Lust for Vengeance (2001)
By: Stuart Giesel on August 4, 2012  | 
DVD
MVD Visual (USA) | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 75 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Sean Weathers
Starring: Michelle Soto, Jeff Roches, Tumaini, Carlito Rivera
Screenplay: Sean Weathers
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
First, let's say the obvious: this film has a great title. Lust for Vengeance? It's lurid and promises a mixture of thrills, sex and violence. Unfortunately that's where the positives end for this abhorrent, dull, unentertaining dreck. I try to look at the positives of any film, honestly, but Lust for Vengeance has beaten me. The writer, executive producer, editor, composer and director, Sean Weathers, has made a film that makes Tommy Wiseau's The Room look like The Godfather.

The film begins with a weird disclaimer:

"In the early days of cinema, technical matters forced filmmakers to divide their stories into sequences, each the length of a reel. The "sequence approach" mimics that early style. Each sequence serves as "mini-movies" with their own compressed 3-act structure. This film is told in 5 sequences that follow the main characters, rather than the time line.

"Lust for Vengeance was inspired by Giallo films. Giallo is the name for a distinct set of Italian thrillers from the 60's that combined crime, murder, eroticism, nudity, mystery & whodunits, with stylish visuals. Adapted in the U.S. into slasher films in the 70's. This is the first and only true Giallo movie ever made in the U.S. to date."

Wow. Way to set the scene. Instead of showing this to us through the cinematography or the writing or the editing, we're given what basically amounts to a defensive apology in case we, the dumb-arse viewers, don't get it. Imagine if Quentin Tarantino started Pulp Fiction in this sort of way: "What you're about to see are three intertwining crime vignettes inspired by early crime pulp serials and novels. Pulp Fiction, unlike straightforward narratives, plays with the viewer's notion of time and place, as characters who are previously seen to have been killed return in later scenes..." Jesus Christ almighty.

We start with someone writing a list of girl's names, and then cut to the first vignette which, for some reason, focuses on the number two girl on the list, Stephanie. There's a shot of the World Trade Centre and various other shots of New York. All well and good, except that the video quality is unwatchable. It's blurry, jittery and looks like it was shot through a mobile phone. I'm sorry, wasn't one of the aspects of a proper giallo film its 'stylish visuals'? This looks like it was filmed by a man with no fingers through the bottom of a wine bottle before having every second frame taken out. I thought it was going to be just a temporary thing reserved for the external shots, but no. The whole fucking movie looks like this! And then we get our first glimpse of the so-called 'actors' in this film. I've seen amateur videos on YouTube that run rings around the talent displayed in this nightmarish abortion. In a green-tinted haze, the women talk on and on about irrelevant crap that no one cares about with the camera stationary, never moving. There are no cuts. It's four minutes in and I'm bored already. And one thing a Giallo film should never be (or any film, really) is unforgivably boring. Oh, now I realise that this odd green tint is probably Sean Weathers' way of proving that this really is a Giallo film ("see, we have odd green lighting like Suspiria, look!"). The next scene is outside in the snow and for some reason the tint is an ugly brown and the visual artifacts and blurriness are almost overwhelming. What the fuck was this post-processed in, a Sinclair ZX80? A cop arrives on the scene and starts talking, and we don't even get a clear look at his face, because we don't get any shots other than a master shot because, I guess, editing the film was too much to ask for. The editing does get *slightly* better later on but, even compared with what Olaf Ittenbach created by filming on direct-to-video in The Burning Moon, it's still pretty piss-poor.

Anyway, the plot such that it is seems to revolve around a person in a motorcycle outfit who's killing people off, the first of whom is a girl named Jennifer (her surname is Lopez!). A cop is investigating the murders by questioning people in Jennifer's life and about the suspected killer, Michael Richards (no, not the guy who played Kramer). It's not so much a "whodunit" or a "whydunit" in the mould of Twitch of the Death Nerve or Opera, rather a "whogivesashit", so I really don't know why Weathers is pitching this as a U.S. made giallo - maybe because the only other comparison he could make with Lust for Vengeance is that of a dried-out dog turd, which probably isn't as appealing when you're trying to market it. The DVD is labelled as the "10th Anniversary Explicit Version", and it is explicit in parts. Weathers tries to liven up the inane proceedings with all sorts of crudity like an endless scene of a guy wanking whilst sniffing a girl's panties, a naked girl injecting heroin, a bathtub masturbation scene and a few cringeworthy - and explicit - sex scenes that are as erotic as a jar of cold sick. Pity the people who were fooled into doing these sort of acts for this crime of a movie. And when the murders are shown, they're not only clumsily executed but the bloodletting is minimal, probably because the FX budget was the price of a postage stamp.

So Stephanie (number two on the list) gets killed and we go on to Lisa, who's - ooooh! - number five on the list! See that? Sean Weathers is doing a whole Pulp Fiction thing, not going sequentially through the kill list but in random order. Wow! How's that for a play on narrative conventions! And on and on it goes, trying to create tension and failing miserably. Who's the killer? Well, I took a guess about twenty minutes in (thanks to someone's painfully obvious performance) and, guess what...I was right! And I'm the sort of person who hardly ever guesses twists in a movie, so perhaps it wasn't meant to be much of a murder-mystery after all. And then we go on to girl number four...ah, to hell with it. There are endless scenes of mundaneness - people getting dressed, eating, walking slowly from one room to the next, snorting heroin, and practically all of it feels like padding. There's no sense of timing, pace or rhythm.

The only reason I endured this unholy steaming turd is because I was given a copy to review, so there is no fathomable reason for anyone else to (a) pay good money to rent or purchase the DVD and (b) sit through the whole festering thing. I've wasted 85 minutes watching Lust for Vengeance when I could have been doing literally anything else that would have been a better use of my time, like counting the tiles on the floor of my bathroom or smashing my toes with a hammer. Be warned. This isn't the sort of film that's "so bad it's good". It's not even "so bad it's unwatchable". It's "so bad it'll make you question the worth of humanity". Doubt me? See if you can get past the first turgid fifteen minutes. Lust for Vengeance could be used as the ultimate endurance test, the sort of thing you could put on for inmates at Guantanamo Bay to break their spirit.

I mean, I'd like to say that the makers set out to create a film and they did so according to their vision. I'd like to say that I can look beyond the flaws to at least appreciate the dedication that Weathers and his crew had that they can create a finished product. But I just can't. There are literally no redeeming qualities in this movie. Hell, I can look at a piece of shit like Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and at least appreciate some of the technical aspects of that awful, awful film. But not Lust for Vengeance. You know how in a bunch of movies out there one of the characters spouts on about how "if you follow your dream, you can achieve anything" or "if you work hard enough, your dreams will come true". Yeah, no. Lust for Vengeance proves that you still need some talent to get you over the line.

So this is "the first and only true Giallo movie ever made in the U.S. to date", huh? Even if it was the first giallo movie made in the U.S. (is a giallo film a giallo film when no Italian filmmakers are involved?), in no way could it be called a true one. You know what giallo films have? Proper lighting. Nice cinematography. Editing. Inventive deaths. Creative direction. A semi-interesting plot. Calling Lust for Vengeance a giallo film, and thereby putting it in the same genre as Tenebrae or Lizard in a Woman's Skin, is akin to calling the "Star Wars kid" viral video a space opera and putting it in the same genre as Star Wars and Avatar. No. It's insulting to proper filmmakers everywhere. If you were to set out to deliberately make a terrible film, I doubt you could even come close to Lust for Vengeance's awfulness. It's a practical joke, surely, perpetrated by filmmakers so inept as to make Ed Wood look like Martin Scorsese.
Video
This is the ugliest, most unwatchable picture I have ever seen, and I've happily endured tenth-generation VHS recordings where the tracking is all over the place. The picture is post-processed to an inch of its life in order to use a bunch of colour filters that supposedly give it that giallo flavour. Sure, just like how Dario Argento works. The video is repulsive and headache-inducing.
Audio
The audio is actually better than the picture, but that's like saying stomach cancer is preferable to bone cancer. Dialogue is muffled and there's a persistent background noise to every scene. The music mainly consists of abysmal synthesizer drones and the odd John Carpenter-esque "dum...dum..." though there's a faster-paced cue that's a little like what Goblin used to accomplish for Argento's works, but unfortunately does little to liven the proceedings.
Extra Features
Not only did I have to endure this toxic film, but the extras aren't much better.

Lust for Vengeance Revisited is a featurette where Sean Weathers revisits some of the locations used in the film and various crew members discuss the making of the film and the "art of storytelling". Weathers seems like a nice guy, so it's a shame that he was responsible for creating something so inherently insipid. The makers talk about how they wanted a 'voyeuristic' feel to the cinematography and how they use a lot of colours. They don't explain why the finished product looks so revolting. The nicest thing I can say is you get a sense that there were a lot of good intentions when it came to making the film. Unfortunately the featurette itself is pretty dull.

There's a two minute featurette called Lust for Vengeance: The Method Behind the Madness which is just the beginning and end text blurbs and a few bits of trivia.

The longest extra is a one hour podcast with Sean Weathers and producer/cinematographer Aswad Issa. It's also the most interesting extra, and reflects what the makers' intentions were even if the finished product doesn't really resemble them - i.e. the camera as the killer, the "visually stylish" use of colours. They sound knowledgeable about the giallo/slasher genres as they go through their top ten giallo films, so it's baffling to see how poor the end product of their labour is.

The rest of the disc contains some outtakes, a deleted scene, and some trailers for Lust for Vengeance, Hookers in Revolt, House of the Damned and some unfinished films.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Well, I've finally discovered the worst film I've ever seen in my life. The only reason this isn't in the Bottom 100 of IMDB is probably because ten people have ever seen it, including the makers (funny how the ten star reviews on IMDB are from people who have provided reviews for other Sean Weathers films, hmmm). Lust for Vengeance not only deserves to have all of its copies shot out of a cannon into the sun, but the filmmakers court-ordered to pay back the cost of the DVD to the poor souls who purchased it. It's as much a giallo film as The Magnificent Seven is. Truly repulsive and unforgivable.

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