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Not Rated
Copyright 1996 Falcon Video
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 19 January 2002

The Characters:  

  • Parker - Twisted bastard who thinks nothing of (indirectly) killing his best friends.
  • Damien - His only real failing is curiosity. Well, that and poorly choosing his close friends. Transformed into a cannibal mutant.
  • John - Now here is a fellow with a degree in suitcase packing. Somebody explain to him what platonic love is, because at present he seems to think it involves a steak knife. Transformed into a cannibal mutant.
  • Pete & Karen - She is presumed dead, while he practices the unsanitary habit of trying on cast-off clothes.
  • Roy - Jerk distributor. He tends to use the moniker "piss clam" when talking down to someone. A casualty.
  • Jessie - Cheating wife who had an artery in her finger. Dies of blood loss.
  • Jim - Angry about Jessie's affairs, but withholding sex from any woman for five years is a rather stupid thing to do. What did you expect her to do, Jim, buy a lot of Nimh batteries? Dies of blunt trauma.

The Plot: 

My first hint of trouble was Parker berating Damien for not being ready to leave on time. Punctuality is a desirable trait, but the group is setting out for their annual weekend getaway and the delay was less than five minutes. Starting an argument over it is stupid.

When the three finally calm down and stop yelling, they realize something is wrong. No cars are on the road and the radio only picks up static. The emergency broadcast system finally delivers the bad news: an experimental gas has escaped and destroyed Europe; now it is being carried toward the United States. The trio elects to hole up in an airtight bunker, relying on the fact that they have "food for weeks" in the car. Finding an old WWII coast defense bunker, they each grab a suitcase and dash inside.

Where is all the food? I don't know. Stop asking such hard questions.

Later revelations are going to make this paragraph pointless, but I'm going to talk about "airtight" bunkers. You see, defending a building or vehicle against airborne threats is often accomplished via over pressure, air curtains, and filters. Keeping the pressure higher inside than it is outside means that air flows out through cracks, preventing contamination. If a poison gas permeates the air then taking refuge in some drafty old bunker is only going to delay the inevitable, for a dubious amount of time at that.

The three friends look for a way to pass the time. Damien suggests telling each other about recent events in their lives. He starts relating the story of woe that began after he found a knife. The weapon was cursed and possessed him, forcing Damien to attack and cut the living heck out of Karen. A major problem in this segment was the "slashing." We can easily tell the knife is missing by a good foot and, when Damien "stabs" her, things get worse. To give the false impression of sinking into Karen, his hand slips down over the blade. Believe me, it looks just as bad as it sounds.

Pete changes gears three times. First he is rushing Karen to the hospital, next he tries to run away from Damien, and finally the flustered fellow melees with his assailant. This is where a surprising thing happens: the fight scene between Damien and Pete. At times the punches and kicks are nearly comical, missing by feet, but once or twice the camera angle and choreography come together and it looks great. The fight ends when Pete separates his possessed friend from the evil knife. Damien collapses into a sobbing heap. I nearly expected him to cry out for his "Precious."

Next at bat is Parker (first name unknown). His tale involves an "offer I could not refuse." After numerous disappointments, Roy has offered to help make Parker's script for "Burglar from Hell" a reality. The only catch is that Parker has to produce and direct the film, with no money up front. Personally, I'd have been able to say, "No" along with a few other choice words.

The desperate writer accepts the assignment though; casting commences and soon we can tell Parker is in over his head. One horrible actress earns a part by showing off her breasts while he personally visits the woman screening for the drunken crone part. As a clincher, we learn that, after two months and forty thousand dollars, Roy refuses to distribute a movie shot on video. Parker responds by impaling the tape with a knife, then sticking the whole mess into Roy.

What was Roy's motivation in the previous bit? Is he a Blue Meanie that escaped the war crimes tribunal and underwent plastic surgery to change his identity?

The final piece details John's infatuation with Jessie, Jim's refusal to satisfy his mate's sexual needs, and her subsequent fornicating around town. John covered for Jessie whenever Jim might have become suspicious of her, so I am still amazed that John calmly accepted the vocal abuse to which the shameless girl subjected him.

Feeling sorry for anyone in this skit is not happening. Jessie is just a whore, plain and simple, while her husband refuses to show any sort of affection since he caught her cheating five years ago. If you do not trust or love her then get a God damn divorce. What are you, Catholic? For his part, Jim wants to elope with Jessie (his best friend's wife) and generally acts like a socially inept psycho. Jim does learn about Jessie's sexual indiscretions. He ties her up and promises to cut off a digit every time the phone rings and a surprised suitor hangs up. Lucky for her, John arrives and saves the day. Unlucky for her, something snaps when she verbally degrades him and John picks up the knife to continue where Jim left off.

The final story wraps just in time for Damien and John to collapse onto the floor. Parker, who is ironically immune, looks on with a bemused expression. Their last sentient words vilify him as the gas turns them into cannibalistic mutants. The last human on Earth dashes outside, where we see snow is on the ground - despite it being summer when they entered the bunker. Parker hastily explains this off (they pulled a similar trick earlier with Damien driving John's car), before stumbling away, probably in search of an escape. Boy, I can sympathize there.

In retrospect, the general concepts were interesting. However, the devil(s) are in the details and that is when the natural defense mechanisms kicked in - like a man who has drank too much and must now worship at the porcelain altar. Things could have been worse, but it was those glimmers of real promise that made me sad.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Water vapor is a catalyst, turning bad chemical warfare agents into really, awfully bad chemical warfare agents.
  • Using eenie, meanie, miny, moe in a life or death situation is not such a good idea.
  • Beating someone with the handle of a knife is not quite effective as using the other end.
  • Jersey girls are often haunted by shadows that follow them around.
  • Love is more than just money. It also needs crass and demeaning sex to make it work.
  • Women get fidgety when they are horny.
  • Battle axes will be back in style when the world ends.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 9 mins - Some secret project; a half-wit radio station knows its name.
  • 17 mins - They should have, er, "filmed" this on a less windy day.
  • 26 mins - Is that a piece of sheet metal under his coat?
  • 35 mins - Who made the bed?
  • 51 mins - These two seem to be having totally separate conversations.
  • 68 mins - I thought that he lived in Florida.
  • 81 mins - Make this stop! Now! Arrggghhhh!

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note talesend1.wav Parker: "Ever since we got out of high school, this is the only time of year that I see you guys."
Damien: "Yeah Parker, but it's only five minutes."
Green Music Note talesend2.wav The emergency broadcast system announcement.
Green Music Note talesend3.wav John: "My God, it's the end!"
Parker: "Or the beginning."
Damien: "Parker, why are we doing this?"
Parker: "Doing what?"
Damien: "Prolonging our deaths."
Green Music Note talesend4.wav John: "But Jessie, I have something to tell you."
Jessie: "Get the hell out of here!"
John: "But it's important!"
Jessie: "Oh, that's a different story."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 



 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliptalesend1.mpg - 2.4m
Pete is having a hard time driving with Damien on top the car. So he decides to get out and show the possessed killer what for. Except, and I am guessing here, it seems he needs to pee first. Run Pete, run!

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