Posts Tagged ‘Robert Z’Dar’

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I know, I know — that’s one dull image to start a review off with, isn’t it? Normally, I try to find the original theatrical poster for a film — or at the very least a DVD cover — to begin any piece with, but in the case of 2002 SOV obscurity When Heaven Come Down, you gotta take what you can get, and while this Woodstock, Illinois-lensed 75-minute homemade horror claims to have been released by something called Mind’s I Productions (no doubt the “corporate” brainchild of writer/producer/director Gary M. Lumpp), I can’t find evidence of its existence as a stand-alone DVD anywhere.

Which brings to mind the question, then, of how I actually managed to see the film. Get ready for a “no surprise there” answer — it’s available from Mill Creek’s Pendulum Pictures sub-label as part of a six-movie, two-DVD set entitled Savage Sickos. If you absolutely must be made aware of the technical specs in regards to this thing, it is, of course, presented full-frame, with horrendously uneven stereo sound that will have you adjusting and re-adjusting your remote constantly in an effort to either be able to actually hear what the characters are saying, or not hear the rancid, fourth-rate, pseudo-“death rock” soundtrack music. But enough about all that, let’s talk about the movie itself.

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Or, hell, maybe we really shouldn’t, because this one is pretty lousy even as far as these sorts of things go. Still, since I’m the one who brought the subject up in the first place —

Samantha “Sam” Eckhart (Emily Albright) was attacked and nearly killed three years ago by a religiously-tinged serial killer (who, by the way, wears the most laughably absurd, all-black, wanna-be- “signature” psycho costume I’ve ever seen) calling himself “The Savior.” She managed to escape his clutches simply because he took a likin’ to her, and the cops arrested him and hauled him off to prison — after the detective who ‘cuffed ‘im handed Sam his gun and offered to let her shoot him dead if she wanted and she, good girl that she is, politely declined the invitation. I know police in several jurisdictions are trying to do some “community outreach,” but come on.

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These days, Sam’s a bartender by day and runs a support group for abused and traumatized women by night. She’s got a swell new boyfriend, too, a sincere-as-shit fella named Josh who sticks by her side through thick and thin even though she’s not “putting out” for him. So anyway, yeah — life’s looking good. Until the women in her support group, and even some of their abusive boyfriends, start turning up dead, in ways that eerily fit “The Savior”‘s M.O.

If that sounds at all interesting to you, trust me — Lumpp’s confused collection of going-nowhere subplots, going-nowhere-even-faster supporting characters (look for a cameo from the only semi-recognizable “name” in the film, Robert Z’Dar (who’s also credited as an associate producer) that serves no discernible purpose whatsoever), and gaping plot holes (the (now former) cop who brought “The Savior” in apparently somehow “lost his eye” doing so even though we clearly see him arrest and handcuff him in the film’s opening scene and he’s still got both eyes) will leave you more baffled then intrigued pretty quickly.

And not “good” baffled like, say, Mulholland Drive or something — I mean baffled like “why the fuck did he make this?” baffled.

Still, make it he did, and while that shows a certain amount of gumption in and of itself, it’s really no reason to waste a little over an hour of your life on this thing. Lumpp never made another movie and Mind’s I Productions appears to no longer be a going concern, so that pretty much tells you all you need to know. There are some quirky, idiosyncratic (if admittedly rough and unpolished) gems hiding on some of these Pendulum sets that are certainly worth a look, if for no other reason than curiosity value alone. When Heaven Comes Down isn’t one of them.

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Okay, here’s a weird one : the “plot” (and I use that term very loosely) of 2008 shot-on-video n0-budgeter Dee Flowered  (alternately listed on IMDB and other sites that bothered to take notice of it at all as a single word,  Deeflowered ) apparently revolves around the spirit of Jack The Ripper which has, through methods unknown, settled upon a small town, and proceeded to drive the local residents apeshit.

Or so we’re told in the quasi-official-sounding descriptions of writer (I think)/director (I’m sure) Johnny Walker’s little opus of amateurism  floating around out there that had to have been written by somebody at some point, right? There’s just one problem : the movie itself makes no reference to this at all and instead proceeds to show us a series of thoroughly disjointed scenes that make no sense whatsoever. Not that this or any other flick actually needs to make sense in order to be, ya know, good, but the fact is that Dee Flowered just straight-up isn’t.

I’m all for weirdness for its’ own sake as much as the next guy, but shit — somebody needs to tell Walker (whoever he really is — hell,  even this guy’s pseudonym isn’t especially creative) that there’s such a thing as trying to hard to be strange, and Dee Flowered passees that point about ten minutes in.

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Consider : Dr. Sunny Day runs an abortion clinic called, fittingly enough, Sunny Day Abortion Clinic. He does things the old-fashioned way, with straightened-out coat hangers, turkey basters, you name it. He’s also apparently got a lucrative side trade going supplying aborted fetuses and , so it seems, even full-term babies to the local Satanic cult, as well as the dog food processing plant in town (when they run out of horse meat). Sunny’s got a fake beard, but within a few minutes you’ll scarcely notice because almost everyone in this flick has a fake hair attached either to their chins or scalps for reasons that — well, fuck it, they just do.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but it seems that in the proper hands, this sort of premise could actually be, God (if he actually existed) help me, kinda funny. Unfortunately, in Walker’s hands, it gets buried under an avalanche of either only tangentially related, or completely unrelated, crap. Like what, you ask?

Like the comings and goings of a mysterious hooded figure who shows up and kills people but can apparently only be seen by the detective investigating the case, the Maniac Cop himself, Robert (“will act for food”) Z’Dar. Or the “story” of some unattractive couple who spend all day  in bed and are visited by a  fairy-like character called The Birthday Queen (who actually is rather fetching), who proceeds to get nekkid with them and spinkle their bodies with glitter. Or the random appearances of a grown man in a giant Easter Bunny suit. Or the cannibalistic (at least it seems, at any rate — hard to say for sure) nocturnal rituals of the aforementioned devil worshipers.

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If each of these things sounds, to you, like it has pretty much nothing to do with any of the others, congratulations. You’re right. Not that it matters much, since none of the questions that naturally arise while watching this film are ever answered. Why is Robert Z’Dar sweating all the time and walking with an affected, exaggerated limp? Why is the boyfriend of one of the Sunny Day clinic’s — uhhhmmm — clients jerking off in the lobby? Why does Dr. Day’s midget, missing-toothed assistant, Griffen, get pissed on by some random drunk? And perhaps most importantly — what superhuman persuasive power does Walker possess that enables him to convince chicks to take their clothes off  in front of his camera for, mostly likely, not money whatsoever?

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Still, like I said, about ten minutes into this thing, the one question you’ll have that dwarfs all others is — why the hell am I still watching this ???? Of all the mysteries offered up by Dee Flowered , trust me — that’s the most unfathomable. It’s not even stupidly, entertainingly bad, as so many of the films we take a look at around here are. Nor is it anything like the shocking, transgressive work that Walker so obviously is striving for. It’s both dumb, and dull. I can usually abide one or the other separately just fine, but combined? Forget it. Some things a re a bridge too far even for this admitted full-time denizen  of the celluloid (and video) trash heap.

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I caught Dee Flowered as part of the “Catacomb Of Creepshows” 50-movie bargain pack from Pendulum Pictures, the Mill Creek sub-label that specializes in these kind of homemade films gone horribly awry. There’s a lot of essentially un-watchable garbage in this set, but with it’s nauseating mix of third-grade bathroom humor, faux-surrealist pretentiousness, half-assed gore effects,  entirely forced an uninvolving confusion-just-to-be-confusing, and rancid, completely unshocking “shocker” moments, this is easily the worst of a  decidedly lousy bunch.

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On the plus side, it’s only — mercifully! — 55 minutes long. Who says I don’t know how to end things on a positive note?