Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From Venus

I should point out right now that this film doesn’t deserve such a high rating, but given that it’s slightly better than Flesh Eating Ghouls From Outer Space, and I overrated that one just on the basis of comparison to other recent films in this awful collection, I felt I might as well do the same here. So yes, if you decide to watch this film, do so with the understanding that it’s a bad movie. Just make sure that you also do so with the understanding that it still easily outshines two thirds of the other movies in the whole set.

The film, utilizing a similar framing contrivance to that in The Neverending Story, has a man receive a mysterious package on Halloween night that contains, among other things, a science fiction comic containing the story From Venus. The bulk of the film is a rendition of the story he’s reading, with the occasional cuts back to the guy reading so that he can freak out at what he’s reading and annoy us all like the stupid child in Neverending Story did. The story itself concerns two soldiers who arrive at a small town in search of one of the soldiers’ sister, who has fallen in with a cult of priestesses with magical powers. It’s now up to them and one local to rescue her and stop the cult before they can do whatever it is they are hoping to accomplish. Take over the world, or throw us all into eternal darkness, something like that no doubt.

The film is surprisingly tame; outside of some moderate profanity, it could almost warrant a PG rating. It’s poorly made, woodenly acted, and lamely directed, but it seems sincere in its desire to entertain, and that alone puts it a leg above awfulness like Rape is a Circle. There’s not really any particularly good moments that I can point to, but there are some parts to the film that are better than the rest. For instance, the priestesses of the cult are described as being siren-like in their overwhelming beauty, which makes it a little off-putting when they show up looking like regular strippers from some dive, which, let’s be honest, they probably were. There’s also the curious introduction by the director before the film proper, where he pretty much outright says the film’s not that great and he needs a drink in him just to try to get us prepared for it. It’s a rather refreshing bit of honesty, and one that few directors would be willing to offer up. However, a couple amusing moments does not make up for the fact that the film is just badly made on pretty much every level. If the final film in this set (To Become One) isn’t a clear step up, and I doubt it will be, then I’m taking a break from the collection for a while. I need more than a week to recharge from this nonsense.

Rating: * ½

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