Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Top 20 Diamanda Hagan Reviews

She’s an official friend of the blog, she gave me my first ever podcast appearance (and my second), she’s probably one of the few proper allies I have within the realm of media criticism. And yet, if you are ever unfortunate to catch me watching one of her videos concerning Doctor Who, you would see fanboy rage the likes of which even God has never seen before. Seriously, if I lacked any form of perspective, I could easily make up a Top 10 Worst Videos list made up of her Twatty Who Reviews. But this is something I’ve even talked with her before on the podcast, so this is hardly anything new. So, with that little dummy spit out of the way, let’s get into the list already.

#20: From Beyond

For those of you who still think Awoken is a mockery of the Cthulhu Mythos, here’s a serving of some of the most glaring and yet apparently unintentional homoerotic subtext that I have ever seen, let alone in the name of a Lovecraft adaptation. This kind of weirdly hilarious bit of body horror is exactly the kind of wheelhouse Hagan exists in for review material; let this set the tone for the rest of the list. Or, perhaps the next one will.

#19: Forgive Me For Raping You

I mentioned this back in my Loving A Vegetable review, and this video is probably where I got the majority of my knowledge of the film from. If there was anyone else (aside from me, at least) that thought my attempt to make nothing but awkwardly shot rape scenes seem interesting didn’t work out, then this is where that attempt actually succeeded.

#18: Sextette
One of the more bizarre vanity projects out there, with some of the most baffling casting of any film, Hagan has a prime hunting ground for taking shots at how insanely self-pandering it is for Mae West, as well as her many, many old-timey one-liners that are somehow even older and more decrepid than she is.

#17: Unashamed
One of the surprisingly good ideas Hagan had with the series was the “Possession” reviews, where she’d get a colleague to do a review written by her as the character of Diamanda Hagan. This time around, it’s resident deep-thinker Leon Thomas of Renegade Cut fame and he does the role justice as he looks at this embarrassingly coy public domain film.

#16: Starrbooty
Starting off the review of a film that’s supposed to look bad with the reveal that Hagan intentionally dumbs down her production quality to “blend in with the crowd”, which is a nice touch, she and the film form this weird bond as the review goes on. It’s like, because they both know that this was done deliberately, they flow together on all of the jokes made. I always get a kick out of just how much she enjoys the montages, especially when the opera singing starts up.

#15: Preaching To The Perverted
For a well-crafted lesson in Self-Canon, here’s a video where the Mistress reviews a film that was based loosely on her own life; it being about a woman who runs a den of sin that the Christians want to take down. It’s reviews like this that actually make the genuine character of the Lecher Bitch stand out and feel breathing of its own accord, probably making her one of the few that’s been able to pull off ‘review as a character’ idea well; this would explain why the Possession reviews go so well.

#14: Harlem Rides The Range
And speaking of which, here’s another Possession review, this time with previous Meta Month subject the Rap Critic. While his valiant attempt at an Irish accent is commendable on its own, I’m honestly more impressed by how well he managed to pin down Hagan’s mannerisms and vocal inflections. As for the content itself, I could listen to ‘The Hagan Critic’ point out how much of a dick the main character of the film forever.

#13: Where The Dead Go To Die
This would ordinarily rank as a review that is made memorable by its material, given how I rather foolishly got a copy of the film myself, reviewed it and then cried in the corner for several days. However, this actually serves as a good first-step for those who are interested in the film itself, since Hagan’s riffing and moments of pain help the clips of the film go down a lot smoother. I am still ashamed to say that the film itself might be one of the single best films I’ve sat through, but for what it’s worth, this is where I found it from.

#12: Fuck
Not since The Needle Drop have I seen someone make a literal one-word review sound so good. This is essentially a master class when it comes to making just about anything funny based purely on how its delivered; it is seriously insane how good this is at a purely comedic level.

#11: Apocalypse 2: Revelation

How do you become the worst part of a quadrilogy of films that are pretty much guaranteed garbage? Well, miscast Jeff Fahey, virtual reality gobbledegook and implied child rape is a damn good start. Add these to the scenery-chewing villain and Hagan has more than enough material to work with, even bringing in Aleister D. Homelesssb’sterrd for more drunken actor shenanigans.

#10: Freaks
More Possession goodness, this time with who I think can officially be designated as my critical crush Oancitizen. Given how this is essentially the video that had sell the whole idea behind the Possession reviews to begin with, Kyle does a great job with not only the concept of performing Hagan’s material as her character but also Hagan’s jokes about the film focused entirely on real-life freak show performers are funny while not entering into the realm of insensitive. Well, more so than the film itself at any rate. “Aw, she’s like an angry Russian nesting doll! Not again!”

#9: Schizophreniac: The Whore Mangler
“Oh my God, it’s… Halloween, remade on a tiny budget. By chimps.” Believe it or not, this film is even more insane than that sentence makes it out to be. The film’s main character, Henry Russo, is one of the most awesome psychopaths that nary a person has heard of, and our resident psychopath does a great job working as the superego to the hideously enraged id that is Henry.

#8: Thomas And The Magic Railroad/Aftermath
She reviews a very disturbing film about graphic necrophilia, and yet all we see is Alec Baldwin talking with a train. A gag review to be sure, it plays up to a lot of the ethos in Hagan’s approach to horrifying images: Sometimes, it’s worse when you can’t see them. This would lead to something truly terrifying with her review of Chirpy, one of the few Internet videos that has been able to mentally break me, but I prefer this one a lot better.

#7: Exorcist: Dominion
Another review where Hagan shakes up the character dynamics of the show, only she pulls a Mirror Universe on us this time around. She reviews it as basically Hagan’s diametric opposite, as the slave of an empire ruled by the show’s resident butt-monkey Teddy. It makes for a great contrast to the rest of her reviews, which would explain why she wound up bringing Nina Galas out again for King Solomon’s Mines.

#6: A Diamanda Hagan Review...

A critic reviewing their own show… sounds familiar. Okay, my essential theft of the idea to kick off this whole month aside, I have a lot of respect for people who are able to so thoroughly take the piss out of themselves. I make no secret that I was trying to be even a third as self-incisive as this ended up and… well, given how high up this video landed on my list, you can guess that mine doesn’t even compare.

#5: The Island Of Doctor Moreau
The pinnacle of the Possession review canon, with Rap Critic, Oancitizen and JewWario all reviewing this colossal trainwreck as Hagan… as well as Hagan herself. Yeah, they somehow made the concept of watching four versions of the same person reviewing the same film work, which makes a weird form of sense considering we end up getting an off-screen sex scene between three of them. Hagan has a weird habit of making the fanfiction for us.

#4: Koyaanisqatsi
From a nice bit of banter between Hagan and her wife The Omega, we traverse to one of popular Internet composer Skitch’s rare appearances as a main character in one of these reviews, who somehow manages to carry an even greater air of superiority than even the Snob could manage. Beyond that, it basically rides on a single joke, that being Hagan trying to positively review the film in question but she keeps getting interrupted by a chorus made up of Mikey, Some Jerk With A Camera, Rap Critic (again?) and Oancitizen (AGAIN?!). But it’s still a gag that’s pulled off really well, especially when they start repeating what Hagan is saying.

#3: Myra Breckinridge
A team-up between Hagan and the Cinema Snob on what is easily the biggest example of “What The Fuck, Hollywood?!”, it may not measure up to Hagan’s core reason for looking at the film to begin with but their chemistry together is impeccable.

#2: Left Behind
It’s a safe bet to say that, of all the reviewers I’ll ever end up covering for Meta Month, Hagan is the most emphatically atheist of the lot. We got tastes of it back with Forgive Me For Raping You and the Apocalypse quadrilogy, but here’s the main article. She cuts several swathes through the film’s insane grip on politics, its utter nonsense in its depiction of Christian doctrine and the sheer existence of Kirk Cameron who, believe it or not, would only end up making worse Christian films as he went on. It even ends on a note that not only pays lip service to Hagan the person’s religious ideals (or lack thereof), but also Hagan the character’s god complex and mentality.

#1: Eat The Schoolgirl
Alright, I admit it: I really love Diamanda Hagan and I really love Oancitizen; they bring the best out of each other on screen. Oancitizen’s overanalytical side goes haywire, leading up to a moment that well and truly rounds off the variety we get from Mistress Hagan. Another thing that seems to bring out the biggest laughs from Kyle are apparently snails.

Next time… next time, we’ll be hitting a bit more of a sombre mood as I take a look at a critic’s final ever work. Word of warning now: It is going to get seriously emotional.

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