All I had to see was the name "Charles Band" and it all came flooding back: phrases like "Empire Pictures" and "Full Moon Pictures" popped back into my brain while I had visions of joyously garish VHS covers plastered with the kookiest creatures imaginable. Charles Band, a B-movie schlock-slinger whose work I've (almost) always admired, was back with a new company -- this one called "Wizard Entertainment." And, desperate horror geek that I am, I found myself just a little bit happy to welcome Charles back.
Producer / director of some of the 1980s and '90s finest cinematic junk-piles, Mr. Band had a hand in titles such as Parasite, Rawhead Rex, Eliminators, Troll, Shrunken Heads, Doctor Mordrid, and a huge, smelly pile of others. This is the guy who brought you four Ghoulies adventures, six Trancers treks, four visits with the Subspecies, and no less than ten Puppet Master masterworks.
Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Assault of the Killer Bimbos, and Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 -- they've all got the name of Charles Band stamped all over 'em.
So obviously I was pretty geeked to sit down and enjoy Decadent Evil, which is Mr. Band's return to the director's chair and the flagship title of the "Wizard Entertainment" banner.
And it sucked.
Understand that I don't mean it sucked in a good way, like most of the aforementioned movies do. No, Decadent Evil sucks the old-fashioned way: it's boring, it's dreary, it's derivative, and it's kind of a slap in the face to the horror hounds -- because the flick barely runs 65 minutes in length.
Cobbled together using several sections of Mr. Band's earlier movies, Decadent Evil is about a group of lady vampires who kill a few folks and keep a goofy, goopy "homonuculus" trapped in a cage at home. (It's some sort of half-human / half-reptile, according to the DVD case, that was once a handsome vampire-lover dude who got morphed into what now looks like a dog-snot-covered Cabbage Patch Kid that someone fished out of a sewer.)
So this trio of vampiric vixens manage a night club so as to harvest blood. And then there's that freaky puppet-thing in the cage that rambles and raves and even earns its very own sex scene. Ew.
If Mr. Band was hoping to hop back into the horror scene and dazzle a whole new generation of genre geeks with his patented brand of low-grade cheese-fests, well, he sure as hell failed on the first try. Decadent Evil is as irrepressibly dingy and dull as it is ineptly constructed. I understand what a low budget can do to a horror flick, but Decadent Evil looks like the work of a first-timer ... but Charles Band has produced over 250 movies in his career. Granted, most of 'em are pretty darn goofy, but nearly all of them look a hell of a lot better than this chintzy little toss-off.
Video: It's a fairly fuzz- and grain-laden Widescreen (non-anamorphic) transfer, which is precisely what you'd expect from a flick this overwhelmingly cheesy.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 all the way.
There's a 16-minute behind-the-scenes featurette entitled Blood, Sweat, and Fears, in which cast & crew members try to explain what the movie's about, how much they love it, and why it's great to film a $5,000 horror flick in a strip club. Those who are dying to see how dirty puppet sex is brought to the screen will have a ball.
From the Set of Doll Graveyard is a 1-minute backstage peek at Mr. Band's next magnum opus. The flick looks to be not much more than a return to Mr. Band's Puppet Master style of mini-killers -- but it also looks like a helluva lot more fun than Decadent Evil was.
You'll also find a bizarre Vanitas.biz promo, a 4-minute blooper reel (with even more grungy puppet sex!), a 6-minute message from Wizard Entertainment, in which Mr. Band hawks his new company and promises six new schlockies a year, and a trailer gallery pushing titles like Decadent Evil, When Puppets & Dolls Attack!, Cinemaker, and Monsters Gone Wild!.
Charles Band climbs steps back into the batter's box and hits a lazy pop-fly that's caught for an easy out. Decadent Evil is a mess in just about every sense of the word -- but that won't stop me from checking out his next projects: Doll Graveyard and the hilarious-looking The Gingerdead Man. I'm willing to overlook Decadent Evil as an exercise in "shaking the rust off," but I'm expecting a little more fun from Wizard Entertainment the next time out.