Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Timewsweep (USA, 1987)

At the end of the final film credits, there is a line that states that Tim, Dick, Harry and Jane – or whatever the surviving characters' names were – will be back in Timesweep 2, The Quesdrov Factor. And while the optimism of the filmmakers is admirable, it is more pleasing to know that the prediction proved false. There has never been a part two, and there probably never will be – indeed, Timesweep is the type of movie that never really deserved to be made, much less deserve a sequel. It's not just cheese; it's disgusting, stinky cheese – as in: the head cheese dripping from an unwashed turkey weenie.
The plot is a simple one: a bunch of faceless people of various ages get together to tour an old, deserted movie studio when there is a sudden flash of light and the fattest woman of the bunch is killed. In terror, everyone goes running this way and that. Locked in the building, now surrounded by an acid fog, they are confronted by killer cockroaches, killer zombie-like aliens, blood-thirsty savages, an ex-girlfriend, killer three-fingered hands, a giant hungry dinosaur head and other scary stuff. Crossing paths with a cop from 1968, they realize that they are all caught in a time warp. Why doesn't anyone say "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"?* Is there any means of escape? Who will survive? Do you really care?
The answer to the last question is a resound "no".
That first-and-last-time director Dan Diefenderfer was trying to make a campy, culty "bad" film is obvious; aside from referential names like "Roger Agar" and "Vincent Hill" and "Mike Romero", the warehouse walls are decorated with posters of classic "bad" films such as Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966) and Tarantula (1955 / trailer) and there is a running "gag" about the lost film London After Midnight (1927). But try what he may, Diefenderfer fails, and the sum of the whole seems less the final result of intentional ineptitude than real ineptitude: that the dull direction, third-rate acting, all-over-the-place script and truly inane dialog never achieves any level of apparent ability is forgivable, what is not is that it doesn't achieve any level of entertainment or manage to become interesting.
Much like the newer but equally disastrous warehouse-bound horror film Museum of the Dead (2004), Timewsweep also suffers greatly from its single-structure setting: the inordinately large cast of characters spends way too much time running back and forth, up and down, this way and that. Boring!
True, much of the cast does die gory deaths – the newscaster's death is fun for a startled jump, while the truly bloody gratuitous titty scene is the true highlight – but the cast as a whole is so faceless, the action and camerawork so lackluster, and the film so tedious that the mild highlights do little to make the viewing experience pleasurably memorable. Oddly enough, the script has so many "Huh?" moments in it that it virtually screams to be enjoyable as a turkey, but Timewsweep simply gets mired too deeply in its own mediocrity to flip over into total gonzo trashiness like, say Slugs (1988), Night Train to Terror (1985) or even Robot Monster (1953 / trailer).
Some bad films have that magic "something"; Timesweep doesn't. Hard to believe that anyone involved in this thing actually went on to do anything else in films...**

*The film was made in Kansas City.
**The actor playing "Vincent Hill", Kevin Brief, has had countless two-line appearances on TV shows as well as in flicks such as Visible Scars (2011 / trailer) and Midnight Movie Massacre (1988 / selected scenes). "Mike Romero", or rather Michael Cornelison, who had a career before Timesweep, can be seen somewhere in such films as Superstition (1982 / trailer), Lost in America (1985 / trailer), Mommy (1995 / trailer), Mommy II: Mommy's Day (1997 / trailer), Collapse (2010 / trailer) and Husk (2011 / trailer). The inside line in the industry is that he's to host next year's Oscars ceremony.

1 comment:

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