The First Power
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Resnikoff
Written byRobert Resnikoff
Produced byDavid Madden
CinematographyTheo van de Sande
Edited byMichael Bloecher
Music byStewart Copeland
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
  • April 6, 1990 (1990-04-06)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million (estimated)
Box office$22,424,195 (USA)

The First Power is a 1990 American neo-noir horror film written and directed by Robert Resnikoff, and starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Tracy Griffith, Jeff Kober and Mykelti Williamson.

The film received mostly negative reviews, but was a financial success.


Patrick Channing, known by most as the Pentagram Killer, is a sadistic serial killer who murders innocent people as a sacrifice to Satan. His specific modus operandi is engraving a pentagram symbol into the flesh of his victims before killing them.

Russell Logan, a Los Angeles police detective determined to bring the Pentagram Killer to justice, receives an anonymous phone call from a psychic called Tess Seaton. After getting Logan's promise that the killer will not be executed, she tells him where he is going to strike next. With time running out for the next victim, Logan decides to take Tess on her word. Logan goes on a stakeout and successfully tracks down Channing's lair. During a struggle in which Logan apprehends Channing, Logan receives a severe stab wound to his torso.

Logan recovers from his injury and breaks his word to Tess, successfully seeking a death penalty sentence. Tess makes another phone call to Logan and pleads with him to stop Channing from being executed; Logan refuses. Channing dies in the gas chamber. However, since he was a worshipper of Satan, Channing is seemingly given the "First Power"–resurrection– the first of three special powers he is attempting to gain. Channing returns from the grave and is able to appear or disappear at will, as well as possess others. He resolves to take revenge on Logan.

Channing starts by killing the victim Logan narrowly rescued at his arrest. When Channing targets Logan, Tess saves him. Logan narrowly evades Channing's wrath while protecting Tess. When going back to his childhood home for answers, Channing's grandmother recognizes Logan and lambasts him for the execution. It is also here that, through horrific psychic visions, that Logan and Tess discover that Channing's grandfather is actually his father through the grandfather having raped his own daughter and that the grandmother knew about it and did nothing to stop these acts. The climax of the film takes place at an unused part of a water treatment plant where Logan finds Tess after she was kidnapped from his apartment by Channing. Logan and Channing fight, while Channing is possessing a nun, resulting in Channing getting stabbed in the chest with a crucifix that has a knife hidden in it which is the only thing that will kill him. A police officer shoots and wounds Logan after he thought Logan was attacking a nun. Tess visits Logan in the hospital, where he wakes up and attacks her. She wakes up to realize that she was having another psychic vision of Channing possessing Logan, and she hears Channing's voice taunting her with the same line he used throughout the film to taunt Logan. This suggests that Channing's spirit is still free and roaming around.



The movie began production under the title Transit.[1]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2015)

The film received negative reviews, including Desson Howe's in the Washington Post, which called it "shopworn and imitative".[2] In The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote that Phillips "doesn't seem altogether comfortable here, but he certainly is not bad". He added that, despite the film's fast pace and impressive special effects, "the whole thing is seriously stupid".[3]

As of November 2022, The First Power has a 25% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 12 reviews.[4]


  1. ^ Vamvakitis, Anthony (March 1990). "Transit". Cinefantastique. Fourth Castle Micromedia. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  2. ^ 'The First Power', Archived 2018-11-18 at the Wayback Machine Desson Howe. The Washington Post, April 6, 1990
  3. ^ "Movie Reviews". The New York Times. 3 November 2021. Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  4. ^ "The First Power". Archived from the original on 2020-09-26. Retrieved 2020-02-18 – via