Episode 55 – The Nun (2005)

or “Spirit of Vengeance”

Featuring: Anita “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” Briem , Belén “The Whore and the Whale” Blanco , Alistair Freeland

Director: Luis de la Madrid

Writers: Manu “[REC] 2” Díez , Jaume “[REC] 2” Balagueró

Origin: Spain

Review_____

“Are you trying to tell me this is some sort of ‘I Know What You Did 18 Summers Ago’ or something?!”

The penultimate production of the Fantastic Factory, Part 2 of my “Fantastic Four” reviews thing is, as you may have surmised, a dip in the Nunsploitation pool of sub-sub-genres. You’ll get the unintentional “pool” pun shortly. First, let’s provide some background to what we’re about to see here!

So, The Nun features no actors of prominence. Anita Briem’s done some things in the 10 years since, and continues to find work, but it’s mostly stuff I’m not interested in watching. Don’t expect to hear her name again until I get around to dedicating an episode to reviewing Dylan Dog, probably under the premise of a gimmick where I highlight movies that adapt independent comic books. Of which Faust would have been one, had I not already used it for this gimmick. On the other side of the camera, Brian Yuzna’s still around, but only as a “Creative Producer”, so whether this penguin sinks or swims (more aquatic references) has nothing to do with “The Yuze”. Director Luis de la Madrid is in a different dingy, bobbing in an ocean of obscurity with no other directing credits to his credit outside of a pair of short films I have no interest in pursuing either. His main body of work is actually as an editor! His contributions include chopping up and pasting together such flicks as: Faust, Diary of a Nymphomaniac, The Machinist, Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, and that Anna Paquin movie Darkness that Miramax apparently took a chainsaw to and butchered down to a PG-13 rating for the US release. Pretty sure Luis’ work was the original Spanish version. Call it a hunch.

Two year after The Nun, Jaume Balagueró would go on to write the only “found footage” movie I can openly admit to loving – [REC]. Two years after that, he would collaborate once more with fellow Nun scribe Manu Díez for [REC] 2, which wasn’t as good. In fact, it soured my milk just enough that I have yet to see either of the two additional [REC]-tal exams that followed it. As with Dylan Dog (and a few hundred other movies on my list), I’ll get to them eventually…

Our tale begins in the unconscious brain of Mary (Lola Marceli), where she dreams altered memories of her brief stay in a Spanish boarding school as a troublesome teenager. She and several other bad girls were the pet project of the school’s headmistress, an ultra strict nun by the nom de habit of Sister Ursula (Cristina Piaget). Ursula is just as evil as the other Ursula that moniker brings to mind too, as her first act on screen is to tell a handicapped girl in a leg brace that she deserves her predicament, because it’s a punishment from God. Ouch. This sextet of international no-goodniks were sent to the school because their parents had given up trying to raise them as morally sound ladies of the Catholic persuasion, instead opting to pay someone else to do it! The nightmare climaxes with Urs discovering a love letter that 17 year-old Mary (Katrine Romming) had tried to hide in her bible, tearing the confession of romantic intent up and commanding the rebellious youth to eat it! Before this can turn into a lesbian barely legal Dom/sub porno fantasy, Mary refuses and spits the paper out, so the black & white bully grabs her by the throat and pins her to a wall with almost supernatural (*wink*wink*) strength, shouting “ONLY PAIN CAN WASH AWAY OUR SINS!” before she starts having one of those kinetic horror movie ghost seizures and goes all monster face. Mary wakes up with a bloody nose (did she have an aneurysm?!) and the cosmic ballet goes on.

The single mother and her singular daughter live in Hoboken, New Jersey. A fact unabashedly forced into our faces by a subtle-as-spoiled-sauerkraut delayed shot of the
High School crest as we’re introduced to Eve (Anita Briem), who is at her high school prom. By proxy, we also shake hands with her bestest buddy Julia (Belén Blanco) and her boyfriend Joel (Alistair Freeland). Jules is an exchange student from Spain (played by an Argentinian), whose helmet hair and minute resemblance to Rosario Dawson put her on my cute-girl sonar. Her small stature and baby face make her barely legal status believable despite Blanco being almost 30 at the time of filming…you know, if IMDB is accurate. As for Joel, he’s your typical American high school d-bag (though the occasional escapes of his moderate British accent makes me think Freeland isn’t from the “Land Of The Free”, ironically enough) who carries around a handy-cam to shoot videos of EVERYTHING HE DOES. In terms of story, the camera only serves as a point of purpose for one brief and wholly unimportant scene later on, so it’s really nothing more than a “yep, he’s a douche” character trait for Joel. In hindsight though, it does make for a mildly amusing precursor for things to come, given Balagueró and Díez’s career paths after this.

J&J take time outs from drunkenly dry humping each other on the dance floor to talk about their impending trip to España. Julia tries to convince Eve to come with them, but the castaway from the Garden of Eden refuses because her mother’s already planning a trip to Spain. But mostly because she doesn’t want to risk crossing paths with her parent when she should be engaging in the kind of hedonistic white girl tourist-y activities that would make her the perfect victim for a torture porn. When Eve sneaks off to make some tongue time with her boyfriend in the locker room showers, J&J sneak up on them and pull a Candid Camera, turning the shower on and catching their startled reaction. A seemingly innocuous act that becomes a frustratingly integral plot point in the last 10 minutes of the movie, and is making me grind my teeth just typing about it. So before I hurl something fragile across the room, let’s go check back in with Mary!

Alone at home, Mary finds herself confronted with a plumbing problem better fixed with a call to The Ghostbusters than Roto-Rooter, as her kitchen sink floods, drains, re-floods, and spits in the eye of gravity as water cascades from it towards the ceiling. A window opens via a “not the wind” gust of wind (you can actually peek the stagehand’s arm in the reflection of the glass as they ease it open the first time) and the spectral form of a demonic-looking nun materializes to attack her. Eve returns home just in time to witness the phantom slitting mom’s throat with a butcher knife before it screams and escapes through the window. Eve calls the cops and insists that she knows what she saw, but the members of the constabulary are unable to find fingerprints for anyone else in the house. Julia doesn’t help her amiga’s story any by telling the investigator on scene that not only had they all been drinking earlier at the prom, but Eve also has some unresolved trauma due to Mary’s attempted suicide some years prior. Maybe Mary just realized that she’s a middle-aged single woman living in Hoboken and just couldn’t live with herself anymore. Fuckin’ New Jersey.

At Mary’s funeral (that was quick, especially for a crime scene death!), Julia convinces Eve join her in Spain so she’s not left alone with her grief (in Hoboken…*shudder*). The parentless teen is then approached by Mary’s friend and fellow Ursula victim, Cristy (Tete Delgado). Cris fills in some of the plot, telling our protagonista that mom’s trip to Spain wasn’t for “business”, but to reunite with her boarding school peers following the death of their friend Joanna in England. Eve confirms that Mary’s death is being labeled a suicide (less paperwork) and that no one believes her story about the homicidal ghost nun. Cris gives Eve her hotel room info and says she’d like to talk some more with her before her plane leaves the next day. After Eve leaves, Cris gets uncomfortable as a trio of nuns walk by…

The lighting guys must’ve had to up the wattage for the rigs while shooting, given all the foreshadowing in this movie! Wakka-wakka! *rimshot*

Whilst going through her mom’s things at home, Eve finds a box of letters and documents, including some of those sweet nothings (signed by a guy named Miguel) that Ursula thought made for better taste buds whets than panties wets. She also finds mom’s plane ticket and decides to Nancy Drew this mystery herself. Meanwhile, in her hotel room, Cris’ car key starts leaking water on her bed (something that Mary’s plane ticket did right before her own death) and her toilet goes bonkers, turning into the world’s angriest bidet! Water sprite Ursula forms from the crapper (I wonder if she materialized clockwise or counterclockwise?) and chases her prey into the hallway, where Cris escapes into an elevator. And what better time to take a commercial break!

Today’s episode is brought to us by Toilet Nun™! Just put Toilet Nun’s patented string of “rosary refresher beads” into your tank, say 3 Hail Marys and an Our Father before every flush, and you’ll be praising Our Lord for giving you the freshest bowl this side of the Vatican! Wash away your sins with Toilet Nun™! By Saints Johnson & Johnson.

Eve arrives at the hotel and waits for the elevator in the lobby, seeing the moist antagonist in plain view as Ursula strolls out the front door of the building! Before she can react, the elevator door dings open and Eve’s just in time to witness her second gruesome demise in as many days, as in the lift is a disarmed (well, de-armed) Cris! For a woman whose arms were just torn off in an elevator “accident” not twenty seconds prior, her stumps have already stopped bleeding. Maybe she had really high cholesterol and the panic of what happened pushed two massive clogs away from her heart and into her brachial arteries, thus plugging them up entirely? Or, the more likely scenario is that it’s just a shitty movie and I should stop trying to make logic out of someone else’s fuck-ups.

A quick jump cut to a passenger jet, where Julia is trying to convince Eve that she’s just stressed out of her mind from her mother’s death and that she needs to relax. If Mary and Cris’s deaths were more than just a suicide and an accident, the police wouldn’t have let her leave the country, right? Eve’s still determined to track down Mary’s friends though, so Jules agrees to follow along and to drag Joel (by the balls) with them. Eve then falls asleep while watching the in-flight movie Faust: Love of the Damned (even making sure to show the “a film by Brian Yuzna” opening credit, BLART!), awakens to the horrific image of Ursula on the wing of the plane (a cool tribute to “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”), then wakes up again from what turns out to have been a nightmare, finding herself setting down in Barcelona. Funny enough, as soon as the airplane scene started, I was curious as to how Ursula would no doubt follow the kids back to her home country to continue her killing spree, citing such possibilities as hiding in the plane’s toilet or just “swimming” across the Atlantic. Though I was sure that this wasn’t going to be addressed, I do like that this little nightmare sequence gives us a possible hypothesis. Though silly, again, it was a nice little tip of the hat to one of “The Twilight Zone”’s most loved episodes. Felicitaciones.

In searching for mom’s former associate Eulalia, Blondie makes a pit stop at a local library first to research this mysterious boarding school. Not exactly the sharpest machete in the shed, Eve doesn’t think to bring along Jules and is pretty well fucked when she realizes that, DUH, everything is in Español…and she doesn’t know a fucking LICK of Español! Clearly our heroine didn’t make valedictorian at Hoboken High. She lucks out though (cuz it’s a movie, natch) and bumps into a handsome local named Gabriel (Manu Fullola) at the Xerox machine who not only speaks fluent Engrish, but is such a Samaritan that he offers to help the wayward Yankee out. Like I said before: 100% torture porn bait.

They meet back up later at a local nightclub with J&J, where Gabe tells Eve that the school’s been closed since 1988, after Sister Ursula mysteriously disappeared. He also found Eulalia’s address, and drops the minor blockbuster that he’s in seminary school. No, he’s not studying semen, he’s in priest college! As for Eulalia, she’s still waiting for her friends to arrive. Naturally, those that are still alive won’t get there until it’s too late, because Eul’s going to take a bath. Guess who’s the next to die? Yep, after getting harassed by her plumbing and her dog red herrings us by getting sick (or whatever the hell happens as it’s not explained), Eulalia winds up crucified in her water closet…mere moments before Eve gets there…alone…because taking her friends along would make too much sense and completely ruin that stupid plot twist we’re still waiting on. They’re all of 12 seconds behind her though, so I’ll be sure to bring that up later too.

While at the apartment, Mystery Inc. overhear a message on the new victim’s answering machine that the remaining two ex-schoolgirls, Susan (Natalia Dicenta) and Zoe (Paulina Galvez), are in town and heading straight for the old alma mater. Desperate to find them and warn them about the bloodthirsty wraith penguin, the gang pile into a car (a rental, I guess?) and head out to the site. Frustrated that he’s being dragged on a wild goose chase in a foreign land in the pouring rain rather than getting his dick sucked on a beach while chugging Blood Marys, Joel takes control of the car from Eve, immediately crashing into a parked car that conveniently blocks the path to the school. Well, the story is that he crashed the car, but the reality is that their car is actually parked a foot or so away from the side of the obstacular vehicle, as you can see their headlights shining on the other car’s COMPLETELY UNMARRED BODY. If you can’t afford to wreck a few clunkers in your flick, TAKE THE FUCKING CAR CRASH SCENE OUT OF THE SCRIPT! FOLLANDO RETARDA!

With their car out of commission from all that crash damage (ARGH!), the quartet hoof it the rest of the way to the spook academy, following the presumed footprints of Suze and Zoe. Inside of the abandoned “oddly well lit for being the middle of the night during a rainstorm” structure, Joel uses his camera’s night-vision function to look around a pitch-black room. All he finds is a jump scare (courtesy of a wayward bat), and thus any excuse for making the handy-cam part of the story has passed. Blart.

Susan and Zoe aren’t dead (yet), and the quartet turns into a sextet as Eve finds them and updates them on the body count. Suze wants to call the cops, but Zoe refuses to because…they killed Ursula. Yep, one night the girls caught the hag scalding Mary’s nether parts with a detachable shower head in the basement’s communal bathing room, so they attacked the grizzled cunt and drowned her in a tub full of water. They then disposed of the body, dumping her in a pond on the school grounds. Two weeks prior to tonight, the town drained the pool and found nothing of the corpse, meaning that Ursula’s possessed the water that she didn’t die in (of course), but that her body got super pruny in for almost two decades. Meh.

Further exploring the school, Eve and Gabe come across Ursula’s old quarters and find a bible inside, inscribed to her by a “Father Miguel”. They almost do the horizontal hokey-pokey on the dead sister’s musty bed, but Eve forsakes her namesake and rejects the serpent. Gabe has some personal revelation that he’ll tell Eve (and hopefully the audience) about later, leaving the young lady alone to be confronted by the aqua spook, who emerges from her old bedspread! Urs only passes through Eve though, then leaves. The contact causes our heroine to relive a previously locked away memory of her mom giving her Hel for getting into her stash of love letters, then trying to kill herself in their bathtub. More on that in a minute. Elsewhere, Zoe and Suze are talking about seeing Eve with the young priest-to-be as “history repeating itself” and blaming Mary’s past for what’s sure to be their inevitable demises. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the aforementioned Father Miguel and the Miguel who signed Mary’s love letters are one and the same. When Ursula discovered the affair, and Mary’s subsequent impregnation with Mikey’s boner seed as a result, she tried to “wash the sin” out of the 17 year-old’s evil ham wallet. Hence the hot water abortion attempt that led to this whole I Know What You Did Last Summer rigamarole. But isn’t abortion a sin? Yeah, and so are murder and child molesting. But, when something’s done “in God’s name” by his faithful sheep, it doesn’t count as a sin anymore! Woohoo! So long as I shout “Praise Jesus!” next time I firebomb a car blasting that Reggaton shit, Johnny Law can’t judge me! Somebody get me a tank of gas and few hundred empty whiskey bottles!

Anyway, Gabe’s big revelation is that all of the killings to this point have been Biblical in nature: each of the women were killed in the fashion of the patron saints they share their names with. G-Unit’s theory is that Ursula’s killing them as such because through their pain and “sacrifices”, she can gain penance for their souls and hers, thus regaining God’s favor. And how did Saint Ursula die? Arrow through the heart. With this knowledge, Zoe decides to fight back and try spearing the spouted specter with Julia and Joel’s harpoon guns. Oh, I forgot to mention a previously established plot point from way back at the prom scene: they were going to do a lot of SCUBA diving on their vacation. Sorry about that. Though you’d half expect a movie like this to bring this up out of nowhere (or not at all) and just have the characters armed with harpoon guns for no real reason, but it was there the whole time.

Well, Susan’s had enough of suffering for the sins of others and won’t be victimized for Mary’s crimes any more! Before Eve’s priest defilement can get her in any further trouble, the panicked Suze locks herself in a room and refuses to let Eve anywhere near her. As expected, this only serves to fuck her over, as she’s trapped in there now for another performance of Sister Ursula’s Wild & Wacky Water Hijinks! After being pushed around by the aquatic abbess, she ends up decapitated by a pane of broken glass, dropped on her guillotine style. It invokes happy memories of the superior gymnastics program put on by David Warner’s (fake) head in The Omen. 10s across the board.

Eve tries to spear Ursula before she can disappear again, but when she does, no one else is able to see the Phantom of the Fire Hydrant, which explains why no one saw her strolling through the lobby back at the hotel after Cris’s dismemberment. As for why this is, Zoe theorizes it’s because Eve’s conception was the whole crux of this vengeful comeback so…I don’t know why that would explain why she hasn’t been killed yet, or why Zoe couldn’t see her either. Fuck it. Whatever the case, Zoe’s eponymous patron perished a la immolation, so as long as she stays clear of any open flames or giant ovens, she should be okay. Not hard since every inch of this movie is covered in H2O at this point! Speaking of the source of all life, Gabe theorizes that the only way to make Ursula into killable flesh and blood is to flood the school’s basement and have Eve kill her within the resultant pool of her power source. Which makes ZERO sense, since she already attempted to spear Urs when she was in her material state before and NOTHING HAPPENED! Fuck!

Despite bad shit happening and somebody else dying every time they do it, the group continues to split up as they try to flood the place. Naturally somebody else dies this time too. TWO for the price of one, to be exact! Gabriel is impaled on a broken piece of exposed pipe when he’s forced onto it by a broken water main, and Zoe winds up scorched inside of a giant, human-sized oven. Osiris’ beard, was this school’s kitchen built by Nazis, or was shit like that commonplace in old buildings like this before the genociders ruined it for everybody during World War: The Revenge?!

So, we’re down to the final three: Eve, Julia, and Joel. As our heroine awaits the final showdown in the school’s new in-ground pool, Joel pulls Julia aside and completely shits up the entire movie with the following preposterous postulate (not to be confused with a pustule): as a child, Eve overheard an argumentative phone exchange between her Father father and her mother that included hearing Mary tell Miguel that she had to kill Ursula because he couldn’t keep his plenary prick to himself. In the fallout of said call, Mary tried her Whitney Houston curtain call, the terror of which Joel believes caused Eve to dissociate the whole “my mom killed a nun” thing until now. And what does this amateur Pierre Janet theorize may have brought this mental bobbing back to the surface of Eve’s psyche? Startling her in the shower while she was making out with her boyfriend at the high school prom.

Having seen this scene twice and having just typed it all out and read it, I’m verging on face palming so hard that my entire pantheon will feel it. Bra-fucking-vo.

So yeah, in an effort to rip off the big twist ending to Fight Club, the solution to the movie is that there isn’t a killer ghost nun taking revenge on the girls who murdered her and gave her a totally non-Christian burial, it’s that Eve has a split personality, is “possessed” by Ursula and is really the one who killed Mary and everyone else. Except for Gabriel, whose death was entirely accidental. There are many, MANY reasons this explanation is bullshit, but I’m not willing to rack up another four pages of space just to chronicle all of them, so I’ll present you with the three most glaring.

EVERY one of the victims had interactions with haunted water prior to their deaths. Mary had the kitchen sink, Cris had the hotel room toilet, Euli had her bathtub, Sue and Zoe had run-ins with flying gushes of rushing water that pushed them to their deaths. Those last two could be explained away as being Eve simply pushing them around, but the other three were absolutely interactions with sentient water. There were also the multiple times when Ursula’s cursed fluids seeped out of various items. And don’t tell me those didn’t happen, because when Urs did it to Mary’s plane ticket, the water smeared the information on the Post-It affixed to it, which carried over to a later scene!

Though it’s true that Eve witnesses some of the deaths, and thus could very well have been the cause of them, this makes ZERO sense in cases where the deaths happened BEFORE she even came into the scene! Cris’s arms were cut off by the elevator, NOT directly by any human interaction, and she was there in the lobby with SEVERAL other witnesses when the doors opened and the body was first discovered. And had she been involved at all in driving Cris toward the elevator, are you telling me the hotel security cameras managed to miss the whole thing, hence why the police decided Eve wasn’t involved in any way, and thus allowed to leave the country?! Furthermore, Eulalia also died before Eve made it into her apartment, AND she was followed immediately by her friends who showed up not 20 seconds behind her!

And my biggest argument against this ending – Joanna. Joanna was killed prior to prom night. Two weeks prior, in fact. Right after the pool holding Ursula’s remains was drained. Hear that *thud* sound? It’s Joel’s theory dropping dead at his feet. Fuck. This. Movie.

The twist is a foofaraw. Totally needless and just ends up retroactively plot holing the shit out of what came before into an argle-bargley Swiss cheese clusterfuck. And if you’re really going to push this bullshit on us, why not justify the inclusion of of Joel’s fucking camera by using it here?! Have him set it down while he leaves the room to help someone else, then have Eve kill someone while in frame so there’s evidence to back up the big reveal! A bit hackneyed, sure, but at least it would’ve given some plausibility to the friggin’ bowl of boiling hot piss and pus they tried to force feed us instead!

Uggh. I need to get this over with before I pop an eyeball or some shit. Eve has her final sub-aquatic battle with her other half (grrrrrrrr), and after much struggling, puts a harpoon in the bitch’s gut (not her heart like she’s supposed to) killing her for good. But, when J&J come back, they find only Eve with a self-inflicted ‘poon impalement. Julia swims to her friend to check on her, and we’re jarred into the end credits, where some hilariously out-of-place Spanish nightclub music (see the end of this review to hear what I’m talking about!) serenades us into the final, deepest, darkest stages of utter madness. End.

We already know why I hate the story’s forced surprise ending (I never appreciate getting Shyamalan-ed up the ass) so let’s not hold our hands over that open flame any longer. Had we stuck with the simple “pissed off spirit out for vengeance” theme, I would’ve been fine. Hell, they could’ve copied and pasted the ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and just buried Ursula’s bones on consecrated grounds and I may have even ended things on a happy note! Instead, we got what we got. Sad too, since I was a big fan of the religious context behind the attacks, what with that “killed in the fashion of their saints” jazz. It’s one of the few things that pulled The Nun up to a one-star affair from an otherwise absolute zero. But no, what little bits of delicious sweetness we were given were overrun by bitter, bitter poison. Like having a bottle of Tenafly Viper poured directly onto our brains. Do you smell something, Sheriff?

The low-to-moderate budget computer effects for Ursula are actually not bad. Pretty solid, even. The direction is fairly straight forward, which is to be expected from an editor’s first/only time in the big boy chair. Transitions from one scene to the next could’ve been smoother for the most part, rather than the odd whiplashes we witness. Not something you’d really expect a professional editor to flub, unless he was trying to play into that lame “music video smash cut” stuff that just doesn’t fit the atmosphere of a movie like this. The acting is generally terrible, as you’ve got two American characters being played by a Brit (I think) and an Icelander who mostly suppress their accents, but still sound NOTHING like two kids from New Jersey. Briem acts like she’s zonked on tranquilizers the entire time too, which doesn’t help matters. Also, as a white American (when I’m not an ebony Egyptian Death God) I’m not 100% on this, but is having an Argentinian playing a Spanish girl anything like having a Chinese actor playing a Japanese character? Or having Sean Connery play a Russian submarine Captain? It sounds like something that’s gotta be offensive to somebody. Either or, this cast is only a rung or two above an Ed Wood feature. Maybe when you’re casting for a movie with an English script, you should try to find people to whom English is their native tongue and not just some Frankensteinian monster tongue they bought at an Organs ‘R’ Us going-out-of-business sale.

Lastly (and certainly leastly), I still have no fucking idea what this stupid “Lake Test” is that Joel kept alluding to! It’s supposed to be some dirty joke, that part I get, but I can’t tell if it’s about whether a girl puts out or practices proper hygiene or who the fuck knows, fuck nose. It’s brought up several times and when he finally explains it to Julia he’s still not being direct enough to actually explain anything! If you’re not going to stop tiptoeing around it like a 12 year-old giggling through a sex-ed video, just shut your gob. Dingus.

So, that’s The Nun. Despite the acting and numerous nitpicks, I was fully prepared to give it a 2-out-of-5 before that candiru fish level of twist ending malarkey swam up our collective urethras. Bollocks! We’re now halfway through this thematic mini-marathon, and this purported production facility of the fantastic has as of yet failed to live up to its name. Well, failure in terms of fantastic quality anyway, not so much fantastic subject matter. To be fair, a demonic anti-hero fighting the Devil and a vengeful nunnly water spirit who kills with methods relating to the deaths of Catholic saints are both refreshing alternates to “just another slasher in a mask stabbing naked teens”. Aaaaaanyway, let’s see if Brian Yuzna can’t up the ante a bit for the latter half of this trip through the b-horror side of Spain, shall we?

Damn. I can’t believe I went this entire review without making a single reference to “The Flying Nun”. Oh well. I’ll make a note for when I eventually review The Convent. And on that note, cue my new exit music. Fuck ya later, lip smackers!

Moral of the Story: Sometimes the simplest route is the best route. Take the road less traveled just to emulate someone else, and you could wind up up to your eyeballs in quicksand with venomous centipedes using your ear canals for their nesting grounds.

Screenshots_____

The most awkward day of the month at boarding school: virginity inspections.


“So, if God can do anything and create anything, could He create a cigarette with so much nicotine that even He would become addicted to it? Like… wow. Right?”


You know what’s a real sin? Spelling a word with two capitalized letters and one lower-case, like “SiN”. It’s right below spelling words with letters replaced by numbers. Someone needs a penance spanking!


This is why you don’t watch Evil Dead 2 before bed!
(Click HERE if that one went over your head)


For anyone who wasn’t sure this was a horror movie, I give you Exhibit J.


“I don’t know if it’s just the Molly or what, by my shoulder smells AMAZING to me right now! Come over here and taste it…”


“Keith David and I beat the shit out of each other for 6 straight minutes and that bastard still refused to put on these damn sunglasses!”
(Alternate joke: “Come with me if you want to live.”)


A dispenser that holds TWO rolls of toilet paper?! My gods! Who’s the genius that came up with this?! THIS NEEDS TO BE IN EVERY BATHROOM EVERYWHERE EVER!


Rush Limbaugh’s crapper finally fights back. (Hey! The paper’s on the other side of the toilet now! Boooo!)


Twelve years of piano lessons down the drain.


Delta Airlines tries out its new “Poverty Seating” option. The ride’s a little rough, and there’s no food or drink service, but you can’t beat the rates!


This “love at first site” moment brought to you by Xerox™. When you’re making a generic romantic movie scene audiences have seen a hundred times before, what better product to center it around than one from a company whose sole purpose is to make cheap reproductions!


This just became Quentin Tarantino’s new favorite movie.


“I put in for my wake up call at five thirty! FIVE thirty! Not SEVEN thirty, you moron!”


“I know it’s cold, Julia, but this intense training will all be worth it when you and I win every wet t-shirt contest next year at Spring Break!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“Haunt of Horror”

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Episode 54 – Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)

or “Son of Satan”

Featuring: Mark “‘Doctors’” Frost , Andrew “Wishmaster” Divoff , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs

Director: Brian “Beyond Re-Animator” Yuzna

Writer: David Quinn

Origin: Spain

Review_____

“There’s no grand design, just an outbreak of chaos. Like a pimple on the face of God.”

Fox’s Fant4stic came out a few weeks ago and bombed harder than Fat Man and Little Boy. In “honor” of the flick’s release from the Hollywood poop shoot, I could have reviewed the studio’s two prior attempts at bringing Marvel’s first family to feature length glory. But, that would’ve been too easy. For those of you who know me, you know I always do things the Max Power way (look it up). For those of you who don’t know me, uhm, I’m Anubis Von Mojo – the proprietor of the shitty movie review site you’re currently reading. Nice to meet you?

Fuck it. Anyway, rather than go with the obvious, I thought I’d obscure it up a bit and insert a stiff finger-blasting of wordplay into the mix. As such, this “reviews thing” will highlight four movies from Brian Yuzna’s no-longer-breathing horror production company, Fantastic Factory. I even opted to slip a a second wordplay finger into the backdoor by using Marvel horror comic book references as the alternate titles for these episodes! Now, if I’m done geeking myself off, let’s turn this factory’s lights back on and start making some fantastic. What better place to start this so-called event off than with FF’s premiere production!

[Writer’s Note: despite being from Spain, the Fantastic Factory movies are NOT considered part of “World Tour de Farce 2015”. That would be cheating. I have something else in mind for Spain, which you’ll find out about once I get around to that neck of the woods…which will be sometime around 2017 at this rate. Blart.]

Faust: Love of the Damned” originally started as a 1987 comic book series of the same name plucked from the demented minds and talented hands of independent creators Tim Vigil and David Quinn. It took 25 years and two different publishers (from Rebel Studios to Avatar Press) before the pair finally finished the tale’s 15 issue run. And you Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) nerds thought George R.R. Martin took his sweet time? Fuckin’ artists and their “process”.

As you’ll notice, Quinn was also brought on as the writer for this live-action adaptation, which is a good thing if you want your movie to feel more like a comic book. In this case, it definitely does. Not to the audience taxing extents of Ang Lee’s Hulk with all the gimmicky comic panel shots and such, but more through dialogue, story structure and scene progression. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s still a thing, whatever your tastes may be.

Aaaaaaanyway, let’s make like BTO and get to takin’ care of the proverbial business!

Though the movie is presented in a very “broken and out of order” story sequence, I’m just going to work through it chronologically to make it more cohesive.

Aside from having a very old skool Marvel Comics-esque alliteration heavy moniker that’s confusingly close to Jasper Johns’ name, and a self-indulgent status as an “artist”, John Jaspers (Mark Frost–not to be confused with Jack Frost or Mister Frost) also has a beautiful girlfriend. The exotic Blue (Jennifer Rope) is JJ’s muse, his beloved, his everything. Too bad for him that she’s also an illegal immigrant who was brought into the country by less-than-legal means, courtesy of a gang of ne’er-do-wells. When the goons (are they hired goons, perchance?) come looking to punish Blue for not repaying her tariff, wimpy little Jaspers tries to intervene. Instead of being the roundhouse kicking Dalton that his chromatically monikered madam needs though, Double J’s just her dime store Eric Draven, held impotent and agonizing while the woman he loves is tortured before his soggy eyeballs. He’s cold cocked and left to sleep it off while presumably unspeakable acts are performed on the lovely lady with the painful accent.

When he comes to from his ass kicking, a disheveled Jaspers (who should wipe that smear of ketchup off of his mouth before his mother comes at him in a public place with a spat upon napkin) discovers his corpsed-up soul mate/mail order bride inversely crucified upon one of his easels. It’s actually a cool visual that I’d never considered before seeing it here, and given my tendency to daydream about the different things I could crucify people to, I’m surprised. Anyway, with his beloved now be-deaded, JJ declares life a crushing boulder of searing agony squatting on his chest and no longer worth living. He’s the personification of every Morrisey song: boo-hoo poor me emo tripe all day and all night.

And now, courtesy of the Meat Council, this free tripe!

On the verge of taking his own life via bridge bungee jump (sans bungee), our protagonist’s approached by a touchy-feely harlot named Claire (Mónica Van Campen) and her ominous looking white-haired boyfriend referred to only as “M”. “Why so ominous?” Because, Joker, M’s played by Andrew Divoff. When Wishmaster‘s demonic djinn is in your movie, 95% of the time he’s got evil intentions a-brewin’. Sure enough, the mono-consonantly titled stranger offers John Boy immortality and the power to take revenge on those who have wronged him, but makes no bones about warning him that his payment for such power will be his eternal soul now, and a future thing that Jaspers holds closest to his heart, to be named later. Ready to end his existence anyway and having no belief in a “soul” to begin with, JJ figures “Fuck it! I’ll take the demonic revenge powers!”.

From suicidal pessimist to optimist who thinks he can get one over on the Prince of Lies in a matter of moments. Now me? I hate optimists. They’re just in denial of how the world is nothing but a barb wire wrapped dildo trying to butt fuck us every chance it gets. The kind of people who think that the massive potholes in their lives are part of some “god’s plan”. The kind of people who try to put a positive spin on being shat upon by avian airstrikes, calling it “good luck”. NO! YOU WERE SHIT ON BY A FUCKING BIRD! YOU’RE NOT DUE GOOD LUCK, YOU’RE TARGET PRACTICE! YOU’RE A LOWER LIFEFORM’S TOILET! And if everything’s part of “god’s plan”, then why the fuck are you praying to him to make changes in your life?! Aren’t you supposed to just sit back and let the guy in the sky do his thing? Do you think you know better than “god”?! Monkeys.

No sooner does John start smearing his gory signature on Mephistopheles’ contract, you can practically hear Hugo Weaving proclaiming “the sound of inevitability” in your ear, because you know deals with Ol’ Scratch generally don’t end well. Until the fine print bites him in the ass though, John at least gets himself a slick pair of forearm mounted, retractable stabby talons with which to perforate his adversaries’ innards! He wastes no time surprising the gang in their warehouse hideout (how he knew where said hideout was is never explained) and relieving the three members he finds there of the massive tumors they call their heads. Returning to M, JJ’s told that his job isn’t done yet because he’s now Satan’s assassin. He tries to put his new boss in His place, only to discover that, surprise, the claws won’t come out against their bestower. The Great Deceiver’s not new to this game, dummy. I am curious as to why the Lord of Darkness would enroll a simpering little art school dropout as his hired gun though, since you’d imagine a soldier or an MMA fighter or even Uwe Boll would be a better option physically. Maybe M just didn’t want to have to travel far from his home office and JJ was the closest suicidal person he could find on such short notice.

Being M’s loaded gun isn’t all bad, though. The benefits plan includes shower sex with Claire, after all. As Satan’s fuck toy, she’s probably immune to STDs…or flooded with them. Maybe it’s not such a benefit after all.

JJ is sent by his new boss to a Chinese (maybe?) embassy to turn the place into an international house of pancakes carnage. He carves up 19 people, but rather than go for a nice round 20, stops short of killing police Lieutenant Dan “Hound Dog” Margolis (Jeffrey Combs!). Instead of rending Dan into itty-bitty pieces fit for an itty-bitty-ditty bag, the wild-eyed Jaspers sheaths his claws, utters “No” to a nearby Claire (concealed behind a veil), then mutters “The Hand.” to the Lieutenant, then slips into a completely unresponsive state of total mental meltdown. Before the rest of the fuzz can gun down JJ like an unarmed black teen in the park, Margolis interjects and takes the mentally disturbed human lawnmower into custody. This to the chagrin of the Lieutenant’s “oh you KNOW that dick bag is a bad guy!” boss Commissioner Marino (Fermi Reixach), who tries to have Jaspers filled with more lead than a Chinese toy factory, only to be disappointed because now Jaspers the Friendly Ghost will likely get off on a plea of insanity.

Due to said regression into an unresponsive vegetable (his brains have turned into figurative cauliflower), John is given accommodations in a padded room rather than a jail cell. Here he soon meets his appointed psychoanalyst, Dr. Jade de Camp (Isabel Brook), who has experience with bringing patients out of traumatically induced consciousness crashes through “unusual methods”.

At first blush I thought this meant she was going to be one of those therapists you see in 2 a.m. Showtime softcore flicks who fix all of their patients by having hilarious, poorly choreographed sex scenes with them, but Jade’s atypical tactics of treatment basically just consist of trying to trigger a cognitive reaction by playing music. So you can make me cry uncontrollably by playing “The Humpty Dance”. Big deal. It proves NOTHING!

While Jade is trying to finger our hero’s trigger, Lt. Dan (“Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?”) flexes his Netscape-Fu and scours the worldwide wasteland for information on an occult sect known as “The Hand”, as per Johnny’s utterance of the words at the embassy slaughter. He finds the information faster than you can look up “Thundercats hentai” or “dump cake recipes”, as the group appears to have their own Angelfire page! Not very clandestine of them. Hell, I can’t even get my page near the top of search engine results when you type in “The Tomb of Anubis”, so they must put a LOT of their marketing budget into their internet advertising if they’re showing up in the top 10 for something as commonplace as “the hand”! Movies. What’re you gonna do? Blart, that’s what.

While silently drawing seemingly Satanic symbols on the walls of his cell (at first with his own blood, then with a Sharpie provided by Dr. J), John has a reaction when he sees a certain CD in Dr. de Camp’s pile of mood music. Desperate to get her patient to say anything, she puts the disc (presumably a choice track from the Faust soundtrack, available NOW 15 years ago from Roadrunner Records!) on and gets just the manic lashing out that she’d hoped for! He breaks down in a bit of acting that can’t help but recall Jeff Daniels’ award-winning performance in Dumb and Dumber as he tells Jade his story (which I already covered previously, so you and I can fast forward through this next part). You’re welcome.

During story time, JJ gets all “artist speak” on us and shows us the “depth” of his “tortured soul” by yammering on about the shallowness of art in comparison to love and how evil is a thing despite the existence of science and technology (Duh! Ever hear of Decepticons?!) and blah blah blah. The line between pseudo intellectual and actual intellectual isn’t a thin line: it’s a gaping chasm and this guy’s sitting at the bottom of it, standing on his head and jerking off into his own mouth. Guys, never get high on your own stash. It’s like meth: Not Even Once.

Having bucked M’s control and thus avoided an LAPD style “excessive force” demise, JJ is now wanted by the bad guys. He’s snatched from his padded room after hours by Dr. Yamamoto (the head doctor in charge of him who also happens to be M’s personal physician), and two of the goons responsible for Blue’s death. Now, is this all a big coincidence that M’s both the cause of Jaspers’ misery, as well as the provider of his power? Or, was it part of an overarching scheme? Whatever the case, Jpeg’s drugged and dragged to a cemetery, where M gloats over him a bit before burying the blonde blood-letter alive and sending him to eternal damnation in Hell. In the fiery beyond, Jaspers is strangled by a skeleton until he uses his talons (stupid of M to bury him with the damn things like some kind of Bond villain) to crack-a-lack its cranium and return to life. Amidst the dirt (and an inordinate number of worms), he claws his way from the earthen womb of his resurrection! And Yuzna ruins any awesome factor the scene once had by having a headstone to Jaspers’ makeshift grave with “AUS” and three conveniently placed scratches upon it spell out “FAUST” when JJ’s claws cast a shadow across it.

See? I literally face palmed at this and had to walk away for a breather. If I’d known things were going to get this corny I would’ve brought some butter and salt. Fuck.

Making good on his promise to take away something important to JJ (despite having just buried the guy alive with the intention of sending him to Hell), M sends his henches to snatch Jade. As they surround her in an ominous alley that’s on loan from a Death Wish movie, a caped figure descends upon the fiends from above. Looking like concept art for a Clive Barker Batman movie (and with the red light-up eyes of a drug store Halloween mask), Jaspers proceeds to eviscerate the villains as his new, blood crazed, eponymous persona Faust. He’s dressed like the Dark Knight, cracks demented one-liners a la The Joker, and murders with the savagery and bladed protrusions of Wolverine. All things that should be amazing, but the rubber muscle suit is distractingly silly and the line delivery boils just a little too far over the top of the pot. It needs to be more Jack Nicholson Joker and less Frank Gorshin Riddler. Hell, even a bit more toward Jim Carrey Riddler might not have been so bad.

No, wait. I’d rather swallow a nest of vipers than praise anything related to a Joel Schumacher Batman movie. Carrey on.

Dan and Jade combine their powers to form a Captain Planet of an investigation (he is our hero, after all), against the orders of the so-obvious-that-he’s-in-on-it Commissioner Marino. Who’s your favorite Marino? Dan Marino seems like a nice enough guy, but I have to stand by Ken Marino. Guy’s amazing. And no amount of touchdown passes or Isatoner commercials will ever top repeated declarations of “I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT!”. Where was I? Oh yeah, Marino’s clearly under M’s employ and if they’re not going to be upfront with it from the start, Yuzna probably shouldn’t have had the guy’s voice dubbed by someone so blatantly sinister sounding. That motherfucker is up to no good. Up to no good. Like a spark on a wire. Or a splinter of a wood. I gotta stop listening to Rancid while I write these things.

Back at the baddies’ den o’ sin, succubus nympho Claire conspires against her sugar devil, but Big Daddy Mammon lets her know that he’s aware of her plans and puts her in her place by turning her into a big slimy pile of boobs and butt flesh with a face and tiny stick arms. You know, pretty much what you’d expect to see out of a Screaming Mad George concoction. Unless you’re a narcissist who fears this happening to you, the whole sequence is much funnier than it is terrifying. The silly music doesn’t help, and my respect for Yuzna as a horror guy dwindles as a I realize, intentionally or not, the guy’s trying too hard to emulate Charles Band’s ’90s stuff and it’s not to his (or our) benefit. My hopes for the other three movies on this “reviews thing” is dipping to dangerous levels. My hope for my hope chest (i.e. my DVD collection) is dissipating like a fart from a dead body’s voided bowels.

JJ visits a towel clad, post-bath Jade at her apartment, vowing to protect her from M’s machinations and the threat of whatever “worse than death” plans he has in store for her. When the officers assigned to watch her intervene, he transforms into Faust (through the magic of late ’90s low budget computerized morphing technology – a trauma we’d all like to overcome), tells them to take a message to their boss, then proceeds to lick one of them (he’s got an odd, homo-erotic sadism fetish where he keeps making mouth time with decapitated mens’ faces) before gutting them both. So, I guess the delivery of that message was purely symbolic then? As Jade runs off scared out of her mind (but not too scared to have grabbed her trench coat), Faust goes to a window and shouts the best line of the movie at her: “I’m the pornography that gets you HOT!” It’s one of the brief moments that Frost’s exaggerated delivery works and it’s amazing.

One of the porcine peacekeepers survives his sticking long enough to call in backup, leading to a chase scene as the 5-0 show up to “help” Miss de Camp. But, when she sees Yamamoto there, her guts tell her something’s not right, confirmed when he tries to poke her with some sleepy juice (now known as a “Cosby Non-Consent Cocktail”). She runs onto a conveniently waiting subway train that Margolis manages to miss, but Faust does not. In fact, he does a little comically needless/needlessly comical hop into the car! Faust adds a few more notches to his one-eight-seven bodycount and wins the award for Most Subway Passengers Traumatized since Predator 2 took the prize a decade earlier. Given the choice between the sleazy Commissioner and the blood-soaked one-man killing streak, our heroine opts for the latter. These days, when given the same choice, I think most people would do just that.

Back at Johnny’s place, the two debate over tea and scones whether he’s retained any of his humanity, whether evil is a curable mental condition or an incurable primordial state of being and what the hero’s intentions are for her lady parts. Actually, they just yell at each other about said subjects until ultimately banging like hamsters on Viagra. Here’s a tip, folks – when someone asks you if you want to rape them, there’s a good chance that means they’re floating a role play fantasy out there and are waiting for your reaction without straight up asking you if you’d do it. Never do anything to someone without their consent, but definitely evaluate whether you want to continue this relationship or not, because things can get REALLY tricky. Not necessarily bad, but tricky. Always establish parameters for consent and even then be prepared, because your partner is probably going to get freaky in your ear. Personal experience, that’s all I’m saying.

In the throes of their humpening, Jade tells John that she’s wanted to jump his bones from the moment she saw him (therapists love damaged people they can “save”, it’s an ego driven Jesus complex thingy), then declares that “this is forever”. Yikes! I’ve been known to bring out the ‘L’ word (“Lesbians?”) a little too soon with a couple of gals, but “this is forever” is something better saved for wedding vows and contracts with your internet provider, not first time flings! Making the scene all the more awkward (aside from the bits of demonic residue/cop blood still sticking to nekkid John) is the “love making” track that plays over it, dominated by a woman humming sensuously as if she were sipping on a chocolate shake and getting her feet rubbed while recording it. What makes it even more awkward is when Jade’s own trauma kicks in and her mind is flooded with the horrors of a hideous faceless creature she refers to only as “Smooth Man”. Not Barry White smooth, but “fat guy post Brazilian wax drizzled in baby oil” smooth. Gross. Evidently, when she was a little girl Jade was molested by the Incredible Melting Man. He’s incredi-meltable!…and on the Public Sex Offender List.

The mood for their first time officially killed, Jaspers does the right thing and just cuddles with Jade while she opens up about her PTSD, then promises to protect her after. Good man. Meanwhile, The Hand are on the verge of seeing their centuries old plan to fruition, as tonight is the night their dark god Homunculus will finally be summoned and the Earth will be transformed into Hell…except that there’s another day’s worth of scenes, so I guess they meant tomorrow night. Margolis tails Marino to a roundtable meeting at M’s mansion and watches as the Commish rakes M over the coals for not being able to control his own human Cuisinart. The rest of their cabal also show faltering faith, so the Morning Star makes an example out of the rabble-rouser and absorbs him into his stomach using these big abdominal demon arms a la that crazy shit at the end of The Evil Dead. With his minions back in their proper place of fear-based reverence, our main antagonist needs to have a sit and get juiced by Yamamoto, as his human form is getting weak. Not weak enough to overlook Margolis though, whom he sees from the other side of a two-way mirror and puts some evil whammy on.

Margolis calls Jade and tells her that he’s uncovered the truth about what The Hand have planned. He also says he’s found JJ’s contract and has a plan for how they can void it, but tells her to meet him at M’s estate before he’ll go into any details. Oh, and he wants her to come alone…riiiiiiiiiight. Danny Boy’s heel turn might not have been so obvious had they not just ended the previous scene the way they did! Damn it, Yuzna.

Jade finds nothing strange about how she’s able to just waltz through M’s unlocked front door untouched, and follows Dan further in the bad guys’ inner sanctum. She finds the contract and deletes any empathy I had for her when it turns out she’s one of those obnoxious people who moves her fucking lips and mutters when she reads something to herself too. She’s approached by M, who offers to trade her JJ’s freedom for full power of attorney over her body. Dan reveals his official switching of teams as well, jealous that Jade chose doing the bed spread rumba with Jaspers over him, finally giving Combs a chance to sink his teeth into some scenery like he does so well. Elsewhere, Claire conspires with Dr. ‘To to poison the big boss and steal his wealth of knowledge and powers for their own, seemingly unfazed by the whole “Dali Meets Picasso” pile-of-tits-and-ass flesh fiasco she went through before. Claire even tells ‘Moto to his face that he can’t trust her, but the threatening seeds she plants in the doctor’s ear of his loss of usefulness once M gains his full power are enough to convince the portly physician to go into business for himself. Elsewhere still, John wakes up in bed, discovers Jade has left and freaks out. For all he knows she went out to get them coffee and crullers and he’s throwing a spaz like a codependent child over nothing. Lighten up!

The conspiracy against M seems to go off well, as Yam’s lethal injection leaves his now former boss dead in a heap of gross on his fancy Oriental rug. Too bad for the doc though that M managed to kill him too before giving up the ghost. Oh well, he would’ve ended up dead either way. But, if given the choice, I’d probably rather my throat slit by a sadistic succubus in mid-climax than having my face chewed off by an old man with coke junkie nails. Claire doubly confirms her newly widowed status by turning what’s left of her hubby’s head into a 12 gauge smear. Upon taking charge, the black widow goes full Domme on Jade, locking her in a stockade and whipping her ass with a cat-o-nine tails, then dressing her in a belly dancer bikini and putting her in an electrified cage while she turns her sexual nightmares about Smooth Man into fantasy, transforming her into a horny sex kitten almost as fast as Japanese schoolgirls learn to lust after monster tentacles. So the fastest way to cure severe emotional damage in someone is to inflict severe physical damage on them instead? Gotcha.

Turns out it’s not as easy to kill the Prince of Darkness as Claire thought, as M then pops up to take back his baby momma-to-be. Yep, M’s going to pull a Demonic Toys and impregnate a human woman with his new form. Though why someone would want to relive childhood, even in an instance like this, is beyond my comprehension. The ritual sees M pull a huge yellow anaconda out of a bound, mud caked Claire’s stomach then feed the snake to a mud caked Dan while Claire’s body is engulfed in flames. Dan falls over dead (what the fuck was the point of the snake!?), Jade does interpretive dance on an altar and random minions stab chanting extras to death all around them. Faust bursts through a window to interrupt Beelzebub’s bacchanal, killing several goons wearing red KKK hoods (on laundry day, you’d think racists would know not to mix coloreds in with whites *rimshot*) before reverting to his emotionally crippled human form upon seeing that Jade’s willingly turned into Satan’s breeding slut. He watches in horror as two-pump chump M gets his rocks off in his girlfriend while she has the ill-timed breakthrough that Smooth Man was actually her father. Disturbing as this is, I was worried they were going to reveal that it was M who’d raped 11 year old Jade as part of his long term plot to eventually manipulate her into being a Hell whore. Though less nauseating that the incest thing, it would’ve been hokey as fuckin’ pokey.

Upon M’s climax, the Homunculus is summoned. Wait. That’s their Homunculus!? No. By definition a homunculus is a small, artificially made human being. I saw Verne Troyer at a comic convention last weekend. HE is a homunculus. The thing M is summoning resembles something out of the nightmare a lesbian has right before she realizes that dicks aren’t her forte. It looks like Ultraman monster villain Bogun by way of a Ken Russell fever dream after he’s downed too much absinthe and LSD. It’s Satan’s wedding tackle. We can thank Screaming Mad for this, as the monster’s design is his own. The comic book form of the Homunculus was more in line with a werewolf…which STILL ISN’T A HOMUNCULUS!

M sends Jade to commit her final act of devotion by killing the now bound John, but she does the hero thing instead and cuts the straps, thus freeing him to become Faust again. The Non-munculus proceeds to turn the entire ceremony into a mass funeral pyre, burning all of its followers while Faust does this embarrassing “hop and flail” thing, attempting to slash the monster as it sits just out of his reach. You know what he needs? Judge Doom’s spring shoes. Cartoony, yes, but they’d actually be less goofy than just watching him hopping up and down like a little kid whose big brother is holding his favorite toy out of reach. Silly little demonic superhero guy. Maybe if you keep drinking your milk you’ll be big enough one day to not be the object of harassment and ridicule for some cock beast from the Lake of Fire.

The frightening phallic fiend (sounds like a Scooby-Doo monster) grabs Faust in its tractor beam, but before it can eat him, Jade stabs M in the neck, causing the creature to flinch due to its apparent link with the villain. It drops our hero, allowing him to do another of his silly little hops, this time close enough to plant his talons in its soft, fleshy head. I told you it’s a mutant penis! It’s like the dickasaurus from Tromeo & Juliet! Defeated, the not-a-homunculus is sucked back into the portal from whence it came…swirling around in circles like it’s being flushed down a toilet. Fetal’s fraggin’ gizz.

John still can’t lay a claw on M though, so the bad guy hovers semi-triumphantly over the gateway, mocking the hero and vowing to send him to Hell…which didn’t work the last time! Still, Jade strikes a deal with El Diablo for John’s freedom, giving him the soul of the baby that M just planted in her nurture purse. The baddy negates JJ’s contract, only to have Jade tell him she put one over on the Great Deceiver, because her prepubescent assault didn’t just mess up her brain, it also fucked up her womb (poor choice of words?) and left her barren. M seems pretty nonplussed by this though, saying that he always puts his money on long shots. He must’ve read the unmade part of the script where we were supposed to discover (in a post-credits sequence) that Jade does wind up with a miracle spawn despite her condition. Anyway, M takes away John’s Faust powers (why didn’t he just do that in the first place?!) and declares him dead, but through sheer will and a bit of encouragement from the woman he loves, JJ finds the strength to jam his claws (the second time M should’ve just taken the fucking things away from him!) into his former boss’s digestive tract and sends him back to Hell in a wash of computer generated flames like something out of Diablo II. Maybe if M had actually tried to evade the attack rather than floating in place and just yelling “YOU’RE DEAD! I BURIED YOU!”, he could have avoided his demise. Oh well. “Hindsight’s 20/20” and all that.

To end the picture, John falls to the floor and utters another stupid artist epitaph as Jade lays on top of him and mourns his passing. To confuse matters, this is interspersed with cuts of a different scene where John’s saying the same things to Jade before he jumps from the bridge he was originally going to kill himself on following Blue’s death…so… this might’ve all been a figment of John’s delusional mind after all!? Huh. Interesting twist, I suppose. You know, in that “Newhart” kinda way…now I wish I had enough ambition to draw Bob Newhart as Faust…

Okay, wrap up time. Where to begin? I think I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan of Yuzna’s directorial decisions. I think the levity, both intentional and un, were out of place. Normally I’m okay with Yuzna’s stuff, but this just rubbed me the wrong way on this material. Stuart Gordon was supposedly pegged to direct Faust back in the ’90s when it was being shopped around. Back to Batman terms, I think we deserved something more Tim Burton-y and less Joel Schumacher-y, and Gordon probably would’ve provided that. Yet another one for the “Oh, what could have been” pile.

The acting is all horrible. Well, not all of it, just most of it. It doesn’t help that half the characters are being dubbed to cover up their no doubt heavy Spanish accents (or lack of English), but even the people using their own voices are painful to listen to. Frost is trapped somewhere between Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons and Tommy Wiseau in The Room. His scenery chewery never quite hits either extreme of “so bad, it’s good”, so it just sits meandering at “bad” for the entire movie beyond his delivery of that one sweet aforementioned line. Combs is serviceable for the most part except when watching Margolis try his awkward best to hit on Jade. It’s painful and reminds me why I only pick up victims women online during the one week a year that Geek2Geek offers me a free trial membership. Combs definitely gets higher marks once his character falls from grace and goes full evil though. I’ve been saying since From Beyond that I want to see the man play Renfield in a Dracula flick, but his brief work as evil Dan further solidifies that opinion like a cockroach in concrete.

Much like my review for Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation however, Divoff outshines my hero JC and is the real linchpin keeping this movie from disintegrating into Werewolf territory…or is it pronounced “warr-wilf”? Unlike Combs, Divoff’s role is perfect for him to be on top of his game out of the gate. The guy exhales sinister like it was smoke. He reminds me of Christopher Lee in his legendary Hammer Dracula run. High praise, I know, but I believe what I say. The man plays his roles so well that it comes off as effortless and he deserves so much more than he’s been given. It pains me that my own review limiters forbid me from doing episodes for the first two Wishmasters or either of Full Moon’s Oblivion movies, because they’re pure showcase material for this guy.

The practical and makeup effects by frequent Yuzna co-conspirator Screaming Mad George work. Everything’s got that slimy gloss to it, which works as a gross out thing, but risks portraying them as the rubbery creations they really are. The digital stuff isn’t great, but we can chalk that up to technical and/or budgetary limitations at the time. The metal music soundtrack features names I’ve heard of like Type O Negative, Sepultura, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and a Soulfly song that lauds the inclusion of Fred Durst for some fucking reason. Even in 2000 that wasn’t something to be proud of. It all sounds generic to mine non-metal detector ears, so to me it all leans less bad-ass and more cheese-ass, metaphorically stinking of Velveeta and farts. Incidentally, you can pick it up used at this Amazon link http://www.amazon.com/Faust-Various-Artists/dp/B000055YAH for the same price as your 10th spatula at the Spatula City https://youtu.be/4BUDwj_mXKE clearance sale!

Speaking of metal, today’s episode is sponsored by Pantera Bread™ – Re! Spect! Bread! WE BAKE IT FOR YOU!

As I finish this up, for those who think this entire premise sounds too much like The Crow for your tastes, stick a pinch of this factoid between your cheek and gum: Faust was published in 1987, while The Crow wasn’t published until 1989’s Caliber Presents #1. So, even if you discounted the fact that today’s feature takes its name and influence from a Medieval German legend, the vengeful anti-hero himself still predates his better known peer by a couple of years.

And for the jerk-offs who think Faust is just ripping off Spawn, Todd McFarlane didn’t drop that deuce until 1992, so sit your ass down and stop pretending you’re the fanboy you think you are, skid mark.

Speaking of the four color funnies, in 2003 DC Comics decided to cash-in on the Tokyo Drifting craze (that wouldn’t actually happen until 2006) and put out a 6 issue mini-series called “The Demon: Driven Out”, that centered around their demonic character Etrigan getting involved with the activities of a female street racer and her conflict with the Yakuza. The painted cover of the first issue (courtesy of Jo Chen) is one of my favorites.

It’s enough to make you wet , right? If there were any justice in the world, Brian Yuzna would give us a sequel to Faust that borrows heavily from that mini-series, rather than any of the other comics in Faust’s actual exploits. The resultant production could be known by no other name than The Faust and the Furious

Yes, I just spent two paragraphs of your time to shoehorn a “Faust and the Furious” pun into this review. Dropping bombs like President O-bomb-a with a fleet of drones. Baracka Barolla!

And on that note, I’ve stolen enough of your precious precious time for today. Tune in for our next episode as we partake in part two of this “Fantastic Four” reviews thing. Until then, my friend, this is the end. This is the end, my only friend. The end. Praise the Noodle Gods. Ra-men. *click*

Moral of the Story: Never dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight. Or the bright sunlight. Or any light for that matter. Unless you’re REALLY good with a fiddle. If John Jaspers had been a musician instead of a painter, he’d still be alive today.

Screenshots_____

“You remember me from my role in Cyclone? Nobody watched Cyclone! I’m pretty sure I remember the director wearing a blindfold the whole time so he didn’t need to watch it while we were making it!”


That moment when you’re trapped in a straight jacket, the inside of your nose starts itching like a motherfucker, and you realize you’re about to lose whatever sanity you have left.


Did somebody delete their icons folder by accident, or did Yuzna not wanna pay the rights fee to use the search button graphic?


You know their dark lord’s serious business when they spell out his name in all caps.


Shit! TimeWarner is really strict about their penalties for early contract terminations!


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your bad-ass demonic hero… prematurely ejaculating, apparently.


That awkward moment when your parents walk in on you practicing your kissing on a mannequin head… while dressed like a comic book character… At least you’ll be ready for the Comic Con key party next year!


Janice Dickinson finally has too much plastic surgery.


Sure, being the star of a bukkake party sounds like fun when you’re rollin’ on a Molly high, but eventually you come down and just end up with another entry for your Regrets Journal.


Speaking of bukkake party regrets…


Hey! That cop’s got a tail light out! Somebody give him a ticket!


“I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym blasting my abs. Can you tell?”


Excedrin headache #666


“The only way to be rid of severe emotional trauma is to replace it with different severe emotional trauma. As such, you will now watch 27 uninterrupted hours of Carrot Top stand up! It will make you a stronger person… if you survive.”

Check it out: it’s what Rush Limbaugh thinks a lesbian wedding ceremony looks like.


Next in our freak show: the most normal guy at Burning Man.


“But I made sure to order the three pronged claws! My Wolverine cosplay is ruined! Now I’ll never get laid at the Comic Con key party!”


Oh good! Nice to see Satan’s been getting some use out of that BowFlex™ I got him for Antichristmas. Another few months of that and my dude won’t have a single sleeve in his entire wardrobe!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Spirit of Vengeance”

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!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 53 – Apokalips X (2014)

or “Aftur the Enned uv the Wurld”

Featuring: Farid Kamil , Jehan Miskin , Peter Davis

Director & Writer: Mamat “Zombies from Banana Village” Khalid

Origin: Malaysia

Review_____

“That was the day the sun rose West and the stars fell from the sky.”

Finally! After untold months (3 or 4?) in the desolate outback of, well, The Outback, I’ve made my way to the next leg of my World Tour – Malaysia! And so continues…

Before I get started, today’s episode is brought to you by Bon Jovan Musk™ – for when you want to smell like the silver medal of New Jersey rockers!

Apokalips X comes from the Pu Pu Platter of Asia – Malaysia. A melting pot of its fellow nations, Malaysia boasts a spicy cross section of native Malay, Chinese and Indian backgrounds. Filmed in the capitol city of Kuala Lumpur (or as Kent Brockman calls it, “France!”), Apokalips X is the Frankensteinian creation of Mamat Khalid, also the writer-director of Malaysia’s first zombie movie: Zombies from Banana Village. Beyond its “probably funnier to us that it is to them” title, I know nothing about ZfBV. Given my time with Apokalips X, I’m not entirely sure I want to go through the trouble of tracking it down for a review, either…

Our movie takes place in the semi-distant future. The year is 20… uhm… 20*mumble*mumble*. Some amount of time after the global nuclear holocaust that the Terminator franchise has been promising us for 30 years now. Instead of Linda Hamilton scorched alive while clinging to a chain link fence, we get a little Malaysian girl on a tricycle pancaked by a giant tire. I guess ground zero was a “Tires We R” warehouse? Denied the toe-eating Roombas and genocidal Alphie II‘s James Cameron promised us, it turns out that mankind didn’t need help killing itself off in this reality. In the aftermath of Smilin’ Joe Fission’s going away party, the world is the typical bombed out wasteland you’d expect it to be.

The remainder of Kuala Lumpur’s surviving citizenry have gathered into clans, living in the handful of bombed out buildings that still stand (all of which look EXACTLY the same). Each clan consists of high school age kids (with a couple of younger exceptions to appeal to the “kids are SO CUTE!” demographic), which is really weird because you wonder where all of the adults are. When they give you a minimal explanation of how the groups came to be later on, it makes almost as little sense as Adam & Eve birthing all of mankind, but with almost as much implied incest. And so begin the migraines this movie forces into my brain for the next 100 minutes.

The majority of the kids are decked out in variations of school uniforms (because Japan Asia), though there are 3 outlying groups – the Sugi-Oh (Baseball Furies in hockey masks), the Pencak Silat (who dress like samurai on Casual Friday) and the Chi-Kanoz (yep, Asians dressed like Chicano gang-bangers whose dialogue consists almost entirely of shouting “LOCO!”. Blart). These three have almost no part in the overall story, as they don’t show up until the third act and spend the majority of their screen time as superfluous bodies in the finale rumble. There are extras, then there are extras.

The progenitor of this social structure is wise old sage Pendita (IMDB is of no help here) who, after watching the number of clans whittle each other down from 30 to 5, told everybody to stop their shit and shake hands. He declared a peace accord that everyone would squash their subsequent beefs and instead dedicate themselves to preserving life. Poppa Pendita put together a quorum of “Big Brothers” (and a “Big Sister”) to keep the remaining youth in check and to manage the city’s resources so no one group would have too much power. Though the movie makes NO EFFORT TO EXPLAIN WHO’S IN CHARGE OF WHAT, from casual observation I’ve pieced together that the 5 resources are oil/gasoline, vegetation (probably food, maybe weed), and…errr…party drugs, metal music and…club kid haircuts?! It’s not clear! There’s still electricity, but the power plant operates in the “Free Zone”, because no one should have control over such an important resource (except for Rubenesque slacker Pipit, the ONE guy who knows how to run it)… a resource so important that they use it to charge their handheld gaming devices and plug in their amps and power their cryogenic freezer unit that’s ALSO never explained…

This movie seriously makes me feel like Nigel Patrick’s a-hole role in the “Blind Alleys” segment of Tales From the Crypt: no idea where I’m going and every time I try to feel my way through this maze of darkness I get a handful of razor blades. Fuck.

The five leaders are also endowed with swords as a sign of their power, and are the only ones who carry weapons as the kids are left to fight mano-a-mano (“hand-to-hand” NOT “man-to-man”, pendejos!). Said sword-wielders are X (Farid Kamil), Kala (Jehan Miskin), Sri Gala (Peter Davis), Kulat (Zoie Tam), and Melur (you’re a crumb bum, IMDB). X is our de facto good guy, playing pacifist and lauding diplomacy over fisticuffery. He’s no angel though, as drug-induced (yep, he’s a snow bunny!) flashbacks hint at some life changing moment that ruined the dance of clashing steel phalli for him years earlier. Speaking of seraph, X also has some weird-ass “wings” that look like streams of gas vapor being blown out of his shoulders and allow him to float off of tall buildings, negating the need for elevators. If you’re waiting for an answer on what this is or why it’s happening? Yep, more fucking razor blades! GAH!

Sri Gala subscribes to the opposite philosophy of X’s “you can’t hug your kids with nuclear arms”, instead pushing that fighting/domination equals strength and only through that strength will they guarantee their survival. Kala is a violent lunatic who would also like to unite the tribes, but only under his bloody boot heels when he becomes king of everything. We meet him as he’s returning from a two year absence spent sleeping in a big freezer with tubes attached to his nipples. (Don’t ask unless you like headaches and bleeding hands.) Kulat (pronounced “culotte”) is the tough girl who will take no shit for her double ‘x’ chromosomes and runs the all-girl Klan Flora. Last (and certainly least) is Melur, who couldn’t settle on whether he wanted to emulate Jack Sparrow or The Love Guru, so he opted to be both…and constantly giggles like a dingleberry doing whippits. Pretty sure the only thing he uses his sword for is scraping the resin out of his comically large hookah.

Unsatisfied with just tackling the political ramifications of the scenario he’s put together, Khalid also gives us a cast of lesser tier characters to muddle things up and stretch the running time like a size queen in a sporting goods store. Most notable are Aman Chai (fuck you yet again, IMDB) and QiQi (Miera Layana), who are filling in the Romeo & Juliet roles that are mandatory whenever you have a movie about conflicting families/gangs/soft drink companies. Aman is X’s #2 who wants everybody to live together in peace and advance as an integrated society rather than fighting each other just to be kings of shit mountain. QiQi is Sri Gala’s daughter, which is kinda weird since the Big Brothers only seem to be maybe 10 years older than their wards…gross. Not only does Sri disapprove of the lass’s relationship with AC (Slater?), but Qi-Squared’s big brother Razor (Iqram Dinzly) fills the role of “over-protective douche-dick sibling” and keeps cunt-blocking the young would-be lovers during the communal dance parties the clans have. As The Matrix Step Up Revolution(s) taught us, you can destroy the world but dance parties will NEVER DIE!

Speaking of dancin’ and prancin’, some of the gangs like to do a little stomping wardance before their fights that make me think Apokalips X‘s marketing team could just slap “Step Up:” across the top of the box art, rent it out through RedBox kiosks and make a few million dollars worth of non-refundable rentals on it. Trust me, the majority of people who still haven’t figured out how to download movies for free are just ignorant enough that this would work!

The world outside of the city limits (Kim Cattrall?!) is a lawless badlands a la The Road Warrior and every pale (as a War Boy) imitation entry of the subgenre in the 20 years since. Emo Romeo (Romemo?) wants to run away with QiQi to this wasteland, because he’d rather chance death together than go on living this shitty shut-in life they have. There’s no force field or anything keeping the supposedly toxic air outside from coming in though, so is this just more lazy-ass writing, or is Khalid just stealing/”sampling” the plot of The Village times a hundred? I won’t spoil the answer, but I’ll tell you this much: ARGH! MORE RAZORBLADES!

Speaking of the world in which our teen combat drama unfolds, let’s have another nitpick! There are cars littering the cityscape, untouched and unmoved since the fire from the sky scorched their world so many years ago. So, I guess this mean nuclear bombs nullify combustion engines? But that can’t be the case, because X’s motorcycle, Malur’s bus and the outland bandits’ ATVs all run just fine…watch out for those plot holes, kids. One wrong step and you’re a pulped sack of now useless organs and calcium at the bottom of a friggin’ chasm.

There are some other ancillary characters to speak of too. You’ve got AC’s buddies, what’s-his-name and spazzoid (his Mercutio and Benvolio), the aforementioned Razor (Tybalt), a guy who just sings all the time and plays guitar (one of which he Honky Tonk Man’s a dude over the face with!), a precocious little girl who calls Kala a “worthless piece of shit”, some slimy dick puncher cosplaying as Rob Zombie from the cover of Hellbilly Deluxe who just goes around shanking people, along with his equally monikerless girlfriend (not worth going back to look up, really) whose entire selling point is that she wears an actual boa constrictor around her neck as a boa. Not that she ever does anything with it, but style over substance is what the kids like, right? Just ask Michael Bay.

There you have it, folks: your stage, your players, your motivations and your conflicts. Stuff happens. People fight and people die. More stuff happens. More fighting. X trains with Poppa Pendita to learn a new combat style and despite being the most feared warrior of the 5 clans, our hero looks like a little kid flailing around with a sword the entire sequence. More fighting. More dying. More stuff. The end! And what an end it is. Holy shit. Emphasis on the “holy”. And emphasis on the “shit”. What. The. Fuck. Forget grasping as those razor blades, because this finish just dumps a whole crate of the damn things all over you.

Hold onto your hats, junior cow pokers, cuz it’s time to wrap this stinker up and put a bow on it. Let’s get the positive stuff out of the way first, because there’s not a lot to speak of. The fight choreography is mostly solid, though a lot of the hits don’t carry the impact to make them believable. With the exception of that guitar shot from Joe Strummy! Damn! Jeff Jarrett could take lessons! Speaking of guitars, the generic metal music is also not terrible. I wasn’t reaching for the earplugs or the mute button, so it’s okey if not entirely dokey. Also, I dig the hell out of the opening line “That was the day the sun rose West and the stars fell from the sky” to describe the initial dropping of the nukes. Awesome.

And now the not goodness. Foremost, Mamat Khalid doesn’t come off with any specific style of his own in the two hours we spend with him. Much like the nation that birthed it, Apokalips X is a hodgepodge of influences. It’s like Highlander meets The Warriors meets West Side Story thrown into a bag full of anime elements and set in a dystopic landscape. Unfortunately, it still manages to not reach the lofty heights of mediocrity, let alone amazing. A serious barb in my armpits about it is that about halfway through the movie, things turn a corner and stuff they spent an hour establishing for a major plot point gets tossed under the proverbial bus in favor of going a different direction all together. It’s like your partner going down on you, but before you can climax they stop, turn on NetFlix, and tell you you’re going to watch “The A-Team” instead. Not necessarily terrible, but why tease me with the tongue job in the first place if you weren’t going to finish it!?

As if the story weren’t already so much recycled toilet paper (a concept that already makes my fur bristle), Khalid tries way too hard to give his movie the look of a 2 hour music video. With needless “jumpy” editing that makes it look like the actors are doing minor teleporting through some sequences, and the camera filming like it’s strapped to a big pendulum for others. And the fucking crooked shots. Ra’s sake. I haven’t seen this many tilted camera angles since Battlefield Earth. I shit you not.

Adding to the “love it or leave it”, Khalid takes a cue from plenty of other action movies anymore and uses comic book style illustrations for that “cover up our limited funds without cutting the script” trick that directors with eyes bigger than their budgets rely on. It’s supposed to be “stylish”, but all it really does is make us wonder how much cooler the sequences could’ve been had they actually filmed them with the actors instead. Unless this whole movie is based on a comic book, in which case I can excuse it. But the info available on it is so bloody scant that I couldn’t find anything about an Apokalips X publication, nor did I see a “based on” line in the end credits… not that I really looked for it anyway. Shaddup.

Maybe Malaysians eat this stuff up, but Malaysia also has the world’s largest population of cobras so… I have no idea where I was going with that. I was hoping to make the “they also eat Lassie” joke, but it turns out that’s not a thing they allow in Malaysia, let alone endorse. It’s actually straight up illegal so…yeah. Moving on!

Oh well. AX didn’t live up to its own hype and left me with more than a few head scratching (down to the bone) plot holes. It’s times like this that I like to make the most of my situation, so I played “Lost in Translation” during my mandatory second viewing. Nothing to do with that movie where we get to see Scarlett Johansson in her underwear (*slurp*), this similarly labeled distraction involves viewing the aforementioned feature while both the English dub and English subs are on. It makes for an interesting contrast at times, from something as simple as rearranged sentence structures to changed relationships between characters to full-on abusive fondling of entire plot points! In this case, it appears that the subtitles are more likely the faithful adaptation of the dialog, while the dub seems to be geared toward a more politically correct script arranged to make it a more palatable PG-13 affair for American audiences. Such evidence includes the following sub-to-dub adjustments: “donkey” and “dickhead” both become “asshole”, “faggot” becomes “monkey”, and “shit” becomes “stink”. Maybe it’s just cultural connotations, but I find it funny that something almost childishly offensive like “donkey” becomes something way worse like “asshole”. If it had been changed to “jackass”, it would’ve made more sense. Either way, changing “You’re a pile of shit!” to “You’re a pile of stink!” is almost too good to miss, but not enough to hunt down Aplopalips X just to see it.

Then again, I have no more need for my DVD copy, so I’ll sell it to ya for $2. Also willing to trade for bits of string and gently used paperclips.

And so it goes. Gotta say I’m a bit disappointed in you, Malaysia. You sold me on a promising premise only to feed me a plate of generica with a side of nonsensica. Not unlike a bad blind date, I spent two hours cataloging all the reasons I shouldn’t have shown up in my head while you yammered on about how everybody thinks you’re smart and cool and not a twat. Sorry Mamat Khalid, but I just remembered that I have an early morning public execution to attend tomorrow, and my cat needs to be fed. If I’m not home to feed Bast by 8, she starts clawing my Egyptian Cotton sheets and barfing her unused stomach enzymes all over my sarcophagus. Don’t call me, I’ll call you…if I ever need an alibi.

Moral of the Story: The more things change, the more they stay the same…especially when said things are tropes “borrowed” from much better stories.

Screenshots_____

Uhm, hope you made the most of those 5 years, little girl. I have a feeling you’re about to get short changed on any future birthdays you were hoping for.


Taco Tuesdays at the clubhouse are always followed by Gas Mask Wednesdays.


Oh, so this movie actually takes place in modern Detroit. The whole “post-apocalyptic fallout wasteland” stuff is just a metaphor. Gotcha.


If you don’t think these girls look very scary, you’ve never seen Kill Bill Volume 1. Nor have you considered how one week out of each month, these girls could take down a battalion of Navy Seals with ease.


Not to concern you, sir, but it looks like you have some heavy leakage in your fuel tank! You might wanna jettison it immediately and wait for fire officials to arrive!


Forget glass, Kala looks so cold that his nips could probably cut concrete!


“Alright! This is the issue where Batman and Superman finally kiss!”


Hey! Zombie! Hellbilly Deluxe 2 SUCKED! And so did Halloween 2! Unless it’s The Devil’s Rejects, STOP DOING SEQUELS!


Ladies, if your boyfriend wears fingerless gloves put a ring on it. Speaking of rings, give him the key to your backdoor, because he’s THE ONE. He’s more “the one” than Jet Li in The One. Seriously.


Kala’s super pissed that some girl at the same party totally stole his eyeliner, lipstick, AND big stupid fashion scarf. Call him “director”, because he’s about to make a SCENE!


Malaysian Shelley Duvall stars as Malaysian Sadako (NOT Samara!) in Malaysian The Ring, tonight on The Malaysian CW.


“Hey bro? Since you’re the only one allowed to carry a blade, you think we could use your sword to cut up our pizza? I mean, you’re a pacifist, so what do you really need it for anyway?”

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Anubis will return next time in
“Son of Satan”

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!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 52 – Danger 5: Series 1 (2011)

or “Glorious Bastards”

Featuring: Sean James Murphy , Amanda Simons , David Ashby , Natasa Ristic , Aldo Mignone

Director: Dario Russo

Writers: Dario Russo & David Ashby

Origin: Australia

Sequel: Danger 5: Series 2

Review_____

“As always, kill Hitler!”

Australia… Shit. I’m still only in Australia.

Oh well. While I’m waiting for my dimensional transport portal to [REDACTED] so I can continue on with the World Tour de Farce 2015 (i.e., I’m still waiting on the DVD for the next movie to come in the mail…), let me scratch this writing bug bite that’s been gnawing on my fingers by telling ya about a little show I discovered down under called “Danger 5”.

Not to be confused with the terrible twos, these questions three, the Fantastic Four, Eve 6, Ultra-7, the Hateful Eight, Session 9, Perfect 10, or 7-Eleven, (yes, that should pad my search result click-throughs nicely…) Danger 5 are an international quintet of elite Nazi fighters brought together to stop the more “ambitious” plots of the Third Reich. Oh, and if they get a chance to, kill Hitler. Provided he doesn’t leap out of any conveniently placed windows nearby and escape to cause trouble in the next episode… which he always does. Uhm, spoilers? Oops.

D5’s members are Tucker (Sean James Murphy) – the uptight, by-the-books Aussie-in-command of the group, Claire (Amanda Simons) – the proper British Cambridge graduate who majored in lady spy stuff; Jackson (David Ashby) – the overflowing bucket of “shoot first and fuck the questions!” American testosterone; Ilsa (Natasa Ristic) – the hard-as-ice (and twice as cold) Russian vamp; and Pierre (Aldo Mignone) – the cool and charismatic “European” party guy who’s always quick with the cocktails and even quicker cocking the ladies’ tails. These allied powers operate under the leadership of their head honcho, Colonel Chestbridge (Tilman Vogler) – a well-dressed chap with a BIG BALD EAGLE HEAD!

No, I didn’t drop acid into your oj while you weren’t looking (yet). Yes, the remaining paragraphs of this review will contain some of the craziest shit your eyes will ever lay sight upon. Now, Danger 5 ASSEMBLE!

  • Episode 0 – “The Diamond Girls”

    A prequel episode originally presented on YouTube (good luck finding it now, though… buncha dongas), we’re introduced to Tucker, Johnson, and Pierre as they’re on assignment undercover at Hitler’s favorite beer hall The Black Dog. Despite the name, there’s not a single Meatloaf or Randy Travis cameo to be had.

    After 3 months of work, the trio finally gets their opening to assassinate the man who ruined little square mustaches forever, but are foiled by Der Fuhrer’s newest evil creation: Nazi she-wolves with impenetrable black diamond skin!

    Unable to stop the fortified frauleins with simple Allied firepower, the boys are sent packing. Having failed the mission, Chestbridge chews their butts out like he’s looking for grubs and mocks their stories of unkillable uber-fraus. The Colonel then brings in two new operatives to babysit the lads on their next attempt: the lovely, lethal ladies Ilsa and Claire. Claire immediately puts Tucker in his place regarding military strategy, while Ilsa picks a fight with Jackson over his comment about how they never would’ve been beaten by regular women. And so we have Danger, Party of 5!

    From here there’s a diamond heist, our heroes disguising themselves as members of the clergy, an example of how weird German TV shows are, a car chase with some Italians (“How do you know they’re Italian?” “They’re all immaculately dressed, and the driver keeps checking his hair in the rear view mirror.”), along with the establishment of all kinds of tropes the series would go on to blow up in bigger and better ways. Not as good as the episodes that would follow, but a good pilot nonetheless to lubricate us in preparation for the madness to come!

    The production design is based on a 60s tv show motif. It’s something of a re-mix of “The Prisoner” and “Thunderbirds ”, including brightly colored uniforms and sets, models/toys used for vehicles and buildings, and the occasional talking dog puppet for good measure. Though I side solidly on the McD’s side (I’m lovin’ it!), I can understand detractors who would say it tries too hard and pushes the joke ad nauseum. Go into it with that grain of salt under your tongue and gauge your interest appropriately.

    Favorite line: “All these programs seem to be about corrupt police dogs.”
    Favorite moment: Ilsa shoots a Nazi agent in a way that defies all telecommunications logic, proving the advantage of hardwire phones over cellular ones. I suspect she may be a disguised cartoon character, not unlike Judge Doom.
    Moral of the Story: Not all precious gems are the same. When it comes to bulletproofing your bodyguards, diamonds are a megalomaniacal dictator’s best friend.


    I feel like I should be really offended by this, but that might be my “politically correct liberal guilt” that racist white people like to insult non-racist white people with.


    That moment you realize your friends put LSD in your Harvey Wallbanger while you were at the jukebox.


    “Though I think you fill out that nun getup nicely, you shouldn’t make a habit of dressing that way… Yeah, that’s the look I was expecting you to make.”

    ————————————-

  • Episode 1 – “I Danced for Hitler”

    As we join our courageous crew (already in progress), they’re casually cooling off in their cozy cocktail lounge compound. Pierre is regaling Ilsa with the story of how a dying friend taught him the secrets of making perfect mixed drinks. Tucker plays chess with a waving Lucky Cat statuette named Maneki. Having no working appendages with which to move the pieces, the golden feline instead uses his telekinetic powers, accompanied by the classic screeching sound effect made famous by Ghidorah in Toho’s Godzilla movies! As for Claire, she’s her usual stick-in-the-mud self until Jackson uses his pistol to fire a lit cigarette into her mouth. James Bond levels of smarmy cool guy stuff, that.

    The D5’s downtime is interrupted, however, when Colonel Chestbridge storms in to give them their latest assignment. Nazi Prime Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, has the Third Reich misappropriating various national monuments from around the globe so he can assemble the ultimate tribute to the big H! Meanwhile, female Allied agents are being kidnapped to perform a stage show for Hitler’s birthday! It’s up to Danger 5 to infiltrate the festivities, liberate the absconded tourist traps, put a spanking on the Reich’s merrymaking and, as always, KILL HITLER!

    …You know, provided Ilsa can get over her jealousy about Hitler getting a boner over Aryan stroke fantasy Claire.

    In addition to ramping up the absurdity levels from their initial pilot, Episode 1 introduces a couple of the maiden series’ most memorable trademarks. Namely, a soon-to-be repeatedly used clip of Hitler escaping capture by jumping through a window, and ancillary characters sharing their perfect cocktail recipes with Pierre as they die in his arms. That explains why his bartending expertise is so extensive! That guy has watched more friends die than Toki Wartooth.

    Favorite line: “You know what? The world doesn’t need national monuments to remind people why they shouldn’t kill themselves.”
    Favorite moment: Jackson uses a robotic decoy disguised as Hitler’s dog (who all the Nazis recognize, for some reason) to seduce a guard dog and incapacitate it with knock-out gas. Later, it self-destructs to take out a room full of goose steppers after asking them to light her cigarette.
    Moral of the Story: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… also, Hitler loves swans.


    Wow. I have been gravely mislead about how sexy things are in Siberia, then!


    Believe it or not, I’ve had worse last call hook-ups…


    Still not as offensive as “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”.


    Oh Hel! You know when a German lays under a glass top coffee table that things are about to get messy. Like, “Let’s go see that Paul Blart sequel!” messy.

    ————————————-

  • Episode 2 – “Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich”

    Nazi super dinos are munching on Allied GIs (who love each other “like a lover”) along the Western front! These beasts come in two flavors – classic full-sized dinos (like a T-Rex with a big ol’ swastika banner across its back) and humanoid thunderlizard soldiers (like a pants wearing pterodactyl-man with a hard-on for helpless civilians). Danger 5 are called in to help (after a rather tense bit of drama at HQ), and after narrowly escaping a hungry Tyrannosaurus and a Triceratops with machine guns mounted on its horns they discover strange crystals being used to control the ‘saurs. Further research determines that the crystal are only found in Antarctica, so our intrepid Axis battlers (*cough*Golden Ax joke*cough*) are off to the South Pole to stop the bad guys!

    The sinister Krauts have set up shop in a prehistoric tropical paradise hidden in the frozen wastes (a la The People That Time Forgot), where Josef Mengele plays Dr. Moreau with his army of Triassic terrors and Jurassic jerk-offs. Jackson, Ilsa, and Claire are all captured by Mengele’s forces, with the former pair forced to fight for their lives against the mad doctor’s mutants in the arena of death. Claire is forced to fight for her virginity against the sweaty meat sack that is a horny Dr. M. Elsewhere, Tucker and Pierre wind up captives of the indigenous “savage” women (who of course wear elegant gowns). If they hope to save their captured comrades and bring down Hitler’s saurian super soldiers, T & P (heh, “TP”) must unite the fallopians with their mortal enemies – the jazz club ape men!

    Ever since Idiocracy, I’ve wanted someone to delve more into the prehistoric aspects of Hitler’s schemes. You’ve given me just what I wanted, “Danger 5”. I will break my “no reproducing” rule in your honor and name the bastard Danger Five as my tithe.

    Favorite line: “I think we can all agree, that was an interstellar goulash!”
    Favorite moment: Ilsa takes a tug off her flask and screams a stream of flames at her enemy.
    Moral of the Story: Learn to play the bongos. When Planet of the Apes happens, your skills with the skins may just save your life.


    There’s really nothing I had planned to say about this scene. I just thought “Sensible Chuckle” was the greatest name for a magazine since “How To Kill” in Dominion: Tank Police.


    Ever since dinosaurs were given the right to vote, our entire political system’s just gone to shit.


    After the success of 50 Shades of Gray, Hollywood decided other risque housewife spank-lit should be adapted for the big screen. First up: “Pumped By a Pterodactyl“!


    “Something about its mushroom-like shape fills me with unease…”

    ————————————-

  • Episode 3 – “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun”

    Allied fighter pilots around China have been taking a spanking, courtesy of one-sided dogfights against Japanese Zero planes piloted by some very familiar faces. Namely, their own Allied MIAs! In possibly (guaranteed) related news: the entire island nation of Japan had disappeared! What are those wacky Nazis up to now? Danger 5 will find out!… after Jackson and Tucker resolve their staring contest… and Ilsa puts her panties back on. Sorry, I can’t finish typing this until the massive boner blocking my view of the screen goes away.

    Where was I? Oh yeah, Danger 5! Their mission: capture a Zero pilot to uncover their secrets. Also, find Japan while they’re at it! Oh, and like every other time, KILL HITLER!

    Emperor Hirohito (portrayed here as a moping wiener in a cheap suit) has devised a method of brainwashing captured Allied prisoners into robotic kamikaze pilots turned against their former sky brothers-in-arms! If he can get over his relationship issues, the wet blanket genius leader of the Rising Sun nation will help serve China up to Hitler on a silver platter… along with a sculpture of Godzilla wrestling a Gundam, made entirely of schoolgirls’ used underwear. Danger 5’s investigation leads them to the coast of China, where they discover a strangely Japan-looking island that shouldn’t be there. They end up shot down and divided…again. These guys split up more than Scooby and the Gang!

    Tucker’s befriended by the local welcome wagon, who take him back to their…luxurious spa-resort?! Here he meets other Allied “prisoners” who are soaking up the hospitality like a sponge soaks up spilled bourbon and hooker blood. Ilsa follows to keep an eye on her teammate and investigate the spa further. Elsewhere, the others have been taken captive by Japanese girls with machine guns (no, Cramps fans, they were not wearing bikinis), but at their “Burmese” opium den our heroes find the ladies’ leader to be none other than Pierre’s longtime pal, Hans Chang! Like Pierre’s other amigos seen throughout the series, Hans knows the mustachioed smooth talker by a different alias. Yet another example of the show’s 100 yard dash humor…in that it’s a running joke…keep up, kids, or I’ll dump you off at the next dingo den and tell your family that you ran off with some cannibal in drag who claimed to be Mitzi Del Bra.

    Will the Danger 5 lose a member (or two) and have to get all new business cards and uniforms? Will Hitler finally take over the world with his unstoppable robotic kill-men? Will Hirohito’s heart mend before his head is blown apart like an overripe cantaloupe? What the fuck is going on in Joseph Stalin’s mustache!? Find out for yourself when you watch “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun”!

    Favorite line: “You always were a joking man, Glen! A man of jokes! Hahaha!”
    Favorite moment: In a bid to distract Jackson during the opening scene’s staring contest, Ilsa slips off her panties and tosses them into beard-o’s face. When this doesn’t do the trick, she starts crossing and uncrossing her legs…my penis is in love.
    Moral of the Story: Love conquers all. Unless it gets me Ilsa’s panties, I don’t give a dry fuck.


    “The doctor told me I wouldn’t get so many nosebleeds if I’d just keep my finger out of there… I COULDN’T KEEP MY FINGER OUT OF THERE!”


    I see Australia has their own James Franco!


    “Because it’s MY birthday and I REFUSE to pay for everyone else’s dinner AGAIN this year!”


    Ah! I see Australia has their own Nick Offerman too! Good for them. Every continent needs one.

    ————————————-

  • Episode 4 – “Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace”

    Uncle Adolf has established a Nazi casino in Morocco, where he’s mass producing golden semi-automatic rifles (that HATE crotches like Nazis hate Jews) to give his men the perfect advantage over the Allied troops! Speaking of the Allies, big time operative Agent Gruber was sent in to case the joint, but has since gone missing. It’s up to D5 to infiltrate the golden murder palace, recover Agent Gruber, and find out what der Fuhrer has planned…after they finish their Mousetrap knock-off game Fu Manchu (“You can’t just keep yelling the name of the game, Pierre! That’s not how it works.”). Then Colonel Chestbridge eats that spider off his shoulder.

    Jackson and Claire (and technically Tucker, though nobody cares what he says) have different ideas of how to go about their mission, so they…come on, you got this! They…come on…it rhymes with “slit cup”…Yes! They split up! Good girl! Have a ram chip. Anyway, Claire and Tuck work to take out the submarine guarding the casino from the bay, while the rest blend in with the gamblers inside to get their iron sights on Hitler himself. Will they be able to get past head manager (and Ilsa’s ex-husband) Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel? Or, will Jackson (under his card trick slinging alter ego, John Baccarat)’s jealousy jeopardize their chances to finally put a bullet in Hitler’s brain box?

    Favorite line: “I’ve been married to things a lot scarier than Nazis, my friend!”
    Favorite moment: Any time Tucker vocalizes his disgust for Italians.
    Moral of the Story: Italian imagination is a VERY dangerous thing! Maybe it’s all that coffee they drink?


    Test footage from the 1979 Ghost Rider film that Marvel would like you to forget about. Four stuntmen died before production was halted… after the first day.


    A gold-plated hotel with their logo brazenly splayed across the front? Finally, a political party Donald Trump can relate to!


    If you think those kebabs look hot before they go into you, just wait till you see how they feel coming outta you.


    Everyone always says you’ll grow hair on your palms and go blind if you masturbate too much. The truth is almost as bad.

    ————————————-

  • Episode 5 – “Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen”

    After this episode, I may just change my name to Conrad Turbo: Fist Machine.

    The Nazis (wearing cool-ass shark hoods for some reason) have taken over The Palomino: a Swiss whorehouse hot spot for Allied troops looking to “lighten their load” while on R&R. They’ve replaced all of the usual working girls with corset clad Aryan prostitutes, and suddenly all of the customers are trading in their home colors for the black and red swastikas of the Stepfatherland! How are they doing it and who’s going to stop them!? I think you know…

    At least you should by now. We’re five episodes into the series and there’s only one left after this!

    After losing Jackson and Ilsa to the Krauts on the train ride over, Tucker, Claire and Pierre have to infiltrate The Palomino to rescue them. With the help of a former employee of the equine-titled bordello (whose sister was killed by the goose steppers), the trio don disguises to sneak into the cathouse: Tucker dons an SS uniform, Claire is disguised as one of the blonde bombshell strumpets, while Pierre (who doesn’t look enough like a Nazi) is also gussied up like one of Hitler’s dream girls.

    I feel there was a missed opportunity to revisit that “F-Troop” gag where Agarn refuses to wear a dress only to end up wearing a dress in that old timey sitcom way. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go watch “F-Troop”. Or, just watch this “Freakazoid” clip (http://youtu.be/YmIaL2BK1Zk) from the Candlejack episode explaining it. Oh shit…I said his name didn’t I? Fuuuuuuu—-

    If this initial premise doesn’t sound outlandish enough for a D5 adventure, rest assured that there’s also an ominous castle, a fountain that spouts some kinda Nazi voodoo H2Whoa! and a colorful occult sequence that’s straight out of an Argento flick. It’s packed with more flavors than a Double Down™ or Most American Thickburger™! But not quite as much flavor as the Pizza Crepe Taco Chili Bag™ ((https://screen.yahoo.com/taco-town-000000333.html)). That’d just be like stuffing every random moment of weirdness from the entirety of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” into 20 minutes – an unwatchable clusterfuck.

    Favorite line: Tucker (while looking for Jackson and Ilsa): “One of them looks American, the other looks volatile.”
    Favorite moment: Tucker gets into an extended machete fight with a Swiss gangster named Gordon, who wears fingerless gloves and has a big tiger head.
    Moral of the Story: The king of whiskey tastes like petrol. Also, Sin City‘s Yellow Bastard is apparently Swiss! Also also, money is the antidote for Nazi black magic, hence why Capitalism won World War II.


    Scary as their ceremonial “spooky ghost” attire may be, the KKK’s got nothing on the Nazis’ “pissed off shark men” hoods!


    Pierre’s got that “something about this just feels so right” look about him.


    You mean putting your hands up in a non-threatening way, stepping aside, and saying “It’s none of our business!” before turning around and walking away, whistling to yourself all the while to drown out the sounds of victimization going on behind you?


    Gross. That’s why you never let Goldmember finish on your face. Good luck washing that off. Blart!

    ————————————-

  • Episode 6 – “Final Victory”

    And now, the grand finale!

    For the swan song of Series 1, Hitler has created a posse of invincible giant monsters to crush the Allied forces! With the good guys on the verge of losing WW2 against these killer Kraut kaiju, what can Danger 5 do to save the world!? We’ll have to wait till after their doubles game of ping-pong finishes before we can find out.

    An Atlantean (yes, as in “from Atlantis”, not “from Atlanta”) named Gibralter has telegrammed Allied Command (using a Homing Porpoise, perhaps?) with news that the sub-aquatic populace has developed a weapon capable of defeating the Reich’s super beasts! All they need is enough refined Allied Uranium to power it, and the Axis will be defeated once and for all. *Sniff*Sniff* Do you smell something fishy? Yeah, it’s not just the shiny silver underpants of Gibralter’s submerged henchwenches. I won’t tell you exactly what happens, but Hitler shows up with one of the most convoluted schemes yet and the episode ends in a MASSIVE Ultraman/Power Rangers model city mashing fracas. If you’re gonna go out, go out BIG!

    The Series 1 end episode also introduces Danger 5’s cartoon canine cohort Killroy, whose cheap animation and stoner personality will either nudge your funny bone or chafe your taint. Consider me amongst the latter. I get the joke, but one key moment aside, I needed a mouth guard to keep from grinding my teeth into shards whenever Killroy popped in. On the plus side, at least Hitler hired someone creative to design his daikaiju. Tank Demon is easily my favorite of the trio. His body looks like a bad cosplay of Decepticon Brawl with a tank gun in his chest and a tiger’s head. Magical? Super califragical.

    Though I’m sad to see the adventures of die Gefahr von Fünf come to a close, stick around after the finale’s cocktail party credits sequence for a teaser of Series 2. As someone who’s already seen it, believe me when I say it’s a log flume ride through ever rising waters of even greater insanity and chicanery.

    Favorite line: “Betting on a table match is an unbreakable bond!”
    Favorite moment: In the final fight against Hitler’s big black knight of the Third Reich, Der Fuhrer unsheathes his ultimate weapon: a Jet Jaguar-size flame-throwing chainsaw!
    Moral of the Story: When the sit-down gun comes out, you sit down and SHUT UP!


    Next time you get into an argument with a Republican online, just show them this pic and they’ll be too busy masturbating themselves to sleep to bother you further.


    Killroy – the Scrappy-Doo of Danger 5. Like his namesake, he “was here”. Now go away.


    Ultraman villains as created by the Chinese toy company that makes those horrible knock-off comic book hero action figures sold at every corner Dollar Store in New York City.


    Germany’s way of telling Godzilla to “Keep the fuck OUT!”.

    ————————————-

    Though this is my first (new) review for a TV show on Tomb 2.0, I couldn’t have gone with a better pick. Scanned during a typical “spend 45 minutes on NetFlix looking for something to watch, only to settle on NOTHING TO WATCH before giving up and doing something else” trek, the concept and preview still were just enough to get me to sit down and donate my time like so much precious precious blood. Blood that I can’t donate, as I’m on enough pills to choke the eponymous Ursa from Grizzly.

    As I said, the 60s retro elements being parodied here are brilliant. I loved every minute of it. From the pulp inspired episode titles to the re-used tropes of every outing (the team get divided, someone(s) needs rescuing, someone(s) is brainwashed by the enemy, somebody from Pierre’s past knows him by a different name, Hitler escapes out of a window, etc.) to every episode ending with a commercial for a fake product and all of the characters from the episode having a cocktail party. Speaking of, today’s episode is brought to you by “Tough Actin’” Tinactin™! Remember, Tinactin™ only acts tough because deep down it just wants to be loved. So show your love and BUY SOME FUCKING TINACTIN™, YOU EMOTIONALLY STUNTED PRICK!

    It’s amazing the amount of violence and, well, Nazi shit that Dinosaur (the production company) got away with in “Danger 5”, given Australia’s stick-up-the-ass policies on censorship. Even in a comedic sense, the graphic violence comes as a surprise. Maybe the Aussie big wigs (yes, some Australian judges still wear court wigs!) just hate video games? I won’t go into it, but if you want to learn more about Australian video game politics, you can find out more at your local library by using one of their computers to view the following article – http://www.techly.com.au/2014/09/26/australias-ridiculous-instances-video-game-censorship/ … or, you could just do it from the device you’re currently reading this review from. Whatever floats your U-boat.

    There you have it – “Danger 5”. I can’t recommend it enough for the right niche crowd. I love it, my Evil Dead Bride loves it (Ilsa’s her new hero/life coach), and I’m sure there are untold thousands out there who would also love it if they’d seek it out. Here’s to hoping this review brings it to light for a few dozen of those thousands.

    On a final note, though it will never happen, if there was ever a Danger 5 movie, Chris Pratt would be the perfect Jackson. Just sayin’.

    Auf Wiedersehen!

    ———————————————————
    ———————————————————

    Anubis will return next time in
    “Aftur the Enned uv the Wurld”

    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!

    All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

  • Episode 51 – The Babadook (2014)

    or “Scary Stories to Tell in the Outback”

    Featuring: Essie “The Matrix: Reloaded” Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel “Fell” Henshall

    Director & Writer: Jennifer “Monster (2005)” Kent

    Origin: Australia

    Review_____

    “I am the parent and you are the child, so take the pill.”

    Hey strangers! Long time no see! It’s been a rough couple of months. But, not unlike a boomerang, this man-dingo (not to be confused with Mandingo) comes back sooner or (in this case) later! Despite being forged of mithril, it turns out my otherwise invincible laptop wasn’t waterproof OR whiskeyproof. Since I lost all of the original graphics and write-ups I’d made for the World Tour reviews, today’s episode will be the debut of my new, lazier format! No teasers about the next stop, no comedically morbid trivia about the origin nations, and no customized images. Instead, here’s my immensely slothy banner. Now get reading!

    Charlie, Charlie, were the people who “summoned” you (before you were revealed to be a viral marketing ploy for yet another shitty “found footage” ghost movie) just gullible dip shits who would better serve the world as a new Taco Bell menu item called “the Soylent Grande”?
    Yes.

    Charlie, Charlie, would this gag have gone over better if I’d published this episode two months ago, when I originally started writing it?
    Yes.

    Charlie, Charlie, did you see the trailer for The Babadook and think you were on the cusp of Australian cinema’s “next big thing”?
    Yes.

    Charlie, Charlie, were you as disappointed by The Babadook as I was?
    Yes.

    Unlike when I’m masturbating on the toilet in the dark after waking up from that Barbara Crampton sex dream I’m always having, right now it’s nice to know I’m not alone…

    The writer-director of today’s feature is Jennifer Kent. Jenn’s other credits mostly consist of minor acting roles, so my biggest fear was that The Babadook is the result of yet another person in front of the camera getting sick of being told how to utilize the trauma of their childhood dog being hit by a car to force tears, and vowing to prove to everyone that she can do “their job” better than “they” can. The initial trailer promised me something a little more conventional in the game of supernatural hauntings, which I was more than happy to welcome into my home given the scads of pathetic “found footage” spook-show garbage that’s run rampant through the genre for the last however many years it’s been since the first Paranormal Craptivity planted its hooks into theaters and laid eggs from its oozing, inflamed orifice.

    If you haven’t scanned the trailer for yourself, pop in yo’ peepers and get to jeeper creeperin’:

    At first glance, we’re promised what looks to be a traditional tale of childhood torment, as a boy and his mother become the hosts for a phantasm released from a children’s fable book. Right? Kinda yes, kinda no.

    Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother. Not an uncommon thing. I know several single mothers. This isn’t even a setup for one of those “I support single mothers” t-shirts with the image of a stripper on a pole. I legit know a few single mothers. Hell, my own sister/mom Isis had to do the single mom thing after poppa Osiris ended up six feet under the Fertile Crescent. Amelia’s got it harder than most mono-matriarchs though, not only because her qualification for MILF dating sites is due to her husband’s untimely demise, but because her boy Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is a problem child. Well, I guess the politically correct term for it these days would be bi-polar or “dissociative personality disorder” or whatever the poor kid’s got rattling around in his junior skull bucket. Speaking of, the Junior Skull Bucket™ at KFC now comes with sugar-frosted coleslaw and one of twelve moderately racist toys based on the hit film A Haunted House 2, for a limited time only! Get your glow-in-the-dark “Shawn Wayans fucking the doll from The Conjuring” plaything with no-slip kung-fu grip TODAY!

    As I was saying, Sammy’s the kind of kid that Hank Hill would redneck psychology diagnose as “that boy ain’t right”. As a result of his issues, he has recurring night terrors about being stalked by a monster. Like any kid, he’s convinced that said monster is fer realsies and will one day pop out of his closet like Howie Mandell in Little Monsters (you know, the movie that Pixar ripped the fuck off to make Monsters Inc.), only instead of taking Sam on a wild adventure through an ’80s punk-pop dreamscape and teaching him lessons about friendship and being yourself, it’ll just wear the boy’s dismembered face as formal dinner attire while it goes on to eat his mom’s head…what, you’ve never had that dream? Pffft. Liar.

    To prepare for said imagined assault, Sammy proves himself quite the Kevin McCallister-in-training, assembling a dart firing crossbow, a back-mounted personal catapult, and all manner of DIY ballistic devices in their basement using nothing but pieces of scrap wood and the kind of basic doodads you find in those $5 “Made in China” toolbox sets. On top of that he’s also an aspiring Copperfield, but practicing his magic tricks (George Bluth Jr.: “Illusions!” ) for mom only garner the slightest of parental recognition. The kid’s got the potential to be a damn genius, but rather than encouragement he gets scolded by Amelia for always fucking stuff up, causing trouble at school and generally being annoying. Even when he reaches out and hugs mom in a much needed embracive moment of bonding, she violently pushes the lad away and yells at him for lingering slightly too long beyond her comfort zone. Women react like that to me all the time, but it’s usually because they catch me trying to undo their bra or drifting slightly too south of the Equator. That’s our Anubis! [canned audience laughter]

    Amelia defends Sammy’s eccentricities to his detractors and insists they see him as an innocent child instead of just some pint-sized pain-in-the-ass. Though your first reaction (like mine was) may be that she’s just trying to save face in front of people so they don’t label her another shitty mom who should’ve just swallowed, Amelia does seem to do her best to show the kid as much love as she’s capable of. Not just out of guilt, but because her own emotional problems don’t allow for anything more. It can be hard to understand for those lacking in empathy, but I view depression like rape – if you blame the victim, you’re a piece of shit and I will personally split your uprights with a fire-ax if you bring any of that Faux News bullshit around my tomb.

    While Sam’s in school during the day, Amelia works at a retirement home/geezer palace/grandparent dumping ground, and surrounding herself with cranky old farts doesn’t help her tightrope walk of sanity over the gaping maw of madness that is her life. Her co-worker Robbie (Daniel Henshall) is a nice enough guy and is clearly interested in turning their working relationship into, well, a working relationship. He covers for her at work and cheers her up when she needs it, but never expects anything in return. He’s either the sweet would-be boyfriend our lady deserves or total Friend Zone material, depending on your perspective. Though she could use a visit from Dr. Tube Steak (the Double A’s in her battery-operated boyfriend would agree), Amelia prefers to either be ashamed of her situation or play martyr by not wanting to drag anyone into the personal hell she’s built for herself. Good for her there’s always Convent-sized 200 packs of Energizers on sale at G’Day-Mart!

    One evening, when Am’s ready to read Sam his nightly pre-bedtime story, the lad brings her a tome from their bookshelf that she’s never seen before. It’s a strange adolescent grimoire of the pop-up variety called “Mister Babadook” – a dark fairytale similar to something out of the old school Brothers Grimm collections. A lot less like Disney and a lot more like Tim Burton and Clive Barker’s nightmares making a litter of Eraserhead babies. She refuses to finish the tale, which infuriates Sammy and sends him into a fit. In the days that follow, the kid starts ranting about Mr. B (naturally *wink*wink*) haunting them, which only makes everybody else wish the kid would fall down a flight of stairs more so. Mom’s attempts to hide and destroy the book prove futile, as that ominous red cover continues to find its way into their home. Every time it returns, with new chapters serving as sinister portents of horrors-to-come…

    As far as movies go, The Babadook is certainly well made. The visuals are clean where they should be clean, dark when they should be dark and a wide awake nightmare when they should be a wide awake nightmare. The eponymous specter himself is done is this weird “static shadow” animation style that’s unnerving without going so over-the-top that it’s goofy. Mr. Dookie resembles a silent film era Slenderman. He looks like something that escaped from Dr. Caligari’s wardrobe, a unique homage to villains of the oldest of old schools of animation. With his ominous top hat, demented face and long black trenchcoat of a body, Dooker’s a perfect candidate for stalking Betty Boop from the inky shadows of an ominous alleyway. Bad guys were all very predatory in that rapey sort of way back then.

    I give props to the cast, too. Essie Davis does the besieged mom thing like she’s had personal experience, while Noah Wiseman’s just creepy enough looking that when he goes into his screaming freak out panic attacks, he looks suitably disturbed/disturbing. If he were my kid, I’d put him in a cage and lock him in his room until he calmed down, but I guess that only serves as an abutment to my decision to raise pets rather than rugrats! Everyone else in the cast is serviceable in being selfish cunts to help the audience sympathize (or empathize in the case of we childless viewers) with Am’s plight, while the one or two supportive people around her help keep it from turning into a complete “all against one” pity party.

    Unfortunately, my biggest problem comes from the production company’s sales pitch on this one. Whereas the trailer promised me a more traditional supernatural horror experience, Babadook‘s dark fantasization of Amelia’s personal anxiety and the emotionally painful relationship with her son skew it much heavier into the “movie with a message” category. That message is bludgeoned over our collective skulls like a gas-powered shillelagh for an hour and a half until the final parting scene. It’s a heart punching manifestation of severe parental depression to be sure, but as someone just looking for something to watch and NOT a suffering parent looking for an understanding perspective, it just makes me shout “YES! WE GET IT! SHE’S SAD AND THE MONSTER IS A METAPHOR FOR DEPRESSION! MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN OR GET TO THE FUCKING CREDITS!”. It makes an otherwise well done movie feel like you’re Daniel Craig tied to a chair with a hole cut out of the seat and Jennifer Kent’s going all Mads Mikkelsen on your undercarriage. Or, as they call it at Guantanamo, a “Cheney Handshake”.

    All that being said, if you’re the kind of person The Babadook strives to give a voice to, give it a viewing. If you’re the kind of person that has a metaphorical titanium plate in your head that helps prevent such heavy handed allegory abuse from turning your patience into applesauce and can just enjoy the flick as sensory stimulus, by all means, jump on Netflix and have a ball. If you’re me? Well, you’re not, so anything I say about that is irrelevant. Be happy about it.

    Charlie, Charlie, we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well through the course of this review, and I feel comfortable enough now that I think I can ask this without offending you.
    Yes?

    Charlie, Charlie, if you’re supposed to be a Mexican ghost, shouldn’t your name be Carlos?
    …White kids – what are you gonna do?

    Until Children of Men happens? Nothing, Charlie. Nothing. Blart.

    See you next episode, boils and ghouls!

    Moral of the Story: I’m never having kids. Ever. This may have been the last push I needed to finally get that vasectomy!

    Screenshots_____

    “Mommy, is it true what all the kids at school say? Was my father really an albino goblin?”


    The cast from A Bug’s Life looks a lot creepier when you watch it in HD.


    Kid, I believe you when you say there’s nothing up your sleeves. Believe me when I tell you that if you’re still doing that shit in ten years, you won’t have anyone in your bed either.


    “I don’t know, Sammy. I still don’t think it’s normal for a boy to want his mother to read him schematics for homemade explosive devices before bed every night.”


    Children, if something that looks like that is trying to be your friend, run out the back door of your house and don’t stop running until you’re at the police station.


    I haven’t felt so awkward reading subtitles since I watched that closed captioned copy of Last Tango in Paris… you know which part I’m talking about… yep, the scene with Marlon Brando’s Amish Astroglide™.


    “Every day Mr. Harris asks me to pull his finger and every day I fall for it! Damn it!” (a little callback for any “Roseanne” fans who might be reading this)


    Hence why Donald Trump pulls such high polling numbers.


    Look kids, it’s footage of Jared Leto’s Joker from the latest “leaked” Suicide Squad trailer. Whoop-dee-fuck.


    I see no one ever taught the Aussies how to bathe properly. It’s the 21st century and they’re still doing it like the French during the Golden Age of Ballooning. (a little callback for any “Flying Circus” fans)


    She sleeps with that violin every night. Rednex fiddler Ace Ratclaw signed it for her at a 2012 show in Budapest! (a little callback for anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia to look up the members of Rednex)


    A bad night for most women, sure, but a GOOD night for one of Charlie Sheen’s girlfriends! (a little callback for people who still think Charlie Sheen’s cool and domestic violence is hilarious [also, go fuck yourself with a bayonet])

    ———————————————————
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    Anubis will return next time in
    “Glorious Bastards”

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