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Robert Lee King
Quinn Taylor and his friend Nick are on their way back from Mexico with a load of Spanish Fly to sell in the States. They stop at a gentlemen's club called The Devil's Den and decide to test out their product on the unsuspecting women there. Only, these women aren't really human, and the two men find themselves in a very fatal position. Also tossed in are a female-assassin on the hunt for Quinn, a monster hunter who just happened to stumble into everything, a Japanese swordsman who doesn't really exist and even Satan himself who have to deal with the situation once all hell breaks loose Written by
Smooth-Paced, Humorous Horror Film Sneaks Under Radar
On their way home from smuggling a case of high-potency Spanish Fly, two young men get lost and end up at the Devil's Den, a gentleman's club with no cover charge and some fine-looking ladies. But what starts off as a leisurely diversion quickly turns to panic when the pair discover some of the dancers are looking for a little more than a few dollars.
This film comes from director Jeff Burr ("Leatherface" and many others), am an with a solid history of directing horror films with a little less serious of an edge (such as the Puppetmaster films). I mean this in the kindest of ways, because finding the right blend of horror and comedy is an art form, and one that Burr has really found a knack for. This film entertains -- the balance of laughs and gore is flawless.
At first glance, I thought writer Mitch Gould might owe some serious kudos to Robert Kurtzman -- I'm not the first person to notice that the undead dancing in a club is not a new idea (see "From Dusk Till Dawn"). But don't underestimate Gould. Despite his background being more stunts and less writing (this is his sophomore effort), he really gave his heart to this script. A blend of characters and situations that would only otherwise work on an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" seems right at home in the Devil's Den.
The assembled cast is by no means foreign to the horror film (or the horror comedy film). Devon Sawa (Quinn the Spanish Fly smuggler) has come a long way from his days as the cute Casper and is now a noted horror celebrity ("Final Destination", "Idle Hands"). Sawa may have lost his boyish looks and charm, but his unique style and delivery have stayed pure. Ken Foree (Leonard, a vampire-hunting swordsman) needs no introduction. Appearing in both "Dawn of the Dead" films, Burr's "Leatherface" and countless other horror classics, this man's resume looks like a year's line-up of screenings at a college horror club. In short, Foree shines as usual. And although much younger than Foree, Kelly Hu's horror credentials also span back multiple decades ("Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan"). She plays the character of Caitlin perfectly, with enough panache and luxuriousness to rival any "final girl" in modern horror. Just don't ask how come she never runs out of bullets (it's a movie!).
A twist I really liked is the idea that the way to kill ghouls is not by removing the head or the heart or using some special equipment (silver bullets, crosses, etc.) but simply starvation. I don't recall ever hearing this from another film and it's an interesting twist. Leonard's explanation that decapitation is a great way to disconnect the mouth from the stomach (and thus speed up starvation) was ingenious.
While the film is full of great one-liners, gorgeous women and some serious gore (a scene where a man's heart is removed through his back was glorious), the key moment that told me this film was a winner involved the blind samurai (played by Ken Ohara). The feel of the movie changed, but in such a way you knew the creators were capable of anything -- no reason to worry about any loose ends or amateur sloppiness.
While I had not heard of this film prior to this viewing, I can see it becoming popular among horror fans and somewhat of a sleeper hit. While not of the same caliber as the classics, there lies in this film a certain charm that makes it both easy and enjoyable to watch again and again.
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