Thursday, July 29, 2010

Obscure 1964 classic "Lilith" has an indie sequel

Back in 1964, during a time of my life that was not so good given my own problems, I saw a black-and-white film directed by Robert Rossen, “Lilith” (Columbia Pictures) with Jean Seberg as Lilith Arthur, the New England mental sanitarium patient, and a young and vulnerable Warren Beatty as Vincent Bruce, the attendant. I remember a climactic scene, for Vincent, along a wooded creek path outside the hospital (echoes of “Splendor in the Grass”). I saw it in the old Buckingham Theater in Arlington VA, which would become a historical landmark and is a post office today.

Now apparently there is some kind of tradition that Lilith was a kind of “other woman” for Adam in the Garden of Eden, and therefore satanic, with dangerous powers, making men the vulnerable and weaker parties.

In 2007, Screen Media released what amounts to a “Lilith II” , with quirky director Kim Bass. Imagine a college student, just 21 (able to go to bars), with a wealthy put patriarchal dad, with political connections, and access to his own private jet (yes, some kids get pilots licenses, to fly to Cancun. Now Adam (a buff Robert L. Mann) goes down to Cancun with a buddy, meets the (heterosexual) “trick” of a lifetime, Lilith (that is, Lilith II), played by Natalie Denise Sperl.  (The "fighter" jet scenes remind me of a 50's film "Sabre Jet".) When he jets himself back to LA to skirt around dear old Dad, she follows him and stalks. Soon he is accused of a drowning he didn’t commit, and then one of his buddies gets his neck broken in a disco. (This would be catastrophic for a real life business.) The cops close in, and a nasty female detective says he can get lethal injection because of “extenuating circumstance” – the script gets it wrong, in California, it’s “special circumstances”.

Adam's "goals" are interesting: he is in film schools, and he wants to make "kick-a..." movies.  He needs money from his dad now because he doesn't have enough "edit bays" at school for his questionable films.  Yes, money will be the root of all evil for him, until he meets Lilith, that is.

The plot also demonstrates another issue: if one picks up a "stranger" for "pleasure", there is always a risk that the person could try to set one up to take the hit for someone else's crimes.

The film is “Succubus: Hell-Bent”, and it’s not quite sure if it is parodying genre horror films and trying to be bad (like “The Room”). (The title relates to the word used to describe the kind of religion Lilith is.) There are funny script lines, about going “clubbing” and particularly “Are you a Democrat or something?” and the idea that Lilith is “more like a woman than a girl.” But the film probably won’t quite cut it as a midnight cult classic. It’s not quite outrageous enough.

"VampireLight" has an embeddable video explaining the "Bible story" of Lilith (Adam's "first wife"??)

Curiously, I don't see the DVD at Screen Media Films website.  I rented the DVD from Netflix, which offers it for instant play (paid subscription required).

YouTube has a video of the entire film from Screen Media, which (probably because of the distributor's request) YouTube requires you to sign in to prove you are 18. You may need a YouTube account to see it, but it appears to be "free" (with commercials). (Some YouTube full features now require rental, but not this.) The film as shown pretty much fits into standard "R" territory, nothing extraordinary by today's standards.  (The old "Lilith" would probably get PG-13.)

The link for that video is here.

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