Cemetery Gates (2006)
By: Devon B. on November 3, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Ninth Dimension (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 88 minutes
The Movie
Director: Roy Knyrim
Starring: Reggie Bannister, Peter Stickles, Nicole DuPort, Kristin Novak, Ky Evans, Aime Wolf
Screenplay: Brian Patrick O'Toole Music: Ben Cooper
Country: USA
The generic as hell title and the Saw rip off cover might steer you away from Cemetery Gates, but you'd miss out on one of the funniest movies since Nail Gun Massacre.

Reggie Bannister, a man whose 30-year holding pattern of baldness is just amazing, plays a scientist that has genetically tinkered with an animal. A pair of Green Peace-esque guys break into his lab and steal the creature, then attempt to release it into the wild with little to no regard paid to whether the animal would be able to survive in the habitat they're dumping it in. Their plan is only partially successful, unless they'd secretly wanted to become ripped up like shredded wheat, but the beast is freed.

Meanwhile, a group of college students, coincidentally including Bannister's son, are shooting a low budget zombie movie. Their film is titled Cemetery Gates, and is set at a graveyard near where the animal has been unleashed. Bannister and his cohort begin tracking their creature, and desperately try to stop it before it kills more people. Not desperate enough to ring the police, mind, but relatively desperate.

Okay, Cemetery Gates is pretty much your standard mutant/large animal on the loose flick, but with one ace card: The animal is a Tasmanian Devil! Clearly, it shouldn't be called Cemetery Gates after the movie within a movie, but Rampaging Tasmanian Devil, so potential viewers can fully brace themselves for the brilliance of the film. Admittedly some of the film's attempts at humour are poor, but the Devil's funny as fuck! No CG here, Rampaging Tasmanian Devil is done the old fashion, nay the CORRECT way, and features some guy flopping around in a suit! If you got even a mild guffaw out of the rodent of unusual size from The Princess Bride, then this is an absolute must see. The Devil attacks are totally hilarious, particularly an airborne assault. At first glance, it may appear the Devil is suffering from the same malady that is sadly currently ravaging much of the real Devil population, but I assume the appearance is really just a side effect of the genetic tinkering. I would've preferred just a normal looking Devil, as I think that would've been even funnier, but beggars can't be choosers. Anyway, while tinkering, the scientists clearly didn't think to improve the animal's hygiene, because many characters comment on the smell when the Devil's near, so it must still piss on itself. Guess maybe it should be called Smelly, Rampaging Tasmanian Devil. The scientists must've also given the Devil the ability to teleport, but why or how they managed that is never explained.

The acting can leave a lot to be desired, but it's always fun to see Bannister, even if there're no spheres or tall men around. As I said, some of the humour attempts fail, but I actually think Smelly, Rampaging Tasmanian Devil may be a full on satire, as there are some genuinely insightful jabs at the horror genre, including some wonderfully contrived nudity. The gore is also incredibly splashy, if not always well executed, with sanguine spilling forth under the Devil's flailing paws like this was a chambara movie. The ridiculous, funny nature of the gore can even reach splatstick levels, further enhancing the satire assessment, so I'll give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt at the failed humour and assume they were making fun of other horror movies' attempts to be funny.
Smelly, Rampaging Tasmanian Devil is presented at 1.85:1 in a 16x9 enhanced print. There's a bit of grain, some spots, and slight loss of clarity in blacks, but mostly this is a clean, clear print.
Audio is available in 5.1 and 2.0 (the 2.0 is not listed on the sleeve) mixes. The dialogue is clear, and most levels are well mixed, though there was occasional light distortion. Either mix is fine, but the 5.1 is obviously the more dynamic.
Extra Features
The extras are fleeting, but fun. First, there's the trailer, as well as the trailer for Boo, which is also from producer David E. Allen. There's a very short featurette on Tasmanian Devils, which isn't groundbreaking, but would be good for those that only know them from the Warner Brothers cartoons. A roughly 10 minute FX featurette is also amusing, as we get to see outtakes of the Devil fumbling around and gore scenes. A 15-minute behind the scenes is also included, and mentions Evil Dead as an influence.
The Verdict
After seeing all the damage one of these things can do, I'm just glad there was a barrier between them and me at the Tasmanian Devil Park! While not as solid an offering as Dog Soldiers, another of Allen's productions, Smelly, Rampaging Tasmanian Devil is far more enjoyable than Boo. Now, if someone would just make a movie about a killer thylacine…
Movie Score
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