In a prologue set in 1999, we watch as a quartet of nuns pluck up the courage to confront Father Renault (Steven O'Broin), the head teacher of the Catholic school that they've devoted their lives to. It turns out he's been molesting some of the pupils there.
Rather than turn himself into the police as they suggest, Renault has other plans: he shoots one sister in the head, and buries the other three alive within the school's basement walls.
Cut to the present day, and we meet Maupin (Michael Thurber), who's in charge of a Church youth group who've volunteered to spend the afternoon cleaning the school out - it's stood unused for several years - in preparation of upcoming renovations. Surly caretaker Jacob (Sean Leser) mutters and huffs as the decidedly un-Christian seeming youths make their way into the school.
We do get puritanical homophobe Meredith (Jamie Lyn Bagley). But the rest of this motley crew confess to being there for reason other than doing good. Whether it be because they're bored, or were told by their parents to go out and meet friends, this group - completed by voluptuous Kat (Anna Rizzo), Noah (Jamie Dufault), definitely-not-gay Ian (Kevin Michael Strauss), horny Patton (Ryan Nunes), Gwen (Laura Minadeo), Chester (Andrew Morais) and Becca (Jaquelyn Fabian) - don't really have Jesus on their minds.
Not that it matters a great deal, because neither do the vengeful nuns, whose spirits they resurrect by disturbing the grounds.
Yes indeed, before long the teens have split up around the school to start cleaning it ... and it takes no time before the nuns - led by creepy Sister Millicent (Monica Saviolakis) - turn up looking like black-eyed zombies. They're in the mood for bloody murder, which is our cue for eye-gouging, dismemberment, entrails-tearing, tongue-eating and crucifixion. Why? They're miffed at God for allowing such evil into the school 16 years ago.
What ensues is an afternoon of terror for the surviving youths. Along the way we get two cynical cops who pop along responding to a distress call and get much more than they bargained for, and even an appearance from Satan himself (Aaron Andrade).
Another month, another Richard Griffin film. This guy is prolific! In the last 10 years alone, writer-editor Griffin has given us more than 15 feature films - and several shorts too. Titles that you may know him by include NUN OF THAT, THE DISCO EXORCIST, FRANKENSTEIN'S HUNGRY DEAD ... Good films, one and all.
You'll also notice that Griffin's films all have a slightly retro style to them: he is clearly a huge fan of genre cinema, and knowledgeable of not only the more recent fare but also the classic monster films of yore. He celebrates his love of all things horror and exploitation in each of his own movies, and is not averse to adding a little humour into the mix while doing so.
And that's pretty much what we get with FLESH FOR THE INFERNO too. The cast are agreeable (though their acting talents vary throughout); production values are very impressive for an indie feature, benefitting from stylish colour-filtered lighting and a host of decent practical effects; the pace is kept enjoyably snappy throughout (apart from the first time we're introduced to the youth group - the banter between them seems oddly stilted).
Michael Varrati's script is sardonic from the start, with characters enjoying their acerbic lines bouncing off one-another in quick succession. At times the balance of tone between humour and horror does get a little awkward but, for the most part, Griffin is experienced enough to know how to temper such precarious straddling.
Homophobia, child abuse and religious fanaticism are not light subjects but are handled with subtle wit here: there's nothing offensive about FLESH FOR THE INFERNO. Rather, viewers are likely to come away from it with a sense of having had a good time with filmmakers unafraid of brazenly bringing to mind the likes of THE EVIL DEAD and DEMONS.
The film is presented uncut on MVD Visual's region-free DVD. It looks very good in a matted 2.35:1, 16x9 ratio. The soft look of the film is explained in one of the commentary tracks, where Griffin reveals that the heavy diffusion was a stylistic choice. Nice blacks, true colours and fine details: this is a solid transfer.
English 2.0 audio comes across very well too. No problems whatsoever in this department.
The disc opens to a static main menu. There is no scene selection option.
Bonus features begin with a highly engaging audio commentary track from Griffin, Varrati, assistant director Mark Hutchinson and producer Ted Marr. There's an awful lot of information on offer here, making for a most enjoyable chat track. We learn that the film was shot largely at the same location used for Griffin's sci-fi action epic FUTURE JUSTICE, it was made in June 2015 over the course of 9 days, and so on. Each actor is provided with background detail; Griffin enjoys pointing out the numerous moments of homage (from the fiery opening titles sequences, which nods to THE BEYOND, onwards). And who'd have known that O'Broin was a founder member of Riverdance?!
A second commentary finds Griffin joined by actors Dufault, Rizzo and Bagley. This has more laughter than the first track, and does admittedly repeat some of the stuff that's already been said, but is also a very entertaining and valid proposition.
Finally we have the film's original 82-second trailer.
Gory, lively, stylish and occasionally funny, FLESH FOR THE INFERNO is an amiable homage to Italian horror flicks of the 1970s and early 1980s. As with all other Richard Griffin films, it's well worth checking out.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by MVD Visual|
|see main review|