Awfully Good: Canvas of Blood
Like a complimentary reacharound, CANVAS OF BLOOD was a pleasant surprise—a "bonus" movie attached to the DVD for PSYCHO KICKBOXER.
Canvas of Blood (1997)
Director: Joel Denning
Stars: Jack McClernan, Jennifer Hutt
Is there a plot?
A one-armed college professor gets revenge on the people who ruined his daughter's life with the assistance of some groovy prostheses.
What's the damage?
CANVAS OF BLOOD is like the biblical story of Job…if after his longtime suffering Job gets a mechanical flamethrower robot hand and goes after the Devil and God for screwing him over. It's your typical revenge story except a million thousand times more horrible.
The MACHETE sequel dropped the ball to an alarming degree.
In most movies like this, there's usually one traumatic incident that sets off the hero on his path of vengeance. In CANVAS OF BLOOD, it's actually comical just how much shit rains on this one guy. Paul Hanover loses his arm in the Veitnam War and comes home only to have his wife die and leave him a single father to their only daughter Julia. When the movie starts, Julia gets raped by her douchebag boyfriend because she won't put out and then her and Dad get robbed at knife point in the woods by a guy in a Bill Clinton mask. Julia is also a prodigy violinist but she loses the use of her hand after a botched surgery by a drunk doctor. Paul attempts to sue the surgeon but the lawyer and judge are both bought off and screw over the family. Then the rapist boyfriend dumps Julia and gets engaged to someone else, but not before assaulting Julia for old time's sake. Then, purely out of spite, Rapey McRaperson comes back to kill Julia's dog, at which point Paul's daughter gets so depressed she goes comatose. It's only at this point (and following a hilariously bad vomiting scene) that Paul Hanover has finally had enough.
Hey, you try supporting a politician wife and 37 mistresses without resorting to armed robbery!
And by "enough," I mean Paul decides to go from being a calm, mustachioed father to being a calm, mustachioed vigilante. Much like Ash and his chainsaw, our hero replaces his phantom limb with an arsenal of weird mechanical devices—part blade, part flamethrower, and part super strong, testicle shattering steel glove. (Or, when he's not feeling creative, Paul just uses a hand gun to shoot people in the head.) The death scenes are definitely a highlight, mainly for how bad they are executed, be it horribly fake gore, bizarre choices of editing and music, or just in terms of sheer lunacy. The best one by far is when Paul pays a visit to Julia's ex-boyfriend at a massage parlor, not just because he uses the opportunity to crush the rapist's gonads with his 400-horsepower MegaGlove, but because it affords CANVAS OF BLOOD the chance to feature two naked, lesbian masseuses who just happen to be fondling each other in the next room. Where's the Oscar for Best Screenplay when you need it?
We all have to start somewhere.
Aside from schadenfreude and violence, the movie also features an incredibly boring crime procedural subplot with two inept detectives who can't figure out any connection between a murdered lawyer, a slain judge and a dead doctor who were all very recently involved in the same trial together. Fortunately, this is where CANVAS OF BLOOD's secret weapon comes in… Flanders Davenport, Attorney At Law! Davenport is a ponytailed ambulance chaser who is a unique mix of a stoner surfer and a redneck hillbilly. He talks a smooth game (when you can understand his ridiculous accent), his cross-examination is damn strong (especially in the bedroom), and his assless chaps allow him to fart at his leisure without restriction. (No, seriously.) Flanders Davenport is the all-star of this movie.
Blinky was Detroit's most forgiving and kindhearted prostitute clown.
As you can imagine the acting in CANVAS OF BLOOD is unbelievably bad, to the point where I wouldn't be surprised if the filmmakers just found random people on the street and asked them to say things in front of a camera. The writing is equally atrocious, with numerous scenes that vary between poorly written and offensively lazy. Like when the main character is shown painting while watching TV and the audience is subjected to 5 minutes of a televised political debate that has nothing to do with the movie. There's also the very end of the movie, which features two random guys getting a lapdance at a strip club and then a final shot of a clown in a car dealership parking lot. Neither of these things have anything to do with the film in any way. It's literally as if the filmmakers just had leftover footage they shot and decided to throw it in at the end because it didn't fit anywhere else.
If CANVAS OF BLOOD was released this past year, Natalie Portman would have some serious competition for her Best Actress Oscar.
1) These two "best" kills feature, in no particular order: hilarious gore, nipple pinching, bizarre choices of music, testicle massacre, unrealistic deaths and random naked lesbians. (NSFW)
2) A showcase featuring Flanders Davenport, lawyer extraordinaire! Watch him expertly cross-examine a witness and sexpertly SEXamine a witness in his assless chaps. Wait, why is he wearing assless chaps?! (NSFW)
3) This vomit scene might be a little gross, but the dubbed retching sound effects are hilariously bad.
There's a random sex scene, a random strip club scene and a random lesbian massage parlor scene…and not a single natural breast in sight.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- There's a weird choice of music or random guitar solos during the movie
- Paul gets great justice
- There's Vietnam flashback sound effects
- Driving car scene to add time
- Wilhelm scream
Double shot if there's:
- Nipple play!
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.