Film Monthly Home
Archives
Wayne Case
Interviews
Steve Anderson
The Rant
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
The Indies
Horror
Film Noir
Coming Soon
Now Playing
Television
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Interviews TV

Curse of the Zodiac

Directed by Ulli Lommel

Written by Ulli Lommel

Starring Cassandra Church, jack Quinn, Joe E. Nimetz, Victoria Ullmann

Produced by Ulli Lommel, Nola Roeper

Rated R

82 minutes

Zero Stars

Suddenly, I feel much like the falling bowl of petunias in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” I’m staring at the box for “Curse of the Zodiac,” and all I can think is:

“Oh no, not again.”

And the reason I’m feeling like a quasi-sentient bowl of petunias is because, once again, I’m talking about yet another film from horror’s very own short bus, Ulli Lommel.

I confess, I had some hope this time around. This is the story of the most notorious serial killer in United States’ history that hasn’t been caught yet! For all we know, the Zodiac Killer is living right next door to any one of us, just waiting for his next psychological brain fart to lead to all our deaths! Maybe, just maybe, the sheer suspense of knowing that Zodiac may still be out there and reading this right now might mean that even Ulli Lommel couldn’t screw this up too badly!

Maybe, just maybe, the Broken Clock Theory of Life (that states that even a broken clock is right twice a day) could save Ulli’s poor pathetic sham of a career before Lions Gate wised up and stopped distributing this man’s every steaming shitheap of a film!

Sadly, once again, I am disappointed. Sorely. “Curse of the Zodiac,” a baffling and boring-as-all-hell adaptation of the life and times of the nation’s most terrifying serial killer still at large, is standard Lommel fare, every inch.

First, Lommel, proving conclusively his grasp of the English language is tenuous at best, writes lines for a black pimp character early on in the movie. Lines like “Triflin’ ass.” And “Deez nuts.” I’ll remind those reading this that “Curse of the Zodiac” is set in the sixties to seventies. Lines like “Triflin’ ass” and “Deez nuts” first made their appearances in the mid to late NINETIES. Worse, if I had to hear the phrases “Fat Fuck” and “Pretty Girl” repeated much more often, I think I would have taken the DVD from the player and tossed it at the nearest hard surface in hopes it would break, rendering it unwatchable and sparing me a whole lot of misery.

Second, Lommel’s alarming tendency to frequently shoot the Zodiac either from behind or in blurred frames is probably an attempt at irony as we don’t really know who he is. I just found it annoying after about the first five minutes.

Third, once again, Lommel’s cinematic attention span is best compared to that of ferrets, as we’ll spend a lot of time watching a jerky camera jump from plot point to plot point and murder to murder with little or no actual point driving the whole mess.

Sometimes, I wonder if Ulli’s just cobbling together bits and pieces of random movies he shot earlier to make one larger movie.

The ending proves that I should have realized earlier on that the whole thing was a bad idea. It’s very, very hard to get resolution in a movie where the killer remains at large for the rest of his life.

The special features include Spanish subtitles, a still gallery, deleted scenes (as though this wasn’t long and dull enough already!), and trailers for “The Perfect Marriage,” “Black Dahlia,” “Drive Thru,” “Shadow Walkers,” and “Bug.”

All in all, I can’t throw any more invectives at this man’s work. There’s nothing that can be said that hasn’t already. His work is universally hideous. Avoid it at all costs.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


Got a problem? E-mail us at filmmonthly@gmail.com