Episode 37 – Life After Beth (2014)

or “Night of the Living Ludgate”

Featuring: Aubrey “The To Do List” Plaza , Dane “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” DeHaan , John C. “Step Brothers” Reilly

Director & Writer: Jeff “I ❤ Huckabees” Baena

Origin: USA

Review_____

“I’m not dead, I’m alive. I can’t be both!”

Hey kids. Long time no see. Sorry about pulling the old “I’m going to the Chug ‘N Plug for cigarettes” routine on ya. I didn’t plan on leaving you guys and gals in the lurch with no Death God-spun reviews and ridicules for the last two months. Unfortunately, your Uncle Anubis is a Quixotic Casanova, and this hopeless romantic was out falling in love with a fling that ended up being just another windmill. But, bruised heart aside, it was one of those relationships that just wasn’t meant to be. “Love” is what you call it when two peoples’ mental illnesses synch up…until they don’t…then it’s called…ah, who the fuck knows, fuck nose. Enough with the heartache, Lord Byron, we came here for a movie review!

On today’s docket is Life After Beth, a zombie-centric tale about love post postmortem and dealing with the regrets and realities of break ups…shit…what an awkward time to do a movie like this…that I fully intended to review two months ago. I guess my Evil Dead Bride is right: I’m a self-fulfilling prophecy! Maybe if I keep telling myself that I’ll become Aubrey Plaza’s canine-humanoid object of eternal lust, I’ll actually become a prophecy I WANT to fulfill! Propheting for fun and profit! Meh. Enough with the life coaching, Tony Robbins, get to the damn review!

Aubrey Plaza stole my heart as the foulmouthed Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, and has since kept a stranglehold on said life pump as April Ludgate, the modern day Darlene Conner in “Parks & Recreation”. Her quick wit and paralyzing sarcasm are like 500cc’s of liquid Viagra right into my happiness parts. Because you can’t pronounce “happiness” without “penis”. I wrote a haiku about it in sixth grade English. True story.

Ms. Plaza plays our titular “Beth” – a barely legal gal who lives with her parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon) in their well-to-do, whitewashed paradise in the Los Angeles suburbs. Life’s not all sunshine and sugar-free gum for young Miss Slocum though (whose last name is one letter away from the first girl I feel in love with, and thus makes this review all the more awkward than it already was…THANKS, MOVIE!). Recently she broke up with her beloved skinny, emo walking corpse of a boyfriend Zach Orfman (Dane DeHaan) for reasons of, I don’t know, “teen stuff”. Possibly because he’s so creepy looking. Did you see Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 2 after he was exposed to the Green Goblin gas? That’s Dane DeHaan without makeup! It’s true! Imagine that on top of you, humping away, making all those horrible sex faces… Yeah… Blart.

While out on a little hike through the 1% of unmolested LA countryside, our adorable antagonist runs afoul of an unfriendly serpent (not to be confused with my very affectionate trouser snake I’d like to introduce her to) who penetrates her alabaster legs with its venomous love tap, killing our angel-with-resting-bitch-face before we even get to the opening credits.

Would I still? Oh, I would. You know what I mean. It’s not necrophilia if it’s done out of love, it’s necroamory. Just because I can’t legally marry Aubrey Plaza’s bloated, discolored corpse doesn’t make our love any less real than what you have, you fucking Nazis! Ah, who am I kidding. Corpsey Plaza would probably just break my onyx-encrusted jackal heart too.

After Beth’s unexpected expiration, Zach bonds with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum in their shared grief, playing late night games of chess and sparking up jazz cigarette doobies full of the marijuanas together. Zach also starts wearing one of Beth’s old winter scarves (During summer in California? Fucking hipster.), to which he forms a bond that…I’ll leave up to you to view. Just keep a barf bucket handy for your eyeballs. Anyway, their little three-person support group is cut short when the object of said grief suddenly returns! Was Beth brought back by the Slocums’ minority housemaid a la Zombie Nightmare? Was she possibly bombarded by cosmic radiation from a crashed satellite? Was the ground she was buried in saturated with a failed experimental marijuana defoliant created by the US government? Did her parents have her buried in the Pet Sematary by accident?! Whatever the case, their Life After Beth has just become…uhm…life with Beth? Re-life with Beth? Life with re-Beth? Bah. Enough with the shitty re-titling jokes, Rex Reed, get to the rest of the review!

All weirdness and mystery around Beth’s resurrection (not to be confused the with res-erection she gives me) aside, mom and dad are just pleased as (spiked) punch to have their little girl returned to them by the grace of “God”. But, they’re also well aware of the potential shitstorm it would cause if anyone else ever found out about this miraculous event, so they opt to keep Beth in the house and away from the outside world. Attempts to keep Zach away were unsuccessful though, and his snoopery ended up getting him in on the big secret. He immediately wants to take her out and use this second chance at shared happiness to experience the world with her, bucking the adults’ better judgment as teens are oft to do. To paraphrase a Texas propane salesman though, that Beth ain’t right. She has no recollection of dying, now insists on living in the attic, keeps talking about how she has some test she needs to study for and goes through violent mood swings while displaying signs of superhuman strength. She also has an odd aphrodisian proclivity for smooth jazz and she doesn’t remember breaking up with Zach, thus she’s still madly in love with him…a bit more madly than prior to her death. Weird, right? Nah. I’d still let her put a gimp mask on me and lead me around on a leash. Enough with the sadomasochism, Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, is the movie any good or not?!

As a dark comedy, Life After Beth works. The movie delves into pretty dark territory more than once. Not Under Siege 2: Dark Territory either, but actual dark territory. Like, “that’s some upsetting shit” type dark territory, not terrorists-on-a-train type dark territory. Just wanted to make sure that was clear. Sadly, the bite of some of said darkness is blunted later on like a crocodile with corked teeth, but there’s still some sad to be had that throws off the comedic ballast of this boat trip just a bit. But hey, any comedian will tell you that comedy comes from suffering, and the whole movie’s all a big metaphor for getting over a bad breakup. Heartbreak is the worst pain of all, right? Just don’t tell that to people with cluster headaches. No, seriously, that shit’s supposed to be worse than giving birth. I read it on a “Top 10 Most Painful Medical Conditions” website…GO LOOK IT UP! Enough with the snap diagnosis, WedMD, let’s get this over with!

As a zombie flick, LAB‘s makeup work is pretty damn slick, while the gore is pleasantly graphic and gets abundant later on. It’s no Braindead, but it is a bit of a shock at how much of the red stuff comes out once they open the floodgates. It’s like a suicide bomber going to Heaven and finding out that ALL 72 of his promised virgins get their period on the same cycle. Speaking of misery, the stages of Beth’s zombie transition and Zach’s handling of it are a horror movie embodiment of the five stages of grief, and I appreciate the metaphor. It doesn’t come off as too “punch you in the face” with the approach and actually made me feel a little better about my own recently deceased bout of romantic human interaction.

Personal therapeutic biases aside, overall I thought it was an okay movie. Not bad for the guy who wrote I Fart Fuckabees. Nothing to set the world on fire, and I think I’m a little too old for romantic teen zomedies at my advanced state of chronological decay, but it’s a charming little flick to share with the horror lover in your life. Or, just watch it by yourself while crying into a pillow after said horror lover leaves you for any of the myriad of reasons you’ll be spending the rest of your miserable life alone eating microwaved mac & cheese while jerking off into that sock they lost under your bed the last time they were over.

Amusingly enough, in addition to dear Aubrey, someone else I first found out about by viewing Scott Pilgrim also appears within these scenes. Anna Kendrick (who played Scott’s caffeine slinging sister Stacey) shows up as Zach’s school peer Erica, who becomes Mopey McGaunt’s potential new girly girl while he’s on the rebound and down. As you might guess, things go all 90210 when our titular living dead girl, in her heightened state of bestial ferality, discovers said rival for her hunk of man meat…well, maybe “thinly sliced scraps of off-brand boy meat substitute” would be more fitting.

I hate looking at Dane DeHaan so much. Just look at him. Take a good long look.

Feel that mass trapped in your throat? That’s not the hamster you swallowed last night (you weirdo), it’s a chunky cocktail of rage and vomit. The guy’s like the Rage virus spliced with Ebola and stabbed directly into your eyes and ears with foot-long hypodermic needles.

And that’s that. Sorry it took me TWO MONTHS to write so little about the movie itself. It’s a new release, so I didn’t wanna spew too much and ruin it for viewers-to-be who just wanted to find out if it was worth a watch, or just came for some laughs without a buttload of spoilers. Thanks for joining me here for magical Episode 37. Or, as Kevin Smith afic(ionados) would call it “The ‘Sucked Dicks’ Episode”….hmmm, really should’ve thought this through and reviewed Dogma instead…fuck it. I’m sure this review wasn’t worth the wait, and may very well have fellated proverbial phalli in the process, but it’s over. Now, much like Zach (and yours truly), we can all get beyond this Thunderdome known as love and move on to greener pastures…especially if said landscape is the verde dyed pubic hair of some no-strings-attached punk rock rebound fuck.

By Osiris’s Prince Albert, I am one romantic son of a jackal bitch.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m really nervous for the test tomorrow and my Evil Dead Bride and I are going hiking. Sjáumst!

Moral of the Story: In the land of the dead, Kenny G is king.

Screenshots_____

Miss Plaza, seen here dialing the police after the last bout of drunken texts I sent her… I think the bestiality pics I sent may have been a little much… I STILL WANNA MAKE A LITTER OF PUPS WITH YOU, BABY! PLEASE CANCEL THE RESTRAINING ORDER!


The vent cover watches its prey, waiting for the moment to pounce and claim the car as its victim. The circle of life continues.


“That’s checkmate AGAIN Mr. Slocum! Off with the pants!”


“Filthy, nasty hobbitses! They have stolen it! My Precious!”


“You fucking poser! You call yourself a Whovian?! That looks NOTHING like the 4th Doctor’s scarf! Take it off before I go all Dalek on your ass!”


If some studio tries to pull the Twilight bullshit on the Frankenstein mythos, here’s your YA Monster. “Girl hottie… too hottie… FIRE BAD!”


He looks like she just told him the pee strip turned blue… THOSE ARE MY PUPPIES, YOU SON OF A BITCH!


Molly Shannon’s great, but she’s got one of those frighteningly over-gummy smiles that looks like her dentures are falling out…


A young Matt Frewer after a fortune teller’s crystal ball shows him what the future holds for his hairline. Poor kid.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Grand Kill-the-Rest Hotel”

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Crappy Anniversary

One year ago today, I re-opened the gates of the Tomb to return my criticisms and unsolicited complaints to an apathetic internet. Obviously not for the attention (since only a handful of people see the site anyway), but because I like being angry and frustrated for no apparent reason. And because I like bad movies. Anyway, I’m still trying to reprogram my brain to get beyond Thunderdome (i.e. recent personal events) and though I have my next review prepared, the actual will and attention to write said review are being held in quarantine. But, I would like to take this time to thank my few but faithful followers who come here to laugh, learn, and love it all in the butt.

Also, fuck you. You know who you are…