Written and directed by: Ted A. Bohus
Starring: Brett Fallon, Peter Stickles, Mary Corinne Miller, Pat Ceasar & Terry Shane
Reviewed by: Brett H.
"I donít know why you have a head, you donít put a single thing in it!"
ďShit, Lucy, you buy a bra, donít ya?Ē
ďShit, Lucy, you buy a bra, donít ya?Ē
Poor Bobby... no one likes him. Not his peers, not his parents, not his sister. Hell, he doesnít even have a dog or fully functional legs. But he does have his weird Aunt Sadie, who stays with his imbecilic family after being deemed insane. She owned an occult shop in her better days and hopes to put Bobby through college with profits earned from selling the store. Apparently, Sadie didnít sell everything as what surely must be the prized possession of any friendly neighborhood black magic store, the Book of the Dead is still in her clutches. She teaches Bobby the ins-and-outs of the netherworld, even going so far as to show him how to bring demons to our universe to shoot the shit with young Bob. Soon Bobbyís parents gain power of attorney over Sadieís bank account and plan to spend all the dough on themselves, leaving Bobby out of the equation entirely. In Sadie and Bobbyís world, thatís simply not going to fly. For that, theyíre going to bring Hell on Earth!
Hell on Earth was done by The Deadly Spawn writer Ted A. Bohus and shares many common traits with the 80s gore gem. I canít claim to have seen that film, although through multiple viewings of the Wizard compilation Terror on Tape, I certainly feel like I have, but Hell on Earth does appear to feel a lot like it, taking the gooey monster effects down a notch, yet still smatters the screen with enough red stuff to make Herschel Gordon Lewis proud. If you were to simply take the gore bits and fit them into a modern Terror on Tape-esque compilation (and why in the world are there not more of these, really?!), Iíd say Hell on Earth looks to be one heck of a ride. Obviously part of that statement has to be true and obviously thereís an anchor holding the film back. Itís not a plot that makes the eye of a needle look like the tunnel in The Third Man, thatís to be expected, itís the fact that the filmís characters are just plain and utter assholes. Not in an 80s charming sort of way, but in a Rob Zombie nihilistic way.
Uber horror fan Bobby needs to wear leg braces to walk and heís called a human lightning rod or human scrap yard a dozen times in the movie by his sister, his parents ignore him and constantly bicker and insult one another. Aunt Sadie is insane. Even the very entertaining demon, Tyrone, who befriends Bobby turns out to be a dick. Routing for any of these characters isnít an option and Bobby mysteriously drops out of the centrifugal focus of the film towards the end. So we have some demons chasing a bunch of assholes while the only interesting character in the film, the one thatís causing hell and being manipulated by evil, is nowhere to be found. And when he is, there is a severe lack of any sort of tension, emotion or decisiveness in regards to his character.
Itís not that the film doesnít try to charm up the characters, Bobbyís pop being a beer drinking, pretzel eating Vampire Vixens from Venus watching son of a gun is great. Nothing wrong with that, Iíve spent a night or two alone with a case of suds and some skinemax comedies myself. Yes, the jokes would be funnier if the characters were crafted to be entertaining dickheads instead of just being rude, selfish souls. To credit all those involved, the characters become more tolerable as the film winds on, but itís hard to forget those excruciating first 20 minutes where you just wish Hell on Earth would commence and we wouldnít have to see any of these people again. With that being said, no one buying Hell on Earth is going to be too concerned about the plot, theyíre going to be salivating at the thought of Deadly Spawn style mayhem, which is captured nicely by a dozen decomposing, mucky zombies, amazing demonic masks and gut ripping splatter that truly delivers. Like all flicks made on the cheap, the CGI is goofy, but adds to the allure, livening up the screen with cartoonish effects that honestly donít seem out of place amidst all the insanity.
Elite does a nice job with the disc, even if the 16 x 9 transfer doesnít radiate like the big boys, it still makes old VHS flicks look obsolete and the dialogue is always clear. There are even a lot of special features, including a commentary, demo reel, trailer and photo gallery. As for the film itself, letís be real, you know what youíre getting with these little indy flicks that can, and if you donít know by now, you will never know. For its audience, I am certain Hell on Earth will provide the proverbial bloodshed, boobs, FX and miseries of the inferno that fans clamor for. At its best, Hell on Earth will remind you of the days of ultra-violence from Wizard and Continental Video. At its worst, Hell on Earth is miles ahead of the independent dreck that used to populate the shelves of Movie Galleries and Blockbusters in the 90s and 00s. Rent it!
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