The Demons Of Ludlow

MAY 7, 2007


There are 3 things one never wishes to see during a credit roll:

- Starring Dane Cook
- Music by Harry Manfredini*
- Directed by Bill Rebane

*not counting the first five or six Friday the 13th movies.

Yes, Bill Rebane, the poor man’s Ed Wood, directed today’s movie. This is the man who once gave us a giant spider puppet thrown on top of a very visible car in order to let it “move”. Bless him. And in what has to be the strangest of all my “coincidences” so far, this movie shares not only a similar plot (which I knew beforehand) as yesterday’s movie, but was also filmed in Wisconsin, shares at least THREE cast members, and was boring as sin! What are the odds? 2 in 365, I guess.

Like I said, the movie has the same goddamn plot as Devonsville Terror (let’s place bets on how long it takes me to forget which movie is which. I’m guessing ‘later on today’), in that a town that has had the same 5 families living in it for hundreds of years is suddenly besieged by the laziest vengeful spirits in cinematic history. Though to be fair, this one has more action than Devonsville. For example, things happen before the movie is about to end.

But for what Devonsville lacked in action, Ludlow makes up for in cinematic ineptitude. Our first few scenes go by without any dialogue or explanation as to why we are watching these people do mundane things like brush their hair. And that’s just for starters! Later, there’s a hilarious scene of someone shining a flashlight on some old photos. At one point the flashlight goes to one photo, but the camera pans to another, so we just kinda sit there and wait ‘til the flashlight beam allows us to see what the hell we are looking at. Darkness is a recurring theme in Rebane’s films, and not in the meaningful way. More in the “oh I forgot to rent a light, fuck it let’s film the scene anyway” way. This leads to the unintentional hilarity of a scene where our two main characters meet for the first time.

“I know you,” the guy says. I wonder how he even knew someone was there.

Rebane also displays his genius plan to avoid having to edit two angles together. When two actors are arguing, rather than cut back and forth, he just zooms into a conveniently placed mirror, giving the impression of an alternate angle, and then zooms back out. Brilliant. Or stupid. Either/or.

And what would a Rebane film be without some truly worthless dialogue? Try this on for size: “It’s like a ghost town. I don’t have a weak stomach but I do have goose bumps. Might be because I’m cold,” which is by far the most useless line of dialogue this side of “He’ll be unstoppable, unless we stop him.” Not to be outdone, we are also given baffling nonsense like “I have tried to make you pretty, and you repay me with bad behavior. You were always like that, and that is why your name is Isabelle.”

That line is spoken by a little girl who is playing with her dolls. Then she hears a scream, and is convinced it’s one of the dolls. What follows is cinema’s all-time hilarious cutaway sequence:

“One of these things is not like the others…”

I get the impression Rebane forgot to buy a 3rd creepy prissy doll and sent a PA (who was probably his nephew) to the Salvation Army and that was the only doll he could find.

But the film is of use to old school Nintendo fans, as the song the old lady plays on the piano sounds suspiciously like the Ghost N’ Goblins theme. Ghost N’ Goblins, as I am sure you are aware, is the greatest game of all time that features a mostly nude man shooting javelins at zombies.

What say you?

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