Back From Hell (AKA Demon Apocalypse) (1993)

This minimum opus was filmed in 1993, although its blurry look is more like an early ’80s snuff film. It has a Z-grade budget with Z-grade acting, Z-grade writing and Z-grade effects (For instance, a knife that supposedly slits a guy’s throat comes maybe within six inches of it.). When you have such limited means, why try to make a film with such a larger-than-life plot?

Father Aaron (Shawn Scarbrough), a Rockwell-looking black priest, visits his friend Jack (Larry DuBois), who reneged on a deal to sell his soul to Satan and is now on the lam. Turns out Satan has a plan to take over Earth by possessing the bodies of society’s dregs: criminals, bums, corpses…and priests? Whatever. (Our heroes find out the details of the plot by interrogating a dead body possessed by Satan, who sounds disturbingly like Yoda.)

Due to budgetary constraints, this master plan never reaches beyond a back alley, an abandoned farmhouse and remote fields. What little plot there is, is mercilessly padded with shots of establishing scenery and action-less action (e.g., walking, sitting, snoring, breathing). The director seems to think that replacing plot with scenes of blood spray will keep viewers happy. Well, maybe, if it were well done. Perhaps it’s best there’s not more plot, as the climactic scene is indicative of the quality of the screenplay: before shotgunning a ninja-clad baddie, the priest deadpans, “Tell Satan I said, ‘Kiss my black ass!'”

“Now, where’s that punk-ass altar boy?”
In his later years, a crotchety Cosby became belligerent with the Jello pudding.
“God, I miss that ninja…”


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