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 27 – Godzilla 2000 (1999)

or “Children of a Lesser Godzilla”

Featuring: Takehiro “Vengeance for Sale” Murata , Hiroshi “My Love is a Sniper: the Movie” Abe , Naomi “The Happiness of the Katakuris” Nishida

Director: Takao “Godzilla Vs. Destroyah” Okawara

Writers: Hiroshi “Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla” Kashiwabara , Wataru “Godzilla: Final Wars” Mimura

Origin: Japan

Sequel to: Godzilla (1954)

Other movies in the Godzilla “Millennium” series: Godzilla vs. Megaguirus / Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack / Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla / Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. / Godzilla: Final Wars

Review_____

“It’ll go through Godzilla like CRAP through a goose!”

So, by the time this posts, America will have made its second attempt at a Godzilla movie, and for the second time the titular engine of destruction is going to be played by a bunch of digital wizard sorcery rather than some masochist in a big rubber mutant Barney suit. I will have not seen the new movie by this time either, as scheduling conflicts have forced me to push back my viewing until Monday. I have no doubt this movie will already induce an exponentially meatier fanboy hard-on than the universally loathed 1998 “Fakezilla” flub, a.k.a. CGG (Computer Generated Godzilla). Take away my G-Club membership card if you have to, but I actually paid to see that movie theatrically TWICE, and don’t bear an ounce of shame admitting to it. I enjoyed it. It was campy, dumb, summer blockbuster merchandising popcorn fun. Your hate mail be damned! I have every faith in this new movie being amazing, if for nothing else than we’ve replaced Matthew “Glug-glug, vroom-vroom, thump-thump” Broderick with Bryan “THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!” Cranston. Unfortunately, no matter how good it is it’ll never be as good as it could have been if this fucking poster were canon.

A diaper full of scarabs to the bastard who created that mock-up, because as one of the only 7 living Jet Jaguar fans on the face of this Earth (as opposed to the alternate Earth I want to live on where all of humanity ARE Jet Jaguars), I’m crushed with the hopelessness of knowing this is not a dimension where the events of this poster will ever come to pass. Speaking of heart eclipsing disappointments (with all due respect to Bonnie Tyler…however little that may be), here’s my review for Godzilla 2000!

Okay, let’s blow up the irradiated elephant monster in the room first. Technically the original Japanese version of this flick, Godzilla Millenium, was released at the asshole end of 1999. Normally this would disqualify it from being reviewed on this site, since my edict stands that only movies from the current millennium are subject to my publicly published punditry. BUT, and there’s a BIG but here (as I like big buts and I cannot lie), the version of the movie I’m dragging onto Maat’s scales is the American dub. This version wasn’t released into theaters until the dog days of the 2000 blockbuster season (where all “big budget movies bound to fail” get their last rites), so you can make the case (which I am) that Godzilla 2000 counts as a current millennium movie. Most of the people who do read this couldn’t care less, but even if you do find yourself disagreeing with me, too bad. It’s my site, shit pants! Now, let’s get down to fucking this chicken!

Toho’s ”Millennium Series” of G movies ran with the incredibly interesting premise of “every story takes place in its own alternate dimension that branches off of the events from the original Godzilla ’54”… with the exception of Tokyo S.O.S., which was a direct sequel to Against Mechagodzilla. But, that’s a (very large and spiny) tail for another review…HOMONYMS! Anyway, this split time line starts us off almost 50 years after Godzilla was seemingly disintegrated by the Oxygen Destroyer bomb, and makes no explanation of why said destruction of his oxygen didn’t quite take so permanently as they’d hoped. Whatever the poorly unillustrated case, the important thing is that Godzilla’s here, he’s queer, now get used to it. He shows up in Tokyo every so often, presumably drawn by the serious output of energy given off by their power plants. Who’s making this presumption? Father-daughter science nerds Yuji (Takehiro Murata) and Io Shinoda (Mayu Suzuki). The Shinodas are a lovable duo, with Poppa Yuji being the soft spoken single dad doin’ the best he can, and Io being the smart-ass little miss takin’ care of business. They’re the heads of the Godzilla Prediction Network – a small group of independent science types whose aim is to study Big G in the name of science, and to hopefully forecast his visits ahead of time so everybody in Japan can lock their doors, turn off all their lights, and just pretend not to be home. Yes, a force of nature given form that causes untold levels of destruction every time he feels like going for a stroll, and these lovable refugees from a rejected sitcom pilot are responsible for trying to map out his next walkabout. Only in Japan, people.

Tagging along with the Shinodas is Yuki “Itchy Nose” Ichinose (Naomi Nishida), a newspaper photographer looking to get some glamour shots of Godzilla to help elevate herself out of the fashion beat and into the hard nose world of real Japanese news, like sex robots and teenage suicide clubs. She might try getting pictures of Spider-Man. I hear there’s a guy in New York who REALLY wants pictures of Spider-Man. Though she gets up close and personal with Godzilla in a way that only the leviathan’s dentist knows him, this Asian O’Neil (which makes no sense because she’s a photog, not a reporter nor a porn star) is shit outta luck, cuz the living radioactive fallout’s nuclear b.o. ruins her film…and probably will result in her giving birth to mutant Mothra larvae within a week. Or just kill her with some form of agonizing intestinal super cancer. Science fictional horror or science factual horror, either way Miss Ichinose is probably going to spend the final weeks of her life in relentless agony while her body rots inside and out as a result.

Just call me Eclipso, kids, because I bring the darkness.

On the flip side of our tale is the government sponsored Crisis Control Intelligence, headed by Yuji’s (not to be confused with Yuki, so try to keep ’em straight) former friend and science collaborator Mitsuo Katagiri (Hiroshi Abe). Given that Godzilla is to Japan as bears are to Stephen Colbert, He’s always atop Tokyo’s Threatdown. As crisis-in-need-of-control number-o one-o, He’s also Mitsuo’s given nemesis, so Mr. Katagiri’s always trying to find a way to kill Godzilla once and for all, not unlike Wile E. Coyote trying to murder the Road Runner. Speaking of, K Fed’s latest shipment from Acme is a series of “full metal missiles” whose penetration factor rates at Wilt Chamberlain levels and come with the money back guarantee that they’ll “go through Godzilla like CRAP through a goose!”. A fantastic quote from U.S general Georgie Patton that makes the English dub all worthwhile! And I typed that without a drop of sarcasm…nor that. Seriously, I love that line.

Godzilla’s not the only item on CCI’s docket though. They’re also responsible for the discovery and recovery of an odd mass of rock found at the bottom of the Pacific. When they attempt to raise the mass, it stirs to life and surfaces under its own strength! Attempts at exploratory drilling through the mass prove fruitless and it just sits there floating like a living island. Though not half as cool Krakoa, the literal living island. 200 geek points to anyone who knows what the fuck I’m talking about without resorting to a searcher. There’s a John Wayne joke in there somewhere, but I don’t have time to look for it, because back to Godzilla! As for those goose crap armaments, Godzilla shows up again and gives the Japan Self Defense Force a chance to prove the Blue Oyster Cult right yet again about how “nature points out the folly of men”. Aside from a few blasted outer dermal layers, the missiles fail to get any deeper into the lizard king than “just the tip”, let alone go through him like the promise goose feces. If nothing else, at least the military has managed to provide Godzilla with something he can use to scrape off his callouses.

The huge rock (which turns out to be an ancient solar powered spaceship caked in 60 millions years of scabby growth) does some kind of long distance bio-scan of Godzilla, flies off to attack our cold blooded anti-hero, and tries to death ray his big ol’ lizard tits off! But, when Zills returns fire with his atomic halitosis beam (which is the only digital effect that actually looks REEEEEEEEEEEALLY good!), the revealed star cruiser beats a hasty retreat. Godzilla heads back to the depths of the Pacific to nurse his wounds, and Yuji discovers some shed skin cells left behind in the reptile’s massive footprints on the beach…of which there is no corresponding tail trail!? Sweet Isis, my nitpickery will be the death of me. Yuji forms an uneasy alliance with his antagonists in the CCI so he can utilize their vast scientific resources to research said cells. He isolates the phenomenal genetic factor that allows Godzilla to heal from traumatic injury, and dubs the radioactive mutation “Regenerator G1”. Yuji hopes to use G1 as the basis for a miracle drug that will cure all ailments of man, both those known and those as-yet-to-be-suffered. So, if Godzilla or the CCI doesn’t kill him first, you can bet that the pharmaceutical industry won’t let him live long enough to even test his proposed creation, let alone save the world with it.

Having shed its stone exterior (and revealing itself to look like what I can best describe as RoboCop’s codpiece), the mysterious ship nests itself upon the Tokyo Opera City Tower (which makes me miss the traditional kaiju magnet, Tokyo Tower) and hacks its way into local data networks to learn more about its new foe as well as the planet upon which they now intend to reside. You know, not unlike how Jeff Goldblum was able to hack into the aliens’ systems in Independence Day, thus providing further evidence that Bill Gates found an alien craft that crashed behind his family’s barn as a child and reverse engineered it to create Windows 1.0. Soaking up citywide input like Johnny 5 on a bender, the craft’s probably stealing the identities of everyone in Japan to sell to the denizens of Planet X, who plan to put Japan’s credit rating deeper down the crapper than Reptilicus’s career. This is why you don’t skimp on your anti-virus program, people!

Everyone becomes terrified that the ship’s theft of their data will somehow plunge their island nation into a world-ending scenario, resulting in the catastrophic deaths of every last man, woman, and child. I’d hate to see what madness would be wrought if they had to deal with the shit data plan my current phone service shafts me with. This apocalyptic reading of everybody’s browsing history (lot of perverts in the land of the rising sun) must be stopped, so CCI plan on blowing up the Tower to stop the downloading before the aliens can finish pirating every season of “Dragonball Zincluding all of the side movies! Naturally, Yuki and the Shinodas end up neck deep in the lettuce and tomatoes of this shit sandwich as they remain in the tower to attempt reverse hacking the aliens’ data stream and figure out what it is the out-of-towners are specifically searching for. Speaking of, their creeping of Godzilla’s LinkedIn profile turns up Yuji’s G1 research, which in turn provides them with a way to create bodies that can adapt to Earth’s atmosphere and avoid any embarrassing War of the Worlds or Signs scenarios when they’re ready to make their bid for planetary conquest.

Despite learning that his former friend Yuji is still in the building when it comes time to detonate the place, Katagiri 5 (PUNS!) goes full blown bad guy and authorizes the demolition to go through as planned. The unfortunate thing about Kats is that he’s perfectly positioned to be in the unappealing position of the guy who has to make the hard choices, as the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and it’s all up to him to make sure the many persevere by whatever means necessary. Even this moment, where he chooses to sacrifice his friend-turned-rival, can easily be handled with a regretful-but-necessary tone. Instead, at least for the American dub, Special K is sold to us as a complete dick from the outset, complete with garish super-villain laugh! For a movie that’s supposed to make people take rubber behemoths stomping model cities seriously, presenting Katagiri as a borderline Dick Dastardly probably wasn’t the best idea, Toho. Blart.

The good guys make it out of the devastation relatively unscathed, as you probably imagined they would. They actually end up joining Katagiri (no hard feeling for trying to kill us, I guess) and the rest of the CCI big wigs atop a nearby building so as to watch the rest of the movie play out. Speaking of, Godzilla shows up for their rematch and the aliens, needing that sweet sweet Regenerator juice, body check Big G with some kind of force blast (okay, the only other good looking digital effect besides Godzilla’s fire) and drop a skyscraper on him! Using what little DNA they were able to scrap from He Who Is Both Large and In Charge, the aliens take form outside of their ship in the form of the massive monster Millennian, which is yet another piece of evidence for the prosecution against computer visual effects. Millennian looks like the bastard offspring of one of those classic gray skin big head “X-Files” alien types after a gene-splice mambo menage-a-trois with a giant squid and one of those forgotten Toho mushroom monsters from Matango. Fortunately, Earth’s polluted atmosphere mutates this form further and by the time it’s taken its final form (the Japanese love their transforming characters), we’re looking at the monstrous Orga, who more resembles a deformed, inside-out crocodile as drawn by H.R. Giger, that was caked in a mixture of Fluff and primer, then thrown into an atomic microwave to bake for a few hours.

Attempting to steal Godzilla’s genetic material (I guess asking him to jerk off into a paper cup would be too awkward) so he can both become a complete clone of Big Poppa G and get the old man out of the way of their plans to takeover the Earth at the same time, Orga throws down his big ham-fisty gauntlet. Despite the high quality of the costumes, the duo’s tussle about the cityscape really isn’t one for the G-Man’s highlight reel. Though Godzilla throws a few impressive tail attacks, his face is emotionless as his mouth flaps unconvincingly and his eyes stare blankly forward. Orga as a whole is a bit unwieldy, so the combat involved a lot of lumbering and isn’t exactly the most visually dynamic. Big O (neither the robot nor the orgasm, so don’t get excited) gets bossed pretty hard by the Zillster, until he drops his jaw like an anaconda and tries to full on devour the king of monsters. Before he can finish absorbing Godzilla though, G just sticks his head inside Orga’s huge flappy vagina maw and fills him full of hellfire vomit, blowing him into chunks. Again, not the greatest return match for a guy who’s last on-screen title bout was his classic against Destoroyah. All the more disappointing since director Takao Okawara is the very same man who brought us that very same clash of titans so very un-samely.

Having triumphed over the invaders, Gorilla Whale (what “God-zilla” translates into in Japanese) for no feasible reason, makes his way over to the cast, still in their spot atop the cheap seats building. While everyone else backs off in utter terror at getting the cockroach treatment, Katagiri stands tall in the face of his nemesis, shouts “GODZILLAAAAAAAAA!” in defiance while Yuji shouts “KATAGIRIIIIIIIIIIII!” (and all I can picture is the “KANADAAAAAA!” “TETSUOOOOO!” scene from Akira), then Kat ends his tale with a 60 story swan dive when the raging reptile casually swats at the rooftop like he couldn’t give two shits. Pro tip: don’t yell at giant monsters. They can make your entire time on this Earth a complete waste with less effort than it takes to scratch their ass. You are less than a dingle berry to them. Our movie ends with Io asking why Godzilla continues to protect humanity (what?!), to which her father ponders, “Maybe because Godzilla is inside of every one of us.” WHAT…THE…FUCK. He’s spent the whole movie telling us his theory that Godzilla was being drawn to the huge throbbing bug zapper-like power output that keeps Tokyo running, but now he says “Fuck it!” and, just like Springfield, GODZILLA IS A PART OF US ALL! A PART OF US ALL! A PART OF US ALL! The two most scientifically grounded members of the ensemble, and they both just turn into the morons who write whimsical morals for kids’ fairy tales for the last 2 minutes of the movie!? Godzilla was not there to save humanity because we’re his beloved children! He was there to prove to the aliens that he had a bigger dick! He beat them down with his dick, he told the humans not to fuck with him or they’d get the same, then he pissed off! Jeezus on a water slide! Is the oxygen they breathe in this alternate dimension heavily saturated with THC!? Oh, wait, I know what’s going on – all of their exposure to Godzilla’s fallout has given them brain tumors and said tumors have grown so large that the logic parts of their brains have been crushed by the weight. I’m a doctor, and this is the only plausible answer. End of story.

Okay, let’s get to the nitty gritty of this shitty ditty. Where do I start? Well, let’s start with the start. Makes sense, right? The movie wastes no time in showing off our titular terror, which bucks the usual Toho blueprint of making the audience earn their pure chewing kaiju satisfaction. Sad to say, this actually leads to a bit of a Godzilla overdose. And not a ketamine k-hole overdose, where you slip into a pleasure coma from which you couldn’t care less whether you re-emerge or not. No, with the horrible green screen, poor light/color correction, and generally miserable computer generated monster effects on display here, it’s more like an overdose on laxatives – cuz there’s SHIT EVERYWHERE! The whole shebang looks like it had about as much budget as an episode of “Bibleman”…wait…is that Willie Aames in the Godzilla suit?! Seriously though, this is the ugliest Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen. I’ll take traditional suitmation with costumes that are coming apart at the seams from overuse being shot at by little wind up toys with fireworks attached to them over these piss poor digital effects. It’s possible it’s all one big elbow to the ribs poking fun at ‘Merica Godzilla being 100% binary, but if Toho really was being that petty to the extent of shitting in their own cereal bowl, that aforementioned elbow is being thrown by friggin’ Ryu Hoshi of Street Fighter fame, and the ribs belong to Karen Carpenter of “skeleton with skin stretched over it” infamy.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this folks: the green screen effects in this movie look like they were done by the remedial class of the visual effects program at a community college. They’re so reprehensibly bad that they drag you kicking and screaming from the movie’s illusion like former senator Larry Craig being dragged from a Shakespeare In the Park men’s room production of Gay Boys in Bondage. I’ve seen better effects work in small town used car lot commercials! Godzilla changes colors between shots because somebody chose to take a nap rather than get the color correction actually correct. There’s a brief scene of Godzilla swimming underwater that looks like a cinematic lifted from a PlayStation 2 game. When people drive away from Godzilla, rather than shrinking into the horizon with the rest of the background, G Money maintains his screen stature, giving the confusing illusion that he’s actually GROWING IN SIZE AT AN ALARMING RATE FOR NO REASON! As salt into our already wounded eyes, tanks, choppers, and ships are pasted over footage of real life landscapes, and in the case of the ships, they sit complacent while the waters over which they’re super-imposed are churned violently. The opposite holds true for Godzilla, whose massive form has NO displacement effect on the waters through which he stomps, even when he’s being bombarded with high-impact explosives! If Archimedes filled his bathtub with this kind of magical Japanese movie water, we wouldn’t have the principle of buoyancy and high school science teachers wouldn’t have that infamous “Eureka!” story of one of history’s smartest individuals running naked through the streets shouting what boils down to “I HAVE FOUND IT!”. Because old man penis is the only way to get kids to pay attention in school.

The good news is that once Orga’s taken his final, rubber-suited form, Toho mitigates and amends their shame a bit, as it becomes all about what brought the franchise to the dance: live-action monster brawling!…with the exception of a miniscule interruption by Orga’s big dumb flying cyborg maxi-pad so Godzilla can finally blow it into fragments and give fans a moderately soothing salve for their PTSSD – Post Traumatic Shitty Spaceship Disorder. The fight itself isn’t anything to sing the praises of, but the suits and model city are glorious to behold. Moreso in the wake of all of the garbage water we were having hosed into our oculars up until then.

The writing and acting are fine. They play it straight for the most part, which is either a relief or a disappointment depending on what you expect from a Godzilla movie. There are a couple of slapstick scenes that feel REALLY out of place in a flick where the light-hearted comedy bits are best left to dialogue only. The funny part is that most fanboys decry the American dub for adding in these comedy lines (all approved by Toho, mind you) for what they swear is a serious movie (a serious movie about kaiju cosplay), but the goofy slapstick stuff that I thought were the real pimples on the production are all Toho’s fault! Speaking of oozing blemishes, generally I wish nothing but violent slow motion deaths for child characters. As such, I was very surprised and very relieved that Io didn’t rile those homicidal tendencies up once the entire movie. She’s not precocious and she’s not naive. She’s smarter than most of the adults in the cast and she’s all serious business with the exception of busting Yuki’s balls on occasion. Given the history of annoyance brought on by kids in giant monster movies with their creepy little shorts and stupid little faces, Io is a breath of fresh air in a genre polluted by Kenny farts. Don’t know who Kenny is? Got 100 or so minutes to spare? Then click this link and arm yourselves with knowledge, kids!

I had high hopes for G2K. After CGG, a return to Coke Classic was just what the irradiated physician prescribed. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, right? This trailer promised monster smashing action and rang through my soul with the harmonious ear blistering of Rob Zombie’s “Superbeast”. Truly this Godzilla was the one that I wanted. Truly this Godzilla was my Superbeast. And then I went to the movie opening weekend with my compatriot in sub-par cinema and fellow alumni of the H.O.P.E.L.E.S.S. pantheon, Sosab Egroeg, and…I fell asleep. My first theatrical Toho outing since Godzilla 1985, and I was bored into unconsciousness. Given that it opened at number 11 on the box office charts, it looks like I wasn’t the only one. The complete lack of even a lick of Rob Zombie music, combined with those terrible effects that felt like punishment on high from a bitter God(zilla), killed my enthusiasm faster than Nancy Grace kills erections. I woke up half way through the big battle royal finale, regained a modicum of my geek stiffy, then had it shot straight into the floor with that closing exchange about Godzilla saving people (ARGH!) and being a part of all of us… and I swear, if Killer Ken Watanabe or Flyin’ Bryan Cranston say anything to either of those effects when I see the new movie tomorrow, I will make widows of the theater employees’ wives. Mark my words…unless you’re in law enforcement, in which case I’m just kidding and you can un-mark my words. Seriously though, (War)heads will roll!

Moral of the Story: “It woke up after 60 million years, and Godzilla destroyed it the very next day.” In other words, Godzilla 1, History 0.

Screenshots_____

“I told you to just buy a GPS at the store! But NOOOOO, ‘I can build one myself for WAY cheaper than $50’ you said! You’ve spent $2000 on this stupid thing, and it STILL doesn’t work! Then you bought this van just so you’d have room to fit the stupid thing in! I want a divorce!”


Being Godzilla’s dentist is a dangerous job, and it doesn’t pay anything, he just doesn’t crush your house or office during his rampages.


Sure, you think that going to a sex robot sales seminar with your boss will be good for a laugh, but once you’ve seen such things, they can never be unseen…


I hope that’s just a Baby Ruth… a really, really, REALLY big Baby Ruth. There isn’t a big enough pool net in the world to scoop that up!


Here is one of the 477 government data banks that Japan uses to store the nation’s pornography. This facility is dedicated solely to videos of girls dressed like animals putting live eels up their butts!


I know you guys are sick of Godzilla stomping on your stuff, but come on. You never shoot a dude in the junk, giant irradiated lizard or not. It’s the first fucking tenant of the man code!


If erection lasts more than 4 hours, call a doctor. If erection becomes a 200 foot tall pillar of solid stone… shit, you’re on your own.


And Godzilla replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I had stepped on you.”


“Hey mamacita! I was gonna ask you for directions to where all the hot ladies hang out, but it looks like I’m already here!… How much for ass to mouth?”


“Here you go, all Tomb Raider games, all with built in nude mode. Just enter ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A at the title screen to activate it. $200.”


“I know the general said it would go through Godzilla like crap through a goose, but I didn’t expect actual crap… fuck it, I’m not cleaning that up!”


I see the new athletic cup Ultraman ordered finally came in! Those giant outer space monsters tend to fight dirty.


“Yum”? Someone should probably tell Japan that Apple computers aren’t actually made of apples. I guess that explains why denture orders went up 3000% that year.


“Hmmmm, ‘Action Bastard‘ comes on when Gamera’s big arm is pointing at the 6 and his little arm is pointing at the 8, so… I gotta get home!”


Toho uses the movie to debut their newest kids’ educational TV show host, Rapey the Happy Hentai Monster!


Big G looks like he just stepped in a big pile of Hedorah and needs a McDonald’s to wipe his foot on.


I know every grown man in Japan is a creepy voyeur, but come on guys. These two are just young and in love, and they deserve a little privacy.


It still amazes me that this disclaimer needs to be added in on movies like this. But then, I could totally see one of those monster hunting TV show idiots trying to sue Toho for making characters so obviously based on their own life’s work.

Anubis will return next time in
“Alma Mind Over Alma Mater”

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