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Clive Barker's Saint Sinner
Okay, so this wasn't a movie I saw at the theaters, but it's something I wanted to do a review on anyway. Watched it on the Sci-fi channel here in the US on October 26, 2002.
Note: Some of this stuff I posted to certain bulletin boards.
Brief synopsis: This movie is supposed to be about a couple of succubi named Munkar and Nakir (sp?) who were locked up in a little statue back in 1260 by some saint named Nicodemus from Alexandria, then eventually taken to a monastery in the US in 1815 where the church stores objects they consider to be unnatural and evil. Also in this repository is a creation by one of the monks called the 'Wheel of Time' that's made out of dark bronze and has 'elaborate arcane etchings' on it. A couple of monks who are also brothers go into this repository to check out what's in there and they accidentally release the female demons / succubi, and they use the Wheel of Time to escape into the future. One of the monks is severely hurt after he loses an arm and in a short time, dies. The other, I guess overcome with guilt over his brother dying, volunteers to go into the future to hunt down the female demons / succubi. He is armed with a dagger that 'has tasted the blood of the demons', and it can be used to point the direction that the female demons / succubi are in. He arrives in Seattle of 2002, throws up right after getting there, and within about an hour of arriving, is arrested for one of the murders that those female demons committed.
Some notes I took before I saw the movie:
While I found myself almost literally drooling over the previews of Saint Sinner not only for the FX but for the female demons as well, I realized that there's not too much originality with the movie concept.
It appeared to be combining aspects of:
the Friday the 13th series where evil items are collected in a vault for safe-keeping;
the movie Warlock, where they are hunting down an evil warlock who has escaped the New England area of the US sometime before the War of Independence, using a weather vane that has a bit of the warlock's blood on it to point the way to him;
the Brimstone series where the guy is enlisted to hunt down evil entities who are walking the face of the Earth. Okay, so this is a time-worn cliché used by a lot of writers of printed stories, films and TV series, but my fellow sci-fi channel viewers would know Brimstone the best);
and time travel. Is it just me, or has there been an overwhelming horde of movies, series and books using a time travel theme?
While we're on the time travel aspect of this movie, the story I've read about Saint Sinner says that a monk in this guy's own order created the Wheel of Time. What's the story behind this guy? A monk dabbling with the so-called arcane arts? And the other monks let him do it when history teaches us that even those merely suspected of such things were tortured until they 'confessed'?? Alrighty, then... Yeah, I can't wait to see what these 'elaborate arcane etchings' are supposed to be on the Wheel of Time. With my luck, probably either cuneiform, viking runes, or something similar that may be styled in a way to make it look more cryptic and awe-inspiring. ;-) Also, will his trip into the 21st century be a one-way trip, or will there be a way for him to return? Maybe the female demons will try to stop him from slaying them with promises that they can return him home? LOL
*sighing* I'm hoping that the acting is better than the concept. May the gods of sci-fi spare us from un-imaginative writers!
One person asked me in the bulletin board why I didn't include Stargate SG1's ring to the comparison of the Wheel of Time.
Okay, I didn't include Stargate SG1's ring to the comparison with the Wheel of Time in the Saint Sinner movie because the former is for temporal travel, whereas the latter is for spatial travel.
If I were to include all devices / objects used to transport a person / entity / being / user (whether sentient or no) through time, space, alternate realities (or sideways in time if you prefer to think of it in that manner where pivotal events in history were different than what we ourselves have experienced in our timeline), transfer points in 3D chat programs, et cetera in a comparison, the list would be rather large, don't you think?
Here's some examples: The gates in the .hack//SIGN series that became popular in the US way back in 2003, the computers on board the ship in the Matrix movie where they were able to load a VR program locally without accessing the actual Matrix, the VR simulation in the 13th Floor movie (even though duration within it was limited to two hours), the time travel pod in the movie Time Cop, the cards used by people in the Amber series written by Roger Zelazny, the 'Burroughs continua device' which was used in the later sci-fi books written by Robert A. Heinlein, the stepping disks (teleportation devices) from Larry Niven's Known Space series of books, the transporters used in the Star Trek series, the VR Metaverse in Neal Stephenson's book Snow Crash, the VR experience in the movie Johnny Mnemonic (the itemized list of what he used was: A Sino-Logic 16, Sogo-7 data-gloves, a GPL stealth module, a Burdine intelligent translator and some Thompson eye phones) and so on. And this is just off the top of my head.
So, to mis-quote Bill Murray in the Groundhog Day movie: "Did you want to talk about sci-fi, or were you just making chit-chat?" ;-)
Quick comments I made about the female demons seen in the previews the sci-fi channel put on over and over again before they showed the movie: Oooo! Ahhhh! Ohhhh! The female demons look hot, and perhaps it's not just because they're demons. Already considered to be too hot to be allowed to exist before they were entrapped within that little statue thing (kind of like what Solomon was supposed to have done when he put all the Jinn (genies) in bottles and put his seal on each?), they've had to endure forced celibacy for how long? Oh, the horrors I'm sure they've planned to engage in. The lewd, lustful, and licentious forbidden acts that their libidos will force them to perform upon an unsuspecting and morally strict society! Now that is what I call a 'teaser'! Thanks, Sci-fi channel! Going to tune in now just to see how much will be edited. LOL I remember from the Dune movie that was re-done a couple of years before this that they had even cut out parts that they had shown in the previews. Don't think they can be sued for false advertising, but come on, guys! At least don't edit out the scenes you lured us into watching the show with in the first place! Ack!
Questions! Everyone's got them. Will this turn into a series? Can we get an un-censored version of it on DVD later? (Hint, hint!) What about posters? I'd love to have a picture of those lovely ladies adorning my bedroom wall! Do these female demons have phone numbers and would they be interested in going out with a slightly crazed werewolf who has a tendency to worship women and is prone to party too much? Yo, ladies! Do you wanna howl?? ;-) Was that over the top? I can never tell... Oh! Maybe this will lead to a better comic book than the one they had before? That was like back in 1992, or so, wasn't it? Much better artwork and cool inks now in comics. :-)
One more question: What's with the sweaty demon look I see in the previews? Is this supposed to be like some demon scent attraction thing like demon pheromones, where they get all sweaty as a side effect of when they produce the stuff in mass quantities in order to lure prey?
'Satisfaction guaranteed', eh? Let's all tune in and find out! Whoo-hoo!
Comments below are from after I watched the movie:
Demon acting: Yeah, it was a bit over-done, and I couldn't help but see them a bit like kids in front of a mirror at home posturing and talking. Can't we find any fun yet believable villains anymore? Where are those zany / psycho / wackos we love so dearly? We need villains who can rend and tear apart those hastily thrown together protagonists and relish every moment of their exquisite agony while nonchalantly throwing off a few one-liners, proving not only to us, the unseen audience, but to the protagonist what costumed fops they are. The last person I saw that pulled it off well was Deadpool in the Marvel comics series of the same name. Rather pathetic, isn't it, when a movie's demons are beat by a comic book character?
The story's originality: Don't get me started on this again. (Besides, I think I may've freaked out a few people with my sci-fi geekiness.) But besides not being very original and seeming to borrow pieces from different movies and series, it was just boring! There wasn't much there to 'hook' us and 'reel us into the story'.
Addendum on the story: About the baby / seed / bug that people were asking what happened to near the end of the movie; don't you realize who its daddy is? (Not going to give a spoiler by telling.) Besides, there's got to be something for a sequel, right? How about 'The evil succubus bug that ate Orange County'? LOL Okay, so the bug really wouldn't be able to pull off the succubus bit, but maybe we'll get lucky and Elvira can host it. ;-)
Special FX: They were definitely second rate. Think I've seen better props at my local haunted house! The 'elaborate arcane etchings' that were supposed to be on the Wheel of Time were nothing more than numbers and some zodiac symbols. *yawns* I could've come up with something better! And didn't they just re-use the same cocoon prop or was I imagining things? Guess it could be if they wanted to keep costs down. And I gotta agree with another person on this; The time travel sequence really sucked! Come on, people! We've got transitional FX better than that in Gene Roddenberry's 'Andromeda' series when they go through the slipstream! And that's how much older than this movie? The imagery looked like grainy fake old style post cards you see in gift shops. *yawns*
Erotic Demons / succubi / whatever: I was expecting a lot better from the previews I've been watching over and over again for this movie, only to be severely disappointed. Short duration, poor dialog ("Oh, she's the top" What kind of lame dialog is that?? Give me a break!), the female demons were probably supposed to come off as sexually stimulating to behold, entrancing and alluring, sparking wanton thoughts in everyone from teenagers up to the near geriatric crowd, but quite frankly, they didn't really do that much for me. The moisture on their skin kind of reminded me of some kid's snot covering them from head to foot, including their hair. They didn't dance, sing, and like it's been said, they kept doing that deep masculine voice thing. Even the kind of cool dresses they were wearing in the start of the movie were short lived. They changed clothes shortly after they did their time jump.
Emotional level: I've gotta say that I didn't find this whole thing very emotional. Wasn't scary, didn't frighten me, didn't 'move' me. Think that the maggots and the big bug were more horrific than the succubi / demons (or maybe just more believable), and as for the emotional involvement of the humans; I just didn't feel anything for them, really. It was like they were recounting bad stuff that had happened to someone else and they were so emotionally detached, it was almost like listening to Ben Stein's near monotone while doing an eye wash commercial. "Oh, my father died. He left me a gold cross." Uh, okay...
Want to read something more emotional? Try one of my 'short short' stories (they only take about five minutes to read each). Click here for the stories page and you can choose which one you want to read from there.
The best part of the whole movie: IMHO it was the scene where he was on the sofa and was with both of the female demons / succubi and the female detective. Yum! Short duration, didn't show anything that may've gotten prudish viewers (who probably just tuned in to see if they could find something to complain about) to pee their panties, and not very sexy dialogue, so you'll understand that the rest of the movie must have really sucked if that was the best part of it. LOL
Okay, I'm done ranting for now, so I'll climb off the soapbox. Hee hee hee
Well, one more thing and then I'm outta here:
Maybe the whole purpose of this movie was to drum up converts for the church? "Evil walks among us! Save your souls! The end is near!" Heck, the priests have been saying this stuff for years now, and as for evil, think we've already seen that on 9-11-2001 here in the states. When you see two huge towering buildings collapse killing a couple of thousand people in a matter of minutes, a couple of evil succubi just don't really frighten people that much.
People really want to know what Tomas' (the 'hero' of the story) last words were? How about "I'm not coming back for any sequel or series!"? LOL
I think I actually enjoyed watching that old black and white movie 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' more than this!
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