No, that title isn’t an exaggeration, nor is it an exercise in hyperbole. For those familiar with Danzig’s previous cinematic venture Verotika (now streaming as a Shudder Exclusive), it should come as no surprise.
But last latest movie, Death Rider in the House of Vampires makes its audience question whether it knows what a movie is at all. It almost feels like Tommy Wiseau of The Room fame attempted to make a Tarantino-esque Western/Horror movie. Honestly, I’m not even sure where to begin with this movie…
Style Over Substance (and Logic)
Opening with a shot of our protagonist Death Rider (Devon Sawa), we see him riding across the desert with a randomly topless woman tied up on the horse next to him. We’re treated to a genuinely catchy theme song. Of course, it’s only catchy for about a minute.
By the movie’s 5th minute, we’re still following Death Rider and his nude captive as their horses slowly walk and the camera lingers awkwardly on a shot of the horses’ asses for way too long. When this sequence dragged on way longer than it should have, it was my first clue of what I was in for.
Just when I began to wonder if the entire movie would be Devon Sawa riding through the desert, we get our first semblance of plot as Bela Latigo (Danny Trejo) shows up and Death Rider has a fight with him. At least that’s what the movie wants us to think.
Calling it a “fight” is a bit of a stretch. The apt term would probably be, “awkward running up in sped up footage that randomly cuts away and leaves the viewer confused”, but that’s admittedly quite the mouthful.
From there, the movie is nothing but awkward dialogue, conversations and plot points that go nowhere, random zooms in and out, way too many fade outs from scene to scene. It’s not just a bad movie, it feels like it was made by someone who didn’t know how movies work, which is odd, considering Danzig’s previous film Verotika.
Credit where credit is due, I have to give shout outs to performers like Devon Sawa, Danny Trejo, Julian Sands, and Eli Roth who normally give great performances with the right script and director.
And they’re clearly trying their best here. Sawa and Sands seem to be trying their best, while Roth’s performance suggests he knows how stupid this all is and he’s just having fun with it.
Glenn Danzig is certainly a successful musician, and perhaps that’s the medium he needs to stick with. Similarly, Rob Zombie made a name for himself with heavy metal, and then became just as well known for films, but at least his have a style and there’s a basic filmmaking competence that just isn’t present in either Verotika or Death Rider simply don’t have.
There’s so bad it’s funny, and then there’s so bad it’s bad. And in that regard, it’s honestly difficult to place this movie. It has all the bad movie hallmarks that something like The Room or Birdemic have, but it wasn’t an easy 90 minutes to get through.
All that said, it was way more enjoyable to watch it with a crowd in a movie theater. The energy in the room was like watching Rifftracks, with audience laughter helping to cope with the pure and utter insanity that was on the screen.
If you’re going watch this insult to both your sanity and cinema, I’d suggest watching it with a group of friends and you’ll have a blast laughing throughout. If not, it’s one that you can skip, unless you’re determined to watch what is no doubt, the worst movie made in 2021…
What’s your favorite so bad it’s funny movie? Have you seen Death Rider? Let us know in the comments!