Stars: D.C. Douglas, Carmela Hayslett, Tom Detrik, Tammy Jean, Tom Atkins, Michael Berryman, Lloyd Kaufman, Steve Blum, Bonnie Loev, Brian Anthony Wilson | Written and Directed by Christian Jude Grillo
I’ll freely admit there was a heavy dose of trepidation going into Apocalypse Kiss. You see I’ve had the “pleasure” of watching one of writer/director Christian Jude Grillo’s films (Deer Crossing aka Wasteland) before and it wasn’t the greatest of experiences… But just like you should never judge a book by its cover I feel you should never judge a filmmaker from just one film, even if that film was a complete shambles. Grillo’s previous effort was a backwoods thriller, a poor mans Texas Chainsaw Massacre if you will but this time out Grillo aims his sights higher, bringing us a dystopian vision of a city in ruin, controlled by corrupt politicians and evil corporations. Think of Apocalypse Kiss as a poor man’s Bladerunner…
Apocalypse Kiss sees government security agent Jerry Hipple unsuccessfully tracking the city’s most infamous criminal, The Red Harvest Killer. When two nomadic lovers, Katia and Gladys enter the city the death count rises and are being credited as Red Harvest killings. Obsessive compulsive Adrian, the actual Red Harvest Killer, becomes furious that the sexy serial killing duo are grabbing media attention under his alias. Not only does Adrian attempt to reclaim his rightful reputation but he also decides to cleverly aid his detective counterpart through the case. All the while, killers and victims alike are unaware the world is about to reach an abrupt catastrophic ending.
I should have known what to expect from Apocalypse Kiss when less than five minutes into the film we get a naked fat guy, replete with tiny shaven penis, propositioning two lesbian lovers for sex as payment for the drugs he’s just supplied them with. But I had to ignore my gut instinct and carry on watching didn’t I? Maybe it was the hope that having Tom Atkins and Michael Berryman involved would mean that Grillo had upped his game. Maybe it was just because one of the girls, Gladys, had a nice pair of tits. What ever it was I should have stuck with my gut.
In all honesty, if you’re going to try and create a Bladerunner like sci-fi thriller you first need to get a budget and a decent script. Apocalypse Kiss has neither. It also doesn’t have an original bone in its body, pinching ideas from not only the aforementioned Ridley Scott movie but also Sin City, American Psycho (going as far as to even rip off Christian Bale’s freakish mannerisms and the characters obsession with cleanliness), Wizard of Oz, and all those Raymond Chandler-esque detective movies/shows of the past. Only the idea of a mac wearing detective narrating his way through his latest case in a dystopian future has been done before and better – and I don’t just mean Bladerunner. Nope, even Gerry Anderson did it better with his animated series Dick Spanner!
Running over a hundred minutes, Apocalpyse Kiss outstays is welcome well before the final credits roll; and not even copious amounts of sex, violence, nudity and big-name cameos can save this film. Although I will give Christian Jude Grillo some credit, this film really looks and sounds the part with it’s dark, dimly-lit noirish appearance and the accompanying Chandler-esque soundtrack. It’s a shame that the rest of the film can’t measure up to the cinematography and score.
Apocalypse Kiss is released today (in the US) on DVD by SGL Entertainment.