Class is dismissed on account of VOODOO, an occult thriller that's less than spellbinding.
Youthful Andy Chadway (Corey Feldman) transfers to Welles College mainly to be near his girlfriend Rebecca (Diana Nadeau). He finds himself rootless and a little blue when he realizes that she's fallen in with the boisterious fraternity crowd, led by the arrogant Derin (Gregory Vignolle). Not
wanting to take their abuse, Andy instead pledges Omega Theta Mu, a hospitable-seeming house led by the charismatic Cassian Marsh (Joel J. Edwards). Marsh says that Omega Theta Mu needs one more member in order to keep their charter; what Andy doesn't realize is their last member was murdered by
Cassian's sorcery when he tried to defect. Cassian Marsh is really an aspiring warlock, with disciples on campus and off (especially in the police department), who seeks immortality through an upcoming mass-human-sacrifice voodoo ritual. Bullying Derin has a longstanding grudge against Cassian,
which the latter resolves by casting a spell that makes Derin commit murder-suicide against his entire frat house. Further helping to clue Andy in is Lewis (Jack Nance), a lurking presence who turns out to be the father of a student Cassian has bewitched. Cassian send the zombified son to murder
Lewis, but not before Andy learns that to destroy Cassian he must make the villain ingest a poisonous powder. Andy and Rebecca confront Cassian on the fatal night of the ritual, after the fiend has slaughtered all other Omega Theta Mu members. Andy prevails by impaling Cassian, voodoo-doll-style,
on a large rod he has smeared with the powder.
Dan Gillham's photography is suitably atmospheric, and there's a sense of seriousness to the plot that's somewhat refreshing given that other B movies in this setting just sleaze around in the low-comedy vein of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978). Director Rene Eram even gets within a quad or
two of social commentary, with the detail that Andy's Greek brothers are literal zombies (not the flesh-eating horror-movie variety, but mindless slaves in an occult trance). Unfortunately, that's about the highest mark VOODOO ever gets. The pace is somnolent, key plot details lack any logic, the
story lurches to an unsatisfying climax and, typically, for a movie in a university environment, nobody ever seems burdened by studies or classes. Savvy horror fans should ask why the picture even calls itself VOODOO; except for fetish dolls and some snake imagery, there's very little of anything
onscreen that resembles traditional Haitian or New Orleans Voudon, Santeria, or other African-derived tribal mysticism--and the feature's whitewashed brand of black magic is carried out by a Caucasian cast, with no obvious sign of irony. This was one of the last roles for Nance, an eccentric actor
who became a cult-movie icon with his lead in David Lynch's ERASERHEAD (1978), but suffered from tragedy off-screen. He was found dead at the end of 1996, possibly the result of a beating he claimed to have suffered at the hands of strangers. (Violence, substance abuse, adult situations,nudity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Class is dismissed on account of VOODOO, an occult thriller that's less than spellbinding. Youthful Andy Chadway (Corey Feldman) transfers to Welles College mainly to be near his girlfriend Rebecca (Diana Nadeau). He finds himself rootless and a little bl… (more)