Herschell Gordon Lewis will always be one of the greatest horror filmmakers of all time in my book, even though he made his fair share of turds. This remake to his 1970 classic is just about as bad as some of Lewis’ worst offerings. While recent sequels to Lewis’ work such as Blood Feast 2 and 2001 Maniacs have been inspired updates of the originals, this one is a complete mess.
The plot involves a reporter named Edmund Bigelow (Kip Pardue, who looks and acts like a low rent Matt Damon) becoming increasingly obsessed with a bizarre magician named Montag the Magnificent (Crispin Glover) who seemingly murders women live on stage. Sadly after this promising set-up, the remake begins to deviate from the original source material and takes a turn for the worse when it starts focusing on a handful of totally unnecessary subplots involving (but not limited to) murdered call girls, a sleazy herbal remedies dealer (Brad Dourif) and Bigelow’s inability to remember anything immediately after Montag’s performances.
Director Jeremy (The Attic Expeditions) Kasten drowns the movie in a bland Hot Topic inspired set design and uses more Dutch camera angles than the entire run of the 60’s Batman series. I guess he thought he was being “edgy” or something. But it’s screenwriter Zach Chassler who has to shoulder most of the blame. He cumbersomely tosses in a lot of inane “plot twists” that are so predictable that a toddler could’ve guessed them. Chassler thinks he’s a “magician” by misdirecting the audience, but he only succeeds in giving them a headache as he futilely piles on contrivance after contrivance and stretches their patience to the breaking point.
Kasten had the right idea of hiring The Suicide Girls as Montag’s victims because the world needed more eviscerations of heavily pierced and tattooed starlets who aren’t afraid to wear any clothes. Thanks to him, we can now groove to seeing naked Goth chicks having their guts ripped out, getting decapitated by bear traps and being barbecued alive in an oversized Weber grill. The fact that they are being dismembered by none other than Crispin Glover adds to the appeal. Glover cranks things up to about a 12 on the Weirdo Meter and is easily the best thing this shitfest has going for it.
Now I know what you’re thinking: How can a movie that is primarily about Crispin Glover hacking up The Suicide Girls suck balls? The answer is simple: Way too much plot.
Listen up potential screenwriters, there is no reason on Earth why you have to tack on a bunch of gratuitous “twist” endings that only add to your film’s annoyance factor. You’re not writing The Usual Suspects here. You were hired to write a fucking direct-to-DVD horror flick. Get over it. No one cares about your little plot twists. The audience paid to see Crispin Glover dismember naked Goth chicks, not to sit through 12 false endings of pointless twists and turns. Lewis knew this when he made the original. It might not be the best film he ever made, but he was at least smart enough to know that the reason the people came to see the movie was to see a magician murder females; not to watch a lot of plot stuff.
If you really want to watch Crispin Glover act totally bonkers in a GOOD horror remake, check out Willard instead.