This film is also known as Satanic Yuppies.
How many times have you watched an overblown,
overproduced studio production like Coppola's "Dracula" and thought to
yourself "I could make a better movie than that in my basement with my
friends"? Well, the makers of this film thought the same thing.
These are the same people that made that enduring salute to The Bard,
"Live Nude Shakespeare", and the deeply touching "Chickboxin'
Underground." In this case, they
took a few grand and made a homemade video which is basically an
R-rated version of an old Night Stalker episode. (The reporter
character is even named McGavin).
That was a
solid concept, and believe it
or not, they started with a decent script.
Beneath the shabby production values and amateurish execution, the plot is coherent, some of the
characters are interesting, and there are some very funny lines.
High priestess: "Do you take Satan to be your lawful spouse, in richer
and even richer ..... etc"
Bound and gagged victim: (makes fearful struggling noises)
High priestess: "I'll take that as a yes"
The Kolchak-like reporter has some pretty good wisecracks of his own,
and Satan himself is funny, not classically menacing, but the ultimate
achievement-oriented corporate guy, kind of similar to the Christian
Bale role in American Psycho. Real movie companies, with real budgets,
have filmed worse scripts than this. Much worse.
The film had a second strength. Eight reasonably
attractive women were willing to remove their tops for the camera.
So it was a good guilty pleasure movie,
Sadly not. The film's two potential
strengths were cancelled out by poor execution
- The script is OK for a few laughs, but that is
spoiled by a succession of cheap gimmicks which padded an hour's
worth of material to 90+ minutes. (Like showing an entire wordless
modeling session and some satanic rituals in near-actual time, to no
point.) As a 60 minute film, this script would be tight. At its
existing length, it drags. The script is also ruined by amateur
actors who can't sell the humor. How bad is the acting? Let's just
say this is the one movie to go to if you really love the acting
style in porno films, but don't actually like porn. Most of the
characters deliver their lines either with exaggerated high school
histrionics or in the same flat monotone that you'd expect from
local furniture store owners reading their own TV commercials off
cue cards. Of course, furniture store dudes usually manage to
deliver the lines without any inexplicable pauses and without
mispronouncing words. These actors can't seem to master words like
"Antigua" and "posthumous," and pause at completely inappropriate
times, as if waiting for the cue card guy to flip to the next page.
For example, the pause in "We still have tonight's ... (pause) ...
activities to arrange" was delivered with no sense of irony or
menace, but simply as if she couldn't remember the next word.
The worst offender was
Renae Raos, a stunningly beautiful woman who played McGavin's
ex-girlfriend, who also happened to be the police detective
assigned to the murders. I'm not sure why Renae was in the film
because in a film with nudity from eight different women, and
sexed-up costumes from two or three others, Renae spent the entire
movie in what an ex-girlfriend of mine used to call "auntie
clothes." She not only kept everything completely covered, but she
kept her beautiful face hidden behind nerdy glasses, and couldn't
deliver a single line credibly. If not for her beauty, her body,
or her acting, why did they hire her? I suppose she's somebody's
cousin or girlfriend. This is her one and only credit at IMDb, and
a Google search provides no help.
- The women remove their tops, but that is also
spoiled by poor execution. The lighting is funky and too dark. The
colors all blend into one another. The focus is often blurred. The
audio and video quality of this DVD are not just bad by DVD
standards. They would be bad by VHS standards. It is not even at
the audio and video quality of good home movies. In fact, the
full-screen DVD looks like one of those direct VHS-to-DVD
transfers you can make at home to preserve your old video tapes.
With the film's two strengths negated by other
elements, its weaknesses stand out in stark relief. The fight scenes involve people falling off-camera. The
special effects consist of people leaning backward and/or waving their
hands. The camera
movement consists of tilting the camera at an angle, ala 1960's
Bat-cam. The vivid realism of the make-up/wardrobe department
features an Ohio gubernatorial candidate with a pony tail.
NOTE: there is one scene which seems professionally produced, at least
until special effects are required. The scene in which Satan finally
arrives is very entertaining, largely because the guy who plays Satan
is capable of delivering the character - very slick, and very funny.
That scene is so entertaining that it makes you wish that it was the
beginning of the film and you could forget all that had gone before
and anticipate more scenes with Satan. Unfortunately, that is not the
case. Satan disappears in a flurry of bad effects that make TV's Dark
Shadows look as slick as Sin City, and you are soon left facing the