Friday night at the home drive-in: Evil Judgment (1984)

I bought Evil Judgment on VHS many years ago. I had never heard of it, but it looked like something that I might enjoy. The first time I watched it, I was surprised by how different it was from what I had imagined. It was not a slasher film. It was not a vigilante film. It was a strange mix of things, including gangsters, prostitutes, cops that seem to be involved in a conspiracy, and several giallo-like scenes involving a black-gloved killer whose identity is kept secret for the majority of the film. It was also set on and around The Main, Montreal’s iconic Boulevard St-Laurent. Needless to say, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Why? Because it was different. It was hard to decide what exactly it was; what genre it fit into. I wasn’t sure whether to put it on the shelf with my horror films, or somewhere else. And I liked that.

Watching the movie again now, it comes across as campy and hilarious in places, but oddly effective in others. There is some legitimate suspense mixed in with the unintentional (and perhaps sometimes intentional) humour. And the convoluted plot manages to keep the mystery alive.

Evil Judgment features singer Nanette Workman in a supporting role. She was born in New York, raised in Mississippi – spent some time in England, where she sang back-up on Rolling Stones records – but has spent most of her career based out of Montreal. I did not know who she was when I first saw this movie, but at some point I became a fan and started collecting her records. It is now an added bonus to see her in this movie.

And that’s one more reason why Evil Judgment has become a #NotQuiteClassicCinema fave!