There are B-movies and there are C-movies, and there are even D-movies, all being the type of films we gleefully cover on this site. Then there’s The Tomb…
Here we have a true one star classic; a movie that didn’t just receive the coveted lowest rating on Netflix, but also hit 1.5 stars on IMDb. It was directed by one Ulli Lommel, who, until I discovered was in his sixties, had assumed to be a college student. I mean, had The Tomb been made by high-school students, I would probably have commended them, encouraging them to follow their dreams of making commercials for local television.
The Tomb is, according to Herr Lommel, based on H.P. Lovecraft's short story of the same name. This, of course, is quite the lofty claim, and it’s fairly obvious the director just wants his name mentioned in the same sentence as the legendary author. Hey, good job–I just did!
The plot is sort of a lazy man’s Saw: Two people wake up in a… I think it’s supposed to look like a tomb, but it’s more reminiscent of COSTCO… where they’re supposed to… do something; the sound quality was so awful I couldn’t quite figure out what… to survive. All while their captor laughs maniacly over a loudspeaker, with an ever so evil “mwahahaHaHaHAHAHAHAHA”.
Let’s talk about the titular
COSTCO tomb. It must be, I don’t know, about 600 square feet in size, and still the victims cannot find their way out of it. “We’re back where we started!”, they scream in angst, after walking the full perimeter for two minutes.
There were some attempts to make the place look like a tomb, mostly by decorating a few shelves (in the olive oil aisle by my estimation) with props from Hot Topic. Adding to that, every indoor flashback was obviously filmed in the same location, though credit where credit is due: Herr Lommel did try to come up with some creative solutions to that restriction. COSTCO can, if you squint hard enough to the ceiling, look like a hip loft-apartment, and he thus uses it as such.
The antagonist, a sort of lazy version of Saw's Jigsaw, is known as “The Puppetmaster”… I say “lazy”, as while Jigsaw came up with fairly clever reasons for picking his victims, the Puppetmaster takes a more pragmatic approach: Don’t get me wrong, killing off a used car salesman who, and I quote, “sold [him] a lemon” is something we can all identify with. Who does’t hate a faulty car heater? (I’m not sure I’d go as far as renting a COSTCO and kidnap a bunch of people just to prove my point, but Puppetmaster has his standards.)
I was surprised to learn Herr Lommel kept making movies after this–The Tomb is from 2007–and I can only assume he actually was pretty proud of this film. To me, if nothing else, it does cement him in an important position: Pinocchio’s Revenge is our patron-saint movie, and I can without hesitation say that Herr Lommel is now our patron-saint director. In my world, the perfect scenario would be for him to re-make Pinocchio’s Revenge.
While I wait, I notice Netflix has plenty of Lommel classics for us all to enjoy. I truly cannot wait to go through all of them–I'm sure you feel the same.