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Review Faust: Love of the Damned (2000): The fantastic tale that probably served as inspiration for Spawn (the comic)!

genre: fantasy, horror, comic book adaptation

Faust: Love of the Damned is not a serious tale even if it has some similarities to the tragic tale written by Goethe. But only the bare minimum as this an adaptation of a comic book series about a superhero named Faust (published by Northstar; Rebel Studios; Avatar Press). What does this mean for this film? That you have to brace yourself for a weird and bizarre viewing experience.

And I am not even referring to the craziness displayed on the screen. More that the tone and pacing is all over the place. There are hints of Brian Yuzna's Society and then there are the sequences where Faust / John Jaspers played by Marc Frost saves the day by slashing the bad guys very reminiscent of what Spawn would do if he had Wolverine's claws. The fact that these comics were written long before Spawn it's not that hard to imagine that Todd McFarlane might have been inspired by them. Although it's difficult to find information about this on the internet so let's not go there. However it is a bit odd to see Faust: Love of the Damned that is based on an older comic than Spawn rip off a scene from the film Spawn. There is a cape scene in here that is very similar to what was shown in Spawn. But to be honest while brief looked a whole lot better since it's all practical effects. Yet another case where practical beats CGI.

Anyway the point is that it's not clear what they are aiming for. Were they trying to follow Spawn that is a superhero film with some horror elements? Or were they trying to do a horror with some superhero elements in them? For quite a while it's not even clear who you are supposed to root for.  The character development in this film is quite insane. Almost every character have moments where you either despise them or love them. And yet I was never frustrated or angry about them. The cast did one hell of a job to make it bearable for you. Especially Mònica Van Campen as Claire and Andrew Divoff as M. M stands for Mephistopheles (a demon in German folklore). If I am not mistaken he is a subordinate of Lucifer but there is no mention of him. Divoff is masterfully evil and gives this film the credibility it needs. But if you ask me Mònica was slightly better since she had to sell the campiness and at the same time come across as a serious and sexy femme fatale. In which she succeeded with flying colours. She was far more compelling to me than Isabel Brook as Jade. But to be fair she also showed some range towards the end. Marc Frost was a mixed bag. Sometimes he was terrible and then there were times he was brilliant. Perhaps he too was confused about what the point was of the film. At first it looked like that Jeffrey Combs was going to have a pivotal role but he is more used as someone to connect the main characters. I'd rather would have liked him to play the lead because that guy can play anything. 

In the end it won't matter that much since Faust: Love of the Damned has enough bits to offer you something unique. I only wished the pacing was more balanced. The film lingers too long on the dialogue scenes while it rushes through the far more entertaining and compelling spectacle scenes. But let me tell you these scenes are worth it. The use of special effects here are of the creative and imaginative kind. Nothing short of impressive.

But can I recommend this title? Honestly I don't know. This certainly won't be for everyone. However if you are a fan of Brian Yuzna then it's a no-brainer.

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