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HALL OF FAMEon July 19, 2004
"Ice From the Sun" is one of those movies you'll most likely find hiding out under the Sub Rosa distribution label. What does that mean and why is it important? If you like horror movies enough to watch cheap, cheesy, and often atrocious shot on video productions, you will run across this company sooner rather than later. Sub Rosa is turning into Troma's out of work brother-in-law, releasing the most sordid dreck ever seen on home entertainment systems. Most of the films sporting the Sub Rosa label would never see the light of day if it weren't for the advent of DVD technology. Even the famed grindhouses of New York City wouldn't have shown the likes of "Shatter Dead" or "Peter Rottentail," not even on a bet. The only thing that I can possibly say in defense of companies like Sub Rosa is that occasionally they distribute something like Eric Stanze's "Ice From the Sun." Don't get me wrong; "Ice From the Sun" is micro budget filmmaking on every level. The acting is downright awful, the pace uneven, but what works often overshadows what fails. I don't think I'm stretching to say that this movie is one of the best shot on video films I've ever seen. And, sad to say, I've seen quite a few.
Normally, you shouldn't worry too much about plot with one of these camcorder productions. The movies exist merely as conduits through which wannabe filmmakers with a "vision" can indulge in scene after scene of catsup soaked gore. "Ice From the Sun" differs in that it spends a great amount of time-perhaps an inordinate amount of time depending on your view-setting up what is actually an intriguing idea. A young woman named Allison (Ramona Midgett) commits autocide only to discover the image of a glowing angel instructing her to return to earth in order to defeat an evil known as The Presence. Apparently, back in the Middle Ages a sorcerer and his apprentice built an alternate dimension made out of ice from the sun. Ever since, every few years the sorcerer and his assistant Abraham (DJ Vivona) bring six humans to the dimension to play a series of bloody games. Eventually, Abraham killed the sorcerer and seized power for himself as The Presence. The angels in heaven and the demons in the underworld both despise Abraham, but the ice barrier prevents the armies of above and below from launching an invasion. The last time Abraham/The Presence abducted a batch of humans, one of them escaped back to earth alive. This mistake convinces the angels and demons that The Presence is losing his grasp on power. If Allison can go to the dimension and convince Abraham to remember his life on earth, the ice wall will collapse and restore balance to the cosmos.
Getting in the way of Allison's mission are six lunkheads teleported to the alternate dimension as part of the latest series of games. None of them have a chance in you know what to win anything except a horrific, painful demise. As they lurch about the dimension, which looks a lot like a forested area in New Jersey or some similar place, Abraham wipes them out. The most memorable scene involves a girl, a rope attached to a truck, and a bag of salt. There's also a grotesque medical examination bit, and a melting skull trick that actually looks better than what we saw at the end of the first "Indiana Jones" picture. A few of the games are unintentionally funny, such as the girl who ends up transmogrified into some half dog creature and the running eyeball scene. Overall, while there's more than a few situations of stomach churning gore, the movie is not a non-stop gorefest a la "Dead Alive." This, I think, is what sets the film apart from other shot on video productions. Well, that and the fact that Stanze attempts to ramp up the technical aspects of filmmaking.
The imaginative use of light effects and cinematic wizardry ultimately elevates "Ice From the Sun" from the rest of the camcorder crowd. Weird camera angles, jump cut editing, the use of negative photography, and hallucinatory imagery might have you scratching your head from time to time, but it does work in an odd way. It is difficult to look at Stanze's picture and not think you're watching a particularly cheap film shot by a former music video director. Personally, I hate the heavy reliance on cinematic gimcracks currently plaguing nearly every action film, but to see someone do it effectively on such a low budget isn't as annoying as seeing it done in a summer blockbuster. Regrettably, you must take the good with the bad, bad in "Ice From the Sun" meaning the acting. The only competent actor in the entire production is DJ Vivona as The Presence. Everyone else falls as flat as a pancake, especially Ramona Midgett. This gal delivers every piece of dialogue like she's letting marbles fall out of her mouth.
You can't have everything work, I guess. "Ice From the Sun" is worth a watch for those stalwart souls, like me, who must on occasion foray into the dark depths of shot on video filmmaking. Extras on the DVD version of the film include two commentary tracks-one from Stanze and one from a few of the actors-and two trailers for the movie. You also get a few stills. The soundtrack for the movie, which I do believe is available on compact disc, is your typical thrash/death metal/industrial (whatever they call it these days) tunes. Occasionally disturbing, often eye catching, and acted with all the aplomb of a lead statue, "Ice From the Sun" is a fun way to pass a couple of hours.
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on May 19, 2004
I know this is an Indie and had a small budget. My complaint about this movie is about the plot and script. This is an area where money can't make a difference. You are either creative or you are not. This is where indies should shine. "Ice From the Sun," does not shine. I have a feeling that Stanze started to use Brasso to polish the script, but gave up. There are some scenes that are inventive but most are just cliched, tedious and hackneyed. There is just enough in this movie to prevent fastforwarditis, but not enough for anything other than a fleeting impression.
The biggest lack of creativity I can relate is in the demise of the characters. In the beginning of the movie I was led to believe that some sort of competition awaited each person. There is almost no competition. The characters become scared, run away and die. Sometimes they don't even run. It seems to me this would have been a great place for the Brasso. Show the characters in some sort of inventive competion.
I said that I would not comment on budget aspects, but I can't help it. Ramona Midgett is a terrible actor. She is also in another Stanze film. What dirt does she have on him? Is she financing the films? She stunk up every scene she was in.
If you like films that squander potential this is for you.
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on January 2, 2007
what can i say...i just didnt get much satisfaction from this film.

i just wanna say first off the bat i only watched the first 25-30 minutes of the film & this was a few months ago, so i dont remember every aspect to a "T".

sure it was imaginative. i will give it that it at had an interesting artistic point of view, & there were a few really good scenes but there was just way too many turn offs, both because of the budget AND just plain out what they decided to put on screen, they were either just too deadpan or it would start feeling wayyy too much like a troma movie.(no offense to troma, i proudly own a few copies of troma films, but that didnt feel like the presentation this film was "attempting" to give off)

all i can say is definitely not worth a purchase. who knows, if you are very into arthouse & out there cinema then check it out(especially if you dont mind [extremely] low budget-films, such as "cradle of fear" or handful of troma releases) but i would never recommend just randomly picking this up before buying.
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on May 8, 2004
There was so much potential in the film. But it all diminished because of a nonsense story and worst acting ever. I don't mind bad acting ("Pieces" and "Gore Gore Girls" are hilarious). But this movie was supposed to be taken in a serious context. I couldn't believe any of the acting at all. Especially the long one part where we have the whole vital background story bluntly mumbled.
Couldn't the filmmakers embed the background story in a more creative way, rather than just having a girl read it so lifelessly as if she's being forced to read homework? I felt like I was trying to read through those long boring "User Agreement" things, which nobody reads in reality.
After closer listens to the story, I found it to be just fantasy mumbo jumbo. There was no enlightening view points given, which is something I look for in all forms of art that are taken seriously. "Dawn of the Dead," "Society," & "28 Day's Later" are good examples of horror movies that teach us something.
It's as if the poor story was just thrown in so they could have an excuse for calling the wild experimentation with cinema a "movie".
All in all, the blunder from that narration really threw me off the whole movie. I couldn't piece together any relevance to the creative bizarre (yet limited to low budget) imagery with the dialogue. The movie died in front of my eyes as far as I'm concerned after that point. Nothing could redeem the film from that horrid narration part. No wonder it's so cheap.
Eric Stanze is a true visionary. He just has to get stronger stories and a better budget. We see crap like "Biker Boyz" cost millions to make while Stanze could create so much more with that kind of money. I really wanted to like this but the story and acting were a huge disappointment.
I should probably mention the crazy parts of the film really are like a Nine Inch Nails video, as others have said. And the film does slide in strange random images, kind of like Oliver Stone. Also, there are some gore parts but it's no "Dead Alive" or "The Beyond" in that department.
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on December 2, 2014
I have one of these film, you know basically a take up real of some odd things you shot and spliced together and clam its an avant guard film. So i get it and for getting it on Amazon good for you. Personally i keep mine one a disc in all its weirdness for ….well none to see. But it was fun to make and look back at.
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on October 29, 2005
Wow. What a crazy ass flick! I've read a lot of good reviews about this one (and some bad ones as well). I'm really into films that aren't afraid to take a few chances and so I thought I'd get this one a shot! This flick was insane! Yeah, it's low budget, but it was way more creative than most of the flicks I see coming out of Hollyweird these days.

I dug the story (even though it was a little talky in the beginning), the visuals and the editing were great and it had some awesome gore effects. What I really loved was the music. It features a great collection of songs from the St. Louis music scene (like the Ded Bugs and Johnny Magnet). I got to pick up a copy of the soundtrack. To top it all off, the movie had a great performance from DJ Vivona as The Presence. I think most of the acting was pretty solid overall (I've seen a lot of low/no budget flicks and compared to them, the acting in this is pretty impressive), but I thought the character of The Presence was very interesting and unique and Vivona did a lot to make the character memorable.

Like I said, this movie was made on a low-budget, so imagine my surprise when I get this tricked out 2-disc edition. How awesome is this? You don't see too many movies made at this budget level get such a nice persentation on DVD. Well, I loved the film and the DVD with all its extras was money well spent. If you're looking for something different and unusual, you should do yourself a favor and check this flick out!
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on July 5, 2002
The minimal extra materials on this low-quality DVD include the original 1998 trailer that advises its potential viewers thus:
"This film hates your family.
This film hates your home.
This film hates your religion.
This film hates you.
Deal with it."
One way of dealing with it is, of course, to avoid these low-quality and unimaginative exploitation productions from Wicked Pixel Cinema. In fact, this course of action is universally suggested after watching Ice From The Sun: a very tedious viewing experience!
The movie has about 50 minutes of film. It repeats and repeats and repeats scene after scene from its meager stock to stretch out the movie to 119 minutes. Be advised, however, the viewing time seems much, much, much longer than 119 minutes! The epic experience of tedium is partly due to the same people (please note, I do not use the word actors!) playing a variety of roles and, of course, the attempt at a storyline which involves parallel states of existence (Ha-ha! Ho-hum! Yawn! The same story told in different settings may help hide the scarcity of genuine thought in this unimaginative script but it also makes the viewing experience two or three times more tedious! The tedium is sustained and made overwhelmingly numbing by the stock situations and predictable acts of hatred and violence (against women predominantly, of course!). Then, there is the copious amounts of red liquid for the blood-spilling, the drone of inane yarn-spinning, the miserable soundtrack of punk-rock mimicry and a drift of scenes "borrowed" from the intellectual rights of more honestly crafted movies.
This exploitation movie fails for many reasons but ... enough! Ice From The Sun deserves no more; in fact, it deserves nothing more than to be recognized (and quickly dismissed) as the nonsense its own trite title clearly advertises itself to be!
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on September 28, 2005
Just got this newly released two-disk set of Ice From the Sun and it is GREAT! The Wicked Pixel Cinema team seems to be on the right track and really knows how to pack in the features. I have been a fan of this experimental punk movie for quite some time and was really looking forward to this new Image Entertainment release and I wasn't disappointed at all. The sound quality is a great improvement over the previous releases. This movie holds up to many viewings. The story is dangerously interesting. The characters are fun and exciting. I especially like the chase scene. All the death scenes are unique and gore-filled. Pick this movie up and I guarentee you will not be disappointed. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!
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on May 21, 2003
To anyone here who hasn't seen it, I strongly recommend this Eric Stanze film. Even considering its several flaws [grainy image, very uneven acting, sometimes-awkward dialog], it's still one of the best, most entertaining and thought-provoking micobudget independent horrors out there. I've heard it described from a cross between The Matrix and Lost Highway [not sure what that means, exactly ] to a Clive Barker film as directed by Trent Reznor, which is closer to the mark. The story can be summed up thus: an evil wizard takes his apprentice into an alternate universe of his own creation, and every few years they kidnap six people and torture-kill them, then take their souls, until the apprentice, now ultra-powerful and re-named The Presence, overthrows the wizard and takes over, prompting Heaven and Hell to recruit a female suicide victim as a sort of astral-plane assassin to pass through the wall of ice and destroy this "abomination of space and time" Gore, nudity, and lots of just plain unsettling images and sounds follow. I never thought I'd say this, but Ice From The Sun is not just a movie to be watched; it's an experience to be had.
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on October 24, 2002
This could possibly be the worst film I have ever seen. The acting is absolutely AWFUL.. I mean like the kind you don't even need to make fun of because it just isn't worth the effort. The cinematography is that of a 7 year old with daddy's video camera.. no worse than that. And the story is told in the refreshing manner of that...kid down the street who just got a new pack of Pokemon cards.
I recommend this film to you only if your television only recieves The 700 Club.. and you have an allergic reaction to quality.
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