Reviewed by Stephen Romano
Starring The Black Devil Doll, Heather Murphy, Natasha Talonz, Christine Svendsen, Precious Cox, Ericka Branich, Martin Boone
Directed by Jonathan Lewis
Visit the Official Black Devil Doll Website
There’s a scene in Black Devil Doll in which our fearless anti-hero — a radical ex-Black Panther sentenced to death for the rape and murder of “15 Caucasian women” and brought back to life as a scumbag ventriloquist dummy who will stop at nothing to sate his politically-incorrect carvings — anally rapes a white suburban wannabe “rapper” … then tosses a handful of cigarettes on the guy’s still-warm corpse and mutters, “Now go buy yourself something pretty, punk.”
And, believe it or not, that’s not even the lowest level this film sinks to.
I’ve just been awarded the honor of being the first to see the finished flick, and also to write the first review … and it’s an honor indeed. Word’s been on the streets for what seems like years now. The anticipation is running high, just days before the film’s theatrical world premiere on April 17th at The New Beverly Theater. (I, unfortunately, will not be able to attend.) Everyone with half a brain to appreciate this sort of cinematic art wants to know: Does Black Devil Doll deliver the goods?
Umm … yeah, man. It delivers. And then some. I’m still kinda stunned. The film is a scathing, sleazy, seething shitstorm (literally) that will have blaxploitation fans singing hosannas, PC types screaming for blood, and any innocent bystanders in conniption fits. It’s designed to be seen in a theater with a rowdy audience, and the fact that it’s actually getting a limited theatrical release is either some kind of dark, squishy miracle or a true sign from god or the devil that the End Of Days is near. I promise you, no matter what your name is, no matter how jaded you think you are, no matter what kind of fried chicken you choose to gobble at three in the morning, this goddamn movie is something you’ll never forget. Either you’ll be grinning ear to ear in complete fucking astonishment at the unholy limits to which grown men and women will stretch their imaginations, or you’ll be laughing your ass off at some of the most audacious, politically incorrect, over-the-top exploitation fare made by indie filmmakers — or really anyone — since about 1974, when a film called The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger set the African American race back about a hundred years. And when these motherfuckers say their movie is “filmed in NEGROSCOPE,” you can be sure that these motherfuckers are NOT MOTHERFUCKING KIDDING. Many of the major rape/kill scenes are indeed filmed in a “patented process” called “NEGROSCOPE,” and, well … you’ll just have to buy a ticket to know what I’m talking about. Fans of Martin Luther King better stay away in droves.
Or, on the other hand, don’t stay away. Those people should go see the film. I’ll be there, too, killing myself laughing while they’re all puking in the aisles.
Yep, this is a film made for US. Not THEM.
I’m giving Black Devil Doll the full five stabbies or whatever because to judge this movie by any traditional critical standard is to be completely fucked in the head, folks. It ain’t that kinda party. The name of the game is humor and shock value. And, really, any two-bit dumbfucks with a camcorder and a good knowledge of Richard Pryor can film any damn thing they want in the backyard these days and call it a “blaxploitation” movie — but these Lewis Brothers, they’re smarter than that. And a hell of a lot more fearless. For example, in the awesome opening titles sequence, which is guaranteed to blow away any naysayer preconceptions about how “flashy” this film may or may not be, our boys go so far as to call their opus “A Lewis Brothers Fiasco.” Not since Far Out Man, which was labeled “A Tommy Chong Attempt,” has a group of filmmakers been so painfully self aware … and they dish it up with both hands.
You won’t find plot or story or even characters here. Our “heroes” are a bunch of bubble-headed bimbos with clever dialogue like “OHMYGHOOD!” and “THAT’S SO GROOOOSSSS!” (In a very telling moment, busty Natasha Talonz asks hapless heroine Heather Murphy where she got the doll, who’s sorta hiding out in plain sight on the couch in the living room, waiting to spring into action, and poor dumb Heather responds: “Oh I got it at a flea market — I’m thinking of becoming a ventrickelist.”) There are fart jokes, shit jokes, shameless montages showcasing the girls’ REAL talents in which they wash cars with their tits and eat each other out while playing Twister. You start thinking that maybe Russ Meyer and Frank Hennenlotter had sex with Charlie Band and out came this fucking thing. There are tributes to everything from Child’s Play to Xtro, some pretty flashy production values on a shoestring, and the music score is stellar, invoking familiar giallo riffs, slasher motifs — and I even think I heard some Don’t Answer The Phone in there. Don’t Answer The Phone is one of the films this movie obviously looks up to, with a sleazy, gritty look and precious little sympathy for even its most loyal audience.
And I am so fucking PISSED I won’t be able to see it with an audience on Friday. It’s gonna blow the doors out of the theater.
This film was MADE to be seen in a dripping, shitty Grindhouse held together with paint and cockroach droppings — with lunatics jacking off in the corners and “pervs like us” choking on their beers in the front row. Me, I downed a sixer, watched the fucker, then went out, bought more beer, and watched it again. Movies like this make me real happy to be alive. Everyone else will need a hot shower and a barnacle scraper to extract themselves from the rancid sleaze. I promise. Fair warning. And FUCK YES!
5 out of 5
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