01 December 2007

Faust: Love of the Damned (2001)

Brian Yuzna

Jeffrey Combs,
Andrew Divoff,
Mark Frost,
Jennifer Rope,
Monica Von Campen.

John Jaspers (Mark Frost) is a struggling artist (aren't they all?) spending some quality time with his girlfriend when they suddenly become victims of an armed robbery, which leaves his girlfriend dead. The motive for the robbery is unclear, but it gives Jaspers motivation enough to sell his soul to a mysterious character named M (Andrew Divoff). M - short for you guessed it, Mephistopheles - grants Jaspers the power to turn into a horned demon who has a penchant for being a very bad person. Armed with supernatural powers, Jaspers sets off to avenge the death of his girlfriend, only to discover a much more sinister plot. M plans to release a far more fierce demon by opening the gates of hell on a hot midsummer night. Not content with avenging his girlfriend's death, Jaspers spends the rest of the film gathering new floozies and preventing the impending apocalypse.

This film is based on the macabre graphic novel by Tim Vigil and David Quinn, only less macabre. You can expect the same graphic violence and sexual overtones as found in the comic, but there is something missing. While the actors generally deliver captivating performances, the shots are awkward. Seemingly a trademark of Yuzna, the shots are not composed with the same care as that given to the props and effects. The costumes and effects, although very good, are not without their flaws either, with the most noticeable faux pas (or is that 'Faust pas?') being the latex horns of Faust himself. In its defence, the original comic has a Faust which bears a striking resemblance to a red and blue Wolverine - sans horns. The horns seem to be some mask, which doesn't really make sense since the man sold his soul to Mephistopheles to have infernal powers. The father of lies strikes again and delivers a less-than-natural supernatural outfit for our hero. Now Jaspers has to seek vengeance in dangling latex body armour. Hark, fear the wrath of my awkwardly dangling latex horns, devoid of any function if not for aesthetics.

These inherent flaws in the Faust visual design are dealt with fairly well. Yuzna knows his strengths and he knows what his audience wants. His weaknesses are hidden fairly well and this film does deliver on its own. I am not familiar with the story of the graphic novel, so I would not know how comic book fans feel about this film.

The script is quite solid, with a very comic book style descent into madness. There are two characters who show a catharsis, which is quite effective considering they are caricatures with an overdose of supernatural interference. These characters, one male and one female, provide a juxtaposition and they become entwined in more ways than one. Other than this female character, the film features portrayals of women who serve the ideals of patriarchy all too well. I'm convinced there isn't a single fem on set who would not look good in latex clothing, and most of them prove it on screen. It is after all a comic book brought to life on the silver screen. The ideals of feminism are accepted (the female lead is a very smart doctor of psychology) as long as those wielding their bras are hot. I like it.

The devil always had the best tunes, and the soundtrack features some brutal Fear Factory tracks in step with that tradition.

An ample supply of women in latex clothing, almost enough compromising sexual scenarios and almost enough buckets of blood.


External Links
Faust: Love of the Damned at the IMDb
Wikipedia page on Faust: Love of the Damned (movie)
Wikipedia page on the Faust graphic novel

Following the recent discovery of the Playground Movie Review, I decided to standardise the format of my DVD reviews. Feel free to read that blog, it is one of the best film review blogs I have seen. I took the Playground format and blended it with the Eat My Brains format to come up with my own. It is more user friendly, it has a rating system which features skulls and it is generally better. Enjoy!

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