Faust: Love of the Damned (2001)R

CapeTentTentHalf a tent

What we have here is Brian Yuzna and a bunch of Spaniards making a cheap farrago of ripoffery of Spawn, the Crow, the Mask, and Wolverine. It’s all very overly familiar. And did I say cheap? We’re talking boom-mike-in-the-frame cheap... except for the gore and grossout effects, courtesy of Screaming Mad George. Yuzna does do fairly well at making the most of his limited resources.

But maybe it isn’t quite as ripoffy as I thought: the author of the graphic novel, David Quinn, claims that he did the Spawn idea first, back in 1988, and Todd McFarlane is the one imitating him. But since the original artwork (by Tim Vigil) already contains the blatant Wolverine ripoff, I’m not finding it easy to be sympathetic.

And this does have something that the other movies don’t — serious gore, and S/M kinks. And half a kaiju! And Jeffrey Combs... as a tough cop. And heavy metal, from the likes of Machine Head and Fear Factory. I actually ended up half enjoying some parts of the movie.

The contribution of Mr. George is not to be underestimated. His rubber effects are the one aspect of this movie that isn’t cheap and stupid. I’ve even seen someone cite one of the more imaginative body distortions from this movie as his pick for one of the coolest movie effects evah.

Too bad the hero looks like a complete goofball when he’s supposed to be scary, and when he’s supposed to be emoting dramatically, the actor who plays him (Mark Frost) mugs terribly. Sometimes his facial expressions are so exaggerated that they literally leave him cross-eyed. He ends up looking more like a circus clown than an audience identification figure. Or actually, between the bug-eyed overemoting and the dark lipstick that’s included in the “scary” costume, he seems to belong in an old silent film, rather than in a modern B flick full of blood and tits.

The ridiculous costume and the chump acting give this movie quite a bit of unintentional amusement value. In a group, it ought to be quite riffable. And the BDSM elements can only add to this. For those with the taste for it, this some very ripe cheese. But by conventional standards, it is a poor movie indeed.