Faust: Love Of The Damned (2001)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/28/01
Director: Brian Yuzna
Story And Screenplay: David Quinn
Special Effects: Screaming Mad George
Cast: Mark Frost, Isabel Brook, Jeffrey Combs

Hmmm... Who would have ever thought that David Quinn and Tim Vigil's "Faust," one of the most graphically ultra-violent and sexually repulsive underground comic books of the early 90's, would ever get made into a film? Fortunately, with a screenplay written by David Quinn himself, the film adaptation sticks pretty close to the original material. John Jaspers (a delightfully maniacal Mark Frost) is a tool of Satan. He sold his soul in order to avenge the death of his girlfriend, and in the process he became the executioner for a Satanic organization known as The Hand. Doctor Jade De Camp (Isabel Brook) is trying to help John, whom she believes is a victim of schizophrenia with delusions of persecution. Their relationship transcends traditional doctor/patient boundaries, and it's their "love of the damned" that starts to tear up The Hand's plans to summon the Humonculous of Lovecraftian lore and bring about the end of the world.

The film features the production values and cinematic style of similar straight to video B-movie horror fare ("Razor Blade Smile" and "Killer Tongue" immediately come to mind). That's not necessarily bad, but it certainly favors shock and schlock over style and substance. Most notably, Mark Frost's portrayal of John Jaspers is right on the mark. He effectively and effortlessly flips between a vulnerable man, haunted by hopelessness and despair, and a crazed, psychotic killing machine, driven by the demons of hatred and rage. He's wonderful to watch. The other casting, however, seems a bit off. Isabel Brook is adequate as Dr. De Camp, but the actress who plays the female antagonist, Claire, seems woefully inappropriate. I found her immediately distasteful, but after going back to the comic books, I had the same reaction. So maybe she was right for the part afterall... The effects and make-up are good, and Screaming Mad George's influence is quite apparent. Unfortunately, the film's pacing is rather sluggish, and it tries too hard to cram in all of the highlights from the original books. (the notorious snake scene obviously had to be "reworked," even though I had a sick desire to see it in its unadulterated form) Ultimately, like many comic book adaptations, I think the only audience for this film are the fans of the original series.