Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bad Movie Endurance Test 5: Below Ground: Demon Holocaust

Maybe it's because I took a few days off, but tonight's movie, Below Ground: Demon Holocaust, seemed especially brutal. The movie starts with a guy explaining that he's a director and there's a zombie apocalypse going on (of course he doesn't call it that, because all zombie movies must pretend they take place in a world without zombie movies) and he's going to film it with a super 8 camera. To show that's it's a super 8 camera (and to keep them from having to do any special effects more complicated than corn syrup and fake teeth), there are random film artifacts and breaks throughout the movie. Kind of like Grindhouse but without the restraint, originality, or actual good movie behind the old film feel. Based on the first ten minutes or so, I assumed this was going to be a collage of poorly-acted, cheaply made shot-for-shot re-enactments of scenes from every other zombie movie.

They couldn't afford that, so except for the opening bits and one grainy scene of TV news, it's just five jerkoffs in a basement talking: Director Guy, Stripper, Douchebag, Holy Guy, and Holy Guy's pregnant wife (who has of course been bitten by one of the zombies). In an explosive beer shit of scenes full of emotionless acting and terrible dialog, we get a book review (not sure if it's of a real book. I could look it up, but I just don't care), a discussion of religion that could have been taken line for line from any internet forum frequented by college freshmen, a very special anti-drug message, and some Jerry Springer type stuff establishing how everyone knows each other (they've all been to the strip club where the stripper works, but unless you're legally brain dead you probably could have figured that out yourself).

Eventually they all start passing a bottle of vodka around and become best friends despite all the interpersonal tensions we didn't care about earlier. So of course start telling their stories. You know that scene in Chasing Amy where Holden is about to propose his brilliant plan and you're thinking, "don't say it, you idiot?" This is kind of like that in that you know exactly what they're going to say. In Chasing Amy, you don't want Holden to say what you know he's going to say because you realize it will end badly and you don't want that to happen because you're emotionally attached to the characters involved. In this one, you don't want them to say what they're going to say because you know it will be predictable crap and, worst of all, is probably going to lead to attempts at DRAMATIC ACTING. It does, it goes on for what feels like the bulk of the movie, and all you can do is hope for the sweet embrace of death--of the actors, the director, the DVD player, yourself, it really doesn't matter after a few minutes, as long as the suffering ends. But it doesn't.

After all of this nonsense finally ends, there's a film break and they tie up the bitten pregnant lady and throw her out of the basement because she's turning into a zombie. The discussion of this decision apparently was the one thing the guy with the camera didn't film because there was an outside chance it would result in a watchable scene. I'm pretty sure that during the "throw out the zombie" scene, the zombie-bitten woman was played by the same actress who played the stripper. This gave me a bit of hope. Maybe the original pregnant zombie lady actress realized what a terrible movie she was involved in and left to do something more rewarding with her life, like re-posting hoaxes on Facebook or artificially inseminating cockroaches or something.

Once the zombified pregnant lady is ousted, the stripper asks the director why he didn't hang himself earlier that day (the suicide plan was part of his dramatic backstory. I won't go into details because it's statistically improbable that anyone cares). He tells her that he saw the camera and it gave him a reason to live. If this is autobiographical, I have something to say to him if he's reading: If it happens again, hang yourself. You having access to a camera will only hurt more people. If nothing else, at least think of the children who might accidentally see your film vomit and lose all faith in humanity. Seriously, kill yourself. Do it now.

After that, talk turns to some of the director's other films (not real, I assume). The first couple of titles are completely generic, but then he mentions one called Werecow. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? You had an idea for a movie called Werecow and instead you made this stinking pile of derivative shit? Really? When you could have made WERECOW?  Kill yourself immediately. Werecow has way to much potential to be trusted to the likes of you.

After another film break, the stripper tells director guy that she's worried because holy man has been praying for hours, even though during his poignant backstory we learned that the zombies made him lose his faith--not sure if that's a hint something's wrong or a plot (and I use that term loosely) hole. Could be either. It doesn't matter, because there is no way that anyone could give two tugs of Warren Ellis's proverbial dead dog's cock. When they go to check on him, he zombies out (even though as far as we know he hasn't been bitten) and bites the stripper. In a final scene that might have been emotional with characters anyone on earth cared about, the stripper asks the director to kill her and he does. It's like Old Yeller, if at the end of Old Yeller the audience let out a collective sigh of relief, thankful that their suffering was finally over. There's no indication of what happens between the director, the douchebag, and the now-zombified holy man after that, but since tying up those loose ends would have meant even more terrible scenes, I'm happy that they left things unresolved.

Takeaway: I wish they would have made Werecow.
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