Featuring: Peter “Shaun of the Dead” Serafinowicz , Griffin “Vinyl” Newman , Jackie Earle “Watchmen” Haley
Director: Wally “Transcendence” Pfister
Writer: Ben “The Tick (1994 & 2001)” Edlund
Did everyone hear about Ford’s announcement that they’ll have self-driving cars in mass production by 2021? Some people are excited for these mechanical miracles, others feel they’re bound to be the biggest techno turd since Google Glass. The only difference being that this time the asshats won’t be walking blindly into traffic, the traffic will be coming after them. Speaking of, am I the only one who hears a story about fleets of self-propelled vehicles being introducing to America’s highways and wonders, “Does no one remember MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE?!”. Then I remember that no, no one remembers Maximum Overdrive. And I weep.
Anyway, afraid I may have been showing the early signs of Stockholm Syndrome with my last review (Damn you, Asylum!), I'm cutting their brand of imitation cheese out of my digital diet for a while. In search of something new, I came across the news that Amazon's 8th Pilot Season was underway. For those who don't know what that is, Pilot Season is where Amazon releases a number of preview episodes (the eponymous pilots) for potential shows that they may turn into full serieses dependent upon varying factors, including (but not contingent to) viewer feedback. Such successes include “Transparent” and “The Man in the High Tower”, while a reboot of the Krofft brothers’ “Sigmund and the Sea Monster” and the proposed “Zombieland” show count among its dead. While this season’s standouts for many seem to be the JCVD starring “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” and the awkwardly titled Kevin Bacon showcase “I Love Dick” (yes, Mr. Bacon, we all know that you love dick), the only pilot I care to watch is the adaptation of Ben Edlund’s lovable comic book galoot, The Tick.
Sitting at an impressive 4.5 star rating as of this review, “The Tick” is the third attempt at bringing the hero to television. He’s now the Spider-Man of the small screen! Movie Spider-Man, not TV Spider-Man. That webhead’s had more cartoons than I can keep count of. The Tickster’s network origins started with 3 seasons of Fox’s Saturday morning animated series (featuring former Monkee Mickey Dolenz as the original voice of Arthur!) from ’94 – ’96 and petering out with the all-too-short lived 2001 live-action series (starring Patrick Warburton) that Fox canceled after only 8 of its 9 episodes were aired. A lot of people were saddened by the treatment of this “Seinfeld” for superheroes, but I never really got into it. I was more heartbroken by the demise of the cartoon, myself, and saw it as a high mark that a sitcom (especially one where the always masked face of the titular blue vigilante was no longer masked!) probably wouldn’t have lived up to anyway. BUT (I like big buts and I cannot lie), with Edlund making this effort more true to its illustrated roots, let’s see if his pilot can sever the Grey Poupon.
Oh, and as a side note, this episode is directed by Wally Pfister – a guy whose last name simultaneously makes me think of boner pills (Pfizer) and severe rectal trauma (fister). Just thought I’d point that out.
Our tale begins in 1908, the “dawn of the age of superheroes”. An alien structure descended into our atmosphere and EXPLODED, setting fire to many an innocent flora and fauna while bringing forth yet another dollar store knock-off of the Son of Krypton. This spandex clad, cape wearing, just-another-Übermensch from the stars calls himself Superian (Brendan Hines), pronounced “Soup-ear-e-uhn” and not “Super Ian”… a nom de vigilantism that now has me distracted by thoughts of Scott Ian dressed red and blue long underwear with the familiar ‘S’ shield on his chest… which would probably piss him off, because he’d rather be Judge Dredd…
With such a pillar of justice and super punchery in their midst, you can't blame the people of the world for wanting to become superheroes (and super-villains) in their own right, and such is the axis upon which our story turns. One of these wanna be do-gooders is Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman), who has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Superian's nemesis The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley). Despite the Big S' assurance that the fiend is deader than Mel Gibson's career post “Jews, niggers, and Sugar Tits, oh my!”, Arthur's not convinced, and has been Hardy Boy-ing around in his spare time to uncover the truth. It's during one of these amateur gumshoe outings that Art meets a large, gibberish spewing weirdo in a blue costume who sees the familiar spirit of heroism in the young man's eyes. What brought on such a haunting? I'll save that for you to discover, because it's a story too good to spoil.
The sharer of said justice-centric possession is, as you probably presumed, The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). He’s bulletproof, bomb proof, surgical 2×4 proof, super strong (like, “crowded bus stop full of men” strong), plenty agile, and driven. Like a living bulldozer. So, like Killdozer. But a good Killdozer. A good Killdozer that spouts nonsensical lines about serving destiny and punching evil. Right in its immoral codpiece.
I was sad to see that the pilot only runs 30 minutes. Just as I was getting into it it was over, ended on a cliffhanger. Sure, that’s a good way to end a season finale, but a pilot? No. Now, if the rest of the show doesn’t make it to a full order, those of us whose eyes it caught are now fucked. Hard. Painfully so. Sans lube. If I had to compare it to a sexual encounter, I’d say it’s paramount to a one-night stand going down on you, then stopping before climax and saying “My jaw hurts. My turn now!”. Yeah, that’s a metaphor we can all endure.
With that said, based on its merits beyond the teasery and disappointing length (an issue I’ve yet to hear a complaint about), it’s got the girthy makings of a not bad show. I’m a big fan of Arthur’s new backstory. It’s dark, but in the comedy way more so than the gritty. He’s not the Punisher, so you can laugh at his tragedy without laying awake in bed later on wondering if you’re a horrible person deserving of a place in humanity or not. There are also hints at a possible split-personality disorder going on too, but that’s just my FCP (Fight Club Paranoia) acting up. Other elements discredit these so-called hints as just red herrings to mess with us. Although, it does bring up an interesting hypothesis that I’m going to keep in my utility belt for now, just in case “The Tick” goes full series. My favorite fantasy tales are the ones anchored in a reality similar to ours. Feels more relatable. As such, I enjoy Endlund’s take on what kind of mental instability it would take for every day schlubs to want to put on a costume and stop/commit atrocities.
Speaking of costumes (SEGWAY!) I’m also okay with the duo’s new crime fighting duds, which take a cue from modern comic book movie culture by detouring the spandex clad elephant in the room and embracing something that looks more like a combination of leather and/or body armor. Tick’s getup includes his mask (one of my sticking points with Patrick Warburton’s incarnation), but the shade of blue is… odd. Rather than go with a darker section of the color wheel, we get something more in line with the cartoon version. See the screenshots below.
Superian looks like you’d expect a Superman simulacrum to look like, while The Terror’s got a great new design that makes him look like a sinister cult leader, complete with oddly cut hood that brings to mind Magneto’s helmet more than a little. There are some computer effects that could use a little more polish, but for a low budget kinda thing, they do the job. The design of The Terror’s ship is also great, but for those hoping it would be the giant mechanical spider he originally piloted, know now that it’s not that, so adjust your expectations appropriately.
In closing, “The Tick” is more faithful to the tone of the original comics, much like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: the Movie skewed more in tune with its own original source material. That’s a good thing! Sadly, this may hurt its chances for a full series order in the long run, as a lot of the complaints I’ve seen about it so far have been that it’s not the goofy sitcom its predecessor program was previously. That’s a bad thing. I suggest clicking the link below, giving it a view (as my dad always says, “If it’s free, it’s for me!”), and rating it yourself. And if you can’t be true to yourself or spend half an hour watching it, give it a blind 5 stars so I can hopefully see what the fuck happens in the next episode!
Now, if you'll pardon my departure (or even if you won't), I have a viewing to go to. Not the movie type, but the corpse type. Don't worry, you didn't know him. Hell, I barely knew him. But it’s gonna be a lot of standing around in polyester mourning finery, hard boiling my man juevos, so I need to stop at Big Mike’s Food ‘n Fuel on the way for a few bottles of Crystal Pepsi to keep in my pockets and refrigerate my pudding pop.
Don’t get mad ’cause I’m beguilin’. I’m off the hook so don’t bother dialin’.
Once Nanook discovered how to harness the power of the atom, his place as leader of all the local tribes was all but guaranteed.
So, this world’s version of Superman looks like Matt Besser as a cape wearing date rapist? Gotcha.
If you’re going to just reach down your pants to check and see if you’ve started your period, two things – (1) Don’t do it at work. (2) Don’t wipe it on your uniform. Especially if it’s white. Seriously.
“By learning all of the new Magic: The Gathering expansion’s secrets before its release, I’ll be able to perfect by deck ahead of time and pwn newbs on release day!”
The Tick just discovered that The Cleveland Steamer, Rusty Trombone, and Blumpkin are not the names of fellow superheroes… Also, did you know that a Lemon Party isn’t a political association?
If Justin Timberlake and Johnny Galecki had a kid, and their kid fell into a Brundle Pod™ with Pat from It’s Pat, this guy would come out of the other end.
“No! I don’t wanna support the high school band by paying you $2 each for your stupid off-brand chocolate bars! Now fuck off before I throw you into my particle accelerator!”
See, stuff like this is why I stopped drinking tequila in public.
Looks like somebody got a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle for Christmas!
There’s nothing quite like that first morning piss off of the side of your apartment building to start your day. I miss living in the city. I have to settle for pissing off of our balcony these days. It’s just not the same.
Anubis will return next time in
“Would You Offer Your Throat to the Vampire with the Camera?”
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
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
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Roddy “Hell Comes to Frogtown” Piper , Shane “Divided Loyalties” Douglas , Kurt “Sharknado 2: The Second One” Angle
Director & Writer: Cody “Lucifer’s Unholy Desire” Knotts
“While I wish you would have enjoyed it…I loved reading your review…I laughed and laughed. You have a talent for writing funny reviews (though I would focus less on references to feces..you have a real talent for whit).
Anyways, thanks for the review, even though it wasn’t good.”
Did you know that gods have gods? Yep. You know that old adage “Respect your elders”? Same applies to us, hence the term “Elder Gods”. The elderest of gods, Cthulhu, recently blessed me for my Cthulhumas sacrifices by gifting me with the second highest item on my tribute want list: Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies. The highest? Same as it always is: 1985 Barbara Crampton. But, like the little girl who asks for a pony every year (looking at you, Demeter), I’m destined to never get the one gift I really want. Oh well, time to get the disappointment out of my system by kicking the tar out of my silver medal!
By the way, as a lifelong pro wrestling geek, I had a few dozen wrestling related jokes to make through this episode. However, I didn’t want to alienate 90% of my audience, so I’ll be making an effort to stick to the general garbage movie defecation commentary you normally get out of me. Consider it your New Years endowment from moi.
Battling Billy (Michael H. Richmond, whose missing credit I actually had to submit to the IMDB cast listing!) is a professional wrestler. Well, given that performing in high school gymnasiums in front of 15-20 people at a time can’t possibly provided him enough money to survive on, “professional” probably isn’t the right word. Let’s just say Billy’s a wrestler. Period. Semantics aside (not to be confused with “semen ticks inside”, which makes my ebony fur stand on end just typing the words), Billy’s ring name is a big fat blumpkin in the realm of grappler monikers. Given that this was written by an obvious wrestling fan, “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a much better alias. Not just because “Battling Billy” sounds like some kid’s submission to a Masters of the Universe create-a-character contest, but because “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a decent call back to Bruiser Brody, whose murder is one of wrestling’s most infamous instances. It’s serious “Diagnosis Murder” type shit. Check out the following link to get the story from wrestling industry mainstay “Dirty” Dutch Mantell, who currently goes by the Tea Party conservative parody persona Zeb Colter in WWE.
Brody’s murder aside, wrestlers like to claim that they’re a brotherhood in the locker room, but they’re really just like any other boys’ club: at each other’s throats the minute money or pussy comes into the picture. Such is the case when Billy crosses washed up (actual) professional wrestler Shane “the Franchise” Douglas (playing himself) by dipping his pen in Dougie’s ink…by which I mean Mr. Battling is tossing his hot dog down Shane’s hallway. Well, not his hallway. I mean the upstart’s fucking the old man’s girlfriend, Taya (playing herself)!
Anyway, catching Tay wrapped around the younger man’s waist like a cheap replica championship belt, Shane doesn’t take too well to the scene. Rather than breaking up with her like an adult though, he instead breaks Billy’s neck during their match with a “botched” tombstone piledriver move. Yep, he kills him with a move called a “tombstone”. No room in the budget for subtlety, I’m afraid.
An indeterminate amount of time later (I guess screen subtitling ended up next to subtlety on the budgetary kill floor), Billy’s brother Angus (Ashton Amhurst) hires promoter Cody Knotts (yep, it’s the director playing himself) and his Extreme Rising wrestling promotion to set up an indie show at an abandoned penitentiary. Anus, errr Angus, insists that Douglas and Taya headline the event, then lets Dog Knotts fill in (yeah, as a man-dog I hear dog knots are pretty filling…) the rest of the card with other has-been grapplers like Roddy Piper and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, still active (just barely) guys like Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle, and some never-weres like what’s-his-name, who’s-it, and you know, that guy. Always wore a shirt? Yeah, him. All of which are self-players as well.
Quick time out. Angus’s ear raping Scottish accent would make Scrooge McDuck and Haggis McHaggis weep with disgust. Someone named Scott Miller gets credit for doing said voice, so Amherst didn’t even do his own lines?! What is this, Horror of Party Beach!? Scratch that. Party Beach‘s monsters were more realistic than the zombies we end up with here. They look like they were made up by a buncha brats during “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” at the Savini School. Blart. Anyway, as we were.
Shane’s given a scene with his extended family shortly after, where he indoctrinates his nephew to be a total Franchise mark. It’s supposed to somehow humanize a bloated sack of shit who we already know is responsible for MURDERING another man just because they became Eskimo brothers (look it up). All this interlude managed to do was make me want to slap the Fruit Loops out of the kid’s mouth, but the urge to backhand kids in movies is normal for me. Annoying turds. Once this is over, Shane and Roddy Piper have a scene where we learn that the two are apparently long term buddies, which is fine. My problem with the scene is the mob of children crowded around Piper begging for autographs. It’s not the kids themselves where my problem lies, it’s that nobody under the age of 25 even knows who the fuck Roddy Piper is! Maybe they mistook him for one of the creatures on “Yo Gabba Gabba!”? Sure, slap a kilt on him and replace his head with a bagpipe with huge googly eyes glued to it and I could see this being a thing.
Reunited for the show, Dougie Fresh and Skanky Not-So-Fresh hook up just like old times…which may very well have been anywhere from a few days ago to a few years. Again, it’s not clear how long it’s been since Billy got broke. Meanwhile, Piper makes friendly with a woman named Sarah (Adrienne Fischer), who’s just been hired as the new Extreme Rising head of marketing. Her whole hook for getting hired is that she promises Snotts (who spends their entire meeting feeling her up like he was that creepy uncle that isn’t invited to family gatherings) that she can make their little wrestling organization the biggest in the world…no. In a movie about zombies fighting men in tights, THAT statement is the most unrealistic thing in these entire 90 minutes. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but that’s the kind of crap that requires utter expulsion of your disbelief into the vacuum of deep space. I’ll let the Iron Sheik express my thoughts further on this one:
In a weird bit of idiocy, when the wrestlers’ bus arrives at the prison (nobody can afford their own cars, it seems), they’re randomly offered a chance to “challenge the gods” and “achieve their destiny” by doing combat “in the arena”. Are they performing in an abandoned prison or at Medieval Times?! Before they’re allowed off the bus though, they’re ordered to hand over their cell phones. Horror movie much? Well, that addresses why no one will be able to call for help later when they’re chin deep in living dead. Stupidly addresses, but addresses none the less. No sooner do our faces (wrestling terminology for good guys) get inside, then they’re confronted by Angus’s personal horde of necromanced undead heels (wrestling’s bad guys) and the movie finally lives up to its title. Well, it only took half an hour to get there, so my “finally” may have been a tad unnecessary. Wait a sec. Now that the zombie rampage has already started, what the fuck are they gonna spend the next hour on?! Uh-oh…
Yep, that’s it. The final 2/3 of the movie is really just a series of sequences wherein hordes of zombified extras chase the wrestlers and other cast members, killing them one-by-one, then moving onto the next. Do I look like a shitter? Because I shit you not. The script has to be about 10 pages long. Well, at least they give what they advertise, so that’s something, right? It’s like going into a place called “Ruptured Balls” and not expecting to get your testicles destroyed. They never said it was going to be enjoyable, they just advertised ruptured balls. Just like nobody advertised an enjoyable movie, just one where pro wrestlers go up against zombies. Hey, at least I can admit when my suffering is my own fault!
Sure, at one point Tying Knotts tries to write in that touching zombie movie staple where one of the survivors has to kill his best friend-turned-living dead a la Pete and Rog in Dawn of the Dead. The Romero one, you animals! But given how little time the movie actually dedicates to trying to make us give a shit about any of the cast on a personal level, NO time was spent showing us ANY connection between the two characters in question! Come on, guys. You invite us over to your place for a party, tell us it was a ruse to get us to help you move out of your 5th floor walk-up when we get there, then expect us to do all of the heavy lifting?! Fuck your couch. This is me throwing it through your big stupid picture window. Good luck getting your security deposit back!…and explaining to the cops how your couch ended up smashing your neighbor’s Lexus. I’m out!
Okay, I’m not out. I’ve still got pissing to piss, moaning to moan and bitching to bitch. While I’m on the topic of failed attempts to connect with the audience on a deeper level, there are a few more that shit the bed just as bad. Think Spud’s big brown breakfast in Trainspotting. These emotional moments resonate about as well as farts muffled by a pillow. Even the “will they die or won’t they?” scenes of manufactured tension end up as botched spots (wrestling lingo for failed moves). You know who’s gonna see the end credits and who’s just gonna wind up as the “meat” in an Arby’s pulled pork. Best example? At one point, Sarah’s overcome by a mob of grabby handed ghouls and struggles on the ground for several minutes as they paw at her. She eventually manages to escape without a scratch though because, surprise surprise, she’s scripted to have a future that doesn’t involve being fast food. Oh yeah, spoiler. Oops. Meh, you’ll get over it.
Speaking of pulled pork, whatever the effects guys spent on their “severed legs and torso” prop, they definitely got their money’s worth. Not based on the quality, mind you, just the number of scenes they use the stupid thing in. Remember that amazing scene where the asshole militant guy in Day of the Dead is torn in half while screaming “CHOKE ON IT!”? It was one of the movie’s greatest moments between his defiant death screams, the graphic realistic violence of the effects work and the fact that PEOPLE WEREN’T BEING TORN IN HALF EVERY 10 MINUTES. Sadly, the blood and gore is what you’d expect from a movie whose budget went to hiring out-of-work ex-wrestlers as its stars. It’s a whole bunch of red kero syrup and the occasional prop internal organs. Real effects zombie makeup and gore are an art. As stated prior, here it’s a shart. Multiple sharts, actually. Unrelenting, left and right, up and down, sharts. If it were to be named after a wrestling company, it’d be TNA: Total Nonstop Assblasters. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhharts!
Speaking of pulled pork…I mean, speaking of sharts, how about that soundtrack?! The music is generic half-assed metal that brings to mind a garage band trying to emulate Monster Magnet. Then there’s the ear bleeding bagpipe thrash shit. Holy Lucky Charms in a Guinness, Dropkick Murphys it ain’t. On top of that, of all the covers I’ve heard of “Amazing Grace” in my eons, this movie’s end credits easily has the worst. Worse even than when Mike Tyson did it on that clip from the Arsenio Hall Show that never aired. While my ears are still bleeding, let me call out the audio mixing here too, because it’s TERRIBLE! A lot of the lines sound like they were re-dubbed in post, while the music just explodes in your ears at random at a few decibels higher than the dialog. I shouldn’t have to have my stereo remote within talon’s reach when I’m watching a movie to keep the old lady in the tomb downstairs from banging on the ceiling with her broom.
Despite the few exceptions, there’s a general rule in the wrestling business that actors shouldn’t cut wrestling promos and wrestlers shouldn’t act. PWVZ reminds us why that is. Even if this dialogue weren’t…damn it. It’s hard to come up with a dozen different synonyms for feces. It’s just bad, okay? I don’t know how much of it is written and how much, if any, is ad-libbed by the performers, but it’s awful. Anyway, the acting. Mercifully, at least most of the wrestlers only have a few short lines before they’re killed off. The majority of the work comes from Piper and Douglas. At least Douglas lives up to his infamously self-serving real-life personality by fucking everybody else over left and right, letting other people take the fall for his bullshit, and trying to set himself up as the big hero. Not sure if the guy was acting or just being followed with a camera. Very convincing. Fuck you “Dean”.
Then there’s Piper. It’s so depressing to think that Roddy went from They Live to this. Or hell, from Hell Comes to Frogtown to this! The cantankerous Canadian who made his career pretending to be a scandalous Scot (didja enjoy the mind blowing I just put on your brain?) has been through a lot in recent years, beating cancer (as did Hacksaw!) and making appearances on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, but the guy’s lost a few steps. It’s a little too hard to believe someone who can barely walk (damn hip surgery…and age) fending off waves of the ravenous dead just because he’s the best actor on the call sheet. Then again, he does have the uncanny and possibly mystical ability to pull a crowbar out of thin air to plant into a ghoul’s head when the need arrives for one scene, so maybe that’s reason enough he would be able to survive. Wish I could pull that trick right now and put it through my computer screen!
Before I finish off this episode and wipe its residual remnants off of me with a moist towelette, I wanted to point out that Piper calls Angus a “red-headed stepchild Danny Bonaduche fuckin’ throwback red-headed Carrot Top fuck him reason for legal fuckin’ abortions”. It might be amazing, it might be awful, but whatever it is, there it is. He also declares that Angus is just an “All-American bully”, then proclaims his intentions to thrash him for being as such, despite Piper establishing his entire career on being a bully bad guy character who kicked Cyndi Lauper across a wrestling ring and smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s face before whipping him with a belt. Such is the inherent hypocrisy of the face turn (what it’s called when a bad guy becomes a good guy).
So Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies, a movie I anticipated for the better part of a year. It sucked on toes worse than even I had feared it would. Yet Troma still picked it up for distribution, when it couldn’t hang with Troma originals on their worst days. Hell, Troma’s trailer is better than the movie just by tacking Toxie’s face onto it and making a title card that DOESN’T feel like the Great Muta spewed green mist into my eyes while looking at it. For your perusal:
In closing, I’d like to play a round of The Dozens, strictly for my fellow industry nerds on the wrestling memes boards. The rest of you can skip ahead to the screen cap-caps (captures and captions).
And…go! This movie’s so bad, Kevin Nash tore his quad while watching it! It’s so bad, if it had double d titties, even Dean Ambrose wouldn’t wanna master ’em! It’s so bad, it made Rob Van Dam stop smoking weed and made CM Punk start! It’s so bad, it made Shawn Michaels an atheist! It’s so bad, it doesn’t even need Triple H to bury it, cuz it buries ITSELF! It’s so bad, it must’ve been written by Vince Russo and directed by Eric Bischoff! It’s so bad, it botches more in 90 minutes than Sin Cara did in all of 2013! It’s so bad, it made Terry Funk retire FOR GOOD! It’s so bad, it made Jake Roberts AND Scott (Scotch) Hall relapse! It’s so bad, even Dolph Ziggler won’t sell for it! It’s so bad, it makes The Dead Hate the Living look strong!.. but does nothing for Roman Reigns. Fuck you, Reigns. Your new outfit looks like some shitty Tron cosplay that you couldn’t get to light up. Your “Superman Punch” is a twat move.
Unless you’re a celebrity, a politician, or just rich. Then you can kill people wherever you want.
Looks like somebody just discovered Photoshop’s font options.
Grown men (well, adult men) dangerously throwing each other around for the entertainment of a dozen or so strangers in a gymnasium. Living the dream.
Tea bagging an unconscious guy while flipping everybody in the audience the bird? I see Sammy Hagar’s finished “quality testing” his latest batch of Cabo Wabo.
Your writer-director, ladies and gentlemen of the audience. Just as shabbily thrown together as his movie.
“Taz Jaguar”? Is that your father’s name, or did you take your mother’s maiden name after the divorce?
Black Mass Ceremonial Parkas (white only): just $4.99 this week, only at KMart!
“Forget it, kid. You might as well call me Hulk Hogan because I don’t put ANYBODY over!”
Extreme Rising corporate headquarters. Except on weekends, when it’s the gift shop for the historical reenactment village they rent the space from.
“Come on, Roddy. This guy says he wants to Kickstart a Frogtown reboot and he wants us to star! This could be my big break! I mean, OUR big break!”
To hell with expensive CGI effects. Just paint him green and Kurt Angle could star in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!
Bet Dennis Rodman wishes he would’ve stay in North Korea.
Apparently these zombies don’t crave brains. They just want to sink their teeth into man asses packed into shiny gold trunks like big ol’ Hershey Kisses.
“Stronger Than Death”? Fuck you, Matt Hardy. We’ll see who’s stronger this Sunday in our steel cage showdown!
“With a name like Smuckers, our zombies HAVE to be good!”
“God damn it, Shane! You are NOT going to die owning me fifty bucks! Gimme my damn money, you asshole!”
Roddy Piper reflects on his movie career decisions and wonders if maybe he’s finally fallen to the point that he should’ve just let the cancer take him.
“You don’t need to spend ten grand on a facelift, baby. I’ll just pull back your face like this, slap on a little rubber cement, and you’ll look ten years younger!”
“Shhhh! Don’t let any of the other guys here you say wrestling’s fake or they’ll piledrive your head into your lungs! It’s a very sensitive subject!”
Looks like somebody wandered away from the Nightmare City set.
And this guy used to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Bet Roddy REALLY wishes he’d left the house in his kilt today, rather than suffer the undead wedgie of doom!
Anubis will return next time in
“Radio Ga Ga, Eh?”
Featuring: Bill “Half Past Dead 2” Goldberg , Douglas “Stage Fright (2014)” Smith , Emilie “The Hills Have Eyes (2007)” de Ravin
Director & Writer: David Steiman
Also Known As: Very Bad Santa
Merciful Cthulhumas to you, my fellow cinemasochists! May Our Dark Lord from the hoary nether realm spare you and your loved ones for another year! Today (well, 3 days ago) is the day of the Gregorian calender we set aside to honor our eternally dark Lord Cthulhu by paying tribute to the important persons of our lives: generally through thoughtfully chosen presents, sacrifices of personal wealth, oaths of fealty…or gift cards to Red Lobster. This year, I continue my vow to sacrifice my sanity in the name of your entertainment by shutting myself into the iron maiden that is today’s holiday themed episode. You owe me.
David Steiman’s IMDB profile credits him with four production assistant jobs from 1999-2000, before becoming personal assistant to director Bret Ratner for three consecutive movies: starting with 2000’s The Family Man (I’ll have to excerebrate my gray matter with a nasal hook just to literally get Hall & Oates out of my head now), continuing through Rush Hour 2 and ending with Red Dragon in 2002. Three years later, Ratner himself would end up with a mysterious producer’s credit on this celebration of yuletide retardation: Santa’s Slay. Not only would SS (yep, that’s how I’m referring to it!) be the first-and-only writer-director credit for Mr. Steiman, but it’s also the last industry credit the guy can lay claim to of any kind for the decade since…
So, Bret Ratner produces his ex-assistant’s solo-project? Looks to me like Mr. Steiman really put the “ass” into “assistant” during his time working under The Rat, blackmailed Bret into lending his name and credibility (I use the term loosely… possibly sarcastically) to SS, then exiled himself into oblivion after being confronted with the product of his manipulations, having lost any future he may have held for himself after giving up said blackmail material to BR as part of their arrangement. Oh well, sometimes you gotta swallow a few loads to make your dreams cum true…Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you, you, you, you! Fuck…the H&O earworm only grows fatter. Somebody get me 666 cc of “Super Charger Heaven”, stat!
Our movie cold opens on a Christmas gathering of the Mason family (no, not the Manson family) as they gather for dinner, bickering and implied adultery. They’re your typical horribly WASPy family of well-off shitholes to whom the concept of love died long ago, like a starving polio-ridden Great Depression-era orphan child in a snowstorm. They’re thankful to their god for not making them “poor or Samoan”. Just when the dad (James Caan) is about to stab the son-in-law (Chris Kattan) for fingering the mom (Fran Drescher) under the dinner table, a pissed off mountain of a man dressed like Santa (Bill Goldberg) explodes from their chimney and proceeds to brutally slaughter the whole useless clan till they’re Feliz NaviDEAD! Bludgeoning, immolation, impalement, drowning in egg nog, and finally, James Caan getting a turkey leg jammed down his throat pipe. (Death) God bless them, every one.
Who is this Herculean icon of holiday cheer-turned-brain smashing behemoth (this line to be spoken like the narrator from the Adam West “Batman”)? I’ll spare you the wait and express pass your ass to the head of the class. It’s almost a decade old at this point, so the grace period for plot spoiling is long gone! You know how Jesus Christ was supposedly the result of immaculate conception between an angel and his “virgin” mother Mary? Turns out there was another such birth some time ago, as Satan himself spawned his own offspring from another mortal woman (named Erica)’s baby maker. That child’s name? Santa. What, you though it was a coincidence their names are so similar? The SNL Church Lady knew the score!
Anyway, every year on his birthday Santa would go out and slaughter random people. These annual bouts of unsolved murders were dubbed “The Day of Slayings” (YesVirginia, we have a title), also known as Kerry King’s birthday. As Christianity spread like a plague over the Nordic lands, the people would gather every year for a Christ mass, where they’d beg their new god to save them from Santa’s traditional birthday bash(ing of their skulls). Sometime around the year 1000, Big G finally answered their whining by sending down an archangel to do a BTO job (i.e. take care of business). Disguising himself as just another jobber, the angel challenged the big bully to a winner-take-all round of curling. Curling?! Yep, this movie is definitely a product of Canada. Blart.
If Santa won his challenger would be condemned to an eternity in Hell, while a loss would result in Santa becoming a harbinger of charity and good cheer for the extent of the following millennium. The winged deceiver triumphed and the rest is history…until now: exactly 1000 years later (to the day, since this is a movie), when Santa’s personality inversion has expired! Now he and his reindeerish beast the Helldeer (it’s just a white buffalo…someone call Charles Bronson!) are on the hunt for the heavenly body that pulled the holy wool over his soulless black eyes and permanently scratching a few names off of his Naughty List along the way. Where’s this angel now? He resides in a little middle-of-nowhere hamlet in the wilds of Canada known as…Hell.
And yes, the township’s moniker is abused to full pun effect throughout the next 75 minutes, so gird your laughter loins (or your groan groin), lest ye suffer a pulled muscle from all of the agonizing efforts of fifth grade humor you’re in store for.
Also residing in Hell is a disgustingly mild mannered teen by the moniker of Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith looking like the son of Bud Bundy), whose possession of the Christmasiest sounding name since Santa’s Little Helper (or “Santos L. Halper” if you work in customer service) is guaranteed to get him involved in the coming blizzard of bloody battery. In fact, if I just outright told you now that the elusive angel is his grandpa (Robert Culp) and young Nick was oblivious of the fact until now as Santa Claus is comin’ to town, your shock level would register somewhere around a “minor static shock from touching a doorknob after crossing a carpet in socks” level, right? I thought as much.
Nick works at a Jewish owned deli (is there any other kind?) along with his friend/co-worker/scripted love interest Mary “Mac” MacKenzie (Emilie de Ravin). Mary’s obviously got a girl boner for the gawky weirdo, and if she has her way, she won’t be going the way of the Biblical Mary…by which I mean she’s looking to get her factory seal ruptured for Christmas…by which I mean she wants the Nick dick. As for deli owner Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek), I don’t know his intentions for “the Nick dick”, but I will say that he looks like the bastard love child of Elliott Gould and Adam Carolla. He winds up pinned to the back wall of his establishment by a menorah jammed through his windpipe later on, courtesy of Claus. Does this count as a hate crime? Shouldn’t Santa be down with the Chosen People given their mutual hatred of Jesus anyway? Also, if you say “hatred of Jesus” using the Spanish pronunciation, it rolls off the proverbial tongue nicely. Very lyrical.
Here’s the rundown on Nick’s grandpa (simply credited as “Grandpa”): in his current form, he’s considered the town nutso. He’s a bit of a recluse who refuses to celebrate Christmas, spends his time in his basement bunker watching his oddly extensive surveillance equipment and making weird inventions like a weaponized nutcracker that shoots exploding chesnuts out of its hideous grinning maw. Before all of this, back when he tricked Santa into a thousand years of slavery in the shackles of holiday cheer, the angel gave up his halo and wings to start a life with a mortal Norse woman (little to nothing of which is covered beyond “I fell in love with a human woman”) who we’re presumed to believe became Nick’s grandma. I guess giving up your angelic status doesn’t make you “mortal” though, because the old man’s still spry after ten centuries. That’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg, because there’s no mention of what happened to Nick’s parents, or just how shallow the roots are on his family tree. Did Gramps fall in love, spend a lifetime with the woman, then just kinda live and love for the next 900 years or so until he met Nick’s actual grandma before settling down and raising a family? Did he sire another family, or possibly multiple other families, before spawning the bloodline that would lead to young master Yuleson? It’s never addressed, let alone made clear, and just leaves gaping-like-a-size-queen plot holes big enough to fly a team of reindeer through. Thought I’d stuff your stockings with a little holiday twist to an old reviewer’s cliché.
While all of this is going on, we’re introduced to Hell’s resident representative of the Christian faith, Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas!). PT is your standard issue “Don’t be a sinner – give money to me! Errr, the church!” man of the cloth, and regularly holds mass…by which I mean the mass of the big fake titties hanging off of the pole jockettes sluttin’ it up at the town gentlemen’s club. Yep, the contents of the collection plate are destined for the g-strings of Hell’s single mothers and “working girls”. In no way surprising, but makes the Pastor’s statement in a prior scene telling his congregation to not donate loose change and keep it to bills incrimentally funnier in retrospect.
Juggernaut Claus runs (unstoppably so, “bitch”!) through the club and murders a handful of denizens while casually sexually harassing and/or assaulting several of the employees before just burning the STD hole to the ground via a flaming hot coal grenade that leaves the place looking like a Vietnamese orphanage after one of Uncle Sam’s anti-communism napalm showers. Timmons eludes paying the proverbial piper (only to be corpsed up while dressed as Santa later on, in the moments before the closing credits roll), but professional wrestling nerds should take note – infamous pro-wrestling writer cum onscreen character Vince “Vic Venom” Russo cameos as one of the victims of Santa’s rampage! Funny from a geek standpoint since many fans blame Russo for the murdering of former “sports entertainment” titan and builders of Bill Goldberg’s career World Championship Wrestling. The only true WCW, by the way, for all the those “woman crush Wednesdays” social media she-wankers. 😛
Eventually Santa gets around to hunting Nick and Grandpa so as to wipe their lineage from the face of the Earth in revenge for being reduced to “a bowl full of jelly” with “dimples so merry” for most of his existence. He managed to locate the duo thanks to a letter Nick sent to him years ago (where did you think those letters to Santa wound up?!), asking for an Easy Bake Oven. Mary tags along for the adventure (gotta have those “Don’t you realize yet that I want the Nick dick!?” moments) and Nick somehow comes to the conclusion that they’ll be okay so long as they can survive until 7PM their time, because that would make it midnight at the North Pole, thus Christmas would officially be over. I hate it when the protagonists just make up their own rules to shit like this! Not since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!, when Tommy randomly decides that the only way to stop super zombie Jason Vorhees is to chain a boulder around his neck and trap him in Crystal Lake amid a ring of fire just BECAUSE, have I screamed “Who gave you creative control of the script?!” at my TV screen. Horse. Shit.
Almost as annoying is Nick’s insistence on putting his dick in the fourth wall glory hole by reminding everybody several times about how absurd the whole scenario is. Christ’s nipple clamps! If you’re gonna have a character riff on how stupid your own movie is, just go all out with it. He comes within inches of just saying “It’s like we’re in some bad horror movie!” before looking straight into the camera and winking anyway, so take a fucking cue from Nike and JUST DO IT!
Santa follows Nick back to Grandpa’s, but while our teen heroes try to escape the brutal bearded beefcake, Grandpa gets run over by the Helldeer…and yes, they make the obvious joke, in case you were wondering. The rest of the movie is basically the Degrassi dropouts running away from Santa until they wind up at the local high school, where Santa pulls out a glowing green candy cane (like one of those throwaway glow sticks spelunkers use) to light up his face for dramatic effect…then immediately throws it down…because he only needed it for that one second…oy. He chases them onto the school hockey rink, but just as the homicidal holiday icon is about to run down the soory pair under a hungry Zamboni, he’s stopped by a glowing golden curling stone…
Yes, apparently when an angel gives up their angelic status to become a seemingly un-aging human (is this where Highlanders come from?), once they’re killed they’re allowed to get their old jobs back. If that’s the case, then why don’t ALL angels do this?! Shit, it’d be worth it just to experience the blowjobs and cheeseburger pizza alone! You get to just become an angel again when you die anyway!
Grandpa tries to trick the sadistic behemoth into another curling match, this time demanding Claus becomes a good guy forever (why wasn’t that the stipulation for the original face-off?!) if the golden geezer triumphs once more, once again offering himself up to eternal damnation in Hell if he loses… except that angels aren’t human and thus do not have souls to damn, so the bet’s already bullshit to begin with! Anyway, Santa agrees to the wager, but this time demands that Gramps shoots first. Star Wars geeks, please save your Han-Greedo arguments (and slash fiction) for the appropriate message boards and Facebook groups. Thank you.
Santa pulls a shitlord move (he is Beelzebub Jr. after all), and rather than taking his turn at slide ‘n sweep, just grabs Gramps and tosses him into a literal hell hole! Nick’s completely meritless deadline finally expires, to which Claus pleasingly tells Nick to go fuck himself with that bullshit. He’s Santa Claus. HE decides when Christmas is over! He then tries to blow up Nick and (There’s Something About) Mary with a Megalon napalm loogie (why did he even need the coal bomb at the strip club?!), but it’s deflected by Nick who uses the nutcracker weapon from earlier in one of the most gob smackingly dumb-fuck moments in a movie infested with dumb-fuck moments. Santa takes a chestful of chestnut shrapnel (yeah, they make THAT pun too) in the exchange and escapes into the night on his Zamboni while the kids help Grandpa, who’s been hanging onto the edge of the Hell portal for longer than an old man should be able to hold his own body weight. Grandpa can’t leave the boundaries of the hockey rink (huh?!), so Nick and Mary set off to finish the job on Santa on their own. Rather than find him and defeat him, they opt instead to get Mary’s family of Canadian rednecks to shoot down the Helldeer (with a rocket launcher, because Canada’s seemingly littered with live military armaments), blowing it into scattered meat and guts…until it’s shown again two minutes later as a complete carcass tied to the top of someone’s truck! I can only wish that I regenerate the brain cells killed from watching SS as fast.
The movie ends threatening us with the possibility of a sequel as Nick takes up Grandpa’s Santa grimoire (which I’ll call the Navidadicon) and bukkakes the screen with Velveeta as he declares “my saga’s just beginning”. BLAAAAART! Meanwhile, Santa winds up at an airport with a plane ticket to the North Pole…and that’s it. It’s over. Roll the really shitty end credits theme “Bye Bye Santa”, as done by a sad excuse for a Ramones cover band called Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon, a half-hearted hardcore version Deck the Halls, and some more JDPM shit called Christmas In Detroit…for this movie that was filmed entirely in Canada. May that threat of a sequel be an empty one, and let us thank Cthulhu that Dave Steiman’s resume has since been trapped in magical Christmas ice, from which we can only pray it is never thawed and is freezer burned beyond recognition.
I’ve been shitting on the writing enough by this point, so you already know how I feel about that. What I’d like to do now, is drop a few Cleveland Steamers on the friggin’ editing hack job. It wasn’t horrible for the most part, but during the last chunk of this hour and fifteen it read like a clusterfuck. It came off like someone with a meat cleaver and high on airplane glue was told to chop off 20 minutes or so of footage and this is what was left. Ever seen Evil Ed? That. The entire non-ending was awful, and any movie that sets itself up for a sequel doesn’t deserve one. Every movie should be made under the idea of “THIS IS OUR ONLY CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING, SO LET’S NOT DO IT HALF-ASSED! WE USE OUR WHOLE ASS, DAMN IT!” because you don’t wanna be a one-termer asshole like Carter or Bush Sr. who didn’t get to live up to their first term promises.
Creative now properly crucified, how about this cast? Douglas Smith? Simply put, he sucks. Remember how I said he had this next-gen David Faustino/Bud Bundy thing going on? I would’ve preferred a time traveling David Faustino circa 1992 playing Nick. Robert Culp’s okay, but his Nordic accent sometimes dips into “I didn’t know the Nords were from Ireland” territory. Emilie de Ravin is passable, but delivers lines at times that give me the impression she’d just put her retainer in between scenes. Take this how you will, but she also looks like a barely legal Patricia Arquette. If I were 10 years younger…I’d still feel like a dirty old man for wanting to see what she looks like with my balls on her chin and my pubes making time with her nose hairs. Shit. Onto a less damning statement, Dave Thomas (the Strange Brew guy, not the dead guy from the Wendy’s commercials) is… well…there. He showed up for work and read his lines. He wasn’t very funny, but the material wasn’t exactly Mel Brooks. Tommy “Tiny (but I’ll always know him as Zeus)” Lister gets a paycheck for a short cameo as a gas station attendant (AKA the only black guy in rural Canada) who’s moved to Hell to get away from all the violence in “the hood”…Canada has a “hood”?! I was really hoping Lister would reveal himself to be some kind of opposing force for Santa, but once Grandpa came back into the picture as a member of the haloed crowd, I knew my hopes were for naught and his appearance was just a nod to old school wrestling geeks like yours truly. Go watch No Holds Barred and weep at the smell of dookie.
The only worthwhile stand out from this movie is Goldberg, and that’s because Santa plays to his strengths: look like a big psychotic colossus, snarl and grin like a maniac a lot, and speak English clear enough that you can recite bad holiday themed one-liners. The one-liners themselves are crap, but Bill delivers them with enough aplomb to show that he was at least having some laughs behind his gigantic fake facial mane.
Everything started out great, with Santa handing out comically graphic violence to the jerk-off brood, followed by running a bitchy old lady off the road to her great reward (that’s what happens when you berate Jews for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”!), but once the story started to form, the foundations for this gingerbread house immediately dried out and began crumbling. The whole thing starts to feel like a slapdash Hallmark Channel Christmas Original, only littered with foul language, crude humor, big naked fake-o boobs, and cartoony (albeit bloody) levels of murder. You could slap “Hallmark After Dark Presents” on the title card and I wouldn’t be surprised. On the plus side, if you’ve ever wanted to the see The Nanny’s head set ablaze, here’s your chance!
I say watch Santa’s Slay for the bloodshed and fast forward through the rest of this mire. And this is coming from someone who likes Jack Frost…no, not the Michael Keaton movie…and not the Russian one they watched on the Satellite of Love. All in all, I’ll use a quote from Nicholas and sum Santa’s Slay up as “File that next to brown colored toilet paper as a bad idea”. I thought SS would be gold, but it was bronze. Sorry, I wanted to get this movie out of my system so I marathoned “Snuff Box” last night and now I can’t get that damn theme song out of my skull.
Fun fact: Goldberg’s not the first professional meathead to don the red, white and beard! In 1996, man-shaped Ziploc bag full of gravy Hulk Hogan starred in Santa with Muscles, where he played a guy who did things, presumably dressed as Santa, that likely included performing wrestling moves on some less-than-noble types. It’s so shit streaked that it makes it almost impossible for me to masturbate to Mila Kunis, knowing that she was in it. Sadly, it’s outside of my realm of influence, as the be-hair curtained Real American’s entry into the pantheon of holiday “Why hasn’t this been done by RiffTrax yet?” cin-enemas was left behind in the wake of the last millenium with the rest of the Hulkster’s floppy dicked attempt at a movie career. If I could have my way though, I would Charles Band the crap out of these two bicep blasted incarnations of Ol’ Saint Nick and make them do Yuletide combat in Santas with Muscles: 2 Holly 2 Jolly 2 Slay.
In more positive news, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Street Fighter – the world’s first movie adaptation of a video game, that also had a video game adaptation of itself…dividing by zero before dividing by zero was a thing. It killed Raul Julia. To celebrate, here’s movie Blanka! Despite the rest of his body being violently deformed through experimental mutation, at least his dentist will be happy to see that it didn’t effect his teeth. Merciful Cthulhumas, everyone!
Nothing much changed, we’re just older
But if I see you again back in detox
Put my remains in my snuff box
“Got any roles I can audition for? I’ll do anything for a part! I sucked off and swallowed 14 studio execs in a sauna once for Corky Romano, and I knew that movie was going to be shit from first glance!”
James Caan’s just gone straight senile. Every time we invite him to our Tuesday night Knifey-Spoony games, he always shows up with a fucking fork…
It’s Kool-Aid Claus! “Ho-ho-hoooooh Yeah!”
“Where’s the (roast) beef!… oh wait. There it is.”
“Every time you come in here Mrs. Smith, I tell you I’m NOT Paul Reiser. Please stop asking for my autograph and telling me I should give Helen Hunt a call to see how she’s doing.”
That has to be the most name brand stocked fridge I’ve seen in a long time!
“And don’t ever try putting your dick in that thing, kid. There’s a reason they’re called NUTcrackers!”
Despite what this may look like, that guy’s just trying to give Santa a complimentary shave. The beard’s just getting too big to manage.
She’s either doing her impression of Frankenstein’s monster, trying to keep her “silent but deadly” silent, or showing us her “o face”.
Billy Baldwin, tired of waiting for the call to come, goes ahead and starts up his own homemade sequel to Sliver.
“Ho-ho-HOLY SHIT! Who slipped acid into my milk and cookies?! I am freakin’ out!”
“Today’s passing of the collection plate is to raise the funds needed to replace our tissue paper windows with actual stained glass. Please give what you can, then add $10 on top of that.”
“What are you punk-asses looking at?! Tell Hanukkah Harry I’ll be waiting for him at the Nativity Scene downtown whenever he’s ready to man up and settle this once and for all!”
“Look, after Ice Cube sold out and stopped making Friday sequels, I had to make money somehow! Not like No Holds Barred 2 is every gonna be a thing! Now, you gonna buy these Cheetos or what?!”
He was only supposed to bleed from the throat for a few hours, but he somehow bled for 8 nights. It was a new Hanukkah miracle!
Having taken a bunch of Ecstasy and eaten several snowballs packed with Viagra, Santa is ready to rave straight on into the New Year!
A still from the Canadian remake of Heaven Can Wait. This is what angels look like North of the border.
President of the Canadian expansion of the NRA. Not sure how rocket launchers classify as “Rifles”, but if you ask them why they’ll just threaten to murder your family for “trampling their rights”.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Wrestling Dead”
Featuring the Voices of: Matthew “Thundercats (2011)” Mercer , Eric “Ren & Stimpy ‘Adult Party Cartoon’” Bauza , Norman “The Walking Dead” Reedus
Director: Hiroshi “Highlander: the Search for Vengeance” Hamazaki
Writers: Brandon “Dead Space: Aftermath” Auman , Kengo “Tokyo Gore Police” Kaji
Follows: “Marvel Anime: Iron Man”
Followed By: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
Today’s topic may be about a good ol’ American made superhero icon, but the feature itself is a product of the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s like being told that you’re getting a Baconator from Wendy’s, only it was made by a sushi chef. You know it’s going to resemble what you asked for: it’ll probably be made with some fine Kobe beef, but there’s also the very high possibility that after you bite into it, something with tentacles is going to be smiling back at you from between those buns. That just sounded more x-rated than it needed to be. You’re welcome.
Back at the turn of the Willennium, Marvel created its own Japanese influenced comics known as the Mangaverse, where classic characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man were given new spins and designs based on pop culture tropes from across the pond, just without going so far as to include rape monsters. The Mangaverse started as a larf but went on to become a canonical dimension in the Marvel pantheon of alternate realities, designated Earth-2301. For those curious new-comers out there, the main Marvel universe that we all know and love is known as Earth-616. The 2301 wasn’t the first instance of a slathering of wasabi and roe on a Big Mac though. For that, we’d have to toss Mr. Peabody some Beggin’ Strips so he’d take us on a trip in the Wayback to 1978. Japanese geek dream factory Toei created their own version of Marvel’s Spider-Man for a live-action TV series. Ever wonder what the webslinger would look like as imagined by the people who gave the world Sailor Moon, Power Rangers and Prince of Space (“MST3K” fans know that last one painfully well)? I present to you: Supaidâ-Man .
Unlike the American live-action TV series that came the year before, at least that Japanese shit was fun stupid and not just stupid stupid!
Anyway, that was 35 years ago. More recently, in 2010, Marvel produced four 12-episode animated maxi-series for Japanese television network Animax that starred Marvel characters adapted to appeal to the new foreign audiences while trying to keep the core characteristics that made them globally popular in the first place. The subjects for this targeted marketing project were Iron Man, Wolverine, the X-Men, and Blade. Not sure how Blade made it into the mix to be honest, given that his cinematic career went out with a fart back in 2004 with Blade: Trinity. This isn’t like the days before the internet when Japan was always 10 years behind in terms of catching up to US pop culture. Whatever the case, if you’ve seen the Iron Man movies, then you should be good to go here without having to have seen the 12 episode anime. The titular villain is the only real new addition to the story, but his background is heavily linked to the events of the first live-action movie, so we dirty gaijin won’t be left out of the loop. With all of that said, let’s see what’s in this spicy tuna burger.
For starters, IM:RoT (love that acronym) is written by Kengo Kaji and Brandon Auman. Kaji wrote for Tokyo Gore Police and Uzumaki (two brilliant pieces of Japanese guano lunacy), while Auman penned several episodes of “Iron Man: the Armored Adventures” and “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. Ironically enough, NOT the Technovore centric episodes of either series. I can’t speak much for “Armored Adventures”, but “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” is one of the best comic book cartoons since “Batman: the Animated Series”. A pretty solid pedigree to build something spectacular around, correct? That fucking two star rating at the top of this page says otherwise.
Tony Stark (Matt Mercer) is up to his usual high-tech industrialist antics. His latest project is The Howard: a super-powered surveillance satellite designed for Marvel’s Black Ops peace keeping organization SHIELD. You know, Strategic Hazard something Espionage something Dentists or whatever. The satellite is named after Tony’s dad Howard Stark, and will allow SHIELD to go full-on Big Brother on the Earth to prevent global terrorism. Basically, they’re looking to do a full Orwell and go 1984 squared, which would be 3936256… I don’t know, math humor? Anyway, a planet spanning snooping plan that will allow its controller to record everybody in the world on the shitter and/or masturbating in the shower? Yeah, no way this can POSSIBLY go wrong!
On the day The Howard is set to make its launch into orbit (to the chagrin of EVERYBODY who doesn’t already live in a nudist colony), the launch site is assaulted by a group of mech suited mercenaries called The Raiders, who are seemingly set on keeping SHIELD’s balls off of everybody’s lips while they’re sleeping. If these guys are anything like their NFL counterparts though, they fail their jobs 96% of the time. Not exactly the kind of confidence you should be instilling in potential clients. Though they’d probably manage to screw the job up if left to their own devices anyway, Iron Man and War Machine (aka runner-up Iron Man) are there to make sure that Howie makes it to its new home amid the stars. Yep, Jimmie “War Machine” Rhodes (James Mathis III) is along for the ride too, so expect the casual dick measuring contests between he and Tony, as well as the usual “Rhodey saving Tony from his own overconfidence” routine. Given the “your real friends are always there when you need them” mentality of the ol’ superhero team-up scenario, don’t be surprised if War Machine also ends up being our tale’s Deus ex Machina… or Machina ex Machina, as the case may be. Speaking of machines, enter Technovore (Eric Bauza).
Well, don’t enter him, exactly. I’m no robosexual. You know what I meant.
In its original American form, Technovore looks something akin to a Human Centipede made of Terminators. A Termipede, you might say. It’s made up of a colony of rogue nano-machines (i.e. microscopic robots) that allowed it to regenerate from damage and change its shape at will. This new version of Technovore is similar, yet very very different. Like every time a new Ninja Turtles show comes out. Instead of being pure machine, Neo-Vore’s actually an evil albino emo anime teen who speaks in anti-corporate rhetoric like an Occupy Wall Street castaway… wait, don’t go yet! The nano-machines are still in effect, but now they act more like a living techno-organic armor that can morph around this kid like liquid metal, T-1000 style. While Techy could presumably be using this to whip out an arsenal of blades, he opts instead to weaponize a series of floating spheres that hover around him. Guy’s got more balls flying around him than The Tall Man! But, not nearly as many balls as porn icon Houston, who added “author” to her resume when she chronicled her life in the autobiography, Pretty Enough: The Story of the Gang Bang Queen. A truer story than “The Real World”.
The attack on the Howard launch complex leads to a whole buncha civilian deaths, but TV fails to prevent Howard going into orbit thanks to Fe Sapien’s timely interference. The villainous ne’er-do-well refugee from One Direction gets away, but before he does he makes sure to detonate the control tower and everyone in it, including Rhodey and Starky. Ozzy Osbourne’s favorite hero escapes, but his sidekick ends up buried under a million tons of concrete and steel. He tries to dig through the rubble to find him (really? No GPS locator for such an emergency?), however Tony’s got shit to answer for with the powers that be like right fuckin’ now, so SHIELD sends a search and rescue team in to recover Iron Man Junior while Stark’s interrogated by SHIELD head honcho Nick Fury (John Bentley). The cycloptic hard-ass wants to make sure Stark himself had nothing to do with the attack on the Howard launch party (because… reasons?), and also wants him to stay out of the public eye (ocular humor!) until SHIELD can get the whole Technovore problem neutralized. Not one for the sidelines treatment (plus, his name is plastered across the fucking marquee), Iron Pants pops his clutch and invites the authority to bite his shiny metal ass, taking off to find TV on his own and deal out some genius billionaire philanthropist vigilante justice! Because we comic geeks love our crossovers and team-ups (and because The Avengers is one of the highest grossing movies EVER), Fury sends agents Black Widow (Clare Grant) and Hawkeye (Troy Baker) out to bring the errant outlaw back. Hey, when your villain has the potential to create techno-organic tentacles, you can’t just have a big sausage party! Hence, Busty St. Widow. Speaking of tentacles, I’ll bet Mickey Rourke’s electrified whip gimmick went in a whoooole different direction for the Japanese cut of Iron Man 2. Hell, Whiplash was probably the hero!
In his efforts to hunt Techy to avenge Rhodey, stop the baddie AND prove that his old clunky iron dick is superior to the shiny young morphing dong of the new hotness, Tony needs a tour guide to the underworld (not the the literal underworld, otherwise he would’ve been ringing my hotline) to help him connect the dastardly dots and find the fiend for which he searches. He needs someone with a history of deep involvement in the world of illegal death dealing on a military scale. Someone to whom human life is justified as disposable for the right reasons: his reasons. Someone to whom the justice system is to be ignored for the sake of his own benefit and to whom “morals” is a four-letter word. Someone willing to shoot his own friend in the face if the situation calls for it. Yes, Tony needs the help of… Dick Cheney! But, despite his cyborg circulatory system, “Deadeye” Dick’s a little old for this line of work, so Tony just tracks down The Punisher (Norman Reedus) instead.
I guess Big Pun must still be really popular in Japan, cuz I can’t think of any other reason he’d be shoehorned into this story. Especially given Stark’s whole “murder is not the answer” philosophy. His entire basis for becoming a superhero (beyond his ego) is to make up for all the years his company developed military weapons that led to the deaths of untold tens of thousands of people! Yet, rather than contact Captain America or some other non-fatal character who could get him the info he needs, Stark’s first choice is to shake hands with a devil whose mitts aren’t red because he’s an actual devil, but because he’s been elbow deep in so much blood in his lifetime that they’re stained that color.
Without pulling the veil back too much (IM:RoT was just released last year, after all), I’ll just say this about the rest of the movie – it’s pretty much a testament to Japan’s love for mech porn, twisted monsters, penis shaped entities that shoot sperm-like tendrils, and the island nation’s long standing feud with China. Shanghai gets it pretty hard in the last 15 minutes or so. And when the ACTUAL deus ex machina comes around in the end, it is PAINFULLY stupid, despite Tony saying he’s not stupid for preparing such protocols for said emergency. It’s not the prep that’s dumb, it’s the circumstances required to activate said emergency protocols and… damn that old gypsy chieftain for touching my face and whispering “No spoilers!” after I ran over his wife while getting road head! Ra damn it! Where’s Joe Mantegna when I need him?! ARGH!
Anyway, enough about the story. If you want to see the rest of it for yourself, that’s on you. As for me? On with the complaining!
Let’s start by addressing the elephant-shaped turd in the room: the voice acting. When it comes to an animated movie, voice acting should be your first priority. Your movie can look like utter eyeball orgasms, but if your voice cast spends their time jamming filthy Q-Tips into my ear canals, I’m not gonna care. The voice acting just straight up murders this movie. Red handed. In front of witnesses. On camera. In the middle of the Super Bowl halftime show.
Matt Mercer’s Tony Stark is baaaaaad. I don’t mean black breakdancer in an ’80s movie “baaaaaad” to mean exceptionally good, I mean the originally intended detrimental terminology of the word, extended outward with numerous additional ‘a’s to accentuate the shittiness of this performance. Mercer’s reading Stark’s trademark cocksure dialogue with about as much aplomb as a guy reading the instructions off of a Hungry Man frozen dinner box. Granted, the writing’s not exactly up to Joss Whedon standards, but that doesn’t mean your cast shouldn’t put a modicum of character into it. Sadly, Mercer’s performance isn’t the only one to pierce the annoyance centers of my cerebrum. Norman Reedus is a terrible choice to voice The Punisher, and was no doubt hired for his recognizable (yet still affordable) name due to “The Walking Dead”. Brooklyn born and raised Frank Castle does NOT sound right with a southern drawl, even as slight a one as Reedus tries to rein in. On top of the accent, Castle’s also given that perpetual “guy who just woke up” gruff whisper voice and doesn’t come off as bad-ass, it just makes him sound really disinterested and cranky. Finally, John Bentley as Nick Fury? After watching Samuel L. Jackson give us a calm, calculating, completely in command version of the visually impaired roughneck ever since the post-credits tease from the original Iron Man, it’s weird to see him vocally portrayed here more like Jules fuckin’ Winnfield from Pulp Fiction. You know how Japan is though: all black people fall into one of two categories – 90s rap videos or 70s blaxploitation movies. To them, all Samuel L. Jackson characters look the same.
When it comes to adapting characters for Japanese audiences, Iron Man is a natural fit. Sure, the “wealthy industrialist” aspect of his persona kinda conflicts with the traditional Japanese transforming hero archtype of loner motorcyclist/orphan child/unassuming shoe-shiner, but imagine him as Roger Smith from “Big O” and it’s not so hard to see Japan getting behind him. Stark’s snark remains intact, it’s just really flaccid. As for Iron Man, I was looking forward to seeing something interesting in regards to the suit design, but was disappointed to see it’s basically the same stuff we’ve been given in the US. About the only real change made to Iron Man was his methodology toward killing robots. Rather than just punching and shooting everything into scrap metal, during a fight scene with a few dozen SHIELD mandroids (“big robots” for you uninitiated), Tony fights more like Casshern than Shellhead! He was running and jumping around and doing sick axe kicks! When did Tony Stark become Tony Jaa?! Just one of those little tweaks to appeal to the foreign market. Feels weird, but I understand why it’s there. Besides, how can I say no to SICK AXE KICKS?! WAAAAAAAAAA!
Okay, on the topic of tweaks, let’s talk Technovore. Rather than just being a rogue AI, TV’s one of those kids whose dad was a huge dickhole that placed impossible educational standards on him his entire life, and treated him like he was nothing more than the $20 worth of organ meat he’s be sold as in a batch of Farmer Vincent’s Fritters. Impossible parental expectations? Japanese kids can identify with that. On top of it, he’s got a connection to Tony’s past (“No spoilers!”) which throws in another dimension to the proceedings. Also, Techno works way better as a human in a morphing suit of armor than as a weird cyber monster. At first I questioned why you’d want your big feature headlined by a bad guy that’s barely a footnote in the hero’s history. The exact question being “What the fuck is this?”. But, by turning ‘Vore into a threat to Stark on a tech level, an intelligence level AND an old generation vs. new generation level, I was on board. I’d be interested in seeing this version of Techy carry over into the actual comic series, especially given Iron Man’s notorious lack of depth in his rogues gallery.
Like most Marvel characters, the appeal in Iron Man is in the person behind the heroics. IM:RoT ignored that for the most part, and thus Tony takes a backseat to almost everybody else in the cast. Maybe if they’d spent less time trying to build a market for other characters and remembered whose name is actually in the title, we would’ve had time for a little more characterization. It’s a PG-13 movie too, so you can’t even market this to kids who would look past the bad voice acting and poorly constructed story because of the Punisher’s graphic gun violence toward a gang of arms dealers and the casual use of the word “shit” by a few characters. Then again, parents these days let their 5 year olds play Grand Theft Auto, so what the fuck do I know.
Final judgment? I like Technovore the villain more than I like Technovore the movie. I’m okay with sitting through the cliched “hero turned outlaw” story, but I think tossing in The Punisher was unnecessary. There are a couple of decent moments showing off Stark’s self-absorbed personality (the best of which can be seen in one of the screenshots below), but very little is shown of his insecurity as the old guy at risk of being outdone by the younger model. And that big emergency plan at the end? Eyeballs deep in bullshit. As for me, I’ve gotta finish trimming my Cthulhumas tree and putting together my wreaths of shapeless horror for next week’s Feast of the Damned Souls, so I’m gonna get my hoary hosts of Hoggath in gear. See yourselves out and feel free to take one of the human skin umbrellas by the door. Don’t want ya getting wet and catching a cold this time of year. After while, crocodiles!
The movie’s called Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, and The Punisher gets top billing in the credits over both Iron Man AND Technovore?! Whatchoo talkin’ about, Reedus?
“Damn! These iPhones are getting RIDICULOUS!”
Of course Japan would create a supervillain that looks like a big armored dildo straight out of Daft Punk. Of fucking course.
“Yes, Ron. Everybody knows about your weird fetish and we’ve all accepted it as a major part of who you are. But this is a call center and if you can’t come to work dressed appropriately, we’ll have to let you go.”
Sure, he looks cooler because of the black in his color scheme, but there’s a reason War Machine’s also decked in silver: he’ll always be second best when it comes to Iron Men.
Tony Stark realizes too late that he neglected to include a rear ventilation system in his latest armor design…
“I can hear you whispering back there. For the record, I lost my eye during a VERY intense game of Paper, Rock, Scissors that got out of hand. Never play that game drunk. End of story.”
“Yeah, I mean, it came out fine. I wish I’d gone with the ‘me as a centaur’ plan though. Alex Rodriguez swears by his guy. Oh well, maybe next time.”
“Hello, ma’am. May I have a moment of your time to tell you about Android-tology?”
I hope that little red dot’s a bindi, cuz if that guy isn’t a practicing Hindu, he might wanna start praying that reincarnation’s a thing real quick.
Punisher’s about to learn the meaning of the term “like fighting a rhino with spitballs”.
This is what Burt Gummer means when he says he has a new “magazine rack” next to his toilet.
Castle knows that Stark pissed in his coffee, but he’s not going to give him the satisfaction of spitting it out.
Vigilantes get a little too kinky for my tastes.
“Deal with it.” (I’m too lazy to animate a pair of 8-bit sunglasses into the picture. Use your imagination.)
“What what? In the butt butt!” (Since we’re digging up internet fads)
“Do I leave my breasts so exposed because it allows me a tactical advantage by distracting my enemies, or am I just seeking the wrong kind of attention from would-be father figures? It’s way past time for me to get to know me.”
I knew there was going to be a tentacle monster in this movie somewhere! This is what happens when your population eats genetically engineered, cube-shaped watermelons!
After that day, Tony Stark never watched Asian schoolgirl porn again… or ate spaghetti.
Featuring an appearance by special guest kaiju Dogora! (Godzilla was busy filming his big American re-debut)
Anubis will return next time in
“It’s an Open Sore On a Putrid Shore”
Featuring: Glenn “WWE’s Kane” Jacobs , Christina “Welcome to the Dollhouse” Vidal , Steven “Salem’s Lot (2004)” Vidler
Director: Gregory “Dead Man Walking (no, not that one)” Dark
Writer: Dan “SmackDown!” Madigan
Sequel: See No Evil 2
I was watching Dollman the other day for the first time in what had to have been at least a decade. You know who plays the villain in that movie? Jackie Earle Haley. Yep. Fucking Rorschache. Also known as the unfunny, sinister retard version of Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot I skidmarked all over a few months ago on this very site. And thus, I have scrounged up a tiny thread of reasoning for including this completely random information in this review! Progress! You know what’s NOT progress? Candy Corn Skittles. Uggh. Quick marketing research survey: would a better name for those little abominations be “Shittles” or “Skattles”? Please leave your answer in the comments section located at the bottom of this review. You will not be compensated for your time.
What was I doing again? Oh yeah, the review. Every once in a while a movie comes along that surprises the crap out of you with just how unassuming, yet spleen jarringly awesome it turns out to be! See No Evil is not one of these, but let’s just say that lowered expectations make for a much smoother ride down the bumpy back roads of writing opinion pieces on bad movies.
The time was 2006: World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the WWF for those of you who missed out on the whole World Wildlife Fund lawsuit many, many moons ago) had decided to get into making their own movies. With former company carrying beefcake charisma machine Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson making a sizable name for himself as the new go-to “action hunk with perfect teeth” for Hollywood, WWE head honcho Vince McMahon decided it was time to take preventive measures, lest any more of his potential bank makers jumped ship for the high glamour, big pay-off, easy living life of the Tinsel Town set. Wanting to get as much company exposure as possible without risking the loss of his contractual work horses, Vinnie Mac started a movie production division of World Wrestling Entertainment that would solely feature WWE contracted performers in the top billing. Not only was the hope to get the logo out there into the mainstream again (something the company’s been struggling to do since the booming days of “Austin 3:16”), but to possibly placate the locker room prima donnas’ egos. Or just drive their so-called “good names” deep into the Hollywood sewage so as to make them box office poison, killing their sad little dreams of starring in summer blockbusters. Either way, WWE Films is still manufacturing crap like a Play-Doh Fun Factory full of feces these many years later. But today we harken back to its original dipping of toes into the modestly budgeted movie hot tub. Embracing the “horror movies can be made for cheap and are guaranteed to turn a profit” commandment of the movie industry, it’s a simple little slasher called See No Evil. Not to be confused with the 1971 movie where a blind Mia Farrow is stalked by a maniac, though they do share both the visual impairment and deranged murderer themes.
Instead of going with a big name wrestler who already had some mainstream exposure (say “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Paul “Triple H” Levesque who had slightly-more-than-minor roles in Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard remake and Wesley Snipes threequel Blade: Trinity respectively), the WWE decided to play it safe and push ahead with a lesser known (by the mainstream) performer by the name of Glenn Jacobs. The staunchly libertarian Jacobs is better known by most as his in-ring alter ego “Kane”. For the uninitiated, Special K’s origin goes a little something like this: he’s a former full-body burn victim (amazing the advancements medical science has made with skin-grafting over the last 20 years) and the not-so-little brother to fellow WWE horror show phenom character The Undertaker; who himself played the role of an intergalactic bounty hunter with the voice of a small child in the Hulk Hogan vehicle Suburban Commando. I will never get the sound of “You’re a dead man Ramsey!” out of my brain for the extent of my deitic existence… Anyway, Kane came to the then-WWF to take revenge on his older brother, who he blamed for the fire that both scarred him for life and took the lives of their parents. As “South Park” so succinctly put it years ago (long after my Evil Dead Bride had been saying the same forever), this is the male soap opera.
Jacobs aside, the rest of the movie’s players aren’t household names, but neither are they unknowns fresh off of squeegeeing the casting couch. No, this cast is pretty much made up of “Hey, wasn’t she in the Freaky Friday remake?”, “Wasn’t he that guy in Stella Got Her Groove Back?” and “Is she Jesse Ventura’s daughter?!” types. By the way, for those keeping score at home, the answers to the previous queries are “yes”, “yes”, and “no”.
So, we’ve got a gang of never-weres headed by a guy who throws around half-naked men for a living. Not exactly a good start on the road to financial success for the hitchhiking WWE Films’ first feature. Will they have better luck using their thumb to flag down a ride to success? Well, when your other thumb consists of a writer whose sole experience is penning stories for televised professional wrestling programs and a director whose resume lays in the realms of music videos and spank-your-crank skinema (including such wank classics as Between the Cheeks , The Devil In Miss Jones 3 and a personal favorite from my barely pubescent days: Deep Inside Vanessa Del Rio), you’re setting yourself up for critical and box office suicide. Or maybe not.
Yes, it’s taken me an inordinate amount of time and space to get to the actual movie itself, but now let’s shed the formalities, do like they do on Mud Wrestling Night at Big Earl’s Drunk Hole, and get straight to the down ‘n’ dirty! One sunny afternoon, a pair of cops investigating a house upon reports from neighbors of screaming heard inside, discover a borderline Texas Chainsaw residence. If Leatherface had become a Born Again and gotten his interior decorating certification through ICS’s “At Home” program, this place would’ve been his first paying job. Thank you, Sally Struthers!
Inside the disturbing domicile, the fuzz find a young woman whose peepers have been jeepered right outta their head holes. One of the blue boys gets his face suddenly bisected via ax courtesy of a hulking, inbred looking sort of man, while his partner (Steven Vidler, who resembles the poor man’s Aaron Eckhart in this scene) is relegated to a life of having no need for left handed gloves. Despite losing a good 35% of his other arm though, the pig keeps his cool and pops a cap through the creep’s eyeball with his good arm, sending the mongoloid packing. Impressive. He must’ve studied at the same sharpshooter program Laurie Strode did that allowed her similar perfectly placed shots on both of her big bro’s visual receptors at the end of Halloween II. Our hero (who we come to know as Sgt. Frank Williams) manages to call in the emergency and keep from bleeding to death long enough for help to arrive…several hours later apparently, given that it’s well into the night by the time he and the man mountain’s victim are carried away from the scene.
Said man mountain is Jacob Goodnight (Glenn Jacobs), a name that’s never uttered in the movie, because some dipshit edited out the scene where Williams tell us this necessary tidbit! Like most movie slashers built like brick shithouses, Jake had a rough childhood. As if having a name that sounds like it belongs to an Amish vampire hunter weren’t bad enough, his crazy conservative religious fanatic of a mother had a thing for punishing his young male masturbatory efforts by locking him up in an animal cage, beating him repeatedly, and constantly demeaning him in an effort to make him a good little Christian soldier for the Falwell militia. Momma Goodnight was the type of matriarch that makes Norma Bates a strong contender for Mother of the Year… well, a strong contender for one of those “Best Mom Ever” coffee mugs… well, one of those “Not the Worst Mom Ever” shot glasses… maybe.
There was a heavy emphasis on the visually alluring form that Satan’s influence likes to take (in other words, “attractive women are evil!”) coupled with the message that the eyes themselves are the ground zero for sinful acts (I guess?), hence why Jake grew up to be a demented serial killer whose calling card was leaving his victims sans soul windows. Also, being forced to listen to “Jesus Loves the Little Children” on an infinite loop would turn anyone into a serial killer. Naturally, following his run-in with Sgt. Williams, Goodnight’s body was never found. Somewhere out there is a demented goliath with a bullet in his head and revenge in his belly, so you can bet a new bevy of blinded victims will be littering some poor community sooner or later. In fact…
“4 Years Later…” Sgt. Frank has been reduced to a plastic handed corrections officer, babysitting society’s teenage no-goodniks at the local juvenile confinement facility. Insert the generic hip-hop “heartbeat of the mean streets” music here. One such group has been deemed worthy of a shaving of their juvie sentences by a month if they do a weekend of community service under the supervision of our handicapable hero. In this case, the youngsters are tasked with cleaning up the burned out remnants of a luxurious old hotel so the local Historical Society can turn it into a homeless shelter. Juvenile delinquents are nothing if not an exploitable source of free labor! And because nothing promotes good behavior between young hoodlum males exploding with angst and hormones like grouping them into a social engineering sleepover with some equally non-law abiding female ne’er-do-wells, let’s make it a co-ed outing! Besides, sausage parties aren’t good for a slasher movie’s bottom line. There needs to at least be the potential for 24 year old boobs pretending to be 17 year old boobs to be shown on screen to keep the horn dogs wagging their tails.
If you’re still not 100% sure of the types of teen fodder we’re looking at here, think of one of those movies where the hard life city kids turn their lives around thanks to a loveable yet bumbling, camp counselor/youth league football couch who never gives up them. Only the Jim Varney/Rob Schneider/Cuba Gooding Jr. character’s replaced with a reject from The Hills Have Eyes. In other words, we’ve got your standard Rainbow Coalition of shoplifters, purse snatchers, pot heads, car thieves, wearers of miss-matched socks, “political activists”, and kids who stabbed their stepfathers to death after years of bad touches. They’re cookie cutter in the litany of slasher movie stereotype fodder. You’ve seen their types a million times, and nobody’s even bothering to try giving these characters depth anymore because we all know they have no real value beyond being turned into hamburger through graphic forms of violence. Speaking of cliches, to further the movie stereotype of people in charge making nothing but bad decisions, one of the boys named Mike (Luke Pegler), happens to be the racist, violent, drug dealing, ex-domestic abuser/pimp of one of the girls: Kira (Samantha Noble). I see no risk of conflict here. Smooth sailing for days… until that big inbred iceberg inevitably sinks this Titanic-in-the-making.
Meanwhile, Frank shows us he’s not a huge dick about protocol when he flirts it up with the girls’ handler (who may or may not be engaged) and lets the young ladies suck on stolen cancer sticks when they’re on break without doing the skeez thing and trying to make them tug on his Slim Jim for the privilege. SNAP INTO IT! To try and shoehorn another dimension into this deli-sliced thin tale, while everybody else is trying to hook up and avoid/engage in other uncomfortable social interactions, two of the boys go in search of a safe packed with money lost somewhere in the burnt out structure. The story goes that the safe is the legacy of the hotel’s creator and previous owner, Mr. Blackwell, who left it behind upon his death in the 1971 fire that claimed the building. Blackwell was said to be an eccentric Howard Hughes type to boot, so naturally the hotel is rumored to be littered with secret passageways and two- way mirrors and all that haunted funhouse bullshit. Perfect place for a homicidal maniac that was supposedly killed 4 years prior to hang his hat, right? And by “hat”, I mean the severed heads of his victims, whose eyes he removes to turn them into an affordable way of dodging the potential embarrassment of ordering a Fleshlight™ from Amazon…
Oh yeah. I took it there, Pvt Pyle. Now wipe that stupid grin off your face, stop sucking on that garden hose, and sound off like you’ve got a pair!
After our 30 minutes of mandatory “meet the victims” establishing scenes, the slaughterhouse goes live and the bodies begin to pile. From here on out it’s pretty standard murder music: the monstrous amateur eye surgeon plies his hobby on the sinners, adding a good half-dozen notches to the handle of his meathook. Well, more like five and a half notches, since he can only get an assist credit on one gal. A pack of stray dogs did the bulk of the work on her. And since the only cell phone in the place was stolen by one of the last two people to find out there’s a bloodthirsty colossus on the loose, nobody can call the proper authorities to rescue their asses. No one is safe from Jake’s wrath, as young and old alike are taken out with lumpy’s meathook-on-a-chain (that’s pushed as his signature kill utensil) and numerous painful looking eye gouges/pluckings. Makes me wonder if writer Dan Madigan didn’t take at least one happy memory away from his assumed viewing of Gigli.
Back to the cell phone thing for a side note, it’s too bad Jake-Off couldn’t have gotten a job as a theater usher. Given what he does to said victim with her phone, I’d love to see him enforcing the “please turn off your cell” suggestion before the features play. It’s one request that SHOULD be turned into a law punishable by a cruel and unusual death sentence!
Margaret, the elderly lady who organized this whole clean-up project, eventually reveals herself to be Jake’s mom (one of those spoilers that’s barely a spoiler because it’s practically rubbing against your face the entire time), and she’s really got her granny panties full of fiberglass over the way her baby boy has kept Kira as a pet (due to his reverence for her big dumb Christianity themed back tats). To teach her goon spawn a lesson, Marge threatens to pop the gal with Williams’ recovered revolver. After 30 or so years of being cockblocked by Momma, though, Jake’s ready to throw off the shackles keeping his testicles cobalt tinted, and impales the old broad’s face on a spike! Good thing he never actually gets his dick wet though, because according to director Dark, Vince McMahon (who was an executive producer) reportedly wanted the towering meathead to be swinging one disturbingly huge tailsplitter (a full yard long, to be exact!) between his grimy thighs. I’ll let that horse cock sized image of depravity spit-roast your psyche for a money shot moment. Move on to the next paragraph once the little red light *dings* and your mind has been properly fried.
Oddly enough, Mike, the least redeeming of the cast of miscreants is the hero of the ordeal, as the racist, drug dealing, white trash pimp returns to save Kira and her girlfriend Christine (Christina Vidal) from the lumpy lumbering lout. Jake is beaten with a lead pipe like Mikey Myers getting wailed on by Paul Rudd at the end of Halloween 6 until the brute’s sent careening out of a 7th story window to his comical and ironical demise. Think Homer Simpson falling down Springfield Gorge, only with a length of plumbing in his face. And when he hits the bottom? A mangy stray dog uses his eye socket as a puppy urinal. It’s pretty much the highest high note you could hope for a movie like this to end on. Fuck, it’s a better ending than any of those big budget studio slasher re-hashers ever gave us!
See No Evil tries to be at least a little creative, even if just in regards to its antagonist. For instance, ever wonder how those celluloid slashers seem to have no problem finding their victims, even in a big place like, say, a 12-story hotel? In this case, Lumpy McEye-stab has tied lengths of wire to various items throughout the hotel (things dirty sinners would use, like beds) that all connect back to an old-fashioned service bell set-up. As such, every time someone sets off one of these bells, it’s labeled for whichever part of the hotel the victim-to-be is in. Hey, it’s pretty friggin’ clever in lieu of a Sliver Special (i.e. security cameras) if you ask me, so this works as a big pointy check mark in the “Positives” column. Hell, it’s a similar tact that was used by Re-Jason in the Friday the 13th remake 3 years later to help him patrol his Crystal Lake stomping grounds, so somebody else obviously agreed with me.
The gore is graphic, squishy, and passable for the most part, with many of the killings inducing the occasional cringe or wince of pity pain from yours truly. The final resting place for the cell phone is particularly satisfying. It’s painful, justified, left me with a warm glow in the pit of my torso, and put a soft smile across my chapped lips. Though this is a nice little change of pace from the plucking of peepers, there is a slight problem with the cell phone death scene, as it doesn’t involve the destruction of the victim’s oculars in any way. We already established that Jakey-Pooh’s got OCD for mutilating eyeballs, so why does he choose to break character for this one death? Could it be that he hates loud cell phone users enough to break his murderous mantra momentarily in the name of semi-ironic violent retribution, or am I just being a nitpicking shithead? To paraphrase an old adage: shitty is in the eye of the beholder.
Commenting on the caliber of acting in a slasher flick is like criticizing the thespians in a third grade Christmas play, so let’s just get to the man behind the camera. Though I can’t speak for Dark’s prior work, his aesthetics make it obvious that he came from music videos. Everything looks dirty and dreary and swimming in amber while the camera jumps around frantically and things tremor violently from time to time like the whole thing was filmed on top of a fault line for a Nine Inch Nails vid. Though many will thumb their big critical noses at this type of generic “frantic” movie making, I hold no such grudge. I wouldn’t call Darky or his final product “genius” in any definition of the word (especially since two of those definitions are for a Roman guardian spirit and a Muslim genie), but I do call it a half way entertaining way to butcher off a couple of hours from your day while waiting for something better to happen. All in all, there are a hundred-thousand worse ways I could think of to spend your time and money and a few hundred of them are sitting on the shelves of my DVD collection right now.
I took 8 years for a See No Evil sequel to happen (review incoming… like, next episode… HINT HINT), and that’s not really a surprise, given how pretty much no one saw/remembers the original. SNE managed to double its budget at the box office though, so even without setting the target audience on fire, it was a success for WWE Films’ maiden voyage. Glenn Jacobs didn’t become the next Dwayne Johnson (or even Kane Hodder), nor did Dark become the next David Fincher, but I stand firm (well, firm enough) behind my belief that See No Evil deserves better than to be lost in the bowels of slasher obscurity the way it has been. It’s a simple-yet-solid stab at an original “slash & scare” that deserves a rental/download by any appreciator of brutal bloodletting bad men the likes of Misters Myers and Voorhees.
One last happy thing to say about Glenn: before he became Kane, he had a far more hilarious other-self by the name of Isaac Yankem D.D.S. whose whole gimmick was that of a large and menacing dentist with a taste for pain and inflicting the kind of dental work that would make Dr. Alan Feinstone (a.k.a. The Dentist) take notes. Check out the following video for a taste of what Dr. Yankenstein had in store for his opponents, then come back here next time for some more visually challenged antics in The Tomb of Anubis! Keep fucking that chicken, kids!
Lionsgate and WWE Films? The hallmarks of quality. Truly a match made in Hell… not to be confused with the main event of Summerslam 1991… wrestling nerd humor.
Thank you, Thing. You’re always there when we need a hand. *rimshot*
Photo taken during JCPenney Portrait Studio’s 2003 Labor Day Sale. They were such a cute couple.
Production still from the new prequel movie, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Pups. [Disclaimer: in no way associated with Quentin Tarantino].
Are you sure TL Hopper wasn’t supposed to play the villain of this movie?… more wrestling nerd humor.
AH! HE’S A VAMPIRE! HE’S ONE OF THOSE DREAMY VAMPIRES!
For those who want to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but can’t afford a day at Disney’s California Adventure, just head down to Big Zeke’s Discount Amusements in downtown Stockton! Get the real deal feel of what it’s like to be trapped in a falling elevator as Big Zeke himself gives you the (possibly final) thrill ride of your life! Cash only.
Actress Rachel Taylor proves, with this single screenshot, that she has all the range of higher paid “actress” Megan Fox. Possibly more. Probably more.
Do all women shower like this? I mean, do they only buy shower curtains so they have something to hide the unsightly soap scum when company comes over?!
On the back of Samantha Noble’s 8×10 headshots, it says “For when you can’t afford to pay Hillary Swank to do a nude scene”.
“I know having a giant meat hook stabbed into my trapezius should hurt like hell, but DAMN is it loosening up some deep stress tension! Don’t stop!”
“Nothing personal, kids. But, as a white man in a uniform, I’m afraid I have to place you under arrest for suspicion of having brown skin. I will also have to assault and possibly shoot you a few times whether you resist or not. Sorry, but it’s protocol.”
In that brief moment, Craig T. Nelson regretted every fishing trip he’d taken in his life… which was flashing before his eyes.
The truth behind what really happened to Katie Vick… sorry, last wrestling nerd humor. I promise.
I know this looks bad, but clearly he’s just helping adjust her jaw due to an obvious case of TMJ Syndrome.
Teenage Vinnie Jones’ mom tries to get him to eat some traditionally horrifying British cuisine. No doubt while saying something about not having pudding if he won’t eat his meat.
Not all that shocking, really. My grandma has to pull her piece anytime some jag-off cuts in front of her at the pharmacy.
What Republicans think Obamacare does to your grandma when she turns 70.
Okay, I know you want your shot to count, and I know you didn’t take lessons at the Laurie Strode Sharpshooting School, but I don’t think you need to get that close to somebody to score a headshot.
Kids? This is why, when your parent/teacher/doctor/dominatrix tells you “don’t pick at it”, you DON’T FUCKING PICK AT IT!
Anubis will return next time in