Hellbent (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hellbent (1989)





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Rock video director Richard Casey makes his feature debut in this violent drama, which delves into the seamy side of the lives of some of L.A.'s wannabe musicians. In return for signing over his soul (?!), Lemmy (Phil Ward) gets the sponsorship of drug-gang leader Tanas (David Marciano), the owner of the Bar Sinister to get music gigs for his band. Having done that, instead of advancing his music career, Lemmy and his girlfriend Angel (Lyn Levand) take drugs and zone out while gang related violence breaks out on every side. The music in this film is by Drowning Pool, Love Supreme, Angry Samoans, Trotsky Icepick and Angst, among others.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:

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Critic Reviews for Hellbent

All Critics (1)

The writing sinks into lazy characterization rather than character exploration, and the premise could potentially be viewed as some sort of right-wing homophobe fantasy in which promiscuous gays are slaughtered for their indiscretions.

Full Review… | April 6, 2006
Arizona Daily Star

Audience Reviews for Hellbent

Hellbent (Richard Casey, 1988)

There was an awesome move toward independent film among the DIY punk underground at some point along the line. (One assumes it had something to do with Richard Kern and his prolific output in shorts starring punk icons in the mid-eighties, but I don't know for sure.) Directors shooting crappy flicks with handhelds popped up all over the American punk map. All of these movies are horrendous in technical quality, at least of those I've seen, but there is much to be treasured in a select few (Charles Pinion's Twisted Issues is my usual example). Hellbent, the second feature from Richard Casey (who would go on to helm Angry Samoans: A True Documentary with some of these folks seven years later), is in no way one of them.

Plot: Lemmy (Phil Ward, long-standing member of The High Lonesome) is the leader of a struggling punk band, with dreams of making it big-really, really big. He muses aloud about this after another disastrous gig, which catches the attention of the devil, who's just gotten annoyed with his current house band and cashed in some souls. He's looking for a new one, so he sends some goons around to start the long, hard road of corrupting the band. Half of them eventually figure out what's going on and try to get away, while the other half fall deeper and deeper into the devil's snare...

It's a tried-and-true storyline, and it's been done well any number of times-even with the rock and roll theme attached to it. (Even in real life; one wonders how recently Casey had read Hammer of the Gods, the briefly-popular-in-the-mid-eighties Led Zeppelin bio, when he started writing.) But aside from some amusing-if-amateur performances, nothing here can really be called "done well". The plot is kludgy, the writing amateur and over the top, the sets would have looked better with another ten bucks of the budget spent on paint instead of beer. Bad all the way around, though Ward and Cheryl Slean both come off as earnest and well-meaning, if untutored. Slean never acted again, getting out of the business for a decade before coming back as a writer/director; Ward pops up in the occasional flick. If IMDB ratings are to be believed, all are as bad as this one. (half)

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