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July 2001

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In this issue:    Ash gets Artificially Intelligated!   God hates Evolution!    Sequels Worth Seeing!   PLUS:    the Passions of Batturtle,    Hamilton goes Straight to Hell,    and Craig Kilborn Must Die!
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter *****

It is very seldom, in today's day and age of Saturday Night Live films and Tom Green movies, that a true cinematic gem comes across the screen, a film clearly destined to become a cult classic. And by destined of course I mean meticulously pre-planned and marketed, because there's no way you make a film called Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter without at least one eye firmly planted on university college campuses everywhere. But that's not to say that Vampire Hunter is not an amazing film. No, I haven't said that quite yet, but trust me I will. But I kid, I kid. Truth be told, Vampire Hunter succeeds in its noble goal of reveling in the rich history of the camp and gore films of the seventies, filling the screen like the bastard love child of Hershell Gordon Lewis and Roger Corman high on meth-amphetamines. In a much-appreciated rejection of modern cinematic conventions, Vampire Hunter abandons the tired clich├ęs of 'plot', 'sense', and 'exposition', replacing them instead with garbled post-synchronized dialogue and lesbians. A fair trade, I'd say. Filmed in Ottawa by local filmmaker Lee Demarbre and his Macho Man Randy Savage beard, the film plays like what would happen if you fell asleep after watching Plan 9 From Outer Space and eating a large combination pizza from Dominoes. The story, such as it is, follows the adventures of our lord and savior Jesus Christ who, contrary to popular belief, did not die on the cross for our sins, but has instead spent the last 2000 years baptizing women in the Britannia Beach area. A vampire plague has stricken the greater Ottawa region, devastating the local high tech sector, and Jesus is the only person who can stop it. Using his Crouching Messiah, Hidden Jehovah kung fu style, Jesus must battle the evil vampire kingpins Maxine Schreck (her name obviously inspired by famed local Crankenstein guitarist Mephisto Schreck) and Johnny Golgotha, who for some severely muffled reason, have been harvesting lesbians for mad Dr. Praetorious' crazed experiments. Mysteriously enough, possibly due to either the aforementioned muffled explanations or an astounding lack of money in the production budget for lighting night sets, the vampires have no difficulty walking around during the day. This causes Jesus no end of consternation and frustration, forcing him to enlist the aid of masked Mexican wrestler El Santos, who has had great experience battling the undead in such classic horror films as 1966's Santo Vs. The Vampire Women. Add to the mix drop-kicking, dirt-biking, leather-cat-suit-wearing Mary Magnum, and you've got yourself a cast quirky enough to make Quentin Tarantino proud. Needless to say, hilarity, hijinks, and high-class humor ensue, but more interesting to me that the B-movie insanity of the story is the film's portrayal of Jesus. Following in the footsteps of such neo-biblical films as The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus of Montreal, and Army Of Darkness, Vampire Hunter gives us a flawed, human Jesus, a sympathetic character we can all relate to. Vampire Hunter's Jesus is a man who is not afraid to make the mistake of wearing an ill-fitting buckskin tunic, a man who, like so many of us, has fallen into the trap of thinking that ear-piercings on men is somehow attractive to anybody but the cast of Rent and Michael Flaherty from Riverdance. This humanistic portrayal of Jesus lies at the film's heart, providing a strong, believable core for the audience to latch on to. But if Jesus is the film's heart, then living rock and roll legend Mr. Sculf*c is the film's soul. In another sympathetic portrayal of a much-maligned character, Sculf*c comes through as the anchor that holds the film together, the film's 'rock', if you will. Although his actual screen time is short, about 3 seconds, it's possibly the best three seconds of the film, as it allows viewers to revel in his heartfelt portrayal of a lost soul seeking salvation, yet unable to accept the word of God on faith alone. Joined by fellow Crankenstein-ian Anton Crowley and former bassist Nick Murder, the painfully honest discussion the three have with Jesus over some of the glaring inconsistencies and difficult practical applications of Christian theology is definitely the film's strong point. But then, it's no surprise that Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter has something to say about religion. After all, it has something to say about lesbians, vampires, dirt-biking, kung fu, and Mexican wrestling, namely that if you mix them all together, you can trick university film reviewers into using the words 'cult classic' in your write-up. Well played, Demarbre, well played.

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