Friday, December 4, 2009

Mark of the Beast

(Robert Stewart, 1986)
A couple Mohawk College TV production students are quietly invited to videotape a 'secret' political rally on the lawn of City Hall. So, what the hell is a 'secret' political rally anyway? And why do the eight working men who comprise the audience still have their hard hats on? That sets the tone for this screamer, and it doesn't even matter: you are virtually obliged to check your brain at the credits, which leaves you free to enjoy one of the tackiest and breeziest of all Emmeritus productions. The kids end up taping a political assassination, and the trail leads to a cult of cowled masterminds of world government - some kind of Mr. Dressup freemasons, a snapshot out of David Icke's nightmares. The beastly cabal's disciples reveal themselves in ever greater numbers, identified by a dollar sign with a coiled snake for the 'S' tattooed on their wrists. While the filmmakers do go for suspense and malevolence, there's no "They Live"-style social commentary here; it's sci-fi-horror stuff, pure showmanship. This jives exceptionally well with the comic shtick of the leads - goofball cinematographer James Gordon and hottie nurse Carolyn Guillet (who comes with even hotter nurse sidekick Charlene Richards at no extra charge). Gordon's wise-cracking lunkhead is an absolutely perfect Emmeritus character. From his megaphone shtick in the outrageous film-within-a-film flashbacks, to the ratatat repartee with Guillet in his brokedown car, the comedy is way livelier than you expect; it overwhelms the heavy stuff and redefines the movie as pure wicked fun.

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