“Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” Matthew 12:45
It’s time to dig up the local old prison reformatory to make way for the latest in strip mall technology when a disturbing discovery puts a quick halt to suburbia’s plans. The excavation reveals corpses of seven children, and provides the gateway for seven demons to be unleashed.
Instantly, the investigation is in the hands of FBI Agent Preson Davis (Michael Kaliski), while the sheriff deals with the missing young hot girl and the murder of a local Jamie Kennedy impersonator. The film breaks off into its parallel paths of supernatural occurrences and real-life police investigation immediately. Some of the victims have human predators. They’re the lucky ones.
The serial victims are killed in the same manner, any variation of having their mouths cut open. This is visually and audibly portrayed every time in a gruesome manner, making for a great thrill ride. That means there’s a serial killer on the loose in addition to the demons, making for multiple investigations at once. As for the demons, they are well-designed, especially Gluttony (with some great puppetry effects). If I had to tie down a favorite, it’d be Lust. (Trust me, you’ll know when you get there.)
Fallen Angels walks the tightrope between police procedure and supernatural mayhem, constantly swinging the viewers in each direction. Murders take place, mixed in with the analysis from the cops. When the FBI agent turns to the preacher, the film’s events are explained and all is made clear, except how to survive and prevail.
The film features a huge variety of influences from its horror film predecessors. Davis attended Seminary but didn’t finish (as Elias Koteas’ character in The Prophecy), the fight for business over a rampant murderer (Jaws), and the theme music is even what I’d call “bad John Carpenter”. In the end, it’s a cleansing movie, nicely wrapping up both of the subsequent happenings into one conclusion.
Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes) illuminates in his brief role. Ruth Buzzi (yes, I said it) is given a brief role but really sets the tone early with her performance as a psychic. Daniel Zacapa portrays Hendricks with the best balance of fortitude and fright.
This movie has everybody in it. Buzzi (Laugh In!), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th series), Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) and Martin Kove (The Karate Kid) are among the notable names. WWE Diva-turned-actress Christie Hemme lives it up in the role of Lust. (thank you!) Kevin McCarthy (UHF, The Howling) steers the entire film with his brief performance.
Here’s the knock, if I have to find one, on Fallen Angels. If Davis provides his insight early on, to both Hendricks and the viewers, that the forces at work are the seven deadly sins, it opens up a whole new ground. Just as Agent Hendricks is forced to determine whether or not the demons are real, the viewers are forced into the same dilemma. Instead, this information isn’t laid out until half of the fallen angels have made their appearances.
Fallen Angels was filmed on location at the Ohio State Reformatory, the filming location of The Shawshank Redemption. The murder of a local land owner in 1934 provided fodder for the killing method used in the movie. The location was also home to an inmate who killed himself in 1955 after claiming that seven demons shared his cell. There are plenty more ghost stories or historical documentation (depending on what you believe) around OSR. Some are available on the film’s official site. Some are available through the local ghost hunters or the Sci-Fi Channel.