Posts Tagged ‘Biblical Reckoning

02
Nov
14

Fear No Evil (1981)

There are terrible horror movies, and then there are terrible horror movies. Surely ‘so bad it’s good’ is a phrase you’ve heard uttered before in reference to a terrible horror movie that does nothing right, but still manages to keep its audience engaged and entertained. Then there are the terrible horror movies, the ones that are just so incredibly poorly made and make no sense, but in this really terrible, irritating way. Unfortunately Day 29’s selection of 31 Days of Horror, Frank LaLoggia’s Fear No Evil, falls into the latter category.FearNoEvilposter

Part of the problem with this movie is there is just absolutely way too much going on, so synopsizing it isn’t going to be easy. Basically, a couple living in small-town upstate New York (LaLoggia obviously has a preferred setting) give birth to Lucifer (or Andrew). It just so happens that two of three archangels reside in the same small town. The eldest angel (Mikhail or Margaret, depending on who you are) tries to convince the local Priest she needs help slaying the monster, but the Priest is still pissed off at her because her brother killed the last incarnation of Lucifer, and that was murder! All the while, Lucifer has really neat hair, gets straight A’s, and makes out with boys in the shower at the local high school. Everyone there listens to really awesome New Wave.

When blood explodes all over the place from an unknown origin while your kid is getting baptized, maybe he is Lucifer.

When blood explodes all over the place from an unknown origin while your kid is getting baptized, maybe he is Lucifer.

Mikhail/Margaret fails to convince the priest he should postpone the church’s annual free performance of the Passion play, even though she is certain some terrible evil is about to take over the town. That same night Andrew/Lucifer somehow raises the dead from this dilapidated castle place where the old Lucifer ran a company and killed a bunch of the workers or something and now they’re all zombies and they’re going to do Lucifer/Andrew’s bidding. I really hoped at this point the zombie horde was going to overtake the peaceful parishioners at the Passion play and the movie would end in a crescendo of zombie vs. churchgoer mayhem, but instead in the end Lucifer just ends up being a glam-rock version of Dracula, swooping his cape and sacrificing women at altars and stuff.

Lucifer likes birthday cake and tidy hair cuts.

Lucifer likes birthday cake and tidy hair cuts.

Holy moly, this movie just makes one mistake after another. Where do I even start? I guess its worst offense is that it has no idea what kind of movie it actually wants to be. Is it a zombie movie? A vampire movie? A religious movie? A teen slasher flick? A family drama? The movie is none of these, but aspires to be all of them. The film can’t even manage to hold a tone for an entire scene. Not only that, scenes seem to end prematurely; just when you think there’s going to be an interesting confrontation, we cut to a different movie entirely. There is no cohesion from one moment to the next. If you played a ‘what the hell’ drinking game while watching this movie, you wouldn’t get through it without downing a few bottles of liquor.

Never a good sign when Lucifer's eyes turn yellow and he's sweaty...

Never a good sign when Lucifer’s eyes turn yellow and he’s sweaty…

I’m not even sure if it’s worth getting into the lack of character development here. Put it simply, there is none. Lucifer’s parents hate each-other, and the dad is convinced it’s because his child is evil incarnate. He is right, of course, but he and Lucifer’s mom never actually have a conversation about it. They get into a fight over Lucifer’s birthday cake and she gets brain damage as a result well before they can actually discuss repairing their marriage. Then there’s the slew of high school kids we come into contact with. Most high school movies have a range of stereotypical characters, and Fear No Evil is no different, but here even having most of the high school scenes is pointless and irrelevant to what I think is supposed to be the main plot. I haven’t decided if the weirdest high school scene is where Lucifer possesses the gym teacher into dodgeballing a boy to death, or the part where Lucifer is taunted in the gym’s shower by a couple of bullies and ends up making out with one of them in front of everyone.

DEATH BY DODGEBALL

DEATH BY DODGEBALL

Then there is Julie/Gabrielle, another high school kid whose boyfriend was the poor kid that got dodgeballed to death, right after they got engaged. She’s confused and sad and also an archangel and has dreams about fucking Lucifer. Did Lucifer kill her boyfriend specifically because he knew she was an angel? Or was it because he liked her like a human boy likes a human girl? No sense in pondering a question to which there’s no answer, I suppose. But she goes and hangs out with the creepy old lady/Mikhail/Margaret and they get their hands on a glowing staff in hopes of slaying Lucifer before his zombies can kill everyone in town, or something.

I'm sorry, when did Lucifer turn into a vampire?

I’m sorry, when did Lucifer turn into a vampire?

If you’ve ever eaten a burrito bowl at Chipotle, you’ll know what I mean when I say Fear No Evil is missing the guacamole: there is no cohesive element to keep all the fragments glued together; there’s an errant grain of rice everywhere you look. LaLoggia really likes the look of seemingly every movie he’s ever seen and tries to incorporate it all in one film with absolutely disastrous results. It is easy to see the roots of Lady in White here, especially in the first fifteen minutes of the film, which is dripping with sentimentality and nostalgia. But then he must have gone to a new wave concert in the middle of filming and decided Talking Heads, Ramones, Richard Hell & The Voidoids among other great bands should be included in this film about angels hunting Lucifer on earth.

Last but not least, there’s the whole Lucifer thing. I don’t know what kind of Lucifer LaLoggia grew up with, but I never got my Lucifer mixed up with Count Dracula. By the end of the film, Lucifer/Andrew is a cape-swooping glam-rock vampire, which sounds amazing, and probably would be in any other movie, but here it is just like… WHERE THE FUCK DID THIS COME FROM? It just does not make any damn sense no matter how you slice it.

I didn't even mention the really shitty special effects. Look at the shitty special effects. And crying Lucifer.

I didn’t even mention the really shitty special effects. Look at the shitty special effects. And crying Lucifer.

While this movie may seem like it has all the perfect elements for a so-bad-it’s-good joke-a-thon, it’s missing the most important thing: watchability. This movie is just so absolutely dreadful, frustrating and exhausting to watch, I can’t imagine anyone having fun with it. It’s not often I insist in the middle of a movie we pause it and venture out into the world for ice cream, because only ice cream can make it tolerable, but that is exactly what happened with Fear No Evil. It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the ice cream did not help improve my feelings towards this piece of garbage. All that being said, though, I think there is a very, very small audience of folks who would want to spend the time to watch this movie. If you have the sort of tolerance for a legitimately terrible, horrible, irredeemable movies and this blog post has poked your curiosity, it might be worth your time, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

06
Oct
14

The Visitor (1979)

VisitorPosterDo you like The Exorcist & The Omen, or any of their sequels? What about Rosemary’s Baby? What about every other sci-fi horror movie from the 1970’s? If you answered yes to any of these, then why waste your time re-watching any of them when you could just watch The Visitor, a dazzling blend of everything you’ve already seen before, with a weird scientological, blonde Jesus twist! That’s what we did for day 6 of 31 Days of Horror. I think I don’t regret it.

The beginning of The Visitor happens somewhere else. I’m not sure if we’re on another planet, or in another dimension, or what, but blonde Jesus is telling a bunch of bald kids about the evil Sateen, who impregnated a bunch of women so his demon seed can spread through the cosmos. During this serious lecture, in walks Jerzy (John Huston – yes, that one) signaling to blonde Jesus they’ve found the latest demon seed. It’s time to rally the bald kids and send them to Earth in search of an eight-year-old girl named Katy, a creepy, southern-drawled version of Linda Blair who uses her telekinetic powers to rig basketball games and stuff.

Katy’s mom Barbara is having an intense relationship with the owner of the interested basketball team, Raymond (Lance Henriksen). He’s trying his damndest to get her to marry him, but she won’t because she knows there’s something wrong with Katy and doesn’t want to give birth to another creepy little shithead monster thing. Of course it turns out Raymond isn’t actually in love with Katy, he is part of a satanic cabal interested in populating the world with more of Sateen’s mutant seed. If Jerzy and his band of baldies can’t steal away with Katy in time, the whole universe will feel the ripples of that evil tidal wave!

This movie is like, whoa, all over the place; it is excitingly schizophrenic in that way. It is a bit like The Sentinel or The Manitou; there’s so much going on and it’s all crazy weird conspiracy shit tinged with religion and mythology. But all of its freneticism does not work in its favor; the movie is a tangled mess of tropes and what seems like possibly a weird religious agenda. The confusion results in a muddled and incoherent plot. Of course, none of that matters to a person like me: I still loved watching it; I had to know what the hell was going to happen next, even though (or perhaps especially because) I knew whatever it was wasn’t going to make any sense and was going to be delivered with questionable dialog!

The best part about movies like The Visitor isn’t on the screen at all; it’s wondering how a film like this ever got off the ground in the first place. What compelled the writer to sit down and come up with this story? Who financed it? Why? What about the actors; what are they thinking when they deliver these terrible lines? And specific to The Visitor, how the hell did they get people like John Huston and Sam Peckinpah (yeah, he acts in this too, by the way) to be in this movie? The whole thing is just so gloriously bizarre you have to love it. Though it is obviously a pastiche of a million movies that come before it, it automatically sets itself apart from every one of those by its sheer what-the-fuckness.

Should you see The Visitor? Well, that clearly depends on what type of person you are. If you’re the kinda guy or gal that only likes “Good” movies, then, uh, NO, you should not see The Visitor. However, if you’re reading my blog right now that probably is some indication that you’re at least a little bit interested in the weirder fringes of cinema, and in that case then I direct you to watch The Visitor as soon as possible, and to get on your knees and thank the fine folks at Drafthouse Films for resurrecting this nearly-forgotten shitsterpiece.

19
Sep
13

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

omeniiiposterThe Netflix queue giveth and the Netflix queue taketh away, so when we saw Omen III: The Final Conflict only had two days left on instant, we snatched it up like starving waifs. I’m fairly certain I wasn’t aware that Sam Neill was in it until I committed to watching it, and of course this prompted me to ask the eternal question: “Why is Sam Neill in everything?”

Well, I don’t know the answer to that question, and I fear it shall plague me for the rest of my life. What I do know is that Neill is pretty darn good at playing the devil’s spawn. Yes, Damien Thorn is back, fully grown and ready to take over the world! The stars are aligned (literally) for the second coming of Christ, but the child won’t live if Mr. Thorn and his weird group of followers have anything to do with it.

See, Damien Thorn is a lot more than just the spawn of satan, he’s also a powerful politician who’s just been granted the position of ambassador to Great Britain. There, he convinces scores of people to hunt and kill any male child born at the particular time when three stars aligned; after all, it’s the only way to ensure the Christ child does not survive. With the savior out of the way, Damien Thorn will rule the world!

But the Christ child isn’t the only thing Thorn has to worry about: a ragtag group of priests are hot on Damien’s tail, ready to stab him with blessed daggers that are the only weapon that can kill him. Can the priests get to Damien before he and his disciples murder the Christ child and plunge the world into eternal darkness?

Well, so, this movie’s a thing. A thing with Sam Neill in it. It’s okay; fairly creepy in certain parts (I mean, come on, we’re talking about Sam Neill here) but it’s nothing special. Oh yeah, and it’s not the Final Conflict, either, because Damien’s legacy lives on in Omen IV: The Awakening. Given everything I’ve said about this movie’s mediocrity, if you asked me if I’d watch the fourth installment in the franchise, sadly the answer would still be yes. I’m a glutton for punishment in the form of crappy horror, what can I say?

11
Jul
13

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Dr. Phibes likes to blow off steam by playing the organ.

Dr. Phibes likes to blow off steam by playing the organ.

Vincent Price strikes again! And, as far as I’m concerned, he can strike forevermore, because holy crap The Abominable Dr. Phibes is one of the most perfectly entertaining horror movies I’ve ever seen in my life, due in no small part to Price’s totally awesome performance. Of course, I’m telling you something you probably already know.

Dr. Anton Phibes is a multi-talented widower, seeking revenge against those he holds responsible for the death of his wife: the nine doctors and

Dr. Phibes' Clockwork Wizards!

Dr. Phibes’ Clockwork Wizards!

nurses who performed the surgery that killed her. One by one, Dr. Phibes takes them down in murders of biblical proportions: each death represents one of the ten plagues of Egypt. Every inventive murder is played out with as much campy drama as one could possibly hope for, and all with the help of Dr. Phibes’ gorgeous, stylish, violin-playing henchwoman, the mysteriously mute Vulnavia.

This movie is so unbelievably stylish. If it were candy, I wouldn’t be able

Dr. Phibes also like talking to his wife's portrait. She was hot.

Dr. Phibes also like talking to his wife’s portrait. She was hot.

to stop eating it. It offers delightful, if somewhat puzzling surprises, such as Phibes’ robotic band Dr. Phibes’ Clockwork Wizards, Vulnavia’s extensive and bizarre hat collection, doctors fortuitously wearing frog masks, and brussel sprout goo as a murder weapon, just to name a few, of course! This movie is almost sort of proto-Saw in that it depicts bizarre murders used to teach victims one final lesson. Only here, it’s done with complete style and humor, something painfully absent from those dreadful Saw flicks,

Vulnavia in all her glory.

Vulnavia in all her glory.

no? Certainly, one could sum up Phibes as a revenge flick about an evil doctor empoying the bible as fodder for murder and give the impression this is some sort of gory thriller, Seven-style. This is absolutely not that. This movie couldn’t or wouldn’t be made today; things seem to be a little too concerned with grit and gore these days; far too interested in depicting reality that any sense of style and mystery is almost entirely lost.

As far as Phibes I wouldn’t change a thing, except that I’ve only seen it once. More, please. More, more, more!




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Old Wave