Feature 86 – The Neon Demon (2016)

or “Monsters of the Runway”

Featuring: Elle “Maleficent” Fanning , Jena “Sucker Punch Malone , Keanu “The Matrix” Reeves

Director: Nicolas “Bronson” Winding Refn

Writers: Nicolas “Bronsons Winding Refn , Mary “‘Preacher’” Laws & Polly “Eleanor” Stenham

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You know what my mother used to call me? Dangerous.”

When I was a horny young pup just looking for a wet spot to stick my prick into, my criteria for what I desired in a sheet staining partner was a very simple three point plan – looks, looks, and looks. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, as it is for most impressionable post-pubescent types looking to make an “impression” of their own into/onto someone. Much like tickets to a Don Johnson concert, my virginity was something I had an impossible time giving away. The few young ladies I shared the halls of academia with in high school that I had any interest in were either already dedicated to other lads, or had turned down my romantic advances faster than a stepdad turns down the thermostat when somebody puts it over 60. After reaching the ripe old age of legality known as 18, I would eventually find myself a finely figured female who was more than happy to commence with my deflowering (or, in my case, my weeding), and she and I are well on our way to the 17th annual celebration of our first date come the next Krampusnacht Eve. Happy pre-anniversary, dear!

As I’ve aged (and unholy Hel have I!), my taste in women has evolved well past favorite shapes of flesh and into a Twilight Zone-ian preference for dimensions not just of sight and sound, but of mind. Not strictly book smarts neither, but ladies with more esoteric tastes that match mine own. Namely, bad horror movies, sketch comedy shows, and morbid humor peppered liberally with sarcasm and contempt for humanity. Attempts at such relations haven’t always worked out for the best, but whatever doesn’t kill us gives us fun stories to tell our court appointed lawyers, right!? What does this have to do with today’s “Ladies Night!” installment, The Neon Demon? Not a shit ton. Much the opposite, in fact. Today’s feature is actually about physical beauty, and the obsession some have with not only getting it, but retaining it in the face of the unconquerable hellbeast known as Age-zilla.

Given that my looks have been known to make gargoyles cry tears of gasoline (I swear that’s how that church fire started!), I’d know nothing about that. Instead of relating to our tale, I’m just gonna let my eyeballs go gonzo over all the wonky visuals and my ears get made sweet love to by the supersexy swingin’ sounds of its synthy score!

Today’s movie is sadly not the sequel to Neon Maniacs we’ve been waiting 30 years for. It is, however, brought to us by Nicholas Winding Refn (director of Drive), Amazon Studios, and the letter ‘Q’. Despite my recent review for the Amazon Pilot Season episode of “The Tick”, I swear on Horus’ right eye that I’m not being paid to promote their productions! Those dickards won’t even give me a free trial month of Prime at this point, let alone actual capital compensation to type up piss & moan articles. Sorry to say, folks, but the mildly amusing musings of a Death God ain’t worth two farts to the mighty Reaper of Brick & Mortar Stores. Fuck it. As Chris Pratt said, “It’s important to make your big mistakes in relative obscurity” anyway. If this site were popular enough to grab anyone’s attention, it would ruin all the fun of the chase for a lot of bail bondsmen (and bail bondswomen) out there!

The Neon Demon stars Dakota Fanning’s younger sister Elle, who continues her efforts in making a name for herself with a role that’s meatier than just playing a younger version of one of Big D’s parts. Since the movie’s plot is little more than your basic tale of glamorous industries seducing innocent youth just to use them, abuse them, suck them dry, and throw them away like used condoms once they can no longer pull off the “jailbait couture” look, said movie also requires your basic “small town, big dreams” victim to consume the soul of before metaphysically defecating into the empty space left behind. As such, Elle plays Jesse – the latest fresh face the City of Angels cannot wait to R. Kelly upon. Hell, within the first 10 minutes of the movie we discover she’s “not from around here”, lives alone in a sleazy motel room, and has no family of which to speak! To paraphrase Pinhead, “Norma Jeans are such easy prey.”

Speaking of, a makeup artist radiating a strong sexual predator vibe and calling herself Ruby (Jena Malone) comments on our subject’s beautifully smooth skin and immediately attaches herself to Jesse after working together on one of those “gore + glamour = art” photo shoots that the kids these days apparently think are so “edgy”. You know, like that “Girls and Corpses” magazine that people keep gifting me subscriptions to for some reason despite my frequent comments of “If it’s not Linnea Quigley stripping in a graveyard or a severed head going down on Barbara Crampton, don’t waste my time”.

Not five minutes into their new friendship, Ruby invites (i.e. insistently drags) Jesse to a party to introduce the young lady to her new peers in the industry, specifically her pals Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote). Gigs is the faux friendly type whose smile is as artificial as the lips and teeth that make it up, while Sarah is colder and blunter than the sledgehammer I keep in my meat locker. As with any newbie to a social group, our protagonista is circled by the other members of the pack and has her mettle tested in judgment. In this case it’s the usual ladies’ room emotional hazing of woman-on-woman mockery about how the fresh-faced bumpkin isn’t fit to be one of them. Gigi and Sarah might as well both be named Heather, but that’d be too on-Gigi’s-surgically-manipulated-nose.

Despite the pair’s “never evolved past high school” treatment of Jesse, Ruby sticks by the girl and takes her under her big sister wing to help guide her through the labyrinth of the modeling world and not get trampled to death by the metaphorical Minotaur. I’d be more inclined to believe the legitimacy of the cosmetologist’s intentions for the Georgia Peach if only she’d stop throwing Jesse the Big Bad Wolf leer every 10 minutes! Instead I’m anchored with the unshakable presumption that the would-be mentor’s so obviously going to be the one holding the knife that goes into our gal’s back come Jesse’s inevitable nosedive from grace.

Speaking of, much like a modern fairy tale, our Cinderellian peasant destined for princessery is picked up by an esteemed modeling agent (Christina Hendricks) and immediately paired with a highly regarded camera jockey named Jack (Desmond Harrington) who looks more like the type of guy who shoots amateur gangbang porn in the backyard of his stepdad's mansion than he does a sought after fashion photog. You know what really takes the audience out of the fantasy, though? No self-respecting (or self ego-inflating) “artist” in any industry would call himself “Jack”.

As if the modeling industry’s ominous presence as our heroine’s personal chainsaw of Damocles weren’t enough of a threat, Jesse’s also endangered by the sadism of Hank (Keanu Reeves), the manager of the motor lodge in which she’s living. Henry probably got his Hotel Management diploma from the ICS home education courses that Sally Struthers used to shill for…while he was doing a stretch in prison for sexually assaulting a troop of girl scouts. Seriously, the guy would whip out his 3” killer to a single mom at a bus stop and insist she swallow his tadpoles while her preschooler and a nearby nun looked on. He reveals himself as the kind of human garbage that makes even my cast iron stomach churn harder than an industrial washing machine on the “Wipe Clean the Stains of a Life Lived in Filth” setting. His assistant/apprentice Mikey seems generally harmless, but he looks like Iggy Pop Junior (somebody’s gene pool needs a lifeguard!) and works for Hank, so that’s probably enough to land him at least somewhere near the latter rungs of Dante’s ladder.

As much as the deck is clearly stacked against her, Jesse’s not alone in her story. How’d she get to the spiritual wasteland in the first place, anyway? Enter Dean (Karl Glusman)…well, I guess you can enter him if he’s okay with it. I’ll take a pass, myself. Back on topic, Dean is an aspiring photographer who came across Jesse on the internet and convinced her to come to the left coast so they could make art together. I met my Evil Dead Bride in a fucking AOL horror chat room and even I think this pairing sounds sketchier than MC Esher’s high school notebooks! Despite his efforts to woo her while still being respectful and protective of her, Jesse is very reluctant to refer to him as any kind of boyfriend figure in conversation with others. He’s a surprisingly decent dude who never tanks his decency by pulling the bullshit “you owe me sex!” card on Jesse, which you totally expect to happen given how he too leers at Miss Jesse like fucking Jack the Ripper in the movie’s opening scene!

No friggin’ diggity, Jesse gets eye fucked from people so often in this flick, you’d think she farts Spanish Fly. It’s unnerving.

Predictably enough, as Jesse’s successes compile, so does her ego. She mutates from innocent southern teen into Family Guy rendition of Julia Roberts (“ME! ME! MEEEEE!”), talking about herself as if she were the second coming of Cindy Crawford. Such a path couldn’t lead to our heroine’s downfall harder if it were a literal street named “Downfall Avenue”. I’m presuming this transformation is what the title’s referencing, given that (spoiler alert) there isn’t a single giant neon devil sign brought to life to kaiju the downtown Los Angeles area. Will Jesse find love and safety in the arms of her unavoidable love interest Dean, or will the D-Man discover he’s better off with an inflatable girlfriend? Don’t knock it. The only rubber you need to use with her comes in her repair kit! Will Jesse instead be a “grrrl”, pull her life out of her tailspin on her own and conquer her enemies to become the new White Queen of the fashion industry? Will our neon demon predictably wind up eaten alive by the green-eyed monsters that she so naively trusts with her well being? Will this modern fable end triumphantly for Jesse like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or tragically like Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid? That’s for me to know and for you to find out…I mean, if you feel like it. You don’t even have to watch the movie if you don’t want to to find out. The internet will just tell you how it ends, if you prefer to do it that way. Doesn’t effect my day either way. Que sera sera.

And so our story goes. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, beauty and the beast. It’s nothing to write home about, really, unless your family gets excited over loose threads. Plot threads, that is. Story elements that drop off the map, never to be seen again and character threads that drop right off with them. If it’s so bad, though, then why the quartet of disembodied blood pumpers at the top of the review? Because NeoDemo is a classic case of style over substance being a good thing. Oddly appropriate given the theme of the movie, dontcha think? You can almost believe it was poorly written intentionally

The performances are all fine, almost in spite of the roles being generic. It doesn’t help your story’s endgame seem less obvious by having your actors play their characters so blatantly. I do give Elle Fanning credit for not taking Jesse overboard in personality even though her lines still take the character there. It’s a well done balancing act and I hope the young lady earns herself a reputable career. Glusman’s Dean is a good dude done well, with the exception of his almost Captain Howdy levels of “creepy, shadow monster face” in the opening. Everyone else is just as shallow and one-dimensional as their roles are intended to be (at least that’s my guess), so that’s fine. Now, story and cast outta the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this Neon Demon.

Hold onto your bippies, kids, because I’m about to slap you in the faces with a big cold salmon of shock . Surprise you it may well, but this is my first date with Mr. Winding Refn. I’ve never seen Drive. I’ve heard great things, but universally renowned projects are a breed of poultry that rarely cross my proverbial path. You know what else I’ve yet to see? The Force Awakens. Yep. Let that one soak into your corpuscles for a few. Back to Nicky WR, his presentation style fills me with the similar fondness I have for Dario Argento and Stanley Kubrick’s stuff. His heavy accentuation on the use of colors and shadows and mirrors and trippy imagery combined with jarring/haunting music are tres Argubrick. He also throws lots of different patterns straight into our eyeballs, from wallpapers to curtains to bed sheets to carpets to clothing, and they all bleed into this visual clusterfuck that borders on overwhelming without going full-on brain barf. The aforementioned music is very dream-like, and makes the whole movie feel very surreal. It’s a psyche smothering safari for the senses.

Of the biggest complaints I came across while poking around the worldwide wasteland for details were people who called out Winding Refn, some for perpetuating mainstream misogyny (all women are jealous, petty cunts to each other and will do anything to get ahead) and others for ripping off Argento’s style. Regarding the former, I can’t really weigh in, given that my gonads reside on the outside. As for the Argento complaint, it depends on whether you want to call it a rip-off or an homage. Potato, potato. However you wanna pronounce it, I’m all for it. Kubrick’s long croaked and nobody’s really doing the Argento thing anymore. Christ at a Cracker Barrel, at this point even its namesake hasn’t properly Argentoed for a good twenty years! I’d rather watch someone doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well instead of trying to force the old Italian to go back to his roots. So, for those who disagree with my positive take on the matter, I’ll let Academy Award winner Tommy Lee (the actor, not the drummer with the horse dong) answer for me.

Given the mostly cold shoulder reception The Neon Demon was given (50%ish scores on aggregated criticism sites), I’m sure there are plenty of people who would accuse me of “falling for the sales pitch”, but you could fill a thimble with all the shits I give and still have plenty of room left to fit your fingertip so you can deposit it straight into your orifice of choice. If “artsy fartsy” stuff bothers you, bypass this flick because that’s its big selling point. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re down for something different and you’re not up for taking Suspiria off your shelf for the 164th time. Keep in mind that, despite ND‘s categorization as a “horror” movie, it’s really more psychological wrapped up in an air of dread. The one traditional horror movie element kicks in in the flick’s final stretch… then it goes on for another 15 minutes. These last minutes have very little dialogue. Like almost zero. Makes you wonder if the actors were getting paid by the line and the budget ran out. What is there is still technically part of the movie, but exists less out of necessity to the story than it does to drop some more visual weirdery and fuck with the audience one last time. It reminds me a lot of what Rob Zombie did with the last act of Lords of Salem, come to think about it. Leaves us with more questions than answers, really.

Still, it looks fucking cool.

Coming up will be the next and last installment of our “Ladies Night!” cineménage à trois, so any misogynists like the one who messaged me last week telling me this kind of “pandering pussy shit” isn’t what they want to see? You can rest easy, cuz it’s almost over. Or, you can just get the fuck out. You don’t like woman-centric movies? Guess what…

Now I gotta head over to the local halal eatery and get a pile of Samosas for lunch. Those taste bud tantalizing s.o.b.s get my salivary glands more excited than Gorunk the Baby Eating Gibbon gets around babies! Yum!

Moral of the Story: If you’re ever in a food court and some guy named Chad tells you that you’re beautiful enough to be a model, kick his dick off. And stay the fuck away from LA!

Screenshots_____


Dean looks like he’s plotting to take revenge on someone by cooking their family into a pot of chili and feeding it to them… possibly after he’s had sex with it.


Eli Roth’s homage to the 20th anniversary of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” music video is, well, pretty much what you expected it to be.


“Don’t worry, I was an intern on Evil Dead II. I know how to get karo syrup and red dye out of ANYTHING.”


If Dario Argento directed Mean Girls.


“I don’t care how many penises you have, Mr. Sinclair, this isn’t a casting call for Marilyn Manson’s adults only traveling freakshow! That’s down the hall in Suite 31.”


Was this room decorated by a blind person or somebody on acid? Either way, if I have to look at it much longer I’m gonna lose my Fritos!


“Look, I know SLC Punk 2 was garbage and if you wanna throw yourself off a cliff over it, I totally understand. But I gotta get to my shift at Big Kahuna Burger in 20 minutes, so either shit or get off the pot!”


Could this mean Nicolas Winding Refn’s next project will be that rumored Smokey and the Bandit remake we’ve been hearing about for years?! I’d bet my White Lightning / Gator double-feature LaserDisc on it!


Keanu Reeves finally takes measures to have Alex Winter forcefully removed from his guest house. After 25 years of his “I’m almost done with the script for Bill & Ted 3!” excuses, Keanu has had enough.


Hey, they’ve finally started casting for the She-Ra live-action movie! I really hope they opt to cast a real Pegacorn for Swift Wind instead of cheaping out and ruining her with some stupid cgi crap.


At the Sears catalog model tryouts, dozens of moderately attractive women compete for the chance to be thousands of young American boys’ first effort hording wank material. At least until they can convince their older cousin to buy them an issue of “Hustler”. Well, that’s how it was before the internet, anyway. Kids today have it way too easy…


Only true industry insiders know about the sacred Triforce of Fashion! It’s made up of the Triforce of Beauty, the Triforce of Design, and the Triforce of Film, each of which is held by one of three legendary heroes. The sacred texts say that, one day, the three will be brought together to create the GREATEST fall collection in all of fashion!


“Screw the picture. I’m gonna make her look like Large Marge just to see the family’s reaction when they open up the casket!”


“This is why I tell you not to eat candy in bed. You’ve got a whole Sugar Daddy tangled up back here! Uggh!”


“Is THIS your card?… Ah, shit! Let me try that again.”


I know how she feels. I feel the same way when I have a third Most American Thickburger too. Brutal.

———————————————————
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Anubis will return next time in
“The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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Feature 33 – Death Racers (2008)

or “The Faygo 500”

Featuring: Violent “Big Money Hustlas” J , Shaggy “Big Money Rustlas” 2 Dope , Scott “Sleeper” Levy

Director: Roy “Demons at the Door” Knyrim

Writers: Andrew “A Halloween Puppy” Helm , Patrick “Demons at the Door” Tantalo , Roy “Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher” Knyrim

Origin: USA

Review_____

Part of

“That’s the problem with Cali, man: can’t nobody drive.”

When Ragnarok proposed the idea of a Rip-Offs Roundtable, the only word that filled my brain was “ASYLUM”. It was printed in the biggest fucking typeface you could imagine, to the point that it was just a massive wall of Vantablack letters absorbing any and all mental light around it, thus snuffing out all other possibilities. I didn’t want to review another Asylum defecation. For one, it just feels too “easy” to use for the theme of purloined property, since EVERYTHING they stamp their name on is a rip-off. For another, I’ve already reviewed THREE Asylum movies this year and it’s only July, for the love of Antoine Q. Fuck! They’re like farmed tuna: the FDA suggests not having too many servings in too short a period of time for risk of Mercury poisoning. They’re like car exhaust: you’re better without it, a little of it won’t kill you, but too much and you turn into China – eating cigarette butts for sustenance and giving birth to six-eyed Lovecraftian lung horrors. Speaking of which, that makes me think of digging out The Abomination for a viewing. And that is the true definition of how shit awful Asylum productions are: just considering the possibility of watching one sets off a mental safety default in your brain telling you to watch The Abomination! Hell, here it is if you’d rather spare yourself the rest of the review!

So here we are. Death Racers. I came across this speed bump in the autobahn of my self-preservation some months past while researching the list of “bordering on plagiarism so as to confuse ignorant DVD consumers” titles/hate crimes the Asylum’s amassed since its inception. By simply adding “rs”, they somehow managed to Gymkata dodge any legal action by Universal and the creators of Death Race, which itself was just a “re-imagining” of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000. In other words, today’s roundtable trial by fire (the flames of which are just lit meth farts from a ring of drunken Juggalos) isn’t just a rip-off: it’s a rip-off of a remake of a Roger Corman movie starring the Insane Clown Posse and a professional wrestler who once went by the moniker of Johnny Polo.


To quote a character from the movie, “When, in a million fucking rim job years, was that thought to be a good idea?!”.

Now, the involvement of ICP isn’t an automatic garbage indicator for me. They don’t overload my Detectron (MST3K: The Incredible Melting Man” joke). I’d rather fill my ear holes with flesh eating Star Trek parasites (“KAHHHHHHHN!”) than listen to any of their music. I’d like to slap them in the face with a grade school science textbook for not knowing how fucking magnets work. But when it comes to their own cinematic side projects, I find them entertaining. Starting with their StrangleMania wrestling tapes in the ’90s and up through their stupid joke movies Big Money Hustlas/Rustlas, if they’d just drop their “nails on chalkboard” horror-rap, or whatever the fuck you wanna call it, I’d have little problem with them! But those are their own productions. For the next 90 minutes, they’re in an Asylum movie. My penis is in love with ’80s Barbara Crampton, but if she was submerged for an hour and a half in a pool full of piss culled from the men’s room troth in the No Holds Barred redneck bar, Lil’ Anubis would turn into Quentin Tarantino’s dick in Planet Terror. Her touch would be like getting a blowjob from the Arc of the Covenant. And I don’t even like ICP, let alone have Crampton love for ’em.

I had to swallow a hand towel before typing that piss pool scenario just to roadblock the column of vomit that I knew would be born from imagining it. Review…saved? Fuck biscuits. I just used my last wish on the monkey’s paw for immortality and get a life sentence in an Arizona prison.

From the opening narration, things literally dosn’t add up. The movie tells us that “3 years from now” (which would’ve been 2011 based on the 2008 release year), a big ol’ war breaks out. Not the usual global conflict between nations, but a war in the US between social and/or fiscal classes. The president declares martial law to bring an end to the chaos and designates a chunk of the western US to serve as a mass penal (huh huh) colony known as The Red Zone (Cuba?), which becomes active in 2033. I can deal with the ambiguity of the “3 years from now” opening. As far back as Mad Max (at least from my own decaying memories), dystopic cinema has made use of the “some imprecise point years from the time you’re watching this” pretense to keep the movie from being badly dated. Many sci-fi movies from the black & white days of low low budgets made bold claims of daily commuter rocket ships to the moon and personal jet packs by the year 1999 that just left most people laughing and others crushingly disappointed on their death beds because b-movies from the ’50s gave them impossible dreams. What cuts massive holes in your “unclear future setting” safety net is when you date a specific event in the same opening narrative as taking place in 2033! Even worse is when you later have a character drop, during a moment of dialogue, the year 2017 being the beginning of said massive conflict! Hey Sisyphus, let’s try rolling this mathelogical boulder up that hill with the 80 degree incline!

Ironically enough, watching this movie in 2014 would make the whole 2017 class war chronology line up perfectly. What botches my brain functions is that this class war supposedly went on for SIXTEEN YEARS before the president declared martial law. Given that martial law wasn’t declared until much later, that would mean that FOUR presidential elections would have taken place amidst the anarchy, since a president can’t stay in office past their term limit unless a state of martial law is indeed in effect. Weird how any president would allow a civil war to take place in the US for such a long period of time without enacting military intervention, or how the opposing factions wouldn’t just overthrow the government altogether in that period of time. Even if we ignore all of that timeline retardation, I’ve got another one for you that we’ll cover a little later. This tangent’s already gone on long enough and I don’t wanna risk losing everybody’s interest before I get to complain about the other few hundred jellyfish stingers, broken glass bottles, and discarded hypodermic needles awaiting us during this walk on the beach.

Let’s take a tour of the vacation hot spot of 2033 vagrant population: the Red Zone. It’s home to a million or so convicted criminals, bloodthirsty maniacs, and the kind of people who would listen fondly to the ICP soundtrack the rest of us are saddled with for the next hour and a half. Being the “stars” of this feature, did you really expect your ears not to be insulted/assaulted by the duo for the extent of your “viewing pleasure”? Your naivete is cute, but it won’t spare you the barbs of reality. Amidst the booming (often literally) population of ne’er-do-wells, the most nefarious is Dinsdale Piranha. At least he was, until Spiny Norman came through looking for him. Dinsdale hasn’t been heard from since. In his place, a super terrorist known only as “The Reaper” (Scott Levy, a.k.a. Raven, a.k.a. Johnny Polo) has ascended the Iron Throne of this evil kingdom. Feared by all in the RZ (though entirely unknown by some residents, as we’ll learn later), Reaps has learned that whoever mapped out the prison completely ignored that there’s a water treatment plant inside that had access to a water shelf through which he can poison the entire country’s H2O supply! Good thing he doesn’t have mass quantities of poisonous chemicals with which to do such a thing…oh, he has a vast and inexplicable supply of Sarin with which to achieve his goal? Well, shit. The government probably should’ve made sure there weren’t barrels and barrels of lethal Sarin in the area too, especially not within such close range to A FUCKING WATER TREATMENT PLANT. Oh government! What are you gonna do, huh? Am I right?! *Blart*

When California governor Reagan Black learns of Reaper’s evil scheme, the best option he can come up with is to hold a Savage Run! No, wait, Savage Runs carry the negative social stigmas of being brutal and barbaric. Instead, he announces the carnival of carnage as “Death Race”! Actually, I’m sorry. In keeping with the movie’s theme, every instance of the term “death race” for the remainder of this episode (with the exception of referring to the title itself) will have to be stated in all caps and accompanied by no less than three exclamation points, like so – DEATH RACE!!! That’s better. The rules of this DEATH RACE!!! are as follows: four groups of two (driver and navigator) are tasked with going to the water treatment plant and dealing with Reaper. If they “deal” with him in the permanent sense, the team will be rewarded 200 points. If he’s “dealt with” in the “bring him back alive” sense, they’ll score a whopping 400 points! But, between the starting line and their target stand hundreds of Reaper’s ravenous Red Zone reprobates. For each of them that these duos deadifies, they’ll rack up 10 points. The team with the most points at the end of the DEATH RACE!!! wins…can you guess? That’s right, their freedom. I see you’ve watched at least one of the 700 other similarly themed “fight for your freedom” movies made in the 80+ years since The Most Dangerous Game. Good for you. You’ll find an extra cookie in your Oreo pie tonight.

To prevent the competitors from killing each other before Reaper can be reaped, there are no points for offing the other teams. But, at the same time, there’s no penalty for doing so, so why not just kill each other anyway? Oh yeah, the explosive planted in each of their necks might be a good motivation to play nice. Indeed, just like contestants in EVERY murder game movie, they’ve been Plisskened. Or rather, Plissken’d. Well played, Governor Black…though there’s never an explanation as to HOW these explosives end up in our racers’ neck meat, of course! Then again, the devil’s in the details and this is obviously a wholesome Christian made movie full of family values and praise for (y)our Lord, and thus there is no room for such infernal information. I CAST THEE OUT, SPECIFICS! Speaking of casts, let’s meet ours:

  • Danny Satanico (Koco Limbevski) and Fred the Hammer (Jason Ellefson) – members of the infamous Mexican cartel SHG (Severed Head Gang… cuz they drive around with a fake severed head impaled on the front of their car… cuz they’re scary.). Stereotypical southern Cali latino street thugs played by goofy white guys. Danny ends up domeless when he’s used as Black’s example for what happens when you don’t play by the rules. Fred spends the movie trying to hook up with a lesbian, killing guys with a big scythe that he keeps in his trunk, drinking a fat guy’s piss and then getting beaten to death by the lesbian’s girlfriend.
  • Colonel Bob Casonetti (Paolo Carascon) and Rudy Jackson (Rick Benedetto) – team Homeland Security. They get “blown up” with an IED (not to be confused by an IUD) planted by Reaper’s goons shortly into the DEATH RACE!!!, but come back later to reveal that they’ve been working for Black all along. Which really only serves as a poorly managed story twist, considering ALL of the teams are technically working for Black, thus making the whole “faked death” bullshit more useless than a human appendix. Both are blown up in the finale showdown (along with everybody else for 50 miles around them), but for reals this time.
  • Queen B (Therese Corcoran) and Double Dee Destruction (Jennifer Keith) – team Vaginamyte!… the exclamation point being part of the team’s name and not meant to denote any actual excitement from yours truly. The name is meant as either an allusion to their explosive lady parts or a callback to Jimmie Walker’s “Dyno-mite!” catchphrase from “Good Times” (or maybe both), but all it makes me think of is a food paste from the makers of Vegemite aimed at horny cannibals. Being the only women in the DEATH RACE!!!, they’re exactly what you’d expect from these writers – lesbian man-eaters who shake their t&a to distract horny men before castrating them with a machete. I call this a “Eunuch’s Surprise” or the “Lagash Handshake”. Depends on the region, really. B gets shot in the back by Fred (before he dies from the merciless beating she lays on him), while Dee gets a hatchet in her neck, only to pop up right before the end credits, sole survivor of the massive explosion.
  • Violent J (himself) and Shaggy 2 Dope (himself) – the Insane Clown Posse as…the Insane Clown Posse. Playing themselves, for once, rather than just playing with themselves. Which brings up that other baffle-math problem I eluded to prior. Being 2033, ICP would have to be in their 60s at this point…riiiiiiight. The biggest problem with playing YOURSELVES in a movie set in the FAR FUTURE. Oy. Anyway, 2 and J are billed as “the Charles Mansons of their time” and have been sent to the RZ for their shitty music and for being the cult-like leaders of the global bastion of debauchery known as the Juggalos. Especially poignant today, since the duo just recently told a Court of Law that their Juggers aren’t a gang despite the FBI labeling them as such. No, they’re a family…like the Mansons. I would like to see the FBI classify Parrotheads and Beliebers as gangs now too though. It’s only fair, and being a fan of Jimmy Buffet or Justin Bieber should be considered a crime. Punishable by death, if I had any say. Anyway, despite being the protagonists of the shebang, both boys end up bleedin’ demised by the end credits roll, heads popped like pimples pumped full of Red Bull by those neck bombs THAT ARE NEVER EXPLAINED.
  • I ruined everything during the team intros to save time, as I’ll be rapping the entirety of the movie’s remainder in the following two paragraphs. Before you ponder, yes, there is a LOT of pink slime filler in this ground beef, boys and girls. And probably more than the Health Department’s acceptable levels of carcinogens and rat/insect feces. We’re going to be diving headfirst into the Shatlantic Ocean (or the Poocific depending on which coastest you’re closest) from the moment the race starts, so just bite the pillow and accept it and it’ll be over before you know it.

    All scenes of “racing” consist of slowly driven cars in sped up footage killing seemingly dozens of extras who run directly in the path of/throw themselves again said crawling automobiles, despite driving barely within range of said extras. These nameless goons wear bandanas bandit style so as to hide their faces in the hopes that you won’t realize they’re re-killed again and again throughout later scenes. An Asylum method that would be unironically recycled years later for the waves of nameless thug fodder murderized in Android Cop. Computer generated rockets and cheap muzzle fire animations lead to Karo Syrup gore splatter. You basically get more realistic scenes of automotive brutality in a round of Mario Kart than you’ll take away from this smorgasbord of so-damn-bad that we’re served here. When they’re not puttering along behind the wheel at 6mph, our combatants leave their cars to engage in extensive scenes of hand-to-(severed)hand and gun-to-head combat with more of the same masked goons. You’d think they wouldn’t want to leave their cars considering it’s a race and they need to get to Reaper by sundown (forgot to mention that part), but as I warned, we’re talking a LOT of time killing in this movie. Someone call the fuzz, cuz’s it’s a full-on chronocide up in here. Wee-woo. Wee-woo.

    And, here’s how the last hour of the movie goes – extras get run over; everybody drives; everybody stops to kill the extras again; everybody fixes their cars; everybody drives; love triangle; more killing of extras; the mystery of Governor Black having “insides guys” is introduced; still more driving; “Hey! Let’s go check out that giant circus tent full of (three) whores that wanna castrate us!”; fight Reaper’s killer rape cyborg (we’ll call him RoboCock); back to driving; finally catch up to Reaper and…does it really matter? Spoiler: nope. I pretty much told you everything before. Everybody dies, the west coast is engulfed in flames, the motherfuckin’ END.

    It somehow took THREE people to write that…and they already ripped off the entire premise from another movie!

    And now, on to the gripes. There’s a lot of ’em people, so you might want to go grab a cup of coffee and a slice of pie before we get started. Hit the bathroom too. I don’t want anybody getting up in the middle of this thing and interrupting me. Ready? Good.

    Okay, let’s start with the eyeball burning visual “music video effects” bullshit. Holy creeping terror does this shit get old after the first time we have to watch the movie “rewind” then play the same moment sped up! This is the fucking garbage that a fifteen year-old puts on YouTube when they downloads a pirated copy of Movie Maker for the first time! Crap like this is why MTV doesn’t show music videos anymore! In the sage-like words of the bard Kim Pines, if these shit tier visual “tricks” had a face, I would punch it. Not just punch it, I would punch THROUGH it, with the fist of an angry god. I would punch it so hard that every fragment of solid matter above their neck would simply become a red mist raining upon their shoulders like a crimson version of those dandruff snowstorms you see in the Head & Shoulders commercials. And the Red Zone? For a wasteland of remorseless psychos with no regard for property, much of the place seems to be rather well kept and even peaceful! Honestly, it looks not unlike a small, quiet neighborhood that would be very cheap to film a movie in… The rest of the RZ is just horribly put together images of digitally matte painted industrial shitholes with poorly crafted pixel flames randomly placed to “heighten” the illusion. BLART AGAIN!

    Speaking of poorly crafted, Reaper makes for a not great villain. He’s pretty damn one-dimensional, mainly because he’s not really given anything to do but bully and threaten his hench-nerd with varying degrees of bodily harm and death, while simultaneously diminishing the guy’s timetable on getting the whole “poison the water basin” scheme complete. I’d like to blame the writers for Reaper’s faults, but at least half of the problem comes from Levy, who just reinforces the old Tinseltown stereotype of “wrestlers can’t act and actors can’t cut wrestling promos”. Roddy Piper, Jesse Ventura and The Rock notwithstanding. Also, the DVD cover heralds Scott Levy as “WWE’s Raven”, even though Levy had had NOTHING TO DO WITH WWE SINCE 2003! Actually no, that’s not true. At the time Death Racers was made, he was involved with World Wrestling Entertainment…IN A LAWSUIT! Yep, Levy and several other ex-WWE performers were suing their former employer for medical bills and other shit they figured they deserved. In case you were wondering (and I doubt you were), the case was dropped due to some statute of limitations issue. Plus, one of the other wrestlers killed himself. Wrestle In Peace, Kris Canyon. Anway, the Asylum’s entire business model is movies that rip-off the titles of big budget movies in the hopes of getting sales based on name confusion alone, so I think I would’ve been more shocked if they hadn’t name dropped the world’s biggest wrestling company right across the top of their box art. Knobs.

    Before we move on from the characters, everybody else is just kinda “kill and get killed” throwaway casting, so they’re no big deal. I DO have a Faygo Jazzin’ Blues Berry 3 Liter sized problem with ICP as characters though. They’re supposed to be fighting for their freedom, but they know NOTHING about the Red Zone! They don’t know that people don’t get to see movies there, they don’t know anything about where they’re going, and despite being a terrifying tyrant who’s supposed to rule the entire Zone and all of its captives, ICP have NO idea who Reaper is! And I’m supposed to believe these two are trying to escape a place that they’ve seemingly never spent any time in?! If I weren’t down to my last keyboard, I’d be smashing my head into mine right now. FUUUUUUUCK!

    The movie’s a tribulation of aggravations to be sure. And, as one of the announcers says, it goes “from zero to suck-my-dick in 4.1 seconds”. However, Death Racers is a few curly short hairs shy of being suffocation by a mouthful of pubes. It’s saved from the eternal damnation of Ammut’s digestive tract by the following –

  • Racers embraces the original Death Race 2000 structure of a rally style “Point A to Point B” competition with the “kill random civilians for points” format included. Thus, in actuality, this is a more faithful remake of the original movie than Universal’s Jason Statham vehicle (pun intended). Makes sense that I’ve seen it listed under the title Death Race 3000 in some foreign promotional materials.
  • Watching a white guy (Jason Ellefson) pretending to be a Mexican stereotype is strangely hilarious, especially when he says something so blindly stupid as “Are there any taco trucks around here?”. I generally hate dumb shit like that, but Hel, even a dollar store hotdog looks edible when it’s the only other option at a buffet that otherwise serves only week old haggis.
  • Everything, no matter what it may be, is always better when followed up with a guy shouting “DEATH RACE!”. After the Pledge of Allegiance? “DEATH RACE!”. Post-coitus declaration? “DEATH RACE!”. Swearing in at your best friend’s murder trial? “DEATH RACE!”. Make it so, mofos.
  • And that’s pretty much it. These three small things don’t excuse the movie from still being terrible in every calculable way, but I didn’t get food poisoning symptoms while watching (not fun, I don’t recommend ’em), so it could’ve been worse. Any accident you can walk away from, right? I mean, sure, it’s the kind of accident where all of the flesh on my arms was torn off…and my face was rearranged… and all of my ribs were broken…and I punctured a kidney…and my genitals are completely unrecognizable…but…at least I’m walking away, right?

    If your taste for purloined features has not been sated, belly up to the bar and down a few more helpings of things that aren’t good for you! Check our fellow contributors for this roundtable of regrets:

    3B Theater: Micro-Brew ReviewsCyberjack
    Checkpoint TelstarBattle Beyond the Stars
    Cinematic ApocalypseInseminoid
    The Terrible Claw ReviewsCarnosaur 2

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, my teleprompter has gone dead…“DEATH RACE!” *blip*

    Moral of the Story: Sometimes life licks across your anus with a sandpaper tongue. Good news for all you weirdos out there who have ever put peanut butter on your butthole and had your cat lick it off, I suppose.

    Screenshots_____

    Most kids walk in on their parents having sex and run away in horror. Then there are kids like this, who run to grab the camcorder. I think I just became impotent thinking about that one.


    This is why I don’t trust machines with my health. If I have a heart attack, keep your damn defibrillators away from me!


    They say that he who smelt it dealt it, but he who grins like an idiot had broccoli and black coffee for breakfast.


    I see somebody’s trying to bring back “Two Girls, One Cup” reaction videos.


    I see there was at least one Hot Topic inside the Red Zone when the walls were put up.


    He thinks his tats mean something prolific and deep, but they actually say “Eat at the Wanton Won Ton – Daily Lunch Specials! Mention this tattoo and get 10% off your next eat-in order!”.


    “Damn it! I can’t get ‘Hip to Be Square’ out of my head!”


    “Ahhhhhh! That’s better!”


    That’s where the part of my brain that burned with white hot rage every time I saw Jay Leno used to be before I had it removed. Sure, I lost 20% of my memories. Sure, Jay Leno’s finally off of TV (for now). I still stand by my decision, though.


    I don’t know. He looks pretty white to me.


    “I’ve got that urine sample you asked for, doc. Tell me the truth – how much blood in my urine is too much blood?”


    [insert penis innuendo here]


    “You ever wonder about how things work, sometimes? Like fucking magnets. How do they…”
    “SHUT UP ABOUT THE FUCKING MAGNETS ALREADY, YOU SHIT-FOR-BRAINS CHILDREN’S PARTY REJECT!”


    “We live in total squalor and you’re still wasting my money to dye your god damn hair?!”


    *whisper* “Keep buying this eye shadow though. I really like it. It smells like apples.” *whisper*


    Hipster farmer insists on reaping his own wheat for his whole grain organic artisanal ‘o’ shaped breakfast cereal.


    How every boy sees their mother after their circumcision.


    She just happens to have a Pagliacci fetish and in Detroit, he’s the best she can do.


    Before the creation of batteries, vibrating strap-ons had to be gas powered monsters like that. Given the user fatality rates, they were rarely worth the effort.


    “Before you ask, I don’t know how all of those Japanese fart fetish sites ended up in my browser history. Would just please get rid of all the viruses and pop-up windows? I’m watching an eBay auction for a Cheeto that looks like Larry Hagman that ends at 9!”


    Most people have the “devil & angel” personifications of morality that materialize on their shoulders. She just has two militants in white pants who tell her to shoot everyone.

    ———————————————————
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    Anubis will return next time in
    “Viva Spook Vegas”

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