Saturday, October 13, 2007

The October Ordeal Day 12: Necropolis

October 12th: Necropolis (1986)

Cop out time-- this is an old review, reposted. There was simply too much going on today. Tomorrow I start the gross-out series with Frankenhooker!

This is a strange review. I don't write like this anyone.

I had very low expectations of Necropolis. James and I both wrongly assumed this was a post-apocalypse flick, seeing the case frequently at the North Adams library. A while back, Kevin checked it out, and I decided to throw it on. The cover features a burning NYC cityscape and offers an “action-packed zombie thriller.” Well, there are no zombies that I could see, and Necropolis is neither thrilling nor action-packed (that is to say, it’s neither a thriller nor an action film). It’s actually about a group of people united by and throughout time, who reincarnate repeatedly as a group dedicated to fighting the Satan-worshipping Eva, who’s now cruising around New York collecting minions and searching for a mystical ring and its bearer: priest Henry James (hmm…).

Eva is a cool character, a punky chick who’s like a trashier version of Anne Carlisle (writer and star of Liquid Sky). When I watched Necropolis initially, I was feeling kind of dragged down, and the film didn’t make me feel any better. Its low-budget junkiness and gross-out effects just added to my gloom. Well, I got a chance to watch the film again when Andy gave me a copy for my birthday (this review has mentioned nearly every writer for SD—it’s not that we live in some kind of cult-film commune or anything, its just that we share a kind of collective trash-culture consciousness, and often synchronously pick things up). After a second viewing, I can honestly say I really like Necropolis.

The beginning is really hyped-up and fun, as we meet our principles in a previous incarnation, and Eva does a satanic strip-tease in front of a giant pentagram. Fast forward to the present (the mid eighties): Eva is now reincarnated as a no-nonsense punk rocker, who cruises around the city on a motorcycle, while ultra catchy synth tunes blast in the background. Circumstances lead Father James, a London ex-pat named Dawn, and her Italian stereotype detective boyfriend together as they unravel the mystery, and go up against the satanic powers of Eva and her ghouls.

There’s a lot of random weirdness in this film: in one scene the ghouls nurse ectoplasm from Eva’s breasts (which she has six of in some scenes), and a bed in an alleyway is played as Dawn’s apartment (it’s really obvious; I mean, the budget is obviously low, but the filmmakers couldn’t find a bedroom to shoot in?). One interesting thing about the film is that is positions both reincarnation and Christian theology as non-conflicting forces. Note: the VHS case for Necropolis has three large taglines distributed on the front and back: City of the Dead; Beneath Hell lies Necropolis; and one that makes me think the Misfits may have seen this flick: It’s the Ghouls Night Out!

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