For each day of October, my Evil Dead Bride and I will be watching one randomly selected title from a list of 31 horror flicks that one or both of us has yet to see. My intention is to write a short review for each movie daily as a Facebook exclusive to thank our little legion of followers for sticking with us for these first five years of cinemasochist mayhem at the new site!
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My apologies to the seven people who still come to this page, but I had to disable commenting for the Puppet Master: the Littlest Reich review. No doubt thoroughly testing their spam bots in lieu of upcoming US elections, worthless dick sneeze junk mailers and useless cunt snot phishermen (and phisherwomen) have upped their usual bombardment levels from “pathetic” to “okay, you can stop now”. Given that I’ve gotten zero actual feedback on the review from any legitimate readers, this doesn’t really mean anything…
Featuring: Thomas “Hell Baby” Lennon , Jenny “‘State of Affairs’” Pellicer , Barbara “Re-Animator” Crampton, and special appearance by Udo “Flesh for Frankenstein” Kier
Directors: Sonny “Wither” Laguna & Tommy “Wither” Wiklund
Writer: S. Craig “Bone Tomahawk” Zahler
“Kill that fucking baby!”
In an effort to expand my resume as an “artist/creator” (dear Ra can I not wait for the planet to be swallowed in atomic fire), my agent suggested I get a stage show produced so I qualify as a “playwright”. Well, Calamity of Snakes: the Musical, my plaguerism rampant adaptation of the 1982 Taiwanese horror movie of the same name, will be making its debut on the main stage of the Galaxy of Terror nightclub/sex dungeon in Greenvale, Washington for a six week run starting next week. If you actually attend one of our shows, please don’t send me any feedback as all requests for refunds will be denied – a policy that will be enforced onsite by the mutant bear monstrocity from Prophecy. Speaking of mutant bears, here’s that completely unrelated segway into the review that I ordered!
… “2 day shipping” my hairy ebon ass.
Though you wouldn’t know it by the lack of reviews on the site, I’m a long time fan of Charles Band’s Puppet Master series. Well, the first three movies. The latter NINE, not so much. Once the quality started its supersonic descent into crap movie hell with the 4th installment, my interests waned just as quickly, ultimately petering out when The SciFi Channel’s “Originals” line of TV movies vomited Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys directly into my eyes and turned me off of killer puppet flicks like a germaphobe at a GG Allin show. Even when Band tried to jumpstart the series again 6 years later by taking the aggro action figures back to their Nazi killing ways with a new “Axis Trilogy” project, I couldn’t even be bothered to download a pirated copy of the first flick for fear that a viewing would result in time better spent trying to castrate a badger or just crotching myself repeatedly on a cemetery gate. Even the return of director David DeCoteau was too little too late, and this was before he emotionally abused me with 1313: Bigfoot Island!
The Littlest Reich is Band’s attempt at rebooting the series after 29 years of quantity-over-quality lore building, Band-wagoning (*wink*wink*) on Hollywood’s 21st century fascination with trying to re-animate the corpses of deceased horror franchises in the hopes of hoovering whatever loose change is left in the pockets of their pre-installed fanbases. The only good thing about this is that Andre Toulon’s troupe of tiny terrorizers never had a wide enough fandom to catch the predatory eye of Michael Bay and his perpetual trash fire factory, Platinum Dunes. However, can the writer of the much-loved indie movie Bone Tomahawk and a pair of potential pervaded (though not yet fully proven) horror directors give new legs to a series that’s been dragging its decroded piece of crap carcass through the direct-to-video wasteland?Shit, I’ll be happy if I can get through it in one sitting without falling asleep or questioning the further validity of my existence. Mr. Zulu….engage.
(Yeah, this dude gets it.)
The opening introduces us to this alternate dimension’s Andre Toulon (Udo Kier!), whose oddly swollen head means the stems of his eyeglasses don’t have room to fit behind his ears and just sit tilted along his temples instead. Or maybe that’s just how Nazis wear their spectacles in this Twilight Zone episode. Oh, did I not mention that part? Yeah, in this reality, rather than being a one-man resistance army against the Third Reich, the half-French half-German Andre actually worked FOR the goose-stepping blitzkriegers. And what’s the worst way you can use a miniature death squad from Hitler’s side of WW2? Rooting out the hidden targets of your racist “Make Germany Great Again” campaign and slaughtering any and every Jew, Gypsy, black, homosexual, and so forth that they find. He was basically a more hands-on Hans Landa. I’m guessing Anne Frank’s diary didn’t get many entries in this darkest of timelines…
When we catch up to bringer of diminutive death, it’s 1989 and he’s successfully hidden himself in Texas, the self-proclaimed craddle of ‘Merica no less, for 40+ years. Andre 3000 (probably a fair assessment of his kids’ killcount) lives amid the citizens of Pottsville and we catch up to him as he imbibes in some seeming socializing at a local bar, where his not-great attempts to pick up the female bartender send him home in a huff. Unlike 90% of heterosexual men, Toulon is disgusted when the ‘tender’s tender lady lover explicitly illustrates to the old man that this be-breasted drink slinger’s pants are a “Cowgirls Only” zone. Openly lesbianic gals deep in the hateful heart of 1980s Texas?! If it weren’t for Andre’s fatal retaliation, these two probably would’ve ended up on the receiving end of a Boys Don’t Cry from some sobriety challenged, mouth breathing “good ol’ boys” before too long, so… at least being killed by a grown man’s gore hungry toys is quick and devoid of sexual assault.
Yep, a quick death is pretty much the best case scenario when you’re a non-conservative in the Lone Star Shame.
In an unexplained turn of events, the local law enforcers know Toulon is to blame for the lesbians’ roadside induction into the choir invisible (the tiny bloody footprints, perhaps?) and storm his mansion, shooting him dead in his foyer with a hail of gunfire that later lacks sense with one officers report that they actually executed him in his basement workshop, where he was put down for pointing a gun at them. Given what the recent years of body cams, dashboard videos, and civilian recordings have shown us though, the chances of the official report on the incident being plastered with more horse shit than Hercules (“Heracles” if you’re nasty/Roman) flushed from the Augean Stables is almost a money back guarantee*.
*Some exclusions apply.
Time warping to “Present Day (2018 for us) in the Dallas of Texas, we’re introduced to our protagonist: Edgar Easton (Thomas “Don’t call me ‘John’” Lennon!). Recently divorced from his wife, the comic book writer-illustrator-shop employee is forced to move in with his parents until he can establish a financially viable domicile to call his own. Like most moms, Mrs. Easton is happy to have her little (middle-aged) boy back under her roof, while Mr. Eastman, like most dads, will be using his son as a personal punching bag for his retired old policeman spite and general Republican bitterness. Things look up for the downtrodden graduate from the comic geek old school though, when he gets into an almost immediate romantic bodily fluids exchanging relationship with local lass Ashley Summers (Jenny Pellicer), whose brother he knew during their school days. She works at a record store, takes her cat (and its corpse paint like facial markings) for leashed walks, and when Eddie vocalizes his disdain for hipsters, you’d think their pelvises had suddenly become magnetized by oppositely charged electrons.
If you’re a member of ICP, I suggest Googling that last bit.
Years before this, Edgar’s brother James passed away from an “accident” that nobody feels the need to elaborate on. Amid the deceased sibling’s belongings, Ed finds a very morbid looking puppet he found during summer camp years ago and that would’ve given ’90s Todd McFarlane a hard-on.
If you didn’t collect action figures based on horror movie villains and monsters 25 years ago, I suggest Googling that last bit.
Rather than hold onto the twisted piece of wooden evil for old times sake, Ed opts to sell it instead at a convention in Pottsville commemorating/celebrating the 30th anniversary of the grisly puppet master’s death…except whoever organized it can’t fucking count because 2018 minus 1989 is TWENTY-NINE. Welcome to alternate universe Trump’s America, folks. Anyway, Ed, Ash, and Ed’s friend/boss Markowitz (he seemingly only has one name, like Prince or Cher) road trip to KillerCon, where they learn the legacy of Hitler’s personal toymaker during a tour of the evil bastard’s mansion slash Nazi memorabilia museum, as hosted by retired police officer Carol Doreski (Barbara Crampton!) who was one of the trigger pullers that took down the monster. She’s the aforementioned cop that needlessly changes the story about finding Toulon in the basement.
I’m starting to feel like these “fuck-ups” are intentional attempts by Bone Tomahawk guy to bait nit-pickers as part of some trolling fetish he has.
With an estimated SIXTY-THREE of Toulon’s terrors due to reunite at the convention (he was apparently quite the successful mail-order creature carver in his day), this isn’t a question of if shit will be hitting the fan, but when. And the answer is a resounding “sooner than later”. Fortunately, for fellow gore whores and lovers of practical carnage effects, the deaths are graphic and numerous, with no less than (but probably more than) 20 bloody instances of puppetine peril! I definitely don’t suggest that pregnant women, children, or people with particularly delicate constitutions buy a ticket for this ride, cuz once the safety rail comes down it’s NO REFUNDS!
Littlest Reich does so much right as a reboot movie that the cluster-fuckery of its final act hits me in the life pump harder than a Porky Pete’s Triple-Thick Double Bypass Animal Farm Stacker Surprise with Jumbo Cheese-pocalypse Fried Bacon Rings. Without spoiling this “fresh out of the fryer” feature, I’ll just say that the finale feels confused, rushed, and needs to be flushed. Where as most movies are content with one, maybe two twists, Littlest Reich won’t be happy unless it makes Dee Snider eating a party-size bag of Rold Gold on a roller coaster look straighter than Sweeney Todd’s straight razor. If that outburst of metaphors and similes doesn’t impress upon you how unnecessarily throw together this finish is, than my resultant bout of Vertigo was all for naught.
In my last review, The Quiet Ones too was thrown down a spiral staircase for a 20 minute tumble by its own writers, but those twists and turns and twirls galore carried with them some a road map of revelations explaining how we got there. S. Craig Zahler bukakkes us with loose threads only to pull an Elaine Benes by filling in the gaps with “yadda yadda yadda” that only makes things more muddied! Also, he does so while doing that fucking weird “ghosts have taken residence in my bone marrow” dance she did in that one episode. Clearly a sadist.
Frustrating finishes aside, I applaud this new installment of Puppet Master lore for much more. The looming threat of entire legions of Herr Toulon’s little monsters is enticing. Though some of their styles overlap, the new evil redesigns do the trick. As much as it disappoints that they lack much of the individual charm and character of the originals, as a death squad of murderous miniature racist scum fodder doomed for deletion in Hel’s Obsolete Products Department, they fit the loathsome antagonist bill like Nazis should. And the manipulations of the puppeteers giving them life behind-the-scenes is impressive. It’s still not the return to stop motion magic that lured me into the influences of the original series’ first trio of entries, but it’s a Superman leap (over a tall building in a single bound) beyond poor man’s Punch & Judy stuff we’ve been forced to all too much to endure for more than two decades. Kudos to the crew and here’s to the hopes that you’ll return for a follow-up.
Now, to the less novelty based members of the cast. I’ve been a mark for Thomas Lennon and the rest of his friends from ”The State” since it originally aired on MTV in the golden days of ”Liquid Television”, ”The Brothers Grunt” and ”Oddities”. Seeing him take a more serious, well, reserved role like Edgar is interesting. In a good way. I was expecting his usual comedic act to come out and goof the flick up too much, but the introverted divorcee forced to shack up again in the bedroom of his childhood is just as far from Lieutenant Dangle of the Reno PD as he should be. Though he still gets plenty of funny lines, they’re delivered with the fitting deadpan sarcasm of a bemused Gen-Xer instead of the in-on-the-joke flamboyance of his usual characters. Though he’s busy enough with producing, writing, directing, and all of that other creative chicanery, I’d like to see Mr. Lennon stretch his legs with some similarly non-clowning roles.
The other two big portions of the acting pie, Jenny Pellicer and Nelson Franklin, too do their parts proud. As Ashley, Pellicer is sunny as her character’s last name suggests without going to revolting lengths. She’s a charmer, she and Edgar compliment each other perfectly, her chemistry with Lennon feels real for a pair of newly involved romantic interests, and she’s a perfect foil for the pessimistic Markowitz without, again, taking it to irritating sitcom lengths. It also doesn’t hurt that she gives me good vibrations of a Kristen Wiig variety, and I get hot over women who wear chokers…
Temping down any arousal I just experienced, Franklin’s Markowitz is a nauseating reminder of a comic book store owner I actually worked for. He’s a snide know-it-all prick who thinks he has the answer for everything and any opinion that’s not his is ill-informed, its owner a feckless plebian. Unlike my former employer though, Marko embraces his Jewish heritage once he finds out that their enemies are agents of the Final Solution, and even gets in an act of ancestral reprisal on one of the Fuhrer’s playthings as he introduces it a natural gas powered tanning booth. The something from that oven’s got nothing to do with lovin’!
Of the remaining members of this “and the rest” cast, Udo is serviceably sinister as the newly revolting rendering of Andre Toulon (though sadly lacking in screen time), Skeeta Jenkins and Alex Beh make the most of their ancellary characters Cuddly Bear and the Crispen Glovery Howie respectively, while Barbara Crampton gets a very special mention from moi, the president of her unofficial one-god fan club! Never a slouch when it came to bucking the “damsel in distress” archetype in horror movies, in the 30 years since Re-Animator, BC (as the Evil Dead Bride and I like to call her) has only improved in her acting abilities. I don’t think she gets enough credit for her talent, given her resume in movies that we love though mainstream audiences may not, but she’s easily my favorite supporting cast member here. All my love, Miss Cramps. *mwah*
Before I finish lauding people, allow me to lob one final laud to legendary Italian horror composer Fabio Frizzi for bringing his special touch to Littlest Reich‘s soundtrack and giving Charles Band’s brother Richard’s original Puppet Master theme a tasty splash of his homemade spaghetti horror sauce for what I hope goes on to be a successful reboot.
Despite my middling rating, I still enjoy Littlest Reich. It’s a solid movie that horror-comedy fans and killer toy fetishists looking for a Saturday night popcorn/pizza/pierogie picture should prioritize on their pull list. And if you don’t like it? Well, opinions are opinions and just like at the Outback Steakhouse there are no rules, just right.
Oh, and, uhm, don’t try to cite said corporate motto as a legally binding call for in-restaurant anarchic behavior while visiting an Outback location. They have rules. Many rules. The breaking of which can lead to MOUNTAINS of legal action that the owners, employees, and customers will likely take against you. If you don’t believe me, just go to the restroom and check out the “Employees Must Wash Hands” plaques and see the facade of your Mad Max fantasies crumble in your hands like a sand dildo.
And on that dream shattering peak behind the curtain I bid you adieu, my marionettes of mayhem, and will see you next time on MIDNIGHT SHOCK-TIME HORROR THEATER! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
Moral of the Story: Avoid in-person auctions. Sticking to eBay may just save your life!
I see Udo’s been eating the crumbs at the bottom of the Oreos bag. Someone tell Mr. Kier that a “wet nap” isn’t just what happens when he falls asleep in his Sitz bath.
Store brand Anna Kendrick is displeased. Or concerned? Maybe gassy. I’m not really sure.
Matthias Hues, seen here contemplating his Ticket to Ride strategy for this week’s Tabletop Night.
“Why does this puppet have lips like Janice from the Muppet Band? Oh god… my brother was using this thing to house his fleshlight! GAH!”
That cat has natural corpse paint! Brutal.
“Lady, if you don’t want to see a stranger masturbating in their front seat, then don’t go peeking in parked cars. Now either give me a hand with this or kindly leave.”
Poor Elton. He’s the only puppet Toulon ever made with a desperate need for a comb over.
“Ed, you know not to interrupt me on ‘New Issue of Gigantic Asses Day’. Now go restock the tissues in my office. I’m going to need at least two boxes this month.”
The lady likes her comic geeks like she likes her hams: BONE-IN! Woooooo!
Hitler was definitely a monster, but if Toulon’s home is in any indicator, der fuhrer provided his employees with a hell of a severance package!
“No, I’m not Kristen Wiig or Kate McKenna, but if I give you a fake phone number will you go away?”
Barbara Crampton teaches the rest of the crew how to do the “2 Legit 2 Quit” salute.
Don’t you hate those awkward days when you get called to a violent shootout at work, only to realize that you left your gun at home?
Given the strength of his grill game, MC Kaiser here will be guesting on tracks with 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa before the end of the year.
“Ah yes, there’s your penis. Just as the mail order bride catalog advertised. Excellent.”
Featuring a special cameo by your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestler, David Starr!
(Whose crotch my face is unfortunately planted in for this screenshot.)
In the name of realism (while also avoiding risk of lawsuits), Marvel’s new Ghost Rider action figure requires buyers to provide their own hellfire.
“Damn it. We can’t watch the new episode of ‘Sailor Moon: Crystal’ because my mom and my ex are both using the Hulu account!”
Karl from Die Hard learns the messy side effects of snorting coke while also watching fan service anime.
“No! No! No! It’s a jump to the left and then a step to the right! The show starts in an hour and NONE of you have learned the Time Warp!”
“Und d-d-d-d-dat ist all, folks!”
Anubis will return next time in “Crazy Eldritch Asians”
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
Featuring: Olivia “‘Bates Motel’” Cooke , Sam “The Hunger Games” Claflin , Jared “‘Mad Men’” Harris
Director: John “Quarantine 2: the Terminal” Pogue
Writers: John “Ghost Ship” Pogue , Craig “The Uninvited” Rosenberg , Tom “The Hallow” de Ville , Oren “I’m Not There.” Moverman
“Killing a young woman is a wonderful way to create a ghost.”
For those wondering the cause of my latest absence, it all started last year when my court mandated hypnotherapist told me to explore the world and meet new people. I thought she said explode the world and eat new people and, well, let’s just say I had a very awkward several month stay in Germany… Further stymieing my return, the spray-tan-scrotum-golem-in-chief’s racist travel ban made it impossible for an Egyptian Death God/Dog to get back into the US by “conventional” means. Anyway, with all of that behind me, here we are! Did I miss anything while I was MIA? Never mind. I don’t care. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to reviewing I go!
The flick heralding my glorious return to cinema nitpicking is yet another from the ever-swelling sub-genre of “Inspired by actual events” movies. How inspired? As is often the case, only enough to establish a basic foundation for a house of lies.
The actual event in question is a little-known 1972 mental spelunking designated, “The Phillip Experiment”. Headed by a Canadian mathematician (because nobody knows horror like someone whose life revolves around numbers) named A.R.G. Owen (“ARGO”?), it attempted to prove Dr. “Uncle” Owen’s theory that supernatural phenomenon was the result of human psychology and that the supposed specters of the restless deceased (i.e. ghosts) are just a case of shared hallucinations between peers. In testing said population postulation, ARGO gathered a handful of educated associates and the group created a fictional character named Phillip (hence the title), complete with his own made-up background. Once Phil’s character sheet was filled out (I’m guessing he was a half-orc rogue with a Chaotic Neutral alignment), the group went about holding a “seance” to try and Witchboard the imaginary spirit into existence. When their first attempt flopped, they spookied up the second effort like a cheap Halloween spook house and sure enough: *BOOM!* so much spooky shit hit the fan that they needed to pressure wash the walls after.
Despite this supposed evidence to support ARGO’s hypothesis, why aren’t the results of the experiment globally acknowledged as the official debunking of every ghost story ever told? While the majority of the scientific community would rather point out the numerous flaws with the experiment’s execution, we all know that nightmare fuel sells, so consider it an assassination job by the horror industry and the collective con-men (and con-women) who make their livings off of “reuniting people with their dead family members” and making TV shows where nobody actors pretend to be “paranormal experts” yelling at “ghosts” in front of night vision cameras!
Well, that covers the educational portion of the review. Now that I’ve guaranteed a few more weeks of grant funding from The CHUD Group (taking “based on actual events” movies to task since 1984!), allow me to hang up my mortar board and don my rubber monster mask. It greatly obscures my vision and puts me at a heightened danger of asphyxia, but it gets me in the proper mindset for movie mockery…and it scares the shit out of the cats too! Mwa-ha-ha-ha.
Across the pond, in the merry old England of 1974, Oxford University professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris playing the missing link between Frasier Crane’s brother and Hellboy’s adopted father) fills in the role of “curmudgeonly old science type who will sacrifice as many underlings as need be in the desperate effort to prove his crackpot theories”. He gets things rolling by familiarizing his upper class rich kid students with an experiment he himself conducted, centered around curing a mentally disturbed subject known only as “David Q”, a barely pubescent lad with a penchant for making drawings, not unlike Mike Myers’ reoccurring “SNL” character Simon. Pretty normal, right? Except that his refrigerator disasterworks were of a spooky creepozoid he called “Mr. Gregor”, based on a character from one of his dear old dad’s bedtime stories. If you’re thinking of Peter Rabbit’s arch-nemesis, that’s Mr. McGregor, who is slightly less horrifying. Anyway, according to DQ, this Weight Watchers Uncle Fester is “the man that makes things happen”. Unlike Edward “A Man Who Makes Things Happen” Collins, Mr. G’s talents didn’t involve integral advances to the state of Texas’ infrastructure. His “things” were more in the realm of poltergeist-ian happenings around young David that had those close to him believing he was a better candidate for an exorcism than a session on a shrink’s leather couch.
One of Coupland’s mentees (not manatees…though that would make for an interesting twist) decries his work as blasphemous and abandons the class since “Revenant Remonstration” wasn’t listed in the syllabus. I wonder if “conflict with religious beliefs” is a refundable excuse when dropping a subject… Charley Church is pretty much alone in his condemnation though, so Professor Joey Joe Joe had little trouble already convincing two of his suck-up-iest students to help him further his hunt for a cure to a condition that 99% of whose victims only exist in cheap horror flicks still trying to cash in on the popularity of The Exorcist.
Krissi (Erin Richards) is an attention magnet female caricature of a character who gets off on men wanting to engage in sexual congress with her. In a modern setting, she’d be one of those “bi for the guys” types who makes out with other women in bars just so they’ll be in the center of the testosteronal spotlight. She initially tried to sign up for the project as the test subject because she’s “so crazy”, but having father abandonment issues and severe jealousy isn’t what Coupland was looking for, so Krissi tags along to assist and observe. On a related note, Graa-Muhr – the Sumerian god demon that lives in my Speak & Spell and spellchecks my words – has declared spelling that name with an ‘i’ as a heretical act. As such, I’ll be calling her “Kris” for the remainder of my bemused musings. Over and out.
Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne) is a pretty persona non interessante in his own right, there to experience what he thinks will be a milestone in all kinds of sciences without providing any real catalyst to the goings-on. He’s also Kris’ current partner in the synchronized mattress gymnastics routine, so expect standard “relationship complications” between the pair in a quarter-hearted effort to make them both seem less two-dimensional. As for the study’s star, she’s an afflicted/conflicted young woman named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke). Miss Harper is a suicidal amnesiac with “off the charts” brain wave frequencies whose only known past consists of being an unwilling passenger of the British foster care system, hot potato-ed like a human dybukk box from home to home because of her tendency for paranormal “redecoration” in every home she was placed. Claiming she’s not responsible for the destruction left in her wake, the girl (well, woman, as she’s 24 according to my math) insists that another personality named Evey (pronounced like the Pokemon Evee, and not like “every” minus the ‘r’) is to blame. Professor Coupy hypothesizes that Evey is a delusion created by his little guinea pig and is determined to harvest her telekinetic havoc by “trapping” the imaginary friend inside of a doll, thus giving Evey her own physical form, thus making a name for himself in the annals of crackpot horror movie mad science history and likely dooming himself and his cohorts to be menaced and murdered Talking Tina style.
(Run, Bojack! Uhm, I mean, Kojak. Run, Kojak!)
To achieve his goal, Coupland (who’s not nearly as magical as Disneyland) keeps Calamity Jane locked up in an apartment where she’s mentally tormented around every little minute line of the proverbial clock. The theory is that depriving her of sleep and subjecting her to blaring renditions of Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize” will stress her to the point of a veritable breakdown, releasing the Dark Hadou within. Given what we’ve seen from shit like Firestarter, Scanners and Akira, this isn’t going to end well for anyone.
Now, until this movie, the only rendition of “Cum on Feel the Noize” (or “CoFtN” as true fans know it) I had been aware of was the version Quiet Riot would cover ten years later for their album Metal Health. So, if nothing else, The Quiet Ones will always be remembered for me as the movie that completely reconfigured the Rubix Cube that is my casual enjoyment of ’80s hair metal. Hell, maybe it’ll help you score a couple points and some free mozzarella planks next time you hit up trivia night at the pub! You’re welcome.
In need of someone to chronicle his self-professed history-in-the-making project, the morally malleable pedagogue employs an independent filmmaker (i.e. someone in the Oxford AV Department, so the Prof wouldn’t need to pay a deposit on the equipment) named Brian (Sam Claflin) to immortalize it all on film…or as “immortal” as a highly volatile medium like film can be, at least. Unlike Harry & Kris, Bri’s a member of the working class, born of society’s lower crust and only “attends” the prestigious palace of higher learning in as much as the people who scrub the toilets do. He’s the movie’s be-sideburned every-man that the general audience can relate to while the other three push the ambiguity of the audience’s presumptive precepts, thus digging their own graves.
In other words, Brian’s the good guy.
In a neat little bit of trivia, it turns out that some of the POV scenes were actually shot by Claflin to add a pinch of authenticity to them. Groovy.
This crew of would-be pioneers in brain science blatherskite don’t get very far into their sadism before being forced to leave the flat-turned-dungeon after one too many calls to the Bobbies by a buzzkill neighbor who just doesn’t appreciate incorrectly spelled songs about girls rocking their boys. Following said run-in with the law (cue Steve Sax and his misadventures in the Springfield softball scene), Dr. Smarty Pants’ funding gets cut off faster than a male Skywalker’s hand. With the coffers of higher learning no longer picking up the tab on their trauma loft and sadism fetish footage, the gang relocate to an old mansion in the countryside that’s straight out of the Oxfordshire Chainsaw Massacre.
“Pip pip, fish and chips. Dog will hunt and all that bother.”
Bry’s also forced to downgrade his film to a cheaper stock to accommodate their now out-of-pocket adventure, or so he says. This claim is inconsistent with the movie though, as the footage with this “cheaper stock” somehow becomes cleaner during the important footage, only to revert back to crappier quality during the group’s “behind the scenes” downtime footage. Not really something to condemn the movie to the gallows for, just a (thumbtack-in-the-)\footnote for our fellow pickers of nit out there in the world wide waste.
In between Jane’s “counseling sessions” (basically more harassment, but with festive novelty trance party lights), typical British ’70s sexpot Kris carries out makeout session with both Harry and Professor Jojo, because we didn’t have enough reasons to be revolted by dirty Dunkirk grandpa before this. While that unsettling game of Love Triangle Twister plays out, our simple hero Brian finds himself struggling with his own twenty-something loin boiling. Not one to take on anyone’s sludgy thirds, his attention ends up getting glued to the carpenter’s dream in the padded cell, who makes no secret about lusting for the handsome cameraman herself. Or are those impure thoughts the work of dirty-minded mental squatter Evey’s hidden valley? Either or, never underestimate the panty-dropping appeal of a tight set of sideburns, folks!
(Uncut folicular sex, right there.)
These new found feelings for (feeling) Jane lead to Brian contaminating the experiment when he disrupts one of the torture sessions, just as Coupland was on the verge of (or so he says) forcing Evey to finally manifest and relocated into Jane’s toy doll. Following the incident, Brier Rabbit starts to question the legitimacy of the experiments, convinced that he’s being played for a fool and this is all going to end up on an episode of Punk’d in 30 years. His search for corroborating proof results in, well, let’s call it “unfortunate evidence to the contrary” to spare too many details, and he realizes the happenings happening are very much real, much like the danger to his new love interest. Kris too voices her concerns for Jane’s welfare, but much more easily silenced than Brian, i.e. with the old man’s tongue down her throat. BLART! However, Special K starts getting jealous of all the attention Jane/Evey gets from the Prof and wants to end the experiment, meeting with consequences of her own. And Harry? Who cares. I don’t and neither should you.
Inhuman as it may seem though, are Dr. Shit Pickle’s edumacated presumptions of Jane’s condition accurate? Is he really the only person that can save her from herself? Is E-V really just a voice echoing in the woman’s head, or is Coupland’s self-proclaimed debunking of the supernatural doomed to its own debunkening? Will he redeem his appearance as a hideous excuse for a human being by bringing peace to her suffering soul and countless others’ (well, maybe a dozen across the globe) by curing whatever fucking pyrokinetic multiple personality disorder is going on here?! Naturally, shit gets out of hand, and the final 20 or so minutes amp up the manic panic with more twists that a contortionist possessed by Pazuzu! But, since this flick’s still underage in regards to my Rule of Five, I won’t spoil them here. I will tell you this much: the Talking Heads would approve of the experiment’s end result.
(My science fair project, “Shit: How to Tell If It’s Getting Out of Hand”)
The backstory behind The Quiet Ones extends beyond just its looser-than-lunchmeat interpretation of “true events”. For those out there who were unaware, it’s also one of the final movies produced by Hammer Films. Yes, that Hammer Films… no, not M.C. Hammer Films, which was never a thing, no matter how hard we got to pray just to make it today. Anyway, yeah, almost 30 years after the original studio shutdown in the wake of waning gains, a Dutchie by the name of John De Mol bought the rights to the UK house of horrors and its 300+ movie properties. His intention was to stir the smoldering ashes in hopes of finding a few hot coals with which to re-spark the company’s status as a bastion of unique scares for people seeking an alternative to the same old slashers and more-of-the-same monsters. Over the seven year period following their first release (a MySpace exclusive micro-series called Beyond the Rave), Hammer was responsible for putting out the English remake of Let the Right One In, The Resident, Wake Wood, a post-Potter Danny Radcliffe starring in The Woman in Black, and The Quiet Ones before presumably bowing out with 2014’s The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death.
I’m by no means a Hammer-Head. Of the bulging back catalog they boast, my exposure to said selection has been the occasional installment of Chris Lee’s Drac Race and random weirdness like X the Unknown. I don’t question their appeal, nor the tastes of their sizable fan base, I’m just not foaming at the mouth for old British renditions of public domain monster mashes. Now that I think about it though, I’d down a whole bowl of Egyptian style prairie oysters (think camels instead of cattle) if it meant getting a Terry Gilliam directed revamp of House of Dracula. Somebody jump start the Kickstarter machine, stat!
As I was saying before so rudely interrupting myself (with a fucking brilliant idea – you’re welcome), I am no Hammer die hard(er), thus I have no truly viable opinion on how The Quiet Ones stacks up to the previous studio’s legacy. Judging it on its own merits as a stand alone horror flick though, I licked it! Errr, liked it. Liked it!
Unlike Quarantine 2, John “probably doesn’t know Shane McGowen” Pogue’s interspersing of shaky “found footage” cam within the frame of a traditional point-and-shoot movie both fits the theme and manages to not feel nearly as shoe-horned up the audience’s collective colon. The “faux film filter” of the documentary footage is actually pretty well done, setting it apart from the crisp, vibrant look of the rest of the flick. It’s not a perfect replacement for the real thing, but in the wake of digital media, I’m pretty sure actual film is harder to wrangle these days than an Adam Sandler NetFlix release that doesn’t make me want to throw myself into a thresher while watching it. Despite advances in technology though, it’s too bad the CGI effects aren’t nearly as well done, even under the obscuring veil of said filters. Our eyes are metaphorically poked by a digitally rendered “teleplasma” tentacle that couldn’t rouse a twitch in the taint of even the most perverted hentai viewer if its programmer’s life depended on it. An odd scenario that I’m not even sure I could conjure up a feasible setup for, but I said it, like it or lump it. That said, any movie lover worth their weight in salt water taffy knows that you need to temper your expectations around a flick’s finances, so a lesser budget production like The Quiet Ones doesn’t take much of a hit for less-than-stellar visuals. Less a hit, in fact, and more of a tickle. To the armpits. Not long enough to break out into fisticuffs, though. Or lead to any awkward sexual tension…?
And by that I mean, uhm, how about that cast!
Jared Harris plays a perfectly good stodgy old British learn-ed type, giving Old Man Coupland apropos gravitas, charisma and sleaziness in even measure, gradually growing his drive for the experiment into
an uncomfortable obsession without going into full-on over-the-top James Bond super-villainy. Olivia Cooke also does an admirable job of taking Jane between a suffering child that’s a magnet for the audience’s empathy and an uncomfortably aggressive deviant desperate to have her hot pocket stuffed. It’s a performance that’s made all the more upsetting by Cooke’s jailbait appearance, not looking nearly all of the 24 years of Jane’s age thanks to her do-it-herself haircut, barely-there bust, and the fact that she was only NINETEEN at the time of filming. Sam Claflin’s Brian is good enough as the well-meaning hero burdened with doing the job he’s been hired for or doing what his moral compass (and groinal compass) tells him he should. It’s not a meaty role, really. “Brian” is not a part comparable to the thespian equivalent of a Triple Meat Lover’s Meats-a-Treats-a-Rotti Deluxe (Lumberjack style) from Meat Sweat Marco’s All Animals Great and Small Buffet. But, for what it is, Claflin earns his paycheck.
Richards and Fleck-Byrne, though a great name for a Vaudeville act, are just kinda there as Kris and Harry respectively. She’s attractive, he’s a doofus, they fit the parts, end of story. “No small parts”? Go butt-chug some arsenic, Stanislavski.
A quick glance at the official Hammer site (hammerfilms.com) tells me that they’re still working on various projects, despite their movie production slowing to an almost complete halt. They’re currently holding English style horror stage plays in London, curiously enough, but did mention that as of October of last year they’re working on a new movie-to-be called The Lodge. Despite its fairly poor critical reception and a few plot hole potholes (having FOUR writers will do that) that could’ve been filled-in to make the ride smoother, The Quiet Ones was enjoyable enough to this particular Death God Dog to put this new(ish) version of the old company into my vision cone. Whether I opt to review them or not, I’ve got an interest in tracking down the handful of Q1s‘s fellow Neo-Hammer creations now, so good on you, sirs and madams.
Now, if you’ll excuse me (and even if you won’t), I flushed something that looked like a brown version of the titular terrorizer of Chuck Band’s Parasite this morning and should probably inform the local Water & Sewer Department before it starts laying eggs and making indecent proposals to Demi Moore…
Cheerio and bugger off, ya blighters and bints!
Moral of the Story: There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio Caine, than are dreamt of in your abnormal abnormal psychology. Like haunted horny harlots!
“Hey, what are you… Damn it! STOP THAT! What is it with you Millenials and this fucking fascination with rimjobs!? Do you think that’s where Tide Pods come from?!”
If someone at Warner Bros. ever wanted to make a live-action “Wacky Races” movie, there’s your Penelope Pitstop.
A new documentary finally reveals just what is Behind the Green Door. And it’s… a green… room? Huh. Looks like someone’s getting their grant money revoked.
Wednesday Addams learns the terrifying truth of the world outside of the family fortune: studio apartments, minimum wage, and having your power shut off because you just HAD to buy that $200 pair of knee high goth boots from Torrid for the Marilyn Manson concert next week instead of paying the electric bill.
“Alright, I give up. I haven’t the slightest bloody clue how to play Croquet!”
Tolgate Transportation – when you need windowless vans to relocate your ethically questionable “human abuse in the name of science” projects, think Tolgate!
This promotional picture leaves me feeling really uncomfortable for the “new direction” Disney has planned for the next season of “Girl Meets World”. Maybe they shouldn’t have handed production over to the “True Detective” people.
Oh no. Is this one of those horrifying FLDS arranged child marriages situations?! I’d rather watch snuff footage of Andy Griffith killing, sodomizing, and eating Don Knotts whole than see underaged girls gifted to their fathers’ business partners and/or religious leaders. UGGH!
Here at the Spencer’s Gift Novelty Lights Testing Facility, we make sure all of our products are just what your next rave needs to achieve peak freak out!
“I know the nuns said that the Catholic school uniform dress code was strictly enforced, Father, but all this over a Hello Kitty hair clip?!”
“Whoa there, Debbie Harry, save some for the rest of us! That shit’s supposed to last us until Thursday.”
Napoleon Dynamite’s father, Cornelius T. Dynamite, seen here in the last known photo of him before “the accident”.
Before Toys For Tots initiated their “New Unopened Items ONLY” policy on donations, this was the scene for many a tear streaked face on Christmas morning. If I ever find the person that “donated” the limbless Hordak torso I ended up with in ’91, the aftermath will make Pol Pot’s ghost vomit.
“For the love of Harry Smith, THAT’S what my colon looks like?! Where do the polyps end and my pooper begins?! I think I’m going to be sick.”
Anubis will return next time in “Adolf Hitler’s Muppet Babies”
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