SpikeOfLoveA cult movie in search of a cult, this Canadian made outrage plays like MARAT/SADE reconfigured as a nineties black comedy, being an unrestrained blast of insanity with nearly every imaginable perversion and a near-psychotic wealth of invention.

This was the third or fourth feature film by the prolific TV director Steve DiMarco, who made his name part of the title: STEVE DIMARCO’S SPIKE OF LOVE. The film was little seen, and has never been released on DVD (as of 2013 its sole home video exposure was via an out-of-print Alliance Video VHS), yet is easily one of the most accomplished Canadian cult films of the mid nineties (see also HARD CORE LOGO, THE WIDOWER, THE MICHELLE APTS, etc).

Fun fact: this peerlessly twisted exercise was apparently filmed in a church!

Inside a dark and claustrophobic apartment the slutty Jane is banging the businessman Harold, who she seduced in a bar. It’s not long before Jane’s boyfriend Donny, a petty crook, and the latter’s Bible-thumping brother Clem turn up, toting a severed head. Understandably freaked out, Harold tries to flee but finds the apartment is locked from the outside.

Donny and Clem decide to burn and dismember Harold but succeed only in setting the furnishings on fire. Enter D & C’s mother, who turns up with a handy fire extinguisher. This doesn’t help Harold any, as the woman quickly leaves and his tormentors once again try to mutilate him–but they’re interrupted again, this time by a local mob boss who’s pissed that D & C killed the former owner of the severed head.

Following this a rift develops between Clem and Donny, but Jane puts a stop to their fighting by donning a ballerina outfit and kicking them both repeatedly in the face. Jane and Donny engage in an ecstatic bout of S&M, and then two psychotic cops turn up at the apartment, one of whom Jane kills with the titular spike. Clem, convinced he’s the new messiah, crucifies himself, and Jane’s heretofore unseen lesbian lover, the one-eyed Deb, shows up. Deb has a glass eye that Clem and Donny joyously toss around, at least until Deb’s aggressive manner gets on Jane’s nerves, resulting in another death.

Jane and Donny decide to run off to Paris, but before they can do so a band of red-suited freaks enter the apartment to take down Clem, Donny and Jane. Clem and Donny’s mother also turns back up. Needless to say, more killings are in store.

This film is broad, overwrought and almost pathetically determined to shock and offend. It’s also quite brilliant in its way, with an altogether unique vision and a willingness to follow that vision to its most outrageous extremes. The film is only 84 minutes long yet even with its confined setting contains enough inspiration for three movies.

It’s also well made by most any standard, with an assured visual style and staging that’s unerringly inventive, from the rippling toilet water whose P.O.V. we assume as it’s peed in to an ingenious sight gag involving a row of locking and unlocking door locks to the sight of a dying man spinning around on a spike driven through his skull. The errant severed head also makes for a memorable source of merriment, as does a glass eye that on more than one occasion winds up in somebody’s mouth.

As for the acting, I’m not sure any of it can reasonably be called “good,” yet the performers all seem at home in this film’s demented atmosphere and emote accordingly.

Vital Statistics

Screaming Slave Cinema/Lightshow Communications

Director: Steve DiMarco
Producers: Robert Bergman, Steve DiMarco
Screenplay: Steve DiMarco
Cinematography: Michael Storey
Editing: Miume Jan Eramo
Cast: Gerry Quigley, Dyanne DiMarco, Tony Munch, Ron Lea, Thomas Hauff, Christina Cox, Steve Whistance-Smith, Beverly Murray, Adam Adach