Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Video Bava: Graveyard Disturbance

After the debacle that was Demons III: The Ogre, my expectations were not high for this movie.  As I've mentioned before, this is part of a four-movie set that Lamberto Bava made for Italian television, the others being The Ogre, Dinner with a Vampire and The Changeling 2.  What a group of films, huh?  So what is this movie about?  It is about a group of 'teens' who end up at a mysterious bar, wander into a crypt and wander out again.  There- I just saved you 82 minutes.  I suppose I should admit that there is a little more to the plot, but not a whole lot.  There is more than one monster in the thing, so it immediately has one advantage over that other Bava film.  Will it redeem the series or just confirm my fears?  Either way, it's a good chance to laugh at my pain.  Get out your stolen candy bars for my review of...
After showing us very clearly that the U.S. title is not at all like the Italian one (see above), we are introduced to our heroes.  They all ride in a van that is spray-painted like the entire decade of the '80s.  Seriously, this thing is a sight to behold!  Amongst the airbrushed art, we get a shot of Madonna, a U2 album cover and that chick from Heavy Metal.  Is this what you think Americans are like, Lamberto?  Most of them linger around a convenience store until they steal a few random things and run out.  Seriously, that's it.  They rush to their airbrushed van and try to escape, only to have it conveniently stall for a minute to build up tension.  Afterward, they drive away into the Italian forest and...get lost.  After a lot of bickering and one girl thinking that the only problem is her walk-man batteries dying, the group ditches the van and wanders around.  They end up at a crypt which is oddly-lit up with no buildings nearby, so, of course, they decide to stay the night.  Are you sure?  I mean, there's a lovely, flaming-ant farm just a block down the road!  After that, one of them wakes up in the middle of the night and hears a noise.  The group re-dresses and discovers...a bar on the opposite side of the place.  That doesn't seem out of place at all!
Our lovely heroes settle in to the place quickly, ordering some food and beer.  You're just over the 'Miller Lite sign on the back of an abandoned crypt' thing, huh?  They get picked on by a local who pretends to have lost an arm while battling a werewolf- who hasn't been there?  One of them makes a joke that involves the word 'bet' and that sets everyone off though!  'We can take jokes about werewolves, but we take betting very seriously'- actual dialogue from this movie.  Our heroes learn about a strange system the group has which involves people making a bet about spending one whole night in a crypt under the bar.  Note to self: avoid bars with accompanying crypts!  One of our heroes decides that he loves money so much that he'll take the bet, which the plan that the others will sneak in later and join him.  He does so, but the bar owner seems well aware of the group's plan and...unlocks the door for them.  That will show them, I guess...maybe?  When they get in there, they begin to regret this plan.  By this point in the film, my interest level was waning.  Why?  Because they pretty much just wander around for the next 25 minutes.  No, really.
Only one interesting thing really happens in this whole experience.  A pair of them stop by a gate, see a family of zombies crawl out for dinner and they flee when they see company.  I know I say this a lot, but...Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.  This comes out of nowhere, adds nothing and then disappears just as quickly- I'd say that it qualifies.  Finally, the group reunites and...wanders around.  They get so dejected that they follow the weird blond girl's advice, since...she's attuned to spirits or something.  I don't know or care.  They eventually get out after stalling some more, staring at the wall and even trying to climb up through a hole in the ground.  Yes, they try to climb up a hole.  When they get out, they're relieved, deciding to go through the jar full of gold and jewelry.  The owner with the glowing eyes pulls off his face, however, revealing an ugly skeleton-style face.  He approaches the group and explains that he is The Grim Reaper and will take them to Hell.  They are a bit shocked by this, but one of them is quick on their feet.  The idiot that got them into this mess grabs a dagger from the jar and stabs Mr. Reaper, promptly killing him.  I have at least seven problems with this!  Following that, they go outside and get arrested for their earlier crime.  Lamberto, I'm sure that you like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but don't steal it's ending again.  Thanks.

This movie doth blow chunks!  The story is silly, the pacing is terrible and the whole thing just reeks of crap.  The premise is simple enough, but the movie fails due to its lack of scale and budget.  Since this was made for TV, nobody dies, there is no blood and you only get a few monsters.  Again- that's still better than the one monster from The Ogre!  Here's a thought for all of you people who make films for TV: don't try to make them like real movies.  If you can't do what theatrical films can do, don't try to be like them!  How complicated is this idea?  As far as everything in this movie, it is pretty bad too.  The film has a terrible pace, proving to have a bigger, more awkward mid-section than most of the people whose stomachs you see on local news exposes!  I mean, these schmucks just wander around for so freaking long!  You really built the whole movie around this shit?  How can the guy who made Demons and A Blade in the Dark seem this inept?!?  The worst part: I feel this uncontrollable urge as a completist to watch the other two films.  Someone stop me before it's too late!

Up next, I finally get to close out the direct-to-television Universal Soldier series.  When the best you can get is Burt Reynolds, there's a problem.  Stay tuned...

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