Decadent Evil

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Decadent Evil
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Decadent Evil
Horror
Full Moon Entertainment
June 25th, 2005
Release length: n/a
Decadent Evil is a 2005 direct-to-video release penned by Charles Band, as well as released through his underground film distribution company, Full Moon Enterprises, and backed by others including Shoot Productions, Astonishing Features, and Wizard Entertainment. Many who are fans of Mr. Band needed only to see the signature logo on artwork in order to buy this film, but in the long run it has received plenty of negative press that simply wouldn’t sway those loyal to him and his works. But, is this film of vampiric fornication and epic power really as bad as the critics proclaim?

The story to the film is a rather simple one, if not a bit too grand for what they are trying to pull off. It is centered around a woman named Morella (Debra Mayer), who had been turned into a vampire long ago. Eventually, she broke free from her master, and came to North America to create her own clan, seeking out the primal blood of ten thousand mortals to make her the unstoppable queen of vampires. In the process, she has turned and kept two women, both sisters. Spyce (Raelyn Hennessee) lives up to her name, and is always the more aggressive one of the three, going behind Morella’s back and clearly disgusted of simply being a slave to her, and Sugar (Jill Michelle) who was recently turned and in love with a man named Dex (Daniel Lennox), wanting to break away from the two and live a life with this mortal.

Right away, the story introduces that the two work at a gentleman’s club as strippers, and much of the start to film involves nudity and sexuality such as a couple at that specific club while a woman dances around a pole on stage, as well as a tasteful sex scene between Sugar and Dex. Given the theme of the film, it’s appropriate, but feels as though it delays the progress of the actual tale. While the focus is on Morella being just a few victims away from ten thousand, you also learn of a revenge angle involving a man named Ivan (Phil Fondacaro), who has been trailing her for a while thanks to what she did to his father. Ivan enlists the help of Dex, who doesn’t believe the vampire angle at first, but eventually steps in to protect Sugar from his quest to avenge his father.

With such a simple story, there isn’t much to really hold it back. The additional angle with Dex and Sugar does add a little more complexity to things to keep you focused on the film, and the addition of Lester (Joyhn F. Schaffer) who is a foot tall humonculous trapped in a cage by Morella offers up some nice puppetry at the very least. However, the main issue to this film is the acting. It’s clear that most of the cast was brought on simply for their name, but largely for their looks and how seducing their sexual manners can be, such as Spyce and her lap dancing, as well as how provocative she gets when meeting a man off the internet out of hunger. While her acting otherwise isn’t that great, her ability to become an cruel and manipulative person really makes Sugar seem a stronger innocent and loving woman who just wants to be with the man she loves. But, that’s about as far as the believable roles go. Some line delivery doesn’t feel as enthusistic as it should be from these three, and Morella’s attitude seems to be a paint-by-number typical Victorian era approach to the vampire. Unfortunately, Dex doesn’t come off too concerned about the role or characters either, especially during the big reveal when he finally goes to Sugar’s house to confront her about what Ivan is saying, handling it very casually and is it was the most natural thing in the world but playing it off as being slightly surprised in a let down manner.

Unfortunately this is the case with Ivan too. While Phil Fondacaro is a rather good actor, half the time in this it seems like he just doesn’t care too much. Either that, or he’s playing things as straight as possible. His battle against Morella actually makes you think that she has the IQ of broccoli for not realizing what trick he’s pulling since it all happens right in front of her, and with his casual regular in door voice, it’s hard to believe she didn’t atleast hear him plotting as well when his first attempt failed. He does a similar strategy against Spyce, but pretending to give up without any indication that it’s a lie works out well considering he had a plan and wasn’t just acting like he didn’t want to be there in the first place. Really, one of the best performances actually comes from John F. Schaffer and the Lester doll. Similar to the puppetry of other Charles Band films like the Puppet Master series, it is rather believable, though barely gets any screen time. However, when it does things like lick a nipple of a prostitute Spyce ties up for Morella, it really steals the show. The film doesn’t end on a great climax either, despite the closure it does give, but the punch-out ending wraps things up without a big bang, finishing it off with a scene of the Lester doll having sex with a female Homunulous in his cage.

But, when it comes to the atmosphere of the film, the visuals can incorporate a Victorian era well that does suit the Morella character better than a traditional modern home and lighting approach. The dark strip club with a sleak modern feel through the lighting and stage, as well as Dex’s apartment just looking like a regular every day small apartment in a big city do give things a current day look. However, the house the three vampires live in has a simple elegance to it. The building is, for the most part, dimly lit with candles that have a red flame to them, giving the dining room and some other areas a look of blood. Unfortunately, not all sections have this, as there are some hallways that have a much brighter display that can take you out of the environment a bit. But, the outfits Morella and Spyce do wear help to keep those appearances thriving as much as possible. Sugar doesn’t really live up to the stereotypical vampire image, but the other two still present themselves as seductive creatures similar to the original lore of Dracula being able to seduce women out of their beds and do his bidding.

While this isn’t one of the greatest films in the Full Moon Enterprises line, it does act as a decent starting point, which is established through a stealthy marketing technique for those who stay during the credits. As they roll, various scenes appear to outline the characters and who played them, as well as the sex scene between the two dolls in a comical faster speed. However, the trailer for 2008’s Decadent Evil II plays at the top of the screen towards the end (which may not be in all versions of the film), and ultimately sets this up as an introduction to a stronger vampire stripper good versus evil franchise that never really came to be. Of course, the same bad acting is on display throughout, but the visuals and make-up effects can instantly have you wanting to see this next entry.

While this is actually a pretty bad film overall, it’s one that is still enjoyable to watch with many issues you can overlook given the good pacing everything has, and some of the subtle elements like certain visual atmospheres that are handled quite well. It’s clear this film had a very low budget and, to make it work, went with a bit of a tongue and cheek approach. Sadly, the actors and actresses involved don’t seem to really put much effort into making this an underground success, but they still do a good enough job that it doesn’t become painful or atrocious to sit through. In fact, the film goes by really quick given the simple story line and how well it and the other aspects are followed, presenting enough good material outside of the tits that is actually worth checking out, especially since you can find it now on cheap box sets, or even free to stream legally on-line, making this something handy to have lying around if you’re looking for a cheap vampire flick when you’re stuck indoors for the evening.

Overall Score: 4.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.