Some of my favorite movies are the kind that leave you scratching your head once they’re finished. Movies so strange that you couldn’t, for the life of you, figure out why someone would be compelled to make such a thing, yet they somehow keep you watching. This is why I love old exploitation flicks of the 60s and 70s. Films like “Something Weird,” “Mondo Keyhole” and “Night of the Bloody Apes” will always have a special place in my heart. After seeing this fairly recent film (the copyright date says that it was made in 1998), I can say that “Dark Night of the Soul” ranks up there with some of the best oddities from the 60s and 70s.
Our rather short venture into the creepy unknown (clocks in at 54 minutes) begins with a goon in a black suit and rubber skull mask talking to the camera about reincarnation and the mental plane. Ooookay…this is gonna be interesting.
We then cut to four college students (two guys, two girls) on a little road trip in the middle of nowhere. They’re shown to not be very homosexual friendly as they pull up to a hitchhiker in silver pants and proceed to let him know that he is indeed a “faggot.” They then speed off down the road with the “faggot” running behind them, flipping them off and screaming something about them having little penises. Kids these days.
But wait, here’s where the movie says, “Hope you’re still with us” as the next scene features the skull mask guy (we’re gonna call him Skeletor from here on in) getting ridden by a big breasted woman in chainmail. If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will.
Cut back to the college students as they park their car in a graveyard, pop a couple of beers and light up a long, skinny joint that could double as E.T.’s finger. Now that’s a good time. But then conversation turns to another state of consciousness and philosophy on why graveyards are bad. It’s at this point where you should be going – hmmmmm…State of consciousness? Mental plane? Reincarnation? Pot induced philosophy? Oh Christ! It’s a hippie movie!!! If there were ever a time to hit the old eject button on the DVD player it was now. But then I remembered that only a few minutes ago there was a guy in a Halloween mask, kneading a couple of gigantic boobs, while getting ridden like he was in the Kentucky Derby. My a*s stayed glued to the seat.
It doesn’t take long before the students go wandering about the graveyard, each one of them getting abducted by Skeletor and his cult members who want to discuss nothing more than disembarking from the flesh and traveling the mental plane. This is actually perfect dinner conversation as the meal consists of opium hits from a hookah and sexual molestation. Yes, all four students are stoned out of their brains, stripped down to their bare a***s and forced to listen to a bunch of cultish, hippie claptrap. A nightmare for some, one helluva a weekend for others.
Then the film just ends and you’re left wondering just what the hell it was all for. I have respect for the filmmakers for creating something so mysterious, so my apologies to them if my description of their message comes off as offensive. But for me, I had more fun pretending that this was some sort of cruel brainwashing technique used to lure the weak willed into a cult where new recruits would be commanded to cast off their material possessions and engage in circle jerks for the rest of their lives. To become hippies basically. “Dark Night of the Soul” is definitely unique and has the makings of a cult classic. It’s too bizzare not to be. However, I wouldn’t recommend getting stoned and watching it alone. You’d just wind up dunking yourself into a paranoid nightmare, suffer a psychotic breakdown and go on to wander the Earth in diapers for the rest of your days. That’s not good.