Tempe Video // 1996 // 99 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 1st, 2005
They'll sacrifice anything to get their hands on the almighty dollar.
So this DVD arrived in the mail the other day. It was called Satanic Yuppies. I watched it. Now here's the review.
Hapless hack reporter Pete McGavin (Paul Morris) is desperate to dig up a big-time story. With the help of his police officer ex-girlfriend, Pete is made privy to a rash of bizarre killings: Beautiful young women have been found dead, their hearts cut from the bodies. Pete's investigation leads him to an affluent ad agency populated by think-they're-awesome rich folk. He attempts to pry into the exclusive upper crust, but is denied.
Little does he know, however, that lurking behind the façade of a successful corporation is a sinister secret. A Satanic cult led by the ruthless Brittany (Amber Newman) has been luring gorgeous young women in an attempt to provide a wife for Lucifer himself. Will Pete unravel the mystery before the next lovely, virginal sacrifice is joined in unholy wedlock?
I'll fast-forward a bit and admit that I didn't find Satanic Yuppies (also known as Evil Ambitions) the exercise in self-flagellation that I was expecting. Tempe is a studio that seems to release either home video hokum filmed by some bored college students or more straightforward efforts by half-decent filmmakers lacking two nickels to rub together. In my experience, the former has always led to at least partial brain trauma, while the latter -- in most cases -- proved to be better than expected. Thankfully, Satanic Yuppies falls in this category.
By no means high art, or low art for that matter, Satanic Yuppies does manage to entertain. Writers-producers-directors Mark Burchett and Michael D. Fox load up their little flick with gore, cheesy makeup, goofy dialogue, superfluous nudity, and surprisingly attractive women. What propels the flick is its unabashed embrace of its Z-grade pedigree. There are no pretenses here: The filmmakers want to make a cheeseball horror flick with T&A to spare, and the actors are more that willing to do their part.
Paul Morris is actually pretty good as the nosy reporter. He emits that "schmuck charm" well and chews nicely on the decent lines the writers have thrown his way. Amber Newman has fun with the Satanic super-beeyatch, but she must have been cast mainly for the way she fills out a business suit. And then you've got Glori-Anne Gilbert. The perennial schlock seductress pops in for a few absolutely pointless nude scenes. Apparently, the laws of the Netherworld require that a topless woman with breasts the size of Volkswagen Beetles writhe around every time a handful of cultists start chanting. In the most gratuitous, though utterly hilarious sequence, Ms. Gilbert appears during a ritual scene, clutching an inanimate snake and draping it around her bosoms while flames surround her. Come again?
On the technical side, this disc is as lamentable as most of these Tempe low-budget releases. The film stock is low, low quality, and the digital transfer leaves much to be desired. Sound is a typically hollow Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. Alas, Satanic Yuppies is not a reference-quality disc.
But I will give Tempe props where they are due. This distributor manages to dig up some respectable features for its releases. Satanic Yuppies features a cast and crew audio commentary, a 30-minute retrospective, and a fairly dopey newscast parody. The best of the bunch is the retrospective, in which the actors and directors reminisce about their experience on the set. Their fondness for the flick is apparent; Amber Newman even relates how she ruined her VHS copy from watching it so much!
Dear Ms. Newman: You're an attractive girl. There have got to be better uses for your time.
Satanic Yuppies is a solid dose of low-budget horror-comedy campiness. There you go.
Not guilty. Wow, did I just write that?
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Tempe Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary by Cast and Crew
* Cast and Crew Retrospective
* Newscast Parody