Thursday, October 15, 2020

#2.519. Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973)

Set during the depression and featuring gangsters, vampires, and an innocent girl at the center of it all, 1973’s Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural is a very strange - albeit hugely entertaining - motion picture.

Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural relates the story of Lila Lee (Cheryl Smith), the 13-year-old daughter of renowned gangster Alvin Lee (William Whitton). With her mother dead and her father on the run, Lila has been taken in by the local Reverend (played by writer / director Richard Blackburn), and every Sunday she sings like an angel during his church services.

Lila’s near-idyllic new life is turned upside-down, however, when she receives a letter in the mail telling her that her father is dying, and wants to make amends with his daughter before he passes. Believing it’s the right thing to do, Lila sneaks off one evening and makes her way to the town where her father is hiding out, only to find herself at the mercy of a vampire named Lemora (Lesley Gilb), who, with the help of her countless minions, plans to keep Lila prisoner for as long as she possibly can.

As directed by Blackburn, Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural has the look and feel of a made-for-TV picture, and at times even comes across like a Disney-esque feature (though more along the lines of Something Wicked This Way Comes than The Apple Dumpling Gang). Yet, despite this, I was still surprised to learn this fantasy / horror film was only rated PG. Aside from the bloody killing that opens the movie, when Alvin bursts into the bedroom and murders his wife and her lover, most of the men young Lila encounters (including the Reverend who acts as her guardian) lust after her, even though she’s only 13 years old! There’s also a frightening scene involving a bus ride (through a dark forest) that likely scared the hell out of kids who saw this movie back in 1973.

When all is said and done, Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural is a solid horror flick, with decent performances (especially Lesley Gilb’s turn as the title character), ominous set pieces, and a well-paced, engaging story. My only advice to the parents out there is that you take its PG rating with a grain of salt; there’s a good chance Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural will prove a little more than your youngsters can handle.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (A film horror fans will enjoy).

1 comment:

BOFsensai said...

You miss the astonishing allegory in this: as check the dialogue the director/co-writer AND player of 'The Rev', gave Lemora: see (listen to) the bathing in the tub scene and 'Lila's' "What's it like?" enquiry at c.52mins in ... no wonder it raised an eyebrow along 'suppression' thoughts!