A woman director & author & a story dominated by the women characters, here's sleezy girl-oriented bloody gory horror about a nasty mirror that takes possession of outcast punky witch-chick (Rainbow Harvest) who dresses exactly like Boy George during Culture Club's heyday. She's new to town & not getting along well in her new school, but the Evil Mirror is eager to make her dreams come true.
SEE Karen Black get her arm stuck in a garbage disposal & gnawed off with great geysers of blood all around. WATCH spurned femme fatale rip boyfriend to a bloody pulp. ENJOY image of demoness drowning best friend's boyfriend while ripping his tongue out with her teeth. CHORTLE as showering highschool privileged snot-girl unkind to witches gets her naked bod steamed to death like a fresh lobster.
It's crap but it's pretty exciting crap. And a "twist" ending that actually works into the bargain! What more can a girl ask of a trashy horror film I wanna know.
A passably mediocre time-waister at best, it's hard to imagine anyone thought Mirror Mirror was worthy of franchising out as a series. Sometimes only a "cool object" is all it takes for the justification, like the flying knife-ball in the Phantasm series with Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man, or the puzzle box in Clive Barker's Hellraiser series. But usually there's something more than just the object, like Angus Scrimm as a wonderful character presence or the Hellraiser figure of Pinhead.
For the Mirror Mirror series the "object" is the mirror, but it's unfortunately not very interestingly designed. Rather than looking old & gothic, it looks like a cheapy object some beginner at woodworking made in his basement & whose wife soon sent it to the Thriftstore to be rid of the clunky eyesoar.
As for character actors, the first installment did have Karen Black & Yvonne DeCarlo in support roles, & the first sequel Mirror Mirror II: Raven Dance gets Veronica Cartwright doing quite a nice job as the crazed blind nun, Roddy McDowell doing rather more poorly than usually expected of him as the evil physician, & Sally Kellerman hamming it up well enough as the aging wicked sister left out of the will.
Alas the film has to be carried by its putative star, Tracy Wells as Marlee, who falls under the sway of the sinister mirror. She can't act worth two beans, but she's not bad at dancing & twirling in front of the mirror, so I guess that's how she scored the role.
Another element that sometimes justifies a horror film becoming a franchise is really cool theme music. Mirror Mirror didn't have that going for it at all, & Mirror Mirror II attempts it with a director-written composition that sounds suspiciously like circus merry-go-round music. It utterly fails.
The setting is an unlikely combination of orphange & nuns' residence & rest-home & Catholic cathedral. Marlee the orphan is seemingly old enough to be in her third year of college, so one wonders why she's still in an orphanage. She is witness to the unveiling of the Horrific Mirror which has been kept lo these many years in an unlocked closet with a piece of black cloth loosely tossed over it.
A tattooed satanic heavy metal band has been invited, absurdly enough, to perform at the Catholic church-residence-orphanage though there are only two orphans & two nuns present. When the death-punk band members harrass Marlee's little brother (Carlton Beener), she wishes they'd be taught a lesson, so the mirror conjures up some really bad special FX to roast the whole band, which results in no visits from the police or coronar or anyone, it's just dismissed as a freak accident & no big deal.
This film has just about nothing going for it, but one actor puts more into his role than anyone else. William Sanderson, who rather specializes in dirty hillbilly roles, & who appears in the first installment of this series as well, is the drunken psycho for hire with a doll collection. If the film had been almost entirely about him, whadda film it could've been, but shortly after turning some pet spiders loose in Marlee's bed, the mirror-demon kills him in a gory manner. After that there's nothing to do but wait for the demon to appear out of the mirror, which alas lasts about five seconds of screen time.
It does have a medium-successful "trick ending" which could've been a good capper for a slightly better film, but wasn't quite good enough to save such a bad film.
So surely the franchise can't continue after a fiasco like that? Sure it can! Direct to video horror films don't have to do a lot of business to be measured successes, & hey, if I'm stupid enough to watch the whole damned set, plenty of people must've been just as stupid as me.
Mirror Mirror III: The Voyeur has Billy Drago in it, so right away a viewer might predict it has more chance of appeal than the previous episodes. Such a viewer would have predicted wrong.
The babe factor is provided mainly by seedy-sexy Monique Parent. It's the only one in the series that tries to be a nudity & softcore sex horror flick. Despite that the leads are fair enough looking, their heart isn't in any of it, & the softcore sequences are ultra-dull.
Drago plays Anthony, an artist who had an affair with a druglord's girlfriend. She uses the titular mirror to place an everlasting bond between herself & Anthony, while putting a more directly harmful curse on druglord Julio (Richard Cansino) who by the way is quite a racist stereotype for such a bad actor to attempt to get away with. Before Julio goes down in a mirror-cursed drug deal, he kills Cassandra, but her soul persists in the mirror.
For reasons the script can't explain, Anthony moves into Julio's house after Julio & Cassandra "disappear" & he continues to be haunted by witchy Cassandra until he too comes to the totally predictable bad end.
The original Mirror Mirror was by far the best of the series, & despite leaving room for improvement, no improvements are encountered in the sequels. The worst episode is the third, while the second & fourth are a toss-up for second-best. Although Mirror Mirror IV: Reflection is a whole lot better than the third film, that's even so not saying a whole lot.
Reflection takes place in what looks like an abandoned theater complex & warehouse. The complex didn't have a guard or any workers or any evidence of use, except it did have a lady janitor. Perhaps she was a bag lady squatter pretending to be the janitor, as there's no earthly reason to imagine an otherwise abandoned building would need a janitor. The mirror quickly dispatches her & we don't have to ponder her mysterious presence again.
A teenage couple have broken into the warehouse to try on theater costumes & the mirror gets the guy, but the girl escapes, & spends the next year abed being depressed & haunted by memories perhaps generated by the mirror, perhaps unrelated to the mirror.
One year later on Halloween, there's a squatters' party at the warehouse, & the mirror causes much harm to young actors of little talent. Among the party-goers is our depressed heroine whose mother forced her to get out of bed. The warehouse setting is a device to get past having no budget for sets, but the set designer using random junk has created quite a credible Halloween party atmosphere that's occasionally more artistic than anything else about the film.
Billy Drago shows up at first seeming to be a homeless gent with a poetic disposition, apparently not the same character he played in part III. He turns out to be the spirit of the mirror, the ultimate purpose of which remains vague. Drago's presence in the film does perk things up a bit since the younger cast is so uninteresting.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl