Loaded (1994) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The primary qualification of the author/director of Loaded, Anna Campion, is that she is the sister of someone famous. Her sister is arthouse hotshot Jane Campion, who directed The Piano.  The DVD box says the film comes from "acclaimed director Anna Campion". I guess they had her mixed up with her sister.

If they were referring to Anna, I'm not too sure who the acclaim came from, or what they were acclaiming, because this was her only feature-length movie, it is just awful, and she has never been hired to direct another film in the decade since. So if you're one of the acclaimers, you better start acclaimin' a lot louder if you want more from Anna, because she's no wunderkind, having turned 50 a while back.


Catherine McCormack shows her breasts twice: once in bed on her back, and one with her bathing suit pulled down to reveal her breasts

Biddy Hodson showed her breasts from the side/rear.

Oliver Milburn showed his butt, and his genitals from behind as he put on his pants with his back to the camera.

This script is so smugly self-important that I could never decide whether all the dialogue was supposed to be straight-faced black humor or if the writer actually thought that the characters were realistic and were supposed to be saying things worth listening to. At this point, I still don't know. If it was black humor, it was certainly disguised well.

Actually, although the script to this film is so bad it makes Manos: the Hands of Fate seem like The Red Violin, Anna Campion did exhibit some talent as a director. The atmosphere of Loaded is managed well enough that you may hang on waiting for a payoff, as I did.

Unfortunately, it never comes.

Here's the summary:

Intending to make a no-budget horror film, a group of neurotic young adults spend the weekend together at a country house.

  • In the first act they demonstrate their neuroses, jealousies, and rivalries as they begin working on the film.
  • In the second act, they take LSD and act very stoned. This ends with one of them dying.
  • In the third act, they conspire to cover up the death, in order to hide their careless drug abuse.

Watching people take drugs has never been one of my favorite spectator activities. In fact, as a spectator amusement, I'd say it ranks slightly below pinochle, Monopoly, and horseshoes, although slightly above Kabuki Theater, Wagnerian Opera, and Detroit Tigers baseball. I suppose it might be kind of interesting to watch druggies if the stoners were funny and educated. A good rule of thumb, however, is that people who are mean-spirited, negative, self-absorbed babblers when they are sober will exhibit even more of that behavior when stoned. If they are the types who enjoy babbling about the meaning of life and aesthetics, and/or the types who take every single statement by everyone else as a personal insult, you can safely bet that watching them stoned will be unbearable even if you know them and get stoned with them. If you are straight, and they are strangers, watching them is tantamount to experiencing life in a Turkish prison.

I'm being unfair to the Turks. The Turks have been doing a good job at re-positioning those prisons in their drive to get into the EC. Just think of them as Turkish Spas. Club AhMed. I love the ads. "Turkish Prisons. You'll come for the foot therapy. You'll stay for the taffy."

The bulk of this movie involves watching shallow, humorless, uneducated wankers take LSD, so that their thoughts become even more incoherent and they start babbling these uninformed and foolish thoughts out loud - all while dancing around the room and doing head-stands accompanied by Ravi Shankar music. They experience audio and visual hallucinations. They see wallpaper come to life. They hear Bill Clinton take a vow of celibacy. They seem to see a lot of the world through a fish-eye lens. A good five minutes of this film has to consist of people spinning around with their arms outstretched.

You know, that whole 1971 Eliot Gould Dennis Hopper thing, man.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic format, 1.66:1

  • no meaningful features

What about that horror movie they were making? That could have a been a rich mine of character development and a chance to exhibit some humor about the film industry.

Could have been, but wasn't.

What it should say on the DVD box is this: Warning. Do not show this movie to any foreigner who is familiar with the terms of the Geneva Convention.


Loaded is a New Zealand movie about a bunch of students making a zero budget horror movie. They are on location at a home owned by one of their aunts, and none of them are very stable. Much is made about Catherine McCormack's character being a virgin, for some reason I could never figure out. Then they finish the filming, and decide to all drop acid so as to not waste time and film. After that, it is anybody's guess what did and didn't really happen, what was hallucination, etc.

I didn't like a single moment of this hard to follow snooze-fest with a lot of grainy B & W footage and pretentious faux meaningful dialogue. D+

The Critics Vote

  • Berardinelli 2.5/4

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D (Scoop) to D+ (Tuna). Some reasonably good atmosphere can't salvage a script in which boring, intolerable characters take LSD, display their neuroses, and discuss the meaning of life.

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