Horrors of 2023: The Devil Conspiracy

There exists on our earthly plane that slightly bizarre mutant offspring of “the devil movie” – or “satanic cinema” –  that is a bit hard to define and place in a neat box.

It’s Biblically apocalyptic but not exactly a straightforward Omen narrative involving The Antichrist.

It’s not usually as hateful as the writings of Paul Jenkins and Timothy LaHaye.  It will usually involve angels from Judeo Christian mythology, and they won’t always be benevolent. And it will most likely mutate the Book of Revelations into some bizarre convoluted paths.

Well, 2023’s The Devil Conspiracy is the mutanty mutant mutation of the mutant cousin of this horror subgenre. So mutated, it makes the X-Men look like clean-cut Young Republicans with no super powers whatsoever. But the thing to know is, this movie’s thematic ambition is A-M-B-I-T-I-O-N. And despite the messy looniness, I can only applaud and celebrate its bizarre flexes.

The Devil Conspiracy (2023)

Director: Nathan Frankowski

Writers: Ed Alan

Notable Cast: Alice Orr-Ewing, Joe Doyle, Eveline Hall, Peter Mensah, Joe Anderson

Plot [SPOILERS]: Art student Laura studies in Italy, befriends a priest, gets kidnapped by a whacko satanic cult trying to reincarnate Satan on earth through human trafficking, cloning, and forced pregnancy. The Archangel Michael is on point to stop it all.

I just made this movie sound saner than it is. There’s a lot to cover, and I’m not sure how to get through it al. It might be best to list out, Joe Bob Briggs-style, a checklist of what you might expect going in:

  • An out-of-the-gate, very shallow theological conversation.
  • An almost #MeToo by a sleazy art history professor.
  • A righteous Satanic head bitch in charge (Hall, enjoyably hissing it up in campy style and chic Euro-fashion choices).
  • A conspiracy theory laden cloning plot that should have gotten more time than it did.
  • Human trafficking.
  • An ultrasound-based tribute to The Ring.
  • An angelic possession.
  • An amniotic fluid blasphemy attack – gross, tacky and to my knowledge the first of its kind!
  • Lost Boys of the Peter Pan kind.

We can also break down the production values. There are what I believe to be genuine and nice to look at European settings (a quick check of imdb reveals the Czech Republic playing Italy). But when we get to the horror fantasy aspects, the budget choices show. That’s not a crime, by the way. A hell dimension and its denizens (including Lucifer himself) has the entire aesthetic of an episode of Buffy or Angel, only less well-lit.

Nonetheless, the design for the Archangel Michael was great. I’m a sucker for righteous headgear, and they didn’t hold back.

I’m not familiar with actor Peter Mensah, but he has a cool presence here and I wish we would have gotten more of him.

What was The Devil Conspiracy ultimately getting at? Who knows. Yes, an embryo cloned from the DNA of Jesus Christ – to be later spiritually possessed by Lucifer – is forcibly implanted into an innocent woman, but we’re not given any clear preaching on reproductive rights. Nor do we need it in this film!

Are we meant to be frightened/offended by implied blasphemies? No, not really. I really think the filmmakers just wanted to arrive at a weird, but not thematically complex, theological fantasy. I don’t know for sure, of course, but I’m way too lazy to research more.

There was also tangential human trafficking cloning plot and I love it. It’s audacious! Imagine cloning Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and selling baby Mozart clone to soulless 1%-ers seeking to gratify their gross egos through adoption? Forget the Angel/Satan nonsense – I hope the creators think to give us a prequel on just this idea!

Indeed, a lot of this film is grounded in Q-ish nonsense. It doesn’t dig in deep enough on it because the plotting and pacing is all over the place. And again, that’s not a crime when you’re talking about a film with very little Big Hollywood financial muscle behind it. I’m sure creators had franchise hopes. Will they get it together and make it happen?

Children of West Valley

Listen, mood is sometimes 3/4ths responsible for the enjoyment of an objectively terrible film. I was thrilled to have a lazy Monday afternoon to watch what I knew would be all kinds of terrible and wonderful. Even better, I was the only person in my Megaplex theater!

Until I wasn’t.

But that was okay! A group of kids no doubt hailing from West Valley City, Utah wandered into the movie at about 10 minutes into start time. They sat right behind me and started giggling and murmuring.

But I decided not to give in to base, stupid Karen instincts of shushing them and getting indignant. These kids were discovering the wonder of a no-school holiday weekend.  They stumbled upon a weird, undermarketed horror movie – one they’ll either forget in a second, or else record in their impressionable young minds and lead them, 5 to 30 years later, to obsess, track down, examine, analyze, and become just as weird a nerd as I am.

I pray you land in the first category, Children of West Valley. But if you don’t, and you find this blog post, make yourself known to me (if I’m still alive, that is).

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