Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Angelpunk Primer

But what does angel need with a gun?

Welcome friend, to the wonderful subgenre of angelpunk.  There are many subgenres out there, but this one is ours.  I understand, you might be new to the whole angelpunk concept, so let me get you a few introductory lessons that will help out.

Angel Heart – Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and the film that got Lisa Bonet kicked off “A Different World”.  Rourke is Harry Angel, a private detective in the classic noir sense, contracted by De Niro as Mr. Cyphre to find Johnny Favorite.  Favorite suffered a head injury in WWII which has prevented Cyphre from completing the contract they had.  What?  You don’t see the angels in this?  Just wait.  Just wait.

Who doesn't love Denzel?
Fallen – Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland, Embeth Davidtz, James Gandolfini, Elias Koteas.  If that’s not enough for you, check this out.  Denzel is a Philly police detective who starts to figure out that the copycat serial killer he’s been tracking may not be a copycat at all.  Instead, the killer maybe a demon, possessing the bodies of other people to wreak havoc.  But is that even possible?

Dogma – Not as dark as the previous two films, but a much more open and interesting portrayal of angels as incarnated by the dynamic duo Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  Kevin Smith shares his view of Catholic dogma, here at the peak of his classic witty style with characters Jay and Silent Bob providing plenty of funnies.

Frailty – Matthew McConaughey walks into an FBI office (with his shirt on) to tell Powers Boothe that his brother is the “Hand of God” killer, and was raised that way by their ultra-religious father played by Bill Paxton.  But it’s not just simple killings.  Instead, McConaughey (still with his shirt on) says that his brother believes he’s killing demons.  If you think that’s twisty, wait until things get rolling!

The Prophecy – After Lucifer’s fall, God favored humankind over the angels.  Some of the angels, led by Christopher Walken’s Gabriel, decide that’s silly, and start a new war.  They face off against decidedly overmatched angels like Eric Stoltz as Simon.  But are they a match for LA police detective Thomas (Elias Koteas again), a former priest who lost his faith.  They will be, if the “bad angels” can get the dark soul of recently deceased Colonel Hawthorne, which now resides inside a young girl, Mary.  If nothing else, watch for Viggo Mortenson’s incredible performance as Lucifer.

We all knew there was something off
about Billy Zane!
Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight – This was Tales first foray into feature films, and it was originally supposed to be the second in a trilogy.  Universal Studios thought this movie had the most potential, so they ran with it out of the gate.  For my money, they weren’t wrong.  Demon Knight had a wonderful mix of drama and comedy that could have pushed into farce, but balanced on the edge.  The plot is a simple cliché trapped-in-a-farmhouse, but it’s done well and done right.  Billy Zane is effortless as the evil baddie Collector who is trying to collect an artifact from drifter Frank Brayker (William Sadler).  Brayker doesn’t want to give up the artifact, and a host of demons are called in to convince him.

Gabriel – Purgatory isn’t just a concept, it’s a seedy, dark city that defines noir.  Heaven and Hell have fought over control of Purgatory and the souls it houses.  Somehow, Hell now has the upper hand, and Andy Whitfield’s pre-Spartacus archangel Gabriel has been sent to figure out what happened to his comrades, especially the warrior champion Michael.  Beautifully imagined and rendered, this movie is easily on the ultimate angelpunk films of all time.

There are a slew of other films that I could include, like The Devil’s Advocate, Constantine and Legion.  But that’s the wonder and fun of angelpunk.  There is just so much out there to discover, and not just in the realm of movies.  Angels, those mysterious forces for good and evil, are everywhere in entertainment media, and their portrayal is often worth the search.

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