of it were sued by Warner Brothers and ended up having to pull the film from release. So, the film begins with a LOT of expository dialog and it all seems kind of awkward and stilted as a result. It isn’t until about the 40 minute mark that things go gloriously off the rails. Now possessed, Abby begins to exhibit strange - and brazen - behavior until we finally get lots of foaming at the mouth, her cutting herself, cheesy makeup FX, and some very wacky and wanton behavior. While I’m sure this was all very shocking and controversial at the time of its release, now the film seems incredibly dated, tame, and just a tad bit racist. I mean, just as one example, every - and I mean EVERY - time the family is seen eating, they’re eating out of a bucket of fried chicken. There’s also lots of “Praise the lawd” type dialog and things get very “southern Baptist” for a while until the rather predictable conclusion. ABBY remains a unique and fascinating look at America and it is an odd entry into the horror / blaxploitation sub-genre of the early ‘70s. Is it a good film? Well… no. Not really. But it does provide some decent moments and a few unintentional laughs. Look for the great William Marshall (BLACULA), Terry Carter (McCLOUD), Juanita Moore (THE MACK) and other terrific black character actors in this one. Hallelujah!