Thursday, June 19, 2008


Moving onward with our examination of films stretched beyond necessity (or reason, or belief), we turn our attention to 2005's ABBERDINE COUNTY CONJUROR [sic], a remarkably uninvolving and unmoving shot-on-video travesty from director Jeff Cooper (not to be confused with Geoff Cooper, author of such incredible works of fiction like RETRIBUTION INC.). Cooper apparently had so much to say about backwoods sorcery, imprisoned females, and zombie slaves that he needed two hours and fifteen minutes to tell it all.

To say there's a lot of padding would be a gross understatement.

A more appropriate way to put it would be that it moves slower than a geriatric's first piss of the morning. Cooper takes an unimaginable seven minutes for a prologue in which a girl is chased and subdued by a monk-robed zombie, only to be used in some sort of occultic ceremony--a snippet of information that, with judicious editing, should've taken a third of the time. Hell, Cooper can't even manage establishing shots worth a damn, using roughly forty-five seconds just to reveal the Abberdine County line sign (something tells me the perceived audience for this movie must read reeeeeaaalll sllloooooowwwllly). I might've chalked it up Cooper's total ignorance of pace, but certain portions of the film--like the unending scenes of Cooper, as zombie hunter Sean Steel (somewhere there's a male porn star filing a copyright infringement suit, I'm sure), driving around for several minutes DOING NOTHING!--suggest ol' Jeff might be a bit too enamored with himself as an "auteur."

Yet despite the protracted nature of the story, it's still pretty damned difficult to figure out just what the hell's going on. There's something about a 150-year-old conjuror--in actuality a life-sized puppet, though as inarticulate as it is I'm surprised they bothered to use it--with a small army of zombie slaves. (Said zombies look and act as if the Knights Templar from the BLIND DEAD series starred in the THRILLER video after consuming a shitload of psychedelic drugs.) We've also got a young couple vacationing, a backwater fortune teller, and a whole lot of rituals that involve naked women and bloodletting. I'm sure with so much happening--it's almost as if we're watching three different films spliced together at random--things could get a mite confusing; fortunately, Cooper makes sure there's plenty of wind or running engines near the boom mike to drown out the dialogue, keeping anything from making any sense.

What this movie feels like is a rustic bondage convention with a torture porn theme. Cooper spends so much time dwelling on girls getting tied up that it becomes flat-out fetishistic, playing like those specialty S&M tapes you find in questionable corners of the internet. (So if that's your thing, this might actually be worth your while--or if you thought HOSTEL would be better if it had more redneck stereotypes in it.) At least from a fetish perspective the activity-to-time-spent ratio isn't as severely out of whack.

But for the rest of us boring vanilla folks, ABBERDINE COUNTY CONJUROR is more tortuous than anything committed on screen. (Was anything committed on screen?) It's the kind of interminable DIY shitburger that's ungodly slow even on fast-forward.

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