Featuring: Kelli Jensen ; Nathaniel Ketcham ; Chris “Surviving the Rush” Peters
Director: Tommy “They Must Eat” Brunswick
Writer: Todd “The Remake” Brunswick
Sequel: Jingles the Clown
In the greatest piece of fast food news since they brought back cheesy tots, for Valentine’s Day Israeli Burger Kings offered “adult” meals that came with free sex toys, upgrading from happy meals to happy ending meals!… yes, I know that’s McDonald’s, but suspend your disbelief for the sake of the joke, okay? Though I don’t expect this to be a thing at BKs in our neck of the planet anytime soon (despite the rapist-in-chief being in office), it wouldn’t surprise me if Carl’s Jr. took their dirt-bag exploitation business model in a similar direction by offering a free bottle of their famous Budweiser cheese-flavored lube and a mini-fleshlight/pocket vibrator with every purchase of a Double Bacon 3-Way Burger value meal.
Get it? “3-Way Burger”? Cuz it’s sex. Get it? Yeah. Softcore commercials of Hustler rejects jamming garbage-even-by-fast-food-standards burgers in their mouths while stuffing bacon cheese fries up their o-rings (and that ‘o’ doesn’t stand for “onion”). Of course, that last part is always cut from the ads, as they’re only meant for Andy “Jerks off in the special sauce” Puzder’s private collection.
With that out of the way, it’s time to put on your rainbow wig, refill your squirting flower and lace-up your over-sized novelty footwear!
Before we delve too deeply into today’s quicksand cinema, I’m sad to report that The Tomb’s beloved feline elder, Merlin “Don’t call me Murray” Cow, has written the final page of his life story. Living to the ripe old age of 16, he was too good and pure (and stupid) for this world, and will take his place in the pet pantheon of the great beyond. However, as Mrs. Forrester once historically proclaimed, the only balm that truly soothes an aching blood pump is a skin-peelingly bad movie! If that’s true, then boy howdy is Mr. Jingles just the hypodermic full of morphine I need right now.
Today’s Zodiacal feature is probably the no-est no-budget backyard bad movie I’ve seen since Addicted to Murder or pretty much any movie released by Brimstone Productions in the ’90s. Don’t feel bad if your crap movie education doesn’t include a course in Brimstone, because not only are they obscure as fuck (and for good reason), but you’re better off not losing anymore hours of your life than you’re already losing reading these reviews. Maybe I’ll break out my old VHS tapes and write an e-book.
Back to the Jingling (which is what the sequel should’ve been called), the length is a merciful 74 minutes, 7 of which could’ve been further shaved from the opening and closing credits. You know what’s not a great way to start your movie? Almost 4 minutes of big orange names fading in and out of a black background while some slow, generic rock song plays over it. No doubt performed by the director’s cousin’s Stryper cover band, probably recorded the morning after they were yet again eliminated in the first round of another “Battle of the Bands” competition at The Chug & Piss & Chug Again Pub.
When we find our way to the other side of this debilitating limbo of an intro, it feels like we walked into the theater a few minutes late. A twenty-something actress (Kelli Jensen, whose only other IMDB credit is an episode of ‘Nash Bridges’) trying to convince the audience that she’s a 12 year old girl (by putting her hair in pigtails and wearing little girl pajamas) named Angie Randall hides in her bedroom closet while a murderous maniac in clown makeup named Mr. Jingles (Dr. Rudolph Hatfield, because he didn’t go to evil clown medical school to not be addressed by his honorific) kills her parents with a pair of hatchets. Dad (David Cunningham) has already been dealt with by the time we walk in on the situation and, if Mr. J’s taunting of Angie minutes later is to be believed, the greasepainted spiller of gore put a fatal hatchet wound in daddy’s ass! Icky. Jingles is NOT to be believed, however, as when Pops pops back up later in a last breath effort to protect his daughter, the seat of his acid wash jeans remains fully intact and without so much as a Chipotle stain, let alone the promised superfluous additional ass crack.
So, not only is our eponymous antagonist a murderer, but worse he’s also a liar. Well that’s just great. Given such a poor role model it’s no wonder the youth today are such a mess what with their underwear on the outside and their “emorgies” (emoji orgies) and the Twix-ing. Just thinking about it makes my lumbago act up! Somebody get me my Dr. Johnny Walker’s Patented Magical Miracle Tonic!
Though we missed Mr. Randall’s initial injuring, we do show up just in time to see his wife (Karen Turner) get her own innards eviscerated! Well, not really. Technically her sweater gets sliced open and we watch as the pile of butcher shop pig guts she was storing in there for some reason spill out onto the floor.
(Weird. I always thought the large intestines were attached to things. Human biology be damned!)
While hidden deeper in the closet than the dad on ‘The Brady Bunch’, Angie soaks her unmentionables like they were one of those diapers they pour the blue liquid into in the commercials. I’m guessing she had a lot of asparagus that day too, as Mr. J can smell it from across the room, declaring her a bad girl for pissing her panties. Now I just wish I were watching the original Last House on the Left, because as much as watching Krug and friends torment the girls makes my soul want to vomit all over the entirety of existence, at least I wouldn’t be watching Mr. Jingles. Existential dilemma…
(Strange how neither her pajama bottoms nor underwear absorbed that. Maybe they were made of that water repellent fabric that only looks like cotton.)
As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted by myself, the now cornered Angie opts for flight over fight and makes a break for freedom, easily slipping by her pursuer only to trip over mom’s corpse. Her resultant screaming alerts a pair of plain clothes detectives sitting outside in their car (stakeouting because, as we find out, Jinglypuff has been busy on this particular street as of late), which I find odd since J’s louder shouting as he taunted Angie throughout the house wasn’t enough to catch their attention. The cries of distress prompt the pair to spring into action (good thing Coily the Spring Sprite wasn’t there to fuck things up) and fire a few new breathing holes into Jingles with their prop guns that don’t have muzzle flash when fired, and whose shots were just blatantly made with dollar store pop guns. Angie is saved, preceded by the odd random sound of sleigh bells as circus boy attempts to tell her something that will no doubt result in a major pseudo twist/reveal before the finale. Whoopee. And I don’t mean cushions.
Lucky Number Sleven years later (or “seven” if you just want to sandbag my terrible joke), Angie’s lack of pigtails and shapeless bedtime attire denote that she’s all grown up now. And just in time to be discharged from the mental health facility (which is clearly just someone’s living room) she’s been kept in since the death of her parents.
She’s released to the care of her Aunt Helen (Nicole Majdali) with whom she moves in, along with our heroine’s clear lack of significant possessions. Also living with her are her cousins Heidi (Jessica Hall) and Dylan (Nathaniel Ketcham). Heidi’s your typical unremarkable “business casual” girl who is in her early-twenties, while Dylan is your stereotypical Hot Topic high schooler (despite looking to be hovering around 25) and looks like he’d be better suited to play Renton in a musical version of Trainspotting. At least he wears a Goblin shirt for the entirety of his screen time, so that’s one thing not to be disgusted by. It turns out that he’s also enamored with the Mr. Jingles legend and keeps a binder of his collection of newspaper clippings (I’m assuming, since they never show what’s in the damn binder!). He leaves it out in the open too, where Angie immediately discovers it not even five minutes after moving in. Intentional or idiotic? You decide!
Dyl Pickle’s girlfriend and fellow mall goth emo stoner punkish is Melanie (Heather Doba), who decks herself out as a wanna-be member of The Craft. She’s so dark and brooding that when we first meet her she’s smoking weed and giggling profusely about being “The Pretzel Queen”. With the help of their doobie buddies, Chris (Doug Kolbicz) and Curtis (Brian Zoner… which can’t be his real name), the couple plan to ruin Angie’s big welcome home birthday party later by attempting a convoluted Mr. Jingles themed knock-off of the already convoluted sequence from Halloween where Myers, for no other reason than adding some extra theatrical zing to his murder spree, dug up and dragged a quarter-ton headstone around with him… I hate that movie sometimes.
When the quartet head to the local boneyard to dig up Jingles’ tombstone, they find Mel’s dad Bill (Chris Peters – one of the only actors in the cast with a picture in their IMDB profile), who we’ll remember as one of the cops who saved pigtails Angie in the opening. Along with him is Bill’s then-partner-turned-mayor Baines (Tom Reeser) and the cemetery caretaker (Michael Pilson), who called them upon the discovery of a dead body on his God’s acre. The corpse in question is a nameless stranger (John Anton – another actor with an IMDB head shot!) who was dispatched earlier while drunkenly yelling at his mom or dad’s grave, bitching at them for leaving him nothing but unpaid bills and “an alcoholic gene”. His immediate massacre was heralded by a familiar sound byte of sleigh bells before his hand was hatcheted off, screaming all the while like a proverbial girl. The caretaker, who I’ll call “Carl” for the rest of the review, shouts rampant angry accusations at Baines, blaming him for inciting the initial Mr. Jingles murders and also for the new mass killings to come on this, the Sleventh anniversary of the madman’s violent ventilation. But wasn’t he turned into Swiss cheese in a rainbow wig? If he’s dead, how could he possibly be responsible for this nameless dead extra? Surely you, dear reader, underestimate the power of half-assed screenwriting!
After chewing out Baines, Carl takes Bill back to his creepy little apartment for a friendly plot drop over a cup of General Foods International Coffee. According to his story, Jingles was wrongfully accused (starring Leslie Nielsen and Kelly LeBrock!) fifteen years ago when, on her birthday, a freshly four Angie was almost abducted by a bad bad man in their neighborhood. Children’s party clown Mr. Jingles actually saved Angie from the bastard, but her family and neighbors thought her hero was actually her kidnapper and proceeded to beat the Samaritan within that inch of life people always like to refer to. How can you measure someone’s life, either by length of time or quality of physical being, using inches? Shouldn’t you say that he was “near-fatally beaten” and leave it at that? Meh. Pardon my semantics. Not to be confused with my mutant ticks that killed all those seamen.
(Semantics. Seamen ticks. Laugh.)
Though the real Freddy
Keurig Krueger copycat was later captured in the act of trying to nab another brat, Jingles was still jailed for his non-crime to cover up the fact that his gang assault was one big illegal beatdown that would’ve landed everyone involved behind bars themselves. During his time in the big house, Jing-a-ling took up the popular horror movie hobby of occult studies between sessions of being beaten and raped by the guards and his fellow inmates. After 3 years he managed to escape, leaving his little black magic handbook behind in his cell, allowing Carl (who worked at the facility at the time) to snag it for his personal collection. Over the next 4 years (at least if the movie’s muddled timeline is to be believed) Jingles exacted his revenge on the guilty families before finally being stopped that fateful night by Bill and his stupid prop pop gun. But, if Carl’s to be believed, our dollar store Pennywise, with his dying breath, uttered some manner of incantation that made his body a flophouse for residents from the lake of fire. For whatever reason (movie magic is often oddly [i.e. conveniently] loose with the details), said Satanic slumlord of his own biological apartment complex has now returned, Slevin years after his seeming demise and coincidentally coinciding with Angie’s release from the loony bin. Following his long period of unemployment he’s ready to get back to work, confusing his victims with his out-of-season sleigh bells before shoving hatchets into their faces.
Despite being the protagonista of the production, Angie’s part of the movie is the least entertaining, hence why I’ve made a zilch level effort in talking about it till now. It’s just girl talk garbage scenes of Angie, Heidi and Heidi’s friends planning the “Welcome Back to Normalcy and Happy 19th Birthday!” festivities. Oh, and Aunt Helen gets called out of town for important business reasons we’re supposed to ignore. Why? Without her around, the girls can invite boys over against their legal guardian’s instructions! Scandal!
At one point, Heidi just stands in front of the bathroom mirror eye fucking her own amateur porn chesticles for several minutes while letting the shower run (thus WASTING HOT WATER!) as Angie drifts off to sleep in the adjoining room and has a nightmare about Mr. J. Once we get past the detours, our destination leads to the “party”, where the girls and a handful of “band guys” they’re all squishy over sit around smoking weed and trying to get Angie (at her behest) a piece of Rusty (Jacob Baily), the townie Frank Booth – in that he’ll fuck anything that moves. With a name like “Rusty”, and given his infamous promiscuity, I’d bet anything that his circulatory system is swimming with more STDs than Kid Rock’s nut chum. When he walks out on Angie during foreplay (10 minutes of tongue wrestling is about 8 minutes too much) because she has the ill-timed hallucination of her stalker’s face that every PTSD female has in any horror or thriller movie, you have to figure she’s better off not spending the last few moments of her life being invade by Rusty’s penile plagues.
Back to that whole prank thing the potheads were putting together, Dyldo and Mel go back home to pretend sex and leave it up to the C-Boyz to acquire Jingles’ headstone. The fuckoes fail their task when you-know-who literally materializes from nowhere in his new demonic form (i.e. under a rubber mask and wearing demon dentures) and wrecks them both, smacking one in the face with the other’s dick… well, a dildo that we’re supposed to believe is a dick, except that it’s fully erect and has the little “for heightened realism” rubber ballsack front portion still attached…
The murderer's marker in question is hilariously fake too, as it's set aside from the rest of the cemetery stones and much smaller and cleaner than the others despite having been there under little-to-no tree coverage for the last Slevin years. Although Jingles' real name is never mentioned (he's solely referred to by his stage moniker), his stone lists his name as “David Hess”, which explains his perving predilection for Angie's soiled drawers. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't murderers' bodies cremated after they die? I mean, sure, Friday the 13th Part V could have been lying to me about that (which it clearly was, given Jason’s non-cremated body returning in Part VI), but even if Jingles’ body was left for worm food instead, wouldn’t it have been in an unmarked grave to prevent vandalism and/or body snatching? Uggh, this review is going on longer than this movie deserves and making my brain burn way more calories than it should be.
Back at Carl’s place, after spending 10 minutes of runtime convincing Bill that they need to defeat Jingles with an enchanted ceremonial blade (that was probably purchased for $19.99 on one of those 3am knife-o-mercials), the clown shows up at Carl’s door without any explanation of how he knew where to find him and jams his fist through the torso of the only enjoyable member of the entire cast, making the middle finger he flips the camera all the more painfully pertinent.
(Take that people who paid money to watch this camcorder crap pile!)
Our painted predator then proceeds to beat Bill down with the dull sides of his hatchets…thus solidifying that the former law enforcer is now guaranteed to show up again during the finale, bruised but brave, to make the save because Jingleberries forgot how his baby axes work. Maybe he should get a pair of “this side toward victim” stickers for future reference.
From here on out, it’s just a matter of upping the bodycount as much as possible before the curtain call. Mel dresses like Mr. J to scare the uppity party guests devoid of feces, only to be predictably taken out by the real thing, stabbed in the back with the dildo that’s supposed to be her dead friend’s still very erect dismembered member. This leads to Heidi and her boyfriend going into the backyard to investigate, only to be killed themselves. The rest of the group (Dylan included) are all killed off as well, leaving Angie alone to experience Jing Jong-un’s Happy Birthday to Me inspired “corpses positioned sitting around a table” set piece. The two seem poised for their final confrontation, but instead we cut to Mayor Baines and a pair of patrol piggies busting onto the scene, discovering Angie alone among the dead (great name for my next Sex Golem album) and wielding a familiar pair of hatchets. Twist ending that doesn’t make any sense because it was impossible for Angie to be in two places at the same as much as she would have to have been to be the movie’s surprise killer? Nice try, Todd, but nobody’s stupid enough to fall for it. Especially not the guy who sussed the plot twist of The Village just ten minutes into the movie!
Immediately dropping its false finish, as Angie is being led away for the suspected slaughter of her peers and dickhead Baines postulates she’ll spend the rest of her life in the dangerous criminals wing of the mental ward, Bill (toldja so) appears from the darkness and cold cocks the attending female officer (Hitchcocked by directress Tommy Brunswick). He makes off with Angie so the pair can seek to end the menace of The Jingler in the sequel while said unholy roller gives himself two last victims in Baines and the male officer. They made a sequel to this bowel obstruction?! Yep. When your first movie is made for the cost of a rented camcorder, a boom mic, some blank VHS tapes, and enough Red Vines and Mountain Dew to keep your cast happy, you just knew the Brunswicks would be back to make a follow-up as soon as their income taxes cleared!
Oh, and about that big reveal of the thing Jingles tried to tell pigtails Angie before he was shot? Well, according to the nightmare she has before things go to shit, he said “I’ll see you later”…yep, that’s it. A meta joke about the trite cliches of mass produced movie scripts, or just another lead zeppelin attempt at unironically engaging in said cliches? I’ll leave you to figure that out for yourself, as I now need to grab a nap thanks to the narcolepsy that watching Mr. Jingles has struck me with.
…Or, as the imp in the red pajamas keeps telling me as it pokes my ribs with its pitchfork, I need to finish this review. In the name of Dan Kester’s stained man girdle, sometimes I really regret signing my name to that ominous looking scroll in my own blood. Uggh.
Maybe it’s the chronic depression talking, but this movie wasn’t even “so bad it’s funny” fare. It was just pathetic. Bland. Boring. Incapable of eliciting any emotional response from its audience beyond a lot of yawns and watch checking. Funny must have had an order of protection placed against Jingles’ jokes, because there wasn’t a chuckle to be had from any of them. Even Killjoy had a better gag writer than Mr. J, and I harbor a non-racially motivated HATRED for Killjoy!
Mr. Jingles is so stagnantly written and acted and just made that it’s not even worth doing a proper breakdown of. How it found any kind of distribution, even with one of those generically made “look at the evil painting of the monster on the cover!” DVD covers that were so big in the early 2000s, is less stupefying and more sad. Sad that some shithead at Lions Gate agreed to put it out, and I hope whomever it was that signed the contract in question has since exiled themselves to a tiny underground cell to live out whatever remains of their shameful existence, wallowing in their own filth.
There are no actors in this movie. It was not written by someone who deserves to call himself a writer, nor directed by someone who deserves to pretend she’s a director. This is not a movie. What we have here are just…lies. Fucking lies.
It’s probably gonna take me Slevin years to forget this friggin’ dick wrinkle excuse for a feature even exists, and that’s provided I never fall so far down the stairway of my own self worth that I opt to review its sequel first. But then, such is the suffering of the cinemasochist. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m already dead…
Too dramatic? I should’ve been an actor. Speaking of, there is one worthwhile piece of this movie I can get behind besides Dylan’s Goblin t-shirt – Michael Pilson. Mike is the only person in the cast who actually made an effort to act, and boy does he go over the fucking moon. His aggressively angry, shouty style of thespianism made me wish he was the center of the flick, because he was the only star shining in this otherwise pitch black sky. So at least there’s that. Thank you Mr. Pilson.
On that note, cue the end credits. You can call me Doug, cuz I’m outta heeeeeeeeeere.
I call bullshit! That should say “A Tommy Brunswick VIDEO”, because there’s no way this movie was shot on film!
First, “Station Wagons” is two words. Also, the other name sounds like an obtuse way of saying “palm full of jizz”.
A 20 year-old blond wearing pigtails and pretending she’s much younger? That’s usually something you only find in those movies that are preceded by an “All models appearing in this video are 18 years or older” disclaimer.
How the rest of the world sees our new Cheeto-in-Chief.
I never knew Juggalo scrapbookers existed until now.
“Hello? Nintendo Power Line? I was wondering if you had any tips to help me with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Throw it in my toilet, then burn the house down? Got it!”
“Come on, guys. I found out where the neighborhood boys hide their stash of Playboys! We’ll steal ’em all and replace them with my mom’s old Playgirls!”
Every hetero guy’s worst nightmare: when your girlfriend/wife gets her hair done and asks you how it looks.
Set props provided by whatever was left over after the Brunswicks’ last garage sale.
Hey! It’s the movie’s only fan! (And the look on that guy’s face is probably very similar to yours having read this.)
“It’s not gay, man, it’s a prostate massager! Prostate massage is a perfectly natural and healthy way for men to enhance sexual stimulation! Don’t be such a judgmental puritan!”
Folks, never buy your girlfriend lingerie from the “Day After Valentine’s Day Discount Bin” at WalMart. It won’t work out for either of you.
And here we have a failed prototype design for unused Thundercats character Jestro. I’m not sure the story behind it, but it’s easy to see why the show’s creators passed on using him.
Anubis will return next time in
“Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”
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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: Elle “Maleficent” Fanning , Jena “Sucker Punch Malone , Keanu “The Matrix” Reeves
Director: Nicolas “Bronson” Winding Refn
Writers: Nicolas “Bronsons Winding Refn , Mary “‘Preacher’” Laws & Polly “Eleanor” Stenham
When I was a horny young pup just looking for a wet spot to stick my prick into, my criteria for what I desired in a sheet staining partner was a very simple three point plan – looks, looks, and looks. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, as it is for most impressionable post-pubescent types looking to make an “impression” of their own into/onto someone. Much like tickets to a Don Johnson concert, my virginity was something I had an impossible time giving away. The few young ladies I shared the halls of academia with in high school that I had any interest in were either already dedicated to other lads, or had turned down my romantic advances faster than a stepdad turns down the thermostat when somebody puts it over 60. After reaching the ripe old age of legality known as 18, I would eventually find myself a finely figured female who was more than happy to commence with my deflowering (or, in my case, my weeding), and she and I are well on our way to the 17th annual celebration of our first date come the next Krampusnacht Eve. Happy pre-anniversary, dear!
As I’ve aged (and unholy Hel have I!), my taste in women has evolved well past favorite shapes of flesh and into a Twilight Zone-ian preference for dimensions not just of sight and sound, but of mind. Not strictly book smarts neither, but ladies with more esoteric tastes that match mine own. Namely, bad horror movies, sketch comedy shows, and morbid humor peppered liberally with sarcasm and contempt for humanity. Attempts at such relations haven’t always worked out for the best, but whatever doesn’t kill us gives us fun stories to tell our court appointed lawyers, right!? What does this have to do with today’s “Ladies Night!” installment, The Neon Demon? Not a shit ton. Much the opposite, in fact. Today’s feature is actually about physical beauty, and the obsession some have with not only getting it, but retaining it in the face of the unconquerable hellbeast known as Age-zilla.
Given that my looks have been known to make gargoyles cry tears of gasoline (I swear that’s how that church fire started!), I’d know nothing about that. Instead of relating to our tale, I’m just gonna let my eyeballs go gonzo over all the wonky visuals and my ears get made sweet love to by the supersexy swingin’ sounds of its synthy score!
Today’s movie is sadly not the sequel to Neon Maniacs we’ve been waiting 30 years for. It is, however, brought to us by Nicholas Winding Refn (director of Drive), Amazon Studios, and the letter ‘Q’. Despite my recent review for the Amazon Pilot Season episode of “The Tick”, I swear on Horus’ right eye that I’m not being paid to promote their productions! Those dickards won’t even give me a free trial month of Prime at this point, let alone actual capital compensation to type up piss & moan articles. Sorry to say, folks, but the mildly amusing musings of a Death God ain’t worth two farts to the mighty Reaper of Brick & Mortar Stores. Fuck it. As Chris Pratt said, “It’s important to make your big mistakes in relative obscurity” anyway. If this site were popular enough to grab anyone’s attention, it would ruin all the fun of the chase for a lot of bail bondsmen (and bail bondswomen) out there!
The Neon Demon stars Dakota Fanning’s younger sister Elle, who continues her efforts in making a name for herself with a role that’s meatier than just playing a younger version of one of Big D’s parts. Since the movie’s plot is little more than your basic tale of glamorous industries seducing innocent youth just to use them, abuse them, suck them dry, and throw them away like used condoms once they can no longer pull off the “jailbait couture” look, said movie also requires your basic “small town, big dreams” victim to consume the soul of before metaphysically defecating into the empty space left behind. As such, Elle plays Jesse – the latest fresh face the City of Angels cannot wait to R. Kelly upon. Hell, within the first 10 minutes of the movie we discover she’s “not from around here”, lives alone in a sleazy motel room, and has no family of which to speak! To paraphrase Pinhead, “Norma Jeans are such easy prey.”
Speaking of, a makeup artist radiating a strong sexual predator vibe and calling herself Ruby (Jena Malone) comments on our subject’s beautifully smooth skin and immediately attaches herself to Jesse after working together on one of those “gore + glamour = art” photo shoots that the kids these days apparently think are so “edgy”. You know, like that “Girls and Corpses” magazine that people keep gifting me subscriptions to for some reason despite my frequent comments of “If it’s not Linnea Quigley stripping in a graveyard or a severed head going down on Barbara Crampton, don’t waste my time”.
Not five minutes into their new friendship, Ruby invites (i.e. insistently drags) Jesse to a party to introduce the young lady to her new peers in the industry, specifically her pals Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote). Gigs is the faux friendly type whose smile is as artificial as the lips and teeth that make it up, while Sarah is colder and blunter than the sledgehammer I keep in my meat locker. As with any newbie to a social group, our protagonista is circled by the other members of the pack and has her mettle tested in judgment. In this case it’s the usual ladies’ room emotional hazing of woman-on-woman mockery about how the fresh-faced bumpkin isn’t fit to be one of them. Gigi and Sarah might as well both be named Heather, but that’d be too on-Gigi’s-surgically-manipulated-nose.
Despite the pair’s “never evolved past high school” treatment of Jesse, Ruby sticks by the girl and takes her under her big sister wing to help guide her through the labyrinth of the modeling world and not get trampled to death by the metaphorical Minotaur. I’d be more inclined to believe the legitimacy of the cosmetologist’s intentions for the Georgia Peach if only she’d stop throwing Jesse the Big Bad Wolf leer every 10 minutes! Instead I’m anchored with the unshakable presumption that the would-be mentor’s so obviously going to be the one holding the knife that goes into our gal’s back come Jesse’s inevitable nosedive from grace.
Speaking of, much like a modern fairy tale, our Cinderellian peasant destined for princessery is picked up by an esteemed modeling agent (Christina Hendricks) and immediately paired with a highly regarded camera jockey named Jack (Desmond Harrington) who looks more like the type of guy who shoots amateur gangbang porn in the backyard of his stepdad's mansion than he does a sought after fashion photog. You know what really takes the audience out of the fantasy, though? No self-respecting (or self ego-inflating) “artist” in any industry would call himself “Jack”.
As if the modeling industry’s ominous presence as our heroine’s personal chainsaw of Damocles weren’t enough of a threat, Jesse’s also endangered by the sadism of Hank (Keanu Reeves), the manager of the motor lodge in which she’s living. Henry probably got his Hotel Management diploma from the ICS home education courses that Sally Struthers used to shill for…while he was doing a stretch in prison for sexually assaulting a troop of girl scouts. Seriously, the guy would whip out his 3” killer to a single mom at a bus stop and insist she swallow his tadpoles while her preschooler and a nearby nun looked on. He reveals himself as the kind of human garbage that makes even my cast iron stomach churn harder than an industrial washing machine on the “Wipe Clean the Stains of a Life Lived in Filth” setting. His assistant/apprentice Mikey seems generally harmless, but he looks like Iggy Pop Junior (somebody’s gene pool needs a lifeguard!) and works for Hank, so that’s probably enough to land him at least somewhere near the latter rungs of Dante’s ladder.
As much as the deck is clearly stacked against her, Jesse’s not alone in her story. How’d she get to the spiritual wasteland in the first place, anyway? Enter Dean (Karl Glusman)…well, I guess you can enter him if he’s okay with it. I’ll take a pass, myself. Back on topic, Dean is an aspiring photographer who came across Jesse on the internet and convinced her to come to the left coast so they could make art together. I met my Evil Dead Bride in a fucking AOL horror chat room and even I think this pairing sounds sketchier than MC Esher’s high school notebooks! Despite his efforts to woo her while still being respectful and protective of her, Jesse is very reluctant to refer to him as any kind of boyfriend figure in conversation with others. He’s a surprisingly decent dude who never tanks his decency by pulling the bullshit “you owe me sex!” card on Jesse, which you totally expect to happen given how he too leers at Miss Jesse like fucking Jack the Ripper in the movie’s opening scene!
No friggin’ diggity, Jesse gets eye fucked from people so often in this flick, you’d think she farts Spanish Fly. It’s unnerving.
Predictably enough, as Jesse’s successes compile, so does her ego. She mutates from innocent southern teen into Family Guy rendition of Julia Roberts (“ME! ME! MEEEEE!”), talking about herself as if she were the second coming of Cindy Crawford. Such a path couldn’t lead to our heroine’s downfall harder if it were a literal street named “Downfall Avenue”. I’m presuming this transformation is what the title’s referencing, given that (spoiler alert) there isn’t a single giant neon devil sign brought to life to kaiju the downtown Los Angeles area. Will Jesse find love and safety in the arms of her unavoidable love interest Dean, or will the D-Man discover he’s better off with an inflatable girlfriend? Don’t knock it. The only rubber you need to use with her comes in her repair kit! Will Jesse instead be a “grrrl”, pull her life out of her tailspin on her own and conquer her enemies to become the new White Queen of the fashion industry? Will our neon demon predictably wind up eaten alive by the green-eyed monsters that she so naively trusts with her well being? Will this modern fable end triumphantly for Jesse like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or tragically like Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid? That’s for me to know and for you to find out…I mean, if you feel like it. You don’t even have to watch the movie if you don’t want to to find out. The internet will just tell you how it ends, if you prefer to do it that way. Doesn’t effect my day either way. Que sera sera.
And so our story goes. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, beauty and the beast. It’s nothing to write home about, really, unless your family gets excited over loose threads. Plot threads, that is. Story elements that drop off the map, never to be seen again and character threads that drop right off with them. If it’s so bad, though, then why the quartet of disembodied blood pumpers at the top of the review? Because NeoDemo is a classic case of style over substance being a good thing. Oddly appropriate given the theme of the movie, dontcha think? You can almost believe it was poorly written intentionally…
The performances are all fine, almost in spite of the roles being generic. It doesn’t help your story’s endgame seem less obvious by having your actors play their characters so blatantly. I do give Elle Fanning credit for not taking Jesse overboard in personality even though her lines still take the character there. It’s a well done balancing act and I hope the young lady earns herself a reputable career. Glusman’s Dean is a good dude done well, with the exception of his almost Captain Howdy levels of “creepy, shadow monster face” in the opening. Everyone else is just as shallow and one-dimensional as their roles are intended to be (at least that’s my guess), so that’s fine. Now, story and cast outta the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this Neon Demon.
Hold onto your bippies, kids, because I’m about to slap you in the faces with a big cold salmon of shock . Surprise you it may well, but this is my first date with Mr. Winding Refn. I’ve never seen Drive. I’ve heard great things, but universally renowned projects are a breed of poultry that rarely cross my proverbial path. You know what else I’ve yet to see? The Force Awakens. Yep. Let that one soak into your corpuscles for a few. Back to Nicky WR, his presentation style fills me with the similar fondness I have for Dario Argento and Stanley Kubrick’s stuff. His heavy accentuation on the use of colors and shadows and mirrors and trippy imagery combined with jarring/haunting music are tres Argubrick. He also throws lots of different patterns straight into our eyeballs, from wallpapers to curtains to bed sheets to carpets to clothing, and they all bleed into this visual clusterfuck that borders on overwhelming without going full-on brain barf. The aforementioned music is very dream-like, and makes the whole movie feel very surreal. It’s a psyche smothering safari for the senses.
Of the biggest complaints I came across while poking around the worldwide wasteland for details were people who called out Winding Refn, some for perpetuating mainstream misogyny (all women are jealous, petty cunts to each other and will do anything to get ahead) and others for ripping off Argento’s style. Regarding the former, I can’t really weigh in, given that my gonads reside on the outside. As for the Argento complaint, it depends on whether you want to call it a rip-off or an homage. Potato, potato. However you wanna pronounce it, I’m all for it. Kubrick’s long croaked and nobody’s really doing the Argento thing anymore. Christ at a Cracker Barrel, at this point even its namesake hasn’t properly Argentoed for a good twenty years! I’d rather watch someone doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well instead of trying to force the old Italian to go back to his roots. So, for those who disagree with my positive take on the matter, I’ll let Academy Award winner Tommy Lee (the actor, not the drummer with the horse dong) answer for me.
Given the mostly cold shoulder reception The Neon Demon was given (50%ish scores on aggregated criticism sites), I’m sure there are plenty of people who would accuse me of “falling for the sales pitch”, but you could fill a thimble with all the shits I give and still have plenty of room left to fit your fingertip so you can deposit it straight into your orifice of choice. If “artsy fartsy” stuff bothers you, bypass this flick because that’s its big selling point. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re down for something different and you’re not up for taking Suspiria off your shelf for the 164th time. Keep in mind that, despite ND‘s categorization as a “horror” movie, it’s really more psychological wrapped up in an air of dread. The one traditional horror movie element kicks in in the flick’s final stretch… then it goes on for another 15 minutes. These last minutes have very little dialogue. Like almost zero. Makes you wonder if the actors were getting paid by the line and the budget ran out. What is there is still technically part of the movie, but exists less out of necessity to the story than it does to drop some more visual weirdery and fuck with the audience one last time. It reminds me a lot of what Rob Zombie did with the last act of Lords of Salem, come to think about it. Leaves us with more questions than answers, really.
Still, it looks fucking cool.
Coming up will be the next and last installment of our “Ladies Night!” cineménage à trois, so any misogynists like the one who messaged me last week telling me this kind of “pandering pussy shit” isn’t what they want to see? You can rest easy, cuz it’s almost over. Or, you can just get the fuck out. You don’t like woman-centric movies? Guess what…
Now I gotta head over to the local halal eatery and get a pile of Samosas for lunch. Those taste bud tantalizing s.o.b.s get my salivary glands more excited than Gorunk the Baby Eating Gibbon gets around babies! Yum!
Dean looks like he’s plotting to take revenge on someone by cooking their family into a pot of chili and feeding it to them… possibly after he’s had sex with it.
Eli Roth’s homage to the 20th anniversary of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” music video is, well, pretty much what you expected it to be.
“Don’t worry, I was an intern on Evil Dead II. I know how to get karo syrup and red dye out of ANYTHING.”
If Dario Argento directed Mean Girls.
“I don’t care how many penises you have, Mr. Sinclair, this isn’t a casting call for Marilyn Manson’s adults only traveling freakshow! That’s down the hall in Suite 31.”
Was this room decorated by a blind person or somebody on acid? Either way, if I have to look at it much longer I’m gonna lose my Fritos!
“Look, I know SLC Punk 2 was garbage and if you wanna throw yourself off a cliff over it, I totally understand. But I gotta get to my shift at Big Kahuna Burger in 20 minutes, so either shit or get off the pot!”
Could this mean Nicolas Winding Refn’s next project will be that rumored Smokey and the Bandit remake we’ve been hearing about for years?! I’d bet my White Lightning / Gator double-feature LaserDisc on it!
Keanu Reeves finally takes measures to have Alex Winter forcefully removed from his guest house. After 25 years of his “I’m almost done with the script for Bill & Ted 3!” excuses, Keanu has had enough.
Hey, they’ve finally started casting for the She-Ra live-action movie! I really hope they opt to cast a real Pegacorn for Swift Wind instead of cheaping out and ruining her with some stupid cgi crap.
At the Sears catalog model tryouts, dozens of moderately attractive women compete for the chance to be thousands of young American boys’ first effort hording wank material. At least until they can convince their older cousin to buy them an issue of “Hustler”. Well, that’s how it was before the internet, anyway. Kids today have it way too easy…
Only true industry insiders know about the sacred Triforce of Fashion! It’s made up of the Triforce of Beauty, the Triforce of Design, and the Triforce of Film, each of which is held by one of three legendary heroes. The sacred texts say that, one day, the three will be brought together to create the GREATEST fall collection in all of fashion!
“Screw the picture. I’m gonna make her look like Large Marge just to see the family’s reaction when they open up the casket!”
“This is why I tell you not to eat candy in bed. You’ve got a whole Sugar Daddy tangled up back here! Uggh!”
“Is THIS your card?… Ah, shit! Let me try that again.”
I know how she feels. I feel the same way when I have a third Most American Thickburger too. Brutal.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”
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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: Aaron “The Storm Riders” Kwok , Qi “Journey to the West” Shu, Collin “The Matrix Reloaded” Chou
Director: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan
Writers: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan & Chi-Man “Invisible Target” Ling
Origin: Hong Kong
All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope…
The Tomb’s 3rd anniversary is October 1st. Three is the “novelty sneakers” anniversary. If someone doesn’t get me some of that groovy be-chinned footwear, all love is a lie and life is a pointless endeavor that goes on forever. Just so you know.
On to other matters, because of my many months away from The Tomb (let’s say due to a journey through alternate realities where I had to stop an evil version of myself from destroying all of existence by killing our other selves and absorbing their power to supplement his own) I’m taking a further break from the Tour de Farce so I can give higher priority to other movies that have crossed my desk since. And yes, it’s a literal desk, made of the finest polished femurs, spines, and rib bones of Rupert Murdock’s ancestors. Totally worth the hauntings.
To that end, I thought it prudent to finish this review (started in January) before putting the T de F back into its cryogenic freeze tube for a while longer. Today’s episode features the Hong Kong sing-a-long ring ding dong we call City Under Siege.
Expected a Dr. Dre reference? Nope. He’s banned from The Tomb for selling $300 headphones to stupid children with stupider parents. Anyway, before we get started, let’s mine the ancient secrets of the mystical island of Hong Kong!
On second thought, never mind. This review’s already 4 months late and my laptop is starting to give me third degree dick burns. I don’t have time to play tour guide. If you wanna know any esoteric facts about HK, its economy, its culture, its people, its impact on the rest of the world, or its dark history of horrendous crimes in the fields of drug trade and human trafficking (I’m presuming), pay your preferred search engine a visit. Let’s just get to the movie and cut to the chase…oh, I forgot to mention that a hefty portion of today’s movie revolves on an axis of knife throwing. That might have been pertinent info before making a pun like “cut”. My apologies.
Not to be confused with the Police Academy sequel (#6!) of the same name, City Under Siege is the tale of Li Fei (Aaron Kwok), whose peers call him Sunny… not really sure why, but let’s say it’s because of his sunny disposition. Or that time he stabbed a waitress to death with a fork for rupturing the yolks on his sunny-side-up eggs. Whatever pulls your lever. Anyway, when Sunshine’s parents died in a car accident (and sadly not during an armed mugging which always makes for a better origin), his uncle Tak (Wah Yuen) took him in and gave him a job as a clown in his traveling performance troupe, The Thunderbolt Circus. Though grateful not to have been cast off like the orphan he was, Sun was never happy as a colorful fool and instead wanted to live up to his dear departed daddy’s legacy as the knife throwing “King of Flying Daggers”, 26th descendant of the legendary marksman, Thousand Flying Daggers. Unfortunately for Sunny he’s more like the Prince of Flying Daggers, and even then the “Prince” part would be more an honorary family title than an earned one. This guy sucks more than a hospital custodian’s ShopVac in the middle of an ebola outbreak when it comes to the family cutlery slinging business. I wouldn’t trust him to butter my biscuits let alone let him hurl sharp lengths of steel at me while I’m strapped to a spinning wheel o’ death!
Despite his insistence that the talent in his genes will bear fruit if Uncle Tak (no word on an “Aunt Tik”) would just give him a chance to put innocent paying customers’ lives in danger, his cousin Zhang Chu (Collin Chou) refuses to give up his place in the spotlight as the show’s marquee marksman. In fact, he threatens to gut Suns if he doesn’t stop trying to horn in on his job, so don’t expect to see our hero headlining shows anytime soon. Unless maybe Chu gets a bout of the flu or leaves the circus to go on a crime spree as a psychotic hulking brute…
It feels like we’re supposed to pity our protagonist in this scenario, but when we’re introduced to him, Sunny literally (as said in Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger inflection) goes off script during a show in Malaysia and comes within seconds of committing manslaughter on an unknowing audience dupe before cool guy Chu has to step in and put “The Prince” back in his place! Sure, as with the majority of movie bad guys, ChuChu comes off as a douche knocker. BUT, he very likely saved a woman from PTSD at best and straight up VIOLENT DEATH at worst at the hands of selfish man-child Sunny, who was willing to endanger those around him for the sake of his own fucking ego! This guy is our hero!? Holy shit. Overcoming poor self-esteem and a limited natural skill set is fine for a budding hero-to-be like Spider-Man or Kick-Ass, but they only put themselves at risk with their amateur tomfoolery. Sunny is a fucking sociopath! No matter how far this flick may go in its efforts to redeem its do-gooder over the remainder of its runtime, it’s now going to be dragging The Stone of Shame for the extent of said stigmatic excursion. For shame!
As is cinematic law, Chu and the other “too cool for school” members of their little big top clique single Sunny out as the weakest member of the social herd, and as such exercise their dominance by treating him like a red-nosed reindeer. Whilst in Malaysia engaging in their post-show chicanery, the crew catch Sunny tagging along and opt to include him as their point man (i.e. stooge) whom they can just ditch/scapegoat/murder later as the situation requires. Their scheme? The bullies are investigating a local cave rumored to be home to a cache of buried treasure! BUT (yes, there’s always a but there… much like the case of my lap), as we the audience were presented in the picture’s prologue, this cave was the site of war crime experimentation by the Japanese military in the waning days of WW2: Axis Boogaloo. Check out the Men Behind the Sun movies for more on that kinda shit. In an effort to bring an end to their protracted campaign to extend the shadow of their empire over the entire East, these army scientists were dabbling in an immoral aerosol that would induce monsterism in their P.O.W.s, turning the captives into rampaging abominations! Basically Nature’s Goodness minus the pleasing taste.
Before the mutagenic mist could be perfected, the raiders from the Rising Sun’s workspace was bombed all to shit (in a scene I’ll antagonistically analyze later) by the Red Stars, leaving any remaining stashes of the unfinished super-beast spray buried. Can you see where this is going? If not, you might need to make an appointment with the figurative optometrist to get your foresight checked. Benny Chan isn’t just leading us with a trail of bread crumbs, he’s dropping full-on baguettes shaped like arrows! For those with mental glaucoma, here’s the malnourished rendition – the gang open the containers expecting precious metal (to be fair, the first one does have a stash of the shiny stuff) and get a chemical sauna instead a la Return of the Living Dead‘s Frank and Freddy. Our hero ends up passing out on a conveniently placed fishing boat nearby, one of the gang lays dead by broken neck when his attempt to kill Sun goes fatally wrong, and the remaining quartet of super steroid saturated nogoodniks are left vomiting vanilla pudding, no doubt destined to become evil Hong Kong off-brand Ninja Turtles. Not to be confused with Michael Bay’s actual bastardized half-shell bohemoths.
Anubis Note: In case you haven’t seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, “bohemoth” is how we spell that shit here. And yes, it’s pronounced “bo-he-muth” in case you were wondering.
It turns out the vessel our bumbler stumbled upon is a smuggling ship, and when his hosts find him unresponsive on board, they toss his sorry ass into the South China Sea! Lucky for him it seems the naturally occurring tides are coincidentally heading back to his homeland of Hong Kong, where he’s washed ashore after a few days afloat. Finally freed from his one-man coma cruise, Sunny awakens to find his body doing its best impression of Spongebob’s stage act: The Amazing Mr. Absorbancy! Sporting an XXXXL waistline and the incessant sensation of walking in wet sneakers, he tries to find his way back to the Thunderbolt Circus home office, discovering how hard it is to hitch a ride in the middle of the night when you look like a cast off from a Ju-On movie set on a cruise ship. Fortunately for him, a lovely lady named Angel Chang (played by Qi Shu, who we recently saw in Journey to the West!) stops, requesting help with her bamboozled back tire then offering her impromptu AAA lifeline a ride home in thanks. Along the way, Sunny recognizes Angel from the local newscast and marks out, declaring his fandom for her. Of all the people in HK who could’ve happened along looking for help, it just so happens that the minor celebrity our hero’s got the awkward stalker hots for is the one. Even for a movie that’s not just stretching it, that’s hyper-extending said “it” like the arm/leg of a generic bad guy in a Steve Seagal movie. Backwards elbows and knees, people. Cringe.
Returned home, Sun bids adieu to his love interest-to-be and plops into bed like the garbage bag full of tapioca he has become. Overnight, he secretes more liquid refreshment than the entirety of the background dancers did across all four volumes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. While he’s soaking his sleeping space harder than a gang of 3rd grade bed-wetters at a sleepover, his fellow Thunderbolt performers make their turn to a life of crime official as they rob an armored truck to the tune of 5 million dollars! I’m guessing they’re Hong Kong dollars though, so it’s more like 20k American, give or take? Meh. That’ll barely afford them one of Gwyneth Paltry, errrr Paltrow‘s vibrators and a gallon jug of Japanese whale oil lubricant. Peasants.
Fuck sake. For $15k that thing better be a piece of StarkTech that turns into a suit of portable Iron Man armor!
The armored car is just one stop on the quartet’s crime spree tour though, as they’ve been busy knocking over jewelry stores and the like too. Enhanced with telekinetic powers, super strength, and bulletproof skin, it’s been the proverbial cakewalk for the villains. Unable to stop them with mere guns and police brutality, the Mu Shu porkies call in superhuman specialist agents Suen Ho (Jing Wu) and Ching Shau Wah (Jingchu Zhang). Partners in career and in life, the pair are accused of being an adorably low key professional law enforcement couple and could be sentenced to live happily ever after if convicted. I can say, with no certain certainty, that I’m certain these two are my favorite Asian movie couple since Wild Zero‘s Ace and Tobio.
The movie (or at least the English subtitle track I had to hunt down) tells us that Ho and Wah have arrested supernatural criminals before, but doesn’t give us any further allusions to just who these enhanced do-badders were. No idea if the pairing have appeared in prior Benny Chan productions, but in all honesty I really don’t care to look any further than I have already. My dick burns are getting burns on top of them! Just to be safe, I’m going to say that CUS takes place in a cinematic Hong Kong akin to Spider-Man 3 NYC – metahumans aren’t littering the place like Captain America: Civil War, but they’re also clearly not undiscovered yet like Meteor Man.
Speaking of, Meteor Man is part of the Marvel Universe continuity. I shit you not. It’s only a matter (or meteor) of time until we see Robert Townsend’s name show up on a cast listing for Avengers: Infinity War!… maybe “NetFlix’s The Defenders”?… maybe not?… probably not. Blart.
The duo are due to exchange nuptials (or “swap nups” if you’re me, which you’re not, for which you should be praising Ra) in 30 days, so Hao vows to take the Frightful Four down in 20. Really? So he’s going to let them run roughshod on the Kowloon precious gems market for 3 weeks before he decides it’s time to put an end to their shenanigans?! Prick. Speaking of, Angel’s boss/boyfriend KK (Slider?) informers her that the higher ups at the news station are kicking her down the corporate ladder a few rungs so they can give her spot to a younger, hotter replacement named Yoyo. Yoyo? Yep yep. Not only is our lady losing her seat at the anchor desk, but it turns out she’s lost her seat in her boyfriend’s lap too, also replaced by her Duncanian rival. We learn that Angel herself got where she was by traveling the exact same path as Yoyo, but that’s different! Right? Cuz she’s a hero? Meh. Moving on. In an effort to save a shred of what remaining pride our heroine has left, Angel dumps a glass of water over K’s cranium, declares their relationship null and void, and officially hands in her verbal resignation. Whatever makes you feel less like a stepped-on piece of dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk, lady. Keep your head up and move on. Godspeed.
What’s a working gal to do in this modern age of HD media, where genetics are prized over journalistic ethics? Where looks trump integrity? Well, it just so happens that the same day old maid Angel finds herself destined for the unemployment line (or the glue factory… I’m not sure how they tackle this shit in China), her biggest fan awakens with abilities beyond those of mortal men. Indeed, just like Chu and, uhm, the other three circus performers (I’m not good with names or having to look them up), Sunny’s received his membership card to the Superhumans Society! On his way to the police station to explain his situation (and distance himself from his crime spreeing co-workers), his pathway is impeded by a hostage negotiation. Angel, having the Lois Lane-like super power to be in the right place at the right time, witnesses Sunny make the save, freeing the captive policewoman from her assailant with a combination of telescopic slow-mo “precision vision” and inhuman strength, accuracy and reflexes, with which he throws a single stick, shattering the abductor’s gun and piercing his arm from across the street! While everyone around him stares agape in awe and the press presence swarms him for a statement like ants on a Twinkie, ‘Gel whisks him away to a cab (I guess she’s just leaving her own car abandoned in the middle of traffic?!) for a “private interview”… which, despite the probable perversion with which you may have read that (ya gutter creeper), doesn’t mean they went home and swapped sweet and sour sauces. Amazing the places a pair of quotation marks can take the human mind.
With little imaginary hearts floating around his head (might wanna check your scalp for parasites, Flapjack), Sunny’s more than happy to give the newly freelance reporter her exclusive one-on-one with the Hong Kong Kal-El. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Doom (in this instance, a lovely house in the middle of nowhere with an in-ground pool!), Chu and the others have kidnapped several biological engineers in hopes of reversing the grotesque monster mash side-effects of their genetic mutation. Despite being told there is no way of turning them from Fangoria cover models back into a Silver Ash cover band, they find hope when they see their old punchline Sunny on the evening news looking none the worse for toxic wear. A testament to the ancient healing powers of the South China Sea? Or just another use of the old science fiction deus ex machina of “some people are just genetically different and are immune to stuff!”? Either way, Chu and chums aim to find out.
Arriving at the Thunderbolt Circus locale faster than Bruce Wayne going back to Gotham after conquering The Pit (fucking Dark Knight Rises), the bad guys try to nab their errant clown mid-interview. Chu should change his name to SPF 69, cuz Angel just got Sun blocked! *rimshot* Awkwardly introducing himself to the minor celebrity while his hairline recedes and his increasingly lumpy face is painted up with Luna Vachon veins (see below), Chu confesses that he’s her number one die-hard fan and makes rapey face at her. How… flattering? You can practically hear Miss Chang’s ovaries shriveling on the vine the longer he talks to her. The expected altercation is instigated and the movie’s first real exchange of wire-fu is initiated!
No brawl-for-all by any stretch of the term, Sunny and Angel spend the time running and ducking their pursuers as best they can before finally being subdued. Chu threatens to bleed our hero in the search for the secret of his success, but his knife is halted by the timely intervention of the mutant hunting dynamic duo, Hao and Wah, sporting mirrored shades and martial arts! The battle ends when Sunny, seemingly turning into a cartoon character with his comically red “pressure cooker” face (that you expect to send steam shooting out of both ears), freaks the fuck out and throws two fistfuls of flying daggers at his prior impeder of career promotion. Chu responds in kind, deflecting the swarm of steel shards with a flurry of his own, sending razor sharp metal ricocheting all over the fucking place! Small appliances explode, glass shatters, structures collapse, one of the villains takes an errant dagger to the chest, and the rest of the antagonists beat feet while the heroes collect the unconscious Sunny and rush him to a hospital.
In intensive care, Sunny’s examined by scientists and it’s indeed determined that he bears the mythical movie MacGuffin of antibodies unique to his DNA. Yep, out of the billions of people who would have otherwise been malformed by exposure to the experimental discharge (like the other four people that were), one of the tiny group of FIVE just happened to be uniquely resistant. Not even to the formula in its entirety, mind you, but only the dangerous uglifying parts of it. Don’t think I enjoy telling movie logic to get off my lawn like this. My nitpickery is tantamount to acupuncture needles being slowly pushed between my vertebrae, or filling my codpiece (what, you don’t wear a codpiece?!) with hungry scarabs. It is my curse. Damn Tiki Gods. You put termites in their pillows one time and you spend the rest of eternity wanting to chew your fingers off at bullshit times like this!
While the white coats would rather keep Super Sun under indefinite lock and key for more in-depth observation (and likely dissection for sale to some Chinese super soldier program), the police don’t think the public would be too pleased with the smiling new face of mutant moderating being held in constabulary custody. Instead, Hao and Wah are assigned to be his bodyguards while Miss Chan picks up the role of talent agent to the city’s new cynosure for his upcoming avalanche of inevitable media overexposure. It happened when the Simpsons found that monkey’s paw, and it’ll happen to you too! Angel’s also fallen in love with the little goof already, because of course she has. Some would say she’s got hearts in her eyes, some would say they’re just dollar signs. I say it’s both. I may just be a foreigner, but fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise, for that double vision.
The glamorous life of hocking Diarrhea Killer and prancing like a grinning idiot for publicity appearances goes straight to the hero’s head, ironically swelling it figuratively while his enemies’ domes are swelling literally. As for Hao, his plan to use the unwitting Sunny as bait to draw out the baddies has put a cramp into his marriage plans, postponing the date and drawing out Wah’s ire instead. She proposes that instead of the two of them tackling the remaining trio of mutants themselves, they train Sun to actually be a superhero rather than just play one, evening up the odds. Hao’s ego won’t let him risk someone else completing his job and taking his glory though, so sad to say, this is the exact moment you can start the countdown clock for Wah’s impending inclusion in the movie’s “in memorium” reel.
Cue the next fight, as Chu and the others make their next move, striking while Sunny D’s doing yet another photo shoot. The in-name-only slayer of sinners gets bodied hard by his nemesis, while Hao uses his uncanny acupuncturist prowess to beat Chu’s girlfriend with ease, promising to have her locked up and experimented on for the rest of whatever life she has left. She opts for what’s behind Door #2 instead, and self-immolates amid the pool of gasoline she was carelessly left incapacitated in. Back inside, Chu shows us his ignorance on human biology (specifically how antibodies work) by Dracula-ing off some of Sun’s vein V8, only to be massively disappointed when it doesn’t remedy away his uggo-itis. Before he can stomp the envy of his eye six feet under, the Heroic Duo drop in from off-screen to save the day. Rather than retreat, Hao’s determined to make good on his promise to marry his wifey-to-be on time, so he trades blows with the biggest baddie and leaves it up to Wah to keep their bait from being snatched off the hook by the last remaining member of the Chu Crew, uhm, mohawk guy.
Ill-prepared for the mutants’ continued evolution, Hao’s pride is his downfall, as his ambition to close the case distracts him from preventing his lady getting her internal organs pulverized by Mohawk. When he finally notices, it’s time for a late retreat as he escapes with Wah and Sunny in tow. But it’s too late. With tear streaked cheeks and a mouthful of blood, Wah tells her incredibly sweaty man to take care of himself, never lose himself, and never be afraid because she’ll always be watching over him. Then she dies…in the passenger seat of a stolen station wagon. Just like Han Solo… in my 2003 fan film re-visioning of Return of the Jedi.
As if this loss wasn’t enough of a shake up, the movie’s timeline gets a bit weird here. Hao sets up Sunny on a cot in a shack along a nearby river and sticks him full of needles to nurse the defeated hero back to health. When said hero comes to, he finds his savior nearby, torching his dearly departed in the flames of his makeshift pyre (i.e. he set the station wagon on fire)…in the same area she died…so…this all has to be taking place not too long after our previous scene…so whose house did they break into for their acupuncture session?! And since when can acupuncture fix broken organs and blood loss in what can’t have been more than a few hours!? OUCH! There goes another two scoops of scarabs.
And so, with both of our brotagonists having fallen hard from the height of hubris, now they must pick each other up like a pair of crane game claws. You know how much of a bitch those things can be. Forged by Loki himself, they are! Anyway, Hao vows to teach Sunny how to control his powers in his scorched fiancee’s honor, so let’s cue the montage!
With her boyfriend/client engaged in secret training for what could be weeks (or might just be a few days? The movie’s not 100% clear on it.), Angel’s left alone to mourn his perceived passing. As alone as you can get when you’re under 24 hour police protection, at least. The star-crossed lovers flashback to black & white renditions of their prior scenes together, denoting loss and longing as such scenes do. Having put the entire city under siege (we have a title!) alongside his last remaining cohort since Sunny’s disappearance, Chu (who stole Weird Al’s plastic Rambo muscle suit from UHF) uses his enemy’s pilfered cell phone to call Angel and tell her how he desperately needs her to deliver him from his personal Hell of emo teen sadness. Note to readers: listening to The Cure and other depressing music when you’re sad doesn’t make you less sad, it just reminds you why you’re sad in the first place, then piles on MORE SAD! Despite the saying, fighting fire with more fire only makes a BIGGER FIRE!
Feeling like she has nothing left to live for now (or maybe she’s just tired of needing a security detail every time she has to dump ass), Angel strikes a plan with the pigs to use her as a lure to entice Chu into a trap. She could just call him back and allow the military to triangulate his locale via the phone, but that wouldn’t put her life in immediate danger, so why bother?! Remember how well things went the last time an Asian movie in The Tomb tried to lure a monster into a trap? No? Go read my Garuda review. I’ll wait.
See? Yeah. Same thing happens here. Shit goes south faster than a racist Yankee after the Emancipation Proclamation. Just as Angel is about to see if her namesake(s) are real, guess who appears from nowhere to save her from being turned into street pizza? If you guessed anyone other than Sunny, you’re either too preoccupied to be reading this episode right now, or you’re just really really really shitty with names. Before the two heavies finally finish their feud in furious combat, Hao takes out both Mohawk and himself, using an urn filled with his beloved’s ashes to smash a light fixture and ignite a broken fuel line. An all too short-lived (no pun intended) exchange whose ultimate finale is predictable, sure, but I like Hao’s use of the urn…which probably contained more than a few leftovers from the station wagon’s ashtray mixed in with whatever he was able to salvage from Wah’s herself if you think about it.
Now for the big climax. Our final showdown is a fair mix of flashy martial arts punches and kicks, superhuman feats of tossed transportation (cars and trucks and such), both guys saving Angel from certain doom, a noble sacrifice or two, an effort to apply some last minute pathos to the villain, and a mandatory bit of the throwing knife dueling that started this whole rivalry, though not as much as you’d expect given all the hours/days/weeks of training Sunny pulled in the previous sequence. Speaking of, here’s a PSA for any fellow mutants out there: Don’t be like Chu. Take absolute care when it comes to protecting your lower back in any combat situation, as any perforation of the area has a high likelihood of causing your internal organs to violently detonate. I recommend investing in one of Lumpy Leroy’s Cast Iron Cummerbunds! Tell ’em Anubis sent you to get free shipping and $5 off your first order!
Good triumphs over evil, and just to make sure Benny Chan gets to tick off the final line of his “superhero movie tropes” checklist, Angel throws herself in front of one of Chu’s daggers to protect Sunny while he’s busy being a paragon of human decency and saving a family trapped in a flaming car. She survives though, and Sunny kills Chu, so the audience gets to go home on a high note. Such ends the ballad of Johnny Two Blades, errr, Twin-Dagger Sunny. Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?
I opted to review CUS based entirely on the promise of “a circus clown gains super powers and has to fight his co-workers who have become super villains”. Little did I know that Sunny’s screen time in greasepaint would be relegated to his 5 minute introduction, thus abandoning the novelty almost immediately. Boooo. Points lost out of the gate for the misleading synopsis. Things don’t get much better from then on either. It’s not that this is a bad superhero movie. The problem is that Benny Chan tries so hard bending over backwards to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster comic book flick formula that he falls on his head and knackers himself, leaving us with one of the most generic by-the-numbers super movies I’ve ever seen.
If you and your riffmates are looking for a feature to play Genre Bingo with, CUS fills all the boxes in its category. Hapless hero? Check. Hero’s parents dead? Check. The villain is an associate from the hero’s personal life? Check. The hero’s crush falls in love with him shortly after getting to know him? Check. Said romantic interest is injured/killed during the final battle? Check. The villain’s given moments of sympathy so we’re supposed to regret his forthcoming death? Check. The hero wins his first fight, loses his second, then comes back to win in the end? Check. Pride and/or ego lead to the hero’s momentary downfall? Check. The hero overcomes his fall from grace by embracing the wise words of a mentor/father figure? Check. Training montage?! BINGO! BINGO! BINGOOOOO!
Yep. That’s my biggest beef with this movie: I’ve seen it all before. Chan tries something a little atypical of the Asian fantasy epics, but over does it on the Americanization stuff. I’m all for tweaking with the General Tso recipe, but not with heaps of ketchup. The computer generated shit’s not the best, but I don’t expect it to be from any movie born of an outside-of-Tinseltown budget. Consider my expectations tempered in that regard. Also, despite my general dislike for Sunny’s goofball demeanor (and those stupid hand motions he makes every time he refers to himself as “Twin-Daggers”), finally seeing him buckle down and become the mature good guy in the final act, despite being hackneyed, made me hate him a bit less. He’s still a heaping tub of chodeslaw though for putting that audience member’s life at risk in the beginning. Psycho. Angel’s only a smidgen further north on the moral compass, because she didn’t almost kill somebody with her fuckery. She did start her relationship with Sunny under the animus of hitching herself to his rising star though, looking out for her own best interests while also getting to stick it to her former employer for letting her go. Because again, she was being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman, the same way she herself ascended to the position in the first place!
As noted prior, Hao and Wah are my favorite part of this titular besieged metropolis. They’re cute without being overly saccharine. They’re equal parts business and pleasure without going too far to either end. Hao’s conceit leads to his greatest loss, but he earns his redemption by becoming the hero’s teacher, then gets his peace in the end, fulfilling his duty and joining his beloved in oblivion. Aces. Sadly, when your supporting cast is more endearing than your main characters, you’re doing something wrong, Benny. Write better.
I’m going to end this episode on the movie’s groaniest groan-inducer before I take off. Remember when I said I’d get back to my ire over the destruction of the Japanese army’s Malaysian Frankenstein lab? Yep. Although the attack on the lab comes from outside, a series of precisely laid out explosions erupt inside of the cave in a designated order. I’m not the type to think that anything is impossible. Highly improbable, of course, but not necessarily impossible…except this. Could the Chinese forces have infiltrated the lair the night before, laid out a bunch of C4, and simply been waiting for the right time to blow their load of shock & awe all over the faces of their enemies? Sure. Maybe. No. Never. Stop. I’ve included a little visual aid to illustrate this particular blister on my butt.
Our next two episodes will be features in name but not in length, so they shouldn’t take four months to finish. Keep your eyes peeled like the delicious delicious grapes they are for the first such installment in the next few days, with the other coming out Sunday-ish. Until then, this is the end. The only end, my friend. Always live your life like a flying dagger!
But… if it’s “Universal”, how can it be “Limited”?
“GAH! I’VE HAD THAT FUCKING ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ SONG BURIED IN MY BRAIN FOR FOUR YEARS! FOR THE LOVE OF CRONENBERG, SOMEONE HIT ME WITH A SHOVEL AND DISLODGE IT!”
“Gacy Good Times International – introducing underage boys to crawlspaces the world over!” (Coulrophobics? I’m sorry. Coulrophiliacs? You’re welcome.)
So other countries have their own Criss Angel to suffer through? Kinda nice to know we in the US aren’t alone in suffering madoucheians.
“Your milk money or your life!”
“I know you’re hungry, but we can stop and get you some fresh clam strips. Those have been sitting under my seat for at least a week.”
“This is James Chang. James came out of a 10 year coma last week and has never seen ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’. We’re going to broadcast his reaction live, tonight on ‘60 Minutes‘.”
Looks like the next Wolverine movie will be based entirely on a version of the character found in those Chinese dollar store action figure sets. Maybe this will be the first step toward finally getting that Super Man Big Alliance team-up movie we’ve been begging Marble and CD Comiks for!
Up next in the Chinatown Burt Reynolds Look-a-like Pageant: Charlie “The Gator” Zhang!
If Beavis and Butthead taught us nothing else, it’s that nothing stops a nosebleed better than a tampon.
“I want to thank you for electing me your King Dingus for the season! I will do my best to uphold the honor of the position at the sacrifice of what little dignity I have left!”
Nice shades. If they look into each others’ eyes, will it create some kind of reality collapsing infinity loop?!
Hey! He stole Meg Griffin’s power to grow her fingernails long! Plagiarist!
“Well, you know we’re gonna end up in this 3-way eventually, so we might as well get it over with so we can make our car payment on time. Paper, Rock, Scissors for position?”
“I killed my stylist for dressing me in this stupid hat. Then I formed his face skin into my corsage!”
As much as I love Elizabeth Banks, this is what the new Rita Repulsa should look like!
Excedrin headache number 245 – You’ve been exposed to an experimental toxin and turned into a raging mutant. Your brain feels like its going to explode out of your skull, and simple aspirin won’t do the trick. You need Excedrin!… or a hole drilled in your head to release the evil spirits that are haunting you. Either one works, really.
Ever cried so hard that tears came out of your whole face? If not, you’ve never known real love. Congratulations.
This is why you never try to cuddle your pet porcupine.
“So you decided to turn the car we stole into your fiancee’s funeral pyre?”
“Okay. Did you happen to look it over first to make sure there wasn’t anything else in there? I only ask because I can’t find my wallet…”
Hao’s DIY car crematorium was such a success that he decided to really up his game and turn it into a career! He’s in such demand now that he’s burning entire skyscrapers full of bodies every day!
Yes! Someone finally answered the Craigslist contract I put out on Justin Beiber! Guess I better get that $120 together. Time to turn in my bottles and cans.
I told Nosferatu not to feed on those professional bodybuilders, but at least he’s seeing some sick gains! What vampire needs the use of their testicles anyway?
The ages old geek query of “What if Venus De Milo (from the live-action Ninja Turtles show) fucked Killer Croc?” is finally answered.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Three People You Meet in Texas”
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: William “Star Trek” Shatner , George “The Case for Christmas” Buza , Zoe “Orphan Black” De Grand Maison
Directors: Grant “Ginger Snaps Back: the Beginning” Harvey , Brett “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed” Sullivan & Steve Hoban
Writers: Doug “Splice” Taylor , Pascal “Hellions” Trottier , James “Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman” Kee & Sarah Larsen
Also Known As: A Holiday Horror Story (name changed for the DVD sleeve only, so the movie could be sold in some Wal-Mart stores. No diggity.)
‘Twas the night before Cthulhumas and, alone in The Tomb,
Anubis was reviewing, despite having other shit to do.
I hate buying presents for people. Ra is being a real dickhead this year. Every time I ask him what he wants for Cthulhumas, the fuckstick just keeps telling me he wants a life-sized butter sculpture of Lou Ferrigno from the Golan-Globus Hercules movie. Do you know how hard it is to find a sculptor that works in the dairy medium this time of year!? If my situation were the line from a theoretical Weird Al Yankovic parody of a Pearl Jam song, I’d say I “can’t find a butter man”… and yes, I made all of this up just so I could say that. Lick me.
Go ahead! I used peppermint body wash this morning!
I mentioned in the last episode that Krampus is the 2015 holiday season’s monster-of-the-moment. As I may have also mentioned (the last week has been a whiskey nog haze), go see Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, in theaters now! Hurry before it gets bumped for the next “found footage” ghost movie in the “garbage I wouldn’t piss on were it aflame” queue. Speaking of Krampus, guess who’s featured in today’s anthological episode? If you said Krampus, you win! Get yourself a Gingerdead cookie and a shot of Milk Plus from Uncle Anubis’ padlocked mini-fridge (the key is behind the goat skull in the kitchen), then get back here, sit your ass in front of the fireplace (or in the fireplace, if you like), and let’s engage in another round of Yuletide tales.
As a disclaimer, despite what possibilities the title of this movie may invoke, it is neither an “American Horror Story” Christmas special, nor the blood & gore sequel to A Christmas Story directed by John Carl Buechler where Ralphie, dressed in his pink bunny pajamas, hunts down every adult who told him he’d shoot his eye out, then proceeds to gouge out their eyes with an ice cream scoop. I asked Annual Gift Giving Man for it last Non-Denominational Gift Exchange Day, and no dice. Not the first time I’ve been fucked by the big rubber dick of disappointment (also known as “the Festivus Pole” in some circles), and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
What is A Christmas Horror Story aboot? Well, hosers, this gift from our neighbors to the North stars noted starship Captain and Hollywood Hebrew, Billy “Rock-et MAN!” Shatner, as radio disc jockey Dangerous Dan. Not to be confused with ’80s WWF personality Dangerous Danny Davis, whose gimmick was that of a crooked referee who also wrestled. You know he was dangerous because he had the word “Dangerous” printed on the ass of his tights, and you can’t print something across the ass of your pants if it’s not true! Like those “Juicy” pants big ass girls wear. Much like juice, they’re best when freshly squeezed too. *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*
(Squeeze at your own risk.)
Double D does a Pontypool and spends his time on camera in the broadcaster’s booth for the extent of the feature. While he’s dead set on spreading holiday cheer amid the citizens of his town of Bailey Downs (his listeners and coworkers of which don’t seem all that receptive to his efforts), we the viewers are taken on a quartet of intermingling tales in the interim. Not “intermingling” by means of plot, though, but rather in that we fumble in and out of each story at the editor’s tyrannical whim. We are merely puppets and A Christmas Horror Story is the string by which he makes his marionettes dance. “PULL DA STRINK! PULL DA STRINK!”
Our first yarn follows a trio of high school kids: Dylan (Shannon Kook), Molly (Zoé De Grand Maison, whose name literally means “Zoe of the Big House” and who looks like a poor man’s Emma Stone), and Ben (Alex Ozerov). Attempting to catch the receding “found footage” wave before it goes back out to sea for another 5 or 6 year hiatus, the trio sneak into Bailey Downs High to do some hard boiled “Action News for Kids” investigating into a mysterious double homicide that took place in the building’s labyrinthine basement the year before. Having reviewed the leaked footage from the police investigation (because they don’t accidentally erase their evidence, CHICAGO PD!), they know something more than a simple dual murder took place in the darkened halls beneath their teenage prison, and they aim to find out what. As is the way in scare flicks they get locked in (possibly by the killer, returning to the scene?), discover the school’s morbid history, are confronted with the awful truth about the ritualistic murders, yadda yadda yadda. If you want to find out said awful truth yourself, feel free to watch the movie or “Read the Bantam book!”
Do they still novelize/bookify movies anymore? Given there are more platforms to watch stuff on nowadays than there are heads on a Hydra after you put it through an industrial blender, I can’t really see the rationalization behind sustaining such a market. It’s not like the old days when you had to wait two years for Dawn of the Dead to come out on Betamax, so you re-read your St. Martin’s copy cover-to-cover a few dozen times while you waited! By Rudolph’s radioactive nasal beacon, I had a screener copy of The Green Inferno a week before it left the local multiplex, and I ain’t talkin’ Transformers! Besides, that was Metroplex. Though I would enjoy the irony of Michael Bay making a Decepticon character that’s just a huge cinemaplex who crushes all of the moviegoers inside of it whenever it transforms. Then again, subtlety got a restraining order placed on Michael Bay years ago, so never mind. He’d just fuck it up like everything else and forcibly remove the joy from a few thousand more people. He’s Hollywood’s metaphorical on-par for Nazi stormtroopers dragging Jewish children away from their parents’ arms so their tiny hands could be put to use working in Hugo Boss’s sweatshops.
Story numero dos involves another trio: Scott (Adrian Holmes, who’s a dead ringer for Mike Yard and Taye Diggs’ love child), Kim (Oluniké Adeliyi), and Will (Orion John). Unlike our last amitié à trois, this trio keeps it in the family – Scott and Kim are Will’s parents. Despite being a cop, Scott takes his mini-brood Christmas tree hunting on private property,which reminds me fondly of my own illustrious annual “trail of tears” death march to commit our own act of ornamental herbicide. Will wanders off and goes missing, bur he’s found safe and sound one short and panicked search later. The family then heads home with their purloined pine, a little unsettled but none the worse for wear… except for Will, who starts acting really weird and creepy and shit. Scott gets sick of this crap quick, but his old-fashioned approach of parenting with his pants holder-upper doesn’t quite do the trick. “Big Earl” (Allen Peterson), the owner of the property from which the family misappropriated their O Tannenbaum may have an idea of what’s up with the lad, but Will could just be getting a head start on being a rebellious teenage dickhead. But that’s more a case for an episode of “Degrassi Junior High” than a horror movie, eh? As such, I wouldn’t bet my roasting chestnuts on it.
The third chapter in our movie’s table of contents finally gets things Kramp-ing! Upping the ante by a head, this story follows a quartet of characters: Caprice (Amy Forsyth, Kirsten Dunst’s non-union Canadian equivalent), Duncan (Percy Hynes-White), Diane (Michelle Noldan), and Taylor (Jeff Clarke). Diane and Taylor are the parents here, Caprice is their teenage daughter, and Duncan is just as much a junior a-hole as you’d expect a kid named “Duncan” to be. The four visit Taylor’s Aunt Edda (Corrine Conley) for some mandatory holiday tidings of comfort and joy (mostly to suck up to the wealthy old crone), and meet her grinchy German caretaker Gerhardt (perpetual “background weirdo #2”, Julian Richings). Krampus gets name dropped like he’s going out-of-style and Gerhardt warns them to be good, lest the bastard child of Lucifer and a Likitung come get them. Naturally, this is the perfect time for Dunc to intentionally break a decorative figurine of said yuletide disciplinarian because, again, kids named Duncan are ornery little shit bags.
Following the brat’s brazen act of dickery, Edda throws a fit and kicks the clan out. As they’re driving home, Dad swerves to avoid a yeti looking creature (maybe it’s a shaved Wampa) that runs across their path, and spins the car out into some deep snow. Unable to get anywhere (hence why I keep a shovel, extra floor mats, and full grown Saint Bernard in my trunk) the four are left to brave a winter wonderland in the middle of nowhere as they seek help…with a certain holiday hellraiser hot on their haunches. Much like his fellow film incarnations, don’t expect this version of the Saturnalian satyr to stop at some simple season’s beatings with a few well-deserved lashings across these douche bags’ backsides. No, he’s eyeing more permanent forms of punishment that utilize the type of excessive force that would give the ’90s LAPD envy boners. #BlackPeteLivesMatter
Our feature’s fourth fable follows the red man himself. No, not the racist mascot of Red Man chewing tobacco. I of course refer to Satan. Errr, Santa (George Buza). You know what I meant, Church Lady. Anyway, the bowl full of jelly is preparing for his solitary day of employment for the year, before having to spend the next eleven months getting shit from Mrs. Claus (Debra McCabe, playing a much younger Mrs. C than you’d expect, cuz Santa’s apparently an old perv) about how he needs to do something with his life beyond watching Mexican elf soap operas from his La-Z-Boy all day and adding to his collection of bed sores. While his vertically challenged minions go aboot their business, prepping toys for the big night, one of Klaus’s helpers, Shiny (Ken Hall) comes down with an odd and sudden illness that gives the little goober Tourette’s. “I said I don’t want a cookie, you reindeer fucking snow whore!”
Before you can say “28 Days Later at the North Pole”, the frost-bitten Oompa Loompas (who stole their uniforms from the “sandwich artists” at Subway) become infected and revolt against their portly oppressor in a mob of gnashing, gore splashed teeth. If this were traditional Santa Claus, as owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation, he’d be dead and clogging the minute cannibals’ arteries within moments. To help give He of the Merry Dimples and Twinkling Eyes an edge on the zombie mob, we get a bad-ass holiday icon who looks like he’d be more comfortable driving a Harley-Davidson than a sleigh, complete with Mrs. Claus riding the sissy bar wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts, leather boots, and nipple rings.
When the shit starts to go down in the jolly old elf’s castle (the interior of which looks remarkably like affordable office space…), Kringle theorizes that Krampus must be responsible for whatever bad juju is turning his sweatshoppers into heart stoppers, so for those wondering whether the promised clash of Yule pugilists portrayed on the movie’s poster actually comes to fruition, the answer is – sorta. As has become a common theme in some of the other movies I’ve recently reviewed, A Christmas Horror Story (just like the Six Million Dollar man’s replacement penis, fashioned from an old soft serve ice cream dispenser) comes with a twist. Unlike some of said others, this twist doesn’t inject acidic enzymes into the movie, break it down into a sumptuous primordial ooze, and consume it whole. No, this twist actually works well enough that I didn’t hate it. In fact, there’s very little I could say that I do hate about this movie in general!
The stories all take place on Christmas Eve Day and all connect with each other through shared characters. Mary mentions that she used to babysit Will, and Scott was one of the investigators on the high school murders. He went on leave afterward to deal with the resultant PTSD. Said trauma carries over to his own story as a point of contention for his relationship with his family. Caprice is a major catalyst in getting the first story going, as she brings her trio of friends the keys with which they break into the school. Even Santa’s tale comes back to the Bailey Downs city limits, but I can’t tell you how because it would spoil the surprise! No peeking!
My only major misgiving with the movie is its story structure. Unlike the traditional anthology one-at-a-time format, we instead jump back and forth between them chronologically as the day passes, while popping in on Dan occasionally to remind us that William Shatner stopped by to pick up a paycheck. Given that someone named Bev Feldman gets a credit as “teleprompter operator”, it doesn’t look like The Shat even bothered to learn what few lines he had.
Though I get the reasoning behind this mish-mash approach, the pace gets outright ravaged as a result. Just when you’re getting invested in any of the characters or their predicaments, you get thrown awkwardly back into another ensembles quandary. It’s a complicated dance that calls for precision, like Pulp Fiction. Instead we end up getting our toes stepped on every 10 minutes or so. I feel like I’d need ADHD to fully appreciate the flick as is.
The big gripe out of the way, my only minor misgivings with ACHS are a moment or two of unfortunately poor computer generated effects (thank Savini that almost all of the effects are practical) and the opening and ending credits theme of “Carol of the Bells” (thank you, public domain usage rights) as sung by what I can only presume to be a robot child. Fucking auto tune. Oh well, it’s still better than The Snots’ rendition of “Jingle Bells” that also plays at the end. Yep. The Snots.
Beyond those niggles though, I really liked this movie! The acting is all very solid with a few nice stand out moments of drama, especially from the ladies. The makeup, costumes and viscera are serviceable-to-admirable, and despite there being three different directors on the project, I wouldn’t have known the difference if I hadn’t read it ahead of time. Saying three directors’ styles are so generic that there’s little to distinguish them from each other may not sound like a compliment, but as the viewer it’s a good thing, because it lessens the turbulence of transitioning between plots. Krampus himself looks more like something out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “make your own mutant” fan contest than his traditional self, but the albino steroid man-goat look works for him. They even made use of his Gene Simmons shaming demonic lick muscle! Definitely better than the computer generated reject from an ’80s heavy metal album cover concept art that The Reckoning gave us, that’s for sure.
All in all, A Christmas Horror Story perverts holiday traditions with a blend of dark fables and personal horrors, mixing the mythological with the relatable. Stories aren’t long enough to outlive their welcome, but are just developed enough that you won’t be forgetting them a day after watching. Maybe I’m high on holly jolly and sugar plum fairy farts, or maybe after choking down the turd brisket that was Krampus: the Reckoning last time, even John Candy’s vintage ’94 back sweat (collected on the set of Wagons East) would taste like a candy cane martini in contrast! Either way, I declare this flick a fitting addition to anyone’s holiday horror rotation. Thanks, Canada! You’ll always be the greatest white North to me. May your days be merry and bright and may all your Cthulhumases be shiny with poutine and back bacon, from sea to shining sea!
Now come back tomorrow for a very special gift from me to you! It’s the bread box sized package under your tree that’s decorated in old newspapers and bio-hazard tape that you’ve been hearing a random *thump*ing sound from every night around midnight… No peeking!
What’s with all the buckles, Santa? You going for that outdated “Steampunk” look? Or is one hernia belt just not cutting it for you these days?
Captain Kirk reacts to the news of yet another green chick filing a paternity suit against him. So much for alien and human DNA not being compatible!
Luke Cage’s new “edgier” catchphrase, as adjusted for his upcoming NetFlix series following the precedent set by “Jessica Jones”.
Kids will do anything to get a few hundred thousand video hits online these days. Who would’ve thought that YouTube would be such a catalyst for “survival of the fittest” forced evolution.
“Thanks for stopping, mister! My friends told me I’d never get anyone out here and, truth be told, you’re my first customer in three weeks! So, you lookin’ for a pumper, a sucker, a humper, or a dumper?”
“Welcome to Bailey High Action News! Today’s top stories – Principal Dickers arrested for alleged inappropriate relationships with several members of the girls’ field hockey team! Also, are the cafeteria’s hash browns just yesterday’s tater tots? Find out here!”
Jack’s wife finally broke the news to him about Santa Claus’s lack of existence. Poor little guy.
“I’m no doctor, Sparkles, but I’d say this is way worse than ‘just a hangnail’…”
“Hahaha! This tree reminds me of my wife after she gave natural birth to our triplets!… god rest her soul.”
A figurine of lesser-known saint, Sister Mary “Only Prays When People Are Looking” Gallagher.
I’ve seen messy eaters before, but that kid’s spaghetti dinner looks like a school of jellyfish exploded on his plate!
“Dangerous Grandpa” being the moniker given to him by the Bailey Downs Tribune following his vehicular manslaughter of 12 people at the weekly farmers’ market.
By far the worst actor in the whole movie. Her performance was just so… wooden. (Please don’t hit me!)
Looks like we walked in on them while they were comparing sizes… awkward.
From here it looks like he’s relieving himself inside one of The Tall Man’s dimensional gateways! Well, any port in a piss storm, right?
Timmy was determined to make sure that Santa didn’t miss him this year. “I know you can see me now, you fat bastard! Get down here and make with the presents!”
Looks like Krampus just caught a whiff of himself. I tell him he needs a full body heat drying after every shower, but he always thinks he can shake off and he’ll be fine. And he wonders why none of the other anthropomorphic creatures of folklore want to date him!
He looks like the type of Santa that would have “If you can read this, the bitch fell off!” stitched onto the back of his leather vest.
Anubis will return next time in
“Toys In Babeland”
Featuring: Ashok “Soodhu Kavvum” Selvan , Sanchita “Soodhu Kavvum” Shetty , Nasser “Fair Game”
Writer & Director: Deepan Chakravarthy
Also Known As: The Villa
Sequel to: Pizza
Welcome back, boils and ghouls! I hope all of my fellow ugly Americans had a horrible Thanksgiving holiday and have my talons crossed that more than a few of you were unceremoniously trampled to death amid the fervor and fever of the following Black Friday Madness. I kid, of course, because if you’re reading this review, that means you’re hopefully the type of person I’d get along with, in which case I’m a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish you any specific harm. Where the Hel was I going with this? Meh. Fuck it. Moving on.
Rather than hitting our next stop on the World Tour, I opted for yet another side trip on the scenic route. I liked India’s Pizza enough that I wanted to see what its sequel had to offer. Besides, what better bread to use in a review sandwich where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (see previous episode) is the meat than a pair of Pizzas? Yeah, there are more levels to my methods than there are floors in Elevator Action…or not. I honestly can’t recall how many floors there were in Elevator Action, so my boastful statement could very well be incorrect. I never should have said it in the first place. I’m sorry.
In something of a throwback to the glory days of ’80s bad movies like The Curse, P2 is a sequel that has no direct connection with its predecessor. Thematically, you could call it a spiritual successor (pun most assuredly intended) given the common subject of “Indian haunted house movie” and the inclusion of another (albeit less grandiose) Shyamalan-ed finale. But by Tom Turkey’s gizzard bag, there isn’t the slightest mention of pizza anywhere in the damn movie! Why even call it a Pizza sequel?! Oh wait, I know why: to cash in on name recognition. Well, congratulations Thirukumaran Entertainment. If nothing else, you managed to convince a middle-aged Beardo-American incarnation of the Egyptian Death God to watch your movie for free on YouTube. Thumbs up.
Technicalities aside, it’s business time! Let’s kick back, straw fuck a couple of those little boxes of Ecto Cooler you’ve been saving since 1993 (it’s comin’ back, ya know!), and take a tour of The Villa! Cue the music.
A brand new movie calls for a brand new cast. As such, our brand new hero is Jebin (Ashok Selvan). Jeb (not to be confused with Jeb! Bush – note the lack of an exclamation point) is a struggling writer locked in mortal combat with book publishers who don’t want to print his novel. He’s all about high brow drama and suspense and challenging his readers, while they just want Twilight rip-offs. In other words, rip-offs of a rip-off of Laurel K. Hamilton’s stuff, written by a bored Mormon housewife with latent necrophiliac tendencies. Did I say “latent”? I meant “blatant”. BLATANT NECROPHILIAC TENDENCIES. It’s only Stephanie Meyers’ interest in beastiality that’s latent, otherwise all the little girls and their moist mommies would’ve watched Kristin Stewart getting mounted on the big screen by the derp-faced werewolf instead of the derp-faced corpse.
“BLATANT NECROPHILIAC TENDENCIES”? Looks like someone just found a name for their free form jazz-oompah band!
To add to Jeb’s problems, his father Marshall (Nasser) died recently during a 6 month coma. Though he was a painter and a musician, pops never approved of his son’s aspiration to be a successful novelist, and scolded the poor guy for having dreams of choosing a creative career path for his life. Weird. Maybe Marshall’s mom left his dad for a copy of The Kama Sutra when he was a kid, so he spent the rest of his life blaming books for his dad’s resultant rampant alcoholism? Either way, Marshall’s dead now, so his lifelong literary nightmare is no more. As for Jeb, it turns out that his disapproving daddy bequeathed him a here-to-unknown piece of property upon which sets one spiffy-as-fuck mansion of a house (our titular abode). Not sure why he was never told about the place before now (smart money’s on bad juju), but this is a fortuitous bit of news for our lead, given that Marshall’s home has been repossessed to cover unpaid debts accrued by Jeb during a failed business venture. Note to self: next time I’m on the verge of being evicted, find out if any of my relatives have me on their will, then start poisoning said relative’s Cocoa Puffs until they do the Mortal Coil (Un)Shuffle.
Jeb intends to sell the villa and use the windfall to self-publish his novel. I hope he planned on taking a business course or doing some kind of test audience research first! Dreamers are always the ones hardest hit when they finally wake up in the real world with the rest of us. Anyway, his fiancee (and our new female lead) Aarthi (Sanchita Shetty) convinces Jeb to at least look the place over first and consider taking up residence in the estate while he continues the hunt for a publisher rather than taking the money and doing the proverbial run. After checking out the spacious pad, decorated with his father’s painting and housing his father’s beloved piano, Jeb opts to go along with Arth and move in instead. It doesn’t hurt that the lady tempts him with the idea of having their wedding in the place, with said matrimonial bliss portrayed via impromptu music video. Well, I guess that’s something else the two Pizzas share: a romantic musical interlude. Anyway, it’s too bad for the real estate agent Jeb asked about finding buyers, who’s peskily persistent about bringing said potential payers by anyway and trying to convince our hero to reconsider. Fuckin’ real estate agents. They’d resell peoples’ graves if churches hadn’t already monopolized the market.
Can churches really do that? Puck if I know. Look it up. You might be surprised. Or maybe you won’t be. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not. It definitely sounds like something churches would do. Hell, Mormons convert corpses posthumously, so there’s not a lot that organized religion can do that would surprise me anymore! I really miss the Old Kingdom days…
(Do you know how much Alpha Flight porn I came across while looking for this pic? More than zero. That’s too much!)
No sooner does Jpeg make the house his home, then strange happenings start up. Some good (a publisher buys his book and contracts him to write another!), some gruesome (a rotting dog carcass appears in his yard, seemingly from nowhere), and some Encyclopedia Brown (NOT a racist joke!) level shit too. Namely, a mysterious key, a Transformers painting (not literally, just in that it’s “more than meets the eye”), and a hidden room concealing a dark legacy that Marshall (and the house’s previous owners) left behind. The movie’s only a year old, so as usual we’re in the No Spoiler Zone (I hope you choke to death on your own scrotum, Bill O’Reilly) here and I won’t delve further into the plot past this period. You want to know the rest of the story? This ain’t “Reading Rainbow”, fuck-o! Go watch it yourself on YouTube or just ruin it yourself by reading the complete play-by-play on Wikipedia. I did that for Knock Knock and you know what? I don’t regret it. Especially since Eli Roth replied to my requests for a post-Green Inferno apology letter with a restraining order signed by his lawyer. Dick weasel.
And there you have it: Pizza 2. You know what? It’s good. Real good. Given that it’s the freshman effort for writer-director Chakravarthy, I’d go so far as to call it damn good! His setup and progression of the story is smoother and plenty suspenseful exactly where it’s most called for. The scene wherein Jeb finds the secret room is impressive, as his discovery is lit entirely by the ever passing beam of a nearby lighthouse and backed up with some appropriately foreboding music. You know, the kind of stuff that Satan puts on his hi-fi before impregnating hypnotized baby mamas-to-be. Speaking of, all of the music is perfectly good background stuff that fits the scenes nicely. Good on composer Santhosh Narayanan.
The cast is all good too. At least I think they are. I don’t speak Tamil, but everyone’s physical game was on form, from faces to body language to that weird head bob that Indian people do. Not to get too Seinfeld over it, but what is the deal with that head bob thing, anyway? Pardon me if the next part sounds like a “head up my own hole” art critic type of statement, but the villa itself is the real main character. Its interior breathes an atmosphere of something old, ornate, and ominous. The place has the feel of a warm antiquity with a heart of darkness. Something beautiful used to create some really fucked up, evil shit. Just like Dyanne Thorne!
If it’s so great though, why doesn’t it get the golden feather seal of approval? Sadly, there’s a really goofy Rube Goldberg sequence that makes the ones in the Final Destination movies look simpler than instant oatmeal. For an otherwise tense and dramatic flick, said scene of tumbling tables and acrobatic armoires is an out-of-place, unintentional laugh that was only put in to give the studio an excuse to charge audiences extra rupees for the 3D treatment. Coupled with the needless twist that hinders the final act more than helps it, and we get a pair of unfortunate potholes in an otherwise smooth road.
Villa isn’t perfect, but I think I like it better than its forerunner. Not that I didn’t like Pizza as a whole, but the last 4 minutes of it were the movie viewing equivalent of Jabba the Hutt sneezing on the last slice of a Chicago deep dish. Villa‘s finale, on the other hand, finishes out on a higher note. A twist ending was expected, so I went into it with zero surprise or fanfare, but at least this one doesn’t shit the bed. It’s a tad more predictable than the last one, but in that way where you feel smarter for having sussed it out yourself ahead of time rather than in that “Tales From the Crypt” bullshit “because karma” way.
There don’t seem to be any plans in place to extend this double feature out into a trilogy. At least not from what I was able to find on the worldwide wasteland. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that I’d like to see what kind of resumes either Chekravarthy or Karthik Subbaraj (writer-director of the original) establish for themselves following their forays into cinematic spook houses. I’d slaughter a goat in their honor, but that’s some pretty medieval cruelty by today’s standards. Instead, I’ll kill a few corned beef sliders from Arby’s. Yes! I discovered there are things on their menu that don’t make dumpster sludge look like a viable alternative for your mid-afternoon munchies! Not to be confused with Munchies, which is not a viable alternative to Gremlins, despite what Roger Corman would have you believe. That would be Critters. Or Ghoulies.
Well, that’s pretty much it for this episode! EDB will be happy, at least, being my editor and all. There are some things where women prefer less length on, folks. Happy 16th anniversary, dear! 😀
“Well? Are you just going to stand there watching me all night, or are you going to turn this tuning fork solo into a duet?!”
From the look on the other guy’s face, I’d say Jeb picked a pretty poor time to denounce his religion and all of its followers…
“We’re looking more for books about young women who let wealthy older men degrade them and put things in their butt for sexual fulfillment. Do you write anything like that, perhaps?”
“Seriously Diane? Why do all of your paintings have to be of famous people as centaurs? There’s something wrong with you.”
“For the last time, it’s a mole, NOT an M&M! Stop trying to pick at it!”
Jeez Greg, what did you do, get into a fist fight with your lunch?! You look like you got tea bagged by a Sloppy Joe! Go wash your face and get back to work!
“What duh ya mean ‘am I drunk’?! Thish ish MYYYYY wedding day! Not yoursh! MINE! If I wanna have shomeshing to drrrrink to settle MY nervesh on MYYYY wedding, I WILL! I’m an adult! Who are you, my dad!? No, I really *hiccup* don’t recognize you. Are you my dad?!”
If this were a SyFy Original movie, a giant computer generated platypus-sea urchin hybrid would come out of the water to eat these two before going off to fight Sharktopus.
That is easily the worst prop dog corpse I’ve seen since that episode of “The People’s Court” where the special effects guy sued the producer of a low budget movie because he wouldn’t pay him for the shitty prop dog corpse he made. It looks like an emaciated Pillow Pet!
“Oh mighty Lord Dagon! I ask you to rise from the depths and take my father’s life as sacrifice to the greatness of the Deep Ones!”
“Billy, why can’t you just throw a temper tantrum when I refuse to buy you ice cream, like a normal kid?”
Oh look! There IS a pizza in this movie! And they’re eating in a PitStop restaurant, like the one seen in the original Pizza! Specious justification of title successful!
“I’m sorry, Sir, but as the ad stated, the price for my son is 15,000 and not a rupee less!”
It’s the ghost of Santa Chewbacca!
“I call this piece, ‘Slender Man Takes a Bride’. It’s from my ‘Creepypasta Period’. The bidding starts at 15. Bitcoins only!”
Anubis will return next time in
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: 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”