The Dish: The First Power (1990)
What's In It: Lou Diamond Phillips, as a hotshot L.A. cop. Tracy Griffith as a just plain hot psychic with a connection to the killer. Jeff Kober as Phillips' quarry, the Pentagram Killer, executed in the electric chair but causing more mayhem than ever, as his malefic soul leaps from one body to another thanks to his eternal allegiance to Satan.
Tastes Like: The Exorcist (1973), heavily seasoned with the hardboiled police action of The French Connection (1971), with a dash of Wes Craven's Shocker (1989).
Extra Flavor: The Police's former drummer Stewart Copeland composed the score.
Nutritional Value: Although it's never gotten much attention, even on the cult film level, The First Power is top-shelf junk food. Writer/director Robert Resnikoff delivered a fast-paced action/horror film filled with the kind of CG-free stunt work that that used to be the bread and butter of exploitation movies.
Lingering Aftertaste: Resnikoff's only previous directing experience was a self-penned 1988 short film starring Terry O'Quinn (The Stepfather) titled The Jogger. He also wrote 1989's Jay Leno and Pat Morita buddy cop vehicle Collision Course. But after his big feature directing break with The First Power, Resnikoff was never heard from in the film world again - at least if IMDB is to be believed.
Resnikoff's vanishing act is a shame as The First Power showed some promise. Of the spate of late '80s/early '90s tales featuring executed killers returning to life, this was the only one that gelled into a decent movie. If The Horror Show's James Isaac could keep on making movies (including 2001's Jason X), then Resnikoff should've done the same. And for a film that came across as slick and generic in 1990, The First Power now has a pleasing old-school vibe to it but without feeling overly dated, thanks to untrendy wardrobe choices and to the film's action mostly taking place in non-descript locations like back alleys and water treatment plants.
Star Ingredient: What really brings The First Power together is Kober's wicked turn as Patrick Channing, aka The Pentagram Killer. This being 1990, Kober's character was naturally groomed to be a possible franchise star. Too bad that didn't happen as Kober had the chops to be a horror heavyweight and The First Power is a movie I would've liked to have seen a second serving of.