The Wheel Of Heaven Image

The Wheel Of Heaven

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | December 20, 2023

How did madman director Joe Badon take several short movies and join them together like a messed up Voltron to become the ultimate WTF film called The Wheel Of Heaven? The first short, the previously released Blood of The Dinosaurs, is presented as a prologue. The filmmakers include the short’s closing credits as well as footage of themselves at work. This is followed by several other shorts explicitly made for this project but presented as if previously released. This includes closing credit sequences for each that burst into the narrative in strange spots.

The stories all come back to a fictional novel called The Wheel Of Heaven, being read by garage mechanic Marge (Kali Russell) in south Boston. Marge makes choices for a character named Purity (Russell), who was introduced as a child in the prologue. However, soon, Purity finds herself in the middle of a cosmic snow globe with different realities flying around like flakes. The filmmakers speak within the flick about recreating a channel-flipping experience for the viewer, a la Kentucky Fried Movie. So imagine that the channel flipped is submerged in an aquarium filled with liquid windowpane acid. You are not imagining hard enough; try harder. Nope, it’s still not enough; it’s best you watch the motion picture. Your senses won’t know what hit them.

“…Purity finds herself in the middle of a cosmic snow globe with different realities flying around…”

What drew me into the orbit The Wheel Of Heaven was the Choose Your Own Adventure element, particularly the poster design referencing the style of the cover artwork for book 12 of that series, Inside UFO 54-40. So the focus screenwriters Badon and Jason Kruppa put on this book series drew curiosity about how it fits in and a secret wish that a misspent youth of picking pages to turn to will be justified. I couldn’t have chosen a better movie, no matter what page I turned to. Yes, you will win me over with repeat references to cult masterpieces like Alice Sweet Alice and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, but then again, I am a critic. They leave things like that in like honeypots for the deranged swarm of cinephiles to find.

The causal viewer will be much more impressed with the subversion of expectations. Predictable situations are repeatedly established and then taken in wholly unexpected directions. You may think this is simply a gimmick, but wait until you see how it achieves stratospheric heights in weirdness. The humorous atmosphere suddenly drops into creepy territory, which keeps the audience riveted more than the best punchline. The changes in tone come exactly at the right time to bend your mind and develop the plot.

The Wheel Of Heaven (2023)

Directed: Joe Badon

Written: Joe Badon, Jason Kruppa

Starring: Kali Russell, Jeff Pearson, Vincent Stalba, Nadia Eiler, Cami Roebuck, Miles Hendler, Tiffany Christy, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

The Wheel Of Heaven Image

"…possibly the best WTF production made yet."

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