Parts Unknown will crawl into your head and never leave. From my initial watch of the film to now I have over analyzed and debated every insane twist and turn that takes place in just under two hours.
Parts Unknown packs so many ideas into one small package, it ends up hurting the grander story. Give me a trilogy. Let these ideas breathe. I’m going to try to do justice to this grindhouse style horror movie with a wrestling candy coating, but I don’t know that anything can prepare the viewer for this tale.
The Von Strasser family have had their ups and downs in the wrestling industry and are currently down. Herman (William DeCoff) just got out of jail after killing another wrestler. Kitty had a run at the top but is now a young has been. Drugs, bad booking, and low houses have made a joke of this family and their promotion. The family and those around them aren’t good people and that draws the attention of a higher power.
Herman meets an otherworldly power named the Holiness (voiced by WWE Hall of Famer, Jake “the Snake” Roberts). The Holiness demands sacrifices to increase his power. Herman has been sacrificing bodies in the ring without a reason, and is along for the ride. Meanwhile, Kitty descends into madness and she (Sarah Michelle) is the breakout star of the movie. She sells every over the top bit of dialogue and plot. She rides a fine line between love and torture. This insanity is mostly focused at Lacey (Lizzie Havoc). Lacey’s life narrative never gave her a chance but she always has a false promise of escape.
There’s a reason every review of this movie includes the above picture. Kitty steals every scene she is in by being the craziest one in the room. Jake Roberts provides a voice in this movie, but I don’t know if he was ever on set. Sarah Michelle as Kitty plays to one of Roberts’s strengths – sometimes the quieter voice is more compelling and more dangerous. Which then makes any time she’s loud have that much more power instead of being her usual tone of voice.
Put in the middle of all of this is the police officer keeping track of Herman (and probably the rest of the family). Mary (Alexandra Cipolla) is one of the first victim’s of the family’s bloodlust but comes back as Mother of Mercy. An opposing force of good to combat the Holiness. The movie goes absolutely crazy as this unkillable force of good steps up against the family’s descent into madness and evil. The ending shocked me and was the catalyst for me wanting an expanded story.
Wrestling is not the focus of the movie but drives the Von Strasser brood. They were already selfish, manipulative, and willing to cross the lines of morality to further their own wants. The Holiness takes what is already there and gives a push. Kitty isn’t even a direct part of the Holiness’s plot but is influenced by this grand evil and spirals out of control in a most delicious manner. Much like seeing untapped talent on an independent wrestling show, Sarah Michelle has something and I hope to see her continue to grow.
Yes, the movie is a low budget horror so don’t start the film expecting multi million dollar effects. Do go into this expecting one of the craziest plots ever put to celluloid. Stay for the characters expositions on the eternal battle between good and evil delivered as classic wrestling promos.
While watching Parts Unknown, I expected to give it a 1 or 2 out of 5 stars. But the way this movie has stayed with me and become a topic of conversation bumps it up to a 3. There is absolutely a niche market for this kind of movie, but those within that niche are going to love it.
Find Parts Unknown on Amazon now to rent or purchase.