Featuring: Rose “‘Charmed’” McGowan , Freddy “‘Six Feet Under’” Rodriguez , Josh “No Country for Old Men” Brolin
Director & Writer: Robert “From Dusk Till Dawn” Rodriguez
Also Known As: Planet Terror
What I meant to say with that unintentionally inflated introduction is that this review is from the rare Tomb vantage point of “written after returning from the theater”, so pardon any lack of important info I may have left out at the time of conception. Not unlike how your dad “forgot” to tell your mom that the condom slipped off shortly before what would be your own time of conception! Speaking of wet genitals…
Robert Rodriguez and I started off on the wrong foot. The first of his movies that I saw was Desperado. I didn’t like Desperado.
I remember being psyched about it after seeing the initial trailers, only to be greatly disappointed later in life when I finally did get to view it. Due in no small part to the fact that the adverts convinced me the movie was going to be 90 minutes of muy macho hombres in mariachi outfits killing each other with machine gun guitar cases. I think this was the moment I realized that trailers are teasing whores! They lure you in with promises of the best fuck of your life only to give you a dry hand job quickie, then demanding $200 before they have Dr. Detroit backhand you senseless with his pimp gauntlet and kick you in both shins with his platform shoes!
The pain of this Rodriguez trailer truth was eventually eased when I saw From Dusk Till Dawn, only to come back harder with all the kiddie fare bullshit the man shat out for the next decade. Having kids makes people do stupid, stupid things. I then got my hopes up when Once Upon A Time In Mexico was on its way to screens, only to have said hopes squeezed from me like a toothpaste tube ravaged by unruly brats who squeeze from the center. Monsters. Anyway, then came Sin City to finally stitch that wound closed. But…for how long?
And that brings us to Planet Terror, Bobby R’s contribution to his Tarantino collaboration – Grindhouse. Cherry (Rose McGowan) is a Texas go-go dancer fed up with her job who wants something new for her life beyond half-hearted stripteases. Perhaps a career as a stand-up comedian? Anyway, the little lady runs into her ex-boyfriend Wray (Freddy Rodriguez [no relation]) at the local BBQ dive and a renewed interest in each other is sparked in the process. Meanwhile, Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) is in the process of leaving her husband Dr. William Block (Josh Brolin) and running away with her son to go and live with her hot girlfriend. Unfortunately, both couples are about to get f’ed in their collective ‘a’s, because at a nearby military base US Army Lieutenant Muldoon (Bruce Willis) is in negotiations with Middle Eastern bio-terrorist/businessman Abby (Naveen Andrews)…who has a very sadistic hobby that, well, let’s just say it involves a source of protein.
Well, things go predictably sour between the two and the experimental gas that Abby’s been working on is released into the atmosphere, melting the faces of his henchmen and turning everybody into deformed, flesh eating maniacs! As with any standard zombie plague epic, it’s ghouls gone wild as the monsters make their way outward, infecting everybody they can get their bubbling hands on and causing general mayhem, including one victim who can only be described as “Mmmmm, Fergalicious”. The big thing that everybody’s looking forward to here though is the loss of Cherry’s leg, as it results in the equal parts absurdly hilarious and obscenely cool “machine gun leg” that’s become the movie’s most infamous characteristic. Don’t expect it right away though, because there’s actually a progression to said machine gun leg and, when it’s all said and done, even the machine gun leg isn’t the last trick in Cherry’s book of artificial limb weaponry…
Planet Terror is a total action flick “Penthouse Forums” letter from Robert Rodriguez to horror movies. Besides the obvious genre comparison to other zombie flicks, there are plenty of other references that Bobby tosses into the mix for the boils and ghouls to get giddy about when they start pointing them out to each other. These include but are not limited to Wray’s reference to his toe truck as “Killdozer”, a painful homage to Fulci’s famous “splinter to the eye” gore whore orgasm circa Zombie, and a great little death scene for Tom Savini himself that pays service to the man’s gory dismemberment work in both Dawn and Day of the Dead. This is how you make a horror tribute movie. Not by beating us over the head with non-stop dialogue dedicated to sucking the collective cocks of the old guard, but by giving your tributes celluloid form so those deserving of them can get the thrill of the old “inside joke”.
The gore is excessive and there were a few scenes of pustule-popping action that had one of my movie-going friends literally choking back her lunch. We get incredibly graphic and detailed exploding heads, severed limbs, gun shots wounds, stabbings, the aforementioned pustule eruptions, bodies splattered across cars, broken bones, hollowed out heads, and every kind of savage violence you could ask for to be done to a human body. Be warned though, because a dog gets killed in a very brief but very violent manner and there are barf friendly scenes of diseased and melting genitalia. There’s also one death that would be really depressing to see if it weren’t for the fact that you can’t help but laugh in the wacky “oh man, I knew that was gonna happen!” sense.
The characters are cheesy and I never really “cared” about any of them enough to say that I was sad to see them go when their times came. Their deaths, more often than not, contributed more to the movie than their actual roles. However, I do have to say that Rodriguez disappointed me as a paying customer to see two certain females live to the last reel, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
The story itself isn’t important, just as it’s generally not in any zombie plague film. As long as we know what started the whole thing, I don’t give a shit so long as I’ve got excessive violence and the human struggle to pull me through to the end! If you really wanted to, I guess you could try pinning some kind of morality or social commentary crap on it like so many movie geeks often enjoy doing, but that’s on you, Roger Ebert. I’m just here for the carnage!
Performance wise, Josh Brolin is a beautifully sleazy mofo, Freddy Rodriguez is a keg of whoop-ass in a 12 oz can, Quentin Tarantino is an unlikable dick bag (which makes his pain and suffering all the more pleasant), Michael Parks is awesome and criminally underused, Jeff Fahey had me thinking he was channeling a mix of Tremors’s Bert Gummer and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s Drayton Sawyer (which was a good thing) and Michael Biehn was fun to watch as the local curmudgeon Sheriff. Everybody else is, well, good enough to get me through the movie. McGowan’s okay as the lead, but aside from the running joke of her unipod gimmick, I could take her or leave her.
As for the Grindhouse gimmick of abusing the film stock to make it look like an old exploitation reel, Rodriguez definitely runs with the concept more here than Tarantino does with the latter installment, Death Proof. The film gets grainy and scratched up, the colors wash out, there are frequent breaks and skips, and I enjoyed the overall presentation. I’m obviously too young to have any of the intended nostalgia bias from the theme, as I wasn’t around for the fabled “42nd Street Grindhouse” days, but I’ve suffered through enough low rent theaters and video nasty bootlegs in my time to have an appreciation for the effort. Each of the two movies featured in Grindhouse include a “Missing Reel” gag, and all I can say is that I hope the scene “lost” from Planet Terror was actually filmed as some point and will make it into the DVD’s special features section.
What more is there to say? See Grindhouse! Even if you don’t have the patience for a 3 hour feature, at least do yourself the favor of seeing Planet Terror and the faux movie trailers before heading home for your 9pm bedtime, sleeping beauty.
Speaking of those fake movie trailers, I’m going to talk about two of them here and the others in my Death Proof review. The first trailer is for Machete, a non-existent ‘70s exploitation action flick that wasn’t directed by Robert Rodriguez, didn’t star “#3 on my top ten list of all-time bad-ass movie motherfuckers”, Danny Trejo, and didn’t feature Cheech Marin as a shotgun wielding priest! Our title anti-hero is an assassin hired to kill a US political figure that intends to deport all of the nation’s Mexican populace back to their homes south of the border. Machete (named after his weapon of choice) is, of course, double crossed and must take down the honky assholes that tried to set him up. It’s like Shooter, only liberally breeded with a heavy dose of ‘70s sleaze and a Taco Grande-sized platter of Mexploitation. If I rated trailers, I would give Machete five stars and say that it definitely needs to be turned into a full feature, should Grindhouse 2 see the light of day.
Our second trailer is the Rob Zombie heralded Werewolf Women of the SS – a Nazisploitation flick about Hitler’s secret werewolf super soldier experiments that would combine Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS with The Howling and would star Udo Kier, Sheri Moon-Zombie, Bill Moseley and Tom Towles if Rob Zombie could stuff them all into his Delorean and take them back to 1974 to actually make this movie. The concept sounds great on paper, and I think Zombie could make something like this work if given a full feature to play with, but the trailer itself lacked the thrill I was hoping for. Maybe it was the cheap werewolf costumes or the fact that people like Bill Moseley and Udo Kier need more than 10 seconds of screen time to work their magic. Whatever the reason, this wasn’t a trailer that made me chew my talons off in anticipation of seeing this movie actually made. I have faith in Zombie and his cast though, should this ever merit a full length feature. Three stars for the trailer, but FIVE stars for Nicholas Cage’s cameo as Fu Manchu! I hate the man much less now than I did yesterday.
Xtro: You know that feeling of revitalized joy when you watch a movie you haven’t seen in years and, not only does it hold up, but it’s actually better than you remember it? Like, you’ve seen so much sub-par and/or straight garbage movies in that period that you’ve gained a whole new level of respect for it and life itself doesn’t feel quite as stacked with backbreaking misery as it did before? That’s me having watched Planet Terror again for this rerun-review. I’m fighting the urge to write an entirely new review, just so I can vomit rainbows and praise all over it for 10 pages.
I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like while watching this. Had I the ability to experience the full range of emotions that the average human brain does, I just may have gone through the entire checklist watching the intersecting lives of a one-legged go-go dancer, a tow truck driver, a pair of doctors, a BBQ cook, an arms dealer, an obnoxious pair of babysitters, a handful of cops (including Tom Savini’s bumbling Barney Fife-ish Deputy Tolo) and a militia of army men melting like they were put through a microwave. The acting, the dialogue, the excessive violence, the oozing gore and slimy grimy nastiness, the perfect balance of absurdity, the AMAZING soundtrack, the color saturation, the scratched film, the randomly exploding cars…EVERYTHING! I love it all, and I don’t use the term “love” loosely. Just ask my real-life romantic interests. I do not declare my love for anyone or anything I do not LOVE. There were bits and pieces of imperfect computer effects that weren’t great, even overlapped by the artificially aged effects on the film, but there are big ideas here that can’t exist in practical effects form outside the realm of a Chris Nolan movie budget, so I can deal with it.
I remember at the time Grindhouse was released, I’d read someone’s comments somewhere (good luckin’ fuck narrowing that down) about how these “homages” to the ’70s trash movies upon which the double bill took its namesake were all style and no substance. Some people were expecting less of the typical Rodriguez orgy of action and blood and white hats with tragic, mysterious backgrounds, and hoping for more of a faithful no-budget recreation of amateur acting, lazy writing, dime store special effects, and wall-eyed boobs jiggling everywhere. In other words, those people were expecting something intentionally bad. They wanted a parody that didn’t feel like a parody, not just a zombie epidemic action horror flick shot on film that was then dragged behind a car around a parking lot. I can respect their criticism, more so given that Tarantino and Rodriguez were promising a love letter to 42nd Street and not what a lot of people saw as just another “smell-o-vision” gimmick. But me? I fell for the gimmick. Call me a sucker, but I really couldn’t see Planet Terror presented in a “clean” format, because it’s significantly helped by the scratched film, garbled sound, “tampered reel” fast cut edits, and the “reel missing” gag. It works too perfectly as is to want it any other way.
Oh, and PT was my introduction to how phenomenal Josh Brolin is as not just an asshole, but a nuanced asshole. William Block isn’t even a total villain so much as a pissed off husband who found out his wife Dakota was cheating on him and plotting to not only leave him, but take their son with her. As if the guy clearly loving their lad isn’t enough to sympathize a tad with him, but when you consider how mommy gave little Tony a handgun and left him alone in their car, where he SHOOTS HIMSELF IN THE HEAD, this is one custody case that seems a bit cut and dry in the father’s favor!
If you haven’t seen Planet Terror yet for some inconceivable reason, get off your ass and scrounge up a copy. Given that video rental stores have been reduced to kiosks that only carry new releases, I guess you’ll have to rent the disc from NetFlix or hope it’s on one of the streaming services. Or, if you’ve got $5 to spare, I’m sure you can pick up a DVD copy in your local big box store’s budget bin. And if you don’t like it, leave it on a local playground for some wayward ankle biter to discover. Just make sure nobody sees you.
Moral of the Story: If you replace your leg with an automatic rifle, you apparently don’t need to pull the trigger to fire it, it’ll just know when to fire on it’s own.
“You expect me to pay full price for this? I’m not paying 100% for 80% of a knife!”
For his birthday, Kevin Smith gave Bruce Willis a contraption that lets him literally enjoy the smell his own farts, any time and any place!
Little known fact: that was the original title for the B-52s song “Love Shack” before the record company made them change it.
“I appreciate the offer, but I’ve already got enough jugs of my own, thanks!”
In this outtake, Freddy Rodriguez does his best to keep a straight face when Rose McGowan lets loose the biggest beef blaster this side of Norbit.
This is why you never insult someone while they’re eating a Gushers fruit snack, Bill.
“Do we need a car to purchase gas, or can we just drink it straight from the hose? Hello?”
Ted Raimi Lite – Same great Ted Raimi taste, but with less calories than original Ted Raimi!
On the next episode of ‘The New Enos’, Enos shoots off his ring finger on his wedding day! That’s ‘The New Enos’, right after a new episode of ‘After After M*A*S*H’ this week on CBS’s “Who Watches This Shit?!” Fridays!
Clearly Bill didn’t learn his lesson from the last time.
“I see you’ve gotten a new chest piece since we broke up.”
“Yeah. It’s based on a page from my nephew’s Lion King coloring book.”
Freddy Rodriguez stars in Night of the Living Dorf.
In 1972, Lloyd Kaufman was hired by the US Army to shoot STD educational films meant to dissuade troops from having sex with Vietnamese prostitutes. After an entire platoon suffered from Shell Shock following its initial viewing and were deemed unsuitable for combat, he was immediately fired.
Steve Bannon’s really let himself go since being booted from the White House.
I had the same reaction the first (and last) time I ate a KFC Triple Zinger Double Down King sandwich too.
Don’t even try picking up this lady, guys. She’s a woman of a whole different… caliber.
(No worries, folks. I punched myself after that one.)
“Hey handsome. You’re lucky that massive head wounds happen to be my fetish!”
“I wish I could quit you, Zeke.”
“I know, Scooter. I know. Now get off me. NASCAR’s on.”
I can see why she was the ”Shooter Illustrated” “Stroke of the Month” centerfold 16 months running! Then she was dethroned by that blonde who replaced both her legs with AR-15s, had a small American flag implanted on top of her skull, and has a tramp stamp of Hillary Clinton with a gun sites over her face.
So, after the Zombie Apocalypse the “Henry VIII/Rembrandt” look comes back in style? Good thing I’m too slow to outrun the undead!
Anubis will return next time in
“Sexy and the City 3: Blood On the Backroads”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Laverne “‘Orange is the New Black’” Cox , Ryan “‘Liv and Maddie’” McCartan , Victoria “‘Victorious’” Justice
Director: Kenny “Hocus Pocus” Ortega
Based on the screenplay by: Richard “I’m not involved with this remake in any way” O’Brien & Jim “No comment I could find online, but I’m pretty sure he’s also distanced himself from it” Sharman
Remake/Rebranding of: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
It’s that time of year again, you turkeys! Let’s Do the Time Warp Again was meant to be an October review, but when I saw just how horrible it was, I thought it more appropriate to not denigrate the sacred month of 8 and instead lump it in with Turkey Day Month 2016. Read on and I’ll think you’ll agree. Won’t you?
This was originally supposed to be a capsule review for The Tomb’s Facebook page, but I had so much bitching to do by the midpoint of this abominable TV ghost of cult movies past that I felt it needed the full episode treatment. Also, I’m almost completely sure that there’s no way for me to jam pics and gifs into Facebook reviews, and they really needed to be a part of this to help properly illustrate my loathing. As such, let’s check out The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, shall we?
Also, the doors are all locked and their knobs have been replaced with used dildos amassed from the dumpster behind the local retirement home, so just sit the fuck down and share my suffering.
When I heard about Fox’s intentions to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Richard O’Brien’s golden child with this made-for-TV remake, I got the typical “Pavlov’s dog” response to remakes that most of us over the age of 30 are stabbed in the kidneys with at least three times a year anymore. Unlike the original brainwashed canine, though, we don’t drool uncontrollably. Instead, we vomit vitriol and disappointment out of both ends, taking breaks to ingest large reserves of blue PowerAde into our systems to stem dangerous dehydration. We ultimately end up with acid burned throats and burning red sphincters glowing from magmatic agony while some cunts in Hollywood dream of rubbing stacks of stupid peoples’ money on their genitals. All of the online petitions, cries of protest and message board threats of sexual assault result in nothing changing, and we all just end up dying a little inside knowing that something we love has been weighed down with an anchor of garbage, then tossed into the murky depths of the “Nobody Cares! Get Over It!” sea.
But sometimes, if you keep the faith, say your prayers, and sacrifice just enough of your personal stockpile of pessimism, you will be rewarded. The whore mongers you accused of raping your inner child turn out to be fellow followers of your familiar fandom, and do right by your shared affection – not tarnishing its name, but instead adding to its legacy! Whole new generations learn to respect and revere these franchises, lifting them to new heights, sharing them with the world, spreading their gospel! Yes, sometimes you corporate mainstream meddlers in your ivory towers can cast off the scarred branding of “defilers”, bring pride to your executive producer credits…
…Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, and then the drugs wore off! Sure, there’s the occasional worthwhile redo out there (The Hills Have Eyes and Evil Dead, anyone?), but the turds tend to outweigh the treasures by 100 to 1. Guess which side of said ratio Fox’s Rocky Horror remake stakes its claim? Here’s a hint: much like a thrice expired jar of Ortega salsa once tormented me with the drizzling shits, so now has Kenny Ortega done to an entire television viewing audience. All we wanted was NOT to have another beloved movie ruined with a remake.
“But Anubis, Kenny Ortega also gave us Hocus Pocus and Newsies! How could his version of Rocky Horror be that bad!?” First of all, didn’t I fit you with a ball gag when you came in!? Secondly, allow me to send up a surface-to-air missile to bring your Happy Hands down in flames – Kenny Ortega’s also the guy behind the High School Musical trilogy. The higher your hopes get, the harder I will make them fall…at least until the point of terminal velocity. Once they hit that, I mean, that’s as hard as they can fall, whatever the height. Either way, FUCK YOUR HOPES! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
Anyway, by now we should be intimately familiar with the misadventures of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, so let’s not dawdle with the details. And if you don’t know the story already, a hearty Conan the Schwarzenegger “To HEL wit’choo!”. Seriously though, for you neophytes out there (or those of you in need of a refresher), you can pop out your peepers and observe Episode 64 for my review of last year’s “Rocky Horror Show Live!” BBC special to get caught up. The rest of you? In the interest of keeping it short like Tyrian Lannister after a trip through The Tall Man’s midgetizing tanks, let’s try something new and make this a simple pass/fail review! Onward and upward, you sons and daughters of Oblivion!
► For starters, showing your RHPS remake at 8PM? Weak. Its cult status is that of a midnight movie, so shoehorning it into a prime time slot? You’re already starting off on the wrong foot with the fans, Fox. FAIL.
► The “Science Fiction/Double Feature” intro is now sung by a generic “white girl with a deep voice” usherette cast away from Hot Topic, played by Ivy Levan. I know nothing of her work or if anyone else even knows who she is, but she feels very much like a poor man’s Christina Aguilera/Lady Gaga/Adele/Amy Winehouse. I dislike her “try to make it ‘soulful’ like an ‘American Idol’ contestant singing the National Anthem” cover. FAIL. And I’m not saying this to be mean, Ivy, but I’ve got two words for ya: Crest Whitestrips.
► The entire segment in general? When compared to the original “Patricia Quinn’s disembodied mouth lip syncing Richard O’Brien’s singing” opening credits? No. And allow me to get this out of the way now for anyone who’s gonna try to call me out about how this remake is supposed to be different: if you don’t want comparisons to the original, DON’T DO A FUCKING REMAKE! FAIL.
► On its own merits though, this beginning makes for a fair music video style intro to the show, so I’ll also throw it a PASS. And don’t say I can’t do that. You don’t come into my house (or tomb, in this case) and start diddling my thermostat. At least not if you want to keep your fingers on your hands and not poking out of Ammut’s litter box.
► Presenting your made-for-TV remake as if it were being shown at an RHPS midnight theatrical show, complete with audience participation? The more you remind me of how much I’d rather be watching the original is not going to work in your favor, Fox. Pretending your version is cool because it’s framed with meta humor is lame. And not “so lame it’s cool”, Marge, so don’t even start. No, it’s lame like Christy Brown without all the artistic talent. Stop it. FAIL.
► Wait, so the actors are all emulating the original’s cast through hammy acting and overzealous mannerisms? Oh boy. I can’t imagine this sitting well with the teenagers this is being aimed at, who probably don’t know it’s supposed to be campy. Kinda torn on this one, since I hate camp for camp’s sake, but it’s sticking faithful to the tone so… Fuck it. PASS.
► Well, Ryan McCartan’s Brad is definitely the ideal of all-American young male doofiness. Meanwhile, Victoria Justice’s Janet has the “starry-eyed girl next door” thing down, though I do miss Susan Sarandon’s adorable bug-eyes. PASS.
► The Hapschatts’ marriage mobile’s “Wait ‘Til Tonite, She Got Hers Now He’ll Get His” shaving cream graffiti replaced by “She Said I Do, Now I’m Doing” instead. “Now I’m Doing”?! Is that even English? No. Whomsoever is responsible for that, get “doing” with a live light socket. FAIL.
► Post stroke Tim Curry putting in a cameo as The Criminologist? Smells like a poor attempt at Fox trying to convince the fanbase that this was a good idea. FAIL.
► Sadly, it’s not like Curry’s getting roles thrown at him today what with his current state, so at least he got a paycheck out of this. That part gets a pity PASS.
► Janet’s joke of “The owner of that phone might be a beautiful woman and you may never come back again.” is too on the nose now, given Frank’s re-casting/re-assignment. FAIL.
► Reeve Carney, you put way too much spirit into your Riff-Raff. He’s supposed to be menacing and broken, not starring in a production of “Rock of Ages”. I’d tell you to go back to playing Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”, but, well, we all know what happened with that… Also, where’s your bald cap!? And your hunch?! And your accent sucks. And your twangy country western lite rendition of “The Time Warp” makes me want to fill my ears with flesh-eating scarabs. Cease and desist. FAIL.
► Same goes for your Magenta, Christina Milian. You’re supposed to be depraved and imposing, not just some prancing tart in a sparkling maid outfit and hot pink fright wig. Your accent also sucks. A lot. Homosexual rest stop vampire Count Gaylord would take a break from his Saturday night slurp circle to tell you its suckitude is “a little much”. FAIL.
► One of the things Fox has been raked over the coals for on RHPSLDtTWA! is neutering it by turning the risque level down to a ‘3’. Despite this, the singers during the “Time Warp” scene are performing from between the wooden cut-out of a pair of 10′ tall legs positioned to look like they’re a woman on her back. So for all intents and purposes, this trio is supposed to appear to be singing while ankles deep in a giantess’s lapple pie…I don’t even…what…the fuck…am I looking at?! Either way, the dancers in this “toned down” version are all dry humping the shit out of each other for 10 minutes, so I guess it was just the “gay stuff” that Fox felt the need to back off on? FAIL.
► The Transylvanians all get their own unique costumes?! They’re supposed to be background fodder, not an attention grabbing orgy of extras in gaudy silver crotch-hugger outfits hopped up on Spanish Fly grinding against each other in a desperate display of “Look at me! I’m important too! Look at me!”. This smells like the meddling of a bunch of bit parters’ agents…who are probably also their parents. Fucking show biz parents. FAIL.
► Annaleigh Ashford’s Columbia is just heyday Cyndi Lauper with “I sucked off Papa Smurf” blue raspberry Blow Pop tongue? Riff Raff plays an electric guitar with a neon blue light-up neck? Fuck’s sake, Ortega, did your Wayback Machine run out of batteries when you re-imagined this!? RHPS was from nineteen SEVENTY-five, not nineteen EIGHTY-five! GAH! I feel like there should’ve been a part to go with this half-assed ’80s vibe where Brad refers to something as being “Bradical!”, because if you’re going to fuck the audience, you might as well go balls deep. FAIL.
► P.S. – Ashford’s “non-acting acting” is nails on a gods damned chalkboard. I’ll take Little Nell’s proto-Harley Quinn with the cracking, squeaky voice 10 times out of 10 over this deadpan Darlene Connor knock-off bullshtick. My heart (and my legs) are always open to sarcastic doom-and-gloom nihilist types, but not Columbia, damn it! FAIL.
► Rather than meeting Frank as our protagonists originally did, coming down in his little elevator to the anticipatory build of both the heroes and the audience, the modern incarnation instead sees her descending onto the set aboard a massive camera crane in some weird Mayan showgirl outfit. Though I can appreciate the spectacle, that’s all it is – a spectacle. The headdress is appealingly garish, but also more sizzle than steak. One of the story’s biggest moments burned to the ground. If gravitas were gravity, this version of the host’s introduction would be taking place on the moon. All-in-all, a big floating FAIL.
► It’s sad too, because Laverne Cox (what an ironic name…) puts on a fairly fair Frank impression. Unfortunately, as I’ve been griping about to my fellow Frankie Fans, this casting puts a silver bullet through the heart of the entire show. Put your PC sticks away too, because I have zero issue with a black person playing Frank and zero issue with a transgender person playing Frank. As long as they can play the role justice, it would be mathematically impossible for me to care less about skin color or background. And if you wanted to hire a transitioned male person to play Frank, that would be great too! But no, Frank being played by a woman ruins the point of his seduction of Brad and his attempts at forcing a hetero man-child of his own creation to be gay rather than Rocky instead dipping his hot dog in Janet’s mustard. And don’t give me the “Well, Laverne used to be a man!” argument either, because it holds water as well as Joel Robinson’s Wiffle cup. Who Laverne was has no bearing on who she is while playing the role in this movie. Championing her as a former man is like carting her around as a sideshow attraction. She’s a woman now, and a woman playing Frank goes against the point of Frank. FAIL.
► But, again, Cox plays the role pretty well compared to how much the rest of the cast fail their parts. Too bad she couldn’t have taken the role prior to transitioning. Despite my dislike of the casting, and her not putting enough of a bite into some of her delivery (her flaccid read of “I didn’t make him FOR YOU!” is especially disappointing), her performance gets a PASS.
► Damn it, Ortega! You fucked up the close-up shots during “Sweet Transvestite”! How fucking hard is it to do a couple of quick cuts rather than just setting the camera behind B & J and hitting “REC” while you take a piss break? FAIL.
► Staz Nair looks the part of Rocky as far as physiques go (though his frosted tips will give people Backstreet flashbacks), but turning his gold bodybuilder briefs into golden basketball shorts (that look like they’re made of a spray-painted elephant scrotum) just furthers Fox’s flaccid homophobic approach to this remake. Have I mentioned that it’s an abomination? If I haven’t, make a note of it. FAIL.
► Adam Lambert’s Eddie comes Evel Knieveling through a window (rather than out of Frank’s meat locker…not to be confused with her meat curtains…though that would’ve been an interesting twist), looking like some kind of lupine biker that shames anything in Werewolves on Wheels. He’s Eddie by way of Wolverine after a rough night in a leather bar. It works. PASS.
► But his singing voice lacks the macho boom of a rotund rocker like Meatloaf. A savage disappointment to hear a guy that looks so bruiserly have such a, well, Adam “Glambert” Lambert voice. When he’s mugging for camera during his song, it looks like he’s struggling not to scratch at a bad case of jock itch. FAIL.
► Rather than being pick-axed more times than a gold mine in the 1840s, Eddie ends up stabbed and falls out of a window. Fear not, as the dinner scene still happens later as planned, but this version of Edward’s demise is no prize. Frank’s subtle efforts at shiving the big lug in the guts is no match for psychotic Swiss cheesing given to the original article. FAIL.
► Given the gender swap, Frank’s seduction of the young couple doesn’t have the same impact, especially with how many “bi for the guys” college age girls have saturated pop culture in the last decade plus. Shooting said moments like regular scenes rather than from behind the veil of smutty silhouettes also kills the voyeuristic tone carried by the originals, losing both the style AND the substance in this instance. Blart. It’s a bad miss. FAIL.
► Watching a former Nickelodeon child star in her underwear fooling around with another woman is…not really having an effect on me, since I never watched whatever show it is she was the star of. Besides, after everything we’ve seen out of Miley Cyrus, former child stars doing adult stuff in little-to-no clothing will never carry the same taboo. Not a pass/fail scenario, I just thought I’d point that out.
► Ben Vereen sounds more like Morgan Freeman than Dr. Scott. With this change in character also comes the unfortunate negation of Scottie’s former role as a defected Nazi scientist. Now he’s just “elderly wheelchair man with Einstein hair”. FAIL.
► The dinner scene slips in a new *wink*wink* line for long-termers, as Columbia complains “I hope it’s not meatloaf again.” in regards to the meal’s main course. Cute. I’ll take it. PASS
► Additionally, though I hated “too cool to play along” slacker Columbia, as her tragic losses mount, she’s falling into place as the broken girl on the brink of losing what sanity she has left. Good. PASS.
► Kudos to McCartan, whose turn in the floor show as “broken man-baby in ladies lingerie” Brad denotes a man of courage. It’s also probably the moment in the whole movie most loyal to the tone of the original. He gets a PASS.
► Speaking of the floor show, all of the Transylvanians are present in this version. It kills the intimate focus on the main characters having an entire audience. Furthermore, you’ve not got two dozen people in the theater, but nobody does anything to stop Riff when he comes in with his neon guitar laser? They all just disappear during “I’m Going Home”? FAIL.
► The siblings’ new silver outer space glam rock heavy metal outfits are fun at least. PASS.
► While trying to escape with Frank’s corpse, there’s no RKO tower prop for Rocky to scale, so an iconic moment ends up as just another FAIL.
► On the plus side, when Rock dies near Frank, he does so reaching out to her a la Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” painting, notably featured in the original RHPS‘s “Don’t Dream It, Be It” swimming pool scene. PASS.
► Brad, Janet and Dr. S sell the finale of their nocturnal excursion like they’re stumbling through a nuclear fallout, then just roll up their arm length gloves (well, Brad does) and walk off stage right like everything’s suddenly fine, no selling the fact that an entire castle is launching into the stratosphere not 10 feet to their left. Cool guys don’t look at explosions? FAIL.
For those keeping score, that makes for 11 “PASS”es and 23 “FAIL”s. According to my math (meaning no one can verify it but me, so don’t correct me), in Tomb terms, Let’s Do the Time Warp Again should get a 1.666 out of 5 rating. Traditionally, that would mean it rounds up to a 2, but there’s no way I can award a 2 to this movie. Instead, I’ll add a little personal bias to the data and round down to a 1. After all, reviews are all about the writer’s opinion, and bias is a part of opinion so, again, don’t correct me. Checkmate.When all is said and done (and “doing”?), this is just another remake for the “that didn’t need to happen” pile. It’s a befuddling muddle fuck that tries to be faithful to the original while doing new things, a tightrope it fails to cross and thus falls into the pool of starved crocodiles below. Everybody involved should’ve ignored the movie’s motto of “Don’t dream it, be it.” and just kept their desires for this production in their own nightmares and dreamscapes. For a production that tries in every way to be more over-the-top colorful than its predecessor, the performances are decaf as fuck for the most part. It feels…sterile. Whether it’s Ortega’s head we hang the shame hat on for wanting his cast to act the way they do, or we need to put in an order for a dozen more shame hats to cover the heads of the cast members themselves, somebody has to take responsibility. And when the ambition didn’t feel like it was under the floorboards, it was coming on too strong from actors whose characters are supposed to be restrained!
Have I been changed in any way by my viewing of this remake? Not really. Though I had no idea who Kenny Ortega was (aside from a guy whose name sounds an awful lot like New Japan wrestler Kenny Omega) before, now he’s got a spot on my enemies list. So…there’s that.
For those who enjoyed RHPSLDtTWA (it’s nice to know I’ll never have to type out that acronym again), good for you. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. However, if you use the following trains of thought to defend said stance, assume crash positions, because you’re about to be derailed.
► “But shadow casts happen every week all around the world and plenty of them include female Franks! Do you complain about those?!” No. Female Franks are usually done with shadow casts that don’t have enough guys to fill all of the male roles, or by groups where no guy is brave enough to dance around in women’s underwear in front of a crowd. Besides, this is a nationally broadcast remake, not some midnight screening at the Podunk Village Actors Guild Hall.
► “But ‘why did you hate this iteration so much, but not ‘Rocky Horror Live‘?! You just hate young people and things not aimed as you!” False equivalency. That was a live show, based on the musical, not the movie based on the musical, thus it wasn’t supposed to be faithful to the movie. Additionally, it was a production overseen by Richard O’Brien, so when the creator of the entire fucking phenomenon decides he wants to tinker with the formula, he’s more than welcome to! Also, had you actually read my review for the show in question, you’d remember that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with it either.
► “But Frank is an alien! Maybe he/she didn’t have an Earthly sex and you’re just projecting your archaic gender roles! Open your eyes, you Nazi sheep!”. Shut your fucking face, uncle fucker. Did you forget the numerous times Frank was referred to as “him” and “he” by the rest of the cast in the original RHPS? Just in case you did, remake Frank’s referred to numerous times as “her” and “she”, so again, cram it down your suck hole.
And that’s as much as I’m interested in talking about Let’s Do the Time Warp Again. Now that I’ve done my duty, it’s time for me to be doing. What? No fucking clue. Hope you enjoyed your Halloweening indulgences, kids. I also hope you had your younger siblings “test bite” your candy first for safety’s sake. You don’t wanna show up to Thanksgiving with a razor blade smile!
There are enough in the bullet-points above. See ya next time, ladles and germs!
Anubis will return next time in
“Balls of Fury”
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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: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Jessica “iZombie” Harmon , Dennis “The Unit” Haysbert
Director: Pat “Degrassi: the Next Generation” Williams
Writers: Tim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” Carter & Michael “Catwoman” Ferris
Sequel to: Dead Rising: Watchtower
Welcome back, boils and ghouls. ‘Tis I, your humble narrator, thriving on the mundane and bleeding mediocrity as always. The Master of Mating Magnetism himself… keeping in mind that magnets both attract and repel… props to the Sonic commercial I stole that punchline from. Anyway, if I sound a bit disappointed today, it’s because I fell for one of those click bait articles about “SHOCKING CELEBRITY SUICIDES!” that uses a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas in the link. I clicked through all 200 pages of that fucking site and JTT wasn’t among them! From now on, I’m checking IMDB before getting my hopes up about forgotten ’90s quasi-celebs murdering themselves. Speaking of shat upon expectations, there were two things I was very much looking forward to experiencing last week: Burger King’s newest lifespan eroder, the Mac & Cheetos, and Crackle’s new original zombie-a-go-go, Dead Rising: Endgame. Of the two, one was moderately satisfying and the other was monstrously disappointing. Here’s a hint about which is which: the following review is for the shit show. Spoilers.
In case you missed my review for last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower (Episode 47, as seen here), here’s a quick refresher for the sequel. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game series. Each installment of which centers around a different male main character stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to survive with an armory of do-it-yourself weapons that combine everyday objects like a sledgehammer and a fire ax, a broadsword and motor oil, a vacuum cleaner and buzz saw blades, and so on and so forth. Watchtower opted not to adapt any of these games, and instead introduced us to a new protagonist named Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is an investigative reporter (cuz reporters are always chasing stories… get it?… do you get it?… you get it.) for an online-only news outlet that covers all the stories the “lamestream media” won’t, due to the whims of their corporate overlords and being on the short leash of their Wall Street masters and blah blah occupy blah blah blah.
Chase uncovered a conspiracy (as reporters in movies are oft to do), killed some zombies, “Point A? Meet Point B.”, nothing was resolved (gotta set it up for the sequel after all!), roll the credits. If you didn’t watch it and are one of those spoiler-phobic types, you might wanna end your experience here and return the unused portion of this review for a full refund. Being a sequel, major plot points from the previous picture need to be touched upon, and like a doctor giving you a physical, I wanna make said touching as non-awkward for you as possible. Your body is a magical, disgusting pile of nerves that react to stimulation in an aroused fashion independent of your brain sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone… please stop masturbating.
Still here? Okay. Let’s continue with the Ballad of Chase Carter… not to be confused with “The Ballad of Chasey Lane”, which is a Bloodhound Gang song that has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with analingus.
When we last left our venturesome muckraker, he had made a deal with one of the big TV news outlets to provide them with an exclusive story about the behind-the-scenes of a recent undead outbreak, including how it may have actually been caused by Phenotrans – the pharmaceutical company that produces the zombieism sytmying drug Zombrex™ and NOT a Phoenix based social group for trans people with dyslexia. It had something to do with bitten people being implanted with microchips that would track their vitals and release Zombrex™ into their systems as needed to prevent them from turning. Sinister Army man General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) wanted to weaponize the chips (or something. I don’t remember a whole lot from the first movie, to be fair) and instead used a portion of them to turn their users into the living dead, taking advantage of the resultant panic to manipulate things to his favor somehow… maybe… I don’t know. The end result was the eponymous program “Watchtower”, which instituted mandatory chipping for millions of otherwise uninfected civilians.
As we join our journalistic joy-boy Chase, he has indeed parlayed himself a well paying gig as a World War Z correspondent for UBN (let’s say “Universal Broadcast News”?). While sticking his nose into every hole he can find (dirty dirty dirty) to try and uncover evidence of Lyons’ wrong doings, he’s also trying to track down his former producer Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) who went missing at the end of Watchtower. It’s been a pair of calendars since the big outbreak, and despite East Mission City being voted Zombie Digest‘s “Biggest Necropolis of 2016”, the streets aren’t exactly teeming with bite bags. Another unfortunate instance of a low-budget movie bragging about having a 10 inch pocket monster when all they’re packing is a 2 inch pelvic thumb. Denoting your shortcomings beforehand is better than trying to excuse your lies after the fact. Admission over apologizing, people.
Despite his efforts, Chase is story-blocked by his bosses, who don’t need the hassle of a Phenotrans lawsuit or a government sanctioned mass execution to bring down their executive cocaine lunch highs. To continue down his checklist of “movie reporter tropes”, Chase ignores the demands of those-in-charge and continues to meddle in the matters of General Lyons, the Scooby-Doo to his Old Man Withers. Monotoned Army guy’s big scheme continues to revolve around those damn Big Brother chips, only this time he plans to insta-kill a few million people instead of just turning them into ghouls. With just 24 hours to put the ki-bosh on this “Afterlife” contingency, Double C and his elite Channel 6 News Team strike out to bring down Iran Contra II before it turns into September 11th IV. Said crew includes such movie caricatures as “sassy computer hacker girlfriend who owes the hero her life” (Maria Avgeropoulos), “tough talking cool guy that supplies the group with guns, who we first meet playing the video game the movie’s based on before he answers the door in his underwear and a robe” (Patrick Sabongui), “experienced news person who uses their connections to try and take down the evil corporation with the Power of the Press” (Jessica Harmon), “corporate whisteblower who will either turn on the heroes to save their own ass or die proving their dedication to doing what’s right” (Ian Tracey) and “character from the hero’s past who shows up to save them in the nick of time”. You know, all those old “seen it before” chestnuts.
Endgame follows much the same path that Watchtower did in regards to its influence from the games, only this time around the Zombie-Go-Round the marauding rejects from a Mad Max movie are replaced with a scurrilous gang of heroin handling (which is never reasoned why) mercenaries, the wacky interview segments with Dead Rising hero Frank West are dropped in favor of a much less wacky deus ex machina cameo by Dead Rising 2 protagonist Chuck Greene (Victor Webster), the creative engineering of mash-up weapons (all of which look too silly for a serious toned tale) feels tacked on now rather than a fun nod to fans of the games, and the previous flick’s “boss battle” finale is dropped in favor of a pair of dramatic stand-offs – one about two guys waiting for lab test results and the other over a computer virus’ upload progression bar… As the constipated old man said to his Depends, “I shit you not”.
By the time it was over, my faith in Dead Rising as a movie series had expired. Were you here, you would’ve heard the last gasps of hope leave my body via an audible sigh. It was as if the ghost of my own enjoyment had been exorcised by an ordained priest from the Church of Mediocrity. Though some would praise Endgame‘s eschewing of its comedic roots in favor of a more dire tone, I say thee nay. If I wanted my made-for-TV ghoulocausts to be low-budget bowls of freezer-burnt vanilla ice cream, I wouldn’t have relieved myself all over Rise of the Zombies way back in episode 6! No, I want my Dead Rising ice cream to be filled with sprinkles and gummi worms and little chocolate zombies, damn it! I said it when Michael Bay prison sexed the Ninja Turtles and I’ll say it again – if you’re just going to ignore 90% of the source material and do your own “in name only” thing, spare the fans your lazy cash-in and just call it something else! Then again, when one of your writers was responsible for the crime against geek humanity that is Catwoman, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for, right? No. That’s victim blaming, you asshole. Fuck you.
On the good side of things, Billy Zane himself shows up for a payday as a not-quite-mad-but-definitely-morally-spotty scientist! Not-so-good? His role has him onscreen for all of 5-10 minutes and lacks the Zane zaniness of something like his turn in Demon Knight that I was hoping to get when I saw him mentioned in the opening creds. On a less lackluster positive note, though, I have to admit that what action pieces we get are generally better put together than what we got in Watchtower. Chief among them for me being a Chase chase (wakka wakka!) sequence where he tries to escape the dead menace amid a series of escalators and an interestingly shot fight between the hero and some zombos in an operating room that shoots for what I can only describe as “tethered filming”.
So, all said and done, Endgame isn’t all bad. Generic, sure, but not a totally wasted 90 minutes of wear and tear on the eyeballs. It doesn’t leave me looking forward to the purported TV series that Crackle has in the works, but as a stand alone zombie movie, I’ve seen worse. Far worse. Skin-peelingly bad “I’d rather jam toothpicks under my toe nails than watch another minute of this” worse. Toe suckingly terrible stuff, folks. Seriously.
As previously noted, the biggest problem with the movie is making it 100% serious while still keeping the “Dead Rising” moniker. It’s tantamount to taking a charismatic, over-the-top madman like Jesse Ventura and casting him as a cookie-cutter, potatoes-without-the-meat, bland as raw tofu, good guy. How do you make an intergalactic space cop played by one of professional wrestling’s greatest a-holes a walking, talking sleeping pill? Abraxas. How do you suck all of the fun out of Dead Rising‘s wholesale zombie murdering and DIY death dealers? Endgame.
Hey, I wonder why they named the first movie after Lyons’ plan (“Watchtower”), but didn’t do the same with the sequel? “Afterlife” would’ve made for a better title, especially given that this clearly isn’t the series’ “endgame”, what with the TV show planned. Just junk food for thought.
Since it’s a Crackle exclusive, if you want to check out Endgame (or Watchtower for that matter) you can do so for free on the Crackle app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or TV streaming device of choice. Of course, you’ll have to sit through a shitload of commercials for that privilege, but nothing is truly free… unless you download it from a torrent site. Technology, you sex us so good!
Oh, and despite not making Mac & Cheetos wretched fried tripe, BK isn’t off the hook! One time they sold me onion rings and didn’t give me the designated sauce that goes with it. Onion rings without onion ring sauce is as much a crime as a Dead Rising sequel without Rob Riggle’s Frank West. And I was told this was the land of liberty. Oh the unabashed verisimilitude. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
Those sadists in the Jackass crew have run out of wacky ideas and are just straight up mutilating themselves now.
I see someone never figured out how to turn the on-screen display off on their camera…
“Damn, baby! You looked a hell of a lot better last night when I had my Jack Daniels goggles on!”
She’s Selena Gomez-ing.
Dennis Haysbert parodying the McConaughey Lincoln commercials? You’re a few years late to the party, Allstate.
Hey, movie. You’re not endearing me to you any more so by showing me what I could be playing instead of watching you. Stop it.
“You mind if we stop by my dealer’s place real quick on the way to the airport? I’ve been itching for a fucking hit since lunch and I just can’t drive straight when I’m, well, straight! Oh, and can you give me a 5 star rating on Uber? It hasn’t been a good week.”
“Thanks for meeting me in secret… here in this public place… out in the open… during the day… You’ve never done corporate espionage work before, have you?”
A human pinata! THAT’s what I want for my birthday next year!
“My custom weapons are NOT stupid looking and cumbersome! They’re friggin’ AWESOME! You’re gonna owe me so many Mac & Cheetos when you see how right I am and these save your dumb life!”
For those cold footed husband-to-be out there hoping the zombie apocalypse will be a good enough reason to cancel your marriage? She will find you. And eat you.
“What are you two doing?! Do you have a permit to film here?! Fuck off before I call the cops!”
“So you’re not going with a crazy, over-the-top tone with this one? You just want me to play my role straight? Okay… you have until my bank clears the check, then I’m out of here.”
Hey kids, remember Hackers? Remember how cool it is to watch a fucking progress bar for 10 minutes?! Have we got a movie for you!
“Chuck? I know your cameo is completely superfluous and all, but could you have at least worn your bright yellow motocross jacket so the gamers could have had some kind of fan service?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“What Do You Call 8 Teens At Crystal Lake?”
Featuring: Sandi “Saint Francis” Gardiner , Callard “’Sons of Anarchy‘” Harris , Nick “Albino Farm” Richey
Writer & Director: Jonathan “The Punisher (2004)” Hensleigh
Also Known As: Cannibals
Intro: Hey everybody! This week’s episode is gonna be a rerun, since I had mental-dental surgery and need a lighter workload while I recuperate. The twin that I partially absorbed in the womb has been keeping me up at night grinding his teeth, so I had them removed. Next week’s review will be the whole big “very special episode” whatchamacallit, so until then, just read this!
Oh hey! The Green Inferno FINALLY made it into a theatrical release this weekend! Hooray! For those who aren’t aware, Inferno is the bastard spawn of cannibals (namely Holocaust and Ferox) as birthed from the creative test tube of Eli Roth’s brain.
Seeing as how a review for The Green Inferno is probably a few months off, and since I needed a break to digest all of the fucking Fantastic Factory I crammed into my mental mouth hole at the Spanish bad movie buffet, I figured I’d stick my hand into the rerun cooler and fish out my first can of do-over in over a year. Taking a cue from the week’s new release, I’m revisiting another found-footage romp through undiscovered man-eater country! To that extent, Welcome to the Jungle, won’t you?
Original Review: There are only three reasons that a movie should be titled “Welcome to the Jungle”: (1) It’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Guns ‘N’ Roses (2) It’s a SyFy Original starring Axl Rose and/or Slash (3) It’s a cannibalism movie about people from the “civilized” world going into a jungle and the title was changed because some slime licking studio exec decided the original title of “Cannibals” wasn’t flashy enough to sell the flick. If you’re a sweet child of the ’80s and you’re hoping for doors one or two, well you’re soljwf (dig out your Witchboard and ask George Carlin’s ghost what that means) because we’re giving you what’s behind the curtain. Oh, and look, it’s George Kennedy sodomizing a donkey while chickens peck kernels of corn from his naked ass. ZONK!
In 1961, Michael Rockafeller (“Rockafeller”? I don’t even wanna touch a feller, let alone rock one! *rimshot*) [editor’s note: Rockefeller is actually spelled with an E, not an A. I didn’t want to ruin Anubis’ joke or hurt his feelings, so I left it as written.] went missing in New Guinea while doing some follow-up research on a tribe called the Asmat. A boat that Mikey and his travel partner René Wassing were on was overturned and the two stayed with the boat while their guides swam off to get help. Tired of waiting, Rockefeller decided to swim off himself to get help, but was never heard from again. Wassing was saved the following day, proving that good things come to those who wait… except for Return of the Living Dead 4, because that was just a flaming Hefty bag full of hobo shit.
Son to then Vice-President-to-be Nelson Rockefeller, the search for Michael went on for three years before he was finally declared dead in ’64, though his body was never found. Insert ominous *DUN-DUN-DUN!* here. Well, 40+ years later, in Fiji, college girly Aussie surfer friends Bijou (Veronica Sywak) and Mandi (Sandi Gardiner) get together for a little reunion vacation. Turns out they had one of those “all girls are lesbians at some point in college” relationships, and Mandi’s still carrying a torch in hopes that their reunification will include re-insertion of lady protrusions into each other’s south mouths. Her hopes are dashed before you can say “Lilith Fair” though, when Bij gets introduced to Mand’s boyfriend of two whole weeks, Colby (Callard Harris). Ouch. If you slow the movie down, you can pinpoint the exact moment the poor girl’s heart breaks.
Just so the trip won’t be a total loss of drunken physical stimulation (via the aforementioned insertions), Bij is set up with Colby’s equally American buddy Mikey (Nick Richey). While Colby’s more the “privileged white kid with well-to-do parents” stereotype, Mikey comes from the “pig-headed drunken frat boy” side of the tracks. They’re like the Odd Couple, only I hate them!
The lads heard from a helicopter pilot friend that a 70 year-old white guy who may or may not be the missing Rocker (Marty Jannetty?) was spotted in the nearby jungle of New Guinea. As there’s a standing one-million dollar bounty from the Rockefeller estate for any information as to the lost heir’s whereabouts, the crew decides to go on an amateur jungle hunt (my favorite Atari 2600 game) to investigate the sightings of said geezer. If he turns out to be the legit article, they plan to do an interview with the old man and claim the million bucks so they can buy solid gold sports cars, a lifetime supply of Jack Daniels and all the lesbians Bijou can eat!
A doubly effective joke, since she’s into girls AND we’re watching a cannibal movie! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Say no more!
After engaging in the popular New Guinea “x-treme sport” of evading getting carjacked (tourism tip: never stop for children sitting in the road of a third world country – ALWAYS RUN THEM OVER AND KEEP GOING!), the quartet find the local guide who claimed to the helicopter pilot to have seen Grandpa Rockefeller. As proof, the guide pulls out an old timey Zippo lighter with the letters “MCR” monogrammed on it, which the crew trades a bag of tobacco in exchange for. Bijou thinks that the natives could be smarter than they’re giving them credit for and they may very well just be fucking with the stupid white tourists. Meanwhile, Micheal’s frat boy “tough guy” attitude amps up with every scene and really starts to piss me off right around this time, as he picks a fight with some Indonesian border guards (and gets the shit rightly kicked out of them when he calls one of them “zipperhead”, not thinking they know English). This comes after having earlier started shit with some local dudes who almost took his head off for being a posturing prick. He also shows us that he brought a gun with him, because for a brief moment he thought he’d go all Dirty Harry on those border guards before they bitch slapped him around and made him piss himself. Fucking frat boys.
While out in the jungle, the quarter runs into a missionary couple (in that they’re religious recruiters, and not just enthusiasts of that particular sexual position) for an awkward and seemingly pointless scene. If those two don’t wind up impaled on stakes and castrated later on, I’m going to be very disappointed. Speaking of which, if Mikey and Bijou do get eaten, the natives are gonna get so wasted off their whiskey soaked meat. And if they don’t get eaten after making me hate their stupid pathetic alcoholic shit-for-brains asses, this movie immediately gets 1/2 star no matter what happens for the rest of the flick. Seriously, we’re halfway through the movie and if Colb and Mand don’t just leave these two a-holes out in the middle of fucking nowhere to be eaten alive, I’m seriously considering shutting this shit off. On the plus side though, this movie has given me the great idea that, should I ever decide to kill the two most irritating fuckers I’ve ever met, I’ll invite them out into the middle of an uncharted jungle where local cannibals will dispose of the bodies…
Eventually, after many days of wearing thin on each others nerves, Mister and Missus Drunkerton make a raft and break off on their own down river, stealing the group’s only map, all of the money, and probably they keys to their rental van. Sadly, since they also stole one of the two cameras that have been journalizing the journey, we still have the fuckhead couple shoved in our face for a while longer. Oh well, all the better and more satisfying when they finally run into pissed off natives (unhappy with shitweed Mike’s desecration of one of their sacred burial mounds prior) and suffer violent, torturous deaths. By that point though, my lethal exposure to the toxic twins had long killed any and all redemption that might’ve been brought on by said deaths. They’re like a cancer: even though the chemo might get rid of them, you’re still emotionally and mentally ravaged by the experience. Once they’re gone though, it’s back to Colby and Mandi with the second camera as we follow their whiny search for their brain dead cohorts. On the plus side, the whiny stuff isn’t nearly as long or as insanely infuriating as the drunken posturing and mouthing off.
Will Mandy and Colby find Michael Rockefeller, let alone make it out of the jungle alive? Or, will there be some kind of epilogue tacked onto the end to explain how the “footage” made it back to civilization when they didn’t? And even if they do make it out alive, what other shit will the writers put in there to fill out the rest of the running time? Truth be told, I’m not even 100% sure of what the fuck I saw right before the credits rolled. By that point, all I really cared about was that the credits were finally rolling, so fuck it, it’s an ending and that’s all that matters.
Shot in pseudo-documentary style a la The Blair Witch Project (only in digital, because it’s cheaper and makes more sense), it’s hard to tell whether Welcome to the Jungle is supposed to be an homage to Cannibal Holocaust or just an attempt to make a mainstream cash-in on a flick that most “normal” people have never heard of. Obviously Dimension wasn’t too impressed with it, considering the flick went straight to DVD as part of their “Dimension Extreme” label. In this case, “extreme” meant “not good enough for a theatrical release”. To be fair though, Dimension Extreme also brought us the halfway decent Black Sheep, so they’re not all bollocks and ball socks. Whatever the fuck a “ball sock” is.
Considering the lack of explicit gore, vulgar rape sequences, National Geographic style native junk and disturbingly haunting and almost surreal score, I’m assuming it’s just a standard “buy low, sell high” cash-in effort by writer-director Jon Hensleigh. He’s written a bit of everything genre-wise, from Jumanji to Die Hard With A Vengeance. He also took up both writer and directorial chores for the 2004 version of The Punisher.
There are a couple of moments where the graphic special effects are actually done pretty damn well, but the inane dialogue and my general hatred for half the cast (compared to my “moderately steeped dislike” of the other half) just served as a black hole, sucking in any enjoyment I might’ve taken from the rest of the flick. If Cannibal Holocaust is too much for you to handle, but you’re still interested in the “raw footage” motif of a cannibal hunting movie and you can get past nerve baring characters, you might be up for a viewing of Welcome to the Jungle. As for me, well, I’d say it’s pretty friggin’ obvious how I feel about the whole craptacular debacle. Adieu!
Xtro: Damn! I don’t know if I was just way more bitter 8 years ago (“Bit him too!”), or if I just had a vendetta against any and every “found footage” flick between Blair Witch and [REC], but my original 1 star rating for this one is way off! Having re-viewed it for this rerun re-reviewing, I appreciate it a hell of a lot more now than I did upon my initial criticizing! Well, maybe not a hell of a lot more, but let’s say at least a moderately sized purgatory more. Not that we have to actually say that, because as every woman who’s ever gone down on Ron Jeremy has said, “that’s a mouthful”.
For starters, let me put it out there that I have in no way lightened my stance on Mikey: that stance being me with my size 13 boot firmly planted on his neck, making him denounce Adam Sandler movies if he ever wants the canned piss that is Old Milwaukee to cross his lips again. I know he’s meant to be the brain-splittingly obnoxious frat boy stereotype “TO THE EXTREME!!!1!” (especially given that his death is the most satisfyingly drawn out later on), but I also stand by my original statement that he’s so overly annoying that he’s what I call a “human onion”: even well after he’s gone, we’re still trying to get the rancid aftertaste of him out of our mouths. His specter lingers so long that I forget anything else about the “meal” and spend the next few hours wishing I’d asked the waiter for no Mikey.
Though Bijou isn’t much better, and the duo’s “party every night!” attitude gives me oozing pustules on my soul, this time around I actually find myself relating to her. Not because I’m a cunty drunk, but because I know the crushing disappointment of looking forward to reuniting with someone you still carry a torch for, only to have them douse it right out of the gate by introducing you to their new Kama Sutra co-pilot. It’s not the other person’s fault for moving on, but it doesn’t make it any easier to find out you’re the only one still living in the past. So, whether it’s because they’re both soulless partily-heartily types or Bij just wants a rebound fuck to get over the disappointment and/or resentment of having her hype for the clam buffet busted into a million little pieces (or she’s just trying to make Mandi “jealous”), she and Mikey actually hit it off and it makes sense. Depressing, annoying, understandable sense.
Oh yeah, speaking of the boozers, here’s one of the biggest hemorrhoids this movie planted in my crack: How much fucking alcohol did they weigh their packs down with to fuel such a party bus to Drunken Regrets Town?! By Jupiter! B & M (huh huh, “BM”) get shitfaced EVERY NIGHT, and they’re wandering out there for something like a week or more! You’re four people going into the fucking jungle for an extended period of time, yet you waste precious food & water space for rum!? Unless those two are the world’s lightest lightweights and have been getting blitzed on a couple of shots a day, up yours movie! Fuckin’ “Blart of the Day” award winner.
Whether you side with Couple A as people with a goal who want to get things done, or Couple B as people who want to make it party time all the time because life’s too short to be a fuddy-duddy, you’re more than likely going to end up taking a side while watching them pick at each other and come close to blows several times. Did you agree with Bij & Mike when they gave Mand & Colb the double “single digit salute” and ran off with the party’s map and valuables? Or, did you get a little more joy than you thought you would when the rebel pairing start turning on each other because they’re both self-centered knobs (who can’t get along without getting their faces idiomatically shitted first) and deserve the pain and horror they’re in store for? Even if your investment is simply, “I can’t wait to watch (insert names here) DIE!”, it’s still an investment!
I also made notice of something else that helps flesh out the four a bit more in character terms upon this viewing. There’s a short “five questions” segment the group records prior to their expedition, where each answers a handful of queries like “Do you believe in god?” and “What’s your relationship with your parents?”. A quick and dirty way to add a little more depth to them without shoehorning the same shit into forced “this was clearly scripted” conversations later or leaving it out entirely.
Even without a lot of cannibal screen time, the movie still pulls from its action hat (also today’s sponsor: Action Hat!™) to keep tension engaged via conflicts between our Wonder Bread quartet and foreign antagonists in the shape of angry locals, would-be hijackers, and border guards who don’t take kindly to racial slurs shouted by an entitled honkey frat boy whom we can all enjoy knowing will never grow up to be a frat man, constantly telling his wife and kids about how lucky every other guy around him is that he doesn’t “beat their asses”. If only we could’ve watched him raped to death by CHUDs.
And there we have it: Welcome to the Jungle is a lot better than I remembered it. It’s typical found-footage failures (like “Why would you keep filming this when you should be running for your life?!” moments) and movie logic flops (Why would they bring so much alcohol!?) work against it, but it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel of festering fish paste that I tossed it into with my original opinionation. Not a big fan of the “surprise” ending where a fat old guy we’re supposed to suspect is the lost feller rocker wanders in front of the video camera, nor of the little detail the movie left out about how this found-footage was supposed to have been found, but that still doesn’t make it a horrid waste of 90 minutes. Overall, it’s a Log™ flick – it’s better than bad, it’s good! But not great.
Before I go, I’d like to say that my newly discovered non-hate for Welcome in no way absolves Jon Hensleigh for his fucking “the blond guy from Deep Blue Sea vs. Vinnie Barbarino” Punisher movie. An elaborate scheme involving parking tickets and diamond earrings just to make a mobster kill his own wife out of suspicion?! Having him slowly pulled behind a car to his inevitable death amidst a exploding parking lot?! Fuck you. Frank Castle would’ve just shot the whole family in their collective faces and burned their mansion down to get any of the survivors. In an otherwise overwhelmingly “okay” movie, those segments brought it down to Dyson Ball Vacuum levels. It didn’t just suck, it sucked so hard that if it were to engage in fellatio, it would implode its partner’s testicles, creating a scrotal black hole! In a more Punisher-centric comparable scenario, that movie sucks so hard that I’m convinced it took detailed notes on how to suck by watching Angela make love to the 2nd Amendment in that Night of the Demons 3 scene! In case your bad movie education didn’t include the NotD trilogy, let me bring you up to speed:
Anyway, tune in this Sunday for that “very special episode” I mentioned! Mark your calenders! Set an alert on your myfacespacebook page! As for me, I’m gonna order my Green Inferno tickets and listen to this inappropriately upbeat song. Keep it sleazy, kiddos!
“As this photo shows, Rockefeller was also apparently the proto-hipster from which all other hipsters devolved!”
When not being used for their intended function of providing milk for a nursing infant, the breasts of the human female have evolved to also serve as pillows! Evolution in action.
That’s either a decorative desk lamp or the world’s second largest martini.
The term is actually “caught behind the 8 ball”, but whatever. Oddly enough, this comes in right around the 13 minute mark…
Looks like we got another cracker who thinks his white privilege includes casual usage of the n-word!
“More of the you fucking white people and your reality shows?! By the nine tribes! How about you leave me alone until you bring The Price Is Right Live! tour with you!”
“Did you guys pull the short stick for your missionary group too? Oh well. At least if we die out here we’ll finally find out if all this Jesus stuff was worth it, right? Haha… ha….. ha.”
I’m all for leaving up the holiday decorations a few weeks past due, but somebody needs to tell these Asmat guys that Halloween was over six months ago!
Look, a big empty bonehead… and he’s holding a skull! *rimshot*
When bulimics go too far, things can get very messy.
“Hey! Get out of that river, you damn kids! That’s our drinking water!”
“Fiiiiiigarooooo! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Fiiiiiigaaaaarooooooo!”
“Don’t tase me bro! I’m unarmed!”
“Where the hell did the random old white guy come from?!”
“Oh, don’t mind him. That’s just our neighbor, Mr. Warner. He’s got dementia and wanders around the neighborhood sometimes. He won’t bother us. Let’s get back to our blood ritual!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Werewolves. Mayhem. Soap.”
Featuring the Voices of: Gerard “300” Butler , Siobahn “Feardotcom” Ellen , Jared “I Shot Andy Warhol” Harris
Directors: Daniel “Other” DelPurgatorio , Mike “1001 Nights” Smith
Writers: Zack “Sucker Punch” Snyder , Alex “Watchmen” Tse
Also Known As: Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter
What’s behind my advent calender of eldritch horror today? A cruise across the seas of blackest nightmares aboard the boat of blackest love. No, it’s not a vacation on the Black Sea aboard Disney Cruises’ new Mandingo Party Boat (sorry, still scrubbing the residue of Haunted House 2 off of my hands) in the middle of a black hole. Welcome to Tales of the Black Freighter.
Given that my prior episode was for a Marvel superhero feature, I thought I’d give longtime rivals DC a fair chance in the spotlight. Rather than double down on the tights & capes crowd, I opted for something a bit more unique and adult from the house that The World’s Finest built. And since Preacher isn’t a thing (yet), We3 never happened, Swamp Thing will probably never recover from those fucking live-action movies, and “Constantine”’s not animated, this is the adventure I choose. The Black Knight runs you through with his sword. The last thing you see is your internal organs spilling out of you as you try desperately to hold onto ’em like that guy in the meme who can’t hold all those limes. You died. Return to page 37.
Zack Snyder couldn’t find a spot for Gerard Butler on his Watchmen cast, so rather than leave his good friend (and then meal ticket) the Butt Butler alone and hungry in the cold, Snyd finagled him the lead voice job in Tales of the Black Freighter. The part doesn’t require him to oil up and jump around with other guys homoerotically grunting and screaming in manties, so already Butts is out of his element and spitting into the wind.
Originally a comic book-within-a-comic book (meta before meta was a thing), TotBF appeared in Alan Moore’s spectacular 1986 Watchmen maxi-series as a barely-subtle mirroring to the events in the Watchmen story proper about how some heroes are really just villains who think they’re the good guys. Everybody’s the hero of their own tale.
Oh yeah, spoilers. Check the expiration date though, kiddies: Black Freighter came out in 2009, so this milk is officially past the 5 year “Sell by” date. As such, curdle ahoy!
The tale takes place in the mis-romanticized age of pirates. I mean real pirates. The guys with the eye patches and the peg legs and the treasure maps and the scurvy, not the skinny Somalian guys on motorboats wearing track suits and wielding rusty uzis. Butler’s clunky reading skills give voice to a nameless ship captain (we’ll call him Skipper) with the grave misfortune of having his craft targeted by an infamous and unholy hell barge known the seven seas over as the Black Freighter. Not your everyday pirate schooner, the BF is a hulking ark from Satan’s own armada. Massive in its size and colossal in its evilness, it looms like a reaper’s shadow over all who encounter it. Forged of a mountain of bones and skulls, it’s painted in a blackness darker than a tar pit filled with coal mined from the deepest pits of Earth by the souls of history’s worst sinners during a total eclipse of the sun (and heart). We’re talking Wesley Snipes shades of black and “Jeffrey Dahmer having phone sex with Charles Manson” shades of darkness.
When we meet Skip, his boat’s been left in splinters and his crew litters the tide like a New Orleans cemetery post-Katrina. He washes up on the shores of a deserted island along with the remnants of both his ship and his men with the single-minded focus of what horrors the Black Freighter’s twisted monstrous occupants will unleash upon his beloved wife and daughters once it casts its cloak of pitch upon the harbor of their home, Jonestown. Skipper is determined to reach said docks ahead of the flagitious frigate in the hopes of saving his friends and loved ones from the looming doom. How will he accomplish this daunting odyssey? Therein lies the element that cements Black Freighter‘s place in the history of horrifying shit…
With nothing to saw down any of the trees on the isle, Skippy tries to assemble what he can of his former craft’s remains into a viable raft. Unable to cobble more than a ramshackle skeleton together, our wayward Robinson Crusoe takes this time to notice that the bodies of his former crew are starting to bloat, making them exceedingly buoyant…yep, he’s going to make a cadaver catamaran with his deceased mates as posthumous pontoons. He lashes them together with the scraps of their clothes, severing limbs and breaking bones to form them to his needs. It’s gloriously retch-inducing.
Setting out as the most death draped gondolier since Charon had to break out his ferry to take the citizens of Pompeii across the Styx, Skip struggles to stay alive as his brain bakes in the sun, drinking minimal amounts of salt water to stay hydrated and trying to eat raw seagulls he catches while they peck at his makeshift transport. It’s a gruesome cruise, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until 2013 when the Carnival Triumph became stranded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the nightmarish conditions that would earn it the title of “The Skat Boat” a.k.a. “The Poop Cruise” a.k.a. “The Shit Ship” a.k.a “Bush/Cheney 2013”.
Amidst his rapidly deteriorating mental state (including casual chats with his former first mate Ridley [Jared Harris]’s corpse), Skip’s trip is interrupted by a shiver of sharks. The gang of great whites go all feeding frenzy on our hero’s raft, tearing body after body away as he tries to fend them off without getting eaten himself. One of the monsters gets caught up in his ropes and Skippy manages to kill it (like Olga Karlatos in Zombie), using it as his new ride for the remainder of the cruise home, bringing Ridley’s severed head with him. Comedy comes from tragedy, so at its heart, Tales of the Black Freighter is really a buddy comedy in disguise!
Arriving at the shores of his hometown, Skip notes the complete lack of turmoil and carnage he expected to be met with upon his return. Convinced that there’s no fucking way he could’ve gotten there ahead of the BF, he figures that the village had already been taken and his only concern now is to find out the fate of his family. He comes across a man and his date on their way to hump town alongside the road and presumes the guy must’ve turned traitor to save his own miserable ass from the bloodthirsty buccaneers. Skip grabs a rock and bashes the guy’s brains into paste before strangling the hussy, who deserves no less lethal a fate for letting such a miserable privateer into her private parts. Slipping into the suspiciously silent streets of the town, Skip finds his way to his home and finds his daughters asleep in their bed. Before he can rejoice about the revelation, a shadowed figure comes into the room. Sure that this must be a marauder, our hero leaps into action and dispatches the fiend permanently, violently beating his head into the floorboards. Cue the look of horror on his girls’ faces, followed by the agonizing realization of Skipper’s own visage when he discovers that the fiend he’s just murdered in cold blood (it could just be gazpacho…) is in fact…shit, if you couldn’t guess it by now, I’m gonna shove thumbtacks between your fingers and toes until you figure it out for yourself.
Shocked and appalled by what he’s done, Skippy escapes into the night, followed behind by a contingent of his non-ravaged neighbors who have since discovered the bodies he left along the road and are now wielding torches in search of mob justice. He finds his way to the docks and back into the aquatic purgatory from which he’d just freed himself, only to see the Black Freighter lurking nearby. Rather than warn his very angry peers, he instead swims to the ship, where a rope is lowered for him. He takes hold, climbs the side of the ship, and gives himself over to the horde of twisted atrocities that surround him. And now it all makes sense: ultimately, man is his own antagonist. As Nietzsche said in his second most quoted-to-the-point-of-cliche philosophical statement, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
When I originally read Watchmen, I remember skipping over some of the Black Freighter segments. For me, they broke the pacing of the main story and felt unnecessary. I didn’t need a story within a story explaining the theme of the first story to me. As such, when Watchmen delved into the dimension of sight AND sound, I wasn’t bothered by its being trimmed from the movie. I do appreciate Warner Bros going all out and giving it its own animated format and release though. I’m also happy that they kept it to a trim 30 minutes, because as a 90 minute feature (or even a 60 minute demi-feature), I fear it could’ve ended up a little unbalanced to the tune of more-filler-than-killer. As it stands? Fantastic. Well, aside from Butler’s line reading. Maybe he should’ve taken a couple of muscle relaxers (or skipped the Viagra) before recording, because his delivery was a little too stiff to ignore. Wakka-wakka.
The animation has that twisted, rough look to it like a cleaner version of an “Aeon Flux” episode without everyone looking quite so elongated. The writing is just fucking incredible and Butler’s got the perfect voice for it. Again, it’s just sad that he can’t read about 20% of the words without making them sound stiff and awkward. Alan Moore’s words resonate in the dark corners of your brain, and if you’ve never read any of the man’s work, get thee to a library. And if they don’t have any Alan Moore stuff? Burn it to its foundations, then shit in the basement. Don’t just ask them to order it, make a statement about how you shouldn’t have to!
Overall, TotBF invokes the same feelings in me as the segments of the original Heavy Metal did as this dark, very adult, well animated (but not too well animated), self-contained story. It really is a brilliant piece. And that closing song. Holy shit. “Pirate Jenny” by Nina Simone? The end credits for an animated zombie pirate gore story doesn’t seem like a great place for a blues song (beyond the obvious thematic connections, since the original rendition of PJ from ”The Threepenny Opera” was Alan Moore’s inspiration for the comic-within-a-comic to begin with), but when I think about the track later on, independent of the movie itself, it sends literal chills up my neck and gives me phantom goosebumps. I’ve never been haunted by a song before, but this one might as well be a pasty white Japanese girl in heavy goth eyeliner with long raggedy hair crawling on top of me while I sleep. If I say “Black Freighter” five times in the bathroom mirror with the lights off, Nina Simone will come out and go all Candyman on my hairy canis-sapien butthole.
Great, now I’ve gotta go smash my mirror and clear a few million bees out of my toilet before they fuck up the pipes and I have to spend my Cthulhumas bonus on hiring a plumber. Fuck. I’ll be back next time with…something. Until then, keep your taints clean, your streets mean, and always tip your cleaning staff or you might wind up with your fucking head on a stake!
I see yet another person who doesn’t understand that the answer to “Is black-face okay?” is always “NOOOOOO”.
Lindsey Lohan earned her boating license and held a booze cruise in honor of the accomplishment. There were no survivors.
Guys, I know sometimes we do extreme things during times of severe sexual frustration, but trust me when I tell you this isn’t the answer. It’s just not worth the dick splinters. Nothing is.
In case you forgot this story was originally a part of Watchmen, here’s Skipper’s Rorshach sail… you’ll be seeing it many many times again to assure that, like 9/11, you never forgot.
Beachhead. Because there’s a head. And it’s on a beach. It’s a beach head on a beachhead. Because even in times of plague and horror, no one is safe from visual puns!
Shark attack! Quick, somebody get Lance Guest and Mario Van Peebles here so we can impale it on their schooner!
When your friends tell you you need to “get some head”, this isn’t what they mean, Skip.
That’s exactly what I look like every time I have to plunge my toilet.
The most metal fucking raft EVER! If Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson, and Rob Halford went on a fishing trip, they’d do so on THAT!
Yeah, I remember the first time I had sex with a woman on her period too. They tell you it’ll be alright… you’ll never be the same again.
Anubis will return next time in
“Murder on 34th Street”
Featuring: Adam “The Walking Dead” Minarovich , William “Louie the Moon” Palko , Matthew “Buy, Sell, Kill: a Flea Market Story” Pierce
Director: Adam “Ankle Biters” Minarovich
Writer: Adam “Ankle Biters” Minarovich
Hopefully by rerunning this review, I can do some good in the world and dissuade any potentially curious parties from making a scrotum-tearing decision they could very well regret for their entire lives…or at least the hour or two after it’s over. Those are precious hours that could be better spent sleeping, drinking, sleep-drinking or drink-sleeping. Meh, let’s just get this over with.
When Rob over at The KO Picture Show was taking volunteers for a “Vs.” roundtable, I had no choice but to throw my hand up (having eaten it the night before *rimshot*) and toss my hat into the ring. At first, all that came to me were the always reliable Godzilla flicks, since 90% of them have “Vs.” in the title. I put a little thought into the process though, and since Rob had already planted his flag into King Kong Vs. Godzilla big ape-lizard ass, I thought it would be more interesting to seek my opponent elsewhere. I was going to go for the Mexican Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, or any of the numerous Santo flicks, but then found myself struck by inspiration. During my daily voodoo ritual in which I attempt to put the whammy on Adam Minarovich, I remembered Mr. Minor-Ass-Itch had befouled the world with a home movie abortion of his own that fit the criteria perfectly: Wiseguys Vs. Zombies. In that it had the word “versus” in the title, anyway.
I’d been looking for another chance to lay a steel toe into the back of the head of the guy who makes Ed Wood look like Albert Hitchcock for reasons that, well, this review should explain. As if that weren’t bad enough, last week I complained in my review of Karate, the Hand of Death that directors should never be allowed to star in their own movies, followed by a similar comment earlier this week in my Freaky Farley review that writers should be subjected to similar cinematic law. Well, guess what kids, today’s star happens to be both the writer and the director! Minaroviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich! Somebody get me a fresh needle and a hit of mountain lion testosterone (stolen from Ted Nugent’s medicine cabinet of course), cuz I’m fixin’ to get ornery!
Last time Minor-Ass-Itch attacked us, it was with a litter box amalgamation of Blade and Terror of Tiny Town. This time he duct tapes copies of Pulp Fiction and Return of the Living Dead together and tries to lodge them into our rectums with no consideration as to whether or not any of us actually wants movies planted amidst our un-expelled fertilizer. The stinkweeds that result go down as such: a government experiment (given the uninspired named of “Project: Lazarus”) to reanimate dead soldiers is deemed a failure and all remnants of this waste of taxpayer money is destroyed. Most of it anyway, with the exception of (wait for it, cuz here comes the part we could all see coming as soon as the words “government experiment” clacked out of my keyboard) a single barrel of the chemical that them high-fallootin’ army types managed to lose. The missing stash was snagged by a low-level gambling addict soldier at the base who stole it to use for barter with his loan shark, hoping the silly little man (who sounds like he’s fresh out of the trailer park) will take it and sell it in exchange for the $6000 the G.I. Joke owes. The shark even ends their conversation with “Have a good day, sir.”.No doubt ad-libbed because he probably finished his shift at KFC before coming out to shoot the movie and was still in customer service mode. Naturally, Sharky forces G.I. Joke to sample the shit first before he’ll accept the exchange, so immediately after Sharky leaves, Joke of course starts to get the vapors (is he turning Japanese?) before his head turns into a blood fountain
It hasn’t even been five minutes and already I’ve sat through poorly shot scenes of the camera trying its best to focus on a Hummer with a homemade military “Pimp My Ride” job, and way too much camera time spent staring at Sharky’s gun instead of the characters. We just started and the movie’s wasted no time going down faster than Bill O’Reilly in the men’s room at the Republican National Convention. I can feel that mountain lion testosterone starting to kick in…
In Miami, a dime store Tony Montana (who can’t even keep his shitty fake accent in check) is upset that he’s yet to receive his latest shipment of street candy from his supplier. He calls a friend in New York to address the matter for him, hence how we meet Freddy Six Times (William Palko) and Gus (Minaroviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich!) who are both sent out to collect Mony Tontana’s goods. Which will be the sole use of the label “good” in any way, shape, or form for the remainder of this review/curb stomp. Though I’m not positive, I’m at least 87% sure that the four different rooms used to shoot the scenes involving each of these four characters interacting were all shot in the same house. From here on out, Gus will be referred to as “Assy” (because of the whole “Minor-Ass-Itch” joke I’m running into the ground) and Freddy will carry the moniker of “Douchey”. I would’ve called Gus “Douchey” instead due to who’s playing him, and because of the half-wit shit-for-brains Travis Bickle impersonation he pulls in front of a bathroom mirror as part of his Stuart Smalley daily affirmation exercises, but we’ll stick with “Assy”. If Robert of Niro ever gets out of his Craftmatic®
adjustable bed, puts on his arch-support Dr. Scholl’s grandpa loafers, and kicks Minor-Ass-Itch’s teeth down his throat, Assy would be a lucky man.
The fucker sweats like Bill Clinton watching a “Mama” Cass Elliot performance too.
Assy and Douchey’s journey starts with an interrogation scene, where Assy spends 5 minutes telling the guy (who I remember (painfully enough) from Ankle Biters) how much he’s going to hurt him, then spends 5 more minutes standing with his back blocking the camera as he pretends to pummel the guy. This is followed by another “beating” scene, as Assy throttles another redneck incest case in what looks like my grandma’s bedroom, only with a handful of Chopper movie posters strung up in an effort to balance out the flowery bedspread and dresser. Maybe Eric Bana can sue somebody over this for, like, retroactive defamation? Somebody get one of those TV lawyers with nicknames like “The Hammer” or “Thunder Dick” on the phone!
After packing a handful of dead hillbillies into their trunk and commandeering Mony Tontana’s “drugs” (the army zombie fruit punch), Assy, his extra sweat gland and Douchey stop over to start trouble in South Carolina. They clash with the local Sheriff at a Greasy Spoon, their ride gets impounded and before you can say “Wait, is this a Redneck Zombies sequel?!”, the dead rise from Assy’s trunk and we finally get some of the titular zombies…45 minutes into this exercise in cruel and unusual punishment. This is turning into the spiritual successor to Zombie ’90 and I am officially in my own personal b-movie Hell. There’s no other explanation for what I’m going through! And there’s still an hour left to it! ARGH!
When Assy and Douche start up with all this bullshit about the living dead, both their fake-Cuban and fake-Italian bosses decide the two duo are on drugs themselves and both send some more men into South Carolina to find ’em. Meanwhile, Assy continues to run around making stupid sound effects and trying his damnedest to be a toned down Robin Williams. The blast sound effects of his shotgun sound like an actual shotgun half of the time and somebody breaking a rack of billiard balls the other half, while one of the zombies sounds like Chewbacca passing a kidney stone. Not in that berserker freak out way, but in that, “This is what it sounds like when wookies cry” way. And you can’t even call him a pussy for it, because Chewbacca or not, passing a stone will make skinned knee little girls out of the most biggest balled of the he-est of he-men.
Oh, and to prove that Ankle Biters wasn’t the end of his Blade ripping offing, Minor-Ass-Itch makes it a point to include a scene where Assy has to kill his older, father-figure type partner after Douchey is bitten by a zombie. Remind you of something? Yeah, he did the same fucking scene in Ankle Biters, only his partner was a midget. To further show off his Blade theft, Assy starts killing the zombies by injecting them with more of the military grade Hi-C Zombie Cooler, thus overloading them into oblivion. To put his own hillbilly spin on it though, he makes sure that each ghoul’s death is succeeded with a voiding of their bowels. I guess that was one of the requirements to warrant the movie’s DVD distribution through Troma.
In an effort to win back the audience that he never had in the first place, Minor-Ass-Itch attempts enticing us with some zombie chainsaw violence. Unlike Zombie ’90, which at least got the chainsaw gore kinda right, Assy manages to fuck this up too! We’re slapped in the eyeballs with close up shots of himself getting fake blood tossed onto his face while all of the actual chainsaw shit happens off camera! Either the guy’s an egomaniac for stuffing close-ups of his big dumb face into EVERY scene, or he realizes the special effects are just that damn shitty and showing them on screen would be cinematic suicide. Well, a more painful cinematic suicide anyway. Like opting for a bullet to the brain instead of slicing open his stomach in a den of starving hyenas.
As a quick aside for all of the wrestling fans out there, if you close your eyes while watching this movie (something I did many times), you’d swear that Minor-Ass-Itch sounds exactly like Jim Cornette when he’s talking. From the accent to the way he yells and talks down to people, it conjures up images in the mind of Big Jimmy C running around in his glasses goofy jacket, face swollen and manic as he’s whacking the undead upside the head with his trusty old tennis racket. Does he even carry the tennis racket around these days?
Every scene lasts twice as long as it should, and that’s taking into consideration whether anything from this fucking movie deserved to be shot in the first place. The dialogue seems like it’s made up entirely on the spot by a cast of people who have never done improv acting in their life. When Minor-Ass-Itch put himself down for a writing credit, I’m guessing it was because he wrote the general plot down on a square of toiler paper while pitching his morning loaf, because I don’t think any of these lines were so much “written”. The cast was apparently given the gist of what they were supposed to convey in each scene right before shooting and allowed to mumble their way to the finish line. Speaking of shooting, is it too much to ask for a Brandon Lee moment or two here? Couldn’t Minor-Ass-Itch just get shot in the face, die and leave the collection of dingleberries that he calls a filmography as it is? You don’t need a big budget and high class actors to make a fun zombie flick, butWiseguys Vs. Zombies is definitely ten times more irritating than it is entertaining. What the fuck is Mr. Director’s fascination with frequently shooting ceiling fans? Were the profits from Ankle Biters so good to him that he can finally afford ceiling fans in his house and he wants to show them off to everybody to prove that he’s “made it”?! Even the references to Assy’s scratchy nut sack and a radio song about licking testicles (the closest things to partially funny running gags we can come up with) lose their humor half-life almost instantly from overuse. And what’s with the fucking yappy dog whining off-camera for half of the outdoors scenes?! Were they all shot in somebody’s backyard and nobody had the balls to tell the neighbors to put their fucking mutt inside for 20 minutes?! Osiris damn it do I have a raging hard-on to napalm South Carolina right now!
Xtro: Every time I read one of these old reviews, I feel they’re going to be used as evidence in a murder trial against me in the (near) future. They’re so angry and violent and disjointed. If I tried to print them out, I’m pretty sure they’d come out looking like a kidnapping note made of letters cut from magazines. I wonder if I’ve become less of a psycho in the years since, or just a more refined lunatic. Does it really matter?
By the many arms of Vishnu, Wiseguys Vs. Zombies is without a doubt one of the shittiest movies I’ve ever been tied to a chair and forced to sit though. This is the Casino Royale torture scene of zombie flicks. I tried begging my tormenters to just shove rusty barbed wire under my toenails and stuff sandpaper under my eyelids, only to realize I’d strapped myself to the chair in the first place and there was nobody else there to turn the TV off, no matter how much I screamed and pleaded. My only hope was that, if I shed enough tears from my impotent rage, I’d lose consciousness from dehydration.
The cinematography is abysmal. It looks like the movie was shot on Minarovich’s off-brand cell phone camera by Shannen Doherty’s even more ocularly lopsided brother who keeps accidentally hitting the fucking zoom function! The editing drills holes in your brain too, as most scenes are just haphazardly Frankensteined mash cuts of amateur hour ad-libbing (the dialog of which sounds like it was recorded via microphones clenched in the actors’ buttcracks), and then it’s all overladen with generic rock music performed by the cheapest band of middle-aged never-weres the local dive bar could drum up on a Tuesday night. It’s a concentration camp of bad movie making – all of it’s terrible and everyone suffers.
The only one who looks like he’s having any fun in Ass-Itch himself, but that’s probably because he’s the guy in charge and got to say/do whatever inane garbage he wanted to. His improvised performance makes even the worst scenes of The Blair Witch Project look like an alumni reunion of The Upright Citizens Brigade. The aplomb with which Assy jumps around shouting and frolicking like a little kid on Pixy Stix is almost admirable. But when you realize he’s also the one heading the production, the entire feature feel like it was just a few more bad decisions away from becoming a Manson Family murder scene.
I don’t even know if that was a valid point. I’m on the verge of drooling into a cup the longer I have to think about this swirling cauldron of pig vomit. My brain cells are all writing out their suicide notes as I type this. I need to wrap this up before they get into their tiny nooses and kick their tiny chairs out from under their tiny selves. Fuck your crabs-infested balls, Ass-Itch.
Moral of the Story: It doesn’t matter where you live or what your race is, everybody on the East Coast has a stupid hillbilly-ass Southern accent.
A movie whose budget was so low, they couldn’t even afford punctuation for their back story cards.
That name puts the “moron” in “oxymoron”.
Look at those clouds! Even Thor, the god of thunder, didn’t want this movie made!
They burned their only copy of the script for this shot. Well, at least that explains all of the lines sounding off-hand!
“I’m tellin’ ya Curly, I can shoot this zit off your ear you won’t even feel a thing! Your ears might not work for a few days, but other than that you’ll be fine!”
By which they mean, “Some backwater bumblefuck in South Carolina”.
You can Lady Macbeth it all you want, Minarovich. You’ll never wash the stain of this shit from your hands.
When their tripod broke, what was Mr. Director’s MacGyverian answer? “Just lean it against that dog turd on the sidewalk. It’ll look ‘edgy’!”
Sunday, Monday, Happy Days! Tuesday, Wednesday…. what? I know it’s not the Fonz. I fell asleep watching Nick at Nite (in 1997) and now I’ve just got that damn theme song stuck in my head.
I can’t tell if this is supposed to be one of those Evil Dead – The Hills Have Eyes – Jaws movie poster gags, or if they’re just using the Chopper poster to cover up the giant hole somebody punched in the wall when they saw their girlfriend Debbie reveal she was a man on a rerun of Jerry Springer… from 10 years ago.
That’s funny, because the last time I was there I was chased out by a bunch of guys wearing bedsheets and carrying torches.
The Big Boss Man!
Clorox – just because you’re a zombie doesn’t mean you can’t get your whites their whitest!… I’m sure there’s another Klan joke in there somewhere too.
Someone probably should’ve told Roy that the term “shit eating grin” isn’t meant to be taken literally.
“Listen to Zombie Bob and the Blart during ‘The Morning Monkey House’, here on WROG 102.9 FM! Turn it up and tear the knob off! Then, shove the knob up your ass and jump into a burning building! Faaaaaaaaart Soooooouuuuuunds!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Kill Kill Bang Bang”