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1 phaedra cinema , the distributor of such never-heard-of classics as " soft toilet seats , " " trailer : the movie , " and " the one armed boxer vs . the flying guillotine , " has sneaked its latest release , " the sculptress , " into a few theaters this weekend hoping to cash in on a handful of halloween holidaygoers looking for a right good scare .
2 " the sculptress " is a scary proposition all right , but not in the way its producers intended .
3 from the outset it's easy to see why some of the larger , more reputable chains aren't carrying it : the film looks like a straight-to-video release from the early '80s that's been dusted off ( not very carefully ) and re-issued in theatrical format .
4 that staple of schlocky z-movies jeff fahey ( " the lawnmower man " ) plays a washed-up shakespearean actor lacking in some basic people skills .
5 when he's not reliving his glory days in his ramshackle nob hill apartment , screaming scotch-induced " hamlet " soliloquies well into the night , he's out and about on the streets of san francisco stalking loose women .
6 fahey's dobie sizes up his victims ( actually just one , a peep show performer name of sylvie ) dressed like one of the guys from kraftwerk , and approaches them in the ridiculous attire of a bavarian count replete with a cane , dark glasses , and a false beard ( just in time for halloween ! ) .
7 " do you have a castle ? "
8 sylvie asks dobie seductively when he flashes the bulging contents of his wallet outside a coffee shop .
9 " jah .
10 with ze many turrets " is dobie's perplexing reply .
11 the real " star " of the film ( and i use that term extremely loosely ) is katie wright , who plays the sculptress of the title .
12 sarah is new in town , studying at the prestigious sf art institute under the mentorship of a " genius " frenchman , played by the beret-wearing patrick bauchau .
13 that's convenient , because sarah would one day like to live and work in paris ( you won't believe the film's final shot , with its cheesy eiffel tower backdrop and " rosemary's baby " -inspired imagery ) .
14 bauchau's character criticizes sarah's work publicly ( her clay busts keep turning into gargoyles--perhaps she's possessed . . .
15 by an incubus ! ! ? ) but he still manages to talk her into dinner .
16 whereas wright does a decent english accent , her talents pretty much end there .
17 on the other side of the wall , dobie's troubled past is succinctly summarized in a scene in which he thumbs through an old scrapbook of newspaper clippings with headings like " actor delivers a stunning macbeth , " actor courted by hollywood studio , " " actor renounces hollywood for priesthood , " and " prostitute fingers priest in sex scandal . "
18 the film's plot could have been just as easily condensed .
19 " artist moves in next door to shakespearean psychopath . "
20 " yawns ensue . "
21 so dobie rants and raves and sarah chips away at large blocks of granite till way past their bedtimes .
22 late in the film , their paths finally cross with mind-numbing results .
23 nobody else in the apartment complex appears to mind all the racket , but one old dear does go ballistic when sarah's bathtub overflows .
24 no , we don't see wright in the tub ( or fahey for that matter ) , and the gore quotient is virtually nil , so for a horror film " the sculptress " is surprisingly lacking .
25 the only thing worth looking at is san francisco , and writer/director ian merrick manages to make even it look dreary , windswept , and deserted .
26 " the sculptress " isn't even bad enough to be fun .
27 luckily , a limited release has made it easy to avoid .
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