Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SUMMER OF SATAN: Satan’s Children

Meet Bobby (Steven White). He’s bullied by his asshole stepfather (Eldon Meacham) and teased by his sexually precocious stepsister Janis (Joyce Molloy). One night, after Janis shops him over a stash of weed hidden in his room, he storms out and walks the streets angrily. He ends up in a bar where a middle-aged gay guy puts the moves on him. Said individual is swiftly given his marching orders by an asshole biker (the character might have had a name, but I didn’t catch, nor did I recognise the actor … in fact, I didn’t recognize any of the cast) who promptly invites Bobby to crash at his place. At chez asshole biker, Bobby gets a beer and then a knife pulled on him. Next thing, asshole biker’s mates are invited over for a party. Gang rape ensues.

All of this unpleasantry occupies almost half an hour of an 83 minute film. The pace is tedious. Director Joe Wiezycki (a man who, to the best of my knowledge, has just this one piece of work garbage to his name) holds every shot longer than he has to; he holds each shot for a few seconds before his actor delivers a line and holds for a few seconds afterwards – given that virtually all the dialogue scenes are edited as a series of two-shots, this makes for more pregnant pauses than a Harold Pinter play produced by a cast on Mogadon.

Left for dead by his abusers, Bobby is discovered by a commune of Satanists – the only Satanists in the history of the horror genre who look more like hippies and act more like they’re in a beach blanket bonanza circa 1958 – despotically ruled over by the hatchet-faced Sherry (Kathleen Archer) in the absence of leader Simon (Robert C Ray II). Sherry is particular antagonistic towards Monica (Rosemary Orlando), who has made a lesbian overture to her, and Joshua (John Edwards), who is critical of her heavy-handedness and prays to Lucifer for Simon’s swift return.

Sherry has Joshua and a couple of other fomentors hanged and puts the moves on Bobby, who responds to her advances as eagerly as he can while still being traumatized by his ordeal and unable to move his legs let alone get his wedding tackle into a state of readiness. Simon arrives back at the commune and finds several hanged bodies plus Monica bound up before the cheapest altar to Satan ever cobbled together by an excuse for a props department …

… and demands an explanation from Sherry. He also interrogates Monica, upon whom a supernatural punishment is wreaked because, according to the festering wad of crud that is ‘Satan’s Children’, the devil doesn’t like gay people. (Not that the filmmakers’ rampant homophobia hadn’t been utterly obvious by this point, anyway.) Sherry is forced to dig a hole while the other Satanists lob clods of earth at her (folks, this is a movie that makes ‘The French Sex Murders’ look like Antonioni), after which she’s buried up to her neck in it and left to the mercy of the ants. We’re almost at the hour mark here, the blurts of nastiness nowhere near effective enough to counter the ennui of Wiezycki’s obsession with padding.

Bobby has been out of the action for a while, and is visited in his sick bed by Simon. Bobby is irate that his new girlfriend has been left out as insect fodder (the hangings, egomania and intended use of Monica as a human sacrifice evidently don’t bother him in the slightest) and Simon mocks him for being weak and unwilling to take her place. When Simon leaves, Bobby forces himself out of bed, runs out of his room clad only in a pair of white Y-fronts and fights with two of the Satanists who try to stop him. These guys are bigger and broader than Bobby (the dude has no physique) yet he ably defeats them by flapping a hand at one and shoving the other gingerly in the manner of a ten-year-old who doesn’t want to back down in a playground fight but doesn’t want to make it real by swinging an actual punch, either.

There follows, for something like quarter of an hour, the only reason for watching this POS: the sight of the white-panted motherfucker who’s supposed to be the hero of the piece legging it through the compound, kicking over big men with a nudge of his lilywhite foot and clambering over barbed wire fences half-naked without getting a single scratch. As the farcical pursuit continues, we’re treated to the sight of two Satanists floundering in the smallest patch of quicksand imaginable – the sides are within easy reach yet neither even attempt to raise an arm!

Bobby Champion of the Underpants escapes and there follows – SPOILER ALERT (though I’d urge you to read on so that you don’t have to waste the 83 minutes that I did watching this amateur hour drivel) – a ridiculously compacted third act where he revenges himself on stepfather, stepsister, asshole rapist bikers (he acquires a shotgun seemingly out of thin air and blows them away in the kind of agonizingly interminable slow motion that makes the similarly stage scenes in ‘Thriller – A Cruel Picture’ look like they were shot and edited by Michael Bay on speed) then heads back to the Satanists’ pad with a bag full of severed heads which Simon considers a fair trade for Sherry’s disinterment. The whole thing ends with Bobby and Sherry in flagrante delicto (ie. Bobby’s scrawny ass going up and down like a fiddler’s elbow) while the others crucify Janis as a sacrifice to Lucifer.

Yeah, I know the Devil is the Antichrist, the Adversary, the father of lies and, to quote ‘Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey’, a “big red ugly source of all evil”, but it’s hard to see what he did to deserve this film’s disrespect.

1 comment:

adam said...

One of the few films that can lay claim to being simultaneously extremely homophobic and homoerotic at the same time. These film makers had some serious sexual issues!