REFLECTIONS OF EVIL
Directed by Damon Packard
Written by Damon Packard
Produced by Damon Packard
Cast: Damon Packard, Tony Curtis, Beverly Miller, Nicole Vanderhoff & Chad Nelson
2002/138 mins/Color/Dolby Digital
Full Frame/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Web site: http://www.reflectionsofevil.com/
Review from the Pookie Films DVD
After giving away 29,000 DVD copies of REFLECTIONS OF EVIL, director Damon Packard is left broke and practically homeless. The film was left at news stands, ATM machines, and any other place one can think of - even handed out in the bundles by homeless people. He even spent day and night sending copies to celebrities with delusions that the film would get notoriety, and bigger and better things would come. Certainly being given a free DVD, no matter what genre, would be accepted by the greater public? After all it's free. Sadly, the mass majority of people dismissed the film as junk, simply due to it being given away. Whether purchased or free, REFLECTIONS OF EVIL should not be completely dismissed, and strewn aside as worthless junk as it has been treated. Let's see if Packard's tireless efforts to get this film to the masses were in vein.
Tony Curtis opens the film with a mocked 'Laser Light Special Edition Classics' intro. Various phrases he says are overdubbed with dialog pertaining to REFLECTIONS and Damon Packard - "One of Hollywood's most popular tough guys." as Curtis reflects in the intro. Continuing, he also talks about Damon Packard being sued by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, followed by several popular 70's television spots, which show up from time to time during the movie's duration, which are pretty cool to see.
The film surrounds the character of Bobby played by Packard himself. Bob opens the show, getting shit-faced huddled around some chocolate liquor candies. Shortly thereafter poor down on his luck Bob vomits chunky beef stew all over the curb with extreme force - dressed with ferocious gurgle-splat sound FX. Bob is an obese man, who wonders endlessly around the streets of LA with his 'bundle' and what looks to be his entire wardrobe, trying to sell cheapo watches with little success. Every time his product sells out, he only has enough money to stock more products and never seems to get ahead of himself.
Continuing aimlessly around the chaotic city, he is surrounded by anarchy and violence by his fellow man. Everyone seems to be fighting one another, pushing and throwing "fuck you's" around, reflecting on how humanity lives their lives each day. No longer are the days of peace and love, but rather hatred for the fellow man in this cutthroat society. A longwinded 70's psychedelic flashback contains a hippie Vietnam anti-war protest and is a complete contrast to how modern day society is portrayed. Hippies frolic around often shown in peaceful show motion with vibrant colors and mellow music enveloping these sequences.
Bob is a product of his surrounding, and while venturing around trying to sell his wears he constantly suffers from schizophrenic freak outs "dammit, dammit", a couple resulting in his head connecting with concrete, with a healthy spray of blood. People that cross his path try to pick fights with him, Bobby, red-faced, spit flying, while shaking he attempts to pick up for himself and we redundantly get too many sequences of "you don't wanna fuck with me", "fuck you", and "I'll fucking kill you". These are some of the best shots in the movie, but they are overused, especially during the lengthy dog attack sequence. This situation worked well, showing the pitiable nature of Bob (even dogs dislike him) but like I said, this scene ran far too long for this reviewer.
When not losing his mind, Bobby is constantly eating. Seemingly, he has an obsession with food - particularly junk food. Every chance he can get Bob is wolfing down grub (usually in fast motion), looking over his shoulder the whole time eating whatever he can get his hands on - from McDonalds, to clown cupcakes. Through flashback and various meetings with his grandmother we realize that this eating disorder is nothing new, and has been going on since he was a child. A sequence where they go on a trip to the old Universal Studios in 1971 shows Bobby's grandmother struggling to take a sucker from him during the tour. Another time, they are out to lunch, where he attempts to distract her long enough to ram the second half of his sandwich down his throat - "Don't you dare eat it!" she exclaims.
REFLECTIONS OF EVIL is one long hallucinogenic drug. The film is an incredibly original surreal journey that has so much potential. I remember absolutely loving the first thirty minutes of it during my first viewing. Running just short of 140 minutes, as a whole it's far too long to be a solid film. There are several sequences with digs at both Spielberg, and Lucas, that could be removed entirely from the film. Many claim to enjoy the scenes of young Spielberg on the set of SOMETHING EVIL, but I personally don't see the magnificence of them at all. I don't see a purpose in the tedious trip to present day Universal Studios, where Bobby takes the E.T. ride (with mocking Spielberg voice over), or the viewing of Star Wars, or even the Schindler's List ride. These were all pointless filler to me. Sure, Lucas and Spielberg are bigwigs in Hollywood, but personally I could care less about viewing a mockery of them. It has been done to death already. This reviewer viewed REFLECTIONS OF EVIL for a surreal experience, which has been accomplished, but the overuse of scenes about these two dopes hampered how much I enjoyed this unique film viewing experience. If the film was shortened to 90 minutes, the redundancy would not be so prevalent, thus making the film as a whole a much more enjoyable entity. The sad thing is Packard realizes this now, and regrets not shortening it, but alas, it is far too late now.
Pookie Films present REFLECTIONS OF EVIL full frame in its original aspect ratio. The film was shot with 16mm, Super8, and DV, resulting in assorted picture qualities. The picture alternates from vibrant to grainy to interesting video work. Overall the quality is quite nice, although during certain sequences, particularly the hippie sequence there is a fare amount of grain and dirt stationary on the print. Other than that, the video is fine for an experimental film. The audio is presented in "Stereophonic Sound" (Dolby Digital), and is very hard to rate on a quality scale. The sound is different to say the least. Purposely, various sounds are much louder than their surroundings, making the experience tired and annoying. The majority of the characters have crazy dubbed voices, which add to the surrealism of the film, but at times are overdone.
The cover art for this DVD is quite original. The sleeve is a fake newspaper advertisement for the film and is very cool. The DVD contains a "Teaser Trailer" for the film, as well as an "Earlier Works" section. Contained here is some footage of a fantasy film titled APPLE that has some pretty cool footage. It would be interesting to see what would have come of this film.
REFLECTIONS OF EVIL is a film like no other. Often intoxicating, but often boring. I would recommend this film, for the simple fact that it does contain some excellent footage, and is a complete mind-fuck as intended. Mind you, the best advice I could give is to watch the film, not as a whole but in sections. REFLECTIONS gets so repetitive that one could find it easy to dismiss the film outright. That would be a shame. Patient people seeking a different experience, look no further – just be prepared for a sometimes boring, lengthy, nightmarish ride.
This Film Features:
Review by Chris Mayo. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©