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  Reflections of Evil
Year: 2001
Director: Damon Packard
Stars: Damon Packard, Nicole Vanderhoff, Beverley Miller, Chad Nelson, Dean Spunt, Joey Heatherton
Genre: WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: A brief overview of Damon Packard's imaginary career is provided by a dubbed introduction from Tony Curtis, who also mentions lawsuits from no less than George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg. Some two-and-a-quarter hours later, I was contemplating legal action after sitting through this feature-length public health warning that entertains and disturbs (deeply) in almost equal measure.

Packard himself takes the role of Bobby, an overweight, homeless blob who sells watches on the streets, only making enough to purchase his next batch. While his sister (Vanderhoff) wanders around in search of her sibling, Bobby is busy yelling abuse at fellow sociopaths, respectable citizens and anyone who crosses his path.

Far from being a two hour rant-athon, Reflections of Evil really does get under the skin, using an amateur cast and, I'm convinced, genuine schizophrenics to verbally spar with a character who would be perfectly at ease in Tobe's Chainsaw Family. Packard's main target is consumerism, moving from the mindless TV crap that pollutes our screens to the food we eat; the latter inspiring some truly sickening displays of consumption and regurgitation. Bobby's encounters in one large roofless asylum are driven by a dizzying combination of spaced-out David Lynch weirdness (circa Eraserhead), demonic Natural Born Killers imagery and Ringu-type facial distortions. It's a bumpy ride for sure, but you'll also find plenty of mindless humour: a hilarious encounter with a L.A.P.D. officer; a group vomiting sequence with The Carpenters' 'We've Only Just Begun' playing in the background and a side-splitting episode where a young Steven Spielberg gets chinned by an angry technician during the filming of his low-budget epic, 'Something Evil.' Just a few highlights, though Spielberg does come in for further abuse, with brilliant send-ups of Close Encounters, Jaws, E.T. and do look out for the wonderful cable car experience known as 'Schindler's List: The Ride'. Good old George Lucas also figures in Packard's vision, with a neat reworking of the famous THX intro, but those with unhappy memories of that dreadful Attack of the Clones movie will cringe at generous portions of footage shot from a video camera in one of L.A's cinemas: the same camera also treats us to Fellowship of the Ring highlights and, not for the first time, compels us to marvel at Packard's sheer nerve.

While Reflections of Evil will alienate some, those willing to immerse themselves in its way off-kilter world will be fascinated by what must be the ultimate in guerilla filmmaking. Just keep a bucket handy, y'hear?
Reviewer: Steve Langton

 

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