Dead Man's Hand: Casino Of The Damned



I believe it has been over 10 years since I have subjected myself to a Full Moon movie. I think the last one was Demonic Toys, a delightfully bad movie that features a line I often repeat, apropos of nothing: “I’ve been imprisoned in that corpse for 66 years.” Even as a kid, I never shined to FM’s filmmaking style – painfully low budget movies trying to be big budgeted movies. It just doesn’t work. If you only have $100,000 or so, maybe NOT make a movie about a miniature man fighting aliens, for example. Yet, I rented Dead Man’s Hand, assuming maybe either they have gotten better with age, or perhaps I would be more accepting of their style.


This movie is even worse than the ones that made me shrug off the company in the first place. Not that I have a lot of good memories about dreck like Bad Channels or Arcade, but I don’t recall bad music playing NONSTOP over the entire goddamn movie, or idiotic subplots about a guy pretending to fuck his girlfriend so his friends won’t suspect that he is impotent, or dialogue like “You looking to get punched?” (said by an alleged ‘good’ guy to his girlfriend). Dead Man’s Hand has all this and more!

Let’s see, there’s the requisite cat hiding in the closet scare, only we don’t actually SEE the goddamn cat, only hear it (Movies On A Budget 101’s primary lesson!). There’s effects that look like they were rendered on a Commodore Amiga, acting that ranges from awful to terrible, and of course, ugly, laughable puppets like this:


The ending is as lazy as they come. Sid Haig, playing the devilish ghostly casino dealer, makes a deal with the heroes. The heroes win, and then Haig... lives up to his end of the deal. Scary villain, huh? He literally shrugs, snaps his fingers, and disappears. The movie then ends.

Now, considering that none of the characters seem particularly frightened or even interested in the ghostly blackjack dealers who are wandering about killing their friends, one must assume the film isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Which is fine, except that there is only one genuine laugh in the entire movie (when a ghost bets for one character’s cookies – random enough to make me giggle), and everything else is painfully unfunny.

There’s also a scene at the beginning where the two heroes are canoodling and rambling about their upcoming marriage. After what seems like an eternity of this drivel (complete with the never ending, omnipresent score), the girl casually mentions their friends, who are revealed to have been sitting there the entire time. Kind of like that scene in Shaun of the Dead, only completely stupid and again, unfunny.

The only extra feature (oh, and the movie isn’t anamorphic either – thanks assholes) is a behind the scenes montage, mostly of interviews spliced with un-matching film clips (“We wanted to be original, and scary” – as they cut to an exterior shot of the casino). Band seems convinced he is making a worthy successor to The Shining, and everyone praises him, which would be less annoying if he wasn’t the producer of the goddamn thing (I’d like to be in the editing room when Band gave his approval of the piece. “I think we need just one more shot of someone saying how great I am, otherwise it’s great!”). There is also a full FIVE FUCKING MINUTES (more time than the film itself spends on the idea) of the cast and crew explaining the "Dead Man’s Hand" (aces and eights) over and over and over, sometimes even in the same goddamn phrasing. And then at the end, Band threatens us with Dollman 2 and Doctor Mordrid 2, as well as yet another fucking Puppet Master movie. Christ.

Main girl is cute though.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. For some reason I have yet to figure out, Band filmed his latest flick, Decadent Evil 2, in my home town of Little Rock, Arkansas. And while I'm glad he'll be answering all the burning questions raised by Decadent Evil 1, I still wonder what the hell brought him here. It's not like we're the Czech Republic or anything.

    Although he's apparently planning some kind of horror con in LR for October, which will probably just be a Full Moon flea market, but still--he's announced a big-screen showing of Re-Animator uncut, so that'd be fun. Of course he's also announced Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, and Stuart Gordon attending, which I'll believe when I see.


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