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Making The Mythical Real

My goal for the month is to get 8 posts in at some point. I haven't reached that goal yet, but I'm not all that far off. I actually wanted to get there by this weekend, but I have been trying to decide if I wanted to review Sea Of Dust (2008) for a while now. I don't review every horror film that I watch, but damn close. Now and then I watch a movie and I just don't feel the need to review it. The recent It movie is a good example. Loved it and all, but with everyone already talking about it, I didn't feel that I could add anything so I didn't bother with a review. I do have some things to say about Sea Of Dust, but I'm not sure how long of a review this will end up being because I don't have that much to talk about.

Prester John (Tom Savini) is nothing more than a myth, but he wants to be real. He has found a way to make that happen. In order to become real, people in our reality need to believe in him. Except, of course, Prester John isn't a nice guy at all, so keeping him as a myth would be for the best. Prester John is able to take control of people, by hollowing them out, in order to spread the word about himself. This is somehow making people's head explode which brings in Stefan (Troy Holland) to help figure out what is going on and eventually try to stop Prester John.

Sea Of Dust was written/directed by Scott Bunt. His intent with this movie was to make it a homage to the old Hammer films. I can't say that I have watched a lot of those films, but I didn't get the feeling of this being a homage type film. Sure, the way everyone dresses and the time period is right, but I never watched a Hammer film that had a crazy plot like Sea Of Dust. Okay, so the plot actually had me curious as it could have been interesting to see where Bunt would take religion and faith. Bunt does hit on these a little bit but chooses to go with the weird over practical. My first clue to this is when Stefan pulls the sheet back from a now headless woman. Stefan is there with the local doctor who called Stefan to help figure out what is going on. Actually, the doctor called Stefan's boss but was sent in his place. Stefan pulls the sheet back and we hear a clatter of something being dropped and Stefan reacting in a startled way. We discover that the doctor is trying to stand up again. I had to go back and see if I could figure out why this guy dropped to the floor, but the way it is edited makes it impossible. I had to assume it was because of what was under the sheet, but I also had to assume the guy had already looked since he is the local doctor. I even listened to the commentary to see if they might explain this scene, but they don't at all. Things just get worse from there. The biggest of them all was perhaps using a woman's vagina to enter another dimension, try to find that in a Hammer film. If the very weird story was the only thing wrong with Sea Of Dust, I might have forgiven it more.

I read in at least one review that Tom Savini did the special effects for Sea Of Dust. From what I can tell in the credits, someone else did them. I can see why someone would think that since Savini is mostly known for his effects work. From listening to him talk at horror conventions, he has retired from it but does often suggest some of his students for the work. Either way, the effects are not all that good here. There are plenty of effects to be found, however. From the exploding head to getting hooked in the neck. The film is gory, for those that like that, but we also get wounds that move or just aren't there. I'm pretty sure that one set of wounds wasn't applied to the actor's skin, but the dress that she was wearing. It sure looked like the wounds were bunching up the same way the dress was. The acting isn't all that great either. Troy Holland, in the lead role, plays his part very seriously and sometimes it works. The man needs to learn how to sell a wound though. He is in pain when he gets wounded but it never seems to bother him outside of that unless he is drawing his attention to it. He gets stabbed and is in pain. He stands there with the knife still in him and doesn't act like it is bothering him at all until he goes to pull the knife out. I rather like Tom Savini in From Dusk Till Dawn, but here he takes his acting to over-the-top levels. Why not though? Even though his character isn't a vampire, that is how he comes across and looks. To tie into the Hammer films, sort of anyway, Ingrid Pitt has a small role.

Sea Of Dust was a hard watch. I have to admit that I kind of had fun with the very weird moments and the bad effects at times. Not so much fun that I will likely ever give it a watch again though. I can sometimes get into weird films like this one, but there is usually something else going on that I like about it as well. The acting or effects, something like that. If Sea Of Dust didn't try so hard to make itself a film like the old Hammer films, I might have enjoyed the bizarre plot better. There are some good reviews out there. I haven't had a chance to read them yet so I'm not sure what they liked about this film so much. Those are few and far between though. This might be worth checking out for just how weird it is, but I wouldn't go out of your way to try to find it.
1 out of 5 Might have been better with a vampire

This post first appeared on Mermaid Heather, please read the originial post: here

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Making The Mythical Real


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