June 12, 2015
Back from Hell is not a good movie, but I smiled all the way through every ridiculous minute of it. Prior to sitting down on that theater I had never heard of it before, and to be completely honest, when I sat down, I had no idea what movie I was watching anyway. This was the latest installment of Video Vortex, a film series that screens obscure, cheap, and bizarre movies off of VHS tape. The projection. Is obviously not good, but it certainly is an experience.
The movie is the debut feature from writer/director/producer Matt Jaissle, who even recorded an introduction for the screening. He spoke briefly thanking anyone who showed up, about how production began in 1988 and went until it was finally released on 1993, how no one knew how to use the 16mm camera or do special effects, and how they were almost arrested while filming a throat slit effect scene in an alley.
The story does not make a lot of sense. On one hand, you have priests being killed by Satanists and a Hollywood star as the primary suspect. He happens to be friends with a priest, who has come to visit him in an old building, where he is holed up. It turns out he made a deal with a demon in exchange for fame. The problem is that he could not follow through on the sacrifices he need to make. Now the devil is coming to take over the world and only these two men stand in their way.
It feels like Jaissle watched Evil Dead and the films of Lucio Fulci (Zombie,The Beyond) and he decided he could do that. Of course, he couldn't, but that does not stop him from trying. For a no budget movie, there are some fun gore effects, for non actors there are some great moments. There is some crazy stuff towards the end with these ninja looking folks who come out of nowhere, and then the priest finds a chainsaw.
Despite the poor everything around this movie, you can tell it was made with genuine desire and love. It really shines through in the finished movie. I could see what he was doing and I liked it. Could it have used a couple more rewrites and a budget? Sure. But not everyone can afford that and you work with what you have.
Back from Hell is quite entertaining. I loved the possessed cop bit, his expressions were priceless. I also liked the demon hand in the bible sequence. It was surprisingly well done. Also, who can forget the house with the cat that meowed every twenty seconds?
You see, not every movie can be judged on the same scale. This is the sort of film to exercise leniency. Not all low budget movies deserve it, but there are those that are entertaining and you can see the effort and desire put into it. So, no Back from Hell is not a good movie, but you cannot take the smile away from me.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 6/12/2015 11:05:00 PM
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.