Friday, July 28, 2017

EVIL ED (1995)


EVIL ED (1996)

Director: Anders Jacobsson
Writers: Anders Jacobsson, Göran Lundström, Christer Ohlsson

Starring: Johan Rudebeck, Per Löftburg, Olof Rhodin


So Arrow Films has seen fit to bestow upon us a special edition of the cult classic, Evil Ed. “Why?” you ask. Simple: because it’s guaranteed money in the bank for them. Folks who enjoy “cult classics” will plunk down just about any amount of dough on any cult film released by anyone. But for the more discerning film buff, is Evil Ed worth your money? Or, more importantly, your time?
     Evil Ed follows the story of Edward Swenson (Johan Rudebeck), a film editor tasked with editing a series of violent slasher films for international release. Soon though, he is driven insane by the frequent exposure to bloodshed, and it’s only a matter of time before he turns his editing skills to human flesh and starts hacking people to pieces!
     Evil Ed managed to become a cult success on video cassette because, I’m pretty certain, it was mistaken for The Evil Dead by those too brain damaged to know the difference. Directed and co-written by Anders Jacobsson (who also brought us the execrable Insane), Evil Ed is a festering sore of a film that lingers in your mind much like an egg fart in a hot car: you don’t want it there and you certainly don’t wanna smell it, but it’s there and you’re stuck with it.
     Evil Ed suffers drastically from an uninvolving storyline, humor so unfunny it’s insulting, and is littered with so many references to better films (like Gremlins, Evil Dead 2, and Blue Velvet) that it turns the whole notion of “fanboy love letter” into a
hardcore fetish. You can practically hear the fap-fap-fap! going on just off camera. “But Evil Ed is a splatter film!” I hear you screaming. “It only needs blood and guts and the barest semblance of a plot!” Okay, fine. I’ll give you that. However, not only does Evil Ed whittle away your entertainment as opposed to your time, and pass well-beyond the threshold of tolerance with its references and makes you wish you were watching those films instead, and shows no effort went into even trying to make it the slightest bit involving, but the blood and guts are not delivered as they should be.
     That’s right. Wipe the tears from your eyes.
     For a splatter film, Evil Ed doesn’t seem that concerned with giving the viewer their money’s worth. The gore and violence are really no more than can be found in the average R-rated horror film playing at your local theater. When a splatter film doesn’t even show a guy get dismembered, nor does it show the aftermath, it has utterly failed at being a splatter film—and was probably only marketed that way because a) the filmmakers figured splatter fans are easily entertained, or b) they hadn’t the slightest fucking clue as to what a splatter film is. Only the final scene
delivers any semblance of “the goods,” and those bits are nice, but having to sit through ninety-minutes of headache-inducing boredom to get there is not at all worth the price. What makes Evil Ed an odd case is that it was made as a protest against censorship in Sweden. Until 1996, Sweden had a policy censoring any and all sex and violence in horror movies. With this logic, you’d think the filmmakers would strive to deliver as much sex and violence as could hang on a story and plot (á la Buttgereit’s Nekromantik, made for similar reasons). But they don’t. Instead, we’re given a borderline anemic film containing about as much blood as is on your girlfriend’s tampon/Maxipad during that time of the month, but that’s far less entertaining.

     Evil Ed edits your patience and entertainment down to the nub, then keeps going. Other than the use of “Donut Lady” by Mambo Kings on the menu screen, there is absolutely nothing worthwhile about Evil Ed. Arrow Films is, of course, hawking the movie for forty bucks because they think their fans are gullible enough to buy it (at best, it’s worth one cent plus free shipping); of course, their gullible fans will be dropping their money on it because of the film’s cult status (and because it’s an Arrow film), then refuse to admit they’ve been had. For the rest of us, put those two twenties to better use and wipe your ass with them.
Ed isn't happy with my review. Fuck 'em.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ANTIBIRTH (2016)


ANTIBIRTH (2016)

Director: Danny Perez
Writer: Danny Perez

Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Meg Tilly, Chloë Sevigny


A lonely Saturday of too many cigarettes and too much cheap vodka got me perusing Netflix and settling on a little movie called Antibirth. Ah, good things I’ve heard! Ah, interesting the trailer looked. Shit, it’s presented by IFC Midnight. Let us settle in then, folks, for a mediocre viewing experience.
     Lou (Natasha Lyonne) is a haggard-lookin’ party girl/pothead who feels like shit after a warehouse party and can’t remember what happened the night before. Her friend, Sadie (Chloë Sevigny, here for name value), and symptoms point to pregnancy even though she hasn't had sex in almost a year. A woman named Lorna (Meg Tilly) shows up spouting off psychic atmosphere interdimensional claptrap. Oh, and Lou goes from freshly pregnant to ready to pop within a week. Just what in the hell is goin’ on here? Was she knocked up by some dude with super semen? Was it some kind of weird drug? Is it the result of alien abduction? Or how about some, I’m guessing, government conspiracy? Really, who the fuck knows!?
     Antibirth will remind you of every conversation you’ve ever had with any bombed-out, forty-something pothead who can’t get their shit together; once Lorna shows up, it’ll remind you of every conversation you’ve ever had with any bombed-out, alien-obsessed pothead who can’t get their shit together. In other words: stupid and uninteresting. Lou is, by far, the most annoying, whiny, shit-for-
brains, unsympathetic protagonist I’ve ever encountered in my life. Seriously, I felt more for the slugs in Slugs than I did for Lou, who reminds me of a) some crackhead lush I once dated, and b) a trailer park gal who’s one deep-dickin’ and pregnancy test away from a guest spot on Jerry Springer/Maury Povich. Hell, even the electronics don’t like her, as evidenced by the microwave that explodes when she touches it with her stomach (I actually cheered the microwave on). The other characters, thankfully, aren’t anywhere near as annoying and stupid as Lou. But they’re just as flat and one-note as her.
     None of this is the fault of the actors, who are serviceable in their narrow roles, but the script which gives them fuck all to work with. And speaking of the script, I’m willing to bet writer/director Danny Perez was tokin’ a bit of Lucifer’s Lettuce when he wrote this thing: it tries to be too many things without succeeding; and it tries to drop too many red herrings along the way, tricking the audience into thinking one thing and then another, without getting the elements to gel together into an organic and fluid whole. Thus, the ending doesn’t feel like a big reveal so
much as something tacked on as an afterthought. And because they realized their pithy movie needed some blood and guts. Perhaps this is due to Perez trying to stretch the concept out to 94 minutes when it would have worked better as a 30-minute short. This also causes the pacing to suffer as well as it sluggishly stretches towards from one plot point to another.
     On the plus side, however, the final ten minutes are a laugh fest and is kind of worth the price of admission. If the humor is intentional, kudos to Perez. If not, kudos still because at least I got only 80-minutes of “Meh” as opposed to 90.

     While not a terrible film, Antibirth yet further proof that IFC needs to stay out of the horror game seeing as most of their product has been lackluster, pretentious, or both. If you really intend to watch Antibirth, be warned the bulk of it is anti-entertaining.