REVIEW — "VOODOO ACADEMY" (2000)
I hope you appreciate what I put myself through for this, because having finally watched the directors cut of David DeCoteaus somewhat-infamous Voodoo Academy (I saw the original years ago) I now must face the question of the ages — How is it POSSIBLE to make tight, white boxer briefs wrapped around the form of a well-built young man so completely, totally and absolutely NOT sexy? The very idea was unimaginable to me, but DeCoteau pulled it off (no pun intended, unfortunately) and this is what were left with.
Of course, the story is dumb at its dumbest; this is a David DeCoteau movie and one should expect nothing else. A demon seeking the power of Maccudo (Mocudo? Macchiato?) sets up a Bible College to bring to her some strapping young virgin males so she can trap their souls in some devil dolls for her nefarious purposes. The story opens as a ceremony goes horribly wrong with one such lad, so another must be called in to take his place. Like, by tomorrow, okay? Were way behind schedule, here. Enter Christopher, a beautiful, blond, green-eyed innocent out to become a Biblical scholar. He is, of course, accepted by the seductive Mrs. Bouvier and immediately introduced to his five fellow studs…uh, students — Rusty, Billy, Mike, Paul and Sam, all of whom wax their eyebrows and love to sleep in their boxer-briefs and white socks, just like any strapping heterosexual male would. The next day, Chris meets his hero — the Reverend Carmichael, who is also strapping and whose eyebrows are even more perfectly waxed (but who is NOT heterosexual, as made obvious by how touchy-feely he is). Of course, weird things begin to happen. Buff boys go sleepwalking in said boxer-bs then vanish; a weird confessional box has a light-filled crown that seems designed by Ming the Merciless (he of Flash Gordon fame); Mrs. Bouvier gives underage college kids wine (with a little something extra in it); and no one believes Christopher when he tells them whats going on. Natch.
Now it all sounds great and gloriously trashy. I mean, seriously — could a gay man ask for more? Seven (count them 7) lovely guys with shaved chests in their long-form tighty-whities? Occasionally lying on their beds in a drunken swoon? Avidly caressing themselves (where a couple of the boys DO get shall we say a bit lost in the moment)? And where some get tied to a table in their undies and misused (albeit not in a fun way). For a card-carrying member of the “Friends of Dorothy Club” (or a hot litle straight girl, since I hear some are into that), what’s not to enjoy?
Well theres acting that is so wooden, its an insult against trees. Theres a script by Eric Black (pseudonym?) that is so slapped together, it doesnt even conform to Syd Field 101. Theres the lousy lighting by Howard Wexler (no relation to Haskell, I pray to God). The laughably amateurish SFX courtesy of David Lange, Christopher Bergschneider and Jeffrey S. Farley. The ill-fitting suits some actors are made to wear. The fact that in one shot, Drew Fuller looks so much like Alfalfa (from the old Our Gang series) its scary. The clumsy sound mixing and fourth rate editing and this pesky little boom mike that keeps showing up in the shots and long LONG static dialogue scenes and oh, I have to stop; my wine (whine) is running out. Suffice it to say, this thing is only bad in an inept way, not a fun one.
Still that is NOT to say it is not occasionally edible (though not THAT much of a feast when compared to the first season buff-butts on Dantes Cove, which was just as bad for you in its own ways). Ben Indra does have a nice over-the-top moment of eroticism in the confessional booth, and he and Drew Fuller (who IS cute, earlier comment aside) somehow manage to wring a hint of humanity from their characters. And Huntley Ritter and Travis Sher…well, at least they ARE eye candy. As for Riley Smith, if you’re hot for blonds (as DD definitely is) then I suppose he’s nice to look at, but its a good thing he had decent work on TV to point to before he made this project; otherwise hed have vanished into obscurity with Kevin Calisher.
Look, I enjoy gay horror trash as much as anybody, but this movie I mean, seriously — when a gay director can make muscled-up men look so silly while caressing themselves on a bed in nothing but their underwear that a lonely fag cant even get off on the eroticism of the images (honestly, Calisher mustve thought he was doing the Wax on, wax off bit from Karate Kid), that director should turn in his gay card. No excuses. None. You hear me, David?
The final verdict is — dont touch till after six full glasses of cheap wine; and even then understand youll be asking yourself in the morning, Was it really worth the hangover? Honey, not all the aspirin in the world could justify that.