Dear God No! (UK DVD)
Starring Jett Bryant, Madeline Brumby, Paul McComiskey, Olivia LaCroix, Shane Morton
Directed by James Bickert
Distributed by Monster Pictures
With this unrepentant homage to the nastier side of '70s Grindhouse exploitation flicks, director James Bickert introduces us to one particularly ruthless set of badass bikers calling themselves "The Impalers". Living up to their gang name, when these guys aren't raping and murdering busloads of nuns, they're busy getting loaded, antagonising rival gangs, murdering cops and shooting up strip clubs -- y'know, everything that a couldn't give a fuck band of bearded brigands ought to spend their time doing!
Narrowly escaping from their latest bloodbath, the remaining members take it upon themselves to seek shelter at a secluded mountain cabin resided in by the homely Dr. Marco (McComiskey) and his bookish daughter Edna (Brumby). Gatecrashing a dinner party between the doctor, his daughter, and a couple of their friends (including a heavily pregnant lady), the pack of wild miscreants almost immediately set about an escalating torrent of abuse, violence, rape and murder. The tables soon turn, however, with the revelation of Dr. Marco's secret experiments, resulting in the sex-mad resurrected corpse of his wife, and the discovery of a local sasquatch who takes none too kindly to the invasion of his territory.
Going all-out on a mission to shock and offend, writer/director Bickert ensures that Dear God No! is never an easy watch. The throwback style and excellent soundtrack make for a stylistic success, but the content often goes too far, for too long. Much of the staples of the low-budget exploitation scene are here -- bikers, guns, heavy violence, over-the-top dialogue, stilted acting, booze and boobs galore, but a knowing undercurrent frequently cuts through the emulation, adding a level of discomfort that finds itself at war with the outrageous nature of what unfolds on-screen. When the camera lingers for an inordinate time on a topless dancer, it's the kind of exploitative titillation found ten-a-penny in the films Bickert so eagerly wants to mimic; yet when unsettling sequences of rape and brutalisation are similarly elongated far beyond the breaking point of the film's pacing -- especially when they're as technically inept as they needed to be here -- the sense of behind-the-scenes snickering and censor-baiting all but destroy the essence of a finely-tuned homage.
Not that this completely ruins the movie, by any stretch of the imagination. With the right audience and mindset, Dear God No! should remain an entertaining slice of schlock cinema that exploitation aficionados will likely gobble up, delivering an abundance of tits, gore, Nazi experiments, Bigfoot mayhem and sheer attitude that demands the inclusion of a number of similarly cinematically-enthused friends and a whole lotta beer. The nastier aspects may prove a little too much for some, and Bickert would be well advised to rein it somewhat in future (or work on balancing his tone), but there's a level of goofy satisfaction here that can't be denied. One for a party night, but not everyone will find it a particularly enjoyable experience.
Monster Pictures bring Dear God No! to the UK home market in a commendable two-disc "Impaler Edition", sporting a wide range of special features (albeit a cut version of the film itself, censored at the request of the BBFC). The most notable inclusion is, alongside the original cut, the UK-exclusive "Grindhouse Cut" of the flick which sports a few small differences and the addition of various aging/damage effects added to the print. A couple of "parody" advertisements for screenings of the film poke some light-hearted fun at the zombie and torture porn genres, while a spot of behind-the-scenes footage and gags delivers a number of laughs and doesn't outstay its welcome. The "Red Band" trailer is a standard addition, alongside a poster and still slideshow, while a sneak preview trailer for Bickert's upcoming (and brilliantly titled) Frankenstein Created Bikers promises more left-field madness. Vlog the Magnificent at the Dear God No! World Premiere sees Couchcutter.com's David visit the premiere with a camcorder in order to chat with some of the cast and crew. Another addition from the Couchcutter stable is a rather low-quality animated effort that strives to be much more hilarious than it actually is, offering up an anti-Star Wars rant that grasps feebly at Kevin Smith-isms while succeeding only at being teeth-gratingly cringeworthy. There are a couple of genuine laughs there, but it takes far more wide shots at the mark than it lands.
A full-colour booklet featuring stills from the film alongside written interviews with James Bickert and a piece by Josh Saco on artist Tom "The Dude Designs" Hodge's phenomenal poster designs for many classic and modern genre film releases proves a good read, and a pleasing addition. As if you won't have already spent enough time with the set, you'll also find two full feature commentaries to accompany the original cut of the flick, both of which make for consistently entertaining listening for anyone who appreciated the film itself.
• Red Band Trailer
• Behind the Scenes Gag Reel
• Poster and Still Slideshow
• Zombie Parody
• Torture Porn Parody
• Vlog the Magnificent at the Dear God No! World Premiere
• Blarrg - Animated Short
• Frankenstein Created Bikers Sneak Peek
• Audio Commentary with writer/director James Bickert and composer Richard Davis
• Audio Commentary with actors Jeff Bryant, Madeline Brumby and Shane Morton
• Exclusive full-colour booklet
3 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5
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