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TALK ABOUT YOUR MAN-EATERS ...

Byline: David Kronke TV Critic

WHEN A COUPLE of evil succubae - a fancy word for supernatural temptresses - escape an early-19th-century monastery for modern-day Vancouver, no less a personage than William B. Davis, the insidious Cigarette Smoking Man of ``The X-Files,'' is shaken to his very core. They are, he intones with bit-player portentousness, ``moving through time toward a world that is ill-prepared for their evil.''

Well, no. Since, as ``Clive Barker Presents Saint Sinner'' would have it, the women are a couple of rejects from a Siouxsie and the Banshees cover band, I'd say we're pretty much ready for anything they can throw our way.

Except, of course, a script this idiotic and direction this inept. ``Clive Barker Presents Saint Sinner'' is a camp lover's delight, rife with hilariously awful dialogue (courtesy Doris Egand and Hans Rodionoff, working from a story by Barker) and plot holes that director Joshua Butler seems to delight in calling attention to. One wonders why Barker thought it'd be a good idea to stick his name in the title.

The story, such as it is, begins in 1815, where hunky monk Tomas (Greg Serano) - really, this guy is the male model of monks - lulls on a hillside, watching a peasant woman spill out of her blouse. Soon, he's back at his monastery, where a fancy relic has been delivered - an orb with the shapes of two women carved into it (Barker's big into evil gizmos - his ``Hellraiser'' movies featured a devilish Rubik's Cube).

Well, of course, something goes wrong, and soon two lascivious dames who seem to be perpetually covered in goo (Mary Mara and Rebecca Harrell, recalling nothing so much as girls from an oppressively restrictive family really acting out) are sucking viscera from the brain stems of pathetic dweebs and scattering giant maggots and cockroaches everywhere. And only Tomas can stop them, time-traveling to a strange world of skateboard punks and African-American slang (really - that's the best this movie can do to underscore he's out of his element). Tomas, that is, and Rachel (Gina Ravera), a decent cop who's, as they say, on the edge.

Movies like this are all about the gore, and on that level, ``Saint Sinner'' does OK by TV standards. But plotting borders on imbecilic. If this film is anything to go by, Vancouver's police force must be a fervent part of the city's thriving marijuana subculture - the succubae routinely saunter past entire battalions of cops.

At one point, one of the lurid ladies says of a victim, ``He was growing tiresome.'' The other replies, ``That's what made him enjoyable.'' With that as ``Saint Sinner's'' overriding aesthetic consideration, be forewarned.

CLIVE BARKER PRESENTS SAINT SINNER - One and one half stars

What: Ancient succubae rid the world of lusty losers; for some reason, they're considered a hazard that must be stopped.

Where: Sci-Fi Channel.

When: 9 tonight.

In a nutshell: Healthy laughs for camp lovers, a constant irritant for horror fans.
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Title Annotation:Review; U
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 26, 2002
Words:491
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