The Tesches recently re-launched their website – – which manages to look more professional than any previous iteration while maintaining the utter ineptitude we all know and appreciate. According to the site, they are currently in post-production [!] on the Maradonia movie – now titled Maradonia – the Shadow Empire – which is 140 minutes long and “Coming Soon to a theater near you”.

Yeah, I doubt that. With any luck, we can buy a produced-on-demand DVD or a digital download, but no theater will be showing this garbage unless Gloria’s father rents out an entire theater for the world premiere. Which, come to think of it, I’m sure he’ll do.

The website lists each of the 6 Maradonia books (along with their page count, for some reason) and it states they’re published, even though Maradonia and the Battle for the Key was never published and made available for purchase. It also randomly says “3400 pages of Brimming Adventure” beneath the embedded YouTube trailer. Okay, since you helpfully included your page count, let’s do some quick math: 379 + 354 + 353 + 441 + 418 + 335 = 2280. You suck at math.

Setting that aside, let’s get to the trailer. Which is nine minutes long, and you can watch it right here

We open with angelic vocalizing as text cheerfully explains that Maradonia is “a world between the worlds”. Um. No, not really, it’s another world, but okay. Text reiterates the “3400 pages”, as if the page count of the book is supposed to build up excitement for the movie. Imagine of trailers for Lord of the Rings were crowing about how long the books were?

There’s a series of bits of text appearing on the screen about prophecy and passion, which don’t really make sense in any context. It’s a trailer, why are we spending time reading?

We learn there’s an Empire of Evil which also has something to do with no return from the underworld, which is weird, considering the second book in the series is called “Escape from the Underworld” and it’s about them… escaping from the underworld. I really don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish with this.

I’m guessing the fallen angel refers to Apollyon. The books never drew any parallels between Apollyon and Lucifer, despite the rest of their Bible plagiarism, however, the first Maradonia trailer explicitly made reference to it.
Then we learn that –

Oh come on! Spoiler alert! Why would you tell us that the kids are going to win???

There’s some more bad grammar – such as “History – rewritten in blood stain” and finally we get past the sepia-tinted bullshit and into the action…

…by which I mean more text on the screen. And they STILL have the 9/11 references. How has this been in development this long and they still haven’t had anyone tell them what a stupid fucking decision that is? So according to this prophecy, when 3,000 people are murdered, sparking off multiple wars and tens of thousands of deaths in the ensuing conflicts, a couple of kids get to ignore the problems in their own world and peace out to the mystical magical land of Maradonia to fix problems there.

In their defense, all of this text is set over some nice soaring helicopter shots over a beautiful valley, which I’m sure was the best stock footage money could buy.

Apparently there will be more Maradonia movies after this one! I pray to Cthulhu that this will actually happen.

And then we learn who directed this. Her father. Of course. God forbid they hire an actual film director who knows what the hell he’s doing. And didn’t they make a big deal about Gloria herself doing some directing? And camerawork? As well as writing the script and starring in the film? Either way, I’m sure it’s a family endeavor.

Anyway, hopefully you enjoyed these nice helicopter shots, because we’re not going to see professional quality footage for a while.

This one may literally have been drawn in crayon.

Next there’s a really, really, really bad CGI shot of a paper-mache dragon flying overhead. Actually, it may just be a single sheet of paper cut in an approximate dragon shape that is being swooped over the camera on a wire.

It’s not the worst flying effect I’ve ever seen, but that’s only because Birdemic exists.

There’s a far-too-long shot of people riding horses through a forest – that goes in and out of focus, as an extra feature – someone obviously left the autofocus on, which is the type of mistake they go over not making on the first day of any introductory high school class on filmmaking. We get a static shot of a random castle as horses whinny and dramatic music plays! And then…low production!

A black-robed figure strides past several guards (who are clearly high schoolers) wearing obviously toy plastic armor. And this is why you don’t try to make medieval fantasy movies without a budget. It looks like shit.

We’re now 2:15 in this trailer – longer than most actual trailers in their entirety – and still nothing has happened.

Still, the lion door-knockers with their spooky magical lightning and eyes that burst into yellow CGI flame do look kinda cool.

After another establishing castle shot that features the sky turning red, we’re treated to an eclipse and yet ANOTHER title card…and people began singing! When I first watched the trailer I thought they were singing the word “Manitobia” over and over again, which was confusing, until I realized they’re actually supposed to be singing “Maradonia” with an odd accent.

An evil-looking man shouts about “going for the kill”. I’m guessing he’s supposed to be one of the bad guys – Apollyon or Abbadon, no doubt.

Wait, what happened to that other bad guy from that other trailer? You know, this douchebag:

Maybe he was re-cast because his performance was too subtle.

There’s a moment or two of impressively bad choreography from some LARPers the production dug up somewhere, and we promptly cut into some terrible-quality stock footage of some battle that looks like it was filmed in the 1950s. I’d love to know what film this is from:

There’s a few action shots – a boy with a toy bunny finding a corpse, Maya and Joey running through Florida with CGI explosions around them, more fire-breathing paper-mache dragons, and a dude with a katana screaming in the jungle, and a modern-day city.

We cut into a school classroom where a teacher is raving about “the color just POPS off the canvas”. This is undoubtedly Joey’s poster that won a contest and earned him a letter from a congressman and a banquet in his honor. Yes, all that actually happens in this book, and I’m so glad it’s made it into the movie as well.

A young lady freaks out about where the evil is coming from, standing in front of a painting which I believe is depicting 9/11. The evil bad guy spits out an IceCreamKoan, and then we meet…a random underling? Abbadon himself?

He rambles about how easy it would be to kill Maya and Joey, but all I can really see is his hat. It’s like some golden skullcap over his chain mail that’s set with an eagle figurine and four feathers. It’s simultaneously the silliest and least threatening thing I’ve ever seen, and this is supposed to be one of our Big Baddies.

We catch a glimpse of Joey shoving his sister into the pool, and Maya floating face-down, and a mermaid-fin, which is all well and good. Some random shots of Maya and Joey being unable to act and exploring a cave, which we already saw in the last trailer.

And then we get this:

Which is new, and also something I don’t recall from the books. I can’t really concentrate on what the guy is saying (something about ravens) because the wind is blowing his shirt up, revealing his belly.

They meet a snake with a snake that turns into a middle-aged women holding a snake who can’t act, and a kindly old man who starts a CGI fire with his staff, and some hooded witches who cackle and scream in the most over-the-top manner possible. I realize most of these actors realize they’re in a horrible D-lister movie, so they might as well go nuts with what extremely limited acting skills they have, but honestly, if you’re trying to do something on no budget, just make your actors commit to it. It’s like plays – people suspend their disbelief and stop thinking about the fact that actors are standing in front of a big black curtain.

After some random shots, Maya gives Joey a very fake-looking (but richly deserved) slap across the face, which I can appreciate.

A random witch doctor sings while CGI fire spreads around him.

It’s not convincing, even when he tries to call the spirit of “Gary” [???] to come forth. Nor is Maya trying to dramatically recite a Bible verse in front of a crowd of unseen people. Most especially is a scene of the elderly wizard shooting magic-bolts of very bad CGI dirt-explosions that incapacitate some soldiers.

One incredibly bad paper-mache dragon flying over an incredibly bad CGI castle later, and we get more shots of horses pulling carts, people riding on horses, people sitting and trying to look astonished, and inane dialogue. The music builds to a crescendo, and we get…naked Maya!

Or partially naked. I assume Gloria is contractually obligated to have at least one bathing suit scene in this movie to help her modelling career.

After some horror-movie-shots of people being tortured in a basement, we gather around the table of Apollyon’s council. Unfortunately, they don’t sing the Mother Earth Song. Fortunately, one of them randomly exposits: “Fire! Explosions! People will die!”

Then there’s a dude talking to a snake, which he calls “Leviathan” for some weird reason, and then he….then he…really awkwardly, of course…uh….puts the snake in his mouth. And it’s pretty obviously a live snake that he does this to. I’m not sure if he’s trying to eat the snake, or make out with the snake, or simply assert his dominance over the snake. It is clear he’s trying to make sure he doesn’t hurt the snake, of course, but I wonder if the American Humane Society was monitoring this scene.

….Yeah, probably not.

Anyway, that’s about it. On the so-bad-it’s-good scale, I give it 11/10.

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  1. Emy on 17 June 2015, 19:48 said:

    This is horrific and beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. swenson on 17 June 2015, 20:51 said:

    You are going to promise us a RiffTrax of this, right? Right??? Or at least a VERY thorough text review?

  3. lilyWhite on 17 June 2015, 20:57 said:

    I did write up my own reactions as I went along…but I don’t want to steal the show from Rorschach. (like I could write anything people would laugh at)

  4. Rorschach on 17 June 2015, 21:29 said:

    You are going to promise us a RiffTrax of this, right? Right??? Or at least a VERY thorough text review?

    Oh, as long as this is actually released I will GUARANTEE I will write a very thorough text review. :)

  5. Castor on 17 June 2015, 23:49 said:

    You have no idea how happy I am that this exists. After so long with no news I thought they’d given the whole Maradonia thing up, but it turns out they’re still going strong!

    I sincerely hope that this thing gets made. It looks (horrendously) amazing.

  6. The Smith of Lie on 18 June 2015, 03:56 said:

    I think it has a chance to garner a cult following like Birdemic and The Room. Which would be some kind of recognition, I am just no sure if that’s what Teschs hope for.

    Also I need to mention, that I am disgusted by “Empire of Evil”. What happened to good old “Club of Evil”? It had much nicer ring to it and even lent itself towards merchandising. Hopefully the song of mother Earth and teamwork are still in. And aquapark.

    Also, the Old Appolyon was much better. We should start a petition to bring him back. Without him it’d be like Star Wars if Darth Vader was played by the like of Hayden Christensen! Preposterous!

  7. lilyWhite on 18 June 2015, 12:36 said:

    Alright, my thoughts watching through the trailer (and I think everyone should do this, because there’s some stuff I didn’t have anything funny for):

    Gotta love the Goths in the background of “Empire of Evil”.

    Though it’d be kinda cool if fallen angels were dragons.

    I can’t imagine a dried puddle of blood would be a great medium to record history.

    THE SAGA – A TOUR DE FORCE OF ACTION” I don’t even think this needs any comment.

    These sweeping shots of nature are pretty cool, but don’t have anything to do with the story. Okay, there’s more story in these sweeping shots than the actual books anyway.

    THE GLACIER PALACE OF ‘THE SHADOW EMPIRE’” Wait, is it the “Empire of Evil”/“Evil Empire” or “The Shadow Empire”? Or is “The Shadow Empire” basically Apollyon’s son’s empire? Adonis, or Apollo, or Absolutoron, whatever his son’s name was.

    The dragon gives an uninterested growl as it flies overhead. Fitting omen!

    Nothing about this Palace seems Glacier in the slightest.

    When the guards cross their weapons in front of the door, the door moves slightly. I wonder if that was intentional. I may have forgotten quotation marks in that last sentence.

    I like that the background of The Glacier Palace is the same no matter what angle it’s viewed from. Until it abruptly turns purply-cloud.

    Oh no, an eclipse! And then the moon explodes!

    “GO for the KILL! GO for the KILL!”

    Swordfighter dude uses the Force to keep that guy he kicked pinned to the ground.

    Gotta love how the scene with the kid with the stuffed animal finding the dead lady (TOTALLY HIS MOMMY!!!1) starts before the transition effect even starts.

    Oh goodness, that fire effect is awesome. “I WILL FIND YOU!” mastersmith of CGI who put that effect in.

    “Where’s evil coming from and why?!” (hits obvious 9/11 poster) Holy crap, you guys. APOLLYON’S CLUB OF EVIL DID 9/11! (I don’t even know what to say about that…)

    FAILURE TO PREPARE…” (glances away to read his line-prompter) “…IS THE PREPARATION TO FAIL.” (breathes a weird ring of smoke)

    “They’re just children! Stupid children! Without any PUHowers or knowledge! We have the powers to blow their brains through their skulls in a moment of time!” That is perhaps the most beautiful thought one could have regarding Maya and Joey, and totally appropriate for the age group.

    I love how each scene of Maya and Joey looks like it takes place in an entirely different place.

    Best earthquake effect ever. Accompanied by flour spilling in front of the camera.

    Wait, did that guy with the katana just shriek “WHAT.” in a really high-pitched voice?

    I don’t know what to say about the odd little guy, other than how his clothes look completely out of place for a fantasy world.

    Oh cool, the Riddler’s in this movie? Not sure why he switched from question marks to a snakeskin pattern, though.


    Oh, Swamp Thing’s in the movie too.

    Wait, is that dude playing a tiny “yield” sign with a bow? While fire erupts around him? I should write a crossover fanfic: that fellow vs. Zither!.


    “It is poison.” (“whut.” look)

    “Stop this nonsense!” Lady, you have the second-best line in this trailer so far. (Mister “blow the stupid children’s brains out” is still first-place.)

    “Take that.” (misses completely) “And this.” (makes a bunch of dirt in front of them pop up) “And this.” (another burst of dirt that does nothing) “I was pretty awesome back there! Dang, I’m amazing!”

    The most ominous image ever: THREE BIRDS FLYING.

    After it goes into the Foggy Palace of Fog (and Perhaps Glaciers), was that the going-down-stairs animation from Resident Evil?

    “Oh mommy! Have mercy! On me!”

    “Fire! Explosions! People will die!” “We will… (something inaudible)” “…BY DRINKING THE WARM BLOOD OF OUR ENEMIES! AHAHAHA!” They look and sound like a bunch of drunks, even though the first two don’t even look old enough to drink.

    “Yes…Leviathan…you will see…we will kill…these children…but you won’t see…because I will bite…your head…off…”

    And finish off with the same eclipse animation from before.

    Truly stunning. Spectacular. I give this an &+. I presume “&” is higher than “A”.

  8. Fireshark on 18 June 2015, 13:12 said:

    I don’t know if this was there before, but the books now seem to credit both Gloria Tesch and her father as co-authors.

  9. organiclead on 18 June 2015, 17:54 said:

    Thoughts while watching this (with a few deleted because they’re already covered by Rorschach and Lily:

    Jesus, what did they record this voice over on, one of those parrot toys? My computer’s microphone has better sound quality than this.

    This kingdom’s so poor they can’t even afford matching weapons for their intimidating guards. Though it might be a brilliant ward against thieves.

    Ah, Mason Serif Cyrillic, the fantasy version of the Papyrus font. Also, learn how to kern.

    Is he a don or an evil king? I can’t tell, but he has a tie.

    Remember, you can hide bad acting with bad special effects.

    Ah yes, stucco, a common building material in medieval fantasy worlds.

    The evil king’s lair is in someone’s living room.

    I see that over view of New York earlier was supposed to clue us in that the movie is set in Florida.

    (It is at this point my boyfriend who was watching this with me switched from Coke to Bourbon.)

    And now they’re exploring Carlsbad Caverns, Florida.

    (At this point he switched from bourbon to soju.)

    On no, the cavern is collapsing. What ever will they do, being so close to a source of sunlight right behind them?

    They’re in a corn field. With lawn chairs.

    Are those green plastic arrows on the wizard’s back?

    Are those uggs and cowboy boots!? Also, they’re wearing lingerie. I know people make jokes about chainmail bikinis, but that’s actual lingerie.


    You can see the teeth on that cheap ass tiara she’s wearing.


    Look, a fence with extra horses in the background!

    That carriage is a town carriage, not an off road carriage.

    Wristwatch? I know they’re obsolete now, but they’re not that obsolete. Also, jeans.


    I see the knight of accounting has arrived. He wears note pads for his armor. Beware, he has many forms.

    Curse those ravens, they’re taking the form of pigeons now! And they all appear to be the same pigeon copy and pasted.

    It’s like they handed editing over to a teenager who just now discovered how to use effects.

    Dude, you forgot to light a candle.

    Sorority witches.

    Animal cruelty. That poor snake looked like he really wanted to be anywhere else, even before the guy shoved him in his mouth.

  10. sanrock on 18 June 2015, 20:35 said:

    As I’ve said before, I would GLADLY join anyone in doing a MST3K riff of this train wreck.

  11. Juracan on 20 June 2015, 14:47 said:

    I never knew how badly I wanted this movie to exist until you covered this trailer.

    God bless you, Rorschach.

  12. Sweguy on 21 June 2015, 05:56 said:

    You all make me sick. How are you able to watch this without dying? 20 seconds in and I was cringing on the floor. I had to pause several times to catch my breath before I could finish the trailer.


  13. Resistance on 24 June 2015, 21:00 said:

    While I do miss “Aye ham here to kuHEEL YEW!!!!1111” from our last Apollyon, this is still so badly good.

    I am praying that the movie comes out in time for me to get it as a Christmas gift.

  14. LoneWolf on 26 June 2015, 17:39 said:

    The degree of Father Tesch’s participation in writing the books is intriguing. On Amazon, they’ve Ben listing the father as a coauthor since they’ve revised the books, so it’s possible that he is the one largely responsible for the rewrite. The books, overall, seem like they’re written by a teenager, not an adult, so I lean towards Gloria writing most of it, although I have some weak doubts.

  15. Pie on 30 June 2015, 03:48 said:

    For some reason I’d like to watch this movie, if only to see how bad it really is. (I assume, it’s very, VERY bad.)
    I mean, I even managed to watch ‘Age of the Dragons’ (2011) which is basically Moby Dick … with dragons. And bad acting. And a surprisingly white daughter from the black captain Ahab???
    But still better CGI dragons than Maradonia.

    Gosh, I want this movie. I’d even grab some booze to go with it although I’m not into alcohol all that much.

  16. Pandora on 8 July 2015, 03:15 said:

    Okay, now I really want to see this become an actual movie; with a TV broadcast and everything. This is shaping up to be the next Birdemic or Troll 2.

    But, seriously, how much money (and free time) do these people have?

  17. goldedge2 on 17 July 2015, 02:25 said:

    talk about polishing a turd

  18. Betty Cross on 7 August 2015, 15:38 said:

    It’s amazing to me that they’ve gone ahead with this project, oblivious to the atrocious quality of the original books and the equally appalling mess of a film they’re making. By the way, I’m pretty sure the snake-woman (named Arabella in the book) is Gloria’s mom.

  19. Rover Ralph on 3 November 2015, 15:21 said:

    This movie is now being shopped at the America Film Market, Maradonia will be in some third world country.