Quickie 04 – Slay Belles (2018)

or “Kringle’s Angels: Full Stocking”

The last time I watched a movie by horror movie website-cum-production company Dread Central, it was pseudo-shocker schlocker let down Terrifier. Will mentally chaining my bias against that wannabe snuff film around its neck work against Slay Belles, or will it put my expectations so far below the limbo stick that it can’t help but holly my jolly and jingle my bells?


“Santa Claus is comin’ to town, bitches!”

Dahlia and Sade are the self-proclaimed YouTube stars behind the “Adventure Girls” channel. Their gimmick? “Urban exploration”. And that is…? It’s what the kids call breaking and entering, criminal trespassing, vandalism and theft. In less legal terminology, these anime gothic (like American Gothic, but nothing at all like American Gothic) scene-girls get dressed up in eye-catching (i.e. sexified) costumes, break into vacated and/or condemned properties, then record themselves running around like sugar plum faeries spazzing on novelty size Pixie Stix. For their new Christmas special “adventure”, they shanghai their “only mildly Hot Topic because she has a professional job during the day” amiga Alexia and take their guest accomplice to plunder an abandoned, middle-of-nowhere, season appropriately themed amusement park called Santa Land. To make matters further obvious fodder for an R rated Scooby-Doo mystery, a serial child murderer (that may or may not be a bear) has recently set up shop in the county too. Jinkies!

During their edge lady frolics, the gals are unaware that the head of the North Pole chapter of the Hell’s Angels is observing their antics over the park’s still functional security cameras. Before you even get the chance to consider this hairy red herring to be a threat, the broads are broadsided (*rimshot*) by what the Weekly World News would’ve described as the gestational by-product of a werewolf and a wildebeest getting drunk at their office Christmas party, sneaking away to the supply closet and letting nature’s disturbing sense of humor take its course.

Before the wayward wendigo can turn the females into foie gras (well, they are color-coded like Huey, Dewey and Louie), Grandpa Never-Outgrew-His-Midlife-Crisis intervenes (with his magic wizard walking stick?), ushers them to safety and exposes himself to them! …to be “the real fuckin’ Santa”. Yep, it’s a yuletide smack down in the Santa Land Memorial Ampitheater this Sunday Sunday Sunday when Kris “the Mangler” Kringle matches his magic against the frothing fangs of the one and only Killer Krampus Kadoogan! Don’t get too excited though, because unlike the Legendary Pictures incarnation, this version of Krampy doesn’t have a 20 million dollar budget and top-notch creature feature creative crew backing him up. It does have Barry Bostwick (and an all too brief Richard Moll cameo) though, so…if you’re old enough to remember who they are then…hooray?

While Slay Belles‘ production values are barely acceptable, let alone great, with its budget being what it is, you may well forgive the final product. Or you won’t. It actually works with the movie’s overall goofy tone. Though much of the main gals’ dialogue feels poorly scripted and their acting not up-to-snuff, Barry fucking Bostwick is great as grumpy old Harley-Davidson calendar Santa. Beyond its budgetary constraints and mostly novice cast (and moments of generic dubstep that felt like unnecessary splinters of rosemary wood hammered into my fucking eardrums), I also am not a fan of the crew’s camera person(s) having seizures while shooting. The proliferation of steady cam technology should make it affordable even to a minute money movie like this, leading me to believe it’s a style choice for a style my equilibrium isn’t having any of. And if it’s for tactical purposes in an effort to cover up not-so-special effects work, just don’t. We all know that gold around your wrist says “Bolex” and we can see the green ring it’s leaving on your skin. Stop.

Moral of the Story: Never question the power of Santa’s pimp stick. He’s also a lot cursier with the potty mouth than Rankin Bass would have you believe. Oh, and don’t ask about the reindeer…you don’t wanna know.

Final Judgment:

Three Santa Right Hooks out-of-Five

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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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Quickie 03 – All the Creatures Were Stirring (2018)

or “Christmas Tales From the Darkside”

Like a lot of people, I signed up for horror streaming service Shudder for the sole purpose of seeing Joe Bob Briggs’ “The Last Drive-In”. I was going to sign up for the free trial, hit it and quit it. Instead, here I am months later, too lazy to cancel my subscription. It’s fine, because it’s only a fiver-per-month and JBB has since had his “Dinners of Death” mini-marathon with his upcoming “A Very Joe Bob Christmas” mere days away from the time of this review. In the interest of getting my $5 worth though, it felt like a good idea to watch some Shudder original movies. And since it’s that time of year, I bring to you their exclusive holiday horror anthology: All the Creatures Were Stirring

“There’s nothing worse than being alone on Christmas.”

Oh, I can think of about 17,000 things. Only 3/4 of which involve death or physical mutilation!

Co-workers Max and Jenna are “orphans” at Christmas. With no one else to spend their holiday(s), he invites her to some off-off-off-off-Broadway independent stage show that just so happens to share its name with our movie. Weird coincidence, right? Performed by its trio of players in acts, each tale is presented to we the audience instead as short film segments, with the title cards between each performance handled by the human representation of a grown-up Helga Pataki after she declared herself asexual and joined a jazz-oompah-barbershop quartet.

The Stockings Were Hung – A joyless office Christmas party goes from Dunder-Mifflin doldrums to a Would You Rather hosted by Jigsaw, initiated by an annoyingly “wacky” Killjoy-like voice via an inter-office conference call from Hell. The previously painful extracurricular escape from their cubicles turns worse than those staff meetings you were force to sit through on your lunch break! Unfortunately, a decent (albeit not exactly original) concept is wasted on what feels like a first draft script acted by people reading their lines as they’re being written. Even the ending is awful and rushed, leaving much unresolved and furthering my hypothesis that much/most/all of this calamitous crud was improvised on-the-spot.

Dash Away All – The very last customer of a department store manages to lock himself out of (and his phone inside of) his car and is left all alone in the parking lot. Well, with the sole exception of a sketchy looking van. The Mystery Machine it is not, but on the plus side it’s also not “a rockin”, so he goes “a knockin” in search of help. He’s greeted by a chocolate and vanilla pair of pseudo-hippie ladies who loan him their burner…and watch him like he’s a 5’8” honey-glazed Christmas ham the entire time. Needless to say (yet I’m clearly saying it anyway), things are not going to end well for someone(s) in this scenario. Overall, it’s a dozen times superior to its predecessor, in direction, cinematography, story cohesion, acting and ending! Whereas the only horror “Stockings” instilled in me was the worry that I was in for a looooong winter’s night with the rest of these shorts, “Dash” gave me moderate hope that what appeared to be a pile of awful offal would yield something edible.

All Through the House – The poor man’s non-union equivalent of the hot dog scientist from The Happening plays Chet, a bag of dicks type of guy (as are all who bear the mark of “Chet”) that goes through the Ebenezer Scrooge wringer. It’s nothing creative like Scrooged, instead taking most of its influence from the similar segment of ”Beavis and Butthead Do Christmas”… but not nearly as funny as it seems to think it is. It’s not James Nguyen terrible, but it’s just kinda “there”, like figgy pudding.

Arose Such a Clatter – A man who may or may not be a private-eye (he’s watching you *clap clap*), resembles the platonic ideal of a mash-up between pre-morbid obesity Orson Welles and pre-coke nose Artie Lang has a hit and run-in with a deer on his way home one night. Though he puts the creature out of its misery, his own misery is just beginning…as is ours…but it’s the shortest short of the set, so at least it’s a short-lived misery. Get it? Short-lived? Yeah, well, fuck you too, Hermey. Anyway, not only is this a poorly made (though semi-acted as opposed to not-at-all) story that includes needless foreshadowing, but it face fucks us with that same prognostication not five minutes later, I’m presuming to explain itself to those viewers whose moms may have drank heavily whilst in utero.

In a Twinkling – And no, a “Twinkling” is not a tiny Twinkie…nor a midget that’s also a gay stereotype. Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, Paul Giamatti’s illegitimate son is hiding himself out home alone on X-mas Eve, fortifying his home and preparing to chain himself into bed for the night. You know, as you would in a case where you’re a sleepwalker or a werewolf. His friends show up for a surprise holiday dinner, much to his chagrin, which leads to all manner of “Twilight Zone” chicanery and “Twin Peaks” tomfoolery going down (like your mom did to that mall Santa last night! ZING!). Acting’s not bad, comedy’s okay, visual effects are cheap but fun. A weird little yarn that’s out-of-place in a horror movie, but let’s just call it “The Xmas-Files” and have a laugh. I’m running late for the pantheon’s Cthulhumas party and still need to wrap up something hastily pulled from a drawer in my garage for White Elephant!

And to All a Goodnight – As with any anthology, our feature’s finale wraps up our bookending narrative with Maximilian and Jenna-bifida. For the sake of not spoiling anything, consider this the part where I carve the roast beast for all you Whos down in Whoville so the ghost of Boris Karloff can get back to haunting Alex Trebek’s attic. Remember, even a miracle needs a hand, ya filthy animals!

Moral of the Story: (with Anubis having already left before deciding on a moral, we turned to the Wheel of Morality for guidance) “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more. Now give me your wallet and nobody gets hurt.”

Final Judgment:

Two-and-a-Half Grither Fists out-of-Five

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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.

Quickie 02 – Krampus (2015)

or “Let’s Have a Good Old Fashioned Christmas… IN HELL!”

When I was a pup, my heathen family was all about the Christmas traditions: traditional fir tree decorated with a traditional cacophony of tangled colored lights and mismatched random ornaments, traditional Christmas cartoons, traditional readings of ”The Night Before Christmas” before bed on Christmas Eve, traditional piles of gifts labeled “From: Santa”, traditional milk and cookies, and traditional family get-togethers where no less than 3 people ended up blackout drunk in the snow and someone always Keifer’d the host’s tree. All these years later, getting a tree is a question of effort and finances, the cartoons are split up between 10 different channels (some not available at all and some edited for time or content), gifts have turned from boxes covered in bright paper and ribbons into plain envelopes with generic greeting cards holding money or gift cards, and half the family is in AA while the other half hasn’t talked to them ever since “the incident”.

I’m generally not one to gripe (it’s not slander if I’m not under oath!), I’m just setting the stage for tonight’s quickie: Krampus.

“It looks like Martha Stewart threw up in here.”

For some of us, Christmas means happy family gatherings of warmth and love and all the other stuff that would give Ebenzer Scrooge a raging bah-humbugger of a hate boner. For plenty of other clans, it means being trapped alongside people whose DNA you’d rather see splattered over a crime scene than admit to sharing strands of. The Engel family are the latter. Imagine the Griswalds being forceably bred with the McAllisters as overseen by the Lockhorns and you’ve got…a pretty fucked up scenario swimming in your brain now, dontcha?! Merry Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, the wealthy “liberal elite” household of the Engels host their “trailer trash conservative” other-half for an evening that most would rather avoid in favor of whatever flesh-eating bacteria they can come up with on short notice. The only lad in the gang, Max, won’t exactly admit to believing in Santa, but he won’t have anyone talking shit about the jolly philanthropist in his presence either. But, when his shit-sneeze cousins abscond with his letter to the Giftfather (written at the behest of his Eastern European granny to keep with ritual) and push everybody’s blood pressure into hypertension levels by reading it aloud at an already anxiety inducing dinner, Max’s disgust for his (un)loved ones boils over into tearing up the correspondence and shit-canning it out of his bedroom window.

Much like Frosty’s arcane chapeau, there must’ve been some magic in those Old World wives-tales told by superstitious elderly immigrants, because with Max’s faith in the tide of Yule now broken worse than Christopher Reeves’s neck, the family’s fate is officially fucked. In his defense, grandma probably should have warned him YEARS ago that committing heresy against Saint Nick results in the damnation of his entire bloodline, but stuff like that’s usually left up to the parents so… I guess granny can be forgiven.

The next morning a freak snowstorm has bukkaked the neighborhood under two feet of frozen white fuckery! The power and all communications have been knocked out, every house on the block is barren of life, and somebody had time to build an unnerving snowman in the fam’s front yard. Snowmen have peepers. Peepers to watch. To watch for a moment of weakness and then *BAFF!* comes the knock on the head and we’re down!

…by which, I of course mean that Krampus has come to town. Don’t even bother to hold onto your butts. Nobody wants to die shitting all over their hands.

If the “breaking holiday praxis = murderous retribution” thing sounds familiar, it’s no doubt because writer-director Michael Dougherty was also the mind behind analagous dark comedy-horror Trick ‘r Treat. Legendary and Universal gave Mikey Dough four times the budget and a shot at plying his trade on the big screen with Krampus, and I feel like it mostly paid off. While the design for Special K’s is wonderfully terrifying and intimidating (He is the marquee menace, after all), His “helpers” tend toward being a tad too goofy at times to give even Goofy a spine tingle and are dangerously close to getting a copyright infringement lawsuit from Charles Band’s worst bratwurst and Billy Beer induced nightmares. They’re fun, but a tad too fun sometimes for my tastes.

As much as I enjoyed Adam Scott and Toni Collete (even Emjay Anthony, who breaks my age old stance of being anti all movie children), I’m sad to say that David Koechner has never shown me to be even a moderately good dramatic actor, and this movie has not changed that. He’s always too large a “presence” and steals the attention from everyone else he’s in a scene with. Though that’s generally a good thing, an overly comedic person such as himself just ends up leeching any sense of tension from EVERY SCENE. Far be it from me to tell anyone what direction they should take their life, but after Krampus I’ll be approaching any future horror flicks Koechner may be involved in with much apprehension.

Consider me curious to see what he could do playing John Wayne Gacy in a movie though. It worked for Mark Holton!

And on that vision of prancercising sugar plums in Pogo paint, I give Krampus my exhortation for anyone seeking a PG-13 holiday horror that’ll leave your young-ones soiling their stockings by the chimney with care. Merry Christmas to All, and to All a good night terror!

Moral of the Story: When an old woman tells you to “keep the fire burning”, YOU KEEP THE FUCKING FIRE BURNING!

Final Judgment:

Four Baskets of Abducted Children out-of-Five

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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.

Quickie 01 – Red Christmas (2016)

or “Cletus the Red-Nosed Mutant”

Who’s ready for some holiday cheer? I said, WHO THE FUCK IS READY FOR SOME HOLIDAY CHEER?!


(Actually footage of my brain after being forced to sit through the 37th iteration of “Jingle Bell Rock” while waiting in line at the liquor store.)

I hate this time of year. Well, my mental disorders do. I’m good with the thematic commercialism and all that holly jolly trash, but I liked it better when “50 Shades of Gray” was just softcore for soccer moms, not the fucking five day forecast. There’s a reason the short form of Seasonal Affective Disorder is SAD. Blart.

“Cheers for letting Satan into the house, Di.”

Anyway, our tale begins in the household of a wacky Aussie family that has reunited to celebrate the Christmas season. Their surname is never given, and though that’s not really important, it always bothers me when a movie can’t bother to give their characters something more than first names. Pet peeves left in the Sematary, the (insert name here)s are a sitcom waiting to happen. There’s widowed American matriarch (Dee Wallace, GILF of my dreams!), her stoner bro Uncle Joe, Shakespeare obsessed son Jerry, adopted teenage art school drop-out-to-be Hope, pregnant no-shits-given sister Ginny and her husband Scott (the pair of which is uncomfortably liberal about sex around family), uptight “can’t conceive” bible thumper Suzy and her awkward “reminds me of Lionel from Dead Alive” knob end husband Peter. Ozploitation Roseanne The Conners’, here we come!

When a cloaked vagrant named Cletus darkens their doorstep, bandaged up like Darkman, stinking of piss, and mumbling like John Merrick on ‘ludes, Diane invites him inside in the spirit of some seasonally appropriate pity. While everyone else gives mom slack for letting the transient mummy in, she soon regrets her charity when the putrid-yet-peaceful punchline to the joke that is God’s “love” tells them why he’s there. What results is a night of over-the-top carnage and blood-soaked cheer befitting a pre-Tolkien Peter Jackson or pre-Spider-Man Sam Raimi feature! And I can’t recommend it enough if the thought of either or both of those jingles your bells.

Though the balance between comedic carnage and thriller tensions can feel as uneven as a session of teeter-totter between zombie Andre the Giant and zombie Vern Troyer, writer-director Craig Anderson and his cast (special mention to Gerard Odwyer for making Jerry my favorite member of the bunch) bring joy to the world with their better-than-average production. Warning for the photosensitive among us though, as Anderson’s penchant for playing with colored lighting could give Dario Argento an aneurysm. The mandatory horror movie plot twist is present, but can be sussed by 95% of viewers within the first few scenes and is made clearer for the foggier-minded by the halfway point, so at least there’s no fear of it being a huge letdown mere moments prior to the finale!

Minute niggling aside, let Red Christmas be the North Star by which my fellow gore whores and horror freaks find their way to yuletide torment on this and every Winter Solstice!

Oh, and should you choose to seek out this slasher sin-a-palooza sleeper on your own time, note the following: (1) it’s available to stream on NetFlix as of this review and (2) I’m gonna tack a big fat trigger warning on it. Red Christmas covers topics of a sensitive nature that I won’t even hint at here because it could spoil the whole damn thing. If you suffer from such conditions, I suggest having a friend or loved one watch the first 15 or so minutes to make sure it’s all clear for your individual standards.

(When it comes to Quickies that I intend to do full feature reviews for later down the [sewage] pipe, Red Christmas is a guaranteed contender. Probably not until the spoiler embargo burns out though, because I have some thoughts I’m itching to share on the controversial topics addressed during these 80+ minutes.)

Moral of the Story:Food allergies give your body the durability of a circus peanut. Also, if you value your ability to urinate without the use of a catheter, never piss on someone…unless that’s what they’re into. No judgies.

Final Judgment:

Four Family Counselors (in Santa Hats) out-of-Five

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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.

Spam-Bot Holocaust

My apologies to the seven people who still come to this page, but I had to disable commenting for the Puppet Master: the Littlest Reich review. No doubt thoroughly testing their spam bots in lieu of upcoming US elections, worthless dick sneeze junk mailers and useless cunt snot phishermen (and phisherwomen) have upped their usual bombardment levels from “pathetic” to “okay, you can stop now”. Given that I’ve gotten zero actual feedback on the review from any legitimate readers, this doesn’t really mean anything…

Episode 108 – Puppet Master: the Littlest Reich (2018)

or “Adolph Hitler’s Muppet Babies”

Featuring: Thomas “Hell Baby” Lennon , Jenny “‘State of Affairs’” Pellicer , Barbara “Re-Animator” Crampton, and special appearance by Udo “Flesh for Frankenstein” Kier

Directors: Sonny “Wither” Laguna & Tommy “Wither” Wiklund

Writer: S. Craig “Bone Tomahawk” Zahler

Origin: USA

Review_____

“Kill that fucking baby!”

In an effort to expand my resume as an “artist/creator” (dear Ra can I not wait for the planet to be swallowed in atomic fire), my agent suggested I get a stage show produced so I qualify as a “playwright”. Well, Calamity of Snakes: the Musical, my plaguerism rampant adaptation of the 1982 Taiwanese horror movie of the same name, will be making its debut on the main stage of the Galaxy of Terror nightclub/sex dungeon in Greenvale, Washington for a six week run starting next week. If you actually attend one of our shows, please don’t send me any feedback as all requests for refunds will be denied – a policy that will be enforced onsite by the mutant bear monstrocity from Prophecy. Speaking of mutant bears, here’s that completely unrelated segway into the review that I ordered!

… “2 day shipping” my hairy ebon ass.

Though you wouldn’t know it by the lack of reviews on the site, I’m a long time fan of Charles Band’s Puppet Master series. Well, the first three movies. The latter NINE, not so much. Once the quality started its supersonic descent into crap movie hell with the 4th installment, my interests waned just as quickly, ultimately petering out when The SciFi Channel’s “Originals” line of TV movies vomited Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys directly into my eyes and turned me off of killer puppet flicks like a germaphobe at a GG Allin show. Even when Band tried to jumpstart the series again 6 years later by taking the aggro action figures back to their Nazi killing ways with a new “Axis Trilogy” project, I couldn’t even be bothered to download a pirated copy of the first flick for fear that a viewing would result in time better spent trying to castrate a badger or just crotching myself repeatedly on a cemetery gate. Even the return of director David DeCoteau was too little too late, and this was before he emotionally abused me with 1313: Bigfoot Island!

The Littlest Reich is Band’s attempt at rebooting the series after 29 years of quantity-over-quality lore building, Band-wagoning (*wink*wink*) on Hollywood’s 21st century fascination with trying to re-animate the corpses of deceased horror franchises in the hopes of hoovering whatever loose change is left in the pockets of their pre-installed fanbases. The only good thing about this is that Andre Toulon’s troupe of tiny terrorizers never had a wide enough fandom to catch the predatory eye of Michael Bay and his perpetual trash fire factory, Platinum Dunes. However, can the writer of the much-loved indie movie Bone Tomahawk and a pair of potential pervaded (though not yet fully proven) horror directors give new legs to a series that’s been dragging its decroded piece of crap carcass through the direct-to-video wasteland?Shit, I’ll be happy if I can get through it in one sitting without falling asleep or questioning the further validity of my existence. Mr. Zulu….engage.


(Yeah, this dude gets it.)

The opening introduces us to this alternate dimension’s Andre Toulon (Udo Kier!), whose oddly swollen head means the stems of his eyeglasses don’t have room to fit behind his ears and just sit tilted along his temples instead. Or maybe that’s just how Nazis wear their spectacles in this Twilight Zone episode. Oh, did I not mention that part? Yeah, in this reality, rather than being a one-man resistance army against the Third Reich, the half-French half-German Andre actually worked FOR the goose-stepping blitzkriegers. And what’s the worst way you can use a miniature death squad from Hitler’s side of WW2? Rooting out the hidden targets of your racist “Make Germany Great Again” campaign and slaughtering any and every Jew, Gypsy, black, homosexual, and so forth that they find. He was basically a more hands-on Hans Landa. I’m guessing Anne Frank’s diary didn’t get many entries in this darkest of timelines…

When we catch up to bringer of diminutive death, it’s 1989 and he’s successfully hidden himself in Texas, the self-proclaimed craddle of ‘Merica no less, for 40+ years. Andre 3000 (probably a fair assessment of his kids’ killcount) lives amid the citizens of Pottsville and we catch up to him as he imbibes in some seeming socializing at a local bar, where his not-great attempts to pick up the female bartender send him home in a huff. Unlike 90% of heterosexual men, Toulon is disgusted when the ‘tender’s tender lady lover explicitly illustrates to the old man that this be-breasted drink slinger’s pants are a “Cowgirls Only” zone. Openly lesbianic gals deep in the hateful heart of 1980s Texas?! If it weren’t for Andre’s fatal retaliation, these two probably would’ve ended up on the receiving end of a Boys Don’t Cry from some sobriety challenged, mouth breathing “good ol’ boys” before too long, so… at least being killed by a grown man’s gore hungry toys is quick and devoid of sexual assault.

Yep, a quick death is pretty much the best case scenario when you’re a non-conservative in the Lone Star Shame.

In an unexplained turn of events, the local law enforcers know Toulon is to blame for the lesbians’ roadside induction into the choir invisible (the tiny bloody footprints, perhaps?) and storm his mansion, shooting him dead in his foyer with a hail of gunfire that later lacks sense with one officers report that they actually executed him in his basement workshop, where he was put down for pointing a gun at them. Given what the recent years of body cams, dashboard videos, and civilian recordings have shown us though, the chances of the official report on the incident being plastered with more horse shit than Hercules (“Heracles” if you’re nasty/Roman) flushed from the Augean Stables is almost a money back guarantee*.

*Some exclusions apply.

Time warping to “Present Day (2018 for us) in the Dallas of Texas, we’re introduced to our protagonist: Edgar Easton (Thomas “Don’t call me ‘John’” Lennon!). Recently divorced from his wife, the comic book writer-illustrator-shop employee is forced to move in with his parents until he can establish a financially viable domicile to call his own. Like most moms, Mrs. Easton is happy to have her little (middle-aged) boy back under her roof, while Mr. Eastman, like most dads, will be using his son as a personal punching bag for his retired old policeman spite and general Republican bitterness. Things look up for the downtrodden graduate from the comic geek old school though, when he gets into an almost immediate romantic bodily fluids exchanging relationship with local lass Ashley Summers (Jenny Pellicer), whose brother he knew during their school days. She works at a record store, takes her cat (and its corpse paint like facial markings) for leashed walks, and when Eddie vocalizes his disdain for hipsters, you’d think their pelvises had suddenly become magnetized by oppositely charged electrons.

If you’re a member of ICP, I suggest Googling that last bit.

Years before this, Edgar’s brother James passed away from an “accident” that nobody feels the need to elaborate on. Amid the deceased sibling’s belongings, Ed finds a very morbid looking puppet he found during summer camp years ago and that would’ve given ’90s Todd McFarlane a hard-on.

If you didn’t collect action figures based on horror movie villains and monsters 25 years ago, I suggest Googling that last bit.

Rather than hold onto the twisted piece of wooden evil for old times sake, Ed opts to sell it instead at a convention in Pottsville commemorating/celebrating the 30th anniversary of the grisly puppet master’s death…except whoever organized it can’t fucking count because 2018 minus 1989 is TWENTY-NINE. Welcome to alternate universe Trump’s America, folks. Anyway, Ed, Ash, and Ed’s friend/boss Markowitz (he seemingly only has one name, like Prince or Cher) road trip to KillerCon, where they learn the legacy of Hitler’s personal toymaker during a tour of the evil bastard’s mansion slash Nazi memorabilia museum, as hosted by retired police officer Carol Doreski (Barbara Crampton!) who was one of the trigger pullers that took down the monster. She’s the aforementioned cop that needlessly changes the story about finding Toulon in the basement.

I’m starting to feel like these “fuck-ups” are intentional attempts by Bone Tomahawk guy to bait nit-pickers as part of some trolling fetish he has.

With an estimated SIXTY-THREE of Toulon’s terrors due to reunite at the convention (he was apparently quite the successful mail-order creature carver in his day), this isn’t a question of if shit will be hitting the fan, but when. And the answer is a resounding “sooner than later”. Fortunately, for fellow gore whores and lovers of practical carnage effects, the deaths are graphic and numerous, with no less than (but probably more than) 20 bloody instances of puppetine peril! I definitely don’t suggest that pregnant women, children, or people with particularly delicate constitutions buy a ticket for this ride, cuz once the safety rail comes down it’s NO REFUNDS!

Littlest Reich does so much right as a reboot movie that the cluster-fuckery of its final act hits me in the life pump harder than a Porky Pete’s Triple-Thick Double Bypass Animal Farm Stacker Surprise with Jumbo Cheese-pocalypse Fried Bacon Rings. Without spoiling this “fresh out of the fryer” feature, I’ll just say that the finale feels confused, rushed, and needs to be flushed. Where as most movies are content with one, maybe two twists, Littlest Reich won’t be happy unless it makes Dee Snider eating a party-size bag of Rold Gold on a roller coaster look straighter than Sweeney Todd’s straight razor. If that outburst of metaphors and similes doesn’t impress upon you how unnecessarily throw together this finish is, than my resultant bout of Vertigo was all for naught.

In my last review, The Quiet Ones too was thrown down a spiral staircase for a 20 minute tumble by its own writers, but those twists and turns and twirls galore carried with them some a road map of revelations explaining how we got there. S. Craig Zahler bukakkes us with loose threads only to pull an Elaine Benes by filling in the gaps with “yadda yadda yadda” that only makes things more muddied! Also, he does so while doing that fucking weird “ghosts have taken residence in my bone marrow” dance she did in that one episode. Clearly a sadist.

Frustrating finishes aside, I applaud this new installment of Puppet Master lore for much more. The looming threat of entire legions of Herr Toulon’s little monsters is enticing. Though some of their styles overlap, the new evil redesigns do the trick. As much as it disappoints that they lack much of the individual charm and character of the originals, as a death squad of murderous miniature racist scum fodder doomed for deletion in Hel’s Obsolete Products Department, they fit the loathsome antagonist bill like Nazis should. And the manipulations of the puppeteers giving them life behind-the-scenes is impressive. It’s still not the return to stop motion magic that lured me into the influences of the original series’ first trio of entries, but it’s a Superman leap (over a tall building in a single bound) beyond poor man’s Punch & Judy stuff we’ve been forced to all too much to endure for more than two decades. Kudos to the crew and here’s to the hopes that you’ll return for a follow-up.

Now, to the less novelty based members of the cast. I’ve been a mark for Thomas Lennon and the rest of his friends from ”The State” since it originally aired on MTV in the golden days of ”Liquid Television”, ”The Brothers Grunt” and ”Oddities”. Seeing him take a more serious, well, reserved role like Edgar is interesting. In a good way. I was expecting his usual comedic act to come out and goof the flick up too much, but the introverted divorcee forced to shack up again in the bedroom of his childhood is just as far from Lieutenant Dangle of the Reno PD as he should be. Though he still gets plenty of funny lines, they’re delivered with the fitting deadpan sarcasm of a bemused Gen-Xer instead of the in-on-the-joke flamboyance of his usual characters. Though he’s busy enough with producing, writing, directing, and all of that other creative chicanery, I’d like to see Mr. Lennon stretch his legs with some similarly non-clowning roles.

The other two big portions of the acting pie, Jenny Pellicer and Nelson Franklin, too do their parts proud. As Ashley, Pellicer is sunny as her character’s last name suggests without going to revolting lengths. She’s a charmer, she and Edgar compliment each other perfectly, her chemistry with Lennon feels real for a pair of newly involved romantic interests, and she’s a perfect foil for the pessimistic Markowitz without, again, taking it to irritating sitcom lengths. It also doesn’t hurt that she gives me good vibrations of a Kristen Wiig variety, and I get hot over women who wear chokers…

Temping down any arousal I just experienced, Franklin’s Markowitz is a nauseating reminder of a comic book store owner I actually worked for. He’s a snide know-it-all prick who thinks he has the answer for everything and any opinion that’s not his is ill-informed, its owner a feckless plebian. Unlike my former employer though, Marko embraces his Jewish heritage once he finds out that their enemies are agents of the Final Solution, and even gets in an act of ancestral reprisal on one of the Fuhrer’s playthings as he introduces it a natural gas powered tanning booth. The something from that oven’s got nothing to do with lovin’!

Of the remaining members of this “and the rest” cast, Udo is serviceably sinister as the newly revolting rendering of Andre Toulon (though sadly lacking in screen time), Skeeta Jenkins and Alex Beh make the most of their ancellary characters Cuddly Bear and the Crispen Glovery Howie respectively, while Barbara Crampton gets a very special mention from moi, the president of her unofficial one-god fan club! Never a slouch when it came to bucking the “damsel in distress” archetype in horror movies, in the 30 years since Re-Animator, BC (as the Evil Dead Bride and I like to call her) has only improved in her acting abilities. I don’t think she gets enough credit for her talent, given her resume in movies that we love though mainstream audiences may not, but she’s easily my favorite supporting cast member here. All my love, Miss Cramps. *mwah*

Before I finish lauding people, allow me to lob one final laud to legendary Italian horror composer Fabio Frizzi for bringing his special touch to Littlest Reich‘s soundtrack and giving Charles Band’s brother Richard’s original Puppet Master theme a tasty splash of his homemade spaghetti horror sauce for what I hope goes on to be a successful reboot.

Despite my middling rating, I still enjoy Littlest Reich. It’s a solid movie that horror-comedy fans and killer toy fetishists looking for a Saturday night popcorn/pizza/pierogie picture should prioritize on their pull list. And if you don’t like it? Well, opinions are opinions and just like at the Outback Steakhouse there are no rules, just right.

Oh, and, uhm, don’t try to cite said corporate motto as a legally binding call for in-restaurant anarchic behavior while visiting an Outback location. They have rules. Many rules. The breaking of which can lead to MOUNTAINS of legal action that the owners, employees, and customers will likely take against you. If you don’t believe me, just go to the restroom and check out the “Employees Must Wash Hands” plaques and see the facade of your Mad Max fantasies crumble in your hands like a sand dildo.

And on that dream shattering peak behind the curtain I bid you adieu, my marionettes of mayhem, and will see you next time on MIDNIGHT SHOCK-TIME HORROR THEATER! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

*cough*

Bye.

Moral of the Story: Avoid in-person auctions. Sticking to eBay may just save your life!

Screenshots_____


I see Udo’s been eating the crumbs at the bottom of the Oreos bag. Someone tell Mr. Kier that a “wet nap” isn’t just what happens when he falls asleep in his Sitz bath.


Store brand Anna Kendrick is displeased. Or concerned? Maybe gassy. I’m not really sure.


Matthias Hues, seen here contemplating his Ticket to Ride strategy for this week’s Tabletop Night.


“Why does this puppet have lips like Janice from the Muppet Band? Oh god… my brother was using this thing to house his fleshlight! GAH!”


That cat has natural corpse paint! Brutal.


“Lady, if you don’t want to see a stranger masturbating in their front seat, then don’t go peeking in parked cars. Now either give me a hand with this or kindly leave.”


Poor Elton. He’s the only puppet Toulon ever made with a desperate need for a comb over.


“Ed, you know not to interrupt me on ‘New Issue of Gigantic Asses Day’. Now go restock the tissues in my office. I’m going to need at least two boxes this month.”


The lady likes her comic geeks like she likes her hams: BONE-IN! Woooooo!


Hitler was definitely a monster, but if Toulon’s home is in any indicator, der fuhrer provided his employees with a hell of a severance package!


“No, I’m not Kristen Wiig or Kate McKenna, but if I give you a fake phone number will you go away?”


Barbara Crampton teaches the rest of the crew how to do the “2 Legit 2 Quit” salute.


Don’t you hate those awkward days when you get called to a violent shootout at work, only to realize that you left your gun at home?


Given the strength of his grill game, MC Kaiser here will be guesting on tracks with 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa before the end of the year.


“Ah yes, there’s your penis. Just as the mail order bride catalog advertised. Excellent.”


Featuring a special cameo by your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestler, David Starr!
(Whose crotch my face is unfortunately planted in for this screenshot.)


In the name of realism (while also avoiding risk of lawsuits), Marvel’s new Ghost Rider action figure requires buyers to provide their own hellfire.


“Damn it. We can’t watch the new episode of ‘Sailor Moon: Crystal’ because my mom and my ex are both using the Hulu account!”


Karl from Die Hard learns the messy side effects of snorting coke while also watching fan service anime.


“No! No! No! It’s a jump to the left and then a step to the right! The show starts in an hour and NONE of you have learned the Time Warp!”


“Und d-d-d-d-dat ist all, folks!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“Crazy Eldritch Asians”

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