Episode 65 – Kids Vs. Monsters (2015)

or “Willy Wonka’s House of Horrors”

Featuring: Malcolm “A Clockwork Orange” McDowell , Lance “Pumpkinhead” Henriksen , Richard “Satan’s Supper” Moll

Director: Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki (yes, I said typed “Sultan”)

Writer: Sarah “Lord of Tears” Daly

Origin: USA

Review_____

“She’s melting… on my beautiful carpet!”

If I smell like smoke, it’s cuz I’ve just been through Hel… and I wasn’t using a rubber. Deities don’t get STDs, and we don’t makes babies. At least not like mortals. We reproduce by budding! Speaking of masochism though…

Uggh. I could be in a luxury recliner at my local movie house seeing Crimson Peak, or preparing my Helter Skeletor costume for the Underworld Samhain Soiree. Yet, here I am instead, reviewing Kids Vs. Monsters. Son of a bitch.

Once again it’s that time of year that I (and I’m sure most of you) love best. When the Great Pumpkin rises, Garfield and Odie almost get murdered by ghost pirates (and one of the creepiest looking animated old guys this side of Heavy Metal), and “The Simpsons” reminds us how horrible the show remains with yet another “Treehouse of Horror” episode. A name that pisses me off more than Max Hardcore pisses on desperate crack whores, because the only time an actual fucking treehouse was involved with these Halloween trilogy specials was the first one, that came out TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO! For Krusty’s sake, they don’t even frame the stories with an arching narrative anymore, it’s just “We’re lazy. Here’s three stories that have nothing to do with each other. Leave us to count our money”. BLART!

No. Come to think of it, this annoyance is a level higher than even a “BLART!” can properly express. So, in the spirit of the season, let’s give the “Treehouse of Horror” it’s own personalized degree of disdain: BLUMPKIN PIE!

While on the topic, you know what’s really horrifying? In The Simpsons Halloween Special VIII, during their parody of The Fly, Homer sets up one teleporter pod in front of the toilet so he can piss from the comfort of his living room. Moments later, he shoves his fist into the living room pod and accidentally punches Lisa in the face… meaning he punched her while she was on the toilet. Unnerving.

Back to Halloween! Though I’m an anti-social old curmudgeon who never does anything on the actual All Hallow’s Eve holiday, for the weeks leading up to it I can still enjoy the numerous horror related offerings available to me at the 30 or so drug stores within a 20 mile radius of the physical Tomb… which is a two bedroom apartment that we don’t actually refer to as “The Tomb”, but as “The Abomination”, since that’s literally the colorful name given to it by the rental company manager when he told us about it, referring to the post-apocalyptic condition the previous attendants left it in. This is the end of the world…(and that was the apoc-ellipsis)

Sorry, I was trying to avoid having to talk about Kids Vs. Monsters for as long as I could, but it’s time to bite the bullet. My alternate title for this episode probably should’ve been “Anubis Vs. Movie”. My first encounter with tonight’s flick was a random trailer scanned on Hulu. When I saw Malcolm McDowell and Lance Henriksen were front and center, I was sold! Now that I’ve seen it, I wish I’d kept the receipt. Stupid impulse buys. Oh, and Keith David’s here too!…inasmuch as Bruce Campbell was in From Dusk Till Dawn 2. Proverbial sons of proverbial bitches. It should be a law that any movie featuring a worthwhile name in a merely cameotic capacity should be forced to preface any use of their moniker in advertisements with “and featuring a BRIEF appearance by (name goes here)”. At least when Jeffrey Combs was in the House on Haunted Hill remake for 4 minutes without any lines, it was because he was the killer!

By the way, that movie’s old enough to get a driver’s license, so if you’re gonna bitch and moan about no spoiler warning on that, stuff your spooge sock in it.

As lame as it is, at least Kids Vs. Monsters is direct and doesn’t bog itself down with stuff like plot development. It keeps it simple and follows the Willy Wonka formula of taking a group of obnoxious children and punishing them for their shitty attitudes and personality flaws. The “kids” in question are all only-childs of incredibly affluent and wealthy single parents, and they’re introduced to us in an opening fluff piece on the evening news, as hosted by Barry (Keith David, who gets third billing for this all too brief role) and Mary (Elaine Hendrix). The failed abortions in question are:

  • Avatara Lovett (Taylor Stammen) – the world’s most obnoxious social media attention whore hipster, who speaks almost entirely in web shorthand (“L-O-L!”, “O-M-G!”, “YOLO!”, etc.), is one of those fucks who hashtags everything (including her queefs, I’m sure), and whose self-worth is based entirely on the number of Twatter followers she has. She’s why Gen X fogies like yours truly have a stroke when the media lumps us in with Millennial fuck-wads like her. Ava’s dad, Greg (Adrian “Duncan McLeod” Paul!), is a tech mogul otherwise known as “The Man Who Owns the Internet”. Does that mean we can get in on a class action lawsuit against him for all of the “See a young girls’ eyes glued shut with midget cum” spam I keep getting!? That’s actually the subject line of an email I received once, by the way. I don’t know if it came through on its promise though, because I was too horrified at the prospect to investigate. Naked dwarfs make me think of pudgy, hairy children. Anubis no like.

  • Bobby Fitmore (Jesse Camacho) – a corpulent lad who lives his life carbo-loading like a professional athlete, but doesn’t utilize it for anything other than making himself famine resistant and well insulated for those cold winter nights. He once ate the family dog when he was left alone in the house for half an hour with nothing but salad to snack on. His idea of a “well balanced diet” is 50% sweet snacks and 50% savory snacks. Just like everybody else who wears a tracksuit daily, he does zilch in the exercise department. His mom, Maxine Fitmore (Marry “Reno 911!” Birdsong!), is the queen of a line of gym franchises known as “Maxi-Fit”. Not even 5 minutes in and my brain is already desperately clawing at the insides of my skull to get out.

  • Candy Chance (Francesca Eastwood) – the perpetually bored (when she’s not talking about herself) bimbo beauty queen who’s won every pageant from Miss Iowa to Mister Universe (no, you didn’t read that wrong) thanks to her plastic surgeon daddy, Charles (Christopher Atkins), buying off every judge in both American continents. She even won Miss Natural Beauty and Miss Plastic Surgery. She’s constantly dressed in a pink pageant gown, including a tiara and an array of sashes denoting her various title wins that change to fit each scene. Candy also doesn’t miss a chance to drum up customers for poppa, as she passes his business card along to people after criticizing their appearance. She’s the kind of girl I’d love to introduce to Patrick Bateman…

  • Oliver Gingerfield (Daniel David Stewart) – a snotty redheaded bully (get it? cuz his name is Gingerfield?!… you’d better not be laughing at that, damn it) that fancies himself a street fighter. If Ron Weasley had an older brother who’d sit on him and not let him up until he’d pissed his own pants (Krug style), it’d be this twat burger. Ollie dresses almost entirely in studded denim like a kid from an ’80s high school punk band. Did that trend come back around, or is that just how the people behind the camera think that’s what tough guys still dress like? His mother Francine (Lee Purcell) is the world’s first “global politician” (whatever that means), and is known by her nickname, “The Copper Queen”. Probably because her family was so poor that she couldn’t afford a proper sex toy in high school, so she popped her cherry with a roll of pennies. The kids at the time probably weren’t aware that pennies have been 98% zinc since the early ’80s, so “Copper Queen” it is!

  • Molly Sealskin (Sydney Endicott… hey, I live in a town called Endicott!) – the timid, shy, quiet little “goth” wallflower that’s most likely of the group to shop at Hot Topic. Well, hottopic.com, since she looks like being in a physical mall might throw her into a social anxiety shutdown. She’s the adopted daughter to Cecilia Sealskin (Candace Elaine), who made her fortune in the endangered animals fur market. “Sealskin”, get it? Blumpkin. Pie. Given that Molly’s spot on the Obnoxious Ass Hats Scale (the most scientifically proven scale for Ass Hat measurement in the world) is barely a ‘1’ and she’s openly mocked by the other “kids”, expect her to see the end credits and find out who she gets to blame for ruining her would-be career.

  • David Knight (Bridger Zadina) – the soft-hearted goody-two-shoes who’s all about using his family wealth for charity and junk rather than buying himself the newest rip-off Apple product or $500 pair of artificially distressed pants. His family ties are also mob ties (imagining Michael Gross as a gangster now), as father Damian (Armand Assante) is a big wheel in the cracker factory that is organized crime. Poppa doesn’t appreciate his brat trying to make the world a better place with his hard earned illegal funds neither, or how he apparently ratted dear dad’s criminal ties out to the fuzzy wuzzies. Yeah, I could see that causing a less-than-pleasant atmosphere around the homestead. Speaking of homesteads, why are all of these rich people single parents? Does anyone else find that the least bit odd?

    The kids’ parents are all members of a self-appreciation cabal that scheme in unison to make each other financially richer and morally filthier. However, their goal to control 100% of America’s wealth is stymied by their a-hole money sponge spawn who soak up their money and attention. Each hates their kids individually, so to get their heirs out of the way, they connive. The answer on how to do it without getting caught presents itself though, in the shape of a horned old man (not a horny old man) in a furry cloak who goes by “Heinrich” (Lance Henriksen). Heiny’s the earthly emissary to a Luciferian figure known only as “The Boss” (Malcolm McDowell, not Bruce Spingsteen), who runs “The Monster Realm” (great name. I’m sure it took Ms. Daly less time than a sneeze to come up with it.): the dimension from which all monsters are said to originate.

    Having been banished there (the circumstances of which receive zilch back story), Boss now manages the place, deciding which monsters he allows to travel to Earth, and punishing those that break the rules. Well, the singular rule: don’t get found out by the humans. And what happens to those that break said rule? Death. Such as the business given a certain wicked prognosticator of witchcraft (who’s dangerously close to a copyright infringement reaming by the Warner Bros. lawyers) gets caught and ends up as a puddle in front of Capital B’s throne.

    Boss’s proposition to the sextet of “Worst Parent of the Year” nominees is to trick the tykes into each thinking they’ve been invited to some grand congress of like-minded individuals (a brawling tournament, a beauty pageant, an elite pie-eating contest, etc.), only to have them shuffled off to an old boarding school where they’ll be pitted against a posse of seven amateur monsters in his employ that are looking to prove themselves right into the big leagues via causing some grisly deaths. The parents even hang out in Boss’s viewing room to watch the hopeful extermination of their young and make sure they get their dinero’s worth. Not that they’re spending any actual money on this deal, since Boss is taking the kids’ souls as his price.

    As such, let’s meet the other half of our titular antagonism: the Monsters. As introduced through poorly animated origin vignettes, they are:

  • Melissa – a “last of her kind” space bug who was the only refugee from her meteor-detonated planet. She made her way to Earth in an escape pod (pretty advanced technology for an alien whose planet shows no signs of any technology during her back story) and now this oversized offspring of a lobster and a flea looks to spread her parasitic progeny here, from sea to shining sea. “Melissa” is a strange name for an intergalactic cockroach, but Miss Daly was probably feeling too lazy to pull a bunch of random tiles from a Scrabble sack, so she just went with the name of some woman she hated at her last temp job.

  • Roger – a ’70s science lab coffee machine-turned-disgruntled killer robot straight out the movie Spongebob watches in that episode where he thinks Mr. Krabs is a Terminator. Boss refers to him as “our terrorizing tin can of pure robot rage”. I think “Roger” is a shitty name for a robot, but I fully endorse Roger’s credo of “Destroy all hipsters”! The lesson here? Always unplug your old coffee machines during a lunar eclipse if you don’t have your Old Glory plan paid up. Or, you know, just throw out your obsolete technology…says the guy who will probably be murdered in his sleep by his Laserdisc player and Virtual Boy.

    (I tried to embed a Hulu vid for the “Saturday Night Live” Old Glory Insurance ad, but it wouldn’t take. Google it.)

  • The Batler (Richard Moll) – seeking a cure for his OCD, the Butler (that’s his only name) volunteered to play guinea pig for an experimental serum created by a mad doctor named Guano (har har). The juice transformed him into a werebat a la It Lives By Night. His name fills my brain with images of a Man-Bat version of Hitler. He’s also the servant who butles for the little turds while they’re there. His overacting is probably my favorite of the movie, but that could just be because I was a big fan of “Night Court” as a kid. I might’ve been just as biased if Batler were played by Ted Danson or Alan Alda.

  • Monsieur Babette (Phillipe Simon) – a French-Candian bigfoot whose love for candy forced him to get a job as a lumberjack (insert Monty Python references here) to pay for his habit. Having gone native, he was shunned by his fellow Saskatoon ‘squatches (including his mate, who herself wears hair curlers, yet disapproves of him wearing flannel and a tuke? Hypocrite.) and came to America to start a new life…as a child murdering Chewbacca with an ax and a poorly dubbed French accent. Adding insult to injury, apparently his feet aren’t all that big for a bigfoot. Well, that explains the real reason his wife left him.

  • Daisy (Anna Akana) – when a Japanese demon cat and an American tomcat make love not war, the resultant hybrid is a typical American “mean girl” teen who dresses like a typical Japanese teen (school uniform and cat ears) and can transform into a tabby. She can also tear you apart, literally with her sharp claws, or figuratively with her bitter wit and insulting sarcasm. The first could be avoided with some extra-large plastic nail caps, while you could probably just give her a few shots with a spray bottle to avoid the latter. I’d be more afraid of her spraying the furniture or trying to rape me when she’s in heat, but hopefully Boss took Bob Barker’s advice and had her spayed first.

  • Rebecca (Alexandra Hulme) – proof that lounge singers and spellbooks don’t mix, Becky needed new material to wow the denizens of the jazz club in which she crooned. She fucked up though, because the grimoire from which she snagged her new lines was full of unholy incantations. The result? She became Lady Cthulhu. Easily the most legitimate threat of the group, the Calamari Queen uses such sorceretical tactics as black magic fireballs and a binding spell that traps the millennial skidmarks within the house.

  • Mr. Beet (Michael Bailey Smith) – the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and Mr. Beet is proof. In an effort to make vegetables more appealing to kids, a benevolent scientist tried to create fruits and veggies with faces. Yes, because nothing will make kids want to scarf down the flora like making them more like people! What the fuck?! Anyway, after numerous failed attempts, the doc decided to put his own face on a beet. As with any science experiment in movies, shit went wonky and the guy wound up as a roughhousing brute with a giant root vegetable for a cabeza… I… don’t… even… no. Forget it. His makeup work is pretty solid for such a Fuddrucker of a flick, but let’s just move on.

    Strange how Boss told us earlier that the monsters all come from The Monster Realm (I can’t wait to stop typing that…), yet each of these monsters originates from our dimension. Shit, Batler, Becky, and Beet were all originally humans! This friggin’ script has more holes in it than the world’s biggest reverse gangbang. BLUMPKIN PIE!

    Will the brood of superfluous scions survive to continue their obnoxious caricaturistic ways, or will the bottom-of-the-barrel beasties prove they’re only the second most useless group this flick has to offer? Who will survive and what will be left of them? Do you really care? I didn’t think so. Believe me, watching it won’t change that. If you have an extra 100 minutes of your life you don’t mind flushing into oblivion though, and you’re curious to see how some people have no qualms with throwing away $7.5 million, don’t take my word for it – see for yourself!

    As mentioned before, KvM borrows half of its theme from Willy Wonka. The other half comes from The Monster Squad, inasmuch as there’s a group of kids fighting for their lives against a group of monsters…though the kids in question here are all adults and the monsters aren’t incarnations of classic horror icons, but flaccid creature features that try too hard for laughs that never happen. Oh, and there’s the small matter of how this movie also SUCKS harder than a prostitute on payday… or me on a PayDay. What can I say, I love sticky, salty nuts in my mouth. You heard me.

    At no point was I 100% positive of what it was I was watching here. Either time. It feels like an over-the-top kids style movie, but with adult themes that make it clearly not for kids. The lack of an MPAA rating doesn’t help matter. It’s like a modern day Garbage Pail Kids Movie, only with less farts and boogers. Not zero mind you, just less. It has the atmosphere and visual style of a Disney Channel Original or an extended episode of “Goosebumps“, what with all the goofy ghoulie rejects.

    Imagine if someone who squeezes out those agonizingly unfunny parodical secretions like Date Movie or Meet the Spartans were to dip their finger in their toilet after a hard morning’s diarrhea party and write an original script on the bathroom walls. I know I promised to cut down on the literal poop humor (see what you miss when you don’t show up for meetings, Bill?!), but this is honestly the best approximation of the creative process for writing Kids Vs. Monsters I could come up with.

    Not every joke and reference falls flat. There’s a direct quote lifted from Day of the Dead as one of the characters defiantly screams Captain Rhodes’ final words. So that was kinda cool. Another one of the (very) few I appreciated is the Hobnobblin. Not because of its resemblance to the cretinous hand-puppets of Hobgoblins, but because of its nom de reference to Frank Zappa’s song “Goblin Girl”. Unless that’s just a coincidence, in which case fuck me for trying to make brownies out of butt biscuits. Speaking of the few functional moments of humor, today’s episode is brought to you by Dracola – The soda that bites back!

    KVM‘s finale threatens us with the possibility of a sequel, but I’d rather use a cobra for a condom than have to have any more of my time and IQ sucked into this digitized black hole. Unless the only reason they give us the ending they do (which I won’t spoil, so suffer it yourself if it means so much to you) is so they could end on an agonizingly punny note, in which case I welcome Sarah and the Sultan to eat a bag of dicks. Not just any bag of dicks though. I’m talking a Party Size bag of thick, veiny, barbed wire wrapped cenobite dicks.

    Much like my Night of the Living Dead: Re-Animated review, where my only reason for sparing it a full blown case of criticism AIDS was its inclusion of Andrew Divoff, the only thing keeping this movie from total damnation (in this damn nation) is that it gives me a chance to see McDowell, Henriksen, David and Moll together in one place. Any day these guys get paid some of that sweet sweet Sultan moneys is a good day. Sure, you can reprimand them for selling their so-called souls for the sake of gas money, but we’ve all done things we regret to get by, and your pride won’t keep the lights on!

    The next episode will be in a matter of days, so don’t forget to get your ass back here and check it out! I’m actually pretty excited for it. Until then, make sure to check your candy for glass shards and razor blades! Happy Halloween my hallowed wienies!

    Moral of the Story: It’s easier to have someone dispose of your annoying kids than it is to raise them, discipline them, or generally deal with them. Hence, our family therapist growing up was a guillotine with a big sign next to it that said “I’ll give you something to cry about!”.

    Screenshots_____


    “Hey, YOU try being an older b-movie actor in this market, then you can make fun of me for taking bit parts in shitty movies!”


    Subway’s search for their new non-pedophile Jared continues.


    Ironic that she was elected “Miss TV”, given that she’s got a face for radio…


    Having failed his audition for Gremlins 3: the College Years, the Hobnobblin gives in to despair and takes his own life.


    “How much longer do I have to be here for this? I’ve got an appointment to duel another immortal at 4 o’clock, then I’m the guest of honor for a sci-fi convention in a Toledo bingo hall at 6.”


    You can find this costume at your local strip mall Halloween pop-up store as “Ill-Pallored Goth Female Spellcaster”.


    “How many times have I told you, I don’t want to see your scrapbook and I think it would be a terrible idea to try getting it published! No one cares about your blurry, off-center behind-the-scenes photos from Pumpkinhead or Schwarzenegger’s half-eaten danish from the set of The Terminator!”


    “Have a seat and get comfortable everyone. Feel free to help yourselves to a glass of my Ghoul-Aid! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!”


    Please come to life and eat her. Please come to life and eat her. Please come to life and eat her… Bah! Stupid Coca-Cola mascot.


    Richard Moll really enjoyed the free catered breakfast at the shoot, but spent most of the day trying to tongue poppy seeds out of his bridge work.


    “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIID?!”


    The human are dead.
    – The humans are deaaaaaaaaaad.
    We used poisonous gasses
    – and we poisoned their asses.
    The humans are… dead.
    … Binary solo!


    Out of curiosity, Malcolm and Lance decide to watch the two SciFi Original Pumpkinhead sequels… they vowed never to tell anyone about that night, under suicide pact conditions.


    “First one of you that says anything comparing my cooch to a fish market gets a one-way ticket to the Mountains of Madness! Got it?!”


    Gah! It’s the vengeful embodiment of the ghosts of all those cans of beets I used to blow up with M80s when I was a kid so mom couldn’t find them come dinner time!… I bet his favorite band is the Beetles… okay, I deserve a beeting for that one.


    That’s the laziest Hello Kitty cosplay I’ve ever seen. SHE HAS A MOUTH!


    Yikes. The switch over to HD really did Grimace no favors. No wonder they stopped putting him in commercials!

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

    Anubis will return next time in
    “The B-Team”

    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.

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