Tempus Tormentum (2018) starring Darren Johnston, Chris Parkes and Tyhr Trubiak. Directed by James Rewucki.
Tempus Tormentum: who the fuck knows what that means, right? Apparently tormentum is Latin for catapult and tempus means time, so the film is called Time Catapult? Maybe they mean the film is fast paced or something because it sure doesn’t have any weapons or time travel in it.
Right off the bat we get a dude arriving in town (played by Tyhr Trubiak, who you’ll recognise as the policeman from Curse Of Chucky) who immediately checks into a seedy motel room that has a mysterious typewriter that seems to type by itself.
After getting a burger in the local diner (where the menu reads, ‘Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth’), Drifter Dude is chased by three men in a car wearing gimp masks. He manages to lose them only to have them break into his motel room while he is sleeping and inject him with some weird, trippy drug.
And then we’re off, the remaining sixty-five minutes is one long cat and mouse scene as Drifter Dude is pursued by the Gimp Guys, all the time tripping on some LSD type drug. He is chased around town, banging on neighbours’ doors who mostly refuse to help him (and those that do are quickly butchered), he’s chased through several obligatory abandoned warehouses and even a church and each time he is captured, the Gimp Guys let him go, only to resume the chase again. At some point, you come to realise that Drifter Dude isn’t in any actual danger.
Well at the forty five minute mark Drifter Dude is finally knocked unconscious and after a bizarre dream sequence involving alternate universes and ‘linking of minds’, he wakes up chained to a bench with those metal hook things you see in Japanese porn holding his mouth open and a big, slimy alien creature spits in his mouth.
Well, Drifter Dude manages to escape and the chase begins yet again, with Drifter Dude taking shelter at an outdoor rave party with all the people wearing masks. For some reason the people there call him Mouse before handing him over to the Gimp Guys in a Wicker Man type scene with all the ravers standing around chanting weird shit.
By now we’re fifty seven minutes in and the filmmakers decide to bring things to an end, so after one more chase through yet another abandoned warehouse, we get to the final scene where Drifter Dude is tied to some weird brain machine that causes ‘exquisite hallucinations’ and looks like it was stolen from the set of Space:1999.
Anyway, after getting his brain fried, Drifter Dude is given a mask and now joins all the weirdos from the rave. Roll end credits.
This is a weird one and not just for the viewer, throughout the film Drifter Dude constantly screams, ‘What’s happening?’ and, ‘I still don’t understand!’ We literally know nothing about Drifter Dude and given the fact that the Gimp Guys keep letting him go, it’s difficult to give a shit about him even if he were in any danger.
What the film does well though, is cinematography, with the chase scenes taking place in heavily shadowed areas intermittently lit by bright lights and plenty of smoke from gas canisters blowing around (the Gimp Guys love to throw gas canisters around). With all the people wearing masks and with the soundtrack dominating the virtually dialogue free film, the movie looks and feels like seventy minute music video for Slipknot, except with tons of weird, trippy shit like in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Yet for all of this, the film kept me watching all the way through and even though by the end I had learned nothing about Drifter Dude or the town’s inhabitants or what the fuck those trippy dream sequences were supposed to mean or even that alien creature, I can honestly say I wasn’t bored. In fact I’ve seen the film twice and I’ll probably watch it again down the road.
If you’re a fan of weird shit that doesn’t make sense then give this a go, it’s like Rob Zombie’s 31 meets Eraserhead.
Steve Barnard lurks in the Stygian swamps of South America. He divides his time between scouring ancient jungles for the lost City of the Monkey Children and watching horror movies. Literally any horror movie he can get his hands on. Especially Japanese ones.