Feature 44 – Santa’s Slay (2005)

or “Murder on 34th Street”

Featuring: Bill “Half Past Dead 2” Goldberg , Douglas “Stage Fright (2014)” Smith , Emilie “The Hills Have Eyes (2007)” de Ravin

Director & Writer: David Steiman

Origin: Canada

Also Known As: Very Bad Santa

Review_____

“Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!”

Merciful Cthulhumas to you, my fellow cinemasochists! May Our Dark Lord from the hoary nether realm spare you and your loved ones for another year! Today (well, 3 days ago) is the day of the Gregorian calender we set aside to honor our eternally dark Lord Cthulhu by paying tribute to the important persons of our lives: generally through thoughtfully chosen presents, sacrifices of personal wealth, oaths of fealty…or gift cards to Red Lobster. This year, I continue my vow to sacrifice my sanity in the name of your entertainment by shutting myself into the iron maiden that is today’s holiday themed episode. You owe me.

David Steiman’s IMDB profile credits him with four production assistant jobs from 1999-2000, before becoming personal assistant to director Bret Ratner for three consecutive movies: starting with 2000’s The Family Man (I’ll have to excerebrate my gray matter with a nasal hook just to literally get Hall & Oates out of my head now), continuing through Rush Hour 2 and ending with Red Dragon in 2002. Three years later, Ratner himself would end up with a mysterious producer’s credit on this celebration of yuletide retardation: Santa’s Slay. Not only would SS (yep, that’s how I’m referring to it!) be the first-and-only writer-director credit for Mr. Steiman, but it’s also the last industry credit the guy can lay claim to of any kind for the decade since…

So, Bret Ratner produces his ex-assistant’s solo-project? Looks to me like Mr. Steiman really put the “ass” into “assistant” during his time working under The Rat, blackmailed Bret into lending his name and credibility (I use the term loosely… possibly sarcastically) to SS, then exiled himself into oblivion after being confronted with the product of his manipulations, having lost any future he may have held for himself after giving up said blackmail material to BR as part of their arrangement. Oh well, sometimes you gotta swallow a few loads to make your dreams cum true…Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you, you, you, you! Fuck…the H&O earworm only grows fatter. Somebody get me 666 cc of “Super Charger Heaven”, stat!

Our movie cold opens on a Christmas gathering of the Mason family (no, not the Manson family) as they gather for dinner, bickering and implied adultery. They’re your typical horribly WASPy family of well-off shitholes to whom the concept of love died long ago, like a starving polio-ridden Great Depression-era orphan child in a snowstorm. They’re thankful to their god for not making them “poor or Samoan”. Just when the dad (James Caan) is about to stab the son-in-law (Chris Kattan) for fingering the mom (Fran Drescher) under the dinner table, a pissed off mountain of a man dressed like Santa (Bill Goldberg) explodes from their chimney and proceeds to brutally slaughter the whole useless clan till they’re Feliz NaviDEAD! Bludgeoning, immolation, impalement, drowning in egg nog, and finally, James Caan getting a turkey leg jammed down his throat pipe. (Death) God bless them, every one.

Who is this Herculean icon of holiday cheer-turned-brain smashing behemoth (this line to be spoken like the narrator from the Adam West “Batman”)? I’ll spare you the wait and express pass your ass to the head of the class. It’s almost a decade old at this point, so the grace period for plot spoiling is long gone! You know how Jesus Christ was supposedly the result of immaculate conception between an angel and his “virgin” mother Mary? Turns out there was another such birth some time ago, as Satan himself spawned his own offspring from another mortal woman (named Erica)’s baby maker. That child’s name? Santa. What, you though it was a coincidence their names are so similar? The SNL Church Lady knew the score!

Anyway, every year on his birthday Santa would go out and slaughter random people. These annual bouts of unsolved murders were dubbed “The Day of Slayings” (YesVirginia, we have a title), also known as Kerry King’s birthday. As Christianity spread like a plague over the Nordic lands, the people would gather every year for a Christ mass, where they’d beg their new god to save them from Santa’s traditional birthday bash(ing of their skulls). Sometime around the year 1000, Big G finally answered their whining by sending down an archangel to do a BTO job (i.e. take care of business). Disguising himself as just another jobber, the angel challenged the big bully to a winner-take-all round of curling. Curling?! Yep, this movie is definitely a product of Canada. Blart.

If Santa won his challenger would be condemned to an eternity in Hell, while a loss would result in Santa becoming a harbinger of charity and good cheer for the extent of the following millennium. The winged deceiver triumphed and the rest is history…until now: exactly 1000 years later (to the day, since this is a movie), when Santa’s personality inversion has expired! Now he and his reindeerish beast the Helldeer (it’s just a white buffalo…someone call Charles Bronson!) are on the hunt for the heavenly body that pulled the holy wool over his soulless black eyes and permanently scratching a few names off of his Naughty List along the way. Where’s this angel now? He resides in a little middle-of-nowhere hamlet in the wilds of Canada known as…Hell.

And yes, the township’s moniker is abused to full pun effect throughout the next 75 minutes, so gird your laughter loins (or your groan groin), lest ye suffer a pulled muscle from all of the agonizing efforts of fifth grade humor you’re in store for.

Also residing in Hell is a disgustingly mild mannered teen by the moniker of Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith looking like the son of Bud Bundy), whose possession of the Christmasiest sounding name since Santa’s Little Helper (or “Santos L. Halper” if you work in customer service) is guaranteed to get him involved in the coming blizzard of bloody battery. In fact, if I just outright told you now that the elusive angel is his grandpa (Robert Culp) and young Nick was oblivious of the fact until now as Santa Claus is comin’ to town, your shock level would register somewhere around a “minor static shock from touching a doorknob after crossing a carpet in socks” level, right? I thought as much.

Nick works at a Jewish owned deli (is there any other kind?) along with his friend/co-worker/scripted love interest Mary “Mac” MacKenzie (Emilie de Ravin). Mary’s obviously got a girl boner for the gawky weirdo, and if she has her way, she won’t be going the way of the Biblical Mary…by which I mean she’s looking to get her factory seal ruptured for Christmas…by which I mean she wants the Nick dick. As for deli owner Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek), I don’t know his intentions for “the Nick dick”, but I will say that he looks like the bastard love child of Elliott Gould and Adam Carolla. He winds up pinned to the back wall of his establishment by a menorah jammed through his windpipe later on, courtesy of Claus. Does this count as a hate crime? Shouldn’t Santa be down with the Chosen People given their mutual hatred of Jesus anyway? Also, if you say “hatred of Jesus” using the Spanish pronunciation, it rolls off the proverbial tongue nicely. Very lyrical.

Here’s the rundown on Nick’s grandpa (simply credited as “Grandpa”): in his current form, he’s considered the town nutso. He’s a bit of a recluse who refuses to celebrate Christmas, spends his time in his basement bunker watching his oddly extensive surveillance equipment and making weird inventions like a weaponized nutcracker that shoots exploding chesnuts out of its hideous grinning maw. Before all of this, back when he tricked Santa into a thousand years of slavery in the shackles of holiday cheer, the angel gave up his halo and wings to start a life with a mortal Norse woman (little to nothing of which is covered beyond “I fell in love with a human woman”) who we’re presumed to believe became Nick’s grandma. I guess giving up your angelic status doesn’t make you “mortal” though, because the old man’s still spry after ten centuries. That’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg, because there’s no mention of what happened to Nick’s parents, or just how shallow the roots are on his family tree. Did Gramps fall in love, spend a lifetime with the woman, then just kinda live and love for the next 900 years or so until he met Nick’s actual grandma before settling down and raising a family? Did he sire another family, or possibly multiple other families, before spawning the bloodline that would lead to young master Yuleson? It’s never addressed, let alone made clear, and just leaves gaping-like-a-size-queen plot holes big enough to fly a team of reindeer through. Thought I’d stuff your stockings with a little holiday twist to an old reviewer’s cliché.

While all of this is going on, we’re introduced to Hell’s resident representative of the Christian faith, Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas!). PT is your standard issue “Don’t be a sinner – give money to me! Errr, the church!” man of the cloth, and regularly holds mass…by which I mean the mass of the big fake titties hanging off of the pole jockettes sluttin’ it up at the town gentlemen’s club. Yep, the contents of the collection plate are destined for the g-strings of Hell’s single mothers and “working girls”. In no way surprising, but makes the Pastor’s statement in a prior scene telling his congregation to not donate loose change and keep it to bills incrimentally funnier in retrospect.

Juggernaut Claus runs (unstoppably so, “bitch”!) through the club and murders a handful of denizens while casually sexually harassing and/or assaulting several of the employees before just burning the STD hole to the ground via a flaming hot coal grenade that leaves the place looking like a Vietnamese orphanage after one of Uncle Sam’s anti-communism napalm showers. Timmons eludes paying the proverbial piper (only to be corpsed up while dressed as Santa later on, in the moments before the closing credits roll), but professional wrestling nerds should take note – infamous pro-wrestling writer cum onscreen character Vince “Vic Venom” Russo cameos as one of the victims of Santa’s rampage! Funny from a geek standpoint since many fans blame Russo for the murdering of former “sports entertainment” titan and builders of Bill Goldberg’s career World Championship Wrestling. The only true WCW, by the way, for all the those “woman crush Wednesdays” social media she-wankers. 😛

Eventually Santa gets around to hunting Nick and Grandpa so as to wipe their lineage from the face of the Earth in revenge for being reduced to “a bowl full of jelly” with “dimples so merry” for most of his existence. He managed to locate the duo thanks to a letter Nick sent to him years ago (where did you think those letters to Santa wound up?!), asking for an Easy Bake Oven. Mary tags along for the adventure (gotta have those “Don’t you realize yet that I want the Nick dick!?” moments) and Nick somehow comes to the conclusion that they’ll be okay so long as they can survive until 7PM their time, because that would make it midnight at the North Pole, thus Christmas would officially be over. I hate it when the protagonists just make up their own rules to shit like this! Not since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!, when Tommy randomly decides that the only way to stop super zombie Jason Vorhees is to chain a boulder around his neck and trap him in Crystal Lake amid a ring of fire just BECAUSE, have I screamed “Who gave you creative control of the script?!” at my TV screen. Horse. Shit.

Almost as annoying is Nick’s insistence on putting his dick in the fourth wall glory hole by reminding everybody several times about how absurd the whole scenario is. Christ’s nipple clamps! If you’re gonna have a character riff on how stupid your own movie is, just go all out with it. He comes within inches of just saying “It’s like we’re in some bad horror movie!” before looking straight into the camera and winking anyway, so take a fucking cue from Nike and JUST DO IT!

Santa follows Nick back to Grandpa’s, but while our teen heroes try to escape the brutal bearded beefcake, Grandpa gets run over by the Helldeer…and yes, they make the obvious joke, in case you were wondering. The rest of the movie is basically the Degrassi dropouts running away from Santa until they wind up at the local high school, where Santa pulls out a glowing green candy cane (like one of those throwaway glow sticks spelunkers use) to light up his face for dramatic effect…then immediately throws it down…because he only needed it for that one second…oy. He chases them onto the school hockey rink, but just as the homicidal holiday icon is about to run down the soory pair under a hungry Zamboni, he’s stopped by a glowing golden curling stone…

Yes, apparently when an angel gives up their angelic status to become a seemingly un-aging human (is this where Highlanders come from?), once they’re killed they’re allowed to get their old jobs back. If that’s the case, then why don’t ALL angels do this?! Shit, it’d be worth it just to experience the blowjobs and cheeseburger pizza alone! You get to just become an angel again when you die anyway!

Grandpa tries to trick the sadistic behemoth into another curling match, this time demanding Claus becomes a good guy forever (why wasn’t that the stipulation for the original face-off?!) if the golden geezer triumphs once more, once again offering himself up to eternal damnation in Hell if he loses… except that angels aren’t human and thus do not have souls to damn, so the bet’s already bullshit to begin with! Anyway, Santa agrees to the wager, but this time demands that Gramps shoots first. Star Wars geeks, please save your Han-Greedo arguments (and slash fiction) for the appropriate message boards and Facebook groups. Thank you.

Santa pulls a shitlord move (he is Beelzebub Jr. after all), and rather than taking his turn at slide ‘n sweep, just grabs Gramps and tosses him into a literal hell hole! Nick’s completely meritless deadline finally expires, to which Claus pleasingly tells Nick to go fuck himself with that bullshit. He’s Santa Claus. HE decides when Christmas is over! He then tries to blow up Nick and (There’s Something About) Mary with a Megalon napalm loogie (why did he even need the coal bomb at the strip club?!), but it’s deflected by Nick who uses the nutcracker weapon from earlier in one of the most gob smackingly dumb-fuck moments in a movie infested with dumb-fuck moments. Santa takes a chestful of chestnut shrapnel (yeah, they make THAT pun too) in the exchange and escapes into the night on his Zamboni while the kids help Grandpa, who’s been hanging onto the edge of the Hell portal for longer than an old man should be able to hold his own body weight. Grandpa can’t leave the boundaries of the hockey rink (huh?!), so Nick and Mary set off to finish the job on Santa on their own. Rather than find him and defeat him, they opt instead to get Mary’s family of Canadian rednecks to shoot down the Helldeer (with a rocket launcher, because Canada’s seemingly littered with live military armaments), blowing it into scattered meat and guts…until it’s shown again two minutes later as a complete carcass tied to the top of someone’s truck! I can only wish that I regenerate the brain cells killed from watching SS as fast.

The movie ends threatening us with the possibility of a sequel as Nick takes up Grandpa’s Santa grimoire (which I’ll call the Navidadicon) and bukkakes the screen with Velveeta as he declares “my saga’s just beginning”. BLAAAAART! Meanwhile, Santa winds up at an airport with a plane ticket to the North Pole…and that’s it. It’s over. Roll the really shitty end credits theme “Bye Bye Santa”, as done by a sad excuse for a Ramones cover band called Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon, a half-hearted hardcore version Deck the Halls, and some more JDPM shit called Christmas In Detroit…for this movie that was filmed entirely in Canada. May that threat of a sequel be an empty one, and let us thank Cthulhu that Dave Steiman’s resume has since been trapped in magical Christmas ice, from which we can only pray it is never thawed and is freezer burned beyond recognition.

I’ve been shitting on the writing enough by this point, so you already know how I feel about that. What I’d like to do now, is drop a few Cleveland Steamers on the friggin’ editing hack job. It wasn’t horrible for the most part, but during the last chunk of this hour and fifteen it read like a clusterfuck. It came off like someone with a meat cleaver and high on airplane glue was told to chop off 20 minutes or so of footage and this is what was left. Ever seen Evil Ed? That. The entire non-ending was awful, and any movie that sets itself up for a sequel doesn’t deserve one. Every movie should be made under the idea of “THIS IS OUR ONLY CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING, SO LET’S NOT DO IT HALF-ASSED! WE USE OUR WHOLE ASS, DAMN IT!” because you don’t wanna be a one-termer asshole like Carter or Bush Sr. who didn’t get to live up to their first term promises.

Creative now properly crucified, how about this cast? Douglas Smith? Simply put, he sucks. Remember how I said he had this next-gen David Faustino/Bud Bundy thing going on? I would’ve preferred a time traveling David Faustino circa 1992 playing Nick. Robert Culp’s okay, but his Nordic accent sometimes dips into “I didn’t know the Nords were from Ireland” territory. Emilie de Ravin is passable, but delivers lines at times that give me the impression she’d just put her retainer in between scenes. Take this how you will, but she also looks like a barely legal Patricia Arquette. If I were 10 years younger…I’d still feel like a dirty old man for wanting to see what she looks like with my balls on her chin and my pubes making time with her nose hairs. Shit. Onto a less damning statement, Dave Thomas (the Strange Brew guy, not the dead guy from the Wendy’s commercials) is… well…there. He showed up for work and read his lines. He wasn’t very funny, but the material wasn’t exactly Mel Brooks. Tommy “Tiny (but I’ll always know him as Zeus)” Lister gets a paycheck for a short cameo as a gas station attendant (AKA the only black guy in rural Canada) who’s moved to Hell to get away from all the violence in “the hood”…Canada has a “hood”?! I was really hoping Lister would reveal himself to be some kind of opposing force for Santa, but once Grandpa came back into the picture as a member of the haloed crowd, I knew my hopes were for naught and his appearance was just a nod to old school wrestling geeks like yours truly. Go watch No Holds Barred and weep at the smell of dookie.

The only worthwhile stand out from this movie is Goldberg, and that’s because Santa plays to his strengths: look like a big psychotic colossus, snarl and grin like a maniac a lot, and speak English clear enough that you can recite bad holiday themed one-liners. The one-liners themselves are crap, but Bill delivers them with enough aplomb to show that he was at least having some laughs behind his gigantic fake facial mane.

Everything started out great, with Santa handing out comically graphic violence to the jerk-off brood, followed by running a bitchy old lady off the road to her great reward (that’s what happens when you berate Jews for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”!), but once the story started to form, the foundations for this gingerbread house immediately dried out and began crumbling. The whole thing starts to feel like a slapdash Hallmark Channel Christmas Original, only littered with foul language, crude humor, big naked fake-o boobs, and cartoony (albeit bloody) levels of murder. You could slap “Hallmark After Dark Presents” on the title card and I wouldn’t be surprised. On the plus side, if you’ve ever wanted to the see The Nanny’s head set ablaze, here’s your chance!

I say watch Santa’s Slay for the bloodshed and fast forward through the rest of this mire. And this is coming from someone who likes Jack Frost…no, not the Michael Keaton movie…and not the Russian one they watched on the Satellite of Love. All in all, I’ll use a quote from Nicholas and sum Santa’s Slay up as “File that next to brown colored toilet paper as a bad idea”. I thought SS would be gold, but it was bronze. Sorry, I wanted to get this movie out of my system so I marathoned “Snuff Box” last night and now I can’t get that damn theme song out of my skull.

Fun fact: Goldberg’s not the first professional meathead to don the red, white and beard! In 1996, man-shaped Ziploc bag full of gravy Hulk Hogan starred in Santa with Muscles, where he played a guy who did things, presumably dressed as Santa, that likely included performing wrestling moves on some less-than-noble types. It’s so shit streaked that it makes it almost impossible for me to masturbate to Mila Kunis, knowing that she was in it. Sadly, it’s outside of my realm of influence, as the be-hair curtained Real American’s entry into the pantheon of holiday “Why hasn’t this been done by RiffTrax yet?” cin-enemas was left behind in the wake of the last millenium with the rest of the Hulkster’s floppy dicked attempt at a movie career. If I could have my way though, I would Charles Band the crap out of these two bicep blasted incarnations of Ol’ Saint Nick and make them do Yuletide combat in Santas with Muscles: 2 Holly 2 Jolly 2 Slay.

In more positive news, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Street Fighter – the world’s first movie adaptation of a video game, that also had a video game adaptation of itself…dividing by zero before dividing by zero was a thing. It killed Raul Julia. To celebrate, here’s movie Blanka! Despite the rest of his body being violently deformed through experimental mutation, at least his dentist will be happy to see that it didn’t effect his teeth. Merciful Cthulhumas, everyone!

Blanka

So I guess it’s goodbye now, it’s over
Nothing much changed, we’re just older
But if I see you again back in detox
Put my remains in my snuff box

Moral of the Story: James Caan’s intentions for turkey are strictly carnivorous and NOT sexual. He will make it a point to tell you as such.

Screenshots_____

“Got any roles I can audition for? I’ll do anything for a part! I sucked off and swallowed 14 studio execs in a sauna once for Corky Romano, and I knew that movie was going to be shit from first glance!”


James Caan’s just gone straight senile. Every time we invite him to our Tuesday night Knifey-Spoony games, he always shows up with a fucking fork…


It’s Kool-Aid Claus! “Ho-ho-hoooooh Yeah!”


“Where’s the (roast) beef!… oh wait. There it is.”


“Every time you come in here Mrs. Smith, I tell you I’m NOT Paul Reiser. Please stop asking for my autograph and telling me I should give Helen Hunt a call to see how she’s doing.”


That has to be the most name brand stocked fridge I’ve seen in a long time!


“And don’t ever try putting your dick in that thing, kid. There’s a reason they’re called NUTcrackers!”


Despite what this may look like, that guy’s just trying to give Santa a complimentary shave. The beard’s just getting too big to manage.


She’s either doing her impression of Frankenstein’s monster, trying to keep her “silent but deadly” silent, or showing us her “o face”.


Billy Baldwin, tired of waiting for the call to come, goes ahead and starts up his own homemade sequel to Sliver.


“Ho-ho-HOLY SHIT! Who slipped acid into my milk and cookies?! I am freakin’ out!”


“Today’s passing of the collection plate is to raise the funds needed to replace our tissue paper windows with actual stained glass. Please give what you can, then add $10 on top of that.”


“What are you punk-asses looking at?! Tell Hanukkah Harry I’ll be waiting for him at the Nativity Scene downtown whenever he’s ready to man up and settle this once and for all!”


“Look, after Ice Cube sold out and stopped making Friday sequels, I had to make money somehow! Not like No Holds Barred 2 is every gonna be a thing! Now, you gonna buy these Cheetos or what?!”


He was only supposed to bleed from the throat for a few hours, but he somehow bled for 8 nights. It was a new Hanukkah miracle!


Having taken a bunch of Ecstasy and eaten several snowballs packed with Viagra, Santa is ready to rave straight on into the New Year!


A still from the Canadian remake of Heaven Can Wait. This is what angels look like North of the border.


President of the Canadian expansion of the NRA. Not sure how rocket launchers classify as “Rifles”, but if you ask them why they’ll just threaten to murder your family for “trampling their rights”.

———————————————————
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Anubis will return next time in
“The Wrestling Dead”

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Feature 34 [Rerun] – Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned (2007)

or “Viva Spook Vegas”

Featuring: Scott “Reeker” Whyte , Michael “The Hills Have Eyes” Berryman , Sig “Spider-Baby” Haig

Director: Charles “Evil Bong” Band

Writer: Dominic “Critters” Muir

Also Known As: The Haunted Casino

Origin: USA

Review_____

“Dragna was cleaner than a nun’s underpants on Sunday.”

Intro: As brilliant Otter Pops scientist Sir Isaac Lime once said, “Oy! This fucking movie!”. I rented this from Blockbuster 7 years ago when it first released so I could shit all over it a.s.a.p. – as soon as poopable. Here we are in 2014 and Blockbuster is gone. You know who’s not gone? Charles Band. The polyp that no proctologist can get rid of. Fun fact: my spellcheck dictionary doesn’t recognize “proctologist” as being a thing. I better hope it doesn’t get colon cancer or I’m gonna need to install a new dictionary.

Anyway, Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned. For starters, what’s the Jerry Seinfeld with that title?! It’s a major fucking mouthful and I’m not even speaking it out loud! Could Band not decide on one of the two title ideas he came up with, so he just threw them together?! A title that long is usually reserved for a sequel! I can see confused people at 2007 Blockbuster stores (or just current NetFlix users) thinking to themselves, “I never saw the original Dead Man’s Hand, so I won’t know what’s going on in Casino of the Damned. Oh well, I’ll just have to rent Corky Romano instead.” Now I can blame Charles Band for giving money to Corky Romano! Somebody get Kevin Murphy on the horn.

After originally settling on this as my next rerun review, I ended up searching all of the usual torrent spots for a copy and come up with a big middle-finger-shaped ZERO for hits. I took to YouTube and all of the usual streaming suspects to try and find an Isis damned source, all for NAUGHT. The cheap bastard internet failed me. Finally, I had to break down and rent it from Amazon for $2.99. Yes, I paid the better part of three American dollars to sit through this stupid, stupid movie again. If you enjoy this review and would like to contribute to the Anubis Suffered for Our Entertainment Relief Fund Refund, please make PayPal donations to cellardwellerbazaar@gmail.com… my tombofanubis account was seized by the FBI for suspected terrorist activity. Start ONE KickStarter to have Uwe Boll publicly drawn and quartered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and they call me the terrorist! Blart.

Hope you’ve got your pillows and pajamas on standby dear readers, because it’s time for a mouthful of concentrated narcolepsy.

Original Review:
In an effort by Chuck Band to cash in on the revitalized career of Sig Haig following The Devil’s Rejects, as well as the world’s never-lost love for gambling, here comes Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned. Oh Charles Band, how you refuse to let your Full Moon set. After Evil Bong I wondered if you’d really have the plugots to stick around and try yet again to squeeze blood from one more turnip… and not karo syrup either, I mean actual blood… by which I mean money… huh? Stop trying to confuse me with your mind games Band! Damn you! You will not beat me this time! I will watch DMHCotD and I will be endowed with a peace-of-self that Buddha only wishes he could achieve!… or just hate it with a seething irritation unseen since I last forced my guts to digest a whole jar of spicy pickled eggs. Now, watch me air guitar “Run to the Hills” as we fade into the play-by-play for tonight’s horizontal bop…

The first thing I noticed is that the Full Moon opening logo has been updated from the classic “rising moon” motif into a slightly fancier “flurry of bats” version. Though I prefer the original, it really is more an icon of the “1990s direct-to-video” legacy. The new one’s actually not shittily done either, so I guess I approve. Hopefully this isn’t the best in store for the next 90 minutes of my life, though a familiar stabbing pain in my kidneys makes me think otherwise… and tells me I’ve probably been drinking way too much in recent weeks. Speaking of which, what exactly are the next 90 minutes of my life about? Well, an 8 minute intro scene that establishes the tissue paper thin plot (and wanders aimlessly for the other 7 minutes and 54 seconds) insists on our attention before we even get to the opening credits. Already my teeth are floating and I now wish I hadn’t sold my last blunt to my former 10th grade art teacher… who soooo wants me to pose nude for her next night school class. The topic is lewd cubist etchings! Looks like I better get to work trimming my pubes into a whimsical topiary before Tuesday!

There’s a story in here somewhere, and its whimpering cries sound a little like this: Matt (Scott Whyte) inherits the abandoned remains of the Dragna Mysteria Casino from his recently deceased uncle, Franco Dragna. That’s a name so hokey I’d be willing to bet my Cyberfrog back issues that Band lifted it straight from a circa ‘60s Stan Lee tale. You know, back when every month there was a new giant monster with a single-syllable name like Groot or Mung or Klur, or the occasional double-syllable name like Zarkorr… which Band outright stole for his $40 kaiju claptrap Zarkorr the Invader. That’s right Chuck, I know of your four-color plagiary. Meet me on Pier 19 at 2:43am. Bring 10,000 blank DVD-R’s and a set of Puppet Master statuettes. Come alone… not to be confused with what you do while crying into your bath towels on the toilet every night before bed.

Wasn’t there supposed to be a movie somewhere in between all these random tirades? Shit, I’m only 10 minutes into the damn thing and I’ve already finished my third paragraph…

Matt and his undeservedly cute girlfriend Jennifer (Robin Sydney, who reminds me of Laura San Giacomo with nicer hair and sans Letterman tooth gap) take a road trip to claim his new rundown party spot, bringing along their friends who I will name Stoner (Jeff Spicolli protege), Groaner (fun-hating protocol nerd), and Boner & BoneHer (horny “beautiful people” couple). Matt and Jen are the “in love” couple, Stone and Groan are the non-couple pair from opposite sides of the main couple’s friend spectrum who can’t stand each other, while ‘Ner and Her are the pseudo sex mongers with the “pseudo” part actually being a “kinda funny” take on the slasher stereotype in that “little blue pill” kinda way…

He suffers from Erectile Dysfunction is what I’m alluding to there. She just bangs on the walls of their motel room and makes fake orgasm sounds to perpetuate the falsehood of raucous sex time so Boner’s buddies don’t need to know about his floppy jalopy.

Apparently unhappy with the caliber of desperate young actors he can get now as opposed to 15 years ago, once the kids get to the abandoned casino Band has them spend a lot of time as little more than talking silhouettes. Maybe they get paid by the scene, and scenes where their faces are obscured pay less? I dunno. While Jen tries to build up Matt’s confidence about wanting to re-open the dump and make money off of Nevada’s Welfare gambling addicts and old people on assisted living, one of the old slot machines she pops a quarter into coughs up bloody teeth instead of Chuck E. Cheese tokens! Looks like there’s something wrong at the Mysteria… though the violently killed janitor and executor of the estate in the beginning could’ve told you the same thing. Did I forget to mention that part? Don’t worry, it wasn’t important.

Thanks to an old (conveniently placed) publication of the Las Vegas Daily Plot that Matt finds amidst the one-armed bandits, we learn that 40 years (and a day) prior to our cast’s arrival, five mobsters were killed at that very casino (on a dark and stormy night, no doubt). The two most notable bodies being man-in-charge Roy “the Word” Donahue (Sid Haig) and his hired goon Gil (Michael Berryman). Uncle Franco was trying to run a legit gambling house back in the ‘60s, but Roy and friends didn’t like Draga not sharing any slices of his Lucky 7 gamble pie. I know how they feel too, because when my Uncle Horus took the last slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving a few years ago, his arm needed 30 skin graft surgeries and most of his ass flesh before it looked like anything resembling a humanoid limb again.

As you can guess, those five dead bad guys are now haunting the place and ready to get back to taking pieces from other peoples’ pies. This time said pies being the bodies of our cast of generic twenty-somethings. Various toenail yanking gambling puns are made, there’s a lot of drawn out screen time where literally nothing happens, and finally, 50 or so minutes into the mire, ghost Roy and his phantom posse pop up to say hi. The ghouls threaten to pretty much rape and torment the kids (not necessarily in that order), but rather than get right to it they have time to pad out before then, so first they mention a secret stash of 2 million in silver that Franco hid somewhere in the casino. This tidbit leaves Matt adequately interested in sticking around. I get the feeling they’ll all have ectoplasm in their cornholes come morning, but I guess some people would rather be rich and ghost raped than poor and and with their not ghost raped dignity intact.

Even when the group says fuck the hidden treasure and try to escape, they find the exits have all been barricaded and no cell phone signal can escape the supernatural structure… not unlike when I swing by one of Dionysus’ booze blitzes on Mount Olympus, where no cell service provider dares trek. Anyway, each of Roy and Gil’s supporter spooks has their own alternate form that reflects their casino jobs in their past lives: the slots girl is a banshee with slots for eyes, the black jack dealer turns into a machete wielding poker card Jack with black hair, and the roulette guy… has a fat round head. I’m getting flashbacks of the ulcer encouraging cenobites (“cenoshites” being a more appropriate term me thinks) of Hellraiser III, and flashbacks like that more often than not result a flare up of my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, so let’s not talk about them anymore.

In the end the title poker hand comes into play, and the silver plot point feels more like a bad afterthought than an integral part of the “story”, much like our two marquee names’ roles. Oh yeah, and there’s also a little mathematical discrepancy about just how many people the ghostly quintet kills in the repayment of the blood debt Matt inherited from his uncle. I’d say I was surprised, but I literally have no poker face. Seriously, every year I get together with the pantheon of deities and we have a Texas Hold ‘Em tourney. In an effort to avoid my usual tells I tear off my own face. If I could figure out how to play without my eyeballs too I’d win every time! Unfortunately, I do not win with DMHCotD. No one wins with it. Actually, that’s not 100% confirmed. It’s possible that the old adage stays true and the house wins, so long as Full Moon managed to recoup whatever their costs were on this wheel of CHUD cheese. At this point I’ve pretty much given up hope on Charles Band turning his act around, so I’d rather this particular house burn… to the ground… then be buried in a large hole… and eaten by Graboids… who are then harvested, shot in the face with an elephant gun, melted down with corrosive acid, dished into an old Cool Whip container, and buried 75 miles beneath the North Pole… amidst flesh eating bacterium… and radioactive polar bear droppings… and even then I will still not know true peace.

I don’t expect genius from Full Moon features. I don’t expect high art, or even passable art. I don’t ask for blockbuster cinema or high concept filmmaking. But come on, if I have to watch stupid hollow characters give me lessons on being disposable, at least dish them out to me en masse and have ’em grotesquely dispatched equally so. And how the fuck do you introduce the seeds for a potential lesbo love scene (turns out Groaner’s got a wet spot for BoneHer) and not deliver on it Band!? Did you really have to toss out the shameless displays of horny male placation along with the already questionable “good” qualities once associated with Full Moon’s productions?! Come on, man. You’re not only insulting the fans at this point, but you’re insulting their semi-iconic bad movie heroes as well by suckering them into your cinematic quicksand, then dealing them out a meager 5 minutes of screen time! For shame. Your movie gets a big fat raspberry. I don’t mean a regular raspberry either, I mean a raspberry delivered with the disgust the general public reserves for Hitler, and razzed by a tongue infected with those gooey rupturing pustules from Planet Terror!

And then there’s Rihanna, who I’d give a DNA whitewashing to so fast you’d think she’d gotten the Michael Jackson express skin bleach treatment. She’s not in this movie, and I don’t think she’d ever be caught dead (or undead) watching it, but showering her in my nut custard is tops on my “shit I think about when the movie sucks” list. I don’t care if she does look like she’s sporting peg legs when she’s wearing ballet shoes in the video for that umbrella song! Speaking of women who make my pole stand up and salute, she hasn’t seen the movie (and never will), but I can guarantee you that my Evil Dead Bride won’t be too pleased when I tell her that one of the characters quotes Dostoyevsky in a movie that thinks the term “ghoulette wheel” constitutes wit. I can hear her copy of The Brothers Karamazov trying to break its own binding from here. With any luck, her promise that she reads my reviews is just to make me feel better about wasting my time on them and she never actually learns this horrible horrible truth. As for me, here comes that PTSD again…

Xtro: You know what’s worse than a really low budget amateur horror movie made on the proverbial shoestring budget? A really BORING low budget PROFESSIONAL horror movie made on a BOOTLACE budget. Both Charles Bland and Dominic Muir have been making movies for decades, so you can’t blame this meandering chore disguised as a full length movie on being the work of know-nothing first-timers. Though low to be sure, this budget obviously wasn’t miniscule, yet I’ve seen lesser money do more because those productions at least had some gusto behind them. Granted, it was dollar store gusto (the name of my imaginary band Sex Golem’s unplugged album), but a little gusto goes a lot further than the lazy ass “we need to put together a movie in 7 hours before the car wash owner we convinced to finance us sues us for spending all of his money on scratch-off lotto tickets!” movie we were stuck with.

DMH:CotD will either cure your insomnia or infect you with ADHD. It’s got so much padding to it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Martin Lawrence wearing it under a house dress in another Big Momma’s House sequel. The first five minutes are spent watching a janitor (who we’ll call Scruffy) and an estate lawyer (who we’ll call Single Female Lawyer) wandering around the dust and cobweb strewn titular gambling establishment to “prepare” it for Matt’s arrival. FIVE MINUTES. Sure, at the end they’re both killed (Scruffy apparently getting his face ripped off by the Evil Dead “first person camera” demons), but their sacrifices aren’t worth the effort it takes the viewers to get there. And there’s a LOT of equally aimless scenes to be had over the course of this tiptoe through the poppy fields. My least favorite of which would have to be watching Boner take pics of BoneHer in the so-called gambling establishment of damnation for her website. It’s only 60 seconds, but it’s 60 seconds of him just taking pictures, pretending to be aroused, and saying generic stuff like “You look so killer, babe!” and “These are gonna look sooooo good for your website!”. My only hope is that this scene was born of poor ad-libbing and that Muir didn’t actually waste the printer ink on putting this excuse for dialog into the actual script.

When the ghosts finally do show up, they don’t really do much at first. Again, gotta pad the run time. Can’t afford to shoot any scenes outside of the cheap set they rented for the afternoon, so said padding has to be done within the casino. When the killing does get underway, it just involves the spooks handcuffing their victims to gaming tables, then cheating them at Black Jack and Roulette as an excuse to dismember them. Except for BoneHer, who just gets her face supernaturally sandblasted off by the ghost of the slot machine girl after she calls Slots a “skank” for trying to wake up Boner’s pliant pony. Dead or alive, bitches don’t front. Also, when the ghosts are about to kill their victims, they turn from perfectly human looking specters into big weird puppet headed things with goofy glowing red eyes taken out of a SegaCD FMV. These “visions of horror” are goofy. They’re mega goofy. They’re so damn goofy that they’re goofier than a dozen alternate timeline Goofys having a circle jerk, and all their penises have Goofy faces on them that go “HYUK!” after every stroke. In other words: the goofiest Goofy to ever goof.

Well, Sid Haig and Michael Berryman aren’t goofy. They’re spared the corny rubber heads because they never actually kill anyone. That’s right, Captain Spaulding and Brother Pluto are in your movie as murderous gangster ghosts and they don’t kill ANYONE. What the fuck are you doing, Charles Bland?! Do you hire these guys for your movie just to show us that you can make them completely un-cool at your petty whims?! Shit. You already ruined the Full Moon name, but do you have to rub it in our faces all the harder by infecting the filmographies of good horror icons with vulgar tumors like this!? No wonder your mother cursed your name before throwing herself into that alligator pit. You’re a monster!

As far as the review itself goes, the movie hasn’t aged well. But, given that it was dog shit to start with, you can’t really expect dog shit to improve or deteriorate with age. Either way it’s still dog shit, so DMH is what it is. I’m finding myself becoming a bigger fan of Robin Sydney though, every time I see her. Not for her acting chops, but because she’s my type. Well, in regards to “actresses I would’ve beat off to back in high school before free internet porn was readily available on EVERY DEVICE IN THE HOUSE”. I just watched a boner burner on my microwave last night! …though that may have just been a bowl of tacos and hot dogs I was reheating. Either way, my penis thanks you, Robin Sydney. Beyond that, I’m pretty disappointed in myself from 7 years ago for failing to make a “not to be confused with the Goulet Wheel” joke upon mention of the movie’s ghoulette wheel gag. Especially now that Robert Goulet’s dead, that joke’s well past its own expiration date. Oh well, hindsight’s a story on “20/20”!

In closing, I’d like to echo Roy’s final words from the movie as my last sentiment for this movie “Fuck you!”. Now I’m getting out of here, as I have more important things to do today. I Tivo’d “Jeopardy”!

Moral of the Story: “Seems to me like your withered wang can use all the help it can get.” If Dead Man’s Hand is any indicator of the status of Charles Band’s “wang”, we’re gonna need a few thousand cc’s of extra strength boner juice before we get anything resembling another Trancers or Puppet Master. Chuck? This is nature’s way of saying Full Moon shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce anymore. Stop with the Mexican knock-off Viagra and just retire. Nobody wants to see your flaccid old nub anymore.

Screenshots_____

“Converting this abandoned men’s room into a luxury water bar for rich dogs is my ticket to the good life!”


She’s cute, but she takes up all the covers… and the bed… and she farts in her sleep… like, a LOT.


“Remember how I told you I had an IUD put in last month so you couldn’t get me pregnant? Well… here it is! Hello 18 years of child support payments! Tee-hee.”


“It’s okay, honey. I’m sure plenty of guys get unintentionally turned on at family reunions. Aunt Cally will probably forget all about your disturbing tent pitching by Christmas… 2028.”


Sounds like the kinda place named by a really bad DM in the worst game of Dungeons & Dragons ever.


Hey, it’s “The Sunday Night NBC Mystery Movie“! (shout out to my SoL peeps)


Separated at birth or just separated at beard? You decide!


After the last incident, Greg only reads his “Goosebumps” stories now while sitting on the toilet.


“ANY girl can get an engagement ring, but with this gift shop hat and these dollar store cobwebs, you’ve won my heart forever! Yes! A thousand times ‘YES’! I WILL become Mrs. Ralph Hapschatt!”


I know that look. It’s the one my grandfather always used to get right before he told you to pull his finger. My advice: don’t pull Sid Haig’s finger.


Ah, the look of a man who regrets putting “I’ll try anything once” in his Craigslist “Casual Encounters” ad. I know it well… painfully, painfully well.


“I know you’re really upset right now and you probably want some personal space, but that’s the only hand towel we’ve got… and… I kinda need to… dry my hands… so…”


It’s Anne Coulter! Somebody get the duct tape and gasoline from my trunk!


I hate that guy. He’s such a Jack-off!… cuz he’s a Jack… like the poker cards?… I’m going to die alone, aren’t I?


If Band doesn’t stop putting that stupid Gingerdead Man costume in all of his movies, the thing’s gonna be more beat up than Godzilla’s in Hedorah the Smog Monster! Hmmm, a lot of very niche jokes today… not predicting strong numbers on this review.


If the Ninja Turtles are the product of turtles doused in mutagen following exposure to humans, I’m pretty sure Michael Berryman is a product of the opposite.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Minor-Ass-Itch Rides Again”

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