Movie Review: Dangerous Men

Any aficionado of L.A cult movie offerings worth his or her salt has come to appreciate both Phil Blankenship of Ameoba Records' series of midnight putridity at the New Beverly Cinema and the skewed, truly debased programming of Hadrian Belove of the Silent Theater.

Saturday night, these two titans of trash joined forces to expose a wider audience to Dangerous Men. By a show of hands, only about 10 members of the audience at the well-attended midnight showing had seen the film. Speaking for the rest of us virgins that night, we may never be the same.

As Belove remarked in his introduction to the movie, the less that's known about it the better. So I won't attempt to describe the plot. But the fact is, trying to actually follow this movie's internal logic while watching it would, at the least, preclude enjoyment, and at the worst result in seizures.

Dangerous Men was completed in 2005 by John S. Rad (née Yeghanehrad), the Iranian-born producer, writer, editor, director, set designer, production designer... you get the point. Shot over a number of years in numerous parts of Southern California and following a personal vision completely free of outside involvement, heeded advice or reason, Rad's final product merges Skinamax, Biker Film action and amateur-hour acting and film production, all filtered through the innocent zeal of regional cinema. (To gather a sense of the plot and the quality of the writing, click here to read the synopsis on the movie's IMDb page, submitted by "Anonymous." I wonder who that could be?)

According to Belove, who saw it during its one week run in 2005, this triumph of terribleness was showcased in only a handful of L.A. theaters. But to my eyes, Dangerous Men was intended for a foreign audience who probably expect their action flicks to feature English-speaking actors, but perhaps wish there was more belly dancing and long, lingering shots of man ass and guys wearing tighty whities.

The comparisons to Ed Wood are obvious, but for my (bad) taste, no other film's use of music has ever been so completely free of purpose, meaning or good sense, and that's the real joy in sharing the movie with an audience. The music reeks of public domain temp cues looped to their utmost, which were then stretched across multiple scenes. I'm pretty sure there isn't a second of Dangerous Men devoid of soundtrack, and Saturday's crowd ate up the incessant canned synth and clumsily used melodramatic cues. (Who knew scenes of attempted rape and repeated stabbings could ever sound so cute?)

***SPOILER ALERT***

Though I'm doing my best to avoid discussions of the absurd plot, one of the real takeaways, besides Rad's megalomania, is a malice towards women which is somewhat balanced by the lead female character randomly enacting revenge on men, becoming a prostitute so she can more easily kill off legions of Johns. From the movie's first bloody kill of a woman during a liquor store robbery to women at bars or beaches being nothing more than violent conquests for barbarian bikers, the treatment of females on screen is disturbing. But since nothing in the movie or its production follows any logic, it's best to excuse this as just another example of inanity and allow the jaw-droppingness to wash over you.

***END SPOILER ALERT***

As it's not on DVD and since this is a movie best experienced en masse, when will your next chance to be exposed to this excrement occur? Sign up for one of the below and you too may discover the demented Dangerous Men.

Review by Ryan Vincent

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