Heather is broke. She has a soul sucking job as a stripper. Her live-in girlfriend Victoria has a baby and a coke problem. Her boss Harry is an abusive maniac. Life cannot get much worse… or so she thought. Determined to get out of this living hell, Heather and her lover, Bunny, plan to rip off Harry, ditch Victoria, and leave town to live out their days on the Greek islands in peaceful bliss. One big score is all they need, and Harry gives them the opportunity when he asks them to take care of a drug deal with one of his clients at an old warehouse. As Heather and her friends arrive, everything seems to be going fine until they make a grizzly discovery and are trapped inside by a rambling, religious maniac hell-bent on purifying the Earth of its sins through murder and destruction.
“Cross Bearer” is an extreme horror film written and directed by Adam Ahlbrandt, produced by Adversary Films, and Backseat Conceptions. This film was my first introduction into the stylings of Adversary Films and I must say I was impressed.
Cross Bearer has alot of violence, sex, and nudity but still done under the microscope of a professional operation that knows how to make use of their budgets. Originally titled “Strip Club Slaughter”, I think they made a good choice in title change. In fact the film is set in a traditional slasher-film premise choosing instead to go for head “bashings” over throat cuts. The result is an effective 70 minute ride. The FX work here is extreme, messy, and often overflowing with brain goo making it a perfect addition to the recently released low budget extreme horror underground scene.
Our film sets the base for a religious fanatic who breaks out of his shell and commits to ridding the world of sleaze, debauchery and filth. Isaac Williams plays the “Cross Bearer”, a masked vigilante serial killer who proclaims his acts under the guise of “great love” and the Lord’s coming. His method? A hammer, a KKK-esque looking mask and plenty of opportunity.
As we are opend-ed into the live of Heather (Natalie Jean), a local strip club performer, we quickly get an inside view into her stressful and bleak existence. With child she struggles with her strip job, struggles with her place of residence (and roommate Victoria) and on top of has an ass hole boss who threatens to kill her for looking at him wrong. She dreams of running away to the Greek Island with her girlfriend Bunny (Kacie Marie). A drug deal run may just provide an opportunity to finally make good on her dreams.
Now take this premise and add alot of strippers, drug use, nudity, and generally corrupt locals who make life a dirty scene of moral decay. Our Cross bearer killer begins to slowly take some of the filth out by radical blows to the skull whenever opportunity presents itself. His motive stems from ridding the world of the filth and corruptive existence led by those who chose to go down “that” path. We have Anton (Shaun Paul Costello), a local pimp, player and all around ass hole who seems to get what he wants pretty often and pretty sleezy. We have filmmaker Mark (Tim Cronin) who loves to make p*rnos for his own collection rather than starting a business and distributing them to the world. Then there is Harry, the strip club owner, general all around sleeze-bag who treats his women worst than dogs. Topping that off we, also have a group of resident strippers and prostitutes who all have become a part of Heather’s ugly circle.
Cross bearer (who I kept thinking looked like “the Town that Dreaded Sundown villain) wastes no time in taking his hammer down on the pimps and “harlots” as he chases them though the seedy underbellies of abandoned buildings and warehouses. His background story is kept minimal leaving us with the notion that he has finally crossed the lines of doing the right thing in all the wrong ways. Curiously enough he chooses the hammer as his weapon of choice never straying too far from his devices during his torturous crusade and destructive murder spree.
At the end of the day, “Cross Bearer” is a dirty little film that is well shot and well presented. It looks good AND keeps the action moving treating us to quite a few stripper moments to keep things lively. Heather manages to overthrow her cruel reality and come out ahead with guns blazing. But then again you’ve got to love a come back story. The movie reminded me of another “like” film called “The Orphan Killer” that also might peak your interest.
This well edited piece appears to be available now thru the toetag.biz store keeping in good company with the collective of violent release they have to offer.
The movie “Cross bearer” is of course not recommended for light viewers but should satisfy the needs of the gore hounds and extremists…Check it out!