Quickie 08 – Mom and Dad (2017)

or “The Midlife Crisis Massacre”

The new year means new resolutions, and if you’re like many others trying to assuage unwarranted guilt, you probably vowed to make an effort to spend more time with your family in 2019. Tonight’s twisted tale of torment and terror courtesy of Brian Taylor may convince you to abandon that aspiration sooner than later!

If you don’t recognize the moniker I won’t penalize you, but Taylor is one half of the pairing behind the “Crank” movies and has worked previously alongside Nicholas Cage on “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” which, despite the psychotic pedigrees present, went over about as well as that time my alcoholic uncle thought it would be funny to piss in my cousin’s NES. He wasn’t laughing the next morning when the video rental store made him pay up $60 to replace the Friday the 13th cartridge that was in it at the time. His membership card then got scissored harder than one of the new pledges at the Submission Sorority, so I hope you’ve all learned something from this.

“I used to think my parents getting divorced was the hugest tragedy of my life, but ironically, that shit doubled my chance of survival.”

Speaking of the evils that adults do, Mom and Dad is an extreme entry into the “kids vs. adults” horror sub-subgenre, sharing shelf space with classics like Parents and Rabid Grannies. Given that Taylor’s prior productions are about as disassociated from the term “subtle” as the English language will allow, spoilers aren’t exactly going to, you know, spoil anything as the synopsis will tell you all you need to know.

One perfectly perfect day (in every way), for no a-parent (PUN!) reason, a suburban community’s parental populace flips their fucking lids and begin violently assaulting their own offspring! To be fair, some instances aren’t assaults so much as they are cases of extreme negligence, but whatever the fatal means of abuse, these mothers and fathers have turned into Child Protective Services’ worst nightmare. It’s not unlike The Happening, except their suicides are of the extroverted kind! Savvy? Surely.

Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair play one such pair of parents, both struggling with their own mid-life crisis when they become overwhelmed by the sinister urge to join the progeny purge. It’s up to the couple’s daughter Carly (a 14-16yo whose tiny school uniform skirt gets REALLY uncomfortable to look at from certain camera angles *barf*) and footy-pajama-ed “why the Hel isn’t this kid in school?!” younger son Josh to either kill or be killed in the perfect “survival of the fittest” film for family movie night!

The Evil Dead Bride and I really enjoyed this movie. Cage’s manic bi-polar performance as a middle-aged man already on edge now pushed to utter psychotic break down is just what the man does perfectly, and the nearly deadpan performance by Blair’s wife-mother character plays off her manic mate magically. Taylor’s kinetic “music video” style rubs some the wrong way, but given the perilous pace the picture builds up to, it’s a style that fits the flick tonally. Lots of fun for childless anti-procreation types like ourselves!

Oh, and Robert Cunningham? Love that dude. If I had a daughter, I’d want her to date a guy like his character, Damon. I wish I’d been that cool and capable in high school, damn it.

Moral of the Story: The SAWZALL® saws all. It says it right there in the name!

Final Judgment:

Four Boxes of Plan B 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 07 – The Conjuring (2013)

or “The Amityville Jump Scare”

Well, if you’re reading this then you’re one of the survivors of the year that was 2018. It’s now a new calendar and with said calendar comes the annual attempt by people to shed aspects about themselves, or at least modify to improve their sense of self-worth. One extremely popular resolution people make is to exorcise more, so why not start off 2019 with one such topical movie!

And no, I did not resolve to make less idiotic puns, so go ahead and sandbag me! I like the sound of crickets! Shit, it’s my second most used sleep machine sound behind “chainsaws being plunged into cadavers”.

“Being haunted is like stepping in gum: sometimes you take it with you.”

As big a deal as The Conjuring has been since its release, I didn’t bother to put eyes to it until last year. I’ve always felt James Wan’s stuff was overhyped ad nauseam, especially when it came to Saw and Dead Silence. When you’ve got a vault of 2000+ movies you’ve yet to watch, you tend to let movies weighed down by pre-installed negative bias fall so far down the back burners that it ends up lost behind the stove. But, having recently cleaned out behind my stove, I figured why not drop an afternoon and throw together a Quickie. Open wide now, as I pour my frothy concoction down your throats like the hungry little bird babies you are!

Ed and Lorraine Warren are real-life, globally recognized, “paranormal investigators” whose spooky adventures have catalogued all manner of wacky supernatural happenstance that spits in the face of both god and science. They’re basically what you’d get if you combined scripts for ”Hart to Hart” and ”Friday the 13th: the Series” into a paper shredder and hired a tweaker on airplane glue to tape them back together. The Conjuring takes the tried-and-true Amityville formula and turns it on its head (or turns its head around like Regan MacNeil’s) by redirecting the focus from the story’s victims and instead making the ghost busters the main event. Though this seems like a modestly novel idea, it’s also how James Wan turns what would’ve been a one-off movie into an entire fucking franchise in today’s spin-off happy blockbuster culture that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hath wrought.

This particular tale adapted from the Warrens’ archives doesn’t take the easy route and attempt to carve its own simulacrum of the infamous Amityville house that spawned 40 years (and counting) of “everybody and their Uncle Fester” making their own in-name-only renditions of. Instead, we follow the couple (played by far more attractive movie counterparts, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) as they unfold an even earlier case, this one from the crumb in America’s beard – Rhode Island.

Oh wait, I’m sorry. Cue the Vincent Price voice; “Rhooooooooode Iiiiiiiiiiislaaaaaaaand!” **small burst of thunder** (Actually, that was my stomach. I haven’t eaten since the annual Lauren Bacall Bacchanal last week.)

Like any haunted house flick (I don’t care how many times they refer to it as “demonic possession”, by Osiris’ uni-brow, this is a haunted house movie!), it all starts with a family moving into their new home. The place is colder than a Republican’s heart and stinks of Satan’s unwashed tidy bowl, all of the clocks stop at 3:07 a.m., one of the kids finds an “ominous in an ‘inhabited by the soul of its previous owner’ way” music box, they uncover an “ominous in a ‘likely filled with Kandarian demons’ way” secret basement, and their movie issued family dog refuses to enter the sinister structure before winding up dead the very next day. Things only escalate when their own…personal…poltergeist levels up to jump scares and moderate physical abuse, terrifying them and prompting them to seek help. Who ya gonna call? Well, if you put 2 and 2 together, my money’s on 4.

Eddie and Quiche surmise that the catalyst of the chaos is a pissed off devil worshiper named Bathsheba. Seems that a century earlier, after her husband caught her sacrificing their week old daughter, declared Beelzebub to be her Valentine five-ever, then self-lynched in their backyard! People, this is why couples should live together for at least a year before getting married. Divorces are complicated enough without finding out your spouse has been cheating on you with the Christian embodiment of all sin.

WitchiePoo also hexed the entirety of their property (I guess demons function under local zoning laws?) so that any mothers who tried to live there would become her vessels through which she could sacrifice further children for Old Scratch. Her Cloutie’s Croft ended up subdivided, but several bizarre murders of children by their moms in the immediate area seemingly didn’t set off any alarm bells until the Warrens came along. Go figure. Anyway, fortunately for the Perrons, her hell-born powers and spooky special effects magic are no match for some first semester Latin, some holy hydration, a scalp massage from a medium, and mandatory maternal affection for their offspring. As Father Huey Lewis used to preach, the power of love triumphs over all. Technically, the Lord of Hell is ultimately undone by a literal day at the beach. Blart.

Despite its heaps of critical praise, the best I can say about The Conjuring is that it’s competently shot, well acted, and its special effects are up to par. On the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum, it’s also about 25 minutes too long and brings nothing new to the proverbial table. Throughout the movie, a demonically influenced dolly named Annabelle causes unrest for the Warrens’ warren and their young daughter (not the smartest idea to keep your collection of heretical curiosities in your fucking home!), conjuring little more than an obvious setup for the American Girl doll from Tophet’s toy box to get her inevitable spin-off. Her introduction in the prologue would’ve sufficed with a quick cameo in the end. SHE DIDN’T NEED HER OWN FUCKING SIDEBAR!

There are also numerous flashbacks to an exorcism gone bad that really fucked Mrs. Warren up that will probably end up as kindling for a prequel, so even without the benefit of IMDB and a 5 year head start, the sequel seeds being planted here are big enough for the rest of the movie to trip over.

But, hackneyed haunted house horror liberally peppered with generic jump scares a-plenty and lots of loud sounds and screaming can scare modern audiences to the tune of a $300 million box office, so what the fuck do I know?

Moral of the Story: Paranormal investigators make the best realtors! Unless of course you’re looking for a place around Salem’s Lot. They don’t believe in vampires.

Final Judgment:

Three Perfectly Adequate Realty Signs 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 06 – Puppet Master: Blitzkrieg Massacre (2018)

or “This One Time, At Band Kampf…”

In honor(?) of Charles Band’s birthday (Dec. 27th), I thought there was no better way to celebrate than shed my lead-lined protective suit and expose myself directly to the fatal radiation of his latest (and, likely, lowest) attempt at monetizing his longest running franchise. How long? Not counting the alternate universe kickstart that also released this year, The Littlest Reich, nor the glass canon (see what I did there?) SciFi Channel Original Vs. Demonic Toys, the story of Band’s murderous marionettes has written its 11th chapter as of last calendar’s Axis Termination, catching up to the 11 volumes of lore attributed to the Jason Voorhees legacy (also not including its related reboot). You’d think the puppets would’ve reached that milestone much sooner, given Band’s personal experiences with “Chapter 11”s…

”You trying to trick me?!”

Did you know that aluminum is a “sustainable metal”? It can be recycled infinitely without any loss of material! While Charles Band is known for recycling certain pieces of footage between flicks, it looks like he’s pushing for Puppet Master to be the first “sustainable movie franchise”. Blitzkrieg Massacre is not an actual movie, rather it’s the first installment of Full Moon’s latest dedication to CB’s apparent “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” fetish: Bunker of Blood. And just what in the name of Sutek’s sweat socks is that?!

BoB is a series of thematically assembled movie clip compilations scavenged from Full Moon’s back catalogue, introduced via static illustrations and narrative voiceover that see a nameless wanderer compelled to traverse a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The mysterious force behind this urging resides in a bunker with decayed corpses stacked upon its doorstep, much like the newspapers do when your neighbor goes on vacation to one of those orgy cruises. No-name enters the bunker, where a sinister presence edge lord-ing itself up the moniker of “The Gore Collector” commands the man to have a seat and watch one of Gorey’s horded wealth of… VHS tapes.

Yep. If you thought that the media of the future was going to be preserved in a digital format on massive server banks, you lose the office pool. Turns out the format of the future is fragile, decaying strips of mylar encased in bulky polypropylene bricks. Go figure.

And for the next hour, we’re “treated” to a constant piss stream of killing scenes. Not just the money shots, but actual scene bits that give us zero context and make little-to-no sense for anyone who hasn’t seen every movie! I…don’t…what…but… WHO THE FUCK IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR!? Even for gorewhore types, the PM movies aren’t exactly known for their graphic or impressive death scenes! How many times can we watch Blade randomly slashing someone’s face, Tunneler perforating another leg, or Leech Woman spitting slugs into somebody’s mouth? It’s not even strictly puppet kills at that! There are several scenes of those stupid little totem demons from parts 4 & 5 killing people (i.e. actors rolling around while clutching them and screaming) and one where a woman with syringes on her fingertips stabs a guy in the chest.

While I’m thinking about it, did none of the little ankle slicers in Retro Puppet Master kill anyone, or has Greg Sestero finally made enough money to have an injunction placed against Band reusing any footage from it ever again? Why am I even wasting time trying to suss the logic behind this…I can’t even call it a movie! This makes Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 look like an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay in comparison!

Once the final clip ends (Kraus’s execution from PM3), there’s a hint of a storyline for our comic book intro as the blood bunker of bloody blood’s viewer/victim’s body starts to twist and mutate into a monstrous mass of mangled limbs and tumorous masses. Goresworth Von Collectorschmidt drops clues about a hospital the amnesiac man-turned-monstrocity apparently escaped from, as well as knowledge of an uncanny ability Nameless supposedly possesses that allows him to withstand incredible pain. Though, in this case, “incredible pain” translates into “60 minutes of boredom”, so in that regard I guess that would make me a gods-damned Achilles.

The disembodied voice also reveals its plot to groom this humanoid horror as a successor, becoming the new Gore Collector. He (and we) are finally threatened with the next chapter of BoB; “Deadly Dolls – Deepest Cuts”. As much as it pains me to admit it, I will be watching it, because I want to see just how far retard Band’s clan plans on going with this particular bullshit caravan.

Obviously influenced by the EC Comics horror anthology monthlies of the ’50s, the only thing of interest from this entire effort (or effart, as it is) is the bookend in-animation segments. Had the creative types behind these segments gone further with the concept, refitting the clips into some semblance of a narrative, it may actually have been a half-way decent attempt at a cash grab. That said, Full Moon also should have gone full-in (**rimshot**) on the “vault of videotapes” gimmick and released the Bunker of Blood chapters exclusively on red VHS cassette tapes with bootleg looking labels on them and oversize “Wizard Video” era boxes. Have Band himself sign them, sell ’em for $10 a pop, and you’ve got a b-movie collector’s wet dream!

Would’ve been a ton of tits better than the fifteen-fucking-dollar DVDs they’re actually released on! Yep. $15. For 60 minutes of regurgitated footage. ON DVD. And the digital version? $8. FOR A PIECE OF SHIT CLIP SHOW! I’m going to rupture a literal fissure in my Fissure of Rolando if I have to talk anymore about this emotional kidney stone. END!

Moral of the Story: The old saying goes, “drive it until the wheels fall off”. Charles Band asks you to hold his beer while he Gorilla Glues the wheels back on, then proceeds to “drive it” another 100 miles. He has officially out Corman’d Roger Corman at this point.

Final Judgment:

One Big Turd (Played On a 60 Minute Loop)

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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 05 – Black Christmas (2006)

or “That Yellow Bastard (and His Yellow Bastard)”

We started off the season with a bloody good Red Christmas, and now we end it in a grimy puddle of Black Christmas.

I’m not a fan of the original 1974 Black Christmas and don’t really care if it’s “the genesis of slasher movies”. I didn’t enjoy it the solitary time I watched it, and though I should probably give it another viewing as it’s been about 20 years since I did, I probably won’t. Time is money and some asshole tossed my pocket watch out of a window because he wanted to see time fly…

Don’t waste your time sending me hate mail, because I just feed it all unseen to Amut. Anyway, as was the style at the time of the early 2000s, remakes for slasher movie staples were being regurgitated in waves, so it’s of zero surprise that the prototype for the genre was going to be dragged into the undertow. If you’re like me and managed to evade watching it for the last 12 years, allow this potluck of spoilers to sate whatever curious hunger you have and save you the time better spent learning to play the harpsichord. Consider it my Cthulhumas gift to you.


“Santa’s not coming for you. He was shot down by the Russians.”

Rather than relate the events of the feature to you in the chronology they’re presented, I’m going to makes things much easier and throw the backstory at you all at once rather than peppered in via “frequent flashbacks” mode. Here goes – Billy Lenz had the kind of upbringing that would turn any cherub-faced ragamuffin into the type of psycho killer (Qu’est-ce que c’est!) that would cure even G.G. Allin of the worst case of constipation (aka the “Wisconsin Death Trip”, caused by eating a cheese wheel the size of a tractor tire). Born in 1970 with a permanent jaundice (my own was fortunately temporary), the lad’s skin took a yellow tone that made him look like he’d been grown in a test tube full of liquid waste from some frat boy on the “Monster and Miller” diet.

While his dad still loved him, Billy’s mom was about as warm as Joan Collins, treating her son like a case of crotch rot. As if being raised in Dickensian conditions weren’t traumatizing enough, Christmas Eve ’75 was where things took a dizzying downward spiral for Billy from which he’d never recover: when Mom and her extracurricular lover killed dear Dad! When he’s caught sneaky-peekying the pair as they Gacy their victim’s remains, Mom chases him into the attic and locks him up there… permanently!

After 5 years of getting the Hugo Simpsons treatment (no word on what type of fish heads he was fed), the now 10 year-old receives his first expression of affection from his frigid mother when, following an unsuccessful drunken screw with her passed out partner, she creeps into the boy’s sanctuary and proceeds to rape him. Albeit needless nastiness likely included for the sake of shock value, the scene is shot in such a disgusting, depressing, predatory atmosphere that it genuinely reaches down my throat and punches my stomach from the inside just thinking about it. Congrats to writer-director Glen Morgan for reminding me that I’m NOT completely inured to the horrible lengths humans are capable of. Now, pardon me while I tamp my vomit.

The (presumably) solitary forced solicitation results in the beast being fertilized, leading to the eventual harvest of Billy’s sister-daughter (daughster) Agnes. Despite also carrying the family “piss skin” gene, mother dearest shows Agnes the love she never had for Billy (better than the “love” she did show him *barf*), until Christmas Eve some years later when Billy finally snaps. Killing both Mom and his stepdad, then eating one of Agnes’s eyeballs, Old Yeller proceeded to make Christmas cookies from his mom’s back skin (damn, those cutters really do cut!) while awaiting the arrival of the cops. Put away in a mental asylum for 20 or so years, the son of suburban Lilith finally escapes his confinement and makes a beeline to his childhood hellhole. Blame the egg nog if you like, but I have a feeling this isn’t going to go well for the sorority sisters currently occupying the abode.

In an effort to further differentiate this remake from its source material, much of the slasher fodder are saddled with suspicious character contrivances to plant seeds of doubt in the viewers’ minds about who the mystery killer among them really is. Not only does the sheer number of these false leads get incredibly convoluted, they also lead to ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOWHERE, because the killer living in the crawlspaces this whole time is just Agnes! She’s then joined by her fugitive brather in a family reunion body count that, impressive it may be, ultimately left me overwhelmingly unfulfilled….

Made all the worse by the tacking on of an entirely extraneous epilogue sequence that not only blows out my logic chip (what coroner doesn’t check to make sure a crime scene’s bodies are DEAD before bagging them up for the morgue?!), but feels suspiciously like an homage to Halloween II, leaving me with, to put it kindly, “mixed feelings”. Sure, we get to see a pair of defib pads used to fry someone’s brain and another person decorating Vlad Tepes’ Christmas tree, but we had a perfectly good ending with daughster and brather being burned alive in the house that the movie chose to ignore.

Aside from a few moments of legitimate laugh-out-loud-itude (including the circumstances of Andrea Martin’s Mrs. Mac’s sudden death) and the occasion jolly moment of set piece gore, Black Christmas is another pointless production that never needed to happen. Sure, its modest budget of 9 million returned 21 million at the box office, but here we are, 12 years later, with a movie most have forgotten and those who remember tend to spit on the ground after saying its name. It’s not just a piece of coal Santa leaves in your stocking, it’s a steaming pile of Donner dump that you have to scale the roof to dispose of before your whole house is left reeking of reindeer refuse. Just another addition to the wreath of remake wretch. Happy fucking holidays, folks.

Moral of the Story: Don’t give dangerously psychotic people candy canes! Even 5 year-olds know those things are just refreshing, sugary shivs waiting to be jammed into somebody’s tender vittles!

Final Judgment:

One-and-a-Half Red Herrings 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 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.

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.