Featuring: James “Black Milk” Johnston , Eliza “Boudica Bites Back” Russell , Marie Findley
Writer & Director: Ken “Tommy” Russell
Also Known As: The Fall of the Louse of Usher: a Gothic Tale for the 21st Century ; Ken Russell’s The Fall of the Louse of Usher
Guten tag, schmutz-kinder! Today marks the annual event known to wrestling fans as Wrestlemania. On a larf, I thought it would be fun to do a roundtable of reviews for Ken Russell movies. What does Ken Russell have to do with professional wrestling? Nothing. At least not that I know of. No, the theme for this gathering exists for no other reason than because it lends itself to the ‘table’s puntacular title!
Yep. That's the kinda shit I do. And thanks to my fellow cinemasochists for taking this journey with me! Though never a big Ken Russell fan, I have seen a few of his better known flicks. I thought Altered States was a fun acid trip through pseudo scientific madness, Tommy was an enjoyably dark and unique musical experience, and Lair of the White Worm is still one of my favorite flicks to come out of the UK and the definite catalyst for my bizarre attraction to serpentine women who want to eat me alive. Despite the creep-ass little goblin from the cover of the Gothic VHS being burned into my memory from childhood, I never got around to renting it. From what Ragnarok has to say in his review, it sounds like I didn’t miss much. Too bad that copy of The Devils I sent him was rerouted back to me via USPS, otherwise he could’ve reviewed that instead. Stupid lack of proper postage!
Before I get started, I’m throwing out the disclaimer that this review is going to be a rush job, so apologies if it lacks the polish (or Polish) of other episodes. I’ve been entangled on the battlefield of the mind in a war with the Overfiend for possession of my soul and just recently managed to lock the beast away in the Crystal of Zoloft, putting me at odds with my own predetermined due date. As such, I’ve filled my gut tank with several cans of Tear Ass energy drink from Dollar Embargo to give me the fuel I need and, as an odd side effect, the ability to taste color! I can confirm that, yes, purple is indeed a fruit. The only flavor they had on-shelf was the nebulous “Citrus X”. Unlike Chemical X, which turns inanimate objects into Powerpuffs, the only thing Citrus X transforms is the odor of your urine. My piss bucket smells like it’s full of orange peels swimming in battery acid. I’m not 100% sure my kidneys aren’t going to explode by the time we get to the moral of this story. Oh well. Sallying forthwith!
In the twilight of his career, Kenny Russell wasn’t much for movie making. He stuck with weird short subject shit for the most part, while my pick for this Celluloid Zeroes collaboration is the final feature length flick the freaky fiend filmed before punching his ticket to the Underworld in 2011. And when I say “filmed”, I don’t mean it literally, because The Fall of the Louse of Usher was shot entirely via camcorder!
Yes indeed my flowers and weeds, the technology your parents used to have to rely on when they wanted to make their own sex tapes (back when they were actual tapes) is the medium through which Uncle Ken chose to tell this backyard gothic rock opera of his. And I gotta say, upon discovering this, my immediate concerns were that I had been bamboozled and this wasn’t the same Ken Russell I was looking for. Learning that its legitimacy is legitimate however, I felt like I was watching home movies of someone’s grandpa in the final days of a fatal cancer diagnosis. Without mincing words, you just can’t shake that awful feeling of pity for seeing someone brought so low. Even if just done as a simple pet project to have fun with his friends and neighbors (which it was), it still feels so beneath what the man had done with his prestigious (or at least semi-prestigious) career that it’s… well… pathetic. If they’d kept it as a private joke to share with each other and bring out for summer barbecue viewings, that’d be one thing. But to put it out on a DVD and demand people pay to see it? By Roger Daltrey’s tasseled togs, are you fucking yankin’ my crank?! Clearly not, otherwise I’d have nothing to rag on here! Well, aside from the extension cord I use for a belt.
Roger Daltrey – Innovator of the “glue huge strands of cooked spaghetti to your sleeves” look.
Okay, enough puttin' off the lovin'. Let's rinse off our genitals, put on my Lou Bega mixtape of bone medleys, and bang this bitch out like Sean Michaels (the porn actor, not the wrestler)! Let's just hope we don't let loose any two-cheek squeaks (or squeakquels) while we're at it.
The setting for our story in simply “Orange County, USA” according to our opening. Okay, so is it the Orange County with the arguing family of motorcycle builders, the one with Mischa Barton, or one of the half-dozen other fucking Orange Counties in the damn country!? Though it’s later revealed that our setting is the West Coast edition, that tiny tidbit of info would’ve been nice to know beforehand. As Baphomet would say, “Bah”.
Roderick Usher (James Johnston, who doubles as the movie’s composer) is a goth rock musician 20 years behind the curve. Lead guitarist and singer/whiner (and occasional whisper rapper) of a heretofore unnamed band (might I suggest “The Poegues”?), he’s arrested for the suspected murder of his wife/maracas player, Annabelle Lee (Emma Millions), to whom everyone likes to attach the preface descriptor of “Sweet”. Not so sweet when she’s found walled up in the Usher house with half her face missing and her pet mini-pincher chewing through her guts! Since her rocker widower is clearly off his rocker at the time of his capture, barely coherent and ranting about his innocence, rather than going to prison Roddy’s instead carted off to the local loony bin. Here he’s put under the care of the demented Dr. Calahari (Ken Russell) and his sex bomb assistant, Nurse ABC Smith (Marie Findley).
Not a good sign of things to come… pun intended.
Not just another bimbo in a medical fetish costume, ABC (Already Been Chewed?) is one of those wonderfully empowered ladies who uses her sexuality to manipulate others into getting what she wants, the endgame of which is often something fatal for those seduced by her charms. Also, as everyone is keen to point out, “She’s a great piece of ass”. Pretty much what you’d expect from a Russell girl.
They’re similar to “Bond girls”, only way more likely to be emotionally damaged and way more likely to have some manner of underlying disfigurement that will make you paranoid of any woman who hits on you during last call. Not unlike how Basket Case taught women to never talk up any guy at a bar carrying a picnic basket.
Russell's oddball headshrinker has a penchant for wearing a variety of headpieces, which may or may not be the writer/director/producer/editor/cinematographer/actor's unsubtle pun to the audience that he himself is a “man of many hats”. Or, it could just be a sign that he had a bunch of goofy hats lying around in his home prop box that he thought would make for a running gag funny only to him. Either or. Said fetishizer of up top props also puts on a “hard to pinpoint but I'm pretty confident it's meant to be German because ABC keeps referring to him as 'Herr doktor'” accent that sounds exactly like the frantic urine lab doctor from the English dub of Dominion: Tank Police. And if you don’t know what that is, your life is a little less happy than it should be. Fix that. Soon. Or be forever denied existence as a complete person. Tank Police. Feel the power that we’ve got. We’ll give it our best shot.
No sooner is Rod tossed into his new cell then he starts in on the standard issue sexually deviant hallucinations that every lead of a Ken Russell movie suffers from. In this case, our hero envisions an orgy of blow up dolls that includes an inflatable dinosaur for added “Da fuq?!” factor. As he writhes, physically in his straight jacket and emotionally in his madness, ABC looks on intrigued. Speaking of our Nightingale on Elm Street, her role at the hospital is seemingly as Calahari’s personal caretaker more so than as his assistant. Much of their screen time together is spent with ABC feeding him, cleaning out his ears, and constantly checking the old fart’s vitals while they discuss the Usher case. Mayhaps the demented doc is a hypochondriac and needs frequent reassurance that he’s in stable health? Could it be that he’s due for a mandatory physical by the Department of Health? Then again, it may just be a thinly-veiled metaphor about how nurses tend to do all the work as doctors sit around getting fat off their fancy college degrees and trying their best to distinguish between a patient’s sphincter and a hole in the ground… which should probably raise some concerns from everyone given that doctors’ offices generally don’t include holes in their floors.
While DC and ABC try to unravel the mystery of Annabelle’s death (and whether it has anything to do with Roderick’s sister/violinist Madeline Usher [Ken’s wife Eliza Russell]) With a bona fide celebrity in their midst, Cal wants ‘Rick to perform for the institution’s patients-and-staff mixer, leaving it up to ABC to do the convincing. When her lusty demeanor isn’t enough to persuade the disturbed music maker, she confines him to a makeshift torture bed (that looks to be a beach chair with a blanket tossed over it) as a swinging pendulum butcher knife gradually descends back and forth above his pelvis. Though the protag laughs off her threat, citing an erectile deficiency, he’s not so sure of himself when XYZ reveals that she gave him Viagra. At the mere mention of her boner juice roofie job, Lil’ Rod (sounds like a personal problem) springs to life and Mr. Usher gives in to his caretaker’s demands. Good thing my doc’s accompanying CRN isn’t that hardcore. Being the world’s worst diabetic, she’d have had me paying dues to the Eunuchs Union Local 37 before you could say “THIS IS A MEDICAL EXAMINATION! STOP EATING THAT CHEESECAKE!”.
During the crazy people social soiree, Roderick is encouraged by Dr. C to get every available appendage he can up Nurse Smith’s very short uniform skirt. Hey, getting turned down by trim doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your fellow phallus holder to have a try! Bro code… or some horseshit. Anyway, Mr. Usher is then accosted by a pair of his fellow inmates that are heavy on a hippie astrology kick, asking him if he’s into “Ass-trology”, which I assure you that I certainly am. They allude to Miss ABC’s past interactions with a group called “The West Side Boys” which, from their intonations, presumably refers to some fucked up tribulations. More specifically, the ones spelled G-A-N-G-R-A-P-E.
No, not “gan grape” you nards! I meant “gang rape”. She had her flower forcibly plucked by a vulgar group of ne’er-do-wells with more testosterone than social grace. At least as far as I can infer. The later reveal that her entire erotic demeanor is made up of literal artificial bits and pieces (including that “great piece of ass!”) to disguise whatever shapeless horror she really is, postulates clearly that her outer self is a deceptive shell to hide the fragile truth beneath. Some obvious symbolism for Uncle Ken to waterboard us with. It’s an interesting visual representation, but is smashed so hard into our faces that it’s like being talked down to by a tech support rep that makes you wanna reach through the phone and elbow them in the throat.
I don’t do great with “message movies”. Unless they involve people getting run over en masse.
While Nursey Poo and The Rod explore their blossoming relationship, Dr. C uses the astrologist gals (one of whom is your typical old gypsy lady, while the other is a minstrel mummy… let that sink in) in an effort to Ouija up the soul of the slain Annabelle Lee and get the story of her demise straight from the victim’s protoplasmic mouth. Unable to establish a direct connection to the lass, they do manage to summon OSIRIS(!!!) instead, who speaks to them through the sacred vessel of… a Big Mouth Billy Bass.
Okay. This part got me. A surprise kidney punch of happiness I wasn't prepared for that left me on the floor with upturned lips ever so slightly trembling. This leads to a riddle that leads to a vibrating slinky version of those “weasel chasing a ball” toys that finally leads to the gypsy character divining that the question to the answer “The reveal of Annabelle Lee's true killer” is “What's the secret of her bones?”. Man, trying to force gags into a ‘Jeopardy!’ shaped mold requires mental gymnastics that my caffeine fueled cortex can’t fucking handle right now. This leads to Calahari sending his masked henchman Igor to retrieve Ann’s pearlies from her gravesite.
Taking a break from all story progress, Dr. Cal takes a scenic route scene to gloat to Roderick about his prized experiment – having hypnotized (via several props acquired from a Spencer’s Gifts clearance sale) a previous patient/guinea pig named Ernest Valdemar (Peter Mastin) in the midst of the man’s death throes, allowing Ernie’s mind to continue living indefinitely and communicating through a voice amplification box despite the death of the rest of his body… except for the part about how his jaw and eyes are still functional, and the other part about how THE BRAIN CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT BLOOD FLOW OR OXYGEN. Unfortunately, despite Mr. V’s predicament being an interesting piece about a person buried alive in the grave of his own corpse for 7 months, this bit of sidetrack has zilch to do with Rod’s tale and only serves as a *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* to EAP readers that reeks of time filler.
Sick Destro cosplay, bro!
Speaking of filler, the next segment takes the same theme, makes like a looter with a new TV and runs with it. Calahari has a therapy session with a woman hidden behind a mask who has some weird psycho-sexual fear of garden gnomes. Through his mania-delving analysis, the doc helps her realize she's actually famed femme fatale female wrestler, Beulah Von Birmingham (Sandra Scott)! Her revelation is interrupted when a masked prostitute named Mary (Mrs. Russell again) inserts herself into the scenario, declaring herself a birthday present to Roderick from his big sister… while ironically being played by the same woman who plays his big sister. Beulah recognizes her as one of her wrestling rivals though, and the pair have a no holds barred hardcore brawl for supremacy! It degrades into the two just dry humping each other before the silliness subsides prematurely with the pair escaping over a wall via convenient step ladder, to the chagrin of Calahari who planned to imprison the pair in his crazy house. Again, fun random bit of wackiness, but also again, entirely disconnected from having anything to do with advancing the damn story!
Wait a sec… Whoa. That’s a bit weird, isn’t it? I establish this review on the basis of its creator’s surname being a pun on the word “wrestle”, and ultimately there’s a scene of female wrestlers doing just that. The hypothesis of my subconscious being an astral projected time traveler while I sleep gains more and more traction. Nanoo fucking nannoo.
When Igor returns with the disinterred dentures of a dozen or so Ushers buried in the same boneyard (or, purchased from a gumball machine outside the corner deli as the case more likely is), Annabelle’s rise from the collection and hint at Poe’s short story ‘The Murders at the Rue Morgue’ as being the key to unlocking what really happened to her. Cal deciphers this as meaning Rod’s wife was actually murdered by a gorilla, but before he can question this logic further he’s called away to Valdemar’s room, where his pet zombie finally gives up the ghost. As if that weren’t enough to upset the bloated old goat, the institute’s previous staff, which the doctor had apparently imprisoned in the asylum’s basement for challenging his “revolutionary methods”, have somehow escaped (or at least the two members we’re ever privy to) and are wilding throughout the building in pursuit of revenge! Less the “pee in the communal coffee pot at work” type and more the “Carrie White on prom night” version.
Roddy, herr doktor, the old gypsy (now wearing a tea cozy on her head) and the blackface mummy lady escape the hospital with all limbs intact, returning to the Usher Estate. Once there, ‘Ricky discovers beloved sister Madeline dead at her own hand on what looks to be a teenage girl’s bed, amid some topless statues in the yard. Seems the “fake news” media reported that her brother had died in the sanitarium riot and the resultant grief with which she was overtaken pushed her to Romeo & Juliet herself, leaving behind a recorded confession (played for them by a crimson faced gorilla) that she was the one who prematurely punched Sweet Annabelle Lee’s mortality ticket! In the thralls of his own heartbreak, little brother Usher demands Death take him too, to which Dr. C relinquishes with an injection of something lethal. The duo are laid in state in their yard, surrounded by potted flowers probably taken from the dumpster behind the WalMart Garden Center.
With 15 minutes left in the movie, the aforementioned gorilla gather the remaining trio of guests in the siblings’ old childhood playhouse to view a VHS tape (played in a microwave for laughs). The vid is a further confession by Mad Maddie, telling of how she used Gory (the gorilla) to kill Annabelle with an obedience chip that the family had planted in the hulking simian’s brain after the poor brute was rescued from an abusive trainer. Thanks to an off-brand Playstation 2 controller, Mads maliciously manipulated the monkey into murdering her only rival for her dear brother’s dingus. From here it’s all about wrapping shit up, as Calahari is captured and returned to the asylum to undergo treatment, Nurse ABC is fine (except for an unexplained hand crushing incident in the end), Roderick and Madeline’s souls descend to hell on a righteous deflating bouncy castle, and their son and daughter prepare to move back into their family home with Gory now that everyone else has been driven away… I’m not going to explain anything from that last sentence, as I’ll leave it up to your own minds to fill in the blanks that, well, we’re never given anyway.
Unless Russell’s next of kin have some 2-4-5 Trioxin laying around, I’m pretty sure this is the end.
And there it is: Ken Russell’s final feature, The Fall of the Louse of Usher. Though greatly hampered by its poor choice of medium and “let’s just use what we’ve got lying around our houses!” budget, there’s actually a lot of entertainment to be had. The sound quality isn’t great, sometimes even bordering on horrible as it makes certain scenes almost completely auditorially illegible, with the worst being a stair well exchange that’s nothing but shouty echoes. Speaking of noise, one of my least liked parts of this cacophony of crazy are the awful little music videos that Rod and Mad made for their band, not the least bothersome of which involves the siblings being all “anguished high school goth kids” (well into their thirties/forties) with each other in a cemetery, dragging numerous visual aids about their incest relationship across our faces where, like the scrotum intimation I’m trying to make here, none were needed.
The cast is actually pretty solid for a buncha no-names. Not everyone, mind you, but our top-of-the-credits trio – Johnston, Findley & Mr. Russell – all make this a much more pleasant pill to swallow. Their characters are entertaining if not always interesting and their performances are appropriately campy without going overboard. Broken heart throb Roderick is well lost in the forest of confusion and desperate to find his way out; Nurse ABC carries a sensuality, charm and foreboding smile reminiscent of Cassandra Peterson’s beloved Elvira or a mash-up of Rocky Horror’s Columbia & Magenta; and Doc Calahari is a kooky crackpot who’s really a lot of fun to watch when you warm up to him, even in spite of Russell’s absurd German-ish accent, which grows on you if your ears don’t revolt against you first.
If you’re a Poe nerd, or have a Poe nerd in your life, you’ll enjoy picking out Louse‘s varied variety of references to the godfather of goth’s library of extensive materials. Some are obvious, some are a bit more obscure, and still others I’m sure I missed entirely because I’m barely acquainted with the chronically depressed fiveheaded oddball’s greatest hits, let alone his deep cut ditties. If what I’ve heard was true, Louse of Usher is a much better homage to Eddie Allan’s efforts than 2012’s The Raven, so again, consider it for the Poephile in your presence. And don’t you worry John Cusack, I’ll be kicking down your door sooner or later with crackling criticisms to burn your nose hair by!
The “gothic tale for the 21st century” has great potential that peeks out from behind its discounted Halloween seasonal mall shop props and modified tool shed sets, and with a little bit of script tampering and an injection of capital, I think, sans hyperbole, that TFotLoU could have easily been another Rocky Horror! Hell, with a Kickstarter campaign and some talented hands, it could still be. It’s as likely as Hulk Hogan playing the dad in a(nother) remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but it’s fun to think of what could have been. Speaking of what could have been…
Hey! I finally made it to episode 100! It only took me… gimme a sec here…
Three and a half years. Shit. That’s an average of 2-3 reviews per month. Double shit. Billy Bass Osiris damn me and whatever wacky fantasy scenario I’m using today to stunt double for my real life personal hindrances. Oh well. I’ve got a pot of chili and a copy of Cannibal Killer Clowns on Dope calling my name with their siren song, so let’s hurry this up and just say it’s a case of quality over quantity.
On the topic of superior quality, go treat yourself to some more RussellMania from our fellow Zeroes!
Checkpoint Telstar summons The Devils
Cinemasochist Apocalypse goes all Gothic
Micro-Brewed Reviews experiments with Altered States
The Terrible Claw Reviews excavates The Lair of the White Worm
Web of the Big Damn Spider courts The Boy Friend
I envision a lawsuit by the Estate of Edgar Allan Poe against the Estate of Ken Russell as presided over by the Estate of Judge Wopner here, in ‘The Dead Peoples’ Court’.
See, shit like that is why you’ll never get me within a mile of a LASIK office!
“I have to say, when my wife said she’d gotten me that reverse-gangbang I’d always wanted for my birthday, I wasn’t expecting… well… this. Oh well, let’s make the best of it, girls!”
Yes, kids, Ken Russell as a literal dick nose.
Scary Movie prop mask purchased from Marlon Wayans’ “Fund the next A Haunted House sequel” yard sale.
The New Slash Co. Mark 12 collection of knives! They’ll cut through shoe leather, a soda can and a full-sized rhinoceros, and STILL sever a human head like it were a ripe tomato without a single sharpening! I’d buy that for a dollar!
What? You’ve never been to a white trash Eyes Wide Shut party before?
My sex shed is way nicer than theirs!
“With the Psychic Readers Network, you can get in touch with the Egyptian gods for advice on life, love, and lucky lottery numbers for just $2.99 per minute! Call me NOW!”
Saint Polident – the Patron Saint of Denture Cleansers and veteran of the 100 Years Crusade against the kingdom of the Cavity Creeps.
And this is why I never trust elderly women in lingerie who ask me if I want to “smell their flower”.
A scene from Annie Sprinkle’s long-since-banned educational video for elementary school children on how bees pollinate flowers.
My attempts at bringing my own Frankensteinian meatloaf man to life didn’t go as I had hoped… at least he made for some delicious leftovers!
The only surviving still from a proposed 1992 reboot of Planet of the Apes that, I think we can all agree, would have probably been too awesomely reprehensible for this world anyway.
Alright! The Better Homes and Gardens annual “DIY Funerary Displays on a Budget” issue is out! They printed my article in this one!
In 1997, Nintendo introduced the first “rumble” function for video game controllers, causing them to vibrate as a form of sensory feedback for players to help increase their immersion in the games. 20 years after the introduction of vibrating controllers, females now make up nearly 50% of video gamers. Coincidence? My eye.
Anubis will return next time in
“Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”
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Featuring: Peter “Shaun of the Dead” Serafinowicz , Griffin “Vinyl” Newman , Jackie Earle “Watchmen” Haley
Director: Wally “Transcendence” Pfister
Writer: Ben “The Tick (1994 & 2001)” Edlund
Did everyone hear about Ford’s announcement that they’ll have self-driving cars in mass production by 2021? Some people are excited for these mechanical miracles, others feel they’re bound to be the biggest techno turd since Google Glass. The only difference being that this time the asshats won’t be walking blindly into traffic, the traffic will be coming after them. Speaking of, am I the only one who hears a story about fleets of self-propelled vehicles being introducing to America’s highways and wonders, “Does no one remember MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE?!”. Then I remember that no, no one remembers Maximum Overdrive. And I weep.
Anyway, afraid I may have been showing the early signs of Stockholm Syndrome with my last review (Damn you, Asylum!), I'm cutting their brand of imitation cheese out of my digital diet for a while. In search of something new, I came across the news that Amazon's 8th Pilot Season was underway. For those who don't know what that is, Pilot Season is where Amazon releases a number of preview episodes (the eponymous pilots) for potential shows that they may turn into full serieses dependent upon varying factors, including (but not contingent to) viewer feedback. Such successes include “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Tower”, while a reboot of the Krofft brothers’ “Sigmund and the Sea Monster” and the proposed “Zombieland” show count among its dead. While this season’s standouts for many seem to be the JCVD starring “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” and the awkwardly titled Kevin Bacon showcase “I Love Dick” (yes, Mr. Bacon, we all know that you love dick), the only pilot I care to watch is the adaptation of Ben Edlund’s lovable comic book galoot, The Tick.
Sitting at an impressive 4.5 star rating as of this review, “The Tick” is the third attempt at bringing the hero to television. He’s now the Spider-Man of the small screen! Movie Spider-Man, not TV Spider-Man. That webhead’s had more cartoons than I can keep count of. The Tickster’s network origins started with 3 seasons of Fox’s Saturday morning animated series (featuring former Monkee Mickey Dolenz as the original voice of Arthur!) from ’94 – ’96 and petering out with the all-too-short lived 2001 live-action series (starring Patrick Warburton) that Fox canceled after only 8 of its 9 episodes were aired. A lot of people were saddened by the treatment of this “Seinfeld” for superheroes, but I never really got into it. I was more heartbroken by the demise of the cartoon, myself, and saw it as a high mark that a sitcom (especially one where the always masked face of the titular blue vigilante was no longer masked!) probably wouldn’t have lived up to anyway. BUT (I like big buts and I cannot lie), with Edlund making this effort more true to its illustrated roots, let’s see if his pilot can sever the Grey Poupon.
Oh, and as a side note, this episode is directed by Wally Pfister – a guy whose last name simultaneously makes me think of boner pills (Pfizer) and severe rectal trauma (fister). Just thought I’d point that out.
Our tale begins in 1908, the “dawn of the age of superheroes”. An alien structure descended into our atmosphere and EXPLODED, setting fire to many an innocent flora and fauna while bringing forth yet another dollar store knock-off of the Son of Krypton. This spandex clad, cape wearing, just-another-Übermensch from the stars calls himself Superian (Brendan Hines), pronounced “Soup-ear-e-uhn” and not “Super Ian”… a nom de vigilantism that now has me distracted by thoughts of Scott Ian dressed red and blue long underwear with the familiar ‘S’ shield on his chest… which would probably piss him off, because he’d rather be Judge Dredd…
With such a pillar of justice and super punchery in their midst, you can't blame the people of the world for wanting to become superheroes (and super-villains) in their own right, and such is the axis upon which our story turns. One of these wanna be do-gooders is Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman), who has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Superian's nemesis The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley). Despite the Big S' assurance that the fiend is deader than Mel Gibson's career post “Jews, niggers, and Sugar Tits, oh my!”, Arthur's not convinced, and has been Hardy Boy-ing around in his spare time to uncover the truth. It's during one of these amateur gumshoe outings that Art meets a large, gibberish spewing weirdo in a blue costume who sees the familiar spirit of heroism in the young man's eyes. What brought on such a haunting? I'll save that for you to discover, because it's a story too good to spoil.
The sharer of said justice-centric possession is, as you probably presumed, The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). He’s bulletproof, bomb proof, surgical 2×4 proof, super strong (like, “crowded bus stop full of men” strong), plenty agile, and driven. Like a living bulldozer. So, like Killdozer. But a good Killdozer. A good Killdozer that spouts nonsensical lines about serving destiny and punching evil. Right in its immoral codpiece.
I was sad to see that the pilot only runs 30 minutes. Just as I was getting into it it was over, ended on a cliffhanger. Sure, that’s a good way to end a season finale, but a pilot? No. Now, if the rest of the show doesn’t make it to a full order, those of us whose eyes it caught are now fucked. Hard. Painfully so. Sans lube. If I had to compare it to a sexual encounter, I’d say it’s paramount to a one-night stand going down on you, then stopping before climax and saying “My jaw hurts. My turn now!”. Yeah, that’s a metaphor we can all endure.
With that said, based on its merits beyond the teasery and disappointing length (an issue I’ve yet to hear a complaint about), it’s got the girthy makings of a not bad show. I’m a big fan of Arthur’s new backstory. It’s dark, but in the comedy way more so than the gritty. He’s not the Punisher, so you can laugh at his tragedy without laying awake in bed later on wondering if you’re a horrible person deserving of a place in humanity or not. There are also hints at a possible split-personality disorder going on too, but that’s just my FCP (Fight Club Paranoia) acting up. Other elements discredit these so-called hints as just red herrings to mess with us. Although, it does bring up an interesting hypothesis that I’m going to keep in my utility belt for now, just in case “The Tick” goes full series. My favorite fantasy tales are the ones anchored in a reality similar to ours. Feels more relatable. As such, I enjoy Endlund’s take on what kind of mental instability it would take for every day schlubs to want to put on a costume and stop/commit atrocities.
Speaking of costumes (SEGWAY!) I’m also okay with the duo’s new crime fighting duds, which take a cue from modern comic book movie culture by detouring the spandex clad elephant in the room and embracing something that looks more like a combination of leather and/or body armor. Tick’s getup includes his mask (one of my sticking points with Patrick Warburton’s incarnation), but the shade of blue is… odd. Rather than go with a darker section of the color wheel, we get something more in line with the cartoon version. See the screenshots below.
Superian looks like you’d expect a Superman simulacrum to look like, while The Terror’s got a great new design that makes him look like a sinister cult leader, complete with oddly cut hood that brings to mind Magneto’s helmet more than a little. There are some computer effects that could use a little more polish, but for a low budget kinda thing, they do the job. The design of The Terror’s ship is also great, but for those hoping it would be the giant mechanical spider he originally piloted, know now that it’s not that, so adjust your expectations appropriately.
In closing, “The Tick” is more faithful to the tone of the original comics, much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the Movie skewed more in tune with its own original source material. That’s a good thing! Sadly, this may hurt its chances for a full series order in the long run, as a lot of the complaints I’ve seen about it so far have been that it’s not the goofy sitcom its predecessor program was previously. That’s a bad thing. I suggest clicking the link below, giving it a view (as my dad always says, “If it’s free, it’s for me!”), and rating it yourself. And if you can’t be true to yourself or spend half an hour watching it, give it a blind 5 stars so I can hopefully see what the fuck happens in the next episode!
Now, if you'll pardon my departure (or even if you won't), I have a viewing to go to. Not the movie type, but the corpse type. Don't worry, you didn't know him. Hell, I barely knew him. But it’s gonna be a lot of standing around in polyester mourning finery, hard boiling my man juevos, so I need to stop at Big Mike’s Food ‘n Fuel on the way for a few bottles of Crystal Pepsi to keep in my pockets and refrigerate my pudding pop.
Don’t get mad ’cause I’m beguilin’. I’m off the hook so don’t bother dialin’.
Once Nanook discovered how to harness the power of the atom, his place as leader of all the local tribes was all but guaranteed.
So, this world’s version of Superman looks like Matt Besser as a cape wearing date rapist? Gotcha.
If you’re going to just reach down your pants to check and see if you’ve started your period, two things – (1) Don’t do it at work. (2) Don’t wipe it on your uniform. Especially if it’s white. Seriously.
“By learning all of the new Magic: The Gathering expansion’s secrets before its release, I’ll be able to perfect by deck ahead of time and pwn newbs on release day!”
The Tick just discovered that The Cleveland Steamer, Rusty Trombone, and Blumpkin are not the names of fellow superheroes… Also, did you know that a Lemon Party isn’t a political association?
If Justin Timberlake and Johnny Galecki had a kid, and their kid fell into a Brundle Pod™ with Pat from It’s Pat, this guy would come out of the other end.
“No! I don’t wanna support the high school band by paying you $2 each for your stupid off-brand chocolate bars! Now fuck off before I throw you into my particle accelerator!”
See, stuff like this is why I stopped drinking tequila in public.
Looks like somebody got a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas!
There’s nothing quite like that first morning piss off of the side of your apartment building to start your day. I miss living in the city. I have to settle for pissing off of our balcony these days. It’s just not the same.
Anubis will return next time in
“Would You Offer Your Throat to the Vampire with the Camera?”
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.
Featuring the voices of: Kevin “’Batman: The Animated Series‘” Conroy , Mark “the Star Wars movies” Hamill , Tara “’The New Batman Adventures‘” Strong
Director: Justin “Planet Hulk” Liu
Writer: Brian “Batman: Gotham Knight” Azzarello
Uggh, the summer heat continues to drain my waning lifeforce straight out of my sweat holes on a daily basis. Call me Carbon monoxide, cuz I’m exhausted. Much like Simon Le Bon in “Hungry Like the Wolf”, I smell like I sound… if I sound like the embodiment of misery trapped in Sam Raimi’s Skinner flesh suit, saturated with the contents of the New York Giants’ training camp sweat bucket. Fucking festering bloody HELL! Those Faux News knob ends love to make their tired old “Where’s all this global warming liberal nonsense now?!” jokes every winter when the quicksilver dips into single digits (because they’re thumb sitting finger sniffers who don’t know how climate change works), but where are the same snide comments when every street reporter and their sweet Aunt Petunia is cooking Hot Pockets and fried eggs on the sidewalks? Exactly. Twats.
Speaking of twats, as good as a comic writer as Alan Moore is, he's got an unfortunate obsession with putting rape scenes into a lot of his work. I know it makes his stuff more “adult” and “gritty”, but there is an unnerving preoccupation with sexual assault going on in that man's head, and possibly even scarier things going on in that man's beard. These moments are always done in nauseating ways that make sure to remind the reader that rape is not an arousing act, but a hideous crime committed by monsters in human costumes, so I'm not accusing him of including them for his own titillation nor to attract sales from miserable worms who do get off on that shit. For you SAT lovers out there, sexual assaults are to Alan Moore’s work as The Classic is to Sam Raimi’s movies! Despite my prior diatribe (“priotribe”?) though, today’s review is for the recently animated adaptation of one of the man’s most prolific DC Comics projects of the ’80s, and one of the least rape prevalent works on the man’s resume. Whether it’s because even a “mature readers only” Batman story was only allowed to go so far under the watchful eye of Big Brother DC or Moore just wanted to leave it up to the readers’ brains to fill in the blanks with their own Mad Libs-ian answers, there was no graphic intercourse (forced or otherwise) to be had in this tale, considered by many to be the definitive story of the Batman’s oldest and darkest nemesis – the Joker.
Warning: If you’ve never read the 29 year-old comic book this movie is based on and are allergic to so-called cinematic spoilers, continue not but at your own risk! I have much to muse on this venture and not the emotional balance to tip-toe around all the broken glass. If you choose not to heed Crazy Ralph’s warning, your severed head will have no one but yourself to blame!
Originally conceived as an alternate universe one off (a gimmick DC would later dub “Elseworlds” stories), “The Killing Joke” laid out the Joker’s till-then-untold origin, making Batman and his cackling nemesis much more alike that anyone would have thought before. Although it drew these parallels between the pair it also made clear that three people, who each suffered the worse single days of their individual lives, all took very different paths amid their own personal mental fallout. As much as we’re all the same, we’re all still very very different… and yes, I ate the cookie after reading that.
The Clown Prince of Crime had escaped from Arkham Asylum yet again to cause his signature brand of maniacal mayhem. Rather than attack Batman directly this time, Grinnin’ Jo’ targeted the number one accomplice to the vigilante’s acts: GCPD Commissioner James Gordon. Jimmie’s night of terror began with his daughter Barbara being shot in the abdomen, leaving the lovely ginger paralyzed from the waist down and clawing at her unwanted second navel as she bled out on the carpet of her dad’s apartment. After getting throttled by the Laughing Man’s hired goons (Homer Simpson: “Hired goons?!”), Gordon would wake up later in the remnants of a rundown amusement park, the likes of which you’d expect to be owned by Dick Van Dyke and “haunted” by a guy pretending to be the ghost of a sideshow strongman in an episode of “The New Scooby Doo Movies”. Upon regaining said consciousness, the Commish (not to be confused with Michael Chiklis and his radioactive orange rubble dick) was stripped naked and harnessed by creepy bug-eyed midgets in S&M dungeon cupid get-ups, then dragged through a Tunnel of
Love Torment where Mr. J tried to drive him to utter madness (not to be confused with the script-in-progress for my mad cow disease scare movie Udder Madness) with a bombardment of images showing the crippled and bloody Barbara in a disturbing state of undress.
Whether Jokes actually violated Babs with his unfunny bone in the process has been a state of contention between readers in the nigh-thirty calendars passed since its publication. Moore himself declared that Barbara was NOT raped in the story, but in a world where so-called Christian politicians are frequently disregarding their own fucking POPE every time the old man tells them to stop stealing from the poor and shoving golden butt plugs up their asses, fanboys and fangirls continue to debate exactly how many fluids stained that carpet off-panel and from whom they came.
That wasn’t intended as a rape joke, but it feels like it came out a lot skeezier than my usual sense of perverse humor normally would, given the context. If it made your guts feels greasier than a bag of McDonald’s double cheeseburgers (I’m convinced they straight up dip those nasty sammies into a bucket of old grease next to the grill before they wrap ’em up), my apologies.
Remember the part where I said “Killing Joke” was intended as an alt uni story? Well, it was so popular and well received that DC opted to make it canonical and crippled Batgirl in the base continuity. Babs would inspirationally overcome the limitations of her handicap and continue on as the superhero information broker Oracle, hacking the bad guys’ Ashley Madison accounts from the comfort of her wheelchair and forever battling the scourge of bedsores on her backside. Don’t laugh. Bedsores killed Superman, after all! Anyway, DC later rebooted their entire existence and recreated it as “The New 52”, a world where Miss Gordon would still be shot in the spine by the murderous jester of ill-repute, but would fully recover from the physical trauma and retake her place as the be-breasted member of the Batman’s brood, ultimately becoming a hipster heroine residing with the trust fund trash in Gotham’s version of Williamsburg. Blart.
If any of the trigger material I’ve run down up to this point has bothered you at all (especially for those with a fear of thick rimmed glasses and pork pie hats from that last bit), then I suggest you end your experience here and return the unused portion for a full refund… of your zero dollar investment. Fair warning – as much as everyone was anticipating this cartoon conversion of the beautifully rendered battle between two disturbed paragons of good and evil (if you haven’t seen Brian Bolland’s original art, get thee to a funnybook dispensary and partake, post haste!), it’s so much sleazier than the material that inspired it.
Killing Joke was released by Warner Bros (owners of DC Comics) one convenient week before their summer blockbuster-to-be, Suicide Squad. Despite being a team movie, the only real focus of the live-action SS has been on team member Harley Quinn and the controversial remodeling of their white trash version of The Joker, which does a disservice to the rest of the potentially entertaining cast. No diggity, a better suited title would’ve been Joker & Harley: Send in the Clowns! (featuring Batfleck and Big Willy Style). Hoping for something more than a marketing tie-in, fans moistened their Underoos when it was revealed that the characters’ voice actors from the now classic “Batman: the Animated Series” would be reprising the roles they helped make larger than life for kids of the ’90s. Kevin Conroy as Batman! Luke Skywalker as Joker! What’s-her-name as Batgirl! Woohoo! But, was it actually worth the anticipatory pants shittings that came about from the announcement?
To kick things off, if you were wondering how a 64 page one-shot graphic novel was going to be stretched into a 90 minute feature, that answer comes in the form of an original Batgirl tale, written by renowned comic scribe Brian Azzarello. Regarding the Bat, the Bazz has some experience already, including the acclaimed “Joker” one-shot with the dynamic Lee Bermejo on art, and the much less lauded “Broken City” storyline in the main “Batman” series with illustrator Eduardo Risso. In all fairness, “Broken City” was coming off of the heels of the massively successful all-star pairing of Jim Lee & Jeph Loeb’s “Hush” event, so despite not revolutionizing the character, it wasn’t a bad story so much as it was overshadowed… and I’ve probably lost most of you after that last paragraph, meant for comic geeks over Hollywood hangers-on. MOVING ON!
Presumably taking place in the period between the murder of Robin 2 and the arrival of Robin 3, Batgirl (Tara Strong) is pulling sidekick shifts for Batman (Kevin Conroy), helping keep the peace in Gotham City. And doing it in high heels no less! As with any female in a position of prominence, Barbara’s garnered the unwanted attentions of a fan-gone-too-far in the form of a criminal who calls himself Paris Franz (Maury Sterling)… really, Bazz? That’s what you call him? Sweet Christmas, man, if you didn’t want the job you could’ve just turned it down! Uggh.
This small time sleazeball has a hard-on for the ginger vigilante and though his efforts to get cozy with her go unrequited, they’re still enough to throw the high-heeled hero off her game and allow him to continuously get away. This doesn’t sit well with her spandex clad father figure, who reprimands her several times about staying away from Paris the Tongue Bandit. Pretty hypocritical of the old man, given his long term on(her)-again, (get)off-again humpin’ buddies relationship with Catwoman, not to mention (though I’m mentioning it) his belfry bang sessions with Talia fucking al Ghul, which resulted in the birth of THEIR SON! For Fastback’s sake, Bats, you ran out of orphans to be your leotarded right hands, so why not knock up the daughter of one of your most dangerous enemies for Robin #5! Left your Bat condoms back at the cave and figured Talia couldn’t get pregnant if she just jumped up and down after?! Sounds like Alfred was a pretty piss poor home educator when it came time to have “the talk”.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Batgirl. She rebels like a teenager, throwing hissy fits in her private life and rebuking Die Fledermaus’ orders, shouting about how she can handle the job and how her hormones won’t get in the way… then she completely contradicts herself and throws herself all over Bruce’s batpole. And so signals the moment when Brian Azzarello shat away his legitimacy with a large section of the fanbase.
Sorry kids, but it’s true. Batgirl is reduced to being a hormonal chick with authority issues who just can’t keep her tongue to herself. And Batman? He’s equally incapable of controlling his animal urges (despite how his whole deal is being in control of everything) for the sake of trying to give geeks something to wank about. Bats swaps spit with his young protege, gropes her ass, and gives his will over to Lil’ Brucie as his nubile daughter figure straddles him and undresses herself faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth as a creepy concrete gargoyle creep-eyes the joining of junk from above.
For the kids out there – a phone booth was basically a Tardis without all the space-time manipulation stuff. They just had, well, a phone inside. Shut up. I’m not old, you’re just stupid! BAH!
I thought the numerous shots of Batgirl’s/Barbara’s backside were the gratuitous work of a 14yo boy before this, and had concerns when one scene featured a redheaded hooker alluding to Paris’ penchant for mask play, but for the filthy love of Bob fucking Kane (or Bill fucking Finger, depending on whose side you’re on), Bazz! No, you know what, forget my prior pet name. After reducing this to a PG-13 fanboy fantasy, your new moniker is now “Brazz”, as in short for “Brazzers”.
And for the dickards out there wanking themselves to this with one hand (Seriously? Google “Batgirl hentai” or just search “Batgirl” on PornHub, YouPorn, PayNadaPornanza, or whatever your free fuck movie service of choice) and using the other to type out disparaging YouTube comments for those of us against the needless character assassination going on here or anywhere else by calling us “social justice warriors” because we're not misogynists like you, feel free to choke on your own mincing members, you putrid, seething, self-loathing, subhumanoid cum squats.
What nut fart coined phrases like “social justice warrior” and “white knight” to begin with, anyway? Clearly some CHUD who thought that the reason women weren’t throwing themselves face first at his dick had nothing to do with his being a sack of rancid garbage and everything to do with weak little pussy boys who pretend they’re better than him by treating women like they’re not just prettied up breeding stock put on this planet to make casseroles and babies. Just the type of scrotal flea who thinks words like “social justice” and “white knight” are bad things, because they go against the “alpha male” rapist personality that they were told they had to be their entire lives if they wanted to be a success, but upon whom the total irony of using those terms as insults is lost when they’re looking up to heroes like Batman as their fucking idol. Grow up, you simpering shit sniffers. Learn some gods damned empathy and figure out how people want to be treated instead of just treating them like crap for starters! Chances are you can’t afford to import a slave wife of your own, so straighten the hell up or you’re only going to have yourself to blame when you die alone having never known real love.
And not that mandatory love given by someone who was legally responsible for your well being. That doesn’t count!
And the fuckery doesn't end there, either. Oh no no no. After giving Batgirl the best sex of her life (as we're forced to overhear during one of Babs' workplace girltalk sessions with her gay co-worker, who might wanna call the fire department, cuz he's a straight up flaming stereotype), post-hookup Batman turns into Craftsman (i.e. a complete tool) and altogether AVOIDS Batgirl. For WEEKS. So, the same guy who’s trained his mind and his body for decades to the point of being one of the most dangerous men on Earth becomes a whimpering little bitch-boy just like that?! Holy chastity cages! Matching wits with Riddler? Going toe-to-claw with Killer Croc? Holding the mangled corpse of his murdered ward in his arms? Nothing, compared to the nerve crushing intimidation of having to talk to Batgirl after a one-nighter. Did she slip a digit in his dumper without asking and he’s ashamed that he liked it? Did he blurp out a Brodie Bruce while she was going down on him? Did he call her “Robin” when he came? You’re Batman, for fuck’s sake! BATMAN! DAMN IT, BRAZZ! WAS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE EDGY?! YOU ACTUALLY GOT PAID FOR THIS!? BUCKETS OF BLOOD! ARGH!
That's it. Forgive me if this sounds like fanboy rage, but if I linger on this amateur fanfic shit storm story any longer, I'm gonna have a fucking stroke and risk losing my spot in the tontine I signed into with the boys and girls from up North for the keys to the Kraken. From this point on, the movie basically follows the “Killing Joke” story to the letter anyway, minus a bonus scene here and there for further running time enhancement. Unfortunately, this includes one of Bats hitting up some hookers for info on Jokeman that just tries to lead more credence to the “Joker raped crippled Barbara” theory THAT ALAN MOORE ALREADY SQUASHED. Yep, more of that edgy “pander to the maturity retarded” bullshit to try and justify the R rating. Guy Gardner help me…
Okay, so the story’s a lead balloon filled with farts in a church… so much for mixing metaphors. The entire first half, which was created to not just pad time (mmmm, pad thai) but show non-fans why Batgirl’s part in the story is important (which it never really was, and now just smells like so much exploitational stink!), is just needless and irritating and tonally wrong wrong WRONG!
That said, let's pretend we're a Grindr user with blue balls and see how the rest measures up! The animation is solid. It's standard DC stuff a la previous Batman Merrie Melodies, such as Under the Red Hood and Son of Batman. That’s not a bad thing if you’re looking for a more realistic art style. It fits the other DC movies just fine, but not so much in this instance. Brian Bolland’s art (I repeat, funnybook dispensary, post haste, get thee!) in the book is a high standard to live up to. Its heavier shadowing and richer colors are poorly represented by the paint-by-numbers job we end up watching. And in a story that hinges on Joker’s personal flashbacks and special demented brand of insanity, there’s so much room for creative license that just gets ignored! To paraphrase the late Heath Ledger’s jolly sociopath, “Why so lazy?” Maybe WB could’ve taken a cue from Beavis and Butthead Do America‘s Rob Zombie hallucination sequence and brought in industry folks like Sam Keith (remember the MTV adaptation of his psychedelic “Maxx” comic book?) or Simon Bisley to add their own stylized touch, punching the visuals up a bit. Hel, go outside of the proverbial comic box and hire a freak like Ralph Steadman to really kick the shit out of those bastard visuals! You just know those visuals did something to deserve it, so if the cops come around asking if you witnessed anything, you didn’t see NOTHIN’. Got it? Good.
By the way, if you hate rambling reviews where the writer just pisses on and on about how they would've done the thing they're reviewing differently, my apologies. I try not to be that person, but comic books are one of the few things I’ve had a boner for longer than movies. Sometimes my metaphorical urine stream just doesn’t stop and we get an “Ogre takes the world’s longest leak in Revenge of the Nerds 2” position like the one I’m currently locked into. I once again throw myself to your tender mercies in repentance, but I don’t feel right when bitching isn’t backed up with reasons and alternatives aren’t offered by the offended. It’s too “Conservative politician” for me.
As mentioned, the announcement of Kevin Conroy AND Mark Hamill returning to lend their voices to the pop culture icons that they helped redefine during the dark days that were the Schumacher movies left the internet losing control of its collective bladder. I mean, sure, the duo had just finished voicing the very same pairing last year in the Batman: Arkham Knight video game (as they had also done for the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City installments before), but what self-respecting geek plays video games these days, right?! Ignoring the massive sarchasm with which I just split the Earth apart wider than Michelle Duggar’s birthing void, the reason this was a big deal was due to Hamill’s vow that he would never again do his signature Joker voice (because of the wear and tear is does to his vocal chords), unless there was to be an adaptation of “The Killing Joke”. So, banking on Hamill’s renewed popularity following his part in the highest grossing movie of all time (which I still haven’t watched), DC and WB fast tracked the production with a Wally West quickness, cracked out on the possibility of a “Big money, no Whammies!” payout. Too bad they also managed to bury the lead when it was announced before the movie’s release that this wouldn’t be Marky Mark Skywalker’s final portrayal of the clown-faced killer, as he and Conroy are both coming back AGAIN to voice their respective alter egos for the not-out-as-of-this-writing cartoon series “Justice League Action”…
Were this not disappointing enough, not only is the Hamill “get” not nearly as special as we were first told, but the damage the Joker role has done to the old man is pretty damn prevalent listening to the hoarse delivery, with several instances of bordering-on-cracking. You can just picture his voice box exploding like an IED the next time a convention hall full of fanfolk goads him into doing it “just one more time!”. Even if Cock-Knocker's gullet wasn’t resembling that of a deep throat porn star’s post-retirement, Killing Joke‘s dialogue is just too moody and philosophical for his brand of Mr. J mania. Alan Moore’s words are some of Joker’s most prolific, but they’re square pegs in Hamill’s round mouth hole. HOWEVER, I gotta give props where they’re owed – Hamill’s rendition of the movie’s big song and dance number is perfectly suited for him and he pulled it off brilliantly. Kudos!
Speaking of said scene, here’s something else I can’t let slip through my grip without a gripe – Joker’s gaggle of sideshow goons. Yes, with every day of age I get a little more cantankerous and bitching about small things is cheaper than therapy. Now, despite what the posters of Old Man Withers’ haunted amusement park would suggest, I’m presuming that Joker’s gang was not included with the deed and are an actual team of thugs he had on retainer for whenever he made his latest escape from Arkham. They’re all trained in various disciplines of combat (including the two-headed lady’s knife-throwing ability, which is sometimes accurate enough to take Batman’s smoke bombs out in mid-air, but other times inaccurate enough to stab her own associates in the back) to further pad the action a tad, but they’re also fairly well trained as a troupe of back-up dancers for Joker’s big musical scene… The fuck?
As much as some of my opposition to the movie during my first viewing cooled off by the second viewing, it’s still far from great. What should’ve been a milestone in DC appealing to their mature audiences with an adaptation of one of the Dark Knight’s most infamous tales instead turned out to be a clunky, uneven, off-putting clusterfuck that tries too hard to humanize its heroes and only tarnishes them when all is said and done. In the end, The Killing Joke lands in the camp of crappy attempts at making Alan Moore comics into movies, right alongside The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. Much like post-bang “bitchy broad” Barbara, who hurls a civilian onto the back of his head for no reason beyond telling his girlfriend he needs space (IT HAPPENS!), I’m tossing The Killing Joke into some bushes and walking away like nothing happened.
As Warner Bros spokesbacon Porky Pig always says, “F-f-f-f-f-f-fuck off, folks!”
“Wanna see me do a trick? But first, did you ever see Night of the Demons III? I don’t want to spoil the surprise!”
So the villain of this story is Guy Smiley?
Ever since the mall perfume stands switched to a commission only pay structure, employees have gotten WAY too aggressive.
“Can you hurry up and catch the damn Vulpix already?! We’ve got crime to fight!”
Wow, even underwater that guy’s hair retains its full body! He must use Mary Matthews’ All Natural Protein Hair Gel™.
I wonder if Peter knows that Mary Jane’s been posing for sexy mobster paintings… really shitty paintings at that. Why’s her torso so short?!
“Sorry Manuel. As much as I’d like to strike out under my own persona, I just don’t think ‘Pigeon Princess’ strikes fear into the heart of the criminal element.”
“Oh my god! Mad Hatter’s running naked through the street!”
“Meh. I’ve seen bigger. And scarier. Ever seen Killer Croc naked? Trust me, you don’t want to.”
“BatPhone jack… BatPhone jack… DAMN IT! Why do I always have to put so much bullshit in my car that I can’t even find the Grodd damn BatPhone jack without a GPS?!”
Get it? Cuz it says “GOTHAMS RAGE” and Batman is Gotham’s outlet of revenge? You know, like in Batman Returns, when Catwoman wrecks her big neon “Hello There” sign and it says “Hell Here”? Uggh.
Despite tragic results with early test audiences, Sony went through with the release of Paul Blart 2 as planned. Though the long-term damage to society as a whole has yet to be measured, experts agree that we, as a species, may never recover…
That’s not so much an advertisement for the Fat Lady as it is a matter-of-fact poster made for skeptics. “See… the Fat Lady. I told you she was real. Pay up.”
The Joker’s secret origin? He used to be Kramer!
(And why the fuck is that doorway twice the size of the actual door?!)
I’ve had fantasies that looked exactly like this… uhm, I mean, “nightmares”! I’ve had nightmares that looked exactly like this!
“The fax machine at work broke down, so the company’s sent me out door-to-door to inform people that they may be eligible for our free cruise giveaway!”
Many wars and feuds did Joker fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… But that is another story.
“Yeah, we can do all that! But you’re gonna have to pay us the premium rate, you give us the money up front, and if you put this up online, our pimp is gonna scalp you! Now, you got a room already, or you wanna use ours?”
“Damn it. EVERY time I start making brownies, these assholes need something!”
(How the Hel is he even able to see the signal from that position!?)
Alright, which one of you assholes got Bat Mite hooked on meth?!
“No… hey… come on, Bats… you gotta stop… DAMN IT! I HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOU THE JOKE YET! STOP LAUGHING!”
Anubis will return next time in
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.
Featuring: Patrick “Wristcutters: a Love Story” Fugit , Wrenn “Boardwalk Empire” Schmidt , Philip “Life on Mars” Glenister
Director: Adam “Autoerotic” Wingard
Writer: Robert “’The Walking Dead‘”Kirkman
For years the debate has raged over the state of acclaimed gangster rap performer Tupac Shakur. Most people accept his violent demise in a gang related drive-by shooting. Some opt for the conspiracy theorist route and insist that the man is in hiding somewhere, asexually budding new brain rhyme babies in a self-sustaining shelter deep below the Andes mountain range until his enemies have all been destroyed and he can safely return to the public eye to retake his throne in the second coming of rap Jesus. But few know the truth I’m going to share with you now: Tupac Shakur is being held in isolation at Area 51, examined and experimented on following a run-in with a mythical creature that left him… changed. No longer the Str8 Ballin’ perpetrator of the Ghetto Gospel and purveyor of California Love, he is now the nocturnal menacer of the innocent known as The Tupacabra!
Now that that Unsolved Mystery can be dragged and dropped into the “Solved Shit” folder, let’s all move on with our lives together, hand-in-hand, into the Great Unknown. First on the docket for the undocumented? “Outcast”.
Not to be confused with hip-hop duo Outkast (who gave us Alpha level earworms like “Hey Ya!” and “Ms. Jackson”), today’s topic of interest has a lot in common with “Preacher” (see last week’s review). They’re both cable TV shows based on mature reader comic books that center around Christian religious horror themes and they both premiered on the same weekend. Is it enough common ground that the two would hit it off during a round of speed dating and litter a motel room floor with their vestments mere hours after first contact? Fuck if I know. I don’t speed date. When I’m on the lookout for an inkwell in which to dip my dick-shaped quill, I just hit up DeitiesBone.com for theological trim. Use the code word “ANUBIS69” when you sign up and get a 3% discount on your Platinum or higher membership fee!
Whereas preacher Jesse Custer’s tale is more about over-the-top violence and what-the-fuck moments while accompanied by his oddball associates, “Outcast” keeps its themes more grounded in traditional religious horror. Namely demonic possession and the resultant evictions of said Satanic squatters. Our eponymous outcast is thirty-something Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), who we first meet inhabiting his childhood home in self-exile. Living as a hermitous hoarder, Kyle’s living off of his savings account, munching milkless bowls of dry cereal and presumably just hoping the place will burn down eventually and take him with it. His sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), however, refuses to let her brother rot in peace and forces him go out into public with her, baiting him with the promise of groceries and basically cuckolding her own sibling into eating less like a college freshman and more like a human being.
With the exception of the embarrassment that comes with being a grown ass man whose sister has just taken control of your basic life decisions, this isn’t exactly coming off like much of a supernatural horror show, is it? Well, I was just about to get to that part ya paranoid android, so just hold your hard drive!
When he was a young lad, Kyle was the target of some pretty savage Babadookian domestic abuse by his mom. Everybody in the neighborhood knew about it, but chalked it up to her being bipolar, or “single parent stressed” as people called it before brain science gave us the term that always makes you think about a bi-sexual polar bear every time you hear it. Don’t pretend like you don’t. Denial ain’t just the river Isis and Osiris used to take us anthropomorphic ankle biters on holiday.
So, much like other rampant instances of abuse in those days (the ’80s?), nobody said anything and everybody just pretended it wasn’t their responsibility. If this were the final episode of “Seinfeld”, the entire town would’ve gone to jail. But, said abuse actually wasn’t the fault of Kyle’s mom (who I hear is a super King Kamehameha bitch on Sundays), nor was it even the fault of her broken brain. Mrs. Barnes was possessed. Like Linda Blair, only with less head-twisting and “LET JESUS FUCK YOU!” stuff. Eventually she ended up catatonic in a long term care facility (I won’t spoil how), Kyle and Meg got married (not to each other, ya weirdo), and due to some complicated complications Kyle was forced to leave his wife and daughter, hence why he now lives alone in the seclusion of his inherited homestead.
While out resupplying with sis, our hero overhears some ladies gossiping about a local boy who seems to be suffering an unwanted Satanic tenant of his own. After some soul searching, Kyle inevitably decides to offer up his help to Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), the priest assigned to execute the evil spirit’s eviction notice. I won’t go any further with how the amateur exorcism plays out, but I will give you this much: it gives us our first explanation as to the title of the series and we learn from Anderson that said kid’s soul isn’t the only popular spot for demonic tourism in the area.
Unlike “Preacher”, I went into “Outcast” with my geek blinders on. Though I have the first 5 issues of the series locked away somewhere in my vault of four-color horrors, I’ve yet to read them. Much like the 2,000 or so movies I intend to review eventually but will likely never get through before my inevitable death at the hands of an enraged Charles Band. As such, I can’t verify or deny whether the show sticks to its source material or is veering from the creative path. Creator Robert Kirkman is not only along as an Executive Producer (much like he is with “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead”), but he’s also the show’s writer, so that’s hopefully a good sign for things to come as far as keeping the fans of the funnybooks happy.
The gore and violence are graphic enough to induce a few “what the fuck?!”s. The acting is fine. I haven’t seen anything amazing yet, but everyone plays their parts well enough. Fugit and Schmidt work well together as brother and sister, as do Fugit and Glenister as exorcist and sidekick. Fugit also does well in his portrayal as a shut-in. He’s proven that if he put a pillow under his shirt and grew out a huge beard and mullhawk (party down the middle and business on-the-sides!) he could play me in the adaptation of my award winning autobiography, Anubis: Browwed and Proud.
Oddly enough, my favorite part of the show was pint-sized actor Gabriel Bateman. “Oddly” due to my life mantra that child actors are the worst thing to happen to movies other than Uwe Boll. Young Master Bateman's (wakka wakka!) turn as the possessed little boy Joshua was great. Not so much for his vocal work (I was expecting something more demonic, to be honest), but because when we see him first possessed, the small things in his physical performance are very impressive. The subtle way he touches objects as someone experiencing them for the first time are perfect given that he's been taken over by a demonic presence that more than likely has never been subjected to our material world before. Kudos, kiddo.
Even though I gripe about how overplayed the possession/haunting theme is in current spookshow productions, I have to admit that I’m intrigued on the subject being shown in show form. You know, besides the two or three-hundred “ghost chasers” programs broadcast on cable channels that no one would watch otherwise, and whatever series that “Medium” or “Ghost Whisperer” may have beget, of which I have zero knowledge or interest. Season 2 was already confirmed before the premiere even aired, so there will be more adventures for our Outsider, Kyle Barnes (and whoever else survives these first 10 episodes). Speaking of, I’m curious enough to keep up with the show if for no other reason than to see if my theory about the origin of our hero’s eponymous moniker is what I think it is.
Coming from someone whose weekly television viewing habits are limited to watching 6 hours of professional wrestling, Comedy Central’s weeknightly 11pm to 12:30am block, and waiting for everything else to come to NetFlix/Hulu/Amazon in season-long chunks, it’s an interesting time for TV. Check out “A Darkness Surrounds Him” if you’re down with tortured characters battling inner demons and outer demons played straight and see if you like it. At worst, you lose an hour of your life you’ll never get back. At least it’s less time than you would’ve lost watching an Adam Sandler movie! You’re welcome.
Looks like Kayako got her hair stuck in a door. Again. Seriously, ghost girl, this happens every week! Just get the damn haircut already! You could donate it to Warlocks of Love! *rimshot*
“You’re my conscience? Like Jiminy Cricket?! Where’s your top hat and suit?”
“Look kid, could you stop worrying about my wardrobe and just kill your parents like I told you to?!”
I wonder if it took longer than a day to build that town.
Hey! Good to see Reg Cathey was able to still find work after FANT4STIC! Let’s hope Miles Teller isn’t so lucky.
Greyskull was here. (Google “Kilroy” if that one went over your head)
He kinda looks like Norman Reedus after an allergic reaction to shellfish.
Dear mothers of the world: please stop walking around pantsless in the presence of your sons. It can make for very confusing phases in their sexual development. It’s true. Do you wanna be responsible for the next Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh? I didn’t think so.
“That was my last cough drop! I need that soothing relief for my sore throat! Give it back you little monster!”
“You need not a brush, child! The power of Christ combs you! The power of Christ combs you!”
Well, at least somebody enjoys “Saturday Night Live” enough to advertise it through graffiti. Not the best spot though. And I have no clue as to which cast member that’s supposed to be. Maybe Bill Hader? But he left years ago.
I’m guessing that the real estate agent left out the part where Kyle would be neighbors with Jason Voorhees.
I know how you feel, kid. I react the same way when my Evil Dead Bride opens the blinds after my 3 day marathons every time a new Elder Scrolls game comes out.
When you said you had a problem with “a little mold”, I wasn’t expecting The
Spanish Inquisition Shunned House! My advice? Burn the whole place down, have holy men from several religions perform exorcisms on the remains, then put up a temporary residence like a trailer to see if it comes back before making any long term plans. Or, you know, just move.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Little Merc Made”
Featuring: Dominic “Agent Carter” Cooper , Joseph “Misfits” Gilgun , Ruth “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Negga
Directors: Evan “This Is the End” Goldberg , Seth “This Is the End” Rogen
Writers: Seth “The Green Hornet” Rogen , Evan “The Green Hornet” Goldberg , Sam “Breaking Bad” Catlin
I’m paranoid. In a good way. When I lay cheeks upon the porcelain seat, I check beforehand to make sure there’s more than two squares left on the tube and I peek the bowl to make sure no baby alligators or grinning ghoulies are waiting to make an appetizer out of my rump roast. I don’t wanna end up like that guy in Thailand whose excursion to the crapper resulted in a python trying to suck face with his trouser snake. For such occasions, always keep a machete in your magazine rack or just do what I’ve done and duct tape a meat cleaver to the handle of your plunger. Whether I need to waylay a wayward water moccasin or break-up a brown boa constrictor, I do not enter my wild kingdom unarmed. I am the T’Challa of the toilet room. Or, as we call it in The Tomb, the Elimination Chamber.
One thing my paranoia assures is that I go into any and every comic book movie or show with a gallon jug of trepidation. I have seen some of the greatest works of my generation reduced to smoldering ashes of regret and agony at the rape happy hands of studio executives that spun lengths of niche gold into panderous piles of mainstream straw that even the most starving of would-be consumer camels wouldn't give a second sniff, let alone ingest. Witnesses for the prosecution: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine, and Fant4stic are the easiest targets off the top of my pointy ears, though I’m sure any fanboys/fangirls worth their weight in first appearances can rattle off another easy dozen within a blink of Scott Summers’ eyes. Such is the approach I’ve chosen to take with AMC’s second stab at four color fortune (following “The Walking Dead” of course), an adaptation Vertigo Comics’ (R-rated DC) long defunct series Preacher.
Running for 66 issues (not counting the side stories) over a 5 year stretch, the series was my introduction to Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, and Glen Fabry – a triumvirate of chaos aligned to create a perfect tapestry of entertainment. Ennis was the writer, Dillon was the illustrator, and Fabry painted the covers. Holy shit did he paint the ever lovin’ fuck outta those covers. By Ra’s balls. I wanted every one of those masterpieces on a poster or a t-shirt or painted on my car in high school. Here’s a taste.
I'm not going to delve into the finer points of the comic book or its many infamous tales of sexual debauchery, graphic violence, and hilarious heresy, so as to avoid ruining the reveal of whatever surprises the show might have in store for us. I'm also not going to butt vomit a whole buncha spoilers here since the fucking thing just aired less than two weeks ago! As with the “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” pilot, I also won’t be reviewing “Preacher” episode-by-episode. I’m just going to give my thoughts on the premiere, then maybe possibly think about giving consideration to the conceivably perchance reviewing of the first series as a whole, via this ass-a-hole. Got it? No? Good. Sally forth!
After 20 years of it being passed around as a potential feature film, a tv show turned out to be the easy answer to an adaptation. Garth Ennis himself thought it a better option than clown carring all of the comics’ major moments into a restrictive 2-3 hour runtime. There was a treatment by one John August (who wrote the Charlie’s Angels duece-ology and a lot of Timmy Burton’s movies since the turn of the century) being passed around Tinseltown that seemingly managed to do such a feat admirably, but to quote Ennis, “It taught me the lesson that it’s far too easy to overload this. If you do a straight adaptation, you are simply going to overload the story with grotesque characters and over-the-top bloodbath fight scenes. You’re going to create a whirling maelstrom that will simply bewilder a mainstream audience.” (From this interview)
The version we get is courtesy of longtime friends, creative collaborators, and self-professed super fans of the funnybooks, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, teaming up with writer Sam Catlin who made such magic for AMC with “Breaking Bad”. Ennis and Dillon gave their okays on the show and get producer creds too, so a modicum of my fears were allayed right off the bat. All aboard!
Annville is a small town in the big, big, morbidly obese state of Texas. How small? If you’ve heard the term “one horse town” to define the smallness of a small town before, consider this a half-horse town. Not in the way that a centaur is half horse, but in the way that a horse’s body might get caught in the glue grinder at an Elmer’s plant, leaving the unprocessed half to just *shlup* out onto the floor. Like that. Anyway, this small ass smallest of small town towns has a very small church that provides the locals with their weekly dose of religious guilt and condescension. This modest house of worship dedicated to the words of the Six-Packed Savior (a.k.a. Christ the Cruncher, a.k.a. The Saint of Sit-Ups, a.k.a. The Abvocate) is run by town preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). In case you’re curious (or just need confirmation that you’ve connected the dots properly), yes, Uncle Jesse is the man after which the series is named. Like most multimedia bearers of the cloth he’s grown weary of both his position (theological sex jokes here) and his congregation, and spends much of this hour long pilot (no commercials for me!) contemplating giving his invisible cloud boss his resignation. Will Jesse rediscover his lost light and earn back his wavering flock, or stroll into his next sermon with his middle fingers held high and his head adorned with a “Take this job and shove it!” trucker hat?
Father Custer picks up a pair of hitchhikers on the journey to his answer in the form of his wild and crazy
guy ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and an extremely Irish passer-by named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). The individual tales of how these two wind up crossing the Preacher’s path are both bat-shit crazy, hyper-violent, and perfectly appropriate for the dark humor the series is establishing. Without burying the leads, I’ll let you in on this much: Tulip’s a student of The Anarchist’s Cookbook and fights dirtier than Mike Tyson (that ain’t shawarma!), while Cassidy’s intro involves an umbrella, a cow, and more ultra-violence in 10 minutes than a gang of droogs could get up to in an entire month of Saturday nights!
Oh, and in case what I've told you so far hasn't been enough to sink a few cenobite hooks into your interest gland, there's also a mysterious screaming force from outer space that spends the majority of this introductory episode causing globetrotting savagery as it detonates various religious figures (including the greatest “in name only” cameo reference to a certain celebrity “spiritualist”ever) like human-sized carnage balloons! If that doesn't cinch in the aforementioned barbs, then I apologize for whatever devastating trauma you were subjected to that left you the soulless husk you are today…
FUCKING CARNAGE BALLOONS!
Roge and ‘Berg do far more justice to this project than they did with the flaming bag of Fido feces that was Green Hornet movie. So, though I appreciate anyone going into the show themselves with the proverbial pinch of sodium like myself, don’t get your blood pressure all Systolic Super Saiyan (“It’s over 9000!”) fretting. Sure, if you were hoping for a straight up adaptation, you’re shit outta luck. But, after watching the pilot, I feel the show’s in good hands. Good, perverse, sadistic, happy ending giving hands. And I’m going along with it. Much like “The Walking Dead”, I have an inkling of what’s in store, but my intrigue is piqued by knowing that the only thing that’s sure about “Preacher” is that nothing is for sure.
In a fun bit of “Connect the Dots” Trivia, our three main cast are interestingly linked to each other via prior roles. Cooper plays Tony Stark’s absentee poppa Howard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Negga (what up, my Negga?) was a big part of “Agents of SHIELD” as Raina, a reoccurring villainess-turned-inhuman Shuna Sassi knock-off. The pair are also in the Warcraft movie, whose lore I know little-to-nothing aboot, so pardon my hairy ebon ass if my hype levels for said release are anemic as a vampire in a world where SkyNet wins… I think I just gave mental birth to a future Syfy Original. I should’ve terminated the pregnancy. Apologies.
Though Cooper doesn’t share a prior geek link with Gilgun, the exceedingly Irish sir’s resume does overlap in a career Venn diagram with Miss Negga, as they played Rudy Wade and Nikki respectively in the BBC X-Men-ish (or “Strangers-ish” if you’re Ultraverse nasty) tv series about super powered juvenile delinquents “Misfits”. The duo were never part of the show during the same series though, so this is their first time sharing the screen.
Speaking of the cast, are they any good? Yes. I like everybody. The main cast is great. I wasn’t sure about Cooper’s Custer, as the production stills didn’t thrill me on him looking the part, but I’m okay with it now. Same with Tulip being changed from a blonde white woman into the lovely Ethiopian equivalent of a grown up Clementine from Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure games. A pleasant surprise. And Gilgun as Cassidy? Magic. Dark magic. Dark magic the likes of which would give John Constantine a toothache. Character-wise, I’m not big on the remodeling job done with Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) so far, as I liked him better as the stereotypical Texan hard-ass jerk-off of the books. I do like the inclusion of new character Emily (Lucy Griffiths), although her feelings for Jesse are irritatingly obvious despite her best efforts to hide them. I hope she’s meant for more than just to be the jealous would-be girlfriend now that Tulip’s back in town, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll come back sometime after the first season to do a wrap-up of the whole she-bang, but right now I definitely recommend giving this show a shot. If you’re into supernatural, gritty-grimy-gory twisted dramedy type shit, “Preacher” should be square in your entertainment crosshairs. Bang bang.
Including your ear holes. Jesus is big into the aural sex. Don’t worry about the ass thing though. You’re only expected to give butt stuff to him on Christmas.
“Did you ever notice that my name backwards is ‘god’?! Damn. That’s so weeeeeeeird. Pass the Funyuns, bro?”
If Jason Sudekis and Taylor Lautner (Remember him? Me neither. I had to look up his name for this joke.) had a baby, then abandoned it at the doorstep of a Protestant orphanage.
“It’s a new age of scholastic sports! In the Texas of the future, all high school athletics conflicts are settled by one-on-one battles between team representatives. This is the world of Charles Band’s Mascot Jox!”
Don’t chug your Triaminic like Cassidy, kids, or you’re just asking for a mess. There’s a reason the bottles come with that little plastic shot glass. Use as directed.
They’re writing out “SUCK IT, ALIEN QUEERS!”. Despite their ignorance and intolerance for extraterrestrial races, at least their spelling is accurate.
In an effort to bring in fans of the highly lauded and incredibly popular Walking Dead adventure games, AMC has added series star Clementine to the TV show’s next season.
“Could God Himself commit a sin so grave that even God won’t forgive?” That’s the exact face a pastor made when I asked him the same question. He then invited me back to his place to discuss it further over some sacramental wine and crackers that smelled strongly of chloroform. Did I go? Yes. Were his remains ever found? No.
Donald Trump has found his running mate – the Mayor of Texas!
Once again I need to remind our viewers that are chronic masturbators: if you can’t take a day off every week, then at least use some manner of fire retardant lubricant.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Love Below”
Featuring: Sornram “Dreamers” Theppitak , Sara “The Thai Thief” Legge , Dan “You’ll understand why he doesn’t have any other movie credits after this review” Fraser
Writer & Director: Monthon “I Miss U” Arayangkoon
You know, kids, Uncle Anubis has been having a hard time recently. There are a few things going on that have been bringing down my mood as of late, both in my personal world and the world overall. Life’s been a bit of a buzzkill for me these last few months. My thoughts are generally a Junior Jumble and I’m feeling dyslexic as fuck. My brain is stuck on shuffle, but I hate all of the tracks playing. It’s frustrating. But, as Pearl once told Mike, “I find that in times of crisis, watching a skin-peelingly bad movie can truly help. To that end, I offer you the balm that is Soultaker.” And, since I don’t have Soultaker, Dr. Blackenstein has written me a prescription for Garuda.
But, this is a World Tour review after all, so before we get started with the movie, shake hands with Thailand! No, I didn’t mean literally. Damn it, just put your hand down.
Formerly known as Siam (Yul Brynner looked so badass in The King and I), Thailand is central of the Indochinese Penninsula, and bordered to the North by Mayanmar (not Mallomar) and Laos (not Gyaos). 95% of the nation is Buddhist, which will become a big deal once we get to the movie meat of this chicken curry. Speaking of food, Thailand held the World Record for longest line of washed plates with 10,488! That record was stolen from them by India less than a year later, though, when they upped the ante to 15,295. Fucking India can’t let anybody have anything. Pricks. Don’t worry, Thailand. You still hold the records for the world’s largest gold Buddha, largest crocodile farm, largest restaurant, tallest hotel, longest single-span suspension bridge, and largest Christmas log cake (hilarious since less than 1% of their population are Christian). Put that in your public streets and shit on it, India!
Thailand’s bestiary includes the world’s largest fish (the Whale Shark), smallest mammal (the Bumble Bat), longest snake (Reticulated Python), longest poisonous snake (King Cobra), largest living lizard (Monitor Lizard), a fish that can walk on land and climb trees (the Mudskipper), 10% of the entire world‘s bird population (!), the world’s hairiest child (Supatra Sasuphan), and is the birthplace of the legendarily conjoined brothers Eng & Chang (who had 22 kids between them!… not literally, of course) from which the term “Siamese twins” was coined!
On the darker side of things, the air pollution is so bad that traffic cops wear face masks and 20% of their law enforcement officers suffer some form of respiratory disease. Thailand’s also one of the 3 corners of the infamous “Golden Triangle” (along with Myanmar and Laos) that produces and traffics notorious amounts of heroin and opium to the rest of the world. Thailand was also the home of the first reported case of HIV/AIDS and has the most prevalently HIV infected citizenry in all of Asia. No surprise since its prostitution population is believed to number somewhere in the high six-figures. Whoring isn’t legal there, it’s just rarely prosecuted. Speaking of, Thailand is also the most notorious country in the world for child sex trafficking. A horrifying statistic that they probably leave out of the tourism brochures, but always reminds me of that “Kids in the Hall” skit where Dave Foley negotiates with child prostitute Bruce McCulloch while on vacation in, you guessed it, Thailand. It’s good to laugh about the hideous atrocities that go on in the world that you have absolutely no control over…
Oh, and stay away from Thailand’s “Full Moon Parties”. Just like the Charles Band production company after which they’re named (I’m presuming), things aren’t what they seem and you’ll end up regretting your involvement after. Only, you know, instead of losing 90 minutes of your life, it’ll be more like 9 years in a Thai prison. You don’t want to go to Thai prison. Ever seen Brokedown Palace? Me neither. I’ve heard Thai prison sucks though. And yes, they have one big prison, so shut up.
Alright, that’s enough of the nation that pinched this cinematic defecation. Let’s get down to business!
Considered Thailand’s first foray into the kaiju subgenre, Garuda takes its name from the giant humanoid bird people of Buddhist and Hindu mythology. Ancient enemy of the Naga (giant snakes), the top birdman was given the title “Garuda”, a deity in its own right that was also the whip upon which head honcho Vishnu rode. So, it’s a birdman who worked for Vishnu and is the topic of a feature you’d be better off remaining ignorant of, hence the alternate title for this episode. Get it? Think Michael Keaton. Still don’t get it? What do you mean you haven’t seen Birdman yet!? Meh. Neither have I. And now that I’ve explained the joke, it’s ruined. Blart. Anyway, Garuda is also the national and royal symbol of Thailand, not unlike how the bald eagle is a big deal national pride symbol of America. Their avian mascot could kill our avian mascot any day. We need a cooler winged mascot now. Like Batman. He could probably beat a Garuda. I mean, he kicks Man-Bat’s ass like once a year, right?
Our movie opens on a bit of background establishment, as a narrator tells us about the generally peaceful Garuda species. In ancient times, before the hairless apes of humanity moved in and started trashing the Earth, the biggest and meanest of the Garudas got pissed off about his small penis size and murdered and consumed the other members of its ecosystem with reckless abandon to overcompensate for his perceived shortcomings. Sick of their brother’s bullshit, the other fowl folks ganged up on the bully, kicked his ass, and trapped him in the roots of a giant tree that later sank into the Earth. They abandoned him amidst the landscape he had stained with the gore of his avian avarice, where he stayed for 80 millennia or so. Guess when he’s getting out. Go ahead. If you said “now”, reward yourself with an Abba-Zabba or a fifth of scotch or whatever you usually reward yourself with!
Here in the modern age (for us, it was 10 years ago), ambitious young archeologist Leena Jeanvier (Sara Legge, the Thai Jessica Alba) proposes that the Thai government allow her to pursue a dig and search for evidence of an evolutionary offshoot of birds whose existence she believes influenced the founders of Eastern religion to worship these as the Garuda. Her theory is that dinosaurs became birds became humanoid raptors much in the way that a string of ape DNA eventually gave way to early man. Stringy ape DNA. Ewww.
Leena’s s.o.l. though (and I don’t mean Satellite of Love), because the people of Thailand are incredibly religious to the point that anything science-y that might disprove something about their mythology is immediately denounced as heresy and shot down. As such, Lee’s request is refused and she’s ridiculed for being a “half-caste” foreigner. See, despite her mom being Thai (just like Tiger Woods!), her father was a French archaeologist, so we see from the start that Thailand is a racist, superstitious place that no one should ever go to ever. As if the grade school sex slaves weren’t bad enough!
The reason Leena’s so determined to research the possible Garudal evidence in the area is that she wants to continue her dear deceased dad Pierre’s work. 30 years prior, he discovered a full birdman skeleton in the grounds beneath Indian Kashmir (Bollywood rendition of the Led Zepplin song?) on the border of Pakistan! Too bad for him that he made said discovery mere moments before Pakistani soldiers bombed the crap out of his dig site. His friend and partner Rashid died pushing Dr. J from a (hilariously bad shaky cam) cave-in, and all the poor man’s Indiana Jones was able to recover from the remains was a single talon. While looking it over, he tells Rashid’s corpse, “At least you didn’t die in vain.” Too bad that he totally did die in vain, because when the doctor tried to bring his findings to the people of Thailand, much riot rage was thrown his way and his blasphemous findings were denounced by everyone. He became sick and died not long after, leaving the talon on a necklace for little Leena to keep with her always. And here she is, all grown up and adorable in that “almost too cute to masturbate to” way. Also, this being Thailand, she could be a ladyboy for all I know.
Side note: good on Thailand for being so forward thinking and accepting of its transgender people, but if I ever wind up within their borders, I’m keeping my dick to myself. I’m not one to say “Phucket, let’s Bangkok” anywhere really, but better safe than sorry. By which I mean waking up in a cheap hotel room with my wallet and/or kidneys missing and my phone full of pictures that make me question the sexuality I was pretty sure I’d established firmly post-college. I have a friend who didn’t realize she was a lesbian until she was 40 though, so it’s never too late to discover things about yourself!
Following her dismissal by the authorities, Leena’s uncle Wichai (Yani Tramod) promises to do what he can to sway opinion in her favor and get the project approved. Until then, she’s back to an excavation site in nearby Kalasin to do more research and teach kids about dinosaurs and stuff along with her co-worker Tim (Dan Fraser). Oh boy. Let me tell you a little about Tim before we go any further. For starters, these two aren’t dating. It’s not even a “Friend Zone” situation, as they’re both apparently cool with just being peers beyond a comment Tim makes later on about how “If you weren’t so boisterous, you’d be my girlfriend already”. Strange that they don’t date though, since he looks exactly like her father what with the short messy hair and glasses, and the whole “being an archeologist” thing. Maybe they’re just holding off until he’s positive she’s not a ladyboy and she’s sure he’s not gay?
The most important Tim characteristic possesses though are his goofy faces. He’s intended to be comic relief, what with his non-threatening flirtations and easy going demeanor in otherwise pants-wetting situations, but it’s his weird faces that make him stand out. Remember how sidekick cop Frank Washington in Samurai Cop was always yucking it up and mugging to the camera with over exaggerated faces like a party clown on Molly? Tim is Garuda‘s Frank Washington! While other people talk, he’s unable to just stand still and pay attention. He’s constantly looking back and forth and his face is trapped in improv actor “expression practice/warmup” mode! He’s okay as the resident chucklefuck minus the face thing, but…but…THE FACE THING! ARRRGH!
“2 months later”, Uncle ‘Chai calls Leen and slack jaw Tim to Bangkok (Dangerous?). An entire pop-up military operation (or “pop-mop” if you like) has been established around a dig site, populated by generic camo-ed army soldiers and led by a special ops government unit that brings to mind the S.T.A.R.S team from the original Resident Evil games. When we first see them, they’re all standing around in tough guy action poses, smoking cigarettes, proudly bearing their facial scars and unshaven faces while everything goes all slo-mo! Much like the rest of Asia, Thailand’s still playing catch up with American pop culture. Looks like they’re only up to 1992 in their “action movie hero tropes” department. KWIMV? (Know What I Mean, Vern?)
Being the guests of honor to this block party, ‘Chai introduces L&T to the group’s leader Tan (Sornram Theppitak). Tan exposes himself as yet another xenophobic bigot in a government appointed position, wasting no time referring to the pair as “just a foreigner and half-foreigner”. The way Leena reacts, I’m pretty sure Tan called them whatever the Thai ‘N’ word for outsiders is. Granted, the KKK is a horrible group of bigots over here, but at least they’re not holding office and running the army (openly)! Krispy H. Kreme!
Anyway, Tan begrudgingly does his job and escorts the pair underground. Seems the city’s expansion of their subway system resulted in the excavation of a skull that looks especially human, but especially bird-like! Oh and there’s a huge wall of stone that the drill mysteriously couldn’t penetrate. Actually, this was all uncovered back when the nerdly duo were last in town, so what the government spooks were doing the last eight weeks with it is anyone’s guess. Wachai tries to explain it, but he just stutters as if he was trying to improvise an answer on his own before Tan backstory blocks the proceedings and tells him to get to the point. Somebody probably spilled peanut sauce on that part of the script…of which I guess they only had the one copy…?
The nerd pair check the wall of rock out and guesstimate that it’s over 80,000 years old. They also determine that there’s a cave behind it (by putting their ears against it) and request that the National Geology Department be brought in to inspect it. Not a fan of wrapping this metaphorical mummy in any more bureaucratic red tape, Tan vetoes the suggestion and orders his demolitions guy Wit to blow it to shit! Inside of the stone cell they find the tree in which the Garuda bully was imprisoned. Speaking of incarceration, Tan has L&T detained when she goes on this weird tirade about how Uncle ‘Chai and these jackbooted thugs have stolen her father’s work and won’t allow her to investigate the cave. Kids, when a racist dickhole and his heavily armed, government sponsored militia are just looking for an excuse to turn your dome into paste and dump what’s left of you in the sewer, I would suggest you not antagonize them when they tell you to sit down and shut up. Can’t exactly change the world when your entire existence can be wiped from the face of this mudball in less time than it takes to upload a copy of I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle to YouTube.
That reminds me. Could someone do me a solid and upload a copy of I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle to YouTube? Groovy. I loaned my DVD to a friend who lost it in a house fire (that I set) and I wanted to revisit it.
Tim picks the lock to their holding pen with his excavating tools (because nobody bothered to frisk them before locking them up…) leaving the pair to escape, so they can try and catch some visual evidence of their findings in the cave with the video camera that their captors also didn’t confiscate. Nearby, while Wichai is scraping samples from the trees within the cave, he notices the comatose Garuda and starts praying for its forgiveness. Watching this from a monitoring room, Tan has a flashback to a prior mission with his task force where he lost a member who was too busy praying for mercy from their enemy instead of just shooting it in its big, stupid, computer generated face. Said enemy? A giant Naga snake monster! Cue the “Wait! Is this a sequel!?” moment of confusion before realizing that the ops this special ops team was assembled for is to fight monsters! Yes! Spoiler alert: in case you overlooked the big turd rating at the top of the review, this movie sucks. That being said, I’d still watch an entire series of movies based on the exploits of these mythological monster mashers, no matter how deep down the toilet their production values went.
Tan’s teammate Krai (Chalad Na Songkhla) snaps him out of the PTSD episode with a “get over it” and a stick of gum. Who needs Celexa™ when you’ve got Doublemint©?! Thailand – the nation of “walk it off” psychiatric therapy! Lee and Timmy too discover the sleeping giant, but are immediately rediscovered by their gun-toting oppressors. Tim tries to fend off their pursuers with a broken spotlight while Leena hoofs it outta there, but he only knocks over a grunt or two before getting his coconut cracked and being restrained again. This time he’s given a personal guard – a testosterone factory named Harn who wields a big-ass knife inscribed with some mystical whatchamacallit symbol. So he fights giant dangerous beasts with an oversized bowie? Well, that at least explains the game of Connect the Dots going with his numerous facial scars!
40 minutes in, we finally get our Birdman of Bangkok when a misplaced length of electrical cable gives ‘Rudy a Kong-sized hotfoot and revives the beast. Why is it that every time I zap coma patients with the magical sky fire they just die and/or go up in flames, but these accidental Frankensteins breathe life into a prehistoric anthropomorph with ease!? Maybe it’s because the creature’s entirely computer generated (from the dreggiest dregs of SyFy Original Movies Purgatory) and the power surge rebooted the seized up laptop it was running on? Regardless, GarGar’s back in business and pissed that nobody changed the shredded newspapers lining his cage. He takes his anger out on Uncle ‘Chai and a random extra in fatigues before moving on to further prey.
Tan and his men catch up with Leena, and the pair clash over opposing viewpoints, guaranteeing that these two will be working together (and likely staining some sheets together too) before long. Intelligence and faith will learn to co-exist, brains and brawn will be attracted to each other, foreigner and full-blood Thai will gain mutual respect, and the world will be a better place. Until then, our eponymous monster (“eponymonster”, perhaps?) picks up where he left off 80,000 years earlier and just kills every living thing in sight. Guess he didn’t “think about what he’d done” during that extended stay in Time Out, did he? Harn declares to Tim that their unit are “soldiers who kill Gods”, but I’d bank my collection of mint condition Movie Maniacs figures that this time they’re just going to be “soldiers who(m) the Gods kill”.
Shazam! If Tan was having survivor’s guilt before this, he’s gonna need shock treatment after all the underlings he’s bound to lose tonight! But not the weak cheese follow-up to The Rocky Horror Picture Show of the same name. The only thing watching Shock Treatment will cure is any respect you had for Richard O’Brien.
Tim’s escort tries to take on the ‘Ruda Boy cuchillo-a-gara (knife-to-claw) in one of the least intentionally guffaw inducing “actor vs. cgi monster” pieces of mortal-on-immortal combat ever filmed. As we’re less than sixty minutes into this two hour tour, you can probably hazard a decent guess on which participant of Thailand’s answer to the Peter Griffin & Giant Chicken feud walks away from this encounter. Hint: it’s not Agent for H.A.R.N… no Harn, no fowl! (Had to get those last puns in before moving on. (Forgiveness please!)
Leena rescues her would-be-beau from his confinement in a locker (and no doubt a litany of traumatic flashbacks to every day of his years in high school) and reveals her plan isn’t to stop Col. Sander’s worst nightmare (or wettest wet dream), but to help it escape to a life of freedom… in the skies over Asia… where it will probably be sucked into the engines of a Thai Airways jet mere moments after its ascension. Great plan. Despite his initial protests of “Are you crazy?!”, Tim changes stances faster than the Karate Kid (CRANE KICK!) and offers to help in any way he can. Because of course he does. The guy looks and acts like he hasn’t been laid since parochial school, and I don’t blame a single member of the female gender for it either. In fact, keep up the good work, ladies! Pity sex hurts more than it helps in the long run. Believe me, I know. My Evil Dead Bride gave me some when we first met. It’s been 16 years and she still can’t get rid of me!
While L&T formulate their plan to lure the feathered fiend out of the tunnels (i.e. scraping her talon necklace against a hard surface to create a noise that sounds like a Garuda mating call), Tan and his men steel their resolve by clutching their fallen comrades’ dog tags and vowing not to be pushed around by no bully Gods who think they’re better than us! In fact, he denounces it as even being a deity, instead calling it a “beast”, since no God would unjustly punish man the way this motherfucker’s doing. I guess this guy’s never actually read a religious text and just believes what he’s been told all his life. Tan also accuses their deceased allies as having “given up”, which is birdshit. With the exception of the one guy in his earlier flashback who opted for the power of prayer over the power of a full clip of armor-piercers, the rest of his crew fought to the death when their times came, so fuck you, boss man. Chip nothing, Tanner’s got stacks of Pringles on both shoulders.
The team sets a trap for the Heavy G, lining the floor of the cavern with grenades and trip wires. Leena wanders into the darkness, giving the group’s sniper an easy shot to take her out, but Tan tells his man to hold off. Once again his leadership skills shit the bed, as she wanders into the minefield and, through movie magic, manages to casually walk amidst them without tripping a single one. She must have Mr. Magoo’s mutant power of subconscious danger evasion. This goes on for what feels like an absurd amount of time before she finally fucks up this game of Thermite Twister and, just as she’s about to trigger one of the explosives, Tan intervenes, holding her in place while demolition man (John Spartan?!) Wit comes in to disarm it…after getting hyped up by taking a whiff of an unlit cigarette? What in the name of Kali’s g-string was that about?!
While this is going on, Garuda’s just watching from the ceiling with his piss colored beer goggles-vision, probably wondering to himself how such a stupid race of creatures managed to survive for so long. Determined to rectify this obvious evolutionary error, the beast strikes, launching a grenade wielding Wit pirouetting through the air at his sniper teammate, killing both upon the explosive’s detonation. Of which sniper guy makes zero effort to avoid, no doubt captivated by the majesty of his teammate’s trajectory. The spin that Garuda gives that man would bring a tear to any billiard master’s eye. Tears of laughter, because when faced with such madness, all you can do is laugh or go into complete gray matter meltdown. Between this moment and the knife fight sequence alone, you should be doing everything in your power to find a copy of this movie. It won’t be easy, but by Jupiter, it’ll be worth whatever pounds of flesh and sanity you’re forced to sacrifice in its name.
Tan manages to make his men’s deaths worthwhile when he gets Leena to safety before the rest of the bombs go off. He didn’t really need to worry though, because it seems Wit must’ve accidentally planted smoke grenades instead of frags, as they go off in big blossoms of fog rather than like the flaming blast that killed him mere seconds before. Blart. The chain reaction blows a hole in the cave that allows the river above to flood in, flushing out the tunnels and giving our remaining protagonists a new found sympathy for what their turds go through. Tim gives us an amazing slow-motion “HO-LY SHIIIIIT!” (which doesn’t make it onto the subtitle track of my copy) before turning tail like a reverse lemming, as Leena and Tan are swept away (still a better movie than the actual Swept Away) together and wash up in a water treatment plant. Or a sewage treatment plant. The former if they’re lucky. But given the way shit’s been going for them so far tonight, it’s probably the latter, no pun intended. Okay, pun intended.
Blaming the waifish little lady for his associates’ deaths (though I’d say they’re both at fault), Tan isn’t shy about putting on his best Billy Idol sneer, calling Leena a selfish atheist who can’t just let religious people live in happy ignorance (not exactly his words, I’m just doing some biased paraphrasing) and asks why she doesn’t just die and save everyone else the trouble. History’s most awkward first date continues as Lee turns on the water works (appropriate given where they are) and argues that she didn’t ask for these people to die, she lost people important to her too, all of her evidence was destroyed in the flood (and he’s probably happy about that), she’s just doing this because she wants to honor her dead father by redeeming his name, and finally pulls the “Why do you always blame me?!” trump card. Not to be confused with the Donald Trump card, which just blames Mexicans for everything. Leena doesn’t mention it, but it was also his bumble fucks who woke the friggin’ monster up in the first place!
Having been put in his place and completely overcome by Leena’s pity party, Tan makes a big deal about pulling a tiny fragment from a barely leaking scratch on the gal’s arm and giving her a strip of fabric from his sleeve to use as a bandage. Meanwhile, he’s got several gashes on his own arm that are bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig and covering his hands in his own blood, but let’s make sure her tiny wound is taken care of first!. Hell, it probably would have clotted up on its own just fine! But no, cue the cheesy romance music because these two are clearly sharing a manufactured moment. That’s how movies work. But when I offer my sleeve for a woman on the bus to blow her nose on, I’m a disgusting freak! Stupid fantasy worlds.
Oh, and having lost her jacket during their logless flume ride, Leena’s also now sporting a John McClane Special (bloodstained wife-beater) so she can look both hotter and fiercer. You know, like when Savini and Romero “Ellen Ripley-ed” Barbara in their sterile Night of the Living Dead re-hash.
They come across Tim, and the dingus third wheels himself back into the proceedings. This comedy of errors next turns into an error of comedy as the trio walk headlong into an intended joke break next, finding their way out of the tunnels to a subway platform being chaperoned by a clownshoes-looking security guard (played by some moderately successful Thai comedian, I’m sure) who talks to himself while also harassing teenagers, waving his walkie-talkie antenna at them like a long, skinny, black rubber dildo as they do teen things like make out in public and stand on the “do not cross this line” line. Yes Janet, life’s pretty cheap to that type!
Garuda comes in on the next train, kills Chubs, then gets into it with the three. Tan tries to bullet-fu it (watch the incredibly poor work done with the monster’s shadow now that he’s amidst lights!) but winds up knocked on his ass. Big Bird has an Alien 3 face-to-face with our heroine before a SWAT team swarms in and drive it off with tear gas. They pursue it back into the tunnels, but wind up slaughtered like the good little fodder they are. Garuda makes his grand re-entry soon after, emerging from beneath the street (and expanding his wings for the first time, which seem 20 times larger than they were when curled up on his back until now) to snatch an unsuspecting Tim. Serves him right, as the prick was munching some poor soldier’s abandoned McDonald’s Samurai Pork Burger (an actual sandwich I looked up to make that reference!) at said moment of snatchery. Now that he’s out of the picture, no one has to feel resentful toward Leena when she gets serious with the new sweet ‘T’ in her life either. A gory finish would’ve been better fan service though, given how long we were forced to sit through the big doofus’s antics, but I do at least take solace in knowing that he’s DEAD.
Since the rest of the action takes place above ground in the glowing splendor of the Banged Kok, let’s have a timeout for a trivia break! Thailand’s capital is the proud owner of the world’s longest place name. Yep, the capital city the rest of us know as Bangkok (did that once, hurt like a bitch) is just its stage name. It’s real name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Though it looks like two cats in heat had a fuck fight on the keyboard of your laptop, that orgy of vowels and consonants actually translates into: “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest”. I’ll take their word for it. Fuck’s sake, even if you just go by its acronym (CoAGCoIMCotNGSotKCoRPHoGIEbVaIB), the damn thing’s still half an alphabet longer than the longest city names in the US!
After yet another uproariously incompetent scene of half-assed (or even just one-third-assed) cgi work with Garuda flying around the city and pestering citizens, the beast finally settles for roosting atop a skyscraper. Hoping to kill the fiend once and for all, Tan proposes that Leena offer herself and her pendant up as bait to bring Gary into a trap. Once he’s out of the sky, he won’t be able to outrun their attacks (which sure didn’t seem to cause him many problems when he was in the confines of the subway tunnels!), and they can nail him with a rocket launcher…which would probably also kill Tan’s new girlfriend in the process, given that she’d be in the immediate blast radius, but let’s not argue semantics! If they think their game of “blow up the birdman” is going to go off as planned though, they’re in for a Garud-awakening. Yeah, I said it. So what? Wanna fight about it?
The guy wielding the rocket launcher, Tanong, gets all gun jumper and fires too soon, confident that he knows better than his team leader on how to kill legendary monsters. Turns out playing every Pokemon game to completion doesn’t make him an expert in monster extermination after all. Garuda just suckers the delayed heat-seeker (“HEATSEEKER!”) right into the building Tan and the other soldiers are stationed at, leading into YET ANOTHER HILARIOUSLY HORRID ROUND OF CGI! The floor lights up with numerous ignitions (including one BIG delayed reaction explosion from outside the building), resulting in a fireball that VAPORIZES every grunt soldier it touches! And when I say it was delayed, I speak no diggity: the fucking thing goes from being right on ‘Rudy’s tail to disappearing for FIFTEEN SECONDS while he’s hovering outside the windows of the building before finally reappearing to turn the place into an inferno! I counted the running time.
Severely pissed for having his intelligence insulted like that, Garuda stops by the building roof from which the missile was launched, and proceeds to keep the local funeral homes’ schedules well packed for the next few weeks. We don’t get to see any of it really happen though, as no deaths are shown and all we get to watch is a storm of bullets fired at the monster, all of which have zero effect. Speaking of zero effects, despite the rocket explosion’s incredibly destructive power to turn everyone near it into atoms, Tan escapes unharmed because his hero-of-the-movie badge gives him death exempt status. Used to be, the only two sure things in life were death and taxes. Then tax exemption became a thing and now, so is death exemption, provided you get to headline an action movie as the hero. Not that it worked out so well for Leon in The Professional… but then, that was more of a drama with action elements.
Also like a ’90s American action movie hero, Tan arrives just as Garuda’s about to make a mess of Leena. He spouts what’s guaranteed to be the next great hero catchphrase in “Hey! Die!”, then lays into Gary with a heavy machine gun. I know what you’re thinking: “But, Anubis! If Garuda wasn’t affected by bullets or shotgun shells or explosives or any of that stuff for the entire movie, why would Tan think this machine gun would work any better?!” Well kids, it’s because he’s a hero. And he’s fighting to save the “opposites attract” girl of his dreams. If her personality is strong enough to get him to look past his own bigotry and religious beliefs to fall in love with her and tear the sleeve off of his jacket to bandage a little scratch on her arm, then surely his bullets will fly with the intensity of his determination to save her behind them, thus ending their shared nightmare!
…And they do. Yep. Unlike all of the other guns in the movie (that must’ve been loaded with blanks or rubbers), Tan’s heavy machine gun swiss cheeses the creature’s big manly pecs, shreds one of its wings, and finally, following an extended sequence where he has to save Leena from falling off of the building (she matadored the monster over the edge using the talon necklace, the Garuda’s attraction to which is given no explanation), Big Man Tan puts a single shot between the beast’s eyes to send it tumbling to its final destination at the corner of Corpse Boulevard and Broadway. Just like King Kong. Except Kong was at least shot down by a small squadron of armed planes, not just one guy making an impossibly precise shot with a big unwieldy firearm created for quantity of rounds over quality of accuracy. Lucky for him ‘Rudy inexplicably pauses for a few moments, allowing Mr. T to shoot around Leena (who’s covering up a good half or more of her hero’s shot), with ONE-HAND, and from a sideways position so it’s not even sighted up in ANY WAY. And he even has SO MUCH confidence that the shot’s going to be perfect, that he defiantly shouts “Go get it in the next world!” before pulling the trigger!
This is the type of movie that doesn’t ask you to so much suspend your disbelief, but straight up lynch it. I can’t murder my common sense though! I’d miss it. Logical thinking is already rare enough as it is anymore, so I’d probably be violating the Endangered Species Act if I did. Upon completing Garuda (twice), I’m reminded of the Murray Head song “One Night in Bangkok”, only with some slight alterations:
One viewing of Garuda makes a hard man humble
– Not much between despair and ecstasy
Two viewings of Garuda and the tough guys tumble
– Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
This movie is absolutely horrible. With even the most minute sliver of doubt. The cgi just burns holes into my soul. Garuda makes the creatures in “Hercules: the Legendary Journeys” look like Jurassic Park. Watching the monster jump around and the actors pretend they’re interacting with it (likely the old “tennis ball on a stick” method) is like staring at the sun. You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway to see how long you can hold out before that glowing smudge in your vision becomes permanent.
One thing I haven’t mentioned before now that drives me nuts about the movie is one of the same problems I had while watching 23:59: what’s with all the fucking English dialogue!? Tim’s character speaks fluent Thai, yet he and Leena break into English conversations for no reason! If they were trying to use it as a way to converse without Tan and his men knowing what they were saying, that’s fine. But they don’t. Even more annoying is when it happens in the opening scene, as the French Dr. Jeanvier and his Indian dig partner are speaking English to each other! For fuck’s sake, if you’re trying to market your movie to US audiences with shit like this and the numerous uses of American brands in your product placement spots (Pepsi shows up TWICE, including a plastic cup with the logo on it being thrown at Leena’s dad during a protest against him), you probably should’ve hired some competent FX people to make your titular terror look, you know, terrorizing rather than terrible. American audiences don’t settle for this garbage!
Having openly burned through all of the offerings this shit show has to give already, there’s no real point in going over all of its crimes against humanity again. I will say that it makes for perfect Riff Party material, though. Get friends and/or loved ones together, maybe imbibe a little of the mood enhancing substance of your choice (as a Death God, I literally get high on life), and watch as this clusterfuck falls so far below a zero that it comes back around to a ten like an overzealous kid on a swing. Laughter is the best medicine, so laugh. Laugh at the hard work these people want you to think they put into making it. Laugh so hard that any current cancerous cells leave your body, and all future cancers avoid you for fear of the raging uproarious tremors you will bury them with.
Garuda is so fucking awful and stupid, but it’s cinemasochistic fun. Fitting that it hit theaters on April Fools Day 2004, though I don’t think Thailand celebrates April Fools Day. Maybe? Who cares. It’s all a tangled cat-o-nine tails of ineptitude that hurts so good as it lashes across your back. To make it go down a little easier though, here’s a game to play with those aforementioned substances!
The Officially Official TheTombOfAnubis.Com Unofficial Drinking/Smoking Game: Garuda Edition!
Take a drink/hit during the following moments of the film:
That should be more than enough to get you rightly wasted within the first hour, but if you manage to get to the end credits without blacking out, take a moment to brag to me! Let me know what substance you used and how your experience played out and I’ll add your message(s) of triumph to the review for all to see!
So there you have it: Garuda. The worst thing to come out of Thailand ever, if you don’t count the heroin, HIV, and child prostitution rings.
Okay. I feel better now. Good therapy session. This website is a very complicated version of when people text pics of their bowl-busting brown anacondas to each other. It’s a more socially acceptable way of sharing my shameful experiences and physically destructive consequences with close friends and total strangers in a twisted display of pride. I hope you’ve taken some enjoyment from this bathroom snapshot of Garuda‘s digestively devastating results. Some people think I do myself more harm than good by shoving such raw plutonium straight up my nose, but it’s the kind of pain I gladly prefer to the crippling misery of the real world. Maybe one day I’ll find something better to do with my life. Something that’ll make people proud to share the VonMojo name. But for now, as AC/DC said, “One of these days I’m gonna change my evil ways. Until then, I’m just gonna ride on.”
On that note, I’m aiming to Double Stuf two more episodes of The Tomb in by Halloween, but they’ll be a departure from the World Tour. I’ll be back on the road again in November, starting with India. Until then? Come and knock my door! I’ll be waiting for you! I’ve a lovely space (on my wall) that needs your face! Trick or treating with you!
“Twins, Jack! TWINS!”
“Sweet! This’ll make for an epic bottle opener!”
The special effects shartist’s computer every time he’d start working on Garuda.
Featuring special guest appearances by Stand and Deliver Edward James Olmos! 1992 Shane McMahon! And Jessica Alba!
Given the headphones and glasses, he’s clearly the team’s computer/tech expert. He probably reads manga in his spare time and gets nosebleeds when pretty girls are around too.
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely overcompensating! When the ladies call me the ‘2 inch killer’, they’re not exaggerating!”
Gah! Stop it! You’re gonna give the audience eyeball cancer if you keep doing that!
That’s not water. Pepsi© paid Thailand for the dumping rights to dispose of their unsold Crystal Pepsi™ inventory there. That man’s face will be riddled with tumors in a manner of weeks.
Tim is WAY too excited about being held at gunpoint here. I’d say he’s packing heat of his own, but the idea of Tim with an erection makes me nauseous and all I had to eat today was ghost pepper sauce and Crystal Pepsi™. I’d rather not melt my esophagus bringing all of that back up.
“What an important archaeological discovery! This is clearly Frog Thor (yes, that’s a thing that happened)’s mythological hammer Mjolnir!”
Leena catches sight of Garuda’s penis. She’s quite taken aback.
And there’s Garuda’s penis now! Toldja it was shocking.
And that, gentlemen, is why you don’t shave with a straight razor in the middle of an avalanche.
Also featuring a special appearance by Burgess Meredith from the “Time Enough at Last” episode of “The Twilight Zone”!
Stan’s wife knows how much her menstrual period upsets her husband, so she always pranks him by not telling him when she’s on it before initiating sex! He falls for it every time! Punk’d!
Looks like someone forgot to put the bowl of green M&Ms™ and freezer bag full of cocaine in David Lee Roth’s dressing room before the concert…
It’s an ancient mystical inscription that says “Made in China”.
Why does Garuda look like a bad Photoshop of David Cassidy’s mugshots morphed with Big Bird?
“I thought these would be so cool when I ordered them from Hot Topic. Why the Hell did I pay $86 for them!? Fuck. Maybe I can get a refund…”
“It’s okay Tan, you really don’t need to fuss over me and ruin your shirt for this! It’s just a popped zit. It’ll be fine in a minute!”
Guy Fieri impersonators are shot on sight in Bangkok! And for good reason! Do it! Do it! Do it! DO IT!
“Hello, ‘Mom’s Old Fashioned Mothballs’ consumer complaints line? Yeah, I put my favorite shirt into storage with a full box of your product, and now my sleeve looks like swiss cheese!”
“I really like your ‘Lady Die Hard’ costume, lady! Very sexy! Your cosplay game very pro!”
It’s Batman! Oh wait, it’s just Garuda. Never mind. Nothing to see here, people.
Knowing there’s no hope for a sequel to his own movie, Garuda prepares an audition reel in case Disney ever does a live-action “Gargoyles” movie.
Anubis will return next time in
“It’s Not Easy Having a Good Time”
Featuring: Mark “‘Doctors’” Frost , Andrew “Wishmaster” Divoff , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs
Director: Brian “Beyond Re-Animator” Yuzna
Writer: David Quinn
Fox’s Fant4stic came out a few weeks ago and bombed harder than Fat Man and Little Boy. In “honor” of the flick’s release from the Hollywood poop shoot, I could have reviewed the studio’s two prior attempts at bringing Marvel’s first family to feature length glory. But, that would’ve been too easy. For those of you who know me, you know I always do things the Max Power way (look it up). For those of you who don’t know me, uhm, I’m Anubis Von Mojo – the proprietor of the shitty movie review site you’re currently reading. Nice to meet you?
Fuck it. Anyway, rather than go with the obvious, I thought I’d obscure it up a bit and insert a stiff finger-blasting of wordplay into the mix. As such, this “reviews thing” will highlight four movies from Brian Yuzna’s no-longer-breathing horror production company, Fantastic Factory. I even opted to slip a a second wordplay finger into the backdoor by using Marvel horror comic book references as the alternate titles for these episodes! Now, if I’m done geeking myself off, let’s turn this factory’s lights back on and start making some fantastic. What better place to start this so-called event off than with FF’s premiere production!
[Writer’s Note: despite being from Spain, the Fantastic Factory movies are NOT considered part of “World Tour de Farce 2015”. That would be cheating. I have something else in mind for Spain, which you’ll find out about once I get around to that neck of the woods…which will be sometime around 2017 at this rate. Blart.]
“Faust: Love of the Damned” originally started as a 1987 comic book series of the same name plucked from the demented minds and talented hands of independent creators Tim Vigil and David Quinn. It took 25 years and two different publishers (from Rebel Studios to Avatar Press) before the pair finally finished the tale’s 15 issue run. And you Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) nerds thought George R.R. Martin took his sweet time? Fuckin’ artists and their “process”.
As you’ll notice, Quinn was also brought on as the writer for this live-action adaptation, which is a good thing if you want your movie to feel more like a comic book. In this case, it definitely does. Not to the audience taxing extents of Ang Lee’s Hulk with all the gimmicky comic panel shots and such, but more through dialogue, story structure and scene progression. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s still a thing, whatever your tastes may be.
Aaaaaaanyway, let’s make like BTO and get to takin’ care of the proverbial business!
Though the movie is presented in a very “broken and out of order” story sequence, I’m just going to work through it chronologically to make it more cohesive.
Aside from having a very old skool Marvel Comics-esque alliteration heavy moniker that’s confusingly close to Jasper Johns’ name, and a self-indulgent status as an “artist”, John Jaspers (Mark Frost–not to be confused with Jack Frost or Mister Frost) also has a beautiful girlfriend. The exotic Blue (Jennifer Rope) is JJ’s muse, his beloved, his everything. Too bad for him that she’s also an illegal immigrant who was brought into the country by less-than-legal means, courtesy of a gang of ne’er-do-wells. When the goons (are they hired goons, perchance?) come looking to punish Blue for not repaying her tariff, wimpy little Jaspers tries to intervene. Instead of being the roundhouse kicking Dalton that his chromatically monikered madam needs though, Double J’s just her dime store Eric Draven, held impotent and agonizing while the woman he loves is tortured before his soggy eyeballs. He’s cold cocked and left to sleep it off while presumably unspeakable acts are performed on the lovely lady with the painful accent.
When he comes to from his ass kicking, a disheveled Jaspers (who should wipe that smear of ketchup off of his mouth before his mother comes at him in a public place with a spat upon napkin) discovers his corpsed-up soul mate/mail order bride inversely crucified upon one of his easels. It’s actually a cool visual that I’d never considered before seeing it here, and given my tendency to daydream about the different things I could crucify people to, I’m surprised. Anyway, with his beloved now be-deaded, JJ declares life a crushing boulder of searing agony squatting on his chest and no longer worth living. He’s the personification of every Morrisey song: boo-hoo poor me emo tripe all day and all night.
And now, courtesy of the Meat Council, this free tripe!
On the verge of taking his own life via bridge bungee jump (sans bungee), our protagonist’s approached by a touchy-feely harlot named Claire (Mónica Van Campen) and her ominous looking white-haired boyfriend referred to only as “M”. “Why so ominous?” Because, Joker, M’s played by Andrew Divoff. When Wishmaster‘s demonic djinn is in your movie, 95% of the time he’s got evil intentions a-brewin’. Sure enough, the mono-consonantly titled stranger offers John Boy immortality and the power to take revenge on those who have wronged him, but makes no bones about warning him that his payment for such power will be his eternal soul now, and a future thing that Jaspers holds closest to his heart, to be named later. Ready to end his existence anyway and having no belief in a “soul” to begin with, JJ figures “Fuck it! I’ll take the demonic revenge powers!”.
From suicidal pessimist to optimist who thinks he can get one over on the Prince of Lies in a matter of moments. Now me? I hate optimists. They’re just in denial of how the world is nothing but a barb wire wrapped dildo trying to butt fuck us every chance it gets. The kind of people who think that the massive potholes in their lives are part of some “god’s plan”. The kind of people who try to put a positive spin on being shat upon by avian airstrikes, calling it “good luck”. NO! YOU WERE SHIT ON BY A FUCKING BIRD! YOU’RE NOT DUE GOOD LUCK, YOU’RE TARGET PRACTICE! YOU’RE A LOWER LIFEFORM’S TOILET! And if everything’s part of “god’s plan”, then why the fuck are you praying to him to make changes in your life?! Aren’t you supposed to just sit back and let the guy in the sky do his thing? Do you think you know better than “god”?! Monkeys.
No sooner does John start smearing his gory signature on Mephistopheles’ contract, you can practically hear Hugo Weaving proclaiming “the sound of inevitability” in your ear, because you know deals with Ol’ Scratch generally don’t end well. Until the fine print bites him in the ass though, John at least gets himself a slick pair of forearm mounted, retractable stabby talons with which to perforate his adversaries’ innards! He wastes no time surprising the gang in their warehouse hideout (how he knew where said hideout was is never explained) and relieving the three members he finds there of the massive tumors they call their heads. Returning to M, JJ’s told that his job isn’t done yet because he’s now Satan’s assassin. He tries to put his new boss in His place, only to discover that, surprise, the claws won’t come out against their bestower. The Great Deceiver’s not new to this game, dummy. I am curious as to why the Lord of Darkness would enroll a simpering little art school dropout as his hired gun though, since you’d imagine a soldier or an MMA fighter or even Uwe Boll would be a better option physically. Maybe M just didn’t want to have to travel far from his home office and JJ was the closest suicidal person he could find on such short notice.
Being M’s loaded gun isn’t all bad, though. The benefits plan includes shower sex with Claire, after all. As Satan’s fuck toy, she’s probably immune to STDs…or flooded with them. Maybe it’s not such a benefit after all.
JJ is sent by his new boss to a Chinese (maybe?) embassy to turn the place into an international house of
pancakes carnage. He carves up 19 people, but rather than go for a nice round 20, stops short of killing police Lieutenant Dan “Hound Dog” Margolis (Jeffrey Combs!). Instead of rending Dan into itty-bitty pieces fit for an itty-bitty-ditty bag, the wild-eyed Jaspers sheaths his claws, utters “No” to a nearby Claire (concealed behind a veil), then mutters “The Hand.” to the Lieutenant, then slips into a completely unresponsive state of total mental meltdown. Before the rest of the fuzz can gun down JJ like an unarmed black teen in the park, Margolis interjects and takes the mentally disturbed human lawnmower into custody. This to the chagrin of the Lieutenant’s “oh you KNOW that dick bag is a bad guy!” boss Commissioner Marino (Fermi Reixach), who tries to have Jaspers filled with more lead than a Chinese toy factory, only to be disappointed because now Jaspers the Friendly Ghost will likely get off on a plea of insanity.
Due to said regression into an unresponsive vegetable (his brains have turned into figurative cauliflower), John is given accommodations in a padded room rather than a jail cell. Here he soon meets his appointed psychoanalyst, Dr. Jade de Camp (Isabel Brook), who has experience with bringing patients out of traumatically induced consciousness crashes through “unusual methods”.
At first blush I thought this meant she was going to be one of those therapists you see in 2 a.m. Showtime softcore flicks who fix all of their patients by having hilarious, poorly choreographed sex scenes with them, but Jade’s atypical tactics of treatment basically just consist of trying to trigger a cognitive reaction by playing music. So you can make me cry uncontrollably by playing “The Humpty Dance”. Big deal. It proves NOTHING!
While Jade is trying to finger our hero’s trigger, Lt. Dan (“Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?”) flexes his Netscape-Fu and scours the worldwide wasteland for information on an occult sect known as “The Hand”, as per Johnny’s utterance of the words at the embassy slaughter. He finds the information faster than you can look up “Thundercats hentai” or “dump cake recipes”, as the group appears to have their own Angelfire page! Not very clandestine of them. Hell, I can’t even get my page near the top of search engine results when you type in “The Tomb of Anubis”, so they must put a LOT of their marketing budget into their internet advertising if they’re showing up in the top 10 for something as commonplace as “the hand”! Movies. What’re you gonna do? Blart, that’s what.
While silently drawing seemingly Satanic symbols on the walls of his cell (at first with his own blood, then with a Sharpie provided by Dr. J), John has a reaction when he sees a certain CD in Dr. de Camp’s pile of mood music. Desperate to get her patient to say anything, she puts the disc (presumably a choice track from the Faust soundtrack, available
NOW 15 years ago from Roadrunner Records!) on and gets just the manic lashing out that she’d hoped for! He breaks down in a bit of acting that can’t help but recall Jeff Daniels’ award-winning performance in Dumb and Dumber as he tells Jade his story (which I already covered previously, so you and I can fast forward through this next part). You’re welcome.
During story time, JJ gets all “artist speak” on us and shows us the “depth” of his “tortured soul” by yammering on about the shallowness of art in comparison to love and how evil is a thing despite the existence of science and technology (Duh! Ever hear of Decepticons?!) and blah blah blah. The line between pseudo intellectual and actual intellectual isn’t a thin line: it’s a gaping chasm and this guy’s sitting at the bottom of it, standing on his head and jerking off into his own mouth. Guys, never get high on your own stash. It’s like meth: Not Even Once.
Having bucked M’s control and thus avoided an LAPD style “excessive force” demise, JJ is now wanted by the bad guys. He’s snatched from his padded room after hours by Dr. Yamamoto (the head doctor in charge of him who also happens to be M’s personal physician), and two of the goons responsible for Blue’s death. Now, is this all a big coincidence that M’s both the cause of Jaspers’ misery, as well as the provider of his power? Or, was it part of an overarching scheme? Whatever the case, Jpeg’s drugged and dragged to a cemetery, where M gloats over him a bit before burying the blonde blood-letter alive and sending him to eternal damnation in Hell. In the fiery beyond, Jaspers is strangled by a skeleton until he uses his talons (stupid of M to bury him with the damn things like some kind of Bond villain) to crack-a-lack its cranium and return to life. Amidst the dirt (and an inordinate number of worms), he claws his way from the earthen womb of his resurrection! And Yuzna ruins any awesome factor the scene once had by having a headstone to Jaspers’ makeshift grave with “AUS” and three conveniently placed scratches upon it spell out “FAUST” when JJ’s claws cast a shadow across it.
See? I literally face palmed at this and had to walk away for a breather. If I’d known things were going to get this corny I would’ve brought some butter and salt. Fuck.
Making good on his promise to take away something important to JJ (despite having just buried the guy alive with the intention of sending him to Hell), M sends his henches to snatch Jade. As they surround her in an ominous alley that’s on loan from a Death Wish movie, a caped figure descends upon the fiends from above. Looking like concept art for a Clive Barker Batman movie (and with the red light-up eyes of a drug store Halloween mask), Jaspers proceeds to eviscerate the villains as his new, blood crazed, eponymous persona Faust. He’s dressed like the Dark Knight, cracks demented one-liners a la The Joker, and murders with the savagery and bladed protrusions of Wolverine. All things that should be amazing, but the rubber muscle suit is distractingly silly and the line delivery boils just a little too far over the top of the pot. It needs to be more Jack Nicholson Joker and less Frank Gorshin Riddler. Hell, even a bit more toward Jim Carrey Riddler might not have been so bad.
No, wait. I’d rather swallow a nest of vipers than praise anything related to a Joel Schumacher Batman movie. Carrey on.
Dan and Jade combine their powers to form a Captain Planet of an investigation (he is our hero, after all), against the orders of the so-obvious-that-he’s-in-on-it Commissioner Marino. Who’s your favorite Marino? Dan Marino seems like a nice enough guy, but I have to stand by Ken Marino. Guy’s amazing. And no amount of touchdown passes or Isatoner commercials will ever top repeated declarations of “I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT!”. Where was I? Oh yeah, Marino’s clearly under M’s employ and if they’re not going to be upfront with it from the start, Yuzna probably shouldn’t have had the guy’s voice dubbed by someone so blatantly sinister sounding. That motherfucker is up to no good. Up to no good. Like a spark on a wire. Or a splinter of a wood. I gotta stop listening to Rancid while I write these things.
Back at the baddies’ den o’ sin, succubus nympho Claire conspires against her sugar devil, but Big Daddy Mammon lets her know that he’s aware of her plans and puts her in her place by turning her into a big slimy pile of boobs and butt flesh with a face and tiny stick arms. You know, pretty much what you’d expect to see out of a Screaming Mad George concoction. Unless you’re a narcissist who fears this happening to you, the whole sequence is much funnier than it is terrifying. The silly music doesn’t help, and my respect for Yuzna as a horror guy dwindles as a I realize, intentionally or not, the guy’s trying too hard to emulate Charles Band’s ’90s stuff and it’s not to his (or our) benefit. My hopes for the other three movies on this “reviews thing” is dipping to dangerous levels. My hope for my hope chest (i.e. my DVD collection) is dissipating like a fart from a dead body’s voided bowels.
JJ visits a towel clad, post-bath Jade at her apartment, vowing to protect her from M’s machinations and the threat of whatever “worse than death” plans he has in store for her. When the officers assigned to watch her intervene, he transforms into Faust (through the magic of late ’90s low budget computerized morphing technology – a trauma we’d all like to overcome), tells them to take a message to their boss, then proceeds to lick one of them (he’s got an odd, homo-erotic sadism fetish where he keeps making mouth time with decapitated mens’ faces) before gutting them both. So, I guess the delivery of that message was purely symbolic then? As Jade runs off scared out of her mind (but not too scared to have grabbed her trench coat), Faust goes to a window and shouts the best line of the movie at her: “I’m the pornography that gets you HOT!” It’s one of the brief moments that Frost’s exaggerated delivery works and it’s amazing.
One of the porcine peacekeepers survives his sticking long enough to call in backup, leading to a chase scene as the 5-0 show up to “help” Miss de Camp. But, when she sees Yamamoto there, her guts tell her something’s not right, confirmed when he tries to poke her with some sleepy juice (now known as a “Cosby Non-Consent Cocktail”). She runs onto a conveniently waiting subway train that Margolis manages to miss, but Faust does not. In fact, he does a little comically needless/needlessly comical hop into the car! Faust adds a few more notches to his one-eight-seven bodycount and wins the award for Most Subway Passengers Traumatized since Predator 2 took the prize a decade earlier. Given the choice between the sleazy Commissioner and the blood-soaked one-man killing streak, our heroine opts for the latter. These days, when given the same choice, I think most people would do just that.
Back at Johnny’s place, the two debate over tea and scones whether he’s retained any of his humanity, whether evil is a curable mental condition or an incurable primordial state of being and what the hero’s intentions are for her lady parts. Actually, they just yell at each other about said subjects until ultimately banging like hamsters on Viagra. Here’s a tip, folks – when someone asks you if you want to rape them, there’s a good chance that means they’re floating a role play fantasy out there and are waiting for your reaction without straight up asking you if you’d do it. Never do anything to someone without their consent, but definitely evaluate whether you want to continue this relationship or not, because things can get REALLY tricky. Not necessarily bad, but tricky. Always establish parameters for consent and even then be prepared, because your partner is probably going to get freaky in your ear. Personal experience, that’s all I’m saying.
In the throes of their humpening, Jade tells John that she’s wanted to jump his bones from the moment she saw him (therapists love damaged people they can “save”, it’s an ego driven Jesus complex thingy), then declares that “this is forever”. Yikes! I’ve been known to bring out the ‘L’ word (“Lesbians?”) a little too soon with a couple of gals, but “this is forever” is something better saved for wedding vows and contracts with your internet provider, not first time flings! Making the scene all the more awkward (aside from the bits of demonic residue/cop blood still sticking to nekkid John) is the “love making” track that plays over it, dominated by a woman humming sensuously as if she were sipping on a chocolate shake and getting her feet rubbed while recording it. What makes it even more awkward is when Jade’s own trauma kicks in and her mind is flooded with the horrors of a hideous faceless creature she refers to only as “Smooth Man”. Not Barry White smooth, but “fat guy post Brazilian wax drizzled in baby oil” smooth. Gross. Evidently, when she was a little girl Jade was molested by the Incredible Melting Man. He’s incredi-meltable!…and on the Public Sex Offender List.
The mood for their first time officially killed, Jaspers does the right thing and just cuddles with Jade while she opens up about her PTSD, then promises to protect her after. Good man. Meanwhile, The Hand are on the verge of seeing their centuries old plan to fruition, as tonight is the night their dark god Homunculus will finally be summoned and the Earth will be transformed into Hell…except that there’s another day’s worth of scenes, so I guess they meant tomorrow night. Margolis tails Marino to a roundtable meeting at M’s mansion and watches as the Commish rakes M over the coals for not being able to control his own human Cuisinart. The rest of their cabal also show faltering faith, so the Morning Star makes an example out of the rabble-rouser and absorbs him into his stomach using these big abdominal demon arms a la that crazy shit at the end of The Evil Dead. With his minions back in their proper place of fear-based reverence, our main antagonist needs to have a sit and get juiced by Yamamoto, as his human form is getting weak. Not weak enough to overlook Margolis though, whom he sees from the other side of a two-way mirror and puts some evil whammy on.
Margolis calls Jade and tells her that he’s uncovered the truth about what The Hand have planned. He also says he’s found JJ’s contract and has a plan for how they can void it, but tells her to meet him at M’s estate before he’ll go into any details. Oh, and he wants her to come alone…riiiiiiiiiight. Danny Boy’s heel turn might not have been so obvious had they not just ended the previous scene the way they did! Damn it, Yuzna.
Jade finds nothing strange about how she’s able to just waltz through M’s unlocked front door untouched, and follows Dan further in the bad guys’ inner sanctum. She finds the contract and deletes any empathy I had for her when it turns out she’s one of those obnoxious people who moves her fucking lips and mutters when she reads something to herself too. She’s approached by M, who offers to trade her JJ’s freedom for full power of attorney over her body. Dan reveals his official switching of teams as well, jealous that Jade chose doing the bed spread rumba with Jaspers over him, finally giving Combs a chance to sink his teeth into some scenery like he does so well. Elsewhere, Claire conspires with Dr. ‘To to poison the big boss and steal his wealth of knowledge and powers for their own, seemingly unfazed by the whole “Dali Meets Picasso” pile-of-tits-and-ass flesh fiasco she went through before. Claire even tells ‘Moto to his face that he can’t trust her, but the threatening seeds she plants in the doctor’s ear of his loss of usefulness once M gains his full power are enough to convince the portly physician to go into business for himself. Elsewhere still, John wakes up in bed, discovers Jade has left and freaks out. For all he knows she went out to get them coffee and crullers and he’s throwing a spaz like a codependent child over nothing. Lighten up!
The conspiracy against M seems to go off well, as Yam’s lethal injection leaves his now former boss dead in a heap of gross on his fancy Oriental rug. Too bad for the doc though that M managed to kill him too before giving up the ghost. Oh well, he would’ve ended up dead either way. But, if given the choice, I’d probably rather my throat slit by a sadistic succubus in mid-climax than having my face chewed off by an old man with coke junkie nails. Claire doubly confirms her newly widowed status by turning what’s left of her hubby’s head into a 12 gauge smear. Upon taking charge, the black widow goes full Domme on Jade, locking her in a stockade and whipping her ass with a cat-o-nine tails, then dressing her in a belly dancer bikini and putting her in an electrified cage while she turns her sexual nightmares about Smooth Man into fantasy, transforming her into a horny sex kitten almost as fast as Japanese schoolgirls learn to lust after monster tentacles. So the fastest way to cure severe emotional damage in someone is to inflict severe physical damage on them instead? Gotcha.
Turns out it’s not as easy to kill the Prince of Darkness as Claire thought, as M then pops up to take back his baby momma-to-be. Yep, M’s going to pull a Demonic Toys and impregnate a human woman with his new form. Though why someone would want to relive childhood, even in an instance like this, is beyond my comprehension. The ritual sees M pull a huge yellow anaconda out of a bound, mud caked Claire’s stomach then feed the snake to a mud caked Dan while Claire’s body is engulfed in flames. Dan falls over dead (what the fuck was the point of the snake!?), Jade does interpretive dance on an altar and random minions stab chanting extras to death all around them. Faust bursts through a window to interrupt Beelzebub’s bacchanal, killing several goons wearing red KKK hoods (on laundry day, you’d think racists would know not to mix coloreds in with whites *rimshot*) before reverting to his emotionally crippled human form upon seeing that Jade’s willingly turned into Satan’s breeding slut. He watches in horror as two-pump chump M gets his rocks off in his girlfriend while she has the ill-timed breakthrough that Smooth Man was actually her father. Disturbing as this is, I was worried they were going to reveal that it was M who’d raped 11 year old Jade as part of his long term plot to eventually manipulate her into being a Hell whore. Though less nauseating that the incest thing, it would’ve been hokey as fuckin’ pokey.
Upon M’s climax, the Homunculus is summoned. Wait. That’s their Homunculus!? No. By definition a homunculus is a small, artificially made human being. I saw Verne Troyer at a comic convention last weekend. HE is a homunculus. The thing M is summoning resembles something out of the nightmare a lesbian has right before she realizes that dicks aren’t her forte. It looks like Ultraman monster villain Bogun by way of a Ken Russell fever dream after he’s downed too much absinthe and LSD. It’s Satan’s wedding tackle. We can thank Screaming Mad for this, as the monster’s design is his own. The comic book form of the Homunculus was more in line with a werewolf…which STILL ISN’T A HOMUNCULUS!
M sends Jade to commit her final act of devotion by killing the now bound John, but she does the hero thing instead and cuts the straps, thus freeing him to become Faust again. The Non-munculus proceeds to turn the entire ceremony into a mass funeral pyre, burning all of its followers while Faust does this embarrassing “hop and flail” thing, attempting to slash the monster as it sits just out of his reach. You know what he needs? Judge Doom’s spring shoes. Cartoony, yes, but they’d actually be less goofy than just watching him hopping up and down like a little kid whose big brother is holding his favorite toy out of reach. Silly little demonic superhero guy. Maybe if you keep drinking your milk you’ll be big enough one day to not be the object of harassment and ridicule for some cock beast from the Lake of Fire.
The frightening phallic fiend (sounds like a Scooby-Doo monster) grabs Faust in its tractor beam, but before it can eat him, Jade stabs M in the neck, causing the creature to flinch due to its apparent link with the villain. It drops our hero, allowing him to do another of his silly little hops, this time close enough to plant his talons in its soft, fleshy head. I told you it’s a mutant penis! It’s like the dickasaurus from Tromeo & Juliet! Defeated, the not-a-homunculus is sucked back into the portal from whence it came…swirling around in circles like it’s being flushed down a toilet. Fetal’s fraggin’ gizz.
John still can’t lay a claw on M though, so the bad guy hovers semi-triumphantly over the gateway, mocking the hero and vowing to send him to Hell…which didn’t work the last time! Still, Jade strikes a deal with El Diablo for John’s freedom, giving him the soul of the baby that M just planted in her nurture purse. The baddy negates JJ’s contract, only to have Jade tell him she put one over on the Great Deceiver, because her prepubescent assault didn’t just mess up her brain, it also fucked up her womb (poor choice of words?) and left her barren. M seems pretty nonplussed by this though, saying that he always puts his money on long shots. He must’ve read the unmade part of the script where we were supposed to discover (in a post-credits sequence) that Jade does wind up with a miracle spawn despite her condition. Anyway, M takes away John’s Faust powers (why didn’t he just do that in the first place?!) and declares him dead, but through sheer will and a bit of encouragement from the woman he loves, JJ finds the strength to jam his claws (the second time M should’ve just taken the fucking things away from him!) into his former boss’s digestive tract and sends him back to Hell in a wash of computer generated flames like something out of Diablo II. Maybe if M had actually tried to evade the attack rather than floating in place and just yelling “YOU’RE DEAD! I BURIED YOU!”, he could have avoided his demise. Oh well. “Hindsight’s 20/20” and all that.
To end the picture, John falls to the floor and utters another stupid artist epitaph as Jade lays on top of him and mourns his passing. To confuse matters, this is interspersed with cuts of a different scene where John’s saying the same things to Jade before he jumps from the bridge he was originally going to kill himself on following Blue’s death…so… this might’ve all been a figment of John’s delusional mind after all!? Huh. Interesting twist, I suppose. You know, in that “Newhart” kinda way…now I wish I had enough ambition to draw Bob Newhart as Faust…
Okay, wrap up time. Where to begin? I think I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan of Yuzna’s directorial decisions. I think the levity, both intentional and un, were out of place. Normally I’m okay with Yuzna’s stuff, but this just rubbed me the wrong way on this material. Stuart Gordon was supposedly pegged to direct Faust back in the ’90s when it was being shopped around. Back to Batman terms, I think we deserved something more Tim Burton-y and less Joel Schumacher-y, and Gordon probably would’ve provided that. Yet another one for the “Oh, what could have been” pile.
The acting is all horrible. Well, not all of it, just most of it. It doesn’t help that half the characters are being dubbed to cover up their no doubt heavy Spanish accents (or lack of English), but even the people using their own voices are painful to listen to. Frost is trapped somewhere between Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons and Tommy Wiseau in The Room. His scenery chewery never quite hits either extreme of “so bad, it’s good”, so it just sits meandering at “bad” for the entire movie beyond his delivery of that one sweet aforementioned line. Combs is serviceable for the most part except when watching Margolis try his awkward best to hit on Jade. It’s painful and reminds me why I only pick up
victims women online during the one week a year that Geek2Geek offers me a free trial membership. Combs definitely gets higher marks once his character falls from grace and goes full evil though. I’ve been saying since From Beyond that I want to see the man play Renfield in a Dracula flick, but his brief work as evil Dan further solidifies that opinion like a cockroach in concrete.
Much like my review for Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation however, Divoff outshines my hero JC and is the real linchpin keeping this movie from disintegrating into Werewolf territory…or is it pronounced “warr-wilf”? Unlike Combs, Divoff’s role is perfect for him to be on top of his game out of the gate. The guy exhales sinister like it was smoke. He reminds me of Christopher Lee in his legendary Hammer Dracula run. High praise, I know, but I believe what I say. The man plays his roles so well that it comes off as effortless and he deserves so much more than he’s been given. It pains me that my own review limiters forbid me from doing episodes for the first two Wishmasters or either of Full Moon’s Oblivion movies, because they’re pure showcase material for this guy.
The practical and makeup effects by frequent Yuzna co-conspirator Screaming Mad George work. Everything’s got that slimy gloss to it, which works as a gross out thing, but risks portraying them as the rubbery creations they really are. The digital stuff isn’t great, but we can chalk that up to technical and/or budgetary limitations at the time. The metal music soundtrack features names I’ve heard of like Type O Negative, Sepultura, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and a Soulfly song that lauds the inclusion of Fred Durst for some fucking reason. Even in 2000 that wasn’t something to be proud of. It all sounds generic to mine non-metal detector ears, so to me it all leans less bad-ass and more cheese-ass, metaphorically stinking of Velveeta and farts. Incidentally, you can pick it up used at this Amazon link http://www.amazon.com/Faust-Various-Artists/dp/B000055YAH for the same price as your 10th spatula at the Spatula City https://youtu.be/4BUDwj_mXKE clearance sale!
Speaking of metal, today’s episode is sponsored by Pantera Bread™ – Re! Spect! Bread! WE BAKE IT FOR YOU!
As I finish this up, for those who think this entire premise sounds too much like The Crow for your tastes, stick a pinch of this factoid between your cheek and gum: Faust was published in 1987, while The Crow wasn’t published until 1989’s Caliber Presents #1. So, even if you discounted the fact that today’s feature takes its name and influence from a Medieval German legend, the vengeful anti-hero himself still predates his better known peer by a couple of years.
And for the jerk-offs who think Faust is just ripping off Spawn, Todd McFarlane didn’t drop that deuce until 1992, so sit your ass down and stop pretending you’re the fanboy you think you are, skid mark.
Speaking of the four color funnies, in 2003 DC Comics decided to cash-in on the Tokyo Drifting craze (that wouldn’t actually happen until 2006) and put out a 6 issue mini-series called “The Demon: Driven Out”, that centered around their demonic character Etrigan getting involved with the activities of a female street racer and her conflict with the Yakuza. The painted cover of the first issue (courtesy of Jo Chen) is one of my favorites.
It’s enough to make you wet , right? If there were any justice in the world, Brian Yuzna would give us a sequel to Faust that borrows heavily from that mini-series, rather than any of the other comics in Faust’s actual exploits. The resultant production could be known by no other name than The Faust and the Furious…
Yes, I just spent two paragraphs of your time to shoehorn a “Faust and the Furious” pun into this review. Dropping bombs like President O-bomb-a with a fleet of drones. Baracka Barolla!
And on that note, I’ve stolen enough of your precious precious time for today. Tune in for our next episode as we partake in part two of this “Fantastic Four” reviews thing. Until then, my friend, this is the end. This is the end, my only friend. The end. Praise the Noodle Gods. Ra-men. *click*
“You remember me from my role in Cyclone? Nobody watched Cyclone! I’m pretty sure I remember the director wearing a blindfold the whole time so he didn’t need to watch it while we were making it!”
That moment when you’re trapped in a straight jacket, the inside of your nose starts itching like a motherfucker, and you realize you’re about to lose whatever sanity you have left.
Did somebody delete their icons folder by accident, or did Yuzna not wanna pay the rights fee to use the search button graphic?
You know their dark lord’s serious business when they spell out his name in all caps.
Shit! TimeWarner is really strict about their penalties for early contract terminations!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your bad-ass demonic hero… prematurely ejaculating, apparently.
That awkward moment when your parents walk in on you practicing your kissing on a mannequin head… while dressed like a comic book character… At least you’ll be ready for the Comic Con key party next year!
Janice Dickinson finally has too much plastic surgery.
Sure, being the star of a bukkake party sounds like fun when you’re rollin’ on a Molly high, but eventually you come down and just end up with another entry for your Regrets Journal.
Speaking of bukkake party regrets…
Hey! That cop’s got a tail light out! Somebody give him a ticket!
“I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym blasting my abs. Can you tell?”
Excedrin headache #666
“The only way to be rid of severe emotional trauma is to replace it with different severe emotional trauma. As such, you will now watch 27 uninterrupted hours of Carrot Top stand up! It will make you a stronger person… if you survive.”
Check it out: it’s what Rush Limbaugh thinks a lesbian wedding ceremony looks like.
Next in our freak show: the most normal guy at Burning Man.
“But I made sure to order the three pronged claws! My Wolverine cosplay is ruined! Now I’ll never get laid at the Comic Con key party!”
Oh good! Nice to see Satan’s been getting some use out of that BowFlex™ I got him for Antichristmas. Another few months of that and my dude won’t have a single sleeve in his entire wardrobe!
Anubis will return next time in
“Spirit of Vengeance”