Heather does Lo

“If you tell me you won’t eat me, I’ll make you my wife.”

The Scoop: 2009 NR, Directed by Travis Betz and starring Jeremiah Birkett, Sarah Lassez, and Ward Roberts

Tagline: Love is Hell.

Summary Capsule: Justin loses the love of his life to a demon who attacks him and takes his girlfriend April off to Hell. Naturally, his response is to use her skin-covered book of evil to summon a demon named Lo to bring her back to him.

Heather’s Rating: 10 out of….something funny. Look, I can’t joke here. This was a great movie and you need to see it.

Heather’s Review: I don’t expect the movie I’m about to review to ever be a part of pop culture, although it really should be, but I do expect that everyone on this site heed my good word and see this film. You honestly can’t miss this if you have any love of offbeat fare, especially dark humor. And don’t be afraid to share it with your friends, folks. I watched this with a couple of people that I never would have expected to enjoy this, but it turns out they loved it.

You’ll want to pay doubly good attention to this next sentence if you want to know the best possible way to experience this movie: This is not a horror film. It’s an easy mistake to make  if you’ve only glanced at the cover and read the description before hitting play. I almost did the same thing, but managed to catch a glimpse of the genre tags describing this as a “black comedy” “cult comedy” and “dark humor”. My eyebrows did that funny little “Do-you-smell-what-the-Rock-is-cookin’?” thingy and then I just went for it. And then I just fell for it.

The opening scene starts by showing our main character Justin in near-complete darkness, lovingly crafting a pentagram on his bedroom floor (like ‘ya do). He’s following instructions in a Necronomicon-esque tome, focusing on a page with lots of mention of something called “Lo”. The scene is serious, thick with anxiety and tension. The eerie music and chanting swell, then Justin realizes he forgot something and hops out and back into the pentagram, knocking over a candle in the process. The resulting sound of pained wailing in the background got a chuckle out of everyone in the room.

Things get ominous again as Justin finally figures out what he’s supposed to do to complete the ritual. The room goes black. Here enters Lo, and I have to say that the  first time I saw the entrance of Lo serves as one of the creepiest things I’ve seen in a long time.

After the initial attempt at scaring the crap out of Justin, Lo breaks down into a sarcastic, demeaning tone in which he starts to berate the guy for summoning him. Justin, completely unfazed, stands his ground and reminds Lo who is in charge. Lo responds by naming him “Dinner”, and thus begins the back-and-forth banter that I so love about this film.

Justin reveals that he’s summoned Lo to scour the depths of Hell for his love, April, who was stolen by demons. Lo continually attempts to worm out of this task, first by making it clear that Hell’s kind of a big place and thus the chances are slim to none he’ll find her. No good. Lo then tries revealing that April is really a demon and their relationship was all a lie. Nope, he’s not going for that. Eventually things come down to Lo threatening Justin and tricking him into possible eternal damnation. Through it all, Justin will not be moved until Lo brings April back to him.

The story is told almost solely through dialogue between Lo and Justin. This dialogue takes place with Justin in, and Lo just outside of, that pentagram the entire time. The only switching of scenery we get is through Justin’s memory of his relationship with April, which Lo projects in front of them like a stage play. This minimalistic approach, this simple and bare telling of such an interesting story, is what really makes this movie stand out as such an intriguing work.

We don’t get fancy effects (save for the amazing job done on Lo’s makeup). We don’t even get more than a three-person main cast of characters. What we do get are intentionally cheesy stage productions, which only serve to add to the hilarious oddity of the situation. A favorite touch of mine is when we can see the imagined backstage crew waiting for their cues and providing prop assistance for Justin’s memories.

Speaking of actors, sort of, these guys were really quite good. April was beautiful, quirky and warm, Justin almost comes off as a chump at first, but pulls it together with his strength and determination, and Lo…well he’s just a ton of fun to watch whenever he’s on screen and basically became the star of it all for me. It didn’t hurt these guys that they got dialogue that was very cleaver and, at times, beautiful.

There are lots of sophomoric jokes and instances of filthy mouth, and that puts some people off, but honestly that came across as believable to me. If I were to meet a demon from Hell I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it had the language skills of one of the cast members of American Pie. I could have gone without the minute long usage of “g- d-“,  though.

Oh and as for things I could have done without, the scene with May and June was almost enough the first time through to make me give up on this movie. When I went back to it it wasn’t quite as bad as I remember, but I feel compelled to warn you that at 37 minutes in you might feel your will to live bleed right out of you. If so, just skip past that scene or muscle on through. The story that this film has to tell, and the surprising way it tells it, are well worth it.

I love creating unholy abominations to describe movies, so I leave you with this: Lo is kind of like the result of Dead and Breakfast having a tryst with Army of Darkness that was laced with What Dreams May Come, and the whole crazy night ended with M. Night Shyamalan showing up at the last minute and making everyone cry.

What, this doesn't happen on your first dates?

Intermission!

  • Danse Macabre playing during Justin’s memory of how he met April.
  • Is it just me or did the bartender’s dance music sound like something off the Katamari Damacy soundtrack?
  • Remember, kids: When in a battle against a demon, a shot to the head with a finger pistol will buy you a few extra seconds.
  • The makeup was done by Tom Devlin’s 1313fx. Given the amazing job he did on Lo, I wanted to see what else this guy has done. Turns out he did the makeup that I lambasted so heartily in Princess of Mars, which explains why Jeez looked kind of crap around the eyes (even Lo, if you look hard enough).
  • The original music, created by Scott Glasgow, was spot-on and haunts you after you’ve finished the film.
  • A demon doing jazz hands is likely the best thing I’ve seen in a movie this year.

Groovy Quotes:

Lo:  Now clean the sh*t from your pants and tell me what you want.

Lo:  What’s your name?
Justin:  Justin.
Lo:  That’s a terrible name. Doesn’t fit your future. Allow me to baptize you…ah! “Dinner”.
Justin:  It’s Justin.
Lo: Dinner! You have to let go of the past.

Justin: I summoned you. You have to obey my charge.
Lo:  That might be loosely true, but I’m under no obligation to respect you and, given the opportunity, I WILL eat you.

Justin: You took her.
Jeez:  I know! Got a medal for it, too. [Puts the medal around his neck] Now that’s what I call pretty.

Lo:  [sarcastically] Yes! Her name is the rain that brings the flowers. Look, I’m sure you two had a deep, emotional connection but the simple fact is that Hell is a big place. Kinda roomy, endless amount of souls been around since the dawn of man. We don’t keep records.
Justin: I’ll wait.
Lo:  What? No! What?
Justin: While you look for her.
Lo:   No. Nooo.  I’m busy.

Justin:  I, I’m having a conversation with my brain through my hand.
[voice]: Miss me?
Justin:  Shut up! Shut up, my brain!
Lo:  Ha ha ha. You’re silly.

Jeez: I’m gonna tell you a story. Through song!

Lo: The safety of that circle hath swelled your ego something fierce.

Waiter:  I assure you, sir, I am the best bartender in this room.

Jeez:  Stop that! You look like a child who has proudly sh*t his pants.

Justin [to Jeez, about love]:  There’s no way I can define something you’ll never feel.

Jeez:  Warning: You die here and you belong to us
Justin: You got a song about that?
Jeez:  Actually I do…but it’s missing the bass line and hasn’t been mixed yet so you don’t get to hear it!

April:   I’m not a woman, Justin. I’m not human.
Justin:  But you love me.

Justin: What do you know of how we feel, except what you get out of us through torture? You demons claim to be all powerful, but you’re beaten by your jealously toward us.

April:  Strange place to be picking up girls.

Justin: If you tell me you won’t eat me, I’ll make you my wife.

Lo:  Oh! Oh, oh, oh! Dinner! Question: Did your girlfriend just make up her name?

Lo:  Frightened children shouldn’t play with Pentagrams.

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14 Comments

  1. How on earth had I never heard of this before? It’s exactly the kind of film I would love. And I do! Thanks for the point towards it. (side note, was totally geeky enough to recognize the voice of Bluebell the Troll, terrified throughout the Nine Kingdoms. Wow, maybe I should get out more…. Nah) Will definitely be passing the rec on and looking at more of this director’s stuff now.

  2. That’s terrific, coffinjumper. I’m glad you love it.

    I’ve never heard of The Tenth Kingdom, but I’ll be checking that out.

    As for Travis Betz’s stuff, I plan to check out more as well. So far Little Big Top and Sunday look the most appealing.

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  5. This movie is something, in a good way. Lo scares me but also amuses me Its slightly hard to be scared of Jeez April in her demonic form more scares me O.o This is one of those filcks you out on either by yourself or with a significant other when you want to watch something slightly mindless but charming at the same time. Love the make up effects! Yes about a minute or two long of Alah Damn it! kinda got old >.> Jeez is so smexy smoking! Aprils demon form scares the hell outta me O.o Maybe cause it reminds me of The Exercist

    Fave Quotes: Jeez: “I can still taste your blood.. . it’s delicious”

    Lo: Hey dumb ass! You looking to speed up the dying process or what?”

    Lo: “I knew it! You’re a Racist!”

    Jeez: “dude, dude I hear you fell for the ‘drink this and you can walk through Hell’ bit”

    Jeez: “You can’t control two demons, its like trying to f*** two chicks with one dick . . shiskabob . . ”

    Lo: “Oh! oh! oh! oh! oh! Dinner Question: Did your girlfriend just make up her name?”

    Jeez: “Oh I know you wanna kiss me!”

    Lo: [sarcastically] Yes! Her name is the rain that brings the flowers. Look, I’m sure you two had a deep, emotional connection but the simple fact is that Hell is a big place. Kinda roomy, endless amount of souls been around since the dawn of man. We don’t keep records.

    Lo: What? No! What?

    Lo: No. Nooo. I’m busy.

    Jeez: Stop that! You look like a child that has proudly S*** his pants!

    Jeez: Actually I do…but it’s missing the bass line and hasn’t been mixed yet so you don’t get to hear it! Nauuuhh!

    Lo: You put so much as one pinky outside of that circle I’ll have you in my belly for 90 years that’s how long my juices take to break down a little B**** like you

    Lo: Miss me? (that sooooo sounds formilure! XD)

    Lo: Ha ha ha! You’re funny!

    Lo: I went to get my smokes . . .it’s cool

    Lo: I donno maybe she thought I was cute

    Lo: Frightened children shouldn’t play with pentagrams

    Lo: The safety of that circle has swelled your ego something fierce

    Lo: You sure it wasn’t a bear? I hear they’re getting braver these days

    Lo: So I’ll just reach into the Ass of Hell and get her for ya!

    Jeez: What so the Lump Scenario’s Bulls**?!

    Jeez: Sister, you’re well out of practice!

    Lo: Now clean the s***t from your pants and tell me what you want.

    • Thanks for the comment, Nicky! I’m glad you really like the film. It’s one of my favorites and I recommend it to everyone I think might enjoy it. I think the film does a great job of keeping just enough creepiness and dread throughout, but still remaining funny. The director (Travis Betz) has another movie out right now that you might want to check out, called The Dead Inside.

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