Episode 100 – The Fall of the Louse of Usher (2002)

or “Love. Love Will Tear Us Apart Again”

Featuring: James “Black Milk” Johnston , Eliza “Boudica Bites Back” Russell , Marie Findley

Writer & Director: Ken “Tommy” Russell

Also Known As: The Fall of the Louse of Usher: a Gothic Tale for the 21st Century ; Ken Russell’s The Fall of the Louse of Usher

Origin: UK

Review_____

“Even if you come in here sane, no way you’re gonna get out of here anything but crazy!”

Guten tag, schmutz-kinder! Today marks the annual event known to wrestling fans as Wrestlemania. On a larf, I thought it would be fun to do a roundtable of reviews for Ken Russell movies. What does Ken Russell have to do with professional wrestling? Nothing. At least not that I know of. No, the theme for this gathering exists for no other reason than because it lends itself to the ‘table’s puntacular title!

Yep. That's the kinda shit I do. And thanks to my fellow cinemasochists for taking this journey with me! Though never a big Ken Russell fan, I have seen a few of his better known flicks. I thought Altered States was a fun acid trip through pseudo scientific madness, Tommy was an enjoyably dark and unique musical experience, and Lair of the White Worm is still one of my favorite flicks to come out of the UK and the definite catalyst for my bizarre attraction to serpentine women who want to eat me alive. Despite the creep-ass little goblin from the cover of the Gothic VHS being burned into my memory from childhood, I never got around to renting it. From what Ragnarok has to say in his review, it sounds like I didn’t miss much. Too bad that copy of The Devils I sent him was rerouted back to me via USPS, otherwise he could’ve reviewed that instead. Stupid lack of proper postage!

Before I get started, I’m throwing out the disclaimer that this review is going to be a rush job, so apologies if it lacks the polish (or Polish) of other episodes. I’ve been entangled on the battlefield of the mind in a war with the Overfiend for possession of my soul and just recently managed to lock the beast away in the Crystal of Zoloft, putting me at odds with my own predetermined due date. As such, I’ve filled my gut tank with several cans of Tear Ass energy drink from Dollar Embargo to give me the fuel I need and, as an odd side effect, the ability to taste color! I can confirm that, yes, purple is indeed a fruit. The only flavor they had on-shelf was the nebulous “Citrus X”. Unlike Chemical X, which turns inanimate objects into Powerpuffs, the only thing Citrus X transforms is the odor of your urine. My piss bucket smells like it’s full of orange peels swimming in battery acid. I’m not 100% sure my kidneys aren’t going to explode by the time we get to the moral of this story. Oh well. Sallying forthwith!

In the twilight of his career, Kenny Russell wasn’t much for movie making. He stuck with weird short subject shit for the most part, while my pick for this Celluloid Zeroes collaboration is the final feature length flick the freaky fiend filmed before punching his ticket to the Underworld in 2011. And when I say “filmed”, I don’t mean it literally, because The Fall of the Louse of Usher was shot entirely via camcorder!

Yes indeed my flowers and weeds, the technology your parents used to have to rely on when they wanted to make their own sex tapes (back when they were actual tapes) is the medium through which Uncle Ken chose to tell this backyard gothic rock opera of his. And I gotta say, upon discovering this, my immediate concerns were that I had been bamboozled and this wasn’t the same Ken Russell I was looking for. Learning that its legitimacy is legitimate however, I felt like I was watching home movies of someone’s grandpa in the final days of a fatal cancer diagnosis. Without mincing words, you just can’t shake that awful feeling of pity for seeing someone brought so low. Even if just done as a simple pet project to have fun with his friends and neighbors (which it was), it still feels so beneath what the man had done with his prestigious (or at least semi-prestigious) career that it’s… well… pathetic. If they’d kept it as a private joke to share with each other and bring out for summer barbecue viewings, that’d be one thing. But to put it out on a DVD and demand people pay to see it? By Roger Daltrey’s tasseled togs, are you fucking yankin’ my crank?! Clearly not, otherwise I’d have nothing to rag on here! Well, aside from the extension cord I use for a belt.


Roger Daltrey – Innovator of the “glue huge strands of cooked spaghetti to your sleeves” look.

Okay, enough puttin' off the lovin'. Let's rinse off our genitals, put on my Lou Bega mixtape of bone medleys, and bang this bitch out like Sean Michaels (the porn actor, not the wrestler)! Let's just hope we don't let loose any two-cheek squeaks (or squeakquels) while we're at it.

The setting for our story in simply “Orange County, USA” according to our opening. Okay, so is it the Orange County with the arguing family of motorcycle builders, the one with Mischa Barton, or one of the half-dozen other fucking Orange Counties in the damn country!? Though it’s later revealed that our setting is the West Coast edition, that tiny tidbit of info would’ve been nice to know beforehand. As Baphomet would say, “Bah”.

Roderick Usher (James Johnston, who doubles as the movie’s composer) is a goth rock musician 20 years behind the curve. Lead guitarist and singer/whiner (and occasional whisper rapper) of a heretofore unnamed band (might I suggest “The Poegues”?), he’s arrested for the suspected murder of his wife/maracas player, Annabelle Lee (Emma Millions), to whom everyone likes to attach the preface descriptor of “Sweet”. Not so sweet when she’s found walled up in the Usher house with half her face missing and her pet mini-pincher chewing through her guts! Since her rocker widower is clearly off his rocker at the time of his capture, barely coherent and ranting about his innocence, rather than going to prison Roddy’s instead carted off to the local loony bin. Here he’s put under the care of the demented Dr. Calahari (Ken Russell) and his sex bomb assistant, Nurse ABC Smith (Marie Findley).


Not a good sign of things to come… pun intended.

Not just another bimbo in a medical fetish costume, ABC (Already Been Chewed?) is one of those wonderfully empowered ladies who uses her sexuality to manipulate others into getting what she wants, the endgame of which is often something fatal for those seduced by her charms. Also, as everyone is keen to point out, “She’s a great piece of ass”. Pretty much what you’d expect from a Russell girl.

They’re similar to “Bond girls”, only way more likely to be emotionally damaged and way more likely to have some manner of underlying disfigurement that will make you paranoid of any woman who hits on you during last call. Not unlike how Basket Case taught women to never talk up any guy at a bar carrying a picnic basket.


Hellooooooo Nurse!

Russell's oddball headshrinker has a penchant for wearing a variety of headpieces, which may or may not be the writer/director/producer/editor/cinematographer/actor's unsubtle pun to the audience that he himself is a “man of many hats”. Or, it could just be a sign that he had a bunch of goofy hats lying around in his home prop box that he thought would make for a running gag funny only to him. Either or. Said fetishizer of up top props also puts on a “hard to pinpoint but I'm pretty confident it's meant to be German because ABC keeps referring to him as 'Herr doktor'” accent that sounds exactly like the frantic urine lab doctor from the English dub of Dominion: Tank Police. And if you don’t know what that is, your life is a little less happy than it should be. Fix that. Soon. Or be forever denied existence as a complete person. Tank Police. Feel the power that we’ve got. We’ll give it our best shot.

No sooner is Rod tossed into his new cell then he starts in on the standard issue sexually deviant hallucinations that every lead of a Ken Russell movie suffers from. In this case, our hero envisions an orgy of blow up dolls that includes an inflatable dinosaur for added “Da fuq?!” factor. As he writhes, physically in his straight jacket and emotionally in his madness, ABC looks on intrigued. Speaking of our Nightingale on Elm Street, her role at the hospital is seemingly as Calahari’s personal caretaker more so than as his assistant. Much of their screen time together is spent with ABC feeding him, cleaning out his ears, and constantly checking the old fart’s vitals while they discuss the Usher case. Mayhaps the demented doc is a hypochondriac and needs frequent reassurance that he’s in stable health? Could it be that he’s due for a mandatory physical by the Department of Health? Then again, it may just be a thinly-veiled metaphor about how nurses tend to do all the work as doctors sit around getting fat off their fancy college degrees and trying their best to distinguish between a patient’s sphincter and a hole in the ground… which should probably raise some concerns from everyone given that doctors’ offices generally don’t include holes in their floors.

While DC and ABC try to unravel the mystery of Annabelle’s death (and whether it has anything to do with Roderick’s sister/violinist Madeline Usher [Ken’s wife Eliza Russell]) With a bona fide celebrity in their midst, Cal wants ‘Rick to perform for the institution’s patients-and-staff mixer, leaving it up to ABC to do the convincing. When her lusty demeanor isn’t enough to persuade the disturbed music maker, she confines him to a makeshift torture bed (that looks to be a beach chair with a blanket tossed over it) as a swinging pendulum butcher knife gradually descends back and forth above his pelvis. Though the protag laughs off her threat, citing an erectile deficiency, he’s not so sure of himself when XYZ reveals that she gave him Viagra. At the mere mention of her boner juice roofie job, Lil’ Rod (sounds like a personal problem) springs to life and Mr. Usher gives in to his caretaker’s demands. Good thing my doc’s accompanying CRN isn’t that hardcore. Being the world’s worst diabetic, she’d have had me paying dues to the Eunuchs Union Local 37 before you could say “THIS IS A MEDICAL EXAMINATION! STOP EATING THAT CHEESECAKE!”.

During the crazy people social soiree, Roderick is encouraged by Dr. C to get every available appendage he can up Nurse Smith’s very short uniform skirt. Hey, getting turned down by trim doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your fellow phallus holder to have a try! Bro code… or some horseshit. Anyway, Mr. Usher is then accosted by a pair of his fellow inmates that are heavy on a hippie astrology kick, asking him if he’s into “Ass-trology”, which I assure you that I certainly am. They allude to Miss ABC’s past interactions with a group called “The West Side Boys” which, from their intonations, presumably refers to some fucked up tribulations. More specifically, the ones spelled G-A-N-G-R-A-P-E.

No, not “gan grape” you nards! I meant “gang rape”. She had her flower forcibly plucked by a vulgar group of ne’er-do-wells with more testosterone than social grace. At least as far as I can infer. The later reveal that her entire erotic demeanor is made up of literal artificial bits and pieces (including that “great piece of ass!”) to disguise whatever shapeless horror she really is, postulates clearly that her outer self is a deceptive shell to hide the fragile truth beneath. Some obvious symbolism for Uncle Ken to waterboard us with. It’s an interesting visual representation, but is smashed so hard into our faces that it’s like being talked down to by a tech support rep that makes you wanna reach through the phone and elbow them in the throat.

I don’t do great with “message movies”. Unless they involve people getting run over en masse.

While Nursey Poo and The Rod explore their blossoming relationship, Dr. C uses the astrologist gals (one of whom is your typical old gypsy lady, while the other is a minstrel mummy… let that sink in) in an effort to Ouija up the soul of the slain Annabelle Lee and get the story of her demise straight from the victim’s protoplasmic mouth. Unable to establish a direct connection to the lass, they do manage to summon OSIRIS(!!!) instead, who speaks to them through the sacred vessel of… a Big Mouth Billy Bass.

Okay. This part got me. A surprise kidney punch of happiness I wasn't prepared for that left me on the floor with upturned lips ever so slightly trembling. This leads to a riddle that leads to a vibrating slinky version of those “weasel chasing a ball” toys that finally leads to the gypsy character divining that the question to the answer “The reveal of Annabelle Lee's true killer” is “What's the secret of her bones?”. Man, trying to force gags into a ‘Jeopardy!’ shaped mold requires mental gymnastics that my caffeine fueled cortex can’t fucking handle right now. This leads to Calahari sending his masked henchman Igor to retrieve Ann’s pearlies from her gravesite.

Taking a break from all story progress, Dr. Cal takes a scenic route scene to gloat to Roderick about his prized experiment – having hypnotized (via several props acquired from a Spencer’s Gifts clearance sale) a previous patient/guinea pig named Ernest Valdemar (Peter Mastin) in the midst of the man’s death throes, allowing Ernie’s mind to continue living indefinitely and communicating through a voice amplification box despite the death of the rest of his body… except for the part about how his jaw and eyes are still functional, and the other part about how THE BRAIN CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT BLOOD FLOW OR OXYGEN. Unfortunately, despite Mr. V’s predicament being an interesting piece about a person buried alive in the grave of his own corpse for 7 months, this bit of sidetrack has zilch to do with Rod’s tale and only serves as a *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* to EAP readers that reeks of time filler.


Sick Destro cosplay, bro!

Speaking of filler, the next segment takes the same theme, makes like a looter with a new TV and runs with it. Calahari has a therapy session with a woman hidden behind a mask who has some weird psycho-sexual fear of garden gnomes. Through his mania-delving analysis, the doc helps her realize she's actually famed femme fatale female wrestler, Beulah Von Birmingham (Sandra Scott)! Her revelation is interrupted when a masked prostitute named Mary (Mrs. Russell again) inserts herself into the scenario, declaring herself a birthday present to Roderick from his big sister… while ironically being played by the same woman who plays his big sister. Beulah recognizes her as one of her wrestling rivals though, and the pair have a no holds barred hardcore brawl for supremacy! It degrades into the two just dry humping each other before the silliness subsides prematurely with the pair escaping over a wall via convenient step ladder, to the chagrin of Calahari who planned to imprison the pair in his crazy house. Again, fun random bit of wackiness, but also again, entirely disconnected from having anything to do with advancing the damn story!

Wait a sec… Whoa. That’s a bit weird, isn’t it? I establish this review on the basis of its creator’s surname being a pun on the word “wrestle”, and ultimately there’s a scene of female wrestlers doing just that. The hypothesis of my subconscious being an astral projected time traveler while I sleep gains more and more traction. Nanoo fucking nannoo.

When Igor returns with the disinterred dentures of a dozen or so Ushers buried in the same boneyard (or, purchased from a gumball machine outside the corner deli as the case more likely is), Annabelle’s rise from the collection and hint at Poe’s short story ‘The Murders at the Rue Morgue’ as being the key to unlocking what really happened to her. Cal deciphers this as meaning Rod’s wife was actually murdered by a gorilla, but before he can question this logic further he’s called away to Valdemar’s room, where his pet zombie finally gives up the ghost. As if that weren’t enough to upset the bloated old goat, the institute’s previous staff, which the doctor had apparently imprisoned in the asylum’s basement for challenging his “revolutionary methods”, have somehow escaped (or at least the two members we’re ever privy to) and are wilding throughout the building in pursuit of revenge! Less the “pee in the communal coffee pot at work” type and more the “Carrie White on prom night” version.

Roddy, herr doktor, the old gypsy (now wearing a tea cozy on her head) and the blackface mummy lady escape the hospital with all limbs intact, returning to the Usher Estate. Once there, ‘Ricky discovers beloved sister Madeline dead at her own hand on what looks to be a teenage girl’s bed, amid some topless statues in the yard. Seems the “fake news” media reported that her brother had died in the sanitarium riot and the resultant grief with which she was overtaken pushed her to Romeo & Juliet herself, leaving behind a recorded confession (played for them by a crimson faced gorilla) that she was the one who prematurely punched Sweet Annabelle Lee’s mortality ticket! In the thralls of his own heartbreak, little brother Usher demands Death take him too, to which Dr. C relinquishes with an injection of something lethal. The duo are laid in state in their yard, surrounded by potted flowers probably taken from the dumpster behind the WalMart Garden Center.

With 15 minutes left in the movie, the aforementioned gorilla gather the remaining trio of guests in the siblings’ old childhood playhouse to view a VHS tape (played in a microwave for laughs). The vid is a further confession by Mad Maddie, telling of how she used Gory (the gorilla) to kill Annabelle with an obedience chip that the family had planted in the hulking simian’s brain after the poor brute was rescued from an abusive trainer. Thanks to an off-brand Playstation 2 controller, Mads maliciously manipulated the monkey into murdering her only rival for her dear brother’s dingus. From here it’s all about wrapping shit up, as Calahari is captured and returned to the asylum to undergo treatment, Nurse ABC is fine (except for an unexplained hand crushing incident in the end), Roderick and Madeline’s souls descend to hell on a righteous deflating bouncy castle, and their son and daughter prepare to move back into their family home with Gory now that everyone else has been driven away… I’m not going to explain anything from that last sentence, as I’ll leave it up to your own minds to fill in the blanks that, well, we’re never given anyway.


Unless Russell’s next of kin have some 2-4-5 Trioxin laying around, I’m pretty sure this is the end.

And there it is: Ken Russell’s final feature, The Fall of the Louse of Usher. Though greatly hampered by its poor choice of medium and “let’s just use what we’ve got lying around our houses!” budget, there’s actually a lot of entertainment to be had. The sound quality isn’t great, sometimes even bordering on horrible as it makes certain scenes almost completely auditorially illegible, with the worst being a stair well exchange that’s nothing but shouty echoes. Speaking of noise, one of my least liked parts of this cacophony of crazy are the awful little music videos that Rod and Mad made for their band, not the least bothersome of which involves the siblings being all “anguished high school goth kids” (well into their thirties/forties) with each other in a cemetery, dragging numerous visual aids about their incest relationship across our faces where, like the scrotum intimation I’m trying to make here, none were needed.

The cast is actually pretty solid for a buncha no-names. Not everyone, mind you, but our top-of-the-credits trio – Johnston, Findley & Mr. Russell – all make this a much more pleasant pill to swallow. Their characters are entertaining if not always interesting and their performances are appropriately campy without going overboard. Broken heart throb Roderick is well lost in the forest of confusion and desperate to find his way out; Nurse ABC carries a sensuality, charm and foreboding smile reminiscent of Cassandra Peterson’s beloved Elvira or a mash-up of Rocky Horror’s Columbia & Magenta; and Doc Calahari is a kooky crackpot who’s really a lot of fun to watch when you warm up to him, even in spite of Russell’s absurd German-ish accent, which grows on you if your ears don’t revolt against you first.

If you’re a Poe nerd, or have a Poe nerd in your life, you’ll enjoy picking out Louse‘s varied variety of references to the godfather of goth’s library of extensive materials. Some are obvious, some are a bit more obscure, and still others I’m sure I missed entirely because I’m barely acquainted with the chronically depressed fiveheaded oddball’s greatest hits, let alone his deep cut ditties. If what I’ve heard was true, Louse of Usher is a much better homage to Eddie Allan’s efforts than 2012’s The Raven, so again, consider it for the Poephile in your presence. And don’t you worry John Cusack, I’ll be kicking down your door sooner or later with crackling criticisms to burn your nose hair by!

The “gothic tale for the 21st century” has great potential that peeks out from behind its discounted Halloween seasonal mall shop props and modified tool shed sets, and with a little bit of script tampering and an injection of capital, I think, sans hyperbole, that TFotLoU could have easily been another Rocky Horror! Hell, with a Kickstarter campaign and some talented hands, it could still be. It’s as likely as Hulk Hogan playing the dad in a(nother) remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but it’s fun to think of what could have been. Speaking of what could have been…

Hey! I finally made it to episode 100! It only took me… gimme a sec here…

Three and a half years. Shit. That’s an average of 2-3 reviews per month. Double shit. Billy Bass Osiris damn me and whatever wacky fantasy scenario I’m using today to stunt double for my real life personal hindrances. Oh well. I’ve got a pot of chili and a copy of Cannibal Killer Clowns on Dope calling my name with their siren song, so let’s hurry this up and just say it’s a case of quality over quantity.

Moral of the Story: If you ever want to get out of a mental institute alive, never question the sanity of the staff.

On the topic of superior quality, go treat yourself to some more RussellMania from our fellow Zeroes!



Checkpoint Telstar summons The Devils

Cinemasochist Apocalypse goes all Gothic

Micro-Brewed Reviews experiments with Altered States

The Terrible Claw Reviews excavates The Lair of the White Worm

Web of the Big Damn Spider courts The Boy Friend

Screenshots_____


I envision a lawsuit by the Estate of Edgar Allan Poe against the Estate of Ken Russell as presided over by the Estate of Judge Wopner here, in ‘The Dead Peoples’ Court’.


See, shit like that is why you’ll never get me within a mile of a LASIK office!


“I have to say, when my wife said she’d gotten me that reverse-gangbang I’d always wanted for my birthday, I wasn’t expecting… well… this. Oh well, let’s make the best of it, girls!”


Yes, kids, Ken Russell as a literal dick nose.


Scary Movie prop mask purchased from Marlon Wayans’ “Fund the next A Haunted House sequel” yard sale.


The New Slash Co. Mark 12 collection of knives! They’ll cut through shoe leather, a soda can and a full-sized rhinoceros, and STILL sever a human head like it were a ripe tomato without a single sharpening! I’d buy that for a dollar!


What? You’ve never been to a white trash Eyes Wide Shut party before?


My sex shed is way nicer than theirs!


“With the Psychic Readers Network, you can get in touch with the Egyptian gods for advice on life, love, and lucky lottery numbers for just $2.99 per minute! Call me NOW!”


Saint Polident – the Patron Saint of Denture Cleansers and veteran of the 100 Years Crusade against the kingdom of the Cavity Creeps.


And this is why I never trust elderly women in lingerie who ask me if I want to “smell their flower”.


A scene from Annie Sprinkle’s long-since-banned educational video for elementary school children on how bees pollinate flowers.


My attempts at bringing my own Frankensteinian meatloaf man to life didn’t go as I had hoped… at least he made for some delicious leftovers!


The only surviving still from a proposed 1992 reboot of Planet of the Apes that, I think we can all agree, would have probably been too awesomely reprehensible for this world anyway.


Alright! The Better Homes and Gardens annual “DIY Funerary Displays on a Budget” issue is out! They printed my article in this one!


In 1997, Nintendo introduced the first “rumble” function for video game controllers, causing them to vibrate as a form of sensory feedback for players to help increase their immersion in the games. 20 years after the introduction of vibrating controllers, females now make up nearly 50% of video gamers. Coincidence? My eye.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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Episode 96 – Death Race 2050 (2017)

or “Faster, Frankenstein! Kill! Kill!”

Featuring: Manu “Arrow” Bennett , Marci “Days of Our Lives” Miller , Malcolm “A Clockwork Orange” McDowell

Director: GJ “Virtually Heroes” Echternkamp

Writers: GJ “Frank and Cindy” Echternkamp & Matt “Virtually Heroes” Yamashita

Origin: USA

Remake of:Death Race 2000

Also Known As:Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050

This Episode Personally Approved By: GJ Echternkamp (Director/Writer)!
“Your review of Death Race 2050 was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read… thanks for making my night!”

Review_____

“It’s like having sex with 500 men at once – awesome.”

So,we’re only two weeks into the new year and already David Blaine has shot himself in the mouth and Martin “Shcrotin” Shkreli has gotten a face full of doggy dung. Don’t do it, 2017. Don’t tease me like this. After all the bullshit that 2016 pulled, you’re gonna have to give me a LOT more than this to wash off the stink of your predecessor’s legacy! Now, if you were to have Blaine and Criss Angel kill each other off in some form of magician blood feud a la The Prestige and have Shkreli choke to death on a log of piping hot canine crap straight from the pooch’s poop chute, you’d score a fair bucket of cred with both myself and many others. But you’re on super double secret probation until at least mid-April, so keep your nose clean.

Speaking of 2016, despite the murder spree we all witnessed over the length of the last calendar, you know who survived the celebrity serial killer year-that-was? Roger Corman! The spiritual successor of Ed Wood hasn’t directed a flick in over 25 years, but that sure as shit hasn’t stopped the master of the minuscule budget from keeping the bad movie spawning beds bubbling atop his “Producer” chair throne. Much as my opinion of the man’s work ebbs and flows with the shifting of the sands, I will not deny that Cor-Man is the friggin’ Jack LaLanne of schlock. My all time favorite of his features? Without hesitation – Death Race 2000.

If you don’t know that which DR2K is about, it better be because you’re younger than the carton of cottage cheese long thought lost in the dark recesses of my fridge. Why haven’t I thrown it out yet? By the time I found it, I was too afraid to open it, let alone lay my hands upon it. Know what’s in there? Me neither. Let’s keep it that way. Back on topic, DR2K is a 1975 flick that plays like a live-action “Speed Racer” cartoon if it came with an ‘R’ rating and revolved around turning pedestrians into street meat. It was Cannonball Run meets Rollerball. So it was Rollerball Run, I guess. Also, it was already remade in 2008 as just Death Race, as some kind of edgy gay prison sex action-drama art house film starring Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson also executive produced by Roger Corman. It had two sequels, with a third currently in production as of this review. Samuel L. Jackson that’s a lot of spin-offs for a movie that’s never had an actual sequel! Good on Mr. HardCorman for beating every last cent out of that dead horse. At least it’s his own and he’s not just Michael Bay-ing off of someone else’s work. Speaking of deceased equines, let’s saddle up this thoroughbred and see if it’s riding majestically into the sunset or shuffling off to the Elmer’s plant.

Oh yeah, so (not my) president Pissler and his turd reich are on their way into the White House soon, and though I had another movie in mind to mark the end of civilization as we know it, DR2050 dropped itself face first into my lap instead, and the timing was just too perfect not to unzip. As such, if you were shivering with antici………..pation for this as much as I was, well, urine luck!

For those who have already seen Death Race 2000, you can pretty much Choose Your Own Adventure the next few paragraphs and turn to “Page 32”. For those new to the game, continue on to “Page 7”.

Page 7

30 or so years in the future, the USA is a much different landscape. Well, it’ll probably be like looking in a mirror 4 or so years in the future from where we are now, but let’s all try to escape reality for a few minutes together and focus on the flick. Corporations have hijacked the land of milk and honey and turned it into Occupy Wall Street’s worst night terror, going so overboard as to rename the nation The United Corporations of America. This “re-branding” includes the replacement of the stars on the flag with dollar signs. Like the most constipated man in history would say, I shit you not. The states have been divided among the most elite of the 1% and also re-branded with new monikers to reflect their new owners, and in some cases strip mined of every available resource straight into hellholes that only extras from a Mad Max movie would be fit to survive in. Sitting atop this smoldering shit heap is the Chairman (Malcolm McDowell), whose goofy haircut, bold faced lies and constant disregard for the welfare of his citizens in favor of bilking every last cent out of their pockets make him an obvious parody of a certain baby-handed megalomaniac obsessed with swimming in gold, and I don’t mean the way Scrooge McDuck does.

With the advancement of medical technology, mankind has managed to eliminate life-threatening diseases like cancer, while also giving the people an Extended Play in the game of life, with most living into the triple digits like it’s no big deal. The resultant unexpected population explosion (remember, guys like the Chairman don’t listen to any science that doesn’t bump up their profit margin) left the nation with an immediate need to relocate their excess citizenry. But, since the UCA grabbed the other nations of the world by their pussies with nuclear rape hands, the remainder of the planet’s kinda unlivable. Hence, violent competitions were established where the participants murder the peasantry en masse for the entertainment of said peasantry smart enough to stay home and watch instead. On that note, cue the theme music as we present you with Death Race: a cross-country rally style automotive conflict whose drivers (and their navigators/co-pilots) do their damnedest to turn every person along the path into meat bag versions of the Incredible Crash Dummies. You know, the characters from that weird ’90s cartoon/toy line, not that weird ’90s band/reason I uncontrollably punch people who hum as hard as I can in the face… with a knife.

Not everybody in the UCA is down with an entertainment industry based on a “re-envisioning” of the Roman Colosseum days. Said like-minded individuals have become a like-minded institution of rebels working toward the common goal of “waking up the sheeple” (I hate young people) and uniting the common folk against their corporate oppressors. How? By stopping the Death Race! How? By killing the drivers! These inept understudies from an off-Broadway musical version of Beyond Thunderdome are lead by an ex government Head of Programming-turned-revolutionary hard-ass named Alexis, who’s played by the former starlet of TNT’s ”Witchblade” TV series – Yancy Butler! Oh, nobody remembers ”Witchblade”? Well, fist my ass.


NOT WITH THAT!

Page 32

And now, your Death Race racer roster!

Frankenstein (Manu Bennett) – Dressed up like a leather daddy wearing a lava golem mask that may or may not be made from re-purposed tire rubber, this four time winner of Death Races past is a manly man budget version of Tom Hardy and the franchise hero of the coast-to-coast abattoir. Bearing the title of Mary Shelley’s most memorable monster (Victor, not his patchwork zombie “son”), he’s survived his fair share of fender benders thanks to the advanced cyber-prosthesis that have left him a mechanical man. Query: though this explains the Frankenstein name, was his name always Frankenstein, even before he became a walking quilt of flesh and circuitry? Enquiring minds are mildly curious! His co-pilot Annie (Marci Miller) is our main man’s mandatory love interest, so try not to be surprised when their elementary school playground name calling and verbal sparring turns into a begrudging union of souls. Finally, am I the only one who looks at Frankie’s car and can’t stop seeing the TMNT Footski toy?

Jed Perfectus (Burt Grinstead) – The self-proclaimed apex of manliness and a nonstop testosterone factory, Perfectus is the test tube baby byproduct of a genetic engineering experiment tasked with making the ultimate male. He’s determined to defeat Frankenstein (to the point of obsession) and prove himself the new hero that the Death Race fans deserve. A blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan asshole, this personification of the Übermensch would have Hitler creaming his pants so hard you’d think he’d just poured bottles of Coffee-Mate down both pockets. All that aggressive man juice pumping through his brain makes Jed a bit of a psycho though, so when he strips down to his golden Rocky Horror skivvies and his mole-covered pecs get to flexing, prepare for some of the old ultra-violence. Though the gay jokes are frequent and expected, in spite of them, Jed’s fractured mental state is actually an interesting study in the dangers of toxic masculinity. Unlike the prior picture’s antagonist, Machine Gun Joe, Jed opts for a spear gun over a Tommy Gun. Given the whole “insecure man” angle, I’m sure that’s not just a Freudian slip on the peel of a Freudian banana. Wakka wakka!

Tammy (Anessa Ramsey) – Also known by the nom de carnage of “Tammy the Terrorist”, I’m pretty sure this mid-western religious nut heralded by the stink of brimstone and burnt rubber is named after the infamous Tammy Faye-Bakker. Then again, her lack of comically heavy makeup could indicate otherwise. Whatever the case, Tammy here bears no small resemblance to an out-of-work Jaime Pressly. She’s dressed to the nines in her eye-blisteringly “’MERICA!” outfit that approximates a grown-up version of something you’d see at one of those creepy Dallas prostitot beauty pageants that I’m pretty sure are just massive bait traps for pedophiles. Her white trash Barbarella fashion senselessness aside, Tammy’s defining trait is that she’s the leader of a religious extremist group (i.e. suicide bombers) who worship dead celebrities from the past, so expect numerous name drops along the lines of James Dean, David Bowie, Elvis Presley and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In case it wasn’t blatant enough for you (or you just weren’t paying attention), she represents the ridiculous forms that celebrity worship can take and the dangers that faith can lead to in the wrong hands.

Minerva Jefferson (Folake Olowofoyeku) – The obvious foil for Miss Tammy, Minerva is a hard-nosed hip hop harlot draped in bad girl bling who’s made a career out of calling for the killing of white people. Not “Whitey” or “The Man” in particular, mind you, but Caucasians as a whole. And no, not Caucasian ass-a-holes specifically, hyuk hyuk. Though I’m a member of the “rap is crap” mentality, as a self-hating honky I probably relate more to Minerva’s motivations than any of the other drivers’. Her car (the Whitey Whacker) has a pair of external speakers that are supposedly so loud they can make peoples’ heads explode, but I’m not sure that’s how sound waves work. Minerva’s latest hit single is in honor of her enrollment in the competition and it’s no surprise that it’s just her chanting “Drive! Drive! Kill! Kill!” to a generic backing track. It’s all a flagrant rip-off of a Homer Is B.I.G. track, anyway.

ABE (voiced by D.C. Douglas) – The fifth and final perforator of pedestrian entrails in this endeavor is even less human than Jed! That’s because this driver is actually the K.I.T.T. of the movie, minus Mr. Feeny’s voice or Mitch Buchannon’s ass in its face. The AI’s creator/co-pilot/girlfriend is Dr. Von
Creamer (Helen Loris)… wait… “girlfriend”? Yep. Though we’re given no background on the self-driving murder machine’s origins, going by Creamy’s frequent usage of its passenger pleasure functions, I’m gonna go with the safe bet that the doctor’s obsession with creating the ultimate vibrator got so out-of-hand that she couldn’t keep it a secret from whoever supplied her research grant, so she just said it was a Death Race car and ended up here. Interestingly enough, ABE (the meaning of whose acronym is also ignored) presents us with the ages old “What’s the meaning of life?” query as applied to an AI. Curiouser and curiouser.

And that’s as deep as I’m gonna delve into this gumball rally of gore. For returning audiences wondering where the flick’s endgame lies, it’s both familiar and new. Not soul crushingly new like New Coke, but more “better than we feared” new like the New Mutants. Also, no, that certain beloved pun-based explosive device (you know the one) does not make a return, despite it fitting this flicks goofy-as-fuck tone. A tad sad, but that’s just the way it is. At least we got this guy, so it’s not like we’re left empty handed!


Find someone who loves you the way this guy loves his giant fiberglass wiener.

So there you have it – Death Race 2050. I’m not gonna lie to you (or am I?), but upon my first viewing of it, I was the kid on Cthulhumas morning who was anticipating a severed head awaiting me under the burning tree of madness, only to find a basket of graphically soiled hobo underwear instead. I was hoping for a movie more akin to Death Race 2000 – a lower budget think piece disguised as a campy celebration of the normalization of violence. What I got was a slightly higher budgeted version of Death Racers with much the same eye violatingly miserable digital effects, written by people to whom the word “subtlety” seems to have a “that which shall not be named” air to it. An embodiment of every vulgarity Echternkamp and Yamashita recoiled at during their formative years, and have since become straight phobias. An offense equal to shitting into their respective grandmothers’ mouths.

Upon my second viewing though, I had one of those RARE changes of heart. Having suffered the shit tier special effects once and watching it with my expectational loins properly girded, I was able to ignore the visual garbage fire and really enjoy the extreme lengths to which Brand Echt and Holy ‘Shita didn’t just put their plans out there for us to see, but fired them into our faces via figurative bazooka. Their revulsion of subtlety works in their favor! It gives the whole movie a boost of Idiocracy style absurdity with a hot beef injection of Troma type energy, blatant sociopolitical subject matter, and tongues so firmly in-cheek that they’re seeing daylight. And in today’s climate? Being released mere days before Pissler’s inauguration? You couldn’t have picked a better time to release a movie like this if you had a DeLorean with a souped-up Mr. Coffee strapped to it. It’s one of those movies whose dialogue is endlessly quotable too, so if you hate flicks that focus on snappy-like-a-mousetrap exchanges and one-liners over more realistic speak, take your bland ass elsewhere.

Speaking of great lines, they’re nothing without proper delivery, which is where our cast comes in. And what a cast they are! All of the racers feel fleshed out, with their own defining moments and personal conflicts. The political participants and co-pilots (except Annie of course) have less dimensions than the characters in Megan Fox’s filmography, but the main cast tow the film fine on their own. The lines feel so natural coming out of their mouths that you almost feel like the characters themselves were tailored for the actors. It’s not high drama Oscar stuff. We’re not seeing the next generation of Streeps and DiCaprios here, but for what the roles required, I don’t think we could’ve gotten better than this batch of relative nobodies. That might sound like faint praise, but coming from someone who’d rather cuddle David Carradine’s bloated corpse in a closet for a night than watch The Departed again, consider it my official approval. Officially.

No matter how much I can indulge in everything else though, none of this helps wipe away the stain of DR2050‘s hideous coat of shit colored digital paint. It hangs heavy over the whole thing like a big brown cloud blotting out the sun. I hate the person who invented computer generated cars. And computer generated explosions. And computer generated gore. Fuck he/she/them with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire and soaked in ghost pepper sauce. I blame The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but then I tend to blame Tokyo Drift for most of the problems in my life. Every time I stub my toe or get a paper cut, you can usually hear me shouting “TOKYO DRIFT!” at the top of my lungs. ‘Struth.

In case It wasn’t obvious, I’m recommending this movie for those readers looking to have a laugh with a VERY liberal lean. Just go in expecting Syfy Original “quality” computer effects and you’re less likely to be as mortified as I was at first. If you’re looking for more serious car combat, watch Death Race instead (or again), or just let Fury Road blow your mind for the 20th time. Either way, I’ve had my say, so here’s to hoping it made your day. Later, taters!

Moral of the Story: God is a woman, and she is black as fuck.

Screenshots_____


“What’s new, pussycat? Whoooooa oh oooooooh!”


Prop Corn”? What, they couldn’t afford the real stuff? I’m not saying it had to be a case of that fancy Redenbacher bastard’s stuff, but nobody could just pony up for a few bags of generic store brand popcorn?!


In the future, people will be able to splice their genes with other species, Moreau style. Amanda here has just started her transition into a Lepus-American, and we at The Tomb wish her all the best!


Sadly, it’s not whether the black and Asian characters will be killed off, but which one will die first. Sorry, minorities.


“Oh no, darling. This isn’t an oral exam camera. Turn around and think warm thoughts!”


Our hero looks like the gimp from an intergalactic Ilsa movie.


Frankenstein and his car pose for their action figure box art.


From an alternate reality in which Michael Jackson lived well into his 80s and became not just the king of pop, but the king of the world.


NOT the type of face you want to wake up to! Or step out of the shower to! Or… come home to… or… you know what, no one should ever have to see that face… ever.


“How’s our repeal of The Constitution coming along? What do you mean ‘What are we going to replace it with’? No we don’t have anything to replace it with! That didn’t stop us from repealing Obamacare or Social Services, why should it stop us now?!”


“They actually think the audience is going to believe these painted dollar store swimming goggles are VR glasses! Ha ha ha ha ha!”


Presenting Mister & Missus Carl’s Jr. 2017!


“You see these sunglasses? They cost more than your car! Why? What’s so great about them? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! IT DOESN’T MATTER! They cost more than any other pair of sunglasses, so that makes them (and by proxy ME) better!”


When your shadowcast’s Riff Raff calls in sick and Rocky has to pull double duty.


Gah! I’m being haunted by the ghost of Liberace!


I once ate a rancid can of alphabet soup on a dare, and the resultant game of gastric Scrabble I played in the toilet afterward spelled out something like that.

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Anubis will return next time in
“How Gurdy Got His Groove Back”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 90 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (2016)

or “Even Smiling Makes My Face Ache”

Featuring: Laverne “‘Orange is the New Black’” Cox , Ryan “‘Liv and Maddie’” McCartan , Victoria “‘Victorious’” Justice

Director: Kenny “Hocus Pocus” Ortega

Based on the screenplay by: Richard “I’m not involved with this remake in any way” O’Brien & Jim “No comment I could find online, but I’m pretty sure he’s also distanced himself from it” Sharman

Origin: USA

Remake/Rebranding of: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Review_____

“Lost in time and lost in space… and meaning.”

It’s that time of year again, you turkeys! Let’s Do the Time Warp Again was meant to be an October review, but when I saw just how horrible it was, I thought it more appropriate to not denigrate the sacred month of 8 and instead lump it in with Turkey Day Month 2016. Read on and I’ll think you’ll agree. Won’t you?

This was originally supposed to be a capsule review for The Tomb’s Facebook page, but I had so much bitching to do by the midpoint of this abominable TV ghost of cult movies past that I felt it needed the full episode treatment. Also, I’m almost completely sure that there’s no way for me to jam pics and gifs into Facebook reviews, and they really needed to be a part of this to help properly illustrate my loathing. As such, let’s check out The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, shall we?

Also, the doors are all locked and their knobs have been replaced with used dildos amassed from the dumpster behind the local retirement home, so just sit the fuck down and share my suffering.

When I heard about Fox’s intentions to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Richard O’Brien’s golden child with this made-for-TV remake, I got the typical “Pavlov’s dog” response to remakes that most of us over the age of 30 are stabbed in the kidneys with at least three times a year anymore. Unlike the original brainwashed canine, though, we don’t drool uncontrollably. Instead, we vomit vitriol and disappointment out of both ends, taking breaks to ingest large reserves of blue PowerAde into our systems to stem dangerous dehydration. We ultimately end up with acid burned throats and burning red sphincters glowing from magmatic agony while some cunts in Hollywood dream of rubbing stacks of stupid peoples’ money on their genitals. All of the online petitions, cries of protest and message board threats of sexual assault result in nothing changing, and we all just end up dying a little inside knowing that something we love has been weighed down with an anchor of garbage, then tossed into the murky depths of the “Nobody Cares! Get Over It!” sea.

But sometimes, if you keep the faith, say your prayers, and sacrifice just enough of your personal stockpile of pessimism, you will be rewarded. The whore mongers you accused of raping your inner child turn out to be fellow followers of your familiar fandom, and do right by your shared affection – not tarnishing its name, but instead adding to its legacy! Whole new generations learn to respect and revere these franchises, lifting them to new heights, sharing them with the world, spreading their gospel! Yes, sometimes you corporate mainstream meddlers in your ivory towers can cast off the scarred branding of “defilers”, bring pride to your executive producer credits…

…Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, and then the drugs wore off! Sure, there’s the occasional worthwhile redo out there (The Hills Have Eyes and Evil Dead, anyone?), but the turds tend to outweigh the treasures by 100 to 1. Guess which side of said ratio Fox’s Rocky Horror remake stakes its claim? Here’s a hint: much like a thrice expired jar of Ortega salsa once tormented me with the drizzling shits, so now has Kenny Ortega done to an entire television viewing audience. All we wanted was NOT to have another beloved movie ruined with a remake.

“But Anubis, Kenny Ortega also gave us Hocus Pocus and Newsies! How could his version of Rocky Horror be that bad!?” First of all, didn’t I fit you with a ball gag when you came in!? Secondly, allow me to send up a surface-to-air missile to bring your Happy Hands down in flames – Kenny Ortega’s also the guy behind the High School Musical trilogy. The higher your hopes get, the harder I will make them fall…at least until the point of terminal velocity. Once they hit that, I mean, that’s as hard as they can fall, whatever the height. Either way, FUCK YOUR HOPES! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Anyway, by now we should be intimately familiar with the misadventures of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, so let’s not dawdle with the details. And if you don’t know the story already, a hearty Conan the Schwarzenegger “To HEL wit’choo!”. Seriously though, for you neophytes out there (or those of you in need of a refresher), you can pop out your peepers and observe Episode 64 for my review of last year’s “Rocky Horror Show Live!” BBC special to get caught up. The rest of you? In the interest of keeping it short like Tyrian Lannister after a trip through The Tall Man’s midgetizing tanks, let’s try something new and make this a simple pass/fail review! Onward and upward, you sons and daughters of Oblivion!

► For starters, showing your RHPS remake at 8PM? Weak. Its cult status is that of a midnight movie, so shoehorning it into a prime time slot? You’re already starting off on the wrong foot with the fans, Fox. FAIL.

► The “Science Fiction/Double Feature” intro is now sung by a generic “white girl with a deep voice” usherette cast away from Hot Topic, played by Ivy Levan. I know nothing of her work or if anyone else even knows who she is, but she feels very much like a poor man’s Christina Aguilera/Lady Gaga/Adele/Amy Winehouse. I dislike her “try to make it ‘soulful’ like an ‘American Idol’ contestant singing the National Anthem” cover. FAIL. And I’m not saying this to be mean, Ivy, but I’ve got two words for ya: Crest Whitestrips.

► The entire segment in general? When compared to the original “Patricia Quinn’s disembodied mouth lip syncing Richard O’Brien’s singing” opening credits? No. And allow me to get this out of the way now for anyone who’s gonna try to call me out about how this remake is supposed to be different: if you don’t want comparisons to the original, DON’T DO A FUCKING REMAKE! FAIL.

► On its own merits though, this beginning makes for a fair music video style intro to the show, so I’ll also throw it a PASS. And don’t say I can’t do that. You don’t come into my house (or tomb, in this case) and start diddling my thermostat. At least not if you want to keep your fingers on your hands and not poking out of Ammut’s litter box.

► Presenting your made-for-TV remake as if it were being shown at an RHPS midnight theatrical show, complete with audience participation? The more you remind me of how much I’d rather be watching the original is not going to work in your favor, Fox. Pretending your version is cool because it’s framed with meta humor is lame. And not “so lame it’s cool”, Marge, so don’t even start. No, it’s lame like Christy Brown without all the artistic talent. Stop it. FAIL.

► Wait, so the actors are all emulating the original’s cast through hammy acting and overzealous mannerisms? Oh boy. I can’t imagine this sitting well with the teenagers this is being aimed at, who probably don’t know it’s supposed to be campy. Kinda torn on this one, since I hate camp for camp’s sake, but it’s sticking faithful to the tone so… Fuck it. PASS.

► Well, Ryan McCartan’s Brad is definitely the ideal of all-American young male doofiness. Meanwhile, Victoria Justice’s Janet has the “starry-eyed girl next door” thing down, though I do miss Susan Sarandon’s adorable bug-eyes. PASS.

► The Hapschatts’ marriage mobile’s “Wait ‘Til Tonite, She Got Hers Now He’ll Get His” shaving cream graffiti replaced by “She Said I Do, Now I’m Doing” instead. “Now I’m Doing”?! Is that even English? No. Whomsoever is responsible for that, get “doing” with a live light socket. FAIL.

► Post stroke Tim Curry putting in a cameo as The Criminologist? Smells like a poor attempt at Fox trying to convince the fanbase that this was a good idea. FAIL.

► Sadly, it’s not like Curry’s getting roles thrown at him today what with his current state, so at least he got a paycheck out of this. That part gets a pity PASS.

► Janet’s joke of “The owner of that phone might be a beautiful woman and you may never come back again.” is too on the nose now, given Frank’s re-casting/re-assignment. FAIL.

► Reeve Carney, you put way too much spirit into your Riff-Raff. He’s supposed to be menacing and broken, not starring in a production of “Rock of Ages”. I’d tell you to go back to playing Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”, but, well, we all know what happened with that… Also, where’s your bald cap!? And your hunch?! And your accent sucks. And your twangy country western lite rendition of “The Time Warp” makes me want to fill my ears with flesh-eating scarabs. Cease and desist. FAIL.

► Same goes for your Magenta, Christina Milian. You’re supposed to be depraved and imposing, not just some prancing tart in a sparkling maid outfit and hot pink fright wig. Your accent also sucks. A lot. Homosexual rest stop vampire Count Gaylord would take a break from his Saturday night slurp circle to tell you its suckitude is “a little much”. FAIL.

► One of the things Fox has been raked over the coals for on RHPSLDtTWA! is neutering it by turning the risque level down to a ‘3’. Despite this, the singers during the “Time Warp” scene are performing from between the wooden cut-out of a pair of 10′ tall legs positioned to look like they’re a woman on her back. So for all intents and purposes, this trio is supposed to appear to be singing while ankles deep in a giantess’s lapple pie…I don’t even…what…the fuck…am I looking at?! Either way, the dancers in this “toned down” version are all dry humping the shit out of each other for 10 minutes, so I guess it was just the “gay stuff” that Fox felt the need to back off on? FAIL.

► The Transylvanians all get their own unique costumes?! They’re supposed to be background fodder, not an attention grabbing orgy of extras in gaudy silver crotch-hugger outfits hopped up on Spanish Fly grinding against each other in a desperate display of “Look at me! I’m important too! Look at me!”. This smells like the meddling of a bunch of bit parters’ agents…who are probably also their parents. Fucking show biz parents. FAIL.

► Annaleigh Ashford’s Columbia is just heyday Cyndi Lauper with “I sucked off Papa Smurf” blue raspberry Blow Pop tongue? Riff Raff plays an electric guitar with a neon blue light-up neck? Fuck’s sake, Ortega, did your Wayback Machine run out of batteries when you re-imagined this!? RHPS was from nineteen SEVENTY-five, not nineteen EIGHTY-five! GAH! I feel like there should’ve been a part to go with this half-assed ’80s vibe where Brad refers to something as being “Bradical!”, because if you’re going to fuck the audience, you might as well go balls deep. FAIL.

► P.S. – Ashford’s “non-acting acting” is nails on a gods damned chalkboard. I’ll take Little Nell’s proto-Harley Quinn with the cracking, squeaky voice 10 times out of 10 over this deadpan Darlene Connor knock-off bullshtick. My heart (and my legs) are always open to sarcastic doom-and-gloom nihilist types, but not Columbia, damn it! FAIL.

► Rather than meeting Frank as our protagonists originally did, coming down in his little elevator to the anticipatory build of both the heroes and the audience, the modern incarnation instead sees her descending onto the set aboard a massive camera crane in some weird Mayan showgirl outfit. Though I can appreciate the spectacle, that’s all it is – a spectacle. The headdress is appealingly garish, but also more sizzle than steak. One of the story’s biggest moments burned to the ground. If gravitas were gravity, this version of the host’s introduction would be taking place on the moon. All-in-all, a big floating FAIL.

► It’s sad too, because Laverne Cox (what an ironic name…) puts on a fairly fair Frank impression. Unfortunately, as I’ve been griping about to my fellow Frankie Fans, this casting puts a silver bullet through the heart of the entire show. Put your PC sticks away too, because I have zero issue with a black person playing Frank and zero issue with a transgender person playing Frank. As long as they can play the role justice, it would be mathematically impossible for me to care less about skin color or background. And if you wanted to hire a transitioned male person to play Frank, that would be great too! But no, Frank being played by a woman ruins the point of his seduction of Brad and his attempts at forcing a hetero man-child of his own creation to be gay rather than Rocky instead dipping his hot dog in Janet’s mustard. And don’t give me the “Well, Laverne used to be a man!” argument either, because it holds water as well as Joel Robinson’s Wiffle cup. Who Laverne was has no bearing on who she is while playing the role in this movie. Championing her as a former man is like carting her around as a sideshow attraction. She’s a woman now, and a woman playing Frank goes against the point of Frank. FAIL.

► But, again, Cox plays the role pretty well compared to how much the rest of the cast fail their parts. Too bad she couldn’t have taken the role prior to transitioning. Despite my dislike of the casting, and her not putting enough of a bite into some of her delivery (her flaccid read of “I didn’t make him FOR YOU!” is especially disappointing), her performance gets a PASS.

► Damn it, Ortega! You fucked up the close-up shots during “Sweet Transvestite”! How fucking hard is it to do a couple of quick cuts rather than just setting the camera behind B & J and hitting “REC” while you take a piss break? FAIL.

► Staz Nair looks the part of Rocky as far as physiques go (though his frosted tips will give people Backstreet flashbacks), but turning his gold bodybuilder briefs into golden basketball shorts (that look like they’re made of a spray-painted elephant scrotum) just furthers Fox’s flaccid homophobic approach to this remake. Have I mentioned that it’s an abomination? If I haven’t, make a note of it. FAIL.

► Adam Lambert’s Eddie comes Evel Knieveling through a window (rather than out of Frank’s meat locker…not to be confused with her meat curtains…though that would’ve been an interesting twist), looking like some kind of lupine biker that shames anything in Werewolves on Wheels. He’s Eddie by way of Wolverine after a rough night in a leather bar. It works. PASS.

► But his singing voice lacks the macho boom of a rotund rocker like Meatloaf. A savage disappointment to hear a guy that looks so bruiserly have such a, well, Adam “Glambert” Lambert voice. When he’s mugging for camera during his song, it looks like he’s struggling not to scratch at a bad case of jock itch. FAIL.

► Rather than being pick-axed more times than a gold mine in the 1840s, Eddie ends up stabbed and falls out of a window. Fear not, as the dinner scene still happens later as planned, but this version of Edward’s demise is no prize. Frank’s subtle efforts at shiving the big lug in the guts is no match for psychotic Swiss cheesing given to the original article. FAIL.

► Given the gender swap, Frank’s seduction of the young couple doesn’t have the same impact, especially with how many “bi for the guys” college age girls have saturated pop culture in the last decade plus. Shooting said moments like regular scenes rather than from behind the veil of smutty silhouettes also kills the voyeuristic tone carried by the originals, losing both the style AND the substance in this instance. Blart. It’s a bad miss. FAIL.

► Watching a former Nickelodeon child star in her underwear fooling around with another woman is…not really having an effect on me, since I never watched whatever show it is she was the star of. Besides, after everything we’ve seen out of Miley Cyrus, former child stars doing adult stuff in little-to-no clothing will never carry the same taboo. Not a pass/fail scenario, I just thought I’d point that out.

► Ben Vereen sounds more like Morgan Freeman than Dr. Scott. With this change in character also comes the unfortunate negation of Scottie’s former role as a defected Nazi scientist. Now he’s just “elderly wheelchair man with Einstein hair”. FAIL.

► The dinner scene slips in a new *wink*wink* line for long-termers, as Columbia complains “I hope it’s not meatloaf again.” in regards to the meal’s main course. Cute. I’ll take it. PASS

.

► Additionally, though I hated “too cool to play along” slacker Columbia, as her tragic losses mount, she’s falling into place as the broken girl on the brink of losing what sanity she has left. Good. PASS.

► Kudos to McCartan, whose turn in the floor show as “broken man-baby in ladies lingerie” Brad denotes a man of courage. It’s also probably the moment in the whole movie most loyal to the tone of the original. He gets a PASS.

► Speaking of the floor show, all of the Transylvanians are present in this version. It kills the intimate focus on the main characters having an entire audience. Furthermore, you’ve not got two dozen people in the theater, but nobody does anything to stop Riff when he comes in with his neon guitar laser? They all just disappear during “I’m Going Home”? FAIL.

► The siblings’ new silver outer space glam rock heavy metal outfits are fun at least. PASS.

► While trying to escape with Frank’s corpse, there’s no RKO tower prop for Rocky to scale, so an iconic moment ends up as just another FAIL.

► On the plus side, when Rock dies near Frank, he does so reaching out to her a la Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” painting, notably featured in the original RHPS‘s “Don’t Dream It, Be It” swimming pool scene. PASS.

► Brad, Janet and Dr. S sell the finale of their nocturnal excursion like they’re stumbling through a nuclear fallout, then just roll up their arm length gloves (well, Brad does) and walk off stage right like everything’s suddenly fine, no selling the fact that an entire castle is launching into the stratosphere not 10 feet to their left. Cool guys don’t look at explosions? FAIL.

For those keeping score, that makes for 11 “PASS”es and 23 “FAIL”s. According to my math (meaning no one can verify it but me, so don’t correct me), in Tomb terms, Let’s Do the Time Warp Again should get a 1.666 out of 5 rating. Traditionally, that would mean it rounds up to a 2, but there’s no way I can award a 2 to this movie. Instead, I’ll add a little personal bias to the data and round down to a 1. After all, reviews are all about the writer’s opinion, and bias is a part of opinion so, again, don’t correct me. Checkmate.When all is said and done (and “doing”?), this is just another remake for the “that didn’t need to happen” pile. It’s a befuddling muddle fuck that tries to be faithful to the original while doing new things, a tightrope it fails to cross and thus falls into the pool of starved crocodiles below. Everybody involved should’ve ignored the movie’s motto of “Don’t dream it, be it.” and just kept their desires for this production in their own nightmares and dreamscapes. For a production that tries in every way to be more over-the-top colorful than its predecessor, the performances are decaf as fuck for the most part. It feels…sterile. Whether it’s Ortega’s head we hang the shame hat on for wanting his cast to act the way they do, or we need to put in an order for a dozen more shame hats to cover the heads of the cast members themselves, somebody has to take responsibility. And when the ambition didn’t feel like it was under the floorboards, it was coming on too strong from actors whose characters are supposed to be restrained!

Have I been changed in any way by my viewing of this remake? Not really. Though I had no idea who Kenny Ortega was (aside from a guy whose name sounds an awful lot like New Japan wrestler Kenny Omega) before, now he’s got a spot on my enemies list. So…there’s that.

For those who enjoyed RHPSLDtTWA (it’s nice to know I’ll never have to type out that acronym again), good for you. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. However, if you use the following trains of thought to defend said stance, assume crash positions, because you’re about to be derailed.

► “But shadow casts happen every week all around the world and plenty of them include female Franks! Do you complain about those?!” No. Female Franks are usually done with shadow casts that don’t have enough guys to fill all of the male roles, or by groups where no guy is brave enough to dance around in women’s underwear in front of a crowd. Besides, this is a nationally broadcast remake, not some midnight screening at the Podunk Village Actors Guild Hall.

► “But ‘why did you hate this iteration so much, but not ‘Rocky Horror Live‘?! You just hate young people and things not aimed as you!” False equivalency. That was a live show, based on the musical, not the movie based on the musical, thus it wasn’t supposed to be faithful to the movie. Additionally, it was a production overseen by Richard O’Brien, so when the creator of the entire fucking phenomenon decides he wants to tinker with the formula, he’s more than welcome to! Also, had you actually read my review for the show in question, you’d remember that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with it either.

► “But Frank is an alien! Maybe he/she didn’t have an Earthly sex and you’re just projecting your archaic gender roles! Open your eyes, you Nazi sheep!”. Shut your fucking face, uncle fucker. Did you forget the numerous times Frank was referred to as “him” and “he” by the rest of the cast in the original RHPS? Just in case you did, remake Frank’s referred to numerous times as “her” and “she”, so again, cram it down your suck hole.

And that’s as much as I’m interested in talking about Let’s Do the Time Warp Again. Now that I’ve done my duty, it’s time for me to be doing. What? No fucking clue. Hope you enjoyed your Halloweening indulgences, kids. I also hope you had your younger siblings “test bite” your candy first for safety’s sake. You don’t wanna show up to Thanksgiving with a razor blade smile!

Moral of the Story: If you’re going to do a remake, stick to the source material. If you’re going to do a “re-visioning”, go all the way…and prepare for a hardcore backlash, especially if you fuck it up.

Screenshots_____

There are enough in the bullet-points above. See ya next time, ladles and germs!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Balls of Fury”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 64 – Rocky Horror Show Live (2015)

or “It’s Not Easy Having a Good Time”

Featuring: David “Jerry Springer: the Opera” Bedella , Haley Flaherty , Ben “Jesus Christ Superstar – Live Arena Tour” Forster

Director: Christopher “Theater director guy” Luscombe

Writer: Richard “Shock Treatment” O’Brien

Origin: UK

Review_____

“Society must be protected!”

In honor of today’s episode, I’ll be holding The Tomb’s first ALL NUDE REVIEW!… which basically just means that I’ll be doing all of the viewing and typing and screen caps and editing while butt-ass nekkid! Which I technically do all the time anyway. Yes, everybody, it’s time to come clean: Anubis is Anudist. *rimshot*

After 40 years, it’s time to do the Time Warp again!

Well, I say “again”, but there’s a very populous group of fans that have been keeping Richard O’Brien’s (demented) brain child alive and well since its debut via midnight movie viewings, shadow cast shows, conventions, and reproductions of the original “The Rocky Horror Show” stage play that gave birth to its cinematic offspring. In honor of the movie’s big 4-0, O’Brien collaborated with noted stage director (I’m presuming, as I know shit all about the world of the stage beyond seeing “Evil Dead: the Musical” and “Re-Animator: the Musical” off-off-Broadway) Christopher Luscombe to put together a production of The Show in London for the first time since it’s original showing! Which is kinda weird since the original show premiered in 1973, so it seems a 40th anniversary gala for said stage performance would’ve been better held in 2013 instead…

The BBC broadcast the performance a little over a week ago, which is why I’m able to complain about it here today! Thank the BBC, kids. “Thanks, the BBC!”

My background on Rocky Horror reads as follows: I’ve seen the movie a few dozen times (not bad for someone who generally treats movies as a single-serving entertainment experience), including a regular midnight screening and a full-on shadow cast. I’ve never seen the original play version though, so I guess that technically makes me a Rocky Horror Show virgin all over again going into this. For those unfamiliar with the legend of the Rocky Horror (for shame, you gods damned philistines!), it’s not about that time noted Doctor of Punchology, Rockford P. Balboa, fought the fightingest fight of his fightin’ life against Jason Vorhees to avenge the time Big J punched the head of off Apollo Creed’s nephew during his weekend in Manhattan (*cough*Vancouver*cough*). Just give me your hand and let me lead you down the dark paths of this magical forest of preversion, self-empowerment, and “puuuure imaginaaaaation”.

Oh, and despite this broadcasting just a week ago, there will be blood(y spoilers) ahead for this episode, since the movie it mirrors has been around for four friggin’ decades. GOYA (Get off your ass)!

Our tale takes place in the bygone era of the early ’70s. In the waning days of the Nixon presidency/shame parade, and during the birth years of such classic manufactured horrors as The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The heroes/victims of our story are Brad Majors (Ben Forster) and Janet Weiss (Haley Flaherty) – a disgustingly pleasant pairing of wholesome Americana college kids who look like they fell off of a Norman Rockwell TV tray. Following their mutual friends’ wedding, Brad proposed to his virginal flower and the two are now newly engaged. Head over heels (not literally, as they’re saving that for the honeymoon) with the proceedings, the kids make it a point to share the good news by paying a visit to their favorite college professor, Dr. Everett Scott (Richard Meek… huh huh, “Dick Meek”), in whose class they first met. On the way to Dr. Scott’s place, on a dark and stormy night, their car has a blow out and they’re forced to seek shelter in hopes of finding a phone to call for a tow at a nearby castle (looks more like a mansion if you ask me…not that you did). Or, as Brad presumes it to be upon their entrance, “A hunting lodge for rich weirdos”.

A lanky, twisted, heroin chic, Igorian mutant named RiffRaff (Kristian Lavercombe) that serves as the butler/groundskeeper/handyman invites the straight-laced nerds in, where they discover a party’s being held by a bunch of festive oddballs wearing tuxedos and sunglasses. Amidst them, Riffster’s sister, the mansion’s castle’s maid Magenta (Jayde Westaby, who also sings the show’s opening and closing theme “Science Fiction/Double Feature” dressed as an usherette) and an overly excitable party girl/groupie named Columbia (Sophie Linder-Lee). After the trio of non-extras leads the young couple in a song-and-dance lesson through their favorite trot “The Time Warp”, the mansion’s castle’s owner injects himself into the festivities with a grand sing-and-strut of his own. Dr. Frank-N-Furter (David Bedella, who’s in ridiculously good shape for a dude in his early-50s!) is, in his own words (well, lyrics), “not much of a man by the light of the day”. But that’s okay, because we’re told that once the sun goes down he transmogrifies into “one hell of a lover”. I guess that means he’s a sex werewolf?

Frank’s also a self-proclaimed sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania. Not a gender-bender convention in Count Dracula’s hometown, Transsexual is actually (but not really) a planet in the galaxy of Transylvania. And what are these extraterrestrial perverts doing on our planet? I think they’re supposed to be spying on the US government, but Frank’s more interested in gorging himself on the many sexual flavors of the indulgence buffet known as the human race. Following his introductory “Sweet Transvestite” song, Frank invites Brad and Janet to join he and the rest of the party guests in his laboratory (not lavatory), where he’ll introduce them to his new pet project…after the kids have been stripped down to their tighty-whities, so as to not catch cold in their wet clothes… ?

F-Bomb’s latest experiment in the field of deviance is a DIY boy toy named Rocky Horror (Dominic Andersen), whom the mad doctor built to satisfy all of his macho muscleman fantasies. He looks more than a little like Gordon Scott as Tarzan, what with his oiled-up muskles and leopard print briefs. Upon giving life to his Speedo sporting Frankenstein fetish freak, Dr. F sings a lovely song to him about how eager he is to deflower the 5 minute old bodybuilder, but the shenanigans are interrupted by Frank’s former boyfriend Eddie (ol’ Dick Meek again), who breaks out of a cryogenic freeze (that Frank put him in) to jump around and sing about how much he loves Rock ‘N Roll and “hot patootie”. He means ass, right? He’s not talking about potatoes? I mean, I’m with him in either case, I just wanted to confirm the inference Edward’s going for.

After his solo segment is complete, Ed’s gone just as soon as he’d arrived, stalked screaming back into the walk-in freezer by a pickaxe wielding Frank to what we can only assume a messy doom. Columbia, who we learned is Eddie’s girlfriend (well, ex-girlfriend, situationally), screams in mourning at losing her man for a second time due to Frank’s corrupting and psychotic influence. Having had enough excitement for one night, Frank retires from the festivities to his Honeymoon Suite with Rocks in tow, while Brad and Janet are shown their separate rooms. The doctor shows them both his bedside manner, though, as he sneaks in on each pretending to be their significant others under the sheets and seduces them, starting with Jpeg then moving on to B-rad. Both resist at first, but both also end up giving in to the prevert’s persuasive powers after a few short moments of “Doesn’t it feel nice?” and “I promise not to tell your partner that you were easier to bang than a girl on Cosby candies”.

Janet regrets her decision, wondering if she’s still worthy of Bradley now that she’s no longer able to wear a white wedding dress in good conscience. Her remorse is soon cured though, when she witnesses Brad getting Frank-N-Furter’s frankfurter in his cornhole. Confused and likely disturbed at the idea that her fiance might prefer the company of men (Homer: “Who doesn’t?!”), she grabs the nearest dick (in this case, Rocky’s) and has a distraction ride, embracing her sexuality and going from virgin-to-sexpot almost immediately. As she sings, she’s tasted blood and she wants more (more! MORE!).

No, she’s not a vampire. It’s a metaphor. She means she’s a dick fiend now.

Dr. FNF’s afterglow post lightening of Brad’s load is interrupted by Riff, warning the Boss that there’s an intruder in the mansion castle. Said intruder? Why, it’s Dr. Scott! Yep. The wheelchair bound professor that B&J were seeking out when this all started just happens to have made his way over to “the Frankenstein place”! Frank captures the mustachioed meddler with a high-powered magnet, but as he’s explaining what business it is that brought him here, the cavorting Jan and Rock’s infidelitous actions are unveiled in front of everybody! After a bout of shouting each others names (Janet! Brad! Janet! Dr. Scott! Rocky!), the awkward moment is interrupted by Magenta, declaring that dinner is prepared! At least in the movie.

Yeah, sorry to say that the amazing dinner scene of the “Picture” rendition of The Show is not a thing in this stage version. Bummer.

Scotty sings about how Eddie was a good-but-troubled boy who get wrapped up with the wrong people, after which Frank freaks out everyone by revealing Eddie’s remains (under glass like a carved turkey in the movie, or as a garbage bag full of meat that gets Hot Potato-ed in the play). Accusations start to fly with Frank accusing B&J of being spies working with Dr. Scott (who is implied to be a former Nazi scientist!), who are there to steal the secrets of his mad science. Speaking of, Frank ensnares them with his Transducer (it will seduce ya) machine, turning them into statues. He tells his minions to prepare their guests for some grand scheme, but Columbia goes rogue (not Anna Paquin) and stands up to the doc only to join the others, leaving Riff and Mags to do the grunt work…after they do some bizarro incestuous Lambada elbow shit. Great for a secret handshake, just not with a family member.

The captives are dressed up like extras from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and do a big number with Frank centered around not being ashamed of your desires and making your dreams your reality. This meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society is interrupted by Raffie and Maggie though, who declare a mutiny against the one-man bacchanal that is their captain. Their first order of business? To pack up everything and head back to Transsexual. Frank’s oddly cool with the idea, and sings a soliloquy about going back home, but has his good day chewed up and barfed out when RiffTrax clarifies that he was only referring to himself and Magenta going back. Dr. Furter is to remain on Earth…”in spirit, anyway”.

Columbia dies first, zapped to death with RiffRaff’s ray gun, before he gives Dr. F some of the same. Rocky too is executed when he tries to protect his fallen master. Scotty commends the new commander (you now are his prisoner!) on doing what he had to do, for the good of “society”. Riff replies by telling the normies to get the fuck out, hissing “Gooooo…. nowwwww!” before launching the mansion castle into outer space. Brad, Janet, and Dr. S are left in the rubble that remains (a metaphor for their own broken lives) wondering how they’ll deal with the can of Graboid sized worms that a night with a cross dressing extraterrestrial sex pest opened for them…

Such is the story, now what about the stage show? Well, if you’re like me and you’re going in expecting it to mirror the movie, you’re gonna have a bad time. This is way more sing-songy than Picture Show. It feels more like Grease than the Rocky Horror I know and love. That undercurrent of menace and macabre that RHPS gave us is softened to the point that there’s no dread here. The whole production feels almost overproduced, giving it the weird air of an awards show, what with the more upbeat music, applauding audience and commercial breaks.

Though I love the audience participation of the film (it’s the progenitor of riffing! And it features a guy named RiffRaff!), the crowd for this live performance does the same and it actually kinda pokes the show in the eyes. According to an interview with BBC (as seen here – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-33715874), O’Brien isn’t the biggest fan of said interaction, as it threatens to overshadow the show and can turn off Rocky Horror virgins who don’t know the heckling is done for fun rather than malice. From personal experience, you can also feel like someone who came to a karaoke party not knowing it was a karaoke party, and wind up feeling like an outsider asshole when everyone else knows the lyrics while you just mumble or move your lips, trying to be cool too. Same as I did in junior high band when I’d just finger my trumpet while everybody else played the actual notes. Fake it till you make it, kids.

Yes, I just said “I’d just finger my trumpet”. I’ll finger yours too if you’re nice, ladies.

Some of the cast members came prepared though, likely having some experience with improv acting and/or being well-honed heckler deflectors. They earn the audience’s respect by ad libbing responses. Good because it makes the crowd feel like part of the show, but bad for the performers who weren’t as equipped. David Bedella, already playing a role that requires zen master precision to keep a straight face, was reduced to nigh-“Jimmy Fallon on SNL” levels of character breaking awkward laughter. If that’s the type of thing that you enjoy (which I do, sometimes), then this should be on your to-watch list. If you don’t like being taken out of the show though (which I don’t, more often than not), keep some Preparation H close because I’m predicting some butt hurt during your viewing experience. Individual results may vary.

One interesting twist to the live show is the Narrator’s role. Played stupendously by former Bond baddie Blofeld (one of many) Charles “Diamonds Are Forever” Gray during RHPS, here the part is divided amidst a small troupe of quasi-celebs. Perpetually suicidal comedian Stephen Fry (I hope you find peace of mind before you’re forced to go to the point of no return one day, Sir) kicks things off, while Richard O’Brien himself gets the biggest pop of the night for his moments later. Former Baby Spice Emma Bunton also shows up, along with former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Giles, Anthony Head. Adrian Edmondson and Mel Giedroyc also get their a few segments, but I don’t know shit about British TV outside of reruns of “Flying Circus“, “Peep Show“, “Red Dwarf“, “Are You Being Served?“, and “Danger Mouse“. Whomever he is though, Edmondson (who does his parts pantsless and wearing stockings) handles the audience participation/interference the best of the group, so I give him props on that for sure.

It’s odd seeing Rocky have actual lines here, since the movie version had so few. Limited in the script because the Swede playing him knew no English, I’m sure. But it makes better sense to me that a newborn creature like Rocky wouldn’t have a whole lotta speech processing power while he’s waiting for his brain to straighten out and is back to a learning curve. Dave Bedella’s body is bulkier than Tim Curry’s Slenderman frame, so his Frank’s not as lanky. He’s too muscly and wide shouldered for my tastes, but again, I’m basing my ideals for these roles on their movie counterparts. Keeping with that, I don’t like Ben Forster’s Brad either. In an exactly opposite complaint, I found him to be too small and wimpy in comparison to the big, goofy, tries-to-be-a-tough-guy Barry Bostwick version. It’s more fun to watch a moderately macho man reduced to an abandoned little boy crying for mommy than seeing it happen to just another nerd from an AP Calculus class.

Kristian Lavercombe’s RiffRaff was more a background letdown than the twisted attention grabbing one O’Brien himself gave us before. Oh, and don’t even mention Magenta to the Evil Dead Bride. She may just bite your face off. Vegetarians can get vicious when you fuck with their favorite characters and Jayde Westaby is NOT her Magenta. And what was the fucking deal with Dick Meek’s Dr. Scott?! Where in the Crispix encrusted HELL was his German accent!? That cheesy accent was the best part of the doctor and now it’s nowhere to be seen!? Fuck that.

Finally, the songs are pretty much the same, with the same lyrics and tunes that you remember, but they’ve been cheered up a level or two. Most egregious being “I’m Coming Home” sounds like a fucking Kenny G remix with the addition of a distractingly prominent sax part. It threw me off like Christopher Reeves’ horse. Brad also gets a song of his own that wasn’t in the movie. It’s nothing life changing, but when I’m already not a fan of your Brad, giving you more time and a solo bit aren’t helping. It all plays into that aforementioned “If you really like Grease (or Hairspray), then you might like this!” feeling.

If I weren’t in love with the movie, I might like this version more than I do. The different cast and tone were jarring at first, but I warmed up to Bedella’s Dr. F (his lizard/Joker mouth and elongated diddler tongue give him a deviant tone unique from that of Mr. Curry’s Frankie) and I thought the set pieces were done well, especially Frank’s ’50s sci-fi movie lab. The seductions of Brad and Janet were standout sequences too, shot vertically to give it an “overhead” feel that gives the audience a better angle to see the players at work.

I didn’t Hapschatt my pants with joy for the play, but despite my numerous bitchings, to quote Columbia, I thought it was “okay”. In all fairness, this rendition is O’Brien’s intended form of the story. He only changed things for the movie to give it a more palatable pace for the format. My Evil Dead Bride would give Rocky Horror Show Live a 1.5-out-of-5, but I’ll settle on a 3. Not horrible, but considering that I hold Picture Show in 5 star regard, still a let down. I give it one severed thumb up and a “there are worse ways to spend my time”… *cough*like the next episode*cough*

Oh yeah. 20th Century Fox apparently found out about the big birthaversary a little too late to do anything special this year, but are putting together a TV movie remake aiming to air next year. If you’re a stickler for technicalities (like I tend to be), it actually makes more sense, since the movie’s legit 40th anniversary will be 2016, as anniversaries don’t start being counted until the completion of the first year. Said remake’s already shaping up like Dogma‘s Gologothan (i.e. a huge, hideous, septic sludge golem) though, so the less said about it the better. Especially the whole part about how they’ve cast a female actor to play Frank, since they’ve learned nothing about how not to piss of the RHPS fans from that menstrual blood clot of a “Glee” episode they did years ago. Cunts.

And yes, I’m well aware that Laverne Cox is a transitioned female and thus used to be a man. It doesn’t change the fact that she’s now a woman being cast to play a male transvestite! It’s fuckin’ limper than Dick Cheney’s prick. I will likely put up a review for it after it airs, just so I can add my own gripes and miserable old man groans to the sea of enraged fans the world over. If you have any hopes for it, take note: Richard O’Brien doesn’t support it, sees no need for it, and the only reason he hasn’t verbally vomited all over it is because he’s of that “If you can’t say anything nice, blah blah blah” mindset of polite rebellion through silence.

If you missed the original broadcast of “The Rocky Horror Show Live” and this episode wasn’t enough to dissuade you from seeing it, BBC America will be doing an encore airing on Halloween at, you guessed it, midnight. So, if you haven’t blacked out on candy corn vodka by then (you disgust me), and you’re not otherwise busy questioning your sexuality while being seduced by a guy in high heels and a teddy, give your peepers some creeper time.

Or, if you lack cable, you can just do like we did and watch it in the eviscerated entrails of a virgin.

OR or, you could finally figure out how torrents work! Damn it, people, it’s almost 2016! Show some fucking initiative! Cable companies are just gonna keep using you for a urinal so long as you let ’em! Viva la revolution!

Moral of the Story: The best way to celebrate something is to just celebrate it. Don’t try to remake it. Don’t sequelize it. Don’t replace it. Just embrace it. We’re about to celebrate our 16th anniversary and EDB and I aren’t planning to do so by getting romantic dinners and hotel rooms with people we’ll be picking up on Craigslist. That’s the week after.

Screenshots_____

“Candy! Popcorn! Soda! French ticklers! Butt plugs! Candy! Popcorn! Soda! French ticklers! Butt plugs!”


Brad and Janet reenact their favorite scene from Dumb & Dumber. “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”


Brad proposes to his lady love while his van watches nearby, clearly enraged. Brad probably promised Christine that he was on the verge of leaving Janet… Hell hath no furry like a Winnebago scorned!


Stephen Fry: proof that the bully in school who harassed you for always having “your nose in a book”, was trying to protect your proboscal integrity the whole time!


Our heroes are harassed by a Ramones cover band!


If you wanna be my lover,
you gotta dance with my friends!
Pulls your knees in tight,
the Time Warp never ends!


Rue McClanahan is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


In an attempt to modernize the story during the ’90s, O’Brien did a Rocky Horror production that saw Frank teach everyone how to dance the Macarena. It was rightly shit-canned by everyone and never spoken of again.


It’s time for everyone’s favorite new game show: “Name That Tarzan!


Oh, I’ve heard of this! Rich people with nothing better to do with their lives sleep in upright standing beds because they think it reduces wrinkles. They call it “flamingo-ing”.


That awkward moment when you both wake up in the morning and discover someone shit the bed… and realize it was both of you.


Unhappy with his pay from “Name That Tarzan”, the king of the jungle sets up a conference call with his agents: two orangutans and a Jewish panther.


“You’ve got an Interocetor?!”
“I’ve been using it to make hot chocolate!”


That day, Brad learned that people in wheelchairs aren’t helpless. In fact, their situation makes it much easier for them to punch you in the dick when you call them “Wheels”.


Oh come on! Even Grace Jones thinks your outfits are a little much!


In the final stage of his evolution, Richard O’Brien resembles the love child of Graf Orlok and Bat Boy.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Willy Wonka’s House of Horrors”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 25 – Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

or “The Doctor is In(carcerated)”

Featuring: Jeffrey “From Beyond” Combs , Jason “MirrorMask” Barry , Elsa “Skate or Die” Pataky

Director: Brian “Society” Yuzna

Writers: Xavier “Working Class” Berraondo , Jose “Working Class” Gomez , Miguel “Revenge of the Nerds” Tejada-Flores

Origin: Spain

Sequel to: Re-Animator / Bride of Re-Animator

Review_____

The soul is an invention of primitive witch doctors.”

25 episodes! Woohoo! My chronic general disinterest in life and unwillingness to stay committed to projects has given me enough leeway to make it to the silver review! Sure, four of said reviews were reruns, but they did require re-viewings of the subject materials, massive re-editing of the original material (if you think my current rantings are bad, my shit was WAY shittier 7 or 8 years ago), writing the intros and xtros (still get a smirk out of that every time I type it), along with entirely new screenshots and captions. As such, they’re really not so much reruns as they are remasters. I just didn’t want to sound like some uppity dickshit by actually calling them that. Anyway, for the big two-five, I wanted to break out something a little special to mark the occasion. Re-Animator is the movie that really showed me what horror movies could accomplish beyond killer dolls and masked slashers, so it’d be the perfect subject for a milestone like this. However, since my self-imposed “nothing before 2000” rule prevents me from reviewing the original Re-Animator (or even the not-as-good-but-still-pretty-good follow up Bride of), well…some Herbert West is better than no Herbert West, so…here’s Beyond!

For starters, Jeffrey Combs is the only original Re-Animator cast member returning this time. The gorgeous Barbara Crampton (my throwback boner factory in high school) hasn’t been a piece of this puzzle since the original, Bruce Abbott bowed out after Bride (good riddance), and David Gale cashed in his 401Korpse in 1991 after playing Fulton Balcus in the live-action Guyver (no, not MacGuyver, ya knob) movie, so his final parlay into the mythology will have to be remembered as Gale with bat wings grafted to the sides of his head. Behind the camera is director/writer/producer Brian Yuzna is back from Bride, and since he was also a producer on Re-Animator, that makes him the only person other than Combs to be a part of all three movies. Special effects man Screaming Mad George also returns from Bride to contribute to the gore and oddities for Beyond, so expect less in the way of traditional living dead, and more in the way of “how is that even a thing?!” mutants. No one else I’d trust to put together a silhouette fight between a mouse and a penis though…don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon enough!

When we last saw Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), he and he his friend assistant Dan Cain (not to be confused with Dean Cain, praise Isis) were pulling a Bride of Frankenstein on Dan’s dead ex-girlfriend Megan…whose death somehow made her transmogrify into someone who wasn’t Barbara Crampton. And to paraphrase Officer Barbrady, “If you’re not Barbara Crampton, I don’t give a rat’s ass!” As with anything West gets his hypodermics into, the whole affair went tits up and the mad doctor was thought lost in a cave-in, the victim of his own affronts to nature. Aside from re-animating the dead, West’s made a name for himself by escaping certain death before, and if he can survive full-body strangulation by a pissed off intestinal python, having a crypt dropped on his head isn’t exactly a guarantee of expiration.

Beyond picks up with one of West’s errant creations seeking out a refreshing drink of milk at a house near the cemetery where the doctor set up his chop shop, but the jawless freak collapses the skull of a teenage girl in the process. Never stand between a re-animated corpse and his moo juice. The local pigs show up and nab West, leading to a lengthy incarceration in Arkham Prison. Now, it’s not made clear if this is immediately following the finish of Bride and the cops were there following up on the ruckus resulting from said movie, hence why they were on the scene so quickly. It’s possible Herb escaped the crypt collapse only to be grabbed by the black & white, or it could be that the police dug him out of the rubble and tossed him straight into the back of a cruiser rather than an ambulance. I’m assuming this mishap is completely unrelated to Bride though, since the graves our spitters in the face of mother nature were robbing previously were from, I believe, Arkham Cemetery, while the boneyard from which West is removed in cuffs here is ChristChurch Cemetery; which sounds to me like a place you’d find in Spain. (This feature was made under the banner of Brian Yuzna’s Fantastic Factory movie production company out of Barcelona.) Which also explains the HUGE amount of people in Arkham, Massachusetts with Spanish accents and Latin features. As for the immediate police response? Well, after two previous such massacres in the area, you gotta figure the Arkham PD put together an Emergency Anti-Zombie Task Force who spent every shift until now just sitting by their special phone line awaiting just this call to come in! Makes sense to me.

Semantics aside…wait…I just realized that “semantics” would be a great way to describe people who find semen romantic. Anyway, my diminutive attention span notwithstanding, West somehow survives 13 years of incarceration (after Dan seemingly turned state’s evidence according to West himself), continuing his experimentation with whatever bits and bobs he can scrounge up and using rats as his test subjects. Out of the blue, he gets notice of his assignment to a new work detail: assisting the prison’s new head physician, Dr. Howard Phillips (Jason Barry playing an allusion to Lovecraft that’s about as subtle as a stick of dynamite going off in a priest’s ass in the middle of mass). Howie’s requested placement in the prison position (that just sounds dirty) is in no way due to his supposed interest in “institutional medicine”, but because he sought out Dr. West and this is the culmination of his 13 year plan to pursue our titular madman. See, Howie’s sister Emily (whom he had a creepily physical relationship with [see screenshots below]) is the girl whose murder-by-monstrosity led to the West arrest in the first place. The nerd’s not here to take his revenge though, he’s here because he recovered a hypodermic of reagent at the crime scene (yep, the cops managed to overlook the BIG GLOWING GREEN NEEDLE sitting next to their car) and held onto it so he could apprentice under the unstable doctor in the science of Dead Raising 101.

In an “only in the movies” moment of convenience, one of the prison’s residents (a cannibal named Moses, played by Michael Berryman understudy Nico Baixas) dies of a heart attack not 5 minutes after West and Phillips are introduced. Before you can say “Dan Cain’s coif”, Howie’s returning the recovered stash of reagent to Dr. Opposite-of-East, and our intrepid would-be Victor Frakenstein wastes no time jamming it into Moses’s neck. Yeah, given his shitty luck with rampaging experiments in the past, you’d think West wouldn’t be so quick to shoot up a CANNIBAL with a concoction that turns EVERYBODY it’s injected into into MURDEROUS ZOMBIE BERSERKERS! My love for you is raging ghoul, BERSERKER! Would you kindly stroke my tool, BERSERKER!

Of course, this poor judgement results in a small rampage that leaves a guard with a large big bloody hole where part of his arm used to be, drawing the ire and suspicion of the prison boss, Warden Brando (Simón Andreu). He’s a textbook case of Lord Acton’s summation about how power corrupts and all that. Speaking of Brando, he’s not in the mood for any of that psycho zombie bullshit, because he’d much rather focus his attentions on trying to seduce sexy blonde local reporter Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky). She’s visiting the big house to do a story on their institutionalized education program. Being an attractive dame, Laura has a less-than-8% chance of escaping to the end credits without being turned into a topless zombie drenched in someone else’s gore and offal. Actually, given that Howard’s assisting nurse Vanessa (Raquel Gribler) is a busty Latina whose topless factor is somewhere around “Absolute Certainty” (“It’s over 9000!”), Laura’s mammaries may go unexposed. The rest of that previous estimate though? Put a ten spot on it and let it ride!

Because the downfalls of Herbert West are always somehow the blame of a woman (or at least his partners’ weaknesses for them), Phillips and Laura hit it off at first sight and are staining sheets together within mere hours of meeting because, again, movie reasons. Laura starts investigating West’s sordid backstory, abusing her womanly wiles to try and exhume the truth of what the two doctors are really up to in the basement the hoosegow. Speaking of, West’s new twist for this movie’s experiments is Nano-Plasmic Energy. He’s discovered that when the human body dies, it loses a spark of energy that can be captured and maintained. Religious people would call this a “soul”, but West sees it as the way to restore full brain function to his test subjects post-reanimation! By infusing his “patients” with a zap of NPE, their bodies achieve their natural balance, stop decaying, and learn how to repair cellular degeneration. Naturally, the problem with NPE is finding “donors”, since you’re stealing their life force, thereby killing them. West believes NPE to be an entirely neutral energy, so you don’t necessarily need a human spark to jump start the re-animated as, say, a rat “soul” would fill in the blanks of this medical mad lib just as well! Yeeeeeeeah…there’s NO way this could possibly become yet another fustercluck in this man’s history of similarly clucked fusters. Remember kids, book smarts do not equal common sense, but they can absolutely lead to big greasy stains on the record of humankind.

Dr. Howard (“Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.”) goes along with West’s plan to implant rat NPE into Moses to see if he regains his senses. Before they can get the chance, Laura’s already bribed her way into some face time with the adult version of Bat Boy for her investigation, which predictably turns into a life threatening situation. Brando walks in on the proceedings though, gets his ear bitten off by the maniac, then beats Moses to “death” with his big dumb Larry Talbot cane before trying to force Laura to give him a trouser friendly good night kiss (or good morning kiss if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere)… after making her get on all fours and bark like a dog. Hey, Barry Simms, do you think Laura wears crotchless panties?

The preceding joke was meant only for viewers of Halloween: the Curse of Michael Myers, starring a young Paul Rudd. If you didn’t get the joke, please send a self-addressed, postage paid envelope to “Halloween 666” and frankly, if you don’t get your mail returned to you for just putting “Halloween 666” as the mailing address, your mail person probably just threw it down the nearest storm drain. Don’t expect a response.

When she refuses to get her tonsils whitewashed, Laura’s also beaten to death by Brando and his aforementioned ornate walking stick. The warden plays it off as Moses beating Laura to death, then attacking him too before he was forced to beat off the lunatic (perfect title for a punk song) in self-defense. As if by clockwork, Laura ends up on the business end of a re-animating (toldja!) and when the warden finds out, he ends up on the business end of Herb’s infamous problems with authority and gets brained, strapped to a table, and milked of his nano-plasm. Howie refuses to let West put rat NPE into Laura, for fear of it turning her into Splinter or something, but he okays her infusion with Warden Brando’s essence since he was human. Well, on a biological level anyway. Despite West’s theory that NPE is neutral, Laura ends up going split personality with the skeezoid using her body as a timeshare like Lily Tomlin hosting Steve Martin’s ghost in All of Me. Wow, I just alienated everyone under 25 reading this right now.

Right around this time the prisoners incite an on-the-fly riot and the whole places breaks out in fires and violence. In the mayhem, Laurden runs off, get cornered by some would-be rapists, and dismembers the whole lot of them like frogs in a blender, because being fused with the soul of a sadistic dickhead turns her into Wolverine somehow?! While she’s making chop suey out of society’s hemorrhoids, Dr. Phil (hyuk hyuk) is running around trying to find her amidst the mayhem. As for Herbicide, he takes the chance to zombitize Brando and see what happens when rat NPE is plugged into a human nervous system. Despite some buck teeth and a tendency to crawl around on his hands and feets, Brando’s basically the same asshole he was before, which makes you wonder how much of someone’s personality is stored in their brain and how much comes from their nano-plasm. West intends to escape with a medical bag packed with syringes full of reagent (am I the only one who thinks it might be a better idea to carry that shit around in bottles or vials?), but Ratso beats his ass and runs off with the grave rave glow sticks to go add to the cacophony of craziness already falling down around everybody’s heads.

After re-animating his most mentally deficient guard (which results in NOTHING but a limp sight gag at the end of the movie), Ratty captures Laurden and informs her of his new plan to use the reagent to make his prisoners unkillable, allowing him to execute them repeatedly and prolong their punishments indefinitely! And she’s going to be his first victim. But first, he wants another shot and getting that blowjob. Now, since half of him now inhabits half of her, would killing her count as suicide? Would raping her count as masturbation? Now there’s some weird shit philosophy to ponder under your meditation tree!

The suck job turns into a castration when Laurden pulls an Efrey Guzman and bites off the rat man’s dangle meat, spitting it out for a re-animated rat to roll away with for the previously promised end credits fisticuffs later on. Back to West, he’s running around trying to find his bag of juice, and crosses paths with a pissed off torso (who he dispatches by lassoing with a noose and swinging around like some zombie wrangling rodeo cowboy) and a junkie named Speedball who shoots up on reagent and winds up painting the walls of his cell Viscera Red when his guts ‘splode out (a la Dr. Hill’s when West did the overload experiment at the end of the first movie). As for Moses, he’s off somewhere tormenting Vanessa the nurse. She fulfills her mandatory titty committee commitment (again, toldja) and the cwazy cannibal pulls a Burial Ground, biting off a mouthful of chest beef for himself. From here, the whole cheap muddled mess just continues to swirl down the crapper as Laurden attacks Howard, begging him to kill her while she tries to eviscerate him, as West turns Roadhouse on us and fights off both Ratso and the wayward torso man in a bigger physical display than Combs has portrayed in all of his other movies roles combined! Well, except Felony. Watching Jeffrey Combs do anything that requires stunt work is weeeeeeird.

Herbie manages to escape into the smoky Arkham evening using the chaos and Howie’s credentials to pass by the arriving cops, leaving Dr. Phillips in the prison to be found by the police who take him away while Laurden’s severed head laughs at him maniacally. As for the rat and the severed penis? During the end credits, the rat and dick get into a knock down, drag out, brawl for it all! By which I mean the shadow of a rat puppet and the shadow of a rubber dick are slapped against each for a few seconds for the sole purpose of having a rat fight a dick. Were you expecting more? Did I get your hopes up? Were you disappointed? Well, welcome to my fucking world, because those were my EXACT feelings following Beyond Re-Animator!

Remember that part in Zeram, where the titular bad-ass space horror tries to spawn a clone minion, and just winds up with a deformed imperfect retard clone of Uncle Fester that Zeram stomps to death out of frustration? That’s how I feel about Beyond Re-Animator: it’s an imperfect attempt at cloning the original Re-Animator that I’d rather stomp to death than keep around reminding me of how it’ll never be as good as the material it was born of. Oh, you don’t know what the fuck Zeram is?! Well, check >>this link<< to the exact scene I’m metaphoring on about. As I was saying, you’ve got West taking on an assistant who doesn’t want to sacrifice his morality in the name of science; you’ve got the assistant’s girlfriend getting in the way, then getting killed and shot full of reagent; you’ve got a re-animated animal attacking its former owner (in this case a rat rather than a cat); you’ve got a manipulative and corrupt superior figure who pervs on the assistant’s pretty blond girlfriend AND intends to steal West’s serum for his own purposes; you’ve got West killing said superior, experimenting on him which results in West getting his ass kicked and his reagent stolen; you’ve got an institution becoming the site of a zombie riot finale; you’ve got incomplete zombie oral sex (only this time reversed); you’ve got a human using the reagent as a stimulant (though that bit wound up getting cut from the original); and you’ve even got guts exploding out of somebody’s torso because of an overdose of reagent! West puts it best: “She’s not getting any fresher.”

And the elements that aren’t basically just re-hashed from the original? Crap. For starters, the writing isn’t great. The dialogue isn’t just poorly delivered, it’s poorly written. The comedy bits aren’t nuanced like they were in the original. They’re incredibly blunt and feel forced. Excessively forced. Like they’re being beaten into us with the warden’s cane after we’ve already been restrained with a straightjacket. The writers Mosesed us, is what I’m saying. Also, the audio’s bad, because despite the whole thing being shot in English, several of the actors had to be dubbed; likely to cover up their heavy-to-the-point-of-unintelligible accents. Half of the audio’s okay, but the re-recorded shit sounds like you’re listening to it with water in your ears. It throws off the whole thing. To add insult to injury, we don’t even get the original Richard Band classic “Psycho rip-off” theme music. We get something way less memorable that just starts us off on the wrong foot. An opening fumble from which the movie never really recovers.

The only real props I can give to Beyond are the heavy use of traditional physical gore in an age where the digital stuff refuses to stop spitting acid into my eyes, and the oddly well paced direction. It made a 95 minute movie feel more like an hour, so it doesn’t feel like it’s overstaying its welcome. Though things do get WAY too busy with fifty different stories leapfrogging all over each other at once, it doesn’t really give you a chance to get bored. Also, though I tend to hate most movies that shoot entirely in a single enclosed location as a money saving tactic, when your movie’s sole setting is a prison (barring the opening and the short trips to Laura’s apartment), it’s an appropriate sense of isolation. Beyond that though (no pun intended), there’s really not much for me to enjoy here. I’m generally too insulted by the lazy photocopy approach of re-using most of the first movie to have a good time.

As a painful bit of irony, for the first time in the series, we actually end on a set up for a sequel, and for the first time in the series, WE WON’T BE GETTING ONE! We were supposed to get a whole new trilogy of Re-Animation back in 2006, starting with the proposed House of Re-Animator. This return-to-awesome would reunite the core of the original, including stars Combs (YAY!) and Abbot (boo!), and the creative force of writer/director Stuart Gordon and his frequent collaborator and co-writer, Dennis Paoli! The script revolved around Dr. West being brought into the White House to work his glowing green juice magic when the President of the USA croaks. A riff on then-Presidente Bush Jr.’s regime, Gordon’s said that they had trouble nailing down financing because investors were uncomfortable with the idea of pissing off the sin-eaters on Capitol Hill. Too bad they’re apparently not still down with the idea of making House, given that Bush’s been flushed down the toilet of history and the time for such a movie’s passed. Which is bullshit, because the government is always ripe for a punch in the neck. Too bad they don’t seem too keen on doing any of the other planned installments of the trilogy, otherwise you’d think they’d be all over Kickstarter getting some fan backing. Shit, legit actor William H. Macy was on board to play the president for House, so don’t tell me his name doesn’t carry some kind of financial influence! Damn it, I blame the failure to make House of Re-Animator happen for Jeffrey Combs being reduced to doing movies like Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation to keep the lights on. Son of a bitch!

Maybe if we, the collective fan community, got together and came up with the budget ourselves, the cast and creative would be willing to shoot it? I’ve never been good at getting people to donate money to anything myself. In my house, when it came time to sell candy bars to pad the school budget, I only made about $15 off of my immediate family and wouldn’t set foot outside of the house to try to unload the rest. I am good at ideas though, so how about this: “Samuel L. Quackson” – a cartoon done in the style of those Disney duck adventures from the ’90s starring an anthropomorphic Anseriformes that wears a leather tranchcoat and eyepatch and goes on adventures. Sam Jackson is probably way too busy to do the actual voice acting, but maybe we can get the guy who voiced Nick Fury in LEGO Marvel Superheroes to fill in. We’ll shop a pilot around, and if it sells, we use the money made from this venture to fund House of Re-Animator!

…or we can just face facts and let the series die at three. Instead of mourning its passing though, let’s celebrate the good times these movies gave us (and my birthday, while we’re at it). Drink a bottle of something that glows in the dark, shoot your veins full of something green (I find old boxes of Ecto-Cooler refreshing), and Re-Animate Your Feet!

Moral of the Story: This. THIS is the only truly memorable thing to crawl from the fallout of Beyond Re-Animator.

Screenshots_____

This shot courtesy of the camera hidden in the trees by the creepy neighbor who was required by law to introduce himself to everyone when he moved in.


If I was ever between my sister’s legs like that… I’m sorry, I can’t complete this caption. I’m too busy vomiting uncontrollably all over my keyboard.


Well, he has the “got milk?” part down, now he just needs to figure out the “got jaw?” thing.


I’d ask him if he has any Grey Poupon… but he looks like he might stab me in the eyes with his keys if I do.


Jeffrey Combs shows us his derp face.


Rusty Griswold (well, one of them) finally grew up.


And so did Bat Boy!


“Damn it, these don’t look ANYTHING like the sea monkeys in the ad from the comic book!”


Some would say he’s being a professional by not looking up her skirt right now. The truth? He’s got a worse foot fetish than Quentin Tarantino.


“No, the movies are NOT considered canon! Peter Cushing is NOT an actual Doctor! What do you not understand about this!?”


If this were a ’60s biker movie, that guy would be the turncoat who sells out the leader of the hero biker gang for a bag of drugs from the evil biker gang.


Somewhere in the world at this very moment, there’s a guy jerking himself into a chaffed fury over this picture while you read this.


A never-before-seen private photo of Courtney Love during her first drug overdose, as seen in her autobiography “What Did I Snort Last Night?!“.


And this picture’s from her 7th overdose.


“Hail Hydra.”


Man, Edward James Olmos has just stopped caring at this point.


Yes, to satisfy your curiosity, there ARE horror groupies who will have sex with Michael Berryman.


Visine: because THIS could happen to you if you try to save a few dollars by buying generic eye drops!


Warning: Taco Bell is not responsible for side effects that may result from customers who eat one of every item from our new breakfast menu in one sitting.


From that day forward, Howard learned to always keep track of his wife’s monthly cycle before initiating oral sex.


Raoul’s obsession with beating the world pull-up record has reached dangerous new levels.


The Kama Sutra always seems like a fun kinky thing for married couples to try out when the want to reignite the cooled flames of their passion, but actually putting the positions into practice is a whole other story…


Sometimes, all you can do is step back, take a look at your life, and laugh… just… just laugh…

Anubis will return next time in
“Everybody’s a Critic”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Episode 07 – Monster Brawl (2011)

or “From Beyond the Mat”

Featuring:  Dave “The Kids in the Hall” Foley , Art “The Brood” Hindle , Kevin “Almighty Thor” Nash

Director:  Jesse “Septic Man” Cook

Writers:  Jesse “Also the director” Cook  &  Jason Brown

Origin:  Canada

Review_____

“I’ll be DAMNED before I cheer for a mummy!”

Alright brawlers, let’s get brawlin’. For starters, let me apologize to the people of Canada. I have no issue with your country. I’ve actually visited your land and found it beautiful. I’d like to move away from Nile and out to Canada one day, as a matter of fact. I applaud your health care system and your lenient stance on marijuana usage and your “Degrassi Junior High” and your “The Kids in the Hall”. In recent years, I’ve also discovered your “Two Best Friends Play” on YouTube, of which my Evil Dead Bride and I take great joy from on a daily basis. As such, it’s with a heavy heart, the HEAVIEST of hearts, that the first Canadian born movie to be immortalized in the new Tomb is Monster Brawl. I’m sorry. So very very sorry. I’ll try to make it up to you somehow, some way, somewhere, someday.

 What is Monster Brawl? Well, as the disembodied voice of God (whose name I’m only capitalizing because he’s voiced by fucking Lance Henriksen) tells us, it’s “Eight deadly monsters summoned to the ring from all corners of the Earth, fighting to the death to determine the most powerful ghoul of all time”. It’s a concept that’s near and dear to my heart. Or, rather it’s near and dear to the heart of my inner child. When I was a kid, my grandfather got me into watching WWF. It’s a childhood love that’s since turned into an adult curiosity and field of study. Also as a child, I loved playing with action figures. It’s another childhood love, but one that’s since turned into an adult hobby with which to make money. But, back when I actually played with said figures, I’d pit them against each other in wrestling tournaments. Masters of the Universe vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vs. Thundercats vs. Food Fighters. My dad made me a wrestling ring out of a scrap piece of wood, four large nails, and two pieces of string tied between the nails. Cue the obvious jokes about me playing with myself in 3, 2, 1… Joke. Don’t worry ladies, I don’t play with action figures anymore. Like I said, my geek pursuits are more about making money than living out little kid daydreams. That’s what the video games and role play sex are for. And, at least for writer-director Jesse Cook and co-writer Jason Brown, that’s where Monster Brawl comes in.

 These gents decided to bring to life (afterlife?) their childhood dreams of pitting movie monsters together in a wrestling deathmatch tournament. Don’t get too excited though, cuz this isn’t where you’ll see cinematically impossible pairings like Michael Myers vs. Leatherface or Freddy Krueger vs. Pinhead. No, this is where you’ll see generic, copyright impervious beasts the likes of “werewolf” and “mummy” and “zombie”, brought together my in-movie promoter Jake Blackburn (Jason Deline) to fight it out and see who the heaviest hitting horror really is! Unfortunately, what your brain thinks you’re in for and what your eyes and ears end up getting are not likely going to leave you satisfied. Imagine being invited to one of those Eyes Wide Shut masquerade orgies, but once it gets into full swing and everybody’s in somebody else’s mouth, they all take off their masks to reveal they’re your family members… Okay, this isn’t nearly as traumatic. It’s more like getting invited into bed by your celebrity fantasy, but while you’re locking lips and running yours hands over their nekkid back, you find a zipper, undo it, and it turns out your dream hump is actually Clint Howard in disguise. Even if you can convince him to put the suit back on, you still know that you’re fucking/being fucked by Clint Howard. And if Clint Howard is your celebrity fantasy, then you have problems of a far deeper and horrifying nature than watching Monster Brawl.

 Hmmm, putting it like that, this movie actually doesn’t seem nearly as bad as it did 5 minutes ago. It’s true, there’s ALWAYS something worse out there than whatever it is you’re going through.

 So, these generic participants are a mix of ancient and more modern (last few hundred years) creatures. They’re divided into two conferences: the Undead and the Creatures. The Undead consist of the Mummy, Lady Vampire, Zombie Man, and Frankenstein(‘s Monster). Even if you’re the type who accepts the term “Frankenstein” as a name for The Monster, here’s the real kicker: this monster’s creator isn’t even named Dr. Frankenstein! It’s Dr. Igor Igora! And no, there’s no mention of Igora (shit name, by the way) finding the creature either. According to the vignette, he created the monster and the monster refers to him as “father”, so don’t try to excuse it. One of the announcers even makes the point “Technically, it’s Frankenstein’s Monster if you wanna be a dick about it.”, leading me to believe that the commentary was mostly improvised, as even the actors are calling out the script. Anyway, the Creatures conference consists of Cyclops, Witch Bitch, Swamp Gut, and Werewolf. It feels odd that half of the monsters have actual names, while the others are simply named what they are. They’re essentially Pokemon, only they don’t shout “Werewolf! Were! Were! Wolf! Werewolf!”all the time. Having a unique name helps people invest in a character, just like in “real” wrestling. Names like “Stone Cold” or “Big Show” or “Macho Man” or “The Rock” help define those characters. They wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if they were just called “Tough Guy”, “Large Man”, “Flamboyant Guy”, and “Ego Man”. If these guys had written The Wrestler, Randy’s ring name wouldn’t have been “The Ram”. He would’ve just been called “Wrestler”!… though “Randy the Wrestler” does sound like a great name for a really lame create-a-character the next time I play a WWE game.

 Trying to instill each monster with a modicum of interest, all participants are given a brief introductory mini-movie that sometimes includes an origin story, sometimes touches on their motivations to fight, sometimes introduces their manager, and sometimes just involves them killing someone because, again, the writers cared so little about developing some of these creatures and just tossed them in to pad their roster. The managers were an especially smart move on the writers’ part, though. Whereas in “real” wrestling, some performers failed out of acting class and need a convincing mouthpiece to get them over with the crowd, some of the monsters here are just devoid of coherent speaking entirely. Most notably, this is where Kevin “Big Daddy Cool” Nash comes into the script as Colonel Crookshanks – the militant caretaker and trainer for Zombie Man. Not to spoil anything, but if you thought Kevin Nash was hired for his thespian skills and isn’t going to end up in the ring at some point, you’d be ill-advised to join a poker game anytime soon.

 Oh yeah, in case the tournament setup sounded too simple to follow, MB can and will complicate things further. Both conferences are also divided into two weight classes – Middleweights and Heavyweights. Each weight class from each conference will crown a champion, then the two heavyweight champions will fight each other to determine who is the mightiest of monsters… while the Middleweight champions will just have to be happy knowing they weren’t murdered, I guess. Though I’m happy that this means I’m spared any additional matches to sit through, it does shit all over their introductory concept about “Eight deadly monsters…fighting to the death to determine the most powerful ghoul of all time” when HALF of the ghouls in question aren’t actually eligible for the top spot! Liars! Truth spurners! Vile misleaders! It’s perjury I tells ya! And on a more nitpickery level, how the fuck does a werewolf wind up in the Heavyweights division, while a cyclops, know to be the giant superbeasts of the mythological world, ends up slapping around Witch Bitch in the Middleweights!? If you don’t want me to shit on your show, don’t feed me Taco Bell in every segment then lock the door to the Port-a-Johns. That brown’s comin’ down, and it’s gotta go somewhere.

 We’re told that the Brawl itself is only viewable on Pay Per View, as it’s too dangerous to hold in front of a live audience due to “insurance purposes”, so the fights take place in a ring set up in an empty graveyard. This cuts out the potential for crowd casualties if/when things get out of hand and helps keep Blackburn’s insurance premiums down. Also, to cut out the movie’s budgetary burden of hiring and insuring extras. As a lifelong wrestling fan, this lack of a crowd KILLS any excitement to these “fights”, because one of the things that really makes or breaks the ballet of choreographed fantasy brutality is the teeming masses cheering or deriding the participants. Even King Kong vs. Godzilla and Freddy vs. Jason benefited greatly from having audiences to hype the blow-by-blow. When you reduce that audience participation to two intoxicated announcers just telling us what we’re looking at with little more than a “Why am I here?” interest while infamous pro-wrestling pitch man Jimmy “the Mouth of the South” Hart spews whatever artificial hype-juice he’s got left in him, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot instead of selling your product. An audience, even one PAID to cheer, is still better than none at all. And NO Jimmy Hart is still way better than ANY Jimmy Hart.

 Maybe the thought was that the viewers themselves would be the audience? Maybe the creators envisioned movie theaters filled with cheering nerds holding up signs like “Swamp Gut 3:16” or “Who wants to see MY cyclops?!” while jumping up and down like over-caffeinated howler monkeys covered in spilled nachos and Junior Mints. How could you not want a Junior Mint?! They’re VERY refreshing! Back on track, the idea of Monster Brawl being shown in theaters outside of indy festivals is almost as farfetched as running into any of the movie’s titular brawlers in real life at the Rubber Love Toys Depository… you know, the place down at the corner of Russell Ave. and Waters Dr. across the street from the Arby’s where that junkie overdosed on the toilet. As such, even if the theater crowd thing WAS the intention of its makers (I really need to stop making up excuses for these movies), it still doesn’t fix the glaring problem of there being NO CROWD… or that I STILL have to listen to Jimmy Hart! Argh!

 If you can’t afford to pay off a big group of extras with free lunch meat and off-brand cigarettes, you should at least try and cover the lack of crowd noise up with some exciting music to accompany your thematic rumbles. Yet again though, a potentially good concept farts all over itself. We get music, but instead of anything exciting to ramp up the already dwindling interest, the matches are further bogged down by droning horror movie generica that’s more suited for curing insomnia than stopping me from checking the time code every 10 minutes wondering why the fuck this movie’s STILL not over. My first viewing actually did end in a solid KO for me, as I drifted off about 25 minutes in and didn’t wake up until well later when I was greeted with the NetFlix “Other Shit You Should’ve Watched Instead of Monster Brawl” screen. I had to take half a bottle caffeine pills and a very minute dip of cocaine to make sure I didn’t fall asleep for the second viewing. I went to the imdb.com message boards for this snore orgy (a.k.a. “snorgy”) to see what others had to say about their own viewing experiences, and one of the first posts I noticed was another guy who took a spike piledriver from the Sandman during his viewing too! Professional wrestler CM Punk has a signature move he calls the “Go to Sleep”, where he drives his knee into his opponent’s face to knock them unconscious. An appropriate name for such a maneuver. But, you know what I think would be an even better name for it now? Yep, “The Monster Brawl”.

 You can’t have a movie review without talking about the story, so let’s address that now – there is none. That was easy. Next? You can’t have a movie review about a feature that centers around a combat tournament without commenting on the action, so let’s do that too. For starters, each match features Mortal Kombat style narration comments by God (if you’ve rented Lance Henriksen’s voice for the hour, you’re gonna get your money’s worth, right?), which is wholly unnecessary in the presences of the running drunken commentary already being provided by Buzz Chambers (Dave Foley) and “Sasquatch” Sid Tucker (Art Hindle). Obviously these are meant as a nudge to gamer geeks, but when you’re already clusterfucking several genres to begin with, adding more ingredients to the stew doesn’t cover up the fact that your meat is just rancid, slimy, gray chunks. Speaking of video games, there’s also a callback to Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! stand out King Hippo. Tidbits like this used to make me feel so smart, being able to pick out the inside jokes. Now they just annoy the shit out of me. I don’t know why, they just do. Call me a bitter old Death God curmudgeon if you like. I’ve called myself way worse.

 The combat itself is incredibly basic, which makes sense since you wouldn’t expect a mummy to do Moonsaults or a swamp monster to pull out a Tiger Driver. The most technical maneuver you’ll see is a figure-four leglock. Weapons and supernatural powers (and managers) come into play more often than not, including a rather nauseating scene of Cyclops beating Witch Bitch in the face repeatedly with a hammer… Not that I’m a weak-kneed pussy, but witch bitch or not, watching a woman’s face bashed numerous times by a big dude with a hammer while he’s pinning her down? No. You know what might’ve been a better idea? Why not just have Witch Bitch and Lady Vampire fight for a Monster Brawl Women’s Championship separate from the man-beasts? It’d make a lot more sense, especially from a wrestling nerd standpoint. Cyclops melting the bitch’s face with his monocular doomsday ray is fine, but jesus on a pogo stick, that face hammering scene unsettles me in a non-enjoyable fashion. So, strike 8 Monster Brawl… you really should’ve walked away from the plate, like, 5 strikes ago. This is just kinda sad to look at now. You’re just depressing us.

 The glaring “powerbomb onto a bag of broken glass” with Monster Brawl isn’t that it’s not a movie (which it isn’t), but that it’s a big budget idea done on less money that it would take to hire Verne Troyer to host your next back alley cockfight. Cook & Brown scrounged up enough money to cast Dave Foley (who, having done Postal, obviously has no illusions of dignity left to get in the way of even the most modest of paychecks at this point), and after that it was just a matter of buying Hindle a bottle of Wild Turkey (or “Moderately Excitable Turkey” as the budgetary case may have been), convincing one of their sisters to blow Jimmy Hart, telling Kevin Nash he could be on camera without having to dye his hair (that one’s for my fellow wrestle-nerds), and, let’s say they blackmailed UFC official Herb Dean into reffing the matches… which are to the death… so… what needs to be officiated exactly? With the so-called “stars” in alignment, our intrepid troubadours bought an old wrestling ring from an abandoned storage locker auction (likely left by some crippled ex-wrestler wanna be who probably broke his neck during the backyard wrestling craze of the ’90s), and hired their buddies who dropped out of the Tom Savini Special FX School to monster up a group of local independent wrestlers he found falling all over each other during a show at a local bingo hall.

 Actually, the makeup jobs and costume designs are pretty good, so I’m gonna say the buddies are graduates, not drop outs. Also, two of the monsters are actually played by experienced professional wrestlers – Lady Vampire is played by freelance Canadian grappler Kelly Couture (who knows how to throw a bitchin’ dropkick) and Frankenstein(‘s Monster) is played by former WWF colossus turned b-movie bigfoot Rob Maillet, who wrestling fans will know better by his ’90s era character Kurrgan. That’s right Highlanderers, the WWF had a Kurrgan of their own. On a more modern note, fans of Pacific Rim will recognize Maillet as Kaidanovsky, the towering bleach-blond co-pilot for Russian Jaeger, Cherno Alpha! Aside from these two things, I’m relatively sure the rest of my prior paragraph is apt.

 In closing, though I will gladly shit all over the product of their dreams with my trademark Anubis aplomb, I will not shit all over Jesse Cook and Jason Brown for making said dreams come as close to true as they’ll probably ever get. Brown especially, who even steps into the ring to fill the shoes of two of the gruesome competitors – Cyclops and Swamp Gut. On my old site I tried several times to set up a monster brawling league of my own (Who Would Win a Fight? – WWWF?) that was little more than my poor attempts at illustrating fantasy face-off scenarios and posting polls for readers to determine the outcomes. I couldn’t even do that without giving up almost immediately following the first month or so, so going through with making a very niche movie about this kinda thing and actually getting it produced and shown at a handful of film festivals is an accomplishment I myself will never live up to. In that respect, I say congratulations Sirs. Be proud. Just don’t do it again, because fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, beg for mercy… while I bite off your fingers one-at-a-time… and your legs are lodged in bear traps… the big steel shark mouth looking ones at that… Good night, everybody!

Moral of the Story:  Some playthings are better left in the toy-box.

Screenshots_____

Okay. I gotta admit, that’s pretty damn clever. Bravo.


“The three of us are only here because we’re getting paid to be. What the hell’s your excuse?”


Not sure which is more pathetic here – the guy dressed in the weird ’70s suit that should’ve been burned 30 years ago, or the 70 year-old man wearing Converse All Stars.


“Everybody stay where you are! I dropped my contact lens!”


“I thought that the most demeaning point of my life was taking that job as the helper elf to a mall Santa, but here I am!”


The girls are being paid for their appearance with cocaine. Jimmy’s being paid for his appearance with the girls. Life is cruel.


I call bullshit! If this were really shot in a Southern bayou, there’s no way that sign would be spelled right!


I know dogs can’t help but roll around in big piles of rancid filth, but come on. You don’t know where Swamp Thing’s been!


“Son, I used to make millions of dollars a year to pretend fight people on a globally broadcast televised wrestling program. Now I’m doing shit like this. Trust me, LET SOMEONE WITH A DIPLOMA INVEST YOUR MONEY FOR YOU!”


“By the time anyone discovers we’ve got the real Miley Cyrus locked up here, it will be too late and World War III will be unavoidable!”


“But… this… so sudden! Me… no prepared! But… YES! YES! Me… marry you! Me… love you!”


Looks like Kevin Nash was making pancakes and tore his quad AGAIN!… sorry, that was a joke for my fellow wrestling nerds.


Gerard Butler partakes in “No Shave November” to help raise awareness for cancer. After one week he’s kidnapped by a Mexican traveling circus and forced to perform as The Dog-Faced Boy.


Somehow, I don’t think he’s got any outfits that would go with that belt. It looks like something he bought at GWAR’s yard sale.

Anubis will return next time in
“It’s Okay, I Have a Black Friend”

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