In the realm of the “evil shopkeeper” subgenre of horror films, Crystal Force makes Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders seem like a reasonable b-movie effort. It makes Needful Things seem like an Oscar winner. Holy hell, is Crystal Force a chore to sit through. If you ever find yourself in the situation where you are parting in the morning from the love of your life who is moving to another planet never to be seen again, just watch Crystal Force together the night before, and you will feel as if you were married for 70 years and are now sick of each other and ready to see them to the rocket ship three hours before they take off. That is the time-distorting power of a movie as bad as Crystal Force.
You know you are in trouble when the IMDb description is completely wrong. That means even the makers of the film, the people who are supposed to be promoting it, have not watched this glimmering turd. The synopsis says that a widow, Hope, is given a gift of an evil crystal by a man at her husband’s funeral. It even says the dead guy’s name is John, but I’m pretty sure in the movie he is referred to as Howard. In reality, it is the deceased John/Howard/man’s daughter, Beth, who buys the crystal from a strange little man in a secondhand shop. But at least the film does begin with a funeral. In fact, it is a funeral which takes place in another dimension from our own, because the widow and her daughter have to walk many blocks (we watch them in real time) to the wake, where the other mourners are already waiting. In the dimension where I live, you see, the family rides in a car, especially if one of them is crying so hard she can hardly walk and has to be supported. But even knowing that Crystal Force was shat out by interdimensional beings does not excuse what happens in this movie.
At the wake, a horrible friend of the family named Lurleen announces to another woman that this is her opportunity to sleep with Beth’s fiance, Jack. This leads to a stellar scene later on where the demon transports Beth in her sleep to watch Jack and Lurleen banging, and both women are naked while Beth perches on the dresser watching and crying like some invisible snot-caked gargoyle. Yes, the reason this movie was probably made was that you get to see boobs. But there are literally millions if not billions of other sources of bare boobs on the internet; hell, you would be better off lurking outside your local Curves to leer at old ladies before you try and get your kicks from Crystal Force.
But let me back up to a time when Beth acquires the demon. She goes shopping a couple of days after the funeral to cheer herself up and finds the evil man’s store. She is drawn to the crystal, which the man asks her to bid on. Now here is where I really knew I was going to “get shattered” as the poster promises: I said, “50 dollars!” And Beth must have heard me, because she said, “50 dollars!” And that was the price the man took! Well, she gets it home, where the priest from the funeral is visiting Hope. As Beth sets the crystal on the kitchen table, the demon in the crystal attacks the priest and he has to leave. You would think that would be that, but these women keep the crystal in the house after the dreams start and eventually hold a seance. Because of course one of their friends is a medium.
At the seance, the demon comes out, a colorful pentagram is projected on the wall like something out of a lamp you’d buy at Spencer’s Gifts, and the demon starts killing people, including several of Beth and Hope’s friends and some cops that arrive along with Jack. Jack kills the demon, or sends it back into the crystal, by spraying it with a bottle where he has combined bunch of hair products that Hope and Beth keep in their beauty shop. Because I forgot to mention that they are beauticians. So it would seem that the message of the film is that you should buy all those stupidly expensive products the stylist tries to sell you every time you go for a simple haircut, in case you have to tame the demon of bad hair.
But wait! At the end of the film the dead people from the seance are all around a piano singing show tunes with the evil shopkeeper. Now, mind you, the shopkeeper has spent a lot of the running time of the film looking in Beth and Hope’s windows giggling, playing with his two dobermans, and stalking both Lurleen and the priest through a playground. And all that comes to naught! He doesn’t want to see boobs, he doesn’t want to make the priest molest little kids while he watches, he just wants an audience for his bad piano covers. That’s a lot of trouble to go to when he could have just invited some people back to his shop. Everyone loves a musician, right? All you need is a bottle of wine and a Hal Leonard book of standards and you don’t have to bother with crystals, or demons, or hairspray, or lamps, or invading dreams! I don’t get it.
The most and only interesting thing I found in Crystal Force was learning about the actress who plays the medium, Jan Marlyn Reesman. She was a bunny at the original Playboy Club in New York, and has gone on to produce some TV and theater. Now there is a woman who definitely has some stories to tell. They’d have to be better than Crystal Force.
Probably the worst part of all the terrible things about Crystal Force is that whoever owns the rights to this film is renting it out on Amazon Video for $3.99, or selling it for $9.99. I mean, let’s face it, this is exactly the sort of movie that should be free with your Amazon Prime subscription but someone’s collecting money from suckers like me for it. I bet it’s the evil little shopkeeper.
Edit: OH MY GOD the woman who plays Beth has 778 acting credits on IMDb, most of them hardcore porn. Forget all other speculation, that’s why this movie was made. Now that is fucking interesting, man. I’d love to hear some of her stories as well (and I know they’re better than Crystal Force).