“Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls”

It’s been a long, long time since I have laughed as heartily at a film as I did when I watched “Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls,” an absolutely hysterical project from start to finish. Based on a viral internet character created by writer, director, and star Andrew Bowser and financed by a Kickstarter campaign, all signs point to something disastrous that should be a completely terrible stinker at best and thoroughly unwatchable at worst. But there’s magic afoot here, and this surreal, cartoonish, and goofy movie is destined to become a cult classic among midnight audiences.

Satanist Marcus J. Trillbury, aka Onyx, (Bowser) works the grill at the town’s local fast food joint. He knows that he’s destined for something greater, a feeling that becomes reality when he gets some surprise news: a personal invitation to Bartok the Great’s (Jeffrey Combs) dark mansion, where he will participate in a special ritual along with four other carefully chosen souls.

Blinded by the excitement of meeting his idol, it takes Onyx and his new friends a bit longer than it should for them to realize the intentions of their host and his assistant (Olivia Taylor Dudley) are far more nefarious. A weekend of personal enlightenment turns into a life-or-death situation of eternal damnation, and Onyx may have to muster the courage and confidence to step up and become the world’s savior.

It’s so silly and absolutely bonkers, but the larger than life characters make the story. Bowser is just a funny guy, and his co-stars (Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson, Arden Myrin, Rivkah Reyes, and Melanie Chandra) are perfectly cast and extremely likeable. Everyone’s comedic timing is pitch perfect, and nearly every single joke attempt actually lands successfully. From Meatloaf musical interludes and secret passageways to supernatural hijinks, there’s never a dull moment.

Bowser’s direction feels like it’s better suited to a YouTube video, and it’s very straightforward and not all that cinematic. This isn’t a problem considering the focus on the strength of the characters and the tone and style of the movie versus the director’s skill and visual prowess. There are some mediocre computer generated special effects that are thankfully overshadowed by some terrific puppetry, but both still make the film a lot of fun.

While this movie is a wacky one-of-a-kind affair, it did remind me of other cult greats that revel in their celebration of the oddball weirdo, like “The Greasy Strangler,” “Willy’s Wonderland,” and “Napoleon Dynamite,” but with an even more unique, offbeat brand of absurdity. I can guess that this one will divide audiences into one of two camps: they’ll either view is as the midnight masterpiece that it is, or a complete and total disaster.

Yes, “Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls” is absolutely silly and ridiculous, but if you share Bowser’s, I dunno, sense of humor, this is a movie that will have you crying tears of joy through side-splitting laughter. I absolutely loved this outlandish, hilarious horror comedy.

By: Louisa Moore

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