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March 22, 2012

Movie Review: The Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell (2011)

I really thought it was quite fitting that The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell director Ron Atkins opened his film with this brilliant quotation from the great W.C Fields: "I am free of all prejudice, I hate everyone equally". These words set up perfectly what you experience for the entire running time of Atkins' film. Independent horror icon Jim Van Bebber (The Manson Family, Deadbeat at Dawn) and John Giancaspro (Schizophreniac: The Whore Mangler) star in this amazingly fucked-up fairytale that brings Giancaspro's vile Harry Russo head to head with the titular character in Roger Watkins' shocker Last House on Dead End Street, Terry Hawkins (played by Van Bebber). One of these guys is bad enough..but both??

It's Las Vegas, somewhere in the near future, and the population has gone to shit. The streets of the normally crowded city are barren, as are the surrounding areas. Is that gonna stop necrophiliac-rapist Harry Russo and snuff filmmaker Terry Hawkins from terrorizing the folks of "Sin City"? Both Russo and Hawkin's begin the film going their separate ways but still serving up their own devious brands of brutality. Russo and Hawkins eventually meet in a not-so friendly fashion with Hawkins kicking the crap out of Russo, and tying him to a motel shitter whilst watching porno.

While tied to the john, Harry pleads with Hawkins about how they can work together and make their own  snuff films. Hawkins seems to like this idea. There's also another twist:  Russo wants Hawkins come along on his journey in finding "The Nigger of Cause". No, not the Wizard of Oz. Naturally, The Wicked Witch makes an amusing appearance and of course The Nigger of Cause (who looks kind of like Flava Flav’s brother). During the expedition we get to see John Wayne Gacey giving pointers to Russo on how to track down The Nigger of Cause, Hawkins uses some kung fu and obliterates a couple guys wearing monkey masks in the desert, there's also taco eating and a high volume of anal rape along the way.

Atkins has done a fine job in creating what is essentially a post-apocalyptic backdrop on a very meager budget. I do like seeing the nods to Last House on Dead-End Street, as there are plenty. The iconic mask from the film even pops up in a few scenes. Van Bebber’s turn as Hawkins is fun and reminiscent of Watkins as the Hawkins character – sleazy as ever. Giancaspro brings Russo to a new level – if that’s even possible.

The biggest thing that makes The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell enjoyable, is that actors appear to be having a blast from scene to scene. I did notice what appeared to be a fair amount improvisation here with the Hawkins and Russo characters. This often lead to some of the wildest most profane dialogue this reviewer has ever heard. When I wasn’t in tears from laughing, I was just sitting there in awe thinking “did they just say what I think they said?” The rewind on the DVD player came in very handy.

The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell is easily Atkins’ most enjoyable feature and it certainly helps that Van Bebber and Giancaspro are a fucking powder-keg of insanity. Throw away all your morals and grab your copy of The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell ASAP! You'll either hate me or love me for it. Recommended!

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