Saint Bernard Movie Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Released by Severin Films
Written and directed by Gabe Bartalos
2019, 97 minutes, Not Rated
Released on May 14th, 2019
Jason Dugre as Bernard
Katy Sullivan as Miss Roadkill
Peter Iasillo, Jr. as The Chief
Jack Doroshow as Uncle Ed
Warwick Davis as Othello
Bob Zmuda as Father Steele
George Clayton Johnson as Father Time
We’re all different in our tastes, but one surefire way to keep a viewer invested in your cinematic vision is to find a way to defy description. As one of the most daunting challenges in the world of film (not to mention one of the most dangerous), it’s the ultimate in risk/reward.
Saint Bernard is the story of Bernard (Jason Dugre; Skinned Deep), a composer who’s losing his grip on not only sanity but reality itself.
You can’t go any further, plot wise, than that synopsis. There is no further way to describe it that would sound like anything other than the ramblings of a stark-raving looney masturbating in a pile of his own feces. Believe it or not, that’s a compliment. Gabe Bartalos, you are a fucking madman (yes, the language is absolutely required there).
If you recognize the name Gabe Bartalos, it’s probably because of his impressive list of SFX credits, including Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Happy Hell Night, Basket Case 3: The Progeny, From Beyond, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. He’s also the writer/director of the underrated Skinned Deep. He uses his decades in the business to pull in some killer genre names for Saint Bernard: Warwick Davis (Willow, Leprechaun), Bob Zmuda (producer of Man on the Moon and Andy Kaufman cohort), and George Clayton Johnson (writer of Logan’s Run). They’re all utilized to maximum effectiveness, especially Iasillo as The Chief in some of the most bulbous makeup this side of Nothing But Trouble. For that matter, the entire police station scene is psychologically symbolic fried gold.
Of course, the SFX are front and center throughout. The movie opens with raw poultry preparing to parachute out of a plane, and that’s one of the more normal parts of the entire proceedings. Are you starting to get the picture? Contained herein you also get one of the best car accidents in screen history (both the gore and the punchline); a severed Saint Bernard head in a bag that’s so important it’s essentially a character; a pupal version of Bernard that echoes Eraserhead in fine fashion; the world’s most simultaneously attractive and repulsive femme fatale in Miss Roadkill…and Static Boy. Oh, dear God, I’m never getting Static Boy and the projectile power of his asshole out of my head.
Again, that’s a compliment.
The first 15-20 minutes are hard to follow, but there’s a payoff. And still it won’t be for everyone by a long shot. It’s just that kind of movie, but one with a heartbreaking story behind it of a man living under the crushing weight of drugs, expectation, and a childhood trauma at the hands of the world’s creepiest uncle (Jack Doroshow). It’s heavy stuff. However, if you can get through the imperfect open, you’ll see what’s really going on before it’s all said and done.
You know what? I’ll let one of the greatest voices of all time, Hunter S. Thompson, summarize this one for me. We’ll just substitute Saint Bernard for the character of Dr. Gonzo: “There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind, never considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
Now, do I need to tell you that’s a compliment?
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