Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Legend of God's Gun (2007)

I am not usually a fan of movies that are purposely made so bad that they are painful and frustrating to watch. Movies that are bad due to budget constraints are a different matter. I am not a fan of spoofs or silliness without some sort of purpose. I felt that this movie was just terrible while I was watching it. Well, part of me still does. I know I won’t watch it again. But the sincere forward by Brent De Boar of the Dandy Warhols made me try to look at it in a different light. So, that being said, and the relatively small number of people I could find who had ever seen the thing, made me decide to go ahead and write something up about it.

The movie was inspired by the band Spindrift’s 2005 album The Legend of God’s Gun. Spindrift is a “psychedelic western band” who appears to be very theatrical and sincere in their attempts to bring traditional western movie music into the present with the help of the Dandy Warhols’ record label. Their music appears on the movie, as well as music from the Low-Flying Owls (the band of Mike Bruce who plays the Sheriff and who wrote the screenplay, directed, and edited the movie).

The story is a bit hard to decipher amid the chaos going on on-screen, but here it is in a nutshell: The Gunslinger (Robert Bones who has nothing else listed on his IMDB page) is forced to watch his wife being raped and killed and in his grief, repents and becomes a preacher, bent on bringing hellfire and damnation to the men who took his life away.

His target is El Sobero, a descendant of a worshiper of the Scorpion King, who has passed down the ability of drinking scorpion venom in order to make one invincible to his progeny. El Sobero is overacted by Kirpatrick Thomas, guitarist and singer for Spindrift. He is hypothetically of Hispanic blood, but his accent only peeks out in small and stereotypical ways. El Sobero and his wicked bandito followers have conveniently had their horses shot by the Sheriff of Playa Diablo, a very sinful town drinking, whoring, and necrophilia-ing itself to an early grave. The budget, therefore, had no need to factor in the cost of animals and animal upkeep and handlers. How you can have a western with no horses, I don’t know, but they did.
In a burst of serendipity, The Gunslinger, now The Preacher, is on his way to Playa Diablo about the same time the banditos led by El Sobero are on their way to Playa Diablo to get revenge for their dead horses. Also heading to Playa Diablo is a bounty hunter, who also had the misfortune of having his horse shot down and is on foot, dragging the body of one of El Sobero’s comrades to take in for a reward from the Sheriff of Playa Diablo.

Hijinks ensue.

Did someone attempt authenticity in the costumes? Who knows? At least ¾ of the clothes appeared to have come off the sale rack at a JCPenney in Arizona. The rest could have been sewn up quickly from a Simplicity pattern called “Generic cloak”.

Few of the actors have anything on their resumes other than the ones who were in bands.  The narrator, Joseph Campanella, was the only exception.  He had an IMDB listing of around 200 mostly television efforts such as The Rockford Files and The Bold and the Beautiful, dating back to 1952.

The members of Spindrift and Low-Flying Owls of course.  And Sally Fay Dalton who plays one of the insignificant females, and is from some show that I have never heard of but am extremely intrigued by the fact that it even exists, called Cookin’ with Coolio.  She had the esteemed job of “sauce girl”. She was featured on 5 episodes including “Soul Rolls”, “Fall Off the Bone Chicken”, and “Cool-a-Cado”.
The music was not too terrible on hindsight. I mean it isn’t something I would enjoy just listening to, but on a movie it was alright. Although they could have benefited from the adage that “a little goes a long way”. The soundtrack was relentless. There was not a second that I did not feel bombarded by the fact that there was music in the movie. Even worse, there is a part where the movie breaks down into a music video of a very overly dramatic, self-important song that doesn’t really make any sense, complete with a goth angel with black wings standing in the distance.

The music wasn’t the only sound grating on the nerves. The filmmakers decided that authenticity would be created by the addition of the sound of an old reel-to-reel continuously beneath the cacophony of everything else.

The appearance of the movie was also noisy. It looked as if someone took the film and used it as a first experiment with the free version of Windows Movie Maker, throwing in every effect possible to make the movie look old. The color was often blinding to simulate heat and desert. Even the makeup was atrocious, often having faces painted very red to make the person appear hot, while the rest of him was just normal colored.

Was all this meant to be over the top? Perhaps, but it was a bit too over the top for my taste.

Mike Bruce was apparently pleased with his feedback on the film, because he has written, directed, and edited yet another film titled The Treasure of the Black Jaguar, due to be released soon. I, for one, will not be checking it out.
I’m not sure if I feel comfortable recommending this movie to anyone. If you’re into the sort of camp that includes non-actors acting badly, overuse of cheap effects, and unrelenting music, go for it. It’s interesting to see what can be done with….oh hell. I don’t know. See if it you want to.  See it because it has a character called Necro Man.  Bet you don't see that in many westerns.

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