karen meisner (_stranger_here) wrote,
karen meisner
_stranger_here

not enough apocalypse

Someone had loaned us a pile of DVDs.  We sifted through them: comedies, action flicks, dramas, and then... The Order.   I stared at it.

"Surely we've seen this," I said.

"What is it?"

"Apocalyptic crap!  With Heath Ledger!"

"I've never heard of it," Pär said, taking the box.  He glanced at the cover and his jaw dropped.

"What?"

He read the full title out loud: "'The Order: The Souls Of The Bad.'  They're not evil, or wicked, they're just... bad."  He turned the box over, and read from the back: "'For centuries, a secret order has existed within the church...'" He stopped, and tossed the box to me.  "Yet another secret order within the church!  At this point, is there any part of the church left that isn't a secret order?"

"It's like one guy," I said, "and nobody invited him to be in any secret orders.  He's just plain Catholic.  He can't understand where everyone else runs off to on Sundays."

"They can't all gather on Sundays; they have to schedule around each another, so people who belong to multiple secret orders won't miss any meetings.  Like, 'We get Tuesday evenings for plotting ancient relic excavations, you can do your black arts rituals on Wednesday mornings.'"

The back of the DVD box showed a gothic cross with a series of mystical power words emblazoned across it.  I read them off:  "'SCIENCE.  FAITH.  IDENTITY.  DUST.' ...  'Dust' is supposed to get me excited about the story?"

Pär looked dazed by the list.  "BADNESS.  There should be one for BADNESS."

"The Souls of the Mildly Naughty."

"THE DEVIL SHALL CLAIM YE OF THE FAINT UNPLEASANTNESS AND LACK OF GOOD HYGIENE."

"Okay, so this movie is at the top of our list, right?"

And he had to agree that it was. 

So we saw it.  And five minutes in, realised that we'd seen it before... because yes, we truly have viewed every piece of apocalyptic crap on the market.  But we watched it again anyhow.  It should have been good!  Three of the lead actors had worked together in the terrific A Knight's Tale the year before, under the direction of the guy who wrote, directed and produced this movie, and who has a strong list of writing credits under his belt.  And also, uh, something called 976-EVIL, which maybe should have tipped us off.  Even some scenes with Peter Weller, who can be wonderful (hello Buckaroo), did not improve the situation.  On the imdb trivia page for The Order, it is reported that "Peter Weller did extensive research for his role by studying old religious rituals and histrionics."  I think maybe that last word was meant to be "history"?  But this way works too.

*

So last night I went out to the video store on an assignment to find new apocalyptic crap.  There is a surprising dearth of it this month; I guess horror is selling so well that anything edging toward it, Exorcist-style, just topples all the way in and becomes a cheesy slasher flick.  Whereas it looks like everything with supernatural religious tendencies is trying to be The Da Vinci Code, which I have to say is a dismal aspiration even for apocalyptic crap.  But I was steadfast in my quest.  I called Pär from the New Releases section.

"If you're near a computer, can you get to imdb and look up The Covenant?"

"Yes!" he said enthusiastically, responding, as I had done, to a title that was practically guaranteed to deliver the goods.

In fact I'd called him the moment I saw the title, without investigating further.  While Pär searched online, I skimmed the copy on the back of the box.  "It seems to be about the descendants of witches in the town of Ipswich, and takes place at a prep school."

"I'm looking at The Onion's review... oh dear."

"What?"

He quoted from the review: "'Crimes: Turning the story of five teenage boy-witches into a flagrantly homoerotic episode of Charmed... Allowing the line "How 'bout I make you my wee-yotch?!" to make it through every stage of production.'"

"...Yeah."

I heard his sigh.  "I suppose we could break down sometime and see Constantine..."

"Can't.  It hurts me."

"Okay, then you know what we have to do."

Half an hour later, we were snuggled up in bed to watch The Covenant.  The DVD menu came up, replete with driving rock music over flashes of the obligatory flaming pentagram, spooky mansion, boy and girl holding hands, grimacing boys throwing magical energy at each other.

"I'm worried," I said, "that there is not enough apocalypse in this movie.  Which would leave us with just plain crap."

"I suspect it is not Scottish."

"So far the best thing it's got going for it is that it might be like a homoerotic episode of Charmed."

"Without Alyssa Milano," Pär pointed out.

"Oh god!  What have we done?"

"Too late to turn back now!" he said.  The movie had begun.  On the screen was writ:

No one really knows how the Power came to be.

Not even the Book of Damnation recorded its beginning.

But those who mastered it have always been hunted.

I was giggling so hard the tears came, tears of sweet happiness.  "We have hit the jackpot of crap!"

The opening credits rolled over silhouetted witch-burning scenes accompanied by a soundtrack of techno-lite; with fine-tuned connoisseurship, Pär immediately pegged the genre subcategory as "MTV-Evil".

The story opened with some pretty boys flying off a cliff to a beach party.  "Evil beach party!" I announced, keeping the optimism alive, but it turned out to be not so much evil as just a beach party.  Various witch boys sported the same preppy haircut and generic teen-dream features.  "All these witch boys look exactly alike," I complained.  "I can't tell" -- I forced myself not to say which witch is which -- "them apart."

"I know," Pär said.  "Don't worry, soon some of them will die and it won't be a problem."  Sadly, this did not happen, and it was several minutes into the film before I could sort out the main characters.

At the beach party, the cops showed up.  The kids scattered, running off alone into a dark and spooky forest.

"Death Forest!" Pär shouted, but he was to be disappointed; everyone got away, leading the police on a merry chase that culminated in a flying car and the line "Harry Potter can kiss my ass!"  The police were left silently scratching their heads at the supernatural getaway.  I gave them a line of dialogue:  "If there's one thing I can't stomach about living in Ipswich, it's all the damn witches."

"Look how shiny that boy's face is.  Why does everyone in this movie have a sheen?"

"The omnipresent fog leaves them permanently moist.  Also they are sweating in anticipation of the reviews.  That one kid has some good charisma, but this movie would be better if Alyssa Milano were in it."

Alas, she was not.  And there was nothing apocalyptic about the plot.  Which left only... well, you know.

*

In summary: good times!
Tags: apocalypse, movies, snapshots
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