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
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.
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.
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
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.
Anubis will return next time in
“Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”
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Featuring: Kelli Jensen ; Nathaniel Ketcham ; Chris “Surviving the Rush” Peters
Director: Tommy “They Must Eat” Brunswick
Writer: Todd “The Remake” Brunswick
Sequel: Jingles the Clown
In the greatest piece of fast food news since they brought back cheesy tots, for Valentine’s Day Israeli Burger Kings offered “adult” meals that came with free sex toys, upgrading from happy meals to happy ending meals!… yes, I know that’s McDonald’s, but suspend your disbelief for the sake of the joke, okay? Though I don’t expect this to be a thing at BKs in our neck of the planet anytime soon (despite the rapist-in-chief being in office), it wouldn’t surprise me if Carl’s Jr. took their dirt-bag exploitation business model in a similar direction by offering a free bottle of their famous Budweiser cheese-flavored lube and a mini-fleshlight/pocket vibrator with every purchase of a Double Bacon 3-Way Burger value meal.
Get it? “3-Way Burger”? Cuz it’s sex. Get it? Yeah. Softcore commercials of Hustler rejects jamming garbage-even-by-fast-food-standards burgers in their mouths while stuffing bacon cheese fries up their o-rings (and that ‘o’ doesn’t stand for “onion”). Of course, that last part is always cut from the ads, as they’re only meant for Andy “Jerks off in the special sauce” Puzder’s private collection.
With that out of the way, it’s time to put on your rainbow wig, refill your squirting flower and lace-up your over-sized novelty footwear!
Before we delve too deeply into today’s quicksand cinema, I’m sad to report that The Tomb’s beloved feline elder, Merlin “Don’t call me Murray” Cow, has written the final page of his life story. Living to the ripe old age of 16, he was too good and pure (and stupid) for this world, and will take his place in the pet pantheon of the great beyond. However, as Mrs. Forrester once historically proclaimed, the only balm that truly soothes an aching blood pump is a skin-peelingly bad movie! If that’s true, then boy howdy is Mr. Jingles just the hypodermic full of morphine I need right now.
Today’s Zodiacal feature is probably the no-est no-budget backyard bad movie I’ve seen since Addicted to Murder or pretty much any movie released by Brimstone Productions in the ’90s. Don’t feel bad if your crap movie education doesn’t include a course in Brimstone, because not only are they obscure as fuck (and for good reason), but you’re better off not losing anymore hours of your life than you’re already losing reading these reviews. Maybe I’ll break out my old VHS tapes and write an e-book.
Back to the Jingling (which is what the sequel should’ve been called), the length is a merciful 74 minutes, 7 of which could’ve been further shaved from the opening and closing credits. You know what’s not a great way to start your movie? Almost 4 minutes of big orange names fading in and out of a black background while some slow, generic rock song plays over it. No doubt performed by the director’s cousin’s Stryper cover band, probably recorded the morning after they were yet again eliminated in the first round of another “Battle of the Bands” competition at The Chug & Piss & Chug Again Pub.
When we find our way to the other side of this debilitating limbo of an intro, it feels like we walked into the theater a few minutes late. A twenty-something actress (Kelli Jensen, whose only other IMDB credit is an episode of ‘Nash Bridges’) trying to convince the audience that she’s a 12 year old girl (by putting her hair in pigtails and wearing little girl pajamas) named Angie Randall hides in her bedroom closet while a murderous maniac in clown makeup named Mr. Jingles (Dr. Rudolph Hatfield, because he didn’t go to evil clown medical school to not be addressed by his honorific) kills her parents with a pair of hatchets. Dad (David Cunningham) has already been dealt with by the time we walk in on the situation and, if Mr. J’s taunting of Angie minutes later is to be believed, the greasepainted spiller of gore put a fatal hatchet wound in daddy’s ass! Icky. Jingles is NOT to be believed, however, as when Pops pops back up later in a last breath effort to protect his daughter, the seat of his acid wash jeans remains fully intact and without so much as a Chipotle stain, let alone the promised superfluous additional ass crack.
So, not only is our eponymous antagonist a murderer, but worse he’s also a liar. Well that’s just great. Given such a poor role model it’s no wonder the youth today are such a mess what with their underwear on the outside and their “emorgies” (emoji orgies) and the Twix-ing. Just thinking about it makes my lumbago act up! Somebody get me my Dr. Johnny Walker’s Patented Magical Miracle Tonic!
Though we missed Mr. Randall’s initial injuring, we do show up just in time to see his wife (Karen Turner) get her own innards eviscerated! Well, not really. Technically her sweater gets sliced open and we watch as the pile of butcher shop pig guts she was storing in there for some reason spill out onto the floor.
(Weird. I always thought the large intestines were attached to things. Human biology be damned!)
While hidden deeper in the closet than the dad on ‘The Brady Bunch’, Angie soaks her unmentionables like they were one of those diapers they pour the blue liquid into in the commercials. I’m guessing she had a lot of asparagus that day too, as Mr. J can smell it from across the room, declaring her a bad girl for pissing her panties. Now I just wish I were watching the original Last House on the Left, because as much as watching Krug and friends torment the girls makes my soul want to vomit all over the entirety of existence, at least I wouldn’t be watching Mr. Jingles. Existential dilemma…
(Strange how neither her pajama bottoms nor underwear absorbed that. Maybe they were made of that water repellent fabric that only looks like cotton.)
As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted by myself, the now cornered Angie opts for flight over fight and makes a break for freedom, easily slipping by her pursuer only to trip over mom’s corpse. Her resultant screaming alerts a pair of plain clothes detectives sitting outside in their car (stakeouting because, as we find out, Jinglypuff has been busy on this particular street as of late), which I find odd since J’s louder shouting as he taunted Angie throughout the house wasn’t enough to catch their attention. The cries of distress prompt the pair to spring into action (good thing Coily the Spring Sprite wasn’t there to fuck things up) and fire a few new breathing holes into Jingles with their prop guns that don’t have muzzle flash when fired, and whose shots were just blatantly made with dollar store pop guns. Angie is saved, preceded by the odd random sound of sleigh bells as circus boy attempts to tell her something that will no doubt result in a major pseudo twist/reveal before the finale. Whoopee. And I don’t mean cushions.
Lucky Number Sleven years later (or “seven” if you just want to sandbag my terrible joke), Angie’s lack of pigtails and shapeless bedtime attire denote that she’s all grown up now. And just in time to be discharged from the mental health facility (which is clearly just someone’s living room) she’s been kept in since the death of her parents.
She’s released to the care of her Aunt Helen (Nicole Majdali) with whom she moves in, along with our heroine’s clear lack of significant possessions. Also living with her are her cousins Heidi (Jessica Hall) and Dylan (Nathaniel Ketcham). Heidi’s your typical unremarkable “business casual” girl who is in her early-twenties, while Dylan is your stereotypical Hot Topic high schooler (despite looking to be hovering around 25) and looks like he’d be better suited to play Renton in a musical version of Trainspotting. At least he wears a Goblin shirt for the entirety of his screen time, so that’s one thing not to be disgusted by. It turns out that he’s also enamored with the Mr. Jingles legend and keeps a binder of his collection of newspaper clippings (I’m assuming, since they never show what’s in the damn binder!). He leaves it out in the open too, where Angie immediately discovers it not even five minutes after moving in. Intentional or idiotic? You decide!
Dyl Pickle’s girlfriend and fellow mall goth emo stoner punkish is Melanie (Heather Doba), who decks herself out as a wanna-be member of The Craft. She’s so dark and brooding that when we first meet her she’s smoking weed and giggling profusely about being “The Pretzel Queen”. With the help of their doobie buddies, Chris (Doug Kolbicz) and Curtis (Brian Zoner… which can’t be his real name), the couple plan to ruin Angie’s big welcome home birthday party later by attempting a convoluted Mr. Jingles themed knock-off of the already convoluted sequence from Halloween where Myers, for no other reason than adding some extra theatrical zing to his murder spree, dug up and dragged a quarter-ton headstone around with him… I hate that movie sometimes.
When the quartet head to the local boneyard to dig up Jingles’ tombstone, they find Mel’s dad Bill (Chris Peters – one of the only actors in the cast with a picture in their IMDB profile), who we’ll remember as one of the cops who saved pigtails Angie in the opening. Along with him is Bill’s then-partner-turned-mayor Baines (Tom Reeser) and the cemetery caretaker (Michael Pilson), who called them upon the discovery of a dead body on his God’s acre. The corpse in question is a nameless stranger (John Anton – another actor with an IMDB head shot!) who was dispatched earlier while drunkenly yelling at his mom or dad’s grave, bitching at them for leaving him nothing but unpaid bills and “an alcoholic gene”. His immediate massacre was heralded by a familiar sound byte of sleigh bells before his hand was hatcheted off, screaming all the while like a proverbial girl. The caretaker, who I’ll call “Carl” for the rest of the review, shouts rampant angry accusations at Baines, blaming him for inciting the initial Mr. Jingles murders and also for the new mass killings to come on this, the Sleventh anniversary of the madman’s violent ventilation. But wasn’t he turned into Swiss cheese in a rainbow wig? If he’s dead, how could he possibly be responsible for this nameless dead extra? Surely you, dear reader, underestimate the power of half-assed screenwriting!
After chewing out Baines, Carl takes Bill back to his creepy little apartment for a friendly plot drop over a cup of General Foods International Coffee. According to his story, Jingles was wrongfully accused (starring Leslie Nielsen and Kelly LeBrock!) fifteen years ago when, on her birthday, a freshly four Angie was almost abducted by a bad bad man in their neighborhood. Children’s party clown Mr. Jingles actually saved Angie from the bastard, but her family and neighbors thought her hero was actually her kidnapper and proceeded to beat the Samaritan within that inch of life people always like to refer to. How can you measure someone’s life, either by length of time or quality of physical being, using inches? Shouldn’t you say that he was “near-fatally beaten” and leave it at that? Meh. Pardon my semantics. Not to be confused with my mutant ticks that killed all those seamen.
(Semantics. Seamen ticks. Laugh.)
Though the real Freddy
Keurig Krueger copycat was later captured in the act of trying to nab another brat, Jingles was still jailed for his non-crime to cover up the fact that his gang assault was one big illegal beatdown that would’ve landed everyone involved behind bars themselves. During his time in the big house, Jing-a-ling took up the popular horror movie hobby of occult studies between sessions of being beaten and raped by the guards and his fellow inmates. After 3 years he managed to escape, leaving his little black magic handbook behind in his cell, allowing Carl (who worked at the facility at the time) to snag it for his personal collection. Over the next 4 years (at least if the movie’s muddled timeline is to be believed) Jingles exacted his revenge on the guilty families before finally being stopped that fateful night by Bill and his stupid prop pop gun. But, if Carl’s to be believed, our dollar store Pennywise, with his dying breath, uttered some manner of incantation that made his body a flophouse for residents from the lake of fire. For whatever reason (movie magic is often oddly [i.e. conveniently] loose with the details), said Satanic slumlord of his own biological apartment complex has now returned, Slevin years after his seeming demise and coincidentally coinciding with Angie’s release from the loony bin. Following his long period of unemployment he’s ready to get back to work, confusing his victims with his out-of-season sleigh bells before shoving hatchets into their faces.
Despite being the protagonista of the production, Angie’s part of the movie is the least entertaining, hence why I’ve made a zilch level effort in talking about it till now. It’s just girl talk garbage scenes of Angie, Heidi and Heidi’s friends planning the “Welcome Back to Normalcy and Happy 19th Birthday!” festivities. Oh, and Aunt Helen gets called out of town for important business reasons we’re supposed to ignore. Why? Without her around, the girls can invite boys over against their legal guardian’s instructions! Scandal!
At one point, Heidi just stands in front of the bathroom mirror eye fucking her own amateur porn chesticles for several minutes while letting the shower run (thus WASTING HOT WATER!) as Angie drifts off to sleep in the adjoining room and has a nightmare about Mr. J. Once we get past the detours, our destination leads to the “party”, where the girls and a handful of “band guys” they’re all squishy over sit around smoking weed and trying to get Angie (at her behest) a piece of Rusty (Jacob Baily), the townie Frank Booth – in that he’ll fuck anything that moves. With a name like “Rusty”, and given his infamous promiscuity, I’d bet anything that his circulatory system is swimming with more STDs than Kid Rock’s nut chum. When he walks out on Angie during foreplay (10 minutes of tongue wrestling is about 8 minutes too much) because she has the ill-timed hallucination of her stalker’s face that every PTSD female has in any horror or thriller movie, you have to figure she’s better off not spending the last few moments of her life being invade by Rusty’s penile plagues.
Back to that whole prank thing the potheads were putting together, Dyldo and Mel go back home to pretend sex and leave it up to the C-Boyz to acquire Jingles’ headstone. The fuckoes fail their task when you-know-who literally materializes from nowhere in his new demonic form (i.e. under a rubber mask and wearing demon dentures) and wrecks them both, smacking one in the face with the other’s dick… well, a dildo that we’re supposed to believe is a dick, except that it’s fully erect and has the little “for heightened realism” rubber ballsack front portion still attached…
The murderer's marker in question is hilariously fake too, as it's set aside from the rest of the cemetery stones and much smaller and cleaner than the others despite having been there under little-to-no tree coverage for the last Slevin years. Although Jingles' real name is never mentioned (he's solely referred to by his stage moniker), his stone lists his name as “David Hess”, which explains his perving predilection for Angie's soiled drawers. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't murderers' bodies cremated after they die? I mean, sure, Friday the 13th Part V could have been lying to me about that (which it clearly was, given Jason’s non-cremated body returning in Part VI), but even if Jingles’ body was left for worm food instead, wouldn’t it have been in an unmarked grave to prevent vandalism and/or body snatching? Uggh, this review is going on longer than this movie deserves and making my brain burn way more calories than it should be.
Back at Carl’s place, after spending 10 minutes of runtime convincing Bill that they need to defeat Jingles with an enchanted ceremonial blade (that was probably purchased for $19.99 on one of those 3am knife-o-mercials), the clown shows up at Carl’s door without any explanation of how he knew where to find him and jams his fist through the torso of the only enjoyable member of the entire cast, making the middle finger he flips the camera all the more painfully pertinent.
(Take that people who paid money to watch this camcorder crap pile!)
Our painted predator then proceeds to beat Bill down with the dull sides of his hatchets…thus solidifying that the former law enforcer is now guaranteed to show up again during the finale, bruised but brave, to make the save because Jingleberries forgot how his baby axes work. Maybe he should get a pair of “this side toward victim” stickers for future reference.
From here on out, it’s just a matter of upping the bodycount as much as possible before the curtain call. Mel dresses like Mr. J to scare the uppity party guests devoid of feces, only to be predictably taken out by the real thing, stabbed in the back with the dildo that’s supposed to be her dead friend’s still very erect dismembered member. This leads to Heidi and her boyfriend going into the backyard to investigate, only to be killed themselves. The rest of the group (Dylan included) are all killed off as well, leaving Angie alone to experience Jing Jong-un’s Happy Birthday to Me inspired “corpses positioned sitting around a table” set piece. The two seem poised for their final confrontation, but instead we cut to Mayor Baines and a pair of patrol piggies busting onto the scene, discovering Angie alone among the dead (great name for my next Sex Golem album) and wielding a familiar pair of hatchets. Twist ending that doesn’t make any sense because it was impossible for Angie to be in two places at the same as much as she would have to have been to be the movie’s surprise killer? Nice try, Todd, but nobody’s stupid enough to fall for it. Especially not the guy who sussed the plot twist of The Village just ten minutes into the movie!
Immediately dropping its false finish, as Angie is being led away for the suspected slaughter of her peers and dickhead Baines postulates she’ll spend the rest of her life in the dangerous criminals wing of the mental ward, Bill (toldja so) appears from the darkness and cold cocks the attending female officer (Hitchcocked by directress Tommy Brunswick). He makes off with Angie so the pair can seek to end the menace of The Jingler in the sequel while said unholy roller gives himself two last victims in Baines and the male officer. They made a sequel to this bowel obstruction?! Yep. When your first movie is made for the cost of a rented camcorder, a boom mic, some blank VHS tapes, and enough Red Vines and Mountain Dew to keep your cast happy, you just knew the Brunswicks would be back to make a follow-up as soon as their income taxes cleared!
Oh, and about that big reveal of the thing Jingles tried to tell pigtails Angie before he was shot? Well, according to the nightmare she has before things go to shit, he said “I’ll see you later”…yep, that’s it. A meta joke about the trite cliches of mass produced movie scripts, or just another lead zeppelin attempt at unironically engaging in said cliches? I’ll leave you to figure that out for yourself, as I now need to grab a nap thanks to the narcolepsy that watching Mr. Jingles has struck me with.
…Or, as the imp in the red pajamas keeps telling me as it pokes my ribs with its pitchfork, I need to finish this review. In the name of Dan Kester’s stained man girdle, sometimes I really regret signing my name to that ominous looking scroll in my own blood. Uggh.
Maybe it’s the chronic depression talking, but this movie wasn’t even “so bad it’s funny” fare. It was just pathetic. Bland. Boring. Incapable of eliciting any emotional response from its audience beyond a lot of yawns and watch checking. Funny must have had an order of protection placed against Jingles’ jokes, because there wasn’t a chuckle to be had from any of them. Even Killjoy had a better gag writer than Mr. J, and I harbor a non-racially motivated HATRED for Killjoy!
Mr. Jingles is so stagnantly written and acted and just made that it’s not even worth doing a proper breakdown of. How it found any kind of distribution, even with one of those generically made “look at the evil painting of the monster on the cover!” DVD covers that were so big in the early 2000s, is less stupefying and more sad. Sad that some shithead at Lions Gate agreed to put it out, and I hope whomever it was that signed the contract in question has since exiled themselves to a tiny underground cell to live out whatever remains of their shameful existence, wallowing in their own filth.
There are no actors in this movie. It was not written by someone who deserves to call himself a writer, nor directed by someone who deserves to pretend she’s a director. This is not a movie. What we have here are just…lies. Fucking lies.
It’s probably gonna take me Slevin years to forget this friggin’ dick wrinkle excuse for a feature even exists, and that’s provided I never fall so far down the stairway of my own self worth that I opt to review its sequel first. But then, such is the suffering of the cinemasochist. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m already dead…
Too dramatic? I should’ve been an actor. Speaking of, there is one worthwhile piece of this movie I can get behind besides Dylan’s Goblin t-shirt – Michael Pilson. Mike is the only person in the cast who actually made an effort to act, and boy does he go over the fucking moon. His aggressively angry, shouty style of thespianism made me wish he was the center of the flick, because he was the only star shining in this otherwise pitch black sky. So at least there’s that. Thank you Mr. Pilson.
On that note, cue the end credits. You can call me Doug, cuz I’m outta heeeeeeeeeere.
I call bullshit! That should say “A Tommy Brunswick VIDEO”, because there’s no way this movie was shot on film!
First, “Station Wagons” is two words. Also, the other name sounds like an obtuse way of saying “palm full of jizz”.
A 20 year-old blond wearing pigtails and pretending she’s much younger? That’s usually something you only find in those movies that are preceded by an “All models appearing in this video are 18 years or older” disclaimer.
How the rest of the world sees our new Cheeto-in-Chief.
I never knew Juggalo scrapbookers existed until now.
“Hello? Nintendo Power Line? I was wondering if you had any tips to help me with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Throw it in my toilet, then burn the house down? Got it!”
“Come on, guys. I found out where the neighborhood boys hide their stash of Playboys! We’ll steal ’em all and replace them with my mom’s old Playgirls!”
Every hetero guy’s worst nightmare: when your girlfriend/wife gets her hair done and asks you how it looks.
Set props provided by whatever was left over after the Brunswicks’ last garage sale.
Hey! It’s the movie’s only fan! (And the look on that guy’s face is probably very similar to yours having read this.)
“It’s not gay, man, it’s a prostate massager! Prostate massage is a perfectly natural and healthy way for men to enhance sexual stimulation! Don’t be such a judgmental puritan!”
Folks, never buy your girlfriend lingerie from the “Day After Valentine’s Day Discount Bin” at WalMart. It won’t work out for either of you.
And here we have a failed prototype design for unused Thundercats character Jestro. I’m not sure the story behind it, but it’s easy to see why the show’s creators passed on using him.
Anubis will return next time in
“Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Patrick “Wristcutters: a Love Story” Fugit , Wrenn “Boardwalk Empire” Schmidt , Philip “Life on Mars” Glenister
Director: Adam “Autoerotic” Wingard
Writer: Robert “’The Walking Dead‘”Kirkman
For years the debate has raged over the state of acclaimed gangster rap performer Tupac Shakur. Most people accept his violent demise in a gang related drive-by shooting. Some opt for the conspiracy theorist route and insist that the man is in hiding somewhere, asexually budding new brain rhyme babies in a self-sustaining shelter deep below the Andes mountain range until his enemies have all been destroyed and he can safely return to the public eye to retake his throne in the second coming of rap Jesus. But few know the truth I’m going to share with you now: Tupac Shakur is being held in isolation at Area 51, examined and experimented on following a run-in with a mythical creature that left him… changed. No longer the Str8 Ballin’ perpetrator of the Ghetto Gospel and purveyor of California Love, he is now the nocturnal menacer of the innocent known as The Tupacabra!
Now that that Unsolved Mystery can be dragged and dropped into the “Solved Shit” folder, let’s all move on with our lives together, hand-in-hand, into the Great Unknown. First on the docket for the undocumented? “Outcast”.
Not to be confused with hip-hop duo Outkast (who gave us Alpha level earworms like “Hey Ya!” and “Ms. Jackson”), today’s topic of interest has a lot in common with “Preacher” (see last week’s review). They’re both cable TV shows based on mature reader comic books that center around Christian religious horror themes and they both premiered on the same weekend. Is it enough common ground that the two would hit it off during a round of speed dating and litter a motel room floor with their vestments mere hours after first contact? Fuck if I know. I don’t speed date. When I’m on the lookout for an inkwell in which to dip my dick-shaped quill, I just hit up DeitiesBone.com for theological trim. Use the code word “ANUBIS69” when you sign up and get a 3% discount on your Platinum or higher membership fee!
Whereas preacher Jesse Custer’s tale is more about over-the-top violence and what-the-fuck moments while accompanied by his oddball associates, “Outcast” keeps its themes more grounded in traditional religious horror. Namely demonic possession and the resultant evictions of said Satanic squatters. Our eponymous outcast is thirty-something Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), who we first meet inhabiting his childhood home in self-exile. Living as a hermitous hoarder, Kyle’s living off of his savings account, munching milkless bowls of dry cereal and presumably just hoping the place will burn down eventually and take him with it. His sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), however, refuses to let her brother rot in peace and forces him go out into public with her, baiting him with the promise of groceries and basically cuckolding her own sibling into eating less like a college freshman and more like a human being.
With the exception of the embarrassment that comes with being a grown ass man whose sister has just taken control of your basic life decisions, this isn’t exactly coming off like much of a supernatural horror show, is it? Well, I was just about to get to that part ya paranoid android, so just hold your hard drive!
When he was a young lad, Kyle was the target of some pretty savage Babadookian domestic abuse by his mom. Everybody in the neighborhood knew about it, but chalked it up to her being bipolar, or “single parent stressed” as people called it before brain science gave us the term that always makes you think about a bi-sexual polar bear every time you hear it. Don’t pretend like you don’t. Denial ain’t just the river Isis and Osiris used to take us anthropomorphic ankle biters on holiday.
So, much like other rampant instances of abuse in those days (the ’80s?), nobody said anything and everybody just pretended it wasn’t their responsibility. If this were the final episode of “Seinfeld”, the entire town would’ve gone to jail. But, said abuse actually wasn’t the fault of Kyle’s mom (who I hear is a super King Kamehameha bitch on Sundays), nor was it even the fault of her broken brain. Mrs. Barnes was possessed. Like Linda Blair, only with less head-twisting and “LET JESUS FUCK YOU!” stuff. Eventually she ended up catatonic in a long term care facility (I won’t spoil how), Kyle and Meg got married (not to each other, ya weirdo), and due to some complicated complications Kyle was forced to leave his wife and daughter, hence why he now lives alone in the seclusion of his inherited homestead.
While out resupplying with sis, our hero overhears some ladies gossiping about a local boy who seems to be suffering an unwanted Satanic tenant of his own. After some soul searching, Kyle inevitably decides to offer up his help to Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), the priest assigned to execute the evil spirit’s eviction notice. I won’t go any further with how the amateur exorcism plays out, but I will give you this much: it gives us our first explanation as to the title of the series and we learn from Anderson that said kid’s soul isn’t the only popular spot for demonic tourism in the area.
Unlike “Preacher”, I went into “Outcast” with my geek blinders on. Though I have the first 5 issues of the series locked away somewhere in my vault of four-color horrors, I’ve yet to read them. Much like the 2,000 or so movies I intend to review eventually but will likely never get through before my inevitable death at the hands of an enraged Charles Band. As such, I can’t verify or deny whether the show sticks to its source material or is veering from the creative path. Creator Robert Kirkman is not only along as an Executive Producer (much like he is with “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead”), but he’s also the show’s writer, so that’s hopefully a good sign for things to come as far as keeping the fans of the funnybooks happy.
The gore and violence are graphic enough to induce a few “what the fuck?!”s. The acting is fine. I haven’t seen anything amazing yet, but everyone plays their parts well enough. Fugit and Schmidt work well together as brother and sister, as do Fugit and Glenister as exorcist and sidekick. Fugit also does well in his portrayal as a shut-in. He’s proven that if he put a pillow under his shirt and grew out a huge beard and mullhawk (party down the middle and business on-the-sides!) he could play me in the adaptation of my award winning autobiography, Anubis: Browwed and Proud.
Oddly enough, my favorite part of the show was pint-sized actor Gabriel Bateman. “Oddly” due to my life mantra that child actors are the worst thing to happen to movies other than Uwe Boll. Young Master Bateman's (wakka wakka!) turn as the possessed little boy Joshua was great. Not so much for his vocal work (I was expecting something more demonic, to be honest), but because when we see him first possessed, the small things in his physical performance are very impressive. The subtle way he touches objects as someone experiencing them for the first time are perfect given that he's been taken over by a demonic presence that more than likely has never been subjected to our material world before. Kudos, kiddo.
Even though I gripe about how overplayed the possession/haunting theme is in current spookshow productions, I have to admit that I’m intrigued on the subject being shown in show form. You know, besides the two or three-hundred “ghost chasers” programs broadcast on cable channels that no one would watch otherwise, and whatever series that “Medium” or “Ghost Whisperer” may have beget, of which I have zero knowledge or interest. Season 2 was already confirmed before the premiere even aired, so there will be more adventures for our Outsider, Kyle Barnes (and whoever else survives these first 10 episodes). Speaking of, I’m curious enough to keep up with the show if for no other reason than to see if my theory about the origin of our hero’s eponymous moniker is what I think it is.
Coming from someone whose weekly television viewing habits are limited to watching 6 hours of professional wrestling, Comedy Central’s weeknightly 11pm to 12:30am block, and waiting for everything else to come to NetFlix/Hulu/Amazon in season-long chunks, it’s an interesting time for TV. Check out “A Darkness Surrounds Him” if you’re down with tortured characters battling inner demons and outer demons played straight and see if you like it. At worst, you lose an hour of your life you’ll never get back. At least it’s less time than you would’ve lost watching an Adam Sandler movie! You’re welcome.
Looks like Kayako got her hair stuck in a door. Again. Seriously, ghost girl, this happens every week! Just get the damn haircut already! You could donate it to Warlocks of Love! *rimshot*
“You’re my conscience? Like Jiminy Cricket?! Where’s your top hat and suit?”
“Look kid, could you stop worrying about my wardrobe and just kill your parents like I told you to?!”
I wonder if it took longer than a day to build that town.
Hey! Good to see Reg Cathey was able to still find work after FANT4STIC! Let’s hope Miles Teller isn’t so lucky.
Greyskull was here. (Google “Kilroy” if that one went over your head)
He kinda looks like Norman Reedus after an allergic reaction to shellfish.
Dear mothers of the world: please stop walking around pantsless in the presence of your sons. It can make for very confusing phases in their sexual development. It’s true. Do you wanna be responsible for the next Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh? I didn’t think so.
“That was my last cough drop! I need that soothing relief for my sore throat! Give it back you little monster!”
“You need not a brush, child! The power of Christ combs you! The power of Christ combs you!”
Well, at least somebody enjoys “Saturday Night Live” enough to advertise it through graffiti. Not the best spot though. And I have no clue as to which cast member that’s supposed to be. Maybe Bill Hader? But he left years ago.
I’m guessing that the real estate agent left out the part where Kyle would be neighbors with Jason Voorhees.
I know how you feel, kid. I react the same way when my Evil Dead Bride opens the blinds after my 3 day marathons every time a new Elder Scrolls game comes out.
When you said you had a problem with “a little mold”, I wasn’t expecting The
Spanish Inquisition Shunned House! My advice? Burn the whole place down, have holy men from several religions perform exorcisms on the remains, then put up a temporary residence like a trailer to see if it comes back before making any long term plans. Or, you know, just move.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Little Merc Made”
Featuring: Ashok “Soodhu Kavvum” Selvan , Sanchita “Soodhu Kavvum” Shetty , Nasser “Fair Game”
Writer & Director: Deepan Chakravarthy
Also Known As: The Villa
Sequel to: Pizza
Welcome back, boils and ghouls! I hope all of my fellow ugly Americans had a horrible Thanksgiving holiday and have my talons crossed that more than a few of you were unceremoniously trampled to death amid the fervor and fever of the following Black Friday Madness. I kid, of course, because if you’re reading this review, that means you’re hopefully the type of person I’d get along with, in which case I’m a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish you any specific harm. Where the Hel was I going with this? Meh. Fuck it. Moving on.
Rather than hitting our next stop on the World Tour, I opted for yet another side trip on the scenic route. I liked India’s Pizza enough that I wanted to see what its sequel had to offer. Besides, what better bread to use in a review sandwich where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (see previous episode) is the meat than a pair of Pizzas? Yeah, there are more levels to my methods than there are floors in Elevator Action…or not. I honestly can’t recall how many floors there were in Elevator Action, so my boastful statement could very well be incorrect. I never should have said it in the first place. I’m sorry.
In something of a throwback to the glory days of ’80s bad movies like The Curse, P2 is a sequel that has no direct connection with its predecessor. Thematically, you could call it a spiritual successor (pun most assuredly intended) given the common subject of “Indian haunted house movie” and the inclusion of another (albeit less grandiose) Shyamalan-ed finale. But by Tom Turkey’s gizzard bag, there isn’t the slightest mention of pizza anywhere in the damn movie! Why even call it a Pizza sequel?! Oh wait, I know why: to cash in on name recognition. Well, congratulations Thirukumaran Entertainment. If nothing else, you managed to convince a middle-aged Beardo-American incarnation of the Egyptian Death God to watch your movie for free on YouTube. Thumbs up.
Technicalities aside, it’s business time! Let’s kick back, straw fuck a couple of those little boxes of Ecto Cooler you’ve been saving since 1993 (it’s comin’ back, ya know!), and take a tour of The Villa! Cue the music.
A brand new movie calls for a brand new cast. As such, our brand new hero is Jebin (Ashok Selvan). Jeb (not to be confused with Jeb! Bush – note the lack of an exclamation point) is a struggling writer locked in mortal combat with book publishers who don’t want to print his novel. He’s all about high brow drama and suspense and challenging his readers, while they just want Twilight rip-offs. In other words, rip-offs of a rip-off of Laurel K. Hamilton’s stuff, written by a bored Mormon housewife with latent necrophiliac tendencies. Did I say “latent”? I meant “blatant”. BLATANT NECROPHILIAC TENDENCIES. It’s only Stephanie Meyers’ interest in beastiality that’s latent, otherwise all the little girls and their moist mommies would’ve watched Kristin Stewart getting mounted on the big screen by the derp-faced werewolf instead of the derp-faced corpse.
“BLATANT NECROPHILIAC TENDENCIES”? Looks like someone just found a name for their free form jazz-oompah band!
To add to Jeb’s problems, his father Marshall (Nasser) died recently during a 6 month coma. Though he was a painter and a musician, pops never approved of his son’s aspiration to be a successful novelist, and scolded the poor guy for having dreams of choosing a creative career path for his life. Weird. Maybe Marshall’s mom left his dad for a copy of The Kama Sutra when he was a kid, so he spent the rest of his life blaming books for his dad’s resultant rampant alcoholism? Either way, Marshall’s dead now, so his lifelong literary nightmare is no more. As for Jeb, it turns out that his disapproving daddy bequeathed him a here-to-unknown piece of property upon which sets one spiffy-as-fuck mansion of a house (our titular abode). Not sure why he was never told about the place before now (smart money’s on bad juju), but this is a fortuitous bit of news for our lead, given that Marshall’s home has been repossessed to cover unpaid debts accrued by Jeb during a failed business venture. Note to self: next time I’m on the verge of being evicted, find out if any of my relatives have me on their will, then start poisoning said relative’s Cocoa Puffs until they do the Mortal Coil (Un)Shuffle.
Jeb intends to sell the villa and use the windfall to self-publish his novel. I hope he planned on taking a business course or doing some kind of test audience research first! Dreamers are always the ones hardest hit when they finally wake up in the real world with the rest of us. Anyway, his fiancee (and our new female lead) Aarthi (Sanchita Shetty) convinces Jeb to at least look the place over first and consider taking up residence in the estate while he continues the hunt for a publisher rather than taking the money and doing the proverbial run. After checking out the spacious pad, decorated with his father’s painting and housing his father’s beloved piano, Jeb opts to go along with Arth and move in instead. It doesn’t hurt that the lady tempts him with the idea of having their wedding in the place, with said matrimonial bliss portrayed via impromptu music video. Well, I guess that’s something else the two Pizzas share: a romantic musical interlude. Anyway, it’s too bad for the real estate agent Jeb asked about finding buyers, who’s peskily persistent about bringing said potential payers by anyway and trying to convince our hero to reconsider. Fuckin’ real estate agents. They’d resell peoples’ graves if churches hadn’t already monopolized the market.
Can churches really do that? Puck if I know. Look it up. You might be surprised. Or maybe you won’t be. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not. It definitely sounds like something churches would do. Hell, Mormons convert corpses posthumously, so there’s not a lot that organized religion can do that would surprise me anymore! I really miss the Old Kingdom days…
(Do you know how much Alpha Flight porn I came across while looking for this pic? More than zero. That’s too much!)
No sooner does Jpeg make the house his home, then strange happenings start up. Some good (a publisher buys his book and contracts him to write another!), some gruesome (a rotting dog carcass appears in his yard, seemingly from nowhere), and some Encyclopedia Brown (NOT a racist joke!) level shit too. Namely, a mysterious key, a Transformers painting (not literally, just in that it’s “more than meets the eye”), and a hidden room concealing a dark legacy that Marshall (and the house’s previous owners) left behind. The movie’s only a year old, so as usual we’re in the No Spoiler Zone (I hope you choke to death on your own scrotum, Bill O’Reilly) here and I won’t delve further into the plot past this period. You want to know the rest of the story? This ain’t “Reading Rainbow”, fuck-o! Go watch it yourself on YouTube or just ruin it yourself by reading the complete play-by-play on Wikipedia. I did that for Knock Knock and you know what? I don’t regret it. Especially since Eli Roth replied to my requests for a post-Green Inferno apology letter with a restraining order signed by his lawyer. Dick weasel.
And there you have it: Pizza 2. You know what? It’s good. Real good. Given that it’s the freshman effort for writer-director Chakravarthy, I’d go so far as to call it damn good! His setup and progression of the story is smoother and plenty suspenseful exactly where it’s most called for. The scene wherein Jeb finds the secret room is impressive, as his discovery is lit entirely by the ever passing beam of a nearby lighthouse and backed up with some appropriately foreboding music. You know, the kind of stuff that Satan puts on his hi-fi before impregnating hypnotized baby mamas-to-be. Speaking of, all of the music is perfectly good background stuff that fits the scenes nicely. Good on composer Santhosh Narayanan.
The cast is all good too. At least I think they are. I don’t speak Tamil, but everyone’s physical game was on form, from faces to body language to that weird head bob that Indian people do. Not to get too Seinfeld over it, but what is the deal with that head bob thing, anyway? Pardon me if the next part sounds like a “head up my own hole” art critic type of statement, but the villa itself is the real main character. Its interior breathes an atmosphere of something old, ornate, and ominous. The place has the feel of a warm antiquity with a heart of darkness. Something beautiful used to create some really fucked up, evil shit. Just like Dyanne Thorne!
If it’s so great though, why doesn’t it get the golden feather seal of approval? Sadly, there’s a really goofy Rube Goldberg sequence that makes the ones in the Final Destination movies look simpler than instant oatmeal. For an otherwise tense and dramatic flick, said scene of tumbling tables and acrobatic armoires is an out-of-place, unintentional laugh that was only put in to give the studio an excuse to charge audiences extra rupees for the 3D treatment. Coupled with the needless twist that hinders the final act more than helps it, and we get a pair of unfortunate potholes in an otherwise smooth road.
Villa isn’t perfect, but I think I like it better than its forerunner. Not that I didn’t like Pizza as a whole, but the last 4 minutes of it were the movie viewing equivalent of Jabba the Hutt sneezing on the last slice of a Chicago deep dish. Villa‘s finale, on the other hand, finishes out on a higher note. A twist ending was expected, so I went into it with zero surprise or fanfare, but at least this one doesn’t shit the bed. It’s a tad more predictable than the last one, but in that way where you feel smarter for having sussed it out yourself ahead of time rather than in that “Tales From the Crypt” bullshit “because karma” way.
There don’t seem to be any plans in place to extend this double feature out into a trilogy. At least not from what I was able to find on the worldwide wasteland. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that I’d like to see what kind of resumes either Chekravarthy or Karthik Subbaraj (writer-director of the original) establish for themselves following their forays into cinematic spook houses. I’d slaughter a goat in their honor, but that’s some pretty medieval cruelty by today’s standards. Instead, I’ll kill a few corned beef sliders from Arby’s. Yes! I discovered there are things on their menu that don’t make dumpster sludge look like a viable alternative for your mid-afternoon munchies! Not to be confused with Munchies, which is not a viable alternative to Gremlins, despite what Roger Corman would have you believe. That would be Critters. Or Ghoulies.
Well, that’s pretty much it for this episode! EDB will be happy, at least, being my editor and all. There are some things where women prefer less length on, folks. Happy 16th anniversary, dear! 😀
“Well? Are you just going to stand there watching me all night, or are you going to turn this tuning fork solo into a duet?!”
From the look on the other guy’s face, I’d say Jeb picked a pretty poor time to denounce his religion and all of its followers…
“We’re looking more for books about young women who let wealthy older men degrade them and put things in their butt for sexual fulfillment. Do you write anything like that, perhaps?”
“Seriously Diane? Why do all of your paintings have to be of famous people as centaurs? There’s something wrong with you.”
“For the last time, it’s a mole, NOT an M&M! Stop trying to pick at it!”
Jeez Greg, what did you do, get into a fist fight with your lunch?! You look like you got tea bagged by a Sloppy Joe! Go wash your face and get back to work!
“What duh ya mean ‘am I drunk’?! Thish ish MYYYYY wedding day! Not yoursh! MINE! If I wanna have shomeshing to drrrrink to settle MY nervesh on MYYYY wedding, I WILL! I’m an adult! Who are you, my dad!? No, I really *hiccup* don’t recognize you. Are you my dad?!”
If this were a SyFy Original movie, a giant computer generated platypus-sea urchin hybrid would come out of the water to eat these two before going off to fight Sharktopus.
That is easily the worst prop dog corpse I’ve seen since that episode of “The People’s Court” where the special effects guy sued the producer of a low budget movie because he wouldn’t pay him for the shitty prop dog corpse he made. It looks like an emaciated Pillow Pet!
“Oh mighty Lord Dagon! I ask you to rise from the depths and take my father’s life as sacrifice to the greatness of the Deep Ones!”
“Billy, why can’t you just throw a temper tantrum when I refuse to buy you ice cream, like a normal kid?”
Oh look! There IS a pizza in this movie! And they’re eating in a PitStop restaurant, like the one seen in the original Pizza! Specious justification of title successful!
“I’m sorry, Sir, but as the ad stated, the price for my son is 15,000 and not a rupee less!”
It’s the ghost of Santa Chewbacca!
“I call this piece, ‘Slender Man Takes a Bride’. It’s from my ‘Creepypasta Period’. The bidding starts at 15. Bitcoins only!”
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: David “Jerry Springer: the Opera” Bedella , Haley Flaherty , Ben “Jesus Christ Superstar – Live Arena Tour” Forster
Director: Christopher “Theater director guy” Luscombe
Writer: Richard “Shock Treatment” O’Brien
In honor of today’s episode, I’ll be holding The Tomb’s first ALL NUDE REVIEW!… which basically just means that I’ll be doing all of the viewing and typing and screen caps and editing while butt-ass nekkid! Which I technically do all the time anyway. Yes, everybody, it’s time to come clean: Anubis is Anudist. *rimshot*
After 40 years, it’s time to do the Time Warp again!
Well, I say “again”, but there’s a very populous group of fans that have been keeping Richard O’Brien’s (demented) brain child alive and well since its debut via midnight movie viewings, shadow cast shows, conventions, and reproductions of the original “The Rocky Horror Show” stage play that gave birth to its cinematic offspring. In honor of the movie’s big 4-0, O’Brien collaborated with noted stage director (I’m presuming, as I know shit all about the world of the stage beyond seeing “Evil Dead: the Musical” and “Re-Animator: the Musical” off-off-Broadway) Christopher Luscombe to put together a production of The Show in London for the first time since it’s original showing! Which is kinda weird since the original show premiered in 1973, so it seems a 40th anniversary gala for said stage performance would’ve been better held in 2013 instead…
The BBC broadcast the performance a little over a week ago, which is why I’m able to complain about it here today! Thank the BBC, kids. “Thanks, the BBC!”
My background on Rocky Horror reads as follows: I’ve seen the movie a few dozen times (not bad for someone who generally treats movies as a single-serving entertainment experience), including a regular midnight screening and a full-on shadow cast. I’ve never seen the original play version though, so I guess that technically makes me a Rocky Horror Show virgin all over again going into this. For those unfamiliar with the legend of the Rocky Horror (for shame, you gods damned philistines!), it’s not about that time noted Doctor of Punchology, Rockford P. Balboa, fought the fightingest fight of his fightin’ life against Jason Vorhees to avenge the time Big J punched the head of off Apollo Creed’s nephew during his weekend in Manhattan (*cough*Vancouver*cough*). Just give me your hand and let me lead you down the dark paths of this magical forest of preversion, self-empowerment, and “puuuure imaginaaaaation”.
Oh, and despite this broadcasting just a week ago, there will be blood(y spoilers) ahead for this episode, since the movie it mirrors has been around for four friggin’ decades. GOYA (Get off your ass)!
Our tale takes place in the bygone era of the early ’70s. In the waning days of the Nixon presidency/shame parade, and during the birth years of such classic manufactured horrors as The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The heroes/victims of our story are Brad Majors (Ben Forster) and Janet Weiss (Haley Flaherty) – a disgustingly pleasant pairing of wholesome Americana college kids who look like they fell off of a Norman Rockwell TV tray. Following their mutual friends’ wedding, Brad proposed to his virginal flower and the two are now newly engaged. Head over heels (not literally, as they’re saving that for the honeymoon) with the proceedings, the kids make it a point to share the good news by paying a visit to their favorite college professor, Dr. Everett Scott (Richard Meek… huh huh, “Dick Meek”), in whose class they first met. On the way to Dr. Scott’s place, on a dark and stormy night, their car has a blow out and they’re forced to seek shelter in hopes of finding a phone to call for a tow at a nearby castle (looks more like a mansion if you ask me…not that you did). Or, as Brad presumes it to be upon their entrance, “A hunting lodge for rich weirdos”.
A lanky, twisted, heroin chic, Igorian mutant named RiffRaff (Kristian Lavercombe) that serves as the butler/groundskeeper/handyman invites the straight-laced nerds in, where they discover a party’s being held by a bunch of festive oddballs wearing tuxedos and sunglasses. Amidst them, Riffster’s sister, the
mansion’s castle’s maid Magenta (Jayde Westaby, who also sings the show’s opening and closing theme “Science Fiction/Double Feature” dressed as an usherette) and an overly excitable party girl/groupie named Columbia (Sophie Linder-Lee). After the trio of non-extras leads the young couple in a song-and-dance lesson through their favorite trot “The Time Warp”, the mansion’s castle’s owner injects himself into the festivities with a grand sing-and-strut of his own. Dr. Frank-N-Furter (David Bedella, who’s in ridiculously good shape for a dude in his early-50s!) is, in his own words (well, lyrics), “not much of a man by the light of the day”. But that’s okay, because we’re told that once the sun goes down he transmogrifies into “one hell of a lover”. I guess that means he’s a sex werewolf?
Frank’s also a self-proclaimed sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania. Not a gender-bender convention in Count Dracula’s hometown, Transsexual is actually (but not really) a planet in the galaxy of Transylvania. And what are these extraterrestrial perverts doing on our planet? I think they’re supposed to be spying on the US government, but Frank’s more interested in gorging himself on the many sexual flavors of the indulgence buffet known as the human race. Following his introductory “Sweet Transvestite” song, Frank invites Brad and Janet to join he and the rest of the party guests in his laboratory (not lavatory), where he’ll introduce them to his new pet project…after the kids have been stripped down to their tighty-whities, so as to not catch cold in their wet clothes… ?
F-Bomb’s latest experiment in the field of deviance is a DIY boy toy named Rocky Horror (Dominic Andersen), whom the mad doctor built to satisfy all of his macho muscleman fantasies. He looks more than a little like Gordon Scott as Tarzan, what with his oiled-up muskles and leopard print briefs. Upon giving life to his Speedo sporting Frankenstein fetish freak, Dr. F sings a lovely song to him about how eager he is to deflower the 5 minute old bodybuilder, but the shenanigans are interrupted by Frank’s former boyfriend Eddie (ol’ Dick Meek again), who breaks out of a cryogenic freeze (that Frank put him in) to jump around and sing about how much he loves Rock ‘N Roll and “hot patootie”. He means ass, right? He’s not talking about potatoes? I mean, I’m with him in either case, I just wanted to confirm the inference Edward’s going for.
After his solo segment is complete, Ed’s gone just as soon as he’d arrived, stalked screaming back into the walk-in freezer by a pickaxe wielding Frank to what we can only assume a messy doom. Columbia, who we learned is Eddie’s girlfriend (well, ex-girlfriend, situationally), screams in mourning at losing her man for a second time due to Frank’s corrupting and psychotic influence. Having had enough excitement for one night, Frank retires from the festivities to his Honeymoon Suite with Rocks in tow, while Brad and Janet are shown their separate rooms. The doctor shows them both his bedside manner, though, as he sneaks in on each pretending to be their significant others under the sheets and seduces them, starting with Jpeg then moving on to B-rad. Both resist at first, but both also end up giving in to the prevert’s persuasive powers after a few short moments of “Doesn’t it feel nice?” and “I promise not to tell your partner that you were easier to bang than a girl on Cosby candies”.
Janet regrets her decision, wondering if she’s still worthy of Bradley now that she’s no longer able to wear a white wedding dress in good conscience. Her remorse is soon cured though, when she witnesses Brad getting Frank-N-Furter’s frankfurter in his cornhole. Confused and likely disturbed at the idea that her fiance might prefer the company of men (Homer: “Who doesn’t?!”), she grabs the nearest dick (in this case, Rocky’s) and has a distraction ride, embracing her sexuality and going from virgin-to-sexpot almost immediately. As she sings, she’s tasted blood and she wants more (more! MORE!).
No, she’s not a vampire. It’s a metaphor. She means she’s a dick fiend now.
Dr. FNF’s afterglow post lightening of Brad’s load is interrupted by Riff, warning the Boss that there’s an intruder in the
mansion castle. Said intruder? Why, it’s Dr. Scott! Yep. The wheelchair bound professor that B&J were seeking out when this all started just happens to have made his way over to “the Frankenstein place”! Frank captures the mustachioed meddler with a high-powered magnet, but as he’s explaining what business it is that brought him here, the cavorting Jan and Rock’s infidelitous actions are unveiled in front of everybody! After a bout of shouting each others names (Janet! Brad! Janet! Dr. Scott! Rocky!), the awkward moment is interrupted by Magenta, declaring that dinner is prepared! At least in the movie.
Yeah, sorry to say that the amazing dinner scene of the “Picture” rendition of The Show is not a thing in this stage version. Bummer.
Scotty sings about how Eddie was a good-but-troubled boy who get wrapped up with the wrong people, after which Frank freaks out everyone by revealing Eddie’s remains (under glass like a carved turkey in the movie, or as a garbage bag full of meat that gets Hot Potato-ed in the play). Accusations start to fly with Frank accusing B&J of being spies working with Dr. Scott (who is implied to be a former Nazi scientist!), who are there to steal the secrets of his mad science. Speaking of, Frank ensnares them with his Transducer (it will seduce ya) machine, turning them into statues. He tells his minions to prepare their guests for some grand scheme, but Columbia goes rogue (not Anna Paquin) and stands up to the doc only to join the others, leaving Riff and Mags to do the grunt work…after they do some bizarro incestuous Lambada elbow shit. Great for a secret handshake, just not with a family member.
The captives are dressed up like extras from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and do a big number with Frank centered around not being ashamed of your desires and making your dreams your reality. This meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society is interrupted by Raffie and Maggie though, who declare a mutiny against the one-man bacchanal that is their captain. Their first order of business? To pack up everything and head back to Transsexual. Frank’s oddly cool with the idea, and sings a soliloquy about going back home, but has his good day chewed up and barfed out when RiffTrax clarifies that he was only referring to himself and Magenta going back. Dr. Furter is to remain on Earth…”in spirit, anyway”.
Columbia dies first, zapped to death with RiffRaff’s ray gun, before he gives Dr. F some of the same. Rocky too is executed when he tries to protect his fallen master. Scotty commends the new commander (you now are his prisoner!) on doing what he had to do, for the good of “society”. Riff replies by telling the normies to get the fuck out, hissing “Gooooo…. nowwwww!” before launching the mansion castle into outer space. Brad, Janet, and Dr. S are left in the rubble that remains (a metaphor for their own broken lives) wondering how they’ll deal with the can of Graboid sized worms that a night with a cross dressing extraterrestrial sex pest opened for them…
Such is the story, now what about the stage show? Well, if you’re like me and you’re going in expecting it to mirror the movie, you’re gonna have a bad time. This is way more sing-songy than Picture Show. It feels more like Grease than the Rocky Horror I know and love. That undercurrent of menace and macabre that RHPS gave us is softened to the point that there’s no dread here. The whole production feels almost overproduced, giving it the weird air of an awards show, what with the more upbeat music, applauding audience and commercial breaks.
Though I love the audience participation of the film (it’s the progenitor of riffing! And it features a guy named RiffRaff!), the crowd for this live performance does the same and it actually kinda pokes the show in the eyes. According to an interview with BBC (as seen here – http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-33715874), O’Brien isn’t the biggest fan of said interaction, as it threatens to overshadow the show and can turn off Rocky Horror virgins who don’t know the heckling is done for fun rather than malice. From personal experience, you can also feel like someone who came to a karaoke party not knowing it was a karaoke party, and wind up feeling like an outsider asshole when everyone else knows the lyrics while you just mumble or move your lips, trying to be cool too. Same as I did in junior high band when I’d just finger my trumpet while everybody else played the actual notes. Fake it till you make it, kids.
Yes, I just said “I’d just finger my trumpet”. I’ll finger yours too if you’re nice, ladies.
Some of the cast members came prepared though, likely having some experience with improv acting and/or being well-honed heckler deflectors. They earn the audience’s respect by ad libbing responses. Good because it makes the crowd feel like part of the show, but bad for the performers who weren’t as equipped. David Bedella, already playing a role that requires zen master precision to keep a straight face, was reduced to nigh-“Jimmy Fallon on SNL” levels of character breaking awkward laughter. If that’s the type of thing that you enjoy (which I do, sometimes), then this should be on your to-watch list. If you don’t like being taken out of the show though (which I don’t, more often than not), keep some Preparation H close because I’m predicting some butt hurt during your viewing experience. Individual results may vary.
One interesting twist to the live show is the Narrator’s role. Played stupendously by former Bond baddie Blofeld (one of many) Charles “Diamonds Are Forever” Gray during RHPS, here the part is divided amidst a small troupe of quasi-celebs. Perpetually suicidal comedian Stephen Fry (I hope you find peace of mind before you’re forced to go to the point of no return one day, Sir) kicks things off, while Richard O’Brien himself gets the biggest pop of the night for his moments later. Former Baby Spice Emma Bunton also shows up, along with former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Giles, Anthony Head. Adrian Edmondson and Mel Giedroyc also get their a few segments, but I don’t know shit about British TV outside of reruns of “Flying Circus“, “Peep Show“, “Red Dwarf“, “Are You Being Served?“, and “Danger Mouse“. Whomever he is though, Edmondson (who does his parts pantsless and wearing stockings) handles the audience participation/interference the best of the group, so I give him props on that for sure.
It’s odd seeing Rocky have actual lines here, since the movie version had so few. Limited in the script because the Swede playing him knew no English, I’m sure. But it makes better sense to me that a newborn creature like Rocky wouldn’t have a whole lotta speech processing power while he’s waiting for his brain to straighten out and is back to a learning curve. Dave Bedella’s body is bulkier than Tim Curry’s Slenderman frame, so his Frank’s not as lanky. He’s too muscly and wide shouldered for my tastes, but again, I’m basing my ideals for these roles on their movie counterparts. Keeping with that, I don’t like Ben Forster’s Brad either. In an exactly opposite complaint, I found him to be too small and wimpy in comparison to the big, goofy, tries-to-be-a-tough-guy Barry Bostwick version. It’s more fun to watch a moderately macho man reduced to an abandoned little boy crying for mommy than seeing it happen to just another nerd from an AP Calculus class.
Kristian Lavercombe’s RiffRaff was more a background letdown than the twisted attention grabbing one O’Brien himself gave us before. Oh, and don’t even mention Magenta to the Evil Dead Bride. She may just bite your face off. Vegetarians can get vicious when you fuck with their favorite characters and Jayde Westaby is NOT her Magenta. And what was the fucking deal with Dick Meek’s Dr. Scott?! Where in the Crispix encrusted HELL was his German accent!? That cheesy accent was the best part of the doctor and now it’s nowhere to be seen!? Fuck that.
Finally, the songs are pretty much the same, with the same lyrics and tunes that you remember, but they’ve been cheered up a level or two. Most egregious being “I’m Coming Home” sounds like a fucking Kenny G remix with the addition of a distractingly prominent sax part. It threw me off like Christopher Reeves’ horse. Brad also gets a song of his own that wasn’t in the movie. It’s nothing life changing, but when I’m already not a fan of your Brad, giving you more time and a solo bit aren’t helping. It all plays into that aforementioned “If you really like Grease (or Hairspray), then you might like this!” feeling.
If I weren’t in love with the movie, I might like this version more than I do. The different cast and tone were jarring at first, but I warmed up to Bedella’s Dr. F (his lizard/Joker mouth and elongated diddler tongue give him a deviant tone unique from that of Mr. Curry’s Frankie) and I thought the set pieces were done well, especially Frank’s ’50s sci-fi movie lab. The seductions of Brad and Janet were standout sequences too, shot vertically to give it an “overhead” feel that gives the audience a better angle to see the players at work.
I didn’t Hapschatt my pants with joy for the play, but despite my numerous bitchings, to quote Columbia, I thought it was “okay”. In all fairness, this rendition is O’Brien’s intended form of the story. He only changed things for the movie to give it a more palatable pace for the format. My Evil Dead Bride would give Rocky Horror Show Live a 1.5-out-of-5, but I’ll settle on a 3. Not horrible, but considering that I hold Picture Show in 5 star regard, still a let down. I give it one severed thumb up and a “there are worse ways to spend my time”… *cough*like the next episode*cough*
Oh yeah. 20th Century Fox apparently found out about the big birthaversary a little too late to do anything special this year, but are putting together a TV movie remake aiming to air next year. If you’re a stickler for technicalities (like I tend to be), it actually makes more sense, since the movie’s legit 40th anniversary will be 2016, as anniversaries don’t start being counted until the completion of the first year. Said remake’s already shaping up like Dogma‘s Gologothan (i.e. a huge, hideous, septic sludge golem) though, so the less said about it the better. Especially the whole part about how they’ve cast a female actor to play Frank, since they’ve learned nothing about how not to piss of the RHPS fans from that menstrual blood clot of a “Glee” episode they did years ago. Cunts.
And yes, I’m well aware that Laverne Cox is a transitioned female and thus used to be a man. It doesn’t change the fact that she’s now a woman being cast to play a male transvestite! It’s fuckin’ limper than Dick Cheney’s prick. I will likely put up a review for it after it airs, just so I can add my own gripes and miserable old man groans to the sea of enraged fans the world over. If you have any hopes for it, take note: Richard O’Brien doesn’t support it, sees no need for it, and the only reason he hasn’t verbally vomited all over it is because he’s of that “If you can’t say anything nice, blah blah blah” mindset of polite rebellion through silence.
If you missed the original broadcast of “The Rocky Horror Show Live” and this episode wasn’t enough to dissuade you from seeing it, BBC America will be doing an encore airing on Halloween at, you guessed it, midnight. So, if you haven’t blacked out on candy corn vodka by then (you disgust me), and you’re not otherwise busy questioning your sexuality while being seduced by a guy in high heels and a teddy, give your peepers some creeper time.
Or, if you lack cable, you can just do like we did and watch it in the eviscerated entrails of a virgin.
OR or, you could finally figure out how torrents work! Damn it, people, it’s almost 2016! Show some fucking initiative! Cable companies are just gonna keep using you for a urinal so long as you let ’em! Viva la revolution!
“Candy! Popcorn! Soda! French ticklers! Butt plugs! Candy! Popcorn! Soda! French ticklers! Butt plugs!”
Brad and Janet reenact their favorite scene from Dumb & Dumber. “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”
Brad proposes to his lady love while his van watches nearby, clearly enraged. Brad probably promised Christine that he was on the verge of leaving Janet… Hell hath no furry like a Winnebago scorned!
Stephen Fry: proof that the bully in school who harassed you for always having “your nose in a book”, was trying to protect your proboscal integrity the whole time!
Our heroes are harassed by a Ramones cover band!
If you wanna be my lover,
you gotta dance with my friends!
Pulls your knees in tight,
the Time Warp never ends!
Rue McClanahan is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
In an attempt to modernize the story during the ’90s, O’Brien did a Rocky Horror production that saw Frank teach everyone how to dance the Macarena. It was rightly shit-canned by everyone and never spoken of again.
It’s time for everyone’s favorite new game show: “Name That Tarzan!”
Oh, I’ve heard of this! Rich people with nothing better to do with their lives sleep in upright standing beds because they think it reduces wrinkles. They call it “flamingo-ing”.
That awkward moment when you both wake up in the morning and discover someone shit the bed… and realize it was both of you.
Unhappy with his pay from “Name That Tarzan”, the king of the jungle sets up a conference call with his agents: two orangutans and a Jewish panther.
“You’ve got an Interocetor?!”
“I’ve been using it to make hot chocolate!”
That day, Brad learned that people in wheelchairs aren’t helpless. In fact, their situation makes it much easier for them to punch you in the dick when you call them “Wheels”.
Oh come on! Even Grace Jones thinks your outfits are a little much!
In the final stage of his evolution, Richard O’Brien resembles the love child of Graf Orlok and Bat Boy.
Anubis will return next time in
“Willy Wonka’s House of Horrors”
Featuring: Essie “The Matrix: Reloaded” Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel “Fell” Henshall
Director & Writer: Jennifer “Monster (2005)” Kent
Hey strangers! Long time no see! It’s been a rough couple of months. But, not unlike a boomerang, this man-dingo (not to be confused with Mandingo) comes back sooner or (in this case) later! Despite being forged of mithril, it turns out my otherwise invincible laptop wasn’t waterproof OR whiskeyproof. Since I lost all of the original graphics and write-ups I’d made for the World Tour reviews, today’s episode will be the debut of my new, lazier format! No teasers about the next stop, no comedically morbid trivia about the origin nations, and no customized images. Instead, here’s my immensely slothy banner. Now get reading!
Charlie, Charlie, were the people who “summoned” you (before you were revealed to be a viral marketing ploy for yet another shitty “found footage” ghost movie) just gullible dip shits who would better serve the world as a new Taco Bell menu item called “the Soylent Grande”?
Charlie, Charlie, would this gag have gone over better if I’d published this episode two months ago, when I originally started writing it?
Charlie, Charlie, did you see the trailer for The Babadook and think you were on the cusp of Australian cinema’s “next big thing”?
Charlie, Charlie, were you as disappointed by The Babadook as I was?
Unlike when I’m masturbating on the toilet in the dark after waking up from that Barbara Crampton sex dream I’m always having, right now it’s nice to know I’m not alone…
The writer-director of today’s feature is Jennifer Kent. Jenn’s other credits mostly consist of minor acting roles, so my biggest fear was that The Babadook is the result of yet another person in front of the camera getting sick of being told how to utilize the trauma of their childhood dog being hit by a car to force tears, and vowing to prove to everyone that she can do “their job” better than “they” can. The initial trailer promised me something a little more conventional in the game of supernatural hauntings, which I was more than happy to welcome into my home given the scads of pathetic “found footage” spook-show garbage that’s run rampant through the genre for the last however many years it’s been since the first Paranormal Craptivity planted its hooks into theaters and laid eggs from its oozing, inflamed orifice.
If you haven’t scanned the trailer for yourself, pop in yo’ peepers and get to jeeper creeperin’:
At first glance, we’re promised what looks to be a traditional tale of childhood torment, as a boy and his mother become the hosts for a phantasm released from a children’s fable book. Right? Kinda yes, kinda no.
Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother. Not an uncommon thing. I know several single mothers. This isn’t even a setup for one of those “I support single mothers” t-shirts with the image of a stripper on a pole. I legit know a few single mothers. Hell, my own sister/mom Isis had to do the single mom thing after poppa Osiris ended up six feet under the Fertile Crescent. Amelia’s got it harder than most mono-matriarchs though, not only because her qualification for MILF dating sites is due to her husband’s untimely demise, but because her boy Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is a problem child. Well, I guess the politically correct term for it these days would be bi-polar or “dissociative personality disorder” or whatever the poor kid’s got rattling around in his junior skull bucket. Speaking of, the Junior Skull Bucket™ at KFC now comes with sugar-frosted coleslaw and one of twelve moderately racist toys based on the hit film A Haunted House 2, for a limited time only! Get your glow-in-the-dark “Shawn Wayans fucking the doll from The Conjuring” plaything with no-slip kung-fu grip TODAY!
As I was saying, Sammy’s the kind of kid that Hank Hill would redneck psychology diagnose as “that boy ain’t right”. As a result of his issues, he has recurring night terrors about being stalked by a monster. Like any kid, he’s convinced that said monster is fer realsies and will one day pop out of his closet like Howie Mandell in Little Monsters (you know, the movie that Pixar ripped the fuck off to make Monsters Inc.), only instead of taking Sam on a wild adventure through an ’80s punk-pop dreamscape and teaching him lessons about friendship and being yourself, it’ll just wear the boy’s dismembered face as formal dinner attire while it goes on to eat his mom’s head…what, you’ve never had that dream? Pffft. Liar.
To prepare for said imagined assault, Sammy proves himself quite the Kevin McCallister-in-training, assembling a dart firing crossbow, a back-mounted personal catapult, and all manner of DIY ballistic devices in their basement using nothing but pieces of scrap wood and the kind of basic doodads you find in those $5 “Made in China” toolbox sets. On top of that he’s also an aspiring Copperfield, but practicing his magic tricks (George Bluth Jr.: “Illusions!” ) for mom only garner the slightest of parental recognition. The kid’s got the potential to be a damn genius, but rather than encouragement he gets scolded by Amelia for always fucking stuff up, causing trouble at school and generally being annoying. Even when he reaches out and hugs mom in a much needed embracive moment of bonding, she violently pushes the lad away and yells at him for lingering slightly too long beyond her comfort zone. Women react like that to me all the time, but it’s usually because they catch me trying to undo their bra or drifting slightly too south of the Equator. That’s our Anubis! [canned audience laughter]
Amelia defends Sammy’s eccentricities to his detractors and insists they see him as an innocent child instead of just some pint-sized pain-in-the-ass. Though your first reaction (like mine was) may be that she’s just trying to save face in front of people so they don’t label her another shitty mom who should’ve just swallowed, Amelia does seem to do her best to show the kid as much love as she’s capable of. Not just out of guilt, but because her own emotional problems don’t allow for anything more. It can be hard to understand for those lacking in empathy, but I view depression like rape – if you blame the victim, you’re a piece of shit and I will personally split your uprights with a fire-ax if you bring any of that Faux News bullshit around my tomb.
While Sam’s in school during the day, Amelia works at a retirement home/geezer palace/grandparent dumping ground, and surrounding herself with cranky old farts doesn’t help her tightrope walk of sanity over the gaping maw of madness that is her life. Her co-worker Robbie (Daniel Henshall) is a nice enough guy and is clearly interested in turning their working relationship into, well, a working relationship. He covers for her at work and cheers her up when she needs it, but never expects anything in return. He’s either the sweet would-be boyfriend our lady deserves or total Friend Zone material, depending on your perspective. Though she could use a visit from Dr. Tube Steak (the Double A’s in her battery-operated boyfriend would agree), Amelia prefers to either be ashamed of her situation or play martyr by not wanting to drag anyone into the personal hell she’s built for herself. Good for her there’s always Convent-sized 200 packs of Energizers on sale at G’Day-Mart!
One evening, when Am’s ready to read Sam his nightly pre-bedtime story, the lad brings her a tome from their bookshelf that she’s never seen before. It’s a strange adolescent grimoire of the pop-up variety called “Mister Babadook” – a dark fairytale similar to something out of the old school Brothers Grimm collections. A lot less like Disney and a lot more like Tim Burton and Clive Barker’s nightmares making a litter of Eraserhead babies. She refuses to finish the tale, which infuriates Sammy and sends him into a fit. In the days that follow, the kid starts ranting about Mr. B (naturally *wink*wink*) haunting them, which only makes everybody else wish the kid would fall down a flight of stairs more so. Mom’s attempts to hide and destroy the book prove futile, as that ominous red cover continues to find its way into their home. Every time it returns, with new chapters serving as sinister portents of horrors-to-come…
As far as movies go, The Babadook is certainly well made. The visuals are clean where they should be clean, dark when they should be dark and a wide awake nightmare when they should be a wide awake nightmare. The eponymous specter himself is done is this weird “static shadow” animation style that’s unnerving without going so over-the-top that it’s goofy. Mr. Dookie resembles a silent film era Slenderman. He looks like something that escaped from Dr. Caligari’s wardrobe, a unique homage to villains of the oldest of old schools of animation. With his ominous top hat, demented face and long black trenchcoat of a body, Dooker’s a perfect candidate for stalking Betty Boop from the inky shadows of an ominous alleyway. Bad guys were all very predatory in that rapey sort of way back then.
I give props to the cast, too. Essie Davis does the besieged mom thing like she’s had personal experience, while Noah Wiseman’s just creepy enough looking that when he goes into his screaming freak out panic attacks, he looks suitably disturbed/disturbing. If he were my kid, I’d put him in a cage and lock him in his room until he calmed down, but I guess that only serves as an abutment to my decision to raise pets rather than rugrats! Everyone else in the cast is serviceable in being selfish cunts to help the audience sympathize (or empathize in the case of we childless viewers) with Am’s plight, while the one or two supportive people around her help keep it from turning into a complete “all against one” pity party.
Unfortunately, my biggest problem comes from the production company’s sales pitch on this one. Whereas the trailer promised me a more traditional supernatural horror experience, Babadook‘s dark fantasization of Amelia’s personal anxiety and the emotionally painful relationship with her son skew it much heavier into the “movie with a message” category. That message is bludgeoned over our collective skulls like a gas-powered shillelagh for an hour and a half until the final parting scene. It’s a heart punching manifestation of severe parental depression to be sure, but as someone just looking for something to watch and NOT a suffering parent looking for an understanding perspective, it just makes me shout “YES! WE GET IT! SHE’S SAD AND THE MONSTER IS A METAPHOR FOR DEPRESSION! MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN OR GET TO THE FUCKING CREDITS!”. It makes an otherwise well done movie feel like you’re Daniel Craig tied to a chair with a hole cut out of the seat and Jennifer Kent’s going all Mads Mikkelsen on your undercarriage. Or, as they call it at Guantanamo, a “Cheney Handshake”.
All that being said, if you’re the kind of person The Babadook strives to give a voice to, give it a viewing. If you’re the kind of person that has a metaphorical titanium plate in your head that helps prevent such heavy handed allegory abuse from turning your patience into applesauce and can just enjoy the flick as sensory stimulus, by all means, jump on Netflix and have a ball. If you’re me? Well, you’re not, so anything I say about that is irrelevant. Be happy about it.
Charlie, Charlie, we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well through the course of this review, and I feel comfortable enough now that I think I can ask this without offending you.
Charlie, Charlie, if you’re supposed to be a Mexican ghost, shouldn’t your name be Carlos?
…White kids – what are you gonna do?
Until Children of Men happens? Nothing, Charlie. Nothing. Blart.
See you next episode, boils and ghouls!
“Mommy, is it true what all the kids at school say? Was my father really an albino goblin?”
The cast from A Bug’s Life looks a lot creepier when you watch it in HD.
Kid, I believe you when you say there’s nothing up your sleeves. Believe me when I tell you that if you’re still doing that shit in ten years, you won’t have anyone in your bed either.
“I don’t know, Sammy. I still don’t think it’s normal for a boy to want his mother to read him schematics for homemade explosive devices before bed every night.”
Children, if something that looks like that is trying to be your friend, run out the back door of your house and don’t stop running until you’re at the police station.
I haven’t felt so awkward reading subtitles since I watched that closed captioned copy of Last Tango in Paris… you know which part I’m talking about… yep, the scene with Marlon Brando’s Amish Astroglide™.
“Every day Mr. Harris asks me to pull his finger and every day I fall for it! Damn it!” (a little callback for any “Roseanne” fans who might be reading this)
Hence why Donald Trump pulls such high polling numbers.
Look kids, it’s footage of Jared Leto’s Joker from the latest “leaked” Suicide Squad trailer. Whoop-dee-fuck.
I see no one ever taught the Aussies how to bathe properly. It’s the 21st century and they’re still doing it like the French during the Golden Age of Ballooning. (a little callback for any “Flying Circus” fans)
She sleeps with that violin every night. Rednex fiddler Ace Ratclaw signed it for her at a 2012 show in Budapest! (a little callback for anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia to look up the members of Rednex)
A bad night for most women, sure, but a GOOD night for one of Charlie Sheen’s girlfriends! (a little callback for people who still think Charlie Sheen’s cool and domestic violence is hilarious [also, go fuck yourself with a bayonet])
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Clive “Sin City” Owen , Paul “The Illusionist” Giamatti , Monica “Brotherhood of the Wolf” Bellucci
Director: Michael “Monster Man” Davis
Writer: Michael “Monster Man” Davis
Due to the miniaturized makeup of this particle of an article, my Xtro tonight will be more of a “all the shit I forgot to touch on” rundown for the movie, which the original review sorely neglected to note. I was pleased to see that my current self seems to be pretty well in-tune with my 8 years junior self about just how “kicking your face in with its awesomeness” the movie really is. So, let’s snap into our Slim Jims (or in this case, carrots), pop in a fresh magazine and fire a few rounds of high-caliber hype at Shoot ‘Em Up!
Michael Davis. What the fuck, man?! For years you’ve been wallowing in anonymity, playing it low and quiet by making everybody think you were just another throwaway crap writer, working on shit like Charles Band kiddie productions and that colon blocking Double Dragon movie. Then you go and do something like Shoot ‘Em Up?! Forget that I’d actually heard some halfway decent praise for Monster Man before, but after seeing this shining opus of Looney Tunes run & gun parody I’m actually tempted to bump your “redneck monster truck serial killer” movie up on my viewing list! Wow, I guess Shoot ‘Em Up just goes to prove that today’s $10/hour b-movie writer very well can become tomorrow’s next cult action movie fan favorite! It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on a path to making much more money, but at least Mikey “Dynamite” Davis earned some legitimate names to star in his flick and got it pushed into a national theatrical release! It’s more than most names from the direct-to-video shelves ever manage.
The art of film parody is a tight rope act: you can either choose to go all out and make a movie that’s straightforward slapstick comedy (a la Airplane or The Naked Gun), or you can go for a more subtle parody by making a movie that less-than-insightful audiences may mistake for being just another spawn of the genre you’re elbowing in the ribs. Fortunately, the more cerebral viewers amongst us will understand the underlying winkwinknudgenudge humor beneath all of the muzzle flashes and piling bodies, so there’s always hope. The goofy option is not as easy to pull off as most people would think (Epic Movie and Date Movie, go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done), but the latter is five times harder. And Davis moonwalks across that tightrope with what appears to be ease, but no doubt required years of practice to achieve. Somehow, Beanstalk and 100 Girls was the training he needed. It’s just like Mr. Miyagi making Daniel-san wax his car and catch flies with chopsticks – it doesn’t make sense at the time, but it all comes together when somebody has to kick William Zabka in the FACE!
Originally written right around the time that the self-proclaimed “Trenchcoat Mafia” decided to gun their pimply faced teen angst into the history books, Shoot ‘Em Up was, ironically enough, shot down by all of Hollywood. Fortunately, all the Columbine hubbub eventually cooled off enough that writer-director Davis was able to impress just enough people with his ideas that he could get his feature made. Lucky for us, he did so before fatal mass shootings became something school cafeterias could schedule their lunch calendars around. Any longer on the Tinseltown back burner and Shoot ‘Em Up would’ve become just another pile of wasted ingredients doomed to a future as primordial ooze alongside some Steak & Hepatitis Quesadillas at the bottom of a Chi-Chi’s dumpster.
Shoot ‘Em Up starts off as a simple enough tale: our hero is the mysterious, carrot-chomping (good for the eyesight, better for jamming through bad guys’ faces), pet peeve riddled Fellini of firearms known only as Mr. Smith (Clive Owen at his most cool and collected state of bad-assedness). Oh, and If you’re over 40 and wear a ponytail, stay the fuck away from this guy. He finds you neither hip or young, and certainly not cool. Smith’s just waiting for a bus one night when he falls into one of those “only in the movies” wrong-place-at-the-right-time scenarios as a preggo woman on the run just happens to find herself being chased down by her pursuers within (fire)arm’s reach of our hero. Smith intervenes in protagonistic fashion, and while fending off the small army of henchgoons (he literally kills eleven guys in the movie’s first 5 minutes), our gunstar hero delivers the baby (shooting through the umbilical cord) and escapes with the rugrat intact after momma gets a bullet in her forebrain. The villain for which said goons were henching is a depraved former FBI Profiler troll (I’m sorry, “Forensic Behavior Consultant” troll) named Hertz, played sickeningly perfect by Paul Giamatti with deranged delight. Though we never get to hear his first name, I like to think it’s Richard, because “Dick Hertz” is a name that never gets not-funny.
Fortunately, the good guy has a fetish friend named D.Q. (Monica Bellucci) who works out of a whorehouse set up in an abandoned church. She lets guys nurse on her mommy juice for a price, so Smithy hands the kid over to her to keep the rugrat fed and happy. Also, pacifiers be damned, as the only thing that keeps this baby from crying is heavy metal music, making him already more metal than any baby any of you will ever have. Babysitter hired, our mangy hero sets out to uncover just what it is that Hertz has up his sleeze-sleave, why the manhunt for a seemingly harmless mother-to-be, and what it all has to do with [deep breath] an up and coming presidential candidate, gun control laws, Smith’s mysterious “tragic hero” past, a big time firearms manufacturer, stem cell experimentation, a baby harvesting operation, AND [*wheeeeze, gasp, deep breath*] a secret service agent who loves his gun in unnatural ways usually only reserved for the NRA’s “Lifetime & Beyond” membership levels! Whew.
Some people might expect the movie to wind up crushed under the weight of its own clusterfuck, but if you find you can’t handle the plot twists and story elements, just switch off your logic chip (or tear the damn thing out) and play “Count the Bodies” (patent pending) instead!
When I initially rented Crank, I realized that I’d missed what could’ve been a pisser of a theatrical experience. When I first saw the trailers for Shoot ‘Em Up, I did not wish to let my past mistake repeat itself and knew I’d instead be adding another ticket stub to the collection. Oh please, like you don’t have a drawer full of stubs for every movie you’ve gone to since the 5th grade! Between this and Children of Men, I’ve become an increasingly bigger fan of Clive Owen over the last year. I actually considered going to see Elizabeth: the Golden Age because he’s in it! I didn’t, mind you, but I considered it, and that’s saying something in and of itzelf. Yeah, there’s a ‘z’ there. You read right. I found a case of Zimas walled up in my office by the house’z previouz owner. Zo what?
Anyway, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and to a lesser extent, (for you guys just looking for a piece of ass to stare at) Monica Bellucci all play up their parts in parodic performances. Owen’s action hero one-liners can get annoying around the movie’s mid-section, Bellucci’s overdone accent tends to do the same and Giamatti gets to the point where he’s just too gross to look at. But that’s what they’re SUPPOSED TO DO. Even if you can’t get past the acting-to-extremes, all of the absurd over-the-top action, the movie’s unexpectedly positive message about gun control amidst the inclusion of every ’80s NRA boner flick cliche, the killer soundtrack, cringe worthy gestapo-like torture moments, a phe-fucking-nomenal car chase scene, a Home Aloneian shooting orgy in an armory, the coolest damn aerial action sequence since Crank, and the general enjoyment that comes from your stomach muscles hurting because you’ve been laughing at the fact that a man was just killed with a carrot, all make the trip from worthwhile. Besides, when a movie can actually make me sit through an entire playing of “Kick Start My Heart” without feeling bad that I’m listening to a Motley Crue song, that’s just magic.
Xtro: Having re-watched SEU for the first time in years to do this rerun, I forgot just how much fucking fun it is to behold! So much fun, it’s the only movie out of the 36 reviews I’ve done since the reopening of the site to actually attain GOLD FEATHER status! The absurdity is just pure, uncut, Colombian enjoyment candy. You know how so many movies anymore are the product of music video directors trying to fudge an aesthetic that works best in small bits into a 90min marathon, and they just end up winded, wheezing, and clutching their burning chests in career agony while their nipples bleed, shit runs down the backs of their legs, and they blackout into obscurity? Shoot ‘Em Up? This is the type of movie where that shit (rather than the aforementioned poo-poo pudding) works!
Smith is the definition of the cool guy hero: he spews painfully stupid one-liners and witty retorts with confidence, he’s the balance of macho and sensitive that make men want to be him and women want to be on top of him and he can split a horsefly’s butthole from a hundred yards from 100 yards. I mean, the guy’s the Jackie Chan of gun-fu! The Annie Oakley of ass kicking! Motherfucker makes Hawkeye look like Mr. Magoo! Just having the deadest of deadeyes isn’t enough to make widows of an entire goon army’s wives though, so naturally Smith has the action hero trait known as the “GI Joe Gene”, thus making him immune to actually being shot. He’s so untouchable, his first name’s probably Unus!… little geek humor for my nipples deep X-Men fan boys and girls out there in the world wide wasteland.
In an interesting twist on the bang bang movie tropes, Hertz isn’t just another scumbag boss who won’t get his hands dirty. He’s always in the thick of the action, and makes sure to tell everyone about it in case the audience didn’t notice. Because he’s not allowed to die prior to the big finale showdown, Hertz too has the Joe Gene (well, the Cobra strain), allowing him to avoid even the slightest scratch in spite of the myriad corpses piling around his ankles from Smith’s bullet barrage. Worry not though, as our hero eventually finds a technicality in the script’s “bad guy can’t be killed by guns” rule by taking the term “firearm” to new literal heights that could change the way the Supreme Court looks at enforcing gun laws.
Since we’re well past the shelf date for spoilers on this can of kill soup, if you thought Honey Bunny and Ringo picked the wrong day to rob a diner, that’s nothing compared to the last scene of Shoot ‘Em Up.
Sadly, this rerun doubles as an epitaph for a career that ended too soon, because it looks like Shoot ‘Em Up may have been the nail in the coffin for Michael Davis’ time as a movie maker. The gent has not had a worthwhile film credit in the 8 years since. This saddens me. Anubis no like. Bad medicine. I’m sorry Mr. Davis, but your vision was too beautiful for this world. May you find the renown you deserve when Hollywood inevitably remakes Shoot ‘Em Up in 2037 and you’re wheeled to the to premiere as a living head in a jar…like a candle in the wind.
Moral of the Story: What’s worse than a bullet in your ass? Two.
“Ain’t I a stinker?” Well, you look like you haven’t showered in a week, so I’m gonna say… yes.
Paul Giamatti responds to critics of Fred Claus.
“I don’t know Mr. Giamatti. I mean, I actually liked Lady in the Water… well, kinda. I thought you were pretty good, at least.”
Don’t want a gun in your face and your life under threat of immediate termination? DON’T CASUALLY FART IN THE FACES OF PEOPLE BEHIND YOU ON THE ESCALATOR!
What the fuck is with the human wall?! Did someone switch out reels with a Hellraiser movie on me?!
Exactly why I don’t pop a zit right before going out with someone. I keep eyeball stickers on hand for concealing such emergencies.
Okay, I know enlistment rates are down, but I think the US Army’s going a little far with their recruitment tactics these days.
Clive Owen auditions for the part of The Rat King in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel.
“Wait… you’re Marilyn Manson, aren’t you?! I love your work! I have all your albums!”
“Wait… you’re Cher, aren’t you?! I love your work! I have all your albums!”
“Well Junior, you’re almost 4 hours old. You’ve sucked your first hooker tit and I think you’re ready for your first concealed weapon!”
Someone misunderstands the concept of having “protected sex”. This is what happens when your sex ed class is taught by the head of your local NRA chapter.
Gas-X had mixed results from their new “sexier” ad campaign.
Okay, these fucking Terminator sequels are just getting silly.
Robert Patrick’s uncle, ladies and gentlemen. Paul Giamatti is not amused.
One of the most metal deaths you can have? Torn to pieces by helicopter blades! One of the least metal faces you can make before your big death? This guy’s.
That’s pretty much how I feel about Shoot ‘Em Up. *SPLOOSH!*
Anubis will return next time in
“Night of the Living Ludgate”