As my life begins its inevitable journey through the rugged terrain of middle age, I've discovered that my genre-related cravings are leaning heavily towards the silly, the outlandish, and the unapologetically over-the-top. In general, horror movies aren't very frightening to me anymore, forcing yours truly to turn his attention towards films that are saturated in gore, shock, and, more importantly, outlandish physical comedy. If someone gets struck repeatedly about the head and neck while entrails and assorted body parts explode across the screen, then I'm usually a pretty happy camper. Call me what you will, but it's better than anything on prime time television at the moment.
But, I digress.
To put a finer point on it, I thoroughly enjoy consuming motion pictures that highlight the laugh-out-loud humor present in wanton bloodshed and freakish, bodily-related horror. Enter Swedish director Anders Jacobsson's zany 1995 gorefest "Evil Ed," a movie I seriously doubt I'll ever tire of watching. Crafted by talented individuals who have an obvious affinity for Three Stooges-inspired humor and a knack for skewering genre cliches, the film manages to poke fun at the genre it loves so dearly while delivering a stylishly clever experience that's heavy on bizarre creatures and gory dismemberment. Needless to say, it rocked my rosy red socks off.
The story concerns itself with Ed (Johan Rudebeck), a conservative, mild-mannered film editor who's yanked from his usual duties to help out in his company's "splatter and gore" department. According to his boss, quite a bit of nasty footage needs to be excised from their successful "Loose Limbs" franchise before its scheduled release, and Ed's been hand-picked for the dirty job. Locked away inside a strange suburban home with yards of disturbing footage to contend with, our hero spends his days and nights knee-deep in mind-warping visuals as he attempts to finish the assignment.
However, all of these putrid, stomach-churning images are having their way with Ed's fragile little mind, causing him to experience a series of horrific hallucinations involving deformed mental patients, wild-haired psychos, and adorably grotesque creatures that reside within the bowels of his refrigerator. The more footage he edits, the more frequent the terror becomes. When his boss stops by to check on Ed's progress, things get a bit out-of-hand, and before you know it, the poor sod's completely flipped his lid. Chaos ensues, severed with a heavy dose of pitch-black humor.
If you're a fan of this sort of tongue-in-cheek silliness, it's almost impossible to hate "Evil Ed," even when Jacobsson and crew start cashing in a few cheap jokes at the genre's expense. The "Loose Limbs" franchise, meanwhile, isn't too far removed from the titles released during those gloriously gratuitous 80's, complete with unchecked debauchery and "hot" chicks with abnormally large breasts. The film's obsession with violence, however, is never truly disturbing or purposely grotesque; it's too over-the-top to register as anything more than morbidly hilarious. Watching a man in the throes of an extreme physical and emotional breakdown is rarely this amusing.
The only complaint in my pocket is admittedly small one, yes, but it certainly needs addressing. Try as it might, "Evil Ed" isn't nearly long enough to properly sustain and adequately maintain all of the wacky ideas it wants to show you. There's not a lot of depth to be found here, be it plot or characters or otherwise. Although it's enormously entertaining, the whole silly affair is as shallow as a two-dollar kiddie pool. What's worse, the film comes to an abrupt halt shortly after Ed loses his marbles, which is a tad disappointing. Instead of feeling strangely satisfied as the end credits began their slow crawl across my screen, I was left wanting more. It feels sort of incomplete, as if the filmmakers had painted themselves into a corner with nowhere left to go.
Tiny problems aside, "Evil Ed" is easily as enjoyable as such like-minded fare as "Plaga Zombie," "Freak Out," and Peter Jackson's cult classic "Dead Alive." "Evil Ed" seems to fully understand just how inherently stupid the whole thing is, and its cast and crew have no problem wallowing in low-brow cheekiness. With plenty of juicy goofiness and gory gags to keep your sides splitting, it's sure to entertain even the most jaded horror/comedy fans. The uncut DVD is currently available through Ardustry, and can be purchased from online retailers for next to nothing. I've certainly paid a lot more for a lot less. Cinematically speaking, of course.