Judge Adam Arseneau wishes he was half as cool as Lance Henriksen.
This is a movie about a South American monster who rapes prostitutes to death.
Do I really need to continue?
Facts of the Case
Sean Fallon (James Horan, Gods and Generals) is a drunken corrupt cop investigating a string of murders in a drunk and corrupt city. Prostitutes are turning up dead—horribly mutilated in their private areas, no less. Fallon is the man for the job; after all, he has all the local pimps on speed dial. With the help of their de facto leader Chance (Lance Henriksen, Millennium) Fallon tracks down the murderer—only to find the killer may not be human.
If you are reading this paragraph, then you are terrible. Seriously. The only correct response to reading the Opening Statement above is to close your computer, disconnect from the Internet, and forget all about Dying God. The film never existed. No one made it. No one released it on DVD. No one mailed it to my house. No poor judge had to spend a Sunday afternoon feeling deep personal and professional shame while watching and critiquing it.
With Dying God, it is hard to even come to declarative statement about which is worse: the subject matter or the execution. It's like a nihilistic Chicken and the Egg argument: it doesn't matter which came first, because we're all going to die. There are things you can't un-see, no matter how much eye bleach you use, and a six-foot tall papier mâché monster suit with a three-foot retractable penis is one of those things.
The plot (such as it is) revolves around a dying tribe in the forest who worship a god (such as it is). The god is dying, and needs women to breed with. There are plenty of prostitutes in the seedy underbelly of the unnamed metropolis (which is supposed to be any American city and absolutely not Buenos Aires). To the god's dismay, prostitutes do not enjoy being repeatedly raped to death by a gigantic monster, and die before bearing any offspring. Enter a drunken lout of a police officer, who is tasked with investigating the abnormally large amount of murdered prostitutes while simultaneously mediating a gang showdown between Lance Henriksen and a bunch of Argentinian actors who only wish they were Lance Henriksen.
Despite clearly being filmed in Buenos Aires with an Argentinian cast, Dying God is in English. The end result is a linguistic adventure of epic proportions. The cast delivers their dialogue with the affectation of a John Wayne-era Western by way of English translation software—clumsy and hilariously ineffectual. The special effects amount to endless gore and viscera thrown about the set, and a monster with a giant penis who sounds like he has bronchitis, slobbering and hyperventilating endlessly.
James Horan, veteran voiceover artist, daytime soap opera, and Star Trek: Enterprise regular is Sean Fallon, a hard-drinking, hard-talking hard corrupt cop who is perpetually drunk, hard, angry, and hanging out with prostitutes. He does what he can with the material, but his character is so over-the-top ridiculous—imagine Max Payne on a drunken bender in South America—his performance is an endless series of flat noir one-liners. And poor Lance Henriksen! His presence is just a sad testament to a brilliant genre career. Instead of a gold watch, he is getting a pile of crap role like this. It is entirely possible he signed on to the project because he gets to ride around in a motorized wheelchair with a harpoon mounted in the crotch area. That's…kind of cool, I guess?
Dying God even manages to do the impossible: waste the talent of Misty Mundae (star of international cinematic classics and soon-to-be-Criterion DVD Bikini Girls on Dinosaur Planet and The Erotic Diary of Misty Mundae) by casting her as the stripper girlfriend of Fallon. Her job is to get smacked around a lot, then murdered off-camera. Terrible.
Dying God was created on a microscopic budget, and it shows. The transfer is soft, saturated, and grainy all at the same time, shakily recorded on cheap-looking digital video. Audio fares better, with a simply executed stereo transfer that gets the job done. Dialogue is hollow but clear, and the score is a throbbing ambient mix of drums, pianos, and low square wave analog distortion sets a predictably grim mood. It is the only part of this film that does not make you feel terrible about having watched it.
Exactly how high did you expect me to rate a low-budget Argentinian horror film about prostitutes being raped to death by an evil monster?
Guilty. Kill it with fire.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Green Apple Entertainment
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