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Christopher Boeres Hipp,
In 1986, director David Schmoeller worked with notoriously eccentric and tantrum-prone actor Klaus Kinski on horror triller Crawlspace. Now, Schmoeller talks about this shoot and how it almost ended with crew lynching the actor.
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Life begins with a violent birth at which time we get our first spanking for nothing. At every stage in life, we get another spanking for nothing. Then, when least expected, we are ... See full synopsis »
I had sinking feeling when I put the tape of Netherworld on and the first thing I saw on the screen were the words Full Moon Entertainment. An oxymoron if there ever was one. Netherworld isn't that bad. It isn't that great either but it's more watchable than one would expect for a Full Moon production.
The plot revolves around a young man called Corey Thornton who inherits a property in the bayous of Louisiana after his long lost father dies. When he arrives there to check out his property he finds a set of instructions written down in a journal by his father explaining how he had been involved in black magic and detailing how Corey can bring him back to life. Strangely enough Corey isn't all that freaked out about this and without much prevarication sets about in bringing his old man about from the dead. Corey's lack of reluctance to use magic to bring his father back from the dead might have something to do with the fact it involves having sex with an attractive woman. Thornton senior, or old man Thornton as the staff of his mansion refer to him, gained his abilities with magic through having sex with local prostitute and shaman Delores. I was worried that this premise might an excuse for lots of softcore shenanigins but it restrains itself on the erotic thriller front.
Not a lot happens, and the running time of 84 minutes is breezed through. There is a subplot involving the housekeeper and her 'jailbait' daughter, who looks like she is in her mid twenties- by the standards set in this movie most guys are pederasts or potential pederasts. The daughter falls for the handsome young Corey but her mother understandably disapproves, given Corey seems to be sinking further and further into the black arts and tries to use her own magic against him. There is also some stuff with Delores having encounters with local low-lives. The introduction deals with her dispatching a would be rapist by summoning a flying stone hand that can pass though walls. The mysterious flying stone hand is definitely the coolest thing in the movie. There is a whole bunch of scenes involving Delores and her cronies and acting creepy and also some stuff with a big, weird and probably gay guy, who used to work for Thornton senior, intermittently helping Corey in his quest to find out more about his father and threatening him with violence and/or unwarranted sexual advances. The character completely disappears from the story about halfway having done very little. There is a rather brief mystical showdown ending which seems rather abrupt and unless Hughie Lewis is involved somehow the whole 'power of love' resolution doesn't fly with me.
Netherworld is a serviceable piece of entertainment. It is quite succinct and it doesn't quite go in the direction I was expecting but on the flipside not a lot does actually happen and when it does it is all over with a bit too quickly. There are few mildly cool things about it. As mentioned, the flying stone hand. The movie has a distinctive atmosphere with an oddly laidback vibe and good use made of the eerie bayou setting. A fair amount of the movie is set in the whore-house and attached bar, which is an interesting, if goofy, location. There are brawls breaking out there constantly, weird masked figures roaming the corridors, it is big and creepy with a system of tunnels underneath, a jazz band playing constantly, lots of weird mystical trappings and a crazy prostitute who claims to be Marilyn Munroe brought back from the dead. Though to be honest if I were inclined to go to brothels I would probably pick one less creepy and weird, even if the prostitutes are as unfeasibly attractive as the ones at this place. There are a few other touches I liked, such as the bird motif. It is indicated the victims of Delores and her flying stone hand have their souls trapped in the birds she keeps caged about the place and those somehow affect by her magic find feathers growing out of the side of their heads, just above the ears. There is also a creepy lawyer (The best kind), who doesn't do much in the movie other than provide some exposition, who wears for no obvious reason protective leather gloves all the time, who is kind of cool. The soundtrack is quite good and there is an amusing post credits joke that you would have to watch the movie to understand. On the downside protagonist Corey Thompson is played and scripted in the ways of the bland is better school of characterisation and is pretty useless. There is also a really bad voice-over near the start of the movie which tries to be deep and mysterious by constantly using two or three adjectives when only one would suffice e.g. 'It was unknowable, unimaginable, inconceivable. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your tastes, it disappears for most of the film.
On the whole, you could do better but you could do worse. I just wish they had made a sequel focusing the flying stone hand.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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