Hell on Earth (2008) – By Duane L. Martin

So what is Hell on Earth? Well for me it would be sitting at a snooty coffee shop surrounded by pretentious hipsters who sit around sipping coffees that take twenty minutes to order because the names are so long and convincing themselves that they know all about what’s wrong with the world and how it would all be better if their Utopian vision would only be embraced by everyone. Fortunately, this film isn’t about my personal idea of Hell, so I didn’t actually have to sit around a bunch of pretentious hipsters for 90 minutes.

What this film is actually about is a seventeen year old boy named Bobby who walks with the aid of crutches and steel braces on his legs. He lives in a big, fancy house with his snooty bitch of a mom, his slutty bitch of a sister, and his drunken, sleazy bitch of a father. They all live with Bobby’s aunt, who actually owns the house and all the money they enjoy. The unfortunate part is, she’s an older lady, and bat shit crazy. See, she used to own an occult bookstore before she was forced to sell out and close by the government. Now Bobby is the only one who loves her, and the rest of his family is just waiting for her to die so they can get their hands on her money.

Being the only person in the family she actually loves, Bobby’s aunt gives him a special book, known as the mysterious and ancient Apocryphal Book of Tarkuhm, a.k.a. The Book of the Dead. Through this book, Bobby has made friends with various demons from Hell, and they visit him regularly in his room. They keep him company and play games with him, but there’s really a more sinister game afoot. Eventually, one of his demon friends named Tyrone forces him to read a passage from the book that opens a portal into our world that allows a free flow of demons to come from Hell over to our dimension, including Tyrone’s boss. Now sealed in the house with more and more demons entering into our world, it’s up to Bobby’s sister’s friend and her boyfriend, the only ones aside from Bobby’s aunt who have ever been nice to him, to save Bobby and stop the demon lord, otherwise, our world may be lost forever.

While the description of this film sounds relatively serious, the film itself isn’t. In fact, it’s one hell of a lot of fun! This is one of those films that looks like it was made at some point in the early to mid 90’s, even though it wasn’t. If you’re familiar with those kinds of demon / monster films from that era, you’ll know what I mean. If not, that’s ok. Suffice it to say that realism with the make-up wasn’t the order of the day, nor was it with the visual effects, but the look of these two visual elements actually fit really well with the cheesy fun of the story, and the overall look of the film. One thing in this film in particular though that REALLY impressed me were some of the props. Bobby’s Aunt Sadie had this incredibly awesome demon headed walking stick that was just gorgeous. As soon as I saw it, I was all, "Holy crap! I want one of those!!!" Another thing that was really impressive was the book. Think what the Book of the Dead looked like in the Evil Dead movies, and ramp up the awesome about ten-fold. It really looked that good.

One of the most amusing characters in this film was Bobby’s father. He was a drunken redneck ass who liked to drool over his daughter’s friends and couldn’t stand having sex with his bitch of a wife. This guy for the first couple of minutes might seem kind of annoying, but the farther you get into the movie, the funnier he gets.

While the story is ridiculous, and the demon named Tyrone is rather annoying, this film is really just a whole lot of fun, and I’m happy to say that I not only thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’m happy to be able to recommend it to all of you. I love these types of fun films that don’t take themselves too seriously, and every time I get a chance to review one, it reminds me why it’s great to be a film reviewer. If I wasn’t, I likely would have never even seen this film or known of its existence. The other great thing about being a reviewer, is that when I do find fun films like this one, or The Deadly Spawn, which is from the same producer and also reviewed in this issue, I get to share them with all of you. If you want to have a fun Saturday night, get yourself a copy of Hell on Earth and The Deadly Spawn, order some pizzas, invite some friends over and have yourself a double feature pizza party.

If you’d like to grab a copy of the DVD from Amazon right here.