Eyes of Fire (film)

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Eyes of Fire
Eyes of Fire (1983) film poster.jpg
Directed byAvery Crounse
Produced byPhilip J. Spinelli
Written byAvery Crounse
StarringDennis Lipscomb
Guy Boyd
Rebecca Stanley
Karlene Crockett
Fran Ryan
Rob Paulsen
Kerry Sherman
Narrated bySally Klein
Music byBrad Fiedel
CinematographyWade Hanks
Edited byMichael Barnard
Elysian Pictures
Distributed bySeymour Borde & Associates
Release date
October 21, 1983
Running time
90 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$2,600,000 (estimated)
Box office$12,000,000

Eyes of Fire (also known as Cry Blue Sky) is a 1983 American western horror film written and directed by independent filmmaker Avery Crounse.[1]


The film takes place in the year 1750 on the American frontier during the colonial days, before the United States declared its independence. A group of pioneers narrowly escape persecution when their preacher is accused of adultery and polygamy. The preacher, Will Smythe, is accused of having an affair with a married woman, Eloise Dalton, whose husband is away hunting for food, and another woman, Leah, who is insane. Also among their group is Eloise's daughter Fanny Dalton, the couple Jewell Buchanan and Margaret Buchanan along with their daughter Cathleen, Calvin and his wife who goes by the name Sister, and their granddaughter Meg.

As the group travels farther away from their town, the threat of attack from hostile Native American tribes becomes more prevalent until the group is eventually ambushed. Calvin does not survive the attack, but the others are protected by Leah, who has used witchcraft to provide their protection. All the while the others are unaware that Leah is using magic to keep them safe. The remaining members of the group are forced to abandon their trail along the riverbank, and take cover in the woods far from man-made trails. At this time, Eloise's husband Marion Dalton returns home to find news that his wife was scheduled to be executed along with Will for affair and also learns that the two are on the run with others from the town. Marion pursues and eventually catches up to them. Leah wanders away from the group for a short while.

By this time the Shawnee Indians have caught up to the group and Marion Dalton, who speaks fluently in many tribal languages, is able to convince the Shawnee to abort the attack, at least for a short while, though Marion is certain the Shawnee will be back in bigger numbers. Leah returns covered in white feathers and Marion recognizes this as a warning from the Shawnee Indians to other members of the Shawnee tribe not to enter a nearby valley. Realizing that the Shawnee have superstitions about the valley, Marion leads the group into the valley, knowing that if the Shawnee were to return, they would not follow the pioneers into the valley because of various Native American superstitions some of the tribes have in regards to this particular valley.

Once the group settles in the deserted valley, they are safe from any and all tribes of Native Americans. Though the pioneers are no longer under the threat of attack from the Shawnee, they find a young Native American orphan on the outskirts of their camp. The pioneers are still unnerved by the previous attacks, but reluctantly bring the girl into the camp and care for her. It seems that only Will is pleased with the orphan's unexpected appearance, and he is delighted at the possibility of baptizing her into Christianity. Aside from Will, it seems the others in the group are unnerved by the orphan girl's presence. And Leah, who has an extraordinary connection to the supernatural, senses that there is something unusual about the Native American child, and Leah soon begins to have visions as she tries to uncover the motives of the orphan girl. Fanny disappears soon afterward, and her body is later found by Marion, with the help of Leah through her abilities and visions, though Fanny appears to be in a coma. Only when Fanny awakens do they realize that the warnings to stay away from the valley are founded on more than just mythology, coupled with the frightening revelation that the orphan girl is more than what she seems when the group is terrorized by an evil spirit that desires to make them all its living captives.


  • Guy Boyd as Marion Dalton
  • Karlene Crockett as Leah
  • Rebecca Stanley as Eloise Dalton
  • Dennis Lipscomb as Will Smythe
  • Sally Klein as Fanny Dalton (Narrator)
  • Kerry Sherman as Margaret Buchanan
  • Rob Paulsen as Jewell Buchanan
  • Caitlin Baldwin as Cathleen Buchanan
  • Erin Buchanan as Meg
  • Fran Ryan as Sister (Calvin's Wife)
  • Will Hare as Calvin
  • Rose Preston as Orphan Girl (Cry Blue Sky)
  • Russell James Young Jr. as Evil Spirit (Orphan Girl's True Form)


Home media[edit]

The film was released on VHS by Vestron Video on June 26, 1987.[2]


Caryn James from The New York Times gave the film a negative review, writing, "If Mr. Crounse had stayed poised on the line between human reality and horrific visions of evil, he might have turned out a small masterpiece, or at least a cult film. As it is, Eyes of Fire is an ambitious idea gone haywire, as if The Scarlet Letter had zoomed into the future and collided with the movie version of The Exorcist."[3] Dennis Schwartz from Ozus' World Movie Reviews awarded the film a grade B. In his review, Schwartz wrote, "The arty horror pic, not for all tastes... Though it's a flawed film, its strange storyline captivated me despite such obvious flaws as the performances were mostly inadequate, the story had choppy moments and the special effects were cheesy."[4] HorrorNews.net gave the film a positive review, calling it "creepy", and "artistically beautiful".[5] Steven Ryder from Critics Associated.com awarded the film 4 out of 4 stars, praising the film's atmosphere, tone, and sense of dread; writing, "[it] may not be blessed with the same production values or talent that these later films are yet the electric aura and commitment to unrelenting dread make Eyes of Fire an almost-forgotten paragon of folk horror."[6] Author Edmund G. Bansak compared the film favorably to the films by Val Lewton, commending the film's acting, atmosphere, cinematography, and "authentic period flavor", while also noting that the film deteriorated towards the end.[7]


As of 2020, there is still no official DVD release. Lions Gate Entertainment is the current copyright holder.

There have been recent 35mm screenings of this film, so if the original negatives no longer exist, good source materials are still available to create a proper DVD release.


  1. ^ R. G. Young (2000). The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film: Ali Baba to Zombies. Applause. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-55783-269-6.
  2. ^ "Amazon.com: Eyes of Fire [VHS]: Dennis Lipscomb, Guy Boyd, Rebecca Stanley, Sally Klein, Karlene Crockett, Fran Ryan, Rob Paulsen, Kerry Sherman, Caitlin Baldwin, Erin Buchanan, Will Hare, Ivy Bethune, Wade Hanks, Avery Crounse, Michael Barnard, Andrew Reichsman, Chris Baldwin, Philip J. Spinelli: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Amazon. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  3. ^ James, Caryn. "FILM: 'EYES OF FIRE,' A MORALITY TALE - The New York Times". New York Times.com. Caryn James. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. "eyesoffire". Sover.net. Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Film Review: Eyes of Fire (1983)". HorrorNews.net. HorrorNews. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  6. ^ Ryder, Steven. "Eyes of Fire – Review **** – Critics Associated". Critics Associated.com. Steven Ryder. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  7. ^ Edmund G. Bansak (1 January 2003). Fearing the Dark: The Val Lewton Career. McFarland. p. 524. ISBN 978-0-7864-1709-4.

External links[edit]