“At this point I had realized that Damon’s film was like a Zen riddle. The more you tried to understand it with rational thought, the more its true meaning eluded you. I’d learned just to sit back and enjoy the experience.”–Thad Vassmer, “The Making of Reflections of Evil”
DIRECTED BY: Damon Packard
FEATURING: Damon Packard, Nicole Vanderhoff
PLOT: Bob is a grossly overweight man trying to make a living peddling watches on the streets of present-day L.A. In flashback, we learn that his sister Julie died of an overdose in the 1970s. Julie’s spirit seeks out Bob with an important message from beyond the grave, which she eventually delivers to him at Universal Studios theme park.
- Packard self-funded the film with an inheritance he received—one source estimated it at $500,000. He spent everything on the film and was broke immediately afterwards.
- Packard sent out over 20,000 original DVDs he paid to have pressed for free, sending many to celebrities. He published some of their reactions on the movie’s now-defunct official website.
- Reflections of Evil encountered serious distribution problems because of its unlicensed use of copyrighted material (such as Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Wooden Ships”). Packard recut the film in 2004 to avoid these issues (we review a different cut here).
- Per the end credits, Universal Studios “permanently banned” Packard (presumably due to his guerilla shooting on their property).
INDELIBLE IMAGE: Bob’s massive, angry face seems to fill about every third or fourth frame. You’d be safe picking any one of the many warped camera tricks Packard uses to make his own bloated visage appear even more grotesque.
THREE WEIRD THINGS: Young Spielberg’s death set; the Golden Guru; Schindler’s List: The Ride
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Hiding behind the generic title Reflections of Evil (presumably chosen because Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid was already taken) is one of the most personal and peculiar movies ever made: a homemade mélange of bizarre editing, black helicopters, vintage 1970s commercials, angry L.A. street people, barking dogs, a barking watch salesman, a ghost in a see-through nightgown, and so much more. Repetitive, abrasive, grotesque, and intermittently brilliant, Reflections will shatter your mind, leaving you wondering whether you’ve just watched the magnum opus of a crude genius or the manifesto of a genuine madman.
Trailer for Reflections of Evil
COMMENTS: Although there is a loose story to Reflections of Evil, if Continue reading 288. REFLECTIONS OF EVIL (2002)