Mindwarp (1992): I know I shouldn’t expect anything beyond fan service in form of KNB gore that often feels shoe-horned in for no good reason, horror fan favs Bruce Campbell and Angus Scrimm, and some moments that aim for taboo breaking but fall flat because they’re as pointless as a reality show from a Fangoria production. However, there’s just no excuse for this particular piece of crap to include all these things and be boring, surely. The script’s just terrible – and I mean terrible for the standards of a low budget post-apocalypse movie with added gore – moving at a snail’s pace and containing little that’s surprising or as freaky as the film pretends it to be. Director Steve Barnett does his work with all the panache and style of a full garbage can, Campbell and Scrimm get paid, and I had myself a nice little nap.
The Light at the Edge of the World (1971): Where Barnett's
film is just crap, Kevin Billington’s very free adaptation of a Jules Verne
novel is something of an intriguing mess. Sometimes, it’s a psychologically
tense cat and mouse game between Kirk Douglas and Yul Brunner that makes
excellent use of the (Catalonian?) piece of rock it has been shot on; sometimes,
it’s a decent adventure movie; at other times again, it shows the same ruthless,
pessimist spirit I love about early 70s horror. A few scenes later, it’s
suddenly a meandering mess that just doesn’t seem to know what point it is
trying to make about people in general or its characters, just pushing stuff in
front of its audience without discernible rhyme or reason. The good parts do
make this one very much worth watching, though.
Shame the Devil (2013): If you always dreamed of watching a
British movie partially “inspired” by the Saw films with a bit more of
the standard serial killer thriller thrown in, this one’s clearly your fault. I
have to say, though, this thing does give me a new appreciation for the Saws,
for while the entries in that particular franchise are as implausible as all get
out, pretty tacky and directed with all the wrong fashionable direction tics,
they do at least hang together as actual movies and do their best to make their
implausibilities work in the context of their narratives. Shame the
Devil, on the other hand, has some of the worst writing I’ve ever
encountered, with dialogue that’s at once stilted and unnatural, dumb and
lacking in flow, everyone talking at each other in non sequiturs. The plot is
obvious, badly paced, full of ill used clichés and just plain disinteresting.
The writing is so bad and hangs together so little, I can’t bring myself to
actually criticize the actors for the way they stumble through their scenes, for
it’s pretty damn clear that there’s nothing to work with in the script. Paul
Tanter’s direction sure as hell doesn’t provide anything for them to hang their
performances on. It’s just a dreadful mess of a movie, as far from being
entertainingly bad as it is from being competent filmmaking.