Saturday, February 11, 2012

Movie Review: Rudyard Kipling's Mark of the Beast

The name Rudyard Kipling has long been connected to a little jungle boy, dancing apes and a big blue bear, but for those who haven't delved into this writings beyond Jungle Book, they might be surprised to discover that old Rudy had a warped mind that he used to write several fantastic horror stories over the course of his life. One of his most popular was Mark of the Beast, and finally, Bloodbath Pictures and Hale Manor bring this tale to life.

Starring Debbie Rochon, Dick Boland, Ellen Muth and a host of Bloodbath regulars, like Phil Hall, Sheri Lynn, Matt Ford and Margaret Rose Champagne, Mark of the Beast is a departure from Bloodbath's previous films as it is played largely straight. The movie follows two people (Rochon and Boland) as they try to deal with saving a friend (Hall) who after defacing a religious shrine becomes cursed by the silver leper who lives in the forest that surrounds their homes. Their fight to survive becomes a life and death struggle for all involved, including the faceless silver leper, and the lengths at which they go to save their friend will not be without its repercussions.

With fantastic creature design and an outstanding, bombastic score, Rudyard Kipling's Mark of the Beast is Bloodbath's most inspired effort to date. Adapted for the screen by Thomas Edward Seymour (who also directed with Jonathan Gorman) and Sheri Lynn, Mark of the Beast effectively combines 70s-style horror with deep-running religious, political and moral themes -- and hey, it has Debbie Rochon in it!

While I'll always love Bloodbath's "Bikini Bloodbath" movies, I am glad to see that the troupe is spreading its wings and embracing tougher, more serious films. Seymour and the rest have a ton of talent to share with us and each film represents significant growth in their film making process, and Mark of the Beast is no different. I give Mark of the Beast ****1/2 out of *****.

Check out the trailer for Rudyard Kipling's Mark of the Beast below:

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