Evil Ambitions (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film is also known as Satanic Yuppies.

How many times have you watched an overblown, overproduced studio production like Coppola's "Dracula" and thought to yourself "I could make a better movie than that in my basement with my friends"? Well, the makers of this film thought the same thing. These are the same people that made that enduring salute to The Bard, "Live Nude Shakespeare", and the deeply touching "Chickboxin' Underground." In this case, they took a few grand and made a homemade video which is basically an R-rated version of an old Night Stalker episode. (The reporter character is even named McGavin).

That was a solid concept, and believe it or not, they started with a decent script. Beneath the shabby production values and amateurish execution, the plot is coherent, some of the characters are interesting, and there are some very funny lines.

High priestess: "Do you take Satan to be your lawful spouse, in richer and even richer ..... etc"

Bound and gagged victim: (makes fearful struggling noises)

High priestess: "I'll take that as a yes"

The Kolchak-like reporter has some pretty good wisecracks of his own, and Satan himself is funny, not classically menacing, but the ultimate achievement-oriented corporate guy, kind of similar to the Christian Bale role in American Psycho. Real movie companies, with real budgets, have filmed worse scripts than this. Much worse.

The film had a second strength. Eight reasonably attractive women were willing to remove their tops for the camera.

So it was a good guilty pleasure movie, right?

Sadly not. The film's two potential strengths were cancelled out by poor execution

  • The script is OK for a few laughs, but that is spoiled by a succession of cheap gimmicks which padded an hour's worth of material to 90+ minutes. (Like showing an entire wordless modeling session and some satanic rituals in near-actual time, to no point.) As a 60 minute film, this script would be tight. At its existing length, it drags. The script is also ruined by amateur actors who can't sell the humor. How bad is the acting? Let's just say this is the one movie to go to if you really love the acting style in porno films, but don't actually like porn. Most of the characters deliver their lines either with exaggerated high school histrionics or in the same flat monotone that you'd expect from local furniture store owners reading their own TV commercials off cue cards. Of course, furniture store dudes usually manage to deliver the lines without any inexplicable pauses and without mispronouncing words. These actors can't seem to master words like "Antigua" and "posthumous," and pause at completely inappropriate times, as if waiting for the cue card guy to flip to the next page. For example, the pause in "We still have tonight's ... (pause) ... activities to arrange" was delivered with no sense of irony or menace, but simply as if she couldn't remember the next word.

The worst offender was Renae Raos, a stunningly beautiful woman who played McGavin's ex-girlfriend, who also happened to be the police detective assigned to the murders. I'm not sure why Renae was in the film because in a film with nudity from eight different women, and sexed-up costumes from two or three others, Renae spent the entire movie in what an ex-girlfriend of mine used to call "auntie clothes." She not only kept everything completely covered, but she kept her beautiful face hidden behind nerdy glasses, and couldn't deliver a single line credibly. If not for her beauty, her body, or her acting, why did they hire her? I suppose she's somebody's cousin or girlfriend. This is her one and only credit at IMDb, and a Google search provides no help.

  • The women remove their tops, but that is also spoiled by poor execution. The lighting is funky and too dark. The colors all blend into one another. The focus is often blurred. The audio and video quality of this DVD are not just bad by DVD standards. They would be bad by VHS standards. It is not even at the audio and video quality of good home movies. In fact, the full-screen DVD looks like one of those direct VHS-to-DVD transfers you can make at home to preserve your old video tapes.

With the film's two strengths negated by other elements, its weaknesses stand out in stark relief. The fight scenes involve people falling off-camera. The special effects consist of people leaning backward and/or waving their hands. The camera movement consists of tilting the camera at an angle, ala 1960's Bat-cam. The vivid realism of the make-up/wardrobe department features an Ohio gubernatorial candidate with a pony tail.

NOTE: there is one scene which seems professionally produced, at least until special effects are required. The scene in which Satan finally arrives is very entertaining, largely because the guy who plays Satan is capable of delivering the character - very slick, and very funny. That scene is so entertaining that it makes you wish that it was the beginning of the film and you could forget all that had gone before and anticipate more scenes with Satan. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Satan disappears in a flurry of bad effects that make TV's Dark Shadows look as slick as Sin City, and you are soon left facing the ending credits.


  • no widescreen
  • full-length commentary
  • 30 minutes worth of cast/crew interviews
  • a mock news report about the "satanic yuppie murders"


Breasts from the following:
  • Amy Ballard
  • Glori-Anne Gilbert
  • Lucy Frasure
  • Katie Wilke
  • Kindra Laub
  • Dakota Summers
  • 1 Unknown

Full frontal from one unidentified woman.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Horror Talk wrote: "Originally released in 1996 as Evil Ambitions, Satanic Yuppies is one of the worst films ever made."

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a D. Despite its technical and acting ineptitude, it would be a C- if there were a sharp, clear DVD - because the eight topless women and a few good laughs would make it a minimally acceptable guilty pleasure film. As it is, it is definitely a must-skip.

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