'The First Power' (1990) Hits Bluray In October

Because it’s a Kino release the Bluray will be outside of my price range but the announcement is a nice opportunity to champion an underrated genre film starring underrated genre star, Lou Diamond Philips.

Jeff Kober plays a satanic serial killer who might have come back from the dead after being executed in the gas chamber. Phillips is the battle-scarred cop nearly killed after bringing him to justice the first time.

The plot is neither deep nor unique. What makes the film special are a number of brilliantly-executed action and horror scenes, and the on-location shooting in and around Los Angeles.

Kober’s resemblance to real-life demonic serial killer Richard Ramirez is no accident. In 1990, Ramirez’s year-plus reign of terror throughout Los Angeles was still fresh in the minds of Angelenos and America. Although his rampage of murder, rape and torture occurred between 1984 and 1985, his trial lasted until 1989, the year before “The First Power” hit theatres.

Ramirez believed Satan was on his side and that he would never be caught. For 14 terror-filled months, he had good reason to believe it. Through a series of mishaps, wild coincidences and the damndest luck, Ramirez did appear to have some dark force helping him evade capture.  

Without saying so, the movie takes the Ramirez story and adds the nerve-rattling question: “What if what Ramirez believed was true?”

Lou Diamond Phillips is simply outstanding in the lead. “The First Power” is a proud B-movie and Phillips was born for these roles. You gotta be masculine, sell that you were born tough and resourceful, and most of all — play it perfectly straight…

Phillips never lets you down.