Featuring: Natasha “‘Orange Is the New Black’” Lyonne , Chloë “American Psycho” Sevigny , Meg “Psycho II” Tilly
Director & Writer: Danny “Oddsac” Perez
Origin: Canada | USA
Hey kids. It’s September 30th. Somebody wake up Billy Joe Armstrong, cuz he apparently can’t figure out how to set a fucking alarm clock. Speaking of kids…
Children. Uggh. I’ve never been a fan. My DNA has been requested more than once to contribute to the spawning of an Anubis Junior, but such a nightmare never occurred because I convinced the women in question that not only would having my child be a poor idea (family history of mental illness, alcoholism, diabetes, and general assholeness) , but ANY intentions for reproduction would only lead to a lifetime of regret for all involved. I’ve seen it happen. Too many times. From would-be dads who bail as soon as the first sonogram image proves they were wrong that their lady “just ate too much chili” to mothers on the verge of becoming the next Andrea Yates (one of which I literally had to talk down over the phone while at work, I shit you not), the idea of having children unnerves me. Almost as badly as the idea of a Rush Limbaugh Speedo calendar or Uwe Boll making a movie crapdaptation of Eternal Darkness. In the darkest depths of this hypothetical Hell, it would star Jenny McCarthy as Alexandra, Casper Van Dien as Pious Augustus, and Paulie Shore as the voices of each of the Elder Gods. Uggh, I just gave myself mental indigestion.
As I was saying, I hate the concept of babies and everything to do with them. So much so that I used to wear a t-shirt in high school of a fetus on a coat hanger that said “PRO DEATH” across the chest. Some mistook it as a plea for negative attention, others incorrectly interpreted it as an extremely anti pro-choice statement (it was not), while in the end all it was meant to be was exactly what it looked like: a public illustration of my advocating for the violent physical termination of parasites. Do you know what the difference is between a tapeworm and a fetus? Most people don’t keep the tapeworm after it’s been removed and raise it as their own. Poor tapeworms. Somebody should start a petition to establish a publicly funded tapeworm adoption agency. But not me. I’d rather bisect my own tongue with a piece of notebook paper than try to convince people to sign a petition.
In addition to the whole conception concept, Antibirth also addresses another mostly female-centric nightmare – date rape drugs. No sooner does our feature set sail, then it immediately crashes upon the jagged rocks of discomfort as our intoxicated leading lady Lou (Natasha Lyonne), who’s suddenly having issues maintaining consciousness, is led away from a raucous midnight warehouse barrel fire rave by the living, breathing definition of a “skeezoid” with blatantly bad intentions. Her friend Sadie (Chloë Sevigny) sees this and makes the bare minimum effort to assist her protagonist pal, but is ultimately dissuaded by her presumed beau Gabriel (Mark Webber) to just ignore the implied peril and get back to indulging in their drunken merriment. Ladies, be sure to properly vet your rape prevention buddies before engaging in a public night of mind altering activities, and even then, be sure to travel in a consortium of three or more friends if possible in case of outside interference. Oh, and be sure to pack an Xacto knife or shiv of some kind too. If there’s one thing that terrifies a guy with his dick hanging out, it’s sharp objects!
Antibirth throws us face first into the figurative wall with its tale, so let’s take a quick sidebar and let me introduce you to Lou, based on what we observe throughout the runtime. She wants more out of her aimless life, but due to her downward spiral of self-esteem these moments of clarity are always quickly obscured with another haze of bong exhaust, or drowned in an amber sea of Old Milwaukee and painkillers. As for her personality, the best I can boil her down to on a relatable level is thus: Lou is that “live out loud” tomboy type that has more male friends than female. She prefers to be direct and avoid the false face backstabbery and bullshit of the stereotype woman. It could have something to do with her dad being dead and all.
Lou’s the friend who asks her best male amigo to go get her tampons and offers to suck his dick in payment. As said friend though, you never call her out on cashing it in (despite getting blue balls every time she does it) because you know she was just joking, yet you still buy her the cotton ponies because you knew you were gonna end up doing it either way. She talks about how one night the planets will align and conditions will be just right for the two of you to swap fluids in a tangle of sexual kismet that you’ve been building toward for years. Chances are she’s just stringing you along because she thinks she needs to keep you interested in a self-professed loser like herself, and she feels genuinely bad at times since she knows said metaphorical celestial construct will never come to pass. Lou’s the kind of friend that masochists fall in love with despite knowing they’ll never have her because, well, I guess that’s part of being a masochist, right? She’s a Super Bowl of self-abuse, but you can’t help picking her back up every time she falls on her ass…
Well, if said “you” is me, anyway. Maybe the you “you” reading this hasn’t ever had a friend like that before. Anyway, now’s not the time to delve into the sinkholes of my personal memory lane. We’ve got a movie to review, you Sonoma bitch!
The aforementioned ambassador of the Skeeze Nebula is Warren (Max McCabe-Lokos), whom we later discover to be Gabriel’s henchman. Why would Gabriel need a henchman? Because he’s the local supplier of their small town’s citizens with pay-for-play poontang and illegal pharmaceuticals. He also may be holding a young woman hostage (it’s a shady shade of legal gray) for the purpose of harvesting her urine to sell to job seeking junkies. Even if you excuse his business practices as “providing services for people who are responsible for their poor decision making”, based on his simple merits as a human being, Gabe’s still a diarrhea Slush Puppie. And if you don’t know what a Slush Puppie is, memorial services for your childhood will be Thursday from 4PM to ‘?’.
Lou wakes up the next morning with no memory of what happened after Warren made off with her, but over the course of the following days one thing’s made very certain – she’s pregnant! She’s in denial about it for a while, but once her midsection starts to inflate like a meat balloon it’s clearly more than a heavy case of constipation. Given the rapid progression of said impregnation, there’s something way more complicated than the simple fetal fallout of a date rape at work in this lady’s womb. The question now isn’t just how that something got there, but who put it there, what it has to do with a strange woman (Meg Tilly) that’s seemingly stalking Lou, what its connection is to a ramshackle Chuck E. Cheese rip-off restaurant, and what exactly said something IS. The answer may surprise you!
Or maybe it won’t. If you’re into Area 51 “X-Files” type shit, I’m gonna guess it probably won’t.
Much like my last episode, The Neon Demon, there isn’t a lot in the way of horror going on in Antibirth. The dread comes from the discomforting voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you this is all leading to some nightmarish payoff, but the cause isn’t made clear until the finale, when the whole thing get thrown in our faces like a water balloon full of amniotic fluid. Unlike The Neon Demon though, Antibirth doesn’t give us the courtesy of some beautiful visuals and brain altering background tracks to keep us neck deep in the experience while we wait for the eventual menace to surface and resolve. Of the pair, oddly enough, it’s the one with a hardcore drug abuser as its main character that involves the less psychedelia. Yep. Despite Lou’s frequent pot smoking, booze drinking, and pill popping, there’s not a lot for the audience’s sensory apparati to indulge in outside of a little acid rock, a brief time lapse scene and some minor flashbacks to the night of her womb squatter’s immaculate conception.
The trippiest shit we get actually comes from whatever bizarro TV channel it is that Lou keeps her boob tube tuned to. Must be one of those weird ass “channels between the channels” digital air wave stations too, cuz our pregged-up protagonista’s trailer abode is so far out in the middle of nowhere that there’s no way a cable company is coming all the way out there to install service for her box! Though, I would gladly drive such a distance to service Natasha Lyonne’s box. There’s just something about her that makes my protruding Pineal stalk stand at attention. Not that I owe anyone an explanation as to whom or what pitches a tent in my celestial loincloth. If you’ve got a problem with it, you can blister your biscuits for all I care.
All in all, the movie’s cast is pretty good. Lyonne makes Lou oddly affable (and f-able) despite her flaws, but that may just be me hooking my wagon of personal life experiences to her hitch. Sevigny (who’s been superseded as the go-to Chloë by both Chloë Grace Moretz and Khloé Kardashian) make Sadie moderately interesting as both Lou’s co-conspirator and Gabe’s girlfriend, seeming genuinely ignorant that she’s using him for the free drugs. It keeps with the movie’s underlying message that everyone uses everyone else for their personal gains. That may make me a pessimist, if you must insist, but I tend to live in a sugar-free reality. My logic diabetes makes me allergic to naivety. And despite my cripplingly low self-esteem, I can’t seem to stop making this review about me. Let me go look in a mirror and remind myself why I’m not to be a topic of praise.
That’s better. Where was I? Oh yeah, the cast. Meg Tilly’s Lorna is motherly and warm, while also tin foil hat paranoid and always ready to cut a bitch. She’s like Kitty Forman with shellshock, thus making her my favorite character. Webber and Lokos are what you’d expect out of a small town wanna-be crime lord and his bruised second banana. Neither one is especially dynamic, but these aren’t exactly career making roles. I will give it to Webber though, he almost makes you feel bad for Gabriel when the guy points out to Sadie that she’s using him for drugs and he begrudgingly accepts it. One of those “I’m just a means to an end for you, but I’m a user too so fuck it, we’re good” exchanges. Kudos.
Though it’s become far more commercial in recent years than the Independent Film Channel it was created to be, IFC’s movie unit lives up to the “independent” part with Antibirth‘s super low budget feel, especially its limited number of scene locales. It’s sold as a horror movie, but looks and feels like a slice of life slacker picture. Downtrodden, lower class twenty-to-thirtysomethings just getting by and living lives without real purpose, just kinda dickin’ around until it’s their turn to feed the worms. Minuscule on production value, but in no need of a big price tag to warrant its existence. Take out the Mulder and Scully stuff and you’d be left with a Juno + Suburbia hybrid flick.
All in all, it’s an okay movie. Better remembered for its ending (which I’m not at liberty to divulge, given its infancy) and a scene that will make podophobics curl their toes in revulsion (trigger warning!), Antibirth is a fair feature to take in if you’re feeling nostalgic for the ’90s nihilistic punk pics sub-sub-genre, but still like a side of mild body horror and the unknown with your meal. It doesn’t make me chomp at the bit for another Danny Perez feature, but I may check one out if I get the odd pregnancy craving somewhere down the line.
Oh, and bonus points for the scene where Lou expounds the finer points of “Manimal” to Sadie! When’s that remake coming, NBC?!
With the sun setting on “Ladies Night!”, what will the striking of midnight and the dawning of the devil’s month have in store for The Tomb? Take my hand and let’s find out together…that’s not my hand…okay, you should just stop that now. I’m just not into you like that. You’ve made it awkward. I’m going to go now. Bye.
“Get off me, man! If that dude juggling the chainsaws fucks up, I wanna see it!”
We all had the same reaction when we heard Trump was running for president. Now we’re just praying someone invents a working time machine before election day.
Having missed out on her chance to be a contestant on “The Swan”, Split Face Girl instead moves from Japan to Canada in the hopes that their superior healthcare system may be able to finally get her the care she needs.
Trust me, leaving your piss cups and a big jar of olives in the fridge together will only lead to comical mishaps. Also, who the fuck put the COMPLETELY EMPTY KETCHUP BOTTLE back in the fridge?! Assholes!
The rest of his shirt says “When you can sit around and shove fried excuses for chicken parts into your face and cut your lifespan in half”.
I don’t care HOW big your American flag is, you’re not fooling anyone! Only Canadians bowl with those weird little ski ball spheres, ya hosers!
Fearing the inevitable sleepless nights that come with parenthood, Lou tries to keep her future spawn high as hell in utero in the hopes that it’ll be a mellow baby.
“Not so tough now ARE ya, Sunny Jim! Somebody’s definitely getting a mouthful tonight, but it’s not gonna be me. I suggest you pretend you’re eating a Choco Taco if you wanna see the sunrise. On your knees!”
Think Wheaties is the breakfast of champions? Fuck no! Cold pizza and a Camel are where it’s at.
Just another prom night victim of an American “abstinence only” school district…
Much like baby alligators in the ’70s, it looks like one of those porcelain preemies managed to reach adulthood in the sewers and become a successful model for “Gorezone”! The American Dream is alive and well, (white) people!
Pepsi recently brought back their Crystal Pepsi product by popular demand, but they forgot to fix the “flesh melting” side effects that caused them to cease its production in the first place!
By the time Billy’s mom realized she’d purchased a voodoo birthday cake by accident, it was too late…
Speaking of accidental conceptions, this is what happens when Tinky Winky and Po get wasted on cough medicine and take turns face fucking one of those water gun carnival game heads. Pure, uncut nightmare powder.
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: Bruce “My Name is Bruce” Campbell , Lucy “Xena: Warrior Princess” Lawless , Jill Marie “Girlfriends” Jones
Director: Sam “Drag Me to Hell” Raimi
Writers: Sam “Darkman” Raimi , Ivan “Darkman” Raimi , Tom “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” Spezialy
Feliz Día de los Muertos Malvados, folladoras de perros! For those of you that flunked out of high school Spanish, that means “Happy Day of the Evil Dead, dog fuckers!”
Ash. Is. Back. Alright! (Not to be confused with the Backstreet Boys, who didn’t make their fans wait nearly as long for their reunion tour).
Yes, after nearly a quarter of a century, the Deadite defeating dumbass with more bravado than brains has returned to pick up where he left off! Having been harassed by B-movie geeks about when we’d see Evil Dead IV: Army of Darkness Part 2 – Deadite By Dusk (in 3-D), the brains of Sam and Ivan Raimi and the chin of Bruce Campbell have combined their powers to bring the Stihl-handed hero of legend back for a Starz pilot series that may or may not lead to additional seasons once it’s complete (Update: it was approved for a second season before the first episode even debuted!).
Though there have been numerous comic books, video games, and even an Evil Dead remake in the time since we last saw Bruce himself don the scars of The Chosen One, the closest we’ve had to seeing Ashley J. Williams on our screens in the flesh again was the tongue-in-cheek My Name is Bruce. Entertained by it as I was (went to two showings of it on opening day!), it still felt like a 90 minute tease. Like paying for a night with the prostitute of your dreams only to find out they have a bad yeast infection, so the most you’ll get is a handjob. Sure, you came, but you could’ve stayed home and gotten yourself off for free.
By the way, I did my best to make that comparison as inclusive as possible for everyone. However, if you feel left out because you’re asexual or lack the equipment to reach climax via manual stimulation, my apologies. I tried.
Now come on, space truckers! Let’s get space truckin’!
When we last left our hero…well…it’s not made explicitly clear. The when the show’s timeline is picking up from isn’t specific beyond Ash telling everyone that it’s been “30 years” since he last dealt with Deadites. Given that there’s a scene in the episode where he fills in his co-worker Pablo on his unpleasant past with the Necronomicon and it only uses clips of the first two Evil Dead movies, I’m taking a stab that this series is a direct sequel to Evil Dead II. In 1987 (“30 year ago”?), ED Dos re-wrote the events of the original, making the first Evil Dead redundant. AVED (not to be confused with “Community“‘s affable Asperger’s nerd Abed) also leaves out any mention of Ash having traveled through time, so maybe it’s based on ED2‘s storyline (what with the severed hand) while sticking with ED‘s ending where Ash survived the night and there was no Army of Darkness time vortex thing. On top of that, Ash’s absurdly high-tech Dark Ages cyborg hand from AoD is nowhere to be seen either. It’s been replaced instead with a prosthetic mitt carved from rosewood that makes for a great ass paddler when you’re plumping the ol’ Ballpark Frank in the hot dog warmer of an unclaimed dreg you sweet talked at last call!
But I’m putting the funeral cart before the skeletal horse here. It’s been a long time, so let’s see what Ash has been up to for the last three decades! For starters, he lives in a trailer (just like in My Name is Bruce) and instead of working at S-Mart, our hero works at a dirt mall department store called ValueStop. I’d like to think there’s some “fall from grace” tale at work here where Ash lost his lofty S-Mart position (too many sexual harassment complaints to HR?) and is now forced to work at VS, but my guess would be that it really just ties into the whole “we don’t own the rights to Army of Darkness” complication. Confounded studio politics nonsense.
He’s sporting the aforementioned artificial extremity, and using it as a story prop to pick up soused lasses at the local dive bar just waiting to go down on the next guy who says he lost a hand while saving an endangered child. And what of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis? That Book of the Dead we all know and love, with its dust cover of human flesh and its ink of human blood? Ash kept it. Such is how he gets himself knee deep in the dead(ites) again, as you may have guessed. Thanks to a misguided attempt at male posturing nudged on by a few puffs of “green remorse”, Mr. Williams is about to unleash a whole new world (“a new, fantastic point of view!”) of trouble on his backwoods Michigan burg.
However, Ash won’t be alone in cleaning up his mess. He’s joined by his co-worker and biggest fan Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Pablo’s friend-slash-unrequited crush Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). Pablo gives our man the moniker of “El Jefe” (we have a title!) and worships the ground he walks on (despite smarmy dickhole Ash blatantly violating the “bros before holes” edict), having unwavering faith that his hetero man-fatuation will be the hero this town needs. As for Kelly, Ash tries his “smooth talking grandpa” schtick on her, and let’s just say she’s well inoculated against our protagonist’s verbal Spanish Fly.
If you’re worried about there being too much talk and not enough action in this establishing episode, then belay your trepidation you tiny fool, because El Jefe and the Ashketeers throw down with a few demonically possessed podunks before all is said and done! I’ll spare you the details for your own viewing, but I will give you this much – it’s just as splatstick wacky sauce as you’d expect from a Sam Raimi fight scene!
This story’s not just about Ashley and his pals, though. The non-such sections introduce us to another newcomer: Michigan State Trooper Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), who has her own run-in with the soul swallowing Kandarian pests that leaves her very confused, very disturbed, and having an all too brief crossing of paths with one Miss Ruby Knowby (Lucy Lawless), who’s no doubt going to be playing a much larger role herself further into the series. Know how I know(by)? Look at her last name. Don’t get it? Brush up on your Evil Dead lore, you plebeian!
As someone who’s been playing mediocre Evil Dead video games and reading lackluster Army of Darkness comics (written by fanboys whose scribing skills don’t stretch beyond slight variations of Ash’s jerkoff dialogue from the last movie) to fill my Ash hole (wait a minute…) for the last 20 years, “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” is the long awaited return to form I’d become so sure was never going to happen. As someone who’d lost all hope and become quite cynical about the whole scenario, I wasn’t on the “The cup’s half full” side of the line so much as amidst the “The cup’s fucking broken and sitting in a landfill somewhere” group. But I’m so happy that “AVED” doesn’t suck that I almost feel some modicum of restored hope for humanity! Quite a feat since I’d given up on the species as a whole shortly after turning seven.. Or was that after watching Se7en?
The cast show some big promise already. Campbell is just as snide and sleazy in Ash's shoes as you remember, Santiago makes a good sidekick fanboy without being too cloying (though he’s really skirting the line, so I hope he doesn’t cross said line in future episodes), DeLorenzo does the tough girl thing fine (but is no scream queen, so I hope they keep her wails to a minimum), while Jones makes for a great contrasting straight character so far! I’m almost as invested in where her story goes as I am Ash’s! Lawless Lucy hasn’t done anything yet though, so I can’t establish an opinion based on a handful of lines and 20 seconds of screen time.
The more mature tone of the show is odd at first blush. Watching Ash getting jiggy with it (“it” being a bar fly’s backside) in the confines of a ladies’ toilet den and saying “FUCK!” remind you that this ain’t happening on basic cable. Starz is PREMIUM, baby! That’s not to say it isn’t immature at the same time, but this is the first ED sex scene that didn’t involve a rapist tree, so you get what I’m saying.
One of Raimi’s caveats when it came to bringing this fan bait to life was the use of as many practical effects as the budget could stomach. I appreciate his love for traditional effects and I would shake his hand for doing so. Unfortunately, the computer effects that we get stuck with the rest of the time aren’t the best. Nor are they helped any by happening alongside the practicals, which have the benefit of looking real because they’re as close as you can legally get to real gore and mutilation without making a snuff film. I do have to say that I’m pleased at how far digital arm stump technology has come in the last 20+ years, though! You’d think Bruce Campbell really did lob off his own hand for the sake of realism! Incredible what a green spandex glove can do…
All in all, “El Jefe” does what a premiere episode should: it caught my attention and makes sure I want to see more. I plan on coming back and reviewing the first season as a whole once it’s finished its run. I was just so twitchy and anticipatory to finally see Campbell don his chainsaw hand again and cut some chucklefucks in half that I had to share my feels on the premiere with everybody ASAP! I’m looking forward to what Lucy Lawless and Jill Jones’ characters bring to this b-movie A-Team, and not just because Double L showed us in Spartacus (boy did she ever) that she’s not afraid to bring out her 36Cs! Probably won’t happen, but at least the specter of her nudity will be hanging pleasantly over the proceeds.
On a final fun note of “can’t unsee” to leave you all on, if you shorten the title of the series a little it becomes “Ash Vs. ED“, as in “Erectile Dysfunction”. Think about it: we’re watching a man in his mid-50s (in a series written by equally aged gentlemen) struggling against an unseen force that haunts everything he does, making it impossible to live a normal life without stressing over the phantasmal monkey on his back. Hell, it ruins all of his romantic relationships and even literally interferes with his sex life! Gives the series a whole new metaphorical “age vs. virility” perspective, don’t it?
Oh well, at least Ash doesn’t have to deal with his dick looking like a melted tube of lipstick. Trust me, it’s a real hard sell to get over with the gals. Pun intended.
Bruce Campbell stars in What Women Want 2: Get Medieval.
I know the copyright stuff probably wouldn’t allow it, but I’m saddened that isn’t a box of Ecto Cooler.
“Jeez, baby, you ever think of waxing your crack? Looks like you’ve got Macy Gracy in a head scissors back here!” (Reviewer Note: from where I’m sitting, at least her breath is minty fresh!)
It’s Leatherface’s dream journal!
This week on “CSI”, the crew are called in to find out what really happened at Justin Beiber’s Sweet Sixteen party.
“I’ve seen BLUUUUE SKIIIIES, through the teeeeears in my eyes. And I realize… I’m going home.”
That is some savage glaucoma! It’s gonna take more than a spleef to clear that up. Grandma’s gonna need a bottle of hash oil!
For some reason, Pablo wasn’t prepared for Ash to make fun of his new haircut. When the bliss of your denial is shattered.
If you put pictures of the 3 female cast members of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” through one of those photo mash-up programs, you’d get Dana DeLorenzo.
Just as it’s finally about to happen, Kelly reconsiders her Kingpin roleplaying fantasy.
“Hi. Is It my turn to be in the show yet? No? Okay. I’ll just keep waiting here then.”
“Damn it, Kyle, THIS is why I always ask you to chew your Gushers with your mouth shut! Get me a washcloth!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Snake’s On a Game (of Death)”
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: 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: Tedd “Paper Moon (not that one)” Chan , Henley “Kepong Gangster” Hii , Mark “‘Police & Thief‘” Lee
Writer & Director: Gilbert “Ghost Child” Chan
Singapore! Not just Super Mario’s response to why he never pursued a career in opera (“I sing-a poor!”), Singapore’s also a major global city-state and the southern-most point of continental Asia. AKA “The Lion City”, “The Garden City”, “The Red Dot” (“Where ever the red dot goes, ya bang!“), and the World Bank’s “Easiest Place to Do Business” 9 years running. An original founding member of Malaysia, Singapore was punted from the team after just two years over “ideological differences”, i.e. race riots. They’re currently celebrating their 50th anniversary as an independent nation, so happy golden anniversary, Singapore! Sadly, the only gold I can offer you as a gift is my golden sense of humor… or a golden shower if that’s what you’re into. I mean, I’m not into it myself, but if it’ll get you off, I’m cool with it. It is your birthday after all.
Singapore also has one of the lowest unemployment rates amidst developed nations the world over, as well as some of the lowest rates of violent crime and homicide. Possibly due to it also having one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita. Angers up the blood! The population is over 40% foreigners and the Economist Intelligence Unit (sounds like a Wall Street thought police group) ranked Singapore 6th in the world for qualify of life and 1st in Asia! Damn. Kinda getting the urge to move here. But what Singapore isn’t is a plateful of bacon, so enough buttering it up. Singapore’s dark side is pretty infamous for gangs, prostitution, and gambling. Plus there’s apparently still a lot of racism issues that haven’t been worked out in the last 5 decades too. If they’d just import a bunch of American Republicans though, racism would stop being a thing simply because they’d say so! Ignorance is bliss. Oh, there’s also dangerous insects to be had in the ‘Pore, but nothing a little insect repellant won’t fix. When you’re in the deep jungle, you can’t beat Off!
Fuck you. I find jungles and forests to be very erotic and I’ll beat off anywhere I damn well please! *rimshot*
In case you’re not savvy on the concept of the 24 hour time cycle adopted by the global military as a whole (you know, that “oh eight-hundred hours” type stuff), the title of today’s feature is a reference to 11:59 PM. Sadly, it’s not a cinematic sequel to Iron Maiden’s song “2 Minutes to Midnight”, which would have then been followed by a multimedia project consisting of a VCR flashing “12:00” while accompanied by a Muzaked rendition of Powerslave to finish out a proposed trilogy. No, really. I proposed it to Bruce Dickinson’s cousin’s stepdaughter’s legal representation and they said they were “really excited at the prospect” before having me escorted from the building by security personnel! “REALLY excited”!
As I was saying, what 23:59 is instead is an Asian ghost story. Yep, yet another one. Just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity made every American filmmaker-to-be think they could lure a lightning bolt into their empty Zima bottle too via a $500 “found footage” video of their own, the entirety of the continent of Asia have their chopsticks crossed that they’re on the verge of the next Ring or Grudge that’ll earn them big American party dollars on the 1-in-300,000 shot that Hollywood comes knocking on their door for the remake rights. Ghidorah H. Christ.
Let’s grab hold of the duct tape and see if we can’t pull this off quick with only minimal pain, and without having our righteous Magnum PI mustache torn out by the roots in the process! As always, since this movie comes in under the 5-year age of spoiler consent for this site, I will NOT be posting any major twists or revelations. So, should you feel it’s worth the trouble of tracking down and sitting through, fear not, as there be no spoilers here.
Our introductory pre-credits sequence finds us back in the bygone days of 1983. The Men at Work emerged from a land down under to introduce themselves to the world! Jason Vorhees acquired his now iconic hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 3-D! “M*A*S*H” ended and “Fraggle Rock” began! In a Singapore boot camp, a young soldier named Tan (Tedd Chan) is asleep in the barracks when a ghostly child (along with its presumably spectral matriarch) interrupts the lad’s R.E.M. (the state of sleep, not the folks who gave us “Shiny Happy People”), scaring him shitless, courtesy of a face that resembles a giant prolapsed colon. Sound gross? Now imagine two people with faces like said inside-out buttholes, but they also have long, slimy tongues and they start licking each others facial rims. Hope you liked the last meal you ate, because you’re probably gonna be tasting it again real soon if you haven’t already! 😀
This leads us into some decidedly poor opening credits, ran over what looks to be storyboard material. I appreciate that ‘boards are just to structure the shots of a flick and not meant to be works of art or anything, but if yours look like they came from a comic book an 8th grade school kid would draw in their spare time, you might not want to open your movie with it. Upon first viewing, I worried that said illustrations were spoiling what looked to be some decidedly decent moments from the oncoming 90 minutes. The only thing worse than laying your scares out for your audience WAY ahead of time, though? Nothing interesting from them actually comes to fruition! Yep! On the arbitrary thermometer graphic of “Things You Shouldn’t Do to Your Audience”, I’m pretty sure “Telegraph your best moments in the opening credits” ranks lower than “Tease them, only to give them ZERO payoff”.
I couldn’t find confirmation to support the previous assumption, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that said storyboard art was from scenes that had to be cut from the movie for budgetary concerns or technical limitations. They feel like Gilbert Chan’s way of saying, “I’m not bland! I have fun, scary ideas too! See what I wanted to have?! THEY wouldn’t give me the money! If you don’t like this movie, it’s not my fault!”. These probably should’ve been saved for the end credits though, rather than the openers. Maybe Chan just did the same backwards thing Asians do with their printed material and edited the movie right-to-left, so what would have been the end credits sequence wound up at the start-up instead? Honest mistake.
Back to the barracks, we catch up with Tan and some of his fellow freedom fighters, who are sitting around listening to ghost stories told by resident jerk-off Dragon (Lawrence Koh). They’re pretty much the Singapore branch of the Midnight Society. Despite being the most superstitious member of the group, Drags stink faces everybody else for getting the terror sweats at his tales. He sets the running theme for us when he tells us that midnight is the apex of evil, and the soul of anyone who dies at 23:59 (and we have a character saying the title of the movie! And less than 10 minutes in, too!) will be forced to remain on Earth, wandering for eternity…for some weird reason that nobody can explain beyond random, made up superstition. Hey, if being terrified of the unproven is good enough to establish religions on, it’s good enough for generic ghost stories!
One of said stories is 100% true and involves a former recruit named Lye. Three years prior, in that VERY bunk, on a night VERY much like this, Lye punched his own ticket, hanging himself while everyone else slept. Why do the Hangman Tango? Turns out he was bullied and harassed by some of his bunk-mates for being “effeminate” and apparently threatening their own masculinity (i.e. they didn’t like that they were so attracted to him, obviously). Fuck that. If I were ever tormented to the point of taking my own life, you know damn well I’d be taking every asshole along with me! Then I’d leave a note detailing the trauma I’d been subjected to before taking myself out David Carradine style! And I’m not talking about Uma Thurman giving me the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique, either.
The bard of the barracks continues his tales of terror, telling us about the Kuntilanak (sounds like a Conan villain) – the particularly vicious and violent spirit that results from a suicided pregnant woman. Coincidence that its name starts with “Kunt”? It’s not clear (like a lot of this movie), but I think one of these Kunts was summoned by a trio of nameless recruits (the credits are full of ’em) using a makeshift Chinese knock-off Ouija/Witchboard in one of Drag’s stories. When they asked her to leave, spooky lady indicated “All Signs Point to ‘No'”, then terrified them by leaving wet footprints across their floor (and wet spots in their shorts). The horror of the creeping moisture! Now, imagine that last line in Vincent Price’s voice. You’re welcome.
Though this ends the shirtless punk’s story hour for the night, he does break out another scareative later on about a local ghost whisperer whose impregnated womb became haunted by a Kuntilanak (so she had a Kunt in her cunt!) during a seance. Immediately after which she gave birth to a mutant baby who would grow up looking like the daughter of the Toxic Avenger and is said to still lurk the island. So Asian people used to think birth defects were the result of angry ghosts possessing mother-to-be? Maybe stop smoking, drinking, and sitting on active microwaves while you’re gestating and you wouldn’t get so many flipper babies! Anyway, the Rule 63 Quasimodo’s name is Yi Gu, which my geek brain interpreted as “YuGi”, then responded to by shouting “It’s time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!” before realizing I’d activated my own trap card… almost no one over the age of 25 is going to get that joke, but if any younger type card slingers do get it, well, I don’t pander to you often so you can have that one.
Each of these stories is accompanied by their own filmed segment, and given how they’re presented I feel like Chan originally meant this to be an anthology that wound up being paired down into a straight feature with a Frankensteined script instead. Makes all the more sense when you consider the unused storyboards, right? By the time you get to the finish line, so much of what’s established makes so little sense otherwise, so that’s the theory I’m sticking with.
Unlike Lye, Tan (by name, not by skin pigment) only has a sole tormentor in Dragon. He doesn’t show signs of taking his own life. Plus, several of the guys in the group do stick up for Tan, including their platoon leader. I bet a good old fashioned “soap in a sock” party would get Dragon to turn his dickhead dial down to ‘1’. Tan’s childhood buddy-slash-bodyguard Jeremy (Henley Hii) looks out for him too, but instead of fistally re-educating the bully, he opts to victim blame his buddy, telling him that he’s gotta stop being a pussy and man up. Tan’s problem isn’t that he’s a wimp though, he’s just got PTSD – Phantasmal Traumatic Stress Disorder. That close encounter of the ghostly kind in the opening has left him with a yellow streak. Uhm, that wasn’t a racist thing because he’s Asian! Scout (Taylor-Compton)’s honor!
Later that night, Dragon and four accomplices tie up and gag the sleeping Tan, stuffing him into a locker to torment him further. Naturally he’s visited by the ghostly hand of the Kunt, who leaves deep scratches on his neck by the time Jeremy (spoke in class today) wakes up and lets him out. Jer blows off Tan’s neck wounds, excusing them as being caused by a tussle with a wire hanger during his panicked spaz out. Sticking up for his little buddy, Jer get physical (physical!) with Draggy and the pair fight. Well, by “fight” I mean they shove each other, then Jeremy holds the scrawny little shit down and gives him some really weak punches. After those love taps, I wonder if maybe Tan’s not the bunker sissy of this group. Jer would’ve done more damage giving the prick an Indian Burn! Then again, they might not know what those are over there. On that side of the globe, “Indian Burn” is probably the rectal fallout of a really spicy curry dinner.
The group’s commanding officer, Sergeant Kuah (Mark Lee), arrives and breaks the tussle up. He reminds them that they have an incredibly important 24km road march in the morning, so they better stop with all the Grab-Ass and get some sleep. But coach, the Grab-Ass Championship Games are in two weeks and we gotta train! While we’re on the subject of Kuah, we learn that he’s a superstitious lot (and cowardly too, right Batman?) and asks that his own higher up, Captain Hong (Benjamin Lim), postpone the road march until a less unlucky date. Seems the moons of Jupiter are in the house of the seventh planet or some malarkey and that’s bad voodoo for the boys. Hong looks at him like he has three heads, gives him the workplace appropriate equivalent of a double middle finger, and declares that the march will go on as planned. To which, Kuah calls his c.o. a “fake caucasian” behind his back. Well, he’s Asian, so at least that makes him half Caucasian, right? Yeah, I deserve a smack for that one.
Tan has a bad feeling in his gut about going on the march, but Jeremy again denounces him for being a wimp. Tough Guy says he doesn’t believe in the supernatural because his father was a charlatan medium who used to use him to con marks out of their Singapore Dollars (yep, not unlike M. Bison in Street Fighter, they just tack “dollars” onto the ass of their name to name their currency!) with a Jon Edwards-style “chat up the dead” scheme. It left one bereaved old man heart attacked into the afterlife himself though, and that incident left the father and son pairing forever estranged. Also as a result, Junior is Singapore’s biggest skeptic, i.e. the most reasonable person in the nation. In fact, when Kuah insists on giving his men good luck talismans (that look oddly like dry cleaner tickets) to ward off evil spirits and bad juju during the trek, Jer not only refuses one, but denies one for Tan too. “Tan too”? I feel there’s a joke I should be making right now, but the heat from my laptop is making my Ballpark Frank plump and it’s too distracting. You win this time, phallus perspiration!
The marchers are beset by an inopportune thunderstorm and our main cast (Tan, Jer, Dragon, and porcine comedy relief character Lim) fall behind the rest of the group. Without spoiling anything specific, I’ll tell you this much – we’re only half way down the hasenpfeffer hole at this point. The events of the march that night change the dynamics of the group greatly, as Tan isn’t the only one being haunted once it’s over. Can they ever be rid of the Class IV Anchored Remnant (bone up on your Tobin’s, nerds) on their backs, or are they destined to just become another sinister anecdote in the book of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Barracks”? Are the ghosts even real, or did Gilbert Chan opt to make an ode to Jacob’s Ladder and what we’re actually watching is, in reality, just a shellshock allegory? What does this all have to do with a fellow recruit named Chester? And why is his name Chester?! What kind of Asian name is “Chester”?! Or “Jeremy” for that matter!?
Though I won’t be going any further into the story beyond this point, I will say this much – the finale involves what will either be a very touching, very depressing, very cheesy (or very arousing…depends on your brain chemistry) moment that features one of our characters crying profusely. Unfortunately, the intended emotional impact of the scene collapses in on itself as I was incredibly distracted during the whole thing. What by? Not only do the character’s eyes leak the whole time, but their nose flushes like they just ran a Neti Pot through it. We all know that the locks are blown open on the Panama snot canals when a heavy bawling front rolls in, but wipe your damn nose, character whose name I will not divulge!… Huh huh, “but wipe”.
Though not entirely bad, 23:59 feels like a movie that could’ve been better than it is. I know that almost any movie could be “better than it is”, technically, but this is the statement that stands out the largest in my mental word cloud, having watched it twice now. My biggest problem is the story’s structure. It’s shoddy and unstable. If it were a building, it’d be condemned by code enforcement. Even the junkies would reconsider squatting in it. As stated prior, the whole thing feels as if it was intended as an anthology, but was converted into a basic “Point A to Point B” feature without wanting to throw out the leftovers. Like they put up the house over the Indian burial ground, but didn’t feel like removing the grave markers and just built around them instead. Or if a storefront that was originally a beauty parlor was turned into a Carvel© store and they chose to keep the big hair dryer chairs to soften the ice cream; except they left them right in the middle of the damn floor, inconveniencing the customers who just want a spot to sit and eat their damn Fudgie in peace!
I don’t watch a lot of Singaporese movies, so forgive my ignorance if this next annoyance is a common practice, but the dialog was littered with some kind of bastard ManderEnglish for some reason! Is this how their movies are usually done?! The cadets would slip in an English word here or there, which was fine because I get that there are some words we Yanks have that they don’t. Instead of making up their own, they figure “Fuck it, I guess we know slightly more English now!”. However, when the Sergeant and Captain were in the picture, everyone was speaking better English than half the kids in your average American graduating class! It was jarring. This does explain why every original audio copy of the movie I tried to download was labeled “English dub” though.
The Americanising of the feature is furthered by the inclusion of US movie posters on the walls of the bunkhouse, including ’80s classics The Terminator, Platoon, and Blade Runner. Is this a military training facility or an AV Club?! Funny enough, of the three flicks, only Blade Runner (’82) was actually released prior to 1983, the year this movie takes place. Terminator was ’84 and Platoon was ’86, so a hearty dick kick to the prick in charge of continuity for not doing his damn job.
In the end (also Sean Connery’s answer to “Where does Alex Trebek’s mom take it?”), what could’ve been something good (or at least not as bad) just peters out into something completely unsatisfying, thus making 23:59 Singapore’s cinematic parallel of Adam Sandler’s career. Or, every episode of my sexual congress as told from my partners’ points-of-view. There’s some decent tension building, but it’s bogged down by too many attempted jump scares, some acceptable-to-terrible makeup effects, a congested story structure, and the disappointment of the opening credits promising more graphic imagery than the movie itself puts out. An unfortunate let down from the country that brought us the pure chewing satisfaction of the Michael Fay caning. Oh well.
For our next World Tour stop, I’ll be spoiling the crap out of an early 2000s monster movie that’s been collecting dust on my “To Do Pile” for over a decade! Drain the last of your Dirty Banana and join us, won’t you?
Bonus Moral: If someone dies at training camp in the Singapore army, recruits are given a half-day to cope. The turn around for mourning over there is stricter than their anti-chewing gum laws!
That’s exactly how my head feels every time a Linkin Park song comes on the radio.
Well, at least that would be convenient for people with shoulder problems who have no one else to brush their hair.
“The camp talent show is in 3 days and you still haven’t figured out how to make the puppet talk while you’re drinking the glass of water!”
“Because I will Frank Castle your asses in the blink of an eye!”
“Sure he’s got a Cheetos™ dust addiction, but everybody knows he’s a stand up cat otherwise!”
When grandpa asked to play a card game during their visit to the retirement home, they had no idea he meant Strip Poker. Worst. Visit. Ever.
Wait. Did this movie suddenly turn into a tampon commercial?
Yup. It’s definitely a tampon commercial.
Maybe you should stop squinting your eyes then, dipshit. We in the audience can see everything just fine thanks to ALL OF THE PRODUCTION LIGHTS!
“Oh my god… did I remember to turn the oven off before I left for boot camp!? This could be VERY bad.”
“She sounds hot. Is she seeing anyone?”
Sadly, he’s right. I’ve been trying to do that with those fucking Kardashians for years and they’ve yet to fade from existence.
We used to put completely black contacts on the first guy that fell asleep back during high school b-movie weekend parties. It’s hilarious watching them run around screaming “I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND!” while falling all over everything. Ah the memories.
And I thought the Asian takeout places in the U.S were aggressive with their doorknob menus. Yikes!
“Well, I don’t know her personally, but I’m a high ranking official in her fan club! I’m sure Mrs. Arquette would be happy to help us!”
Yeah, I’ve had ghost pepper sauce thrown in my oculars too (true story!). Trust me, just clench your eyes as hard as you can and pray for death until it stops hurting. Should be about an hour or two.
Hence why his friends gave him the nickname “Arby’s”.
Oh man, he’s having one of those “dislocate your shoulder trying to reach it” level itches on his back.
Just another one of the ProActiv™ horror stories they never tell you about in the commercials.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Unexpected Vishnu of Ignorance”
Featuring: Alex “The Descent” Reid , Chris “’Kung-Fu: the Legend Continues‘” Potter , Neus “Torrente” Asensi
Director: Jack “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” Sholder
Writer: Mark “Sci-fighters” Sevi
TheTombOfAnubis.com – Promoting literacy through good ol’ fashioned read-only bad movie pontifications! Video reviews be damned! (Maybe now we can qualify for one of those big-ass educational grants from the government!)
For our final furlong (not Edward) of this field trip to the Fantastic Factory, I’ll be pulling the limbs off of the eight-legged freak known as Arachnid. And as you may have guessed by the rating, said furlong is a fucking death march. I could’ve saved myself a lot of misery had I done the rerun re-view review of Stuart Gordon’s Dagon, which originally left me with the unfulfilled hope that Gordon would be more involved with Yuzna’s company beyond the singular feature he helmed. You know, kinda like how people who hope that House of Re-Animator will ever happen are living in a fool’s paradise, eating the deceptive fruits of the delusion tree. Anyway, Dagon has already been earmarked for another reviews thing, so worry not, I’ll get to it sooner or later! For now? Shit, let’s get this over with…
Arachnid wastes no time dumping our books and pushing us into an impossibly deep mud puddle, establishing itself as our bullying tormentor from the opening scene. An eye blistering sequence of the most amateurish of computer-borne special effects plays out, as a devil-may-care test pilot codenamed Lightfoot (Jesus Cabrero) flies a stealth bomber and rocks us like the proverbial hurricane. He’s blasting ass all over the Pacific Ocean, minus the dulcet tones of Kenny Loggins telling us about his scenic drive to the titular Danger Zone. Speaking of, today’s episode is brought to you by The Danger Zone™!
Parents, do you need somewhere to drop off your little ones while you and the spouse test drive the new gimp suits down at Paco’s Pleasure Palace™? Leave ’em at The Danger Zone™ – It’s like Chuck E. Cheese’s, but with more exposed wiring, broken bottles, and used hypodermic needles in the ball pit to help your brat grow some balls instead of encouraging them to be a weak little sissy like those other family fun centers do! We don’t accidentally hire known sex offenders anymore (or any less)! Just take Exit 37 off the highway to The Danger Zone™!
No sooner does Lightfoot go full stealth (and “mean and extreme”), than he catches sight of an alien spacecraft, camouflaged with some of that Predator brand “wavy air” cloaking tech…because they were too cheap to dedicate any of this already middling computer effects budgets toward designing an actual ship. The craft appears to have been harvesting sea life via a self-generated water spout when ‘Footsie interrupted. When he decides he can’t leave well enough alone and pursues the ship, his plane’s systems fail and he’s forced to bail…I’m sorry, I mean he’s forced to extreme bail in the meanest of totally gnarly fashions, bro! The bomber rear-ends the alien ship (looks like the Pentagon’s gonna be raising taxes to cover the bump in their insurance premium from this one!), resulting in a hilarious explosion that looks like it was lifted out of a ’90s PC game. The first rule of making a low budget movie? If you can’t afford to make something look even remotely realistic, DON’T SHOOT IT! And if you do, and it’s so stank-awful it makes your nose hairs curl and your eyes squirt like Flower Tucci’s twat? LEAVE IT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR! Fuck. And this is the movie’s opening! I told you we were in for some pain and shame, kids.
‘Foot parachutes down to a nearby island (that was NOWHERE to be seen in any of the wide open ocean footage we just saw), and within its luscious green canopy he finds a smoking crater that’s WAY too small for the size of the alien ship he just jackknifed. Also, despite crashing, the craft’s remnants are nowhere to be seen as the alien cloaking system was apparently unaffected by the mid-air collision nor the face plant into terra firma, because fuck the audience. An e.t. (that resembles what I imagine years of inbreeding between the mutants of This Island Earth would produce) appears, but its personal cloaking device must be failing as it distorts in and out of view like the picture on an old TV when someone turns on the Hoover. As Lightfoot watches in horror, gun drawn on the visitor, some giant spidery legs sprawl out from behind it, restrain it, then impale it on what I’m guessing to be a big spider dick. The murderous arachnid then leaps into the trees, with ‘Foot firing after it to no avail while the alien begins to sizzle (at least that’s what the closed captioning “subtitles” call it) before fizzling into nothingness. Goodbye, shitty digital alien puppet thing. You won’t be missed.
Some Silly String looking shit then sprays over our hero (looks like the same stuff the Mothra larva and Kumongas used to jizz out in the old Toho Godzilla movies) before he turns away, coming eye-to-eyes with what I’m guessing is the eponymous subject of the movie. Cue his screams and likely pants filling before we cut to the title card.
As our opening credits fade in and out of reality (not unlike the alien), we’re taken to a small airstrip in Guam, where we meet who’s sure to be the movie’s real hero(ine), Loren Mercer (Alex Reid). Merc’s been hired by one of the local physicians, Dr. Leon (Jose Sancho), to fly a small group out to a nearby island where the natives have been dying of an unknown illness transmitted by mysterious spider-like bites. The fatal sickness looks to me to show the symptoms of onset Brundlefly-itis, but damn it Jim, I’m a Death God, not a doctor! Also along for the trip are Dr. L’s assistant Susana (Neus Asensi), hired gun/field leader Lev Valentine (Chris Potter), Lev’s heavies Bear (Rocqueford Alan) and Reyes (Luis Lorenzo), published entomologist Dr. Henry Capri (Ravil Isyanov, stealing work from Ted Raimi) and native guide Toe Boy (Robert Vincencio, stealing work from that guy who played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite). No idea if “Toe Boy” is his tribe given name or just a joke name he was stuck with by the missionaries who brought him there in the first place, but Toe Boy’s his name, so Toe Boy’s what we’re calling him! You know, if he grew up to become an orthopedic surgeon he could graduate from Toe Boy to Toe Cutter…
Obviously, Henry’s going because Dr. L suspects some new breed of spider to be the cause of the sickness, but what else is he preparing for if he’s hired a trio of heavily armed military types to escort them?! Turns out Lev’s just one of those “overcompensating” types, as he declares to Lore that his sense of personal security directly correlates with the amount of armaments he carries with him. Or, to use his exact words: “The more guns I have, the safer I feel!”. I’ll let Matt Parker and Trey Stone posit my reaction on that statement:
On the ride over, Lev and Lore chat it up a bit and establish some character background for us. He and Bear are both former Marines, while Loren is a recently retired Air Force fighter pilot. She resigned her commission with Uncle Sam to become a small time charter pilot on a two-bit island to “look for something”, of which I’m sure we’ll learn later. Mistaking Lev’s interest in getting to know her better as smooth talk, Lore makes sure to put it out there that she’s not interested in “companionship, a relationship, or even a hump buddy”… hump buddy?! What ex-military personnel calls it “humping”?! The term is FUCK buddy! Humping is what dogs to your leg. Believe me, as a human-jackal hybrid deity, I know.
Loren’s electronics randomly die out on her, so she’s forced to crash land on the island’s beach. It’s a groaner of a scene, worthy of an episode of “Perfect Strangers” as the passengers throw themselves about in a panic and the camera’s shaken violently. The crash initiates an irritating back-and-forth bickerfest between Ms. Mercer and Doc Leon that carries on until one of them dies later (guess which one), and also divides the others as loyal attendant Susana and inevitable love interest Lev take obvious sides. The only silver lining about putting the group at odds is a scene where Loren makes a comment to Lev alluding to the idea that Susana sucked her doctorate out of the doctor’s dick, only to have Suze lock her smarmy holier-than-thou ass in “Oh Snap!” Jail when she runs down all of the bad ass work she had to do to earn her position! Even when Lore tries to salvage a sliver of pride with “Impressive. I just fly planes.”, Suze straight napalms her with “Apparently not very well”, then puts a black cherry on top of her shit-talk sundae by offering to help Loren with the scads of gnarly blackheads on her nose!
It’s a good thing there are two such experienced medical practitioners in her party, because I doubt this backwoods jungle had a burn center equipped to treat the degree of posterior immolation our heroine just experienced. Her backside’s figuratively looking like some redneck’s after launching a bottle rocket from his butthole: scorched earth. Ouch!
Mercer plans to stay on the beach with the plane and try to hail a cab ride home, but when she notices that Toe Boy’s wearing a scarf made out of a familiar material not native to the natives, she reconsiders and goes into the ominous overgrowth with the others. Could it have anything to do with the mysterious “something” that she mentioned she was looking for earlier? If you said, “Of course it does!” then you get a cookie! If you said “Huh? Why would you think that? I don’t think it does.”, then slap your parents for me. They know what they did…
From here on it’s your basic slasher formula, as everybody gets picked off one-by-one by the killer. In this case, the jungle is the knife-wielding murderer in the situation appropriate mask. Macho macho man Reyes is the first to ride the bus, errr bite the dust, and he’s not even done in by the movie’s title terror! Instead, he ends up infested by some unholy tropical monstrosity breed of super ticks that plant themselves under his skin, crawl around to gross out the audience, mate, then force their way out of the nearest orifices. In this case, that would be his left eye socket and mouth. Somehow, as soon Henry told us the little buggers would extract themselves once they were done filling their gore sacs with Meathead’s life juice, I knew he wasn’t going to get out of this with both oculars intact. As decent an ipecac as this may have been for amateurs, I just re-watched Ticks a few weeks ago, so what happens here is Baby Town Frolics compared to watching a steroid engorged ultra-tick wearing Carlton Banks as a skin suit.
Reyes is no big loss, as all he really contributed to the movie was being the resident douche-knocker who spent his time failing attempts at promoting himself to Susana as desirable breeding stock. That and doing bong hits off of a canister of liquid nitrogen for laughs. The latter serves to prove himself a dumbass while also establishing that liquid nitrogen will no doubt be used again later on, given Doc Leon’s graphic description of what it would do to the human body if swallowed. It’s nothing nearly as cool, but at least when it is brought back later, no one’s left throwing empty beer cans at the screen and shouting, “WHERE’D THE HELL THAT COME FROM?!”. Once the oversized parasites jump their lumpy ship (and are burst via bullets), Bear puts his partner out of his misery with a pity round planted in his coconut, turning the galoot’s ideas that Vitamin B was a pliable alternative to bug repellant into so much red mist. Two things you never turn down when offered? Bug spray and sunscreen. Don’t question me, make like Nike and JUST DO IT!
Upon finding Toe’s village, it turns out that the place is empty. Either we’ve got a Roanoake Colony situation here, or everybody’s already been digested by the abominations of the surrounding terrain. I’d hazard a guess and say they’re all spider poops by now. Lore also discovers more of the aforementioned mystery material amidst the remnants of the tribe, which Lev confirms to be parachute cloth. Remember Lightfoot? Turns out he’s Loren’s brother. Well, more likely was her brother. Seems that after he went missing, the Navy searched two months for him before giving up. Hence, she left the Air Force to continue her own search via part-time chartering. 2-to-1 says he’s NOT living like Robinson Crusoe nearby, while 200-to-1 says he’s become the King of the Spider-People! Just the way Horror of Spider Island should have ended.
Meanwhile, Henry’s study of the specimens he collects reveals that there are species of spiders on the island that have heretofore unseen evolutionary traits, like internal skeletons in addition to their exoskeletons. This Darwinian wet dream continues on as another overdeveloped freak combining serpentine and arachnid traits (but resembling a giant centipede with most of its legs removed), drags off one of Toe Boy’s peers (let’s call him Toe Rag) and pumps him full of what I can only imagine to be some manner of mega-venom. After emptying a few dozen clips of ammo trying to shoot the hellspawn, it hyper-slithers off into the night like a Chestburster on Four Loko.
After the attack, Lev decides it’s time to scrap this death march and get the fuck outta Spiderville, to the chagrin of Doctors Leon and Capri. Lore insists on staying to look for her brother, but agrees to go too when Lev offers to come back with her and continue the search once the civvies have been returned home. Except for Bear, who gets the shit task of going into the hills with no one but another of Toe Boy’s victim-fodder buddies to try and snag an emergency radio signal! You’ve just discovered that the place is littered with super-evolved killing machines and you send the only black dude in the cast out into the woods with an extra who doesn’t get any lines in the script other that screaming “AH! AHHH!” when he gets a bio-acid bukkake 2 minutes later?! Fuck you, Cracker Jack!
Henry wanders off on his own against Lev’s orders to do some more entomological exploring and ends up confronted by the giant alpha arachnid. By the time the others catch up to him, he’s been turned into an incubator for the next generation of mutants and bound up tighter than my colon after that time I ate an entire wheel of cheese by myself. He’s also transformed from a poor man’s Ted Raimi into a slightly less-poor man’s Dominique Pinon (the guy who played all of the clones in City of Lost Children, which is sadly disqualified from being reviewed here) as he babbles about how the spider is trying to evolve-fuck with everything on the island (including him, presumably), and how its structure is far too large to have developed in Earth’s gravity, thus it must be alien in origin. Well, at least that semi-verifies that it came here on the crashed alien ship, thanks to Loren’s dumbass brother. Oh, speaking of which, they found Lightfoot’s remains webbed to a tree nearby, hollowed out and heavily decomposed. Likely what Dr. Capri is gonna look like after his intestinal spider-babies hatch. No mother’s ever the same after she gives birth. Trust me, I’ve seen my share of scrotummies in my eons.
Henry too gets a mercy death, only instead of a slug through the dome he gets pumped full of morphine as he vomits blood and fades out, asking that the group take his spider samples back with them so the species can be cataloged and named after him. Ruining the moment, Big Momma Octo-Legs shows herself in all of her giant puppet glory, and the heroes unload a few dozen rounds into her to little avail. The design’s actually not bad looking, and the numerous active bits around her mouth are pretty impressive! Kinda reminds me of a Graboid mouth minus the cluster of snake monster tongues. After the opening scene instilled the horror in me that we’d be getting some piss-poor CG beast a la Ice Spiders, I’ll gladly endorse a big angry animatronic! Sure, it’s a bit stiff and barely mobile (not unlike Pumpkinhead) in the wide shots, but at least it’s not the furry VW Bug from Giant Spider Invasion! Then again, this movie is actually making me pine for that sweat stained ’70s hillbilly monster matinee, so maybe a furry VW doesn’t seem all that bad right now.
In their escape from Jeff Daniels’ worst nightmare, Susana gets wrapped up in a massive web (look where the fuck you’re going, Miss Brown Belt!) and while the others try to free her (told you that liquid nitrogen was going to come back into play later), dipshit Dr. Leon just casually stands around doing nothing in particular. While everyone else is trying to save his assistant, the geezer looks like he’s nonchalantly waiting for the fucking crosstown bus or wondering if he remembered to cancel his mail service before he left!
With no apparent fucks to give, the old man is naturally the next to die, pumped full of paralyzing toxin and barfed on with alien Alka-Seltzer. Suze, Lev, and Loren escape to an abandoned WW2 Japanese military shed nearby, and Toe Boy has managed to disappear. No doubt he’ll be back later, likely to play cavalry with a machine gun toting Bear in tow, provided the trio can hole up long enough to be saved. Speaking of, when the beast tries to get in through a boarded up window, Lev manages to get himself bitten, which is bound to happen when you’re stupid enough to attack something like that head-on He-Man style with nothing but a machete! While he lays on the floor going into shock, Shelob’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter manages to creepy-crawl into the hanger without notifying the girls (maybe because they couldn’t hear anything over the blaring background music), forcing them to escape into a backroom to continue hiding. “Lady Tarzan” Suze, revealing that’s she’s claustrophobic, takes the first chance she gets to bolt from the enclosed space, budging her way to the head of the “who dies next” line. As the last interesting character in the cast goes, so does my already impotent interest. Actually, we’ve still got Bear, so maybe there’s hope yet!
Lev and Lore manage to find some old tunnels underneath the building that lead them to safety. Well, not safety so much, as they’re still in the living death trap ecosystem that is the jungle, but elsewhere none-the-less. They rest, and Loren has a nightmare about her brother becoming a more realistic version of what you’d think Spider-Man would’ve looked like if his movie had been directed by David Cronenberg. Though a nicely gruesome sequence on paper, big brother’s cheap rubber mask face kills the mood faster than the cries of a dumpster baby on prom night.
As expected, she wakes up to find Bear and Toe standing over her, so they load up and go spider hunting while Mr. Valentine continues to cling to life. Tracking the creature feature to its underground lair, they catch it sleeping/molting and find hundreds of eggs just waiting to crack open and unleash new rubbery horrors on the world. What a time to lose your flamethrower at the baggage check! Of course the Bride of Tarantula wakes up and takes out the movie’s real hero, jamming a head spike into Bear’s eye and killing him as Loren spends the whole time just shouting “No! Bear! Oh my God, Bear! Bear, get out of there! Bear! Look out, Bear!”, saying his name repeatedly as a less creative version of the Meow Game in Super Troopers. Just as she too is about to succumb to the monster’s appetite, Lev uses the last of his strength to come to the guns blazing rescue, alongside Toe Boy. TB fulfills several sequences of foreshadowing from earlier and uses blowdarts dipped in Black Widow venom to wound Big Momma further. Loren, connected to the creature via a tow line of webbing, finishes the beast off by pulling it down from the cave ceiling and impaling it on a waiting stalagmite as it shrieks its death rattle, bringing to mind the hilarious finale of Jaws: the Revenge. Fucking roaring shark. Thinking about it puts me in the mood to make love to an angry welder. Or get a hoagie.
So, I guess this means Loren and Lev are off to get married and raise Toe Boy as their own, now? Or, since he’s the last of his tribe, will they just sell him to a museum? Or, will the Amazing Man-Spider watching them from the shadows (likely Loren’s niece/nephew) just kill all three of them? I don’t know about you, but given that we’ll never get a squeakquel on this one (thank Isis for small miracles), I’m going with that last one as the canonical epilogue to this tale. With that behind us, let’s make like a responsible dick owner on a one-night stand and wrap it up!
Son of a Sniglet. What a way to end a reviews thing. Four weeks of episodes dedicated to a dumb theme and this is how it goes – not with a bang, but with a fart. The uptick of Beneath Still Waters was immediately followed with a massive kidney stone. I haven’t seen all of the Fantastic Factory offerings, but Arachnid has to be their lowest of low notes. Their own personal Brown Note, if you will. Now all I can hear in my brain is Depeche Mode singing “Their own. Personal. Brown note”.
Mark Sevi’s first EIGHT writing credits were all forgettable sequels to action and sci-fi movies in the ’90s, most of which were direct-to-video. The biggest titles on his resume that stick out to me are the reprehensible Ghoulies IV and the Corey Haim starring Fast Getaway II. Sevi’s “talent” really shines through in Arachnid too, most notably in one scene straight out of a waaaaaaacky comedy. As Lev interrupts Loren while she’s taking a shit, he makes a comment about being careful because of ticks. She makes her best “Goldie Hawn in Overboard” snooty face in response, then gets stuck in a giant spider-hole full of arachnid spooge. Lev and Bear pull her free before she can be eaten by whatever’s down there, and she falls on top of her boyfriend-in-waiting, only to have their shirts glued together by said spider-goo, causing them both to go topless (don’t get excited folks, she’s wearing a bra), leading to the “hilarious” misunderstanding of everyone back at the group thinking they were off bumping the proverbial uglies in the bushes. There’s even a half-baked jump scare moment, as Lev reaches back into the hole to retrieve Loren’s boot, ignorant that he narrowly evaded an attack by the monster. It’s 5 minutes of movie that not only didn’t tickle my funny bone, but shattered it with a hammer while I had to type the whole scenario out just now. And you know that’s never going to heal right. Blart.
Thematically, I’m down with the concept of a super spider mating with other species to create the apex of predation, but it just brings up the same problem I have every time I’m presented with an alien that mates with Earthlings: how the fuck are their reproductive systems compatible?! I get that a big component of science fiction is the “fiction”, but the other big component is the “SCIENCE”! If you’re gonna have intergalactic baby makin’, show me you put the effort into explaining how it’s possible! Or at least have someone bring up the question! Fuck! We’ve got two scientists in the party and neither one of them says, “Wait, so a spider’s been fucking snakes and ticks and people and everything else it can jam it’s furry spider-dong into, but how the hell are the Earth creatures reproductively compatible?!”. It’s the gods-damned “Saiyan frustration” all over again and it’s gonna make me lose my shit! GRARRGH!
Okay, settle down Anubis. Tranquilizers are your friend. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Serenity….now. Okay. Anyway, to be fair, the acting’s not terrible and some of the characters are likable. I would’ve preferred Susana and Bear making it to the end with Toe or Dr. Capri, but you knew they were all destined for the spider’s dinner plate…or breeding dungeon. The gore’s okay too, but those CG effects in the beginning? After already having to sit through them twice, I’d rather wear contact lenses bathed in ghost pepper sauce than do it again. And though the big evil spider puppet looks good when stationary, it’s painfully ugly when in motion (aside from those cool mouth tendrils) and even uglier when reduced to more of that nauseating, no-budget, computer-made rubbish as it jumps around its den.
Overall, I’m glad we were never “blessed” by the sequel we’re threatened with at the end. I never advocate for arachnicide. Hell, my Evil Dead Bride and I welcome all eight-legged guests in our tomb and encourage them to stay a while, so long as they don’t get stepped on or eaten by our cats. I had spiders wind up in my hair, beard, and behind my ear on three separate occasions in one week, so they’re not a source of scares in our home. But Arachnid? Kill it with fire, flush the ashes, and salt the earth it was filmed on so nothing like it can ever grow again.
And with that, we say goodbye to the Fantastic Factory. Probably the best thing to come about from that shit awful Fant4stic box office poison. I hope you had as much fun reading these reviews as I had writing them. The overall quality of the movies wasn’t great, but at least the concepts behind them lived up to the company moniker! They’re a decent atypical alternative to the endless generic slashers, zombie-fests, and found-footage hauntings that overrun the horror show market. There are a few more titles in their cache, so you can bet your Re-Animator 10th Anniversary LaserDisc that I’ll be coming back to finish what I began, not unlike Beatrix Kiddo in her titular revenge quest. Only, you know, less about vengeance stuff and more about being a completionist to whom this unfinished business will be itching powder on my medulla oblongata until it’s done.
With the “Fantastic Four” reviews thing now in the books (and said books going into the pyre as soon as government agents kick in my front door), what depths of darkness and depravity are waiting around the bend? All I can say is that the next new review will be a very special episode of
“Blossom” The Tomb of Anubis, so be sure to tune in with someone you love!
The self-proclaimed “Cheese King of Green Bay”.
There’s a space ship in this shot. Can you spot it? This is what happens when you spend your budget hiring the guy from ‘Silk Stalkings‘ to star in your crappy giant spider movie.
My computer made the same request when I put in the Arachnid DVD.
It’s an adult version of one of those little rubber puppet demons from Rock ‘N Roll Nightmare!
“No, I’m not Ted Raimi, but yes I will star in your Skinner 2 Kickstarter project!”
They’re all laughing because they ate Taco Bell for lunch and this is going to be a LONG plane ride… and Susana knows it too.
“Do you like the X-Men? I was the voice of Gambit in the cartoon, you know. Maybe you’d like to go out sometime, chere?”
“Sure. Have you every been… spelunking?”
“I’m sorry! This has never happened to me before, I swear! Oh jeez. There’s never been so much of it, either. Oh Hell, I got some in your hair too. I have some baby wipes in my pack, just gimme a second.”
I see someone took that “eat with your butt and poop with your mouth” episode of ‘South Park‘ to heart. Uggh.
The Red Ryder BB Gun’s campaign of cycloptic terror continues!
“No, I’m not the wheelchair guy from Alien Resurrection. But, if you get me out of here, I will give you my autograph!”
Every year, 1 out of every 10 entomologists is sexually assaulted by giant spiders. Don’t let this happen to you. Never accept drinks from spiders you don’t know.
[Graboid voice:] “Something smells like Kevin Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Only one thing smells like Kevin Bacon and that’s Kevin Bacon! IT’S BAAAAACOOOON!”
“Oh Garfield. If you can hate Mondays as much as you do, but still have the capacity to love lasagna like that, maybe we all have a chance at happiness.”
That guy’s putting his optometrist’s kids through college!
Looks like they’ll have to reset their “Days Since Last Giant Spider Attack” counter back now.
“Rocky Dennis is the Amazing Spider-Man!”
“What? Don’t you get it? ‘A man walks into a bar – OUCH!’? You don’t GET IT?! COME ON! It’s a pun on the word ‘bar’! How are you not laughing right now?! Clearly you’re some kind of sociopath.”
Anubis will return next time in
“Appetite for Duodenum”
Featuring: Asta Paredes , Catherine Corcoran , Vito Trigo… you’ve never heard of either of them and you may never hear of them again… until Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2 anyway.
Director: Lloyd “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” Kaufman
Writers: Travis “Mr. Bricks: A Heavy Metal Murder Musical” Campbell , Lloyd “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” Kaufman , Derek “Johnny Test” Dressler , Casey Clapp , Aaron Hamel
Sequel to: Class of Nuke ‘Em High / Class of Nuke Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown / Class of Nuke Em High 3: the Good, the Bad, and the Subhumanoid
Sequel: Return to Nuke Em High Volume 2
What’s up with Troma these days? The last big production I remember them having was Poultrygeist, and though I really enjoyed it in fine traditional Tromatic fashion, that was way back in 2006! When I was in junior high and started watching these perverse, violent, cornball, cheap-o, safe sex, anti-pollution, feature length public service announcements, it seemed like they were churning out new movies every other year! Then again, I started late in my anthropological studies of the historic civilization of Tromaville, New Jersey’s bastion of bacchanalia, so maybe my being able to indulge in so much catching up via my local Video Pharaoh rental store just made it seem like an endless smorgasbord of sluts, guts, and butts. Either way, at this time of year, when students the nation over are chomping at the bit to dive head first into summer break like it’s a swimming pool full of beer and ecstasy, what better time to head back to the infamous campus of Tromaville High School?
Originally established as the second keystone of the radioactive waste dump house that Toxie built, the first Class of Nuke ‘Em High was very much a classic handcrafted creation of the underground, punk rock, anti-establishment, yuppie smashing, movie terrorists of the ’80s. It had tits and violence and mutants and marauding street thugs and immature dick & fart humor in perfect excess, all brought together by honor roll graduate of the Roger Corman School of Guerilla B-Movie Making, Lloyd “Turn Your Head and” Kaufman! Nuke Em High sang a song my teenage hormones could not resist. The sequels were…bad. Not in the fun way, though. ’90s Troma just wasn’t the same as ’80s Troma. They were definitely Troma productions, but aside from Tromeo & Juliet and Terror Firmer, it really wasn’t a great decade.
Much like Poultrygeist, Return to Nuke ‘Em High embraces the condemnation of the modern additives-centric food industry rather than the classic Troma trope of spraying diarrhea over the environment ravaging nuclear power estate. Now, I know you’re asking, “But Uncle Anubis, if it’s not about giving the ol’ fuck-you-finger to dangerous atomic power barons, then how in the name of Set’s nipples is it a Nuke ‘Em High movie?!”. Well, if you’d shut your shit vacuum and gimme a minute, I’d caress your cheek with my plot hand and whisper sweet expository nothings (not to be confused with suppository somethings) into your crusty ear canal like the dumb movie Don Juan that I am. So, yooooou juuuuust reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally waaaaaaaaaaaanna knoooooooooow what’s going on… at Nuke ‘Em High? Here goes – It’s been almost 20 years since the Tromaville Nuclear Power Plant had its second catastrophic destruction (at the fuzzy feet and nuts of a giant radioactive squirrel monster), taking with it the Tromaville Technical Institute it had built as penance for destroying Tromaville High School in its maiden meltdown during the climax of the original movie. Rather than tempt fate a third time by building another set of those big billowing concrete cooling towers, New Jersey’s very own Three Mile Island (to be honest, the whole state’s pretty much a Chernobylian disaster even without Tromaville) instead becomes the site of Tromorganic Foodstuffs Inc., while the old school grounds are the site of a wholly rebuilt Tromaville High! All of this is laid out for us in the film’s opening by none other than the deification of fanboy culture, Stan “the Man” Lee! Genuine geeks known Stan as the architect of Marvel Comics, and four-color know-nothings will just recognize him as “That old Jew who shows up in all those comic book movies!”. Stan gives the Nuke ‘Em flicks his own special brand of loquacious recap…well, the first movie. His treatments of Episodes 2 and 3 are less recaps and more summations of how we all felt about them. Also, Stan likes boobs. Dirty old man.
Oh, and don’t be alarmed if Tromaville looks a lot like Buffalo, NY. Apparently New Jersey would rather have its image ruined to the rest of the world with the true life horrors of Jersey Shore and Chris Christie rather than risk potential tourists mistaking salacious sociopolitical satire as a documentary. Trust me, Tromaville’s New Jersey is Candyland compared to the real thing. At least their Molasses Swamp isn’t full of bodies and their Princess Lolly isn’t a walking, slurring breeding ground for pubic lice and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Back on task, our new Nuke ‘Em High alumni-on-the-verge-of-having-incredibly-horrible-lives consists of our orphaned lesbian activist heroine Chrissy (Asta Paredes), the well-to-do duck owner and new-to-school Lauren (Catherine Corcoran), Chrissy’s blue-balled borderline psychotic boyfriend beard Eugene (Clay von Carlowitz), token black guy Slater (Stefan Dezil), Slater’s girlfriend whose name I didn’t bother to learn, and their fat, whiny, Prince Albert-ed geek stereotype friend whose name I actively pushed out of my brain because he’s just way too annoying to waste any of the already limited storage space of my gray matter hard drive on remembering it. By his own definition, the guy’s a “jelly roll, jizz dwarf, snatch badger, ass troll” who loves Batman & Robin, so that’s all you really need to know about him. There are also some random victims, a sex ed teacher who doesn’t come to a very happy ending (Get it? Sex ed? Come? Happy ending?), the school priest/football coach Father Sandusky (because child molestation jokes), gym teacher Coach Kotter (Debbie Rochon, stopping by quick to remind my penis she still exists), the disgustingly sloppy Rush Limbaugh parody Principal Westly (Babette Bombshell, who takes the prize for weirdest name on their SAG card… and is a credit that I’m not entirely sure is correct), and the Poofs – Tromaville High’s glee club, who are an unsublte parody of the cast of “Glee”, and are destined to go the way of the original Nuke ‘Em High‘s very same extracurricular group… which, if you’ve never seen the original, then (1.) you’ll have no idea what I’m talking aboot, and (B.) shame on you. Either way, we’ll get to that part momentarily, so just keep your boots on, Flesh Gordon.
Back to Tromorganic, having been built on the power plant grounds they’ve found a sizable stockpile of that Troma Green (my favorite Crayola color) toxic slime to use as filler for their so-called organic health food. Well, everybody’s always pushing the whole “go green” agenda, and you don’t get much greener than Troma Brand Nuke Sludge! Besides, feed some to your pet terrapin and you’ll have your own posse of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before you can say “Eat a bag of dicks, Michael Bay!”. No longer able to sell their products to American fast food chains due to a few lost-then-found human bits (or, as I call them, the special toy surprise in every bite), Tromorganics company head Warren Herzgauf (Lloyd Kaufman, having a hell of a time not spilling milk all over himself) has pulled some strings with political associates (including President of the USA – Lemmy!) to get their not-so-organic delights deemed the official cafeteria garbage of schools all across New Jersey!
See? The “Nuke ‘Em High” moniker still fits. There’s no risk of nuclear detonation, but there’s still going to be plenty of teens being exposed to radioactive elements. Meanwhile, Lloyd Kaufman gets to give the Cleveland How’s-Your-Mom to the pink slime “meat” production industry, the fast food industry that tries to get their products into schools, AND the politicians whose pockets are packed with both aforementioned industries’ jizz and coke encrusted hundred dollar bills. Lloyd Kaufman – still striking out at industrialized evil with bad little dark comedies that are only watched by the same few thousand audience members that have been watching them for years.
While she’s not trying to take down Tromorganic with the hard-hitting junior journalism of her personal blog (that has even fewer readers than I do!), Chrissy’s attentions are focused on avoiding the sexual advances of her boyfriend (who has no idea the clam buffet he’s trying to get a seat at is reserved for members of the pink mafia only) and bullying new girl Laura. Said bullying isn’t really about Chrissy working out the emotional trauma of being an orphan, or even about hating Laura’s money. It’s obvious from the first exchange of glances that our anti-heroine is doing the “playground flirt” and pushing the girl she’s got a crush on into a pile of dog poo. Will this homo squish mission end in true love for Miss Chris? Or will it result in unrequited failure to launch because Laura’s female socket only takes male plugs? All I’ll tell you is that a giant mutant wedding tackle comes between the two before it’s all said and done.
Come Taco Tuesday at Tromaville High, the student body fill their student bodies with all the tainted imitation meat they can stomach thanks to the generous donation of Tromorganics. However, the Poofs get special treatment, and are fed chemically contaminated guacamole (despite being specifically told it was NON-chemically contaminated!). While the shock guac turns the school’s biggest nerd into a one-man meltdown (on which Principal Westly blames the boy being diabetic) a la the drinking fountain casualty of Nuke ‘Em 1, the Poofs are mutated into the Cretins – a gang of hyped up ultra-violent outland mutant rejects from Mad Max… well, more like Warrior of the Lost World than Mad Max, but you get my gist. They’re basically the embodiment of how every tenant at your nearest nursing home describes “teens today”, while still thinking it’s 1983. However you want to describe them to the police sketch artist, just don’t call them Juggalos or you’ll end up airborne and immolated in the KabukiCar.
For those who don’t know what the KabukiCar is, it’s become Lloyd Kaufman’s version of Sam Raimi’s Oldsmobile. If you don’t know what Sam Raimi’s Oldsmobile is, get thee to a Googlery! In other words, just Google it. Bad enough this review’s a few weeks late without having to hold a bad movie seminar on Easter Eggs! Speaking of, the KabukiCar originated in Troma’s Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD (hence the name) and is a clip of a big deal car stunt where a blue sedan is sent flipping 30ft into the air before crashing to the ground and exploding. It’s probably the most expensive scene in Troma history, hence why Lloyd gets as much mileage out of it as he can by inserting it into every Troma production since. It’s a big *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* for Troma fans, like the frequent Toxie and Kabukiman cameos, and the Troma movie posters that every character in the Tromaverse decorate their walls with.
The rest of Return is basically watching the Cretins commit acts of mayhem and Chrissy trying to pickpocket Laura’s ham wallet until the inevitable cock block ending that makes us wait until the next movie before resolving anything. What? You didn’t think a movie with “Volume 1” in the title wasn’t going to make you pay more money to see its conclusion, did you?! Yep, just like Tarantino divided Kill Bill into two “Volumes”, Kaufman has done the same here. As an homage? As a cash grab? As a joke that’s about a decade past its “sell by” date? Only Lloyd knows for sure.
Wondering if this latest iteration lives up to the lofty standards set by previous Tromatic entries (the kinds of entries with snapping jaws and corrosive fluids that the Surgeon General suggests keeping your penisy parts away from) in regards to graphic violence, barely legal nudity, and dick & fart humor delivered by comically ugly and/or overweight people? Allow me to put your nerves at ease: in the opening scene, a young couple engage in explicit sexual activity in the school janitor’s office/apartment, until they’re accosted by a monster shaped like a big mutant cock, the guy gets his dong torn off, and the girl’s flesh melts off before the comically rotund janitor returns to show complete disinterest in something that he’s probably seen a few dozen times before. I’m sorry to say that I know exactly how he feels, too, because I’ve now seen Return to Nuke ‘Em High.
Just like that janitor’s seen it all before, his reaction is the setup for the big joke that Return really is. Despite Stan Lee’s opening narration laying the groundwork for this being a sequel, it’s actually a remake. The title itself is a big meta joke – we’re not just returning to the locale of the titular high school, we’re straight up returning to the original source material of the first movie. So many scenes are directly lifted from the original, you could tell me that 90% of the script was just Xeroxed copies from the Class of Nuke ‘Em High script with big red editor’s notes scribbled in and I wouldn’t doubt you. They didn’t even change the name of the female lead! I know I made the Tarantino comparison two short paragraphs ago, but Kaufman also feels like he’s aping Peter Jackson, because much like Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Return to Nuke ‘Em High feels like it’s artificially hyper-extending the story it’s supposed to be adapting. Again, it’s probably all meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but for the people paying to be an audience to it, that may be a tongue covered with oozing green pustules that they don’t want anywhere near their cheeks, front or back.
I haven’t had this much controversy about the way something was cut since the argument I had with that hooker who wanted to charge me extra for oral because I’m uncircumcised! Wakka-wakka! *rimshot*
Alrighty, enough with that stuff. Let’s get to the meat substitute and DDT-free potatoes of today’s feature. For better or worse, it’s your basic Troma blueprint: intentionally cheesy in EVERY respect, liberal on the liberal social editorializing, pokes Hollywood right in the eyes, heavy on graphic oozing displays of gore, more than enough scenes of young people getting nekkid on each other, and feels overall like it was put together with model airplane glue by a bunch of movie school dropouts in need of Ritalin between sessions of huffing said glue. That’s by no means a condemnation, just a preparation for what you are about to receive, should you opt for this belly buster off the value menu. If you’ve seen Troma, you know what your eyeballs’ taste buds are in for. If you haven’t, here’s a free pro-tip: the secret sauce is just mayonnaise left out in the sun. This quote from the movie sums it up better than I ever could, “It’s cheaper than monkey shit and these kids can’t get enough of it in their gullet!”
Now, what did I like, specifically? Aside from having an inner child who will never stop enjoying gore and naked women, my more mature adult self enjoys the social commentary, while my bad movie geek persona enjoys picking out the fan nods and synching up which scenes are direct re-hashes. The dialogue is pushed more for gags and stacked with quotables, but if you’re expecting high drama from these guys, you need to go watch a few episodes of “Troma’s Edge TV” and temper your expectations. The music’s a definite plus for me. That classic Nuke ‘Em High theme still lays eggs in my ears every time I hear it. After watching this, I had trouble sleeping for a few days because every time I’d lay down and close my eyes I’d hear “IIIIIIIII…. juuuuuuuuuuust… reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally waaaaaaaannaaaaa knoooooooooow!” between my ears, making it impossible to shut my brain up long enough to embrace unconsciousness! Fortunately, a handful of sleeping pills and a hot water bottle full of blood from a narcoleptic baby finally put me down, so there’s no need for anger. The rest of the tunes are pretty catchy as well, so this is another Troma soundtrack that I think I’ll be seeking for the collection. Not as good as Tromeo & Juliet or Terror Firmer, but worth a spot on the shelf. That’s right, this old man-jackal still has physical media. Bite me.
As far as the “played for shocks” stuff goes, I might as well be wearing a rubber gimp suit because I’m pretty impervious to shock at this point in my desensitized life. Example: there’s a part in the movie that the easiest descriptor of which would be the “duck rape” scene. If you thought the tree rape scene from Evil Dead was disturbing, well…yeah, it’s still pretty disturbing. Especially if the first time you saw it was with your parents, much like I experienced on Halloween night when I was 14. Lots of weird looks and questions of, “David, why did you pick this movie to watch with your family?”. It’s way more disturbing than the duck rape scene. The duck rape scene’s not nearly as traumatizing as your own mind might have already made it out to be. I run the risk of sounding like pure sleaze by saying this, but I really expected more from Troma when they promised me duck rape. I think I was more upset that I had to look at Judah Friedlander in his brief cameo than I was by the duck rape. I think I’m more upset that I keep typing “duck rape” than I am by the actual scene of duck rape! Blart. It’s like you’re barely trying anymore, guys.
Speaking of Friedlander (and his stupid trucker hat schtick), I don’t know if there were a lot of other notable cameos I missed beyond that and Lemmy’s quick minute as the President. The store owners from “Oddities” also get about 3 seconds of screen time (oddly enough, also during the duck rape scene), but I would’ve been far more hyped if it were the Maxx and the Head from MTV’s animated ’90s series “Oddities” instead of SyFy’s “weird shit curio shop” show. I’ve been to that store, by the way. Looks like Michael Jackson’s basement…not that I would have any reason to have been in Michael Jackson’s basement…uhm…moving on!
Speaking of cameos, long time Troma faithful will be happy to see a cameo by the Toxic Avenger’s long-time semi-nemesis Cigar Face (Dan Snow)! Be warned, he may give you six new assholes after he tells you the origin of his name.That one was for the HUGE fellow nerds reading this. For the rest of you? Pecker snot. Why? I didn’t want you to feel left out.
Last call – though entertaining in its own right, Return to Nuke ‘Em High is less than the sum of its parts. If it weren’t just a bloated re-packaging of the original and gave us something new instead, I probably would’ve liked it more. For those hoping for a new revolution from the little bad movies studio that could, Troma’s just giving us Malibu Stacey with a new hat, while I’m content to just keep playing with Malibu Stacy Classic. Now, pardon my sudden departure as I go off to have a Cigar Face t-shirt made up. Later, spectators!
Moral of the Story: Propagation is health, being gay is worse than being black, and duck rape is life affirming. But, you can stop waiting for MySpace to come back, because the crack of doom is coming soon.
Proof that if you sell people 40 different versions of Army of Darkness on DVD, you’ve make enough money to finance your own movie releases!
Stan’s finally absorbed enough radiation from his microwave to prove Comic Guy wrong – he CAN turn into the Hulk!… or at least Bill Bixby.
This is what happens when someone gives you “the Shocker” during your period. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, “the Toxic Shocker”.
How Santa spends the other 364 days of his year.
Because President Lemmy doesn’t NEED a last name!
A tale as old as time, destined to end in tragedy (i.e. duck rape): beauty and the fowl.
Lloyd Kaufman’s doing the next Fantastic Four movie! Couldn’t be worse than Roger Corman’s… or the Fox ones, now that I think about it.
“Listen up, my conservative soldiers! This is your brave leader Rush, reminding you that explaining your position is never an option! ALWAYS DEFLECT, DEFLECT, DEFLECT! Just shout “OBAMA IS A SECRET COMMUNIST KENYAN MUSLIM NAZI!” as loud as you can and you’ll never lose an argument!… and if my ‘doctor’ is listening, I need a ‘prescription refill’. Gracias.”
It’s sad how the biggest shitheads always have the coolest t-shirts… and yes, I own a LOT of cool t-shirts.
A little something for the ladies! Incidentally, that’s exactly what’s printed on the front of my boxers.
…THE CAST OF CITY LIMITS!
Stephen Hawking: the college years.
Surfboards adorned with swastikas?! Surf Nazis Must Die 2: Fourth Reich Boogaloo confirmed!
The answer to “Whatever happened to Michael Hayes?”… that one was strictly for my wrestling nerds.
Anubis will return next time in
“Mommy’s Little Monster”
Featuring: Takehiro “Vengeance for Sale” Murata , Hiroshi “My Love is a Sniper: the Movie” Abe , Naomi “The Happiness of the Katakuris” Nishida
Director: Takao “Godzilla Vs. Destroyah” Okawara
Writers: Hiroshi “Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla” Kashiwabara , Wataru “Godzilla: Final Wars” Mimura
Sequel to: Godzilla (1954)
Other movies in the Godzilla “Millennium” series: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus / Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack / Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla / Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. / Godzilla: Final Wars
A diaper full of scarabs to the bastard who created that mock-up, because as one of the only 7 living Jet Jaguar fans on the face of this Earth (as opposed to the alternate Earth I want to live on where all of humanity ARE Jet Jaguars), I’m crushed with the hopelessness of knowing this is not a dimension where the events of this poster will ever come to pass. Speaking of heart eclipsing disappointments (with all due respect to Bonnie Tyler…however little that may be), here’s my review for Godzilla 2000!
Okay, let’s blow up the irradiated elephant monster in the room first. Technically the original Japanese version of this flick, Godzilla Millenium, was released at the asshole end of 1999. Normally this would disqualify it from being reviewed on this site, since my edict stands that only movies from the current millennium are subject to my publicly published punditry. BUT, and there’s a BIG but here (as I like big buts and I cannot lie), the version of the movie I’m dragging onto Maat’s scales is the American dub. This version wasn’t released into theaters until the dog days of the 2000 blockbuster season (where all “big budget movies bound to fail” get their last rites), so you can make the case (which I am) that Godzilla 2000 counts as a current millennium movie. Most of the people who do read this couldn’t care less, but even if you do find yourself disagreeing with me, too bad. It’s my site, shit pants! Now, let’s get down to fucking this chicken!
Toho’s ”Millennium Series” of G movies ran with the incredibly interesting premise of “every story takes place in its own alternate dimension that branches off of the events from the original Godzilla ’54”… with the exception of Tokyo S.O.S., which was a direct sequel to Against Mechagodzilla. But, that’s a (very large and spiny) tail for another review…HOMONYMS! Anyway, this split time line starts us off almost 50 years after Godzilla was seemingly disintegrated by the Oxygen Destroyer bomb, and makes no explanation of why said destruction of his oxygen didn’t quite take so permanently as they’d hoped. Whatever the poorly unillustrated case, the important thing is that Godzilla’s here, he’s queer, now get used to it. He shows up in Tokyo every so often, presumably drawn by the serious output of energy given off by their power plants. Who’s making this presumption? Father-daughter science nerds Yuji (Takehiro Murata) and Io Shinoda (Mayu Suzuki). The Shinodas are a lovable duo, with Poppa Yuji being the soft spoken single dad doin’ the best he can, and Io being the smart-ass little miss takin’ care of business. They’re the heads of the Godzilla Prediction Network – a small group of independent science types whose aim is to study Big G in the name of science, and to hopefully forecast his visits ahead of time so everybody in Japan can lock their doors, turn off all their lights, and just pretend not to be home. Yes, a force of nature given form that causes untold levels of destruction every time he feels like going for a stroll, and these lovable refugees from a rejected sitcom pilot are responsible for trying to map out his next walkabout. Only in Japan, people.
Tagging along with the Shinodas is Yuki “Itchy Nose” Ichinose (Naomi Nishida), a newspaper photographer looking to get some glamour shots of Godzilla to help elevate herself out of the fashion beat and into the hard nose world of real Japanese news, like sex robots and teenage suicide clubs. She might try getting pictures of Spider-Man. I hear there’s a guy in New York who REALLY wants pictures of Spider-Man. Though she gets up close and personal with Godzilla in a way that only the leviathan’s dentist knows him, this Asian O’Neil (which makes no sense because she’s a photog, not a reporter nor a porn star) is shit outta luck, cuz the living radioactive fallout’s nuclear b.o. ruins her film…and probably will result in her giving birth to mutant Mothra larvae within a week. Or just kill her with some form of agonizing intestinal super cancer. Science fictional horror or science factual horror, either way Miss Ichinose is probably going to spend the final weeks of her life in relentless agony while her body rots inside and out as a result.
Just call me Eclipso, kids, because I bring the darkness.
On the flip side of our tale is the government sponsored Crisis Control Intelligence, headed by Yuji’s (not to be confused with Yuki, so try to keep ’em straight) former friend and science collaborator Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe). Given that Godzilla is to Japan as bears are to Stephen Colbert, He’s always atop Tokyo’s Threatdown. As crisis-in-need-of-control number-o one-o, He’s also Mitsuo’s given nemesis, so Mr. Katagiri’s always trying to find a way to kill Godzilla once and for all, not unlike Wile E. Coyote trying to murder the Road Runner. Speaking of, K Fed’s latest shipment from Acme is a series of “full metal missiles” whose penetration factor rates at Wilt Chamberlain levels and come with the money back guarantee that they’ll “go through Godzilla like CRAP through a goose!”. A fantastic quote from U.S general Georgie Patton that makes the English dub all worthwhile! And I typed that without a drop of sarcasm…nor that. Seriously, I love that line.
Godzilla’s not the only item on CCI’s docket though. They’re also responsible for the discovery and recovery of an odd mass of rock found at the bottom of the Pacific. When they attempt to raise the mass, it stirs to life and surfaces under its own strength! Attempts at exploratory drilling through the mass prove fruitless and it just sits there floating like a living island. Though not half as cool Krakoa, the literal living island. 200 geek points to anyone who knows what the fuck I’m talking about without resorting to a searcher. There’s a John Wayne joke in there somewhere, but I don’t have time to look for it, because back to Godzilla! As for those goose crap armaments, Godzilla shows up again and gives the Japan Self Defense Force a chance to prove the Blue Oyster Cult right yet again about how “nature points out the folly of men”. Aside from a few blasted outer dermal layers, the missiles fail to get any deeper into the lizard king than “just the tip”, let alone go through him like the promise goose feces. If nothing else, at least the military has managed to provide Godzilla with something he can use to scrape off his callouses.
The huge rock (which turns out to be an ancient solar powered spaceship caked in 60 millions years of scabby growth) does some kind of long distance bio-scan of Godzilla, flies off to attack our cold blooded anti-hero, and tries to death ray his big ol’ lizard tits off! But, when Zills returns fire with his atomic halitosis beam (which is the only digital effect that actually looks REEEEEEEEEEEALLY good!), the revealed star cruiser beats a hasty retreat. Godzilla heads back to the depths of the Pacific to nurse his wounds, and Yuji discovers some shed skin cells left behind in the reptile’s massive footprints on the beach…of which there is no corresponding tail trail!? Sweet Isis, my nitpickery will be the death of me. Yuji forms an uneasy alliance with his antagonists in the CCI so he can utilize their vast scientific resources to research said cells. He isolates the phenomenal genetic factor that allows Godzilla to heal from traumatic injury, and dubs the radioactive mutation “Regenerator G1”. Yuji hopes to use G1 as the basis for a miracle drug that will cure all ailments of man, both those known and those as-yet-to-be-suffered. So, if Godzilla or the CCI doesn’t kill him first, you can bet that the pharmaceutical industry won’t let him live long enough to even test his proposed creation, let alone save the world with it.
Having shed its stone exterior (and revealing itself to look like what I can best describe as RoboCop’s codpiece), the mysterious ship nests itself upon the Tokyo Opera City Tower (which makes me miss the traditional kaiju magnet, Tokyo Tower) and hacks its way into local data networks to learn more about its new foe as well as the planet upon which they now intend to reside. You know, not unlike how Jeff Goldblum was able to hack into the aliens’ systems in Independence Day, thus providing further evidence that Bill Gates found an alien craft that crashed behind his family’s barn as a child and reverse engineered it to create Windows 1.0. Soaking up citywide input like Johnny 5 on a bender, the craft’s probably stealing the identities of everyone in Japan to sell to the denizens of Planet X, who plan to put Japan’s credit rating deeper down the crapper than Reptilicus’s career. This is why you don’t skimp on your anti-virus program, people!
Everyone becomes terrified that the ship’s theft of their data will somehow plunge their island nation into a world-ending scenario, resulting in the catastrophic deaths of every last man, woman, and child. I’d hate to see what madness would be wrought if they had to deal with the shit data plan my current phone service shafts me with. This apocalyptic reading of everybody’s browsing history (lot of perverts in the land of the rising sun) must be stopped, so CCI plan on blowing up the Tower to stop the downloading before the aliens can finish pirating every season of “Dragonball Z” including all of the side movies! Naturally, Yuki and the Shinodas end up neck deep in the lettuce and tomatoes of this shit sandwich as they remain in the tower to attempt reverse hacking the aliens’ data stream and figure out what it is the out-of-towners are specifically searching for. Speaking of, their creeping of Godzilla’s LinkedIn profile turns up Yuji’s G1 research, which in turn provides them with a way to create bodies that can adapt to Earth’s atmosphere and avoid any embarrassing War of the Worlds or Signs scenarios when they’re ready to make their bid for planetary conquest.
Despite learning that his former friend Yuji is still in the building when it comes time to detonate the place, Katagiri 5 (PUNS!) goes full blown bad guy and authorizes the demolition to go through as planned. The unfortunate thing about Kats is that he’s perfectly positioned to be in the unappealing position of the guy who has to make the hard choices, as the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and it’s all up to him to make sure the many persevere by whatever means necessary. Even this moment, where he chooses to sacrifice his friend-turned-rival, can easily be handled with a regretful-but-necessary tone. Instead, at least for the American dub, Special K is sold to us as a complete dick from the outset, complete with garish super-villain laugh! For a movie that’s supposed to make people take rubber behemoths stomping model cities seriously, presenting Katagiri as a borderline Dick Dastardly probably wasn’t the best idea, Toho. Blart.
The good guys make it out of the devastation relatively unscathed, as you probably imagined they would. They actually end up joining Katagiri (no hard feeling for trying to kill us, I guess) and the rest of the CCI big wigs atop a nearby building so as to watch the rest of the movie play out. Speaking of, Godzilla shows up for their rematch and the aliens, needing that sweet sweet Regenerator juice, body check Big G with some kind of force blast (okay, the only other good looking digital effect besides Godzilla’s fire) and drop a skyscraper on him! Using what little DNA they were able to scrap from He Who Is Both Large and In Charge, the aliens take form outside of their ship in the form of the massive monster Millennian, which is yet another piece of evidence for the prosecution against computer visual effects. Millennian looks like the bastard offspring of one of those classic gray skin big head “X-Files” alien types after a gene-splice mambo menage-a-trois with a giant squid and one of those forgotten Toho mushroom monsters from Matango. Fortunately, Earth’s polluted atmosphere mutates this form further and by the time it’s taken its final form (the Japanese love their transforming characters), we’re looking at the monstrous Orga, who more resembles a deformed, inside-out crocodile as drawn by H.R. Giger, that was caked in a mixture of Fluff and primer, then thrown into an atomic microwave to bake for a few hours.
Attempting to steal Godzilla’s genetic material (I guess asking him to jerk off into a paper cup would be too awkward) so he can both become a complete clone of Big Poppa G and get the old man out of the way of their plans to takeover the Earth at the same time, Orga throws down his big ham-fisty gauntlet. Despite the high quality of the costumes, the duo’s tussle about the cityscape really isn’t one for the G-Man’s highlight reel. Though Godzilla throws a few impressive tail attacks, his face is emotionless as his mouth flaps unconvincingly and his eyes stare blankly forward. Orga as a whole is a bit unwieldy, so the combat involved a lot of lumbering and isn’t exactly the most visually dynamic. Big O (neither the robot nor the orgasm, so don’t get excited) gets bossed pretty hard by the Zillster, until he drops his jaw like an anaconda and tries to full on devour the king of monsters. Before he can finish absorbing Godzilla though, G just sticks his head inside Orga’s huge flappy vagina maw and fills him full of hellfire vomit, blowing him into chunks. Again, not the greatest return match for a guy who’s last on-screen title bout was his classic against Destoroyah. All the more disappointing since director Takao Okawara is the very same man who brought us that very same clash of titans so very un-samely.
Having triumphed over the invaders, Gorilla Whale (what “God-zilla” translates into in Japanese) for no feasible reason, makes his way over to the cast, still in their spot atop the cheap seats building. While everyone else backs off in utter terror at getting the cockroach treatment, Katagiri stands tall in the face of his nemesis, shouts “GODZILLAAAAAAAAA!” in defiance while Yuji shouts “KATAGIRIIIIIIIIIIII!” (and all I can picture is the “KANADAAAAAA!” “TETSUOOOOO!” scene from Akira), then Kat ends his tale with a 60 story swan dive when the raging reptile casually swats at the rooftop like he couldn’t give two shits. Pro tip: don’t yell at giant monsters. They can make your entire time on this Earth a complete waste with less effort than it takes to scratch their ass. You are less than a dingle berry to them. Our movie ends with Io asking why Godzilla continues to protect humanity (what?!), to which her father ponders, “Maybe because Godzilla is inside of every one of us.” WHAT…THE…FUCK. He’s spent the whole movie telling us his theory that Godzilla was being drawn to the huge throbbing bug zapper-like power output that keeps Tokyo running, but now he says “Fuck it!” and, just like Springfield, GODZILLA IS A PART OF US ALL! A PART OF US ALL! A PART OF US ALL! The two most scientifically grounded members of the ensemble, and they both just turn into the morons who write whimsical morals for kids’ fairy tales for the last 2 minutes of the movie!? Godzilla was not there to save humanity because we’re his beloved children! He was there to prove to the aliens that he had a bigger dick! He beat them down with his dick, he told the humans not to fuck with him or they’d get the same, then he pissed off! Jeezus on a water slide! Is the oxygen they breathe in this alternate dimension heavily saturated with THC!? Oh, wait, I know what’s going on – all of their exposure to Godzilla’s fallout has given them brain tumors and said tumors have grown so large that the logic parts of their brains have been crushed by the weight. I’m a doctor, and this is the only plausible answer. End of story.
Okay, let’s get to the nitty gritty of this shitty ditty. Where do I start? Well, let’s start with the start. Makes sense, right? The movie wastes no time in showing off our titular terror, which bucks the usual Toho blueprint of making the audience earn their pure chewing kaiju satisfaction. Sad to say, this actually leads to a bit of a Godzilla overdose. And not a ketamine k-hole overdose, where you slip into a pleasure coma from which you couldn’t care less whether you re-emerge or not. No, with the horrible green screen, poor light/color correction, and generally miserable computer generated monster effects on display here, it’s more like an overdose on laxatives – cuz there’s SHIT EVERYWHERE! The whole shebang looks like it had about as much budget as an episode of “Bibleman”…wait…is that Willie Aames in the Godzilla suit?! Seriously though, this is the ugliest Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen. I’ll take traditional suitmation with costumes that are coming apart at the seams from overuse being shot at by little wind up toys with fireworks attached to them over these piss poor digital effects. It’s possible it’s all one big elbow to the ribs poking fun at ‘Merica Godzilla being 100% binary, but if Toho really was being that petty to the extent of shitting in their own cereal bowl, that aforementioned elbow is being thrown by friggin’ Ryu Hoshi of Street Fighter fame, and the ribs belong to Karen Carpenter of “skeleton with skin stretched over it” infamy.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this folks: the green screen effects in this movie look like they were done by the remedial class of the visual effects program at a community college. They’re so reprehensibly bad that they drag you kicking and screaming from the movie’s illusion like former senator Larry Craig being dragged from a Shakespeare In the Park men’s room production of Gay Boys in Bondage. I’ve seen better effects work in small town used car lot commercials! Godzilla changes colors between shots because somebody chose to take a nap rather than get the color correction actually correct. There’s a brief scene of Godzilla swimming underwater that looks like a cinematic lifted from a PlayStation 2 game. When people drive away from Godzilla, rather than shrinking into the horizon with the rest of the background, G Money maintains his screen stature, giving the confusing illusion that he’s actually GROWING IN SIZE AT AN ALARMING RATE FOR NO REASON! As salt into our already wounded eyes, tanks, choppers, and ships are pasted over footage of real life landscapes, and in the case of the ships, they sit complacent while the waters over which they’re super-imposed are churned violently. The opposite holds true for Godzilla, whose massive form has NO displacement effect on the waters through which he stomps, even when he’s being bombarded with high-impact explosives! If Archimedes filled his bathtub with this kind of magical Japanese movie water, we wouldn’t have the principle of buoyancy and high school science teachers wouldn’t have that infamous “Eureka!” story of one of history’s smartest individuals running naked through the streets shouting what boils down to “I HAVE FOUND IT!”. Because old man penis is the only way to get kids to pay attention in school.
The good news is that once Orga’s taken his final, rubber-suited form, Toho mitigates and amends their shame a bit, as it becomes all about what brought the franchise to the dance: live-action monster brawling!…with the exception of a miniscule interruption by Orga’s big dumb flying cyborg maxi-pad so Godzilla can finally blow it into fragments and give fans a moderately soothing salve for their PTSSD – Post Traumatic Shitty Spaceship Disorder. The fight itself isn’t anything to sing the praises of, but the suits and model city are glorious to behold. Moreso in the wake of all of the garbage water we were having hosed into our oculars up until then.
The writing and acting are fine. They play it straight for the most part, which is either a relief or a disappointment depending on what you expect from a Godzilla movie. There are a couple of slapstick scenes that feel REALLY out of place in a flick where the light-hearted comedy bits are best left to dialogue only. The funny part is that most fanboys decry the American dub for adding in these comedy lines (all approved by Toho, mind you) for what they swear is a serious movie (a serious movie about kaiju cosplay), but the goofy slapstick stuff that I thought were the real pimples on the production are all Toho’s fault! Speaking of oozing blemishes, generally I wish nothing but violent slow motion deaths for child characters. As such, I was very surprised and very relieved that Io didn’t rile those homicidal tendencies up once the entire movie. She’s not precocious and she’s not naive. She’s smarter than most of the adults in the cast and she’s all serious business with the exception of busting Yuki’s balls on occasion. Given the history of annoyance brought on by kids in giant monster movies with their creepy little shorts and stupid little faces, Io is a breath of fresh air in a genre polluted by Kenny farts. Don’t know who Kenny is? Got 100 or so minutes to spare? Then click this link and arm yourselves with knowledge, kids!
I had high hopes for G2K. After CGG, a return to Coke Classic was just what the irradiated physician prescribed. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, right? This trailer promised monster smashing action and rang through my soul with the harmonious ear blistering of Rob Zombie’s “Superbeast”. Truly this Godzilla was the one that I wanted. Truly this Godzilla was my Superbeast. And then I went to the movie opening weekend with my compatriot in sub-par cinema and fellow alumni of the H.O.P.E.L.E.S.S. pantheon, Sosab Egroeg, and…I fell asleep. My first theatrical Toho outing since Godzilla 1985, and I was bored into unconsciousness. Given that it opened at number 11 on the box office charts, it looks like I wasn’t the only one. The complete lack of even a lick of Rob Zombie music, combined with those terrible effects that felt like punishment on high from a bitter God(zilla), killed my enthusiasm faster than Nancy Grace kills erections. I woke up half way through the big battle royal finale, regained a modicum of my geek stiffy, then had it shot straight into the floor with that closing exchange about Godzilla saving people (ARGH!) and being a part of all of us… and I swear, if Killer Ken Watanabe or Flyin’ Bryan Cranston say anything to either of those effects when I see the new movie tomorrow, I will make widows of the theater employees’ wives. Mark my words…unless you’re in law enforcement, in which case I’m just kidding and you can un-mark my words. Seriously though, (War)heads will roll!
Moral of the Story: “It woke up after 60 million years, and Godzilla destroyed it the very next day.” In other words, Godzilla 1, History 0.
“I told you to just buy a GPS at the store! But NOOOOO, ‘I can build one myself for WAY cheaper than $50’ you said! You’ve spent $2000 on this stupid thing, and it STILL doesn’t work! Then you bought this van just so you’d have room to fit the stupid thing in! I want a divorce!”
Being Godzilla’s dentist is a dangerous job, and it doesn’t pay anything, he just doesn’t crush your house or office during his rampages.
Sure, you think that going to a sex robot sales seminar with your boss will be good for a laugh, but once you’ve seen such things, they can never be unseen…
I hope that’s just a Baby Ruth… a really, really, REALLY big Baby Ruth. There isn’t a big enough pool net in the world to scoop that up!
Here is one of the 477 government data banks that Japan uses to store the nation’s pornography. This facility is dedicated solely to videos of girls dressed like animals putting live eels up their butts!
I know you guys are sick of Godzilla stomping on your stuff, but come on. You never shoot a dude in the junk, giant irradiated lizard or not. It’s the first fucking tenant of the man code!
If erection lasts more than 4 hours, call a doctor. If erection becomes a 200 foot tall pillar of solid stone… shit, you’re on your own.
And Godzilla replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I had stepped on you.”
“Hey mamacita! I was gonna ask you for directions to where all the hot ladies hang out, but it looks like I’m already here!… How much for ass to mouth?”
“Here you go, all Tomb Raider games, all with built in nude mode. Just enter ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A at the title screen to activate it. $200.”
“I know the general said it would go through Godzilla like crap through a goose, but I didn’t expect actual crap… fuck it, I’m not cleaning that up!”
I see the new athletic cup Ultraman ordered finally came in! Those giant outer space monsters tend to fight dirty.
“Yum”? Someone should probably tell Japan that Apple computers aren’t actually made of apples. I guess that explains why denture orders went up 3000% that year.
“Hmmmm, ‘Action Bastard‘ comes on when Gamera’s big arm is pointing at the 6 and his little arm is pointing at the 8, so… I gotta get home!”
Toho uses the movie to debut their newest kids’ educational TV show host, Rapey the Happy Hentai Monster!
Big G looks like he just stepped in a big pile of Hedorah and needs a McDonald’s to wipe his foot on.
I know every grown man in Japan is a creepy voyeur, but come on guys. These two are just young and in love, and they deserve a little privacy.
It still amazes me that this disclaimer needs to be added in on movies like this. But then, I could totally see one of those monster hunting TV show idiots trying to sue Toho for making characters so obviously based on their own life’s work.
Anubis will return next time in
“Alma Mind Over Alma Mater”