WTFW: The Supernaturals (1986)

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WTFW: The Supernaturals (1986)

The Supernaturals (1986) is a Zombie Horror film directed by Armand Mastroianni, and written by Michael S. Murphey and Joel Soisson.  Filmed in the United States in 1985, The Supernaturals was released by Embassy Pictures in 1986, and has never been re-released since its original VHS Video rental format.

Since its initial release, The Supernaturals has garnered a cult following, most notably among fans of the original Star Trek (TV series) (1966–69) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–94) - and their subsequent motion pictures.  Nichelle Nichols - who plays Sgt. Leona Hawkins in The Supernaturals - is well known for her role as Uhura in Star Trek, a role she reprised in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and its six sequels.  LeVar Burton - Pvt. Michael Osgood - has appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent motion picture sequels.

Incidentally, despite both Burton and Nichols having had prominent roles in the Star Trek universe, the only on-screen appearance they have shared is in The Supernaturals.  The film has been further sought after by die hard fans of the Zombie film: its original release, solely on NTSC and PAL VHS Video rental format in 1986 in film, has rendered The Supernaturals rare and collectible, and moderately expensive to own.

The Supernaturals (1986)

  • Genre: Horror – Mystery – Sci-Fi
  • Directed: Armand Mastroianni
  • Produced:
    • William Fay 
    • David Hirsch 
    • Don Levin 
    • Michael S. Murphey 
    • Lyman Parrigin 
    • Mel Pearl 
    • Victoria Plummer 
    • Joel Soisson
  • Written:
    • Joel Soisson 
    • Michael S. Murphey
  • Starring: Maxwell Caulfield, Nichelle Nichols, Talia Balsam, Bradford Bancroft, LeVar Burton, Bobby Di Cicco, Scott Jacoby, Richard Pachorek, John Zarchen, Margaret Shendal
  • Music: Robert O. Ragland
  • Cinematography: Peter Lyons Collister
  • Editing: John R. Bowey
  • Studio:
    • Republic Entertainment 
    • Sandy Howard Productions
  • Distributed: Embassy Pictures
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: June 1986
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English

One hundred years ago, deep in the sullen backwoods of the southern states, a Confederate town is held captive, the soldiers forced to walk through a piece of woodland laced with mines.  Because he is found wearing a Confederate States Army outfit, Jeremy, a young boy is also forced to make the crossing.  If they make it across the minefield the Union Army 44th will set them free.  Only Jeremy and his mother - who runs to save him - survive, despite the fact that the mother has stepped on a mine.  Jeremy exhibits unearthly powers.  Jump to circa 1985 and a platoon of soldiers are out on maneuvers in the same backwoods.  They too are the 44th, descendants of the Union platoon of years before, those who committed the atrocities.  The main character here is Pvt. Ellis, the only soldier to catch glimpses of the beautiful and mysterious Melanie; Ellis also has a romantic interest in Pvt. Lejune. The platoon decide to camp inside a circle of yellow grass seemingly caused by brush fire, a spot from which the wind only blows outward.  Pvt. Ellis is reluctant to camp there, but Sgt. Hawkins does not like having her authority undermined.  Whilst the platoon are setting up camp, Melanie reappears - this time witnessed by all in the platoon - and takes a strong interest in Pvt. Ellis who bears an uncanny resemblance to her husband, Evan.

Trouble for Sgt. Hawkins and her platoon begins with the soldiers' drunken and childish antics; however, events take a sinister turn when Pvt. Cort is found shot in the head.  They inexplicably lose radio contact and the nearest town is over twenty miles away.  Hawkins and her platoon go in search of - and arrest - Melanie, who lives in an old wooden shack with what looks to be her father or grandfather, a withered old man.  In the cabin they discover the relics of muskets and an old diary, written by Evan.  They take Melanie back to camp, but leave the old man at the cabin; he is too old and frail to go anywhere.  During the night, an eerie fog rolls in, encompassing the 44th, and the Confederate Dead close in on their camp.  Most of the 44th are subsequently killed - one-by-one - whilst Pvt. Ellis heads off into the woods in search of the old man who, it turns out, is Jeremy (he has used his powers to keep his mother the same age).  Along the way he is forced to do battle with the Confederate zombies and also runs into Melanie, who shows him a locket.  Inside is a picture of Evan and Ellis immediately recognizes the resemblance.  He snatches the locket from around her neck and runs in the direction of the cabin.  Once there he persuades Jeremy to end the evil spell and send Melanie and the zombies back to wherever it is the dead are supposed go.  Exhausted, Jeremy dies and Ellis returns to the camp where Lejune and Hawkins are waiting, the only survivors.  Ellis embraces Lejune and the locket falls from his hand to the woodland floor, where it is lost amongst the leaves.

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