or “Walk Like Aman, Talk Like Aman, Kill Like Aman”
Featuring: Wesley “Blade” Snipes , Kevin “The Last Horror Movie” Howarth , Riley “Spring Break Shark Attack” Smith
Director: Andrew “B.U.S.T.E.D” Goth
Writers: Andrew “B.U.S.T.E.D” Goth & Joanne “Cold & Dark” Reay
“YOU WOMB OF VIPERS!”
Damn it, humanity needs a “Reset” button. So, another Black Friday has come and gone and another year of consumer horror stories have been written in the blood of its victims. In the pursuit of saving money, either on gifts for others or gets for themselves, another group of victims have been trampled, bludgeoned, mugged, tasered, shot, or straight up dragged under cars because there’s an entire population of animals out there who don’t yet know that the internet can be used to buy things, not just watch every shade of the porno rainbow and pirate entertainment from any and every medium… though, given that RedBox is still a thing, I guess there’s still plenty of people who haven’t even figured out the pirating thing yet. What I’d like to propose is that next year, after the initial mobs of psychotics have herded themselves into the stores, all exits are locked, then blocked off on the outside with bulldozers. Everyone will be given barbecue forks upon entry, and kiosks will be set up in each store with free gallon jugs of drink for the customers/gladiators, which will consist of a highly concentrated concoction of Red Bull, tequila, bath salts, and pure wolverine adrenaline. The madness will be captured and broadcast via high-def cameras on pay-per-view. The survivors of each store will be rewarded with a set of bath towels, a $10 gift card to a drug store chain that doesn’t operate within three states of the winner’s home, and a limited edition t-shirt. The ladies’ shirts will read “I Survived the 1st Annual Black Friday Blood Orgy and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt”, and the mens’ shirts will read “Black Friday Mustache Rides $1”. Don’t like it? Tough. Use the fucking internet like the rest of the evolved humans or die slaughtered like the animal you choose to remain. Speaking of slaughter and black things, let’s watch Gallowwalkers!
Originally planned to film in New Mexico in 2005 as a Chow Yun Fat movie called The Wretched (which, obviously never happened), Gallowwalkers turned into a movie filmed in Namibia in 2006 starring Wesley Snipes. Just a few short years after finishing/burying the Blade franchise with Trinity, Snipes was obviously interested in trying to establish a new supernatural vigilante franchise. Not long into the shoot, Snipes had that little run-in with the IRS about all the money he never paid them. He came back to the states, gave ’em a million dollars, then went back to Africa to finish filming. Once the shooting was complete, it was just a short SEVEN YEARS until it was finally released… on DVD… and don’t get your hopes up, cuz they sure as shitballs didn’t put more than a month or two of that seven years into the cg effects!
Our hero Aman (Snipes looking like wild west Brother Voodoo) suffers the deadliest weakness of any hero: an incredibly convoluted origin. It takes half the movie, and one horribly delivered 3 minute 3rd person narrative to get it all out, but allow me to push you off the Cliff’s Notes version – Aman’s momma belonged to a group called The Sisters of San Diablo, who live within “The Mountains of Resurrection”, which sits atop a gateway to Hell. You might think that the mountains are the butt plug closing off this gateway, but it’s actually the non-stop prayers of the sisterhood that serve as the big rubber fist in Satan’s sphincter. Okay, I know I said we’re doing the abridged version of this back story, but let’s stop here for a second and address this “San Diablo” shit first. San Diablo literally translates to “Saint Devil”. How the FUCK does that work?! If this were a group of sex orgy nuns from a Behemoth video working to OPEN the gateway to Hell between sessions of pounding each other to orgasm with big black strap-ons, then yeah, Sisters of San Diablo is a great name! But taking a group trying to keep Satan in his own backyard in the name of good and chastity and christian love and protecting the world from becoming a molten cesspool of sin vomit and bowel shredding torment, then basically calling them The Sisters of Satan?! I know most people couldn’t care less about stupid shit like this, but to me it’s comparable to the movie unleashing a Candiru up my urethra that eats only dick meat and shits white phosphorus!
Also, that last statement was packed with so much hyperbole, you’d need to have your tongue removed and your throat replaced with a length of industrial sized vacuum hose to swallow it all… JUST LIKE MY DIIIIIICK! BLART!
As I was typing, back to Aman. So, when his mom was taken in by and became a member of the Satan Humpers Sisterhood for the Corking of the Satan Hole, her bun was occupied by the bun that would become our hero. The Sisters aren’t cool with babies though, so when Aman was born he was stoop dropped at the nearest orphanage until the ripe old age of twelve, when he was booted out into the real world to become a man. Before he could die of exposure as a barely pubescent kid trekking alone through the DESERT, he was taken in by a widow (Jenny Gago) and her age adjacent daughter Sueno (who grows up to be Alyssa Pridham). Living with the ladies, he earned his keep by learning their trade (slaughtering) and helping around the office (a slaughterhouse), and as Aman and Sueno grew up together, they naturally “grew up” together… by which I mean they had sex. They fell in love, which is a good thing too since they really didn’t have any other options… unless Aman had a taste for cougar or Sueno turned out to be a lesbian with LITERAL mommy issues…
While Aman and mom were off taking the latest order and meat and skins to market, a quartet of ne’er-do-wells happened upon the slaughterhouse in the middle of nowhere (which seems to do pretty well for having almost no cattle around to ply their trade) and things go really Crow from here. The scoundrels had their way with Aman’s little lady and skedaddled, and when he came back and found out Susie’d been used for an Oklahoma Slop Swap, he vowed vengeance despite her begging him to forget that it’d ever happened and just got on with their lives. If he’d had a job interview the next day where they ask that stupid question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, Aman’s answer would’ve been “Murdering the enemies I hunted for years when I discover they’ve been arrested and confined to jail cells, only to return to my beloved’s side to discover her dead.” and he would’ve been spot fucking ON. Now I know what I’m going to say during my next job interview… though the whole “half man, half jackal” thing kinda gets me discriminated against anyway, so Isis knows when that’ll be.
So, yeah, despite taking his revenge on the bastards in an anti-climactic-as-you-can-possibly-get scene of gunning them all down while they sit defenseless in their jail cells, it’s all for naught anyway because his beloved be-died in his be-absence. I won’t tell you WHY she died though, since I don’t want to ruin major parts of the movie for anyone looking to satisfy their curiosity. Or, as Bast and I call it, committing cat suicide. Anyway, I believe it was the great four color philosopher Dr. Doom who once said, “A man is measured by the enemies he keeps”. This would seem doubly true for our hero, since his name is Aman and all, so if Aman is truly measured by the enemies he keeps (please don’t hit), then he’d seem to be coming up pretty short if the targets of his vendetta are all wiped out in an all too brief exchange like that. Instead, all of the people Aman kills come back as seemingly invincible ghouls who retain their mental faculties, so they’re NOT zombies. The only real difference between their breathing selves and their postmortem makeovers are a set of stark yellow contact lenses and an inability to keep their heal their flesh from being baked and rotted in the desert parch. As such, unless they skin the occasion unfortunate gang of people, their skin will rot off and they’re left looking like Uncle Frank from Hellraiser post-puzzle box and pre-flesh suit… if he’d been put into a man-sized dehydrator (purchased from the Nazi Sharper Image catalog) and turned into jive turkey jerky.
And so, now it’s up to Aman to re-hunt the gang responsible for destroying his life that he’s responsible for restoring to life… for reasons that I, again, will not divulge for the sake of this review. Said villains bring their evil ways and skin snatching to an out-of-the-way town known as Enoch’s Hammer, populated by christian zealot extremist albinos (the fuck!?) who manipulate the nearby law enforcement offices into rounding up their sinners and bringing them there to immediately put to death on their gallows to save their souls from getting too damned and winding up in Hell… sorry, but I need to make another complaint to the dildo in charge of the naming department for this movie. Though Enoch’s Hammer is one of the coolest names in the history of naming stuff, it has NO religious base. It’s a reference to the hammers with which the 19th Century Luddites smashed the job stealing technology that was putting the work of skilled artisans like themselves into the hands of unskilled laborers who just needed to pull a switch and not get their limbs torn off in the process. The hammers were made by a blacksmith named Enoch Taylor, hence “Enoch’s Hammers”. It has NOTHING to do with christianity, extremist or otherwise, just anti-technology dudes who didn’t wanna lose their jobs. They’re also a “Country Dance Band” in the UK that you can check out here. And another Candiru goes straight up my piss hole. Thanks Joanne and Andrew.
One guy who was destined to swing by the neck in Hammer is pretty boy Fabulos, who evades the big finale thanks to Aman. In need of a Robin to his Batman before he can take on the re-animated reprobates, Aman frees Fab from a posse of crooked cops, enlightens him with that whole weird 3 minute third person narrative origin mentioned many many paragraphs before, and prepares him for the big to-do with the sinister sinsters who have fun names like Kansa (Kevin Howarth), Kisscut (Simona Brhlíková), Slip Knot (Jonathan García), and Skullbucket (“Diamond” Dallas Page!)… not to be confused with fun names like Top Dollar, T-Bird, Skank, or Funboy… The bad guys’ reputation for being hellborn horsemen of death and destruction has earned them the infamous title of “The Gallow Walkers” by the terrified populace… despite the fact that they were all killed by gunshots… yep, that’s THREE dick parasites now! I’m about ready to just shed this husk and get a new body. At least this one I can rent out as a freeloader flop house on the side.
And what’s the destination for these drolly dubbed deviants? They want to find Mount Resurrection, because oddly enough, Kansa’s dead son didn’t rise from the grave (well, corpse pile) with the rest of ’em. So, Kansa intends to bring him back the good ol’ fashioned way – through the magic of the giant stone sphincter stopper because, as he says, “If it’s good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us!”. The cool part? Junior’s body is toted around like a big crucified mummy the entire time on the back of resident butcher minion Mosca (Derek Griffiths), which makes for a great visual. I gotta give Goth that much.
Blade Brother Voodoo Aman be able to take down all of the Jerky Boys in the final wild wild west showdown at high noon on Boot Hill with a bonanza of gunsmoke, or will our hero be unable to end their evil since they won’t be the proverbial fish in a barrel this time? At least if he dies, Aman will be freed from ever having to buy hats again… cuz the only way to kill a “Gallow Walker” is by decapitation… and Aman is a “Gallow Walker” too… oh wait, I *SPOYLERZ, YOOOOO!!!1!* Aman’s a ghoul too. I wasn’t going to ruin the surprise, but I had to in order to address another problem with the movie – as stated, the villains need to replace their festering skin sacks periodically, which includes Mosca taking the interesting little initiative of using lizards butts to re-skin the back of his head because they’ll stand up to the sun longer than human skin. Anyway, the problem lays with Aman, who doesn’t have to deal with the dermal decay difficulty for reasons unexplained, probably in part because the hero can’t look like roadkill with a beard and in other part because Snipes wouldn’t agree to wearing the makeup for the limited payday he probably pulled in for this rest stop on the career highway.
For anyone who wants to say “But Anubis, I thought black people didn’t get sunburn?”, allow me to respond by telling you that’s a myth and you’re a racist for believing it. What would’ve been cool, and very doable provided you had the right leading man willing to do so, would’ve been having Aman replace his lost skin with animal hide, since it would be both far more durable than human flesh and thus require far less changing, plus it would be readily available given his adoptive mom’s slaughterhouse business. It’s hard enough selling the movie as it is though, so I can see where having your protagonist looking like New Jack City Leatherface (now THAT’s an action figure I’d buy!) could make it harder to appeal to would-be fans… or easier if you’re marketing to the right audience… Either way, a perfect opportunity for something unique completely squandered. Poopy.
Speaking of squandered, I was really hoping we’d get some more mileage out of Dallas Page’s paycheck. The Devil’s Rejects showed us what a fantastic dirt bag he can be, so restricting him to a single brief scene and hiding him the rest of the time under a big spiky Commando Cody bucket helmet is a shame. Hell, the guy was a professional wrestler for the better part of 15 years (and is currently a Yoga instructor and motivational speaker if you can believe it), but instead of having him put on a well choreographed brawl with Wesley’s stunt double, they just have him charge around in a barn like a junkyard Juggernaut. I don’t believe it was Page under that helmet, myself. I’m pretty sure he was there for his one scene of dialog, and after that they just paid a stuntman to finish out Skullbucket’s screen time. Like I said: squandered.
Despite my previous complaints… here are a few more! For starters, the cgi is crap. The makeup work is good, but the cgi (kept mostly to gore and dismemberment) was, in keeping with the movie’s original working title, wretched. If you can’t afford top-of-the-line tech, just stick with Karo Syrup, squibs, and fake heads. Next, the acting from this cast ranged from tolerable to terrible to “What the fuck is Welsey Snipes doing?!”. He sounds like friggin’ Tanto half the time, speaking in third person and leaving words out of his dialog like English isn’t Aman’s first language. Further down the path of disappointment is the camera work, which feels very “point and click”, and the music with is generic and lazy. Finally, a big splinter in my gums that applies to WAY too many movies where large groups of people are getting gunned down, Gallowwalkers also suffers from that I’ve dubbed “Ring Around the Rosey Syndrome”, where the fodder getting shot down by the hero/villain ALL FALL DOWN AT THE SAME TIME! “Ashes! Ashes!” is just replaced by “BANG! BANG!”, and every instance of it occurring raises my blood pressure that many points closer to a savage coronary. My left arm hurts just thinking about it. It doesn’t help that whenever someone gets their gun shot out of their hand, the actors just throw the gun aside. If you’re getting your firearm shot out of your hand, you’re getting your hand shot. You wouldn’t just move your hand to the side and toss the gun, you’d jerk your hand and react like you’ve just been shot IN THE HAND.
For all of its faults though, Gallowwalkers still does a few things right in my book. And when my book is The Necronomicon, all other books are Charmin. Despite being a massive rip-off of The Crow, the concept here is good if a bit muddled. A little bit of clean up, a little more about the Sisters of San Diablo, a LOT of revisions to goofy/illogical naming of everything, a boost in character development, and a bit more about Enoch’s Hammer and this weather vane would be on its way to pointing its cock in the right direction. I even liked the little Apprentice Boy (David De Beer), who serves as the movie’s rip-off of the Feral Kid from Road Warrior. He’s mostly mute and kills guys with his slingshot, so even though I hate kids, I don’t hate him. I also enjoyed the stark Namibian desert locales. Really gives you feel of barren western wastelands. The costumes and character designs are good too. If it weren’t for the stupid names (okay, Skullbucket is a pretty good name), the bad guys are otherwise very memorable. There’s a trio of cowboy cardinals (as pictured below) that are especially visually striking, but who don’t get nearly as much screen time as I’d like. I do like that Kansa spends most of the movie in the skin of an albino, so you’ve got the whitest white villain going against one of the most Nubian motherfuckers this side of Sam Jackson. It’s not a race thing (and I’m honestly happy that it never went there), and I doubt it’s supposed to be some “black power vs. white power” statement by Andrew Goth (the starring role was originally supposed to go to Chow Yun Fat after all), I just like the visual contrast. The albino look’s also way more interesting than the generic “dirty cattle rustler” look Kansa had going on in his previous life, so just go with it.
Overall, Gallowwalkers was already ice skating uphill by going with the cowboy theme (kids today want their monster hunting down in gothic, steampunk, dystopian, or modern city settings), so I admire its gumption going with something different. Shooting in those desert conditions has to be some of the hardest to do too, so props to everyone for putting up with it. With a little script reworking and story tweaking, some better line reading, and either a little more budget for visual effects or ALL of the effects budget for traditional work, I’d easy bump this sucker up a few hearts. As it stands, 2 life pumps are all she wrote, and I’m sticking with it.
Finally, I’d like to end my review on the following note: actress Tanit Phoenix has a prominent (and pointless) role as a prostitute “dancer” named Angel who literally adds nothing to the story. Every time I’ve glanced over Miss Phoenix’s name through the course of watching the movie and checking the IMDB page for info, I misread her name as “Taint Phoenix”, which makes me think of a flaming bird soaring majestically from between a redhead’s legs… you’re welcome. Good night, kids!
The Moral of the Story: “You never forget the man who kills ya for the first time. First time’s always special.”
The scene at the dumpsters behind any Arby’s after the lunch hour rush.
“Kids, when the WWE tells you not to try anything you see on their programs at home? Don’t try anything you see on their programs at home.”
No matter how badass you make yourself look, no one looks cool riding a hand cart. NO ONE.
“Mrfff frmmrfff frrmrrrf frrrrrrmffmrmr!”*
(*”This is why you never swear in front at a nun!”)
Come on Marvel, make a Brother Voodoo movie happen!
The poor man’s Evan Stone (probably minus the scrotadactyl).
The poor man’s Harvey Keitel (probably minus the scrotadactyl).
Jack Links has found the spokesman for their new Turkey Jerky campaign!
Now, I KNOW black-face is fucked up and frowned upon, but… how am I supposed to feel about white-face?… hey, it was that or a bukkake joke.
“If you think the tails grafted to the back of my head are weird, wait till you see what I did to my tongue!”
“And this is for Invasion of the Neptune Men, you son of a BITCH!”
Willam Dafoe is Iggy Pop in “Butt Town: the Musical: the Movie”!
Anubis will return next time in
“Black (Pete) Christmas”
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