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This is a limited edition release of 2,000 units.
Director Richard Casey’s (HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5) second feature is an ambitious and at times dreamlike Faustian story, set in the rough underworld of LA’s heavy metal and punk music scene. Lemmy (Phil Ward) is the front man for an unsuccessful band, who’s willing to do anything to make it. After a chance meeting with Mr. Tanas, a music promoter, Lemmy is offered the deal of a lifetime: fame for nothing more than his soul. The young singer doesn’t believe in such things and accepts the offer, but quickly learns that this sleazy promoter has more in store for Lemmy than just the stardom he’s dreamed of.
Directed and photographed like a surreal documentary, and co-starring David Marciano (HOMELAND) and Darcy Nichols (CAFE FLESH), HELLBENT is a blood soaked document of late 80s Los Angeles, as seen through the eyes of outcasts and derelicts. Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents this forgotten gem of independent horror newly restored from its original 35mm negative and on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time.
• All extras on both formats
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack
• Scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm original camera negative
• “A Little Chaos” – making of featurette
• Commentary track with director Richard Casey
• Original cover artwork by Cody Brown
• Reversible cover artwork
Top customer reviews
The movie seems to just randomly change it's plot a few times. The wardrobe department seemed to decide that everyone needed to look terrifyingly bad. The movie towards the end becomes a weird gotta get revenge movie. Oh and lots of bad music and average looking people getting naked.
It definitely feels like you're watching a weird bridge film between 80s kitsch and 90s faux irony. It thankfully never fully devolves into Clinton era fake braininess. It does however feel like an odd version of Streets of Fire by Walter Hill mixed with Twin Peaks nonsense and the look of Repo Man. I can't just recommend the movie to just anyone but if you like stuff that is trying for something new at the very least it's worth a look.
"Hellbent" has definite "Repo Man" vibe goin' on. It also reminded me of "Highway to Hell" (1991), but not so cheesy/comedic in tone. The plot's basically about a musician who sells his soul to the Devil, but that's just sort of a loose framework for all kinds of other odd subplots and quirky characters. Again, this movie definitely has that '80s indy feel running all through it.
Plus, it's got music by the Angry Samoans and Trotsky Icepick; quite a lot of (hot) female nudity (strippers and performance artists, all real, no silicone); '80s punk rock degeneracy; and it doesn't skimp on the bloody violence.
Fun for the entire family!
There was an awesome move toward independent film among the DIY punk underground at some point along the line. (One assumes it had something to do with Richard Kern and his prolific output in shorts starring punk icons in the mid-eighties, but I don't know for sure.) Directors shooting crappy flicks with handhelds popped up all over the American punk map. All of these movies are horrendous in technical quality, at least of those I've seen, but there is much to be treasured in a select few (Charles Pinion's <em>Twisted Issues</em> is my usual example). <em>Hellbent</em>, the second feature from Richard Casey (who would go on to helm <em>Angry Samoans: A True Documentary</em> with some of these folks seven years later), is in no way one of them.
Plot: Lemmy (Phil Ward, long-standing member of The High Lonesome) is the leader of a struggling punk band, with dreams of making it big--really, really big. He muses aloud about this after another disastrous gig, which catches the attention of the devil, who's just gotten annoyed with his current house band and cashed in some souls. He's looking for a new one, so he sends some goons around to start the long, hard road of corrupting the band. Half of them eventually figure out what's going on and try to get away, while the other half fall deeper and deeper into the devil's snare...
It's a tried-and-true storyline, and it's been done well any number of times--even with the rock and roll theme attached to it. (Even in real life; one wonders how recently Casey had read <em>Hammer of the Gods</em>, the briefly-popular-in-the-mid-eighties Led Zeppelin bio, when he started writing.) But aside from some amusing-if-amateur performances, nothing here can really be called "done well". The plot is kludgy, the writing amateur and over the top, the sets would have looked better with another ten bucks of the budget spent on paint instead of beer. Bad all the way around, though Ward and Cheryl Slean both come off as earnest and well-meaning, if untutored. Slean never acted again, getting out of the business for a decade before coming back as a writer/director; Ward pops up in the occasional flick. If IMDB ratings are to be believed, all are as bad as this one. (half)