Featuring: Nathaniel Holt , Julie Fortenot , William Almaguer
Director: Eugene Hughes
Writers: Eugene Hughes & Buddy Howard
I come to you with a broken heart today, children. My fellow Jethro Skull bandmates and I have agreed to shelve our ambitions of being a death metal group that covers folk rock songs. After 7 years of trying and failing to book a single show (and no, Allen, that time we played your nephew’s graduation party for “exposure” does not count as a gig), the dream has died, been dismembered, the parts stuffed with blasting powder, and finally set ablaze in a VW bus abandoned in a WalMart parking lot. In lieu of flowers, we’d ask that all mourners send donations via PayPal to email@example.com with the subject “My condolences on your loss” and a personal message of your choosing, should you feel so inclined. Thank you.
Now, much like I told my psychiatrist when she tried to convince me to go back on my meds, the only cure for my sadness is some shitty movie badness! And my choice of balm for the occasion? Continuing my year-long march down the trail of clown-based tears! Today’s mile marker? Cannibal Killer Clowns on Dope. Strap in, strap on (huh huh), and strap…up? Uggh. Never mind. Scratch that last bit and let’s just get this over with.
Much like people, sometimes a movie can sell you on its moniker alone. Do you think Martin Sheen would've had the career he did if his name were, oh I don't know, “Joe Estevez”? No. We've seen what happened to Joe Estevez and that wasn't because of his lack of talent, it was all about the name. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but would you want to smell a one if it were called a “shit weed” or a “dumpster squirt” or a “diaper cheese”? No. And if you would, maybe you’re the one my grief counselor should be threatening to have institutionalized because you’re a danger to yourself and anyone within stabbing distance. It was a rubber knife, Barbara! It was a joke! Do you not recognize that I deal with my depression through gallows humor that often infringes on the peace of mind of others, or were you just not born with a sense of comedic timing!?
Anyway, you can understand why the subject of this installment made a big fat blip on my cinemasochist radar as soon as I did my initial search online for “killer clown movies”. For the second time today, though, I have to drop a bomb of misery that will shake your belief in the value of existence – I regret my decision to review this. It’s high up there on my “If I had it to do again, I’d risk destroying the fabric of reality by altering history” list, right between selling my CGC graded 9.6 copy of New Mutants #98 a week before Deadpool was confirmed and getting Rocky Dennis’ likeness tatooed on my left cheek. Thank The Shapeshifter for the person who invented skin grafting! And thanks to Trainyard Larry, the hobo whose face I now wear. Ra rest his soul. You finally caught that leprechaun, Larry. You finally caught him…
“The subject matter of this movie contains blood, gore, guts, murder, nudity, sexual perversion, a man getting butt raped by a clown. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, tonight's movie is damn good entertainment in my book!”
I’d like to thank Dr. Teeth’s understudy for that introduction, along with the rest of the narration he provides for today’s feature, senseless as it may be.
The titular flesh-eating junkie jesters in question inhabit what we’re told is an abandoned farmhouse amidst a secluded section of forest near the small Texas town of “Cooter’s Pass”. Now, I know it’s likely just a crude gag, but in the fantasy world I’ve made in my mind to serve as the vine that will help me struggle free from the quicksand pit lying ahead, it’s actually a heartfelt homage to ‘The Dukes of Hazzard‘ supporting character Cooter. Just let me have that. As for the delinquents’ domicile, no farm house would be located in the middle of the woods, unless the previous owners were fucking tree farmers (i.e. lumberjacks), because it’s kinda hard to farm any manner of crop or animals when you’re surrounded by TREES. Furthermore, said “abandoned” house is clearly NOT abandoned if there are people (clown or otherwise) LIVING IN THE DAMN THING! I’m one paragraph into the feature itself and already I’m saying “fuck this movie”.
Were I to describe CKCoD‘s narrative structure in the form of a non-existent adult breakfast cereal, it’d be Honey Nut Cluster Fucks. The majority of the “story” consists of unrelated segments in which one or more of these refugees from a hillbilly meth circus stalks, harasses, occasionally rapes, and eventually murders random victims that are more than likely played by members of the cast’s friends and/or families. I’d much rather talk more about Honey Nut Cluster Fucks, and their shill-happy mascot – an animated honey bee named Bangz whose stinger had been replaced by a big veiny dildo with which it forcably penetrates (and ejaculates into) honey combs.
Actually… that’s everything I had to say about that, so… shit. I guess we have to get back to the movie.
The clowns’ first victim, Dollie, doesn’t even get her own segment really. Instead, she’s given a mash-up of random clips with the narrator telling us how she got there (she went to a juggalo style gathering and was lured away by the temptation to party with the dope slinging slobs), searing our eyes with an “F for effort” photoshopped image of her dismembered body swinging on a rope, and finally alluding to the possibility that her soul is now trapped inside of a toy doll, joining a mountain (well, a sizable pile) of similar plastically incarcerated spirits on the clowns’ property. This potential plot point ultimately leads absolutely no-fucking-where, so any errant agalmatophiles who were directed here while looking for a quick jerk ‘n wipe (I’m looking at you, Charles Band!), you’re s.o.l., and I don’t mean Satellite of Love.
From these first steps into the gurgling cesspool (hope you brought your waders!), we’re greeted by the first actual act of this half-assthology. The victim is a no-doubt poorly compensated and underappreciated single mom type who’s forced to stay late at her job at a hot tub outlet store. As if her station in life weren’t bad enough, being one laugh track away from a ‘Grace Under Fire’ re-hash, the lady is harassed and eventually carcassed-up by a wanna-be Pogo who keeps blathering inane threats of “Who’s got the fuckin’ meat cleaver now, baby?” on repeat. Could he be referencing an untold exchange from their past in which his victim, in fact, once brandished the self-same meat cleaver for… some… reason? As with the number of licks required to breach the core of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know. I tried to ask Mr. Owl, but after ten minutes without a reply I realized I had been in a battle of steel wills with my replica of the StageFright killer’s mask that’s mounted above my chamber door. I guess I’ll get my answer, nevermore.
The tormentous mirthmaker in this instance wears more traditionally appropos attire than the panel of inbred pagliaccis populating the rest of the picture’s residuum, so call me
maybe crazy for postulating that this segment is either a case of unassociated runtime padding, or a possible proof-of-concept made by creators Hughes and Howard to swindle potential investors into sponsoring their movie. And by “investors”, naturally I’m refering to the local liquor store owner who donated old crates of Tennafly Viper and enough petty cash to pick up a stack of DVD-Rs (from the nearest Circuit City’s “Going Out of Business” sale) upon which to burn sellable copies.
The next course on the cannibal clowns’ menu is a “glamour model” (Liz Ashley), who’s apparently no longer able to find work playing a waitress in commercials for local greasy spoon eateries and has reduced herself to doing a nude pictorial for the all-too handsy photog David Sleazy (William Almaguer), who’s plotting to steal her dirty socks and panties when she’s not looking. We spend an irritating amount of time watching her pose in various states of undress on a rundown tractor (or, if you’re an actual farmer like my grandfather was, a tractor) while the sniveling, “what people from the US midwest think the average Frenchman sounds like” accented perv snaps pics and tries to cop feels. The lass is a genuinely attractive au natural gal who could definitely convince me to buy an X-rated Kubota calender and would be one of the best looking girls on the set of a Troma shoot, but if she appeared in anything other than CKCoD and some webcam videos her boyfriend shot of them drunkenly copulating in a poorly lit bedroom, I’d be surprised.
The clowns (the ones from the opening scenario, not the solitary tormentor of the previous) overhear the antics of perver and pervee from nearby and interrupt the backwoods photo shoot, stripping the camera wielding creep down to his panties and garters (and apparently fitting him with a pair of high heels, since he wasn’t wearing them before…) because, again, he’s “French”. David (“No no no, eet’s ‘Dah-veed’.”) then runs off in a girly screaming panic (“French”, ladies and gents…) while the still nude model points and laughs… seemingly oblivious to the fact that she’s now been left alone, bare ass and defenseless, with a gang of miscreants that were possibly spawned from a nightmare Emmett Kelly had after eating an entire anchovy pizza and falling asleep watching Deliverance. She’s made keenly aware of her situation though, when they chase her and her bouncing breastisses down and stab her to death. She also gets the “shareware ‘shop job” treatment previously seen with Dollie, as her quadruple amputee image too is strung up and further pasted over with unrelated images of mutilation. Sleazy’s death isn’t as poorly budgeted, however, as we watch him tied up and clown hammered in his crap hole before being decapitated. All of this for the sole sake of showing off a severed head prop (which bares a passing resemblence to Dahveed if you squint hard enough… and imagine he was bombarded with Frogtown radiation) that the director probably picked up for 70% off at a K-Mart “Day After Halloween Sale”.
The next lot of prey are three misbehaving ladies (names withheld because fuck it, I don’t feel like typing them) who, as our gravely voiced narrator puts it, “thought it’d be funny to get stoned and laugh at the clowns”. The cadre of painted killers are apparently considered to be a rural legend in them there parts, not unlike the ghost of John Wayne or the Chupacabra or someone who wears a cowboy hat while voting Democrat. Unlike those last three though, no one seems to have any trouble finding the clowns, nor do the police seem interested enough to bother investigating them during any of the purported dozens of missing person cases that come up in Cooter’s Ass! I mean “Pass”! Cooter’s Pass! Back to the estrogenical trio, they meet their end about as you’d expect with one chainsaw’d (or at least drenched in blood by a non-running chainsaw that never comes within a foot of her body), one de-sanguinized on a meathook Texas Chainsaw Massacre style (minus any semblence of acting beyond shivering like she’s cold and in need of a jacket) and the third dealt an unexceptional throat slitting.
We now interrupt our regularly scheduled shit show for an important news bulletin, as reported by Buck Ross (Eugene Hughes) – a girthy bald man who likely spent the majority of his adult life selling used trucks off of a car lot before choking to death on a plate of Jimmy Dean’s “Hung Like a Horse” Sausage Links. According to this so-called journalist for CANN News (I guess because “can” is a euphamism for the butt?), the clowns’ rampage of terror has been discovered by the local constabulary with the remains of over 40 victims found in their rundown farmhouse lair… So, hold on a sec. If their death shack has been unfurled already, does that mean this story is being beamed back to us from the movie’s future? Somebody call Dr. Who so he can fix this reTardised timeline! Whatever the chrono-illogical chicanery at play here, Buck graphically editorializes the hell out of the story, going on a tirade about how the once jovial practioners of the buffooning arts no longer caper for the amusement of others, but instead “man-rape ya, toss your salad, hack you to bits, then EAT your ass”. Well, at least they’re considerate enough to toss your salad after “man raping” you! Most places you’re likely to get a slap in the face or a punt between your uprights for asking someone to apply a gentle propulsionary mixing to your combined vegetative elements! Bucky ends his special report calling for the genocide of all clowns, whatever their ethical/moral alignment. Something of an Alex Jones of his day, minus the marketing genius of hawking his personal brand of taint wipes to his butt hurt viewers.
(If this guy has never once sat astride a horse while shouting into a TV camera about how mentally unfit he is to price used cars and/or home appliances, I will exhume Rue McClanahan and tongue wash her expired clam pocket.)
The next station on this train ride through scenic Non-Sequitur County sees another random victim (Anthony Bailey) secured to a wall of iron bars and awakened by the group of fools’ only female (Dementia Armand), whose attire of choice leans heavily in the direction of “podunk mall goth”. Rather than demanding to know where he is, how he got there, or who put him there (as that would require a backstory of some fashion), the captive’s first instinct is to try and flirt his way into a blowjob, rapidly securing him the award for Most Deserving Casualty. Trailer park Harley Quinn takes the disgruntled UPS driver approach instead and violently mishandles his package. She may not have intended to hurt him though. She may have just really suck at giving hand jobs! Like the girl who gave me my first… I’m lucky I didn’t get PTSD from that.
When she-clown asks him (in her oddly British accent) if he’s ever done meth before, he declares his proclivity for crack instead (because he’s black after all… uggh), but ends up forcibly spoon fed some homemade clown amphetamines anyway, dying from an overdose. Declaring her one-pot artificial sweetener part of a bad batch, she then wanders off to chew on the disembodied bits of a caucasian no-one-in-particular just left sitting around the house. I guess when you’re a gussied up Barnum & Bailey reject by way of Hot Topic whacked out on smack, you don’t really sweat small stuff like refrigerating your leftovers.
The narrator doesn’t chime in on this segment, possibly because he was taking a meth break or sleeping off the previous night’s hangover in the back of his windowless van. Let this be a lesson to anyone out there who intends to hire their uncle to do a voice-over for their movie – you never give him the full case of beer before the recording session is over! Give him one or two to wet his whistle and keep him motivated, but make sure he earns his round trip ticket through the mountains of Busch!
Following this is yet another “how many of the fucking things are there?!” scene of random clown degeneracy. This time, the group’s answer to “What would happen if Jame Gumb and Baby Firefly reproduced?” goes all transvestite Mr. Blonde on still more random captives. Like too many of these scenes, this too is a cacophany of clips thrown into a digital blender and played over a backing track that… actually isn’t that bad. It’s got that amateur stripper, spookshow dancer, “just hip-hoppy enough to have a bit of a hook to it” vibe that’s better than this crapapalooza deserves. Wouldn’t you know it? I guess if you dig through piles of dogshit long enough, you’re bound to come across a shiny
quarter nickle sooner or later!
Reminding us that there’s still much more canine caca in question to get lodged under our fingernails before we can sleep, the next excerpt illustrates that the antagonists are equal opportunity sexual assailants and don’t just ply their perversions on “French” men. Three of the cavortous cornholers forceably strip, grope, manhandle and manacle a wayward redheaded lass (Rose Shannon), during which one of them repeatedly proclaims that he’s going to play with her because “she’s my doll”. Oddly enough, his repetition of the term “my doll” is at such an excess that it comes off like a superliminal advert for Midol. This scene is likely just to showcase Miss Shannon’s willingness to be filmed engaging in moderately rough rape play though, as the clowns exit stage left afterward to leave her mildly struggling against her bondage as things fade to black. I should’ve just called this episode “Twenty Two Short Films About Clown Ghouls”.
Our gravely voiced narrator finally returns (having eaten his daily regiment of broken glass) to introduce the next segment, which will take up the whole second half of today’s movie, making it the most movie part of the whole fucking movie! The (anti-)hero for this final leg of our slog through circus sewage is a prison escapee (Nathaniel Holt) who goes by the nom de bitch of “Zed the Loser”. As our story (45 minutes in and we finally have one!) would have it, Zed had an unfortunate run-in with a clown once that consisted of being suckered into pulling said joker’s finger. The result? No clue. I’m presuming that the clown then farted (possibly under the false pretense of a whoopie cushion), but again, it’s left incredibly vague. After liberating himself, Zed also breaks his fellow clown despiser and grrrlfriend Sally (Julie Fontenot) out of her padded room at the local mental care facility. Her loathing for the Painted Ones stems back to an experience she had as a child during a birthday party wherein a clown did “something” with a balloon animal that she didn’t like. What that “something” was is also left incredibly vague, forcing us to fill in the blanks for ourselves. My guess? That my “fill in the blanks” comment just unintentionally summed it up. Blart.
Because three heads are presumably better than two (unless you’re Ghidorah and lose no matter how many you have) when it comes to combating the menace of imitation juggalos, Sally’s friend-in-fiending Shorty (Kim Mason) tags along for their trolley ride into the three-ring nightmare. They arm themselves with military hardware stolen from a local gun store whose owner they’ve freshly murdered. Given that we were introduced to said owner while he was storytelling his security guy about the time he raped a goat in Iraq, I’m sure you’ll join me in not mourning his passing as any kind of “loss”. Watching this movie, I get the sense that Hughes and Howard have some serious sexual issues that a few years in therapy might be able to start scratching the surface of.
Hopped up on dope they stole from some “about as Mexican as Taco Bell” dealers (in a segment I couldn’t be bothered to relay) and well stocked with absolutely not plastic, I repeat, ABSOLUTELY NOT PLASTIC guns, the raid on the clown college dropouts (awesome name for a band, by the way) is a go. They split up so the girls can start thinning the figurative herd as Zed takes the tactical route of “looking for weaknesses in the clowns’ defense system”. Shouldn’t be too hard given that they’re methed-up hillbillies whose entire success rate as serial killers depends on exponentially stupider people (most further impaired on narcotics) wandering within the perimeter of their secluded shanty, and perhaps the odd blind hiker or “person with their head stuck in the upright position” that trips over one of their in-no-way-conceled booby traps. Given that Zed managed to kill 7 or 8 gangbangers on his own with just a knife (again, previous scene), you’d have to think he can handle 5 rape happy honkeys in Halloween makeup while paired with his new life partner, Mr. Shotgun.
After taking way too long playing out a weak cheese Vaudeville act where the clowns’ mentally retarded member swats at her targeting laser dot like a fly he can’t brush off, Sally aces one of the goobers with ease. She immediately regrets her excessive pre-raid drug consumption though, when it sucks her down the super happy fun slide to Bad Trip Boulevard. She somehow manages an escape, but gets a cloud of clown dope up her nasal hatch courtesy of one of their traps. The narrator says the drug will destroy her mind forever, but it DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER since she’s just grabbed my her prey-turned-predators later on anyway!
Shorty is the trio’s first fatality, as she’s stalked all too slowly around the compound by the gang until being unexceptionally headlocked to death. I was going to call it the clownpound but, by the maligned suggestiveness of Yog-Sothoth, that name just conjures up an all-clown gangbang porn the likes of which my ebbing sanity can never again fathom! I’m by no means a caulrophobic, but even I have my limits. Speaking of pornographic imagery, the previously imprisoned Duracell (because she’s a copper top…. and bottom, in case you were curious just how much) gets additional screen time when she’s spanked crimson with a rubber chicken, then slips her bonds to attempt an escape, but is ultimately stabbed to death before she could get far. I’m actually glad there was never an effort to establish who the Hel she was, because even my naming her after a battery was more effort put into establishing her character than the writers bothered with.
Back to Sally, she winds up the Marilyn Burns guest of honor at the clowns’ homage to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre supper scene. Much like that Sally, this Sally too escapes her cannibal captors (where did these fuckheads learn to tie knots?!), only to be rundown and killed by her rotund pursuer because there’s no convenient passing pick-up truck to carry her cackling ass to safety. And what about Zed? Not that it matters, but “The Loser” lives up to his nickname when he’s unceremoniously exploded by one of those tripwire traps he was supposedly looking out for. Anti-climactic? Absolutely. But at least it’s over now! Praise Professor Bobo’s tick ridden backside for that!
This could very well be one of those “It’s amazing if you watch it while drunk or fucked out of your lobe on brown sauce!” instances, but where does that leave those of us not allowed to indulge in mind altering substances because we’re on permanent probation for burning a busload of school children alive? I’ll tell you where it leaves me, I mean “us” – losing unrecoverable time from our lives that could’ve been spent productively, including but not limited to plowing mouth-first into a 6ft hoagie, bleach-washing the blood out of the trunk out of our car, or masturbating ourselves to sleep, content in the knowledge that we didn’t watch a bunch of bumblefucks in clown outfits splice together a series of lazy, incoherent, otherwise unrelated skits under the false pretense that they were trying to cobble nonsense into a feature.
And for anyone who read that last indictment of this micro-budget, shot-on-video, rectal recital of an anthology and immediately condemned me for being an unfun movie snob (which is likely the nicest possible term I could imagine any motherfucker reading this would use), remember that it all came from someone who has a long standing love affair with Redneck Zombies and has no issue shouting as such from the metaphorical rooftops while dancing along to the musical accompaniment of an unnamed, fiddle-playing, Hasidic gentleman. No, Cannibal Killer Clowns on Dope is a muddled, wanna-be shocker, chicken with its head cut off, so bad it’s bad, blender full of dog shit set to puree. Fuck. This. Movie.
For the sake of the ladies who bared their all for this fart locked in a plain black DVD case, I really really REALLY hope they were either paid moderately well to do so, or are residents of a local nudist colony and got naked on camera “for the cause”. The thought of them doing so under the false pretense of becoming the next Demi Moore, Jennifer Anniston, Charlize Theron, or Renee Zellweger (all of whom started in low budget horror roles) would rupture my oil and tar belching heart, undoubtedly ruining the carpet in my den.
Before I go, I’d like to bookend this review with the announcement that my new band, Gore & Greasepaint, will be holding a release party this Thursday night at The Pumpkin Patch to celebrate the release of our first demo tape: Ruined By Clowns. It’s going to be a cash bar event and clown attire is mandatory. The dress code will be strictly enforced, so don’t show up without your polka dots and comically oversized shoes unless you want to leave your family emotionally distraught for the rest of their lives while they try to solve the mystery of your disappearance. Anyone unable to make the show is welcome to donate to our possible future endeavors through PayPal via firstname.lastname@example.org or can buy our t-shirt (or any of a hundred other things) at The Tomb’s CafePress and/or TeePublic stores.
Until next time, fight the power, don’t fear the reaper, party hard, burn down the KKK, have a drink on me, and say hi to your mother for me!
Ever the Rip Van Winkle of popular culture, Jay Leno’s attempt at revitalizing his comedy career via YouTube starts (and ends) with his first video, “Baby Planking”. One look at the comments section an hour later and Leno deleted his account.
Sandra Bernhard researches Uwe Boll’s filmography to mine material for her upcoming NetFlix “original” series, ‘Reel Wild Cinema: the Return’. The streaming service’s deepest dive into nostalgia niche necromancy to date, until they figure out who owns the rights to ‘Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys’.
Oh no. These commercials from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Balloon Animals (ASPCBA) always break my heart. The Puddles Pity Party cover of that Sarah McLachlan song is the last nail in the coffin.
Genre section sign purchased at the local Circus Video store’s going-out-of-business sale.
Kubota’s efforts to publish an “Easy Rider” style magazine for farmers never caught on like they’d hoped.
“I told you to stop getting your breasts in the pictures. Why are you topless anyway?! This shoot is for a Fruit Stripe Gum ad!”
Eschewing theatrical tradition, this year’s “Shakespeare In the Park” program will be replaced instead by a production of “Rocky Horror In the Trailer Park”. No refunds.
Uggh! That’s disgusting! Don’t just leave your dismembered human leftovers lying around! THAT’S HOW YOU GET ANTS!
“I don’t understand! He continues to promote class warfare, white supremacists, anti-Muslim bigotry, and nuclear war against other psychopathic dictators! When does Twitter step in and DO SOMETHING?!”
In the Mirror Universe, Amy Schumer became an ultra-conservative Republican extremist freedom fighter. Seen here moments before liberating a convenience store from its Muslim oppressors.
“Uggh. I keep waking up with centipedes in my sinuses! Maybe it’s time to stop sleeping on the ground… or start sleeping in a beekeeper helmet.”
Just your average scene from a Gathering of the Juggalos men’s room.
Just your average scene from a Gathering of the Juggalos ladies’ room.
The famed artist depicted here working on his masterpiece: the Shitstain Crappel.
Anubis will return in
“Jim Henson’s Scanner Babies”
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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: Laverne “‘Orange is the New Black’” Cox , Ryan “‘Liv and Maddie’” McCartan , Victoria “‘Victorious’” Justice
Director: Kenny “Hocus Pocus” Ortega
Based on the screenplay by: Richard “I’m not involved with this remake in any way” O’Brien & Jim “No comment I could find online, but I’m pretty sure he’s also distanced himself from it” Sharman
Remake/Rebranding of: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
It’s that time of year again, you turkeys! Let’s Do the Time Warp Again was meant to be an October review, but when I saw just how horrible it was, I thought it more appropriate to not denigrate the sacred month of 8 and instead lump it in with Turkey Day Month 2016. Read on and I’ll think you’ll agree. Won’t you?
This was originally supposed to be a capsule review for The Tomb’s Facebook page, but I had so much bitching to do by the midpoint of this abominable TV ghost of cult movies past that I felt it needed the full episode treatment. Also, I’m almost completely sure that there’s no way for me to jam pics and gifs into Facebook reviews, and they really needed to be a part of this to help properly illustrate my loathing. As such, let’s check out The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, shall we?
Also, the doors are all locked and their knobs have been replaced with used dildos amassed from the dumpster behind the local retirement home, so just sit the fuck down and share my suffering.
When I heard about Fox’s intentions to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Richard O’Brien’s golden child with this made-for-TV remake, I got the typical “Pavlov’s dog” response to remakes that most of us over the age of 30 are stabbed in the kidneys with at least three times a year anymore. Unlike the original brainwashed canine, though, we don’t drool uncontrollably. Instead, we vomit vitriol and disappointment out of both ends, taking breaks to ingest large reserves of blue PowerAde into our systems to stem dangerous dehydration. We ultimately end up with acid burned throats and burning red sphincters glowing from magmatic agony while some cunts in Hollywood dream of rubbing stacks of stupid peoples’ money on their genitals. All of the online petitions, cries of protest and message board threats of sexual assault result in nothing changing, and we all just end up dying a little inside knowing that something we love has been weighed down with an anchor of garbage, then tossed into the murky depths of the “Nobody Cares! Get Over It!” sea.
But sometimes, if you keep the faith, say your prayers, and sacrifice just enough of your personal stockpile of pessimism, you will be rewarded. The whore mongers you accused of raping your inner child turn out to be fellow followers of your familiar fandom, and do right by your shared affection – not tarnishing its name, but instead adding to its legacy! Whole new generations learn to respect and revere these franchises, lifting them to new heights, sharing them with the world, spreading their gospel! Yes, sometimes you corporate mainstream meddlers in your ivory towers can cast off the scarred branding of “defilers”, bring pride to your executive producer credits…
…Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, and then the drugs wore off! Sure, there’s the occasional worthwhile redo out there (The Hills Have Eyes and Evil Dead, anyone?), but the turds tend to outweigh the treasures by 100 to 1. Guess which side of said ratio Fox’s Rocky Horror remake stakes its claim? Here’s a hint: much like a thrice expired jar of Ortega salsa once tormented me with the drizzling shits, so now has Kenny Ortega done to an entire television viewing audience. All we wanted was NOT to have another beloved movie ruined with a remake.
“But Anubis, Kenny Ortega also gave us Hocus Pocus and Newsies! How could his version of Rocky Horror be that bad!?” First of all, didn’t I fit you with a ball gag when you came in!? Secondly, allow me to send up a surface-to-air missile to bring your Happy Hands down in flames – Kenny Ortega’s also the guy behind the High School Musical trilogy. The higher your hopes get, the harder I will make them fall…at least until the point of terminal velocity. Once they hit that, I mean, that’s as hard as they can fall, whatever the height. Either way, FUCK YOUR HOPES! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
Anyway, by now we should be intimately familiar with the misadventures of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, so let’s not dawdle with the details. And if you don’t know the story already, a hearty Conan the Schwarzenegger “To HEL wit’choo!”. Seriously though, for you neophytes out there (or those of you in need of a refresher), you can pop out your peepers and observe Episode 64 for my review of last year’s “Rocky Horror Show Live!” BBC special to get caught up. The rest of you? In the interest of keeping it short like Tyrian Lannister after a trip through The Tall Man’s midgetizing tanks, let’s try something new and make this a simple pass/fail review! Onward and upward, you sons and daughters of Oblivion!
► For starters, showing your RHPS remake at 8PM? Weak. Its cult status is that of a midnight movie, so shoehorning it into a prime time slot? You’re already starting off on the wrong foot with the fans, Fox. FAIL.
► The “Science Fiction/Double Feature” intro is now sung by a generic “white girl with a deep voice” usherette cast away from Hot Topic, played by Ivy Levan. I know nothing of her work or if anyone else even knows who she is, but she feels very much like a poor man’s Christina Aguilera/Lady Gaga/Adele/Amy Winehouse. I dislike her “try to make it ‘soulful’ like an ‘American Idol’ contestant singing the National Anthem” cover. FAIL. And I’m not saying this to be mean, Ivy, but I’ve got two words for ya: Crest Whitestrips.
► The entire segment in general? When compared to the original “Patricia Quinn’s disembodied mouth lip syncing Richard O’Brien’s singing” opening credits? No. And allow me to get this out of the way now for anyone who’s gonna try to call me out about how this remake is supposed to be different: if you don’t want comparisons to the original, DON’T DO A FUCKING REMAKE! FAIL.
► On its own merits though, this beginning makes for a fair music video style intro to the show, so I’ll also throw it a PASS. And don’t say I can’t do that. You don’t come into my house (or tomb, in this case) and start diddling my thermostat. At least not if you want to keep your fingers on your hands and not poking out of Ammut’s litter box.
► Presenting your made-for-TV remake as if it were being shown at an RHPS midnight theatrical show, complete with audience participation? The more you remind me of how much I’d rather be watching the original is not going to work in your favor, Fox. Pretending your version is cool because it’s framed with meta humor is lame. And not “so lame it’s cool”, Marge, so don’t even start. No, it’s lame like Christy Brown without all the artistic talent. Stop it. FAIL.
► Wait, so the actors are all emulating the original’s cast through hammy acting and overzealous mannerisms? Oh boy. I can’t imagine this sitting well with the teenagers this is being aimed at, who probably don’t know it’s supposed to be campy. Kinda torn on this one, since I hate camp for camp’s sake, but it’s sticking faithful to the tone so… Fuck it. PASS.
► Well, Ryan McCartan’s Brad is definitely the ideal of all-American young male doofiness. Meanwhile, Victoria Justice’s Janet has the “starry-eyed girl next door” thing down, though I do miss Susan Sarandon’s adorable bug-eyes. PASS.
► The Hapschatts’ marriage mobile’s “Wait ‘Til Tonite, She Got Hers Now He’ll Get His” shaving cream graffiti replaced by “She Said I Do, Now I’m Doing” instead. “Now I’m Doing”?! Is that even English? No. Whomsoever is responsible for that, get “doing” with a live light socket. FAIL.
► Post stroke Tim Curry putting in a cameo as The Criminologist? Smells like a poor attempt at Fox trying to convince the fanbase that this was a good idea. FAIL.
► Sadly, it’s not like Curry’s getting roles thrown at him today what with his current state, so at least he got a paycheck out of this. That part gets a pity PASS.
► Janet’s joke of “The owner of that phone might be a beautiful woman and you may never come back again.” is too on the nose now, given Frank’s re-casting/re-assignment. FAIL.
► Reeve Carney, you put way too much spirit into your Riff-Raff. He’s supposed to be menacing and broken, not starring in a production of “Rock of Ages”. I’d tell you to go back to playing Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”, but, well, we all know what happened with that… Also, where’s your bald cap!? And your hunch?! And your accent sucks. And your twangy country western lite rendition of “The Time Warp” makes me want to fill my ears with flesh-eating scarabs. Cease and desist. FAIL.
► Same goes for your Magenta, Christina Milian. You’re supposed to be depraved and imposing, not just some prancing tart in a sparkling maid outfit and hot pink fright wig. Your accent also sucks. A lot. Homosexual rest stop vampire Count Gaylord would take a break from his Saturday night slurp circle to tell you its suckitude is “a little much”. FAIL.
► One of the things Fox has been raked over the coals for on RHPSLDtTWA! is neutering it by turning the risque level down to a ‘3’. Despite this, the singers during the “Time Warp” scene are performing from between the wooden cut-out of a pair of 10′ tall legs positioned to look like they’re a woman on her back. So for all intents and purposes, this trio is supposed to appear to be singing while ankles deep in a giantess’s lapple pie…I don’t even…what…the fuck…am I looking at?! Either way, the dancers in this “toned down” version are all dry humping the shit out of each other for 10 minutes, so I guess it was just the “gay stuff” that Fox felt the need to back off on? FAIL.
► The Transylvanians all get their own unique costumes?! They’re supposed to be background fodder, not an attention grabbing orgy of extras in gaudy silver crotch-hugger outfits hopped up on Spanish Fly grinding against each other in a desperate display of “Look at me! I’m important too! Look at me!”. This smells like the meddling of a bunch of bit parters’ agents…who are probably also their parents. Fucking show biz parents. FAIL.
► Annaleigh Ashford’s Columbia is just heyday Cyndi Lauper with “I sucked off Papa Smurf” blue raspberry Blow Pop tongue? Riff Raff plays an electric guitar with a neon blue light-up neck? Fuck’s sake, Ortega, did your Wayback Machine run out of batteries when you re-imagined this!? RHPS was from nineteen SEVENTY-five, not nineteen EIGHTY-five! GAH! I feel like there should’ve been a part to go with this half-assed ’80s vibe where Brad refers to something as being “Bradical!”, because if you’re going to fuck the audience, you might as well go balls deep. FAIL.
► P.S. – Ashford’s “non-acting acting” is nails on a gods damned chalkboard. I’ll take Little Nell’s proto-Harley Quinn with the cracking, squeaky voice 10 times out of 10 over this deadpan Darlene Connor knock-off bullshtick. My heart (and my legs) are always open to sarcastic doom-and-gloom nihilist types, but not Columbia, damn it! FAIL.
► Rather than meeting Frank as our protagonists originally did, coming down in his little elevator to the anticipatory build of both the heroes and the audience, the modern incarnation instead sees her descending onto the set aboard a massive camera crane in some weird Mayan showgirl outfit. Though I can appreciate the spectacle, that’s all it is – a spectacle. The headdress is appealingly garish, but also more sizzle than steak. One of the story’s biggest moments burned to the ground. If gravitas were gravity, this version of the host’s introduction would be taking place on the moon. All-in-all, a big floating FAIL.
► It’s sad too, because Laverne Cox (what an ironic name…) puts on a fairly fair Frank impression. Unfortunately, as I’ve been griping about to my fellow Frankie Fans, this casting puts a silver bullet through the heart of the entire show. Put your PC sticks away too, because I have zero issue with a black person playing Frank and zero issue with a transgender person playing Frank. As long as they can play the role justice, it would be mathematically impossible for me to care less about skin color or background. And if you wanted to hire a transitioned male person to play Frank, that would be great too! But no, Frank being played by a woman ruins the point of his seduction of Brad and his attempts at forcing a hetero man-child of his own creation to be gay rather than Rocky instead dipping his hot dog in Janet’s mustard. And don’t give me the “Well, Laverne used to be a man!” argument either, because it holds water as well as Joel Robinson’s Wiffle cup. Who Laverne was has no bearing on who she is while playing the role in this movie. Championing her as a former man is like carting her around as a sideshow attraction. She’s a woman now, and a woman playing Frank goes against the point of Frank. FAIL.
► But, again, Cox plays the role pretty well compared to how much the rest of the cast fail their parts. Too bad she couldn’t have taken the role prior to transitioning. Despite my dislike of the casting, and her not putting enough of a bite into some of her delivery (her flaccid read of “I didn’t make him FOR YOU!” is especially disappointing), her performance gets a PASS.
► Damn it, Ortega! You fucked up the close-up shots during “Sweet Transvestite”! How fucking hard is it to do a couple of quick cuts rather than just setting the camera behind B & J and hitting “REC” while you take a piss break? FAIL.
► Staz Nair looks the part of Rocky as far as physiques go (though his frosted tips will give people Backstreet flashbacks), but turning his gold bodybuilder briefs into golden basketball shorts (that look like they’re made of a spray-painted elephant scrotum) just furthers Fox’s flaccid homophobic approach to this remake. Have I mentioned that it’s an abomination? If I haven’t, make a note of it. FAIL.
► Adam Lambert’s Eddie comes Evel Knieveling through a window (rather than out of Frank’s meat locker…not to be confused with her meat curtains…though that would’ve been an interesting twist), looking like some kind of lupine biker that shames anything in Werewolves on Wheels. He’s Eddie by way of Wolverine after a rough night in a leather bar. It works. PASS.
► But his singing voice lacks the macho boom of a rotund rocker like Meatloaf. A savage disappointment to hear a guy that looks so bruiserly have such a, well, Adam “Glambert” Lambert voice. When he’s mugging for camera during his song, it looks like he’s struggling not to scratch at a bad case of jock itch. FAIL.
► Rather than being pick-axed more times than a gold mine in the 1840s, Eddie ends up stabbed and falls out of a window. Fear not, as the dinner scene still happens later as planned, but this version of Edward’s demise is no prize. Frank’s subtle efforts at shiving the big lug in the guts is no match for psychotic Swiss cheesing given to the original article. FAIL.
► Given the gender swap, Frank’s seduction of the young couple doesn’t have the same impact, especially with how many “bi for the guys” college age girls have saturated pop culture in the last decade plus. Shooting said moments like regular scenes rather than from behind the veil of smutty silhouettes also kills the voyeuristic tone carried by the originals, losing both the style AND the substance in this instance. Blart. It’s a bad miss. FAIL.
► Watching a former Nickelodeon child star in her underwear fooling around with another woman is…not really having an effect on me, since I never watched whatever show it is she was the star of. Besides, after everything we’ve seen out of Miley Cyrus, former child stars doing adult stuff in little-to-no clothing will never carry the same taboo. Not a pass/fail scenario, I just thought I’d point that out.
► Ben Vereen sounds more like Morgan Freeman than Dr. Scott. With this change in character also comes the unfortunate negation of Scottie’s former role as a defected Nazi scientist. Now he’s just “elderly wheelchair man with Einstein hair”. FAIL.
► The dinner scene slips in a new *wink*wink* line for long-termers, as Columbia complains “I hope it’s not meatloaf again.” in regards to the meal’s main course. Cute. I’ll take it. PASS
► Additionally, though I hated “too cool to play along” slacker Columbia, as her tragic losses mount, she’s falling into place as the broken girl on the brink of losing what sanity she has left. Good. PASS.
► Kudos to McCartan, whose turn in the floor show as “broken man-baby in ladies lingerie” Brad denotes a man of courage. It’s also probably the moment in the whole movie most loyal to the tone of the original. He gets a PASS.
► Speaking of the floor show, all of the Transylvanians are present in this version. It kills the intimate focus on the main characters having an entire audience. Furthermore, you’ve not got two dozen people in the theater, but nobody does anything to stop Riff when he comes in with his neon guitar laser? They all just disappear during “I’m Going Home”? FAIL.
► The siblings’ new silver outer space glam rock heavy metal outfits are fun at least. PASS.
► While trying to escape with Frank’s corpse, there’s no RKO tower prop for Rocky to scale, so an iconic moment ends up as just another FAIL.
► On the plus side, when Rock dies near Frank, he does so reaching out to her a la Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” painting, notably featured in the original RHPS‘s “Don’t Dream It, Be It” swimming pool scene. PASS.
► Brad, Janet and Dr. S sell the finale of their nocturnal excursion like they’re stumbling through a nuclear fallout, then just roll up their arm length gloves (well, Brad does) and walk off stage right like everything’s suddenly fine, no selling the fact that an entire castle is launching into the stratosphere not 10 feet to their left. Cool guys don’t look at explosions? FAIL.
For those keeping score, that makes for 11 “PASS”es and 23 “FAIL”s. According to my math (meaning no one can verify it but me, so don’t correct me), in Tomb terms, Let’s Do the Time Warp Again should get a 1.666 out of 5 rating. Traditionally, that would mean it rounds up to a 2, but there’s no way I can award a 2 to this movie. Instead, I’ll add a little personal bias to the data and round down to a 1. After all, reviews are all about the writer’s opinion, and bias is a part of opinion so, again, don’t correct me. Checkmate.When all is said and done (and “doing”?), this is just another remake for the “that didn’t need to happen” pile. It’s a befuddling muddle fuck that tries to be faithful to the original while doing new things, a tightrope it fails to cross and thus falls into the pool of starved crocodiles below. Everybody involved should’ve ignored the movie’s motto of “Don’t dream it, be it.” and just kept their desires for this production in their own nightmares and dreamscapes. For a production that tries in every way to be more over-the-top colorful than its predecessor, the performances are decaf as fuck for the most part. It feels…sterile. Whether it’s Ortega’s head we hang the shame hat on for wanting his cast to act the way they do, or we need to put in an order for a dozen more shame hats to cover the heads of the cast members themselves, somebody has to take responsibility. And when the ambition didn’t feel like it was under the floorboards, it was coming on too strong from actors whose characters are supposed to be restrained!
Have I been changed in any way by my viewing of this remake? Not really. Though I had no idea who Kenny Ortega was (aside from a guy whose name sounds an awful lot like New Japan wrestler Kenny Omega) before, now he’s got a spot on my enemies list. So…there’s that.
For those who enjoyed RHPSLDtTWA (it’s nice to know I’ll never have to type out that acronym again), good for you. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. However, if you use the following trains of thought to defend said stance, assume crash positions, because you’re about to be derailed.
► “But shadow casts happen every week all around the world and plenty of them include female Franks! Do you complain about those?!” No. Female Franks are usually done with shadow casts that don’t have enough guys to fill all of the male roles, or by groups where no guy is brave enough to dance around in women’s underwear in front of a crowd. Besides, this is a nationally broadcast remake, not some midnight screening at the Podunk Village Actors Guild Hall.
► “But ‘why did you hate this iteration so much, but not ‘Rocky Horror Live‘?! You just hate young people and things not aimed as you!” False equivalency. That was a live show, based on the musical, not the movie based on the musical, thus it wasn’t supposed to be faithful to the movie. Additionally, it was a production overseen by Richard O’Brien, so when the creator of the entire fucking phenomenon decides he wants to tinker with the formula, he’s more than welcome to! Also, had you actually read my review for the show in question, you’d remember that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with it either.
► “But Frank is an alien! Maybe he/she didn’t have an Earthly sex and you’re just projecting your archaic gender roles! Open your eyes, you Nazi sheep!”. Shut your fucking face, uncle fucker. Did you forget the numerous times Frank was referred to as “him” and “he” by the rest of the cast in the original RHPS? Just in case you did, remake Frank’s referred to numerous times as “her” and “she”, so again, cram it down your suck hole.
And that’s as much as I’m interested in talking about Let’s Do the Time Warp Again. Now that I’ve done my duty, it’s time for me to be doing. What? No fucking clue. Hope you enjoyed your Halloweening indulgences, kids. I also hope you had your younger siblings “test bite” your candy first for safety’s sake. You don’t wanna show up to Thanksgiving with a razor blade smile!
There are enough in the bullet-points above. See ya next time, ladles and germs!
Anubis will return next time in
“Balls of Fury”
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Featuring: Julian “Warlock” Sands , Elsa “Fast Five” Pataky , John “The Machinist” Sharian
Director: Paco “[REC]” Plaza
Writers: Alberto “Extinction” Marini , Elena “Prime Time Serra , Alfredo Conde
Also Known As: Werewolf Hunter , Werewolf Hunter: The Legend of Romasanta , The Werewolf Manhunt , Romasanta: the Werewolf Hunt
I’d like to thank the gents of The Celluloid Zeroes for letting me horn in on their “Adult Onset Lycanthropy” roundtable. Be sure to check out the rest of the crew’s reviews, as linked at the bottom of this one!
I told you I’d get back to the Fantastic Factory sooner or later! Romasanta was originally supposed to be the cap-off for the “Fantastic Four” reviews thing, but when the AOL ‘table was announced, I thought it better to nudge it back a couple of episodes and put Arachnid in its place (in both contexts). And so here we are! And Julian Sands is here with us! Hooray! From the first time I saw Warlock, to his voice work as the villain in ‘The Jackie Chan Adventures‘ and all the smaller pay days in-between (like Naked Lunch and Tale of a Vampire), I’m always a sucker for a good Sands job. That sounded so much dirtier than intended. Bravo. *golf clap*
What we have here (aside from a failure to communicate) is one of those “based on a true story” flicks that neglects to put the word “loosely” at the beginning of that statement. Or, in cases of stuff like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, “almost not at all”. Romasanta actually keeps it pretty close to the truth, and could even be construed as keeping it absolutely 100 if you’re going by the claims of the eponymous real-life serial killer (Spain’s first, incidentally!) upon which the story is based. Now, who wants to relive one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of Spanish history with Uncle Anubis?!
No. You can’t sit in my lap anymore. Your parents think it’s inappropriate and I’m not dealing with wild accusations and angry villagers wielding torches because you’re not comfortable sitting on the floor. You don’t like it? Bring a pillow to these things, because I’m not buying a chair. It’s bad enough I let you use my bathroom and eat my Circus Peanuts.
Our tale takes place in the village of Galicia. The year is 1851. Queen Isabella II (Electric Boogaloo) rules the land while both fending off the Carlists who want her dethroned and trying her best to make her marriage with her gay cousin Francisco work (at least that’s what Wikipedia told me). Lacking televisions, the children are babysat/entertained by poorly done puppet shows. Everyone is generally pleased with life, despite the lack of indoor plumbing and constant threat of wolf attacks. Seems Galicia’s been having a lot of the latter lately, so much so that the disappearance of a local bailiff (you know, like Bull from “Night Court”) has been blamed on lupinous ill-intentions. When his body is recovered, ravaged with tooth and claw wounds, a bounty goes into effect for every wolf carcass collected. A plan to promote both populace safety and lower the general fear factor, since nothing motivates the frightened masses better than the clinking of coinage! They go so far as to trap the poor things in cages and shoot them dead in the middle of the market square so everyone can watch. Where’s Princess Mononoke when you need her?! Oh, right. Japan. Never mind.
We’re introduced to Barbara (Elsa Pataky), a lovely young Galician gal, as she goes out to the family barn to check on their animals one night. She finds their pig with its throat ripped out (Oh god! Not Orson!) along with the culprit (an almost jackal-esque wolf) still eating its newly acquired dinner not 10 feet away. The quadrupedal menace growls at her, threatening to make her the next course on the esophageal buffet. Fortunately for Babs, her brother-in-law Manuel (Julian Sands) appears from nowhere in the nick of time to stare down the sinister pooch and send it packing with its literal proverbial tail betwixt its legs. Was it intimidated by the stance of an alpha male, or did wolfy see what happened to Cloquet’s houseboy in Naked Lunch and just think “Yeah… fuck that. Adios!”.
(I was going to post a pic of what did happen to Cloquet’s houseboy, but this completely unrelated Naked Lunch still is funnier)
Manuel is a traveling salesman and transcriber for people who can’t write their own letters. Remember, this is the 19th century. “School House Rock” hasn’t been invented yet. He’s back from the road, much to the relief of wife Maria (Maru Valdivielso), mute daughter Teresa (Luna McGill), and aforementioned s-i-l Barbara, who will feel a lot more secure in the wake of the recent wolf ransacking now that there’s a man (and apparent wolf whisperer) in the house again. His stay won’t be long though, as he’s moving everybody to Santander – a fancier township where they can get a tutor to teach Teresa sign language. Also, though they probably still have wolves there, they’re probably just not so human hungry. Kinda like how Candy Apple Island still has apes, just not as big as the apes on Ape Island.
Everybody’s up for the move, but Maria’s one of those housewives who watches too much “Maury”. She thinks little sister has the skank eye for her Man(uel), so she insists on leaving Barb behind to fend for herself “until they can find a position for her” in their new zip code. When Babs insists on going with them and tries to talk to Manny about it, Mar pulls a knife on her and threatens to gut her if she doesn’t take her exile from the family like a good girl! This went from “Maury” to “Jerry Springer” faster than you can say “Keep it in the family”! Yikes.
Not wanting to see if she can live without her spleen, Barb acquiesces and stays behind, alone in the family farmhouse. Maria wonders if she’s done the right thing, but doesn’t have long to regret her decision, since Manny KILLS HER! Yep. On the way to their new home, the trio stops in the forest to make camp for the night. While Mar’s off bathing (don’t get excited, as “bathing” in this sense involves wearing full pantaloons AND her corset), Mr. Romasanta torments little Teresa by JAMMING TWIGS INTO HER PET BIRD’S EYES (so it flies around manically “like a butterfly”), then sending her off silently screaming into the woods to get caught in a wolf trap, where he finishes her off by JAMMING STICKS INTO HER EYES TOO! I’m a heartless monster, but even I can’t get behind child abuse like that. Jesus fuck biscuits! Anyway, Maria finds her, but has her mourning cut short when the camera lunges at her horrified visage before cutting to black. You know, that multipurpose Evil Dead technique that builds suspense by not showing you who/what is attacking her, while also saving a few Pesetas by not having to pony up for a monster suit that won’t look like a pile of shit and zippers when shot in daylight.
Galicia’s District Attorney, Luciano (Gary Piquer, looking kinda like Viggo Mortensen in a beard), is determined to get to the bottom of these killings. Apparently the D.A.s back then didn’t just do court stuff, they doubled as the Sheriff. To help him sniff out the true culprit(s) behind these killings and keep this wolf hunt from becoming a witch hunt, Lucy calls for outside help in the form of Algerian man-of-science Professor Philips (David Gant). Dr. Phil provides some classic insight into 19th century criminology, like how big headed sweaty guys are always guilty because they can’t control their natural affinity toward evil. In my case, that’s very true. He also believes that through physical and mental manipulation, these people need not be executed, but can be rehabilitated. When the town’s tribunal tasks him with proving the legitimacy of his science, Phil uses said lawmaker as an example and sticks a couple of needles into his brow line, causing him to sob uncontrollably. How this proves that the Moisty McPumpkinSkull they’ve pulled in as a suspect could be a serial killer, I have no clue, but I didn’t study at 19th Century Doctor College. I earned the Leeching Bachelor’s degree on my wall by watching The Giant Leeches.
Prof Philips is also well versed in the coronery arts, not to be confused with the “culinary arts” or “coronary arts”, so don’t. Through his autopsies of the victims (preserved in coffins filled with salt), he drops the unsettling knowledge that one of the bodies, a 14 year-old girl who kinda resembles the now deceased Teresa, was also the recipient of a postmortem custard pumping. This means that not only is our killer a hebephiliac, but also a necrophiliac…making him some kind of necrohebephiliphiliac. Queasy.
An expensive earring was also discovered on the body, meaning that she was from a well-to-do village elsewhere. Since wolves eat their prey where they find it (too stuck up for doggy bags), obviously they wouldn’t have dragged this girl all the way here from wherever she was killed. Even if, I’m pretty sure most wolves don’t rape their dinner after they’ve killed it either. Unless of course it was a Wall Street wolf, as they’re pretty abhorrent sexual deviants if the legends are to be true. *rimshot* No, necrophilia on a teenage girl seems more like the kind of nightmarish horror nature reserves for humans…or otters. Seriously, look up the dark acts those furry little motherfuckers get up to after dark. You’ll wanna round ’em up and throw ’em all into a giant blender after you do. As Lord Byron famously put it, “I shit you not”.
Philips also finds that the bodies have wounds consistent with not only teeth and claws, but also knife incisions! Curiously enough, they’ve also been relieved of all of their body fat. Though this sounds like the result of some radical fucking medieval liposuction, everybody who saw/read Fight Club gun jumped to the immediate conclusion I did: somebody’s making soap. Given that soap is still a luxury item at this time, who do we know that sells luxury items? That’s a bingo. Our killer has a name-o. And it’s the title of the movie. Which we already know by this point because we just got done watching Manuel Romasanta kill his wife and daughter. Such is the problem when we’re watching a murder mystery that already shows us who the killer is: there’s nothing for us to figure out and we just sit back and wait for Manny to start killing people like it’s just another slasher movie. Blart.
Speaking of Manfred, he returns to Galicia the following morning, bearing gifts for his dear s-i-l. Barbara wakes up to the tune of an ornate music box and the sight of an extravagant gold dress. After she puts the dress on and starts eyeball fucking herself in her mirror, Manny creeps up on her and gets all squeezey and strokey on her neck and clavicle, telling her how beautiful she is. In a classier way than when I woo a woman by whispering stuff like “You’re curing my ED.” or “I wish you weren’t married right now” into her ear on the subway. Barb asks the smooth talker just how many women he’s knocked the boots off of, to which he offers up the usual verbal evasive maneuvering every double-dipping Don Juan pulls out in times of interrogation, all the while seeing the faces of his presumed victims in the mirror. Barb catches sight of her sibling’s guilt-inducing visage in the looking glass though, and talks herself out of engaging in any of Manuel’s infidelity. If I had a dollar for every time some spook cockblocked me, I’d have enough to buy one of those PornHub twerking Terminator butts. I know what’s going on my Cthulhumas wish list!
Manny tells Barb that her sister and niece are fine and dandy in Santander, and that Maria’s even procured her a job! See, if we didn’t know that he’d already killed his wife and daughter, this would’ve worked much better. Instead of getting the big reveal at the end though, now we just watch him perv on the young object of his affections while wondering how far it goes before Barb insists on seeing her loved ones. Though milady’s hormones are haunted by the disapproving, cunt-punting, sister specter (no doubt just an embodiment of her guilty groin), it takes all of an hour or two for her to exorcise that loin phantom. During her morning bath, Manny creeps up on her again, this time giving her an erotic washing in the tub that leads to some submarinal stimulation of the clitoral variety. Even when he gives her the moral out and pulls his hand away, she gives him the “Oh, you are NOT fucking done yet, mister!” look and pulls his hand back between her thighs, putting the “sensual” in “consensual”. Manny must be a helluva marksman, cuz his fingerbang game hits the bullseye! Fingerbang! Bang bang bang!
Though the identity of our serial murderer is never in doubt, the exact origins of his situation are brought into question during a flashback sequence. We see Manny pick up an injured farmer along the road (back then they only had one road and it went to every town and it was uphill both ways in 6 feet of snow) and offer to take him to the next town to get treated for the sickle wound he’s suffered. Determined that the guy won’t make it, Romy (sans Michelle) offers to write up a goodbye letter for him and deliver it to his soon-to-be widow. Farmer Fred gives up the ghost mid-sentence, so our suavely sinister lead fills it in with some really schmaltzy shite about how her butt won’t quit and $5 chewy pretzels or something. He delivers the message and worms his way into filling the now gaping hole in her life…and any other holes that could use a good stiff tending to (said with a perverse “heh heh heh” and a liberal “humpin’ thrust” motion).
This brings to question exactly how it is that Manuel got involved with Maria. Was Teresa his biological daughter or his stepdaughter? The movie stays pretty obtuse on the topic, thought I’d like to think that it’s intentional. Whatever his true relation to Barb’s family, while Romasanta continues his seduction of his s-i-l, a goon with a scarred face trespasses on their property and attempts to shoot him in the back! No surprise, as said goon has a massive dome and looks like the type of person who’s constantly wiping his sweaty palms on his pants. Seeing the (hilariously computer generated) glint off the rifle first, Barb throws herself into the line of fire and takes one for her man. The mystery mongoloid slips away while Manuel takes her inside and extracts the slug of silver from her back, saving her life. He picks this as the most appropriate time to declare that his life belongs to her, but the most inappropriate time to gift her a lovely little necklace in thanks. A necklace that he lifted from Teresa’s neck right before he murdered her! Giving your new girlfriend a prized trinket stolen from her beloved relative is the only thing worse than giving her an engagement ring with your ex’s name still etched in the band, and this guy fucking does it! That’s a whole new level of dick move, and that’s coming from one of the King Dongs of dicks! For shame on you, Mr. ‘Santa. Hell, FIVE shame on you, you bastard.
Naturally Bar recognizes the bauble (taken from her only freaking niece!) so that night, while her new fuck buddy is copping some z’s, she goes snooping through his caravan. Under a loose floorboard, Nancy Drew finds a small chest of misappropriated valuables, along with some not exactly clear but very official looking documentation with Teresa and Maria’s names on them. I thought they were death certificates at first, but my Evil Dead Bride suggests that they may be the gals’ wills. But, would a child even have a will? Whatever the case, no sooner does Bar put everything back, then someone cartjacks her! Wait…so Manuel leaves his horses tied to the cart at night? What the fuck?! That’s the 19th century version of leaving the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked! His insurance company won’t be paying a dime on this claim…
During the kerfuffle, Babs is tossed around worse than someone trying to get to the toilet on a Greyhound. No diggity. Indiana Jones has an easier time crossing rope bridges. And trying to piss standing up while it’s doing 65 on the highway without getting it all over your shoes? It should be part of the initiation process to get into fucking Skull & Bones! Anyway, a dropped lantern turns the whole thing into a mobile inferno, with our de facto heroine (who’s not exactly a bastion of morality since she’s having an affair with her dead sister’s husband) managing a literal leap of faith that would make Zoe Bell pop a thumbs up. She’s immediately accosted by Lumpy Scarface, who rips off a piece of her dress, rubs it on his face saying “they’ll follow me”, and runs off into the woods to play decoy, shouting to attract the attention of the baying wolves echoing in the night.
The next morning, she wakes up to find the galoot has since returned, and he enlightens her as to his origin story. His name is Antonio, and he used to be a common thief. One day, while burgling a church, he was confronted by a wolf (I still say the wolves around here look more like jackals) that shrugged off a point-blank gunshot like it was the world’s mildest beer belch. In retaliation, it attacked this clearance rack Randy Couture and brought him into the brotherhood of the wolf (different movie). After engaging in a few co-murders with his new barking bro, Tony became so overwhelmed with guilt that he now hunts Romasanta to bring an end to the monster and maybe get his own curse lifted by scoring a few redemption points from Jehovah while he’s at it.
When Barb goes with him to the constables to corroborate his story about the WolfManuel (see what I did there?), they declare Tony as clearly insane and have him locked up. No doubt his big fat head and damp mitts gave him away. They practically caught him
red wet handed, wakka-wakka! Despite Antonio’s detaining, D.A. Lucy believes Babs enough to put out the 1850s equivalent of an APB on Romasanta before sending her home. While there, she finds a stash of Manny’s stuff, including letters he had transcribed for his many girlfriends to their families, but never delivered. It’s not explained whether he intended to deliver these later, was keeping them as mementos of his conquests (serial killers are weird like that), or just hadn’t gotten around to burning them yet, but they serve as the perfect plot twist excuse to turn Babs vigilante and put her on his trail. She takes off across the countryside, returning the letters to their original senders and asking around about any recent Romy sightings. As you can guess, it turns out this traveling salesman has a different alias in every town, and now that his new squeeze is ratting him out, it’s time to start cutting ties with all of these other girlfriends. Along with their throats, abdomens and whatever else he feels like severing.
Ladies, when a man is willing to murder all of his other girlfriends to be with you, it means you’re his Jet Li/Neo. You’re the One.
Back at the nuthouse, the doctors tell Tony that he’s not now, nor has he ever been a werewolf. He’s simply a delusional psychopath who was manipulated by Manuel into being his murder amigo. The Ottis Toole to his Henry Lee Lucas. The Tex Watson to his Charles Manson. The Ringo to his rest-of-The Beatles! With the second banana’s help, the man(uel)hunt gets a lead on where the killing spree could be heading next: a middle of nowhere town wherein the killer is cornered while doing day laborer work, reaping in a wheat field. For a scene where so many people are wielding scythes and sickles, there’s a disappointing lack of dismemberment to be had. Despite managing to evade the 5-0, Santa doesn’t run off like a smart fugitive would. Instead he takes the opportunity to confront his lady love (she fell behind the rest of the posse when her gunshot wound re-opened), who holds him at arm’s length with the tip of a sickle planted firmly in his neck. Whether her restraint is because she still loves him somewhere in her head, she wants to let the judicial system deal with him, or she just wants to know how her body rates next to the 30 or so other baked potatoes he was slinging his sour cream with (I’m presuming from experience, not sexist stereotypes), she keeps him there until the constabulary circle back around and take him into custody. The tension of this scene makes it a real “shut up and take notice!” moment. The intensity on Barb’s face sold me on Pataky as not just a likeable and lovely lady actor, but as someone who can act the living Hel out of such a scene with just her face. Between that and Plaza’s direction, it’s insta-boner stuff that puts movies with five times its production values to shame.
Manny’s taken back to Galicia and put on trial while a ravenous gang of villagers screams for his head outside the courthouse. They sadly lack the torches, pitchforks, and nooses you come to expect from angry Victorian Era mobs. Besides, why would there be multiple nooses? Did Steve, Randy and Carl ALL think it was their turn as “noose guy” in the rotation? Or is Randy known for using cheap rope when it’s his turn, so Steve and Carl just thought it prudent to bring back ups so as not to let Randy’s thrifty tendencies ruin another perfectly good lynching? “Damn it, Randy! You do this EVERY time!”
At trial, “the Werewolf of Allariz”’s defense is that he’s innocent and it’s Mother Nature who’s responsible for his crimes. Typical self-entitled cunt, always blaming his parents for his choice to be an asshole. Where he comes from (Allariz), it’s well known that the 9th born son of any family is touched by the Devil, and being his father’s 9th son that makes him inherently (or inheritedly in this case) evil. His transformation into the wolf is his malediction, and since a wolf’s natural instinct is to kill, it’s not his fault that he kills people when he’s furry and four-legged. He says he can be saved, and that his love for Barbara is the cure to the curse. Their relationship is the only thing that’s ever given him regret for his crimes and he didn’t feel the urge to kill a single person for the few days he spent romancing/fingerbanging her. To test this claim, the Professor (and Mary Ann?) puts him under hypnosis and he’s taken to the forest so the tribunal can witness his transformation into a bloodthirsty fleabag…or just watch a grown man play make believe. Santa recreates his actions during the murder of Maria and Teresa and guess what? No transformation. Not a physical one anyway. Sands’ portrayal of said recreation is either grand drama or pure scenery munchery. I’m not entirely sure which, but it’s definitely something worth watching!
Phillips diagnoses Romasanta with Adult Onset Lycanthropy (take a shot!), in that a strong emotional trigger turns him into a ravenous maniac. So, he becomes a metaphorical “wolf man”, rather than a literal one like more superstitious (i.e., dumb) people would believe. Thus, Phillips believes Manuel’s not only not responsible for the crimes he committed but can be rehabbed, thus Dr. P recommends to the judges that Romy be given over to the custody of the sanitarium. As with any cop, this puts Luciano on the express strain to FUCK YOU! Town, as his moral code of black & white (insert joke about racist cops here) says there’s no excuse for criminal acts and Roms needs to be imprisoned, followed by a nice public execution so justice can be served! I’m waiting for him to pull a Dirty Harry or a Frank Castle and just put a bullet between Manuel’s pretty blue eyes before this is over.
The court’s verdict? Manuel is to be remanded to the asylum’s custody pending further investigation. While there, he starts to pen his memoirs until he’s interrupted by Babs (wow, way to go security) who brings a silver knife to a love fight. She falters when Manny declares she can’t kill him because her heart won’t let her, but hopeless romantics tend to underestimate the overpowering lust for revenge. His lady love sheathes her pig sticker into her boyfriend’s pancreas, albeit with tears in her eyes. He falls to the floor, uttering his last words to her as some poetic b.s. about love and death before he says hello to Oblivion (“Hello, Oblivion!”) and fades to black. I’m as wrapped up in the words of wooing (not to be confused with Ric Flair’s words of “WOO!”ing) as the next tragic love story lead, but I’m pretty sure my final line to my girlfriend-turned-executioner would’ve been some variation of “AHHHH! FUCK! YOU FUCKING KILLED ME, YOU CUNT! I HOPE YOU DIE UGLY AND ALONE, YOU SELFISH BITCH!”. I can be a real prick when it comes to girlfriends gutting me though, literally and figuratively.
When the pork people discover him DOA, Lucy sees no need to investigate, likely chalking it up to a Willy Loman (*wink*wink*), but possibly going with the old “self defense” excuse after they put a gun in his hand and a bag of angel dust in his pocket. Like Bruce Hornsby put, that’s just the way it is, some things will never change. Funny how people who clamor for by-the-books justice are always the first to go rogue when said “justice” doesn’t fit their personal definition. I mean, this wasn’t even a case of a crooked judge or a slimy lawyer getting a serial rapist off the hook because the arresting officer wouldn’t let him wash his hands before cuffing them! The criminologist that he himself brought in to help with the investigation says that Romasanta’s insanity plea is legit, so Deputy Dog’s all “Fuck your science! Let’s get this guy dead as soon as possible!” and lets a vengeful citizen do the wet work for him while he covers for her! Justice? More like “just us”… best of luck explaining that one to yourself, because I’m foggier than The Fog on it, myself. Just random words!
The movie wraps with Barbara attending Manuel’s burial in the pouring rain (and wearing all black, so she’s clearly mourning her admissible retaliation), with the aftertext telling us that the real life Romasanta story played out much the same as what we just saw. The few exceptions being that his alleged accomplice Antonio was never found and Manuel was originally given a death sentence until Dr. Phillips petitioned the Queen to convert it to life in prison instead, due to his suffering from Lycanthropy. While he was awaiting a full pardon, though, Romasanta died in prison of “unknown causes”. The admirable dedication to the reality of the tale is no surprise, since script writer Alfredo Conde also wrote the fictional novel, The Uncertain Memoirs of a Galician Wolfman: Romasanta. Oh yeah, Conde’s also a descendant of one of the doctors involved in the original “Werewolf of Allariz” court case that took place in 1853/54 in Galicia, Spain! That’s some seriously cool pedigree to have for your “based on a true story” horror movie.
Before Romasanta, I thought Dagon was the only greatness to wade from the tar pit of bad-to-mediocre known as Fantastic Factory. But now? Holy shit. We’ve got a new #1 contender. As such, Dagon and Romasanta will be battling it out in a steel cage surrounded by jackals inside of a flaming steel cage surrounded by crocodiles for the Fantastic Factory Undisputed Championship Title! Or they can just share the awesome and serve as co-ambassadors for the non-existent campaign to bring the Factory back. Hell, Brian Yuzna’s been up to pretty much nothing since their doors closed, so we know he’s free! Now, where can we dig up a few millions dollars?
Aside from a plot hole here and there, an unanswered question or two, the story is good. I would’ve preferred more of a mystery with the whole thing, but the tale of Manuel and Barbara is a good one. It technically counts as a romance too, so next time your marital relations partner(s) want to watch something romantic, try and slip this into the rotation. It’s like a finger in the ass – you won’t know for sure until you try! However, if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t try it again. You might not get your finger (or DVD) back.
Paco Plaza’s direction is appropriately fantastic, no pun intended. As stated prior, PP (huh huh) makes this under the radar period piece look like something double its budget. There’s a single transformation scene (a flashback as told by Antonio) where we watch wolf Manuel turn back into his human form and it’s an excellent sequence. All practical effects, decidedly slimy “shedding your second skin” moment, cool “paws become hands” stuff, and a simple but effective beginning where the canine’s fur just washes off in chunks in the rain. My compliments to the chef(s)!
As far as the casting goes, I have no complaints about anyone involved, and nothing but praise for Miss Pataky. I was expecting Julian Sands to be the only standout in a cast of people I’d never heard of, but she was so likeable and intense and dramatic and DAMN was she good! To paraphrase Roger in Dawn of the Dead, she got this by the ASS! One of the review blurbs I read after watching referred to it as a “performance making role”, and I’m inclined to throw my thumbs up in agreement. She’s since become a reoccurring character in the last three Fast & Furious movies, so though I’ll never watch them, I’m happy to know that she’s making big fat Hollywood franchise money for her talents. Julian Sands definitely fits the title role because he’s handsome enough to be a ladykiller, but also has a nose that helps you believe this dude’s face elongates into a muzzle from time to time. He still pulls off the seductive thing in his advanced age too, so all the more reason he lives up to the part. His performance is pretty non-assuming for the most, but when it comes time for him to really get into the crazy, he definitely makes it a spectacle! Everyone else earns their paychecks and I had nothing to complain about. A backhanded praise to some, but believe me, a perfectly serviceable cast is a rare thing considering how bad some of the ensembles in prior Factory flicks turned out.
I’m REALLY happy I didn’t wait to do an episode on this one. It’s a slasher movie disguised as a werewolf flick done as a character study. Really well made, well acted, and if it weren’t for the disjointed story moments and sometimes inconsistent pacing, I’d say it was due for a golden feather. As is though, I’ll gladly give it a well-deserved 4 out of 5!
Next time I’ll be getting back on track with the World Tour de Farce. Where will I go and what will I see? The surprise is part of the fun! Until then, be sure to check out the other Adult Onset Lycanthropy reviews that the Celluloid Zeroes have in store for you! Keep those silver bullets warm and always carry some Wolfsbane in your socks, trucker fuckers! Don’t wanna get caught solajwf (shit outta luck and jolly well fucked). Ciao!
3B Theater: Micro-Brewed Reviews – Curse of the Black Widow
Checkpoint Telstar – The Bat People
Cinemasochist Apocalypse – Kibakichi
Las Peliculas de Terror – The Evil Within
Psychoplasmics – An American Werewolf in London
The Terrible Claw Reviews – Sssssss
Web of the Big Damn Spider – Summer School
“Please don’t tell me you’re the Publisher’s Clearing House people! I am NOT TV ready! Can you come back in an hour!?”
Surgeon General’s Warning: NEVER eat an entire box of Gushers Fruit Snacks on your own. There’s just too much fruit juicy flavor for one person.
Oh great, now that my cousin Scratch has had a cameo in a movie we’ll never hear the end of it at Cthulhumas. No surprise though, he always was the “looker” of the pack.
Looks like the local Chinese buffet is stocking up on “beef” for the weekend rush.
“Ladies! Ladies! Please stop fighting! There’s enough Mr. Ed for the both of you!”
“ARGH! DAMN IT, TERESA! I TOLD YOU NOT TO LEAVE YOUR LEGOS LAYING AROUND ON THE FLOOR ANYMORE!”
“…and so, gentlemen of this tribunal, in the case of “Who Smelt It v. Who Dealt It”, I give you your smeller AND dealer!”
“Your neck is so beautiful, so long, so… uggh! What is that, a skin tag?! Gross. You should have that burned off. It looks infected!”
“Why?! Why would you think I’d want to see nude photos of Carrot Top bathing in tapioca pudding?! I have a child here for God’s sake!”
He looks exactly how I feel after I’ve been touching raw chicken skin. Like one of King Kong’s loogies, or the guest of honor at a kaiju bukkake party. Uggh!
Ah, the all too familiar morning after moment of “What did I do last night?!” mixed with “I am NEVER doing Jägerbombs again!”.
“Look, I’m sorry I jumped to the conclusion that you’re only angry because you’re on your period, but… I mean… well… aren’t you on your period?!”
I know that look well. That’s the look my Evil Dead Bride gives me when we’ve had a fight, I make a really dumb joke, and she tries her best to stifle the laugh so she doesn’t lose the “angry upperhand”. She always laughs though… except that one time… I really miss my left testicle.
“With my new invention, the cranium re-sizerator, men and women need never worry about their hats being too small or too large again! Their skull will always be the perfect size!”
Anubis will return next time in
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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: Sandi “Saint Francis” Gardiner , Callard “’Sons of Anarchy‘” Harris , Nick “Albino Farm” Richey
Writer & Director: Jonathan “The Punisher (2004)” Hensleigh
Also Known As: Cannibals
Intro: Hey everybody! This week’s episode is gonna be a rerun, since I had mental-dental surgery and need a lighter workload while I recuperate. The twin that I partially absorbed in the womb has been keeping me up at night grinding his teeth, so I had them removed. Next week’s review will be the whole big “very special episode” whatchamacallit, so until then, just read this!
Oh hey! The Green Inferno FINALLY made it into a theatrical release this weekend! Hooray! For those who aren’t aware, Inferno is the bastard spawn of cannibals (namely Holocaust and Ferox) as birthed from the creative test tube of Eli Roth’s brain.
Seeing as how a review for The Green Inferno is probably a few months off, and since I needed a break to digest all of the fucking Fantastic Factory I crammed into my mental mouth hole at the Spanish bad movie buffet, I figured I’d stick my hand into the rerun cooler and fish out my first can of do-over in over a year. Taking a cue from the week’s new release, I’m revisiting another found-footage romp through undiscovered man-eater country! To that extent, Welcome to the Jungle, won’t you?
Original Review: There are only three reasons that a movie should be titled “Welcome to the Jungle”: (1) It’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Guns ‘N’ Roses (2) It’s a SyFy Original starring Axl Rose and/or Slash (3) It’s a cannibalism movie about people from the “civilized” world going into a jungle and the title was changed because some slime licking studio exec decided the original title of “Cannibals” wasn’t flashy enough to sell the flick. If you’re a sweet child of the ’80s and you’re hoping for doors one or two, well you’re soljwf (dig out your Witchboard and ask George Carlin’s ghost what that means) because we’re giving you what’s behind the curtain. Oh, and look, it’s George Kennedy sodomizing a donkey while chickens peck kernels of corn from his naked ass. ZONK!
In 1961, Michael Rockafeller (“Rockafeller”? I don’t even wanna touch a feller, let alone rock one! *rimshot*) [editor’s note: Rockefeller is actually spelled with an E, not an A. I didn’t want to ruin Anubis’ joke or hurt his feelings, so I left it as written.] went missing in New Guinea while doing some follow-up research on a tribe called the Asmat. A boat that Mikey and his travel partner René Wassing were on was overturned and the two stayed with the boat while their guides swam off to get help. Tired of waiting, Rockefeller decided to swim off himself to get help, but was never heard from again. Wassing was saved the following day, proving that good things come to those who wait… except for Return of the Living Dead 4, because that was just a flaming Hefty bag full of hobo shit.
Son to then Vice-President-to-be Nelson Rockefeller, the search for Michael went on for three years before he was finally declared dead in ’64, though his body was never found. Insert ominous *DUN-DUN-DUN!* here. Well, 40+ years later, in Fiji, college girly Aussie surfer friends Bijou (Veronica Sywak) and Mandi (Sandi Gardiner) get together for a little reunion vacation. Turns out they had one of those “all girls are lesbians at some point in college” relationships, and Mandi’s still carrying a torch in hopes that their reunification will include re-insertion of lady protrusions into each other’s south mouths. Her hopes are dashed before you can say “Lilith Fair” though, when Bij gets introduced to Mand’s boyfriend of two whole weeks, Colby (Callard Harris). Ouch. If you slow the movie down, you can pinpoint the exact moment the poor girl’s heart breaks.
Just so the trip won’t be a total loss of drunken physical stimulation (via the aforementioned insertions), Bij is set up with Colby’s equally American buddy Mikey (Nick Richey). While Colby’s more the “privileged white kid with well-to-do parents” stereotype, Mikey comes from the “pig-headed drunken frat boy” side of the tracks. They’re like the Odd Couple, only I hate them!
The lads heard from a helicopter pilot friend that a 70 year-old white guy who may or may not be the missing Rocker (Marty Jannetty?) was spotted in the nearby jungle of New Guinea. As there’s a standing one-million dollar bounty from the Rockefeller estate for any information as to the lost heir’s whereabouts, the crew decides to go on an amateur jungle hunt (my favorite Atari 2600 game) to investigate the sightings of said geezer. If he turns out to be the legit article, they plan to do an interview with the old man and claim the million bucks so they can buy solid gold sports cars, a lifetime supply of Jack Daniels and all the lesbians Bijou can eat!
A doubly effective joke, since she’s into girls AND we’re watching a cannibal movie! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Say no more!
After engaging in the popular New Guinea “x-treme sport” of evading getting carjacked (tourism tip: never stop for children sitting in the road of a third world country – ALWAYS RUN THEM OVER AND KEEP GOING!), the quartet find the local guide who claimed to the helicopter pilot to have seen Grandpa Rockefeller. As proof, the guide pulls out an old timey Zippo lighter with the letters “MCR” monogrammed on it, which the crew trades a bag of tobacco in exchange for. Bijou thinks that the natives could be smarter than they’re giving them credit for and they may very well just be fucking with the stupid white tourists. Meanwhile, Micheal’s frat boy “tough guy” attitude amps up with every scene and really starts to piss me off right around this time, as he picks a fight with some Indonesian border guards (and gets the shit rightly kicked out of them when he calls one of them “zipperhead”, not thinking they know English). This comes after having earlier started shit with some local dudes who almost took his head off for being a posturing prick. He also shows us that he brought a gun with him, because for a brief moment he thought he’d go all Dirty Harry on those border guards before they bitch slapped him around and made him piss himself. Fucking frat boys.
While out in the jungle, the quarter runs into a missionary couple (in that they’re religious recruiters, and not just enthusiasts of that particular sexual position) for an awkward and seemingly pointless scene. If those two don’t wind up impaled on stakes and castrated later on, I’m going to be very disappointed. Speaking of which, if Mikey and Bijou do get eaten, the natives are gonna get so wasted off their whiskey soaked meat. And if they don’t get eaten after making me hate their stupid pathetic alcoholic shit-for-brains asses, this movie immediately gets 1/2 star no matter what happens for the rest of the flick. Seriously, we’re halfway through the movie and if Colb and Mand don’t just leave these two a-holes out in the middle of fucking nowhere to be eaten alive, I’m seriously considering shutting this shit off. On the plus side though, this movie has given me the great idea that, should I ever decide to kill the two most irritating fuckers I’ve ever met, I’ll invite them out into the middle of an uncharted jungle where local cannibals will dispose of the bodies…
Eventually, after many days of wearing thin on each others nerves, Mister and Missus Drunkerton make a raft and break off on their own down river, stealing the group’s only map, all of the money, and probably they keys to their rental van. Sadly, since they also stole one of the two cameras that have been journalizing the journey, we still have the fuckhead couple shoved in our face for a while longer. Oh well, all the better and more satisfying when they finally run into pissed off natives (unhappy with shitweed Mike’s desecration of one of their sacred burial mounds prior) and suffer violent, torturous deaths. By that point though, my lethal exposure to the toxic twins had long killed any and all redemption that might’ve been brought on by said deaths. They’re like a cancer: even though the chemo might get rid of them, you’re still emotionally and mentally ravaged by the experience. Once they’re gone though, it’s back to Colby and Mandi with the second camera as we follow their whiny search for their brain dead cohorts. On the plus side, the whiny stuff isn’t nearly as long or as insanely infuriating as the drunken posturing and mouthing off.
Will Mandy and Colby find Michael Rockefeller, let alone make it out of the jungle alive? Or, will there be some kind of epilogue tacked onto the end to explain how the “footage” made it back to civilization when they didn’t? And even if they do make it out alive, what other shit will the writers put in there to fill out the rest of the running time? Truth be told, I’m not even 100% sure of what the fuck I saw right before the credits rolled. By that point, all I really cared about was that the credits were finally rolling, so fuck it, it’s an ending and that’s all that matters.
Shot in pseudo-documentary style a la The Blair Witch Project (only in digital, because it’s cheaper and makes more sense), it’s hard to tell whether Welcome to the Jungle is supposed to be an homage to Cannibal Holocaust or just an attempt to make a mainstream cash-in on a flick that most “normal” people have never heard of. Obviously Dimension wasn’t too impressed with it, considering the flick went straight to DVD as part of their “Dimension Extreme” label. In this case, “extreme” meant “not good enough for a theatrical release”. To be fair though, Dimension Extreme also brought us the halfway decent Black Sheep, so they’re not all bollocks and ball socks. Whatever the fuck a “ball sock” is.
Considering the lack of explicit gore, vulgar rape sequences, National Geographic style native junk and disturbingly haunting and almost surreal score, I’m assuming it’s just a standard “buy low, sell high” cash-in effort by writer-director Jon Hensleigh. He’s written a bit of everything genre-wise, from Jumanji to Die Hard With A Vengeance. He also took up both writer and directorial chores for the 2004 version of The Punisher.
There are a couple of moments where the graphic special effects are actually done pretty damn well, but the inane dialogue and my general hatred for half the cast (compared to my “moderately steeped dislike” of the other half) just served as a black hole, sucking in any enjoyment I might’ve taken from the rest of the flick. If Cannibal Holocaust is too much for you to handle, but you’re still interested in the “raw footage” motif of a cannibal hunting movie and you can get past nerve baring characters, you might be up for a viewing of Welcome to the Jungle. As for me, well, I’d say it’s pretty friggin’ obvious how I feel about the whole craptacular debacle. Adieu!
Xtro: Damn! I don’t know if I was just way more bitter 8 years ago (“Bit him too!”), or if I just had a vendetta against any and every “found footage” flick between Blair Witch and [REC], but my original 1 star rating for this one is way off! Having re-viewed it for this rerun re-reviewing, I appreciate it a hell of a lot more now than I did upon my initial criticizing! Well, maybe not a hell of a lot more, but let’s say at least a moderately sized purgatory more. Not that we have to actually say that, because as every woman who’s ever gone down on Ron Jeremy has said, “that’s a mouthful”.
For starters, let me put it out there that I have in no way lightened my stance on Mikey: that stance being me with my size 13 boot firmly planted on his neck, making him denounce Adam Sandler movies if he ever wants the canned piss that is Old Milwaukee to cross his lips again. I know he’s meant to be the brain-splittingly obnoxious frat boy stereotype “TO THE EXTREME!!!1!” (especially given that his death is the most satisfyingly drawn out later on), but I also stand by my original statement that he’s so overly annoying that he’s what I call a “human onion”: even well after he’s gone, we’re still trying to get the rancid aftertaste of him out of our mouths. His specter lingers so long that I forget anything else about the “meal” and spend the next few hours wishing I’d asked the waiter for no Mikey.
Though Bijou isn’t much better, and the duo’s “party every night!” attitude gives me oozing pustules on my soul, this time around I actually find myself relating to her. Not because I’m a cunty drunk, but because I know the crushing disappointment of looking forward to reuniting with someone you still carry a torch for, only to have them douse it right out of the gate by introducing you to their new Kama Sutra co-pilot. It’s not the other person’s fault for moving on, but it doesn’t make it any easier to find out you’re the only one still living in the past. So, whether it’s because they’re both soulless partily-heartily types or Bij just wants a rebound fuck to get over the disappointment and/or resentment of having her hype for the clam buffet busted into a million little pieces (or she’s just trying to make Mandi “jealous”), she and Mikey actually hit it off and it makes sense. Depressing, annoying, understandable sense.
Oh yeah, speaking of the boozers, here’s one of the biggest hemorrhoids this movie planted in my crack: How much fucking alcohol did they weigh their packs down with to fuel such a party bus to Drunken Regrets Town?! By Jupiter! B & M (huh huh, “BM”) get shitfaced EVERY NIGHT, and they’re wandering out there for something like a week or more! You’re four people going into the fucking jungle for an extended period of time, yet you waste precious food & water space for rum!? Unless those two are the world’s lightest lightweights and have been getting blitzed on a couple of shots a day, up yours movie! Fuckin’ “Blart of the Day” award winner.
Whether you side with Couple A as people with a goal who want to get things done, or Couple B as people who want to make it party time all the time because life’s too short to be a fuddy-duddy, you’re more than likely going to end up taking a side while watching them pick at each other and come close to blows several times. Did you agree with Bij & Mike when they gave Mand & Colb the double “single digit salute” and ran off with the party’s map and valuables? Or, did you get a little more joy than you thought you would when the rebel pairing start turning on each other because they’re both self-centered knobs (who can’t get along without getting their faces idiomatically shitted first) and deserve the pain and horror they’re in store for? Even if your investment is simply, “I can’t wait to watch (insert names here) DIE!”, it’s still an investment!
I also made notice of something else that helps flesh out the four a bit more in character terms upon this viewing. There’s a short “five questions” segment the group records prior to their expedition, where each answers a handful of queries like “Do you believe in god?” and “What’s your relationship with your parents?”. A quick and dirty way to add a little more depth to them without shoehorning the same shit into forced “this was clearly scripted” conversations later or leaving it out entirely.
Even without a lot of cannibal screen time, the movie still pulls from its action hat (also today’s sponsor: Action Hat!™) to keep tension engaged via conflicts between our Wonder Bread quartet and foreign antagonists in the shape of angry locals, would-be hijackers, and border guards who don’t take kindly to racial slurs shouted by an entitled honkey frat boy whom we can all enjoy knowing will never grow up to be a frat man, constantly telling his wife and kids about how lucky every other guy around him is that he doesn’t “beat their asses”. If only we could’ve watched him raped to death by CHUDs.
And there we have it: Welcome to the Jungle is a lot better than I remembered it. It’s typical found-footage failures (like “Why would you keep filming this when you should be running for your life?!” moments) and movie logic flops (Why would they bring so much alcohol!?) work against it, but it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel of festering fish paste that I tossed it into with my original opinionation. Not a big fan of the “surprise” ending where a fat old guy we’re supposed to suspect is the lost feller rocker wanders in front of the video camera, nor of the little detail the movie left out about how this found-footage was supposed to have been found, but that still doesn’t make it a horrid waste of 90 minutes. Overall, it’s a Log™ flick – it’s better than bad, it’s good! But not great.
Before I go, I’d like to say that my newly discovered non-hate for Welcome in no way absolves Jon Hensleigh for his fucking “the blond guy from Deep Blue Sea vs. Vinnie Barbarino” Punisher movie. An elaborate scheme involving parking tickets and diamond earrings just to make a mobster kill his own wife out of suspicion?! Having him slowly pulled behind a car to his inevitable death amidst a exploding parking lot?! Fuck you. Frank Castle would’ve just shot the whole family in their collective faces and burned their mansion down to get any of the survivors. In an otherwise overwhelmingly “okay” movie, those segments brought it down to Dyson Ball Vacuum levels. It didn’t just suck, it sucked so hard that if it were to engage in fellatio, it would implode its partner’s testicles, creating a scrotal black hole! In a more Punisher-centric comparable scenario, that movie sucks so hard that I’m convinced it took detailed notes on how to suck by watching Angela make love to the 2nd Amendment in that Night of the Demons 3 scene! In case your bad movie education didn’t include the NotD trilogy, let me bring you up to speed:
Anyway, tune in this Sunday for that “very special episode” I mentioned! Mark your calenders! Set an alert on your myfacespacebook page! As for me, I’m gonna order my Green Inferno tickets and listen to this inappropriately upbeat song. Keep it sleazy, kiddos!
“As this photo shows, Rockefeller was also apparently the proto-hipster from which all other hipsters devolved!”
When not being used for their intended function of providing milk for a nursing infant, the breasts of the human female have evolved to also serve as pillows! Evolution in action.
That’s either a decorative desk lamp or the world’s second largest martini.
The term is actually “caught behind the 8 ball”, but whatever. Oddly enough, this comes in right around the 13 minute mark…
Looks like we got another cracker who thinks his white privilege includes casual usage of the n-word!
“More of the you fucking white people and your reality shows?! By the nine tribes! How about you leave me alone until you bring The Price Is Right Live! tour with you!”
“Did you guys pull the short stick for your missionary group too? Oh well. At least if we die out here we’ll finally find out if all this Jesus stuff was worth it, right? Haha… ha….. ha.”
I’m all for leaving up the holiday decorations a few weeks past due, but somebody needs to tell these Asmat guys that Halloween was over six months ago!
Look, a big empty bonehead… and he’s holding a skull! *rimshot*
When bulimics go too far, things can get very messy.
“Hey! Get out of that river, you damn kids! That’s our drinking water!”
“Fiiiiiigarooooo! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Fiiiiiigaaaaarooooooo!”
“Don’t tase me bro! I’m unarmed!”
“Where the hell did the random old white guy come from?!”
“Oh, don’t mind him. That’s just our neighbor, Mr. Warner. He’s got dementia and wanders around the neighborhood sometimes. He won’t bother us. Let’s get back to our blood ritual!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Werewolves. Mayhem. Soap.”
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: Michael “’Doctors‘” McKell , Raquel “Dagon” Meroño , Charlotte “’The Tudors‘” Salt
Director: Brian “Bride of Re-Animator” Yuzna
Writers: Mike “Asmodexia” Hostench & Ángel Sala
Also Known As: Evil Lake ; Lake of the Dead
Summertime and the livin’s easy. The days of fun in the sun are over and for me that means a glorious return to weather where I don’t have to worry about my taint turning into the Okefenokee. Labor Day is here, and before we give the season its official “go fuck yourself”, be sure to share an ice cold bottle of the Coke product of your choice with the ones you love.
Two down and two to go: today’s episode is the third installment of our “Fantastic Four” reviews thing (semi-)event. After two less-than-stellar flicks in Faust and The Nun, can Beneath Still Waters pick us up, dust us off, and give us at least some regret that Yuzna’s short-lived production company is no more? Or, will the final film of their line further push the possibility that the Fantastic Factory’s failure was a mercy killing? Bailiff, bring in the jury and let’s get deliberatin’!
Not to be confused with the 2000 Harrison Ford & Michelle Pfeiffer supernatural murder mystery What Lies Beneath, our subject shares its name with the novel upon which it’s based. I know nothing about said novel though, as I’m illiterate (let that sink in for a moment or three), so at no point will I be citing comparisons between the two or critiquing the faithfulness of said adaptation. As you may expect though, I will be critiquing the crap out of the movie itself. With that said…
There’s a disturbing “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” practice across the world in which growing populations will damn up rivers in valleys to create artificial aquatic bodies that provide said populaces with necessary water to continue their social expansions. Though not disturbing in and of itself (unless mankind mutilating entire ecosystems for their own convenience makes you queasy), sometimes this process involves the sacrifice of entire villages that made the mistake of setting themselves up in prime territory. Yep, the people are relocated, whatever they can’t carry is left behind, and the buildings are swallowed up, all because the bigger town needed to flush more toilets. “If it yellow, leave it mellow”? Up yours. That’s gross. Click >>HERE (http://weburbanist.com/2014/03/10/drowned-towns-10-underwater-ghost-cities-buildings/)<< to find out more!
Our movie centers around one such human sized aquarium. In 1964, the small Spanish town of Marienbad was sunken for the sake of its neighboring village of Desbaria. After an opening credits sequence that resembles first person drunk-o-vision dizzily staring at a mural WAY too closely (as a fog machine occasionally barfs out smoke nearby), we’re introduced to two boys from The Des’ – Teo (Santiago Pasaglia) and Luis (Omar Muñoz). Twenty years too early to get into video games and deprived of the outlet to show random strangers their genitalia via Snapchat, the lads (whose accents sound more French than Spanish) decide to play Goonies and explore the abandoned buildings early on in the process, before the place goes under. And maybe fit in a little window breaking vandalism fun while they’re at it. Inside one of the structures they find walls covered with ritualistic symbols and writings, along with demonic statues and a painting of a creepy looking old dude. In the basement, they also find a small group of people chained up around a flaming inverted pentagram altar in the floor. It’s basically Satan’s barbecue pit.
As the incarcerated beg for their release, a well-dressed figure with a black bag over his head calmly instructs the boys to ignore the others and come set him free instead. Obediently, Teo comes over and cuts the man’s hands free, despite the desperate pleas of his compadre Luis. Taking off his hood, the guy (Patrick Gordon) is revealed to be the menacing geezer from the painting. If Phantasm‘s Tall Man and The Final Sacrifice‘s Satoris both ejaculated into a cloning machine set to “British”, this guy would be what comes out. Hell, he dresses like he goes to the same tailor too! As a reward for being a good junior human and doing what he’s told, Unsweetened T gets his head torn open at the mouth like a meat Pez dispenser, while his horrified buddy beats feet right the fuck outta town. Literally.
Two score years (and some time lapse) later, the damn dam’s anniversary is on the horizon and shit’s about to get freaky. Desbaria native Clara Borgia (Charlotte Salt) has a weird daydream/vision about her grandpa Roberto (Antonio Portillo) emerging from the lake and warning her of a shadowy, sharp dressed man in a luxury car lurking nearby. But I thought every girl was crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man? Has everything we’ve learned from ZZ Top been a lie?! Are their sunglasses truly cheap?! Does the eponymous “she” even know how to use her legs!? I don’t know what to believe anymore!
When Gramps’ face melts away and his screaming skull falls off, Clar wakes up horrified on the beach of the body of water in question, but is affirmed by her friend Susana (Pilar Soto) that everything’s groovy. They have a brief conversation about death (Clar thinks death is just a straight up ending, while Suze is more the afterlife type) before opting to forget their cares with a swim! With Susana’s bikini in place, I approve this plan. Their friend Antonio (Damia Plensa) pops up for a fake scare and to show us his uncanny ability to apparently breathe underwater (seriously, how long was he under there?!), while I get flashbacks of Zombie Lake what with all these sub-aquatic camera angles of young women in their bathing suit attire. It’s not as bad here because it doesn’t go on for ten aimless minutes, but it’s also not as good because the ladies aren’t flashing exploitative levels of gratuitous boobs & bush. Yes, I know there are 8 trillion hours of free pornography I can access on the internet with 2 minutes and a free hand, but extraneous titillation of the lady flesh variety gives me pleasant memories of my high school days. Make like a KitKat and gimme a break, Debbie Downer.
Antonio’s antics antagonize the ladies at first, but Clar gives in and agrees to go with the d-bag for a ride on his jet ski. Not a euphemism, mind you, as his hydro-craft is parked nearby. He also strikes me as the type of dudebro who wouldn’t know what the fuck a “euphemism” is to begin with. When Suze is seized by seemingly sentient seaweed, her BFF saves her butt and brings her to shore. The aggressive algae leaves behind some bruising (both emotional and physical), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a few puffs from Susana’s emergency cigarette, which she lights up immediately after. At least she doesn’t end up like Tony Toni Toné, who gets maimed by something else from the murky depths. The goober spills blood like an Exxon tanker before being dragged to his apparent deceasement. Good riddance to the movie’s big rubber dick.
Elsewhere, British (maybe?) investigative reporter Dan Quarry (Michael McKell) has come to town to do some diving and try to rake a bit of muck on the real reason that Marienbad was turned into a reservoir. I’d like to think that his name was originally intended to be Dan Query, given his occupation, but Matt Costello (the book’s author) chose to change it when he realized it would’ve been a bit too on-the-nose. Probably not, but oh well. Anway, while parusing the dam, our hero-to-be wanders into the personal space of local news reporter Teresa (Raquel Meroño), who also happens to be Clara’s madre. Ter’s shooting b-roll footage for their coverage of the preparations for the dam’s 40th anni cele. Sorry, trying a bit of the shorthand like the kids these days are so into. I feel I should cut my fingertips off now in penance.
The inevitable love interests introduce themselves while Dan preps for his first dive into the down below, until Ter gets a call from Clar about the Antonio emergency. She takes her camera crew with her in case there’s a story to be had, and Dan suits up so he can get to work. The movie’s underwater scenes are actually pretty well shot for a small budget affair, and earn the movie a fair bump in quality. Kudos to Yuzna and his crew for pulling them off. So far not bad for BSW!
While exploring, Dan finds the evil house of the evil people, including the evil painting of the evil old man, which is in evilly good shape for having been submerged in evil water for four evil decades. But, when he tries to delve into the building’s basement, a sinister swathe of seaweed gets tangled in his respirator! Clearing the intrusive plantlife from his breather, he sallies forth, completely missing the part where an entire human arm falls to the lake floor and brushes his shoulder in passing! Since the guy’s not getting the hint, the lake stops being subtle and flat out attacks Diver Dan with a black cloud of (poorly) computer generated goo. He was like a fresh faced barely legal letting a pervy old squid jizz on his face for heroin money. Sounds like the basis for some pornographic Snork fanfic. Nasty.
Back at the beach, a police rescue team searches for Tony’s leftovers while Teresa consoles her daughter in the wake of the tragedy. Their bonding time is cut short when mom opts to put career over family and bum rush Desbaria’s mayor Luca (Richard Borràs) for a statement. Luca took over the office after Teresa’s father passed away. He takes all of his political advice from Jaws‘s Mayor Vaughn, as every line out of his mouth is about covering up or excusing any and all incidents related to the lake’s devious deeds so as not to disrupt the big dam-iversary shindig. As he says, right before faux comforting Tony’s parents in a photo op, “The show must go on!”.
If he lives to the end credits, it will be both a miracle and a shame.
Dan surfaces amidst the combing, relieving us that he wasn’t taken by the inky digital cloud. The town’s hard-ass Police Captain, Keller (Carlos Castañón), wastes no time trying to arrest our protagonist as a suspect in Tony’s drowning. Teresa steps forward as his alibi, telling Keller that she was with Dan when Clara called her about the incident, so there’s no way he could’ve been involved. Being a spiteful fucker who was hoping to wrap this case up with little-to-no effort by imprisoning an outsider, Keller confiscates Danny’s video camera, only offering to return it once Mr. Quarry can provide proof of his diving permits. I’d make a joke here about what would’ve happened had Dan been black or Latino and Keller had been an American cop, but you can only make that joke so many times before it’s just too depressing to say anymore. I’m leaving those up to Larry Willmore. Now I’m going to have to go watch an “MST3K” episode just to get the figurative flavor of misery out of my mental taste buds. Blah.
[Two house later] Ah, that’s better! Nothing puts you in the spirit to ignore reality and piss on movies like Pumaman! Back to business! 😀
At the dam, the caretaker slash professional “George Eastman in Anthropophagus” lookalike Julio (Josep Maria Pou) has discovered a sizable crack in the structure that requires immediate attention. When he calls his supervisor though, a ghostly (and silly) voice on the phone claiming to be his dead wife Rosa convinces him to keep his trap shut, as he’s likely to lose his job and his pension if his drunken neglect is blamed for allowing such damage to get as bad as it is. I’m sad that there wasn’t a scene of Julio trying to patch the leak with bubblegum a la Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation, but you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need. When our intrepid truth seekers stop by for a visit and a look around, Julio chats with Dan about the suspiciously sped up circumstances revolving around the town’s burial. Teresa gets defensive about their conspiracy speak, since her father was the one in charge of the whole thing. As he shows them everything but the huge crack (Niki Minaj butt joke goes here), a moderate tremor shakes the place up. Ter says they’re on top of a fault line, so this is normal and happens every few years. Me? I’m hoping for Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward to show up to fight Graboids for the rest of the movie. As per always, my hopes will be inevitably dashed upon the jagged rocks of reality.
The following morning, Clara has another vision about her melty faced grandpa. This time he approaches her in her kitchen, pushing some manner of grimoire on her and saying a Latin phrase that translates to “That which created you hold the seeds to your destruction” before she snaps out of it. An allusion to how the villain will be defeated in the final act, or a warning that her mother will be her own downfall? Maybe both? You could jump to the end of the review and find out, but I’d stick around. There are some pretty poor attempts at humor in the remaining paragraphs you won’t want to miss!
A short scene at Grandpa Roberto’s grave shows us that the malevolant man from the opening is already in the picture (no word on how, though), as he monologues his intentions to take everything Borgia created – his town, his people, his family, his social security checks, his speed boat, his vintage collection of “Black Tail” magazines…you get the idea. Back at the scene of Antonio’s death, Suze posits the “What do you think happens to you when you die?” query to Clar again, only to get the same “Nothing. You just don’t exist.” reply. Deeply disturbed by her friend’s atheistic answer, the blonde throws a fit, accuses Clar of not caring, then leaves. An upset Clara then confronts her mom for not being around that morning, accuses her of not caring, then leaves to go to her babysitting job. So she’s a babysitter, eh? That means she’ll either prove to be the movie’s true heroine, or end up running away from the villain. Or, she could WWLSD (What Would Laurie Strode Do) it and manage both!
Meanwhile, back at the
ranch dam, Jules (who presumably lives in the massive structure since he’s seemingly never left) fishes his breakfast bottle of hooch from the keepin-it-cold lake water, only to be accosted by some hideous, loincloth clad monstrosity! Revisiting my earlier cloning machine comparison, this thing would be the subhumanoid offspring of a 3-way mating dance between Castle Freak, a C.H.U.D., and the alpha ghoul from [REC]. Coming out of the water, it makes the bathtub hag from The Shining look like Charlize Theron in Reindeer Games or Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That sentence is making my penis all kinds of confused right now! Gah!
The beast refers to Julio by name, and he calls her Rosa, so I’m presuming this is a manifestation of the aforementioned dead wife, likely as the self-esteem robbing, soul crushing, emasculating bitch she was portrayed as during their prior “Twilight Zone – Night Call” telephone exchange. I’m hoping it’s not what his wife actually looked like when she died, though that would explain why Julio became a rancid alcoholic. Whatever the case, the cretinous creation corners Julio then drags him to his watery grave. Meh, it was quicker and less painful than the liver failure he was likely headed towards in the near future, so I consider it a mercy killing.
At the lake proper, Dan helps a pair of police divers search the hoary depths for Antonio’s remains. They find the evil house and are attacked by the same sinister squid squeezings that waylayed Daniel previously. Driven back to the surface, they bring with them the oddly decomposed severed head of Julio! The portlier of the pair catches a glimpse of some golden light effect across the water’s surface and it compels him to dive right back in, only to have his dismembered (and similarly oddly decomposed) bits and pieces float back to the surface shortly after. After all the pieces have been collected, the forensics officer on scene postulates that the mutilation could’ve been an animal attack or a bad date with the boat’s propeller. The latter being the most believable of the two (especially since an animal in the lake would just scare people away), the Mayor says that’s the story they’ll go with, and they’ll wait until after the celebration to file the report. Are we sure it’s the poor man’s Angus Scrimm that’s the villain of this flick!?
The pissed off Police Captain (now sporting a nasty looking and unexplained foreshadow wound across his right jaw!) blames Dan for this too, and threatens to throw him jail if he sees him in town again. Dan waves it off, saying he won’t be coming back once he gets his camera back. Being a massive prick, Keller returns said equipment, but proceeds to throw the recovered film into the lake as a big “FUCK YOU!”. Rather than letting Dan skip town like he intends, Teresa appeals to his investigative side and gets him to stay on the story (and on her, I’m sure) by following a possible lead: Luis, the boy who survived the opening scene, lives just outside of town and may be worth a look-up.
Elsewhere, Clara’s on the clock looking after a brother and sister pair – David (Alejandro de Nova) and Samantha (Gara Muñoz). Of course, the brat I share my human name with has to be a whiny little fit-throwing skidmark who hates popcorn. As if it weren’t already hard enough sharing my name with dick sneezes like David Duke and David Lee Roth. Also, my sole sibling’s name is Samantha, making this all the weirder for me. Naturally, snot bag David sneaks off to the lake while Clar’s nose deep in a book, but she realizes he’s gone just in time to save him from “playing” with a vision of the Rosa monster and presumably drowning himself. Why it couldn’t just pull him under like it did with Julio isn’t explained, but whatever. Also, the lake’s gotten oddly foggy in the two minutes since Dan and Ter were standing next to it…
On their drive to interview Luis (in adult form portrayed by Manuel Manquina), Dan describes the feeling of being in the black cloud as “the total absence of life”. He goes on to compare it to the same feeling he had when his young son fell through some ice and drowned. He attempted to save the kid, but gave in to instinct and went up for air, despite knowing that you have 30 seconds before your body starts to shut down under such conditions. So not only did Dan lose his sole heir, but he blames himself for not saving him when his logical mind knew he could have. Since Dan’s an experienced diver, his failure and subsequent loss is made all the more tragic. He also casually drops that his marriage ended shortly thereafter, subtly giving Teresa the go ahead to get jiggy with his banger and mash, should the urge take her. *wink*wink*
Upset over the near death-by-negligence of David, Clar calls mom for moral support. Ter agrees to meet her shortly. But when Dan offers to hold off on checking out Luis so she can go to her daughter’s side immediately, mom opts to widen the rift with her offspring in favor of sticking with her new beau-to-be. She none-too-subtley drops her own hints of intention, telling Dan that she regrets that she could never give Clara a “proper family”, and that her own mother’s death left her feeling alone and scared. Cue the first kiss as the two make out in front of Luis’s Fred Sanford lookin’ junk pile hoard of a front yard. Luis introduces himself by interrupting their tongue wrestling to spout Crazy Ralph style portents of the dam bursting and flushing the whole town to Hell. If I had a dollar for every time I was cockblocked by a crazy guy spouting veiled threats at me, I’d have a dollar. Shit you not, it happened to me once while I was making out with a lady friend on the subway platform. A drunk old white guy shouted something racist about how god would bury us in a landfill for our mixed-breed mouth play. It was too fucking weird to even get angry about. We just thanked him for the warning and went back to it. In my head, his story ended when he was pushed in front of the D train by Black Dynamite.
Luis confirms that Grandpa Borgia and his associates were indeed responsible for flooding Marienbad, and they did indeed use less0than-legal methods in both purchasing the land out from under the township and in pushing the project through as fast as possible. However, it wasn’t just a real estate scam, as Dan surmises. Borgia knew that there was evil going on in the town. Evil that he had spent his life fighting, and evil that Luis posits he’s still fighting “from beyond the grave” (i.e., via the visions that Clara’s been having). This includes her latest, in which Grandpa, on his deathbed, tells her “When I die, he’ll come for you. Clara, don’t submit. You have the power to resist”, before she’s started back into consciousness by the sight of Tall Man Light (Great taste, less killing!)
Luis further fills in the backstory, telling Dan and Teresa about one Mordecai Salas. Bingo, our antagonist has a name-o. Mord was in cahoots with a disciple of noted English occultist Aleister Crowley, who was NOT a Satanist as most people think, but the founder of Thelema. Thelema is a philosophy very much like actual modern Satanism which has nothing to do with Christianity, but simply revolves around the Brad Goodman “Be like the boy/Do as you feel” credo; and promotes aligning yourself with your personal “True Will” through the practice of sorcery. Anyway, Salas learned dark magic from this unnamed disciple until said lackey mysteriously croaked it during one of the rituals. After that, Mordy came back to Marienbad with the grimoire from Clara’s hallucinations, upon whose pages he wrote his spells in blood. No word on if the book was also bound in human flesh, but I would imagine so, as it was the style at the time.
Through his newfound who-doo magicks, the creep summoned an insidious campfire powered by the Devil’s own farts that gave he and his followers great power and prosperity. Much like Dagon would teach us a few years previously, unholy prosperity comes with unholy punishment: drought, infection, deformed babies and the corrupting black sludge spread across the town. Citizens dropped out of church to instead relish in the sadistic sex parties and gore-soaked blood orgies of Mordecai’s fruity little club. Cannibalism, torture, child murder…they had it all! Then, of course, Borgia and his buddies party-pooped all over it. They chained the cultists up in the basement of their sin shack and buried Salas’ Encyclopedia Satanica within the sanctified grounds of the town church to weaken him so he couldn’t escape the oncoming flood.
Back to the rest of our cast. Susana confronts Clara for a third time about Antonio, asking her: “What do you do when you never got the chance to say ‘I love you’?”. Clara yet again replies with something less than comforting, which (yet again) incites Suze to denounce her as cold and callous, before kissing her on the cheek and giving her one of those “I’m going to kill myself now” goodbyes. More irritated than concerned, Clar says nothing and goes back to babysitting. That night, when the kids’ mom returns home, David’s disappeared again while Clara was sleeping. I don’t see her getting a good reference out of this job! Mrs. Martin goes off to look for him in a panic, ending up getting romanced Evil Dead style on the forest floor by some persistent fauna consisting of a Cronenbergian flesh pod (that sprays her in the face with an aerosol Rohypnol) and some eye-peelingly poor computer generated seaweed vines that cocoon around her. Meanwhile, David pops up at home, asking Clara what happened. Maybe before running off into the forest, someone should’ve checked to see if the kid was just on the crapper?!
Nearby, Susana’s having a one-woman pity party on the beach, getting drunk and screaming “ANTONIO!” while throwing beers into the lake in case the dead guy gets thirsty. In a fit of inebriated post-tragedy horniness, she takes off her clothes (revealing surgically mutilated fake breasts) so they can have “one last swim together”. As she’s getting in, demonic one-armed zombie Antonio (looking impressively horrific) rises from the depths! Unlike Julio, who tried to escape his mutant wife monster, Suze doesn’t have a single fuck to spare and just lays down spread eagle in the sand, ready for some of that sweet rotten corpse dick (barnacled for her pleasure!). Instead, she gets a mouthful of her neck torn out, which seems like the scenario most people would prefer when considering what she wanted to happen. Such is the power of love and cheap beer, I suppose.
When Dan and Teresa write Luis off as a nutcase, he takes her hostage with a metal cross/shortsword to her throat and demands Dan drive them to the dam. Just as they’re about to make their escape from the loony toon, Mordecai appears in the middle of the road while Dan does the stupid thing and STOPS! When you’re in a horror movie and something appears from nowhere directly in the path of your car, you RUN IT OVER and keep on driving! I don’t endorse doing that in real life though, so don’t try to pin your vehicular manslaughter charges on me. I’m looking at YOU, Chad. Anyway, the trio’s confrontation with dime store Lurch doesn’t go well for Luis, as the baddie uses his Satanic Force powers to pull the poor man through a car window, forces him to slit his own Achilles tendons, lifts him into the air, spins him around playfully, then bends both his arms backwards at the elbows like a bad guy in a Steven Seagal movie and explodes his torso! Devil Man adds insult to injury by dropping what’s left of Luis to the ground and doing that weird jaw rip he gave Teo. Not unlike the maiming a disguised MechaGodzilla gave to Godzilla cronie/homie Anguirus in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. As a final gross-out insult, Mord also rips Luis’ tongue out with and eats it! By Ra’s balls, it’s one of the most brutal death scenes I’ve seen in a good long while! I have to add an extra 2/3 of a rating point just for that.
Gambling his fortunes needlessly, Mord chooses to let Dan and Teresa go, making fun of them for Dan’s dead son and Teresa’s shitty parenting rather than turning them inside out. He pulls the Bond villain move of declaring his intentions to take Clara as his own, then walks back to his car and leaves. Proving the ghoul’s point, Teresa hesistates going to protect Clara as she’s more concerned with Dan’s well being and wants to go with him. He tells her he’s got a plan and sends her to go find her daughter, which she begrudgingly concedes to. As for the rest of town, while the crack in the dam embiggens, the revelers at the dam-iversary are elevating from “drunken merrymaking” to full-on “seven deadly sins”. The bacchanal sees people writhe nekkidly together whilst whipping each other, a woman squishes her tits into the celebratory cake (that looks like someone picked up for $5 at the sketchy old grocery store in the poor section of town), a priest gets ready to fuck (or be fucked by) a black goat, a chicken squawks frighteningly at what’s likely going to happen to it, and so forth. What of those not socializing with Satan? They’re turning into violent, laughing maniacs who are mutilating themselves and killing each other, which is one of my favorite scenarios! It reminds me of the phenomenally unsettling PlayStation 3 game Siren: Blood Curse. If you don’t know what this is, I prescribe the following video and wish you best of luck with the resultant night terrors it’s likely to give you.
The possessed Police Captain herds Clara and the kids toward the waiting Mordecai in one of those fun “people running with flashlights” chase scenes (It’s the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie!), while Teresa is at the Martin house acquiring a gun from some fat cop she finds sawing off his own limbs. Mord threatens to show Clar and the children just what comes after death for realsies if she doesn’t submit to him and become his Bride of Boogedy. Not wanting to die herself, she goes with the gaunt gentleman as he walks her across the lake’s surface toward their unholy honeymoon, offering her immortality and a world of lust and violence once the dam breaks and Marienbad rises from its tomb. Ter shows up just in time to beg Mord to take her instead, then tells Clar to move while she tries to get a clear shot on the bad guy. Like any teen, Clara defies her mother and chooses to go through with the “marriage” to the creepy old creep instead. Reason number 452 as to why I’ll never reproduce.
Down below them, Dan’s plan is to do another night dive into the remains of Marienbad, search the church for Mord’s tome and return it to the eternal infernal flame from whence it came. As soon as he removes it from its resting place, the evil trapped below is freed. A weird dimensional bubble forms around the evil basement apartment/ritual room that not only gives life to the deformed corpses still chained there, but also creates a breathable dry area in which Dan can go about his deed without need of his breathing mask. Though I’d probably keep it on were it me, as I can’t imagine desiccated mutant re-animates would smell too good after soaking in filthy lake water for 40 years. Dan’s dead son comes from nowhere (obviously an illusion) and pleads with dear old dad not to toss the book into the fire. Realizing that this is all bullshit, Dan spurns the mop-headed turd and makes Fredric Wertham proud by tossing the evil book into the evil fire. This, of course, makes Salas vulnerable, which is the perfect time for Teresa to show off her crack shot skills, putting a slug right between his eyes. She actually fires of several rounds, only one of which hits him. Clara is miraculously unscathed. Mord could teach Darth Anakin a few things about shouting “NOOOOOO!”, as the lake smokes around him and he sinks into the dark water to his end.
Clara goes down with him, but Dan gets to redeem himself for his failure to save his son as he grabs his future stepdaughter on his ascent and saves her. She’s laid out on the beach and manages to barf up a bunch of ingested water, bringing herself back to consciousness. Good thing too, since NOBODY attempted to give her CPR! Teresa gets my vote for Shittiest Mom of the Year. Back at the anniversary celebration, everyone passes out, only to wake up feeling strange and with massive hangovers. They’re left wondering why everyone’s naked, covered in food, blood, and welts, and who impregnated all of the livestock. I’d be curious to see what kind of Village of the Damned type follow up this party would have led to, if only we’d been given a sequel.
Just when you think everything’s wrapped up in a nice little package, it turns out nobody paid the Thai masseuse for a happy ending! David lowers his head, flashes a “you’re fucked now” look like Damian, mutters “I hate them.”, then his eyes light up with fire and the dam explodes anyway! It’s not entirely out of left field though, as upon my second viewing I noticed that Mordecai and Dave have a brief moment while the ne’er-do-well is dying where their eyes lock. Weird that he’d choose to inhabit the body of a kid, though that could just be because kids don’t have strong enough wills to resist him. Then again, being a whiny, selfish little dickhead, you’d think his will might be a little too strong. Whatever. I appreciate endings where the villain triumphs, but this came off a little too deus ex machina for my taste buds.
Of the Fantastic Factory flicks I’ve featured so far, Beneath Still Waters is the top of the group. I love the concept of a drowned ghost town full of closet skeletons and evil cultists. Though if I’m being honest, were I Grandpa Borgia, I think I would’ve burned the joint down in a “mysterious fire”, as opposed to going through the drawn out process of submerging it. This would’ve killed the novelty of the story though, so fuck me. I also enjoy the knock off Tall Man, especially given that we haven’t had nearly enough of the genuine article for years, so a stand-in can be appreciated. It’s not unlike cheating on a spouse during the decade they’ve been in outer space. We horror fans have needs that require addressing and Mordecai Salas does that for me. That being said, I do have a nitpick or two to put forward on the man. For starters, where the Hel was the guy for the last 40 years?! Also, if he had the Midichlorian/Midi-chlorian count to be able to slaughter Luis the way he did, why wouldn’t he just wreck everybody the same way?! I get that he kept Teresa alive so she could watch him corrupt Clara all for his petty vendetta to fill the Borgia family tree with gypsy moths and termites, but why bother leaving Dan intact? You’d think Mordy would’ve been smart enough to consider that the solitary person capable of stopping him would be the only skilled diver left in the entire fucking township!
Patrick Gordon’s voice is exceedingly British. It sounds exactly like the Michael Caine-ish actor playing Homer in the video Mr. Burns uses to convince Bart that his family no longer loves him in the “Burns’ Heir” episode of “The Simpsons”. I keep waiting for him to say “I mean, what the hell am I doing here?!”. Gordon and McKell (whose IMDB bio says was a “prolific singer and songwriter in the ‘80s)’s line readings were the only ones I really cared for, because just like every other FF movie, half the cast is dubbed and the other half speak poor English through heavy inflections. I’d rather they made the movies in Spanish and subtitled the dam things (see what I did there?) instead. After these last few weeks, I’d be happy to never have to listen to another Spanish person speaking English again. No diggity. I’ve overkilled my ear canals with the aural labor of listening to these bad line readers and even worse dubbings. By the time this gimmick’s run its course, not even Satanico Pandemonium herself will be able to charm my trouser snake with that accent. On the plus side though, we always get at least one amazing overdramatic reading that you can’t help but laugh at every time. Today’s line comes courtesy of Clara, and is posted at the top of the review. Hilarious.
The music tends to not be great in these flicks either. Most of the soundtrack here is not too awful, while some of it’s just uncut bricks of terrible and wholly out of place. It sounds like it was lifted from a ’90s Full Moon horror-comedy, with too much “farty trombone” for a seriously toned tale such as this. You know what wasn’t a letdown though? The practical makeup effects! The CG stuff will sear your corneas off if you stare directly at it for too long, but the monster makeup is REALLY good! Many thanks to Pedro de Diego (also worked on Beyond Re-Animator and The Machinist), Pedro Rodriguez, and David Ambit (also worked on all four [REC] movies!), who all received top billing in the end credits! And rightfully so! The severed heads weren’t the greatest, but by the many tantacles of Nyarlathotep, the Rosa monster, zombie Antonio, decayed zombie cultists, and maimed Luis designs are something to drool over! The general gore was well done too, so A+ to these gents.
On a completely pointless note, I’d like to bring it to your attention that one of the writers’ names is Hostench. Whatever the proper pronunciation, I read it as “ho stench”. Uggh. I just threw up in my mouth. Wait, maybe his name’s pronounced something like “Raymond Luxury Yacht” or “Throat Warbler Man Grove”. Those wouldn’t be so bad. Unlike this joke, which is no doubt dying for everyone reading it, aside from the two or three who get the Monty Python reference. Oh well. And now for something completely different.
Incidentally, whilst doing the basest of base research on Fantastic Factory’s origin nation, I discovered that Spain’s motto is “Further Beyond”. If Brian Yuzna (or someone who has his ear) should happen to be reading this, “Further Beyond” is an amazing name for a From Beyond sequel. Take the hint!
Before I go, here’s my pair of pennies on the passing of horror icon Wes Craven. The guy gave us The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. For these I thank him. Hell, I’ll even give him a postmortem high five for Shocker. Unfortunately, he also threw shit like Hills Have Eyes Part II, New Nightmare, Vampire in Brooklyn, and all four fucking Scream movies into our faces. Don’t start me on the fucking door that Scream opened, allowing scads of Hollywood shit show teeny-bopper slasher garbage to ruin the ’90s. I blame Craven for all of those. Of his 40-year career, he spent the last 30 burying the successes of the first 10 with a legacy of mediocrity.
If you read any of The ToA’s original site, my frustration with Craven is well documented. Okay, was well documented before I let it all disappear into the digital ether and La Quinta Hotels bought my domain name out from under me. I’d like to think that the man’s unfortunate passing after a painful feud with brain cancer (that I may or may not have wished upon him back in college, I honestly don’t remember) will bring an end to every horror movie critic publicly sucking his cock, but I’m sure it won’t. Hell, that fucking “Scream” TV show will continue assaulting the proverbial expired equine, so Craven’s influence will continue to be a barb wire chastity cage on me for years to come. Blart.
So, my condolences to his friends and family. But, as far as I’m concerned (which doesn’t matter outside of the context of this website), it’s not really a “loss”. Probably not a popular opinion, but if I cared about people liking me, I would’ve ended this site two months after starting it!
And so, with the sound of a dozen or so “unlikes” now echoing through the internets, I take my leave. Tune in next time (or don’t) when this Fantastic Four reviews thing is also put to rest. Until then, have a drink on me, shoot to thrill, give the dog a bone, shake a leg, and let me put my love into you. Hasta luego, folladoras!
Call me crazy, but I feel his menace is undercut a bit by his bow tie.
“Holy cow! Is that the Ark of the Covenant they’re opening over there?!”
“Yep. That’s definitely the Ark of the Covenant…”
Give her a Mohawk and a big viking beard and that’s the exact same face I give old Italian women when they try to pass religious pamphlets to me at the thrift store on Sundays.
“I don’t know, Zadok. Maybe catching nothing but human-mutant fish babies for the last few days is a good sign we need to start fishing a different lake.”
Looks like somebody accidentally put Smilex in her coffee this morning!
“Suicide hotline? Yes, it’s me again. Huh? What do you mean ‘just kill yourself already’?!”
“Who wants to give grandma some sugar!?”
“Captain! The other officers are making fun of my diving suit! Make them stop!”
Yikes! Shit like that is why you’re only supposed to use disposable razors ONCE!
“Dear diary, you’ll never guess who I ran into at the Stop ‘N Gulp today – Diane from pottery class!”
Mold can creep up on you when you least expect it! Keep your bathroom safe with Mold Away™!
“I came back from the dead for you, baby, because I love y… wait… you’ve got fake tits?! Fuck. I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
I know it’s easy to get “too into the mood”, but trust me folks: always use a condom! Because even if you think they look clean, you can never know for sure.
“I called dibs on the last brownie, you bastard! Give it back! GIVE IT BACK!”
“You guys gotta have some of these ribs before I eat ’em all! There’s plates and napkins over there. Beers are in the fridge. Help yourself!”
Parents, this is the face of a kid who gets a PlayStation 4 box full of socks and underwear for Christmas. It’s not funny, and if you want to live to see New Year’s, I would definitely recommend against doing so. Fair warning.
Anubis will return next time in
“Where Monsters Dwell”
Featuring: Temeura “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” Morrison , Nicola “The Man Who Lost His Head” Kawana , Kate “No One Can Hear You” Elliott
Director: Danny “Rage” Mulheron
Writers: Brad “RoboCop: Prime Directives” Abraham , Joseph “RoboCop: Prime Directives” O’Brien , Briar Grace “The Strength of Water” Smith
Origin: New Zealand
Today’s stop on the World Tour de Farce 2015 has the 3rd largest percentage of vehicular deaths in the world! 20% of their deaths are due to tobacco smoking, and this is actually DOWN by 1/3 from what it was in the ’90s! Their sheep population outnumbers their human population 7-to-1! If human and sheep DNA were compatible, they’d be a nation of Satyr-like hybrid creatures who could knit their own sweaters in the winter! Oh yeah, and for all you big nerd-os, they also have this thing:
Tolkienites, start your whacking, because that’s the Green Dragon Inn. Yes, you can travel to New Zealand and live out all of your Tolkien-based role play fantasies in this replica of Middle Earth’s most famous motor(less) lodge. All the furry footjobs, hobbit holing, androgynous elf orgies, and dwarf sex (with ACTUAL dwarves!) you could ever ask for. While you’re there, surprise your lady with a Stinger! It’s basically just a Shocker, but you paint your hand Day-Glo blue first, call her “Shelob”, and hum while you’re doing it.
So, yes. We’re in New Zealand. Kiwi country. The island nation’s only major contribution to my life has been Peter Jackson, who helped make my high school years a little more tolerable through his brilliantly bat guano creations Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead/Dead Alive. Speaking of those delightfully gore-soaked off-the-wall horror-comedies, today’s feature is in the same vein *wink*wink*.
Before we begin though, it’ll help to have a crash course on the Maori. Actually, we don’t even need a crash course, as a simple summary will do: they’re the NZ equivalent of the US’s Native Americans. They were there first, Europeans came and took over, they were persecuted and poisoned and had their land pillaged, and they’re now treated as second class citizens. I’ll never understand racism, but then I also have a fully functional set of chromosomes and just enough self-esteem and sense of responsibility that I don’t blame my problems and mistakes on others. I am forever denied the bliss of ignorance. Oh well.
Our story begins at the St. Agnes Boarding School for Young Maori Ladies. Like any school that caters strictly to those of the feminine persuasion in the sinema, St. Aggy’s is a lesbo factory, helping to keep the local population down by turning otherwise normal teenage girls into stark raving homosexuals bent on smoking jazz cigarettes and scissoring each other until their vile acts of heathenish self-indulgence summon forth the Morning Star, who will plunge the world into Armageddonous HELL ON EARTH!
Or, here’s a novel idea, it could just be that lesbians are most likely to embrace and explore their genetic disposition for loving the company of other ladies in a place where the hetero pressures of the outside world to be “normal” are minimized to be almost entirely nonexistent, and the likelihood of meeting others like themselves is increased a few hundred fold. It’s not a choice. But being a shit-ass who ruins other peoples’ lives with fear and hatred is. Now go practice not being a scumbag, otherwise I’ll turn your brain A Clockwork Orange and give you the “Full Alex” in front of an endless loop of clips from “Mister Rogers” and “Sesame Street”.
Rather than do a typical rundown of the drama to be had, I’ll be avoiding excessive spoilers by introducing you to the characters themselves first, then getting into whatever nitty and/or gritty and/or titty that remains after. Savvy? Spiffy.
Rina Crane (Hanna Tevita) – our beautiful, barely legal heroine. The opening credits give both her attitude and effort ratings of “Excellent”! She’s a sarcastic little smart-ass artist type student at St. Agnes. She also draws her own comic book characters, making her a Maori Darlene Conner and I’m a little in love with her because of it. Rina’s favorite color is pink (less like Barbie’s convertible and more like the inside of a rare steak); her favorite foods are clam, feline, carpet, and box; despite having never played a woodwind instrument she excels at fingering; and her favorite activity on the swim team is the muff dive. I’d say it’s something of a spoiler by being blunt and telling you she’s a lesbian, but LITERALLY within the first 90 seconds of the movie she’s having nekkid shower time with another girl! I’m talking bare ass and boobs faster than you can say “They have lesbians in New Zealand?”. It’s nothing exploitative either. It’s all soft touches and smiles and gentle lathering while a pleasant track of something you’d hear in Bikini Bottom plays in the background. It’s almost too adorable to masturbate to!
Rina hasn’t come out to her family and friends back home yet. For now she just drops subtle hints, like when dad asks her if she’s been keeping clear of the all-boys schools, she replies with “I’m not even interested in boys… I’m too busy!”. Ah, the words every father used to want to hear their daughter say… back in the ’40s. Speaking of dear old dad…
Hemi Crane (Temuera “Jango Fett!” Morrison) – crazy-looking (but well dressed) father to Rina. His field of study (in which the best he’s managed is an Associates Degree) is the history and traditions of their Maori ancestors and the attempt to keep them alive in the wake of the pale skins’ crushing gentrification of this, their native land. Hemi’s successfully authored 5 papers and 3 books on the subject!… all of which were self-published… and all of which were total boondoggles, selling less copies than those weird niche books you see at Dollar Fandango about the Economics of Crossfit and housewife-on-a-budget stuff where a guardian angel falls in love with the woman he’s assigned to watch over. Hem’s in a constant state of denial, but his pride won’t let him accept these failures, of which those around him are sure to point out. His obsession over their ancestors’ “savage” ways has progressed to the point of re-establishing the long dead Maori cult of the Solomonites, named for the last “pure” Maori – Tommy Solomon. Pretty sure the cult is a product of this movie only, and are named as such for the way you can almost make it sound like “sodomites”. Not unlike the quote that opens this review!
Margaret Crane (Nicola Kawana) – mother to Rina. She’s a celebrity chef with a successful TV show! Like her betrothed she’s also a published author. Unlike her betrothed she’s successful, with 15 cookbooks and an autobiography under her belt. I wouldn’t mind a trip under her belt myself *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*. Hubba hubba! Hem’s more than a little jealous of Marge’s success, and attempts to use her cooking show as a way to promote his failed writing ventures. Also, she may or may not have had a well-publicized affair with her publisher. Margie gets the unenviable task of telling Rina about the little dietary lifestyle change the family has undertaken in her academic absence as a result of their conversion to Solomanism – they’re cannibals now!
Glenn Crane (Kahn West, not to be confused with the Kanye of similar monicker) – brother to Rina. He’s still in high school, where he spends a lot of time playing cricket and… that’s about all there is to him, really. Glenn spends most of the movie in his yellow vest and pleated white pants, which has gotta be the wimpiest sports uniform you’ll ever see. He does get some of the better lines in the script though, so good for him.
Shaun Armstrong (Will Robertson) – childhood friend to Rina. Shaun’s the token white male friend who likes to say he’s “Maori at heart” and goes to excessive lengths to immerse himself in the natives’ ways in an effort to dismiss his genetic pallor and identify more with Rina’s ethnic background. He’s the Middle Earth version of a whigger. Shaun’s been holding a crush on Rina since puberty and has convinced himself that her return to the hometown will finally be the moment of their storied journey where she realizes she’s in love with him too and they live happily ever after. Awww, I remember what it was like being that naive. Medical books call it Ducky Syndrome. The years of self-delusion via wishful thinking almost make up for the crippling heartbreak when you realize that they’ll never be able to view you romantically, and that torch you spent half your life carrying finally catches your shirt sleeve on fire and turns your arm into a mangled mess of beef jerky. Though I can identify with the guy, even I would push him out of a second story window if given half the chance.
Ritchie Tan (Leand Macadaan) – life changing catalyst to Rina. Ritchie’s a big ol’ Pacific Islander lookin’ dude (everyone thinks he and his brother have “Made in China” stamped on their asses) who’s been sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder, kidnapping, and selling fruit without a license. See, I was going to make some kind of funny little comment in there about a whimsical crime he might have committed, just because it was the perfect place to slip in a finger, errrr, joke. Then that “selling fruit without a license” thing popped up and sandbagged me. Such is the problem when reviewing a horror-comedy: competing with the movie’s built-in jokes! It’s easier with common denominator garbage like A Haunted House, cuz that crap biscuit couldn’t make me laugh if it filled my pants with Cool Whip and cracked me in the funny bone with a clown hammer.
Before Mr. Tan can start his stretch in the iron bars hotel (or whatever the Klink’s called down there… and I don’t mean Colonel), his bumbling cohorts in criminal activities dynamite the delivery van tasked with hauling his ample ass to Kiwi Alcatraz. Said suicide squad consists of dipshit demolition man Johnny (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt… what the fuck is a “Shadbolt”?), Ritchie’s uzi-slinging shortfuse spazoid junior sibling Paulie (Ralph Hilaga), and ‘Chie’s shotgun happy femme-fatale girlfriend Gigi (Kate Elliot) who, as a former army cunt, has more balls in her left pocket than the 3 boys she runs with carry combined. They’re packing raisins in a hanky, and she’s wielding billiards in Lord Humungus’s studded leather jock. Fuck with her not ‘lest you’ve grown weary of respiration.
Now that we’ve met The Fresh Meat Players, on with our show!
The gang’s little pre-jailbreak hits a snafu when their getaway car breaks down, leading them to seek shelter in the Crane family’s open garage before they can be spotted by a search helicopter. And just like that, we’ve got a hostage situation…just moments after Rina has discovered a human hand marinating in the fridge…which Mum and Da do not try to pass off as a very realistic jell-o mold, the way you’d expect them to in a comedy. On the Sticky Situations Scale, this rates a “naked sorority girls wearing caramel bikinis wrestling in a bed of cotton candy, then reverse gangbanging the cycloptic tar monsters from that episode of ‘Scooby-Doo Where Are You?‘”.
Who’s gonna come out of this mess alive? Will ANYONE come out of it alive? With a house full of cannibals and killers, which side do you root for!?
Fresh Meat is an oddball of a movie to take in. It’s like a New Zealand comedy rendition of 1996’s Real Killers, without the “oh so ’90s” Dia de los Muertos harlequin skull face makeup jobs and with a lot more wacky cannibalism hijinks. If this movie had had a few dozen scenes of characters dissecting American pop culture, you could also mistake it for a Tarantino movie. Hell, the soundtrack’s even littered with beach party music and the epilogue is a big “we love horror movies too!” homage ending scene that you’re not sure you should enjoy for being just random and referential enough that it works, or give a wet razz to for jamming it’s tongue straight through your cheek and out the other side.
Jango Fett is the real stand out of the movie, as he chews scenery with almost as much aplomb as his character does human flesh. The rest do their thing with talent and competency, but I’m way too lazy right now to call out every individual performance. Sorry, folks. I’m sure you won’t need much therapy to resolve getting passed over by some unimportant Yankee in his review of your movie that will get 10 reads at best. The other few hundred page views will just be perverts who found this by Googling “Scooby-Doo reverse gangbang”, much to the disappointment of their psychologically abused libidos.
Whatever your feelings on the movie as a whole, it’s more than a little weird to watch as a left-leaning American Death God. If Fresh Meat were made in the US, the Cranes would be Native Americans and things would probably be shut down by the PC police before principal shooting started. I’d probably side with the Native Americans on this one too. I mean, Hemi’s got a line where he makes sure to point out, “We’re not Maori cannibals, we’re just cannibals who happen to be Maori!”, but even if, it still feels like kicking someone after years of already holding them down and taking everything they own, then excusing it by saying “I’m not doing this to you because you’re an Indian, you just happen to be an Indian I’m doing this to!”. Or maybe my heart’s just bleeding today and I should “get over it”. Speaking of which, kudos to Parker and Stone for their Redskins episode of “South Park”. Thank you.
Politics and liberal guilt aside, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about the movie itself. It may be a tad long in the runtime, but without ruining things for would-be viewers, I can’t really say much else. So, instead, I thought I’d ramble on for a few more paragraphs due to a lack of anything better to do. As such, let’s start with some fun firearm and human biology facts taught to us by today’s educational feature, Fresh Meat:
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
What’s a battle?
Did that boy just say “What’s a battle?”?
No. He said “What’s that rattle?”. It’s about the heating duct.
Hmm, it sounded like “battle”.
I’ve had a cold, so–
Oh so you would hear ‘r’s as ‘b’s?
And that ladies and germs, is why “Simpsons” exchanges aren’t nearly as funny when textualized.
Ending on a bit of random info, in case you ever land on a pink square while playing Trivial Pursuit: NZ Edition, director Danny Mulheron (who’d probably enjoy my labeling him as “Kiwi Tarantino”) was the man inside of Heidi the Hippo (take that as you will [she sure did! Wakka wakka!]) in Peter Jackson’s iconic muppet massacre of pre-mainstream depravity, Meet the Feebles! Not really much of a surprise that he’d worked for Jackson at some point, as everybody in New Zealand has at one time or another by now. Even more interesting is Mulheron’s turn as Blighty Tater in the 1989 TV series “Worzel Gummidge Down Under” which, to be honest (something my Evil Dead Bride would assure doesn’t happen often), I would have no fucking clue what a Worzel Gummidge even was if it weren’t for watching scads of OSW Review (>>>Splicey Splicey<<<) reruns. Whovians take note, though, because the titular straw golem of the series was played by none other than John Pertwee, AKA the Third Doctor, AKA the voice of Spottyman in one of my childhood favorite cartoonies – “SuperTed”! Holy shit, I gotta go see if there’s any “SuperTed” on YouTube after this…
Oh, and on a FINAL final note, before I leave this land of beauty and wonder to travel to my next stop in the Grand Prix of global movie mocking, whatever happened to Old Zealand?…
On a FINAL finally final final note: For anyone not privy to the inspiration for my alternate title on this episode, I yield the floor to Mr. Frederick Krueger circa his lauded line reading from The Bard’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Take it away, Pizza Face!
“Deputy Head Girl” sounds like a position better suited for a co-ed school… Also, her parents wanted the doctor to put “Aloha” as her middle name on the birth certificate, but he was Chinese. Ouch.
Was the all girls school he sent her to a Stewardess School by chance? Look at that uniform!
“Didn’t you used to sell bootleg DVDs outside of the downtown Dunkin’ Donuts? You got the new Adam Sandler movie?!”
Paulie finally hits his breaking point with people trying to sell him used panties, assuming he’s Japanese.
Am I too late to make a Gigli joke? Really? “At least 7 years”? Shit. Well… I got nothin’. Move along!
“Though I admire you for your bravery in sharing your story with the world, do you think it was wise to go with your bikini photo as the front cover graphic!?”
She looks like a 5 year-old girl dressed a Barbie doll with mismatched outfits, then gave her a shotgun from an older brother’s GI Joe figures. The judges would’ve also accepted “Detroit hooker”.
“No, they didn’t let me keep the Jango Fett costume after we wrapped Star Wars. Can we please keep the interview to questions about my new movie?!”
“You ever just hang your ass over the side and try to shit on somebody’s car? I’d be doing that, like, EVERY day if I were you!”
Uggh, you NEVER wanna be on your knees in front of a fat guy wearing sweatpants. I’ve seen it from both (don’t judge!) sides and just holding your breath isn’t gonna make what’s behind those waistband ties any easier to swallow… LITERALLY!
Maori bling just isn’t “blingy” enough. Now the Aztecs, they were light years ahead of the rest of the uncivilized world when it came to personal accessories!
Don’t get excited folks, that’s just milk. In my weekly support group, we call that a “Mookakke”.
“I don’t care if a bald man wearing a shower cap is like putting gas into a broken down car! Can we go back to the Jango Fett questions now?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Scum Yuppies Must Die!”