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THE NINTH GATE is a gas, I'm entirely surprised to report. Roman Polanski's latest is a half-camp, half-straight-faced Euro-thriller starring Johnny Depp as a "book detective" (their words) research- ing a rare Satanic text. See, there's this wealthy occult-ologist in New York (Frank Langella, looking heavier and nerdier) who be- lieves his centuries-old copy could be a fake. So, he sends Depp's chain-smoking character to Europe, to compare Copy A with Copies B and C, the only others in existence. Sleuthing ensues, along with a dollop of sex and increasing amounts of murderous mayhem. Depp, looking a decade older than his SLEEPY HOLLOW self, keeps stumbling across dead bodies. That is, when not being seduced, slugged, chased, followed, or encountering yet another mystery woman with martial arts prowess. (In an amusing post-coital moment, he also quips *the* quintessential retort to the threat "don't f*** with me.") It's all played pretty straight, through probably not enough for some. They'll scream "silly" at a pair of cackling, identical- twin European book restorers. Or at the many "stalking" camera shots. Or, my favorite, at Langella concluding his strangulation of someone by exclaiming "boo!" Hilarious. Beware, too, the mul- tiple endings, each of which makes increasing less sense than the one before. Just what *was* Johnny Boy's motivation at the end, anyway... Speaking of Satanism (oh, how long I've waited to write that line), take a peek at "Lucifer Rising" by Gavin Bradley (Plex- us Publishing, 1999). "Sin, Devil Worship, and Rock 'n' Roll" is the subject of this fascinating, 256-page trade paperback that traces the history of Satanism, its presence in 20th Century cul- ture, and its many manifestations at the end of the millenium. Heavy metal is covered, in its many forms, as are such historical figures as Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Anger, and Anton LaVey. Plus some naughty photos. And, of course, if anyone asks why you're reading and/or buying such a book, just say "the Devil made me do it." Grade: B Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros
Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: What is This That Stands Before Me?
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros - Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros