One of the things that is often marked against this movie is that it supposedly, er, borrows from other genre films. I haven’t seen it before so I can’t verify any of this, but I pride myself on judging a film as itself, and not on its resemblance (good or bad) to someone else’s work. Let’s see if I can keep that work ethic alive and kicking! Perhaps even screaming!
Well, we open with an absolutely incredible logo sequence, for VCI Entertainment, where a camera careens through an old dark house, before coming across the logo, which was apparently lying in bed, waiting to attack; it springs at us, the screen goes dark for a second, then the logo is then splattered with blood! Damn, that was cool!
The actual movie credits open with some drums, bass and synths over a kind of pastel animated version of the old Doom corridors. The camera shoots down a corridor toward a wall, and a credit appears on the wall, and then the camera moves down the corridor to the next credit. The music is pretty good, a nice driving theme. Think of the music from near the end of The Terminator. Damn it, I’m doing it! Sorry, I’ll try to stop that.
And we open in the actual movie with someone in a uniform dragging someone else, who appears either dead or drunk (and is in a similar uniform); the non-animate one gets dumped into the back of a pickup truck, and we zoom in on a Texas license plate as the music is low and somber, like bits from The Resurrection of the Daleks. Okay, now I’m definitely going to stop that.
Cross fade to another Texas plate, on the front of a Cadillac or something. It’s parked outside a nice home somewhere out in, uh, I’m guessing Texas. Two guys discuss the sale of this house, and how the one selling is including the furniture, as “we have no real use for it. Sorta like the whole place.” They banter a bit more about selling the place and how, when you own your own business, you never get time off and stuff like that.
And we cut to see that there’s some lady down from the balcony where they are, and that the locale does look pretty lovely. It’s right by a lake with a, um, lake-house or something right next to the lake, being all lakey and everything.
The two guys discuss the selling of the house, and how the seller is going to invite his brother and some other folks up for a big party, “we’re gonna send the place off in style.” Oh, I bet they’re going to trash things and make the house unsellable! That would be forever evil of them. Okay, that was…low, of me.
I thought maybe the other guy, who affects a slight British accent, was the realtor, but he tells the guy that his “crew” charges a lot when they have to work the weekend. It can’t be movers, as the other guy said they’re not taking anything from the cabin. Cleaners?
Whoever he is, he gets in the Cadillac and drives away. The acting here isn’t bad, but it seems evident that the dialogue was looped in later. This part of Texas has some of the loudest birds around—I wonder if it’s near where the Carnivore used to live? That was in Illinois, if I remember (and I don’t) which is only a hundred thousand miles away from Texas, so it could happen.
The selling guy goes down to talk to the woman, who has a stuffed tiger, and the Cadillac pulls away. The two left behind have a somewhat cryptic conversation: “Did you think about it?” “I don’t know.” “It’ll be too late soon.” “I just don’t know.” I bet they’re talking about a pregnancy, but it could be about paying a bill or subscribing to cable at a swell rate—I’m hoping the film will fill in these gaps for us.
Just then, another car pulls up with another couple, “Robert” and his girlfriend, “Jeanie” and we find out Seller is named “Mark” so let’s use that. Now all we need is a name for Stuffed Tiger Lady, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to type “Stuffed Tiger Lady” more than twice. Per review.
Everyone goes off to greet Robert and Jeanie, newly arrived party-goers…of Doom! Okay, not yet, but come on, the title is Forever Evil and you know having a party in such circs is an invitation to doom to join the party, RSVP.
Anyway, the collected folks banter about clothes and such, while waiting for “Jay,” described by Robert as “the other mad scientist,” and, I’m thinking here, Mark’s brother.
Robert, who seems to be channeling Jeff Goldblum, asks about Mark’s “great invention,” the four day weekend. Actually, he doesn’t call it that, he doesn’t call it anything, really, but he’d like to see it. Mark joshingly says that the others are probably “industrial spies.” Man, the wit just flies off the screen, and finds the other wit hiding in the corner, and the two have a brief fist fight. But that only took place in my imagination, so don’t get antsy. As they banter some more about how Mark is going to be rich, the dialogue obviously goes into the dubbing booth, as the people are moving yet their voices stay front and center. And a little sports car drives up as the four go into the house, and I bet it’s Brother Jay, because if it’s Brother Voodoo I’m watching the wrong movie…again.
Jay drives up with Julie, and there are more hugs and bits of banter passed around as they get Jay’s groceries. And we still don’t have a name for Stuffed Tiger Lady (3). I could call her STL, but people might think that stood for Sexually Transmitted Laughter and get the totally wrong idea here.
Our assembled cast lugs in the groceries while making more small talk. The news that the “old cabin” is going to be sold is just that, news, to several of the assembled folk, but Jay points out that they need the money for marketing their swell new invention. While the others are pretty natural actors, Jay is a tad stiff. No, I don’t mean like he’s dead, or drunk, or dead drunk. Just that his line readings sound too line-read-y.
Jay says that the invention is a “condom with a time warp” that will let the wearer prevent his own birth. Yes, I recognize that as a joke, but the concept (oops) itself eludes my grasp. Perhaps Jay has invented a contraceptive that prevents one’s ideas from being transmitted. I can think of a thousand uses for that.
Everyone decides to have a look around the property, and there’s some decent banter which I won’t repeat here, except to note that it definitely sounds like the way smart alecks talk. But in a natural way. As they leave, the Stuffed Tiger gets left behind, so I guess Stuffed Tiger Lady (4) will just be Lady now. I suppose I could call her Preggers, but then when it turns out she was actually thinking of taking banjo lessons I’d get all embarrassed as I’d betrayed everyone again, and I’d go and lurk on the threshold and the police said they don’t want me to do that.
Incidentally, for those of you who think housework is hard, “bringing in the groceries” actually consists of simply leaving them on the counter. No need to bother with complicated refrigeration schemes or other modern, Godless heathenisms. You want ice cream, you eat it now, damn you!
As the assembled folk leave on their tour of the grounds, Mark takes something non-grocery (I thought at first it might be a movie camera, but now I don’t think so) out of Jay’s trunk (his car’s trunk) and a hand held camera observes them all to some menacing bass tones. But the hand-held camera decides they’re not interesting and looks back at the grass. I assume this is some kind of menace, and I must say it’s nice that the menace has some interest other than wreaking havoc, viz, local plant ecology. If more menaces had hobbies, think how that would improve relations with their victims. Jason Voorhees could talk about, say, stamp collecting before he ripped someone’s head off. That someone would then learn something new, which improves everyone. Yes, it would be a bit late but you can’t have everything.
And to the sound of thunder, we cut to Jay and Mark discussing Stuffed Tiger Lady (5). “She’s what?” says Jay, and Mark says, “You heard me” and, you know, let’s stop this oblique stuff, okay? “She’s [the town Monopoly champion]?” “You heard me.” “Are you sure?” “Look, she has Boardwalk and Park Place, I’m sure!”
I think Jay just names Stuffed Tiger Lady (6) as “Holly.” But that could be my ears shorting out. Jay and Mark discuss how birth control is unreliable, etc. Jay has a college sweater that says, and I quote, “College.” That’s it, no name or anything, just “College.” Now there’s an institution with pride as its middle name.
There’s more talk about what Mark ought to do about “Holly” so I guess that’s her name. And they get specific, so those of you who guessed “advanced banjo class” have to pay up. Now! PayPal me, ya losers!
Mark is confused about the situ, as Holly is uncertain what she wants to do. The dialogue here is again, pretty natural and unforced. Someone says the “pizza” is ready, and the two brothers decide to go in and get some of this pizza, and they note the storm brewing o’erhead. Mark declares this to be “heavy symbolism” but I think it’s just the sound man. Thanks, Rocky!
And we cut to the postprandial machinations of these folk, some of them playing cards, Holly off to the shower, and Jay and, uh, um, [scroll] Julie talk about sex and cards. Glenn Miller-ish jazz plays on the sound track as the characters all attempt to banter us to death. Again, I note it’s not badly written, or badly delivered banter, there just seems to be an awful lot of it; it’s like a whole house of, uh, I was going to say Billy Crystals but that is just too damn scary. No one needs to be scared like that, least of all you and I and the moonlight.
We get the thrilling poker scene, with an added fillup of pizza desire, and then we cut to outside with the hand-held monster (again, I assume it’s a monster, it could just be a pervert, it wouldn’t be the first time) advancing toward the house, opeing a door, and peeking in while Holly goes to take a shower. As Mr. Monster Cam moves closer to Holly, Jay reveals his real name (call the press) and we see Mr. Monster Cam’s shoulder cast a shadow over Innsmouth. I mean, on the door jamb. Same difference.
And Holly peels off her red robe and gets her nudity bonus. Because, you know, the first thing I do when I go to someone’s house for a party is have a shower. Doesn’t everybody? All the while the banter continues, this time discussing Mark and Jay’s real names. The depth of detail that goes into this discussion…George Lucas must have seen this movie. There’s no other explanation.
Cutting to the card game, more talk about Shakespearean names ensues, and Jay eats the last slice of pizza the way John Belushi ate that hapless hamburger in Animal House. Remember that? I was all, Wow, I didn’t know food could work that way.
More card talk as the assembled playas reveal their hands. (Hm. Microsoft Word thinks “playas” is spelled correctly?) The thing is, the movie’s not called Straight Flush of Doom so I’m not paying too much attention to who wins or loses, because, after all it’s not Strip Poker and besides, most of them are guys so there’s not that incentive thing. The lone gal, uh [scroll] Jeanie says she has to go off to “pee” (it lends truth to the characters) and the remaining guys jabber away.
I’m going to write the character names here so I don’t have to do too much scrolling. Mark, Jay, Robert. Holly, Jeanie, Julie. Keep moving folks, nothing here. And thank you for the flowers, they’re lovely.
Jay suggests a game of Crazy Eights, and Robert notes, “How plebian! I suppose next you’ll want to tell ghost stories around the fireplace.” Well, I was kinda hoping, yeah.
Robert calls Jay a “plebian” again and Jay calls Robert a “snot” and they all drink to snots. Ewww! Forever Evil: It’s not just for breakfast.
Just then, Jeanie screams, and when the guys rush to see whazzup, she says it’s Holly, and she thinks Mark ought not to “go in there.” But he does anyway, and he sees Holly on the floor of the shower stall, basically gutted and torn open. Mark doesn’t look too happy that all his paternal decisions have been made for him in this way.
Jay appears and pulls Mark out of there, as Mark notes that “the baby is gone.” Not sure how he knows this, as he had previously noted to the then-alive Holly that the time for an abortion was expiring soon, which would be first trimester? I dunno, but I think during that time the fetus is pretty tiny.
Holly definitely fulfills her nudity clause, by the way, and also her having guts piled on her abdomen clause. Mark is hustled out of there, and Jay turns off the shower, and as you can imagine nobody else is thinking par-tay anymore.
The four of them are now in some rec room area…only four of them? “Julie!” says Jay, but Robert prevents him from going back toward the Holly Gorey Showerstall, because he thinks Julie might have been the murderer. (Which when you think about it is at least logical, if not sensible. The other four were playing poker.)
It’s agreed, though, that Mark’s suggestion that they find Julie (murderer or not) and get out, is a pretty good plan and one they should follow. And we cut to black, and some syndrum beat beginning to happen. The door opens, and Mark opens his pocket knife to show he means business to anyone planning murders. I just hope they don’t say, hey, let’s all split up!
It turns out the dark was caused by a power failure (man, when it rains it pours), so Mark goes off to find a flashlight in the kitchen. But Mark, you have the only weapon! The others are defenseless!
Mark finds the flashlight, and there is a personage observing from some window, and then lightning flashes, and, with the aid of the incredible technology known only as slow-motion, I was able to see that this personage is some kind of ghoul looking person. Now, it could be he is just peddling subscriptions to some ghoul magazine and is very shy about knocking, but you know, old prejudices run deep, and I am betting he is up to no good. I’m sorry, but ghouls generally are! I am sure society is at fault if that makes you feel any better.
Mark returns to the gang and gives Robert the flashlight. Robert turns it on and shines it under his face, but instead of saying things like “Ahh oooo ahhh! I am Alfred Hitchcock, and it is scary!” he says they should all stick together and search the rooms methodically so they emerge with as many skins intact as they can carry with them.
They search the first tomb…uh, ROOM, which is Mark and Holly’s, and they find that Stuffed Tiger. Like most cats it is supremely indifferent to everything that is not food-like. Mark picks it up and cradles it tenderly. He hugs it with the regrets of what might have been.
Kudos to the actors, this is sold very well. Robert and Jeanie go off to check their room, while Jay comes up to Mark and tells him it’s time to join the others. Mark leaves the Stuffed Tiger behind, and he and Jay join Robert and Jeanie, who say they found nothing in their own room. As they contemplate going to the final room, Jeanie screams that something ran across her foot. Oh, sure, lady, you just want more attention, I know your kind!
A flashlight played across the floor tiles reveals nothing, except that the light in the last room suddenly goes on. The foursome debate what to do right about now, and the shifting in ambient noise as different folks step into the dubbing booth becomes quite intense; I’m kind of surprised it doesn’t have its own credit. Despite that, the sequence so far has been well done, very good building of tension and no one does (or suggests) anything stupid.
Jay decides to take charge and see what it is that has lit up this room. Everyone else follows in his wake. He calls out to Julie , politely at first, and not receiving an answer in the standard two seconds (hope she’s not on the john!) they count to three and open the door…only to discover a hideous surprise! The bedspreads are this appalling mix of browns, tans and whites! Argh, tell me when it’s over!
(Peeking through fingers). Well, they all decide there’s nothing of interest here, though no one has any idea of where J[scrolls] Julie might be, though one theory tossed out is that “she might have got scared.” Yeah, she might have got scared and ran off to be alone, so…um, so as to, er…savor the feeling. Because in Julie’s world, to show strong emotion is to admit to a weakness of the flesh, and to seek out others for comfort is worse than not rewinding.
Jay strides off in a kind of “My girlfriend is missing, I’m mad” way, while Mark looks at the rain outside and has this “My girlfriend is dead, I’m sad” thing going on. Robert and Jeanie, one presumes, take comfort in the fact that they’re alive and together, while Hercules teases his dwarf about being short. One presumes.
Anyway, they leave and immediately start bickering about something (hard to make out), and then, Hey, they’ve found Julie! She’s doing one of those things were you hang by your ankles. With your throat slashed. It’s in all the hip papers, like Police Gazette, Real Manliness, and Churning Bowels. But I think Julie is actually dead! Just a theory at this point but I trust my gut on this one.
”We’re…leaving,” says Robert. As the last remaining female, Jeanie exits stage right, while the males look at Julie’s cadaver like, Whoah.
As Robert and Jeanie prepare to leave, Mark wonders where the blood is, as “this room should be swimming in blood.” Robert disputes the practicality of this speculation in a rather direct manner, and insists that the four of them leave.
As Jay puts on his “College” sweater (ha ha), some floor-cam scoots along and grabs his leg, and yanks him through the nearest doorway. “Jay!” yells out Mark, just in case we’d forgotten who this latest victim was. He grabs Jay’s retreating arms, and Robert grabs Mark (in a way that can’t be misconstrued) and they struggle to yank the yelling Jay from his doom. Jeanie tries to help, but Robert insists that she remain where she’ll be safe, and she steps back, flumps her hair a bit, and generally acts like someone who’s been informed the mall has been, like, totally closed.
Back at the three-man save-Jay team, some red lights appear, and they seem to be coming from some red glowing eyes, that growl and hiss like some kind of Gorn. As that happens, a branch reaches through the kitchen and grabs Jeanie! Man, if it is not one thing, it is another! Interestingly, as the red eyes illuminate the hallway that Jay is being dragged down, we see nothing actually grabbing him. Jay, are you just starved for attention? You must act your age!
At the same time, Jay is yanked from his would-be rescuer’s grasp, and Jeanie is pulled from the house (her hand bloody from some broken glass that happened to show up). Robert runs off, and out of the house to find Jeanie, and Mark looks after where Jay used to be, toward those red eyes. And whatever it is in there, grabs Mark too, and starts to drag him off to his own personalized doom, but he grabs a fallen knife and flings it toward his oppressor, and the oppressor, audibly shaken by this turn, releases Mark after tearing up his jeans for him. Mark closes the door to this corridor of doom.
Hang on. Cheese for the cat.
But the thing on the other side of the door starts smacking the door big time. Fortunately, Mark tells it “No!” so many times that it gives up and goes away.
He sees the strung up Julie, there, and decides that a good plan is one that involves skeddadling. So he proceeds to do so, going to the first car he finds, but you know who was already in there? Yeah, Robert. Only he’s rather dead and bloody, so he ignores Mark’s awkward conversation starter of “Robert!”
Mark decides this is a good time for vomiting, but wouldn’t you know it? Before he can hwarf up anything, those red eyes appear and start growling again. So, Mark revises his plan from skeddadling to hightailing, and he runs through the woods. And he’s grabbed by a zombie with a nice suit, a bolo tie, and red glowing eyes. This zombie, let’s call him Teodore, grabs Mark by the neck and hoists him, laughing zombie-like at Mark’s predicament vis a vis imminent death.
Fortunately, Mark activates his Superman watch, and Superman appears and beats the crap out of the zombie (literally) and runs back in time so fast that all Mark’s pals come back to life as non-zombies. And Superman winks at the camera at some pun someone says (“Thanks, Superman! You’re the ‘life’ of the party!”)
Okay, I admit it, that previous paragraph didn’t happen. But there’s no reason it couldn’t have. I mean, what we had before was some folks at a party, and then they mostly got killed. Why? I don’t know. There wasn’t any radiation from the Venus probe. No one played a recording of the Book of the Dead. No one opened the long-sealed tomb. Hell, no one played any records backwards. It’s almost as if the demons were sitting around, spinning the Wheel of Fortune, and one of them said, “Rudolpho the Expedient, I’d like to buy a cabin in Texas!” and thus, this. So Superman could show up any moment.
Where were we? Oh, Mark in the clutches of Teodore. Mark reaches out and punctures one of Teodore’s eyes, which oozes green slime so much that Mark gets dropped. And Teodore touches the icky slime where his eye was, and howls, while Mark watches this incredible (and affordable) medical miracle before remembering his hightailing plan. Which he does, running tough the (remarkably well-lit) woods.
Back to Teodore, he is looking at his eye in his hand, thinking how the whole setup just seems wrong from what he remembers, and he yowls about how confusing this situ is. And he decides to stick with plan A, which was, grab Mark and uh, menace him thoroughly.
Speaking of Mark, he runs until he falls, and finds that he has fallen next to a highway. Figuring this means safety, he goes to the middle of the road and flips old Teodore (hidden in the woods) the bird, and spits out his relief. And a car zooms right at him, and he’s like, Hey, I didn’t mean this! And he gets lit up by the headlights before the metallic smackdown, and then he shoots awake from his hospital bed. It was all just a dream!
Ha ha, I kid, it wasn’t a dream at all. But Mark is now in the hospital where he has been since the 75th issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. (I’m guessing.) Some nurses note that he is awake now, and they try to question him about his experience, but you know, he has been through a lot and his reticence is pretty easy to understand.
He gives his full name, says that her three fingers are “twelve” (I think) and says that the current president is, “Who cares, can you get these things [straps] off of me, I’m starting to panic.” You see, this is a clever way for the film not to date itself by naming a president. Also, I didn’t know that folks hit by cars were strapped down, but perhaps he’d been up to a bit of raving.
Another nurse brings a shot, which she says won’t hurt, but it does! You see, that’s funny because she said the opposite. The first nurse reveals that Mark has been out for “days” and she thinks he ought to have something to drink. She chose water for Mark, me, I’m talking to my good pal Bud!
The nurse takes off the straps, and they do this hand squeeze thing. It tells the nurse a lot about Mark, because nurses have these powers that do that for them. She reveals that he had, and has, a lot of broken bones from when the car hit him. Mark takes this to mean that “it really happened.” The nurse confirms that yes, it did.
The nurse asks him, “Why were you in the road? Why were you out there at that hour, in that weather?”
”You mean you don’t know?” Mark asks.
Nurse indicated that she asked the question for that very reason. Mark says, “The cabin.”
And we cut to the woods again. We hear the police on the police band, talking about stuff in police talk, as some guy in a cool old car drives up. He stops (his car makes an awful racket as he does) and he steps out, to his own bassline. As the radio continues blaring, he walks past another car, some ambulances and folks trundling away bodies. We hear an argument between what sounds like a cop and what sounds like a reportette. Old guy continues on to the house, and we finally see the two bickerers, and Reportette appeals (verbally) to old guy, who is Leutenant Ball. The cop asks Lt. Ball if it’s okay that reportette go in and investigate for her story. Cop notes that the lady has no ID, but “she just wants to take some pictures,” but in the middle of the cop’s spiel, Reportette says never mind and walks off. And she runs off to her car. And she drives off. Okay, I kind of get that she wasn’t an actual reporter, and she’ll figure later in the story. She’d better.
As she drives off, some goobery guy comes out, turns out he’s the actual press person and Lt Ball and he greet each other warmly. They talk about how bad this slaughter is, and agree that it is bad, much worse than some train wreck of a while back. Lt. Ball asks the news-goober, “Give me some time on this, will ya?”
News-goober thinks about that a moment and takes a puff on his pipe. “Twenty-four hours,” he decides.
Wow, and people think the press nowadays is arrogant!
Inside, Lt. Ball greets another older guy, who has found a rubber hand and is going to put it in a baggie.
They mention that there’s a survivor (Mark) at the hospital, and Hand Guy’s daughter Lisa is “taking care” of him, and Hand Guy says that Lt. Ball sees Lisa more than he, her dad, does; Lt. Ball says that is what Hand Guy gets for “being an old grouch.”
Lt Ball goes in to look at more bodies, while Hand Guy goes out for a smoke. Lt Ball comes out shortly after, and actually says, “I’m getting’ too damn old for this.” Yeah, but is he two days from retirement?
Hand Guy notes that the slaughter would “make Manson puke.” He then asks, “What the hell happened, Leo?”
”Something horrible, [Hand Guy], something horrible.” No, you’re kidding me! Really?
And we cut to the hospital, where the weirdest storm clouds ever flash in a burst of lighting. It looks like mountains of water.
And we cut to Mark, breathing heavily in his room whilst asleep, obviously having bad dreams. Will this lead to a dream sequence? Can the film-makers resist?
Guess so, cause we cut to some lady in her bathroom hearing her phone ring. She answers it, and it’s Lt Ball, who asks her for a favor. There’s a lot of “Uh huh”s on her part before she says no. Lt Ball asks why not, as he’s a cop, and she says, well, she’s a doctor. Is this nurse from a while ago, the hand-squeezer?
Cutting to Lt. Ball’s bulletin board, where he has pinned up stories about murders and blood cults, and something that says “dog” followed by “terrorized the” and “five centuries.” We pull out and see that this was about a “devil dog” and then there’s the headline, “Ashes of cremated baby make eerie sounds.”
Well…what other kinds of sounds would you expect them to make? Sheesh.
Anyway, nurse says that Mark would be totally wigged out by reliving his awful experience (I’m paraphrasing). Lt. Ball tells her she’s beautiful when she’s self-righteous. He definitely has this Harry Dean Stanton thing going.
Nurse asks him why this can’t wait a week. Uh, because there’s a possible insane murderer running around, and maybe Mark can help with that? That sounds like a compelling reason to me, and that’s what I would say.
But a sneaky-cam lopes toward Lt. Ball’s outside window! Lt. Ball has a poster for Ridley Scott’s first feature film, The Duelists, on his wall.
Nurse says that she’s seen awful things too, and the stuff that Mark is telling her, “is exactly the stuff he should be telling me,” Harry Dean…um, Lt. Ball finishes for her.
His Lt. Sense tingling, he notices something outside, puts down the phone, and goes out to the porch, gun drawn. He looks around a bit.
Nurse starts getting impatient, then Lt. Ball sits down and tells her he just wants ten minutes of Mark’s time.
So, the sneaky cam was just a diversion? Wow, that is sneaky.
At the hospital, nurse is wheeling Mark around, telling him that Lt. Ball is just a cop, “not the boogie man.” She gets called away to look at some charts. Turns out, in a bit of irony, that “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC and the Sunshine Band is number one on these charts! That is beyond eerie, man. Also, it is a total lie I made up. But, you knew that, right?
Mark looks through Modern Bride magazine to pass the time, but finds it unbearable. See, he and Holly…well, you remember. Nurse is captivated by these charts, and Mark frets and frets, and looks up, and sees the Reportette from earlier staring at him, and he stares at her, and she stares back—man, the suspense! Which one will blink first?
Finally nurse shows up and wheels him away. Darn, now we’ll never know!
And we cut to a cafeteria with the world’s most unappealing looking food. It looks like medical waste, in sauce. Lt. Ball is judging which looks least awful, and there’s a bit of comedy dialogue, and I guess he passes on all the entrees and just gets some sticky buns. He goes to sit with nurse and Mark.
They all introduce one another and there’s some banter. Actually, like most of the banter, it’s pretty good, pretty well written and genuine sounding at the same time. I’d quote more of it but, let’s be honest, it’s banter and its function is to make noise on the soundtrack pleasant to listen to.
Nurse leaves, tells Lt. Ball he has ten minutes, and Lt. Ball stirs his coffee, and he says he needs Mark’s help.
”You need my help?” Mark asks, again valmorphanizing the person’s question. Is Mark hard of hearing or something?
Lt. Ball talks about his war experience in some kind of supposedly relevant way. He says that vets can recognize each other instantly, and he sees the same look in Mark.
He tells Mark he’s seen the cabin, and Mark says, “But you don’t have any idea—“
Lt. Ball cuts him off. “I’ve seen it before. Don’t think you’re special.” He should add “—bitch” to the end of that, but he doesn’t.
Mark asks for a cigarette, and asks Lt. Ball what’s going on. Lt. Ball admits he doesn’t know, other than it’s “deep. Very deep.” (More Resurrection of the Daleks music here. Oh, sorry!) Mark reveals that he’s getting out of the hospital in two days, and Lt. Ball gives Mark his business card, saying that he and Mark need to talk. He then leaves, having taken practically none of his promised ten minutes. He should get a refund!
Fade on Mark, smoking (smoking in the hospital!) and taking a big puff. And fade in to some nice house out in the country. Some woman with a thick accent starts jabbering, and we fade to the same house at evening time, with the woman still going on! Wow, and I thought my cat Thera was bad for continuous loud talking.
And we cut inside, and the woman lights a cigarette from a candle and starts talking about astrology stuff, and in the background, some Dr. Freex-looking guy puts on a medallion and waits for his cue. The woman goes on and on, while the Dr. Freex-looking guy gazes wistfully at some knives and turns out some of the lights. The woman continues to noise pollute (without a license) the whole time.
The Dr. Freex Kinda Guy sits with a deck of tarot cards, and tells the woman to shhhhh. She does, after a moment (a long moment) and looks ready to receive the wisdom of the cards.
He deals the cards, while noting that this is this woman’s fiftieth visit (well, it’s a wonder he’s not deaf) and also noting that the Sumerians thought 50 was unlucky.
He starts uncovering cards, the first says that an old acquaintance will come with a gift. There’s also either a new job, or a trip for pleasure (seems a bit vague, eh?). So far, she’s pretty happy with her fortune.
He notes that things will be changing for her, too. She’s still happy.
”This,” he says, picking up a card, “is the basis of the situation.” And he turns over the card, and it looks like a monk with skewers in his back. “Ohhh…” he says, looking kind of unhappy at this. He explains that it means “bad luck.” You mean it’s not Acupuncture?
She prepares to light another cigarette, and he says, “Stop everything. Plan very, very carefully.”
The Dr.Freex-kind of guy says that “Something a young man is doing right now will affect you very profoundly”. He turns over another card, which looks like “Dude at the Head Shoppe” but Dr. Freex Kinda Guy doesn’t like this at all, and sees a spinning medallion. He broods over this for quite some time, as Talkathon Gal gets impatient. Guy orders her to be quiet as he is trying to think. Oh, good luck with that, pal.
He deals out some more cards, and turns them over, and gets “The Tower,” “The Devil” and “Death” which you know can’t be good, right?
And he, uh, goes spinning through a vast dark void, which I guess was in the other room. But then he spins back. It was kind of quick, maybe it wasn’t him, maybe it was Dr. John doing some night-tripping.
Dr. Freex Kinda Guy tells Lady Talksalot “you must leave here.”
Well, she protests that she paid him twenty dollars, so he tosses down some bills while getting her coat, and she says the money is over fifty dollars. He opens the door and answers, “Gas money!” which is pretty funny, really. (Especially nowadays.)
And she goes to her car, and back indoors he hurridly packs his bags, including a gun.
And back to Lady Talksalot, who hears dogs bark, then something grumble, and she gets attacked by a very bright flashlight from behind.
Dr. Freex Kinda Guy hears this, loads his gun faster and pokes around some more in some closets and stuff. Gotta pack those old issues of Mad magazine, I guess. And a hat.
He goes toward the door, but it’s filled with a bright light, and a silhouette. He sees this and thinks that maybe the back door is a better idea. But the exit from this room suddenly swings shut of its own accord, and Dr. Freex Kinda Guy looks at it like, Man, this totally sucks.
He turns, and the front door opens slowly, to reveal a guy in a monk’s robe.
Dr. Freex Sort of Guy pulls out his gun and shoots at the robe, but the bullets bounce off in cartoon spangles, and the robe laughs evilly. Robe then says something like, “Ooh, you have powers, yet you play with toys,” and he magnetically snatches the gun away, and holds it up, and it glows red, and turns into delicious cherry Jell-O, and he and Dr. Freex Kinda Guy enjoy Jell-O and laugh about this little misunderstanding.
Yeah, okay, not really. Robe just disintegrates the gun, and asks Dr. Freex Kinda Guy if he knows who he is.
Dr. Freex Kinda Guy, being the first person to not greet a question like this with, “Are you asking if I know who you are?” says he, in fact, does know who this robe guy is.
”And still, you would aid my enemies against me?” Well…how else would that work?
”I know your power lies in fear. I do not fear you.”
”Foolish mortal,” says Robe, his eyes glowing red, “you will!” And he shoots out a beam of energy which pins Dr. Freex Kinda Guy to the wall, and Robe laughs as Dr. Freex Kinda Guy still claims not to fear him. And we cut to the outside, where we hear Robe laugh as energy shines through the house windows. And then we fade to black.
…no, no, I’m sure it will all tie in together at some point. No, of course I don’t think they threw that in just to pad the running time. I mean, who would do that?
Fade in on someone reading the microfiche newspaper files. It’s Mark, and he’s reading all about murders and things, and writing relevant stuff down in his journal. And a sneaky-cam comes up behind him. But then it goes over to check something else, but soon rounds a corner to look at him some more, and it turns out to be Reportette. She kinda looks at him for a while. She debates whether to stay or go, and turns away a couple of times, then turns back, and finally asks Mark if he’s Mark.
”Am I Mark Denning?” asks Mark, like he always does. Ha ha, just kidding, he actually just says “Yes.”
She introduces herself as “Reggie” and he says if she’s a reporter, “I’m not making any more statements.”
”Well, that was a statement,” she says.
”No, it was a declaration.”
”A declaration is a statement,” she says. “Where’d you go to school, Hooterville?”
Okay, I made all that up. After he says he’s not making statements, she says, “I’m not a reporter.”
He turns to look at her, then turns back to the newspaper, and I guess he double-clicked on the “coincidence” button because, guess what! There’s Reggie’s picture in the paper, as the sole survivor of a previous butcher-fest in the woods.
And I know it’s a cheap shot, but I can’t help but read the article under the headline, which says “[Something] who on Monday presented an outline of the master plan to Mayor Kathy Whitmore and several City Council members, said improvements at Ellington would cost the city about $62 million over the next 20 years.”
It goes on like that for the whole article. I had no idea the improvements would cost that much! No wonder there was a butcher-fest. I mean, $62 million!
Cut to Mark hobbling on his cane talking to Reggie, asking her what she’s been up to for “the past three years” which I guess is when the demons killed her family.
She says she’s been checking out every haunted house she could find. He asks if she’s rich, and she says that she was beneficiary if her fiancé ever met a violent death. Now, that’s a specialized policy, let me tell you.
Once again, the birds in Texas are really loud. But Reggie and Mark move on and start throwing rocks in a pond, because that symbolizes how fragile is the bond that holds us all together, where a simple rock—or attack by demons—and break the delicate lines that bind all humanity together. Am I right here?
Reggie is apparently pretty thorough about investigating these goings-on, and she wants to “compare notes” (as Mark puts it) with others who have had similar experiences, and that august number includes Mark himself. But they’ve got more pebble tossing to do first, and no, that is not a euphemism.
”I can’t tell you what a [long pause] relief it is, to find someone who knows,” she says, and Mark nods sagely at this common binding they share. Because, you know, having all your pals or family killed by monsters, monsters from the id, frequently brings people together. That’s why it’s a common question on those dating service questionnaires.
If you don’t believe me, you can read the liner notes to Rubber Soul.
Mark asks her how she got away, and there’s a long bit where a music drone is inserted, and she…well, she says she had a knife and slashed at “it” when “it” came for her. Man, with a pause like that, I expected her to say, “I made a deal with it, to bring it all the sacrifices who had escaped its clutches! Here, Mark, do you like my perfume? It’s-- chloroform! Mwu ha ha ha!” But she didn’t say anything like that.
She says that she “hurt it” as she “heard it scream,” and then she hid under the floorboards and waited three whole days before the police came. All the while she says this, a ground cam lurks around a tree and around some sinister pigeons (ever met one who wasn’t constantly nodding “yes”? They’re agreeing with Satan!) and continues to spy on their ankles and feet. This cam goes right up to Reggie as she talks about how “melodramatic” her speech sounds, and then the cam bumps right into her knee! Clumsy demon, quick, shoot it now!
Only, it’s not a demon, it’s a very nice puppy dog, who, having bumped the knee, sits down waiting for his next cue. Mark gets points with me by giving this dog the petting he needs (and has earned, by his false-scare knee-bump), and then he looks at his watch and asks if Reggie has a car. She says she has a truck. Is this a plot point?
Mark says he was supposed to pick up “a detective” ten minutes ago, and well, he’s late, and he asks Reggie if she wants to come along. Earlier, we guessed that Reggie and Lt. Ball (and I’m guessing he is the intended meeting person) had some history.
Hmm, maybe, maybe not. She asks if she should come along, and he says that she seems to need to, and the music gets all tender electric piano. Mark is still petting the dog, so if he (Mark) gets killed this movie is losing a letter grade. If he (dog) gets killed, well, you’d better see me after class young man.
Cut to a highway where Reggie and Mark are driving, with Lt. Ball in the back seat. Mark mentions how Reggie is investigating stuff, and Lt. Ball is like, all snooty and hard-nosed about this. Mark sees this line of questioning is not a good one to pursue, so he asks Reggie where she’s living now, and again, the fact that these two (Lt. Ball and Reggie) know each other can, like, cut the tension with a knife, and then cut it again for convenient servings.
Finally, she admits she lives in the truck, and Lt. Ball holds up a bra and says, “Nice décor,” and there’s some more awkward banter.
Reggie asks Lt. Ball how long he’s been a Lt, and he says, “Long enough to regret it,” as he’s poking around in Reggie’s personal stuff. Okay…maybe they DON’T know each other. I give, man.
He comes across a photograph of…uh, someone. And he asks Mark, “Isn’t this your real estate agent?”
Mark says it sure is, and asks Reggie where she got the photo. She doesn’t answer.
Is THIS why the demons attacked? The world screams this question. Well, part of it does, a small part.
As they continue to drive, Mark notes that the real estate guy was also Reggie’s family’s real estate guy, and this seems suspicious; Lt. Ball doesn’t think so, though, and they drive up to some place owned by a “Ben Magnus” who has advised Lt. Ball on “some pretty weird cases.” And they park at…the house owned by that Dr. Freex Kinda Guy! Wow, the threads, like the web of a deadly spider, all converge! We’re hoping, at any rate!
They all tumble out of the car (“Broad drives like a bat out of hell,” Lt. Ball says in what is obviously supposed to be an aside) and they approach the house as birds sing on the soundtrack. Those birds, man, unaware of the evil that slumbers…er, that has been awakened, and is now, um, killing people that it was already killing years ago…okay, I’m going to stop trying to figure it out. But, as an aside, has a demon ever been awakened that WASN’T in a cranky mood?
Reggie notes that the house seems deserted; this is enough to set off Lt. Ball’s Detective Sense, and he gets out his gun (after calling for Ben once). Inside, they see that it looks as if Ben was packing to leave. One box, right there where the camera can see it, has “stuff for Leo” written in all caps in red magic marker. (Leo is Lt. Ball’s first name.)
Yes! It all makes sense! Uh, well, I’m sure it will. Soon. It’s been building up to it, you see.
Mark notes that this box “for Leo” has a lot of old books in it. And you’ll never guess what one of them is!
--okay, who said Necronomicon? Who said that? Well, stop it, you’re throwing off the curve!
Anyway, yes, it was the Necronomicon, and the book under that is called “The Gate and The Key.” We can also see that “Stuff for Leo” is written on the front as well, so there’s just no excuse for Reggie and Mark NOT to have said, “Hey, Leo! Leo! Stuff for you, here!”
And he’d say, “Huh? You want me to stuff WHAT, you young punks!” But that would be an easily cleared up misunderstanding, and everyone would laugh when it was resolved, and we’d freeze frame and go to the closing credits.
Cue closing credits…now!
…what the hell!
So, they go through more of what are, technically, Lt Ball’s books, including “Lost Gods” (have you looked behind the refrigerator? Man, that joke never gets old. Also, under the sofa cushions) and “The Chronicles of Yog Kothag,” which I bet is better than The Chronicles of Riddick. Well, I bet it is more to the point.
In this latter volume, they find some newspaper clippings, and as they pause to read them, we cut to Lt. Ball roaming around on his own through the rest of the house. Previously, he had admonished Reggie and Mark to “stay close” as they entered the house, but I guess he just said that for show, you know, so that his death would be poignant, and they could be sad that they were reading old newspaper clippings instead of dying with him. Because that’s what it does.
Lt. Ball enters a room that was, um, insufficiently non-spooky or something, and finding that it contains nothing, he heaves a sigh of relief and his gun is now no longer at the ready. Who wants to bet this is a mistake? Put your hand down, Necronomicon-boy. Let someone else answer.
Lt. Ball looks out the window, and sees the cute dog from earlier wandering around the back yard. Suddenly, the door behind him swings shut, and he trains his gun on it. After two seconds, he decides this door-closing-on-its-own business is old hat, and he turns and looks out the window again. But the cute dog is gone! He looks around for it, unbuttons his vest, and returns to the others.
--you mean, we don’t get a shocking deathh scene? Well, shut my mouth and shellac my clichés! Reggie and Mark (finally) note that all this stuff is for him, and they show him the clippings they were reading. Turns out, Jennifer and Brad are getting back together! I’m sure you’re all as relieved as I am.
But enough of that, as Mark talks about how, according to the clippings “sixty five years ago” a museum was robbed of a Yog Kothag Official Decoding Dagger, which was then used to kill a whole family. Turns out Lt. Ball has the same clipping, according to Mark, but damned if I remember when Mark was anywhere near Lt. Ball’s clippings.
Mark and Reggie mention Real Estate Man, how he can’t possibly be sixty five years old (Grecian formula, maybe?), but the “Yog Kothag” stuff means that these murders aren’t just murders any more, they’re…sacrifices.
Lt. Ball, while the other two expostulate, opens an envelope and drops it and says, “What the hell, what the hell.”
It’s probably a rejection slip. Know the feeling only too well, myself. Sigh.
Reggie grabs the paper from the envelope and reads it for us. “Leo, thank you for submitting ‘Forever Evil’ for our consideration. Regretfully, it is not suitable for our present needs, but best of luck to you.”
Do I even need to say that isn’t what it actually says? It’s a letter from Ben, saying that “he’s” coming back, Ben is vamoosing, and Ben suggests that as a suitable plan for Lt. Ball as well.
Lt. Ball has retired to the outside, where Mark asks him to be specific about what’s going on. Lt. Ball, however, is not heaving up any exposition unless it is between gouts of blood between his clenched teeth. I’m guessing.
Lt. Ball, to the strains of tender electric piano, goes back to the Reggie truck, and suddenly, we cut to a full moon, and a woman, uh, nursing a cat. She’s on the phone to someone and she’s gossiping as she’s poking through some magazine. If anything spells “dead meat” this is it. As the cat jumps off and runs away, she continues to blather on endlessly. For some time, actually. Rather a lot of time, now that you mention it.
And then some headlights, which I call the Headlights of Mercy, pan over her window and she goes to see who this visitant might be.
And it’s Ed McMahon, with a giant check from Publisher’s Clearing House! The only caveat is, she has to spend the check…ON MURDER!
No, no, you’re right, it was just Reggie’s truck, letting out Lt. Ball, who notes how his garbage has been turned over.
Phone Woman notes how this is “nothing,” it is just Lt Ball “from across the street.” She then signs her death warrant in indelible ink by noting that “nothing exciting ever happens around here. I gotta go. Bye!” And she hangs up the phone.
And we cut to Reggie and Mark pulling up and parking elsewhere.
--you mean, that irritating lady isn’tt going to die a horrible death?
--movie, please see me after class. I’ll call your parents.
Mark tells Reggie that he guesses this parking thing she’s done, means “this is it.”
”Um, yup,” she says.
And there’s some banter about how they’d totally like to sack out together in a montage of sultry sax and electric piano, but, you know, they’re like completely shy and stuff, and Mark invites her in for coffee, the sly dog.
Before they go on in to Mark’s terrific apartment d’amour, Reggie goes back to get the box of “Stuff for Leo.” Because, nothing says caring for your stuff more than letting you forget it when you get out of the van, then taking it off the van so it requires a special trip to get it back to you. You know? I heard that on MTV once and have always taken that to heart.
So, Reggie grabs the box of stuff, and she turns away and sees…the cute dog from earlier, which became a bit ominous, and now is totally ominous. Man, it is such a cute dog, too. I hope that dog is still alive and living on residuals (note: I hate bad news).
The dog watches Reggie take the box away.
And we cut inside, to erotic electric piano (good) playing as Reggie looks at clippings of horrible murders (bad). Mark, making coffee, talks about Holly (you may recall her as Stuffed Tiger Lady) (old girlfriend) (bad) saying she “knew how to use makeup” (good or bad? I, I, I dunno!).
He goes on to say how he and she were best friends, but one day, he saw her without makeup and “fell in love on the spot.” Well, he’s a man after my own heart, I must admit. Oh! Three strikes! Awwwright! Heh-heh!
He hands out the coffee, which, as anyone who drinks coffee knows, is full of caffeine and won’t allow sleep. Nudge nudge wink wink! I am way too old for this.
Reggie then spills the details about how she met “Bruce” who was her fiancé that left her all that cash in his will. She remembers when he gave this great lecture, and it totally burned her (at the time) that he didn’t remember giving that lecture, but she did.
Mark offers how he can, like, totally relate to that, and she’s like, completely, Oh, I know what you mean, and uh, insert relevant clause here. (Who says these reviews don’t write themselves?)
”I got away,” Reggie says, “but I still got maimed.”
Mark asks her, what next, is she going to go home? (Mark, she lives in her truck. Home is twenty yards away.) (You doof.)
She admits that she doesn’t know where home is, now, that the “investigating” has kept her going, but, “It happened again, you know what I mean? What’s the use?”
”Stay here with me,” Mark says.
”What?” Reggie asks. “Why?”
Mark says they could join “forces” and pool “resources” and fight “this thing together.”
”You’ve got Leo,” Reggie says, illuminating an angle I had not thought of. How modern of the film-makers!
Mark notes that Leo is tied down to “old ideas” and “even older methods.” Pause. “And a major obligation to uphold the law,” he says mockingly, like that’s a bad thing. “Well, I got a news flash, what we’re dealing with doesn’t give a damn about any law, and that’s assuming you could lock it up. Leo’s good,” he concludes, “but he doesn’t have any idea what he’s dealing with.” So, all those newspaper clippings were just a bluff, then? Or what?
”We do,” Mark says. “We’ve seen it. Stay with me.”
”And do what?” she asks, but hold, before your dirty imaginations kick in, his answer is quite different.
”I’m gonna find it, and I’m gonna kill it.”
Reggie protests that Mark has “seen what it can do.”
Mark says that happens when people aren’t ready. He intends to be ready. Reggie goes off to the kitchen area and says, “I dunno, Mark.”
But then she turns and looks, and stares, and there’s a loud knocking which may be just part of the music or it may be someone trying to get in, but at any rate we follow her stare as we zoom in on one of the old clippings…and see the cute dog.
Okay, I suppose it’s not a cute dog any more, it’s an Evil Dog from Beyond Hell. Except that it is a cute dog, and Mark petted it earlier, so I’m hoping this is just one huge coincidence that happened to get its own zoom shot.
Reggie runs out of the house and into the dark, and looks around her car. Mark goes to follow, but…there’s nothing there! Mwu ha ha ha! Er, okay. And we fade to black.
”Rise and shine, Mark, it’s time to go zombie hunting,” says Reggie’s voice, and Mark turns on the light in the kitchen.
Actually, it isn’t the kitchen, thanks to Reggie’s expository powers, it turns out to be the garage, though it is furnished a lot like a school house. There’s even a blackboard and a map of the US of A. America—F*ck yeah! And the ceiling lights are fluorescent. Sure looks like a classroom. Reggie, impressed with this garage (cough) asks if Mark is rich.
Mark admits that he is, since his father invented some plastic thing that keeps helicopter blades from falling off. This seems a bit off, history-wise, since this takes place in the 80’s, Mark’s dad must have invented this thing, when? Late 1930’s? Well, I won’t dwell on it at length…except I already have. Damn it, I am always doing that!
Reggie asks about some object on the bench, and Mark says this is the “Emergency Grappling System” which he and his brother Jay were going to get rich marketing. It’s basically a forearm-mounted device that shoots a harpoon (with a line attached). I can see where that would be useful (and, naturally, it will come into play later), but rich? Do people who buy stuff at Radio Shack have that much economic clout?
Anyway, Mark demonstrates that it is not only a harpoon, it is also a winch, but (plot point, ahoy!) it can only be fired once. Reggie pronounces it “Cute.” She says, though, that she “was thinking of something a bit more practical.”
And we cut to a cardboard cut-out of a “bad guy” (not, I should note, a Bad Dude, so therefore not bad enough to rescue the President) which suddenly gets shot full o’holes. And we cut to Mark, holding the pistol, being advised in his firearm technique by none other than Lt. Ball. Lt. Ball advises Mark on the whys and wherefores of proper gun shootage, and so on, and it’s pretty cool stuff to hear, as Lt. Ball obviously likes this advising stuff and knows his guns. (One has to assume that Mark told Lt. Ball why he needs firearm practice. This may be—may be—the first movie ever where the representative of the law is just all right and fine with civilians going out to hunt up some zombies and assorted devils on their own, and not leave such stuff to the police. Shooting zombies and assorted devils? Perfectly okay in Texas. Provided zombies and devils are in season, of course. Those of you afraid of zombies and devils might consider moving there.)
Lt. Ball asks Mark if he (Mark) got the police bulletin that he (Lt. Ball) sent to him (Mark) about serial killers. Mark says he did, and he enjoyed it, and he has a magazine for Lt. Ball himself! It’s something called Cosmos Monthly, which isn’t like “Cosmo” which is short for Cosmopolitan, which is where ladies talk about lady-stuff and the men get generally shut-out of all those lady mysteries. Mark asks Lt. Ball to read one particular article, not the one “How to Please Your Man,” or the one “Make Orgasms Last for Days” but the one about Quasars, in particular, one called the “Ghost Quasar” which “pulses irregularly” every few years—right when the mass murders happen!
There’s a couple of pulsings when nothing seemed to happen, which Lt. Ball seizes on as proof of nonsense, but Mark says the bodies just haven’t been found yet. Lt. Ball reluctantly agrees to check around in neighboring states (where zombie and devil hunting is strictly regulated, as herds that once darkened the plains have been reduced to scrabbling mini-tribes, and the damned things won’t breed in captivity. Sierra Club’s all going nuts—mostly because I am beating this joke into the ground.)
Lt. Ball also notes that he has been checking on Parker Nash, which is the name of Real Estate Guy from way early in the movie.
Lt. Ball says the guy checks out, no bad credit or anything, but history of him stops about thirty years ago.
Reggie pops down just then, to remind Mark that they are going to a movie, and that she is double parked. Mark goes upstairs to accompany, and I guess this means that this is Lt. Ball’s house. As Mark departs, Lt. Ball asks him if he trusts Reggie, and he notes that she was at the scene of the Mark massacre. Mark says he knows that, just because he knows that.
And we cut to a marquee that says “The Jet Benny Show.” My brain is betting on something about Jack Benny (do a Google search) in some episode of The Jetsons (another Google search). Did they make a movie of that?
It doesn’t matter, because what we see is everyone leaving in post-cinematic glow (there’s an article in Cosmo about this), and Reggie notes that it was a “nice movie” so it wasn’t like it totally sucked and everyone left after Rocky Jones told Winky he should stop ribbing the Lightning Moon King about his accent. Because we’d see a scene of everyone going to the ticket booth to get their money back (this happened a lot in the 1980’s).
Mark notes that it is now dark outside. Reggie asks if he’s “okay” with it being dark, and he says (keeping the R Rating Holly’s nudity bought), “Yeah, f*ck it, let’s go.”
And we cut to a house bathed in the glow of an early morning light. Reggie’s making breakfast. Eggs, actually. Oh, wait, a green pepper appears, and is mercilessly slaughtered, so what we have is an omelet in the offing.
Reggie gets a thoughtful look, and looks at the knife, and swings it as if in a rage, but then returns to her omelet duties.
Cut to a graveyard, where…Mark, wearing a hat which totally obscures his Mark-ness (Superman, I will never make fun of your lame glasses disguise again) is walking around, looking at gravestones, and making notes on a clipboard. Here’s hoping his notes aren’t just, “Gravestone, another gravestone, yet another gravestone, good grief, another gravestone, he’s your dog, Gravestone,” and so on. Oh, oh! Also, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Gravestone.” Forgot to put that one in!
A distant rumbling catches his attention, and some angry clouds roll over the sunny day, and Mark looks pretty upset at this. Suddenly, a female rises (back to us) and calls to him.
He whirls around, and sees a dead version of Stuffed Tiger Lady (I’ve already forgotten her name). She asks if he misses her.
”Holly?” Mark asks. (Thanks, Mark.)
She says she has something for him, caressing her pregnant belly, “something very, very special.” She goes on to note that she’s “had some time to think about it, and I’ve decided to,” and her voice goes all demonic, “keep the baby.”
Groaning in demon voice, she rips open her abdomen, and pulls out a baby, and then, uh, lets the baby drop and makes sure the cord is held firmly. Holly, you should have paid attention in those parenting classes! That is the opposite of what you should do.
Mark hears the baby crying (faintly) and he goes forward to look while Holly laughs (demonically).
He sees the baby writhing on the ground, it turns to look at him, and the eyes go all red and the mouth gets all fangly, and Mark shoots out of bed, awakened from his nightmare.
You see, it was all just a dream! Whew, that is a relief, because I thought it was real! I was totally fooled. (Sigh.) Man, I am still sweating like crazy. Let me towel off for a moment; here, you can read this article in Cosmo while you watch. No, the other article. No, damn it, this one!
…well, I’m back! Anything happen while I was gone? Hey, what the hell!
Mark continues to collect himself, and the door opens, and it’s Stuff—er, Holly again. Only it isn’t (I had to rewind to be sure), it’s Reggie wondering whazzup with all his yellin’ and howlin’ and nightmarin’. She ascertains that he is okay, and, oh, man. The music goes all tender and she lies beside him. And they mention how neither has a monopoly on nightmares or pain, and he kisses her hand…I was kind of hoping that Romance would not rear it’s demonic, flaming head, because it seemed natural that these two people would be united to hunt demons from the past, and not have the old in-out pop up, but maybe I’m too naïve for this world and its cynical clichés.
Turns out I’m the one who’s cynical, as Mark notes that Reggie has fallen asleep, so we can spare the electric piano-wailing sax love scene. Instead we cut to outside, where a cool old car drives up. Noisy damn thing, so no one’s still sleeping I bet. And it’s Lt. Ball who gets out of the car, and he goes inside, so I’m guessing this is his house. And he walks through his house and looks at his junk mail, throwing it away before he turns on the light to see what it is (that is very efficient of him). He gets one letter, written on sheets torn from the pages of a notepad, and he starts to read how this is from some official office in some official county and it’s all officially and stuff. He looks over some more of this, and mutters “Son of a bitch!” but that is just PG I think.
He gets out an envelope, puts the envelope on his desk, and puts a stamp on the envelope. Then he gets out a pen (ball point) and begins to address this very envelope, writing “Mr Mark Denning” on it, and then we cut away so we don’t see the address he writes. Because, one bets Mr. Mark Denning would be awfully peeved at all the letters he would get from people watching this movie who would, then, send him fan letters.
He stuffs the thing he got (the official thing) into the envelope, and seals it, and I start to worry. Is this story going to take place at the pace of the US Mail? I mean, I’m all for taking the time to do things right, but, gosh, you’ve got zombies and demons, wouldn’t a phone call be a bit more, you know, timely? “Hey Mark, I’m sending you some information which confirms your worst fears! What did it say? I dunno, I sealed it in an envelope to mail to you. What, break the envelope? But that is tampering with mail and that is a crime, plus it wastes a whole stamp! You are rich so you can butter your toast with stamps, but me, buster, I gotta earn all my stamps!” Admit it, now, my version is more cinematically thrilling than the whole stamping, addressing and sealing the envelope scene.
Anyway, Lt. Ball goes outside to mail this letter, and several dogs start barking, which gives Lt. Ball (brief) pause, but no matter, he strides on to the mailbox…until he hears a decidedly unfriendly snarl. I gotta admit, that got me; that was well done. Though a tiny, little miniature part of me says it could have been avoided by using the phone (previously seen on his desk).
Lt. Ball drops the letter in the mail box, which means, demons, you HAVE FAILED as Mark will have the crucial information! In a few days. Unless there’s a holiday, or weekend hours. And the next collection is in the morning (it’s night now) and not at, you know, five or six o’clock in the evening. Other than that, demons, you are totally screwed! (PG-13, I think.)
Lt. Ball walks away from the box, and hears the snarl again, but he always carries his gun so he gets this ready.
One very, very cool touch—when the snarl appears next, it ALMOST resolves into a kind of “Heh heh” sound. And we get storm noises, and the sky appears clouded over suddenly. Lightning shoots out and strikes the Lt’s car, which glows red. He doesn’t see this, though, and keeps walking back to his house (though we see his car is now totally gone). And a ground cam jumps up and roars toward him, he fires at it but it goes right for his head--
--and we cut to Mark shooting awake in beed. He insists that “Leo’s in trouble” but Reggie is pretty put out by this. She makes it sound like “Leo’s in trouble” is like “I’m going bowling with the guys.” Mark dashes out of the bedroom anyway, and gets to Leo’s house after there are already cops there.
One cop won’t let Mark in to see Lt Ball, but guess what, Nurse from way earlier in this movie is there, and she vouches for Mark. Mark goes in and sees that there is a bloody wrapped body on the lawn. He asks Nurse how long ago this happened, and she says an hour or perhaps two. He asks Nurse if she’s okay, and eventually she admits she’s a bit shook. Hand Guy, also from way earlier in the movie (even earlier, in fact) shows up, and Nurse says Hand Guy is her father. And Darth Vader says he’s Luke Skywalker’s father. And Charles Foster Kane says that “Rosebud” was the name of his sled, and that he has the Ark of the Covenant in his warehouse in Xanadu. And the blueprints for the Death Star, if Luke wants them.
Hand Guy tells Mark that, officially, Lt Ball was mugged and his car stolen, but no one buys this (not even on sale) and Hand Guy says he has only seen injuries like this when someone fell on some heavy machinery. Mark notes the lack of heavy machinery.
Hand Guy notes that he and Lt. Ball were big time pals, and that Lt. Ball mentioned to Hand Guy that Mark might know who did this. Mark says he indeed knows who did this.
Hand Guy says that if Mark needs any help, of any kind, at any time, that he (Mark) should call him (Hand Guy).
He then goes to comfort his daughter, who wants no comfort, so he turns to Mark and says, “He was a good man. He didn’t deserve this damn it.” Yes, punctuated like that.
”Nobody does,” Mark notes, before moving off camera.
And Lt. Ball’s body is loaded into the “P & S Ambulance” which I am betting stands for “Pan and Scan.” You people need to get with the 21st century! Widescreen all the way.
Anyway, Mark goes to comfort nurse, and he tells her “This ain’t no night to be out alone.” And we fade to black.
Fade in on Mark’s house, where he is spelling his last name to someone over the phone. Because, you know, you just can’t have enough hobbies. Nurse and Reggie are there too, in the basement, and Mark is explaining to the phone about how some doctor is going to totally want to talk to him. Reggie and Nurse chit-chat. Reggie is plotting all the cult murders on a big map, while Mark tells “Dr. Phillips” that “the story” is really going great. I hope he doesn’t mean the film, because we’ve kind of stalled here. Anyway, it’s like a Robert Altman film with everyone talking at once, and it turns out that this Dr. Phillips is the guy who wrote about the pulsar about an hour or so ago (not literally, but in the film), and Mark mentions about how there was no pulsar in 1962. Mark yammers away over the phone and Dr. Phillips no doubt responds in kind; the upshot is that the pulsar is going to pulse again…next Thursday! Boy, good thing you called, Mark, was that great timing or what? You should go to the horse races before then so you can make a killing (in money). He points out that this is five days from now.
He then goes over and looks at the map. None of the characters seem to note it, but the pins are in the exact shape of a pentagram. Totally exact. You couldn’t get more pentagramy if you stuck push pins in anything else, except maybe Satan which would probably get you burnt when he yelled at you.
Finally they notice this, as the music kind of cues them in. Turns out there’s a pentagram in Yog Kothag’s yearbook, too. Mark proclaims this “everything that is vile and wicked and evil in this world.” Except Yog Kothag isn’t part of our world, is he?
By the way, did you notice how I didn’t make a Michael Moore joke in there? I’m sure you’ve got my PalPal address.
Mark says that Yog Kothag was an ancient god, so “incredibly awful” that the other gods “ganged up on him and imprisoned him on a star.” Or maybe a quasar? Hey, it could happen. And I was right!
Mark says that his remaining cultists are trying to bring him back, which would wipe out all of humanity. The guy playing Mark, generally pretty low-key and natural, here is really bad, sticking in dumb pauses and stuff.
Mark notes that the center of the pentagram is Rosewood, which Reggie points out is where Parker Nash (remember him? Evil Real Estate guy?) happens to have his office. They opine that they don’t know exactly where the ceremony of Yog Kothag will occur, but Nurse suggests baiting a trap.
And cut to Reggie driving along, bickering with Mark, talking about where they’re going. They park in front of another cabin in the wood, though it could be the same one from a different angle from all I can tell. They both get out, dressed in military fatigues, and mark pumps his shotgun. No, no, it’s a real gun, honestly, the things you people think about.
Mark goes to check the back, while Reggie (who has a pistol) stays to watch the front. She walks around a bit, listening to the birds, and Mark walks around too. Back in front, Reggie checks the time.
Now, a POV shot starts advancing on her from behind, which is a bit unfair, as we were just shown the reverse angle and there was nothing there, and now something is twelve feet away from her.
Turns out it’s the old cheat POV, as it’s Mark returning to the truck. He notes that Nash has “even boarded up the crawlspace.” Wow, will he stop at nothing, the fiend! I bet he, like puts back ice cube trays without filling them, even though there’s only one cube in them.
Mark asks Reggie if she has “her spare” and they both look toward her rear end. She says she does. Ooookay. “Let’s do it,” Mark says and they go into the house. And it’s a misty, foggy night, now. Inside, Reggie cocks her gun again. I’m no gun expert, but doesn’t that mean she just expelled the round from when she cocked it before?
There’s a loud ticking clock on the fireplace mantle, and it looks like it is almost midnight.
Reggie and Mark are back to back, admitting that “this is it” and that they’re both scared. “We’d be idiots not to be,” Mark avers. Reggie says she doesn’t regret any of the time they’ve spent together.
”Thanks,” he says.
”For what?” he asks.
”For not regretting it, I guess,” Mark says, slightly at a loss. All in all, it’s pretty good calm-before-the-storm stuff, and the performers do well with it. (Mark has recovered from his bad acting bout.)
Cut to Nurse, somewhere entirely else, still holding that issue of Cosmos Monthly and talking to Dr. Phillips on the phone. The time is just about midnight. As she talks, her dad (Hand Guy) appears in the full-length mirror. She thanks Dr. Phillips and hangs up.
”Well?” asks Hand Guy.
”It’s started,” she says.
Cut to the clock in the Nash House (not sure what else to call it) and it is 5:17 presumably in the morning. Mark is on the verge of falling asleep when he hears a strange wailing. He looks inside the fireplace and sees two red eyes, which emerge from the shadow on a crawling, mewling demon baby. It’s a pretty effective shot, eerie and atmospheric in its quiet unfolding. Except, then we cut to a close-up of the baby. The fakeness jumps at us, just as the baby starts to jump at Mark, but, and you’ll never guess this, it was all a dream! Mark is shaken awake by Reggie.
She says there’s something in the bedroom. As they advance on this room, the light goes on. And Mark pumps his gun again, and they agree on three to bust the door down, but the door pops open! It’s Teodore! Yahh! He grabs Mark’s shotgun away, and, like, goes “Rawr!” and stuff, and Mark suggests to Reggie that she shoot him. She does, and Teodore doesn’t seem to like this one bit. He drops the gun, and well, aside from the makeup, it would be easy to mistake him for a drunken bum. He lurches toward them both again, but Reggie shoots him again. He gets a really long “death” scene, but come on, that was too easy. Is there anyone in the audience who is fooled by this? Anyone? Remember, this is a guy who just put his eye back in his head when the opportunity presented itself. I’m sure if he could laugh, he would laugh at guns.
They discuss whether it could have been, in fact, this easy, but Teodore gets up and laughs and knocks Reggie away and starts choking Mark. (At least we didn’t have to suffer through the poke-the-monster scene, or the sloooowly step over the monster to get the gun bit).
Reggie grabs an axe and whacks away at Teodore’s head. Teodore releases Mark and advances on Reggie. Reggie backs away in fear, despite the fact that she’s still holding the axe. But Mark jumps on Teodore and wrassles him to the ground. He grabs a poker and skewers Teodore through the part above the heart, but heck, close enough for rock and roll.
And it’s the next morning. The night of terror is over. Now, I’m known to be a bummer at parties, so I should probably refrain from pointing out that we’ve got over eighteen minutes to go. If you think that isn’t a long time, try holding your breath that long.
So, Mark and Reggie go to the truck, banter a bit, and drive off.
Now, I know that Parker Nash still has to be dealt with, but, was that Thursday? Was that the day that Yog Kothag was supposed to wreak havoc upon earth or something? Because, wouldn’t that have been important enough for his followers to be there? Or were they expecting a follow up phone call or something? “Hey, Bob? Bob Johnson? Yog Kothag here. I’m back on earth, and I’ve got you on my list as someone who once requested a brochure, and I was wondering if we could do lunch, maybe Saturday? Great, great. See you then. Oh, and you’re totally under my dominion, so don’t be late.”
Now, we know we’ve got seventeen and a half minutes to go, so we’re not asking why, if that was the final battle, it was so perfunctory. Because we know it wasn’t the final battle.
Sure enough, a heavy-breathing POV rises in the sunlit woods and staggers about a bit. I don’t know about you, but I think Yog Kothag needs to get his zombies from somewhere other than the drunk tank. Sure they’re cheap, but if you’re taking over the world, is cheap the way you want to do it? Talent and drive are important, yes, but image is equally important in a matter like this.
We switch to a non-POV, and see that if this isn’t Teodore again, it’s his twin brother. We also see that the make-up worked much, much better in the blue lighting back in the cabin. In the full sunlight, and in extreme close-up, it…doesn’t. Sorry.
He looks around a while, hears a car, and walks onto the road (we can see he is carrying the fire poker used to skewer him, so it is Teodore and not his twin Lyle). The car, of course, is Reggie’s truck, and they express disbelief at this reunion. But Reggie’s behind the wheel of a couple of tons of metal, so she guns the motor and smacks right into Teodore, who lies down. Mark tells Reggie that Teodore is not dead, so she should get the gas. She protests but he cuts her short. Teodore moans right about then, and that convinces her that Mark’s right. Teodore, you’ve got a gift. You gonna be a janitor when Yog Kothag takes over.
Mark gives Teodore a couple of whomps, and then grabs the gas can and douses him liberally. He pulls out a lighter (“Love Always, Holly” is says on it) and soon Teodore is totally burning up, something he doesn’t raise much of a fuss over. Mark and Reggie climb into the truck and drive away, driving over Teodore’s legs to add a dash of insult to injury. Actually, I guess that’s just more injury, isn’t it? Sorry.
Fade to black, and fade in on Reggie opening a hotel room. She notes that they are only a couple of blocks from Nash’s office, and Mark opines that he (Nash) would never think to look so close. “Probably won’t matter in a couple of hours anyway,” he adds.
So, I’m going to guess that the quasar thing started last night, and there’s still time for Yog Kothag to be manifested here upon our earth. (Still makes me wonder what that scene at the Nash Cabin was supposed to accomplish….)
Anyway, once in the hotel room, Reese instructs Sarah how to make pipe bombs, and…oh, wait, that doesn’t happen. Instead, Reggie and Mark clean up a bit. Mark says it’s time to take care of Parker Nash, and he produced a huge wad of dynamite sticks. Apparently, he has this notion that he’ll go into Nash’s office and shoot his wad. Reggie protests at this suicidal course of action, and reveals her love for him. Mark, not Nash. (Glad I cleared that up; one thing this movie doesn’t need is another complication.)
They talk about her feelings, how he gave her a reason to keep on living, then they discuss his feelings or his lack of same (“I’m not at my best,” he admits while covered in zombie slime). He’s been so obsessed, see, that “I don’t know if I can love you back…I don’t know if I can love…anymore.” He asks for time.
She says they’ve got time, grabbing his wad, “if we can think of some other way to deal of Nash.”
Mark, seeing himself in the mirror, notes his need for a shower. He goes into the bathroom. Reggie goes to lock the front door, and hears a voice behind her.
She turns and sees Mark, with a dagger stuck, well, in the same place that Mark stuck Teodore. “Run!” he tells her. She goes to him as he collapses, and wonders whether to pull out the knife, as a smoldering pair of feet come into view.
The camera pans up the rest of the smoking cadaver (nobody should smoke!) and sure enough, it’s Teodore. He’s certainly a veritable Terminator of zombies, and speaking of Terminators, when we finally pan up to his face, it’s mostly just skull with a few bits of burnt flesh.
He backhands Reggie across the room, and she stares at him. Slowly he turns, step by step, inch by inch, until Mark, who’s not quite dead, in fact, he’s feeling much better, in fact, he’d say he’s all right to come along, raises his arm at Teodore and unveils his wrist launching thing. You remember that, right? Well, too bad if you don’t, as Mark shoots Teodore with it, and reels him back away from Reggie, giving Reggie time to slip the bonds of this mortal hotel room. Er, escape, I meant.
Mark seems to have some renewed energy as well, and he pulls the dagger out of his own chest and stabs Teodore (toward the camera) over and over and over again.
And cut to Nash Realty, where Reggie pulls up in her truck. And that cute puppy dog shows up briefly, before vanishing. And Reggie pulls out her derringer and goes into the office, just as the phone rings, and Nash’s answering machine picks up. It seems no one is in the office.
Reggie goes into one of the meeting rooms, and there’s evil Nash Rambler, er, I mean, Parker Nash, who startles her. Though she continues to hold the gun on him, he maintains that he has foreseen all this. He asks if she’s going to shoot him, and she says she hates to disappoint him, and shoots him three times.
As the bullet holes appear in his shirt, he doesn’t react at all, except to telekinetically pull her gun away. He then compliments her on her shooting, noting, “Nice grouping,” about his wounds. He’s got all the poise of a good Bond villain, but that “evil real estate agent” thing kind of, well, deflates it a bit. “So, Mr. Bond, you are here to stop my world conquest scheme!” “Well, no, actually I was looking for a nice split level in an area with good schools, convenient for shopping.” “Ah, I love a practical man, Mr. Bond. Now, what sort of range were we thinking--?”
Anyway, back to this, Nash asks Reggie to have a seat, and when she hesitates, he uses the Force to make her sit (and roll over, and play dead, and fetch), and then he uses the Force to close the door.
They banter a bit about what, exactly, he is. “Human, but immortal, and immune to most things including guns” is the summation. He reveals his plan to bring Yog Kothag to earth, and Reggie points out that she and Mark have ruined his time-table.
He tosses this aside, though, saying that if he has to wait another century that isn’t a big deal to anyone who’s anyone (him and Yog Kothag).
He says that the Ghost Quasar is going to pulsate for another hour, and she and “Mrs. Pomeroy” are going to have to “die in terror.” It’s one of the requirements, like becoming an Eagle Scout. Reggie picks up a rock that just happened to be on Nash’s desk (must be a pet rock) and she throws it at him.
In a pretty nifty bit, he stops it by shining red, glowing eyes on it, then making it go back and forth around his head, and then back at Reggie (who dodges it neatly). The effect seems to be done with an animated rock around a still photo of Nash, and it kind of reminded me of the effects from “The Day Time Ended.” Not sure if that’s a good comparison or not. Your call.
Oh, and who is Mrs. Pomeroy?
Nash notes that they still have some time, so would Reggie like him to deliver some more exposition? She asks why he killed Lt. Ball.
Nash says Lt. Ball was getting too close to the truth, and he shows her the envelope Lt Ball mailed before he was killed. He says he got it by “magic” but that’s still tampering with US Mails and that is a crime. Reggie opens the letter and notes that it is Nash’s birth certificate. (I’ve paused the film so I can bet that he was born in 1962.)
Oooh, I was so totally wrong. He was actually born in 1874.
Nash notes, to Reggie’s query, that this is so, and after he killed a family 67 years ago, he got Alfie. Before you ask, no, Alfie is not an acronym for Yog Kothag’s health plan.
Alfie is Teodore, and Teodore is Alfie, and we are all together, goo goo ga joob. I think Teodore is a much better name for a zombie than Alfie, because people are going to think of that song, “What’s it all about, Alfie?” or even worse, they’re going to think of Alfred E. Neuman.
I know Alfred E. Neuman is a terrifying character (you can admit it, we are all friends here), but he would make a lousy horror movie monster. He’d show up and say “What me worry?” and his victims would say, “Here’s a scene we’d like to see: us scramming!” and the puns would come so thick and fast there’d be no survivors.
But, back to this, Alfie is short for Alfred Crispin, patriarch of some family Nash killed. Nash notes his services as a zombie, saying, “I’m a busy man, I can’t be expected to go around killing people,” which is going to be my alibi too.
”You know, your boyfriend had some snap,” Nash notes, “before he died, I think he realized he couldn’t kill Alfie.” I guess it would take some snap to conclude all that.
Speaking of conclude, five minutes away! Oh, you know, three minutes of credits would be so welcome, man.
Anyway, Nash notes how Mark slashed up Teo—uh, Alfie (sigh) so bad, that he “had to let poor Alfie (sigh) go.”
”So now, you’ve got to do your dirty work yourself,” Reggie notes.
Au contraire, Nash notes. “When you have to retire an old and trusted employee, you replace him.” And he reveals what I guess is the new Alfie (sigh). Which is…Mark!
Mark has the yellow and red eyes, so one gathers this isn’t a trick on Mark’s part (which would be clever). He shudders, raises the dagger we saw before, and says (in demon voice) that the master is warning Nash.
”Warn me of what?” Nash asks.
”There be great danger,” Mark says in demonese. “The danger be here,” he says when Nash scoffs.
”What? From her? Don’t make me laugh!”
And Mark’s eyes go normal, and he says, “It’s right here, a**hole,” and he plunges the knife right into the sweet spot, which is right were he and Teod—um, Alfie (sigh) were also stabbed.
And Nash is totally like, dripping blood from his mouth and pretty damn unhappy.
”Gotcha!” he says to Nash, and then collapses, dead. Reggie goes to him, expresses concern, while Nash clutches futilely at the knife (thank goodness for that. Imagine if he’d grabbed it and pulled it out, and said, “I live again!” I’d have kicked myself down several of the world’s longest stairwells.)
And we cut to Reggie loading Mark’s body into her truck (he helpfully moves his arm to facilitate this), which we might remember from way in the beginning of this film. And she drives off and drives away.
But we’re not done yet. We cut back inside, as Nash’s answering machine picks up yet another call, and we pan across his desk (noting his birth certificate) and finally rest on his dead body.
And we hear some heavy breathing, and a heavily processed voice says, “Worm! Thou hast failed me!” And the screen flashes red over and over.
And we get a shot of Parker Nash, superimposed over a starfield, descending into a no doubt harrowing Hell where Alfie will be speaking to him about retirement benefits and his eye surgery.
”Somewhere, a man named Nash is screaming,” reads the text on the screen, and then we get the credits.
Curiously, this is called “a film by Roger Evans and Horacio Fernandez” and then we get “Special Make-up effects” credits, animation credits, and then the cast. Red Mitchell was “Marc” but do you think I’m going to correct that spelling? Ha ha ha. You mortal fool! Tracey Huffman was Reggie, Charles Trotter was Lt. Ball, Kent Johnson was Teodore, and Howard Jacobsen was Nash. And we get everyone, including the cafeteria people and so on.
Lots of special thanks. And final special thanks is to Pepper the Dog, who was damn cute. I’m glad he wasn’t killed so he could be in the sequel.
Well, you’ve been here a long time so I won’t abuse your patience any longer, and I’ll cut to the chase: I liked this. It was thoughtful and fun, if a bit overlong. You can click elsewhere now and not miss anything, really.
If you wish to stick around, here I go a-blathering. I liked the fact that the evil kept expanding from killing people in cabins to a world-encompassing doom, though some of the stuff—the Ghost Quasar—seemed kind of goofy, still, there was definitely some thought put into this. It was even kind of (kind of) innovative in the red herrings it threw around, because while a lot of stuff added up in the end, not all of it did, but that would kind of mirror any sort of real investigation—you wouldn’t know what was relevant until it was all over.
Not that that should be seen as an excuse for some of the stuff here. One problem with the stuff-that-happens is that this is the director’s cut. This film is two hours long, and the story doesn’t really justify the length. I’ve never really been a fan of director’s cuts. To me, asking for a director’s cut is like asking a parent, “Well, you can keep all the baby pictures, or you can throw some away.” You know damn well he’s going to keep every one of them. Directors aren’t any different with their films, but sometimes, you know, that’s one unattractive child and even doubling the number of snapshots only kind of emphasizes it, you know?
Case in Point: The dream sequence. I had forgotten all about Holly’s pregnancy by this time, and having it brought up here just seemed like a way to showcase some makeup effects. Mark had certainly forgotten about it, or at least never mentioned it to anyone. Why bring it up again? “Oh man, we could have, like, a totally bitchin’ effects shot here!” “Yeah, how can we do it though?” Together: “Dream sequence!”
Speaking of the baby, it too never really added up in the mix. With a subject that potent, you would think it would be exploited a bit more, made a bit more meaningful to Mark. Maybe the baby was some kind of final piece in the ritual, I dunno—I’m not writing this. Well, I’m writing THIS, but not the movie. That shot in the fireplace was very eerie, yeah, but it was another dream sequence. Dream sequence!
The dog was something else that never worked, at least for me. The dog was, and I cannot emphasize this enough, too damn cute. What a great dog! Man, I loved that dog. Who could look at that dog and think, evil? No one could, that’s why the dog didn’t work. For me. If you don’t like dogs, you could probably think of that cute dog as evil, but then, you should, like, have therapy or something, really.
The scene with that Dr. Freex-Kinda Guy was probably the most tacked-on seeming. It kind of looked like a bit that was shot after shooting was officially over, and everyone had gone home. It would have worked better if we’d seen the Dr. Freex Guy around elsewhere—when we first see Lt. Ball at the scene of the crime, he could say to someone, “Call in Ben, this is a weird one,” and Ben would show up, and they’d banter a bit, and Lt. Ball would say, “Ben, I called you in on this one because…I’m afraid not to,” and Ben could look around and say, “This looks bad, Leo. Worse than five years ago. The signs are much more intense. It may finally be…the time.” “What should we do?” “There may be nothing we can do.”
Then, like Santo, the Dr. Freex Kinda Guy could say, “There may be something I can do to help, but [looking at his watch] I have to give a Tarot reading soon. After that, I can investigate this mystery.”
”You and your mumbo-jumbo!” Lt. Ball would good-naturedly scoff.
”It keeps me from having to live off beating you at poker!” Dr. Freex Kinda Guy would enjoin, and they would both have a hearty laugh at this show of camaraderie, because the director told them to.
None of these scenes were badly done, and they all had some entertainment value. I recognize that most film-makers just want to make a movie to entertain folks and, thus, get rich. I think that even some pretty marginal crap that I’ve watched, like Deadly Species for example, the film-makers know that if they don’t entertain me, I’m not going to help them get rich. Even something really bad, like Carnivore, still has that aura of wanting to make a good film, just lacking the talent or resources to achieve that end. So even though I slammed Carnivore pretty badly, a part of me (a tiny part) has some degree of affection for it. A movie has to really demonstrate contempt for me to just go full blown hostile, and I’m looking at you, Atomic Brain.
Forever Evil never got down that low; I’m sure the idea would have horrified (ha ha) the film-makers. In fact, you can recognize that the film-makers were aiming a bit higher than making money, they actually aimed at making a good movie. “Good” is such an fixed objective, though—whether they got there is going to depend on the viewer. In the subjective realm, there’s certainly a lot to like here.
The dialogue throughout is pretty good, even though there’s a lot of it, it always sounds natural and you can imagine people, real people, speaking it. Quite a bit of it is very smart-alecky; the friends at the party, for example, are too smart-alecky to have this many friends, but that’s minor quibbling. Although there’s a lot of talk, I never got tired of all the talking; it was smartly-written enough that it went down easily and as mentioned, naturally. Smooth, with rich taste, yet only half the filling of other, better-known genre films—after you hear one sentence, you’ll want to listen to a whole paragraph! But remember to use conversation responsibly—don’t talk and drive. Always have a designated listener.
The acting was generally good as well. People seemed low-key and realistic; they always seemed like characters, rather than actors reading dialogue. Jay was pretty weak, I thought, and there was that one “Yog Kothag’s High School Yearbook” scene where Mark read his lines with all those dramatic…pauses, which just didn’t work for his character. Other than that, though, people were pretty well-played; even that actory moment when that Dr. Freex Kinda Guy says “Shhhhhh” to that motormouth lady, plays well. After all, a Tarot card reader is a kind of showman, right?
I think the good, ultimately, outweighs the bad, though it is a close call. A good half hour of those director’s-cut baby pictures, sliced out, would have made the picture tighter and more focused. In a story of escalating evil, that could only help, I think. You want to make the audience feel that events are tightening around the story like a noose. On the other hand, I repeat, none of those excursions was boring (the ultimate cinematic crime), and it did color in some details.
A bit of focus, though, would have lent Parker Nash some more weight as the main villain. He shows up at the beginning and the end, but in the middle no one thinks about him much at all. When he’s mentioned as a villain, my first thought was, “Who?” His prominence at the end would have made more sense if he had a few more tentacles in the story. Maybe he could have asked about Mark when he was in the hospital, something, anything to keep him in the background at least. “Well, Mark, this Parker Nash fellow called a couple of times, he was the one who discovered the bodies, he feels terrible,” etc.
And…I hate to mention this, but Teodo—uh, Alfie (cough), uh, needed a bit of work. A zombie with Bozo hair, a bolo tie and an old suit needs to rip people in half (on screen) in his first scene for us to respect him. Otherwise, he looks…silly. Showing up and going “Rahr!” isn’t quite the same. Still silly. The fact that he was a victim at one time makes NO impact. He never shows anything other than the zombie yearning to kill and yell “Rahr!” Never even a glance in a mirror and a tragic rubbing of the chin, regrets, he’s had a few, etc. Also, showing him in full sunlight…no. Your make-up guys did some great stuff, relatively speaking; don’t stretch their talents so much that they snap back and sting everyone.
But, ultimately, the film is called Forever Evil and not Alfie: Portrait of a Zombie with a Bolo Tie, or Parker Nash: When Selling Your House Becomes Selling Your Soul. We should go with what we’ve got.
So, overall, I think I would recommend this one to people who like thoughtful, fun horror films, and aren’t afraid to allow directors to go off on their typical diretory tangents, as long as they get back to the point sometime. It’s not without it’s flaws (focus, people, focus!) but it’s not without its charms as well.
Your mileage may differ, as always, but I had a good time. If you’re not tied in to Yog Kothag’s return (in which case DVD players will be destroyed anyway) you might enjoy it as well.