or “It’s Okay, I Have a Black Friend”
Featuring: Marlon “Scary Movie” Wayans , Essence “Dance Flick” Atkins , Nick “Bucky Larson” Swardson
Director: Michael “one episode of ‘Fred’…” Tiddes
Writers: Marlon “Scary Movie” Wayans & Rick “Thugaboo: A Miracle on D-Roc’s Street” Alvarez
Sequel: A Haunted House 2
“I’d say ‘watermelon’, but that might be racist.”
My earthbound Evil Dead Bride Kris and I will be celebrating our 14th anniversary in two short weeks. Generally, when we tell people this, they look at us like we just stepped off of a spaceship dressed like the bastard brain children of Lady Gaga and Dennis DeYoung. In this day and age, people staying together for such a long period of time is almost unheard of. The weirdest part? We’re not tied together by something like children, or a mortgage, or the shared secret of a murdered drifter we (allegedly!) dismembered and buried in several shallow graves in the wilderness of upstate New York. No, we’re still together because we want to be. Despite being a Death God, I’m neither wealthy nor attractive. Even by half-man half-dog standards I’m no stud… though my epic beard of viking-lumberjack proportions does peel more than its fair share of panties. No, to keep a woman like Kris by my side, I need to have a personality so awe-inspiring, there will be no less than 3 new heavenly bodies named after me upon my passing. One of the most important parts of said personality is my sense of humor. Hopefully, if you’ve read my shit before, you agree that I’ve got a pretty solid technique in the ancient art of funny bone tickling. Well, Kris is my biggest fan. Keeping someone laughing at your antics day in and day out for over a decade isn’t easy. You need to try new things almost daily. Even the things that work need to be re-worked from new angles or temporarily retired for later resurrection, when they can be funny again. If you just keep regurgitating the same tired material over and over, you run the risk of becoming month old sourdough – stale and/or moldy. Marlon Wayans, your new nickname is Month Old Sourdough.
The tried and true Wayans family shtick has always taken two forms – lampooning black movie culture and “blacking up” other (predominantly white) movie cultures. Better that than the Jehovah’s Witness shtick of their father (true story!). Big brothers Keenan and Damon were the major creative forces behind “In Living Color”, which established the Wayans family as a comedic powerhouse in the ’90s and was probably the biggest foray for honkeys into the black side of American comedy and culture since Eddie Murphy donned a Members Only and had coked up Wall Street crackers everywhere doubled over their giant cell phones. Damon became the break out face of the fam with Blankman, Major Payne, and other movies I won’t sit through, even if you super glue my ass to a chair. Meanwhile, younger brothers Shawn and Marlon made their own names known when the Warner Bros. Network (“The WB”), just starting out and aiming for the oft under-attended black viewing audience, gave the two their own show, “The Wayans Brothers”. I liked “The Wayans Brothers”. The opening where they mocked the “black sitcoms trying to appeal to white audiences” goofiness of shit like “Family Matters” was great, even to a 14yo white kid who lived in the proverbial sticks. Eventually the brothers made Scary Movie, with big bro Keenan handling directing chores and Marlon and Shawn behind the writers’ desk… along with four white guys, two of which also wrote for “In Living Color” and two of which… uhm… wrote Spy Hard… Hey, I LIKED Spy Hard… which now brings my entire taste in movies and my qualifications as a movie reviewer into serious question. So I never wanted the Naked Gun movies to end. So I’d rather watch Wrongfully Accused for the 100th time than suffer even the opening credits of anything starring Kevin James. Leslie Nielsen will never die in my reality!… except for Project: Kill. He’s dead to me any time Project: Kill comes up.
Back to Scary Movie, I actually liked that too. The age of parody piece movies kinda died down by that time, and with the new crop of neo-slasher movies the late ’90s plagued us with, they were ripe for someone to pop their balloon. Unfortunately, Scary Movie 2 couldn’t solicit a single laugh out of me. I remember very little from it now, a dozen years later, other than it trying so hard to be perv-shock that it forgot it was supposed to be funny. And when you’re psychologically insulated like yours truly, there are no shocks to be had. By the time SM3 was a thing that happened for no apparent reason, all Wayans influence had been removed, because the brothers were supposedly bought out of their share in the franchise. Then they went on to make White Chicks. But, even when you feel your anus clench at the mere mention of the title (as I do), you have to admit that White Chicks was at least something different. I applaud Shawn and Marlon for getting away from the horror movie parody thing and leaving it for others to drag through the (ass) mud. After that came LiTTLEMAN. Not exactly original, the brothers Wayan basically re-watched that Bugs Bunny cartoon where the Lilliputian mobster disguises himself as a baby to escape the law and winds up on Bugs’s doorstep. Wackiness ensues. I never bothered to watch it, but I’ll always hold a personal disdain for the movie because, in its second week at the box office, it outsold Clerks 2 on its opening weekend. Actually, several movies (FIVE to be exact) outsold Clerks 2 on its opening weekend, but knowing that it had lost out to LiTTLEMAN after a fucking 2nd week 50% drop off and was probably Kevin Smith’s last chance to have a movie that opened in the Top 5 (and no, Cop Out doesn’t count, so shut up), ignited an eternal flame of severe dislike. Fuck you LiTTLEMAN. From another standpoint though, if there are any people out there who actually liked My Super Ex-Girlfriend, I’m not sorry that it lost out to Clerks 2 that same weekend. Fuck you too, My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
After their brief foray into non-parody flicks, M & S went back to the easy money to make their 2009 comedy Dance Flick. Another one I haven’t seen, due to my mouth foaming fury over the painfully overstayed welcome of “urban dance competition cinema” craze. If you wanted to watch a dance movie but didn’t want to see Wonder Bread bullshit like Footloose or Saturday Night Fever or Dirty Dancing, you had Breakin’ and its legendary sequel, Electric Boogaloo. When you’ve got two Breakin’s, you don’t need seven Step Ups. But, at least Dance Flick was funny from what I’ve been told. Four years post-Dance, Marlon apparently got the itch to go back to mockery movies of the horror variety, while brother Shawn is nowhere to be seen. Tagging up with a pair of borderline first-timers, Marlon wrote and produced A Haunted House. With the neo-slashers now nothing more than a sticky footnote in the horror movie time line, Wayans’s new target is the low budget handi-cam spook house/demon possession garbage that piles higher and higher in the horror movie landfill with each passing year. Fuck you Paranormal Activity.
Okay. Four paragraphs later, I finally get to the movie. Why did I take so long getting here? Because, despite being a blood clot in the circulatory system of comedy movies, A Haunted House is agonizingly BORING. As noted in my Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation review, terrible movies are the best material for shoving a five page rampage about the incompetence and stupidity of mankind into the faces of the fuck bags who make them. On the other hand, the boring hand, sitting through something as tired and uninspired as A Haunted House is torture without the fun stuff. One of the most well known quotes of French political propagandist Madame de Stael (thank you Botch-a-Mania) is “One must chose in life between boredom and suffering”. A Haunted House has proven her wrong, because through the boredom it dragged me through, I experienced nothing but suffering. I felt like Alex during the treatment in A Clockwork Orange, only while my eyes are braced open and my mind suffers through A Haunted House, my agony is internalized. I have no mouth, and I must scream…
Harlan Ellison fans, you’re welcome. I’m just trying to bring something interesting, anything interesting to this abysmal review. If I’m failing at that, my apologies to everybody whose time I’m wasting as they read this. And now, enough Stalin. Let’s get Putin this review into gear. Don’t like Russian political puns? Don’t start Yeltsin at me. If you have to hit me, please leave no Marx. That’s no Bolshevik.
Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) is a well off thirty-something man-child with his own house, house keeper (Marlene Forte), pool table, swimming pool, outside jacuzzi, arcade machines, and a big stupid framed poster for the video game Saints Row the Third that just sits there punching you in the face through so many scenes that you know Wayans must’ve cashed at least one needlessly large check the week before filming with “For Promotional Purposes” in the memo line. Malcolm’s decided to toss his bachelor life into the funeral pyre though, and invites his girlfriend Kisha (Essence Atkins) to move in with him, against the warnings of his friends. You know, because living with a woman will ruin your life and relationship and you’ll never have sex again and she’ll throw out all your video games and those same friends won’t be allowed over anymore and you’ll come home to her getting filled like a cruller by the mail man and the UPS guy while the FedEx dude’s jerking off in the corner, recording the whole thing on his cell phone. Happens every day to at least one poor dumb ass in every town in America. Just ask your mail man. And if he acts like he has no idea what you’re talking about, you’re probably the poor dumb ass it’s happening to tomorrow.
The same day Kisha moves in, Malcolm buys a handi cam to record every waking moment of their new life together. Either he’s expecting his life to become very interesting soon (i.e. the point of the movie) or he’s starting his mid-life crisis early. Guys like Malcolm are why it’s dangerous to offer any dingus in the world who knows how to use a computer their own YouTube page. As expected, this first night signals the start of strange happenings in the household, by which I mean supernatural happenings and not the awkward two minutes of Marlon Wayans getting into an orgy with two stuffed animals and a squeaking chew toy that feels like thirty minutes of the saddest man in the world trying painfully hard for a desperate bid at attention that leaves the audience filled with discomfort, disgust, and pity. In other words, he’s Tom Green-ing. Some will also known this condition as Andy Dick-ing, Carrot Top-ing, or Pauly Shore-ing. If you feel you might be showing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor today. Or, save everyone the trouble and just throw yourself headfirst down the nearest staircase or fire escape now.
Speaking of fire, you know what’s interesting? King Tut. Did you know that, thanks to a botched mummification, his remains spontaneously combusted within his Tomb after he was sealed inside!? Pretty bad ass.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the haunted black people. Concerned that they’re being targeted by home invaders, Malcolm hires a pair of security technicians/wanna-be reality show stars (Davids Koechner and Sheridan) to install a bunch of cameras in the house so he/we can see everything. Yep, everything. From Malcolm getting drunk and shitting in Kisha’s dad’s ashes, to the “hilarious” antics of what Rosa the housemaid’s up to when nobody’s around, to Kisha’s “wacky” sleep walking/dancing/farting/eating raw meat, to the couple sparking up some herb with their resident specter… who still harasses them afterward, I guess because they stopped sharing after that? Oh, and the best part: Kisha getting raped by the ghost, but turning complete “schoolgirl in a Japanese tentacle rape cartoon” and loving it, then begging for more the following night. Nothing’s funnier than someone enjoying being raped. No, really. Ha ha. Ha. Oh wait, one thing’s funnier: Malcolm also getting raped. Yep. Bent over and getting his cornhole plunged by phantom dick, then needing a hemorrhoid pillow the next day. Cuz his asshole hurts. Cuz he had his fudge forcefully packed. By a ghost. Ha. Ha…. ha…….. haaaaaaaaaaaah……. It’s almost as funny as Kisha’s home movie of her 8th birthday where her drunk mom talks about how she was almost aborted, and her dad/stepdad beats her and tells her he’s gonna leave her in the near future. You know, cuz he’s black. And child abuse is funny. Ask Tyler Perry.
In their attempts at getting their ghost busted, Mal and Kish call upon advice (and the mandatory Ouija Board scene) from their white swinger friends (Andrew Daly and Alanna Ubach), bring in a gay psychic (Nick Swardson, cuz EVERY CHARACTER HE PLAYS HAS TO BE AN AWKWARD GAY GUY) whose only interest is trying to get Malcolm in his mouth and/or anus, call back the borderline racist inbred camera installers (cuz they’re doing a haunted house reality show now), and hire a fresh-out-of-jail street tough preacher (Cedric the Self-Proclaimed Entertainer… who never fails to fail living up to his moniker) to exorcise the place… with his big crucifix that’s full of cocaine! CUZ IT’S FUNNY, GOD DAMN IT! LAUGH AT IT! LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!
NetFlix ruins the catharsis of watching garbage like this because there’s no DVD to take my hatred out on when it’s over. Without the satisfaction of a shiny disc shattering beneath my personal hand ax of judgement, my misplaced anger goes toward whatever’s within immediate talons’ reach. Marlon Wayans, you owe me a replacement set of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” books and four new windows in my living room. Asshole. In case anyone was wondering, all praise Marlon earned for Requiem for a Dream has been retroactively removed. When you make a movie whose sole purpose is to get people to pay you for the privilege to watch it, then you just stick your naked ass cheeks in their face every 15 minutes in a completely unsubtle “fuck you for paying to see this!” insult to those same people, you are an unrepentant dick face and forfeit all respect. The same way Eddie Murphy pissed away his chance for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Dreamgirls by eye socket raping us with Norbit. Now when I watch the torments and horrors beset upon Tyrone in Requiem, all I can do is laugh and shout, “Good! He deserves it!” at the screen with a sinister Monty Burnsian glee and subsequent tapping of fingers. You know, the way I’ve been doing with Harry for years now, who deserved all of his own misery after the first time I heard 30 Seconds to Mars. Fuck you, Jared Leto.
When I started complaining online about how unfunny this movie is, a friend told me that she’d seen it and didn’t think it was that bad, citing her lowbrow sense of humor as the possible fault. I disagree. My brow has been known to hang past my chin. My collar is blue as a monk’s balls. I’ve had readers email me before about my material being funny on its own and didn’t require me to “work blue”. I don’t write like this because I’m trying to appeal to a lower class of reader. I write like this BECAUSE I’m a “lower class” of reader. My predilection for dick and fart humor is made apparent in both my reviews and my DVD collection. But, it’s not enough to just pull out the dick or rip the fart, you need to make a JOKE too. That’s why they’re called “dick and fart JOKES”. Wayans is too content to sit back and let the former do all the work, and when he bothers to do the latter, it’s the SAME limp, predictable attempt EVERY time. Ever tried to fuck someone, but for whatever reason you couldn’t maintain your erection? But, in the hopes that it’ll pass you just keep trying and trying and trying until your partner has to tell you to get off of her/him, then spends the next 10 minutes telling you it’s okay and you can stop apologizing? I believe Kinsey called it Pushing Rope Complex. Marlon? Stop pushing the rope. Take a few years off from whoring what self-respect you have left, go win back some of the pride you earned from Requiem for a Dream so many years ago, spend some time meditating on the comedy arts (I suggest starting with the complete works of George Carlin and Richard Pryor), and come back with a stand up special or some Funny Or Die shorts before you spend the required 3 days and pocket change to throw another shitty desperate grab for former Scary Movie glory at us.
When I told another friend of mine I was reviewing this movie, he harkened back to tales of an interview he’d seen somewhere where Marlon Wayans lamented his loss of whatever creative rights he’d retained from the original Scary Movie franchise. Not because they turned to unwatchable Charlie Sheen abortion mobiles, but because of all the money he lost out on from said sequels. As such, he promised that, owning A Haunted House as a franchise outright, he intends on pumping out sequel after sequel until he’d bled the series dry of every penny it was good for. Given that the budget for this first installment came is around $2.5 million, and grossed over $40 million thanks to the collective shitheads of the American movie-going public, I have this horrible feeling in my guts (imagine being hung upside down for 6 hours during an endless bout of the worst acid reflux known to man) that he’ll succeed in bearing his ass in our faces with these regurgitated farts and one-dimensional gag characters for years to come. In fact, because Isis chooses to weave the intricate tapestries of time and space so firmly in my disfavor (kids, never forget your mother/lover’s birthday), here’s the Little Mac super “☆” uppercut finale to this nut sack pummeling of a review – the first trailer for A Haunted House 2 was released the same day this review was supposed to post. The news immediately crushed what little spirit I had from writing this review, and I had to put off posting it for another day while I recuperated. I, for one, will be sneaking into the first few showings of AHH2 at my local multiplex, and crawling around the floor in the dark as I smash every paying customer’s toes with a claw hammer until people either stop going, or I’m tased into a mouth foaming stupor by law enforcement and dragged to jail.
Hey, sometimes we need to suffer for our beliefs.
Moral of the Story: I’ve seen more of Marlon Wayans’s ass than anyone should have to see in a dozen lifetimes.
Will this man ever grow out of looking like a confused 15 year old?
“Awwwwww, come on now Marlon. I’m sorry the studio turned down your White Girls 2 script. But, at least you’ve got this franchise now, right?!”
To everyone who paid to see this movie, you’ve given your money to this guy. The guy pretending to fuck a pile of stuffed animals. For shame.
The guy in the back is neither Milton from Office Space nor Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys, so don’t get your hopes up, folks.
It’s okay David Koechner, soon Anchorman 2 will be out and everybody will forget you were even in this. Welcome back, Champ.
Yep, that’s how Mexicans fuck… to everybody but Mexicans.
“Why did everybody hate Bucky Larson?! Why did they cancel my TV show?! WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY LOVE ME OUTSIDE OF RENO 911?!”
“T-H-I-S M-O-V-I-E C-O-U-L-D-N-T M-A-K-E A S-T-O-N-E-D T-E-N Y-E-A-R O-L-D L-A-U-G-H… I wonder what that means?”
“That’s right people, I’m here to. Just save yourself the time and shut the movie off now.”
To sum up this movie, I give you Marlon Wayans’s ass…
Marlon Wayans’s ass again…
And for the third act surprise twist: Nick Swardson’s ass. Yep. That’s A Haunted House, ladies and gents. Good night.
Anubis will return next time in
“Poppin’ a ‘Squatch”
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