Today is a very exciting day, because the infamous Shitfest is back for another season of bad movies and wonderfully snarky commentary! Here’s a little review I wrote about a lesser-known masterpiece called Ultrachrist! (2003). Note: it’s not actually a masterpiece. You can see the opening ceremony post for Shitfest here, and find the rest of the reviews here as they’re posted. Which I would highly recommend, because Shitfest brings out the best in everyone.
Another season passes, and another Shitfest begins! I know this because I willingly watched a film called Ultrachrist! (2003) the other day, and I never normally would have done such a thing. I’m not sure how I found this film, but I had the opportunity to watch it, and I did so. And it was bad.
Ultrachrist! begins with Jesus Christ himself arriving from the heavens above, naked, in a dingy alleyway in New York City. He’s arrived on Earth to re-establish his ministry, fulfil some prophecies, and usher in 2000 years of godly peace. There’s a nice Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) reference as he has to beg for clothes in a bar. After wandering around the city naked, he finds some clothes at a vintage shop. Then he meets a marketing executive at a bar and they discuss his new quest. This marketing guru asks him, “Isn’t spreading the gospel just a marketing issue?” and Jesus sort of agrees. After watching a Japanese anime on television, he decides to rebrand himself as Ultrachrist and dons a nifty superhero costume, which his new lady friend at the vintage shop constructs for him. As it turns out, the costume has a positive effect on would-be sinners, and he experiences various degrees of success in stopping people from doing bad things, such as stealing and watching pornography.
Then the film starts getting interesting. It turns out the Parks Commissioner of NYC is the leader of a drug ring that operates out of the various parks in the city. He’s lost a lot of revenue since Ultrachrist started working his almighty magic, since now that “sin isn’t hip anymore” no one wants to buy any drugs. He decides to send out an army of four of the biggest sinners in the history of mankind to defeat Ultrachrist: Vlad the Impaler, Jim Morrison, Adolf Hitler, and Richard Nixon.
What happens next is an absolute clusterfuck of stupidity. That’s the most eloquent description I can muster for this film. There are a number of big showdowns as Ultrachrist defeats each villain one by one, and there’s a subplot with the fat and balding Archangel Ira, who is the designated Archangel of Erotic Massage (?!). The whole film ends (spoiler alert!) with a country hoedown as Ultrachrist sings about sex not being sinful anymore, and then literally everyone on earth converts to Christianity. The end.
The first thing you need to know about Ultrachrist! is that – surprise! – it is an incredibly low budget affair. The graphics look like a Powerpoint presentation from 1998, the audio is extremely choppy, the special effects are the complete opposite of special, and the acting is so bad that it’s almost non-existent. As certain people are using their special powers during a battle, the powers look like they’ve been illustrated with the airbrush tool from MS Paint out of Microsoft Windows 95. At the beginning of the film this is sort of charming, but by the end, the novelty has definitely worn off. Also, the script is painfully bad. It sounds like it’s been written by two ten-year-old boys who’ve just downed four Red Bulls. It’s horrible.
However, there are two good things about this film. One, there’s a great grungy punk rock soundtrack, and two, the man (I won’t call him an actor, because he can’t act) who plays Ultrachrist is pretty adorable. He plays Ultrachrist as someone with a lot of innocence and a really nice outlook on life, which is really cute in comparison with his friend Ira, who is super sleazy despite being a holy Archangel.
Here are some interesting things I learned from Ultrachrist!:
1. Apparently Jesus’ weaknesses in battle are wireless technology and silver bullets.
2. Hitler’s secret battle move is what can only be described as an ‘atomic salute’, so watch out for it in case you ever end up in a fight with him.
3. Jesus has Terminator vision and can automatically see which Commandment you’re in violation of, so be careful.
4. Putting a superhero costume on legitimises any weird activities you want to partake in.
5. Jordan Hoffman, one of the screenwriters of this film, enjoys playing backgammon. (Source: his Wikipedia page.)
Overall, I probably wouldn’t recommend you watch this film. It’s not the shittiest of films, but it is so low budget and unfunny that it’s pretty painful to watch, and it goes on for about an hour too long. The most entertaining bits are where Ultrachrist is fighting Hitler and the other sinful individuals, but those moments are sandwiched between so much mediocrity that you almost forget about them. Oh, and don’t even think of watching this film if you are very religious, because your brain will probably explode. Ultrachrist! is a total mess. It’s not ‘so bad it’s good’. It’s just bad.
Watch the trailer here.