Tuesday Night Cigar Club chairman Matthew Cade conjured up an opportunity for The Doctor to view an advanced screening of Necropolis: Legion from director Christ Alexander and Full Moon Features. A marketing snippet on IMDB described the film as a “re-imagining of the 1986 Empire Pictures exploitation movie classic” which sounded interesting to me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I’ve never seen the original and therefore wouldn’t be in trouble of nostalgia clouding my judgement. We’ll let the whiskey do that…
While I prefer to spend my horror movie time in a summer camp with nubile co-eds who are dispatched by masked slashers in between beer runs and skinny dips, I’m also game for a good gothic horror film in the spirit of a haunted fairy tale (when you think about it, those Brothers Grimm were more than a little demented). Necropolis: Legion begins in an earlier century at the homestead of one Maynard Gandy, a reverend and farmer whose wife Eva has developed a nasty habit of holding bizarre, satanic rituals in the rectory. In one of the film’s more memorable visual sequences, Eva reveals that her breasts are equipped with a pair of tiny, jagged-toothed mouths in lieu of nipples. These gaping maws serve to suck the life forces out of her sacrificial victim. Suffice it to say that there is no marriage counseling properly equipped to handle anything like that, and the lined, weathered reverend is determined to put a violent end to these “ministrations.”
We then jump ahead to the present day where Lisa (Augie Duke) is signing copies of her latest book on the supernatural in a small town bookstore. Lisa is ominously warned by a wacko local to split town, advice that she does not heed as her future plan is to spend time at the nearby Gandy farm to research and write her latest horror treatise on the events that were rumored to have transpired there in the past. If that sounds like a terrible idea, that is because it most certainly is. Seriously, does anything good come from visiting haunted places for research purposes? The majority of the film’s remainder takes place at this locale where the solitary Lisa begins to experience strange hallucinations and vivid nightmares. Is Lisa losing her marbles, or has the ghost of Eva awakened from her dormant state in search of a fresh soul to possess?
Necropolis: Legion looks really good; there is a definite artistry and technological acumen on display with the lighting, the cinematography, and the visual effects, all of which is even more noteworthy when you consider that the film likely was made on something far less than your typical Hollywood budget. This is a film where its all about what you see and feel as opposed to any narrative, and I don’t intend that as a slam; most people say the same thing about Suspiria. Personally speaking, I am usually not a fan of that type of horror, but Necropolis: Legion has a sensually arresting atmosphere that kept my eyes glued.
I would imagine that opinions on Necropolis: Legion will vary, but then again exploitation films generally are polarizing. They aren’t for everybody. I urge people interested in experimental films to take an hour and check it out in order to form your own opinion. As always, The Doctor wishes you all a clean bill of health.