AUGUST 9, 2009
I rue all of the times I passed by Born at Blockbuster in favor of crap like Sharks In Venice, because it’s quite possibly one of the most delightfully batshit and entertaining movies I’ve seen all year. Like Silent Night, Deadly Night or Cathy’s Curse, it’s that rare form of movie that positively relishes in its un-PC wretchedness, resulting in a film that I honestly cannot tell if I like it or not; I only know that I would jump at the chance to watch again.
The plot is wonderfully convoluted; something about a demon who can become human again if he rapes his sister, impregnates her, and then has her kill six people for the unborn child to feed on (the demon tells this story to a psychiatrist, who he kills halfway through the movie, only for her to return and reveal herself as Satan). And our characters include a priest who was once a Marine and then a private detective, twin blond women who walk around naked, a best friend who moonlights as a phone sex operator, an albino handyman, and several disembodied heads that are placed around a pentagram on the floor as they yell obscenities at our heroine. Oh and the demon (Kane Hodder) spends half the movie disguised as a Cardinal, allowing us the joy of seeing Kane “Jason” Hodder, a man with “KILL” tattooed on his lip, playing a role synonymous with decency and good.
But the real highlight is Alison Brie as the heroine. Not only is she cute, but she comes across as a female Nic Cage (Wicker Man variant) in her “possessed” scenes, where her demon baby takes over her mind and makes her deliver horrid one-liners (“Rub a dub-dub, clean the dolly in the tub!” she shrieks as she metal scrubs a woman to death) and bug the eyes out of her head while killing people. She even borderline rapes a dude before the baby eats half of the guy’s babymaker off (we see the head and some of the shaft lying in a pool of blood on the floor - thank you, movie), and makes out with her hot friend (the phone sex operator one) for a bit before ripping her head off and putting it in her purse. If there is a subtle moment in this movie, it’s there purely by accident.
There are two things that nagged me though. One - the demon baby occasionally bursts through the girl’s stomach to do the killing, yet it somehow manages to leave no scars. Also, either the casting person was as insane as his/her characters, or there is a valid excuse for the puzzling differences in age between the family members that was deleted or something. The 20ish Brie has a sister played by Denise Crosby, who looks old enough to be her mother, and her father is played by a guy who looks like he might die of old age at any moment. And Kane Hodder is supposed to be her brother. Plus, adding to this, the phone sex girl lives with them, and the relationship she has with Crosby is more stepmother/daughter than... whatever you’d call the relationship between a 45 year old woman and her 20ish sister’s best friend that lives with them. It sort of adds to the batshittedness, but in a way that distracts instead of entertains.
The disc’s sole extra is a 25 minute behind the scenes piece, which is interesting because it talks to folks like the line producer (possibly the bitterest sounding woman I’ve ever seen in one of these things) and the offline editor, instead of spending all of the time with the leads and the director. Kane, for example, only appears for about a minute, but we see the casting session and an interview for the dick-less guy who is only IN the movie for about a minute. And as an editor, I was mildly offended by the presentation, not only do we get three different aspect ratios (fullscreen, non-anamorphic widescreen, and 16:9 footage horizontally squeezed into fullscreen), but all of it is very interlaced and poorly compressed. The movie isn’t that long, and it’s a dual layer disc, so there is no excuse for it to look so poorly. Have some pride in your work, fellas.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen something in this sub-genre of horror film, and as I had Shocker on the brain due to the screening announcement, it was actually perfect timing for this earnestly insane movie. If you can see the humor and have a good time with the movies I mentioned, then by all means check this one out ASAP.
What say you?