Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hoodoo for Voodoo (2005)

... aka: Hoodoo 4 Voodoo

Directed by:
Steven Shea

Radio contest winners Danielle (Brunhilda Zekthi), bringing along her friend Asia (Sacha Crutchfield), Squid (Chris McDaniel), bringing along his best friend Blake (Garrett Harrison) and Bones (Valensky Sylvain), bringing along his girlfriend Sasha (Aaliyah Madyun) are off for an all-expense paid four day trip to Louisiana to attend Mardi Gras. Also along for the trip are pilot John (Kian O'Grady), radio DJ Eddy (Forest Crumpler) and his girlfriend Candi (Brittany Messina). The nine stop off in a small town about 20 miles from their destination to explore the Louisiana swamplands (hey, it's cheaper!) and attend a backwoods ceremony and virgin sacrifice conducted by voodoo queen Marie Laveau (Linnea Quigley). Soon after, the guests start dying in mysterious ways that may or may not actually tie into the voodoo ceremony and involve possession and the use of zombie powder.

Hoodoo is a pretty low-budget (20K) offering that sadly doesn't do a very good job balancing the horror and comedy. The horror scenes are silly, usually played for laughs and almost completely drowned out by all the goofy comedy elements, which unfortunately miss the mark more often than they hit. The cinematography also is rather flat at times and some of the night and interior scenes are badly shot. And I've noticed that when watching these ultra low-budget regional films shot on digital video it's best to keep your remote close by and your trigger finger on the volume button because the dialogue here often seems soft in comparison to the music, so you'll need to adjust the sound a few times here and there.

On the plus side, there are a few amusing moments, the cast seems to be having a good time and the songs on the soundtrack are surprisingly good. The film also benefits from some good location work, such as airboat rides through the swamps and footage actually shot at Mardi Gras. They seemed to have stretched their budget about as far as they could. I also appreciate the fact that the premise itself is something a bit different in an age where endless remakes and torture flicks seem to be at the forefront of the genre. No, the movie isn't all that successful in what it's trying to do, but I still like the fact some people out there are at least trying to do something a bit different.

The director has also hired three top Scream Queens to play roles and that certainly helps. Not surprisingly, the aforementioned Quigley does about the most professional job in the cast in her supporting role. Unfortunately, Debbie Rochon has just one brief scene selling tickets to the ceremony. Tiffany Shepis is also in a couple of scenes, dancing and then providing some T&A during a lesbian soft-core scene right before she and her girlfriend get killed with what appears to be a weed whacker. Troma's Lloyd Kaufman also gets a few seconds of screen time playing a crack head during the Mardi Gras scenes. Other than them and a couple of others, the cast is pretty amateurish.


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