Reflections of Evil

Reflections of Evil

First off, a little background…I received an email some time ago from a filmmaker called Damon Packard who was interested in SGM reviewing his self produced opus "Reflections of Evil'. Sure thing I said, well we love the opportunity to check out new filmmakers work but my interest was doubly intrigued when I took a look at Packard's website for the film itself. Well you see this guy went ahead and got his finished film pressed onto professional DVD (no not DVDR) complete with extras et al, now whilst some may indeed say "so what? What's the big deal?" - well the big deal here is that Packard went ahead and gave away every damn copy of the pressed DVD completely free to absolutely anyone, totally gratis. And we're not even talking sending them out to industry folk, but to any Joe walking down the street or left lying in video stores for folk to help themselves! Amusingly the films website contains some very diverse feedback from said passing consumers, some who even vent their anger at what they have viewed even though what they say didn't cost them a dime. Cunning marketing ploy or misguided insanity? Who knows. But I'm straying way off track here and we really should look at the film itself…

As the film opens we meet a somewhat insane homeless obese guy ranting and raving on a suburban street, after attracting the unwelcome attention of the locals he vomits violently all over the road before passing out. We cut to a few months earlier where we meet said guy as he begins his spiraling journey into misery - we soon discover that he is Bobby, a down on his luck street trader who sells cheap crap watches for $5 a time, business is slow and all around him all he sees is the insane and mentally ill homeless so he takes solace in eating. Following this ok? Well you very soon wont be as 'Reflections of Evil' soon slides so way off track you wont know what the hell is going on anymore!

We cut to the film within a film that is the 'Reflections of Evil'- a delightful pastiche of vintage 70's movies with retro 70's stoner hippies, homosexuality in the Omega Man, talentless teen Spielberg as we follow a young girl who strays off the Universal Studio tour set and later gets drawn into a series of classic horror movie set pieces. The retro movie continues sporadically as it becomes increasingly interspersed with the growingly insane Bobby's spiraling madness. What will happen when the two collide and is Bobby doomed to nothing but insanity and misery…or worse?

Now I realise that on paper, 'Reflections of Evil' may not seem to gripping but too miss out on seeing this little masterpiece would be a great injustice to any real film fan and to filmmaker Damon Packard. I've watched this gem several times now (yes it is that good) and initially I couldn't decide whether 'Reflections of Evil' was the product of an established big shot director talking the piss out of the industry under a pseudonym or the work of a amazingly talented insane genius - it seems that Damon Packard is indeed a talented if somewhat insane genius.

'Reflections of Evil' is a stunning film; in fact I'd go as far to say that it is the best independent feature produced in years. Be warned though, there is nothing conventional about this film whatsoever so if you don't like your viewing experience challenged then steer well clear of 'Reflections of Evil', you'll more than likely hate it. That said, the film has so much fun going for it on so many levels there's much for folk to love- whether you want to read into all the tragedy of the lack of care in the community for homeless mentally ill or just get right royally stoned and fuck your head right up with the simply gorgeous aural and visual stoner eye candy (and boy will this one fuck you right up). Perhaps for some too the film may be somewhat overlong (at over 2 hours) but this is indeed a film worth kicking back with and more so on several viewings (something I'm not normally known to do but this film is just so addictive).

As for the presentation on the DVD itself, well for a low budget independent feature you wont believe just how good this looks and sounds - the image is pin sharp and gorgeous looking throughout, likewise the audio is stunning and makes excellent use of any home cinema set up which welcomingly adds to the insane viewing experience. As mentioned earlier, this self produced DVD also contains some tasty extras - first up is an extended trailer for a Lord of the Rings type fantasy film called 'Apple', next up (and perhaps best of all) is a mouth watering nine minute showreel/extended trailer titled 'The Early 70's Horror Trailer' (later to be expanded in 'Reflections of Evil') that quite simply should give any genre retro horror genre fan an absolute thrill- gorgeous stuff and perfection in itself. Wrapping things up is a short teaser trailer for the main feature itself.

Whether or not you will get the opportunity to see this film though is another matter now entirely, Packard has now given away all copies he had pressed up and frustratingly no one seems too interested in licensing this one for a full official release (industry readers, get off your arse and do something about this right now!) Damon Packard though still continues to work away on his own brand of cinematic genius (more recently with the scathingly hilarious Star Wars Mockumentary but more on that later) so hopefully he wont be deterred and in time get support keep gems like this coming.

For more information on the work of Damon Packard visit his official site by clicking here .

Review by Alan Simpson