Olaf Ittenbach’s follow up to PREMUTOS: LORD OF THE LIVING DEAD (1997) has been dogged by controversy, heavily cut in Germany, and suffering severe editing problems in the US where scenes were also cut to achieve an R rating. Anchor Bay UK have just released this 89 minute version, that appears to be uncut, but still lacks a cohesive plot with several scenes omitted and included as extras
The tale concerns an alien race on the verges of extinction, one of its members a blonde guy called Togolo (Mathias Hues) has sent to earth a couple of recruiters; a knife-wielding assassin called Jeff (Hank Stone) and his clumsy side-kick Nicholad (Harvey P. Alperin) to kill people, and suck out their souls upon which they return as zombified members of “The Legion”. Togolo is also searching for his long lost love Geena (Kimberly Lee), who turned her back on the dark side, and now works on earth as a waitress, with the ability to morph into a multi-fanged monster – along with other creatures that have also come to earth.
Stumbling through the desert two buddies Billy (Michael Carr) and Luke (Russell Friedenberg), fresh from a run in with a psychopathic serial killer called Mike (Chris Kriesa), come across Geena’s bar, an attraction between her and Billy starts to build and the scene is set for a bar battle between Togolo’s army, the bar regulars and assorted monster/human hybrids reminiscent of FROM DUST ‘TIL DAWN.
LEGION OF THE DEAD is a pretty ambitious movie that fails in its aping of Tarantino with humour that comes across as ridiculous slapstick and flat characterisations. Hank Stone and Chris Kriesa do the best with the script, and Rosie Perez wannabe, Kimberly Lee, has the butt, but can’t really act to save it. The movie does score fairly well with one or two decent monster transformations, many of them again overseen by director Ittenbach (I especially enjoyed the death/dumb beauty whose vagina spews forth a horrific demon head) and some nifty amputations and stabbings.
Ittenbach was clearly under production pressures with this film, some of the problems are outlined in the supplementary background essay and interviews contained in the ‘Making Of’ featurette included on the DVD. Nevertheless the film is still worth a look for some cool cinematography, an interesting alien craft whose floor turns to fluid, and numerous nods to movies that include BASKET CASE, THE EVIL DEAD, THE MATRIX, THE THING, and out-takes from GHOST STORY.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Olaf Ittenbach
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
An Anchor Bay UK Release
All region Cropped for Widescreen 16:9 / Dolby Digital Stereo, 2.0, 5.1 and DTS
LEGION OF THE DEAD