MAXIM XUL promises a duel with "soulless evil," but what transpires is substandard cops-and-monsters stuff.
A series of violent, unmotivated slayings have the police baffled, none more so than Detective Joe Kavanagh (Jefferson Leinberger). Phyllis Rabishon (Billie Schaeffer), an aggressive and amoral criminal defense attorney, hits on Kavanagh early in the film. Her extensive collection of antiquities,
her offer to buy Kavanagh's soul, the fact that her last name derives from an ancient Middle Eastern term for demon--these nail down her guilt for the viewer, wiping out most of the suspense. Onscreen it takes the sleuthing of nosy reporters to connect Rabishon with the murders. When confronted by
Kavanagh she transmutes into her true beastly form, resembling an escapee from a totem pole, and must be decapitated with a handy sword.
The state of Maryland is surprisingly fertile ground for horror cheapies, and MAXIM XUL makes extensive use of Annapolis, which looks fogbound and oppressively sinister. Local producer-director-co-screenwriter Arthur Egeli displays a fondness for crane shots and slow-motion action, but he can't
do much to sustain interest once the fiend's identity becomes obvious. While brutality and dismemberment mark Rabishon's technique for feeding on souls, the picture doesn't wallow in gore. The lawyer-bashing, on the other hand, gets quite explicit.
Adam West, best remembered for TV's "Batman," gets top billing as a demon-busting college professor (although no college is visible; the character teaches his classes from his sprawling mansion) who tries to explain to Kavanagh that xuls "are responsible for all the unexplained evil on Earth".
But West's role lasts only a few minutes, amounting to a celebrity cameo. Most of the performances are as stiff as the xul monster mask; the real star is a doom-laden musical score that intrudes at odd moments, sometimes drowning out the dialogue with a swell of scary synthesizer chords.
(Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: MAXIM XUL promises a duel with "soulless evil," but what transpires is substandard cops-and-monsters stuff. A series of violent, unmotivated slayings have the police baffled, none more so than Detective Joe Kavanagh (Jefferson Leinberger). Phyllis Rabish… (more)