Thursday, November 01, 2007

Beyond the Wall of Sleep

(2006) Zero stars

Or as I like to call it, Beyond the Wall of Ass. Oh criminy was this movie horrible. Bad in that way that offers no knife-glint of redemption, nothing at all to justify the 80 minutes spent slogging mercilessly towards the credits.

Lovecraft's short story is a modest tale of a hillbilly named Joe Slater who kills his family in a trance and is sent to a nearby asylum. There he meets a young doctor (our narrator) who on the eve of Joe's death uncovers the simple man's secret: that his true identity is a boundless celestial being that he only becomes when he's dreaming, and his human frame can't stand the mental or physical strain. You see William Sanderson above (good old J. F. Sebastian from Blade Runner), playing the hapless incarcerated hill-man.

Working off that same premise, this "movie" proceeds straight down the crapper with a stale batch of hackneyed ideas presented with just the right mix of amateurishness and pretension to make you want to strangle it. How can I strangle this movie? I still want to know.

It's hard to pick what to hate first. There's the dinner-theater skill level of the actors, most of which is displayed by yelling stupid lines at each other. Is there anything worse than watching a bad actor do "contemptuously angry," all puffed up with paper-thin indignation? Were it actual dinner theater, you'd chuck your roll at these fools so you could eat in silence.

Then there's the extraneous elements added to the story to up the horror, like our narrator character having a female inmate strapped to a chair in the basement, so he can stick needles in her exposed brain. I got torked when the characters kept calling her "a fine specimen" although she's pretty plain looking -- that's how bad these actors are, you actually want to pick fights with them because they're so stupid. It's the opposite of being entertained.

And my least favorite thing of all, a sequence of flash-pop images that get spooled out again and again, over and over and over. This kind of music video shtick is the final go-to for the crap, talentless flimmaker. You know what I'm talking about, in the space of three seconds, you see: A close-up b&w shot of J.F. Sebastian in a field, some sped-up footage of some kids playing ring-around-a-rosy, a close-up of the cheapo mad intern's brain-needle device, the kids again, this time tinted red, J. F. cradling a bloody skull, some clouds in time-lapse, etc. etc. et fucking cetera. It makes Jay Sherman's student film look like Lawrence of Arabia. 100%, high-octane suck.

I knew I'd be risking this when I fished around for Lovecraft movies: talent-free fan films that weren't worth the scraps from its craft service table, which it probably didn't even have. I still wasn't expecting to endure this. If nothing else convinces you, know that I've never rated a movie less than one star. Avoid like you would a furious, wall-eyed cat dipped in toxic waste.

9 comments:

Jordan said...

Jay Sherman's student film is, like, the greatest thing ever! (I know you're with me on this one).

Octopunk said...

Yeah, totally. Watching it again I thought the same thing.

I mentioned it because its parody montage is lampooning just the sort of choppy editing mishmash I'm complaining about in Wall of Ass. But in truth, L'artiste est Morte is a much better film. I say that with no irony at all.

JPX said...

I love that Jay Sherman film! I thought I was the only fan of that show.

When I read the first line of this review I was sure JSP had written it. "Wall of ass", heh heh heh...

Octopunk said...

Yes, I got the idea from JSP's "Beast in the Smeller" joke.

AC said...

"oh no! promootheus!"

AC said...

octo, i feel your pain, but at least the wall of ass suckfest yielded a hilarious review for OUR entertainment.

AC said...

thankfully, my nephews (8 and 13) also think the critic is hilarious, and regularly entertain me by reciting classic lines, which they can hardly get through for laughing.

"Rosebud. Yes, Rosebud frozen peas. Full of country goodness and green peaness. Wait, that's terrible. I quit."

Jordan said...

"They're even better when you're dead!"

I'mnotMarcbutmyboyfriendis said...

Green peaness! I love it -- totally forgot. The L'artiste est Mort episode was first shown to me by my friend Dave, a film student at Cal. There were three of us in the room. We were all completely high and we wept tears of happiness when the Kool-Aid man burst through the wall.

Family Guy made the other really great pop reference to the Kool-Aid man. Peter smashes through the Kool-Aid man's wall while K is in his living room relaxing in his easy chair. K gapes for a couple seconds and then says, "wow, that really is annoying."