Tuesday, May 27, 2008


So this was a big ol’ pile of suck. I’m not sure how exactly it is that a movie could a) be an 80s horror movie from Italy, b) make prominent use of Donald Pleasance, and c) entice us by starting off with a commercial for Demons 2, and still be as leaden and slow as this was.

The film has Pleasance playing an archaeologist who uncovers a new series of catacombs where ancient sacrificial artifacts are found. Excavations begin, and what seems like a mere half a year later a monster begins attacking people, sometimes appearing physically and sometimes just tossing things around the room like a poltergeist. I’d say it’s a slow build, as a good half hour goes by before the first death, but it never really picks up the pace at any point. We just get a bunch of boredom, with someone getting attacked every ten or twenty minutes afterward.

I can’t really say that the death scenes are all that good, either. They’re mostly very quick, with a minimum of blood and gore, just as the nude scenes tend to be as brief as possible (though, being an Italian film, the women in it are universally lovely). Pleasance isn’t really given much to work with, and doesn’t get to really chew the scenery until the last third of the film. Perhaps most damning of all its flaws, though, is when it blatantly rips off Johnny Depp’s death scene from Nightmare on Elm Street, and doesn’t do it half as well as the original. I got this film because a reviewer had described it as Argento-ish. I can only assume that by this he meant that the film was indeed a horror movie made in Italy while Argento was alive, because outside of a few very minor effects (a semi-incoherent plot, lots of multi-colored backlighting, etc.) the two have nothing at all in common. It’s currently only available on VHS, too, so if you decide from this review that you must buy a copy, you’re going to have the added thrill of figuring out how to re-install your old VCR that you’ve had in storage for years because it’s a dead format. So enjoy, I suppose.

Rating: *

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