Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hell on Earth (2008)

If it wasn't for "The Deadly Spawn", I'm pretty sure Ted A. Bohus wouldn't be well known even by a select few horror fans. To be honest, I'm sure he's aware of that, as the horror movies he's produced (the pseudo "Deadly Spawn" sequel "Mutation: The Alien Factor") and directed ("The Regenerated Man" and "Vampire Vixens From Venus") since are meant to be seen as cheap, undemanding B-Movies and nothing more. Well,  after producing and directing two non-genre related films, he's returned to horror with the micro-budget horror comedy "Hell on Earth", which is now on DVD and Youtube Video On-Demand via a returning (and newly purchased by MVD Films) Elite Entertainment.

Seventeen year old horror fanatic Bobby walks with crutches and a metal leg brace, and get's routine verbal abuse from his all around evil mother, bitch of a sister and obnoxious drunk of a father. His only friends are his occult loving Aunt Sadie, and his all too real friends-made up of various demons and a few zombies. Well, when one of them had him read from the Apocryphal Book of Tarkuhm, which is essentially a poor man's version of the Necronomicon. When Bobby starts to read it, various zombies and demons reek havoc on the rest of the family, and his sister's friends-two of which are more sympathetic towards Bobby.

For some reason, It's kind of hard for me to hate this movie. That's mostly because it knows what it is-a bit of horror/comedy fluff that has no pretensions whatsoever on what it is or what it's status in the world of horror cinema. Also, it's got a few neat make-up and gore effects that look shockingly alright (outside of one demon mask and the zombie make-up) for a movie with such a tiny budget. I even kind of like that it mostly feels like a no-budget (and I mean no-budget-it practically resembles a Youtube video at times) version of something like "Night of the Demons" and the kind of thing Full Moon used to release.

Unfortunately, it has too many flaws for me to give it a pass. The biggest of these is the acting, especially those playing Bobby's family. What you get is an exaggerated bunch of goons that felt like a mix of bad, sub-high school level humor and white trash family cliches that would make Rob Zombie say "Whoa, tone it down!" Especially guilty is the actor playing Bobby's dad, who says things like "pull my finger" that made me wish he would die quickly. The humor meanwhile, is more miss than hit, with only a few jokes feeling amusing and the rest just coming off as forced and irritating. Then there's the references to other movies. While some are amusing (including visual nods to other movies Ted produced or directed), most of them feel too much like Ted's going "Hey, this is a Ted Bohus movie! Clearly you'll love it!" That would be great if it wasn't things like people watching "Deadly Spawn" and "Vampire Vixens From Venus." That's just stupid. Oh, and don't get me started on the bad optical and digital effects that would have been laughed at in a shot on video movie from the 90's.

As a whole, this is more of a rental than it is a purchase, as people who wish they still made movies like "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" or Ted's prior directorial efforts might get something out of it.. For the rest of us, it's nothing you'll remember or recommend to anyone.

Rating: 4.5/10

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