movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Directed by Richard Stanley, who’s movie Hardware (1990) has had a cult following for almost 20 yrs.

QUIRKS: African desert locations. Magic/Witchcraft/Supernatural. SLOWNESS. Randomness. Broken necks. Surrealism. Beautiful but pointless imagery.

This was the workprint version that we watched, which is longer, and includes a lot of VHS-quality scenes and scenes with the timecodes still on them. Scenes that were cut due to technical and budget issues. The first cut was 120min, then they did a 95min compromise cut. The first cut was lost — and this was a 115min recreation of it. So there’s 20 minutes of extra stuff that was cut out — most supernatural references, for example. There’s an even shorter cut that Richard Stanley never even saw, titled “Demonica”.

VISUALS: As mentioned before — there is some beautiful and intense imagery, much like that found in Hardware. But it had little point in this movie. I’ll take sci-fi over supernatural fantasy any day.

BAD STUFF: Random, slow scenes. Bad storytelling. Stuff shown to us that we don’t really need to be shown. This is probably what I get for selecting the workprint version. It was hard to even focus and pay attention at time. “What just happened?” “I don’t know, I was thinking about something else.” “Yeah.. I was thinking about health care reform myself. Let’s rewind.” This happened several times.

CONCLUSION: This certainly had noticeable Richard Stanley style, like that of Hardware (1990) … However, it was just slow, kind of random, fell flat, and felt like a waste of time after watching it. Perhaps we will try the non-workprint version at a future date, but I think the results would be more or less the same: Major disappointment when compared to his previous film, Hardware.

I’m still glad I checked this out. Richard Stanley isn’t consistent, I guess. But Hardware is still a masterpiece in my book, and you can’t win them all.

RATINGS: Clint: Netflix: 2/5 stars. IMDB: 5/5 (and that’s charitable). Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 IMDB: 6/10.

RECOMMENDATION: Hardware fans might want to check this out for completism. I would possibly advise against the workprint version, but I don’t know for sure which is better, since I haven’t seen them both.

MOVIE QUOTE: Joe Niemand: The desert knows her name now. He has stolen both her eyes. When she looks into a mirror she will see his spirit, like a shawl, blowing tatters round her shoulders in a haze. And beyond the dim horizon a tapestry unfolding of the avenues of evil. And all of history set ablaze.

Mood: annoyed at neocons
Music: KMFDM – Friede