The Film: My Soul to Take (2010)
The Principles: Written and Directed by Wes Craven Starring Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Emily Meade, Frank Grillo, Raúl Esparza
The Premise: Seven children are born on the same night that a serial killer with seven personalities is killed, and his “souls” transfer into their bodies. Sixteen years later, those seven kids are getting knocked off. Which one of them has the soul of the serial killer in them? That’s as simple of a synopsis I’m going with because this movie…
Is It Good?: My Soul to Take transcends our earthly perceptions of “good” and “bad.” This film escaped from some Lovecraftian dimension where all films cause the viewer to descend into a cacophony of ceaseless hyena-like laughter. My Soul to Take is Gorgo and Mormo, of the thousand-faced moon. It is The Shadow Unchained, set loose upon a world of unending night. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the film had been directed by either the Norse god Loki or the Penis Monster from Tromeo & Juliet. It is perpetual absurdity plucked directly out of Wes Craven’s brain and branded onto film.
In fact, My Soul to Take is like every concept Wes Craven ever had took part in a massive orgy in his brain, and this film is the anally-birthed child of that enormous union. You have dream sequences and resurrected killers from A Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker, insane family members from The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, a whodunit mystery and even some menacing phone calls from Scream, and a bonkers tone from The People Under the Stairs. All this movie is missing is Swamp Thing and a crab-handed robot girl to be a complete Craven smorgasbord.
You can randomly select any scene from this film and it will stand as a testament to bizarre wrongness, whether because of unbelievable dialogue (the IMDb quotes page for this film will give you a slight idea of the preposterous sentences that escape from these characters’ mouths), insane horror concepts, or performances that somehow manage to combine CW teeny bopping, a more muted form of Shatnerizing, and something akin to Kabuki theater. Every copy of this movie should come packaged with a bottle of bottom-shelf vodka, an 8-ball of uncut cocaine, and the Necronomicon so after you’ve finished your viewing you can send it back to whatever unimaginable netherrealm it spawned from.
But, for all of its naivete towards its own stupidity, it’s impossible to label My Soul to Take as derivative or uninspired. The movie looks like it could be any old Dimension Films Scream wannabe, but I assure you it’s not. It’s an oddity of the highest caliber, and since it stands as Wes Craven’s last foray into the realm of original ideas, I kind of want to give it the label of “mandatory viewing.” Just know that if you stare into the abyss, the abyss will tear off its face and sing you Tiny Tim songs until you perish from pure befuddlement.
Random Anecdotes: The website for this movie is still up and running. My guess is that the ghost from FeardotCom is the webmaster.
The end credits for this film only add to the amazing weirdness on display. It’s animated in an almost twee way, and then you get storyboards for what looks like most of the film’s big scenes.
In a publicity stunt that mirrors this film’s wackadoo mindset, Rogue Pictures staged a really fake stabbing in front of Wes Craven and the cast at the film’s premiere and posted it onto YouTube. View at your own discretion for uncomfortable badness.
Cinematic Soulmates: The Happening (2008), Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), House of the Dead (2003), The Wicker Man (2006)