Featuring: Bruce “My Name is Bruce” Campbell , Lucy “Xena: Warrior Princess” Lawless , Jill Marie “Girlfriends” Jones
Director: Sam “Drag Me to Hell” Raimi
Writers: Sam “Darkman” Raimi , Ivan “Darkman” Raimi , Tom “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” Spezialy
Feliz Día de los Muertos Malvados, folladoras de perros! For those of you that flunked out of high school Spanish, that means “Happy Day of the Evil Dead, dog fuckers!”
Ash. Is. Back. Alright! (Not to be confused with the Backstreet Boys, who didn’t make their fans wait nearly as long for their reunion tour).
Yes, after nearly a quarter of a century, the Deadite defeating dumbass with more bravado than brains has returned to pick up where he left off! Having been harassed by B-movie geeks about when we’d see Evil Dead IV: Army of Darkness Part 2 – Deadite By Dusk (in 3-D), the brains of Sam and Ivan Raimi and the chin of Bruce Campbell have combined their powers to bring the Stihl-handed hero of legend back for a Starz pilot series that may or may not lead to additional seasons once it’s complete (Update: it was approved for a second season before the first episode even debuted!).
Though there have been numerous comic books, video games, and even an Evil Dead remake in the time since we last saw Bruce himself don the scars of The Chosen One, the closest we’ve had to seeing Ashley J. Williams on our screens in the flesh again was the tongue-in-cheek My Name is Bruce. Entertained by it as I was (went to two showings of it on opening day!), it still felt like a 90 minute tease. Like paying for a night with the prostitute of your dreams only to find out they have a bad yeast infection, so the most you’ll get is a handjob. Sure, you came, but you could’ve stayed home and gotten yourself off for free.
By the way, I did my best to make that comparison as inclusive as possible for everyone. However, if you feel left out because you’re asexual or lack the equipment to reach climax via manual stimulation, my apologies. I tried.
Now come on, space truckers! Let’s get space truckin’!
When we last left our hero…well…it’s not made explicitly clear. The when the show’s timeline is picking up from isn’t specific beyond Ash telling everyone that it’s been “30 years” since he last dealt with Deadites. Given that there’s a scene in the episode where he fills in his co-worker Pablo on his unpleasant past with the Necronomicon and it only uses clips of the first two Evil Dead movies, I’m taking a stab that this series is a direct sequel to Evil Dead II. In 1987 (“30 year ago”?), ED Dos re-wrote the events of the original, making the first Evil Dead redundant. AVED (not to be confused with “Community“‘s affable Asperger’s nerd Abed) also leaves out any mention of Ash having traveled through time, so maybe it’s based on ED2‘s storyline (what with the severed hand) while sticking with ED‘s ending where Ash survived the night and there was no Army of Darkness time vortex thing. On top of that, Ash’s absurdly high-tech Dark Ages cyborg hand from AoD is nowhere to be seen either. It’s been replaced instead with a prosthetic mitt carved from rosewood that makes for a great ass paddler when you’re plumping the ol’ Ballpark Frank in the hot dog warmer of an unclaimed dreg you sweet talked at last call!
But I’m putting the funeral cart before the skeletal horse here. It’s been a long time, so let’s see what Ash has been up to for the last three decades! For starters, he lives in a trailer (just like in My Name is Bruce) and instead of working at S-Mart, our hero works at a dirt mall department store called ValueStop. I’d like to think there’s some “fall from grace” tale at work here where Ash lost his lofty S-Mart position (too many sexual harassment complaints to HR?) and is now forced to work at VS, but my guess would be that it really just ties into the whole “we don’t own the rights to Army of Darkness” complication. Confounded studio politics nonsense.
He’s sporting the aforementioned artificial extremity, and using it as a story prop to pick up soused lasses at the local dive bar just waiting to go down on the next guy who says he lost a hand while saving an endangered child. And what of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis? That Book of the Dead we all know and love, with its dust cover of human flesh and its ink of human blood? Ash kept it. Such is how he gets himself knee deep in the dead(ites) again, as you may have guessed. Thanks to a misguided attempt at male posturing nudged on by a few puffs of “green remorse”, Mr. Williams is about to unleash a whole new world (“a new, fantastic point of view!”) of trouble on his backwoods Michigan burg.
However, Ash won’t be alone in cleaning up his mess. He’s joined by his co-worker and biggest fan Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Pablo’s friend-slash-unrequited crush Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). Pablo gives our man the moniker of “El Jefe” (we have a title!) and worships the ground he walks on (despite smarmy dickhole Ash blatantly violating the “bros before holes” edict), having unwavering faith that his hetero man-fatuation will be the hero this town needs. As for Kelly, Ash tries his “smooth talking grandpa” schtick on her, and let’s just say she’s well inoculated against our protagonist’s verbal Spanish Fly.
If you’re worried about there being too much talk and not enough action in this establishing episode, then belay your trepidation you tiny fool, because El Jefe and the Ashketeers throw down with a few demonically possessed podunks before all is said and done! I’ll spare you the details for your own viewing, but I will give you this much – it’s just as splatstick wacky sauce as you’d expect from a Sam Raimi fight scene!
This story’s not just about Ashley and his pals, though. The non-such sections introduce us to another newcomer: Michigan State Trooper Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), who has her own run-in with the soul swallowing Kandarian pests that leaves her very confused, very disturbed, and having an all too brief crossing of paths with one Miss Ruby Knowby (Lucy Lawless), who’s no doubt going to be playing a much larger role herself further into the series. Know how I know(by)? Look at her last name. Don’t get it? Brush up on your Evil Dead lore, you plebeian!
As someone who’s been playing mediocre Evil Dead video games and reading lackluster Army of Darkness comics (written by fanboys whose scribing skills don’t stretch beyond slight variations of Ash’s jerkoff dialogue from the last movie) to fill my Ash hole (wait a minute…) for the last 20 years, “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” is the long awaited return to form I’d become so sure was never going to happen. As someone who’d lost all hope and become quite cynical about the whole scenario, I wasn’t on the “The cup’s half full” side of the line so much as amidst the “The cup’s fucking broken and sitting in a landfill somewhere” group. But I’m so happy that “AVED” doesn’t suck that I almost feel some modicum of restored hope for humanity! Quite a feat since I’d given up on the species as a whole shortly after turning seven.. Or was that after watching Se7en?
The cast show some big promise already. Campbell is just as snide and sleazy in Ash's shoes as you remember, Santiago makes a good sidekick fanboy without being too cloying (though he’s really skirting the line, so I hope he doesn’t cross said line in future episodes), DeLorenzo does the tough girl thing fine (but is no scream queen, so I hope they keep her wails to a minimum), while Jones makes for a great contrasting straight character so far! I’m almost as invested in where her story goes as I am Ash’s! Lawless Lucy hasn’t done anything yet though, so I can’t establish an opinion based on a handful of lines and 20 seconds of screen time.
The more mature tone of the show is odd at first blush. Watching Ash getting jiggy with it (“it” being a bar fly’s backside) in the confines of a ladies’ toilet den and saying “FUCK!” remind you that this ain’t happening on basic cable. Starz is PREMIUM, baby! That’s not to say it isn’t immature at the same time, but this is the first ED sex scene that didn’t involve a rapist tree, so you get what I’m saying.
One of Raimi’s caveats when it came to bringing this fan bait to life was the use of as many practical effects as the budget could stomach. I appreciate his love for traditional effects and I would shake his hand for doing so. Unfortunately, the computer effects that we get stuck with the rest of the time aren’t the best. Nor are they helped any by happening alongside the practicals, which have the benefit of looking real because they’re as close as you can legally get to real gore and mutilation without making a snuff film. I do have to say that I’m pleased at how far digital arm stump technology has come in the last 20+ years, though! You’d think Bruce Campbell really did lob off his own hand for the sake of realism! Incredible what a green spandex glove can do…
All in all, “El Jefe” does what a premiere episode should: it caught my attention and makes sure I want to see more. I plan on coming back and reviewing the first season as a whole once it’s finished its run. I was just so twitchy and anticipatory to finally see Campbell don his chainsaw hand again and cut some chucklefucks in half that I had to share my feels on the premiere with everybody ASAP! I’m looking forward to what Lucy Lawless and Jill Jones’ characters bring to this b-movie A-Team, and not just because Double L showed us in Spartacus (boy did she ever) that she’s not afraid to bring out her 36Cs! Probably won’t happen, but at least the specter of her nudity will be hanging pleasantly over the proceeds.
On a final fun note of “can’t unsee” to leave you all on, if you shorten the title of the series a little it becomes “Ash Vs. ED“, as in “Erectile Dysfunction”. Think about it: we’re watching a man in his mid-50s (in a series written by equally aged gentlemen) struggling against an unseen force that haunts everything he does, making it impossible to live a normal life without stressing over the phantasmal monkey on his back. Hell, it ruins all of his romantic relationships and even literally interferes with his sex life! Gives the series a whole new metaphorical “age vs. virility” perspective, don’t it?
Oh well, at least Ash doesn’t have to deal with his dick looking like a melted tube of lipstick. Trust me, it’s a real hard sell to get over with the gals. Pun intended.
Bruce Campbell stars in What Women Want 2: Get Medieval.
I know the copyright stuff probably wouldn’t allow it, but I’m saddened that isn’t a box of Ecto Cooler.
“Jeez, baby, you ever think of waxing your crack? Looks like you’ve got Macy Gracy in a head scissors back here!” (Reviewer Note: from where I’m sitting, at least her breath is minty fresh!)
It’s Leatherface’s dream journal!
This week on “CSI”, the crew are called in to find out what really happened at Justin Beiber’s Sweet Sixteen party.
“I’ve seen BLUUUUE SKIIIIES, through the teeeeears in my eyes. And I realize… I’m going home.”
That is some savage glaucoma! It’s gonna take more than a spleef to clear that up. Grandma’s gonna need a bottle of hash oil!
For some reason, Pablo wasn’t prepared for Ash to make fun of his new haircut. When the bliss of your denial is shattered.
If you put pictures of the 3 female cast members of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” through one of those photo mash-up programs, you’d get Dana DeLorenzo.
Just as it’s finally about to happen, Kelly reconsiders her Kingpin roleplaying fantasy.
“Hi. Is It my turn to be in the show yet? No? Okay. I’ll just keep waiting here then.”
“Damn it, Kyle, THIS is why I always ask you to chew your Gushers with your mouth shut! Get me a washcloth!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Snake’s On a Game (of Death)”
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Featuring: Sornram “Dreamers” Theppitak , Sara “The Thai Thief” Legge , Dan “You’ll understand why he doesn’t have any other movie credits after this review” Fraser
Writer & Director: Monthon “I Miss U” Arayangkoon
You know, kids, Uncle Anubis has been having a hard time recently. There are a few things going on that have been bringing down my mood as of late, both in my personal world and the world overall. Life’s been a bit of a buzzkill for me these last few months. My thoughts are generally a Junior Jumble and I’m feeling dyslexic as fuck. My brain is stuck on shuffle, but I hate all of the tracks playing. It’s frustrating. But, as Pearl once told Mike, “I find that in times of crisis, watching a skin-peelingly bad movie can truly help. To that end, I offer you the balm that is Soultaker.” And, since I don’t have Soultaker, Dr. Blackenstein has written me a prescription for Garuda.
But, this is a World Tour review after all, so before we get started with the movie, shake hands with Thailand! No, I didn’t mean literally. Damn it, just put your hand down.
Formerly known as Siam (Yul Brynner looked so badass in The King and I), Thailand is central of the Indochinese Penninsula, and bordered to the North by Mayanmar (not Mallomar) and Laos (not Gyaos). 95% of the nation is Buddhist, which will become a big deal once we get to the movie meat of this chicken curry. Speaking of food, Thailand held the World Record for longest line of washed plates with 10,488! That record was stolen from them by India less than a year later, though, when they upped the ante to 15,295. Fucking India can’t let anybody have anything. Pricks. Don’t worry, Thailand. You still hold the records for the world’s largest gold Buddha, largest crocodile farm, largest restaurant, tallest hotel, longest single-span suspension bridge, and largest Christmas log cake (hilarious since less than 1% of their population are Christian). Put that in your public streets and shit on it, India!
Thailand’s bestiary includes the world’s largest fish (the Whale Shark), smallest mammal (the Bumble Bat), longest snake (Reticulated Python), longest poisonous snake (King Cobra), largest living lizard (Monitor Lizard), a fish that can walk on land and climb trees (the Mudskipper), 10% of the entire world‘s bird population (!), the world’s hairiest child (Supatra Sasuphan), and is the birthplace of the legendarily conjoined brothers Eng & Chang (who had 22 kids between them!… not literally, of course) from which the term “Siamese twins” was coined!
On the darker side of things, the air pollution is so bad that traffic cops wear face masks and 20% of their law enforcement officers suffer some form of respiratory disease. Thailand’s also one of the 3 corners of the infamous “Golden Triangle” (along with Myanmar and Laos) that produces and traffics notorious amounts of heroin and opium to the rest of the world. Thailand was also the home of the first reported case of HIV/AIDS and has the most prevalently HIV infected citizenry in all of Asia. No surprise since its prostitution population is believed to number somewhere in the high six-figures. Whoring isn’t legal there, it’s just rarely prosecuted. Speaking of, Thailand is also the most notorious country in the world for child sex trafficking. A horrifying statistic that they probably leave out of the tourism brochures, but always reminds me of that “Kids in the Hall” skit where Dave Foley negotiates with child prostitute Bruce McCulloch while on vacation in, you guessed it, Thailand. It’s good to laugh about the hideous atrocities that go on in the world that you have absolutely no control over…
Oh, and stay away from Thailand’s “Full Moon Parties”. Just like the Charles Band production company after which they’re named (I’m presuming), things aren’t what they seem and you’ll end up regretting your involvement after. Only, you know, instead of losing 90 minutes of your life, it’ll be more like 9 years in a Thai prison. You don’t want to go to Thai prison. Ever seen Brokedown Palace? Me neither. I’ve heard Thai prison sucks though. And yes, they have one big prison, so shut up.
Alright, that’s enough of the nation that pinched this cinematic defecation. Let’s get down to business!
Considered Thailand’s first foray into the kaiju subgenre, Garuda takes its name from the giant humanoid bird people of Buddhist and Hindu mythology. Ancient enemy of the Naga (giant snakes), the top birdman was given the title “Garuda”, a deity in its own right that was also the whip upon which head honcho Vishnu rode. So, it’s a birdman who worked for Vishnu and is the topic of a feature you’d be better off remaining ignorant of, hence the alternate title for this episode. Get it? Think Michael Keaton. Still don’t get it? What do you mean you haven’t seen Birdman yet!? Meh. Neither have I. And now that I’ve explained the joke, it’s ruined. Blart. Anyway, Garuda is also the national and royal symbol of Thailand, not unlike how the bald eagle is a big deal national pride symbol of America. Their avian mascot could kill our avian mascot any day. We need a cooler winged mascot now. Like Batman. He could probably beat a Garuda. I mean, he kicks Man-Bat’s ass like once a year, right?
Our movie opens on a bit of background establishment, as a narrator tells us about the generally peaceful Garuda species. In ancient times, before the hairless apes of humanity moved in and started trashing the Earth, the biggest and meanest of the Garudas got pissed off about his small penis size and murdered and consumed the other members of its ecosystem with reckless abandon to overcompensate for his perceived shortcomings. Sick of their brother’s bullshit, the other fowl folks ganged up on the bully, kicked his ass, and trapped him in the roots of a giant tree that later sank into the Earth. They abandoned him amidst the landscape he had stained with the gore of his avian avarice, where he stayed for 80 millennia or so. Guess when he’s getting out. Go ahead. If you said “now”, reward yourself with an Abba-Zabba or a fifth of scotch or whatever you usually reward yourself with!
Here in the modern age (for us, it was 10 years ago), ambitious young archeologist Leena Jeanvier (Sara Legge, the Thai Jessica Alba) proposes that the Thai government allow her to pursue a dig and search for evidence of an evolutionary offshoot of birds whose existence she believes influenced the founders of Eastern religion to worship these as the Garuda. Her theory is that dinosaurs became birds became humanoid raptors much in the way that a string of ape DNA eventually gave way to early man. Stringy ape DNA. Ewww.
Leena’s s.o.l. though (and I don’t mean Satellite of Love), because the people of Thailand are incredibly religious to the point that anything science-y that might disprove something about their mythology is immediately denounced as heresy and shot down. As such, Lee’s request is refused and she’s ridiculed for being a “half-caste” foreigner. See, despite her mom being Thai (just like Tiger Woods!), her father was a French archaeologist, so we see from the start that Thailand is a racist, superstitious place that no one should ever go to ever. As if the grade school sex slaves weren’t bad enough!
The reason Leena’s so determined to research the possible Garudal evidence in the area is that she wants to continue her dear deceased dad Pierre’s work. 30 years prior, he discovered a full birdman skeleton in the grounds beneath Indian Kashmir (Bollywood rendition of the Led Zepplin song?) on the border of Pakistan! Too bad for him that he made said discovery mere moments before Pakistani soldiers bombed the crap out of his dig site. His friend and partner Rashid died pushing Dr. J from a (hilariously bad shaky cam) cave-in, and all the poor man’s Indiana Jones was able to recover from the remains was a single talon. While looking it over, he tells Rashid’s corpse, “At least you didn’t die in vain.” Too bad that he totally did die in vain, because when the doctor tried to bring his findings to the people of Thailand, much riot rage was thrown his way and his blasphemous findings were denounced by everyone. He became sick and died not long after, leaving the talon on a necklace for little Leena to keep with her always. And here she is, all grown up and adorable in that “almost too cute to masturbate to” way. Also, this being Thailand, she could be a ladyboy for all I know.
Side note: good on Thailand for being so forward thinking and accepting of its transgender people, but if I ever wind up within their borders, I’m keeping my dick to myself. I’m not one to say “Phucket, let’s Bangkok” anywhere really, but better safe than sorry. By which I mean waking up in a cheap hotel room with my wallet and/or kidneys missing and my phone full of pictures that make me question the sexuality I was pretty sure I’d established firmly post-college. I have a friend who didn’t realize she was a lesbian until she was 40 though, so it’s never too late to discover things about yourself!
Following her dismissal by the authorities, Leena’s uncle Wichai (Yani Tramod) promises to do what he can to sway opinion in her favor and get the project approved. Until then, she’s back to an excavation site in nearby Kalasin to do more research and teach kids about dinosaurs and stuff along with her co-worker Tim (Dan Fraser). Oh boy. Let me tell you a little about Tim before we go any further. For starters, these two aren’t dating. It’s not even a “Friend Zone” situation, as they’re both apparently cool with just being peers beyond a comment Tim makes later on about how “If you weren’t so boisterous, you’d be my girlfriend already”. Strange that they don’t date though, since he looks exactly like her father what with the short messy hair and glasses, and the whole “being an archeologist” thing. Maybe they’re just holding off until he’s positive she’s not a ladyboy and she’s sure he’s not gay?
The most important Tim characteristic possesses though are his goofy faces. He’s intended to be comic relief, what with his non-threatening flirtations and easy going demeanor in otherwise pants-wetting situations, but it’s his weird faces that make him stand out. Remember how sidekick cop Frank Washington in Samurai Cop was always yucking it up and mugging to the camera with over exaggerated faces like a party clown on Molly? Tim is Garuda‘s Frank Washington! While other people talk, he’s unable to just stand still and pay attention. He’s constantly looking back and forth and his face is trapped in improv actor “expression practice/warmup” mode! He’s okay as the resident chucklefuck minus the face thing, but…but…THE FACE THING! ARRRGH!
“2 months later”, Uncle ‘Chai calls Leen and slack jaw Tim to Bangkok (Dangerous?). An entire pop-up military operation (or “pop-mop” if you like) has been established around a dig site, populated by generic camo-ed army soldiers and led by a special ops government unit that brings to mind the S.T.A.R.S team from the original Resident Evil games. When we first see them, they’re all standing around in tough guy action poses, smoking cigarettes, proudly bearing their facial scars and unshaven faces while everything goes all slo-mo! Much like the rest of Asia, Thailand’s still playing catch up with American pop culture. Looks like they’re only up to 1992 in their “action movie hero tropes” department. KWIMV? (Know What I Mean, Vern?)
Being the guests of honor to this block party, ‘Chai introduces L&T to the group’s leader Tan (Sornram Theppitak). Tan exposes himself as yet another xenophobic bigot in a government appointed position, wasting no time referring to the pair as “just a foreigner and half-foreigner”. The way Leena reacts, I’m pretty sure Tan called them whatever the Thai ‘N’ word for outsiders is. Granted, the KKK is a horrible group of bigots over here, but at least they’re not holding office and running the army (openly)! Krispy H. Kreme!
Anyway, Tan begrudgingly does his job and escorts the pair underground. Seems the city’s expansion of their subway system resulted in the excavation of a skull that looks especially human, but especially bird-like! Oh and there’s a huge wall of stone that the drill mysteriously couldn’t penetrate. Actually, this was all uncovered back when the nerdly duo were last in town, so what the government spooks were doing the last eight weeks with it is anyone’s guess. Wachai tries to explain it, but he just stutters as if he was trying to improvise an answer on his own before Tan backstory blocks the proceedings and tells him to get to the point. Somebody probably spilled peanut sauce on that part of the script…of which I guess they only had the one copy…?
The nerd pair check the wall of rock out and guesstimate that it’s over 80,000 years old. They also determine that there’s a cave behind it (by putting their ears against it) and request that the National Geology Department be brought in to inspect it. Not a fan of wrapping this metaphorical mummy in any more bureaucratic red tape, Tan vetoes the suggestion and orders his demolitions guy Wit to blow it to shit! Inside of the stone cell they find the tree in which the Garuda bully was imprisoned. Speaking of incarceration, Tan has L&T detained when she goes on this weird tirade about how Uncle ‘Chai and these jackbooted thugs have stolen her father’s work and won’t allow her to investigate the cave. Kids, when a racist dickhole and his heavily armed, government sponsored militia are just looking for an excuse to turn your dome into paste and dump what’s left of you in the sewer, I would suggest you not antagonize them when they tell you to sit down and shut up. Can’t exactly change the world when your entire existence can be wiped from the face of this mudball in less time than it takes to upload a copy of I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle to YouTube.
That reminds me. Could someone do me a solid and upload a copy of I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle to YouTube? Groovy. I loaned my DVD to a friend who lost it in a house fire (that I set) and I wanted to revisit it.
Tim picks the lock to their holding pen with his excavating tools (because nobody bothered to frisk them before locking them up…) leaving the pair to escape, so they can try and catch some visual evidence of their findings in the cave with the video camera that their captors also didn’t confiscate. Nearby, while Wichai is scraping samples from the trees within the cave, he notices the comatose Garuda and starts praying for its forgiveness. Watching this from a monitoring room, Tan has a flashback to a prior mission with his task force where he lost a member who was too busy praying for mercy from their enemy instead of just shooting it in its big, stupid, computer generated face. Said enemy? A giant Naga snake monster! Cue the “Wait! Is this a sequel!?” moment of confusion before realizing that the ops this special ops team was assembled for is to fight monsters! Yes! Spoiler alert: in case you overlooked the big turd rating at the top of the review, this movie sucks. That being said, I’d still watch an entire series of movies based on the exploits of these mythological monster mashers, no matter how deep down the toilet their production values went.
Tan’s teammate Krai (Chalad Na Songkhla) snaps him out of the PTSD episode with a “get over it” and a stick of gum. Who needs Celexa™ when you’ve got Doublemint©?! Thailand – the nation of “walk it off” psychiatric therapy! Lee and Timmy too discover the sleeping giant, but are immediately rediscovered by their gun-toting oppressors. Tim tries to fend off their pursuers with a broken spotlight while Leena hoofs it outta there, but he only knocks over a grunt or two before getting his coconut cracked and being restrained again. This time he’s given a personal guard – a testosterone factory named Harn who wields a big-ass knife inscribed with some mystical whatchamacallit symbol. So he fights giant dangerous beasts with an oversized bowie? Well, that at least explains the game of Connect the Dots going with his numerous facial scars!
40 minutes in, we finally get our Birdman of Bangkok when a misplaced length of electrical cable gives ‘Rudy a Kong-sized hotfoot and revives the beast. Why is it that every time I zap coma patients with the magical sky fire they just die and/or go up in flames, but these accidental Frankensteins breathe life into a prehistoric anthropomorph with ease!? Maybe it’s because the creature’s entirely computer generated (from the dreggiest dregs of SyFy Original Movies Purgatory) and the power surge rebooted the seized up laptop it was running on? Regardless, GarGar’s back in business and pissed that nobody changed the shredded newspapers lining his cage. He takes his anger out on Uncle ‘Chai and a random extra in fatigues before moving on to further prey.
Tan and his men catch up with Leena, and the pair clash over opposing viewpoints, guaranteeing that these two will be working together (and likely staining some sheets together too) before long. Intelligence and faith will learn to co-exist, brains and brawn will be attracted to each other, foreigner and full-blood Thai will gain mutual respect, and the world will be a better place. Until then, our eponymous monster (“eponymonster”, perhaps?) picks up where he left off 80,000 years earlier and just kills every living thing in sight. Guess he didn’t “think about what he’d done” during that extended stay in Time Out, did he? Harn declares to Tim that their unit are “soldiers who kill Gods”, but I’d bank my collection of mint condition Movie Maniacs figures that this time they’re just going to be “soldiers who(m) the Gods kill”.
Shazam! If Tan was having survivor’s guilt before this, he’s gonna need shock treatment after all the underlings he’s bound to lose tonight! But not the weak cheese follow-up to The Rocky Horror Picture Show of the same name. The only thing watching Shock Treatment will cure is any respect you had for Richard O’Brien.
Tim’s escort tries to take on the ‘Ruda Boy cuchillo-a-gara (knife-to-claw) in one of the least intentionally guffaw inducing “actor vs. cgi monster” pieces of mortal-on-immortal combat ever filmed. As we’re less than sixty minutes into this two hour tour, you can probably hazard a decent guess on which participant of Thailand’s answer to the Peter Griffin & Giant Chicken feud walks away from this encounter. Hint: it’s not Agent for H.A.R.N… no Harn, no fowl! (Had to get those last puns in before moving on. (Forgiveness please!)
Leena rescues her would-be-beau from his confinement in a locker (and no doubt a litany of traumatic flashbacks to every day of his years in high school) and reveals her plan isn’t to stop Col. Sander’s worst nightmare (or wettest wet dream), but to help it escape to a life of freedom… in the skies over Asia… where it will probably be sucked into the engines of a Thai Airways jet mere moments after its ascension. Great plan. Despite his initial protests of “Are you crazy?!”, Tim changes stances faster than the Karate Kid (CRANE KICK!) and offers to help in any way he can. Because of course he does. The guy looks and acts like he hasn’t been laid since parochial school, and I don’t blame a single member of the female gender for it either. In fact, keep up the good work, ladies! Pity sex hurts more than it helps in the long run. Believe me, I know. My Evil Dead Bride gave me some when we first met. It’s been 16 years and she still can’t get rid of me!
While L&T formulate their plan to lure the feathered fiend out of the tunnels (i.e. scraping her talon necklace against a hard surface to create a noise that sounds like a Garuda mating call), Tan and his men steel their resolve by clutching their fallen comrades’ dog tags and vowing not to be pushed around by no bully Gods who think they’re better than us! In fact, he denounces it as even being a deity, instead calling it a “beast”, since no God would unjustly punish man the way this motherfucker’s doing. I guess this guy’s never actually read a religious text and just believes what he’s been told all his life. Tan also accuses their deceased allies as having “given up”, which is birdshit. With the exception of the one guy in his earlier flashback who opted for the power of prayer over the power of a full clip of armor-piercers, the rest of his crew fought to the death when their times came, so fuck you, boss man. Chip nothing, Tanner’s got stacks of Pringles on both shoulders.
The team sets a trap for the Heavy G, lining the floor of the cavern with grenades and trip wires. Leena wanders into the darkness, giving the group’s sniper an easy shot to take her out, but Tan tells his man to hold off. Once again his leadership skills shit the bed, as she wanders into the minefield and, through movie magic, manages to casually walk amidst them without tripping a single one. She must have Mr. Magoo’s mutant power of subconscious danger evasion. This goes on for what feels like an absurd amount of time before she finally fucks up this game of Thermite Twister and, just as she’s about to trigger one of the explosives, Tan intervenes, holding her in place while demolition man (John Spartan?!) Wit comes in to disarm it…after getting hyped up by taking a whiff of an unlit cigarette? What in the name of Kali’s g-string was that about?!
While this is going on, Garuda’s just watching from the ceiling with his piss colored beer goggles-vision, probably wondering to himself how such a stupid race of creatures managed to survive for so long. Determined to rectify this obvious evolutionary error, the beast strikes, launching a grenade wielding Wit pirouetting through the air at his sniper teammate, killing both upon the explosive’s detonation. Of which sniper guy makes zero effort to avoid, no doubt captivated by the majesty of his teammate’s trajectory. The spin that Garuda gives that man would bring a tear to any billiard master’s eye. Tears of laughter, because when faced with such madness, all you can do is laugh or go into complete gray matter meltdown. Between this moment and the knife fight sequence alone, you should be doing everything in your power to find a copy of this movie. It won’t be easy, but by Jupiter, it’ll be worth whatever pounds of flesh and sanity you’re forced to sacrifice in its name.
Tan manages to make his men’s deaths worthwhile when he gets Leena to safety before the rest of the bombs go off. He didn’t really need to worry though, because it seems Wit must’ve accidentally planted smoke grenades instead of frags, as they go off in big blossoms of fog rather than like the flaming blast that killed him mere seconds before. Blart. The chain reaction blows a hole in the cave that allows the river above to flood in, flushing out the tunnels and giving our remaining protagonists a new found sympathy for what their turds go through. Tim gives us an amazing slow-motion “HO-LY SHIIIIIT!” (which doesn’t make it onto the subtitle track of my copy) before turning tail like a reverse lemming, as Leena and Tan are swept away (still a better movie than the actual Swept Away) together and wash up in a water treatment plant. Or a sewage treatment plant. The former if they’re lucky. But given the way shit’s been going for them so far tonight, it’s probably the latter, no pun intended. Okay, pun intended.
Blaming the waifish little lady for his associates’ deaths (though I’d say they’re both at fault), Tan isn’t shy about putting on his best Billy Idol sneer, calling Leena a selfish atheist who can’t just let religious people live in happy ignorance (not exactly his words, I’m just doing some biased paraphrasing) and asks why she doesn’t just die and save everyone else the trouble. History’s most awkward first date continues as Lee turns on the water works (appropriate given where they are) and argues that she didn’t ask for these people to die, she lost people important to her too, all of her evidence was destroyed in the flood (and he’s probably happy about that), she’s just doing this because she wants to honor her dead father by redeeming his name, and finally pulls the “Why do you always blame me?!” trump card. Not to be confused with the Donald Trump card, which just blames Mexicans for everything. Leena doesn’t mention it, but it was also his bumble fucks who woke the friggin’ monster up in the first place!
Having been put in his place and completely overcome by Leena’s pity party, Tan makes a big deal about pulling a tiny fragment from a barely leaking scratch on the gal’s arm and giving her a strip of fabric from his sleeve to use as a bandage. Meanwhile, he’s got several gashes on his own arm that are bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig and covering his hands in his own blood, but let’s make sure her tiny wound is taken care of first!. Hell, it probably would have clotted up on its own just fine! But no, cue the cheesy romance music because these two are clearly sharing a manufactured moment. That’s how movies work. But when I offer my sleeve for a woman on the bus to blow her nose on, I’m a disgusting freak! Stupid fantasy worlds.
Oh, and having lost her jacket during their logless flume ride, Leena’s also now sporting a John McClane Special (bloodstained wife-beater) so she can look both hotter and fiercer. You know, like when Savini and Romero “Ellen Ripley-ed” Barbara in their sterile Night of the Living Dead re-hash.
They come across Tim, and the dingus third wheels himself back into the proceedings. This comedy of errors next turns into an error of comedy as the trio walk headlong into an intended joke break next, finding their way out of the tunnels to a subway platform being chaperoned by a clownshoes-looking security guard (played by some moderately successful Thai comedian, I’m sure) who talks to himself while also harassing teenagers, waving his walkie-talkie antenna at them like a long, skinny, black rubber dildo as they do teen things like make out in public and stand on the “do not cross this line” line. Yes Janet, life’s pretty cheap to that type!
Garuda comes in on the next train, kills Chubs, then gets into it with the three. Tan tries to bullet-fu it (watch the incredibly poor work done with the monster’s shadow now that he’s amidst lights!) but winds up knocked on his ass. Big Bird has an Alien 3 face-to-face with our heroine before a SWAT team swarms in and drive it off with tear gas. They pursue it back into the tunnels, but wind up slaughtered like the good little fodder they are. Garuda makes his grand re-entry soon after, emerging from beneath the street (and expanding his wings for the first time, which seem 20 times larger than they were when curled up on his back until now) to snatch an unsuspecting Tim. Serves him right, as the prick was munching some poor soldier’s abandoned McDonald’s Samurai Pork Burger (an actual sandwich I looked up to make that reference!) at said moment of snatchery. Now that he’s out of the picture, no one has to feel resentful toward Leena when she gets serious with the new sweet ‘T’ in her life either. A gory finish would’ve been better fan service though, given how long we were forced to sit through the big doofus’s antics, but I do at least take solace in knowing that he’s DEAD.
Since the rest of the action takes place above ground in the glowing splendor of the Banged Kok, let’s have a timeout for a trivia break! Thailand’s capital is the proud owner of the world’s longest place name. Yep, the capital city the rest of us know as Bangkok (did that once, hurt like a bitch) is just its stage name. It’s real name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Though it looks like two cats in heat had a fuck fight on the keyboard of your laptop, that orgy of vowels and consonants actually translates into: “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest”. I’ll take their word for it. Fuck’s sake, even if you just go by its acronym (CoAGCoIMCotNGSotKCoRPHoGIEbVaIB), the damn thing’s still half an alphabet longer than the longest city names in the US!
After yet another uproariously incompetent scene of half-assed (or even just one-third-assed) cgi work with Garuda flying around the city and pestering citizens, the beast finally settles for roosting atop a skyscraper. Hoping to kill the fiend once and for all, Tan proposes that Leena offer herself and her pendant up as bait to bring Gary into a trap. Once he’s out of the sky, he won’t be able to outrun their attacks (which sure didn’t seem to cause him many problems when he was in the confines of the subway tunnels!), and they can nail him with a rocket launcher…which would probably also kill Tan’s new girlfriend in the process, given that she’d be in the immediate blast radius, but let’s not argue semantics! If they think their game of “blow up the birdman” is going to go off as planned though, they’re in for a Garud-awakening. Yeah, I said it. So what? Wanna fight about it?
The guy wielding the rocket launcher, Tanong, gets all gun jumper and fires too soon, confident that he knows better than his team leader on how to kill legendary monsters. Turns out playing every Pokemon game to completion doesn’t make him an expert in monster extermination after all. Garuda just suckers the delayed heat-seeker (“HEATSEEKER!”) right into the building Tan and the other soldiers are stationed at, leading into YET ANOTHER HILARIOUSLY HORRID ROUND OF CGI! The floor lights up with numerous ignitions (including one BIG delayed reaction explosion from outside the building), resulting in a fireball that VAPORIZES every grunt soldier it touches! And when I say it was delayed, I speak no diggity: the fucking thing goes from being right on ‘Rudy’s tail to disappearing for FIFTEEN SECONDS while he’s hovering outside the windows of the building before finally reappearing to turn the place into an inferno! I counted the running time.
Severely pissed for having his intelligence insulted like that, Garuda stops by the building roof from which the missile was launched, and proceeds to keep the local funeral homes’ schedules well packed for the next few weeks. We don’t get to see any of it really happen though, as no deaths are shown and all we get to watch is a storm of bullets fired at the monster, all of which have zero effect. Speaking of zero effects, despite the rocket explosion’s incredibly destructive power to turn everyone near it into atoms, Tan escapes unharmed because his hero-of-the-movie badge gives him death exempt status. Used to be, the only two sure things in life were death and taxes. Then tax exemption became a thing and now, so is death exemption, provided you get to headline an action movie as the hero. Not that it worked out so well for Leon in The Professional… but then, that was more of a drama with action elements.
Also like a ’90s American action movie hero, Tan arrives just as Garuda’s about to make a mess of Leena. He spouts what’s guaranteed to be the next great hero catchphrase in “Hey! Die!”, then lays into Gary with a heavy machine gun. I know what you’re thinking: “But, Anubis! If Garuda wasn’t affected by bullets or shotgun shells or explosives or any of that stuff for the entire movie, why would Tan think this machine gun would work any better?!” Well kids, it’s because he’s a hero. And he’s fighting to save the “opposites attract” girl of his dreams. If her personality is strong enough to get him to look past his own bigotry and religious beliefs to fall in love with her and tear the sleeve off of his jacket to bandage a little scratch on her arm, then surely his bullets will fly with the intensity of his determination to save her behind them, thus ending their shared nightmare!
…And they do. Yep. Unlike all of the other guns in the movie (that must’ve been loaded with blanks or rubbers), Tan’s heavy machine gun swiss cheeses the creature’s big manly pecs, shreds one of its wings, and finally, following an extended sequence where he has to save Leena from falling off of the building (she matadored the monster over the edge using the talon necklace, the Garuda’s attraction to which is given no explanation), Big Man Tan puts a single shot between the beast’s eyes to send it tumbling to its final destination at the corner of Corpse Boulevard and Broadway. Just like King Kong. Except Kong was at least shot down by a small squadron of armed planes, not just one guy making an impossibly precise shot with a big unwieldy firearm created for quantity of rounds over quality of accuracy. Lucky for him ‘Rudy inexplicably pauses for a few moments, allowing Mr. T to shoot around Leena (who’s covering up a good half or more of her hero’s shot), with ONE-HAND, and from a sideways position so it’s not even sighted up in ANY WAY. And he even has SO MUCH confidence that the shot’s going to be perfect, that he defiantly shouts “Go get it in the next world!” before pulling the trigger!
This is the type of movie that doesn’t ask you to so much suspend your disbelief, but straight up lynch it. I can’t murder my common sense though! I’d miss it. Logical thinking is already rare enough as it is anymore, so I’d probably be violating the Endangered Species Act if I did. Upon completing Garuda (twice), I’m reminded of the Murray Head song “One Night in Bangkok”, only with some slight alterations:
One viewing of Garuda makes a hard man humble
– Not much between despair and ecstasy
Two viewings of Garuda and the tough guys tumble
– Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
This movie is absolutely horrible. With even the most minute sliver of doubt. The cgi just burns holes into my soul. Garuda makes the creatures in “Hercules: the Legendary Journeys” look like Jurassic Park. Watching the monster jump around and the actors pretend they’re interacting with it (likely the old “tennis ball on a stick” method) is like staring at the sun. You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway to see how long you can hold out before that glowing smudge in your vision becomes permanent.
One thing I haven’t mentioned before now that drives me nuts about the movie is one of the same problems I had while watching 23:59: what’s with all the fucking English dialogue!? Tim’s character speaks fluent Thai, yet he and Leena break into English conversations for no reason! If they were trying to use it as a way to converse without Tan and his men knowing what they were saying, that’s fine. But they don’t. Even more annoying is when it happens in the opening scene, as the French Dr. Jeanvier and his Indian dig partner are speaking English to each other! For fuck’s sake, if you’re trying to market your movie to US audiences with shit like this and the numerous uses of American brands in your product placement spots (Pepsi shows up TWICE, including a plastic cup with the logo on it being thrown at Leena’s dad during a protest against him), you probably should’ve hired some competent FX people to make your titular terror look, you know, terrorizing rather than terrible. American audiences don’t settle for this garbage!
Having openly burned through all of the offerings this shit show has to give already, there’s no real point in going over all of its crimes against humanity again. I will say that it makes for perfect Riff Party material, though. Get friends and/or loved ones together, maybe imbibe a little of the mood enhancing substance of your choice (as a Death God, I literally get high on life), and watch as this clusterfuck falls so far below a zero that it comes back around to a ten like an overzealous kid on a swing. Laughter is the best medicine, so laugh. Laugh at the hard work these people want you to think they put into making it. Laugh so hard that any current cancerous cells leave your body, and all future cancers avoid you for fear of the raging uproarious tremors you will bury them with.
Garuda is so fucking awful and stupid, but it’s cinemasochistic fun. Fitting that it hit theaters on April Fools Day 2004, though I don’t think Thailand celebrates April Fools Day. Maybe? Who cares. It’s all a tangled cat-o-nine tails of ineptitude that hurts so good as it lashes across your back. To make it go down a little easier though, here’s a game to play with those aforementioned substances!
The Officially Official TheTombOfAnubis.Com Unofficial Drinking/Smoking Game: Garuda Edition!
Take a drink/hit during the following moments of the film:
That should be more than enough to get you rightly wasted within the first hour, but if you manage to get to the end credits without blacking out, take a moment to brag to me! Let me know what substance you used and how your experience played out and I’ll add your message(s) of triumph to the review for all to see!
So there you have it: Garuda. The worst thing to come out of Thailand ever, if you don’t count the heroin, HIV, and child prostitution rings.
Okay. I feel better now. Good therapy session. This website is a very complicated version of when people text pics of their bowl-busting brown anacondas to each other. It’s a more socially acceptable way of sharing my shameful experiences and physically destructive consequences with close friends and total strangers in a twisted display of pride. I hope you’ve taken some enjoyment from this bathroom snapshot of Garuda‘s digestively devastating results. Some people think I do myself more harm than good by shoving such raw plutonium straight up my nose, but it’s the kind of pain I gladly prefer to the crippling misery of the real world. Maybe one day I’ll find something better to do with my life. Something that’ll make people proud to share the VonMojo name. But for now, as AC/DC said, “One of these days I’m gonna change my evil ways. Until then, I’m just gonna ride on.”
On that note, I’m aiming to Double Stuf two more episodes of The Tomb in by Halloween, but they’ll be a departure from the World Tour. I’ll be back on the road again in November, starting with India. Until then? Come and knock my door! I’ll be waiting for you! I’ve a lovely space (on my wall) that needs your face! Trick or treating with you!
“Twins, Jack! TWINS!”
“Sweet! This’ll make for an epic bottle opener!”
The special effects shartist’s computer every time he’d start working on Garuda.
Featuring special guest appearances by Stand and Deliver Edward James Olmos! 1992 Shane McMahon! And Jessica Alba!
Given the headphones and glasses, he’s clearly the team’s computer/tech expert. He probably reads manga in his spare time and gets nosebleeds when pretty girls are around too.
“Oh yeah, I’m definitely overcompensating! When the ladies call me the ‘2 inch killer’, they’re not exaggerating!”
Gah! Stop it! You’re gonna give the audience eyeball cancer if you keep doing that!
That’s not water. Pepsi© paid Thailand for the dumping rights to dispose of their unsold Crystal Pepsi™ inventory there. That man’s face will be riddled with tumors in a manner of weeks.
Tim is WAY too excited about being held at gunpoint here. I’d say he’s packing heat of his own, but the idea of Tim with an erection makes me nauseous and all I had to eat today was ghost pepper sauce and Crystal Pepsi™. I’d rather not melt my esophagus bringing all of that back up.
“What an important archaeological discovery! This is clearly Frog Thor (yes, that’s a thing that happened)’s mythological hammer Mjolnir!”
Leena catches sight of Garuda’s penis. She’s quite taken aback.
And there’s Garuda’s penis now! Toldja it was shocking.
And that, gentlemen, is why you don’t shave with a straight razor in the middle of an avalanche.
Also featuring a special appearance by Burgess Meredith from the “Time Enough at Last” episode of “The Twilight Zone”!
Stan’s wife knows how much her menstrual period upsets her husband, so she always pranks him by not telling him when she’s on it before initiating sex! He falls for it every time! Punk’d!
Looks like someone forgot to put the bowl of green M&Ms™ and freezer bag full of cocaine in David Lee Roth’s dressing room before the concert…
It’s an ancient mystical inscription that says “Made in China”.
Why does Garuda look like a bad Photoshop of David Cassidy’s mugshots morphed with Big Bird?
“I thought these would be so cool when I ordered them from Hot Topic. Why the Hell did I pay $86 for them!? Fuck. Maybe I can get a refund…”
“It’s okay Tan, you really don’t need to fuss over me and ruin your shirt for this! It’s just a popped zit. It’ll be fine in a minute!”
Guy Fieri impersonators are shot on sight in Bangkok! And for good reason! Do it! Do it! Do it! DO IT!
“Hello, ‘Mom’s Old Fashioned Mothballs’ consumer complaints line? Yeah, I put my favorite shirt into storage with a full box of your product, and now my sleeve looks like swiss cheese!”
“I really like your ‘Lady Die Hard’ costume, lady! Very sexy! Your cosplay game very pro!”
It’s Batman! Oh wait, it’s just Garuda. Never mind. Nothing to see here, people.
Knowing there’s no hope for a sequel to his own movie, Garuda prepares an audition reel in case Disney ever does a live-action “Gargoyles” movie.
Anubis will return next time in
“It’s Not Easy Having a Good Time”
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: 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”
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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: Mark “‘Doctors’” Frost , Andrew “Wishmaster” Divoff , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs
Director: Brian “Beyond Re-Animator” Yuzna
Writer: David Quinn
Fox’s Fant4stic came out a few weeks ago and bombed harder than Fat Man and Little Boy. In “honor” of the flick’s release from the Hollywood poop shoot, I could have reviewed the studio’s two prior attempts at bringing Marvel’s first family to feature length glory. But, that would’ve been too easy. For those of you who know me, you know I always do things the Max Power way (look it up). For those of you who don’t know me, uhm, I’m Anubis Von Mojo – the proprietor of the shitty movie review site you’re currently reading. Nice to meet you?
Fuck it. Anyway, rather than go with the obvious, I thought I’d obscure it up a bit and insert a stiff finger-blasting of wordplay into the mix. As such, this “reviews thing” will highlight four movies from Brian Yuzna’s no-longer-breathing horror production company, Fantastic Factory. I even opted to slip a a second wordplay finger into the backdoor by using Marvel horror comic book references as the alternate titles for these episodes! Now, if I’m done geeking myself off, let’s turn this factory’s lights back on and start making some fantastic. What better place to start this so-called event off than with FF’s premiere production!
[Writer’s Note: despite being from Spain, the Fantastic Factory movies are NOT considered part of “World Tour de Farce 2015”. That would be cheating. I have something else in mind for Spain, which you’ll find out about once I get around to that neck of the woods…which will be sometime around 2017 at this rate. Blart.]
“Faust: Love of the Damned” originally started as a 1987 comic book series of the same name plucked from the demented minds and talented hands of independent creators Tim Vigil and David Quinn. It took 25 years and two different publishers (from Rebel Studios to Avatar Press) before the pair finally finished the tale’s 15 issue run. And you Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) nerds thought George R.R. Martin took his sweet time? Fuckin’ artists and their “process”.
As you’ll notice, Quinn was also brought on as the writer for this live-action adaptation, which is a good thing if you want your movie to feel more like a comic book. In this case, it definitely does. Not to the audience taxing extents of Ang Lee’s Hulk with all the gimmicky comic panel shots and such, but more through dialogue, story structure and scene progression. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s still a thing, whatever your tastes may be.
Aaaaaaanyway, let’s make like BTO and get to takin’ care of the proverbial business!
Though the movie is presented in a very “broken and out of order” story sequence, I’m just going to work through it chronologically to make it more cohesive.
Aside from having a very old skool Marvel Comics-esque alliteration heavy moniker that’s confusingly close to Jasper Johns’ name, and a self-indulgent status as an “artist”, John Jaspers (Mark Frost–not to be confused with Jack Frost or Mister Frost) also has a beautiful girlfriend. The exotic Blue (Jennifer Rope) is JJ’s muse, his beloved, his everything. Too bad for him that she’s also an illegal immigrant who was brought into the country by less-than-legal means, courtesy of a gang of ne’er-do-wells. When the goons (are they hired goons, perchance?) come looking to punish Blue for not repaying her tariff, wimpy little Jaspers tries to intervene. Instead of being the roundhouse kicking Dalton that his chromatically monikered madam needs though, Double J’s just her dime store Eric Draven, held impotent and agonizing while the woman he loves is tortured before his soggy eyeballs. He’s cold cocked and left to sleep it off while presumably unspeakable acts are performed on the lovely lady with the painful accent.
When he comes to from his ass kicking, a disheveled Jaspers (who should wipe that smear of ketchup off of his mouth before his mother comes at him in a public place with a spat upon napkin) discovers his corpsed-up soul mate/mail order bride inversely crucified upon one of his easels. It’s actually a cool visual that I’d never considered before seeing it here, and given my tendency to daydream about the different things I could crucify people to, I’m surprised. Anyway, with his beloved now be-deaded, JJ declares life a crushing boulder of searing agony squatting on his chest and no longer worth living. He’s the personification of every Morrisey song: boo-hoo poor me emo tripe all day and all night.
And now, courtesy of the Meat Council, this free tripe!
On the verge of taking his own life via bridge bungee jump (sans bungee), our protagonist’s approached by a touchy-feely harlot named Claire (Mónica Van Campen) and her ominous looking white-haired boyfriend referred to only as “M”. “Why so ominous?” Because, Joker, M’s played by Andrew Divoff. When Wishmaster‘s demonic djinn is in your movie, 95% of the time he’s got evil intentions a-brewin’. Sure enough, the mono-consonantly titled stranger offers John Boy immortality and the power to take revenge on those who have wronged him, but makes no bones about warning him that his payment for such power will be his eternal soul now, and a future thing that Jaspers holds closest to his heart, to be named later. Ready to end his existence anyway and having no belief in a “soul” to begin with, JJ figures “Fuck it! I’ll take the demonic revenge powers!”.
From suicidal pessimist to optimist who thinks he can get one over on the Prince of Lies in a matter of moments. Now me? I hate optimists. They’re just in denial of how the world is nothing but a barb wire wrapped dildo trying to butt fuck us every chance it gets. The kind of people who think that the massive potholes in their lives are part of some “god’s plan”. The kind of people who try to put a positive spin on being shat upon by avian airstrikes, calling it “good luck”. NO! YOU WERE SHIT ON BY A FUCKING BIRD! YOU’RE NOT DUE GOOD LUCK, YOU’RE TARGET PRACTICE! YOU’RE A LOWER LIFEFORM’S TOILET! And if everything’s part of “god’s plan”, then why the fuck are you praying to him to make changes in your life?! Aren’t you supposed to just sit back and let the guy in the sky do his thing? Do you think you know better than “god”?! Monkeys.
No sooner does John start smearing his gory signature on Mephistopheles’ contract, you can practically hear Hugo Weaving proclaiming “the sound of inevitability” in your ear, because you know deals with Ol’ Scratch generally don’t end well. Until the fine print bites him in the ass though, John at least gets himself a slick pair of forearm mounted, retractable stabby talons with which to perforate his adversaries’ innards! He wastes no time surprising the gang in their warehouse hideout (how he knew where said hideout was is never explained) and relieving the three members he finds there of the massive tumors they call their heads. Returning to M, JJ’s told that his job isn’t done yet because he’s now Satan’s assassin. He tries to put his new boss in His place, only to discover that, surprise, the claws won’t come out against their bestower. The Great Deceiver’s not new to this game, dummy. I am curious as to why the Lord of Darkness would enroll a simpering little art school dropout as his hired gun though, since you’d imagine a soldier or an MMA fighter or even Uwe Boll would be a better option physically. Maybe M just didn’t want to have to travel far from his home office and JJ was the closest suicidal person he could find on such short notice.
Being M’s loaded gun isn’t all bad, though. The benefits plan includes shower sex with Claire, after all. As Satan’s fuck toy, she’s probably immune to STDs…or flooded with them. Maybe it’s not such a benefit after all.
JJ is sent by his new boss to a Chinese (maybe?) embassy to turn the place into an international house of
pancakes carnage. He carves up 19 people, but rather than go for a nice round 20, stops short of killing police Lieutenant Dan “Hound Dog” Margolis (Jeffrey Combs!). Instead of rending Dan into itty-bitty pieces fit for an itty-bitty-ditty bag, the wild-eyed Jaspers sheaths his claws, utters “No” to a nearby Claire (concealed behind a veil), then mutters “The Hand.” to the Lieutenant, then slips into a completely unresponsive state of total mental meltdown. Before the rest of the fuzz can gun down JJ like an unarmed black teen in the park, Margolis interjects and takes the mentally disturbed human lawnmower into custody. This to the chagrin of the Lieutenant’s “oh you KNOW that dick bag is a bad guy!” boss Commissioner Marino (Fermi Reixach), who tries to have Jaspers filled with more lead than a Chinese toy factory, only to be disappointed because now Jaspers the Friendly Ghost will likely get off on a plea of insanity.
Due to said regression into an unresponsive vegetable (his brains have turned into figurative cauliflower), John is given accommodations in a padded room rather than a jail cell. Here he soon meets his appointed psychoanalyst, Dr. Jade de Camp (Isabel Brook), who has experience with bringing patients out of traumatically induced consciousness crashes through “unusual methods”.
At first blush I thought this meant she was going to be one of those therapists you see in 2 a.m. Showtime softcore flicks who fix all of their patients by having hilarious, poorly choreographed sex scenes with them, but Jade’s atypical tactics of treatment basically just consist of trying to trigger a cognitive reaction by playing music. So you can make me cry uncontrollably by playing “The Humpty Dance”. Big deal. It proves NOTHING!
While Jade is trying to finger our hero’s trigger, Lt. Dan (“Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?”) flexes his Netscape-Fu and scours the worldwide wasteland for information on an occult sect known as “The Hand”, as per Johnny’s utterance of the words at the embassy slaughter. He finds the information faster than you can look up “Thundercats hentai” or “dump cake recipes”, as the group appears to have their own Angelfire page! Not very clandestine of them. Hell, I can’t even get my page near the top of search engine results when you type in “The Tomb of Anubis”, so they must put a LOT of their marketing budget into their internet advertising if they’re showing up in the top 10 for something as commonplace as “the hand”! Movies. What’re you gonna do? Blart, that’s what.
While silently drawing seemingly Satanic symbols on the walls of his cell (at first with his own blood, then with a Sharpie provided by Dr. J), John has a reaction when he sees a certain CD in Dr. de Camp’s pile of mood music. Desperate to get her patient to say anything, she puts the disc (presumably a choice track from the Faust soundtrack, available
NOW 15 years ago from Roadrunner Records!) on and gets just the manic lashing out that she’d hoped for! He breaks down in a bit of acting that can’t help but recall Jeff Daniels’ award-winning performance in Dumb and Dumber as he tells Jade his story (which I already covered previously, so you and I can fast forward through this next part). You’re welcome.
During story time, JJ gets all “artist speak” on us and shows us the “depth” of his “tortured soul” by yammering on about the shallowness of art in comparison to love and how evil is a thing despite the existence of science and technology (Duh! Ever hear of Decepticons?!) and blah blah blah. The line between pseudo intellectual and actual intellectual isn’t a thin line: it’s a gaping chasm and this guy’s sitting at the bottom of it, standing on his head and jerking off into his own mouth. Guys, never get high on your own stash. It’s like meth: Not Even Once.
Having bucked M’s control and thus avoided an LAPD style “excessive force” demise, JJ is now wanted by the bad guys. He’s snatched from his padded room after hours by Dr. Yamamoto (the head doctor in charge of him who also happens to be M’s personal physician), and two of the goons responsible for Blue’s death. Now, is this all a big coincidence that M’s both the cause of Jaspers’ misery, as well as the provider of his power? Or, was it part of an overarching scheme? Whatever the case, Jpeg’s drugged and dragged to a cemetery, where M gloats over him a bit before burying the blonde blood-letter alive and sending him to eternal damnation in Hell. In the fiery beyond, Jaspers is strangled by a skeleton until he uses his talons (stupid of M to bury him with the damn things like some kind of Bond villain) to crack-a-lack its cranium and return to life. Amidst the dirt (and an inordinate number of worms), he claws his way from the earthen womb of his resurrection! And Yuzna ruins any awesome factor the scene once had by having a headstone to Jaspers’ makeshift grave with “AUS” and three conveniently placed scratches upon it spell out “FAUST” when JJ’s claws cast a shadow across it.
See? I literally face palmed at this and had to walk away for a breather. If I’d known things were going to get this corny I would’ve brought some butter and salt. Fuck.
Making good on his promise to take away something important to JJ (despite having just buried the guy alive with the intention of sending him to Hell), M sends his henches to snatch Jade. As they surround her in an ominous alley that’s on loan from a Death Wish movie, a caped figure descends upon the fiends from above. Looking like concept art for a Clive Barker Batman movie (and with the red light-up eyes of a drug store Halloween mask), Jaspers proceeds to eviscerate the villains as his new, blood crazed, eponymous persona Faust. He’s dressed like the Dark Knight, cracks demented one-liners a la The Joker, and murders with the savagery and bladed protrusions of Wolverine. All things that should be amazing, but the rubber muscle suit is distractingly silly and the line delivery boils just a little too far over the top of the pot. It needs to be more Jack Nicholson Joker and less Frank Gorshin Riddler. Hell, even a bit more toward Jim Carrey Riddler might not have been so bad.
No, wait. I’d rather swallow a nest of vipers than praise anything related to a Joel Schumacher Batman movie. Carrey on.
Dan and Jade combine their powers to form a Captain Planet of an investigation (he is our hero, after all), against the orders of the so-obvious-that-he’s-in-on-it Commissioner Marino. Who’s your favorite Marino? Dan Marino seems like a nice enough guy, but I have to stand by Ken Marino. Guy’s amazing. And no amount of touchdown passes or Isatoner commercials will ever top repeated declarations of “I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT!”. Where was I? Oh yeah, Marino’s clearly under M’s employ and if they’re not going to be upfront with it from the start, Yuzna probably shouldn’t have had the guy’s voice dubbed by someone so blatantly sinister sounding. That motherfucker is up to no good. Up to no good. Like a spark on a wire. Or a splinter of a wood. I gotta stop listening to Rancid while I write these things.
Back at the baddies’ den o’ sin, succubus nympho Claire conspires against her sugar devil, but Big Daddy Mammon lets her know that he’s aware of her plans and puts her in her place by turning her into a big slimy pile of boobs and butt flesh with a face and tiny stick arms. You know, pretty much what you’d expect to see out of a Screaming Mad George concoction. Unless you’re a narcissist who fears this happening to you, the whole sequence is much funnier than it is terrifying. The silly music doesn’t help, and my respect for Yuzna as a horror guy dwindles as a I realize, intentionally or not, the guy’s trying too hard to emulate Charles Band’s ’90s stuff and it’s not to his (or our) benefit. My hopes for the other three movies on this “reviews thing” is dipping to dangerous levels. My hope for my hope chest (i.e. my DVD collection) is dissipating like a fart from a dead body’s voided bowels.
JJ visits a towel clad, post-bath Jade at her apartment, vowing to protect her from M’s machinations and the threat of whatever “worse than death” plans he has in store for her. When the officers assigned to watch her intervene, he transforms into Faust (through the magic of late ’90s low budget computerized morphing technology – a trauma we’d all like to overcome), tells them to take a message to their boss, then proceeds to lick one of them (he’s got an odd, homo-erotic sadism fetish where he keeps making mouth time with decapitated mens’ faces) before gutting them both. So, I guess the delivery of that message was purely symbolic then? As Jade runs off scared out of her mind (but not too scared to have grabbed her trench coat), Faust goes to a window and shouts the best line of the movie at her: “I’m the pornography that gets you HOT!” It’s one of the brief moments that Frost’s exaggerated delivery works and it’s amazing.
One of the porcine peacekeepers survives his sticking long enough to call in backup, leading to a chase scene as the 5-0 show up to “help” Miss de Camp. But, when she sees Yamamoto there, her guts tell her something’s not right, confirmed when he tries to poke her with some sleepy juice (now known as a “Cosby Non-Consent Cocktail”). She runs onto a conveniently waiting subway train that Margolis manages to miss, but Faust does not. In fact, he does a little comically needless/needlessly comical hop into the car! Faust adds a few more notches to his one-eight-seven bodycount and wins the award for Most Subway Passengers Traumatized since Predator 2 took the prize a decade earlier. Given the choice between the sleazy Commissioner and the blood-soaked one-man killing streak, our heroine opts for the latter. These days, when given the same choice, I think most people would do just that.
Back at Johnny’s place, the two debate over tea and scones whether he’s retained any of his humanity, whether evil is a curable mental condition or an incurable primordial state of being and what the hero’s intentions are for her lady parts. Actually, they just yell at each other about said subjects until ultimately banging like hamsters on Viagra. Here’s a tip, folks – when someone asks you if you want to rape them, there’s a good chance that means they’re floating a role play fantasy out there and are waiting for your reaction without straight up asking you if you’d do it. Never do anything to someone without their consent, but definitely evaluate whether you want to continue this relationship or not, because things can get REALLY tricky. Not necessarily bad, but tricky. Always establish parameters for consent and even then be prepared, because your partner is probably going to get freaky in your ear. Personal experience, that’s all I’m saying.
In the throes of their humpening, Jade tells John that she’s wanted to jump his bones from the moment she saw him (therapists love damaged people they can “save”, it’s an ego driven Jesus complex thingy), then declares that “this is forever”. Yikes! I’ve been known to bring out the ‘L’ word (“Lesbians?”) a little too soon with a couple of gals, but “this is forever” is something better saved for wedding vows and contracts with your internet provider, not first time flings! Making the scene all the more awkward (aside from the bits of demonic residue/cop blood still sticking to nekkid John) is the “love making” track that plays over it, dominated by a woman humming sensuously as if she were sipping on a chocolate shake and getting her feet rubbed while recording it. What makes it even more awkward is when Jade’s own trauma kicks in and her mind is flooded with the horrors of a hideous faceless creature she refers to only as “Smooth Man”. Not Barry White smooth, but “fat guy post Brazilian wax drizzled in baby oil” smooth. Gross. Evidently, when she was a little girl Jade was molested by the Incredible Melting Man. He’s incredi-meltable!…and on the Public Sex Offender List.
The mood for their first time officially killed, Jaspers does the right thing and just cuddles with Jade while she opens up about her PTSD, then promises to protect her after. Good man. Meanwhile, The Hand are on the verge of seeing their centuries old plan to fruition, as tonight is the night their dark god Homunculus will finally be summoned and the Earth will be transformed into Hell…except that there’s another day’s worth of scenes, so I guess they meant tomorrow night. Margolis tails Marino to a roundtable meeting at M’s mansion and watches as the Commish rakes M over the coals for not being able to control his own human Cuisinart. The rest of their cabal also show faltering faith, so the Morning Star makes an example out of the rabble-rouser and absorbs him into his stomach using these big abdominal demon arms a la that crazy shit at the end of The Evil Dead. With his minions back in their proper place of fear-based reverence, our main antagonist needs to have a sit and get juiced by Yamamoto, as his human form is getting weak. Not weak enough to overlook Margolis though, whom he sees from the other side of a two-way mirror and puts some evil whammy on.
Margolis calls Jade and tells her that he’s uncovered the truth about what The Hand have planned. He also says he’s found JJ’s contract and has a plan for how they can void it, but tells her to meet him at M’s estate before he’ll go into any details. Oh, and he wants her to come alone…riiiiiiiiiight. Danny Boy’s heel turn might not have been so obvious had they not just ended the previous scene the way they did! Damn it, Yuzna.
Jade finds nothing strange about how she’s able to just waltz through M’s unlocked front door untouched, and follows Dan further in the bad guys’ inner sanctum. She finds the contract and deletes any empathy I had for her when it turns out she’s one of those obnoxious people who moves her fucking lips and mutters when she reads something to herself too. She’s approached by M, who offers to trade her JJ’s freedom for full power of attorney over her body. Dan reveals his official switching of teams as well, jealous that Jade chose doing the bed spread rumba with Jaspers over him, finally giving Combs a chance to sink his teeth into some scenery like he does so well. Elsewhere, Claire conspires with Dr. ‘To to poison the big boss and steal his wealth of knowledge and powers for their own, seemingly unfazed by the whole “Dali Meets Picasso” pile-of-tits-and-ass flesh fiasco she went through before. Claire even tells ‘Moto to his face that he can’t trust her, but the threatening seeds she plants in the doctor’s ear of his loss of usefulness once M gains his full power are enough to convince the portly physician to go into business for himself. Elsewhere still, John wakes up in bed, discovers Jade has left and freaks out. For all he knows she went out to get them coffee and crullers and he’s throwing a spaz like a codependent child over nothing. Lighten up!
The conspiracy against M seems to go off well, as Yam’s lethal injection leaves his now former boss dead in a heap of gross on his fancy Oriental rug. Too bad for the doc though that M managed to kill him too before giving up the ghost. Oh well, he would’ve ended up dead either way. But, if given the choice, I’d probably rather my throat slit by a sadistic succubus in mid-climax than having my face chewed off by an old man with coke junkie nails. Claire doubly confirms her newly widowed status by turning what’s left of her hubby’s head into a 12 gauge smear. Upon taking charge, the black widow goes full Domme on Jade, locking her in a stockade and whipping her ass with a cat-o-nine tails, then dressing her in a belly dancer bikini and putting her in an electrified cage while she turns her sexual nightmares about Smooth Man into fantasy, transforming her into a horny sex kitten almost as fast as Japanese schoolgirls learn to lust after monster tentacles. So the fastest way to cure severe emotional damage in someone is to inflict severe physical damage on them instead? Gotcha.
Turns out it’s not as easy to kill the Prince of Darkness as Claire thought, as M then pops up to take back his baby momma-to-be. Yep, M’s going to pull a Demonic Toys and impregnate a human woman with his new form. Though why someone would want to relive childhood, even in an instance like this, is beyond my comprehension. The ritual sees M pull a huge yellow anaconda out of a bound, mud caked Claire’s stomach then feed the snake to a mud caked Dan while Claire’s body is engulfed in flames. Dan falls over dead (what the fuck was the point of the snake!?), Jade does interpretive dance on an altar and random minions stab chanting extras to death all around them. Faust bursts through a window to interrupt Beelzebub’s bacchanal, killing several goons wearing red KKK hoods (on laundry day, you’d think racists would know not to mix coloreds in with whites *rimshot*) before reverting to his emotionally crippled human form upon seeing that Jade’s willingly turned into Satan’s breeding slut. He watches in horror as two-pump chump M gets his rocks off in his girlfriend while she has the ill-timed breakthrough that Smooth Man was actually her father. Disturbing as this is, I was worried they were going to reveal that it was M who’d raped 11 year old Jade as part of his long term plot to eventually manipulate her into being a Hell whore. Though less nauseating that the incest thing, it would’ve been hokey as fuckin’ pokey.
Upon M’s climax, the Homunculus is summoned. Wait. That’s their Homunculus!? No. By definition a homunculus is a small, artificially made human being. I saw Verne Troyer at a comic convention last weekend. HE is a homunculus. The thing M is summoning resembles something out of the nightmare a lesbian has right before she realizes that dicks aren’t her forte. It looks like Ultraman monster villain Bogun by way of a Ken Russell fever dream after he’s downed too much absinthe and LSD. It’s Satan’s wedding tackle. We can thank Screaming Mad for this, as the monster’s design is his own. The comic book form of the Homunculus was more in line with a werewolf…which STILL ISN’T A HOMUNCULUS!
M sends Jade to commit her final act of devotion by killing the now bound John, but she does the hero thing instead and cuts the straps, thus freeing him to become Faust again. The Non-munculus proceeds to turn the entire ceremony into a mass funeral pyre, burning all of its followers while Faust does this embarrassing “hop and flail” thing, attempting to slash the monster as it sits just out of his reach. You know what he needs? Judge Doom’s spring shoes. Cartoony, yes, but they’d actually be less goofy than just watching him hopping up and down like a little kid whose big brother is holding his favorite toy out of reach. Silly little demonic superhero guy. Maybe if you keep drinking your milk you’ll be big enough one day to not be the object of harassment and ridicule for some cock beast from the Lake of Fire.
The frightening phallic fiend (sounds like a Scooby-Doo monster) grabs Faust in its tractor beam, but before it can eat him, Jade stabs M in the neck, causing the creature to flinch due to its apparent link with the villain. It drops our hero, allowing him to do another of his silly little hops, this time close enough to plant his talons in its soft, fleshy head. I told you it’s a mutant penis! It’s like the dickasaurus from Tromeo & Juliet! Defeated, the not-a-homunculus is sucked back into the portal from whence it came…swirling around in circles like it’s being flushed down a toilet. Fetal’s fraggin’ gizz.
John still can’t lay a claw on M though, so the bad guy hovers semi-triumphantly over the gateway, mocking the hero and vowing to send him to Hell…which didn’t work the last time! Still, Jade strikes a deal with El Diablo for John’s freedom, giving him the soul of the baby that M just planted in her nurture purse. The baddy negates JJ’s contract, only to have Jade tell him she put one over on the Great Deceiver, because her prepubescent assault didn’t just mess up her brain, it also fucked up her womb (poor choice of words?) and left her barren. M seems pretty nonplussed by this though, saying that he always puts his money on long shots. He must’ve read the unmade part of the script where we were supposed to discover (in a post-credits sequence) that Jade does wind up with a miracle spawn despite her condition. Anyway, M takes away John’s Faust powers (why didn’t he just do that in the first place?!) and declares him dead, but through sheer will and a bit of encouragement from the woman he loves, JJ finds the strength to jam his claws (the second time M should’ve just taken the fucking things away from him!) into his former boss’s digestive tract and sends him back to Hell in a wash of computer generated flames like something out of Diablo II. Maybe if M had actually tried to evade the attack rather than floating in place and just yelling “YOU’RE DEAD! I BURIED YOU!”, he could have avoided his demise. Oh well. “Hindsight’s 20/20” and all that.
To end the picture, John falls to the floor and utters another stupid artist epitaph as Jade lays on top of him and mourns his passing. To confuse matters, this is interspersed with cuts of a different scene where John’s saying the same things to Jade before he jumps from the bridge he was originally going to kill himself on following Blue’s death…so… this might’ve all been a figment of John’s delusional mind after all!? Huh. Interesting twist, I suppose. You know, in that “Newhart” kinda way…now I wish I had enough ambition to draw Bob Newhart as Faust…
Okay, wrap up time. Where to begin? I think I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan of Yuzna’s directorial decisions. I think the levity, both intentional and un, were out of place. Normally I’m okay with Yuzna’s stuff, but this just rubbed me the wrong way on this material. Stuart Gordon was supposedly pegged to direct Faust back in the ’90s when it was being shopped around. Back to Batman terms, I think we deserved something more Tim Burton-y and less Joel Schumacher-y, and Gordon probably would’ve provided that. Yet another one for the “Oh, what could have been” pile.
The acting is all horrible. Well, not all of it, just most of it. It doesn’t help that half the characters are being dubbed to cover up their no doubt heavy Spanish accents (or lack of English), but even the people using their own voices are painful to listen to. Frost is trapped somewhere between Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons and Tommy Wiseau in The Room. His scenery chewery never quite hits either extreme of “so bad, it’s good”, so it just sits meandering at “bad” for the entire movie beyond his delivery of that one sweet aforementioned line. Combs is serviceable for the most part except when watching Margolis try his awkward best to hit on Jade. It’s painful and reminds me why I only pick up
victims women online during the one week a year that Geek2Geek offers me a free trial membership. Combs definitely gets higher marks once his character falls from grace and goes full evil though. I’ve been saying since From Beyond that I want to see the man play Renfield in a Dracula flick, but his brief work as evil Dan further solidifies that opinion like a cockroach in concrete.
Much like my review for Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation however, Divoff outshines my hero JC and is the real linchpin keeping this movie from disintegrating into Werewolf territory…or is it pronounced “warr-wilf”? Unlike Combs, Divoff’s role is perfect for him to be on top of his game out of the gate. The guy exhales sinister like it was smoke. He reminds me of Christopher Lee in his legendary Hammer Dracula run. High praise, I know, but I believe what I say. The man plays his roles so well that it comes off as effortless and he deserves so much more than he’s been given. It pains me that my own review limiters forbid me from doing episodes for the first two Wishmasters or either of Full Moon’s Oblivion movies, because they’re pure showcase material for this guy.
The practical and makeup effects by frequent Yuzna co-conspirator Screaming Mad George work. Everything’s got that slimy gloss to it, which works as a gross out thing, but risks portraying them as the rubbery creations they really are. The digital stuff isn’t great, but we can chalk that up to technical and/or budgetary limitations at the time. The metal music soundtrack features names I’ve heard of like Type O Negative, Sepultura, Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Machine Head, and a Soulfly song that lauds the inclusion of Fred Durst for some fucking reason. Even in 2000 that wasn’t something to be proud of. It all sounds generic to mine non-metal detector ears, so to me it all leans less bad-ass and more cheese-ass, metaphorically stinking of Velveeta and farts. Incidentally, you can pick it up used at this Amazon link http://www.amazon.com/Faust-Various-Artists/dp/B000055YAH for the same price as your 10th spatula at the Spatula City https://youtu.be/4BUDwj_mXKE clearance sale!
Speaking of metal, today’s episode is sponsored by Pantera Bread™ – Re! Spect! Bread! WE BAKE IT FOR YOU!
As I finish this up, for those who think this entire premise sounds too much like The Crow for your tastes, stick a pinch of this factoid between your cheek and gum: Faust was published in 1987, while The Crow wasn’t published until 1989’s Caliber Presents #1. So, even if you discounted the fact that today’s feature takes its name and influence from a Medieval German legend, the vengeful anti-hero himself still predates his better known peer by a couple of years.
And for the jerk-offs who think Faust is just ripping off Spawn, Todd McFarlane didn’t drop that deuce until 1992, so sit your ass down and stop pretending you’re the fanboy you think you are, skid mark.
Speaking of the four color funnies, in 2003 DC Comics decided to cash-in on the Tokyo Drifting craze (that wouldn’t actually happen until 2006) and put out a 6 issue mini-series called “The Demon: Driven Out”, that centered around their demonic character Etrigan getting involved with the activities of a female street racer and her conflict with the Yakuza. The painted cover of the first issue (courtesy of Jo Chen) is one of my favorites.
It’s enough to make you wet , right? If there were any justice in the world, Brian Yuzna would give us a sequel to Faust that borrows heavily from that mini-series, rather than any of the other comics in Faust’s actual exploits. The resultant production could be known by no other name than The Faust and the Furious…
Yes, I just spent two paragraphs of your time to shoehorn a “Faust and the Furious” pun into this review. Dropping bombs like President O-bomb-a with a fleet of drones. Baracka Barolla!
And on that note, I’ve stolen enough of your precious precious time for today. Tune in for our next episode as we partake in part two of this “Fantastic Four” reviews thing. Until then, my friend, this is the end. This is the end, my only friend. The end. Praise the Noodle Gods. Ra-men. *click*
“You remember me from my role in Cyclone? Nobody watched Cyclone! I’m pretty sure I remember the director wearing a blindfold the whole time so he didn’t need to watch it while we were making it!”
That moment when you’re trapped in a straight jacket, the inside of your nose starts itching like a motherfucker, and you realize you’re about to lose whatever sanity you have left.
Did somebody delete their icons folder by accident, or did Yuzna not wanna pay the rights fee to use the search button graphic?
You know their dark lord’s serious business when they spell out his name in all caps.
Shit! TimeWarner is really strict about their penalties for early contract terminations!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your bad-ass demonic hero… prematurely ejaculating, apparently.
That awkward moment when your parents walk in on you practicing your kissing on a mannequin head… while dressed like a comic book character… At least you’ll be ready for the Comic Con key party next year!
Janice Dickinson finally has too much plastic surgery.
Sure, being the star of a bukkake party sounds like fun when you’re rollin’ on a Molly high, but eventually you come down and just end up with another entry for your Regrets Journal.
Speaking of bukkake party regrets…
Hey! That cop’s got a tail light out! Somebody give him a ticket!
“I’ve been spending a lot of time at the gym blasting my abs. Can you tell?”
Excedrin headache #666
“The only way to be rid of severe emotional trauma is to replace it with different severe emotional trauma. As such, you will now watch 27 uninterrupted hours of Carrot Top stand up! It will make you a stronger person… if you survive.”
Check it out: it’s what Rush Limbaugh thinks a lesbian wedding ceremony looks like.
Next in our freak show: the most normal guy at Burning Man.
“But I made sure to order the three pronged claws! My Wolverine cosplay is ruined! Now I’ll never get laid at the Comic Con key party!”
Oh good! Nice to see Satan’s been getting some use out of that BowFlex™ I got him for Antichristmas. Another few months of that and my dude won’t have a single sleeve in his entire wardrobe!
Anubis will return next time in
“Spirit of Vengeance”
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!
Featuring: Essie “The Matrix: Reloaded” Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel “Fell” Henshall
Director & Writer: Jennifer “Monster (2005)” Kent
Hey strangers! Long time no see! It’s been a rough couple of months. But, not unlike a boomerang, this man-dingo (not to be confused with Mandingo) comes back sooner or (in this case) later! Despite being forged of mithril, it turns out my otherwise invincible laptop wasn’t waterproof OR whiskeyproof. Since I lost all of the original graphics and write-ups I’d made for the World Tour reviews, today’s episode will be the debut of my new, lazier format! No teasers about the next stop, no comedically morbid trivia about the origin nations, and no customized images. Instead, here’s my immensely slothy banner. Now get reading!
Charlie, Charlie, were the people who “summoned” you (before you were revealed to be a viral marketing ploy for yet another shitty “found footage” ghost movie) just gullible dip shits who would better serve the world as a new Taco Bell menu item called “the Soylent Grande”?
Charlie, Charlie, would this gag have gone over better if I’d published this episode two months ago, when I originally started writing it?
Charlie, Charlie, did you see the trailer for The Babadook and think you were on the cusp of Australian cinema’s “next big thing”?
Charlie, Charlie, were you as disappointed by The Babadook as I was?
Unlike when I’m masturbating on the toilet in the dark after waking up from that Barbara Crampton sex dream I’m always having, right now it’s nice to know I’m not alone…
The writer-director of today’s feature is Jennifer Kent. Jenn’s other credits mostly consist of minor acting roles, so my biggest fear was that The Babadook is the result of yet another person in front of the camera getting sick of being told how to utilize the trauma of their childhood dog being hit by a car to force tears, and vowing to prove to everyone that she can do “their job” better than “they” can. The initial trailer promised me something a little more conventional in the game of supernatural hauntings, which I was more than happy to welcome into my home given the scads of pathetic “found footage” spook-show garbage that’s run rampant through the genre for the last however many years it’s been since the first Paranormal Craptivity planted its hooks into theaters and laid eggs from its oozing, inflamed orifice.
If you haven’t scanned the trailer for yourself, pop in yo’ peepers and get to jeeper creeperin’:
At first glance, we’re promised what looks to be a traditional tale of childhood torment, as a boy and his mother become the hosts for a phantasm released from a children’s fable book. Right? Kinda yes, kinda no.
Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother. Not an uncommon thing. I know several single mothers. This isn’t even a setup for one of those “I support single mothers” t-shirts with the image of a stripper on a pole. I legit know a few single mothers. Hell, my own sister/mom Isis had to do the single mom thing after poppa Osiris ended up six feet under the Fertile Crescent. Amelia’s got it harder than most mono-matriarchs though, not only because her qualification for MILF dating sites is due to her husband’s untimely demise, but because her boy Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is a problem child. Well, I guess the politically correct term for it these days would be bi-polar or “dissociative personality disorder” or whatever the poor kid’s got rattling around in his junior skull bucket. Speaking of, the Junior Skull Bucket™ at KFC now comes with sugar-frosted coleslaw and one of twelve moderately racist toys based on the hit film A Haunted House 2, for a limited time only! Get your glow-in-the-dark “Shawn Wayans fucking the doll from The Conjuring” plaything with no-slip kung-fu grip TODAY!
As I was saying, Sammy’s the kind of kid that Hank Hill would redneck psychology diagnose as “that boy ain’t right”. As a result of his issues, he has recurring night terrors about being stalked by a monster. Like any kid, he’s convinced that said monster is fer realsies and will one day pop out of his closet like Howie Mandell in Little Monsters (you know, the movie that Pixar ripped the fuck off to make Monsters Inc.), only instead of taking Sam on a wild adventure through an ’80s punk-pop dreamscape and teaching him lessons about friendship and being yourself, it’ll just wear the boy’s dismembered face as formal dinner attire while it goes on to eat his mom’s head…what, you’ve never had that dream? Pffft. Liar.
To prepare for said imagined assault, Sammy proves himself quite the Kevin McCallister-in-training, assembling a dart firing crossbow, a back-mounted personal catapult, and all manner of DIY ballistic devices in their basement using nothing but pieces of scrap wood and the kind of basic doodads you find in those $5 “Made in China” toolbox sets. On top of that he’s also an aspiring Copperfield, but practicing his magic tricks (George Bluth Jr.: “Illusions!” ) for mom only garner the slightest of parental recognition. The kid’s got the potential to be a damn genius, but rather than encouragement he gets scolded by Amelia for always fucking stuff up, causing trouble at school and generally being annoying. Even when he reaches out and hugs mom in a much needed embracive moment of bonding, she violently pushes the lad away and yells at him for lingering slightly too long beyond her comfort zone. Women react like that to me all the time, but it’s usually because they catch me trying to undo their bra or drifting slightly too south of the Equator. That’s our Anubis! [canned audience laughter]
Amelia defends Sammy’s eccentricities to his detractors and insists they see him as an innocent child instead of just some pint-sized pain-in-the-ass. Though your first reaction (like mine was) may be that she’s just trying to save face in front of people so they don’t label her another shitty mom who should’ve just swallowed, Amelia does seem to do her best to show the kid as much love as she’s capable of. Not just out of guilt, but because her own emotional problems don’t allow for anything more. It can be hard to understand for those lacking in empathy, but I view depression like rape – if you blame the victim, you’re a piece of shit and I will personally split your uprights with a fire-ax if you bring any of that Faux News bullshit around my tomb.
While Sam’s in school during the day, Amelia works at a retirement home/geezer palace/grandparent dumping ground, and surrounding herself with cranky old farts doesn’t help her tightrope walk of sanity over the gaping maw of madness that is her life. Her co-worker Robbie (Daniel Henshall) is a nice enough guy and is clearly interested in turning their working relationship into, well, a working relationship. He covers for her at work and cheers her up when she needs it, but never expects anything in return. He’s either the sweet would-be boyfriend our lady deserves or total Friend Zone material, depending on your perspective. Though she could use a visit from Dr. Tube Steak (the Double A’s in her battery-operated boyfriend would agree), Amelia prefers to either be ashamed of her situation or play martyr by not wanting to drag anyone into the personal hell she’s built for herself. Good for her there’s always Convent-sized 200 packs of Energizers on sale at G’Day-Mart!
One evening, when Am’s ready to read Sam his nightly pre-bedtime story, the lad brings her a tome from their bookshelf that she’s never seen before. It’s a strange adolescent grimoire of the pop-up variety called “Mister Babadook” – a dark fairytale similar to something out of the old school Brothers Grimm collections. A lot less like Disney and a lot more like Tim Burton and Clive Barker’s nightmares making a litter of Eraserhead babies. She refuses to finish the tale, which infuriates Sammy and sends him into a fit. In the days that follow, the kid starts ranting about Mr. B (naturally *wink*wink*) haunting them, which only makes everybody else wish the kid would fall down a flight of stairs more so. Mom’s attempts to hide and destroy the book prove futile, as that ominous red cover continues to find its way into their home. Every time it returns, with new chapters serving as sinister portents of horrors-to-come…
As far as movies go, The Babadook is certainly well made. The visuals are clean where they should be clean, dark when they should be dark and a wide awake nightmare when they should be a wide awake nightmare. The eponymous specter himself is done is this weird “static shadow” animation style that’s unnerving without going so over-the-top that it’s goofy. Mr. Dookie resembles a silent film era Slenderman. He looks like something that escaped from Dr. Caligari’s wardrobe, a unique homage to villains of the oldest of old schools of animation. With his ominous top hat, demented face and long black trenchcoat of a body, Dooker’s a perfect candidate for stalking Betty Boop from the inky shadows of an ominous alleyway. Bad guys were all very predatory in that rapey sort of way back then.
I give props to the cast, too. Essie Davis does the besieged mom thing like she’s had personal experience, while Noah Wiseman’s just creepy enough looking that when he goes into his screaming freak out panic attacks, he looks suitably disturbed/disturbing. If he were my kid, I’d put him in a cage and lock him in his room until he calmed down, but I guess that only serves as an abutment to my decision to raise pets rather than rugrats! Everyone else in the cast is serviceable in being selfish cunts to help the audience sympathize (or empathize in the case of we childless viewers) with Am’s plight, while the one or two supportive people around her help keep it from turning into a complete “all against one” pity party.
Unfortunately, my biggest problem comes from the production company’s sales pitch on this one. Whereas the trailer promised me a more traditional supernatural horror experience, Babadook‘s dark fantasization of Amelia’s personal anxiety and the emotionally painful relationship with her son skew it much heavier into the “movie with a message” category. That message is bludgeoned over our collective skulls like a gas-powered shillelagh for an hour and a half until the final parting scene. It’s a heart punching manifestation of severe parental depression to be sure, but as someone just looking for something to watch and NOT a suffering parent looking for an understanding perspective, it just makes me shout “YES! WE GET IT! SHE’S SAD AND THE MONSTER IS A METAPHOR FOR DEPRESSION! MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN OR GET TO THE FUCKING CREDITS!”. It makes an otherwise well done movie feel like you’re Daniel Craig tied to a chair with a hole cut out of the seat and Jennifer Kent’s going all Mads Mikkelsen on your undercarriage. Or, as they call it at Guantanamo, a “Cheney Handshake”.
All that being said, if you’re the kind of person The Babadook strives to give a voice to, give it a viewing. If you’re the kind of person that has a metaphorical titanium plate in your head that helps prevent such heavy handed allegory abuse from turning your patience into applesauce and can just enjoy the flick as sensory stimulus, by all means, jump on Netflix and have a ball. If you’re me? Well, you’re not, so anything I say about that is irrelevant. Be happy about it.
Charlie, Charlie, we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well through the course of this review, and I feel comfortable enough now that I think I can ask this without offending you.
Charlie, Charlie, if you’re supposed to be a Mexican ghost, shouldn’t your name be Carlos?
…White kids – what are you gonna do?
Until Children of Men happens? Nothing, Charlie. Nothing. Blart.
See you next episode, boils and ghouls!
“Mommy, is it true what all the kids at school say? Was my father really an albino goblin?”
The cast from A Bug’s Life looks a lot creepier when you watch it in HD.
Kid, I believe you when you say there’s nothing up your sleeves. Believe me when I tell you that if you’re still doing that shit in ten years, you won’t have anyone in your bed either.
“I don’t know, Sammy. I still don’t think it’s normal for a boy to want his mother to read him schematics for homemade explosive devices before bed every night.”
Children, if something that looks like that is trying to be your friend, run out the back door of your house and don’t stop running until you’re at the police station.
I haven’t felt so awkward reading subtitles since I watched that closed captioned copy of Last Tango in Paris… you know which part I’m talking about… yep, the scene with Marlon Brando’s Amish Astroglide™.
“Every day Mr. Harris asks me to pull his finger and every day I fall for it! Damn it!” (a little callback for any “Roseanne” fans who might be reading this)
Hence why Donald Trump pulls such high polling numbers.
Look kids, it’s footage of Jared Leto’s Joker from the latest “leaked” Suicide Squad trailer. Whoop-dee-fuck.
I see no one ever taught the Aussies how to bathe properly. It’s the 21st century and they’re still doing it like the French during the Golden Age of Ballooning. (a little callback for any “Flying Circus” fans)
She sleeps with that violin every night. Rednex fiddler Ace Ratclaw signed it for her at a 2012 show in Budapest! (a little callback for anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia to look up the members of Rednex)
A bad night for most women, sure, but a GOOD night for one of Charlie Sheen’s girlfriends! (a little callback for people who still think Charlie Sheen’s cool and domestic violence is hilarious [also, go fuck yourself with a bayonet])
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Temeura “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” Morrison , Nicola “The Man Who Lost His Head” Kawana , Kate “No One Can Hear You” Elliott
Director: Danny “Rage” Mulheron
Writers: Brad “RoboCop: Prime Directives” Abraham , Joseph “RoboCop: Prime Directives” O’Brien , Briar Grace “The Strength of Water” Smith
Origin: New Zealand
Today’s stop on the World Tour de Farce 2015 has the 3rd largest percentage of vehicular deaths in the world! 20% of their deaths are due to tobacco smoking, and this is actually DOWN by 1/3 from what it was in the ’90s! Their sheep population outnumbers their human population 7-to-1! If human and sheep DNA were compatible, they’d be a nation of Satyr-like hybrid creatures who could knit their own sweaters in the winter! Oh yeah, and for all you big nerd-os, they also have this thing:
Tolkienites, start your whacking, because that’s the Green Dragon Inn. Yes, you can travel to New Zealand and live out all of your Tolkien-based role play fantasies in this replica of Middle Earth’s most famous motor(less) lodge. All the furry footjobs, hobbit holing, androgynous elf orgies, and dwarf sex (with ACTUAL dwarves!) you could ever ask for. While you’re there, surprise your lady with a Stinger! It’s basically just a Shocker, but you paint your hand Day-Glo blue first, call her “Shelob”, and hum while you’re doing it.
So, yes. We’re in New Zealand. Kiwi country. The island nation’s only major contribution to my life has been Peter Jackson, who helped make my high school years a little more tolerable through his brilliantly bat guano creations Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead/Dead Alive. Speaking of those delightfully gore-soaked off-the-wall horror-comedies, today’s feature is in the same vein *wink*wink*.
Before we begin though, it’ll help to have a crash course on the Maori. Actually, we don’t even need a crash course, as a simple summary will do: they’re the NZ equivalent of the US’s Native Americans. They were there first, Europeans came and took over, they were persecuted and poisoned and had their land pillaged, and they’re now treated as second class citizens. I’ll never understand racism, but then I also have a fully functional set of chromosomes and just enough self-esteem and sense of responsibility that I don’t blame my problems and mistakes on others. I am forever denied the bliss of ignorance. Oh well.
Our story begins at the St. Agnes Boarding School for Young Maori Ladies. Like any school that caters strictly to those of the feminine persuasion in the sinema, St. Aggy’s is a lesbo factory, helping to keep the local population down by turning otherwise normal teenage girls into stark raving homosexuals bent on smoking jazz cigarettes and scissoring each other until their vile acts of heathenish self-indulgence summon forth the Morning Star, who will plunge the world into Armageddonous HELL ON EARTH!
Or, here’s a novel idea, it could just be that lesbians are most likely to embrace and explore their genetic disposition for loving the company of other ladies in a place where the hetero pressures of the outside world to be “normal” are minimized to be almost entirely nonexistent, and the likelihood of meeting others like themselves is increased a few hundred fold. It’s not a choice. But being a shit-ass who ruins other peoples’ lives with fear and hatred is. Now go practice not being a scumbag, otherwise I’ll turn your brain A Clockwork Orange and give you the “Full Alex” in front of an endless loop of clips from “Mister Rogers” and “Sesame Street”.
Rather than do a typical rundown of the drama to be had, I’ll be avoiding excessive spoilers by introducing you to the characters themselves first, then getting into whatever nitty and/or gritty and/or titty that remains after. Savvy? Spiffy.
Rina Crane (Hanna Tevita) – our beautiful, barely legal heroine. The opening credits give both her attitude and effort ratings of “Excellent”! She’s a sarcastic little smart-ass artist type student at St. Agnes. She also draws her own comic book characters, making her a Maori Darlene Conner and I’m a little in love with her because of it. Rina’s favorite color is pink (less like Barbie’s convertible and more like the inside of a rare steak); her favorite foods are clam, feline, carpet, and box; despite having never played a woodwind instrument she excels at fingering; and her favorite activity on the swim team is the muff dive. I’d say it’s something of a spoiler by being blunt and telling you she’s a lesbian, but LITERALLY within the first 90 seconds of the movie she’s having nekkid shower time with another girl! I’m talking bare ass and boobs faster than you can say “They have lesbians in New Zealand?”. It’s nothing exploitative either. It’s all soft touches and smiles and gentle lathering while a pleasant track of something you’d hear in Bikini Bottom plays in the background. It’s almost too adorable to masturbate to!
Rina hasn’t come out to her family and friends back home yet. For now she just drops subtle hints, like when dad asks her if she’s been keeping clear of the all-boys schools, she replies with “I’m not even interested in boys… I’m too busy!”. Ah, the words every father used to want to hear their daughter say… back in the ’40s. Speaking of dear old dad…
Hemi Crane (Temuera “Jango Fett!” Morrison) – crazy-looking (but well dressed) father to Rina. His field of study (in which the best he’s managed is an Associates Degree) is the history and traditions of their Maori ancestors and the attempt to keep them alive in the wake of the pale skins’ crushing gentrification of this, their native land. Hemi’s successfully authored 5 papers and 3 books on the subject!… all of which were self-published… and all of which were total boondoggles, selling less copies than those weird niche books you see at Dollar Fandango about the Economics of Crossfit and housewife-on-a-budget stuff where a guardian angel falls in love with the woman he’s assigned to watch over. Hem’s in a constant state of denial, but his pride won’t let him accept these failures, of which those around him are sure to point out. His obsession over their ancestors’ “savage” ways has progressed to the point of re-establishing the long dead Maori cult of the Solomonites, named for the last “pure” Maori – Tommy Solomon. Pretty sure the cult is a product of this movie only, and are named as such for the way you can almost make it sound like “sodomites”. Not unlike the quote that opens this review!
Margaret Crane (Nicola Kawana) – mother to Rina. She’s a celebrity chef with a successful TV show! Like her betrothed she’s also a published author. Unlike her betrothed she’s successful, with 15 cookbooks and an autobiography under her belt. I wouldn’t mind a trip under her belt myself *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*. Hubba hubba! Hem’s more than a little jealous of Marge’s success, and attempts to use her cooking show as a way to promote his failed writing ventures. Also, she may or may not have had a well-publicized affair with her publisher. Margie gets the unenviable task of telling Rina about the little dietary lifestyle change the family has undertaken in her academic absence as a result of their conversion to Solomanism – they’re cannibals now!
Glenn Crane (Kahn West, not to be confused with the Kanye of similar monicker) – brother to Rina. He’s still in high school, where he spends a lot of time playing cricket and… that’s about all there is to him, really. Glenn spends most of the movie in his yellow vest and pleated white pants, which has gotta be the wimpiest sports uniform you’ll ever see. He does get some of the better lines in the script though, so good for him.
Shaun Armstrong (Will Robertson) – childhood friend to Rina. Shaun’s the token white male friend who likes to say he’s “Maori at heart” and goes to excessive lengths to immerse himself in the natives’ ways in an effort to dismiss his genetic pallor and identify more with Rina’s ethnic background. He’s the Middle Earth version of a whigger. Shaun’s been holding a crush on Rina since puberty and has convinced himself that her return to the hometown will finally be the moment of their storied journey where she realizes she’s in love with him too and they live happily ever after. Awww, I remember what it was like being that naive. Medical books call it Ducky Syndrome. The years of self-delusion via wishful thinking almost make up for the crippling heartbreak when you realize that they’ll never be able to view you romantically, and that torch you spent half your life carrying finally catches your shirt sleeve on fire and turns your arm into a mangled mess of beef jerky. Though I can identify with the guy, even I would push him out of a second story window if given half the chance.
Ritchie Tan (Leand Macadaan) – life changing catalyst to Rina. Ritchie’s a big ol’ Pacific Islander lookin’ dude (everyone thinks he and his brother have “Made in China” stamped on their asses) who’s been sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder, kidnapping, and selling fruit without a license. See, I was going to make some kind of funny little comment in there about a whimsical crime he might have committed, just because it was the perfect place to slip in a finger, errrr, joke. Then that “selling fruit without a license” thing popped up and sandbagged me. Such is the problem when reviewing a horror-comedy: competing with the movie’s built-in jokes! It’s easier with common denominator garbage like A Haunted House, cuz that crap biscuit couldn’t make me laugh if it filled my pants with Cool Whip and cracked me in the funny bone with a clown hammer.
Before Mr. Tan can start his stretch in the iron bars hotel (or whatever the Klink’s called down there… and I don’t mean Colonel), his bumbling cohorts in criminal activities dynamite the delivery van tasked with hauling his ample ass to Kiwi Alcatraz. Said suicide squad consists of dipshit demolition man Johnny (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt… what the fuck is a “Shadbolt”?), Ritchie’s uzi-slinging shortfuse spazoid junior sibling Paulie (Ralph Hilaga), and ‘Chie’s shotgun happy femme-fatale girlfriend Gigi (Kate Elliot) who, as a former army cunt, has more balls in her left pocket than the 3 boys she runs with carry combined. They’re packing raisins in a hanky, and she’s wielding billiards in Lord Humungus’s studded leather jock. Fuck with her not ‘lest you’ve grown weary of respiration.
Now that we’ve met The Fresh Meat Players, on with our show!
The gang’s little pre-jailbreak hits a snafu when their getaway car breaks down, leading them to seek shelter in the Crane family’s open garage before they can be spotted by a search helicopter. And just like that, we’ve got a hostage situation…just moments after Rina has discovered a human hand marinating in the fridge…which Mum and Da do not try to pass off as a very realistic jell-o mold, the way you’d expect them to in a comedy. On the Sticky Situations Scale, this rates a “naked sorority girls wearing caramel bikinis wrestling in a bed of cotton candy, then reverse gangbanging the cycloptic tar monsters from that episode of ‘Scooby-Doo Where Are You?‘”.
Who’s gonna come out of this mess alive? Will ANYONE come out of it alive? With a house full of cannibals and killers, which side do you root for!?
Fresh Meat is an oddball of a movie to take in. It’s like a New Zealand comedy rendition of 1996’s Real Killers, without the “oh so ’90s” Dia de los Muertos harlequin skull face makeup jobs and with a lot more wacky cannibalism hijinks. If this movie had had a few dozen scenes of characters dissecting American pop culture, you could also mistake it for a Tarantino movie. Hell, the soundtrack’s even littered with beach party music and the epilogue is a big “we love horror movies too!” homage ending scene that you’re not sure you should enjoy for being just random and referential enough that it works, or give a wet razz to for jamming it’s tongue straight through your cheek and out the other side.
Jango Fett is the real stand out of the movie, as he chews scenery with almost as much aplomb as his character does human flesh. The rest do their thing with talent and competency, but I’m way too lazy right now to call out every individual performance. Sorry, folks. I’m sure you won’t need much therapy to resolve getting passed over by some unimportant Yankee in his review of your movie that will get 10 reads at best. The other few hundred page views will just be perverts who found this by Googling “Scooby-Doo reverse gangbang”, much to the disappointment of their psychologically abused libidos.
Whatever your feelings on the movie as a whole, it’s more than a little weird to watch as a left-leaning American Death God. If Fresh Meat were made in the US, the Cranes would be Native Americans and things would probably be shut down by the PC police before principal shooting started. I’d probably side with the Native Americans on this one too. I mean, Hemi’s got a line where he makes sure to point out, “We’re not Maori cannibals, we’re just cannibals who happen to be Maori!”, but even if, it still feels like kicking someone after years of already holding them down and taking everything they own, then excusing it by saying “I’m not doing this to you because you’re an Indian, you just happen to be an Indian I’m doing this to!”. Or maybe my heart’s just bleeding today and I should “get over it”. Speaking of which, kudos to Parker and Stone for their Redskins episode of “South Park”. Thank you.
Politics and liberal guilt aside, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about the movie itself. It may be a tad long in the runtime, but without ruining things for would-be viewers, I can’t really say much else. So, instead, I thought I’d ramble on for a few more paragraphs due to a lack of anything better to do. As such, let’s start with some fun firearm and human biology facts taught to us by today’s educational feature, Fresh Meat:
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
What’s a battle?
Did that boy just say “What’s a battle?”?
No. He said “What’s that rattle?”. It’s about the heating duct.
Hmm, it sounded like “battle”.
I’ve had a cold, so–
Oh so you would hear ‘r’s as ‘b’s?
And that ladies and germs, is why “Simpsons” exchanges aren’t nearly as funny when textualized.
Ending on a bit of random info, in case you ever land on a pink square while playing Trivial Pursuit: NZ Edition, director Danny Mulheron (who’d probably enjoy my labeling him as “Kiwi Tarantino”) was the man inside of Heidi the Hippo (take that as you will [she sure did! Wakka wakka!]) in Peter Jackson’s iconic muppet massacre of pre-mainstream depravity, Meet the Feebles! Not really much of a surprise that he’d worked for Jackson at some point, as everybody in New Zealand has at one time or another by now. Even more interesting is Mulheron’s turn as Blighty Tater in the 1989 TV series “Worzel Gummidge Down Under” which, to be honest (something my Evil Dead Bride would assure doesn’t happen often), I would have no fucking clue what a Worzel Gummidge even was if it weren’t for watching scads of OSW Review (>>>Splicey Splicey<<<) reruns. Whovians take note, though, because the titular straw golem of the series was played by none other than John Pertwee, AKA the Third Doctor, AKA the voice of Spottyman in one of my childhood favorite cartoonies – “SuperTed”! Holy shit, I gotta go see if there’s any “SuperTed” on YouTube after this…
Oh, and on a FINAL final note, before I leave this land of beauty and wonder to travel to my next stop in the Grand Prix of global movie mocking, whatever happened to Old Zealand?…
On a FINAL finally final final note: For anyone not privy to the inspiration for my alternate title on this episode, I yield the floor to Mr. Frederick Krueger circa his lauded line reading from The Bard’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Take it away, Pizza Face!
“Deputy Head Girl” sounds like a position better suited for a co-ed school… Also, her parents wanted the doctor to put “Aloha” as her middle name on the birth certificate, but he was Chinese. Ouch.
Was the all girls school he sent her to a Stewardess School by chance? Look at that uniform!
“Didn’t you used to sell bootleg DVDs outside of the downtown Dunkin’ Donuts? You got the new Adam Sandler movie?!”
Paulie finally hits his breaking point with people trying to sell him used panties, assuming he’s Japanese.
Am I too late to make a Gigli joke? Really? “At least 7 years”? Shit. Well… I got nothin’. Move along!
“Though I admire you for your bravery in sharing your story with the world, do you think it was wise to go with your bikini photo as the front cover graphic!?”
She looks like a 5 year-old girl dressed a Barbie doll with mismatched outfits, then gave her a shotgun from an older brother’s GI Joe figures. The judges would’ve also accepted “Detroit hooker”.
“No, they didn’t let me keep the Jango Fett costume after we wrapped Star Wars. Can we please keep the interview to questions about my new movie?!”
“You ever just hang your ass over the side and try to shit on somebody’s car? I’d be doing that, like, EVERY day if I were you!”
Uggh, you NEVER wanna be on your knees in front of a fat guy wearing sweatpants. I’ve seen it from both (don’t judge!) sides and just holding your breath isn’t gonna make what’s behind those waistband ties any easier to swallow… LITERALLY!
Maori bling just isn’t “blingy” enough. Now the Aztecs, they were light years ahead of the rest of the uncivilized world when it came to personal accessories!
Don’t get excited folks, that’s just milk. In my weekly support group, we call that a “Mookakke”.
“I don’t care if a bald man wearing a shower cap is like putting gas into a broken down car! Can we go back to the Jango Fett questions now?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Scum Yuppies Must Die!”
Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Meghan “Once Upon a Time” Ory , Rob “The Daily Show with John Stewart” Riggle
Director: Zach “Leprechaun: Origins” Lipovsky
Writer: Tim “Sleeping Dogs” Carter
Sequel: Dead Rising: Endgame
“Funny ass review!! Bonzo loves it! BOINK!!”
Every day I get a new message of concern from my loyal fanbase (Hi, mom!) asking where I am, what I’m doing, which terrorist organization is holding me hostage, and which bodily opening they’ve inserted electrodes into. At this point, which opening haven’t they inserted an electrode into is the better question! Oy.
Anyway, the answer to those questions and every question is: your mother and I will tell you when you’re older. Now go to your room, play with your Mega Bloks, and if you hear any screaming, just ignore it. And don’t call me “Dad”. Or talk to me directly after this. Go.
What’s important is that I’m here now, and in celebration of the Resurrection (of Horus, not that shyster wanna-be) I brought Dead Rising: Watchtower with me! For those uninitiated, Dead Rising is a moderately popular video game series spawned in the year of our Lord Cthulhu, 2006. The game followed intrepid photojournalist Frank West, as he strove for the truth and struggled for survival in a mega mall overrun by a zombie infestation caused by a vast corporate-military conspiracy. This was the kind of game I’d spent a large part of my life foaming at the mouth in anticipation of. Well, I was hoping for something on a larger scale, along the lines of a “Grand Theft Auto Meets Dawn of the Dead” (which would mostly happen years later in the form of State of Decay and Day Z), but Dead Rising was still amazing enough to sell me on an Xbox 360. Yes, I bought an Xbox 360 just to play it. In the gamer circles, that’s called a “system seller”. Give me the opportunity to slaughter the living dead in hilarious ways with improvised mash-up weapons like a kayak paddle with chainsaws at both ends or a motorized wheelchair with mounted machine guns or a dildo cannon, and I’ll play your game all day long. Let me do it while dressed like an overgrown man-child, decked out in a Leatherface costume, or while wearing a Borat cock sling, and I’ll play it all night too!
There was a Japanese movie based loosely around the games called Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun half-a-decade ago, created to coincide with the release of the appropriately (and uninspiringly) named Dead Rising 2. I had fully intended to get around to reviewing it here maybe someday eventually down the line when I got the chance to consider doing so…honestly. Despite the game being a product of legendary Japanese game developer Capcom (birthplace of Mega Man, Street Fighter, and a few dozen other awesome gaming franchises), it’s populated almost exclusively with North and South American characters, so a Japanese movie with Japanese actors just never felt like a “must see” scenario for me. The fact that its story had little-to-no connection with the games it was based on only lessened my interest until it just wafted off of my priorities list like a fart lost on the night air. Watchtower, however, is a product of movie and TV streaming service Crackle (not just a Rice Krispies mascot anymore!), who have decided to take a page from the business plans of competing services like NetFlix and Hulu to produce original programming of their own! Teaming with Legendary Pictures’ “Digital” department, Crackle promised that their Dead Rising would be far more involved with the continuity established in the games that it’s based on, so my hopes for this not sucking are not entirely entombed. Hey, it can’t be any worse than the fourth season of “Arrested Development”, right?
A collaborative cocktail mixed by the writer of Sleeping Dogs (that’s good!) and the director of Leprechaun: Origins (that’s bad), DRW doesn’t adapt the exploits of prior franchise protagonists Frank West, Chuck Greene, nor Nick Ramos. Instead, we’re introduced to our new Player One: Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is a dickhead “ace reporter” for online news group Hit Point Digital (named so cuz, you know, video game jokes!) who are meant to be a “free of the mainstream bias” investigative show like “Vice”. Hero type guy’s only real concern is upping his YouTube view numbers, so he prefers to cover only the most Action Newsy of news stories. If I were to rank the man on the International Douche Bag Scale, he’d come in somewhere between a year’s supply of Massengill and a Convent-Sized bottle of Summer’s Eve.
His current assignment has him in the imaginary city of East Mission, Oregon to cover an outbreak of the living dead. Accompanied by his camera woman Jordan (Keegan Tracy), Dan Rather-Be-Reporting-Wholesale-Slaughter is unimpressed with reporting on quarantine inoculation tents when he could be where the action is, broadcasting the next Dawn of the Dead. While trying to dig up click bait, he zeroes his a-hole-vision in on attractive tough girl Crystal (Meghan Ory), who was bitten in a previous run-in with the walking deceased in “Fortune City” (thus connecting her to the events of Dead Rising 2). She manages to avoid the metamorphosis into a flesh-eater thanks to Zombrex: the only treatment to prevent a bite victim from checking off the “Undead” box on their next census form. ‘Brex is the product of sinister pharmaceutical group Phenotrans, as chronicled in the games and portrayed through whimsical animated commercials about little girls not wanting to become rotten cadaver beasts. So, yes, Dead Rising is just a big fat allegory about consumerism and corporate corruption…AGAIN. Look what you started, George Romero!
Speaking of sinister pharmaceuticals, despite the crowd being pumped full of Zombrex, otherwise normally normal norms start turning into flesh addicts left and right! Frenzy kicks in, everybody goes from zero-to-panicked before you can say “When there’s no more room in Hell”, and the whole things turns into your basic undead epidemic survival flick. A (small) population of extras in festerface declare that John Tucker must die (*wink*), so it’s up to our would-be-celebrity to pull his own butt bacon out of the proverbial fire with a little help from Crystal and Jordan. With a dash of mystery, a spoonful of conspiracy, a few rolls of duct tape, a grieving mother (Virginia Madsen), some military interference (as led by Dennis Haysbert!) and a heaping helping of motorcycle riding marauders led by a Mad Max refugee named Logan (Aleks Paunovic, looking kinda like a beefed out Jon Hamm in face paint), a zombie movie based on a video game based on zombie movies (and isn’t a Resident Evil sequel) is brought into the world. The meaning behind the title is explained in the finale (which I called about 5 minutes before the very same words escape the expository character’s lips) and since I don’t do spoilers on new movies, here’s a hint: it’s got nothing to do with Jimmie Hendrix, Jehovah’s Witnesses or a literal watchtower!
How does this gratis gorefest measure up to the yardstick established by the living dead cinema that came before? Does it go the full six feet deep, or does it deserve little better than a shallow grave from whence the scavengers can pick its bones? As much as I feel it should be offered special consideration for being a fee free affair, Crackle makes it a point to pelt us with frequent commercial breaks to shill the same 3 or 4 advertisements, so no free passes here. Shit, given the overwhelming deluge of corporate propaganda shoveled into my eyes, I’m tempted to shave a few points off! But, let’s do like Fox News promotes and keep things fair and balanced rather than doing like Fox News practices and making contradictory shit up for the sake of bias and bribery.
First things first, the whole shebang is shot on digital (remember, “Legendary Digital”) and looks like a TV show more so than a movie. Not great, but it’s cost effective. The gore is predominantly digital too, so again, not great but ya gotta pinch those pennies. On the plus side, the movie does hit all the Dead Rising boxes that were on my checklist: Serv Bot heads (albeit only in the form of a t-shirt and a prop rather than as a weapon); bloodthirsty marauders (or “psychopaths” as they were referred to in the games) to show us that humans will always be violent shit lords at the first sign of societal collapse; overarching conspiracy subplot; easter egg nods to the video games (including one of the zed words wearing Chuck’s jacket from DR2 and another getting a traffic cone jammed over its head); and the most important thing – DIY death dealers made by duct taping things to other things, then jamming them into the unliving masses! Former series good guy Frank West (Rob Riggle) also makes it into the showcase as a talking head on a news broadcast during the outbreak who pops in to make inappropriate comments, drop some survivalist tips (some taken straight from the Dead Rising game tutorial!), hit on his interviewer, and just generally bring the comedy tone that his character’s always been known for. He’s covered wars, you know!
I understand Frank being used as an ancillary character rather than straight up adapting his story for the screen. We already did that in DR. My only issue with him is Rob Riggle. Don’t mistake me, cuz I think Riggle’s great, but he seems to play all of his roles exactly the same. You never mistake who you’re seeing as actually being Frank West. You’re always very aware that the guy you’re watching is just Rob Riggle pretending to be Frank West as played by Rob Riggle. On the subject of the cast, everybody was pretty much serviceable. Though Meghan Ory was okay, her delivery of the line “Only an IDIOT wants to see a zombie!” is just silly enough to be memorable for the wrong reasons. I thought Carrie Genzel was a nice surprise as Susan, Frank’s exasperated interviewer who plays off of his antics with comical annoyance I can appreciate. Whether written for them or improvised, their rapport echoes my Evil Dead Bride and I, and lets them steal some of the best scenes in the movie.
As for Metcalfe, he actually surprised me. Not in the “Ow! I stepped on a thumbtack!” way, but in the “Oooo! I stepped on a thumbtack!” way that a masochist would experience it. Though Chase started off as a Frankensteinian amalgamation of human and douchebag, he becomes more man than bag as the story marches on. It’s not unexpected, as you presume most heroes who start off as a-holes to pull a face turn before the final act, but Watchtower goes about it in a way that feels less forced down your throat and more a natural, gradual way that eases itself courteously and comfortably past your tongue and down your gullet. Instead of dialog and poor characterization bludgeoning the point across, there are scenes here and there where Metcalfe shows vulnerability and empathy in Chase with simple facial expressions that get the job done and get it done well. Nothing award winning (unless you count the SpikeTV Scream Awards or Fangoria Chainsaw Awards), but I was shocked that someone who looks like a cross between Carson Daily and Taylor Lautner could impress me like that! Golf clap for you, Mr. Metcalfe. You’re not as big a shit-ass as you appear. Fun bit of trivia: Jesse Metcalfe plays a character named Chase here, and was also in the 2010 TV series “Chase”. Additionally, though he has no relation to “Roseanne” actress Laurie Metcalf (they’re forever separated by that “e”… and, you know, lineage), the two were both in “Desperate Housewives”… and now that I’ve wasted your time and attention span on shit that nobody gives a greasy fuck about, where were we?!
The music definitely could’ve been a bit punchier in places. For a fairly light-hearted affair, there are moments of living dead re-deadening that should’ve had something jumpier instead of the “sounds like Danny Elfman wrote it while on the toilet” generic instrumental blandness we’re given. Some scenes do it right, some don’t. It’s about half-and-half. The story is okay. It’s the same formulaic zomb-o-rama road map from Point A to Point B, while the reason for the outbreak is just absurd and sinister enough to fit the tone of the games. There are moments of frustration though, especially a scene where Chase, who wants to be the next Frank West (the Red Green of butchery), is told by Crystal that it’s time to turn a pawn shop full of everyday items into an armory of skull collapsing corpse shredders. Rather than living by the WWFD (What Would Frank Do) mantra, he just stands around with his thumb up his ass going “A weapon? What weapons?! This place is full of junk!”. I guess he just idolizes people based on a rudimentary grasp of their work, instead of knowing ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THEM. Like conservative christian republicans who emulate Ayn Rand without bothering to find out that she was an atheist who lived on welfare. Der to the fucking ERP. As for the movie’s direction… yikes.
There’s a LOT of shaky cam shit. Friends and longtime readers know the searing intestinal pain I suffer in the presence of shaky cam. Especially BAD shaky cam like this. Shaky cam that comes off so OBVIOUS that it’s directed and nothing like the intended “make the audience feel like they’re IN THE MOVIE!” bend it’s supposed to supply. Wanna see it done right? Watch Quarantine. Here it’s too structured. It never feels like the cameras are handheld. All I can see in my head during these shots is the operator holding it on a mounted base and jostling it around while director Zach Lipovsky, decked with a big shit-eating grin and a sideways Leprechaun: Origin crew hat, pats them on the back and sweats an over ambitious excitement belying the lines he snorted in an on-set Port-a-John between takes.
The only thing worse than the shaky-cam is the “inanimate object PoV shot” visual nonsense. Imagine Sam Raimi’s revolutionary “smash cam” technique, only instead of putting a camera on a pole and ramming it through stuff or into people’s faces for affordable-yet-intense movie magic, they just strapped the thing to a broken piece of traffic barricade and dropped it on the ground. If this was meant as a joke on the aforementioned Raimi technique, then kudos to you, Lipovksy. But you should’ve kept it to one or two shots, NOT the overkill extents to which you go. If you were doing it as a way to make the weapons a “character” in the movie (given their integral emphasis in the games), you’re reaching a little beyond your abilities and you fucked it up. And if you just thought it’d be cool to look at, well, you’re a dipshit. Movies can be all about style over substance (Michael Bay’s made a career of it!), but when your style is pairing plaids with polka dots and wearing a big pink Easter bonnet on your dick, you’re in the wrong business.
Now, as with anything, there’s always an exception. We live in a contrary world, and there’s a reason that “a broken clock is right twice a day” is such a popular cliché. There’s one excellent scene where the music fits and the camera work is even better. Chase, who needs to cross a street well populated with the hungry rotted jaws of the de-deceased, fights his way through a small crowd of z-bags. No one ever told him that the shortest way between two points was a straight line, so his jaywalking journey turns into an extended sequence of maiming and escaping while the camera pans around him, follows him onto an (almost) abandoned school bus, through an emergency door onto a car, then OVER the bus to another parked car before he finally slips away. It’s easily my favorite scene in the movie. It either deserves to be in a better flick or just makes the rest of the run time look flaccid in comparison. Except for the brief respite where Virginia Madsen confronts a zombie in a wheelchair, which “stands” great on its own. Not to be that person, but if ground zero for the zombie outbreak is at the Special Olympics or a VA hospital, we’re safe. Idris Elba would just walk in, push ’em all down, shout “THE ZOMPOCALYPSE IS CANCELLED!”, and burn the place to the ground. The world’s shortest horror show.
Please don’t send me messages about how I’m now going to Hell for making a joke about zombified handicapped people and disfigured living dead veterans. I live in the fucking Underworld. If you really wanted to scare me, condemn me to roadie-ing a Backstreet Boys reunion tour or to a reoccurring role on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.
As a video game movie, I give Dead Rising: Watchtower four joysticks out of five. As a movie movie, meh, I give it three. It’s a LOT better than most would expect it to be, but as someone who loved the games, I can’t say for sure what casual horror movie viewers will think, and die-hards will probably dismiss it as just another zomedy. To be honest, watching it really got me into a mood to go back and partake in some ghoul mauling merrymaking of my own more than anything, so as a two hour commercial (beset with tons of other commercials, ironically enough), it works! Too bad there isn’t a new game to promote alongside its release. But, it just goes to remind me that I have more fun playing video games than watching video games.
Before I disappear into the Eldritch ether that surrounds my Tomb again, last week was Wrestlemania! And the best news to come out of the entire rigmarole? WWE has formed an unholy alliance with none other than Gene “the Tongue” Simmons to create Erebus Pictures: a production studio dedicated to making “elevated” horror flicks, whatever the fuck type of marketing speak that means. For those (like myself) who were hoping their first collaboration would be KISS Meets the Phantom of the Arena, in which the band’s wrestling avatar The Demon (click here to arm yourselves with knowledge!) would battle the angry specter of Chris Benoit using the power of ROCK!, I’m sorry to say that’s not the case. Their actual first release will be the languidly titled Temple, about a special forces unit trapped inside of a military compound whose previous occupants all died under the always obtuse prospect of “mysterious circumstances”. I’m going to be very sad if all three of their releases ended up being “same old shit” plumbing pluggers not even worth the gold found in literal feces. But, even if they are, they’ll still likely to provide plenty of fools’ nuggets for me to mine!
Oh, and on a final final note, my thanks to the mighty El Santo of 1000 Misspent Hours for name dropping the Tomb in a recent review! If there’s one thing I love having my name associated with, it’s movies with names like Sexsquatch: the Legend of Bloody Stool Creek. Had I a hat, Sir, I would tip it to you verily. Fight the good fight every moment. Every minute. Every day. Fight the good fight every moment. It’s your only way.
Zombrex is actually short for “Zombrections”, the first erectile dysfunction drug for the living dead. Because even stiffs need help getting stiff sometimes!
Starting off strong with something for all my Coulrophobics and Kinemortophobics in the house!
Jesse Metcalfe has high hopes for his “Constantine” audition. Spoiler: he doesn’t get the part.
If “God” hates zombies so much, how do you explain Lazarus and Jesus!?
“No, Susan, I will not be replacing John Stewart as host of ‘The Daily Show‘. Also, for the third time, I’m not Jason Jones! Next question, please!”
Zach Lipovsky, FINALLY giving people the inanimate objects’ view of events!
They’re not reacting in horror to the zombies. The TV they’re watching just showed the Paul Blart 2 commercial.
A pair of guys atop a wall pointing assault rifles at otherwise harmless non-white people? It’s the republicans’ wet dreams for what to do with our borders, come to life!
That plastic head seems to be REALLY pumped about the store’s “Low Down Payments” policy, or their selection of tapes and/or neon signs promoting said selection.
That peanut butter sandwich is painted up like a WHORE!… and it’s making my pants tight.
With “Mad Men” now ending, Jon Hamm prepares himself for a role in the next Mad Max movie! … Oh wait, this is just a picture of him from his recent stint in rehab. Honest mistake.
“Well, if I can’t convince you to enroll in the US Army, can I at least tell you about Allstate’s Accident Forgiveness policy?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“How Sweet” (For real this time!)