My favorite ball in the Michele Soavi canon, five times the film Cemetery Man ever was…if Cemetery Man ever was.
In the first nine minutes Ulrike Schwerk as Betty begins walking around in what must be the greatest Cramps shirt ever made. Too bad Betty happens to catch a pick axe in the mouth, probably not quite the kind of tooth pick poor dead Betty was looking for.
James Sampson as Willy is a kind of backstage barrel chested bumpkin that reminds me of James Baskett as Uncle Remus in Song of The South, but Willy does earn quite a few brownie points for having a black cat named Lucifer, which must be an allusion to at least one of three cinematic cats I think of, Lucifer in Cinderella, Satan in Dwain Esper’s Maniac or the third and most likely reference, Satan in Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave (Your Vice Is a Closed Room and Only I Have the Key).
If this film owes any debt it owes it to The Phantom of The Opera, which is a compliment of course. This is probably especially worth your while if you consider yourself an aficianado of Phantom of The Paradise as there are similarities but nothing whatever to compare the two.
A pink umbrella abandoned in the mud. A lion fish being fed in a mental institute. Giovanni Lombardo Radice as the lovable lisping limp wristed wimp Brett. That magnificent tyto alba owl mask. The bombastic classical music from Sergei M. Eisenstein’s Stachka. A theater cast eradicated like rats in a barn by the bird of prey wielding a chainsaw, pushing a power drill through a door and then a torso. Michele Soavi as the police officer in the passenger seat of the cop car parked vigil waiting in the rain, perusing the pages of The James Dean Story by Robert Martinetti asking the officer in the driver’s seat “Don’t you think I look a little like James Dean?” to which the elder officer replies “Yeah, and I look like Marlon Brando” Michele affirming “a little bit” Yes, I just might remember all these things. I only wish I could have seen this at the Fantasia Film Festival where a blizzard of white feathers fell thrown down from the balcony showering the audience, an homage to the end of this film, this film you should see, but first let’s run through the rape scene.
“When philosophy paints its gloomy picture then a form of life has grown old. It cannot be rejuvenated by the gloomy picture, but only understood. Only when the dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly.” — G.W.F. Hegel, the preface to Philosophy of Right (1820)