All Hell Breaks Loose
All Hell Breaks Loose is the story of love, leather, and violence. When the Satan's Sinners, a vicious motorcycle gang from hell, kidnaps one man's bride, they bite off more than they can chew. Now the man is out to save his wife, any way he can... even if it means dying over and over again. With the help of a shit-kicking sheriff, a perverted priest, and a cowboy who just might be God, all hell is bound to break loose.
March 22nd, 2016
Vocabulariast (as Jacy Morris)
Todd A. Robinson
Sarah Kobel Marquette
If you’re in the mood for a ‘70s throwback of epic proportions – something which the high sultan of exploitation-nostalgia, Quentin Tarantino himself would likely appreciate – then you have to take a look at the horror/exploitation film All Hell Breaks Loose. Ehren Mcghehey of Jackass fame appears as Clarence, one of the biker gang’s members who thinks he’s The King – Elvis Presley. And his Elvis impersonation is pretty good! He’s joined by a talented group of ensemble actors (some I’m assuming who were non-actors pulled directly from that year’s Sturgis Rally & Races).
The picture’s got rampant and fun gore, salacious nudity (including several almost-beaver shots), choppy editing, mismatched voice and foley dubbing, mostly wooden performances and an entertaining ‘70s attitude – basically every detail you’d expect from a film of that era and a film of that type, including many randomly-placed bits of good old-fashioned continuity errors.
Several members of the devilish and undead biker gang known as “Satan’s Sinners” have come up from the depths of hell to locate and properly taint an innocent virgin (or two) to eventually be transported below to become a concubine of Satan. One of the girls they choose is recently-married (in a scene which reminded me of Brad and Janet’s wedding in The Rocky Horror Picture Show) Bobby Sue (Sarah Kobel Marquette) who is relentlessly pursued by her new husband Nick (Nick Forrest) following her kidnapping. He is brutally killed numerous times by the savage bikers, but reborn an equal amount of times with the help of God himself (played by Joseph Sullivan). Nick and a lecherous priest eventually have a final showdown with the gang in the very church where Bobby Sue and Nick were wed.
The film takes place in the here and now, with Nick and Bobby Sue driving a Prius (of course) and I found the current timeline an interesting dichotomy to the very ‘70s feel.
As far as performance, every single actor does a bang-up job portraying the “bad acting” you’d expect from such a picture. Of note is Nick Forrest as the nerdy, put-upon and loyal new groom, Nick. In look I was reminded of the grown-up “Scut Farkus” of A Christmas Story – Zack Ward from Resident Evil. Forrest is a cute ginger guy with earnest eyes – perfectly cast as the tortured hero who just wants to have the big moment on his wedding night with his new wife. Nick’s constant stumblings and mistakes manage to make him more endearing and raise our hopes that he’ll triumph in the end. Does he? You’ll have to watch the film.
The perverse and sex-hungry priest, Father Jeremiah (played by Leif Fuller) is, would you believe it, comic relief in a comic film. Skewering all that we love to hate about organized religion – Jeremiah runs a poorly attended church and has on-hand, in his private quarters, a lifetime supply of condoms (which will come in handy at some point during the film) and the ongoing wish to have “30 big-titted, rich housewives” join his congregation. Fuller, with his over-the-top (what’s not overdone in this film?) has a great deal of fun playing his part – and he’s provided the sickening dialogue to make it work.
And as Statch – the leader of Satan’s Sinners, Todd A. Robinson brings a sexy “Sam Elliott in Mask-vibe” to the table, with a bit of James Remar on the side. He’s butch and fit and confident. And that deep voice of his screams “authority”. He’s a powerful and entertaining villain. But overall, the film is definitely an ensemble piece.
At first I was thrilled by all of the ‘70s touches – but it soon became apparent that this “trick” may soon wear off. Indeed it did, but the story itself was engaging enough to bring me back and I was able to sit back and just enjoy the film and its comic chops for what it was.
There’s a quality reminiscent of George Miller’s original foray into the world of Max Rockatansky – Mad Max. Satan’s Sinners felt an awful lot like The Toe Cutter and company. While the violence in Miller’s original film may be more brutal, All Hell Breaks Loose allows us to laugh at the sick sadism and masochism. That’s okay, right?
Which leads me this… the film will not be for everyone. Women are sexual objects in All Hell Breaks Loose. If you go in not understanding what type of film it is, or what style of film it pays tribute to, you might find some of it offensive. It’s not meant to be. Put it in context, set aside the pressure to remain politically correct, and you’ll be just fine.
Despite the comic atmosphere, I found the lenses used on the bikers (the few times they removed their dark sunglasses) quite effective and creepy. Not much in the way of scares, so if you’re looking for a film of that ilk, you’ll not find it here. The make-up effects and gore are straight out of a Savini-esque ‘70s project (the brightly colored viscera could have been borrowed from the Dawn of the Dead archives). Gunshots, blades slicing, fingers lopped off and they perfectly capture the Technicolor hues of the blood gushing from these multi-faceted wounds. There are also several impressive visual effects (one of them reminding me of an image out of Hellraiser) throughout.
I was also reminded of last year’s festival favorite, Dude Bro Party Massacre III – an ‘80s homage in the stalk-n-slash sub-genre. Both films lovingly mock their source material and their respective eras. And even All Hell Breaks Loose starts out – in its brief prologue (my favorite scene in the film) – looking like it could be a slasher film.
And if you need further confirmation of the type of film you’ll be seeing, the last song over the end credits is called “Satan is a Friend of Mine”, by Jeremy Brown featuring Sahjo Brown. It’s catchy, and pretty much sums up the entire viewing experience.
All Hell Breaks Loose rolls in off the hot asphalt to arrive on DVD/VOD on March 22nd. It’s a “hell” of a good time (ahem) and while not perfect, it is certainly worthy of your movie-going minutes.