Featuring: Reggie “Phantasm” Bannister , A. Michael “Phantasm” Baldwin , Bill “Phantasm” Thornbury & Angus “Phantasm” Scrimm in his final role
Director: David “Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too” Hartman
Writers: Don “Phantasm” Coscarelli & David “Channel 101” Hartman
Sequel to: Phantasm ; Phantasm II ; Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead ; Phantasm: OblIVion
You know those moments when you get your hype up so high that you’re oozing pre-hype, only to have the source of your oozing not just deny you said hype, but hit you in your hype zone with a hammer? Well, join the club. Uggh. Ra5ager is another one of those “I wanted to post this for Halloween, but had to hold off until November (I’m sorry, “NoVember”) because it’s too big a turkey to pardon” movies, like the Rocky Horror re-branding. Unlike the aforementioned botched effort to appeal to Willennials (what with their “gettin’ jiggy” and “big Willie” style), this irredeemable tank of cinematic septic sludge doesn’t even get the excuse of being a network exec’s cash-in fantasy.
Phantasm. Wow. In 1979, writer-director Don Coscarelli unleashed a new flavor in the field of fear when he introduced us to an old man and his balls. Now, in an Adam Sandler movie, that last bit would ravage the mind with horrifying images of a grandpa getting his testicles caught in his zipper, but in the world of Phantasm it’s horrifying for a whole different reason. When Angus Scrimm debuted as the now iconic Tall Man, a generation of horror fans pissed their collective pants. Five years before Freddy was giving teens fear-for-their-lives insomnia, this mammoth mortician was stalking his victims’ nightmares when he wasn’t prowling his mortuary workshop. Unlike other fear mongers, who would inject their terror through masks, He of Above Average Height relied on his everyday “twisted old man” visage, piercing stare and growling, bowel loosening voice to paralyze his enemies. And once they were paralyzed? That’s when he’d whip out his balls.
Said bloodthirsty spheres of steel became some of the most recognized death dealing utensils in horror. Flying through the air, they would chase down their victims, cutting them with their blades, boring into their skulls with power drill extensions, exploding through them at terminal velocities and even scorching them with death rays in later instances. So cool were these airborne murder toys that Anchor Bay release a Region 2 special edition DVD set of the first four flicks, contained in a big plastic replica ball case. My Evil Dead Bride begifted this little pocket universe of fantastic to me. Not only does this make me better than you, but it makes Her better than your significant other. Weep.
In addition to his vile volley of chrome cohorts, this tall glass of terror water (or “Flynt refreshment” as such libation would be known now) had under his wingspan a small army of small monsters. This cadre of diminutive demons were basically zombies that had been shrunken down in a giant food dehydrator then dressed up in robes. Basically Jerky Jawas. Despite the obvious opportunity for endless dwarf tossing jokes, the little beasties were always a source of hideous scares.
Over the course of the previous quartet of movies, Tally antagonized brothers Mike (Baldwin) and Jody (Thornbury) along with their guitar playing ice cream man amigo Reggie (Bannister) until 1998’s OblIVion, which ended on… a weird, Möbius strip type of endless looping…thing.
Though putting the series to bed on that note could’ve been acceptable (though confusing), after 37 years since its initial release we’re finally given the finale to the Phantasm legacy.
If you want a more detailed rundown of the individual movies and the labyrinth that is their cumulative narratives, don't look at me. I'm not Edward James Olmos and this isn't Stand and Deliver. Get your ass to
Mars Google! When you get back, we’ll talk about RaVager, which lives up to its nomenclature by doing just that to its lineage. See ya in 2 and 2, Chuck Woolery!
…[Pause for station identification]…
Groovy? Groovy. Let’s get this over with.
Originally conceived in 2008 as a web-only gaiden (aka an internet side-series) that would follow the further adventures of hair-curtain hero Reggie, this concept (and footage) was integrated into Coscarelli’s pre-existing RaVager plot plans circa the turn of the millennium regarding a final battle between our heroes and their nemesis amid the post-Apocalyptic ruins of a disease ravaged (*nudge*nudge*) Earth in which The Tall Man reigned over the crumbling remnants of humanity. I remember Bruce Campbell being included in these original plans, and was sad to eventually learn that he was no longer connected with the project. He would go on to make some magic with Mr. C in Bubba-Ho-Tep, but that’s another tale for another episode.
I’m not 100% on the extent of Dadtasm’s involvement during the final countdown to his brain child’s demise, but I do know that he passed the creative torch on to David Hartman to finish what he himself had started. Why? Well, my hypothesis is thus: Coscarelli was unwinding one day, watching Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too , when the radiation from a passing meteor bestowed temporary sentience and telekinesis upon a frying pan in his kitchen, providing the cookware with the momentary ability to throw itself at the back of his head, exacting revenge upon its owner for the many times he washed the poor thing with unforgiving Brill-O pads rather then letting it soak in soapy water first, then applying a soft sponge to remove the now loosened debris. Following said cortex rattling collision, Coscarelli returned to consciousness to see Hartman’s name on his TV screen. Feeling this to be a sign, he immediately got in touch with the man, ceding the reins to his purebred metaphorical horse and carrying out the prophecy laid before him.
But I’ve always had an “active imagination”. My parole officer’s been saying that ever since I was 15!
Whatever the case, RaVager returns the washed-up vendor of frozen treats Reggie to us after his altercation with Tally (pronounced like “Tall-E”) at the finale of OblIVion. Emerging in the middle of a desert wasteland with his vaunted double-double barrel shotgun, he discovers his beloved phallic compensater (and series mainstay), the jet black Plymouth Barracuda, not where he left it. Beginning his long self-narrated march down a barren highway in search of the nearest civilization (preferably prior to his death by dehydration), what should he come across, but that very same hot rod, now driven by its new owner (as per the “Finders Keepers” law), an even dumpier and less attractive loser than himself! There’s no explanation as to why the humanoid lung oyster would return to the scene of the crime, how he managed to find the ‘Cuda in the first place, or why he’d stop to pick up a thumb jockey in the middle of nowhere (clearly he’s never seen The Hitcher or heard ANY urban legend EVER), but whatever the reasons, the exchange ends with Reggie recovering his beloved whip and fat boy ending up in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his European-cut man briefs and a big silver sphere drilling into his face. Yep, as the poster for Phantasm II so joyfully declared “The Ball is Back!”
I love that movie. Oh Phantasm V, why can’t you be more like Phantasm II? D’oh.
Where the movie goes from here is, well, the very definition of a clusterfuck. Reggie jumps back and forth between scenarios where he’s driving across country in the “Ooooooo, Barra-Barracuuuuuda!” and being pursued by the occasional ball attack, suffering from dementia in a nursing home where he shares a room with a certain white-haired old man while being visited by Mike and Jody, or battling TM and his army of re-animated soldiers in a bloody red tinted “post-Skynet” world where he joins a group of revolutionaries that includes Mike, a woman named Jane (Dawn Cody) that Reg knows as “Dawn” in one of the other planes, and a pint-sized action hero named Chunk (Stephen Jutras) who’s your typical “I may not be tall enough to get on most carnival rides, but I can single-handed murder a dozen people with a knife!” breed of elite fighting dwarf that movies give us to up their action figure sales.
Though some viewers determined that these reality jumps are just Reggie having bizarre nightmares, in one of their nursing home scenes Mike tells Reggie about Membrane Theory (a.k.a. “M-theory”). Or at least boils it down into a small enough serving to make it edible for both Reg and we laymen in the audience. It’s basically a unifying concept that melds variances of superstring theory together to put out the possibility that our universe is just one of potentially thousands, and these other realities/dimensions are all bundled on top of each other in such a way that energy can pass between the weakened spots where their borders intersect. How does this apply to the movie? It’s never spelled out in big letters for us, but the presumption is that Reggie’s mind or “soul” (or whatever you want to refer to his consciousness as) plays illegal alien and passes between several of these dimensions, inhabiting alternate reality versions of himself (NONE of which have hair and ALL of which saw their careers apex behind the wheel of an ice cream truck) that spend their time fighting the Tall Man, running from him, or just rotting away in a hospital bed.
That’s about the extent to which I’m going to get into the story. Rather than settle on a single plot and map out the trip from point A to point B, we got this multi-reality excuse shoehorned in so Hartman didn’t need to settle on a single story. Even with said safety net setup below him, Hartman still churns out one majorly confused and overly complicated rigmarole of a fable. It’s the proverbial octopus trying to fingerbang a wood block – too many scenarios and nowhere to put ’em. What do you mean you’ve never heard of that proverb? There will be no free rides, no excuses. You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do. “The octopus trying to fingerbang a wood block” is the great equalizer!
Best of luck figuring that one out. Here’s a hint: it’s a callback to earlier in the review. 😉
I’d tell writer Hartman not to quit his day job, but since director Hartman is his day job, I’m going to request he quit both and do something for the betterment of humanity. Like drownee in a charity carnival dunk tank or jizz mopper at the local glory hole.
And what of our cast? Well, Reggie’s still the star of the show. Though his action hero stuff will never be believable, he’s still the best actor of the group. It makes sense why he became the series’s everyman comic relief focal point. Meanwhile, Baldwin and Thornbury seem to have become blander as their parts have become smaller. As for Scrimm? Oh man. Poor Angus. The dearly deceased inter-dimensional undertaker was on his last legs during shooting of his scenes, and it’s impossible not to notice. His face is heavily caked in makeup, his scenes are all smeared with digital haze to try and obscure his raVaged visage, his eyes look tired and the demon of time had long since withered away the Tall Man’s soul searing gaze. He has a handful of scenes with Reggie, where he cryptically refers to their roles in this grand scheme of things, but the poor guy couldn’t muster even an ounce of the terror he gave us in ’98, let alone in ’79. This isn’t how I wanted to remember Angus Scrimm, just like RaVager isn’t how I wanted to remember Phantasm. Uggh. Life is an unending march through the avenues and alleyways of suffering. Such is what happens when you let Pinhead plan your parade route. That guy’s such a prick. *rimshot*
Now, how about the visual effects? Unlike those car wrecks that people are always saying they can’t look away from (morbid fucks), RaVager is a car wreck you should look away from. Not just because doing so is insensitive to the victims, but because one of the drivers is Medusa and the other is Cthulhu, and if you make eye contact with either one, you’re fucked. By that convoluted metaphor, I mean to say that this movie is a visual mess. The digital format it was shot in makes it look like a crap-ass direct-to-video flick you’d find on the “New Releases” wall at Blockbuster 15 years ago. Back before NetFlix and RedBox ruined the video store experience and made the 13 membership cards in my wallet into useless plastic rectangles. You know what else looks like it’s a relic from the ’90s? The CG effects! Holy Helheim. As if I wasn’t having a hard enough time getting through this unadulterated gauntlet of shin-high spanking machines, I finally came across the point where my mind splintered. Not in the way that it physically broke into shards, but more in the way that Mrs. Menard’s eyeball was splintered in Zombie.
The CG is so hard to look at, I’d rather watch a baby put through a punch press. I understand budgetary constraints, but the stuff we get shafted with here was ugly 10 years ago, let alone by 2016 standards. The awkward attempts to splice these outdated digital effects with stock footage of riots and helicopters and skyscraper demolitions are heartbreaking. And it doesn’t stop there. Driving the splinter further into my cerebral cortex? During the climactic final conflict between our heroes and The Tall Man in his hellish home dimension, (a battle so poorly executed that I wish I could go on a three page tirade about it, spoilers be damned!) Mr. Scrimm is replaced by spliced footage of his younger self, awkwardly mugging his eyebrows up for the camera while not moving his lips at all (old test footage, perhaps?), excusing the piss poor paste job by having Tally speak to his opponents WITH HIS MIND… Really?! As if that wasn’t cheesy enough, said footage makes the man monster look flat, while everyone else in the scene clearly has that all important third dimension the bad guy lacks. I’m not a whore for high-grade graphics, I get that nothing will ever look as flawless as Jurassic Park did, but this garbage came close to shoving me into the malicious arms of an anxiety attack.
For Fenris’ sake, you know what RaVager reminds me of, now that I think about it? The way everything is so amateurish? The pitiably developed story? The lazy camera work? The cheap gore? It looks and feels like a fucking FAN FILM! It should’ve been titled Fantasm and sold as bootleg-only DVDs at dirt mall comic stores and hotel horror conventions! It would’ve been the perfect way to excuse Coscarelli not directing it, and it would’ve given the movie a Tower of Pisa level of leniency! I might have actually enjoyed it somewhat if that were how it had been presented! Son of a three-headed bitch! Leave it to me to pan some sliver of gold from a gurgling septic tank.
Why, why, WHY couldn’t David Hartman have been the Hartman killed by his crazy wife in 1998 (the year I’d swear these in-no-way-special effects came from) instead of Phil Hartman!? Phil Hartman brought us all so much joy and inspiration! “Newsradio” was one of my favorite sitcoms! David Hartman brings me nothing but disappointment. A disappointment that I’m sure extends to his family. There’s a Phil Hartman shaped hole in my soul that can never be filled, but there’s a David Hartman shaped hole in a New Jersey landfill that should be!
Okay, that’s a bit much. I shouldn’t be calling for someone’s head just because they exhumed a series better left dead, pissed all over it, then buried it upside down out of disrespect and built a pet shop on top of it. Maybe we should just have Rawhead Rex baptize D-Hart and let that be it. Truth be told, I’m not even a major mark for the Phantasm series. My dad was always a way bigger follower of it than I was. But even as a slightly-more-than-casual observer of the Misadventures of Bomb Pop Reggie and the Brothers Pearson, RaVager is the worst instance of someone disgracing a franchise beloved by others since that video I sent my ex-girlfriend, in which I gave her The Lord of the Rings trilogy DVDs a Cleveland Steamer. That’s what happens when you kidnap one of my Re-Animator t-shirts, EDNA!
I’m just kidding!…partly. Which part? Only the court documents know for sure.
I didn’t cry when I’d heard Angus Scrimm had died, but I cried after RaVager. Wait, did I say I “cried”? I meant I “fell face first down a twenty-story spiral staircase of cinemasochism that left me questioning if there was anything good or decent left in the world”. This abomination should never have happened. I was overcome by the urge to induce vomiting in an effort to evacuate this poison from my system. Sadly, there is no such thing as mental ipecac, so can somebody PLEASE do me a solid and Eternal Sunshine the shit out of me on this one? It can be my Cthulhumas gift for the year!
And there you have it, Phan-boys and Phan-girls. Gobble gobble in agony, because you’re Glenn/Abraham, David Hartman is Negan, and RaVager is Lucille. *SPLAT* I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I think we would’ve received a better movie if Syfy had bought the rights to it and tossed it in The Asylum’s food dish. Uggh, despite standing behind my statement, I feel so dirty for having made it. Look what you made me do, David fucking Hartman!
I’m gonna buck my usual credo and give you a spoiler as far as how one of the alternate realities ends – Reggie dies of some manner of degenerative disease. It’s appropriate too, since this movie doesn’t allow the series to go out with a bang or even peacefully in its sleep. Instead, it rots away with franchise cancer. R.I.P.
And Hartman? As Jon Stewart (the comedian, not the Green Lantern) once said, “You will always be judged by your worst elements”. Consider this your judgment. Welcome to the enemies list.
After-school rush hours get real nasty real quick. That’s why I had to get out of the mobile frozen treats business!
Hey, it’s 1990s Tall Man! And he brought Member Berries with him! Member the old Phantasm movies? Yeah, I member.
“There’s only room for one lovable loser on this cast, and it’s the one holding the gun! Hit the bricks!”
Yeah, this is a pretty accurate representation of how fans feel once RaVager is over.
“So… why the FUCK are we doing this stupid movie again?! Oh, right, the paychecks. Got it.”
“Sorry, old man, but I’m the only female character in this series who doesn’t have some repressed urge to want to bang her grandpa, so keep it your pants.”
Geraldo Rivera reveals to the world, “The Secrets of Charlton Heston’s Trunk”!
(It’s pretty much exactly what you expected)
Hold on a minute! In a previous movie we were shown that the balls are each powered by a human brain. What the fuck is in THAT thing?! Are there several thousand brains all working as a colony, or did Tall Man harvest GODZILLA’s brain!? Stupid stupid movie!
“Good news Reggie! I pulled a few strings and, despite that whole sorted “killed a hooker” thing, I got you into Heaven! Welcome aboard!”
Wow! That little boy’s Negan costume is AMAZING! Way to go, kiddo.
Tally tried to make his global takeover more marketable with limited edition Christmas themed murder balls. ‘Tis the season!
Wow, it finally happened. There’s finally a movie that makes me wish I was watching The Matrix Revolutions. You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to Hell!
See kids, this is why Uncle Anubis always tells you to never look directly at a masturbating T-1000. “Save your eyes; don’t look between its thighs!”
Phantasm finally turned into that Vigilante 8 movie adaptation I always wanted!
“Hey folks. Remember me? I was Rocky in Phantasm III. I have no clue why I was brought back to shoot a single scene for this movie, but here I am. Well… bye!”
“Made in America”, eh? You know what else shares that distinction? The KKK, nuclear weapons, and 3 Doors Down! But congrats, RaVager, for proving to us that America is capable of creating something even WORSE than the 2016 election.
Anubis will return next time in
“Homey Don’t Play That”
Featuring: Ryan “Green Lantern” Reynolds , Ed “The Transporter Refueled” Skrein , Morena “Serenity” Baccarin
Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rhett “Zombieland” Reese & Paul “Zombieland” Wernick
Followed By: Deadpool 2
Hey kids. Didn’t see you come in. Welcome. Ignore all the broken glass. I was just working on the latest treatment for my body horror movie script, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Ed. It’s something of a passion project of mine. A modernized re-imagining of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic by way of Hot to Trot with a little twist of Beautician and the Beast thrown in for flavor. It’s magic in the making. If I can’t sell it as a feature, I’m thinking of taking it to NetFlix as a throwaway joke for the next season of “Bojack Horseman”. Get your wallets ready, NF, cuz this is a Cash4Gold scenario – I give you gold, you give me cash. Shpadoinkle!
You know who would fund Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Ed? Wade Wilson. Who’s Wade Wilson? Deadpool. Who’s Deadpool? Clearly you haven’t read a comic book or gone into a mall specific chain store in the last 10 years. On some days, I would envy you for that. But not today, because now you’ll have to read my yawn inspiring ramblings to find out. Oh well. You must not think these reviews are too terrible if you’re coming here to read them, right? Right. Okay ham pressers, let’s press ham!
While I was on hiatus (let’s say scouring every corner of the world to find Tilda Swinton in the hopes that she could repair my hands [mangled by too much “summoning the white worm”] so I’d be able to type reviews again) the long-awaited Deadpool movie finally brought peace and joy to the hearts of fanboys and fangirls the world over. For those not in the know, Deadpool is a Marvel Comics mutant mercenary-sometimes-hero(ish?) whose shades-of-gray morality, morbid sense of humor, taste for excessive violence, Spider-Manian wit and self-awareness of his status as a comic book character have charmed him many a fan in recent years.
Unfortunately, his status as a “mutant” means that his film and live-action television rights have been under the not-always-competent thumb of Fox Studios, hence why Marvel themselves never made a movie for him and why it took so long for one to finally come out now. Sure, he appeared in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine (also played then by Ryan Reynolds), but his character was so unrecognizable by the finale, fans feared their black and red clad friend was doomed to never see the light of day in a proper presentation. BUT, Ryan Reynolds loved the character so much that he spent whatever free time he had between shooting romantic comedies, forgettable action flicks, and other comic book movies he’d rather forget (which I’ll save for another day… unless my blackmail demands are met, Ryan) lobbying Fox execs to let him make the Deadpool solo movie he wanted and the fans deserved. After much poking, prodding, and “Can I make Deadpool now? Can I make Deadpool now? Can I make Deadpool NOW?!”, the merc with a mouth (don’t most mercenaries have mouths?) was finally birthed straight into the public eye (embryonic fluids, afterbirth and all) on Valentine’s Day 2016. Trivia time – This was exactly 25 years after the characters first comic book appearance in February 1991’s New Mutants #87. Remember that in case you’re ever on “Jeopardy” someday… or they bring back “Beat the Geeks”.
From the very outset of the flick we know we’re in for a show and that Reynolds very much got away with making things his way, as the Red and Black Attack and some unfortunate nameless goon fodder tumble through a slow-mo car wreck to the tune of Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” for our opening credits. Said credits don’t include any actual names though, instead replacing the actors’ monikers with brief descriptions of the characters themselves, like “God’s Perfect Idiot”, “A British Villain”, and “A CGI Character” all featured in “Some Douchebag’s Film”, “Produced by Asshats”, “Directed by An Overpaid Tool” and “Written by The Real Heroes Here”. Wait a mo. The “Real Heroes”? You mean those eyeball blisteringly bad promotional comics that Pizza Hut gave out in ’94?! Blartus Maximus!
I’m pretty sure no one told the SAG about this little credits gag, because knowing how much butthole napalm they sprayed over Frank Miller getting a co-director credit in Sin City, these credentials would’ve set their collective nose hairs ablaze. Yikes. Imagine that for a moment – beyond the stench of singed hairs and burnt boogers you’d be privy to, you’d have to suffer through the odor of your own scorched inner nostrils for probably weeks on end. Provided it didn’t sear your sinuses shut. Shit. Almost makes me not hungry for potted mystery meat. Almost.
Anyway, if you’re the type of audience member who likes their movies done in the traditional “Point A to Point B” style, don’t expect to put too much on your feedback card. Deadpool‘s tale is almost as random and disjointed as our protagonist’s train of thought. It jumps back and forth between ‘Pool’s modern day hunting down of an ass boil from his past named Ajax (Ed Skrein) and important moments of our heroish hired killer’s sordid origins. We meet Pool’s longtime pal/sidekick Weasel (TJ Miller), his off-brand Golden Girl roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), and the complicated love-of-his-life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who teaches us the right way to celebrate International Womens’ Day. We learn how assassins in the four-color realm deal with fatal diseases (spoiler: it’s all superpower inducing science experiments) and show the world that, yes, men also suffer from the unreasonable physical expectations established by mainstream culture (fuck you both, Hollywood and Hornywood). We also witness (“WITNESS ME!”) Stan Lee’s greatest and most gratuitous cameo yet, we ride along for the romantic odyssey of Dopinder (Karan Soni – go watch “Other Space” if you haven’t already!) the cab driver, watch Wade try to shake the good intentions of a persistent Colossus (courtesy of computer generated effects and the voice of Stefan Kapicic, possibly stolen from him by a BBTW [Big Beautiful Tentacled Woman]) and his X-Person-in-training Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), until the whole thing comes together in the massive rain of bullets, brawling, ‘splosions, spectacle, thrills and spills that you expect from any good superhero blockbuster finale.
Oh, and DP gets his own theme song.
Given that Deadpool hasn’t even grown into the 6 month old size “Ask me about A Serbian Film!” onesie I bought for it on its release day, what you’ve read so far is as much as I’ll offer up in the way of plot and spoils. It wraps up with a credits stinger that pays homage to the original Ferris Bueller “robed Matthew Broderick tells everyone to go home” bit. As with any good stinger, we get a tease that the next movie will feature longtime ‘Pool associate Cable, whom our hero tells us will either be played by Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, or Keira Knightly. PLEASE, oh holy deities of the pictorial pantheon, let this mark the return of the original Frank Castle to Marvel’s movie scene, even if it has to be the b-league Fox universe.
If you couldn’t tell by the big golden feather at the top of this page, I love this movie. The comedy, the action (and extremely graphic violence), the romance (and extremely graphic-but-keeping-it-‘R’ sex). Seriously, if you’re not looking for a woman like Vanessa or a man like Wade, you’re looking for the wrong person and you’ll only have yourself to blame when you’re on your deathbed realizing that you wasted your life on someone/someones who suuuuuuucked. Find someone who not only won’t discount your special brand of bullshit, but who will mark up its value so high that the market will take notice, wonder what kind of insider-trading fuckery is going on, and go into utter chaos as the effects ripple through the global economy. Why do you think the Evil Dead Bride and I are on our way to the “half of our lives together” mile marker like we’re misfits frolicking down the Yellow Brick? Oh, and on the topic of the picture’s pairings, Ajax and Angel are my new favorite supervillain couple. She for her bad-ass bruiser lady “can kick the titanium shits out of Colossus’ ass” look and gimmick and he for, well, his ability to dual-wield a pair of fucking fire-axes! It’s far from being the most powerful of mutant powers, but damn does it look cool!
Given that Deadpool and Shoot ‘Em Up are my only two gold-feather standard flicks as of this episode, it looks like I have a definite type. I just fantasized about a Deadpool v. Mr. Smith team-up and am now sporting a raging semi (automatic). Anyway, not all of the jokes stick the landing, but like Kerri Strug with a broken ankle, they try their little hearts out. Not unexpected from the writers of Zombieland, but fairly unexpected from the writers of GI Joe: Retaliation. Freaking G.I. Joe. Frankenstein on a gas-powered pogo stick do I look forward to exorcising my thoughts on that two-backed beast of a double
Packing a quick wit, frequent pop culture references, explicit vulgarity, and not afraid to go homoerotic when the scenario calls for it, you’d almost expect Deadpool to be a Kevin Smith script. It’s offensive. Not “Michael Jackson’s private porn stash” offensive, but definitely not for those of a delicate constitution. I saw a woman leaving the theater with her two youngish daughters after the lights came up, and was moderately shocked to see that they’d stayed through the entire experience, but parents are weird these days. Sure, my aunt let my cousins and I watch shit like Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 and Pieces when we were young, but…well…the absorbency levels of my point are brought immediately into question now that I see that typed out. Well fuck. I watched some messed up movies as a pup. Never mind. Due to decades of wearing tiny Italian stereotype underwear and injecting Jolt Cola directly into my testicles, I’m sterile anyway, so my opinions on child rearing are irrelevant!
I never liked that term, “child rearing”. Especially with it finishing out a paragraph that references MJ’s recently uncovered disturbing fetish material. Too soon.
As much as I laud the writing, I gotta slip an appreciative hand to director Tim Miller too. Though he has an Oscar nom for Best Animated Short Film prior to this, and was behind the credit intros for Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and Thor: the Dark World, Deadpool is the man’s first feature. And not only did it turn out to be a proverbial barn burner as far as super happy party funtime flicks go, but also a bona fide Tetris (my new term for a “blockbuster”) in ticket sales. It made more than double its budgetary costs in the first weekend alone, and was still making money in small venues weeks after Batman Vs. Superman farted itself right out of theater-goers’ line-of-sight. If IMDB is to believed, final box office receipts say that the little merc made around $364 million domestically and has just opened in Japan at #1. Fox is predicting that the Yen made on Monster Island will bump the flick’s global take to over $800 million, making it, yes, THE HIGHEST GROSSING R-RATED MOVIE OF ALL TIME! Well, highest grossing worldwide. Here in the land of malk and vegan honey substitute it’s second highest after that theological snuff film The Passion of the Christ, which Drunken Hitler has announced will also be getting a sequel in the near future, so the race to the top of red band box office history should be getting very interesting over the course of the next few calendars!
Until the careless whisper that will be Deadpool II: Deadpooler, I’m your dirty old Uncle Anubis vowing that I’m never gonna dance again. Before I go, though, I recommend checking out the Highlander of Golden Girls herself, Betty White, as she gives her thoughts on the tactical spandex wearing masked mass murderer’s big screen adventure! Check it out at this link. See ya next time, Hoober-Bloobs!
In the realm of “heavy-handed insider jokes”, this one rates a Hellboy’s Right Hand.
I’ve yet to have a prostate exam in my life, but I’m pretty sure that’s not part of it…
Does Colossus live in fear that Gambit may have weaponized his Grape Nuts? I’m asking because it’s the only reason I could come up with for him being FULLY ARMORED WHILE EATING HIS BREAKFAST!
Speaking of Grape Nuts, looks like Deadpool needs to cut down on his fiber intake. When your first movement of the day comes out like birdshot, there’s a problem. On a sidenote, our hero should also avoid Tokyo until he gets that taken care of. Damn Kancho players would have a field day with him.
Trivia: Ryan Reynolds was so dedicated to being faithful to doing Deadpool right, that he literally paid $10,000 of his own money to Bea Arthur’s family to use her image on that shirt, because DP has a long standing love for the deceased “Maude” star.
“If you ever leave your disgusting fingerprint smudges on one of my ‘Gilmore Girls‘ DVDs again, I will carve up your face so bad that Kakihara will look like a GQ cover model in comparison!”
I think Morena Baccarin just gave me an ugly Christmas sweater fetish…
Back to the “heavy-handed insider jokes” scale, this one definitely rates a Fisto’s Right Hand. Maybe even two.
If Agent Smith and the backwards talking midget from the Black Lodge jerked off into a blender together and made a test tube baby with the resultant mixture, you’d get this guy.
I’d make a joke here, but in all honesty, nothing I could come up with would top what Reynolds and Miller rattle off in the scene’s exchange. Magic.
“Donald Trump? Is that you?”
If Darlene Connor were re-imagined as a modern mutant (and worked at Hot Topic), she would be her. Her power would be the ability to shift tectonic plates with her mind and her codename? Sarchasm.
“Are you ready to give up, X-Man?”
“Give up?! I usually have to pay extra for this at the massage parlor!”
Who doesn’t love a good “axes vs. swords” fight? It’s no “dueling chainsaws”, but it’s still plenty of fun to watch!
I know it’s a good time to be thrifty, but trust me when I tell you not to go to a dentist whose office is an old refrigerator box in an alley behind Starbucks. Well, at least his is wearing gloves.
Anubis will return next time in
“Not Just Another Zombie Movie (Yes It Is)”
Featuring: Randy “12 Rounds 2” Orton , Eric “The Pope of Greenwich Village” Roberts , Steven Michael “Breaking Bad” Quezada
Director: Roel “The Man with the Iron Fists 2” Reiné
Writer: Alan “Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers” McElroy
Sequel to: The Condemned
Surprise! You thought you were going to get some more international flavor this week with a new “World Tour de Farce” review, but instead you’re getting yet another “professional wrestler thinks he’s an action movie leading man” flick in The Condemned 2! Again, we see there is nothing you possess that I cannot take away. Especially when I’m the one giving you said thing, and the actual transferal of possession has not yet been enacted! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha *cough*cough*cough* HAAAA! *cough*
World Wrestling Entertainment gave us the original Condemned in 2007. It was like a grown-up, paramilitary, pirate internet version of Battle Royale. Or, a Running Man minus all the neon lights, gimmicked killers, and Richard Dawson. Being a WWE Films production, they cast one of their own as its star – former wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, not to be confused with “The Six-Million Dollar Man” Steve Austin (who, in turn, isn’t to be mistaken for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase). Though it was a massive financial boondoggle to the company (their biggest cinematic money pit to date), most wrestling fans consider it to be one of, if not the best of the company’s movie offerings, so it makes sense that they’d eventually sequelize it.
Now, having made The Marine 4, Behind Enemy Lines 3, 12 Rounds 3, and See No Evil 2, The Condemned was the last guy in the power plant not to receive “Employee of the Month”. As WWE doesn’t employ inanimate carbon rods (they’re very careful about their hiring practices these days, since you never know when Linda McMahon might run for Senate again), it’s The Condemned‘s time to shine!…with Randy Orton as the lead. By the racist fucking skullet of Hulk Hogan, what did I do to deserve this?!
Randy Orton. Randy “STUPID!” Orton. Randy “Just do enough to get by” Orton. Randy “Shitbag who shits in bags” Orton. As he’s known in our household, Blandy Bore-ton. As the chaps at Old School Wrestling Review once described him, “oozing with banality”. In the wrestling world, he is the alpha and omega of douchebags. He’s a legacy (his grandpa and dad were both wrestlers), he’s a crony (he’s best friends with Paul “Triple H” Levesque, one of the heads of the company), he has a history of drug abuse (cocaine [Randy Snortin’], steroids and painkillers), had a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines for going AWOL (a fact that came up when veterans protested his casting as the title hero in The Marine 3) and he’s an outright asshole (including defecating in female wrestlers’ luggage and breaking character just to berate other wrestlers during matches). He also goes by the nickname of “The Viper” (hence this episode’s alternate title) and has a stupid tribal tattoo on his arm that he tried to cover up with another of a pile of skulls, but is fooling no one as the original is still prominent. What a fuckin’ knob. Enough of the miserable reality, let’s get to the miserable fantasy.
Will Tanner (Orton) is a bounty hunter. He leads a posse of similarly minded individuals in the pursuit of wayward criminals for fun and profit. The latest target of these roughneck rednecks is one sinister son of a cunt named Cyrus (Wes Studi – a.k.a. Sagat in the Street Fighter live-action movie!) who runs an underground gambling operation where sick fucks bet on disturbing shit like which homeless guy hooked up to a Kevorkian Express will shed their unwashed mortal coil first. In a fit of movie irony, Will tells his boys to keep it non-lethal (this a “Wanted: Dead or Alive minus the ‘Dead’ part” contract), only to manslaughter the crap outta Cyrus when the villain is impaled on one of his own death machines. Hmmmm, a double scoop of irony? I really shouldn’t. I’m on a diet.
This fight shows us right off the bat that our protagonist probably only won the leadership role because he picked the longest straw, as it clearly wasn’t for his intelligence or tactical wits. When he has Cy dead-to-rights and lined up in his sights, Willie makes the incredibly stupid move of getting within the bad man’s reach. From there it’s elementary for Cyrus to disarm the doofus and prompt the ensuing struggle. Guns are made to kill and/or maim from a distance. From. A. DISTANCE. Why in the names of Horace Fucking Smith and Daniel Fucking Wesson (weird how they both had the middle name “Fucking”) would you flush the entire advantage of having a firearm down the metaphorical shitter by getting so close to your still very upright target that you can smell whether or not he had onions on his Whopper for lunch?! And Tanner’s supposed to be a trained bounty hunter!? If anyone reading this happens to know Alan McElroy or Roel Reiné, would you please punch them in the dick for me? Hell, even if you know neither but still know someone else cursed with either of those names, kindly do the same. But don’t mention my name. I’ve got enough “conspiracy to commit bodily harm” charges pending as it is.
Due to his epic botch, six months later Tanner ends up on trial for manslaughter. Though the judge presiding over the case makes her disdain for bounty hunters known (if ya wanna chase bad guys, become a cop), she gives him a suspended sentence and probation. Remorseful for his actions (though you wouldn’t know it by Orton’s expressionless “acting”), Billy goes home to his dad Frank (Eric Roberts) to tell him that he’s quitting the family business. Ah, so Will only got the manager position for the posse through nepotism. That makes sense. Having spent the last 30 years building the Tanner brand as the number one name in independent ne’er-do-well nabbing contractors in ALL of lower mid-western New Mexico, Frank’s not happy about the fruit of his loin turning his back on the bond jumper biz over one little unintentional murder.
Their resulting argument is almost like that scene in Varsity Blues where James Van Der Beek shouts “I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE!” at his dad, except the actors are twice as old and all of the passion and defiance is instead replaced with lazy, even toned sarcasm while a mood of “When do we get our paychecks, again?” hangs heavy in the atmosphere. Riveting stuff to watch…in that I’d rather have rivets fired directly into the sides of my skull than have to wade through another minute of this cinematic landfill.
By the way, for anyone wondering why I’d use such a classy arrangement of letters as “cinematic” in this review, it’s in no way because I find anything professional or artistic about The Condemned 2. I’m using it in the “having qualities characteristic of motion pictures” manner. Inasmuch as this movie has moving images and is thus, technically, a “motion picture”. Carry on.
Without the big bucks of the manhunting industry to keep him in Wrangler jeans and Ford trucks, Billy Bob takes on a new job as a tow truck driver to make ends meet. One of his first calls is a pair of young women in Daisy Dukes and crop tops (likely local models, friends of the cast/crew, or just hopefuls fresh off the casting couch) who giggle and whisper things to each other while he changes their tire. There’s no real implication of what it is they’re saying to each other, but I entertain myself on the possibility that they’re talking about how the guy changing their tire looks like he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together, and they’re formulating a plan where in he’ll give them all of his money before he leaves or straight up Knock Knock him. Oh but to dream my dreamy dreams, with their creamy dreamy filling. Mmmmm, filling.
Our hero’s next service call changes his life forever, as it’s from his old bounty hunting pal…uhm… honestly, I didn’t bother to write down any of their names. They’re mas macho types who call each other by their last names (being on a first name basis is apparently too intimate for tough guys), and as such I remember the sniper’s (Dylan Kenin) name is Travis [like singer Randy] and another (Morse Bicknell) goes by “Michaels” [like Shawn]…uhm, the retired pro-wrestler, not the one-man Mandingo party porn actor. That’s Sean Michaels. In case you were wondering. Okay then.
Anyway, when Willie fixes said former co-hunter’s car (his battery connector just came undone…hint hint), the guy awkwardly invites him out for a beer in thanks. Unless this was just this dude’s way of trying to get Will out on a man-date with him to lube his inhibitions up with a few brews before confessing his long held secret romantic intentions for our leading man (only if he’s “leading” us straight to Nap Town), his nervous demeanor betrays that there’s some ulterior motive to this social exchange. Given that there’s also a camera equipped drone following the pair around, this is clearly our entry point (front door or back?) into the figurative Thunderdome that is to be The Condemned 2: the Search for Randy’s Personality.
Each member of the Tanner bounty party has been assigned to assassinate their erstwhile chieftain Will, lest their failure to comply be taken out in the form of ultra-violence against them and/or their loved ones. Meanwhile, a speakeasy of high rollers have gathered to watch the spectacle as they gamble on which of the contestants will be the one to finally finish off their deadpan prey. The troublemaker organizing this Laff-A-Lympics of death is Cyrus’s surviving sidekick-turned-avenger Raul (Steven Michael Quezada), who’s vowed a blood vendetta against his ex-boss’s bored looking butcher-by-circumstance. The rest of the movie is pretty much what you’d expect: Tanner runs around shooting guns at people, trying to save his neck while getting to the bottom of Raul’s game and doing his best to keep collateral fatalities to a minimum, as a good guy does. That’s pretty much it. Now you don’t need to see it for yourself, unless your medicine cabinet is pulling a “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” and is barren of the sleep aid of your choice, in which case 20 minutes of The Condemned 2 will put you out in a pinch!
That wasn’t a joke. I’m serious. This movie put me to sleep during my first attempted viewthrough. Granted, that may have been my fault for starting it at 1AM after a long day of soul reaping and Underworld political crap (we had to fight management hard to get that break room back!) without any type of artificial ambition boosting my brain, but even sitting through the last twenty minutes the next morning were like going 5 rounds of bare-knuckle with Morpheus! For fuck’s sake, just writing this review right now is tantamount to drinking a tall glass of warm milk prepared by Bill Cosby. I have to keep deleting the *yawns* I’m unconsciously typing out in every paragraph!
Randy Orton speaks with such an eyelid burdening monotone. Terminators have more emotional resonance than this guy! As a former drug addict, maybe he’s on mood stabilizers or something and his complete charisma coma is medically induced? Wherever the true blame lies, the reality is still right there, dropping steaming dumplings in our figurative luggage: this man should NOT be starring in even the directest of direct-to-video action flicks. He’d be more relatable as the leading role in his own autopsy video than what he’s giving us here, and I’m not exaggerating. Was he contractually obligated to be in this movie by WWE and just did his best impression of a cardboard cutout so they’d never bother him about being in any more movies!? Z’Dar’s CHIN (my version of “Zeus’s BEARD!”), the man is the Typhoid Mary of digitally transmitted Narcolepsy! I have never, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER (thank you, Chris Jericho) watched a movie with Eric Roberts in a supporting role and thought, “Wow, if he were the star, this movie would be so much better!”. If nothing else, The Condemned 2 has proven to me that anything is possible.
I’ve never seen any of Orton’s other movies, so I have no clue if this is how he tackles all of his roles. I do know that Quezada was never one to chew the scenery in “Breaking Bad” though, so maybe all of the blame should go on Mr. Reiné’s back? It could be another The Dark Knight situation where Chris Nolan made Chris Bale do the gravelly voice until all of Batman’s scenes were just a big joke and almost completely unwatchable. Either way, Orton should stay away from all future movie sets and just keep his shtick in the squared circle. Be happy with your athletic prowess and leave the acting to the actors. Or Eric Roberts.
The rest of the movie is just as sterile as its star’s performance. The camera work is fumbly (I think it’s supposed to be shaky cam, but as directed by a 10 year old), the overall direction feels like a slog through plain oatmeal from Point A to Point B with zero spices or fruit thrown in. The rest of the cast’s acting ranges from “good enough” to “please just shut up already”, the fight choreography is slow and sloppy (great for a blowjob, not for a fight scene) despite the attempts to cover it up by jostling the camera around while they’re happening. The music has to be some of the most generic background crap I’ve ever heard. This entire feature was just a poorly planned shit show from opening credits to end credits. It’s not even bad from a fun-to-mock standpoint. The moderate production values keep it from being a full blown skid mark, but that’s as good as it gets. Forgettable and regrettable.
There’s one unintentional running joke I’d like to end this on though, to make the writing of this review and your reading of it at least somewhat worthwhile. As mentioned prior, like any copy-and-paste paramilitary group, Tanner’s team-turned-tormentors has one member who’s a skilled sniper. In case you forgot already (and I don’t blame you), his name is Travis. Well, Travis is supposed to be a skilled sniper, but he’s not. The credo of the sniper is “one shot, one kill”, denoting that their job is to kill with surgical precision, needing only one bullet to put down their intended target. Throughout his time stalking Tanner, Travis fires 30+ rounds from his rifle (not including the 60 or more fired from his uzi) and manages to kill…well, let’s just say the spoiler free version of his murder math is something far far FAR (like “a galaxy far far away” far!) less accurate than the gold standard. If I gave my 80 year old grandmother a single-shot rifle with 30 rounds of ammunition, put her inside Dorothy Gale’s house while it was caught in the twister that carried it to Oz, took away her glasses and tasked her with shooting half a dozen Munchkins also thrown into the cyclone, I guarantee you her fatalities-to-rounds fired ratio would put this Travis guy into a shame spiral so deep that he’d need a grappling hook and half a mile of rope to pull himself out of it!
Whew! I’m winded just reading that last sentence. I need to lay down and catch my breath after this. By the beers of Billy Carter, I’m too Murtaugh for this shit.
Even when he’s pulling a “spray and pray” with his uzi, Travis still manages to miss his targets! He has no problem perfectly strafing his shots in an almost impossibly narrow line along the top of a fruit and veggie stand (sending fragments of splattered produce into the air), but hitting the trio of full grown adults scuttling in an orderly fashion directly behind said stand is just impossible for this fucking career marksman to hit. My rage over this, combined with my need to count the amount of ammo this guy burned through to such minimal effect, are pretty much all I had to keep me from giving out on my second viewing. When you’re on the Titanic, the best you can do is grab whatever flotation device you can and hope you get back to shore before the bitter death grip of Mother Nature can drag you down into her frigid black oblivion. I think my metaphor got a little out of hand there, but the initial message is still in there somewhere. I’ll leave it up to you to exhume it.
Okay, that’s enough of that. Bottom line: the truly condemned in The Condemned 2 are the people who pay for this movie. As for me? I’m going to see if I can discover a way to distill its essence and market it as a cure for insomnia! Provided I can withstand extended exposure to its background radiation….long enough…to……….stay…awake………… *zzzzzzzzzzzzzz*
That thing should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning.
Elderly people hooked up to suicide machines against their will while non-white criminals gamble on which dies first? I’m not sure if this was taken from the movie or a 2013 Faux News report about ObamaCare.
This profile leaves out the “Zach Galifianakis impersonator available for private parties on weekends” part of Mr. Cooper’s resume.
This photo was taken of Mr. Merrick after the sandwich shop regretfully informed him that they were all out of jalapeno cream cheese for his cheddar bagel. Sorry Cyrus, early bird gets the jalapenos!
“I have you, a man armed with a knife, at a great disadvantage due to my possession of a firearm! Though I should be forcing you to the ground so one of my partners can restrain you, allow me to approach you until I’m well within range of your knife, giving you ample opportunity to disarm me and put my life in immediate danger!”
Don’t get your hopes up, like I did. This isn’t the moment where the whole movie turns into a surprise sequel to Maximum Overdrive and we see Randy Orton run over by a pissed off truck. “When you wish upon a star” my hairy ebon ass!
“You just sit back and watch how a real actor carries a low budget action movie, Junior.”
“You think if we flirt with the tow truck driver he won’t charge us?”
“Duh! Why else would we dress like this!?”
This is what happens when people don’t respect the “my quarter on the table means I get next game” rule!
“I was a supporting character in one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time! Don’t you dare mock me for chewing scenery in one crappy movie! I’ve earned a pass on this one!”
Ever since “Breaking Bad”, wanna-be meth cooks have caused staggering rate increases in the “mobile home explosion” insurance industry over the last few years.
Awww, it’s so cute when rednecks watch car movies and try to emulate them. I see somebody finally rented Fury Road from the Red Box kiosk at their nearest WalMart!
Hanukkah casino parties are becoming a popular trend for the kids at the synagogues these days. Let that gelt ride, bubbale!
Anubis will return next time in
“Life of Pi(e)”
Featuring: Michael “’Doctors‘” McKell , Raquel “Dagon” Meroño , Charlotte “’The Tudors‘” Salt
Director: Brian “Bride of Re-Animator” Yuzna
Writers: Mike “Asmodexia” Hostench & Ángel Sala
Also Known As: Evil Lake ; Lake of the Dead
Summertime and the livin’s easy. The days of fun in the sun are over and for me that means a glorious return to weather where I don’t have to worry about my taint turning into the Okefenokee. Labor Day is here, and before we give the season its official “go fuck yourself”, be sure to share an ice cold bottle of the Coke product of your choice with the ones you love.
Two down and two to go: today’s episode is the third installment of our “Fantastic Four” reviews thing (semi-)event. After two less-than-stellar flicks in Faust and The Nun, can Beneath Still Waters pick us up, dust us off, and give us at least some regret that Yuzna’s short-lived production company is no more? Or, will the final film of their line further push the possibility that the Fantastic Factory’s failure was a mercy killing? Bailiff, bring in the jury and let’s get deliberatin’!
Not to be confused with the 2000 Harrison Ford & Michelle Pfeiffer supernatural murder mystery What Lies Beneath, our subject shares its name with the novel upon which it’s based. I know nothing about said novel though, as I’m illiterate (let that sink in for a moment or three), so at no point will I be citing comparisons between the two or critiquing the faithfulness of said adaptation. As you may expect though, I will be critiquing the crap out of the movie itself. With that said…
There’s a disturbing “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” practice across the world in which growing populations will damn up rivers in valleys to create artificial aquatic bodies that provide said populaces with necessary water to continue their social expansions. Though not disturbing in and of itself (unless mankind mutilating entire ecosystems for their own convenience makes you queasy), sometimes this process involves the sacrifice of entire villages that made the mistake of setting themselves up in prime territory. Yep, the people are relocated, whatever they can’t carry is left behind, and the buildings are swallowed up, all because the bigger town needed to flush more toilets. “If it yellow, leave it mellow”? Up yours. That’s gross. Click >>HERE (http://weburbanist.com/2014/03/10/drowned-towns-10-underwater-ghost-cities-buildings/)<< to find out more!
Our movie centers around one such human sized aquarium. In 1964, the small Spanish town of Marienbad was sunken for the sake of its neighboring village of Desbaria. After an opening credits sequence that resembles first person drunk-o-vision dizzily staring at a mural WAY too closely (as a fog machine occasionally barfs out smoke nearby), we’re introduced to two boys from The Des’ – Teo (Santiago Pasaglia) and Luis (Omar Muñoz). Twenty years too early to get into video games and deprived of the outlet to show random strangers their genitalia via Snapchat, the lads (whose accents sound more French than Spanish) decide to play Goonies and explore the abandoned buildings early on in the process, before the place goes under. And maybe fit in a little window breaking vandalism fun while they’re at it. Inside one of the structures they find walls covered with ritualistic symbols and writings, along with demonic statues and a painting of a creepy looking old dude. In the basement, they also find a small group of people chained up around a flaming inverted pentagram altar in the floor. It’s basically Satan’s barbecue pit.
As the incarcerated beg for their release, a well-dressed figure with a black bag over his head calmly instructs the boys to ignore the others and come set him free instead. Obediently, Teo comes over and cuts the man’s hands free, despite the desperate pleas of his compadre Luis. Taking off his hood, the guy (Patrick Gordon) is revealed to be the menacing geezer from the painting. If Phantasm‘s Tall Man and The Final Sacrifice‘s Satoris both ejaculated into a cloning machine set to “British”, this guy would be what comes out. Hell, he dresses like he goes to the same tailor too! As a reward for being a good junior human and doing what he’s told, Unsweetened T gets his head torn open at the mouth like a meat Pez dispenser, while his horrified buddy beats feet right the fuck outta town. Literally.
Two score years (and some time lapse) later, the damn dam’s anniversary is on the horizon and shit’s about to get freaky. Desbaria native Clara Borgia (Charlotte Salt) has a weird daydream/vision about her grandpa Roberto (Antonio Portillo) emerging from the lake and warning her of a shadowy, sharp dressed man in a luxury car lurking nearby. But I thought every girl was crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man? Has everything we’ve learned from ZZ Top been a lie?! Are their sunglasses truly cheap?! Does the eponymous “she” even know how to use her legs!? I don’t know what to believe anymore!
When Gramps’ face melts away and his screaming skull falls off, Clar wakes up horrified on the beach of the body of water in question, but is affirmed by her friend Susana (Pilar Soto) that everything’s groovy. They have a brief conversation about death (Clar thinks death is just a straight up ending, while Suze is more the afterlife type) before opting to forget their cares with a swim! With Susana’s bikini in place, I approve this plan. Their friend Antonio (Damia Plensa) pops up for a fake scare and to show us his uncanny ability to apparently breathe underwater (seriously, how long was he under there?!), while I get flashbacks of Zombie Lake what with all these sub-aquatic camera angles of young women in their bathing suit attire. It’s not as bad here because it doesn’t go on for ten aimless minutes, but it’s also not as good because the ladies aren’t flashing exploitative levels of gratuitous boobs & bush. Yes, I know there are 8 trillion hours of free pornography I can access on the internet with 2 minutes and a free hand, but extraneous titillation of the lady flesh variety gives me pleasant memories of my high school days. Make like a KitKat and gimme a break, Debbie Downer.
Antonio’s antics antagonize the ladies at first, but Clar gives in and agrees to go with the d-bag for a ride on his jet ski. Not a euphemism, mind you, as his hydro-craft is parked nearby. He also strikes me as the type of dudebro who wouldn’t know what the fuck a “euphemism” is to begin with. When Suze is seized by seemingly sentient seaweed, her BFF saves her butt and brings her to shore. The aggressive algae leaves behind some bruising (both emotional and physical), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a few puffs from Susana’s emergency cigarette, which she lights up immediately after. At least she doesn’t end up like Tony Toni Toné, who gets maimed by something else from the murky depths. The goober spills blood like an Exxon tanker before being dragged to his apparent deceasement. Good riddance to the movie’s big rubber dick.
Elsewhere, British (maybe?) investigative reporter Dan Quarry (Michael McKell) has come to town to do some diving and try to rake a bit of muck on the real reason that Marienbad was turned into a reservoir. I’d like to think that his name was originally intended to be Dan Query, given his occupation, but Matt Costello (the book’s author) chose to change it when he realized it would’ve been a bit too on-the-nose. Probably not, but oh well. Anway, while parusing the dam, our hero-to-be wanders into the personal space of local news reporter Teresa (Raquel Meroño), who also happens to be Clara’s madre. Ter’s shooting b-roll footage for their coverage of the preparations for the dam’s 40th anni cele. Sorry, trying a bit of the shorthand like the kids these days are so into. I feel I should cut my fingertips off now in penance.
The inevitable love interests introduce themselves while Dan preps for his first dive into the down below, until Ter gets a call from Clar about the Antonio emergency. She takes her camera crew with her in case there’s a story to be had, and Dan suits up so he can get to work. The movie’s underwater scenes are actually pretty well shot for a small budget affair, and earn the movie a fair bump in quality. Kudos to Yuzna and his crew for pulling them off. So far not bad for BSW!
While exploring, Dan finds the evil house of the evil people, including the evil painting of the evil old man, which is in evilly good shape for having been submerged in evil water for four evil decades. But, when he tries to delve into the building’s basement, a sinister swathe of seaweed gets tangled in his respirator! Clearing the intrusive plantlife from his breather, he sallies forth, completely missing the part where an entire human arm falls to the lake floor and brushes his shoulder in passing! Since the guy’s not getting the hint, the lake stops being subtle and flat out attacks Diver Dan with a black cloud of (poorly) computer generated goo. He was like a fresh faced barely legal letting a pervy old squid jizz on his face for heroin money. Sounds like the basis for some pornographic Snork fanfic. Nasty.
Back at the beach, a police rescue team searches for Tony’s leftovers while Teresa consoles her daughter in the wake of the tragedy. Their bonding time is cut short when mom opts to put career over family and bum rush Desbaria’s mayor Luca (Richard Borràs) for a statement. Luca took over the office after Teresa’s father passed away. He takes all of his political advice from Jaws‘s Mayor Vaughn, as every line out of his mouth is about covering up or excusing any and all incidents related to the lake’s devious deeds so as not to disrupt the big dam-iversary shindig. As he says, right before faux comforting Tony’s parents in a photo op, “The show must go on!”.
If he lives to the end credits, it will be both a miracle and a shame.
Dan surfaces amidst the combing, relieving us that he wasn’t taken by the inky digital cloud. The town’s hard-ass Police Captain, Keller (Carlos Castañón), wastes no time trying to arrest our protagonist as a suspect in Tony’s drowning. Teresa steps forward as his alibi, telling Keller that she was with Dan when Clara called her about the incident, so there’s no way he could’ve been involved. Being a spiteful fucker who was hoping to wrap this case up with little-to-no effort by imprisoning an outsider, Keller confiscates Danny’s video camera, only offering to return it once Mr. Quarry can provide proof of his diving permits. I’d make a joke here about what would’ve happened had Dan been black or Latino and Keller had been an American cop, but you can only make that joke so many times before it’s just too depressing to say anymore. I’m leaving those up to Larry Willmore. Now I’m going to have to go watch an “MST3K” episode just to get the figurative flavor of misery out of my mental taste buds. Blah.
[Two house later] Ah, that’s better! Nothing puts you in the spirit to ignore reality and piss on movies like Pumaman! Back to business! 😀
At the dam, the caretaker slash professional “George Eastman in Anthropophagus” lookalike Julio (Josep Maria Pou) has discovered a sizable crack in the structure that requires immediate attention. When he calls his supervisor though, a ghostly (and silly) voice on the phone claiming to be his dead wife Rosa convinces him to keep his trap shut, as he’s likely to lose his job and his pension if his drunken neglect is blamed for allowing such damage to get as bad as it is. I’m sad that there wasn’t a scene of Julio trying to patch the leak with bubblegum a la Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation, but you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need. When our intrepid truth seekers stop by for a visit and a look around, Julio chats with Dan about the suspiciously sped up circumstances revolving around the town’s burial. Teresa gets defensive about their conspiracy speak, since her father was the one in charge of the whole thing. As he shows them everything but the huge crack (Niki Minaj butt joke goes here), a moderate tremor shakes the place up. Ter says they’re on top of a fault line, so this is normal and happens every few years. Me? I’m hoping for Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward to show up to fight Graboids for the rest of the movie. As per always, my hopes will be inevitably dashed upon the jagged rocks of reality.
The following morning, Clara has another vision about her melty faced grandpa. This time he approaches her in her kitchen, pushing some manner of grimoire on her and saying a Latin phrase that translates to “That which created you hold the seeds to your destruction” before she snaps out of it. An allusion to how the villain will be defeated in the final act, or a warning that her mother will be her own downfall? Maybe both? You could jump to the end of the review and find out, but I’d stick around. There are some pretty poor attempts at humor in the remaining paragraphs you won’t want to miss!
A short scene at Grandpa Roberto’s grave shows us that the malevolant man from the opening is already in the picture (no word on how, though), as he monologues his intentions to take everything Borgia created – his town, his people, his family, his social security checks, his speed boat, his vintage collection of “Black Tail” magazines…you get the idea. Back at the scene of Antonio’s death, Suze posits the “What do you think happens to you when you die?” query to Clar again, only to get the same “Nothing. You just don’t exist.” reply. Deeply disturbed by her friend’s atheistic answer, the blonde throws a fit, accuses Clar of not caring, then leaves. An upset Clara then confronts her mom for not being around that morning, accuses her of not caring, then leaves to go to her babysitting job. So she’s a babysitter, eh? That means she’ll either prove to be the movie’s true heroine, or end up running away from the villain. Or, she could WWLSD (What Would Laurie Strode Do) it and manage both!
Meanwhile, back at the
ranch dam, Jules (who presumably lives in the massive structure since he’s seemingly never left) fishes his breakfast bottle of hooch from the keepin-it-cold lake water, only to be accosted by some hideous, loincloth clad monstrosity! Revisiting my earlier cloning machine comparison, this thing would be the subhumanoid offspring of a 3-way mating dance between Castle Freak, a C.H.U.D., and the alpha ghoul from [REC]. Coming out of the water, it makes the bathtub hag from The Shining look like Charlize Theron in Reindeer Games or Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That sentence is making my penis all kinds of confused right now! Gah!
The beast refers to Julio by name, and he calls her Rosa, so I’m presuming this is a manifestation of the aforementioned dead wife, likely as the self-esteem robbing, soul crushing, emasculating bitch she was portrayed as during their prior “Twilight Zone – Night Call” telephone exchange. I’m hoping it’s not what his wife actually looked like when she died, though that would explain why Julio became a rancid alcoholic. Whatever the case, the cretinous creation corners Julio then drags him to his watery grave. Meh, it was quicker and less painful than the liver failure he was likely headed towards in the near future, so I consider it a mercy killing.
At the lake proper, Dan helps a pair of police divers search the hoary depths for Antonio’s remains. They find the evil house and are attacked by the same sinister squid squeezings that waylayed Daniel previously. Driven back to the surface, they bring with them the oddly decomposed severed head of Julio! The portlier of the pair catches a glimpse of some golden light effect across the water’s surface and it compels him to dive right back in, only to have his dismembered (and similarly oddly decomposed) bits and pieces float back to the surface shortly after. After all the pieces have been collected, the forensics officer on scene postulates that the mutilation could’ve been an animal attack or a bad date with the boat’s propeller. The latter being the most believable of the two (especially since an animal in the lake would just scare people away), the Mayor says that’s the story they’ll go with, and they’ll wait until after the celebration to file the report. Are we sure it’s the poor man’s Angus Scrimm that’s the villain of this flick!?
The pissed off Police Captain (now sporting a nasty looking and unexplained foreshadow wound across his right jaw!) blames Dan for this too, and threatens to throw him jail if he sees him in town again. Dan waves it off, saying he won’t be coming back once he gets his camera back. Being a massive prick, Keller returns said equipment, but proceeds to throw the recovered film into the lake as a big “FUCK YOU!”. Rather than letting Dan skip town like he intends, Teresa appeals to his investigative side and gets him to stay on the story (and on her, I’m sure) by following a possible lead: Luis, the boy who survived the opening scene, lives just outside of town and may be worth a look-up.
Elsewhere, Clara’s on the clock looking after a brother and sister pair – David (Alejandro de Nova) and Samantha (Gara Muñoz). Of course, the brat I share my human name with has to be a whiny little fit-throwing skidmark who hates popcorn. As if it weren’t already hard enough sharing my name with dick sneezes like David Duke and David Lee Roth. Also, my sole sibling’s name is Samantha, making this all the weirder for me. Naturally, snot bag David sneaks off to the lake while Clar’s nose deep in a book, but she realizes he’s gone just in time to save him from “playing” with a vision of the Rosa monster and presumably drowning himself. Why it couldn’t just pull him under like it did with Julio isn’t explained, but whatever. Also, the lake’s gotten oddly foggy in the two minutes since Dan and Ter were standing next to it…
On their drive to interview Luis (in adult form portrayed by Manuel Manquina), Dan describes the feeling of being in the black cloud as “the total absence of life”. He goes on to compare it to the same feeling he had when his young son fell through some ice and drowned. He attempted to save the kid, but gave in to instinct and went up for air, despite knowing that you have 30 seconds before your body starts to shut down under such conditions. So not only did Dan lose his sole heir, but he blames himself for not saving him when his logical mind knew he could have. Since Dan’s an experienced diver, his failure and subsequent loss is made all the more tragic. He also casually drops that his marriage ended shortly thereafter, subtly giving Teresa the go ahead to get jiggy with his banger and mash, should the urge take her. *wink*wink*
Upset over the near death-by-negligence of David, Clar calls mom for moral support. Ter agrees to meet her shortly. But when Dan offers to hold off on checking out Luis so she can go to her daughter’s side immediately, mom opts to widen the rift with her offspring in favor of sticking with her new beau-to-be. She none-too-subtley drops her own hints of intention, telling Dan that she regrets that she could never give Clara a “proper family”, and that her own mother’s death left her feeling alone and scared. Cue the first kiss as the two make out in front of Luis’s Fred Sanford lookin’ junk pile hoard of a front yard. Luis introduces himself by interrupting their tongue wrestling to spout Crazy Ralph style portents of the dam bursting and flushing the whole town to Hell. If I had a dollar for every time I was cockblocked by a crazy guy spouting veiled threats at me, I’d have a dollar. Shit you not, it happened to me once while I was making out with a lady friend on the subway platform. A drunk old white guy shouted something racist about how god would bury us in a landfill for our mixed-breed mouth play. It was too fucking weird to even get angry about. We just thanked him for the warning and went back to it. In my head, his story ended when he was pushed in front of the D train by Black Dynamite.
Luis confirms that Grandpa Borgia and his associates were indeed responsible for flooding Marienbad, and they did indeed use less0than-legal methods in both purchasing the land out from under the township and in pushing the project through as fast as possible. However, it wasn’t just a real estate scam, as Dan surmises. Borgia knew that there was evil going on in the town. Evil that he had spent his life fighting, and evil that Luis posits he’s still fighting “from beyond the grave” (i.e., via the visions that Clara’s been having). This includes her latest, in which Grandpa, on his deathbed, tells her “When I die, he’ll come for you. Clara, don’t submit. You have the power to resist”, before she’s started back into consciousness by the sight of Tall Man Light (Great taste, less killing!)
Luis further fills in the backstory, telling Dan and Teresa about one Mordecai Salas. Bingo, our antagonist has a name-o. Mord was in cahoots with a disciple of noted English occultist Aleister Crowley, who was NOT a Satanist as most people think, but the founder of Thelema. Thelema is a philosophy very much like actual modern Satanism which has nothing to do with Christianity, but simply revolves around the Brad Goodman “Be like the boy/Do as you feel” credo; and promotes aligning yourself with your personal “True Will” through the practice of sorcery. Anyway, Salas learned dark magic from this unnamed disciple until said lackey mysteriously croaked it during one of the rituals. After that, Mordy came back to Marienbad with the grimoire from Clara’s hallucinations, upon whose pages he wrote his spells in blood. No word on if the book was also bound in human flesh, but I would imagine so, as it was the style at the time.
Through his newfound who-doo magicks, the creep summoned an insidious campfire powered by the Devil’s own farts that gave he and his followers great power and prosperity. Much like Dagon would teach us a few years previously, unholy prosperity comes with unholy punishment: drought, infection, deformed babies and the corrupting black sludge spread across the town. Citizens dropped out of church to instead relish in the sadistic sex parties and gore-soaked blood orgies of Mordecai’s fruity little club. Cannibalism, torture, child murder…they had it all! Then, of course, Borgia and his buddies party-pooped all over it. They chained the cultists up in the basement of their sin shack and buried Salas’ Encyclopedia Satanica within the sanctified grounds of the town church to weaken him so he couldn’t escape the oncoming flood.
Back to the rest of our cast. Susana confronts Clara for a third time about Antonio, asking her: “What do you do when you never got the chance to say ‘I love you’?”. Clara yet again replies with something less than comforting, which (yet again) incites Suze to denounce her as cold and callous, before kissing her on the cheek and giving her one of those “I’m going to kill myself now” goodbyes. More irritated than concerned, Clar says nothing and goes back to babysitting. That night, when the kids’ mom returns home, David’s disappeared again while Clara was sleeping. I don’t see her getting a good reference out of this job! Mrs. Martin goes off to look for him in a panic, ending up getting romanced Evil Dead style on the forest floor by some persistent fauna consisting of a Cronenbergian flesh pod (that sprays her in the face with an aerosol Rohypnol) and some eye-peelingly poor computer generated seaweed vines that cocoon around her. Meanwhile, David pops up at home, asking Clara what happened. Maybe before running off into the forest, someone should’ve checked to see if the kid was just on the crapper?!
Nearby, Susana’s having a one-woman pity party on the beach, getting drunk and screaming “ANTONIO!” while throwing beers into the lake in case the dead guy gets thirsty. In a fit of inebriated post-tragedy horniness, she takes off her clothes (revealing surgically mutilated fake breasts) so they can have “one last swim together”. As she’s getting in, demonic one-armed zombie Antonio (looking impressively horrific) rises from the depths! Unlike Julio, who tried to escape his mutant wife monster, Suze doesn’t have a single fuck to spare and just lays down spread eagle in the sand, ready for some of that sweet rotten corpse dick (barnacled for her pleasure!). Instead, she gets a mouthful of her neck torn out, which seems like the scenario most people would prefer when considering what she wanted to happen. Such is the power of love and cheap beer, I suppose.
When Dan and Teresa write Luis off as a nutcase, he takes her hostage with a metal cross/shortsword to her throat and demands Dan drive them to the dam. Just as they’re about to make their escape from the loony toon, Mordecai appears in the middle of the road while Dan does the stupid thing and STOPS! When you’re in a horror movie and something appears from nowhere directly in the path of your car, you RUN IT OVER and keep on driving! I don’t endorse doing that in real life though, so don’t try to pin your vehicular manslaughter charges on me. I’m looking at YOU, Chad. Anyway, the trio’s confrontation with dime store Lurch doesn’t go well for Luis, as the baddie uses his Satanic Force powers to pull the poor man through a car window, forces him to slit his own Achilles tendons, lifts him into the air, spins him around playfully, then bends both his arms backwards at the elbows like a bad guy in a Steven Seagal movie and explodes his torso! Devil Man adds insult to injury by dropping what’s left of Luis to the ground and doing that weird jaw rip he gave Teo. Not unlike the maiming a disguised MechaGodzilla gave to Godzilla cronie/homie Anguirus in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. As a final gross-out insult, Mord also rips Luis’ tongue out with and eats it! By Ra’s balls, it’s one of the most brutal death scenes I’ve seen in a good long while! I have to add an extra 2/3 of a rating point just for that.
Gambling his fortunes needlessly, Mord chooses to let Dan and Teresa go, making fun of them for Dan’s dead son and Teresa’s shitty parenting rather than turning them inside out. He pulls the Bond villain move of declaring his intentions to take Clara as his own, then walks back to his car and leaves. Proving the ghoul’s point, Teresa hesistates going to protect Clara as she’s more concerned with Dan’s well being and wants to go with him. He tells her he’s got a plan and sends her to go find her daughter, which she begrudgingly concedes to. As for the rest of town, while the crack in the dam embiggens, the revelers at the dam-iversary are elevating from “drunken merrymaking” to full-on “seven deadly sins”. The bacchanal sees people writhe nekkidly together whilst whipping each other, a woman squishes her tits into the celebratory cake (that looks like someone picked up for $5 at the sketchy old grocery store in the poor section of town), a priest gets ready to fuck (or be fucked by) a black goat, a chicken squawks frighteningly at what’s likely going to happen to it, and so forth. What of those not socializing with Satan? They’re turning into violent, laughing maniacs who are mutilating themselves and killing each other, which is one of my favorite scenarios! It reminds me of the phenomenally unsettling PlayStation 3 game Siren: Blood Curse. If you don’t know what this is, I prescribe the following video and wish you best of luck with the resultant night terrors it’s likely to give you.
The possessed Police Captain herds Clara and the kids toward the waiting Mordecai in one of those fun “people running with flashlights” chase scenes (It’s the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie!), while Teresa is at the Martin house acquiring a gun from some fat cop she finds sawing off his own limbs. Mord threatens to show Clar and the children just what comes after death for realsies if she doesn’t submit to him and become his Bride of Boogedy. Not wanting to die herself, she goes with the gaunt gentleman as he walks her across the lake’s surface toward their unholy honeymoon, offering her immortality and a world of lust and violence once the dam breaks and Marienbad rises from its tomb. Ter shows up just in time to beg Mord to take her instead, then tells Clar to move while she tries to get a clear shot on the bad guy. Like any teen, Clara defies her mother and chooses to go through with the “marriage” to the creepy old creep instead. Reason number 452 as to why I’ll never reproduce.
Down below them, Dan’s plan is to do another night dive into the remains of Marienbad, search the church for Mord’s tome and return it to the eternal infernal flame from whence it came. As soon as he removes it from its resting place, the evil trapped below is freed. A weird dimensional bubble forms around the evil basement apartment/ritual room that not only gives life to the deformed corpses still chained there, but also creates a breathable dry area in which Dan can go about his deed without need of his breathing mask. Though I’d probably keep it on were it me, as I can’t imagine desiccated mutant re-animates would smell too good after soaking in filthy lake water for 40 years. Dan’s dead son comes from nowhere (obviously an illusion) and pleads with dear old dad not to toss the book into the fire. Realizing that this is all bullshit, Dan spurns the mop-headed turd and makes Fredric Wertham proud by tossing the evil book into the evil fire. This, of course, makes Salas vulnerable, which is the perfect time for Teresa to show off her crack shot skills, putting a slug right between his eyes. She actually fires of several rounds, only one of which hits him. Clara is miraculously unscathed. Mord could teach Darth Anakin a few things about shouting “NOOOOOO!”, as the lake smokes around him and he sinks into the dark water to his end.
Clara goes down with him, but Dan gets to redeem himself for his failure to save his son as he grabs his future stepdaughter on his ascent and saves her. She’s laid out on the beach and manages to barf up a bunch of ingested water, bringing herself back to consciousness. Good thing too, since NOBODY attempted to give her CPR! Teresa gets my vote for Shittiest Mom of the Year. Back at the anniversary celebration, everyone passes out, only to wake up feeling strange and with massive hangovers. They’re left wondering why everyone’s naked, covered in food, blood, and welts, and who impregnated all of the livestock. I’d be curious to see what kind of Village of the Damned type follow up this party would have led to, if only we’d been given a sequel.
Just when you think everything’s wrapped up in a nice little package, it turns out nobody paid the Thai masseuse for a happy ending! David lowers his head, flashes a “you’re fucked now” look like Damian, mutters “I hate them.”, then his eyes light up with fire and the dam explodes anyway! It’s not entirely out of left field though, as upon my second viewing I noticed that Mordecai and Dave have a brief moment while the ne’er-do-well is dying where their eyes lock. Weird that he’d choose to inhabit the body of a kid, though that could just be because kids don’t have strong enough wills to resist him. Then again, being a whiny, selfish little dickhead, you’d think his will might be a little too strong. Whatever. I appreciate endings where the villain triumphs, but this came off a little too deus ex machina for my taste buds.
Of the Fantastic Factory flicks I’ve featured so far, Beneath Still Waters is the top of the group. I love the concept of a drowned ghost town full of closet skeletons and evil cultists. Though if I’m being honest, were I Grandpa Borgia, I think I would’ve burned the joint down in a “mysterious fire”, as opposed to going through the drawn out process of submerging it. This would’ve killed the novelty of the story though, so fuck me. I also enjoy the knock off Tall Man, especially given that we haven’t had nearly enough of the genuine article for years, so a stand-in can be appreciated. It’s not unlike cheating on a spouse during the decade they’ve been in outer space. We horror fans have needs that require addressing and Mordecai Salas does that for me. That being said, I do have a nitpick or two to put forward on the man. For starters, where the Hel was the guy for the last 40 years?! Also, if he had the Midichlorian/Midi-chlorian count to be able to slaughter Luis the way he did, why wouldn’t he just wreck everybody the same way?! I get that he kept Teresa alive so she could watch him corrupt Clara all for his petty vendetta to fill the Borgia family tree with gypsy moths and termites, but why bother leaving Dan intact? You’d think Mordy would’ve been smart enough to consider that the solitary person capable of stopping him would be the only skilled diver left in the entire fucking township!
Patrick Gordon’s voice is exceedingly British. It sounds exactly like the Michael Caine-ish actor playing Homer in the video Mr. Burns uses to convince Bart that his family no longer loves him in the “Burns’ Heir” episode of “The Simpsons”. I keep waiting for him to say “I mean, what the hell am I doing here?!”. Gordon and McKell (whose IMDB bio says was a “prolific singer and songwriter in the ‘80s)’s line readings were the only ones I really cared for, because just like every other FF movie, half the cast is dubbed and the other half speak poor English through heavy inflections. I’d rather they made the movies in Spanish and subtitled the dam things (see what I did there?) instead. After these last few weeks, I’d be happy to never have to listen to another Spanish person speaking English again. No diggity. I’ve overkilled my ear canals with the aural labor of listening to these bad line readers and even worse dubbings. By the time this gimmick’s run its course, not even Satanico Pandemonium herself will be able to charm my trouser snake with that accent. On the plus side though, we always get at least one amazing overdramatic reading that you can’t help but laugh at every time. Today’s line comes courtesy of Clara, and is posted at the top of the review. Hilarious.
The music tends to not be great in these flicks either. Most of the soundtrack here is not too awful, while some of it’s just uncut bricks of terrible and wholly out of place. It sounds like it was lifted from a ’90s Full Moon horror-comedy, with too much “farty trombone” for a seriously toned tale such as this. You know what wasn’t a letdown though? The practical makeup effects! The CG stuff will sear your corneas off if you stare directly at it for too long, but the monster makeup is REALLY good! Many thanks to Pedro de Diego (also worked on Beyond Re-Animator and The Machinist), Pedro Rodriguez, and David Ambit (also worked on all four [REC] movies!), who all received top billing in the end credits! And rightfully so! The severed heads weren’t the greatest, but by the many tantacles of Nyarlathotep, the Rosa monster, zombie Antonio, decayed zombie cultists, and maimed Luis designs are something to drool over! The general gore was well done too, so A+ to these gents.
On a completely pointless note, I’d like to bring it to your attention that one of the writers’ names is Hostench. Whatever the proper pronunciation, I read it as “ho stench”. Uggh. I just threw up in my mouth. Wait, maybe his name’s pronounced something like “Raymond Luxury Yacht” or “Throat Warbler Man Grove”. Those wouldn’t be so bad. Unlike this joke, which is no doubt dying for everyone reading it, aside from the two or three who get the Monty Python reference. Oh well. And now for something completely different.
Incidentally, whilst doing the basest of base research on Fantastic Factory’s origin nation, I discovered that Spain’s motto is “Further Beyond”. If Brian Yuzna (or someone who has his ear) should happen to be reading this, “Further Beyond” is an amazing name for a From Beyond sequel. Take the hint!
Before I go, here’s my pair of pennies on the passing of horror icon Wes Craven. The guy gave us The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. For these I thank him. Hell, I’ll even give him a postmortem high five for Shocker. Unfortunately, he also threw shit like Hills Have Eyes Part II, New Nightmare, Vampire in Brooklyn, and all four fucking Scream movies into our faces. Don’t start me on the fucking door that Scream opened, allowing scads of Hollywood shit show teeny-bopper slasher garbage to ruin the ’90s. I blame Craven for all of those. Of his 40-year career, he spent the last 30 burying the successes of the first 10 with a legacy of mediocrity.
If you read any of The ToA’s original site, my frustration with Craven is well documented. Okay, was well documented before I let it all disappear into the digital ether and La Quinta Hotels bought my domain name out from under me. I’d like to think that the man’s unfortunate passing after a painful feud with brain cancer (that I may or may not have wished upon him back in college, I honestly don’t remember) will bring an end to every horror movie critic publicly sucking his cock, but I’m sure it won’t. Hell, that fucking “Scream” TV show will continue assaulting the proverbial expired equine, so Craven’s influence will continue to be a barb wire chastity cage on me for years to come. Blart.
So, my condolences to his friends and family. But, as far as I’m concerned (which doesn’t matter outside of the context of this website), it’s not really a “loss”. Probably not a popular opinion, but if I cared about people liking me, I would’ve ended this site two months after starting it!
And so, with the sound of a dozen or so “unlikes” now echoing through the internets, I take my leave. Tune in next time (or don’t) when this Fantastic Four reviews thing is also put to rest. Until then, have a drink on me, shoot to thrill, give the dog a bone, shake a leg, and let me put my love into you. Hasta luego, folladoras!
Call me crazy, but I feel his menace is undercut a bit by his bow tie.
“Holy cow! Is that the Ark of the Covenant they’re opening over there?!”
“Yep. That’s definitely the Ark of the Covenant…”
Give her a Mohawk and a big viking beard and that’s the exact same face I give old Italian women when they try to pass religious pamphlets to me at the thrift store on Sundays.
“I don’t know, Zadok. Maybe catching nothing but human-mutant fish babies for the last few days is a good sign we need to start fishing a different lake.”
Looks like somebody accidentally put Smilex in her coffee this morning!
“Suicide hotline? Yes, it’s me again. Huh? What do you mean ‘just kill yourself already’?!”
“Who wants to give grandma some sugar!?”
“Captain! The other officers are making fun of my diving suit! Make them stop!”
Yikes! Shit like that is why you’re only supposed to use disposable razors ONCE!
“Dear diary, you’ll never guess who I ran into at the Stop ‘N Gulp today – Diane from pottery class!”
Mold can creep up on you when you least expect it! Keep your bathroom safe with Mold Away™!
“I came back from the dead for you, baby, because I love y… wait… you’ve got fake tits?! Fuck. I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
I know it’s easy to get “too into the mood”, but trust me folks: always use a condom! Because even if you think they look clean, you can never know for sure.
“I called dibs on the last brownie, you bastard! Give it back! GIVE IT BACK!”
“You guys gotta have some of these ribs before I eat ’em all! There’s plates and napkins over there. Beers are in the fridge. Help yourself!”
Parents, this is the face of a kid who gets a PlayStation 4 box full of socks and underwear for Christmas. It’s not funny, and if you want to live to see New Year’s, I would definitely recommend against doing so. Fair warning.
Anubis will return next time in
“Where Monsters Dwell”
Featuring: Jared “Supernatural” Padalecki , Danielle “Piranha 3DD” Panabaker , Amanda “The Mentalist” Righetti , with Derek Mears as Jason
Director: Marcus “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)” Nispel
Writers: Damian “Freddy vs. Jason” Shannon , Mark “Freddy vs. Jason” Swift , Mark “The Messengers” Wheaton
Editor’s Note: None of that last part happened. He paid $200 for a cheap plastic elephant bottle filled with Country Time Lemonade drink-mix powder.
Writer’s Note: Damn it…
This is the first of a four part series I’m calling “Shake, Bake, & Remake”, focusing on remakes (duh) of otherwise infamous flicks that I can’t actually review here in the New Tomb, thanks to my self-imposed “Current Millennium Movies Only” edict. I’m not saying I’ve got it as hard as those religious kooks who put themselves through self-flagellation to prove their piousness, but I’m not not saying I’ve got it that hard either… and yes, I just said “I’ve got it that hard” ladies, in case you’re feeling frisky.
There have been a LOT of these remakes in the last 15 or so years, so it was only a matter of time before I could stop ignoring the epidemic and had to spread awareness though my only available portal to the masses. “The more you know” and all that. Anyway, it seems that every 365 days the Hollywood Xerox machine is sputtering out new half-assed paper jam abortions to try and cash-in on recycled ideas, much to the chagrin of long time movie lovers. The kingpin of this human centipede-inal process of turning food into shit into somebody else’s food is Michael Bay. He’s not just a boogeyman that creative thinkers use to scare their children into brushing their teeth and washing their ears before bed, lest he steal their imagination, either. Depending on who you ask, Bay’s career is either one big punchline (with an explosion at the end) or a new holocaust that will be marked as one of the darkest times in human history. I personally would like him to hang himself with his own intestines, but I write the same thing whenever I get one of those damn customer service surveys on my receipts. That’s just the kinda Death God I am.
In honor of the holiday (What? I always take Friday the 13th off from work. You don’t?!), I’m kicking things off with a figurative kick in the balls: 2009’s Friday the 13th. Now, since it’s officially hit its 5 year expiration date, this movie’s now ripe for spoilage. If you haven’t already seen it, and you’re expecting anything beyond “a guy in a hockey mask kills a bunch of horny teens”, you may want to close this window now and go on with your blissful ignorance until you can see it for yourself. For those of you who have seen it, or could care less about watching paper-thin plots put through the proverbial shredder, I’ll do what I can to make your stay a pleasant one. Now, onward to violence!
Not a true remake of the original (because 95% of casual slasher movie fans don’t even know who the fuck Pamela Voorhees is), this F13 takes the broad-minded clusterfuck approach of jamming an un-lubed speculum into a 106 minute running time and trying to stuff four movies worth of dongs into it. Sure, most people would say, “Dude, they’re just slasher movies. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all, so what’s the big deal of cutting four down into one?”. Jane, you ignorant slut. You know not of the things you speak, so I’ll forgive your lack of awareness long enough to let you get out the front door and leave this place, never to return again. Seriously though, you’d be surprised how much more there is to the story of Jason Voorhees than “kills naked thirty-somethings pretending to be teenage camp counselors”. But, I’d probably have better luck trying to teach a cat how to evolve into a squid. Either you get it or you don’t. I’d rather eat razor blades than watch Twilight, so different strokes get off different folks…unless you get off to “Diff’rent Strokes”, in which case there’s help for your sickness – at the bottom of a well. Go find it. Headfirst. The world thanks you.
The original movie gets put through the Cuisinart worst of the four originals, being hacked into little more than a black & white flashback played during the opening credits (yes, the opening credits) of Pam voiding her hat-of-the-month membership thanks to the final would-be victim of her Camp Crystal Lake murder revenge tour. The story’s still the same – she blames the counselors for the drowning death of her special needs son Jason, having been too preoccupied with cavorting of the pants-less kind to watch the little mutant while he was swimming. As any parent would like to do, Momma hacked ’em up like a butcher on bath salts. But, her death by self-defense decapitation was viewed by her still-living little boy. Taking up the very machete used for the aforementioned decap attack, Jason would go on a lifelong crusade of surviving on his own and serial killing anybody unfortunate enough to set foot on the campgrounds of Crystal Lake. The time it took you to read that is about 3 times longer than the movie actually spends setting things up.
There are a number of barbs this movie maliciously drops down the back of our pants, but there are two in particular that gave me the greatest trouble sitting down after experiencing them. I’m now going to address the first – of all the things the writers could’ve done to tweak the tale of Jason Voorhees, the one most in need of adjustment are his years between seeing his mother die and starting his successful career as a killer of the people that Mountain Dew and Miley Cyrus are marketed to. It never sat well with me that we were expected to believe that a deformed retard child not only survived his drowning (The police never recovered his body from the lake?! Are you fucking kidding me?!), and not only chose to live in the wilderness rather than seek help from anyone in the community, but he actually MANAGED to live off of small animals and berries and raccoon shit for two decades, then just happened to witness his mother’s death, which sent him a killing spree for the next 20 years?! All of this is stupid! So, perfect chance for the reboot writers to retcon it the fuck out and make something more sensible, right? Like, maybe Jason survived the swimming incident and Pam’s killing spree wasn’t due to his death, but still due to the negligence of the counselors? She obviously wasn’t the sanest kumquat on the fruit cart, right? So it would make sense, especially if she brought Jason along with her to witness how much she loves him by striking wrathful vengeance in his name. It would definitely go a long way in explaining his own use of violence in avenging her death for the rest of his life. As far as the whole “living off the land for twenty years licking moss” bullshit, just put him into foster care following mom’s rampage, have him murder his caretakers at some point in his teens, then let him make the trek back to Crystal Lake to set up shop and we’re on our way! But no, let’s not do that. Instead, these dipshit fuck bags decide to fart in the face of effort and just stick with the whole Mowgli thing – Jason’s raised by squirrels or some nonsense and he’s just there and he’s always been there and when everybody who goes out there is never heard from again NOBODY WILL NOTICE OR DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! GRARRGHGRRRRRAAAAARRRRRRRRGH!
Pardon my embolism. Uggh. So, yeah. New Jason is an adult now who may or may not have his own marijuana crop out in the woods around Crystal Lake. He lives in the abandoned remains of the camp (abandoned following the mass murder incident), probably drinking his own urine or just coating his intestines with parasites from chugging the lake water. There’s probably a whole hive of squirmy things in his guts. He probably doesn’t even poop anymore because the colony of colon worms just eat all his feces for him then re-poop it back into his blood stream, gradually turning him into an unstoppable dung golem. Where was I? Oh yeah, Jason’s pot field. For something like 10 minutes we’re introduced to a small group of friends who have come to Crystal Lake to sleep (and pork) under the stars. Two of the guys (one of which is a poor man’s Seth Rogen that looks so much like Ragnarok from Cinemasochist Apocalypse that I had to rub my eyes in one of those slapstick comedy double takes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it) are secretly there to steal weed from this legendary crop the one guy’s dealer told him about, the third guy is there to snoop around the campgrounds with his “girl next door” lady love, and the remaining female is there to show off her nauseating botched ’80s boob job and have silhouette doggystyle with one of the weed guys in their tent. They’re solely here as Jason fodder, hence all the marijuana and sex and trespassing. Jason himself is wearing a sack on his head a la F13 2, but it looks more like a pillowcase wrapped around his face than the traditional potato sack. Back to the delinquents. Imperfect Ragnarok Clone gets hacked up, his New Wave Holdover pot hunting partner gets macheted in the face like Leonard Lies, Gross Tit Job gets torched alive in her sleeping bag, Unthreatening Trespasser Boyfriend gets dragged through a floor and presumably slaughtered off-screen, and Appropriate Acting Trespasser Girlfriend is presumed also macheted. Until later on, when it’s revealed that Jason just takes her captive because she looks kinda like this picture of his mom that he keeps in a locket.
Hey, I told you I was gonna be spoiling this nonsense like 6 month old milk! If you stuck around to drink it, you’ve only got yourself to blame, Jermaine. Hope you like sour and chunky, cuz I’ve got plenty more to pour down your gullet. NO WASTE!
After ALL of this, we finally get our title card, some 25 minutes in. Somebody cal Guinness, because that’s gotta be the longest pre-title prologue sequence ever witnessed. From here we fast forward to “6 Weeks Later”, where a second group of irresponsible twenty-somethings are also making an ill-advised trip to corpse country. Since this is supposed to be the part where the Friday the 13th Part 3-D “homage” initiates, this rainbow coalition (well, it’s 5 white people and their token black and Asian friends) is assembling at the family summer house of their leader Trent (Travis Van Winkle) who, if you couldn’t already tell by his name, is such a massive douche bag that he might as well be played a gallon milk jug filled with vinegar that has “Summer’s Eve” stamped on the side. The only real elements of note from this group are that goofy blond pretty boy slacker Nolan is played by Ryan Hansen of “Party Down” (a criminally under-appreciated comedy from Starz that NOBODY watched), and token black guy Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) who, despite the *wink*wink* moment of not wanting to be stereotyped as one of those black guys, doesn’t even come off as an n-word, he comes off like a whigger because he tries too damn hard to be one of said black guys! I’m pretty sure he graduated Valedictorian of the Black Acting School’s Class of 2008… Hollywood Shuffle? Nothing? Really!? Isis help me…
Transitioning into the Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter section of our movie, lone wolf heartthrob-on-a-motorcycle Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is also in the area, not just to play the forbidden love interest to our female lead – King Douche’s set-upon good girl girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) – but to find his sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti), who went missing in the area 6 weeks earlier. Yep, Locket Girl. Speaking of, she’s spent the last month and a half captive in Jason’s underground cave lair (which is way more “influenced” by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 than anything F13), and looks WAY too clean for someone shackled in her own filth for 40 days and nights. Here’s a sticking point that Michael Bay’s welcome to stick in his boom boom hole: despite Camp Crystal Lake being long abandoned, it’s still wired for electricity, which Jason turns on with one of those big mad scientist switches that just don’t carry the same panache without the “It’s alive! ALIVE!” schtick accompanying it.
Clay’s search for sis isn’t helped by the incompetent local podunk police force (an F13 series staple), especially Officer Brackle (Richard Burgi, who looks like the bastard spawn of Patrick Warburton and Huey Lewis) who recommends that Clay go looking elsewhere because Whitney and her friends probably just ran away somewhere else to disappear without a trace…having NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER TO OTHER STORIES OF ERRANT CITIZENS THAT HAVE REMAINED UNSOLVED IN THE CRYSTAL LAKE AREA ALL THESE YEARS ……… and there goes another embolism. Though there’s no Crazy Ralph proper in this movie, there is an unnamed old demented lady (Roseanne Knower) who does the job, filling in Clay on the whole sordid history of Crystal Lake being a Bermuda Triangle for missing credit card applicably aged delinquents.
And beyond that? Not a whole lot to report. Jason kills everybody. In fact, he starts with a local yokel white trash stoner (who my Evil Dead Bride perfectly described as “exactly the kind of guy who would lick the pages in Hustler”) who I can’t help but feel is playing a part that was originally written for Jason “Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame” Mewes. Whether you agree with me at first glimpse or not, once he starts sexually harassing a decrepit mannequin, I think you’ll come to my side of the opinion pond. Beyond licking porno mags (bet they taste salty) and groping inanimate objects, this guy’s reason for being isn’t just to be killed, but so Jason can find a certain iconic piece of sporting equipment in the dumbass’ smoke & stroke shack. Having taken up his sword (machete) and donned his magic helmet (hockey mask), the mighty masked mauler can go about his destined destruction of these purveyors of moderate debauchery. Using more skillful hunting techniques rather than simple smashery & slashery for the most part, the result is the same – everybody ceases to be and joins the choir invisible. I’m fine with that, except for Jason’s more agile feats, like climbing onto a roof with relative ease (ninja fart style: silent but deadly), then leaping down afterward to stab someone through the eye. I prefer my mute murdering juggernauts to be more the lumbering colossi type, but maybe I’m just old fashioned.
By the last reel, it all comes down to the final four: Jason, Clay, Jenna, and the recovered Whitney. In somewhat of a shock, Jenna ends up the victim of implement impalement while trying to escape Jason’s silly underground lair. Which he probably fixed up at the cost of *dramatic pause* one BILLLLLLLION dollars! Man, nothing says you’ve got your bloody talons on the pulse of humor like a 12 year old Austin Powers joke. Blart. The chase eventually ends with a chain around Jason’s neck and our mongoloid mangler being dragged headfirst into the business end of an industrial wood chipper (which I would’ve expected to immediately screech to a halt once the first few feet of chain got wrapped up inside the blades, but hey, movies and stuff) which shuts down after leaving the top of Jay’s dome looking like he just tried on a toupee made of piranhas. I could have done without the Velveeta that Whitney vomits on us in triumph over her captor (“Jason! Say hi to Mommy…IN HELL!”), but as far as endings go, I’ll allow it. No yellow card.
Sorry. The Tomb’s marketing department told me to try and pander to the World Cup crowd. I wouldn’t review Shaolin Soccer, so this was the best I could do to get them to stop poking me with their stupid marketing pitchforks…still don’t know how those slipped by me during the annual budget review…
Immediately following the figurative disposal of the villain is the literal disposal of the villain, and this is where the movie’s second GIANT ass barb falls squarely betwixt my seat cushions. Okay, if you were in Clay and/or Whitney’s shoes, and you’d just stopped a crazed serial killer in a mask who slaughtered a dozen or so people around you… What would you do? Yes, you’d call the police and have them rush out to you immediately while keeping a sentinel-like watch over said murderer’s body, probably while wielding a large, sharp, weaponized gardening tool. And if you’ve seen slasher movies at any time in your life, you’d go the extra mile and chop off his hands and feet, crush his head with a cinder block, and/or park a tractor on top of his corpse as added insurance. What do the siblings do? Dump his body into the lake. What do you think happens when the cops show up, find a whole bunch of bodies, and a brother and sister say “It wasn’t us! It was this big redneck in a hockey mask that we managed to kill in self-defense, then dumped his body in the lake! No, really, we dumped him in the lake! Why!? Uhm… hey, Clay? Why did we dispose of the biggest piece of evidence corroborating our story again? Shit. We’re going to prison, aren’t we?”. But no, none of that matters, because the whole lake dumping thing is done solely for the goofy last-minute movie jump scare attempt when Jason leaps out of the water to finish off our heroes before the end credits roll. This is what happens when you get a friggin’ music video director to helm your slasher flick.
I know movie criticism has a long history of people saying, “That sucked! I could’ve done a better job and I don’t even make movies!”, but in this case I have to agree. As of this review, I’m happy to report that we can at least find solace in knowing that none of F13‘s trio of writers has done anything of note in the half-decade since, possibly crushed by the torrent of hate mail from the Friday Faithful following this fart-in-the-wind remake. As for director Nispel, he seems to have ignored the bloody writing on his bathroom walls and chosen to soldier on with pissing off children of the ’80s, because his next credit was that Conan the Barbarian remake. As least the “slick kinetic Hollywood production” look fits something like a swords & sandals monster mash better than a slasher production, because aside from the hockey mask and all of the stuff lifted directly from the previous F13 installments, this is in no way a Friday the 13th movie. Just like other Michael Bay productions like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in no way represent their source material in any means other than the duplicitous “name only”. Jason looks like he’s been sticking to a strict routine on a BowFlex he found in one of the abandoned cabins, and has apparently mastered electrical engineering with one of those “earn your degree through the mail” programs. I blame the deaths of these people squarely on YOUR shoulder pads, quasi-celebrity Sally Struthers!
Final judgment time: Friday the 13th has some decent violence, but any idiot with a blunt instrument can commit violence. A butcher can turn meat into a meal with skill. An artist can turn violence into entertainment with creativity. In the hands of these people, it’s just “stab stab kill kill”. An uninteresting story with even less interesting characters. A lazy for-profit attempt on a storied slasher franchise (just go with it) disguised as an homage to a legend when it’s really just an excuse to reuse someone else’s leftovers and try to call it your own fine cuisine creation. I’d rather watch Jason Takes Manhattan for a weekend straight than bother with this “re-visioning” by people blinded with dollar signs made of diarrhea. When you try to legitimize an illegitimate genre like cheesy ’80s slashers, you miss the point entirely. They put so much effort into being tongue-in-cheek that the whole affair ends up being way too on-the-nose, which eventually turns it into some kind of awful tongue-in-nose thing that’s just nauseating. And that’s all the time I’m willing to put into this review. Join us next time to see who the next slasher icon is to be put through Tinseltown’s imperfect cloning machine in “Shake, Bake, & Remake Part 2”! But for now, as Uncle Gunter would say, “Leb wohl mein kleines Schnitzel-Abgründe!”
Moral of the Story: You know those parents of handicapped children who say that one day their special needs child could grow up to be the President of the USA or some other really huge achievement as such? Jason Voorhees just makes me want to go down to the Special Olympics and smother every last potential serial killer in the lot before they can come to maturity and take their hatred for the world out on me. I am the comic relief for any slasher movie, so there’s no way I make it long enough to hear the awful nu-metal shit they’re gonna shove into the end credits!
“Damn it Steve, if you forgot to pack the tweezers my brow line is going to look like a Pakistani during No Shave November! We have to go home and get them NOW!”
See what I mean?! Switch out the Star Wars shirt for something Godzilla and this guy’s the movie version of Brother Ragnarok!… and clicking that link will result in no support for my argument, because Raggy doesn’t have a pic of himself on his profile… blart.
Jason is terrifying enough on his own. These two just walked in on him jacking his jerky to bathing suit photos of his mom. They’re scarred for life. But, on the plus side, at least their lives won’t last much longer!
If you thought termites were hard to get rid of, once you’ve got a Voorhees in your floor boards you might as well just burn the place down and start over… on another continent.
“Excedrin Headache #13: the camping trip”
Wearing a pillow case on his head and standing next to a burning effigy?! I know he’s a vicious serial killer, but I never realized Jason was a white supremacist too! Things are gonna be very awkward with Candyman at this year’s MurderCon.
No, I haven’t. I don’t really like Whitney Cummings, and I’ve heard that show was unwatchable anyway. It was also canceled a year ago, so… no, poster, I haven’t seen ‘Whitney.
“Are you on drugs, young man? Because, to be honest, I want a new drug. One that won’t make me sick. One that won’t make me crash my car, or make me feel 3 feet thick.”
That moment you realize that the secret ingredient in your buddy’s “special brownies” wasn’t marijuana…
No, before you say anything, I didn’t boot up the Maniac remake by mistake. Believe me, I really wish that was the case, but no such luck.
The Invisible Man? The Mummy? Darkman?! Nobody knew who Jason was supposed to be at last year’s Halloween party, and every time someone asked he stabbed them in the eyes with candy corn!
FYI – he was dressed as Hush. JV’s a big Batman fan.
All she’s missing is a naked Richard Branson clutched on her back like a baby lemur.
Kids, never go drinking with William Tell. That guy doesn’t just carry a chip on his shoulder, he’s got the whole stack of Pringles. After a few Pink Squirrels it always comes back to that stupid apple and, well, this happens.
Michael Bay’s veiled threat to ruin the Puppet Master franchise next… oh wait, Charles Band’s been doing that since 1993. Never mind.
This is why you’re supposed to take your contacts out at night, folks. The warnings on the box are there for a reason!
“Hail Hydra.” (I’m not 3 months late, I’m just moving up the timetable for bringing it back.)
There you go, ladies. Don’t say I never gave you anything… well, other than the creeps… and hepatitis.
Anubis will return next time in
“Pizza Puss Reborn”
or “Super Robot Adjective Excitement Perversion Display!”
Starring: Yasushisa “Engine Squadron Go-onger” Furuhara , Itsuji “Death Note: the Last Name” Itao , Akira “Ace Attorney” Emoto
Director & Writer: Noboru “The Machine Girl” Iguchi
“I’ll grind your ambitions into dust!”
Here at The Tomb of Anubis, I strive to give you pièce de résistance AND tour de force. I also like to drop a little bit of knowledge for my audience from time to time with these reviews. Sometimes it’s a little trivial “Hey, at least you know a little more now than you did 10 minutes ago” bit of bonus content. Other times it’s a semi-necessary paragraph or two to help everybody better understand the movie’s content. I can’t guarantee that ALL of these tutoring sessions are about legit info, because I gotta keep you guys on your toes… also, I’m a pathological liar. None of these movies actually exist. I’m also not sorry about my deception, because I’m a sociopath… actually, that’s a lie too. My pet turtle died recently and I cried about it on and off for a good 2-3 hours. Not a sociopathic tendency. I AM a Death God though. And the God of Embalming. I’m licensed and everything. I had to start reviewing movies on the side because the embalming biz has been suffering in recent years due to so many people opting for cremation. It’s become so popular that Nestle has started buying up peoples’ ashes for their new product: Carnation© Creamations! The no-fuss breakfast shake that fuels your body (with someone else’s) when you’re “on the go”! Grandma would’ve wanted it this way…
Sorry about that. My focus issues are a thing of legend. I once stopped mid-embalming for the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Snefru to make a sandwich and ended up getting sucked into a marathon of “Ramses and the Crocodile” on the Nile Network and… well… let’s just say he didn’t have an open sarcophagus funeral.
Today’s movie traces its roots back almost 40 years to an obscure Japanese tokusatsu TV series called “Denjin Zaborger” (don’t ask me why the ‘e’ is now an ‘a’… LANGUAGE!). What’s a tokusatsu? Well, “tokusatsu” also happens to be today’s vocabulary word! Put on your learning pants!… or any pants. Really. There might be kids watching.
Tokusatsu (toe-ku-sott-sue) – known as “Toku” for short; the literal English translation is “special filming”; a genre of live-action TV series or movie (most commonly of the sci-fi variety) that relies heavily on special effects to tell its story; can be broken down into several subgenres – daikaiju (giant monsters), kyodai (giant heroes), sentai (task force heroes), henshin (transforming heroes), heroines (female heroes), and metal (cyborg/robot heroes).
“Denjin Zaborger” kinda treads the line between metal and henshin, because though it followed the exploits of a human hero “special agent” (named Yutaka Daimon), the main attraction and title came from his robot sidekick Zaborger, who, while made of metal (a mysterious [i.e. fake] metal called Daimonium), also transformed into the hero’s means of conveyance – a motorcycle… with his big robot face right on the front. He was pretty much the basis for Scooter from “Go-Bots”, only without bombarding me with the insatiable urge to slash his tires and piss in his gas tank. Man, fuck you Scooter. Speaking of Go-Bots, what the hell was up with Leader-1’s eyes?! Was he wearing goggles to keep out the sun glare? Was it a yellow Zorro mask to keep his identity as a giant transforming robot secret?! Jeezus.
The movie sticks with the basic themes of the show. Yutaka Daimon (Yasuhisa Furuhara) is a special agent for the Tokyo Police (sans Gore). He’s a karate master, so he can do the usual movie shit like punch holes in concrete, catch bullets shot at him with his bare hands, leap 30 feet through the air, and withstand small atomic blasts with little more than some singed nose hairs and minor nipple chafing. Yutaka used to have a twin brother, but little no-name died of a mysterious illness (possibly caused by consuming man-breast milk… ewwww) while they were still swaddling mini-people. With his brother snuggling in a dirt crib, his mom corpsed up from a complicated birthing, and his dad losing himself in his work with the mysterious (lot of mystery going on here) material known as Diamonium, teenage Yutaka put all of his angry hormonal angsty angst into his training and eventually perfected his signature attack: the Flying Dragon Triple Kick!… which comes with white rice, egg roll, and your choice of soup or soda. And no, that’s not a mildly racist instance of me confusing Chinese and Japanese culture. It’s a joke about how the hero’s big attack sounds like something you’d find under the Chef’s Specials section of the menu at Golden Palace. 😛
Meanwhile, Dr. Daimon’s former associate turned evil cyborg geezer founder of the android criminal organization Sigma, Dr. Akunomiya, wanting to turn the secrets of Daimonium’s power to turn anything it touches into a robot to his own nefarious causes, kidnapped Poppa D. The good (but terribly neglectful) doctor suffered the torments of fat, ugly, shirtless robo men rather than give up his prized discovery, and eventually chose instead to leap to his death from Sigma’s flying castle fortress base of operations… the bottom of which looks like a giant ass. Coincidentally enough, this all took place within eye shot of Yutaka’s new home at the karate combat monastery, so our hero was forced to watch his own father fall a few thousand feet to his death… or would have, had Akunomiya not laser blasted the shit out of the descending Daimon like some kind of clay pigeon meat bag. Total vaporization. You know how they say matter can neither be created nor destroyed? I’m pretty sure that doesn’t apply here. THAT’s how overkilled he was.
Witnessing his daddy’s death, Yutaka swears a life of revenge upon the fiends of Sigma. Returning to the old man’s lab, he finds a message from dear dead dad LITERALLY playing on a projector for him when he arrives. Telling Yutie not to be a whiny little bitch for the rest of his life and tasking him with taking down Sigma himself, the reel also reveals Dr. Daimon’s ultimate creation – the transforming robot motorcycle hero Zaborgar! And to make it all creepy? Zaborgar is powered by the DNA of Yutty’s STILL nameless baby corpse of a brother… Not that creepy, you say? Look at it this way: you ever ride a motorcycle and get an unintended boner/squishy going? Now, imagine if the vibrating thing you’re straddling that’s giving you said arousal is your dead infant sibling’s carcass. Like I said, CREEPY.
Donning his Canadian combat tuxedo (denim pants and vest) and the big red motorcycle helmet with which he gives his robot battle brother his orders, Yuts has battled the denizens of Sigma ever since. Akunomiya’s big plot is to combine Daimonium with the DNA of various big wig Japanese political figures to create a giant robot monstrosity be calls Jumbo Mecha. You’d think collecting politician DNA would be as simple as creating a small army of cyborg prostitutes in school girl uniforms (*wink*wink*), but Akunomiya’s apparently not as slyly perverted as I am. Instead he uses Daimonium to create a council of bumbling misogynist gangsters (whose purpose is never really made clear), a man hating female cyborg named Miss Borg (more on her in a minute), and a legion of really random and bizarre robo monsters that range from a suit of samurai armor with giant lips for a face (for kissing the DNA out of people and imploding their skulls in the process) to a humanoid ant that shoots acid from its mouth and butt (appropriately named “Diarrhea Robot”) to a trio of bikini girls in football helmets with weaponized dinosaur titties (and butts) to a big nightmarish thing that can only be described as what would happen if a giant robot bulldog impregnated a UPS truck, resulting in “Bulldog Car Robot”. The first time I watched this movie, it was 3am and I was very ill. I woke up the next morning fairly sure that I’d hallucinated the whole thing. Upon re-watching it for the sake of this review, I was both relieved and terrified that all of these things had actually happened.
Back to Miss Borg, her DNA material was taken from a heartbroken woman who was dumped by her boyfriend shortly before (or perhaps causing?) her death. As such, she’s a man hater of the militant caliber, deeming all men as spineless, deceitful, shitbags. She’s got the Super Deluxe Premium Hotshot package of extras too, including a detachable rocket head, stun gun antennae, electro-whip, mouth snake (pretty sure that’s a pleasure attachment), and multi-purpose robo attack bra that includes boobular rockets and French tickler tentacle swarms. In other words, if they made an action figure series based on this movie (which it was absolutely made for), she’d be the one with more features than you could list on the box. It’d make $50 for an 8” piece of plastic full of choking hazards seem reasonable. Throw in a voice chip of her weird Japanese ghost lady laugh and I’m sold!
As for her place on the Sigma totem, MB is Doc Aku’s heavy and the leader of his DNA extraction task force. But, more often than not she ends up being beaten with an electrified rod as punishment for her frequent failures due to Yuti-Fruiti’s meddling. Sigma’s bumbling council, being he-man woman haters, naturally do not get along with Miss Borg and constantly assault her or make their own attempts to foul up her missions. They only solidify her disgust with those who pee standing up, which drives her into the arms of Mr. Chivalry… also known as Yutaka. In an attempt to give Borgia an edge against the good guys, Aku gives her a be-boobed transforming fighting robot motorbike accessory of her own – Black Hawk! Not to be confused with failed ’80s action show icon Street Hawk. Awwww yeah! “Street Hawk” reference in your FACE! *HIGHEST OF FIVES*-
The tag teams rumble, and amidst the breasticle bombs, robo-panties, flying kicks, and sexual tension, MB and Yuts end up smacking lips. Giving in to their throbbing bio-mechanical urges, they run off to screw in a beach-side hobo cave, where our hero loses his robo virginity (at the ripe old age of 22) in a bizarre flurry of screaming and metal tentacles and electrocution and oral serpent bludgeoning. It’s actually not as weird as it sounds. I fucked a toaster oven during one lost weekend and it went down pretty much the same. Like a very special episode of “The Jetsons” written by Irvine Welsh under possession by the ghost of the Marquis de Sade. Not recommended for anyone who hasn’t fantasized about affixing a fork to their genitals and sticking it into an electrical outlet at some point.
…by Isis’s vibrator, I’m oversharing like this is a Howard Stern interview.
After getting his dick wet (with 10W-30), Yuti’s dalliance with deviance is walked in on by his little bro-bot in a moment of sibling awkwardness. Should Z be happy that big brother’s finally getting some, walk away and leave them to it? Should he chew out his big brother right there for sleeping with the enemy? Should he just not say a word (not that he can talk anyway), play some Marvin Gay through his head speakers, and slip in between them freak style like it’s no big deal? Borg looks like she might be the “fingercuffs” type… Anyway, this naturally causes a rift between the Daimon brothers. And to turn this poo drizzle into a full blown diarrhea tsunami, recent issues with a corrupt politician named Watasugi (Yutaka kinda karate chopped him in the face for being a dickbag… while the guy was laid up in a hospital bed following a Sigma attack) have not only gotten Yutaka suspended from the police force, but also earned him an arrest-on-sight order. Blinded by boner love for Miss Borg, and wearing prescription strength hate glasses at the bullshit politics that have put him on the wrong side of the justice system he’s fought so passionately to uphold, our hero seriously considers an offer by Doc Aku to join Sigma… and I just realized that “Doc Aku” sounds like an intense Japanese guy saying “Doc Ockoo”. To the PhotoShop!
The turmoil results in yet another tumultuous tussle as Sigma snatches up a bevy of politicians. When the police intervene and try to take down Miss Borg, lovestruck Yatta-Tat-Tat orders Zaborgar to turn ’em into bacon. Z defies his brother’s orders, displays free will for the first time ever, and stands down against the boys in blue, opting instead to go after Borg while Yats does his own dirty work, throwing down with the 5-0. Wielding his bro mad-on like a rocket launcher of jealousy, Zaborgar kamikazes himself and takes Miss Borg with him, leaving nothing in the explosion’s wake but Yat’s regret, sadness, and blue balls. Also known as my dating life in high school.
So ends chapter one (entitled “Fight!! Karate-Robo Zaborgar!”), and so begins chapter two (“Hang in there Daimon! Adrift on the Sea of Life!”). This is pretty much where I’m gonna wrap things up. I’ve got shit to do. Death God shit. Shit that may or may not include sending threatening emails to NetFlix for suggesting I watch a Korn concert video. It may not be possible to punch a video streaming service, but I swear on the Eye of Horus I’m going to try my damnedest.
For the rest of our feature we fast forward 25 years into the future. Yutaka is now 47 (and played by much older actor Itsuji Itao), and still wearing the exact same outfit he thought was cool at half his age, fingerless gloves and all. Since his little brother’s suicide bombing and the subsequent death of his first (and only) lover, the special forces wing of the police department that employed him has been de-funded and disbanded, and the only job he’s been able to hold has been as that dick cheddar Watasugi’s chauffeur so he could humiliate the hero for the rest of his life. Watasugi, who has been Japan’s prime minister for the last two and a half decades, and turned the country into a nuclear eyesore thanks to his ties with… wait for it… Sigma. Yep, Doc Aku’s still kickin’. And after 25+ years of abducting prominent figures and pilfering their genetic material (repeatedly saying “DNA” just makes me think of jizz), Jumbo Mecha is on the verge of completion!
With all of his previous mecha monster minions all scrap and crap, Doc Aku’s got two new creations under his employ – cyborg schoolgirl Akiko (who will also serve as Jumbo Mecha’s brain) and perpetual “Japanese scene boy” Akitsuki, who’s a hell of a martial artist and Black Hawk’s new driver. But, he can’t drive Black Hawk! That’s a girl bike! I mean, it’s literally female! It has boobs and a skirt and it’s back tire doubles as its thing! Gross. You’ll never catch me on a girl bike… unless it’s just ’80s Barbara Crampton on all fours with little wheels clutched between her hands and feet going “vroom vroom”. Oooooo, would I put my dipstick in her oil tank. Hubba hubba!
As if life couldn’t get less worth living for Yuts than it’s become, Watasugi has finally had enough of demeaning our protagonist these many years, and fires the poor schlub for NOT running over an old lady in a crosswalk. Now, unemployed and forced to move in with his former amigos from the police force (whose lives have all become just as terrible, if not worse, despite forming the League of Smiles), it doesn’t look like our diabetic, nigh-quinquagenarian good guy is gonna have the gusto to save the world from the forces of automaton evil when his Flying Dragon Triple Kick is limper than his old man dong. But, the good guy’s gotta win somehow, right? Maybe with the help of the grinning might of the League of Smiles!? And what of Zaborgar? Can he really be gone for good, given that it’s his friggin’ name in the title?! Find out when you watch Karate-Robo Zaborgar!
Or don’t. I’m not gonna make you. I’ve got a pizza on the way and don’t have time to Clockwork Orange your ass right now.
With the right video filters, you’d have no idea this wasn’t a ’70s tv show the likes of which the material it’s based on. And not just because the budgets are probably comparable. No, it’s because said basis is that fucking loyal to the source material. Just by watching the end credits reel of footage from the show, you see where everything in the movie came from and how much love for it the minds behind the movie are radiating. I’m not going into specifics (again, pizza and punching NetFlix), but if you watch the movie and sit through the credits, see what I’m referring to. The super appropriate music and sound effects just drive the point home further. A lot of the movie is so over-the-top, it makes the actual Over the Top look like Schindler’s List. If you don’t like a “crazy as bird dicks” movie, you shouldn’t watch this, because it is the definition of “crazy as bird dicks”… that fart exploding rainbows… which make you simultaneously shed a tear and smack yourself in the head.
I had no idea what “Denjin Zaborger” was before this movie. I’ve yet to see it after this movie. But I am a fan of it in spite of this truth. I’m rarely a fan of things I see, let alone of anything sight unseen, but I’m a fan of “Denjin Zaborger” because 35 years after its broadcast, Karate-Robo Zaborgar is the result. Unfortunately, the only version of the show I could find was a DVD set on Amazon that the seller wanted $200 for… can I start a Kickstarter for something like that? Would 40 people pony us $5 each to help me get that set if I promised to review it?! Or, how about 10 people pony up $20 each, then I’ll burn everybody copies?! Shit, I totally need to look into this Kickstarter thing now.
After researching the show, I’m really hoping someone makes another Zaborgar flick too. Either a sequel with a new hero taking up the denim and partnering with Zaborgar, or an “alternate universe” movie, the type of which Japanese serieses are fond of. My solitary reason for wanting this to happen? Later in the show, there was a new enemy faction revealed called The Dinosaur Army, who get only a brief breastatorial reference in this movie. This group (a second evil faction looking to take out their sole competition in Sigma), was led by a sinister tri-cranial dino boss named Triple Neck Demon… THAT IS MY WHOLE REASON FOR WISHING THIS WOULD-BE MOVIE INTO EXISTENCE! I WANT A MOVIE WITH A VILLAIN NAMED “TRIPLE NECK DEMON”! Shit, I’m so aghast by the moniker, I’ve looked into legally changing my name to Triple Neck Demon. Another subject for another Kickstarter? I think maybe yes. Only problem is gonna be going back through all those fucking hieroglyphs and painting the extra heads on all of my pictures…
Anyway, if you’re in the mood for something crazy (and have 2hrs to kill), I recommend KRZ. I found it on NetFlix (who may or may not be suffering from a punchening), so start your search there. It’s not perfect. It overstays its welcome by about 25 minutes. Also, even I have my limits for how Japanese something can get. But, it takes me back to the days of my childhood, when the cartoons were little more than 20 minute commercials for toys padded with 10 minutes of actual commercials for toys, and there were 2-3 hours of them every afternoon, followed by another 4-5 hours on Saturdays. It was rampant consumerist brainwashing of children by today’s standards, but as one of the brainwashed, it was great being a drooling vegetable when you had a Battle Damage Skeletor in your hands and said drool tasted like Orange Kool-Aid.
– “I can’t handle anything abstract right now!”
That dude in the back is either shooting eye daggers at Beardo, or eye penises. Maybe penis daggers? Yeah, that’s definitely a hate-fuck gaze.
Lady Slug and her Gardeners of Doom! Their arch-enemies? The Human Salt Shaker and The Brisk Pace Walker!
In the future, Fleshlight production will be taken over by Japanese Skynet. They will evolve. The machines will win.
The Japanese Village People!
“Get off your knees. When I said my head could use a good polishing, I meant the metal half of my face. I replaced my penis with a nail gun years ago.”
You can hardly tell they’re twins.
GAH! I see somebody’s also watched “Family Guy“! GAH! GAAAAAAAAH!
It’s a lot funnier not to explain this one. Just look at it. LOOK AT IT!
Well, it’s good to know that at least one of the Big Bad Beetleborgs can still find work.
“Taco Bell’s new HOTTER fire sauce really lives up to its name!”
The new UPS trucks do a great job of scaring off unruly dogs.
Somebody’s taking the whole “bombshell” thing a little too literally.
“Though I appreciate your aggressive stance on helping me maintain my personal hygiene, your pimple removal methods are a bit too extreme for me.”
Finally, a Japanese production that has the female fucking someone else with tentacles rather than being fucked by them! It’s a bright new day for women’s equality in the Land of the Rising Sun!
Sorry Japan, but the Lingerie Football League made a mockery of female athletes before this.
After decades of being destroyed by giant reptiles and insects and tinker toys, you knew it was just a matter of time before a giant rampaging cosplayer on her cell phone was going to do the same.
“Evil? FUCK EVIL! What is evil in the face of… THE LEAGUE OF SMILES?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Jim Henson’s Parody Babies”