Tuesday, November 30

Underworld (Transmutations) (1985) - Tohokushinsha Home Video Japan VHS

An ex-boyfriend of a kidnapped girl is strong-armed into finding her whereabouts under the city streets in a labyrinth controlled by drug-addicted mutants. After giving this seemingly universally damned effort the benefit of the doubt, George Pavlou's Underworld (U.S. title: Transmutations) is another '80s genre mash-up that's just plain uneventful over being unwatchable. Clive Barker was the brainchild of the story and wrote his first screenplay for the feature, but large chunks were either tossed or rewritten removing any potential the end result had. Horribly dated and "fast-forward" predictable with no self-identity or gore. The mutant "make-up" looks a half-step above busting open a Pillsbury canister and sticking lumps of dough on your face. As the credits rolled, I envisioned a world of horror and fantasy without Barker and concluded this film would probably still exist...and still blow.     

Underworld and Rawhead Rex prompted Barker to handle Hellraiser's screen translation himself and his 1987 classic only makes those two even more antiqued in comparison. At least the latter, also helmed by Pavlou, had a huge maniacal jawbeast gleefully ripping victims asunder. Visit Clive Barker Revelations for an insightful look at this debacle and Barker's unused "Pinhead" ending for the film. This fan-made trailer recaps Underworld so you don't have to waste the time. All three links are much more interesting than Pavlou's mishandled mess. Also the film runs 87 minutes; not 103 minutes like many resources mistakenly indicate.


John said...

Why my comment hasn't been approved? I took the time to comment...

Jayson Kennedy said...

Sorry about that John, the Expendables Facebook page tried to spam that entry with some crap about a contest and I accidentally deleted your comment. :(

Though I have checked the US Vestron "Transmutations" tape and the runtime matches this tape. Also the runtime difference between NTSC and PAL is only about three-four minutes. Japanese tapes are NTSC anyway. :)

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?

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