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Monday, July 15, 2024

‘Road to the Grave’, ‘Married a Witch’, other horror films by Helen Ukpabio

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Many early Nollywood films were heavily influenced by religious themes, such as witchcraft, cultism and satanic activities; This was the unique flavor of horror movies in Nigeria in the late 90s.

This is evident in films like the 1992 blockbuster “Living in Bondage,” where the protagonist’s dealings with hidden forces have dire consequences. It’s no surprise that filmmakers still infused their stories with themes of religious morality.

But one person made this narrative line his forte and dominated horror cinema for quite some time. Helen Ukpabio added a unique twist to this genre, as her stories focused on witches, demons and possessions.

The Calabar-based actress and founder of Liberty Gospel Church in Cross Rivers State is known for her witch-themed films of the late 90s and early 2000s.

Ukpabio, who claims to have been a teenage witch “betrothed to Satan” before her conversion, used her films to expose what she saw as the kingdom of darkness.

Ukpabio, now 55, is firmly opposed to demonic possession, witchcraft, family slavery and child possession. He did not hesitate to portray these metaphysical aspects in his films, produced by his company, Liberty Films.

She wrote these films, often filmed in the town of Old Calabar, and frequently played roles as a shepherdess rescuing a grieving family.

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Despite facing criticism for his campaigns against witchcraft, particularly against women and children, Ukpabio has shifted his focus from filmmaking to building his church and participating in evangelical activities.

He has kept a low profile in the media but recently made headlines for acquiring a mansion in Uyo. The dedication of her new home, “Raah Villa”, meaning “God has given me a home”, was attended by notable figures including Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno.

In this article, PREMIUM TIMES reviews some of his most “scary” horror films from the past.

Coven (2003) Olu Jacob in The Coven (2003)

The film, directed by Ifeanyi Ikpoenyi, chronicles the activity of a coven of darkness and how the witches and demons of the coven manipulate the affairs of men.

The Wiccan chief, played by Olu Jacob, who is the head of the coven and servant of Beelzebub, will be the host of the next world witchcraft festival, but to do so, he must meet specific requirements. His assistants, co-witches and servants, Mother Heckat (played by Ada Ameh) and Dragon (Joe Lous), are tasked with enrolling more witches into the coven. At the same time, they increased the number of people in the human world who were under his slavery.

Mother Heckat is on a mission to initiate more members and get more captives into the coven. There she possessed Melah, a young son of David’s family. Miller began wreaking havoc on the home of Mr. Joseph, who had left the church because the church where he worshiped had not recognized him.

Soon, his family began to experience inexplicable miseries stemming from the coven his son had been affiliated with. From suicide attempts to illnesses and all kinds of crises.

The film defends the cause of all the social, political, medical and financial crises in the world as a product or result of the activities of the coven.

The film starred Pete Edochie, Olu Jacob, Helen Ukpabio and Ada Ameh.

The coven 1 (2003) (youtube.com)

Married to a Witch (2001)

“Married to a Witch” is a 2001 Nollywood film about Michael, a young, successful businessman who falls in love with Alice, a woman who is secretly a witch and part of a coven.

The film explores Michael’s descent from a faithful Christian to a victim of witchcraft, as he loses his faith, his health, his family, and ultimately his life due to the manipulations of Alice and her coven. His devout Christian sister, Esther, tries to save him from bad influences.

The film combines elements of drama, horror and suspense with comedy and romance. It serves as a warning about the dangers of losing faith and the destructive power of witchcraft.

Fred Amata directed the film, which stars Kwame Owosu, Lilian Bach, Iyabo Lawani, Chidi Mokeme, Helen Ukpabio and Ameachi Monagor.

Married to a Witch (2001) (youtube.com)

Road to the Grave (2000) Road to the Grave

Highway to the Grave was produced by Helen Ukpabio but written for the screen by Teco Benson. The film’s music was provided by Stanley Mgbokwere, the cinematographer was Solomon Nwoko and the film was jointly produced by Helen Ukpabio and Teco Benson. The film’s cast included Sonia Cacchus, Regina Askia, Ejike Asiegbu, Jide Kosoko, Tony Umez, Segun Arinze, Helen Ukpabio, Shan George, Lanre Balogun and Ernest Asuzu.

The film tells the story of Sonia, a princess of the underworld, sent to manifest confusion in the lives of her male victims. She uses her beauty and her demonic powers to drive her prey away from her destined lives.

The film begins with a young man, Pat, who meets a woman on the street and offers her a ride. During the trip, he starts making advances and suddenly she disappears from the car; This causes him to run out of his car, not until he meets a friend, Fred, who recounts his current ordeal. Fred took him to a spiritualist who instructed Pat to walk naked through the market seven times. Despite following this instruction, he did not save her from Suna’s hands as she tormented him to death.

Sonia’s next victim was Tony. The Queen of the Coast has ordered her to punish him since he is getting married after breaking up with one of the water girls. Sonia sets a trap for him and he falls into it. He invited her to her hotel, and she complied with his invitation, and while he kissed her, she turned toward a pillow; She was shocked and fainted. The next day, which is supposed to be her wedding, and before she can wake up from fainting, she is already late for her wedding, which has been cancelled. Devastated by frustration, he has an accident and dies.

Sonia was willing to pursue all men, from shepherds to businessmen, and everyone she and her sea kingdom set their sights on were in real trouble.

Road to the Grave (2000) (youtube.com)

The End of the Wicked (1999) Alex Usifo in The End of the Wicked (1999)

“End Of The Wicked” is a 1999 Nigerian horror film directed by Teco Benson and written by Helen Ukpabio. The film is notable for its controversial impact, as it was attributed to a rise in witchcraft accusations against children in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The cast includes Hilda Dokubo as Stella, Ramsey Nouah as Emeka, Charles Okafor as Chris, Alex Usifo Omiagbo as Beelzebub, Patience Oseni as Mama Chris and Helen Ukpabio as Pastora.

End Of The Wicked is a Nigerian horror film that tells how the forces of darkness destroy good people and how the power of Almighty God saves them. The film also looks at the presence of demons and witches among us.

The film begins with a scene of witches flying to attend a meeting, and at the Belzelbub, the witches are ordered to return to their original state; some turned to owls, others to dogs, cats and other wild animals. She charged them to draw blood when her blood bank ran dry.

The film centers on Chris, whose wife, Stella, and children are tormented by witchcraft activities. His mother is a witch and, despite his excellent work, Chris Amadi was the son of Lady Destroyer. She takes him prisoner and introduces him to the prosperity and discord in his business and the lack of peace in his family.

Soon, the children were initiated by one of their colleagues after receiving puff puff from him. This initiation brought irrecoverable suffering to the family; Chris lost his business contract and it tormented him to death.

The End of the Wicked (1999) – YouTube

Holy Crime (1999)

“Holy Crime” is a 1999 Nollywood horror film about

Mozumba in Holy Crime (1999)

, a man who claims to be God and savior of humanity. As a child, Mozumba was a king who lost his father and gained authority. Claiming to have seen God, he combined traditional and religious authority. Later in his life, Mozumba abolished the conventional stool and moved to the city to focus on his full-time ministry.

In the city, Mozumba gains followers and rises in status, but eventually faces his limitations. Worshiped by his followers as a god despite his many atrocities, he opens four new shrines and names four members as accessories to the crime. These chapels are the Chapel of Power, the Chapel of Wisdom, the Chapel of the Star and the Chapel of the Sun.

The film explores themes of power, beliefs and the consequences of unchecked authority. Directed by Teco Benson and based on a story by Helen Ukpabio, the film delves into the psychological and social impact of a charismatic leader’s influence on his followers. Many believed that the film was a satire of the then famous Olumba Olumba, who shared similar characteristics with the main character.

The film features Kanayo O. Kanayo, Charles Okafor, Hilda Dokubo, Helen Ukpqbio and Victor Iyana.

Holy Crime (1999) (youtube.com)

READ ALSO: Flashback: Nkiru Sylvanus’ iconic role in the 2002 Nollywood classic ‘A Cry for Help’ Power To Bind (1998)

Power to Bind” is a 1998 Nollywood film that focuses on desperation, beliefs, and spiritual warfare.

The film explores the extent to which fear, particularly the fear of death, can lead people to seek solutions outside of godly paths. It delves into false gods and the consequences of such beliefs.

The plot highlights the power given to humans to bind evil, emphasizing that this power must be sought with sincerity and righteousness.

As demonic invasions reach their peak, the film suggests that if God’s people truly believe, pray, and exercise their spiritual rights and authority, they can overcome all forms of evil forces in their lives. Ultimately, the film conveys that victory belongs to the righteous.

In the film, the kingdom of the coven releases its demons into the world; One of those demons is the prophet Centurion of the Torre Poderosa Pentecostal Prophetic Ministry.

“Power to Bind” was Helen Ukpabio’s first film, directed by Teco Benson. The cast includes Segun Arinze and Helen Ukpabio herself, with music by Liberty Church Choir and Stanley Okorie.

Power to Unite (1998) – YouTube

Magic Money (1998)

Teco Benson directed it. Helen Ukpabio tells the story of man’s slavery to money. Collins, who had been poor and unemployed, met a friend, Victor, his classmate, who had become rich and doing well.

You are determined to go the extra mile to ensure consistent cash flow. However, Colin is surprised at the price he has to pay for the magic money.

He is accused of bringing a pregnant woman to secure his wealth; After many years of suffering and unemployment, he doesn’t think twice. Being a pregnant woman, he was reluctant and looked for an easy way out. But there’s no easy way out when it comes to magic money.

Magic Money (1998) – YouTube

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