Corey Thornton has just inherited a mansion from his recently deceased father, and travels to Louisiana to check it out. Upon his arrival at the grand estate, he meets with a beautiful young girl which is described as “jailbait” (but who is clearly in her mid-20s…) and his father’s live-in housekeeper, who is the mother of said girl. And of course, a black-gloved and somewhat fishy-looking lawyer. Corey discovers that his father has written a will which includes a description of how the old man has, supposedly, found a way to return back from the dead, and in doing so he needs the help of his son. Corey soon ends up at the local pub/brothel called Tonk’s, where he meets a witchy prostitute who harbors the secrets of black magic. And she turns people into birds if she feels like it. Corey is now obsessed with the task of fulfilling his dead father’s wish of bringing him back to life, and seeks help from the strange people in the weird voodoo-brothel in the bayou.
Netherworld is a Full Moon Entertainment movie directed by David Schmoeller and produced by Charles Band. Right off the bat the movie sets a certain tone with the illusory opening scene in Tonk’s bar, which features both chicks and chickens in surroundings that resemble a sexy yet uncomfortable fever dream. Downstairs is what you could probably call a funhouse-like brothel with weird hallways and just as weird characters. To top it all we also get to see a flying disembodied hand and a guy that is turned into a bird (although the latter isn’t displayed to the full extent, but more implied). In other words, it gives a certain promise of being a really cheesy popcorn entertainment flick.
Then the movie takes a u-turn when we meet Corey and he enters his newly inherited mansion, and a more serious tone is set. While we get to gradually know more about Corey’s dead father and what he tries to accomplish, the pacing becomes a bit of a problem where it’s all moving a tad bit too slow. The scenes at Tonk’s are definitely the movie’s highlights, with creative usage of color and lighting and some pretty cool old-school effects and jazzy sex scenes. The brothel appears to have lots of girls with names of deceased celebrities, including a woman calling herself Marilyn Monroe, who looks…well..exactly like Marilyn Monroe. This is a pretty cool idea, actually…a brothel where deceased celebrities have been brought back to life.
While it does move a little slowly and never really gets very exciting, it makes up for it with the visuals and a fun premise. Netherworld is entertaining enough with its slightly goofy concept, perfect for a relaxed saturday evening with some popcorn.
Netherworld can be seen on Full Moon Features.
Director: David Schmoeller
Country & year: USA, 1992
Actors: Michael Bendetti, Denise Gentile, Anjanette Comer, Holly Floria, Robert Sampson, Holly Butler, Alex Datcher, Robert Burr, George Kelly, Mark Kemble, Barret O’Brien, Michael Lowry, David Schmoeller