Review: INSTRUMENTS OF EVIL (2016) – SFFF 2016
Not actually a part of this year’s Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival per se. This shown at the pre-fest party at Bartari Video Game Bar, where I got to watch it at a table with director Huw Evans. The low budget, shot in Saskatoon, Instruments Of Evil was one of the highlights of my trip. Watching it again later on DVD when I could give it my full attention just confirmed my initial opinion.
Instruments Of Evil is an anthology film with three stories and a wraparound. All deal with cursed musical instruments and the Dark Viking (Huw Evans) who is on a perpetual quest to destroy these sonic demons. The wraparound takes place at a police station where all of the instruments are being kept as evidence in various murder cases. It’s also where things come to a climax, but we’ll get to that later.
The first story “Hip-Hop Zombies” starts in 1985. The recording session for D.J. Daddy Long Leg (Dylan Evans) 45 of Rise Up and Daddy Like Booty also manages to record a voodoo ritual from the shop next door. Now not only can playing this in a graveyard raise the dead, it can make them breakdance, with some unforeseen effects. This is a great send-up of zombie movies, rappers, hipsters and Micheal Jackson’s Thriller.
The second “Gratuitous Violins” deals with a couple, (Jordan Bzdel, Jackie Block) kidnapped by a masked killer in order to be test subjects for his latest torture device. With a mask that looks like a kid’s homemade version of Scream’s Ghostface, The Sinister Violinister (Brock Andrews) is something of a cross between Jigsaw and Wile E. Coyote. Add in a wonderfully goofy backstory and weapons, and you have a nice spoof of the torture porn genre.
“Heavy Metal Devil” is the tale of the band The Flame Demons, who’s quest for stardom hits roadblock after roadblock. Demoted from feature band to openers, their name misspelled as The Lame Demons on the poster. And humiliated by the new headliners Hard and Faust. However, the band’s lead singer DeVille (Stacy DeVille) offers them a chance at fame in return for a human sacrifice. Of course, these things never end well, as their wishes come all too true. It’s This Is Spinal Tap meets Wishmaster and features a particularly effective face-ripping scene.
Finally, The Dark Viking tracks the instruments of evil to Sgt. Henry Savage’s (Rich Belhumeur) precinct. The two of them, with the aid of recently arrested hooker Nadine (Anna Mazurik), must put down the demons as they threaten to take over the planet. The effects look like something from an original Atari game. And that perfectly fits the tone here. They were in fact placeholders until better effects could be shot. But everyone agreed they were just what the segment called for.
Instruments Of Evil is much funnier than the better known Saskatchewan lensed Wolfcop and Another Wolfcop and really deserves to be picked up for distribution. I mean, if The Velocipastor and Killer Sofa can get picked up, this should too. For the moment, you can order it from the company’s website. For just $20 it’s more than worth it. You can also check the film’s Facebook page for more information.