Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

Diary of a Cannibal| Night of the Living Dorks

By Steve Anderson
May 1 , 2007

Diary of a CannibalDiary of a Cannibal
zero stars
DVD
Directed by Ulli Lommel
Written by Ulli Lommel
Starring Jillian Swanson, Trevor Parsons, Danielle Petty, Michael Barbour
Produced by Ulli Lommel
R
82 mins
2007

Well, folks, you've walked into a real doozy this week. You've walked into the midst of me about to unchain a mass of hyperbole the likes of which you have not seen from me, at least not since the last time I took on a movie from the new German wonder of the godawful movie realm. No, not Uwe Boll--but rather a man so reprehensible, so vile, and so utterly unworthy of a budget to make films that he is now the new topper of my personal video store shit list: Ulli Lommel.

And the newest pile of steaming cinematic crapola brought to us by this crime against video store patrons, "Diary of a Cannibal", is basically eighty minutes of flashbacks and assorted revelations on the way to yield just one central theme. One day, a girl named Noelle Scanlon killed her boyfriend and ate his heart. At his request.

Yeah.

That's it.

"I killed my boyfriend and ate his organs because he really, really wanted me to."

And this is an eighty minute movie.

Is anyone actually watching Ulli Lommel's ridiculous torture-porn fantasies any more besides us poor bastard critics whose job it is to tear hell out of this asshole's work every time he puts up yet another waste of DVD plastic on our shelves? I hope not. Earnestly. I hope that everyone who pokes their browser and points it in my direction is taking my warnings about a cinematic schlockmeister so unadulteratedly lousy he would no doubt make even Uwe Boll blush in shame.

All of Ulli Lommel's classic problems are well in evidence here in "Diary of a Cannibal". His work is, as a rule, slow in pace, badly disjointed, continually repetitive, and of course packed with enough pointless (and often poorly rendered) gore to make any kind of enjoyment impossible. For some reason, he has also decided to pack his movie with occasionally accurate Bible quotes, and frankly, starting off a movie about cannibalism with the quote from Jesus Christ that goes "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" is a perfect example of the kind of vaguely blasphemous and utterly juvenile nanner-nanner that Lommel is constantly chucking at his audience. Perhaps even better is the inclusion of stock footage of lambs at a slaughterhouse being visibly torn open and rendered following one of the quotes.

Worse, his dialogue is purely godawful--upon meeting each other for the first time, Noelle and future lunch Adam, who had been previously chatting over the Internet for some undetermined length of time, exchange the following:

"I'm Adam." "Hi, Adam. I'm Noelle."

Verbatim.

Wow. What's the matter, Ulli--lose your German / English phrase book?

But frankly, in this case, it's almost okay that Lommel can't write dialogue to save his life. He didn't include very much of it! Entire stretches will go by without so much as a word spoken; one is forced to wonder if Lommel was paying his actors by the word and was running out of money after blowing the five bucks to option that slaughterhouse footage. Of course, when you've included such opulent sets as a warehouse and a hospital that looks very much like a warehouse, you probably didn't have that much cash to begin with.

The ending is a series of flashbacks to events that did not happen in the film, a beating, and a series of childhood photos of Noelle and future lunch. Oh, and apparently, Lommel was so utterly bereft of ways to waste investors' money that he had to plunder the news to dig this garbage up--"Diary of a Cannibal" is allegedly based on a true story.

The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, a commentary track, and trailers for "Diary of a Cannibal", "The Lost Room", "Beneath Still Waters", "Gamebox 1.0", "Rancid", "Alien Invasion: Arizona" and "Diary of a Cannibal".

All in all, avoid Ulli Lommel movies. At all costs. They will be utter wastes of money, not worth even a rental. The sooner we stop watching him, the sooner he will go away.

Night of the Living DorksNight of the Living Dorks
***
DVD
Directed by Mathias Dinter
Written by Mathias Dinter
Starring Tino Mewes, Manuel Cortez, Thomas Schmieder, Collien Fernandes
Produced by Philip Voges, Mischa Hofmann
NR
92 mins
2007

So this week, we've got a new entry into the category of "pathologically screwed-up horror by nation". Japan no longer holds the title all by its onesies, folks...oh no. Japan's old buddies the Germans have thrown their hat in that ring, and have done so in grand style.

Presenting "Night of the Living Dorks", a production that alternates wildly between cringe-inducing awkwardness (no one, no one, should have to listen to their mother describe how their father handled HIS morning wood issues, and certainly no one else should be subjected to it either) and uproarious comedy.

As for plot--there is one, surprisingly--three complete dorks (hence the title) have gone off into a graveyard to join some goths in a voodoo ceremony for raising the dead. This is largely because the nice guy dork and de facto leader of the dorks has a crush on the local stuck up prep chick and is appealing to his hot goth chick next door to put on the voodoo hookup. Naturally, as is generally the case when local goths put on a voodoo ritual (especially when they use frozen chicken and a "pentagram" with six points), something goes wrong, and thus, our dorks become zombies.

What follows is--and I get the feeling I've said this before--a regular zigzag course wavering from cringe-inducing awkwardness (banging the school hottie and getting walked in on by the cute girl-next-door goth chick while you're trying to appeal to said goth chick for a cure for your zombie state) to uproarious comedy (having to staple-gun your junk back in place following said banging.).

There have been a lot of comparisons to other movies thrown around about our dork feature, but I think one has been missed above all. Anyone else see the Devon Sawa / Seth Green vehicle known as "Idle Hands"? Well, if you liked "Idle Hands" then you're going to get at least a few chuckles out of "Night of the Living Dorks". Sure, it's "Idle Hands" low-budget and really, really Deutsche cousin, but if you're prepared to forgive some awkwardnesses--guys, it's GREAT that you have the presence of mind to try and do a "Thriller" parody but dammit anyway, you really need to license the MUSIC to pull it off!--you'll get plenty of good laughs in return.

Anyone expecting a zombie epic or a survival horror smackdown is in the wrong place. What you'll get here is art thievery, a string of bad ideas, a house party to make John Hughes cringe, lots of high school clique interfighting (wow...guess they've even got this kind of thing going on in Germany.) and of course, plenty of the good old fashioned teen movie cliches that we thought were swamped when Randy Quaid showed up in the teen movie that actually made fun of other teen movies, "Not Another Teen Movie".

On the downside, the subtitles are a joke. What the characters say on the English audio track only occasionally matches up to what the subtitles claim they say. But this is a relatively small downside and only really a problem for the hearing impaired.

The ending is an absolute riot, plain and simple, and features everything you've come to know, love, and maybe even loathe about this kind of movie.

The special features includes English subtitles, English and German audio, an alternate ending, a behind the scenes featurette, deleted and extended scenes, a blooper reel, and trailers for "Night of the Living Dorks" and "Night of the Living Dead 30th Anniversary Edition".

All in all, despite the lousy subtitles and some really, really awkward moments, "Night of the Living Dorks" manages to be an excellent synthesis of the zombie movies we all love and the teen movies that we begrudingly tolerate.

     

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com



     

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