If you're a lover of 80s horror cheese or a lesbian with a REALLY campy, open mind and no qualms about ridiculous stereotypes, you might want to check out the really bad movie The Oracle by Roberta Findlay, the woman who brought you Snuff. But you have to expect BAD.
If you thought Witchboard was an original idea when it was released a few years after this was made in 1985, you (and I) would have known better had you seen this movie first, because there's a similarity In a loose sense of the word. We begin with an old gypsy-type lady doing paranormal stuff in her apartment… a form of ouija called automatic writing, with a planchette shaped like a hand as the writing tool. But, it's not good to fool with Mother Supernature. Next, we see a young woman, Jen, looking for the laundry room in her new apartment. Instead, she stumbles upon a trunk full of the now deceased old lady's goodies, including her automatic writing tool. It's Christmas Eve, and what better way to celebrate with friends than with a séance? Guess what happens next? Hell is basically unleashed on poor Jen. Her husband doesn't believe her, her friend Cindy humors her. But then, when she gets a ghostly automatic message from a spirit named William Graham, along with a phone number, Cindy calls the number for Jen and talks to his wife. William died 3 weeks earlier…suicide. But the spirits won't let this rest, and soon, Jen is involved in a mystery that threatens her own life. See, there's a side story. There's this transvestite bull dyke going around murdering people, and now s/he is after Jen! Meanwhile, those who aren't dying at the hands of the drag king are falling victim to rubber demons and plastic corpses, and someone is standing off camera squeezing the pump on the blood machine to send bucketfuls flying across everything in sight. The acting is terrible, the "scary" music is the typical "press down on as many discordant 80s synth keys as you can at one time." The surprise twist ending is ridiculously fun. And if you watch Roberta's interview, you'll know that there was a huge lucky accident in that this film, made way back when, wasn't supposed to have a drag king killer…the part was meant for a man, but this big butchy housewife so badly wanted the part in the film that Roberta just gave it to her. That decision was the one thing that could send this film into cult status.
The film is full frame, 1:33:1. The image has incredible brights, darks, and colors. Too much color, if truth be told. It's somewhat oversaturated. Skin tones are natural. The image is a tad soft, grainy and pixelated, to be expected from a film of this age that isn't getting any younger (or any major remastering). The old print suffers from periodic lines and streaks and is actually plagued by specks.
The muffled mono is not to be listened to through a home theater system because it can't offer enough output. It actually sounds better through your TV speaker standbys.
Aside from 16 chapter breaks and the original trailer, you get:
Photo Gallery—this is an odd little collection of stills. Aside from some major gore moments, several of them have text attached in paragraphs beneath them, but the text is almost too blurry to read…and the images go by too fast to actually get to the end of a sentence.
Interview with director Roberta Findlay—Roberta is such a mess she's awesome. She looks and sounds like a cross between Penny Marshall and Joni Mitchell if they were both stoned. She ridicules movies like Friday the 13th, says her film is more along the lines of Rosemary's Baby, then says how much she loves the blood machine, then says how she didn't even know what a lesbian was back in 1985 when she wrote one into her script, yet she looks like a variety of women I've seen at gay dive bars. 30 minutes.
Commentary—more from my new hero, Roberta Findlay. She's just hysterically burnt out. You'd be better off watching this film WITH The commentary the first time.
Awful 80s horror flick The Oracle will most likely be bought by diehard fans of Roberta Findlay, who will get a nice treat from the extras. For the rest of us, I would highly advise you skip it, except for that part of me that rolls my eyes and thinks, "you just gotta see this flick to believe it."