Sunday, April 21, 2013

END OF THE WICKED (1999)

Three years later, we're finally going back to Nigeria, where zero-budget outlandish filmmaking has been salvaged from first-world scrap heaps.


Having now seen two Nigerian horror movies, I can say with confidence that all of them are rooted in the deep, weird, sad Christian roots of the country.  666: BEWARE mostly flashed revival-tent fundamentals in its epic tale of a demonic child.  END OF THE WICKED, with its coven of forest witches who meet outside because there are no office buildings in Nigeria, is a little less eager to run to scripture every ten seconds, but it's still basically drawing all of its tricks out of a big Christian hat.  That's Beelzebub up there, the Rob Halford/Uncle Fester/marinara mouth guy.  His look is also a reminder that albinos also aren't winning popularity contests in Africa.  Killing child "witches", hating albinos for being born...in conclusion, fuck Africa.


Okay, back on track.  The witch coven all look like black versions of the oatmeal zombies from NIGHTMARE CITY.  They plot misdeeds straight out of Sunday school scare stories: sneaking into bedrooms at night to cause back pain, transmitting bad dreams, that kinda stuff.  One of them is mother to Chris, who is decidedly non-demonic and pretty much just wants to run his business and sit in fancy chairs.  Mom testifies against him to Beelzebub, citing how he clothes, feeds, and shelters her.  I think this is supposed to ironically demonstrate guilt, although END OF THE WICKED is naturally incompetent about relaying this to viewers.


So, like, anyway, Beelzebub gives her a ridiculously big fake cock to use on Chris's wife.


Despite the grandiose penises, most of this movie is dolefully boring.  For every amazing highlight, like when Beelzebub orders his flock to "do the sexiest dance ever, the dance of seduction" and they mostly just pivot like Chuck E. Cheese robots, there are ten scenes of talking in undecorated rooms or unlit forest nooks.  The acting is what you'd expect and, although some of the dialogue has African charm (Beelzebub asks, "What are his particulars?" instead of "What is his name?"), the script is limp and repetitive and repeats itself.  Some of the effects are surprisingly okay on a haunted-house scale...


But why waste our time fishing for compliments for this thing?  It satisfies every preconception of how a cheap horror film from an undeveloped place is going to be.  Plus I admittedly might be letting my distaste for child murder to color my reaction here, but I'm not loving the whole child-witch angle.  It's in this movie, so of course it's executed abysmally, but Nigerian witch-hunters are apparently dumb enough to be set off by anything.  I could probably overlook it to some extent if the film were adequate, but it's not, so stick with 666 for your Nigerian fix and maybe ask the child witches you know to cast some filmmaking improvement spells Africa's way.

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