Sunday, October 01, 2006
Movies: It's a reverse twist.
In his fake autobiography, Et Tu, Babe?, author Mark Leyner imagines a legal system where the punishment for non-capital federal offenses is forced viewing of hardcore porn with all the sex cut out. I imagine that, in Leyner's alternate universe, people who tamper with the mail or remove the tags off pillows have to watch the film Lukas' Child or Night Beast.
First, a word about the double title. The first title, which sounds more like a Suzanne Vega title and less like a horror flick, appears on the packaging for the DVD. This film is the first feature in the 10 film Brentwood Curse of the Dead box. The latter title, more traditionally cheese-horror, appears in the credit sequence of the movie itself. Use whichever makes you happiest for, just as a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, this movie is a clunker no matter what we call it.
Lukas' Child opens with a several masked and robed characters gathering for a Satanic ritual. If this film is to be believed, Satanic rituals mostly involve men in rubber Halloween masks watching a basement-grade stripper run though what she imagines the dance of the seven veils might have looked like – that is, over course, if Salomé wore a fishnet catsuit and did a lot of bump and grind moves. After five minutes of this (which, while not family-friendly perhaps, doesn't seem particularly sinister) we meet the first half of the title, Lukas Armand. Armand is pasty faced, incomprehensible, sometimes ambulatory, sometimes wheelchair bound movie producer who spends a considerable amount of the film looking confused and slightly senile. Often, he'll even deliver lines and then, as if remembering that he is, in fact, the villain of the picture, then contradict them: "You're free to go dear. Oh, wait. I'm sorry. I mean, you can never leave."
Armand, as it turns out, has been auditioning wannabe starlets and, instead of offering them film roles, has been feeding them to his "child." The "actresses" audition for a role in a horror movie. Lukas' assistant explains, "It's about good versus evil. Only in this case, evil wins. It's a reverse twist." A tsiwt, if you will.
Anyway, the actresses give their addresses to the studio, thinking that the studio is sending over a script. Instead, Armand dispatches his son, Jason, and his Mohawk sporting amigo, Maddog, to kidnap the actresses. The "child," we learn is this demonic looking thing that, apparently, can only eat women in skimpy undergarments. Whether this creature is a genuine demon from Hell or, as Lukas as one point suggests, is just a freakishly mutated human is never definitively decided.
Even in L.A., you can only disappear so many talentless actresses before somebody notices. In this case, that somebody is an Elvis-loving detective named, honestly, who cares? The Detective is enough. Although, even this gives the film too much credit. Several of the establishing shots indicate that the Detective is a member of the LAPD. However, about half way through the film, establishing shots suggest that he is a bail bonds agent. The latter makes no sense whatsoever, so we're going to just imagine that the film was unambiguous about the fact that he's a LAPD detective. Unfortunately for the under-talented actress community, despite the keen deductive skills the Detective brings to the case, he's stumped. The Detective's investigation consists mostly of getting buxom witnesses to strip down for him. Ultimately, it will be a couple of completely nameless children who just happen, inexplicably, to spend their late evening hours spying on the Satanic cult, who report the whole thing to the Detective.
The Detective manages to roll off of the endless stream of naked, but not really hot, witnesses long enough to investigate this lead. Will he stop this mad cult from depopulating Los Angeles of painfully untalented actresses? Do we want him to?
This film is utter crap. Only the cult leader, who looks like a slightly less sweaty Larry Flynt and often speaks in a sort of stream of nonsense world salad that would appeal Alfred Jarry, is an interesting element. The special effects are sub-special and the child, though he looks charmingly old school (little bat wings, small horns, like something out of an old mediaeval manuscript – only, you know, not good), moves so slowly that it takes him several minutes to trap women who are locked in a small cell with him. Avoid this stinker at all costs. Using my traditional Stations of the Monterrey Metro system of film rating, this flick doesn't even rate a single Del Golfo.