Charle (Rob Lowe’s affably boyish younger brother Chad) and Rachel (delectable blonde hottie Kristy Swanson, who originated the part of everyone’s favorite bloodsucker-stomping high school cheerleader in the flop movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) are a sweetly pure and innocent young couple who make the usual mistake of driving down a remote desert dirt road. When Rachel gets abducted by the pernicious superhuman fiend Hellcop (hulking C.J. Graham; Jason in “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives”), Charlie literally has to go to hell to rescue Rachel within twenty-four hours or otherwise the Devil (a smoothly sneaky and ingratiating Patrick Bergin) will have her soul for all eternity.
Director Arte De Jong, working from Brian Helgeland’s quirkily creative script, presents a gloriously offbeat vision of Hades in this wildly eccentric and imaginative horror-comedy-drama-action-adventure handy dandy multi-genre combo oddity. Among the arrestingly off-kilter sights to be seen in this wacked-out beaut are a greasy spoon diner populated by cops who are never served with a short order cook (a pre-stardom Ben Stiller) who fries eggs on the sidewalk, a gang of hostile bikers, a psycho ice cream man, road workers who all look like Andy Warhol, a butt-ugly libidinous lady demon, a three-headed mutant dog, and a highway with nothing but speeding Volkswagons rippin’ down the road. Moreover, Lowe makes for a refreshingly wimpy and reluctant hero while Swanson registers strongly as a very fair and appealing maiden in distress. Popping up in snazzy bits are the ever-amiable Richard Farnsworth as a folksy, friendly ol’ fuddy dud gas station proprietor, Pamela Gidley as a helpful motorcycle mama, 80’s hard rock icon Lita Ford as a crazed hitch-hiker, stand-up comic Gilbert Gottfried as a raving neurotic Hitler, and Kevin Peter Hall as the eyeless captain of a boat which travels across the river Styx. Robin Vidgeon’s bright, dazzling cinematography and a way cool bluesy’n’funky score by Hidden Faces further enhance the marvelously idiosyncratic merriment to be found in this one-of-a-kind flaky favorite.
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