666: The Beast (2007)

MAY 6, 2012


After watching 666 The Child a while back, I was surprised to discover that there was a sequel, which is pretty rare for Asylum mockbusters (especially since its namesake didn't launch a new franchise). But I was even more surprised to discover that I actually OWNED 666 The Beast, on one of those Echo Bridge four packs that I bought for when I go to Comic Con or something (i.e. junk movies that are obviously short so they can fit on one disc, lacking extras, and perfectly suited for viewing on a portable DVD player).

The other surprise about The Child was that it was actually one of the better Asylum movies thanks to some fun deaths and an endearing approach, which was basically The Omen but sped up and lacking any sort of depth. However, the sequel just cribs from a bunch of Devil movies, most notably End Of Days, with a handful of Devil's Advocate and a dash of Omen III for good measure. I've certainly seen worse from the company, but it was quite disappointing to see that they didn't follow on the Final Destination-esque death scenes this time around - in fact the few deaths are pretty dull even by average standards.

They also don't continue the story of the original, where Donald was being groomed to take over the entertainment industry. It seems this would be pretty easy to do for the Asylum - they could film it in their actual studio and let their own equipment and staff fill in for props and extras, but for whatever reason it's not even mentioned. Now he's just some sort of exec who gets a big promotion at the beginning of the film, thanks to his boss who has been possessed (or something) by the Devil (or something) and knows of his past as the Antichrist, which Donald has apparently forgotten about. It's pretty odd, especially with the Devil's Advocate swipes, because isn't he supposed to be noble and then get corrupted? He's already there, he's the damn Antichrist! They even remind us of the first film - seems to me the movie would make more sense if it wasn't a sequel and just stand-alone (they could also then make it shorter by not bringing us up to speed), but questioning the logic in an Asylum production is a fool's errand, so it's best to just ignore it.

Harder to ignore is the low production value, as they're going way above their means this time around. For starters the movie should be taking place in 2027 or so since Donald is now 30 years old (he was turning 9 in the 2006 original, I believe), but that's not mentioned. There's also a bit where he's supposed to be addressing a legion of followers that are clearly not there, so we just see closeups of Donald and his two partners from the company (what they actually DO is a bit vague) as we hear canned crowd noises. I also loved the "Congratulations Donald" sheet taped to his office door, as it was clearly typed out on Microsoft Word and printed out (in landscape mode!). But I like that the Devil looks to make his staff feel welcome.

I was also charmed by the performance of Collin Brock as Deacon Cain (yep, they even take (half of) the names of End of Days characters - crazy homeless people and a group of protecting priests are also involved), because he either thought he was making a Shakespearean horror film or simply operates on a level of irony that might be far too advanced for me to process. He sort of comes off like Donald Pleasence's understudy, but he looks like Donal Logue, rendering it pretty magical. If he was in the movie more, it would have made up for the lack of death scenes, but alas he's only in like 4 or 5 scenes.

We DO get a lot of Makinna Ridgway, however, playing dual roles. She's a lovely looking woman and a notch or two above the rest of her castmates in the acting department, and was seemingly being groomed to be a sort of Sarah Connor type character in a 3rd film if it ever came to pass, as she is giving birth to the child who can destroy the Antichrist (so there's a little bit of The Prophecy sequels in here too!). But 666 vs 777 or whatever the hell they'd call it has seemingly not come to pass, likely because making a SECOND sequel to a mockbuster would be too much for them to process. Hell they didn't even make a 3rd Transmorphers movie and those are licenses to print cynically generated money!

Well, whatever. I'm sure it won't even be the worst movie I see this week, and now I've seen all four films on this set, so I can get rid of it at my next HMAD screening (May 26th! The cult indie flick There's Nothing Out There!), so it's fine. And the movie is technically competent, which is more than I can say for even some of the Asylum entries I've had more fun with and thus should be noted. Five years ago I'd probably be calling this "Crap", but I've matured. Or gotten more burned out, I dunno.

What say you?


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