When I heard Lord of Darkness was about cannibalistic inbreeds living in the Scottish Highlands, I was set to be terrified! Then came the opening voiceover about inbreeds from 500 years ago and how one survived. Even a birth scene (by what looks like a chained up farmer with a sack on his head to me) seems to be in place just for an initial gross out.
Cut to a goth rock concert. Now we’re getting somewhere! A bunch of kids is going to get stranded in the woods on their way home from the concert, right?
Wrong. Lord of Darkness takes a very unique approach to the inbreed genre (bummer). A human butcher with a gnarly eye comes down from the mountains in a nice black taxi and stalks victims in isolated alleyways. He has hooded, deformed henchmen who are on foot and can do all that crazy jumping and leaping like the guys in that Madonna video:
They bring victims back to a cave lair to rape, kill, and eat them. The human butcher hacks up his booty calls while reading from the Bible with little conviction. He grinds body parts into stew, uses blood as gravy, and feeds it to the unseen “Mother.” He uses a dismembered hand to jerk off. He lets one of his henchmen butt bang a male victim. See? Major Bible thumper FAIL.
Meanwhile, in what feels like a completely different movie, there’s this reporter coming down hard on the police, urging them to get off their asses and put a stop to the vanishing people. He figures he can uncover the truth himself—by investigating missing cases since like the beginning of time.
Finally, after an hour, the two movies come together. The human butcher regularly reads the newspaper and knows the reporter is on to him. The well-informed mountain inbreed kidnaps the reporter’s girlfriend. The reporter gets a morbid psychic message from his missing girlfriend’s severed head that leads him right to the cave lair. A big twist is revealed. There’s a gunfight. We get to see “Mother” for about a minute. And we get a classic cheesy open-ended conclusion.
Don’t ask me who the Lord of Darkness is—I don’t think he made the final cut of the film. But we should have gotten more “Mother” (Did I miss something? Was she the Lord of Darkness?). There should have actually been some darkness in the brightly lit cave lair to add atmosphere and suspense.
There are few scares and no feeling of dread. Even the sprinkling of depravity lacks the grit the film seems to be going for…I think. Maybe it’s going strictly for morbid humor with all the focus on the human stew preparation? I don’t know for sure.
Lord of Darkness just didn’t have enough horror energy for my tastes. There are a few exciting moments, some good gore, some CGI blood, and a few chase scenes. Add a few edits for violence, adult themes, and commercial interruptions, and I could see it being a SyFy original.