A good deal of the time, one has a difficult time of distinguishing “good” superhero movies from “bad”ones. Between plot, acting, adaptation, and special effects-there are so many different ways it can go so horribly wrong.
Then there are movies like Faust: Love of the Damned.
Based on the comic book of the same name, Faust is the story of tortured artist John Jaspers (not Jasper Johns) who, after witnessing the brutal murder of his girlfriend and muse, Blue, makes a deal with the mysterious “M” (The Devil), and becomes a nigh-unstoppable demon of vengeance complete with 2 razor sharp claws on each hand (three would infringe on a certain ol’ Canucklehead) and an organic devil-looking costume. Before you make the comparison, the Faust comic actually predates Todd McFarlane’s Spawn even though the Spawn movie came out first.
The movie suffers from an overabundance of plot, as well as characters and motivations which change almost from scene-to-scene. At different moments, Faust is a: revenge film, a vigilante picture, a discussion on the nature of good and evil, a "what is the role of violence in society" morality tale, a detective, a love, and a "Beauty and the Beast" story, cult cinema, a film about dealing with being a victim of violence...oh, and a soft-core porno picture. The only consistent and amusing theme of the entire show is the interchangeability of sex and violence...which is probably a bad thing.
But there are so many good things too!
For starters, the “What the hell am I looking at?” factor is very strong. Highlights include:
- Hot, naked women turned into quivering puddles of goo.
- Sharp-fanged tongues growing out of a man’s chest and eating another man.
- Spontaneous, slimy tumor growth.
- A giant, scary metaphorical penis-demon.
- A woman giving birth to a boa constrictor.
- Jeffery Combs deep-throating that same boa constrictor!
The casting and performances are strong including the aforementioned Combs playing a lone-wolf police detective who plays by his own rules. He even has sideburns and a leather jacket to signify his rebellious nature! Mark Frost plays our hero delivering some of the most ridiculous dialogue this side of Dark Shadows with cross-eyed gusto. Andrew Divoff is our bad guy, and the only thing more fun than his creepy voice is his creepier smile. Well, that or his blinding white wig. Isabel Brook plays the Damsel in Distress, and I only bring her up to make sure you keep an eye out for her incredible lower teeth. It’s like she’s perpetually chomping on Chiclets. Hypnotizing….
Director Brian Yuzna-of Re-Animator fame-made Faust in Spain, which makes for some wonderful situations; such as no location even remotely resembling America, and every other actor being dubbed. This also accounts for the wonderfully graphic make-up effects provided by Screaming Mad George (yes, that is the name of the company).
You know what? I take it back.
Despite the presence of a costumed, super-powered person, this is just not a superhero movie. This is something much more fun and disgusting.