Lady Death (2004)

Rating: **
Review Date: 12/10/11

Admittedly, I was never much of a fan of Brian Pulido's "Lady Death," and I always found the writing to be pretentious, heavy-handed, and cliché. I was, however, a huge fan of Steven Hughes' rendering of Lady Death, and the intensity he managed to draw from his magic combination of arched eyebrows, squinted eyes, pursed lips, and clenched teeth was nothing short of awe inspiring. His style was often imitated, but never equaled. Much to its credit and detriment, the animated "Lady Death" film does an honorable job of matching both Pulido's writing and Hughes' designs to tell the tragic tale of Hope's ascension to the throne of Hell. Hope is the pure and innocent daughter of Lucifer, the Lord Of Lies, and when she is burned at the stake by frightened and ignorant villagers, she calls upon her father to save her. Lucifer is all too keen to have Hope by his side, but she defies him and becomes Lady Death in order to bring his reign over Hell to an end.

This is definitely an animation intended for mature audiences, but the writing and execution are too adolescent to take overly seriously. This is the kind of film that I would have enjoyed when I was thirteen, but as an adult I found it almost wholly uninteresting. It is certainly violent and bloody, which serves the story well, but also gives the production a hint of gratuitous indulgence. The characterization of Lady Death is handled quite nicely and she is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Apart from her suffering early in the film, her strength of character is never compromised and she seethes with intense hatred and righteousness. The animation itself is only average, and the voice acting is a bit weak and uneven. The awkward and cringe worthy dialog certainly doesn't help. More than anything, the film reminded me of "Heavy Metal 2000" (2000) in its tone and execution. Disappointing, but not awful.