HELLINGER

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Movies E.C. McMullen Jr. Review by
E.C.McMullen Jr.
Hellinger
SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
HELLINGER - 1997
Rounds Entertainment
Not Rated

Imagine you have $8,000 dollars.
What would you do with it?
Some folks would try and pay off some bills, maybe take a nice vacation or spruce up the house and/or themselves.
Not Massimiliano "Max" Cerchi; he made a movie.

Now we are currently at a period in time when everyone is amazed at the success of films like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Regarding Horror, even the folks who don't think much of it as a movie are still impressed by the way it overwhelmed the Make-Crap-And-Hype-It-With-Millions mindset in Hollywood. Still, $8,000 is a paltry sum and won't buy a cheap new car let alone try and get into the kind of logistics that are involved in making a movie. But if the bug is in you and you gotta, man, You Just Gotta!

TRIVIA
This review was first written in 1999 after a few IM discussions with Massimiliano "Max" Cerchi, who sent me the video personally.

I let him see the review first hand and he was appalled ("You're killing me, man!") at my judgement.

Because he was new to film making and trying to get a foothold, I kept this review offline for the next 3 years.
(Hey! I don't trash newbie struggling artists! That's not what this site is all about! So shut yer cakehole!)

However, as a film maker and a businessman Max has grown it seems, and though I haven't seen his newest work, he is meeting good - if modest - success as a distributor and can no longer be considered a struggling micro-film maker (if his online interviews are any indication).

Producer/Director Max Cherchi, he gotta!

This is a movie about the dead come back to life and in watching this movie, I think I just may have discovered the re-incarnation of Ed Wood.

Ed Wood is remembered among film makers as making the absolute worst movies ever. Many share that dubious title and Cherchi may not care to lay claim to it. For the few who have seen Tim Burton's ED WOOD!, and if you can believe the Burton view of Eddie, then you know that, whatever his flaws as a film maker, he developed a friendship and loyal following among his core of friends. That despite his movies and lifestyle, he was a man driven by dreams of greatness and pursued his vision regardless of all obstacles.

When you go and spend your last $8,000 to make a movie, you are one driven sucker! It has been said that THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (Budget: $35,000 - 1999 dollars) has about 14 hours worth of film that was left out of the final film. As with many movies, these usually involve shooting the same scenes over and over and over yet again ("I've said Jimminy-Jillikers so many times, the word has lost all meaning!"). It is not unusual for major studio movies to have hundreds of hours of film cut from the final 2 hour product. But Cerchi only had $8,000 dollars to spend.

So what do you get with $8,000 dollars?

Well, you sure as hell don't get Roberto Rodriguez' EL MARIACHI (Budget: $7,000 - 1991 dollars) - even with the extra thousand bucks added to the production.

This movie is the worst of everything. The worst Directing, Writing, Photography, Editing, Music, Special Effects, Acting, You name it, its horrible.

Naturally this is also part of its charm.

Budget-wise gang, this is movie making at ground zero. This is underground film making people. Cerchi could have easily gone for a more profitable porno movie for his film making bug, but he wanted to do Horror. He wanted to tell a story. In this crazy mishmash of confused video and acting so bad you'll be rolling on the floor in convulsions of laughter, a story unfolds.

To cut to the chase, in appearance the character of the HELLINGER is a low budget HELLRAISER Cenobite. He has the white face, the black clothes, the black eyes and - occasionally - the chains. He lacks the nails in the head and his other more costly accouterments. Think of him as a Cenobite with training wheels.

The story starts off in 1979 where young Melissa (Kelly Goldstein) is being terrorized her father (Stephen Steel). The HELLINGER (Wayne Petrocelli) comes, wiggles her father's eyes at himself (that is - wiggles the Fathers eyes right OUT of his skull), and generally ruins the father's short life. He then leaves Mellissa alone though he nearly bores her to death with his silly-ass emoting. Melissa acts comically frightened and who wouldn't? The HELLINGER has such a whiny voice and hammy act that he ends up being one of the least scary monsters I've ever seen.

Now it's the present day and Mellissa has been seeing a shrink (Robert Cummins) to help her over come her childhood belief in the HELLINGER's existence. What are quacks for but to help you bury your traumas instead of cure them? Think I'm being harsh to the profession? Then you haven't seen this psychiatrist. He breaks client confidence at the drop of a hat to any who ask.

Meanwhile there are senseless murders going on in New York City (unbelievable but true!). The cops get involved and the policeman on the case, Det. Logan (James Donahue), gets lazy and brings in a street denizen, Kendall Ransom (Artie Richard), to help. Both of these are subplots that never go anywhere. The cops don't solve anything and Kendall, cast as the hero, never saves anyone.

The HELLINGER makes another appearance meanwhile in the grown-up Melissa's life (played by Shannah Betz: LUCINDA'S SPELL). He drones on and on and on, his voice falling right out of the mix and boring us so much that he has to tear his own face off and eat it just to keep our attention. God but he's a chatty bastard!

You'll find plenty of gratuitous nudity, gore, and mindless - even perplexingly screwball - violence in this video. For those of you ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW fans (like me) who enjoy getting together with your friends and watching movies while you tear them down (You Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans can relate), you'll have a great time watching HELLINGER.

3 Negative Shriek Girls

Negative Shriek GirlNegative Shriek GirlNegative Shriek Girl
This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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