Everything has a price…is it worth your soul?
Fans of director/producer Brian Yuzna know that he's done a good deal of work in the horror genre. Yuzna was a producer on the classic Re-Animator, directed the sequel Bride Of Re-Animator, and has also dipped into the living dead series by directing the sequel Return Of The Living Dead 3. All in all Yuzna has done some decent, if low budget, work in the splatter field. In 2001 Brian Yuzna both produced and directed Faust: Love Of The Damned, a movie based on the graphic cult comic book by Tim Vigil and David Quinn. Starring Jeffery Combs (Re-Animator, From Beyond), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster), and Mark Frost (The Mystery Of Men), Faust: Love Of The Damned burns up on DVD care of Trimark Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Things take a turn for the worst for John Jaspers (Frost) when his girlfriend is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs. Swearing that he believes in nothing and cares for no one, Jaspers is ready to kill himself by jumping off a bridge…until "M" (Divoff) shows up with a proposition: for Jasper's eternal soul "M" will provide him with the means for gruesome vengeance. Jaspers accepts the deal and is soon transformed into Faust, a demon-like superhero with Wolverine claws and lots of prosthetic make-up to boot. On Jaspers's trail is Lt. Dan Margolies (Combs) and Claire (Monica Van Campen), a music therapist who swears she can help Jaspers become normal again. However, Jaspers can't control his newly formed powers, and as "M's" demonic plans starts to come full circle, Jaspers, Claire, and the world will have only one saving grace—the power of FAUST!
Like shoving an ice pick into my spleen, Faust: Love Of The Damned is a rather painful experience. I'm not too sure who thought this movie would be a good idea, but whoever it was needed to be pummeled with a baseball bat by a very large, strong man. On the surface this movie probably looked promising—get the director of the rather well done Bride Of Re-Animator, throw in horror staples Jeffery Combs and Andrew Divoff, get a few gallons of blood, stir, shake and voila! Instant horror success! Unfortunately, this cocktail came out a tad bit nauseating.
I briefly talked with my twin brother (who is a comic book nut) and he said that he'd read the graphic comic upon which this movie is based. "Borders on pornography," were his exact words, and as he spoke them I nodded in sad agreement. Faust: Love Of The Damned may not deserve an X rating, but it does come close to that crap they show on Cinemax at 3:30 in the morning. Boobs, body bopping, and more boobies dominate this movie—that is, when blood and dismembered limbs haven't taken over the scene. Maybe in my old age I'm getting a bit soft and conservative, but when the movie has more C-cups than storyline, I think it's time to throw in the towel.
There were some interesting aspects to Faust: Love Of The Damned, including the ever wacky performance by Jeffery Combs, and Andrew Divoff playing the exact same character he plays in every movie. Divoff's speech patterns sound as if he is channeling the devil himself, an eerie mix of sex and power that makes one conjure up an image of Donald Trump crossed with Hugh Hefner. Actor Mark Frost, who plays the troubled hero John Jaspers, is laughable as he twists and turns his face into three different expressions: upset, pained, and tortured. All the women in the movie show up for the sole purpose of displaying their physical assets, and the rest of the cast looks as if they're just running around looking for their paychecks. One thing I never understood was if the audience should have been rooting for or booing Faust. The demonic "superhero" kills innocent cops and quips like Freddy Krueger, yet he is eventually going to be the savior of the film (like you don't see it coming from a hundred miles away).
Gore hounds will have a field day with this title, seeing as there was enough blood and guts to supply ER with their special effects for the next seven seasons. Arms are chopped off, snakes pulled out of stomachs, flesh burned and fried…it's all here for those willing to endure the torture of Faust: Love Of The Damned. While I love a good horror movie, I've never cared much for "S&M" horror films (much like Clive Barker's first two Hellraiser films). I say that the filmmaker creed should be you keep your intestines and your leather bound titty whips in separate movies, or at the very least separate scenes. The makers of Faust: Love Of The Damned disagreed, and as such we're treated to women licking women while bound in a electro-shock steel cage. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that a woman needs to be bought dinner first before she's electrocuted in her birthday suit.
So, what have I learned after watching Faust: Love Of The Damned? I've learned that I should never make a pact with the devil, even if it means I will have the distinct pleasure of having large weapons available and heavy metal music playing while I kill. I've learned that any man with the name "M" will eventually turn out to be Mephistopheles. And the most important lesson I've learned is that some comic books just don't need to be turned into movies. Case in point: Faust: Love Of The Damned.
Faust: Love Of The Damned is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Seeing as this is a low budget title, the image suffers from some of the troubles associated with that stigma. Grain and dirt oftentimes show up, and a small amount of edge enhancement is also present during the film. Overall colors and black levels were even and very well rendered. While this is certainly not a reference quality disc, it's not horrendously bad either.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is very well mixed. I found that most all directional sounds were utilized during the bulk of the film, and while there was a small amount of distortion present during some of the more bombastic sequences, overall this is a nice track that should give your sound system a hefty workout. The only big problem I had with this soundtrack was the annoying use of grating heavy metal music accompanying the action scenes. Also included on this disc are Spanish, English and French subtitles.
Faust: Love Of The Damned includes a few well produced extra features, including two separate commentary tracks. The first one is by director Brian Yuzna and tends to lean more towards the technical side of the production. The second track is by actor Andrew Divoff ("M"), director of photography Jacques Haitkin, and effects master Screaming Mad George. This second track offers a bit more lighthearted fare while still sticking with stories about how many of the effects sequences were created.
Fans of Brian Yuzna's work may want to check out Faust: Love Of The Damned, but for this reviewer it was a bit too much to stomach. While the film may leave much to be desired, this DVD edition by Trimark is not bad, featuring some well done extra features and a very nice Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I'd say give it a whirl as a rental before you make any life long "pacts" to purchase.
Faust: Love Of The Damned is guilty of being low budget horror slop with lots of T&A. Trimark is free on bail for doing decent work on this title.
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