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John’s Horror Corner: Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994), a convincing horror love story

September 30, 2013

darkangelwrap

Okay. I know what you’re thinking and “yes” I agree–this IS a lame DVD cover and this did contribute to me not watching this movie until 20 years after its original release.  But I’m really glad I finally gave it a chance.

MY CALLCity of Angels (1998) meets The Prophecy (1995) with a dash of Leeloo Dallas and a sprig of Species (1995) in another delightfully surprising release by Full Moon.  MOVIES LIKE Dark Angel: The Ascent:  I refer to several movies in this review, but none are really anything like this one.  While not at all a similar movie, the displacement of Heaven and Hell on Earth remind me of Angel Heart (1987). The story also reminded me a LOT of the short Lover’s Vow from Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990).

Director Linda Hassani and writer/producer Charles Band (the Puppet Master, Subspecies, Ghoulies and Trancers franchises) bring us a “more” serious release with one of the most coherent and interesting plots Full Moon has ever produced.  Heaven and Hell, demons and angels are presented in a very different way in this under-recognized gem.

Both young demonesses, Mary (Cristina Stoica; Lurking Fear) shows Veronica (Angela Featherstone; Soul Survivors, Army of Darkness) an unguarded gateway from the pit of Hell to the world of mortals above.  After a disagreement with her infernal professor and then her disapproving demon father, she runs away to “ascend” to Earth like a rebellious misunderstood teenager to find herself naked (without her horns, claws and wings) on the city streets…shortly after which she is hit by a car.

In the hospital ICU she meets Max, a young doctor who is “pure of heart” as Veronica puts it.  Then, as would a sultry vampire, she uses her other-worldly charm to compel Max to bring her home with him.  Just like Leeloo in The Fifth Element (1997), our red-headed Hell-spawn learns about mankind by watching the news and, like Leeloo, Veronica was VERY disappointed with what she saw.

She decides to serve as vigilante judge, jury and executioner to evil-doers, feeding their entrails to her Hell-spawned dog Hellraiser and even preparing them as “secret recipes” for dinner and serving them to her handsome host Max.

Here’s Veronica shopping for dog food.

Judging by her outfit, here’s Veronica shopping for a man.

And she cooks.

When the story began, Veronica fled Hell rebelling against her parents and teachers by not wanting to punish the eternally damned for their sins.  But Veronica learns that evil abounds on Earth and that many do indeed deserve such harsh punishments for their actions.  Although she doesn’t acknowledge it, it seems that her parents and teachers really did have her best interest in mind.  After all, she’s now doing to sinners in life what her elders wanted her to do to sinners in the afterlife.  But that’s just one aspect of the movie…

So, a demon (or “dark angel”) wishes to visit Earth in human skin to share its experiences, find love and punish evil-doers to protect the pure-hearted souls.  This story may feel a lot like City of Angels (1998) meets The Prophecy (1995) with a dash of Leeloo Dallas and a sprig of Species (1995; in terms of her appropriately aggressive sexuality and when Henstridge almost robotically emotes to human situations), but this movie actually predates all of them!  So what at first felt like a series of rip-offs and borrowed concepts was, well, much more original than I thought…by a lot.

So, this woman tried to hit on her man Max.  Yeah…he’s spoken for.

The budget is low (as you should have expected), but stretched as far as possible when it comes to the gore.  Veronica frequently unceremoniously rends her victims and reaches inside to remove organs or the occasional spinal cord.  Full Moon did a fine job of bringing the fun gore we know them for, but also successfully delivered an interesting story (which they’re definitely NOT known for).

Gore AND a love story…this movie has it all.  LOL

If ever you’ve enjoyed a Full Moon release, please make it a point to enjoy this!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2015 12:37 am

    I’m rewatching this now. So underrated

    • John Leavengood permalink
      June 3, 2015 9:01 am

      Totally agreed. Full Moon delivered a really good one with this release.

  2. October 16, 2016 12:56 pm

    This is to horror, what “Trancers” is to science fiction.
    Kick ass.
    Take names.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 16, 2016 2:36 pm

      Yeah, both are B-movies that entered the realm of A+ cult status, although much more so for Trancers. BTW, my uncle was in Trancers 2. He was the guy in the bar fight who got it pretty bad, near the pool table I think.

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner [INDEX] | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Doctor Mordrid, Master of the Unknown (1992) | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner: Meridian (1990), a Beauty and the Beast romantic fantasy story crafted by a horrorsmith | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Netherworld (1991), Full Moon’s attempt at a serious horror film | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Subspecies II: Bloodstone (1993), a worthy sequel in a solid B-movie franchise | Movies, Films & Flix
  6. John’s Horror Corner: Hideous! (1997), it’s not your typical mutant monster fetus movie | Movies, Films & Flix
  7. John’s Horror Corner: Subspecies III: Bloodlust (1994) | Movies, Films & Flix
  8. John’s Horror Corner: Head of the Family (1996), a delightfully tasteless sleazy horror comedy | Movies, Films & Flix
  9. John’s Horror Corner: Subspecies 4: Bloodstorm (1998), squandering an otherwise great vampire DVD franchise with a messy story and no new effects. | Movies, Films & Flix

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