I went to the It Came From Lake Michigan Film Festival yesterday…
and heard Uwe Boll speak for about an hour & a half. He gets a lot of shit for the quality of his movies, but after hearing him speak, I’ve got much more respect for the man. He’s like the German Lloyd Kaufman – he bitched about trying to find financing for his films, was free with his advice for filmmakers (one of the best being don’t pitch a movie for 200,000 to 800,000 dollars, as neither the Big Timers not the small investors think you can pull off a movie of quality for those amounts). As he talked, I could easily see how he could become the next Michael Bay (and I remember how much shit Bay took at the beginning, and now he gets to be a guilty pleasure).
He also screened a DVD of his movie Seed (he showed Postal earlier in the morning, too, but that was a little too early for me). I’d like to say that it was a great movie, but all I can say is it’s OK . Basic plot of the movie (and cut me a little slack on the review as things might change in post or to get it a rating from the MPAA) is it’s a serial-killer origin story set in the 70s. Max Seed (Will Sanderson) is the worst serial killer in history (666 victims) and is scheduled to be killed in the electric chair for his crime.
The film gives us a lot of reasons to dislike Seed, opening with a montage of animal cruelty (and Boll said that it was real footage at the very beginning, not faked. Something I can attest to – it looked too good to have been faked) Seed is watching. Seed also likes to send the police time-lapse footage of people he’s allowed to die locked up in a room decomposing (this was staged footage – and a good thing too, as Seed kills a baby and a dog in this way). A detective, Bishop (Michael Pare) eventually captures Seed, after Seed murders the rest of the police team sent to capture him.
There’s a law in Moviestate, USA (the opening tells us) that if a criminal survives 3 attempts at execution he must be set free, however brain-damaged or mangled he may be. Seed gets sent off to the Chair by Warden Wright (Ralf Moeller) and, with the preternatural strength all movie serial killers have, manages to survive 2 jolts from the chair. Warden Wright lies to the onlookers, tells them Seed is dead, and with the collusion of Bishop & the doctor monitoring the execution (Andrew Jackson) bury Seed’s still twitching body alive. Naturally, Seed claws his way out of the grave and does what he does best on other people in the film.
Boll talked about this being a subtle statement on capital punishment, and I can see that, and he got some good performances out of the actors, but I think the main fault of the film is its’ pandering to the audience. In the middle of the film, there’s a show-stopping scene (INVISO-TEXT)
where Seed, in one unbroken take, murders a woman tied to a chair. Not a short take, either. I believe (I didn’t time it) it was five minutes of unblinking cruelty, watching Seed whack a woman’s head with a roofing hammer, with CGI blood and enhanced mutilation of the head. If anything cheapens the film, it was this scene.
The film never recovers after that. I do have to hand it to Boll that there was character development and some Seven-like cinematography, but the decision to do the gore for the fanboy doesn’t help his intentions to be seen more seriously.