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RATED Not Rated
STUDIO SGL Entertainment
RUNNING TIME 125 Minutes
It’s the Clive Barker movie that never was, made by the cast and crew that never should have.
Artie Richard, Shana Betz, Wayne Petrucelli
A fallen man of the cloth forever bound to the fires of Hell by a pact made with Satan is unleashed to torment humankind. It was 20 years ago that a young innocent named Melissa was discovered by her neighbors drenched in blood and driven to near-insanity by the evil that claimed her father, and even as an adult, the darkness of that fateful day still haunts her. Father Thomas Donaldson was a trusted clergyman who was loved by his flock, but when Father Donaldson began to question his faith and became obsessed with the idea of getting a glimpse of heaven, the deal he so arrogantly cut with Satan to fulfill his Earthly wish left him blinded and possessed by evil. Now the man once known as Father Donaldson has become Hellinger, an unstoppable demon with a unquenchable hunger for human souls and a special place in his black heart for the girl who now thinks he was a mere figment of her imagination.
Okay folks, I generally shy away from summary-type reviews because they ruin the surprises of a movie but here’s the thing: I want you to watch these movies. I want you to finish this review and earnestly seek out this DVD. I know that there is no standard-form review I can use to convince you to do that no matter how positive my statements may be, but I know that by giving you a little taste of this thing I will make this a must see. If it helps, there is nothing about Hellinger (or about Holy Terror) that will be spoiled by me telling what happens, these plots are nothing special. The reason you need to watch these movies is something that can’t be spoiled by me telling you or showing you pictures, they are too amazing to be imagined and must be seen. Fair warning, there are some GIFs coming up that you may not want your boss to see over your shoulder so if you’re at work maybe wait till you’re at home.
Hellinger is the sort of moody urban horror movie that came out a lot in the late 80s and most of the 90s. It reads like a Clive Barker script and is evocative of stuff like The Prophecy, End of Days, The Crow, Hellraiser 3, and Candyman. The only difference is that the acting, directing, editing, scoring, and writing are an embarrassment to their respective fields and things are so bad that they swing back around to being the best. Hellinger is the Troll 2 of its subgenre and it needs to be experienced to be believed.
We open on an aggresively abusive father screaming obscenities at his daughter at the dinner table. He’s using the threat of an urban legend figure known as Hellinger to scare her. Hellinger is a damned Catholic priest who made a deal with the devil and now roams the Earth stealing the eyeballs of the wicked. Dad is the only person who’s surprised when Hellinger shows up and does the thing described in the last sentence to him. Then pure magic happens.
Hellinger is played by Wayne Petrucelli, an actor who was first and last seen in this movie, and I’m going to need you to really use your imagination to picture this performance. Imagine Paul Reubens in full character as Pee-Wee Herman, now imagine that Pee-Wee is doing an impersonation of Billy Eichner playing Pinhead from Hellraiser and that the only way he’s allowed to recite his lines is in a hernia-inducing yell. That is our villain, that is the thing we are supposed to be scared of, and that is why I nearly laughed myself to death the other day.
Flash forward twenty years from the opening and we meet Melissa Moran, the little girl all grown up and going to a psychiatrist. She talks about how she knows Hellinger isn’t real but describes a recent relapse where he appeared to her, chewed a piece of latex prosthetic poorly masquerading as flesh (as well as all of the scenery) and professed his undying love to her. The psychiatrist takes it in stride and sends her on her merry way.
As she walks moodily down the street in her rad leather jacket she’s accosted by a large wall-eyed man who steps out of a limousine and informs her that the reverend would like to speak to her. She has a confrontational meeting with the reverend and his bodyguard that goes nowhere and has nothing to do with anything later on. She meets up with her best friend and they talk about how her asshole boyfriend is right-hand man of the church and how she may go to their creepy cult meeting but she’ll be taking along her cousin Kendall. Who you ask?
“Oh Kendall, he was the one who gave that street fighting demonstration down at the Y. He’s a really good martial artist!” Melissa’s friend exclaims in a tone which denotes that what she said seems perfectly sensible to her and not like a clumsy expository line. Kendall Ransom (the character’s for-real name) is what would happen if you put Dog the bounty hunter’s mullet, a complete series collection of Renegade on VHS, and a fringe cowboy jacket into a pot, boiled them down to an essential oil and injected it into Lou Diamond Phillips’ eyeball. Kendall isn’t a 90s hero, he is the 90s made flesh to walk upon the earth. He has long flowing hair and a kick-ass beard/goatee combo, he wears leather trench-coats, he has a full body tattoo which prominently features a dragon, his onscreen presence is constantly accompanied by generic stadium rock that often drowns out the people talking on screen. Does he ride a motorcycle?
When we meet Kendall he cooly saunters down the street like he just knows he’s the white John Shaft. He walks up to two prostitutes brazenly hawking their wares in the cold light of day who proposition him, but Kendall “Sexhammer” Ransom doesn’t pay for sex. Why each morning he has to painstakingly detach the bevy of women who cling like hungry ticks to his groinal region. The tarts are clearly intimidated by his smoldering masculinity so they call on their pimp/third runner up in the Bret Michaels look-alike competition. The pimp is wearing not one, but two leather jackets to show his status as the alpha male by Kendall “Ass-Booter” Ransom is having none of it. They get in a heated argument but the production’s inability to acquire a boom mic to help block out wind, cars, and other ambient noises along with Kendall’s aforementioned overbearing theme music renders their dialogue unhearable. Still, from the look of things this gentlemanly quarrel is getting intense like the video for Bad and shit’s about to get real. Kendall uses his blackbelt in punchkicking to heroically push the pimp down and walk off all badass like he actually did some sort of impressive martial arts thing.
Shortly after that very necessary scene Kendall sits down in a detective’s car to talk only for a large-breasted woman to come up to the window, set her melon basket atop the the windowsill and asks if he left anything in her bra. Before we even have time to ponder whether those words make any sense in that order, we’re treated to the greatest jump-cut I have ever seen.
I want to make a note that Kendall’s 80s rock theme song starts immediately as buttcrack appears on-screen. We’re treated to a three minute sex scene that has no context or importance to the film at large with a woman who is never seen again after this scene. Director Massimiliano Cerchi just wanted the audience to know that Kendall Ransom is a super tough cool guy who totally has sex with girls and that they let him touch their boobies and everything!
After watching Kendall plow the unnamed woman he immediately leaves the detective’s car without saying anything important and goes to see Melissa. As the cousins play a game of chess, a ski-masked man attacks a woman and very unconvincingly punches her in the face so many times that it causes her latex prosthetics to start to bleed. He then cuts out her tongue and plays with it like it’s a toy airplane…
He then performs some cannibalistic cunnilingus and rapes her because when you’re filming an excessively gratuitious scene, it’s important not to half-ass it. But the man suddenly takes off his mask and surprise… it’s Melissa’s boyfriend. This is not surprising because in the one scene the man was in thus far he could not have been more obviously evil had his name been Nicolai Carpathia.
After Melissa and Kendall finish their game of chess, which appears to have been a metaphor for something though I’m unclear what that was, he goes to meet Melissa’s psychiatrist so he can recount her history and Hellinger’s origin in the most drawn out boring way possible and she goes to have sex with the guy who just literally ate out his rape victim.
But what’s this? Something is amiss! A local news station comes in with a report about a woman who has been murdered and store-brand Macho Man Randy Savage steals the mic from the anchor and tells us to pray for our signs because Hellinger is coming. He then laughs like a batshit crazy asshole and charges off into the night, his leather coat-tails whipping in the wind (unconfirmed: 90% of this movie’s budget was spent on bitchin’ leather coats), while the anchor says “I have no idea who that was.” That’s handy because neither did I, movie, I’m glad we can solve this mystery together.
At this point I’m already wondering if the person who edits my reviews will allow me to give Hellinger the 500 out of 5 score that it deserves (editor’s note: sure!) but just when I think this movie has reached it’s craziest depths it just digs down deeper and finds more. As Melissa sexes up Bartelby Trickybastard he suddenly begins imagining that she’s rubbing blood all over herself. This hallucination causes him to be… something?
As he prepares to stab Melissa to death in her sleep, a white spotlight and lispy constipated scream-acting mark the return of a performance that causes Tommy Wiseau to weep in shame without knowing why. Hellinger gently massages the eyes out of Dicksley Murderstab’s head. He then tells Melissa that her boyfriend was a jerk and that he loves her.
Meanwhile, Kendall is getting out of the shower when Hellinger attacks him. Unfortunately even Hellinger is no match for the demigod Kendall; who uses the electric screwdriver he keeps on his bathroom sink for some reason to lobotomize the demon priest. But Hellinger is a ghost, so it doesn’t kill him but it does seem to activate his pun center as he pulls the screwdriver out and tells Kendall that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Fortunately head stabbing was just a distraction as Kendall pulls the ace out of his sleeve and deploys Hellinger’s true weakness: turning on the bathroom light!
Nothing noteworthy happens until Melissa gets trapped by Hellinger as he tells her his story (couldn’t understand a lot of it over the soundtrack) then Kendall shows up with Macho Man in tow and the immortal demon ghost allows himself to be held at gunpoint as Melissa punches him in the face so hard that she pulls out his brain and leaves. We flash to Macho Man standing outside looking ominous and then the credits roll.
Aside from the sets and wardrobe, Hellinger is so incredibly awful that it’s now one of my favorite movies. I’m not big on liking things “ironically” but I was filled with nothing but joy and laughter throughout this movie’s running time. The dialogue rivals a Claudio Fragasso movie in terms of stilted unnatural wording and the acting only complemented the ineptitude of the whole affair. I can’t state this enough, you have to watch this movie.
Hell hath no fury like an overweight nun with a face like a potato.
Beverly Lynne, Charlie David, Michael Brazier, Katy Moses
Possessed by a demon in life and forced to spend eternity doing the devils bidding in death, a malevolent nun returns to life to torment a young couple and their terrified friends in director Massimiliano Cerchis sacrilegious shocker. A young couple has just moved into their new rental home, and in order to properly break the place in they have invited over a small group of friends for an intimate housewarming party. Soon prompted to experiment with an Ouija board by their sinister landlord, the unassuming partiers inadvertently unleash the murderous spirit of a demonic nun whose evil is so powerful that it cannot be contained to the spiritual realm.
Holy Terror doesn’t fare nearly as well as Hellinger. While Hellinger is unquestionably awful, I get the feeling that a good director, cast, and crew could take the existing script, make a few tweaks and turn out a fairly decent movie. Holy Terror is a mess from start to finish and though it was a source of hilarity like its predecessor, I never feel compelled to see it again.
We open on a nun (we know she is a nun because she is wearing a habit in bed for some reason) screaming as the camera goes all blurry to denote that something is wrong. Suddenly she mutates into a demonic entity that looks like Leatherface cosplaying as Precious.
We open on a realtor trying to talk a renter out of renting a house but it’s in vain. He goes to the house to plead with the nun but in response she attacks him with lens flare.
After taking the brunt of a special effect from some cheap video-editing software he charges out of the house and then back into it except I think it’s meant to be later, or maybe a different house. He finds a priest there blessing the house and kicks him out and out of spite kicks out the Mexican family moving in. He then goes back to the house a third time and tells the demon he found a young couple for her.
The young couple are Julie (Beverly Lynne) a generic pretty blonde and David (Charlie David) a surfer-looking guy who wears shirts that say “Auto Shop” on them. As Julie asks why the house is so cheap, David tells her kindly to shut her stupid hole. They get the house and immediately we are knee deep in a sex scene, but just like in the last movie the man hallucinates toward the end and this happens.
David wakes up, it was just a dream! Julie asks him what was wrong and he says he had a crazy dream where he had sex with a nun and she says he’s crazy because no-one has ever imagined nuns in a sexual way. But the joke’s on Julie because now she’s dreaming she’s in the desert in her underwear. She walks up to two robed acolytes praying at a cross, they turn an look at her and she screams and runs.
Well she screams and then she just kind of drunkenly mills around for a few minutes like she’s confused, bumping into both the acolytes and acting like she’s embarrassed. Then she takes off running and we can see that she’s wearing flip-flops.
Now the nun shows up and she’s choking Julie too! Julie wakes up and immediately takes off her bra in full view of the camera before digging in the nightstand to get her swimsuit. This scene was important because otherwise we wouldn’t know where she got the swimsuit she’s wearing in the next scene. It’s not exploitative, it’s just good moviemaking! Sheesh!
Julie tells David about her dream, blaming it on him telling her about the nun. Then a couple of their friends show up for their housewarming party. It’s been about three minutes since we last saw Julie’s nipples, so now she’s taking a shower and rubbing blood all over herself. It looks pretty strange but clearly she’s cool with it because she’s staring right at it as she does it, but suddenly she reacts as if she just saw it and hurriedly washes it away.
After she comes out of the shower she shows her friend around the house. She tells her friends about the blood, and more people show up including their friend Mark (Nick Armas) who is the biggest douchebag in the land. They drink, they play with a Quija board that tells them a person was strangled in the house by demons two weeks ago, and then the most Caucasian thing ever happens.
After whatever the fuck that was, Kane shows up and joins in on the party. I think Kane is supposed to be a sorrowful man in thrall with a demon who feels really bad for these people but he just comes across as an aloof dickhead. The actor is not good and the plot doesn’t bring a lot across either.
After a lot of nothing happens (the nun drowns one of the women but she does it as if she’s bored with this movie too) one of the girls starts making out with Kane and confesses her deep ambitions in life. These are, I shit you not, to “probably go down south, to like, Mexico and kick back and relax.” Kane treats this vapid statement like an aged hitman’s desire to one day buy a boat and sail it across the ocean, so he knocks her out and takes her to Mexico.
Meanwhile Mark and David have wife-swapped but Mark’s wife puked up a bunch of blood and went to bed and Julie got really pissed about something I couldn’t hear and went to bed. Now the nun shows up to kill them all in the five remaining minutes the movie has left. She stabs Julie off-screen with the oracle from the Quija board and then, holding a glow-in-the-dark crucifix that likely was purchased at a Spencer’s gifts, tears out a big chunk of David’s neck with her teeth. The kidnapped woman wakes up in Kane’s car but he tells her that he saved her and begins telling the story that would explain or contextualize any of what has just happened, only to be cut off as the credits roll.
The only special feature is that you got to experience these movies with your own eyes.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Yes, I know that’s insane but I’m rating it based entirely on my enjoyment of the product, which was immense.