Produced in 1996 and released under the less salacious title of Evil Ambitions, Satanic Yuppies is a low-budget semi-supernatural comedo-thriller full of terrible acting, spotty pacing, and big heaping doses of long and languid dialogue exchanges. It's cheaply-made and not nearly what one would classify as a "good film" -- but it's also pretty clear that the filmmakers were indeed shooting for something more than just a quick-buck trash-fest, and in the realm of low-budget, C-level, "do it yourself" filmmaking, that's worth a few extra brownie points.
Clearly inspired by the 1972 cult flick from television known as The Night Stalker (Yuppies' lead character is named McGavin, an obvious reference to Night Stalker leading man Darren McGavin), the film is about a goofy reporter fella who, with some help from a lovely lady detective, stumbles upon what may or may not be a coven of life-draining satanists. The bloodthirsty devil-dogs hide behind the scenes in the professions of politics and public relations -- but they're a ravenous lot all the same. And when a few unlucky lasses pop up with their hearts removed, Mr. McGavin manages to stumble on to the clues just in time.
Although Satanic Yuppies runs a bit too long and is perhaps a little over-focused on the dryly expository side of storytelling, the flick was also cobbled together with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that helps to alleviate the tedium. That's not to say that Satanic Yuppies is particularly funny or insightful, but there's an irreverence to the material that helps to keep the flick's head above water. It's not a very good movie, but at least it doesn't take itself too seriously.
There's some fairly solid makeup effects on display, and scattered amidst the amateurish cast are a few seriously sexy gals. (Former Playboy model Lucy Frashure's too-few scenes are worth watching ... if only for her lovely face!) Plus the ending of Satanic Yuppies features a rather colorfully enjoyable appearance by Satan himself, and he's actually quite funny!
So while it's true Satanic Yuppies is as low-budget as movies get, and it's actually pretty darn bad in several respects -- it's not aggressively and annoyingly inept, and it's clear that all involved are playing along with tongue firmly in cheek. Curious horror fans will find themselves feeling oddly charitable once the flick draws to a close, even if they didn't exactly adore the thing.
Video: It's a none-too-lovely fullscreen transfer that's pock-marked with video-grain and an overall air of outright splotchiness. Let's just say that Satanic Yuppies is not about to become anyone's newest "reference disc."
Audio: Again, not great. Actually the Dolby Digital 2.0 track is just good enough to hear what's going on!
Extras: To their credit, the folks at Tempe DVD were able to cull together a small handful of supplemental features. First up is a feature-length audio commentary with writer-directors Mark Burchett & Michael D. Fox, and actors Rob Calvert, Paul Morris & Randy Rupp, in which the participants look back and goofily reminisce over their time spent with the Satanic Yuppies. Thankfully none of the yak-track participants take the movie all that seriously, which makes the commentary fairly amiable and amusing -- but certainly nothing all that fascinating. (Plus the audio quality's not all that hot.)
There's also a 29-minute block of retrospective cast & crew interviews, as well as a bizarre little newscast parody that runs for about ten minutes and seems to be sort of a mini-sequel / recap of what went on in Satanic Yuppies. Cute, I suppose, but not all that amusing.
Let's be frank: Satanic Yuppies is not a very good movie. It's way too long for what it is, the performances and production value frequently approach laughable status, and there's simply not enough meat on these bones to warrant any sort of effusive praise. But still, it's fairly obvious that the no-budget Cincy filmmakers were cobbling something together that they thought was a clever little throwback, and there's a cheesy charm to the proceedings that makes the movie fairly difficult to despise. For the hardcore horror fans, I've no problem offering Satanic Yuppies our handy-dandy Rent It designation. (Just don't go in expecting anything flashy or brilliant!)