Angel Heart (1987)


New York, 1955. Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired by a mysterious businessman named Louis Cypher (Robert De Niro) to find a man named Johnny Favourite who reneged on a deal that he had with Cypher. Apparently Johnny Favourite has been missing for quite some time and Mr. Cypher is eager to find him and collect on his payment.


Angel’s investigation takes him to the deep south where Voodoo is rife. There he meets a young lady called Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), who was Johnny Favourite’s daughter. She too says she hasn’t seen Johnny in years. As Harry Angel digs deeper, things begin to turn a lot more sinister, as Johnny Favourite’s old associates want him dead, and some of them are turning up dead themselves. To say any more would spoil the story. The whole film has a sense of foreboding running throughout it, and you fear for how things will turn out.


This film is directed by the brilliant Alan Parker, who also did Bugsy Malone and one of my favourites, The Commitments. He brings a wonderful outsiders view to the city of New York, and later on in the deep south. Everything is shot with saturated colour, with just the smallest glimmer of light shining through. The script is brilliant and everyone is on top form. De Niro as Louis Cypher (Lucifer, geddit?) is menacing, I mean…really. Rourke is great as Harry Angel and shows how good he can be when his heart is really in it.


I have seen this film many times, and each time it still grips me. I remember reading that Bill Cosby lost his shit at Lisa Bonet when he saw this movie as she was doing The Cosby Show not long before. It really is worth a watch, I definitely recommend it.




The Believers (1987)


I remember stumbling across this gem whilst channel hopping late one night. It is a fantastic thriller directed by the late, great John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man). It stars Martin Sheen as a psychiatrist called Cal Jamison who moves to New York with his young son after his wife is killed in a tragic accident. He is trying to get closer to his son and help him overcome the loss.


Dr Jamison is called in by the NYPD to assist them with the deaths of two young boys who are believed to have been killed in a voodoo ritual by a cult. As Dr Jamison digs deeper into the cult he and his son become then become their target.


Martin Sheen is always worth watching in my opinion. No matter what film he’s in, he always brings his A game. Here he is magnificent as Cal Jamison, you sense the dread creeping in as he struggles to uncover those involved in the cult and find a way to battle their black magic and stop them from getting his son.


There is some fantastically skin crawling effects, particularly the scene where Cal’s girlfriend Jessica Halliday (Helen Shaver) has spiders crawl from a pulsating wound in her face. The supporting cast is great too. You have Robert Loggia and Jimmy Smits as two police officers who also become the focus of the cult as they themselves are looking into the deaths of the two boys. Harris Yulin is fantastic as the slippery businessman Robert Calder who has a few skeletons in his closet.


I definitely recommend this sinister little movie to anyone. I know lots haven’t heard of it, I myself was one. Now I recommend it to anyone I can. If you are looking for a decent horror/thriller to tide you over then seriously consider this.