Our month-long Halloween extravaganza continues with Faust: Love of the Damned.
Faust got its start as an independent, black-and-white comic book written by David Quinn with artwork by Tim Vigil (as previously discussed in Out of the Vault here). The comic was extremely violent and bloody, and even worse, pretentious and self-important. I never read past one issue and was amazed years later to learn that it had apparently been successful enough to inspire a movie adaptation, written by comic book author David Quinn and directed by Brian Yuzna. So, this being the month of Superheroes Who Are Monsters, I had to take a look.
After a brief opening featuring some unidentified dude (played by Mark Frost) mourning his murdered girlfriend and contemplating suicide, the story features honest cop Dan Margolies (Jeffrey Combs playing a good guy for once) responding to an emergency call. There is some kind of massacre going on inside a mansion while a SWAT team stands around outside, under orders not to interfere. But good guy Dan won’t be stopped; he enters the mansion alone and finds a slaughter.
Blood and dismembered body parts are everywhere. Suddenly, he’s attacked by the crying dude from the opening scene, who has metal claws strapped to his arms. Margolies is about two inches from painful death when the man looks up at a mysterious veiled woman and says, “no.” Then he goes catatonic.
Margolies goes with his prisoner to an asylum, where he meets Dr. Jade De Camp (Isabel Brook), who is working on something called “music therapy.” She rebuffs Margolies’s advances, then plays Mozart in an attempt to get through to her non-responsive patient. Frost plays the role weird, sort of autistic and cross-eyed.
Meanwhile Margolies is researching The Hand, mentioned by the murderer. It’s a satanic group headed by a mystery man named M (Andrew Divoff), who is at this moment meeting with the veiled woman, whose name is Claire (Monica Van Campen). Actually, the veil comes off pretty quickly, as does most everything else she is wearing, because she is a total nympho who gets off on blood (yes, this is one of those movies).
Claire tells M that the man didn’t die as planned, so M makes a phone call to arrange a transfer to a different facility.Â Desperate to get through to her patient before he’s taken away, Jade tries again, this time resorting to death metal after Mozart fails. The patient has a violent reaction, then says he remembers everything, including his name: John Jaspers.
He tells her his origin, which mixes bits ofÂ The Crow and Spawn (although the original comic actually predated Spawn, it’s pretty clear this movie was trying to cash in on the relative success of the Spawn movie released three years earlier). Jaspers’s girlfriend was killed before his eyes by random thugs, after which M (who is apparently the Devil or something) offered him the “Power of Vengeance” in exchange for his soul.
Jaspers sliced up the thugs who killed his girlfriend, but balked at killing more people at M’s instruction, which is when he learned the nature of his bargain–M owns his soul and can make him do whatever, like eat the hearts of his victims. And it’s about here that you realize this movie is willing to do some ridiculous shit, because yes, he eats a heart.
Except that Jaspers managed to resist the killing urge when he met Margolies. Back in the present, Jaspers delivers a long, incoherent rant about how Jade is just a Spoiled Little Rich Girl, coming in and playing her Mozart in an effort to save the unwashed masses from themselves, but she doesn’t understand his pain, because she’d never really lived, man. And then he bursts into tears and says, “Play me some Wagner. There’s more blood in it.” Which is actually a pretty good line, which just pisses me off at this movie even more, because it’s like it’s teasing me, now.
So M’s men–the police commissioner, Jade’s boss Dr. Yamoto, and the surviving gang members–come to the asylum and haul Jaspers out. Jaspers is buried alive and left to die. Which he apparently does, because it looks like he ends up in hell, tormented by a goofy skeletal demon. He kills it and rises from the grave.
Meanwhile, Jade calls Margolies for help, but before he arrives, the bad guys try to grab her in an alley. They are stopped by the appearance of a demon with metal claws who kills most of them.
The concept for the suit is interesting–the idea that it’s a superhero costume made of flesh, so the “cape” actually seems to be skin, for instance–but the muscles are so pumped up that he looks like a hairless gorilla or maybe one of the Masters of the Universe toys. What he isn’t is scary or menacing.
When Claire learns that Jaspers survived, she tries to keep it secret from M because she’s planning a coup. M finds out, though, and teaches her a lesson by turning her into a slimy boob-blob. Really.
Jade goes home and takes a bath, during which she has a dream about being a child and being approached by a man with a blobby melted-wax face. Then she discovers someone in her apartment. It’s Jaspers, looking for a place to hide. The cops guarding Jade come in, and Jaspers transforms into his demonic persona (let’s just call him Faust although the name is never spoken in the movie). Faust kills the cops and Jade flees terrified into the night.
She hides out in a subway station, and cops arrive to rescue her. Or, um, kidnap her, as her ex-boss Dr. Yamoto tries to sedate her. She jumps on the subway train, pursued by the cops, the Commissioner and Faust. Faust kills a few cops, then cuts the train in half, leaving the rest behind.
They end up at Jaspers’s old apartment, still trashed, and after a little senseless conversation, Jaspers and Jade start to have crazy sex on the floor. Or almost. After he nibbles at her chest like a woodpecker, she starts screaming maniacally from visions of the melted man. Turns out she was raped as a kid and now can’t have sex. Jaspers the demon is the picture of understanding, so they cuddle.
Meanwhile, Margolies (remember him?) follows the Commissioner to M’s estate, where he sees the Commissioner get killed by this weird tentacle-mouth that comes out of M’s stomach. Margolies is caught by M, and later calls Jade to come to M’s mansion. Alone. No, that’s totally not ominous or anything.
M captures Jade, but is then betrayed by Yamoto, who injects him with poison. He kills Yamoto before expiring, though, so now Claire is the sexy new boss.
Then a bunch of random cultists commit sex and suidice on the altar to summon a giant demon which promptly kills the survivors. They never seem to learn, do they?
Jade eventually comes to her senses, giving Faust the motivation to kill the demon and M, and then he and Jade are reunited to, I don’t know, live happily ever after like Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen or something.
Who cares? I’m still mad at the movie for having a good line in it and giving me a second’s hope. Damn this movie.