UK 2002 : Stuart Urban : 90 mins

With the BAFTAs growing increasingly Oscars-ish, the time is ripe for some enterprising soul to set up an Anglo equivalent of the Golden Raspberry awards, the renegade ceremony which names and shames the most rancid Hollywood releases. If we did have ‘British Razzies’, 2002’s early front-runner would have to be this unholy mess of a horror film that manages to make the last homegrown genre entry, the tawdry Long Time Dead, look like ‘The Wicker Man’.

The plot revolves around the Loculus, a trinket of enormous historical importance and power which billionaire industrialist Magnus Martel (Terence Stamp) has devoted his life to tracking down. When he hears the sacred gewgaw has been discovered in the middle east, he sends his estranged son Jake (James d’Arcy) and alchemy student Mira (Natasha Wightman) to retrieve it. But darker forces have their eyes on the uber-knick-knack – a murderous secret society led by a satanic immortal known only as the ‘Grand Master’ (Udo Kier).

Urban’s direction is competent enough, but he makes the fatal mistake of playing his embarrassing script relentlessly straight – Kier, who’s followed in Klaus Kinski’s footsteps and built a lucrative career around this kind of fare, should have told him that the only way to make such drivel bearable is to camp it up. It’s painful to see the likes of Stamp, Derek Jacobi, Ron Moody and Celia Imrie reduced to mouthing such inane dialogue: as Jake’s mother, Imrie has perhaps the most undignified death scene in recent movie history. At such moments, the film is funnier than most so-called comedies. But the joke’s on us – that the distributors think Revelation worthy of a nationwide release is an insult to the intelligence of the cinemagoing public.

1st April, 2002
(seen 25th January, Cineworld Milton Keynes)

For the many other films as bad as this (and worse) check out our Diorama of Dishonour

by Neil Young