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Case Number 12935

Buy Evilmaker / Abomination: Evilmaker II at Amazon

Evilmaker / Abomination: Evilmaker II

Evilmaker
2000 // 99 Minutes // Not Rated
Abomination: Evilmaker II
2003 // 79 Minutes // Rated
Released by Tempe Video
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // February 8th, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge Gordon Sullivan got his movies mixed up: He thought this was Elvismaker, the one about a mad scientist who clones music legends.

The Charge

An insatiable evil.

Opening Statement

Oh goodie, another pair of movies about four friends stranded in the wilderness, beset by an evil force. This time, it's four women, and maybe one of them was sleeping around with her friend's husband. Or maybe they're all just possessed. Or maybe it's all a collective hallucination. Or maybe I stopped caring five minutes into this travesty of poor acting and rehashed plot. Of course there's a sequel, of course more people are in danger, and of course someone has to travel to hell to save their sibling's soul. Isn't that what low-budget horror is all about?

Facts of the Case

Evilmaker Double Feature: Evilmaker & Abomination: Evilmaker II is a diabolical double-feature:

In Evilmaker, four friends try to head out to the coast, since one of their number is having a tough time in life. They get stranded on the side of the road and follow a dead end sign (cause "all dead ends have houses one them," or so their logic goes). When they discover the house, bad things start to happen, and people die. Big surprise.

Abomination: Evilmaker II follows the sister (Kylene Wetherell) of one of the four friends from the original as she attempts to understand the events that led to her sister's death. Guess what? The filmmakers have an excuse to show 15 minutes worth of "flashbacks" from the first movie. This time a bunch of random people, including a psychic (Shannon Barksdale, Bloodsucking Redneck Vampires) get thrown into the house. Yeah, more bad stuff happens. The sister must travel to "hell" to reclaim the soul of her sibling. All the randomly killed people from the beginning return as demon/zombie hybrids. It sounds cooler than it is.

The Evidence

I first encountered Abomination: Evilmaker II in a cheapie DVD set called Vamps. No, the film has nothing to do with vampires, but the whole set was five bucks, so I didn't complain. For whatever reason, I watched the other films (including such classics as Vulture's Eye, all apparently shot on VHS) first, and didn't get around to Abomination for months. Looking back, those months were like paradise. Yes, I know I shouldn't have jumped straight in with the sequel to a film I hadn't seen, but I figured that Abomination would make sure I had a handle on the mythology of the previous film with a series of interminable flashbacks. I wasn't disappointed. Needless to say, I didn't really enjoy the film. It had too many flashbacks, and not enough actually happened to make it scary, or even very interesting. However, it did make me curious to see the original Evilmaker just to see how bad it could get.

The original Evilmaker is a lot better than I expected. I anticipated total disaster, a film that wasn't just poorly acted, shot, and edited, but a film that totally didn't hang together. Instead, this film just takes its trite story and runs with it. The ending, I hope, is intended to be ambiguous; while it's not very scary, it's not the complete train wreck I expected. That said, the formula has been done better in so many ways over the years that there's really no reason to subject yourself to this film. It's not even particularly fun as a "bad" movie, since there's so little that stands out.

Amazingly the second one is even worse. My first time through, I thought Abomination: Evilmaker II didn't make sense because I hadn't seen the first one. Nope. It really is just a nonsensical jumble of characters who are lured, one by one, to the house to be killed. Character development? Nahh, just give them a vague reason to know someone who might be connected with the house and suddenly they're there for the slaughter. When things head for hell, it plays like a bad survival-horror film. For all its borderline plagiarism, at least Evilmaker cribbed from the best. I suspect that the director has a good idea of what's going on, but he utterly fails to communicate that to the viewer. When the film begins making some kind of sense, it's just a string of scenes that continually put the heroine in danger. Ho hum. Abomination is too apt a title.

Kudos (I guess) to Tempe for trying with this DVD release. Both films look absolutely horrible, but that's to be expected. This is VHS source quality, with the wavy lines and random color changes to go with it. The audio does an okay job, but sounds were often muddled and dialogue difficult to decipher. This is probably the best this material has looked and sounded, but that's not saying much.

While not a full-blown special edition (my heart couldn't have stood it), there is a pretty decent set of special features on this disc: commentaries for each film by the director and cinematographer, some bloopers, behind-the-scenes footage, and trailers. The commentaries mostly are reminiscences between the director and cinematographer. They cover the usual trials and tribulations of making a low-budget film. They don't have much new to add to the discussion, but their camaraderie makes this an easy listen. The bloopers are pretty lame, but maybe fans will enjoy them. The behind-the-scenes footage from Evilmaker is just raw video of a particular night of shoot, without narrative or commentary. The footage from Abomination is a little better because it covers more than a single night and features actual interviews with the cast and crew. Still, it's 40 minutes of footage for an 80-minute film that wasn't that great in the first place. I should also warn prospective viewers that some of the audio that accompanies the footage is unbearably distorted. Turn down your volume before giving this feature a spin.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

If your doctor says you're low on Vitamin Horrible, then this film is the cure. To give you an idea, yeah, that line was about as bad as these films.

Closing Statement

These films are obviously the product of someone trying to learn the craft. Unsurprisingly, there are few directors whose early experiments are worth watching. I don't begrudge John Bowker the making of these films, but I just don't think they're ready for release to a mass audience. Unless you want to see student film-grade genre exercises, avoid this double feature.

The Verdict

Guilty. Everyone involved is sentenced to spend the next ten years in an abandoned house.

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Genres

• Bad
• Horror
• Independent

Scales of Justice, Evilmaker

Video: 50
Audio: 55
Extras: 70
Acting: 50
Story: 50
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile, Evilmaker

Studio: Tempe Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Evilmaker

• Commentary with Director John Bowker and Cinematographer Joe Sherlock
• Bloopers
• Behind the Scenes Footage

Scales of Justice, Abomination: Evilmaker II

Video: 50
Audio: 55
Extras: 75
Acting: 50
Story: 50
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile, Abomination: Evilmaker II

Studio: Tempe Video
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Abomination: Evilmaker II

• Commentary with Director John Bowker and Cinematographer Joe Sherlock
• Behind the Scenes Featurette








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