Thursday, September 27, 2012

Soul Proprietor: "Faust: Love of the Damned" (2001)

Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs combine with a whole lot of blood and skin to create a confused version of the popular graphic novel.

John Jaspers (Mark Frost) is a John Doe in a mental hospital, discovered by tough detective Margolies (Jeffrey Combs) after John murdered nineteen people with Freddy Krueger/Wolverine-type metal blades that are attached to his hands. Cute doc Jade deCamp (Isabel Brook) comes in for a little music therapy (!) with the psychopathic killer, as assorted higher-ups at both the hospital and police station begin to act strangely.

Jaspers watched his girlfriend die, and swore his eternal soul to M (no, not James Bond's boss), played with "Wishmaster" precision by Andrew Divoff, and his hot galpal Claire (Monica Van Campen). M eventually captures John and buries him alive, but John somehow uses his devilish magic to come back as a murdering demon who in all honesty looks like an overdone cherry turnover. Soon, age old ceremonies are being performed, John is running around after Jade, Margolies is running around after everyone, and this reviewer is running around his couch trying to stay awake.

It is not that Brian Yuzna has made a bad film, but once again, the director's vision falls short of the producers' budget. Most of the special effects are of the grainy computer generated variety, rendering even the most promising scenes second rate, i.e. when M turns Claire into the "T&A" she would be without him.

Frost made no impression on me at all, with the exception of his eerie resemblance to Hugh Jackman. He shows more emotion as John than he does as the anti-heroic "Spawn"-like Faust. Brook is equally underused as Jade, and Combs' attempt at playing the renegade cop on the edge fails simply because this part has nothing new to offer anyone who has seen the exact same character a thousand times before.

I do blame the writers who had their hands in the cauldron. Turning Faust into a giant dessert who spouts lame one-liners during the carnage just reminds me how much I hate "funny" horror villains. We never really find out who M is, and why the devil's minions always pick the eve of one of these ceremonies that can only occur once every ten thousand years to go and let the heroes ride in and ruin everything.

The gore effects are very good, and Van Campen felt her character's constant disrobing was essential to the story, but in the end it is not enough to recommend "Faust: Love of the Damned," much less seek out the graphic novel. (*) out of five stars.