The Cleveland Free Times - June 7, 2006

Weird Science

By Charles Cassady Jr.
(out of 4)

Bizarre, but wildly funny, is Trapped by the Mormons, filmed by D.C.-area theater troupe Cherry Red, based on a 1922 British feature of the same title, one of many anti-Mormon propaganda screeds from the period. I haven't seen the original, but the remake is a riot, featuring N.Y.C. "drag king" Stacey Whitmire, a.k.a. Johnny Kat, as an alpha-male Latter-Day Saint named Isoldi Keane, who brings "the curse of the Morm!" to Manchester, England.

Keane - whose black Dracula cape is a giveaway - and two murderous LDS elders with atrocious fake beards use evangelical preaching and staged miracles to mesmerize a bunch of English office girls. Isoldi's obsessive love interest, heroine Nora (the exquisitely retro Emily Riehl-Bedford) and all other females are na¥ve, scantily clad and helpless, as Keane prepares to ship them to Salt Lake City as polygamous sect-slaves.

You'd think this would be one-note material, but the script keeps raising the level of Mormo-phobia (and gore) to hilarious extremes. You may find yourself musing whether a subversive, campy remake of Jud Suss (directed by Mel Brooks) could possibly work, or if in 2105 Trapped by Scientologists (the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes story) will employ real old-school cinematic techniques, like flesh-and-blood actors, instead of holograms or genetically-modified replicants.