Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This was part of a DVD double feature with The Pit. Normally when you get one of these horror two-fers, you can pretty much rely on one of them being a quality film with the other being filler or garbage. Now, the filler is normally stashed away as the second half, but with The Pit being such total ass, the burden was on Hellgate to justify me actually spending money on this damn thing. Fortunately for me, it came through in spades.

One thing that’s always nice to see in a movie like this is a genuine interest in entertaining us. Far too many horror movies (really, far too many movies in any genre) are made coldly and cynically, with the filmmakers throwing blood and tits at us and assuming their work is already done. This one has both, yes (much more of the latter than the former), but it also takes the effort to try to charm us, throwing in everything it can think of (within budgetary constraints, at least) to please us, as well as giving us characters that rise above the standard irritating bubbleheads that normally populate movies like this, and even made me smile a few times with the just truly abysmal jokes they kept telling each other.

Seriously, this movie does throw quite a lot at us. Not content with merely making a zombie movie, or a ghost story, this gives us both, and also finds the time to work in three different time periods (the Old West, the 1950s, and the “present day” of the 80s), a villainous biker gang, a roided up monster whose first instinct in any given situation is to throw people around the room, a glowing crystal that can bring the dead back to life and also make things explode, a man-eating turtle, and probably quite a bit more that I’m forgetting. In fact, were it not for all the nudity on display, I’d say it was almost designed so children could enjoy it, because even with all the stuff going on, there’s never really a sense of true danger, it just seems like a fun adventure-type story. This would make it like Hudson Hawk, I guess, which also felt like it was made from children outside of some language and one or two scenes of brief violence. It may not be quite good enough to make up for my having seen The Pit, but dammit, it gives a good effort all the same.

Rating: ***

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