Chistopher a young college student enters religious studies at a college run by an enigmatic fiancier. But the financiers true goal is to raise an ancient voodoo army of the undead. One by one all the students are transfor... more »med into ceremonial dolls and christopher must uncover the horrifying truth. Studio: E1 Entertainment Release Date: 10/23/2001 Starring: Rhett Jordan Travis Sher Run time: 180 minutes Rating: R Director: Richard Chasen« less
John A. from FORT WAYNE, IN Reviewed on 2/6/2008...
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
This film ain't about the acting...it's about the boys.
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The reviewer who reviewed this film prior to me did so before the DVD was released, and it shows. The VHS and studio release version of this film was only 70 minutes, because the studio head felt there was too much homoeroticism. Thus whole scenes of the characters in bed (no sex, no touching, just writhing away while having a nightmare), or running around in their boxer-briefs were removed. The process of the rub-down with the tainted wine was cut and edited, and a very controversial "confessional" scene (once again, no sex, no touching, just writhing) was eliminated. Along with them went quasi-central parts of the story.The DVD has been fully restored, original opening, original story, original cast, and original footage. It is now well over an hour. It is also very, very homoerotic. In the materials they refer to it as the first horror film for girls ... this is true. All the hackneyed conventions: victims stalked in their underwear, menaced in their underwear, figuring out the terrifying truth...in their underwear is here. Yep, all the victims are virgins too. Except here, they are all male.The real gem in this DVD collection is the add-on package. There is a running commentary available with some of the most hilarious observations combined with technical background and all the gossip on the shelved and highly edited versions (the studio head was very disturbed by the idea that these victims were boys). There is an unheard of gem in a "raw" audio track without special effects, looping, dubbing, score, or editing. There you hear the director calling the shots ("writhe more, writhe more!" "Now unbutton the pants!") as well as more technical aspects of the film. There is a blooper reel, but it is largely unremarkable, and there is a behind the scenes feature.If you like kitschy horror or are a person (woman or man) who loves tight young men in their underwear, then you'll love this film and be glad it's not on VHS, where you'd wear it out. If you don't, try SCREAM or something...this is most definitely a cult favorite type of film."
Totally unexpected hunk-fest from Full Moon
Libretio | 06/04/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
(USA - 2000)
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 Soundtrack: Stereo
It isn't going to win awards for classy production values or groundbreaking scriptwork, but the thing that truly distinguishes writer-director David DeCoteau's VOODOO ACADEMY from every other routine Full Moon production is its blatant, shameless, GLORIOUS homoeroticism: Of the nine people in the cast, eight of them are hunky young guys, all of whom are stripped down to their underwear at every trivial opportunity, inviting a brazenly voyeuristic appreciation of their youthful perfection. There's no full-on nudity, not even from behind (boo! hiss!), but virtually every scene is a triumph of male beauty over narrative artistry. Not that I'm complaining, you understand!
The excuse for all this rampant pulchritude is a typically threadbare Full Moon concoction: An evil demoness (Debra Mayer at her campiest) lures six virginal - ahem! - theology students to her 'Bible Academy' under false pretences where she hopes to seduce them in turn and then transform them into living voodoo dolls before harnessing their powers and claiming dominion over the souls of the dead. As you can see, this is a movie in which beefcake takes precedence over plot, all the way down the line!
Shot in four days early in 1999 but not actually completed and copyrighted until the following year, the film was originally released to home video in an R-rated version, minus 23 minutes of frankly astonishing material. The missing footage - without which this movie is nothing - includes two scenes involving half-naked guys having demonic wine rubbed over their torsos by a wicked priest (Chad Burris); quite a lot of footage of more half-naked guys suffering from 'erotic dreams' and writhing in their beds; and a jaw-dropping sequence inside a confessional where ultra-beautiful Ben Indra strips off his shirt and, er... gets creative with a crucifix (I'll say no more). Honestly, if your eyeballs haven't melted in their sockets by this point in the movie, then you're either straight or dead. Or both.
All of the deleted footage, you'll be pleased to hear, has been restored for home video, and while the movie itself may be amateurish and poorly written, DeCoteau really ought to be applauded for subverting traditional notions of 'exploitation' cinema, an area in which he's been toiling for many years. Hitherto, such movies have catered almost exclusively to a heterosexual male audience, treating an endless succession of beautiful young women like pre-packaged slices of disposable meat. True, VOODOO ACADEMY simply switches genders and leers over its young male cast in much the same way, but at least it proves something which straight movie fans have known for decades: A pretty face and a good body can turn even the worst movie into something worthwhile, even valuable. So, notwithstanding DeCoteau's bizarre assertion that "Voodoo..." was intended predominantly for teenage girls (!!?), this is one of the few movies to bring an overtly gay sensibility into the mainstream arena. No hedging, no metaphors, and no excuses - it's up-front and in-your-face like nothing else since Alan Daniels' equally extraordinary THE BOYS OF CELLBLOCK Q (1992)! Oddly enough, despite all the homoerotic writhings and fumblings, none of the characters are identified as gay (except the priest), yet they just don't seem able to keep their clothes on for more than five minutes. And no, I'm STILL not complaining!
Smartly edited by Tom Vater (who apparently took one look at the material and promptly fell in love with it), and competently photographed by Howard Wexler, the production just manages to avoid looking like a home movie. But it's the cast which carries the picture and, to their credit, they hurl themselves into the spirit of things with unrestrained gusto. However, given the two-day rehearsal period and rushed shooting schedule, the acting is inevitably no more than functional at best, though some of the actors (like the aforementioned Ben Indra, and the mega-buffed Huntley Ritter, whose torso-rubdown is really something to behold!) clearly have a natural talent. And while the movie was designed as a vehicle for lead Riley Smith (very attractive, but not necessarily the sexiest guy in the cast), it's really an ensemble piece. The only disappointment is Chad Burris as the priest - this is his only movie to date, and he's clearly not a professional actor. Or if he is, he hides it well.
Predictably, the movie suffered a rocky ride to fruition. During the audio commentary which accompanied the original US DVD edition, DeCoteau revealed how he and Full Moon head honcho Charles Band faced opposition to the project from various outraged colleagues, one of whom was subsequently dropped from the company. He also mentions how a number of technical personnel were unusually quiet whilst filming some of the 'riskier' scenes, and while his comments are guarded, he seems justifiably upset by their attitudes. Frankly, if these guys had any qualms about the material, they should have signed-up for "Beach Bimbos in Heat" or whatever, and left THIS production to people who were more in tune with the director's ambitions.
Make no mistake, VOODOO ACADEMY is a bad movie, but it's also a uniquely daring experiment, one whose shameless excess is its true redeeming feature. Sure, it's superficial and exploitative, but so what? You think Tom Cruise became a star solely on the basis of his acting abilities? If he looked like Quasimodo, nobody would care about his dramatic talents. There's no shame in enjoying other people's beauty, even in movies as frivolous as this one. And while our reactions to different movies may be complex and unfathomable, if you enjoy something like VOODOO ACADEMY for no other reason than the opportunity it provides viewers to gawp at sexy young guys in various stages of undress, then the film has succeeded on its own modest terms and requires no further justification. Are there any other gay filmmakers out there who recognize this principle and are prepared to confront it head-on, as Mr. DeCoteau has done?
Memo to Mr. DeCoteau: Similar outrageous 'experiments' are keenly anticipated by this viewer, but next time try spending some money on a more adventurous narrative, and allocate more time to pre-production and principal photography. The frequent, gratuitous undressing of beefcake actors is always, welcome, of course! And if you could persuade Ben Indra to come back and do another scene like that eye-popping confessional sequence, some of us would be more than grateful. Thank you.
I think I'll go and lie down now... "
4 stars for the eye candy alone, NO doubt . . .
jadedromantic | Houston, TX | 05/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, the director of this film is openly gay - but that is NOT news if you've seen it. "Voodoo Academy" is rife with young, hot and well-built young men in white boxer briefs spending good chunks of the movie writhing around and touching/rubbing themselves while dreaming in their beds. . .The story is lame and laughable - a group of 6 boys at a bible college are really being used as guinea pigs by the Evil Lady Demon and her equally-evil Reverend, one by one being turned into mini-voodoo dolls as their "pure and innocent" souls are sucked from the INCREDIBLY HOT bodies in order to bring some big boss demon back to take over the world . . . or something like that. The effects are weak, the acting sporadically believable --But if you are female or a gay male - WOW. This movie takes the exploitation of the female body generally found in horror movies and flips it, this time making some VERY hot and hunky guys the object of lust and desire. Huntley Ritter as Rusty particularly stands out, incredible face and physique, and even Chad Burris as Reverand Carmichael sports his naked torso in the DVD version before rubbing wine into a few hot bodies with relish.If you have a DVD player, don't even THINK about getting the VHS version - the DVD is packed with extras, and the 23 extra minutes of footage in the film was used wisely in showcasing even more of the bodies of the film's young male cast. Some of the reviewers here call this softcore porn, which I did NOT agree with when I saw the VHS version - having now bought and seen the DVD, I would agree; I noticed some gay men here disputing the homoeroticism in the film, but honestly it IS sometimes more what you DON'T see than what you DO see that turns you on - - And on that score, "Voodoo Academy" scores a major touchdown. A guilty pleasure that will bring you minimum guilt and maximum pleasure. . . The added blooper reel on the DVD is kind of lame, boring after awhile, but the behind-the-scenes footage with commentary is cool - I was an actor in L.A. for 2 years, and it made me miss the feel of being on a film set . . .BUY THE DVD IF YOU CAN FIND IT, IGNORE THE VHS -- THOSE 23 EXTRA MINUTES ARE WORTH IT!! WHEW!!!"
Oops! DeCoteau did it again!
Eric A. Ashley | Elkhart, IN United States | 07/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Full Moon Video and director David DeCoteau (who brought us "The Brotherhood" and the upcoming "Final Stab") brings us what is perhaps his greatest achievement in 1999's "Voodoo Academy".The story deals with student Christopher Sawyer (hot newcomer Riley Smith of "Bring It On" and "Wild Grizzly") who enrolls in an exclusive Bible school. After he meets the five other guys he'll be rooming and studying with (including Huntley Ritter, also from "Bring It On"), he uncovers something even more sinister and devastating than the rising tuition costs. The priest (Chad Burris) and his lovely assistant (Debra Mayer) have plans to turn the guys into voodoo dolls in hope of bringing the resurrection of Satan himself! Luckily for us, Christopher is having none of that and is here to save us all!Not really a horror movie but more of a soft core porn movie, "Voodoo Academy" features controversial scenes such as sensual rubdowns, crucifix licking and lots of scenes with guys running around in their BOXER BRIEFS! DeCoteau said that this is a horror movie "for girls", but we all know who the real target audience is... and we ain't complaining one bit.The movie relies heavily on Riley Smith and Debra Mayer, and they turn in appropriately campy performances. Riley is on screen nearly all the time and as his career begins to blossom, you can see the makings of a great new star right here in his humble beginnings. The DVD features 23 additional minutes that was cut out of the VHS versions, and this movie is nothing without that extra footage. Audio commentary, a great 30-minute behind the scenes featurette and more make this DVD a must have for any fan of bad horror and soft core pornography!"
One of my most enjoyable movie experiences in recent memory-
Richard Worley | Riverside, CA | 12/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is great. The framing and camera work is borderline incompetent, the plot makes absolutely no sense, the special effects have all the flair and production value of an early episode of Xena, and the eyebrow acting is straight out of a porn film--the actors often times seem confused as to whether they should be more focused on hitting their mark or making sure their good profile is toward camera, and at all times seem not quite up to the task of holding two thoughts in their heads at once. All of which makes the film extremely funny-- and not funny in a Van Helsing kind of way. That was a film that was funny at all of the wrong moments. This film knows exactly what type of film it is, and it knows exactly how bad it is, and it revels in that. It's all part of the fun, because story and plot and craftsmanship are all more or less beside the point here. And what is the point, you ask? Hot boys, of course. This movie set out with one main purpose: to show extremely hot boys in extremely hot situations. And, once again unlike Van Helsing, when this movie sets out to do something, it succeeds. Does it ever! Wow.. very, very, very hot. And rubbing themselves, too. If I had known that Christian school students sported this many different styles of designer boxer briefs, I might have been converted. So, the point of the plot and everything else is just to make the film bearable when the boys aren't mostly naked.. if it had been just some passable, solid story, it would have done that, but it would have been deadly boring. Instead, it goes full out for hilarious over-the-top camp, and it's never boring for a minute. Well, OK, maybe for a few minutes.
There's a school of thought in film criticism that I very much agree with, and it states that you should not judge a film based on what it is trying to do, but by how well it accomplishes what it set out for-- and by that criteria, this one totally earned the 5 stars I gave it. Bring on the Ed Wood dialogue, electrified confessional booths, and boys strapped to voodoo tables in their underwear!"