Update on May 3, 2014: Hello Internet and/or Ginger Lynn enthusiasts. Below is the first entry in my "Hipster Holy Grail" series of movie reviews, which has come a long way even in just the last ten months. In that time, I've drastically changed my approach to not only how I review these movies, but also what I'm hoping to accomplish with my reviews.
I wouldn't normally put a disclaimer in front of my past material - especially stuff that's not even a full year old yet - but I feel like it's required here. The tone is much different than what I normally go for. I'd hate for somebody to read this and get the wrong impression. Maybe if I'm still doing the HHG in 5 years I'll do a "Remastered" edition.
The Original Review on July 11, 2013:
The Hipster Holy Grail is a weekly experiment where I try to find and review a movie that's at least 10 years old and has less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. I always hope to discover something amazing. Sometimes I don't. This week, I watched....
Horror, 1992, 95 Minutes, Directed by Rick Sloane
Crap. I made a mistake. Here I thought that watching a bunch of obscure movies was going to be fun, and now I've committed myself to watching weeks of what I assume will be stuff like this.
This is a movie about a woman named Brenda who finds out that her boyfriend is actually a Satanist, and then after being accused of being a Satanist, Brenda is harassed by the Satanists for reasons unknown except Satan.
Here's Brenda, played by Ginger Lynn Allen, making the face that she will be making for something like 75% of the movie:
Ha! Look at that! It's like the "Ooh, I'm ready for the sex in me" face that porn stars always make!
Wait a minute....
The movie opens with sex-face Brenda hangin' out with her boyfriend Carl. He tells her that he belongs to a special club, and that they should go meet his group. Turns out he's part of the Mormon church. Ha! Just kidding. He's clearly a Satanist. They go to a basement that looks vaguely like a creepy ceremonial hall and which is clearly somebody's basement, and Brenda watches on with a complete lack of horror as a mysterious, hooded cult leader whose identity will never be guessed almost sacrifices a helpless woman.
The cops suddenly raid the place - which is pretty important to keep in mind for later when the cops keeping insisting that they have no leads and can't find the Satanists - and then somebody deploys ninja smoke so the Satanists can all run away. Since the cops in this movie come from the same shitty police academy where all terrible thriller movie cops come from, they don't bother to chase the Satanists at all and instead just arrest Brenda because she's an easy target.
The victim accuses her of being part of the evil cult, and the head detective (Let's call him "Taggart") wants to throw Brenda in jail. She tells them that it was all Carl's fault. Taggart goes to Carl / Brenda's apartment just before Carl starts an extremely localized fire that then cuts away to stock footage of an explosion.
One quick note about this scene, though. Check out Carl's awesome Satan candelabra:
I want! This would be awesome for a Halloween party, especially if you also do that punch where you make an ice cube out of a glove full of Kool-Aid.
Cut to the opening credits, and then re-open in what I assume is a prison, but I'm not really sure. See, maybe it's because I'm a huge wimp in real life, but I have no concept of how jail actually works. I'm under the assumption that after you get arrested, you go to a holding cell for awhile, you have a chance to pay bail, and then you either go to prison or you go home while you wait for a court date. This movie seems to skip the holding cell part and just have prison. Look - everybody is wearing prison-issue blue summer dresses.
Either the movie's confused by how things work, or I am, because this jail does not operator like a jail. The guard literally just lets somebody leave at one point as part of a convoluted subplot that I'm not going to get into, and they never mention that Brenda is going to court, yet she manages to get out of jail because John pays her bail.
Anyway. John is another character in this movie. Here he is making a rape face.
John is an attorney who may or may not be an important character. He appears briefly here, then he disappears for a very long time until the ending when it's time for a surprise reveal. You'll never guess what the reveal is, you guys. But for now, John pays Brenda's bail and tells her she can live with him for a little while. And... that's about it for the next hour.
My major complaint with this movie is that it's clearly an exploitation movie - every chance they have to throw some naked breasts at the screen, they do - but outside of the gratuitous nudity, they don't really do much exploiting. There's only one murder until maybe 20 minutes before the end, and for a movie about evil Satanists who commit horrible bloody sacrifices, that's pretty lame. What happens instead? I made a brief bulleted list.
- Brenda hangs out in John's house and writes a something about her experience. (Possibly a book? A novel? Maybe an article for the newspaper? I don't really know.)
- The Satanists get together and vote as a team to be jerks to Brenda (literally, they all vote on whether to kill her or just be jerks to her and being jerks wins).
- Since one of Brenda's pseudo-prison buddies almost gets involved in all their business, the Satanists get one of their undercover prison guard members to release Brenda's buddy so they can be jerks to her, too. This pays off in no way whatsoever until they kill her at around 20 minutes before the end (spoiler alert).
- Brenda decides to go on a talk show, where she meets a Satanic Priestess who exists solely to take out her breasts in a later scene.
- Brenda almost has sex with some guy she met at the talk show who decides to follow her around for no reason except to resolve the plot later.
- John shows off a stupid-ass shell game that he had laying around his house. This scene is not important at all, except that the tray that comes with his shell game looks kinda neat.
It's so chintzy looking, I love it! John tells this whole stupid story about severed fingers during this scene, too, and it makes me think that a good theme for a Halloween party would be severed hand related stuff. You have your hand ice cube thing I mentioned above next to your handelabra, then you have this tray with little severed finger cookies and finger sandwiches served on it, and then you can buy those chalky body part candies that look like severed fingers and put them in a bowl next to it. If this movie was any good, you could have it on in the background, too.
The above items take up about an hour, and then we finally have a shocking reveal. John was the masked cult leader all along! He explains that the reason he paid Brenda's bail and his goons have been screwing around with her for the whole movie is because he needed to find out what she knew about their cult before killing her. Accordingly, he set her up with a neat '80s era computer, put her up in his house for a week, and had her write a something-or-other about her experiences.
The conclusion he reaches after all of this? Kill her.
Not a very efficient plan, if you ask me. You could've saved a whole bunch of time if you just killed her at the beginning. It's not like anybody knew that she knew anything worthwhile, anyway. Even when she goes on the talk show to tell everybody about the horrible cult, she basically just says, "Well, I don't really know anything about them or what they were doing. But it was scary." All she friggin' knows is, "Satanists scary!" and that's it. If your solution is to kill her for that, what were you going to do if she actually did know something? Suppose she had a whole flowchart of every member of the cult and their home address. What then? Kill her twice?
Speaking of which, there actually is a book that details every member of the cult and their home address. The cops have it. It literally comes out of nowhere in the third act so they can show us the shocking reveal of John's true identity.
There's a final showdown between John and Brenda's talk-show sex buddy, they set the Satanist compound on fire, and then they leave. End credits. But not before one of the funniest reactions to being set on fire I've ever seen:
Ow!My Final Analysis: There's like four or five kinda funny scenes and some halfway decent props, but it's pretty boring overall. Not really worth it, and definitely not the Holy Grail.
One Last Thought: Ginger Lynn Allen looks pretty good in a pearl necklace.
Ha! That's called a "pun," guys. Now, I know you're not laughing at the moment, but just trust me when I say that it's hilarious.
How Much Hipster Cred Is It Worth?
Mind, Body & Soul gets 50 points because it currently has less than 100 ratings on IMDb, but that's where most of its hipster cred runs short. Satan worship just isn't a hip thing these days. The softcore aspects and the presence of Ginger Lynn might actually detract from the score depending on how you look at it - either it's ironically hilarious that the lead is a porn star, or it's politically complex. I'll call that a wash.
I will give it another 10 points since it was made by Rick Sloane, director of the notorious Hobgoblins and Vice Academy series. Leaving aside any opinions you might have of his other stuff, he's at least a name and that helps. So I'll give this one a total of 60 hipster cred out of a possible 100.