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Love God

Suggesting a '90s equivalent of offbeat pics that became lateshow perennials in the '70s, "Love God" has "cult favorite" written all over it. Very much in the spirit of Japanese comic books and animated movies, this frenetic romp combines horror, comedy, satire, nonstop rock music, wild special effects and at least one major technical novelty: It's supposedly the first dramatic feature preemed at Sundance that was shot on video.

With:
Larue ..... Will Keenan Dr. Noguchi ..... Yukio Yamoto Victor ..... Michael Laurence Kali ..... Kymberli Ghee Helen ..... Shannon Burkett Connie ..... Dale Soules Darla ..... Kerri Kinney

Suggesting a ’90s equivalent of offbeat pics that became lateshow perennials in the ’70s, “Love God” has “cult favorite” written all over it. Very much in the spirit of Japanese comic books and animated movies, this frenetic romp combines horror, comedy, satire, nonstop rock music, wild special effects and at least one major technical novelty: It’s supposedly the first dramatic feature preemed at Sundance that was shot on video.

Imaginative and expertly executed in ways that greatly credit the talents of young writerdirector Frank Grow, pic may exhaust the interest of older or non-attuned viewers after its first half-hour, wherein all dramatic and technical cards are laid on the table. But creative marketing could prove that its visual fun and musical bonuses are pure catnip to the teen and college auds that are obviously its intended constituency.

Tale’s droll beginning swipes at the government’s policy of prematurely releasing mental patients. Larue (Will Keenan) gets ejected from his institutional home to face life in a nightmarish Manhattan fleapit of a hotel. His malady is Compulsive Reading Syndrome, which compels him to destroy any written matter he sees.

Donning thick glasses that blur his vision serves to restrain that havocwreaking tendency, but it also complicates relations with his various oddball neighbors, including Tourette’sstricken punker Victor (Michael Laurence) , cleaning fetishist Connie (Dale Soules) and her loveseeking daughter, Helen (Shannon Burkett), who sets her sights on seeingimpaired Larue.

The paranoia stakes rise yet further when Larue suspects that he is the target of a giant worm that’s part of a secret project concocted by Dr. Noguchi (Yukio Yamoto), and when he and others intersect with the delusions of bluepainted Kali (Kymberli Ghee), who roams New York searching for her Hindu deity counterpart.

Pic’s main weakness is that it progresses by simply spinning out these initial situations, which in essence aren’t as edgy or ideadriven as the best models it recalls. Still, its energy is relentless, its visual attack and gallery of special-effects monsters boast a splashily cartoonish exuberance, and actor Keenan anchors the proceedings with an expert and appealing turn as Larue.

Tech credits are all top-notch, and the soundtrack offers dozens of highenergy tunes by bands including Lubricated Goat, Joan Jett, Bad Brains, Unsane, Cranes and Rocket From the Crypt.

Love God

Production: A James Schamus and Ted Hope presentation, in association with Only Hearts and Crystal Pictures, of a Good Machine production. Produced by Anthony Bregman. Executive producers, James Schamus, Ted Hope, Shimpei Okuda, Nobuhiko Sakoh, Ruth Robles, Louis Robles. Directed, written by Frank Grow. Camera (Sony DVW 700 Digital Betacam transferred to 35mm), Terry Stacey; editor, David Frankel; music, Tracy McKnight; production design, Clay Brown; art direction, Kristin Loeffler; costumes, Melissa Toth; digital visual effects, Gary Leib; special makeup effects, Keith Edmier; associate producers, Hisami Kuroiwa, Steven G. Menkin; assistant director, Kelly McKaig; casting, Peggy Adler. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (midnight screening), Jan. 19, 1997. Running time: 82 MIN.

With: Larue ..... Will Keenan Dr. Noguchi ..... Yukio Yamoto Victor ..... Michael Laurence Kali ..... Kymberli Ghee Helen ..... Shannon Burkett Connie ..... Dale Soules Darla ..... Kerri Kinney

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