Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994)

darkangel_6Starring Angela Featherstone, Daniel Markel, Nicholas Worth, Charlotte Stewart, Mike Genovese, Michael C. Mahon, Milton James, Constantin Draganescu, Cristina Stoica, Kehli O’Byrne

Directed by Linda Hassani

Expectations: I don’t know. Hopeful.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Dark Angel: The Ascent tells the classic tale of a sheltered adolescent yearning to break free from their parent’s grasp and explore the world at large. The big difference between this film and all the others that share this storyline is that Veronica (Angela Featherstone) is a denizen of Hell. There have been tons of movies with demons breaking loose from Hell to wreak havoc on Earth, but have any of them had to deal with overly protective parents? But despite how this all sounds, Dark Angel: The Ascent is played fairly straight, and where it really sets itself apart is how it portrays the relationship between God and the citizens of Hell.

Traditionally we understand that God is up in Heaven doing his godly thing, while Satan rules below, torturing souls to his heart’s content. But the entirely of Dark Angel: The Ascent is built upon the premise that everyone in Hell is actually doing the job assigned to them by God; instead of two extremes on opposite sides of a war for souls, they are needed parts of a cohesive whole. This creates moments that are unique and incredibly interesting, such as Veronica’s demon family praying to God as any devoutly religious family would before a meal. I expect a lot of things from Full Moon films, but smart, unique takes on Christian mythology is not one of them! Even if the rest of the movie was awful, this alone would highlight Dark Angel: The Ascent as an interesting Full Moon film.

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Lurking Fear (1994)

Lurking Fear (1994)
AKA H.P. Lovecraft’s Lurking Fear, Shocking Fear

Starring Jon Finch, Blake Adams, Ashley Laurence, Jeffrey Combs, Allison Mackie, Paul Mantee, Vincent Schiavelli, Joseph Leavengood, Michael Todd, Cristina Stoica, Luana Stoica, Adrian Pintea, Ilinca Goia

Directed by C. Courtney Joyner

Expectations: Moderate. If nothing else, Jeffrey Combs is in it.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Lurking Fear is yet another Full Moon film based upon an H.P. Lovecraft tale, but this is definitely one of the minor entries into that sub-genre. Ever since Stuart Gordon scored a major genre hit with Re-Animator, Full Moon has loved going back to the Lovecraft well and Lurking Fear shows them trying that schtick without Gordon’s involvement. It doesn’t work out near as well without him at the helm, but the film is definitely interesting enough to hold your attention.

The story starts off as a couple of separate tales that eventually intersect. The only problem is that once they do it kinda feels like each story’s characters have done a Purple Rose of Cairo and walked out of their movie and into another. I guess this is because the gangster story starts in the city, and the deserted town story feels distinctly removed from that setting. It creates a disjointed feel to the overall movie that even white-eyed, subterranean-dwelling mutants can’t fix. Although I do have to give them credit for creating characters distinct enough to feel like they come from their own worlds.

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