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South of Heaven (2008) More at IMDbPro »

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A romp through a violent and imagined wild west. See more »
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(9 articles)
DVD Playhouse--November 2011
 (From The Hollywood Interview. 25 November 2011, 10:45 AM, PST)

Home Invasion: Week of October 11, 2011
 (From Destroy the Brain. 10 October 2011, 12:19 PM, PDT)

Maniac Cop hits Hi-Def and bizarro South Of Heaven finally comes home
 (From Destroy the Brain. 8 September 2011, 9:35 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
as far off the path from a traditional Western as you can get—more offbeat than your wildest dreams See more (4 total) »



Diora Baird ... Lily

Jon Gries ... Hood 1

Lena Gwendolyn Hill ... Lulu (as Lena Hill)
Elina Löwensohn ... Veronica
Aaron Nee ... Dale Coop

Adam Nee ... Roy Coop

Sy Richardson ... Pawn Daddy

Thomas Jay Ryan ... Hood 2
George 'The Animal' Steele ... The Man

Joe Unger ... Rooster

Shea Whigham ... Mad Dog Mantee
Glenn Abbott ... Store Clerk (uncredited)

Directed by
Jonathan Vara  (as J.L. Vara)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jonathan Vara  (as J.L. Vara)

Produced by
Glenn Abbott .... producer
Eric Inman .... associate producer
Jason Polstein .... producer
Brian Udovich .... producer
Original Music by
Russ Howard III 
Cinematography by
Darren Genet 
Film Editing by
Shilpa Sahi 
Casting by
Annie Roberts  (as Annie Boedeker)
Art Direction by
Patrick Levy 
Set Decoration by
Morrison Pierce 
Costume Design by
Michelle Lynette Bush 
Makeup Department
Cyndie Boehm .... makeup artist
Anita Brabec .... key makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kathleen 'Bo' Bobak .... first assistant director
Anne Njoroge .... second assistant director
Art Department
Arjuna Imel .... conceptual designer
Mark Plotz .... construction coordinator
Sound Department
Christian Dwiggins .... sound re-recording mixer
Christian Dwiggins .... supervising sound editor
Eric Hochstadt .... sound mixer
Mike Risha .... adr mixer
Mike Risha .... dialogue editor
R.D. White .... sound designer
R.D. White .... sound effects editor
Special Effects by
Kevin Carter .... special effects contact lenses
Lino Stavole .... special effects coordinator
Nicoletta Stavole .... special effects assistant
Camera and Electrical Department
Travis Burdick .... electrician
Travis Burdick .... grip
Jinx Canty .... gaffer
Orion Christy .... assistant camera
Brian Buddy Holley .... still photographer
Christopher D. Jones .... key grip
Joseph A. Robinson .... second assistant camera
Todd Owen Waldorf .... camera loader
Todd Owen Waldorf .... second assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Stephanie Wood .... set costumer
Editorial Department
David Kashevaroff .... additional editor
Music Department
Russ Howard III .... music supervisor
Myra Moreta .... music preparation
Mark Robertson .... music supervisor
Michael Teoli .... additional orchestrations
Michael Teoli .... music preparation
Other crew
Michael J. Breen .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Mad Dog Mantee:When you got a name like Mad Dog people let you drop a bar of soap, pick it up, and go back sud'sing yourself off. No questions asked, no asses questioned.See more »


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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
as far off the path from a traditional Western as you can get—more offbeat than your wildest dreams, 25 June 2008
Author: xxxneon

MasterMath® Reviews ...

Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! Dale Coop (Aaron Nee), fresh out of the Navy, has the misfortune to return to his brother Roy's (Adam Nee) San Francisco apartment right before two thugs named Teddy (Thomas Jay Ryan, Jon Gries) show up. At first, they don't believe he isn't his brother. And then, they don't care—they just want to vent their boss's wrath on someone with that surname. When you work for a guy named Bobo, there's a strong incentive to get results. The tall one's a tad nicer than the other, but when your blood's spilling out like heat over the desert, you often miss such minute details. And to think, all Dale wanted to do was write the great American novel, The Last Stand, then relax in the lap of luxury the rest of his life. Instead, he's tortured for information he doesn't have. That's never 'a good thing.'

A mysterious dark-haired stranger in the person of Veronica (Elina Löwensohn, of the Seinfeld "The Gymnast" episode fame) arrives. She tends Dale's wounds, provides a ready ear to his dreams and a shoulder to cry on. But like everyone in this film except Dale, she is NOT who she seems to be. She's right about one thing, though—the two of them have to find Roy before 'they' do.

Cut to Roy and Mad Dog Mantee (Shea Whigham) at the latter's hideout off Highway 301. They've kidnapped a young girl, Lulu (Lena Hill), who isn't doing well. Roy tries to ease her pain, with dire consequences. You see, Roy is nearly as scared of Mad Dog as Lulu is, with good reason. And yet, Mad Dog is NOT a mindless barbarian. His moves are calculated, his every action designed to keep in balance his somewhat skewed sense of right and wrong. In his own words, 'I'm not crazy—I'm just mad.' An aside: Mad Dog's fable of the dancing chicken is worth the price of admission alone.

After Lulu is, well, out of the picture, Mad Dog and Roy are on the run. They wind up at a place called Union's Roost in South of Heaven, TX. The owner, Rooster (Joe Unger), owes Mad Dog big time—well, at least three times, by the latter's math. Rooster lives there with his daughter, Lily (Diora Baird), whom he adopted, to use the term very loosely. She's basically subservient to the others, but she's got a good heart and a good head on her shoulders. She can think on her feet and act decisively when she has to. And believe me, she indeed has to. For example, when the character now known as Nobody arrives to settle old scores. They get settled all right—the HARD way. It may seem like there's no way all this could possibly tie together in the end, but trust me—it does.

Warning: these characters will grab ahold of you and NOT LET GO! The minimalist sets, especially the cheesy Western backdrop, serve to draw you in to them. The lack of long or outdoor shots results in slices of this claustrophobic world being all the characters see, and hence, all that WE see. But that's all we NEED to see. When you're looking into people's souls, you don't care if the background is Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon or the loneliest road in America in northern Nevada, in the vicinity of the Pawn Daddy pawn shop.

The whole production, with its disparate scenes, and with characters in one set seldom interacting with those in others, comes off more as a play than it does a film, to good effect. According to the director, this look and feel was intentional. Everything is punctuated by Russ Howard III's unobtrusive yet mesmerizing score. Excellent performances all around, especially Whigham, who appears to have been playing Mad Dog every day of his life. In person, he's quite a nice guy—no, really. The real life brothers Nee fit their respective roles like matching gloves, and Baird, though her character's subdued compared with the rest, is strong as a woman who's tougher and smarter than she looks.

Make no mistake—this is a VIOLENT film. But hey—when you create strong characters with unsavoury pasts, well, that's pretty much unavoidable. South of Heaven is as far off the path from a traditional Western as you can get—more offbeat than your wildest dreams. And WAY more entertaining.

MasterMath® is a registered trademark of W. G. Raley.

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