Directed by: Robert McGinley
Starring: Robert McGinley, Megan Murphy, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Linda Severt, Marshall Reid, and John Billingsley
"A Skate-Rock Adventure of the Deadly Kind"
A modern-day (futuristic?) retelling of the Orpheus
legend, but with “rock” music and skateboarding, it seems McGinley was
going for a Street Trash (1987) meets Liquid Sky (1982) meets Brazil (1985) meets Repo Man (1984) meets Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus
(1950) sort of thing. Apparently, in the future, bums and vagrants live
in a trailer park-like section of town (Seattle or places near Seattle
from what we can gather) called “The Gray Zone”. The most radical dude
in the Gray Zone is, naturally, Orpheus (McGinley). He is the
singer/guitarist for the hottest band in town, The
Shredders. When his girlfriend Eurydice
(Murphy) unexpectedly dies, Orpheus, with his lyre in hand (actually a
futuristic “guitar” that doesn’t look or sound anything like a guitar,
said to be designed by Jimi Hendrix before he died, which is just insulting. There’s no need to drag Hendrix into this), makes his descent into the underworld,
represented by the EBN, or “Euthanasia Broadcast Network”. Here, hell
is a TV station that brainwashes the populace. Will this “Shredder
Orpheus” be victorious?
You might think that what we just
described might be good. Maybe on paper it is, but the headache-inducing
colors and music are eye-sores and ear-sores. There are no likable
characters and the whole thing has this smirky, annoying vibe of “we’re
trying to be funny and smart” which falls completely flat. It feels like
a student film made specifically for public access TV. It’s grungy, and
the only reason we watched it is because
it was released by AIP. Troma must have passed.
The movie is
nonsensical and grating. It really tests the patience of viewers. It’s
not enjoyable to watch, it’s more like a battle to get through. Maybe
that’s why AIP picked it up, it reminded them of their war films. One of
the main detriments is that there is no main star you can get behind.
There’s no Robert Z’Dar, no William Smith, no JAY ROBERTS JUNIOR for
crying out loud. Without a powerful main star presence, the film is
anchorless and aimless. Teachers can’t even show it to their students if
they were learning about Greek myth.
Shredder Orpheus is for AIP completists only.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty