Sunday, August 5, 2018

Satanic Yuppies (1996)

aka Evil Ambitions

Slobby reporter Pete McGavin (Paul Morris) stumbles upon a grand conspiracy. Up and coming politician Gideon Jessup (David Levy) has good chances of becoming Governor despite wearing a porn actor pony tail because he has the help of Satan. Or rather, he is the pawn of PR firm boss and Satanic high priestess Brittany Drake (Amber Newman) in her bid for world domination. Right now, Brittany is planning on really sealing the deal with Mr Satan by giving him a virginal bride. Model Julie (Lucy Frashure) seems to be the perfect candidate, now it’s just a question of sacrificing a series of women as Satan’s bridesmaids. Will McGavin stop the fiendish plot despite Britanny’s mind whammy powers? Or will the film end in such a way that he could have spent the whole hundred minutes in bed?

Yes, of course it is the latter, for Mark Burchett’s and Michael D. Fox’s shot on video – or at least looking that way - horror comedy with mild cheesecake aspirations sure as hell isn’t interested in fine details like a protagonist doing what his name promises. Instead, Satan’s - Randy Rupp in godawful but pretty funny make-up that suggests not only the expected yuppie Satan but also a guy without a mirror - getting annoyed by his minions not bothering to check if his bride’s virginal state is actual or imaginary. Cue epilogue.

Speaking of the epilogue, it and the intro, as well as McGavin’s name and general demeanour are obviously meant to remind the viewer of a certain irascible reporter played by Darren McGavin, just that Paul Morris sure as shit ain’t no McGavin, and the writers are about as far from Richard Matheson as possible while still being human. It’s – generally speaking – not a terribly good idea to bring up actual genre classics when you can barely make a movie yourself, but at least the directors/writers to show good taste in one aspect of the film.

On a technical level, this is about as bad as you’d expect, edited with a pair of scissors, staged without thought, and too cheaply made to afford even much of the nudity you’d expect from a film this dire in other regards. That last bit is actually somewhat perplexing, for Satanic Yuppie’s  whole vibe is certainly that of a mid-90s softcore joint. It definitely is plotted like a film whose plot only exists to lead up to sex scenes and features mostly acting talent used in this area. Only most – there’s a bit of nudity but it’s really rather tepid - of the dry humping sex and women getting off their kits has been replaced by jokes that hit about ten percent of the time – I found Satan pretty funny – and little else. Note to filmmakers: you probably need something in a film to keep an audience engaged.

But hey, at least the plot setup of all rich people being in league with Satan is believable for once in a horror movie, there’s some nude dancing with a snake going on to lighten up the pretty dire Satanic ceremonies (note to directors: five people do not an impressive coven make, particularly when you can only get them into what looks like silk bath robes), and the Satanists’ one and only minion moonlights as a fire-swallower. Basically, these evil ceremonies are like really bad imitation Grateful Dead shows, with decidedly worse music.

Having said all that, I also have to admit that I somewhat enjoyed my time with Satanic Yuppies. It certainly isn’t ashamed of being goody and cheap, Amber Newman demonstrates enormous enthusiasm as the villainess, and it features at least ten funny minutes. While it’s hardly a film I’d outright recommend even to the fan of cheap crap like me, it’s pretty tolerable to sit through. What a recommendation!

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