Directed by Charles Ban
Charles Band movies at their best have an inescapable enthusiasm that can help you to overlook any shortcomings the production might have. Charles Band movies at their worst tend to be one of two thing: nearly plotless, half-assed pieces of filmmaking likely using recycled footage from previous movies designed to pad out the running time to even the bare minimum, or they’re just total duds from the get-go where not much happens, the material feels like its being stretched and strained, and there’s virtually nothing of interest to keep you from feeling bored out of your skull. Ironically, the first Decadent Evil (review) was the former; Decadent Evil II falls into the latter category.
Now despite a previous assertion in an article I wrote about some upcoming Charles Band works stating that I would not be reviewing Decadent Evil II due to my extreme displeasure with the complete waste of time the original was, here I am reviewing Decadent Evil II. This time I have only myself to blame. There’s a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
The sequel opens up with a brief recapping of the first film and thank goodness, too, because I’d already blocked most of it out. Long story short; Dex and Sugar, the two surviving lovebirds from the first film, are still in love and not letting her newfound vampirism get in the way of their relationship. They’ve arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas in search of more vampires to slay and, in the process, a cure for the puppet-sized monstrosity known as Marvin the Horny Homunculus, who was a normal human being until being cursed by the villainous vampiress from the first film. They’re also riding around with the corpse of Ivan, the three-foot vampire hunting dwarf who perished at the end of the prior film who also happens to be human Marvin’s son, played this time by a different and much scruffier little person. They’re also looking for a cure to resurrect him, never seeming to take into account the prospect that Ivan might not be happy being brought back as a vampire (i.e. the very thing he hated more than anything else and gave his life trying to rid the world of).
Looking at the cooler full of blood packets Sugar lugs around with her, the birdcage containing this tiny malformed being, and the small coffin containing the corpse of a dead midget, I was seriously hoping there would be a scene where they got pulled over by the cops for some minor traffic violation and then had to explain away everything they were traveling around with. Now that is the movie Band should have made.
Instead Band settled on setting it primarily at another strip club run by another master vampire, only this time the master vampire is a he and because he’s a vampire king he can transform into a goblin-headed vampire demon dude. The human form identity of the master vampire is a mystery but Dex and Sugar know he or she is using this strip club as a front just like the vampire in the previous installment, so they go undercover getting jobs there. They’d better hurry up and put the sub-Scooby Doo mystery together because the master vampire … I feel like borrowing a page from the book of “Seinfeld” and just going “Yadda yadda yadda” to sum it all up.
Decadent Evil II breaks the first rule of screenwriting: show, don’t tell. All the screenplay does is tell; stuff happens on the screen but most of it feels like filler in between the characters engaging in conversations designed to explain what’s going on, what their objective is, what such and such vampire powers are, and so forth. Most of the plot has Dex and Sugar engaged in what feels like a really bad Halloween-themed Hardy Boys murder mystery that just happens to involve a strip club full of vampires.
Watching all this play out I couldn’t help but wonder if even Band himself believes anyone is going to enjoy watching any this. There’s no enthusiasm, no fun, and no point. Though marginally better than its predecessor by default, even what little intentional camp value the original had is missing from this one aside from a few feeble attempts at humor.
And as with its predecessor, Marvin is there simply to include a puppet monstrosity regardless of the fact that the script can’t be bothered to come up with anything for it to do outside of recycling the exact same climactic punchline that wasn’t funny the first time around.
Oh, but there is nudity. No easier way to include cheap nudity than to set your film almost entirely inside of a strip club. Since I guess they decided that all the stripping in the film itself wasn’t enough, there’s even an audition reel of sorts included in the DVD extras showing the various local talent recruited for the film, and by local talent I mean actual strippers from a club in Little Rock. The only thing that went through my mind as I watched these women take there clothes off was to wonder what the hell is it with strippers these days that lead them to get some of the most heinously unsightly tattoos imaginable.
We also get a Battle of the Bands feature comprised of footage from a rock band competition Charles Band staged in Little Rock with the winning band having their music used in Decadent Evil II. Amazing how this thing runs for somewhere in the neighborhood of forty minutes and yet during that whole time we get to hear very little of the bands actually performing. The majority of it is merely actress Robin Sydney – a current regular in Band’s films of late who isn’t even in either of the Decadent Evil movies – interviewing attendees and band members. The true highlight of it all is at the very beginning when Band gets on stage to warm up the crowd with a funny anecdote about the marketing of Ghoulies.
I couldn’t help but notice that the most damning aspect of the last DVD extra, “Stories from the making of Decadent Evil II” was the realization that few of the stories actually had to do with the movie itself. It was more a collection of sound bytes from various people involved talking about how Charles Band has seemingly come to adopt Little Rock as his new base of operations. Can’t say I blame anyone for not having much worth saying about this production.
But at the very least watching this pointless sequel did prove slightly educational. The line of the film is a speech by the bloodsucking Sugar about how “evil vampires have no friends.” That little mini-speech should have been followed with one of the NBC “The More You Know” logos.
1 out of 5
Discuss Decadent Evil II in the Dread Central forums!