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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Blood Dolls (1999)

Starring Jack Maturin, Debra Mayer, William Paul Burns, Warren Draper, Nicholas Worth, Jodie Fisher, Phil Fondacaro, Naomi McClure

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate, it sounds fun and it has Phil Fondacaro.


Where do I start with this fucking movie? Blood Dolls goes the trashy route and does its best to shock and awe the viewer into liking it. It’s truly a movie that will only appeal to the most demented group of people in the audience, which realistically is probably a large subset of the people who even give a shit about Full Moon movies. I unfortunately am not so keen on this particular brand of demented film, the “demented for the sake of being demented” variety. So far I’ve seen four Full Moon films from 1999, and with the exception of Mysterious Museum, they’ve all been of a similar poor quality which makes me wonder if this was the turning point year for their quality films. I do have to give Blood Dolls a lot of credit for trying, as the story is a bit more thought out than your general Charles Band affair, it has nice widescreen cinematography and it does feature actors you may know, such as Phil Fondacaro or that bald guy from Darkman (Nicholas Worth).

The story is fairly simple but a synopsis won’t do justice to the absurd nature of the goings-on. Basically there’s an eccentric millionaire Travis that has lost his fortune to a trio of conniving bastards who banded together and fucked him over. Being the eccentric, evil genius type though, he refuses to lie down and take it, instead creating a machine to transform people into subservient killer dolls. Why? Because this is a Charles Band movie and Band really has a hard-on for small things killing people. Also at his command is a butler/henchman dude that perpetually wears clown makeup (played by William Paul Burns, genuinely the best actor in the film), an eyepatch-sportin’ midget played by Phil Fondacaro and a girl rock band in a cage in the back of his office.

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