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Most of the world scratched their head at The Dark Backward and the film was not a success. Rifkin subsequently went onto make a variety of mainly comedies, as well as the odd genre item like Psycho Cop Returns , Homo Erectus and the Wadzilla segment of Chillerama The Dark Backward came with reasonable backing and managed to attract some reasonable names of the day to its cast. That said, it is hard to believe what those involved thought it was they were making.
The film is set in a surreal alternate world of sorts — one that is dominated by a ubiquitous corporation that advertises products like Pork Juice and Lemon Flavoured Suppositories. Rifkin sets out to make everything as ugly as possible — the settings are grimy and dingily lit, the makeup on people is grotesque, Bill Paxton dallies with hugely overweight women, the food is shown as disgusting as possible with flies crawling over everything or where Paxton eats a chicken that is weeks old.
That said, The Dark Backward also suffers from the same problem as Life on the Edge in that it is a one-note caricature. The lead role is played by Judd Nelson who had just passed from fame as part of the mids Brat Pack to a backwaters career in B-budget video and tv in the late s and beyond.
THE DARK BACKWARD
Nelson goes to an extreme in his caricature of introversion where it should be said that he at least plays out all the pained suffering well. Bill Paxton gives the part of the best friend his all, elevating proceedings by dint of his blithe cheer alone. There is one particularly fine scene between Nelson and Paxton where Paxton plies Nelson with guilt to get him to show his third arm to the other women.
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