† H a p p y H a l l o w e e n †
The Life Zone is one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen, not because of its content, but because of what it stands for. This is pro-life propaganda, and it’s not just your average, adorably deluded pro-life propaganda; it’s pro-life propaganda as delivered by a filmmaker who’s also known for producing Alone In The Dark 2, Kinky Killers, and a movie in which Barack Obama makes a deal with the Devil to become president of the United States. We’re obviously in safe hands.
Kenneth Del Vecchio is a fairly well-known author and, occasionally, filmmaker (he might also be a conservative, I dunno, it’s hard to tell), who wrote the script for The Life Zone whereas the direction is by Rod Weber, just so we’re clear on who is to blame for what. The story in question revolves around three young women (Angela Little, Lindsey Haun and Nina Transfield) who have one thing in common: they’re all going to get abortions. This is, of course, not meant to be, and so they soon find themselves kidnapped and locked up in a dull-looking hospital building by a delightful gang of anti-abortion nutjobs. A mysterious geezer played by Robert Loggia – the most baffling thing he’s agreed to since Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – appears ominously on a TV screen to inform the girls that they shall be kept here until they understand that abortion is a perversely sinful act and that they must let the children live.
On top of being experimented on by a religious doctor played by Blanche Baker, they’re also forced to read books and watch movies that explain to them why abortion is so horrific. I swear that I’m not joking when I say that this includes stuff that Del Vecchio himself has produced. Ya know, it’s times like this I find it funny that the words “self-reference” and “self-fellatio” sound vaguely similar.
As we get to the ending, which I don’t feel bad about utterly spoiling, we learn that the women have been trapped in purgatory the entire time. Two of them ultimately do give birth to their children, and so they are sent to Heaven, whereas the third one is rightfully cast into the flames of Hell for her oh so horrid crime of wanting to decide for herself whether or not she wants to have a baby. Our loving Father, ladies and gentlemen.
When I sit down and think about how the people behind this film must feel about women, not to mention the punishment they think women deserve should they not fulfil their “role” in society, I cringe; but I have decided not to dwell. Let us put repulsive morals aside for a bit and instead focus on characters, of which the film doesn’t have any.
Truly, not one person in this film struck me as an attempt to write a remotely realistic character. They are all marionettes, the strings of which are being manipulated by a pro-lifer that one day got angry at people who wouldn’t agree with him. Their dialogue is like hearing people do a dramatic reading of heated arguments on online forums, which isn’t exactly something that fits a horror-Thriller that supposedly wants you to take it seriously.
One of my favourite YouTubers, a film reviewer by the username “YourMovieSucks”, made a good point in his review of Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac, stating that it’s okay to have opinionated characters in a film so long as you still manage to make them interesting and all their dialogue feels natural (e.g. Pulp Fiction). That way, they can still be entertaining, perhaps even likeable, in spite of what your views might be on what they say. When the characters are obviously just puppets for the political views of the writer, you aren’t going to get that effect, not that this film was ever going for it.
Let me be clear that The Life Zone is, message aside, still a poorly made film. Most of the acting is straight from the bottom of the barrel, the imagery is bland, the attempts at shock value are inept, and the premise is ludicrous enough to make M. Night Shyamalan‘s Devil look like the greatest Christianity-themed epic since The Ten Commandments. So don’t worry, even if you hate women as much as this film hates women, you can still hate the film for being objectively bad. The only reason I’m not giving this 0/5 is the skillfully creepy Robert Loggia, who deserves so much better.
A review on IMDb states that this movie does pro-lifers no favors. I don’t normally agree that the portrayal of a certain group on film ruins their overall reputation anymore than their own behavior. It’s like when I heard an Illuminati-believer rant that the name of him and his peers is being tarnished in Weird Al Yankovic‘s “Foil”, referring to the harmless parody song as “propaganda”. I tactfully informed him that it’s not comedians that make us think some people are idiots, but the dumb shit that they themselves say. Honestly, though, even pro-lifers deserve better than this.