Hell’s Kitty (2016) USA
Writer – Nicholas Tana
Director – Nicholas Tana
Runtime – 98 minutes
Smart Media, LLC / Wild Eye Releasing
Based on the comic book series of the same name (created by the same person) Hell’s Kitty tells the tale of Nick, portrayed by the films director and writer Nicholas Tana, a writer in Los Angeles who’s plagued by an Angel. More specifically his pet cat named Angel who is anything but.
The film is told through a narration of sorts as Nick explains various scenarios to another, an interested party who has his doubts about the validity of all he is being told.
In an early scene Nick introduces Angel as ‘Cujo’. This opens the homage floodgates and more than hints at a feature that might well be more than merely a film with a ridiculous premise. This ‘suggestion’, as the film plays out, expands in size to monstrous proportions, that could quite possibly (one day) battle Godzilla for worldwide supremacy. The film progresses.
It’s not merely enough that Nick (Nicholas Tana) is a doppelganger for a much young George Eastman (circa Greek catacombs lumbering cannibal tourist chomping era) but the cast list also reads much like a who’s-who of actors from cult classics.
Nina Hartley, not normally associated with features of this ilk, bears her assets and her talents with a cat-o-nine-tails. Micheal Berryman makes an appearance as a clueless cop while the always delicous (apparently no matter her age) Adrienne Barbeau is introduced with a number of uttered sentences with the word ‘fog’ in them. A wide variety of scenes also ooze with celebration of the genres past. Several scenes stand out, including brilliantly executed nods to The Exorcist, Children of the Corn (note the Stephen King book with the title Children who love Corn), The Shining and even Seven (…”I have a fear of boxes…what’s in the box..?”)
One could well ponder, but how good could a film possibly be if all it does is drop to its knees in honor of all who’ve gone and laid the groundwork before it. Well, I’m happy to report Hell’s Kitty is beyond bloody entertaining.
Nick portrays a character, understandably, at his wits end very well, naturally taking into account that this film isn’t to be taken at all seriously, there’s also an abundance of cheese and over the top comedy on hand to lighten the overall mood. Nick has a stunning sense of gallows humor throighput his experiences much as if he’s actually stuck in a dream. Hell’s Kitty isn’t at all like a drama, as if its synopsis doesnt hint at such, if you’re seeking such you should turn tail and search elsewhere. Nicks neighbor, Adam, adds levity to the film in helping his friend in his endeavours though often finds himself barging in, uninvited, when he’s least wanted. …”Am I interrupting something..?”
A calvacade of others also assist Nick with his four legged ‘problem’. Most depart with their tail between their legs, much like an instantly recognizable pair of priests (Bill Oberst Jnr. and Doug Jones) who incidentely deliver some of films finest lines, while others choose to stick around for the long haul mostly for bragging rights and monetory compensation.
The film also bursts at the seams with comedic misdirector and showcases camera work that harkens back to an era where horror was classically shot, atmospheric, hair- raising and especially effective with the lights off. The soundtrack and score is also extremely impressive. Much like any other ‘worth its weight in gold’ it changes with the mood but also provides instances where a viewer might be able to pinpoint the direction in which a scene might be headed. Comedic misdirection, anyone? In one instance a Gothic themed cartoon complete with green van and an always hungry Great Dane comes to mind but in the next English Pinewood studios based medieval period pieces featuring Countesses and Cursed Romanian Princes.
As unpredictable as Hell’s Kitty is it also comes complete with flaws. For me this comes in the form of a musical number though I’m assured that those with a love for The Rocky Horror Picture Show will be temporarily sated.
All in all, Hell’s Kitty may never be nominated for an Oscar, whatever weight they hold these days, but is guaranteed to carve a smile on any self-respecting genre fans face. I guess what I’m trying to state is that this is a film that deserves a viewing no matter how silly in fact it may initially seem. Hey, it impressed the Hell outta me but then again so did Meet the Feebles (look it up and let the celluloid search commence) so there’s that!
A must watch!
Your slave to cinema extreme, deviant, often silly but always entertaining in its own particular way,
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