MOVIE REVIEW : ‘Angels’: One for the So-Bad-It’s-Fun Category


If nothing else, the delirious, mercifully energetic “Raging Angels” by golly lives up to its title. At its climactic moment an angel of God--a rugged, white-winged blond guy (Deron McBee)--and a fallen angel of Satan (Vincent Hammond), a monstrous bat-like creature with fireball eyes, actually do battle in the sky over downtown Los Angeles.

It’s a moment straight out of Victorian melodrama, and only one of many such unintentionally hilarious touches that make this movie a contender in the so-bad-it’s-fun category. A life on the midnight movie circuit looks promising.

Sean Patrick Flanery and pretty newcomer Monet Mazur are a likable young L.A. couple struggling to attain rock ‘n’ roll stardom when Mazur lands a job as a backup singer for rock star Michael Pare, who’s aligned himself with something called the Coalition for World Unity.

Had the film’s many writers been content to designate this outfit as some kind of religious-political cult, there might have been a plausible story here. Instead, the film hurtles into a ludicrously literal tale of the supernatural in which the coalition emerges as nothing less than a recruiting front for Satan. The struggle for young people’s souls deserves better treatment than this.


In any event, Flanery and Mazur get into a heck of mess even though Sean’s grandmother (Shelley Winters) has a vision of big trouble ahead and has enlisted the help of flamboyant evangelist Diane Ladd, who claims to have psychic powers she calls “discernment.” Considering the wildly escalating silliness enveloping them, the cast (which includes Arielle Dombasle as a key satanist) forges ahead in an admirably professional manner, with only Ladd going way, way over the top--a tactic that would have damaged seriously a better movie but here only adds to the laughs. Direction is credited to Alan Smithee, a name the industry has long used when no one wants to take credit for directing a movie.

* MPAA rating: R, for language and some violence. Times guidelines: Both the language and the violence are fairly mild.

‘Raging Angels’

Sean Patrick: Flanery Chris

Diane Ladd: Sister Kate

Monet Mazur: Lila

Michael Pare: Colin

Arielle Dombasle: Megan

Shelley Winters: Grandma Ruth

A Borde Film release of a Nu Image presentation of a Chako Film International production. Director Alan Smithee. Producer Chako Van Leeuwen. Screenplay by Kevin Rock and David Markov & Chris Bittler; story by Van Leeuwen, Stens Christensen. Cinematographer Bryan England. Editor Neil Grieve. Makeup and creature effects by Alterian Studios. Costumes Warden Neil. Music Terry Plumeri. Production designer Brooke Wheeler. Set decorator Laurie Scott. Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes.

* In general release throughout Southern California.