Feature 91 – Phantasm: RaVager (2016)

or “Balls of Fury”

Featuring: Reggie “Phantasm” Bannister , A. Michael “Phantasm” Baldwin , Bill “Phantasm” Thornbury & Angus “Phantasm” Scrimm in his final role

Director: David “Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too” Hartman

Writers: Don “Phantasm” Coscarelli & David “Channel 101” Hartman

Origin: USA

Sequel to: Phantasm ; Phantasm II ; Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead ; Phantasm: OblIVion

Review_____

“My use for you is at an end. You’re not even real. You’re my bad dream.”

You know those moments when you get your hype up so high that you’re oozing pre-hype, only to have the source of your oozing not just deny you said hype, but hit you in your hype zone with a hammer? Well, join the club. Uggh. Ra5ager is another one of those “I wanted to post this for Halloween, but had to hold off until November (I’m sorry, “NoVember”) because it’s too big a turkey to pardon” movies, like the Rocky Horror re-branding. Unlike the aforementioned botched effort to appeal to Willennials (what with their “gettin’ jiggy” and “big Willie” style), this irredeemable tank of cinematic septic sludge doesn’t even get the excuse of being a network exec’s cash-in fantasy.

Phantasm. Wow. In 1979, writer-director Don Coscarelli unleashed a new flavor in the field of fear when he introduced us to an old man and his balls. Now, in an Adam Sandler movie, that last bit would ravage the mind with horrifying images of a grandpa getting his testicles caught in his zipper, but in the world of Phantasm it’s horrifying for a whole different reason. When Angus Scrimm debuted as the now iconic Tall Man, a generation of horror fans pissed their collective pants. Five years before Freddy was giving teens fear-for-their-lives insomnia, this mammoth mortician was stalking his victims’ nightmares when he wasn’t prowling his mortuary workshop. Unlike other fear mongers, who would inject their terror through masks, He of Above Average Height relied on his everyday “twisted old man” visage, piercing stare and growling, bowel loosening voice to paralyze his enemies. And once they were paralyzed? That’s when he’d whip out his balls.

Said bloodthirsty spheres of steel became some of the most recognized death dealing utensils in horror. Flying through the air, they would chase down their victims, cutting them with their blades, boring into their skulls with power drill extensions, exploding through them at terminal velocities and even scorching them with death rays in later instances. So cool were these airborne murder toys that Anchor Bay release a Region 2 special edition DVD set of the first four flicks, contained in a big plastic replica ball case. My Evil Dead Bride begifted this little pocket universe of fantastic to me. Not only does this make me better than you, but it makes Her better than your significant other. Weep.

In addition to his vile volley of chrome cohorts, this tall glass of terror water (or “Flynt refreshment” as such libation would be known now) had under his wingspan a small army of small monsters. This cadre of diminutive demons were basically zombies that had been shrunken down in a giant food dehydrator then dressed up in robes. Basically Jerky Jawas. Despite the obvious opportunity for endless dwarf tossing jokes, the little beasties were always a source of hideous scares.

Over the course of the previous quartet of movies, Tally antagonized brothers Mike (Baldwin) and Jody (Thornbury) along with their guitar playing ice cream man amigo Reggie (Bannister) until 1998’s OblIVion, which ended on… a weird, Möbius strip type of endless looping…thing.

Though putting the series to bed on that note could’ve been acceptable (though confusing), after 37 years since its initial release we’re finally given the finale to the Phantasm legacy.

If you want a more detailed rundown of the individual movies and the labyrinth that is their cumulative narratives, don't look at me. I'm not Edward James Olmos and this isn't Stand and Deliver. Get your ass to Mars Google! When you get back, we’ll talk about RaVager, which lives up to its nomenclature by doing just that to its lineage. See ya in 2 and 2, Chuck Woolery!

…[Pause for station identification]…

Groovy? Groovy. Let’s get this over with.

Originally conceived in 2008 as a web-only gaiden (aka an internet side-series) that would follow the further adventures of hair-curtain hero Reggie, this concept (and footage) was integrated into Coscarelli’s pre-existing RaVager plot plans circa the turn of the millennium regarding a final battle between our heroes and their nemesis amid the post-Apocalyptic ruins of a disease ravaged (*nudge*nudge*) Earth in which The Tall Man reigned over the crumbling remnants of humanity. I remember Bruce Campbell being included in these original plans, and was sad to eventually learn that he was no longer connected with the project. He would go on to make some magic with Mr. C in Bubba-Ho-Tep, but that’s another tale for another episode.

I’m not 100% on the extent of Dadtasm’s involvement during the final countdown to his brain child’s demise, but I do know that he passed the creative torch on to David Hartman to finish what he himself had started. Why? Well, my hypothesis is thus: Coscarelli was unwinding one day, watching Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too , when the radiation from a passing meteor bestowed temporary sentience and telekinesis upon a frying pan in his kitchen, providing the cookware with the momentary ability to throw itself at the back of his head, exacting revenge upon its owner for the many times he washed the poor thing with unforgiving Brill-O pads rather then letting it soak in soapy water first, then applying a soft sponge to remove the now loosened debris. Following said cortex rattling collision, Coscarelli returned to consciousness to see Hartman’s name on his TV screen. Feeling this to be a sign, he immediately got in touch with the man, ceding the reins to his purebred metaphorical horse and carrying out the prophecy laid before him.

But I’ve always had an “active imagination”. My parole officer’s been saying that ever since I was 15!

Whatever the case, RaVager returns the washed-up vendor of frozen treats Reggie to us after his altercation with Tally (pronounced like “Tall-E”) at the finale of OblIVion. Emerging in the middle of a desert wasteland with his vaunted double-double barrel shotgun, he discovers his beloved phallic compensater (and series mainstay), the jet black Plymouth Barracuda, not where he left it. Beginning his long self-narrated march down a barren highway in search of the nearest civilization (preferably prior to his death by dehydration), what should he come across, but that very same hot rod, now driven by its new owner (as per the “Finders Keepers” law), an even dumpier and less attractive loser than himself! There’s no explanation as to why the humanoid lung oyster would return to the scene of the crime, how he managed to find the ‘Cuda in the first place, or why he’d stop to pick up a thumb jockey in the middle of nowhere (clearly he’s never seen The Hitcher or heard ANY urban legend EVER), but whatever the reasons, the exchange ends with Reggie recovering his beloved whip and fat boy ending up in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his European-cut man briefs and a big silver sphere drilling into his face. Yep, as the poster for Phantasm II so joyfully declared “The Ball is Back!”

I love that movie. Oh Phantasm V, why can’t you be more like Phantasm II? D’oh.

Where the movie goes from here is, well, the very definition of a clusterfuck. Reggie jumps back and forth between scenarios where he’s driving across country in the “Ooooooo, Barra-Barracuuuuuda!” and being pursued by the occasional ball attack, suffering from dementia in a nursing home where he shares a room with a certain white-haired old man while being visited by Mike and Jody, or battling TM and his army of re-animated soldiers in a bloody red tinted “post-Skynet” world where he joins a group of revolutionaries that includes Mike, a woman named Jane (Dawn Cody) that Reg knows as “Dawn” in one of the other planes, and a pint-sized action hero named Chunk (Stephen Jutras) who’s your typical “I may not be tall enough to get on most carnival rides, but I can single-handed murder a dozen people with a knife!” breed of elite fighting dwarf that movies give us to up their action figure sales.

Though some viewers determined that these reality jumps are just Reggie having bizarre nightmares, in one of their nursing home scenes Mike tells Reggie about Membrane Theory (a.k.a. “M-theory”). Or at least boils it down into a small enough serving to make it edible for both Reg and we laymen in the audience. It’s basically a unifying concept that melds variances of superstring theory together to put out the possibility that our universe is just one of potentially thousands, and these other realities/dimensions are all bundled on top of each other in such a way that energy can pass between the weakened spots where their borders intersect. How does this apply to the movie? It’s never spelled out in big letters for us, but the presumption is that Reggie’s mind or “soul” (or whatever you want to refer to his consciousness as) plays illegal alien and passes between several of these dimensions, inhabiting alternate reality versions of himself (NONE of which have hair and ALL of which saw their careers apex behind the wheel of an ice cream truck) that spend their time fighting the Tall Man, running from him, or just rotting away in a hospital bed.

That’s about the extent to which I’m going to get into the story. Rather than settle on a single plot and map out the trip from point A to point B, we got this multi-reality excuse shoehorned in so Hartman didn’t need to settle on a single story. Even with said safety net setup below him, Hartman still churns out one majorly confused and overly complicated rigmarole of a fable. It’s the proverbial octopus trying to fingerbang a wood block – too many scenarios and nowhere to put ’em. What do you mean you’ve never heard of that proverb? There will be no free rides, no excuses. You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do. “The octopus trying to fingerbang a wood block” is the great equalizer!

Best of luck figuring that one out. Here’s a hint: it’s a callback to earlier in the review. 😉

I’d tell writer Hartman not to quit his day job, but since director Hartman is his day job, I’m going to request he quit both and do something for the betterment of humanity. Like drownee in a charity carnival dunk tank or jizz mopper at the local glory hole.

And what of our cast? Well, Reggie’s still the star of the show. Though his action hero stuff will never be believable, he’s still the best actor of the group. It makes sense why he became the series’s everyman comic relief focal point. Meanwhile, Baldwin and Thornbury seem to have become blander as their parts have become smaller. As for Scrimm? Oh man. Poor Angus. The dearly deceased inter-dimensional undertaker was on his last legs during shooting of his scenes, and it’s impossible not to notice. His face is heavily caked in makeup, his scenes are all smeared with digital haze to try and obscure his raVaged visage, his eyes look tired and the demon of time had long since withered away the Tall Man’s soul searing gaze. He has a handful of scenes with Reggie, where he cryptically refers to their roles in this grand scheme of things, but the poor guy couldn’t muster even an ounce of the terror he gave us in ’98, let alone in ’79. This isn’t how I wanted to remember Angus Scrimm, just like RaVager isn’t how I wanted to remember Phantasm. Uggh. Life is an unending march through the avenues and alleyways of suffering. Such is what happens when you let Pinhead plan your parade route. That guy’s such a prick. *rimshot*

Now, how about the visual effects? Unlike those car wrecks that people are always saying they can’t look away from (morbid fucks), RaVager is a car wreck you should look away from. Not just because doing so is insensitive to the victims, but because one of the drivers is Medusa and the other is Cthulhu, and if you make eye contact with either one, you’re fucked. By that convoluted metaphor, I mean to say that this movie is a visual mess. The digital format it was shot in makes it look like a crap-ass direct-to-video flick you’d find on the “New Releases” wall at Blockbuster 15 years ago. Back before NetFlix and RedBox ruined the video store experience and made the 13 membership cards in my wallet into useless plastic rectangles. You know what else looks like it’s a relic from the ’90s? The CG effects! Holy Helheim. As if I wasn’t having a hard enough time getting through this unadulterated gauntlet of shin-high spanking machines, I finally came across the point where my mind splintered. Not in the way that it physically broke into shards, but more in the way that Mrs. Menard’s eyeball was splintered in Zombie.

The CG is so hard to look at, I’d rather watch a baby put through a punch press. I understand budgetary constraints, but the stuff we get shafted with here was ugly 10 years ago, let alone by 2016 standards. The awkward attempts to splice these outdated digital effects with stock footage of riots and helicopters and skyscraper demolitions are heartbreaking. And it doesn’t stop there. Driving the splinter further into my cerebral cortex? During the climactic final conflict between our heroes and The Tall Man in his hellish home dimension, (a battle so poorly executed that I wish I could go on a three page tirade about it, spoilers be damned!) Mr. Scrimm is replaced by spliced footage of his younger self, awkwardly mugging his eyebrows up for the camera while not moving his lips at all (old test footage, perhaps?), excusing the piss poor paste job by having Tally speak to his opponents WITH HIS MIND… Really?! As if that wasn’t cheesy enough, said footage makes the man monster look flat, while everyone else in the scene clearly has that all important third dimension the bad guy lacks. I’m not a whore for high-grade graphics, I get that nothing will ever look as flawless as Jurassic Park did, but this garbage came close to shoving me into the malicious arms of an anxiety attack.

For Fenris’ sake, you know what RaVager reminds me of, now that I think about it? The way everything is so amateurish? The pitiably developed story? The lazy camera work? The cheap gore? It looks and feels like a fucking FAN FILM! It should’ve been titled Fantasm and sold as bootleg-only DVDs at dirt mall comic stores and hotel horror conventions! It would’ve been the perfect way to excuse Coscarelli not directing it, and it would’ve given the movie a Tower of Pisa level of leniency! I might have actually enjoyed it somewhat if that were how it had been presented! Son of a three-headed bitch! Leave it to me to pan some sliver of gold from a gurgling septic tank.

Why, why, WHY couldn’t David Hartman have been the Hartman killed by his crazy wife in 1998 (the year I’d swear these in-no-way-special effects came from) instead of Phil Hartman!? Phil Hartman brought us all so much joy and inspiration! “Newsradio” was one of my favorite sitcoms! David Hartman brings me nothing but disappointment. A disappointment that I’m sure extends to his family. There’s a Phil Hartman shaped hole in my soul that can never be filled, but there’s a David Hartman shaped hole in a New Jersey landfill that should be!

Okay, that’s a bit much. I shouldn’t be calling for someone’s head just because they exhumed a series better left dead, pissed all over it, then buried it upside down out of disrespect and built a pet shop on top of it. Maybe we should just have Rawhead Rex baptize D-Hart and let that be it. Truth be told, I’m not even a major mark for the Phantasm series. My dad was always a way bigger follower of it than I was. But even as a slightly-more-than-casual observer of the Misadventures of Bomb Pop Reggie and the Brothers Pearson, RaVager is the worst instance of someone disgracing a franchise beloved by others since that video I sent my ex-girlfriend, in which I gave her The Lord of the Rings trilogy DVDs a Cleveland Steamer. That’s what happens when you kidnap one of my Re-Animator t-shirts, EDNA!

I’m just kidding!…partly. Which part? Only the court documents know for sure.

I didn’t cry when I’d heard Angus Scrimm had died, but I cried after RaVager. Wait, did I say I “cried”? I meant I “fell face first down a twenty-story spiral staircase of cinemasochism that left me questioning if there was anything good or decent left in the world”. This abomination should never have happened. I was overcome by the urge to induce vomiting in an effort to evacuate this poison from my system. Sadly, there is no such thing as mental ipecac, so can somebody PLEASE do me a solid and Eternal Sunshine the shit out of me on this one? It can be my Cthulhumas gift for the year!

And there you have it, Phan-boys and Phan-girls. Gobble gobble in agony, because you’re Glenn/Abraham, David Hartman is Negan, and RaVager is Lucille. *SPLAT* I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I think we would’ve received a better movie if Syfy had bought the rights to it and tossed it in The Asylum’s food dish. Uggh, despite standing behind my statement, I feel so dirty for having made it. Look what you made me do, David fucking Hartman!

I’m gonna buck my usual credo and give you a spoiler as far as how one of the alternate realities ends – Reggie dies of some manner of degenerative disease. It’s appropriate too, since this movie doesn’t allow the series to go out with a bang or even peacefully in its sleep. Instead, it rots away with franchise cancer. R.I.P.

And Hartman? As Jon Stewart (the comedian, not the Green Lantern) once said, “You will always be judged by your worst elements”. Consider this your judgment. Welcome to the enemies list.

Moral of the Story: When the only thing standing between you and a pair of Gatling guns is two bad guys, have no fear! As long as you’re the hero(es), you might as well have skin like Luke Cage, because you’re not taking a scratch! Oh, and if your movie calls for digital effects and has a climax that requires extensive green screen work, don’t hire some chumpsteak(s) off of Craigslist to do the job.

Screenshots_____


After-school rush hours get real nasty real quick. That’s why I had to get out of the mobile frozen treats business!


Hey, it’s 1990s Tall Man! And he brought Member Berries with him! Member the old Phantasm movies? Yeah, I member.


“There’s only room for one lovable loser on this cast, and it’s the one holding the gun! Hit the bricks!”


Yeah, this is a pretty accurate representation of how fans feel once RaVager is over.


“So… why the FUCK are we doing this stupid movie again?! Oh, right, the paychecks. Got it.”


“Sorry, old man, but I’m the only female character in this series who doesn’t have some repressed urge to want to bang her grandpa, so keep it your pants.”


Geraldo Rivera reveals to the world, “The Secrets of Charlton Heston’s Trunk”!
(It’s pretty much exactly what you expected)


Hold on a minute! In a previous movie we were shown that the balls are each powered by a human brain. What the fuck is in THAT thing?! Are there several thousand brains all working as a colony, or did Tall Man harvest GODZILLA’s brain!? Stupid stupid movie!


“Good news Reggie! I pulled a few strings and, despite that whole sorted “killed a hooker” thing, I got you into Heaven! Welcome aboard!”


Wow! That little boy’s Negan costume is AMAZING! Way to go, kiddo.


Tally tried to make his global takeover more marketable with limited edition Christmas themed murder balls. ‘Tis the season!


Wow, it finally happened. There’s finally a movie that makes me wish I was watching The Matrix Revolutions. You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to Hell!


See kids, this is why Uncle Anubis always tells you to never look directly at a masturbating T-1000. “Save your eyes; don’t look between its thighs!”


Phantasm finally turned into that Vigilante 8 movie adaptation I always wanted!


“Hey folks. Remember me? I was Rocky in Phantasm III. I have no clue why I was brought back to shoot a single scene for this movie, but here I am. Well… bye!”


“Made in America”, eh? You know what else shares that distinction? The KKK, nuclear weapons, and 3 Doors Down! But congrats, RaVager, for proving to us that America is capable of creating something even WORSE than the 2016 election.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Homey Don’t Play That”

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

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Feature 87 – Antibirth (2016)

or “The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”

Featuring: Natasha “‘Orange Is the New Black’” Lyonne , Chloë “American Psycho” Sevigny , Meg “Psycho II” Tilly

Director & Writer: Danny “Oddsac” Perez

Origin: Canada | USA

Review_____

“I’m not pregnant, I’m infected!”

Hey kids. It’s September 30th. Somebody wake up Billy Joe Armstrong, cuz he apparently can’t figure out how to set a fucking alarm clock. Speaking of kids…

Children. Uggh. I’ve never been a fan. My DNA has been requested more than once to contribute to the spawning of an Anubis Junior, but such a nightmare never occurred because I convinced the women in question that not only would having my child be a poor idea (family history of mental illness, alcoholism, diabetes, and general assholeness) , but ANY intentions for reproduction would only lead to a lifetime of regret for all involved. I’ve seen it happen. Too many times. From would-be dads who bail as soon as the first sonogram image proves they were wrong that their lady “just ate too much chili” to mothers on the verge of becoming the next Andrea Yates (one of which I literally had to talk down over the phone while at work, I shit you not), the idea of having children unnerves me. Almost as badly as the idea of a Rush Limbaugh Speedo calendar or Uwe Boll making a movie crapdaptation of Eternal Darkness. In the darkest depths of this hypothetical Hell, it would star Jenny McCarthy as Alexandra, Casper Van Dien as Pious Augustus, and Paulie Shore as the voices of each of the Elder Gods. Uggh, I just gave myself mental indigestion.

As I was saying, I hate the concept of babies and everything to do with them. So much so that I used to wear a t-shirt in high school of a fetus on a coat hanger that said “PRO DEATH” across the chest. Some mistook it as a plea for negative attention, others incorrectly interpreted it as an extremely anti pro-choice statement (it was not), while in the end all it was meant to be was exactly what it looked like: a public illustration of my advocating for the violent physical termination of parasites. Do you know what the difference is between a tapeworm and a fetus? Most people don’t keep the tapeworm after it’s been removed and raise it as their own. Poor tapeworms. Somebody should start a petition to establish a publicly funded tapeworm adoption agency. But not me. I’d rather bisect my own tongue with a piece of notebook paper than try to convince people to sign a petition.

In addition to the whole conception concept, Antibirth also addresses another mostly female-centric nightmare – date rape drugs. No sooner does our feature set sail, then it immediately crashes upon the jagged rocks of discomfort as our intoxicated leading lady Lou (Natasha Lyonne), who’s suddenly having issues maintaining consciousness, is led away from a raucous midnight warehouse barrel fire rave by the living, breathing definition of a “skeezoid” with blatantly bad intentions. Her friend Sadie (Chloë Sevigny) sees this and makes the bare minimum effort to assist her protagonist pal, but is ultimately dissuaded by her presumed beau Gabriel (Mark Webber) to just ignore the implied peril and get back to indulging in their drunken merriment. Ladies, be sure to properly vet your rape prevention buddies before engaging in a public night of mind altering activities, and even then, be sure to travel in a consortium of three or more friends if possible in case of outside interference. Oh, and be sure to pack an Xacto knife or shiv of some kind too. If there’s one thing that terrifies a guy with his dick hanging out, it’s sharp objects!

Antibirth throws us face first into the figurative wall with its tale, so let’s take a quick sidebar and let me introduce you to Lou, based on what we observe throughout the runtime. She wants more out of her aimless life, but due to her downward spiral of self-esteem these moments of clarity are always quickly obscured with another haze of bong exhaust, or drowned in an amber sea of Old Milwaukee and painkillers. As for her personality, the best I can boil her down to on a relatable level is thus: Lou is that “live out loud” tomboy type that has more male friends than female. She prefers to be direct and avoid the false face backstabbery and bullshit of the stereotype woman. It could have something to do with her dad being dead and all.

Lou’s the friend who asks her best male amigo to go get her tampons and offers to suck his dick in payment. As said friend though, you never call her out on cashing it in (despite getting blue balls every time she does it) because you know she was just joking, yet you still buy her the cotton ponies because you knew you were gonna end up doing it either way. She talks about how one night the planets will align and conditions will be just right for the two of you to swap fluids in a tangle of sexual kismet that you’ve been building toward for years. Chances are she’s just stringing you along because she thinks she needs to keep you interested in a self-professed loser like herself, and she feels genuinely bad at times since she knows said metaphorical celestial construct will never come to pass. Lou’s the kind of friend that masochists fall in love with despite knowing they’ll never have her because, well, I guess that’s part of being a masochist, right? She’s a Super Bowl of self-abuse, but you can’t help picking her back up every time she falls on her ass…

Well, if said “you” is me, anyway. Maybe the you “you” reading this hasn’t ever had a friend like that before. Anyway, now’s not the time to delve into the sinkholes of my personal memory lane. We’ve got a movie to review, you Sonoma bitch!

The aforementioned ambassador of the Skeeze Nebula is Warren (Max McCabe-Lokos), whom we later discover to be Gabriel’s henchman. Why would Gabriel need a henchman? Because he’s the local supplier of their small town’s citizens with pay-for-play poontang and illegal pharmaceuticals. He also may be holding a young woman hostage (it’s a shady shade of legal gray) for the purpose of harvesting her urine to sell to job seeking junkies. Even if you excuse his business practices as “providing services for people who are responsible for their poor decision making”, based on his simple merits as a human being, Gabe’s still a diarrhea Slush Puppie. And if you don’t know what a Slush Puppie is, memorial services for your childhood will be Thursday from 4PM to ‘?’.

Lou wakes up the next morning with no memory of what happened after Warren made off with her, but over the course of the following days one thing’s made very certain – she’s pregnant! She’s in denial about it for a while, but once her midsection starts to inflate like a meat balloon it’s clearly more than a heavy case of constipation. Given the rapid progression of said impregnation, there’s something way more complicated than the simple fetal fallout of a date rape at work in this lady’s womb. The question now isn’t just how that something got there, but who put it there, what it has to do with a strange woman (Meg Tilly) that’s seemingly stalking Lou, what its connection is to a ramshackle Chuck E. Cheese rip-off restaurant, and what exactly said something IS. The answer may surprise you!

Or maybe it won’t. If you’re into Area 51 “X-Files” type shit, I’m gonna guess it probably won’t.

Much like my last episode, The Neon Demon, there isn’t a lot in the way of horror going on in Antibirth. The dread comes from the discomforting voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you this is all leading to some nightmarish payoff, but the cause isn’t made clear until the finale, when the whole thing get thrown in our faces like a water balloon full of amniotic fluid. Unlike The Neon Demon though, Antibirth doesn’t give us the courtesy of some beautiful visuals and brain altering background tracks to keep us neck deep in the experience while we wait for the eventual menace to surface and resolve. Of the pair, oddly enough, it’s the one with a hardcore drug abuser as its main character that involves the less psychedelia. Yep. Despite Lou’s frequent pot smoking, booze drinking, and pill popping, there’s not a lot for the audience’s sensory apparati to indulge in outside of a little acid rock, a brief time lapse scene and some minor flashbacks to the night of her womb squatter’s immaculate conception.

The trippiest shit we get actually comes from whatever bizarro TV channel it is that Lou keeps her boob tube tuned to. Must be one of those weird ass “channels between the channels” digital air wave stations too, cuz our pregged-up protagonista’s trailer abode is so far out in the middle of nowhere that there’s no way a cable company is coming all the way out there to install service for her box! Though, I would gladly drive such a distance to service Natasha Lyonne’s box. There’s just something about her that makes my protruding Pineal stalk stand at attention. Not that I owe anyone an explanation as to whom or what pitches a tent in my celestial loincloth. If you’ve got a problem with it, you can blister your biscuits for all I care.

All in all, the movie’s cast is pretty good. Lyonne makes Lou oddly affable (and f-able) despite her flaws, but that may just be me hooking my wagon of personal life experiences to her hitch. Sevigny (who’s been superseded as the go-to Chloë by both Chloë Grace Moretz and Khloé Kardashian) make Sadie moderately interesting as both Lou’s co-conspirator and Gabe’s girlfriend, seeming genuinely ignorant that she’s using him for the free drugs. It keeps with the movie’s underlying message that everyone uses everyone else for their personal gains. That may make me a pessimist, if you must insist, but I tend to live in a sugar-free reality. My logic diabetes makes me allergic to naivety. And despite my cripplingly low self-esteem, I can’t seem to stop making this review about me. Let me go look in a mirror and remind myself why I’m not to be a topic of praise.

That’s better. Where was I? Oh yeah, the cast. Meg Tilly’s Lorna is motherly and warm, while also tin foil hat paranoid and always ready to cut a bitch. She’s like Kitty Forman with shellshock, thus making her my favorite character. Webber and Lokos are what you’d expect out of a small town wanna-be crime lord and his bruised second banana. Neither one is especially dynamic, but these aren’t exactly career making roles. I will give it to Webber though, he almost makes you feel bad for Gabriel when the guy points out to Sadie that she’s using him for drugs and he begrudgingly accepts it. One of those “I’m just a means to an end for you, but I’m a user too so fuck it, we’re good” exchanges. Kudos.

Though it’s become far more commercial in recent years than the Independent Film Channel it was created to be, IFC’s movie unit lives up to the “independent” part with Antibirth‘s super low budget feel, especially its limited number of scene locales. It’s sold as a horror movie, but looks and feels like a slice of life slacker picture. Downtrodden, lower class twenty-to-thirtysomethings just getting by and living lives without real purpose, just kinda dickin’ around until it’s their turn to feed the worms. Minuscule on production value, but in no need of a big price tag to warrant its existence. Take out the Mulder and Scully stuff and you’d be left with a Juno + Suburbia hybrid flick.

All in all, it’s an okay movie. Better remembered for its ending (which I’m not at liberty to divulge, given its infancy) and a scene that will make podophobics curl their toes in revulsion (trigger warning!), Antibirth is a fair feature to take in if you’re feeling nostalgic for the ’90s nihilistic punk pics sub-sub-genre, but still like a side of mild body horror and the unknown with your meal. It doesn’t make me chomp at the bit for another Danny Perez feature, but I may check one out if I get the odd pregnancy craving somewhere down the line.

Oh, and bonus points for the scene where Lou expounds the finer points of “Manimal” to Sadie! When’s that remake coming, NBC?!

With the sun setting on “Ladies Night!”, what will the striking of midnight and the dawning of the devil’s month have in store for The Tomb? Take my hand and let’s find out together…that’s not my hand…okay, you should just stop that now. I’m just not into you like that. You’ve made it awkward. I’m going to go now. Bye.

Moral of the Story: Don’t do drugs, kids. You could get addicted, overdose or worse, you might get pregnant!

Screenshots_____


“Get off me, man! If that dude juggling the chainsaws fucks up, I wanna see it!”


We all had the same reaction when we heard Trump was running for president. Now we’re just praying someone invents a working time machine before election day.


Having missed out on her chance to be a contestant on “The Swan”, Split Face Girl instead moves from Japan to Canada in the hopes that their superior healthcare system may be able to finally get her the care she needs.


Trust me, leaving your piss cups and a big jar of olives in the fridge together will only lead to comical mishaps. Also, who the fuck put the COMPLETELY EMPTY KETCHUP BOTTLE back in the fridge?! Assholes!


The rest of his shirt says “When you can sit around and shove fried excuses for chicken parts into your face and cut your lifespan in half”.


I don’t care HOW big your American flag is, you’re not fooling anyone! Only Canadians bowl with those weird little ski ball spheres, ya hosers!


Fearing the inevitable sleepless nights that come with parenthood, Lou tries to keep her future spawn high as hell in utero in the hopes that it’ll be a mellow baby.


“Not so tough now ARE ya, Sunny Jim! Somebody’s definitely getting a mouthful tonight, but it’s not gonna be me. I suggest you pretend you’re eating a Choco Taco if you wanna see the sunrise. On your knees!”


Think Wheaties is the breakfast of champions? Fuck no! Cold pizza and a Camel are where it’s at.


Just another prom night victim of an American “abstinence only” school district…


Much like baby alligators in the ’70s, it looks like one of those porcelain preemies managed to reach adulthood in the sewers and become a successful model for “Gorezone”! The American Dream is alive and well, (white) people!


Pepsi recently brought back their Crystal Pepsi product by popular demand, but they forgot to fix the “flesh melting” side effects that caused them to cease its production in the first place!


By the time Billy’s mom realized she’d purchased a voodoo birthday cake by accident, it was too late…


Speaking of accidental conceptions, this is what happens when Tinky Winky and Po get wasted on cough medicine and take turns face fucking one of those water gun carnival game heads. Pure, uncut nightmare powder.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Nepotism: HosebIVion”

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.

Feature 76 – City Under Siege (2010)

or “Big Top Beatdown”

Featuring: Aaron “The Storm Riders” Kwok , Qi “Journey to the West” Shu, Collin “The Matrix Reloaded” Chou

Director: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan

Writers: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan & Chi-Man “Invisible Target” Ling

Origin: Hong Kong

Review_____

“Life is like a flying dagger. As the flying dagger goes, it must hit the target.”

All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope…

The Tomb’s 3rd anniversary is October 1st. Three is the “novelty sneakers” anniversary. If someone doesn’t get me some of that groovy be-chinned footwear, all love is a lie and life is a pointless endeavor that goes on forever. Just so you know.

On to other matters, because of my many months away from The Tomb (let’s say due to a journey through alternate realities where I had to stop an evil version of myself from destroying all of existence by killing our other selves and absorbing their power to supplement his own) I’m taking a further break from the Tour de Farce so I can give higher priority to other movies that have crossed my desk since. And yes, it’s a literal desk, made of the finest polished femurs, spines, and rib bones of Rupert Murdock’s ancestors. Totally worth the hauntings.

To that end, I thought it prudent to finish this review (started in January) before putting the T de F back into its cryogenic freeze tube for a while longer. Today’s episode features the Hong Kong sing-a-long ring ding dong we call City Under Siege.

Expected a Dr. Dre reference? Nope. He’s banned from The Tomb for selling $300 headphones to stupid children with stupider parents. Anyway, before we get started, let’s mine the ancient secrets of the mystical island of Hong Kong!

On second thought, never mind. This review’s already 4 months late and my laptop is starting to give me third degree dick burns. I don’t have time to play tour guide. If you wanna know any esoteric facts about HK, its economy, its culture, its people, its impact on the rest of the world, or its dark history of horrendous crimes in the fields of drug trade and human trafficking (I’m presuming), pay your preferred search engine a visit. Let’s just get to the movie and cut to the chase…oh, I forgot to mention that a hefty portion of today’s movie revolves on an axis of knife throwing. That might have been pertinent info before making a pun like “cut”. My apologies.

Not to be confused with the Police Academy sequel (#6!) of the same name, City Under Siege is the tale of Li Fei (Aaron Kwok), whose peers call him Sunny… not really sure why, but let’s say it’s because of his sunny disposition. Or that time he stabbed a waitress to death with a fork for rupturing the yolks on his sunny-side-up eggs. Whatever pulls your lever. Anyway, when Sunshine’s parents died in a car accident (and sadly not during an armed mugging which always makes for a better origin), his uncle Tak (Wah Yuen) took him in and gave him a job as a clown in his traveling performance troupe, The Thunderbolt Circus. Though grateful not to have been cast off like the orphan he was, Sun was never happy as a colorful fool and instead wanted to live up to his dear departed daddy’s legacy as the knife throwing “King of Flying Daggers”, 26th descendant of the legendary marksman, Thousand Flying Daggers. Unfortunately for Sunny he’s more like the Prince of Flying Daggers, and even then the “Prince” part would be more an honorary family title than an earned one. This guy sucks more than a hospital custodian’s ShopVac in the middle of an ebola outbreak when it comes to the family cutlery slinging business. I wouldn’t trust him to butter my biscuits let alone let him hurl sharp lengths of steel at me while I’m strapped to a spinning wheel o’ death!

Despite his insistence that the talent in his genes will bear fruit if Uncle Tak (no word on an “Aunt Tik”) would just give him a chance to put innocent paying customers’ lives in danger, his cousin Zhang Chu (Collin Chou) refuses to give up his place in the spotlight as the show’s marquee marksman. In fact, he threatens to gut Suns if he doesn’t stop trying to horn in on his job, so don’t expect to see our hero headlining shows anytime soon. Unless maybe Chu gets a bout of the flu or leaves the circus to go on a crime spree as a psychotic hulking brute…

It feels like we’re supposed to pity our protagonist in this scenario, but when we’re introduced to him, Sunny literally (as said in Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger inflection) goes off script during a show in Malaysia and comes within seconds of committing manslaughter on an unknowing audience dupe before cool guy Chu has to step in and put “The Prince” back in his place! Sure, as with the majority of movie bad guys, ChuChu comes off as a douche knocker. BUT, he very likely saved a woman from PTSD at best and straight up VIOLENT DEATH at worst at the hands of selfish man-child Sunny, who was willing to endanger those around him for the sake of his own fucking ego! This guy is our hero!? Holy shit. Overcoming poor self-esteem and a limited natural skill set is fine for a budding hero-to-be like Spider-Man or Kick-Ass, but they only put themselves at risk with their amateur tomfoolery. Sunny is a fucking sociopath! No matter how far this flick may go in its efforts to redeem its do-gooder over the remainder of its runtime, it’s now going to be dragging The Stone of Shame for the extent of said stigmatic excursion. For shame!

As is cinematic law, Chu and the other “too cool for school” members of their little big top clique single Sunny out as the weakest member of the social herd, and as such exercise their dominance by treating him like a red-nosed reindeer. Whilst in Malaysia engaging in their post-show chicanery, the crew catch Sunny tagging along and opt to include him as their point man (i.e. stooge) whom they can just ditch/scapegoat/murder later as the situation requires. Their scheme? The bullies are investigating a local cave rumored to be home to a cache of buried treasure! BUT (yes, there’s always a but there… much like the case of my lap), as we the audience were presented in the picture’s prologue, this cave was the site of war crime experimentation by the Japanese military in the waning days of WW2: Axis Boogaloo. Check out the Men Behind the Sun movies for more on that kinda shit. In an effort to bring an end to their protracted campaign to extend the shadow of their empire over the entire East, these army scientists were dabbling in an immoral aerosol that would induce monsterism in their P.O.W.s, turning the captives into rampaging abominations! Basically Nature’s Goodness minus the pleasing taste.

Before the mutagenic mist could be perfected, the raiders from the Rising Sun’s workspace was bombed all to shit (in a scene I’ll antagonistically analyze later) by the Red Stars, leaving any remaining stashes of the unfinished super-beast spray buried. Can you see where this is going? If not, you might need to make an appointment with the figurative optometrist to get your foresight checked. Benny Chan isn’t just leading us with a trail of bread crumbs, he’s dropping full-on baguettes shaped like arrows! For those with mental glaucoma, here’s the malnourished rendition – the gang open the containers expecting precious metal (to be fair, the first one does have a stash of the shiny stuff) and get a chemical sauna instead a la Return of the Living Dead‘s Frank and Freddy. Our hero ends up passing out on a conveniently placed fishing boat nearby, one of the gang lays dead by broken neck when his attempt to kill Sun goes fatally wrong, and the remaining quartet of super steroid saturated nogoodniks are left vomiting vanilla pudding, no doubt destined to become evil Hong Kong off-brand Ninja Turtles. Not to be confused with Michael Bay’s actual bastardized half-shell bohemoths.

Anubis Note: In case you haven’t seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, “bohemoth” is how we spell that shit here. And yes, it’s pronounced “bo-he-muth” in case you were wondering.

It turns out the vessel our bumbler stumbled upon is a smuggling ship, and when his hosts find him unresponsive on board, they toss his sorry ass into the South China Sea! Lucky for him it seems the naturally occurring tides are coincidentally heading back to his homeland of Hong Kong, where he’s washed ashore after a few days afloat. Finally freed from his one-man coma cruise, Sunny awakens to find his body doing its best impression of Spongebob’s stage act: The Amazing Mr. Absorbancy! Sporting an XXXXL waistline and the incessant sensation of walking in wet sneakers, he tries to find his way back to the Thunderbolt Circus home office, discovering how hard it is to hitch a ride in the middle of the night when you look like a cast off from a Ju-On movie set on a cruise ship. Fortunately for him, a lovely lady named Angel Chang (played by Qi Shu, who we recently saw in Journey to the West!) stops, requesting help with her bamboozled back tire then offering her impromptu AAA lifeline a ride home in thanks. Along the way, Sunny recognizes Angel from the local newscast and marks out, declaring his fandom for her. Of all the people in HK who could’ve happened along looking for help, it just so happens that the minor celebrity our hero’s got the awkward stalker hots for is the one. Even for a movie that’s not just stretching it, that’s hyper-extending said “it” like the arm/leg of a generic bad guy in a Steve Seagal movie. Backwards elbows and knees, people. Cringe.

Returned home, Sun bids adieu to his love interest-to-be and plops into bed like the garbage bag full of tapioca he has become. Overnight, he secretes more liquid refreshment than the entirety of the background dancers did across all four volumes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. While he’s soaking his sleeping space harder than a gang of 3rd grade bed-wetters at a sleepover, his fellow Thunderbolt performers make their turn to a life of crime official as they rob an armored truck to the tune of 5 million dollars! I’m guessing they’re Hong Kong dollars though, so it’s more like 20k American, give or take? Meh. That’ll barely afford them one of Gwyneth Paltry, errrr Paltrow‘s vibrators and a gallon jug of Japanese whale oil lubricant. Peasants.

Fuck sake. For $15k that thing better be a piece of StarkTech that turns into a suit of portable Iron Man armor!

The armored car is just one stop on the quartet’s crime spree tour though, as they’ve been busy knocking over jewelry stores and the like too. Enhanced with telekinetic powers, super strength, and bulletproof skin, it’s been the proverbial cakewalk for the villains. Unable to stop them with mere guns and police brutality, the Mu Shu porkies call in superhuman specialist agents Suen Ho (Jing Wu) and Ching Shau Wah (Jingchu Zhang). Partners in career and in life, the pair are accused of being an adorably low key professional law enforcement couple and could be sentenced to live happily ever after if convicted. I can say, with no certain certainty, that I’m certain these two are my favorite Asian movie couple since Wild Zero‘s Ace and Tobio.

The movie (or at least the English subtitle track I had to hunt down) tells us that Ho and Wah have arrested supernatural criminals before, but doesn’t give us any further allusions to just who these enhanced do-badders were. No idea if the pairing have appeared in prior Benny Chan productions, but in all honesty I really don’t care to look any further than I have already. My dick burns are getting burns on top of them! Just to be safe, I’m going to say that CUS takes place in a cinematic Hong Kong akin to Spider-Man 3 NYC – metahumans aren’t littering the place like Captain America: Civil War, but they’re also clearly not undiscovered yet like Meteor Man.

Speaking of, Meteor Man is part of the Marvel Universe continuity. I shit you not. It’s only a matter (or meteor) of time until we see Robert Townsend’s name show up on a cast listing for Avengers: Infinity War!… maybe “NetFlix’s The Defenders”?… maybe not?… probably not. Blart.


Exhibit A

The duo are due to exchange nuptials (or “swap nups” if you’re me, which you’re not, for which you should be praising Ra) in 30 days, so Hao vows to take the Frightful Four down in 20. Really? So he’s going to let them run roughshod on the Kowloon precious gems market for 3 weeks before he decides it’s time to put an end to their shenanigans?! Prick. Speaking of, Angel’s boss/boyfriend KK (Slider?) informers her that the higher ups at the news station are kicking her down the corporate ladder a few rungs so they can give her spot to a younger, hotter replacement named Yoyo. Yoyo? Yep yep. Not only is our lady losing her seat at the anchor desk, but it turns out she’s lost her seat in her boyfriend’s lap too, also replaced by her Duncanian rival. We learn that Angel herself got where she was by traveling the exact same path as Yoyo, but that’s different! Right? Cuz she’s a hero? Meh. Moving on. In an effort to save a shred of what remaining pride our heroine has left, Angel dumps a glass of water over K’s cranium, declares their relationship null and void, and officially hands in her verbal resignation. Whatever makes you feel less like a stepped-on piece of dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk, lady. Keep your head up and move on. Godspeed.

What’s a working gal to do in this modern age of HD media, where genetics are prized over journalistic ethics? Where looks trump integrity? Well, it just so happens that the same day old maid Angel finds herself destined for the unemployment line (or the glue factory… I’m not sure how they tackle this shit in China), her biggest fan awakens with abilities beyond those of mortal men. Indeed, just like Chu and, uhm, the other three circus performers (I’m not good with names or having to look them up), Sunny’s received his membership card to the Superhumans Society! On his way to the police station to explain his situation (and distance himself from his crime spreeing co-workers), his pathway is impeded by a hostage negotiation. Angel, having the Lois Lane-like super power to be in the right place at the right time, witnesses Sunny make the save, freeing the captive policewoman from her assailant with a combination of telescopic slow-mo “precision vision” and inhuman strength, accuracy and reflexes, with which he throws a single stick, shattering the abductor’s gun and piercing his arm from across the street! While everyone around him stares agape in awe and the press presence swarms him for a statement like ants on a Twinkie, ‘Gel whisks him away to a cab (I guess she’s just leaving her own car abandoned in the middle of traffic?!) for a “private interview”… which, despite the probable perversion with which you may have read that (ya gutter creeper), doesn’t mean they went home and swapped sweet and sour sauces. Amazing the places a pair of quotation marks can take the human mind.

With little imaginary hearts floating around his head (might wanna check your scalp for parasites, Flapjack), Sunny’s more than happy to give the newly freelance reporter her exclusive one-on-one with the Hong Kong Kal-El. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Doom (in this instance, a lovely house in the middle of nowhere with an in-ground pool!), Chu and the others have kidnapped several biological engineers in hopes of reversing the grotesque monster mash side-effects of their genetic mutation. Despite being told there is no way of turning them from Fangoria cover models back into a Silver Ash cover band, they find hope when they see their old punchline Sunny on the evening news looking none the worse for toxic wear. A testament to the ancient healing powers of the South China Sea? Or just another use of the old science fiction deus ex machina of “some people are just genetically different and are immune to stuff!”? Either way, Chu and chums aim to find out.

Arriving at the Thunderbolt Circus locale faster than Bruce Wayne going back to Gotham after conquering The Pit (fucking Dark Knight Rises), the bad guys try to nab their errant clown mid-interview. Chu should change his name to SPF 69, cuz Angel just got Sun blocked! *rimshot* Awkwardly introducing himself to the minor celebrity while his hairline recedes and his increasingly lumpy face is painted up with Luna Vachon veins (see below), Chu confesses that he’s her number one die-hard fan and makes rapey face at her. How… flattering? You can practically hear Miss Chang’s ovaries shriveling on the vine the longer he talks to her. The expected altercation is instigated and the movie’s first real exchange of wire-fu is initiated!

No brawl-for-all by any stretch of the term, Sunny and Angel spend the time running and ducking their pursuers as best they can before finally being subdued. Chu threatens to bleed our hero in the search for the secret of his success, but his knife is halted by the timely intervention of the mutant hunting dynamic duo, Hao and Wah, sporting mirrored shades and martial arts! The battle ends when Sunny, seemingly turning into a cartoon character with his comically red “pressure cooker” face (that you expect to send steam shooting out of both ears), freaks the fuck out and throws two fistfuls of flying daggers at his prior impeder of career promotion. Chu responds in kind, deflecting the swarm of steel shards with a flurry of his own, sending razor sharp metal ricocheting all over the fucking place! Small appliances explode, glass shatters, structures collapse, one of the villains takes an errant dagger to the chest, and the rest of the antagonists beat feet while the heroes collect the unconscious Sunny and rush him to a hospital.

In intensive care, Sunny’s examined by scientists and it’s indeed determined that he bears the mythical movie MacGuffin of antibodies unique to his DNA. Yep, out of the billions of people who would have otherwise been malformed by exposure to the experimental discharge (like the other four people that were), one of the tiny group of FIVE just happened to be uniquely resistant. Not even to the formula in its entirety, mind you, but only the dangerous uglifying parts of it. Don’t think I enjoy telling movie logic to get off my lawn like this. My nitpickery is tantamount to acupuncture needles being slowly pushed between my vertebrae, or filling my codpiece (what, you don’t wear a codpiece?!) with hungry scarabs. It is my curse. Damn Tiki Gods. You put termites in their pillows one time and you spend the rest of eternity wanting to chew your fingers off at bullshit times like this!

While the white coats would rather keep Super Sun under indefinite lock and key for more in-depth observation (and likely dissection for sale to some Chinese super soldier program), the police don’t think the public would be too pleased with the smiling new face of mutant moderating being held in constabulary custody. Instead, Hao and Wah are assigned to be his bodyguards while Miss Chan picks up the role of talent agent to the city’s new cynosure for his upcoming avalanche of inevitable media overexposure. It happened when the Simpsons found that monkey’s paw, and it’ll happen to you too! Angel’s also fallen in love with the little goof already, because of course she has. Some would say she’s got hearts in her eyes, some would say they’re just dollar signs. I say it’s both. I may just be a foreigner, but fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise, for that double vision.

The glamorous life of hocking Diarrhea Killer and prancing like a grinning idiot for publicity appearances goes straight to the hero’s head, ironically swelling it figuratively while his enemies’ domes are swelling literally. As for Hao, his plan to use the unwitting Sunny as bait to draw out the baddies has put a cramp into his marriage plans, postponing the date and drawing out Wah’s ire instead. She proposes that instead of the two of them tackling the remaining trio of mutants themselves, they train Sun to actually be a superhero rather than just play one, evening up the odds. Hao’s ego won’t let him risk someone else completing his job and taking his glory though, so sad to say, this is the exact moment you can start the countdown clock for Wah’s impending inclusion in the movie’s “in memorium” reel.

Cue the next fight, as Chu and the others make their next move, striking while Sunny D’s doing yet another photo shoot. The in-name-only slayer of sinners gets bodied hard by his nemesis, while Hao uses his uncanny acupuncturist prowess to beat Chu’s girlfriend with ease, promising to have her locked up and experimented on for the rest of whatever life she has left. She opts for what’s behind Door #2 instead, and self-immolates amid the pool of gasoline she was carelessly left incapacitated in. Back inside, Chu shows us his ignorance on human biology (specifically how antibodies work) by Dracula-ing off some of Sun’s vein V8, only to be massively disappointed when it doesn’t remedy away his uggo-itis. Before he can stomp the envy of his eye six feet under, the Heroic Duo drop in from off-screen to save the day. Rather than retreat, Hao’s determined to make good on his promise to marry his wifey-to-be on time, so he trades blows with the biggest baddie and leaves it up to Wah to keep their bait from being snatched off the hook by the last remaining member of the Chu Crew, uhm, mohawk guy.

Ill-prepared for the mutants’ continued evolution, Hao’s pride is his downfall, as his ambition to close the case distracts him from preventing his lady getting her internal organs pulverized by Mohawk. When he finally notices, it’s time for a late retreat as he escapes with Wah and Sunny in tow. But it’s too late. With tear streaked cheeks and a mouthful of blood, Wah tells her incredibly sweaty man to take care of himself, never lose himself, and never be afraid because she’ll always be watching over him. Then she dies…in the passenger seat of a stolen station wagon. Just like Han Solo… in my 2003 fan film re-visioning of Return of the Jedi.

As if this loss wasn’t enough of a shake up, the movie’s timeline gets a bit weird here. Hao sets up Sunny on a cot in a shack along a nearby river and sticks him full of needles to nurse the defeated hero back to health. When said hero comes to, he finds his savior nearby, torching his dearly departed in the flames of his makeshift pyre (i.e. he set the station wagon on fire)…in the same area she died…so…this all has to be taking place not too long after our previous scene…so whose house did they break into for their acupuncture session?! And since when can acupuncture fix broken organs and blood loss in what can’t have been more than a few hours!? OUCH! There goes another two scoops of scarabs.

And so, with both of our brotagonists having fallen hard from the height of hubris, now they must pick each other up like a pair of crane game claws. You know how much of a bitch those things can be. Forged by Loki himself, they are! Anyway, Hao vows to teach Sunny how to control his powers in his scorched fiancee’s honor, so let’s cue the montage!

With her boyfriend/client engaged in secret training for what could be weeks (or might just be a few days? The movie’s not 100% clear on it.), Angel’s left alone to mourn his perceived passing. As alone as you can get when you’re under 24 hour police protection, at least. The star-crossed lovers flashback to black & white renditions of their prior scenes together, denoting loss and longing as such scenes do. Having put the entire city under siege (we have a title!) alongside his last remaining cohort since Sunny’s disappearance, Chu (who stole Weird Al’s plastic Rambo muscle suit from UHF) uses his enemy’s pilfered cell phone to call Angel and tell her how he desperately needs her to deliver him from his personal Hell of emo teen sadness. Note to readers: listening to The Cure and other depressing music when you’re sad doesn’t make you less sad, it just reminds you why you’re sad in the first place, then piles on MORE SAD! Despite the saying, fighting fire with more fire only makes a BIGGER FIRE!

Feeling like she has nothing left to live for now (or maybe she’s just tired of needing a security detail every time she has to dump ass), Angel strikes a plan with the pigs to use her as a lure to entice Chu into a trap. She could just call him back and allow the military to triangulate his locale via the phone, but that wouldn’t put her life in immediate danger, so why bother?! Remember how well things went the last time an Asian movie in The Tomb tried to lure a monster into a trap? No? Go read my Garuda review. I’ll wait.

See? Yeah. Same thing happens here. Shit goes south faster than a racist Yankee after the Emancipation Proclamation. Just as Angel is about to see if her namesake(s) are real, guess who appears from nowhere to save her from being turned into street pizza? If you guessed anyone other than Sunny, you’re either too preoccupied to be reading this episode right now, or you’re just really really really shitty with names. Before the two heavies finally finish their feud in furious combat, Hao takes out both Mohawk and himself, using an urn filled with his beloved’s ashes to smash a light fixture and ignite a broken fuel line. An all too short-lived (no pun intended) exchange whose ultimate finale is predictable, sure, but I like Hao’s use of the urn…which probably contained more than a few leftovers from the station wagon’s ashtray mixed in with whatever he was able to salvage from Wah’s herself if you think about it.

Now for the big climax. Our final showdown is a fair mix of flashy martial arts punches and kicks, superhuman feats of tossed transportation (cars and trucks and such), both guys saving Angel from certain doom, a noble sacrifice or two, an effort to apply some last minute pathos to the villain, and a mandatory bit of the throwing knife dueling that started this whole rivalry, though not as much as you’d expect given all the hours/days/weeks of training Sunny pulled in the previous sequence. Speaking of, here’s a PSA for any fellow mutants out there: Don’t be like Chu. Take absolute care when it comes to protecting your lower back in any combat situation, as any perforation of the area has a high likelihood of causing your internal organs to violently detonate. I recommend investing in one of Lumpy Leroy’s Cast Iron Cummerbunds! Tell ’em Anubis sent you to get free shipping and $5 off your first order!

Good triumphs over evil, and just to make sure Benny Chan gets to tick off the final line of his “superhero movie tropes” checklist, Angel throws herself in front of one of Chu’s daggers to protect Sunny while he’s busy being a paragon of human decency and saving a family trapped in a flaming car. She survives though, and Sunny kills Chu, so the audience gets to go home on a high note. Such ends the ballad of Johnny Two Blades, errr, Twin-Dagger Sunny. Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?

I opted to review CUS based entirely on the promise of “a circus clown gains super powers and has to fight his co-workers who have become super villains”. Little did I know that Sunny’s screen time in greasepaint would be relegated to his 5 minute introduction, thus abandoning the novelty almost immediately. Boooo. Points lost out of the gate for the misleading synopsis. Things don’t get much better from then on either. It’s not that this is a bad superhero movie. The problem is that Benny Chan tries so hard bending over backwards to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster comic book flick formula that he falls on his head and knackers himself, leaving us with one of the most generic by-the-numbers super movies I’ve ever seen.

If you and your riffmates are looking for a feature to play Genre Bingo with, CUS fills all the boxes in its category. Hapless hero? Check. Hero’s parents dead? Check. The villain is an associate from the hero’s personal life? Check. The hero’s crush falls in love with him shortly after getting to know him? Check. Said romantic interest is injured/killed during the final battle? Check. The villain’s given moments of sympathy so we’re supposed to regret his forthcoming death? Check. The hero wins his first fight, loses his second, then comes back to win in the end? Check. Pride and/or ego lead to the hero’s momentary downfall? Check. The hero overcomes his fall from grace by embracing the wise words of a mentor/father figure? Check. Training montage?! BINGO! BINGO! BINGOOOOO!

Yep. That’s my biggest beef with this movie: I’ve seen it all before. Chan tries something a little atypical of the Asian fantasy epics, but over does it on the Americanization stuff. I’m all for tweaking with the General Tso recipe, but not with heaps of ketchup. The computer generated shit’s not the best, but I don’t expect it to be from any movie born of an outside-of-Tinseltown budget. Consider my expectations tempered in that regard. Also, despite my general dislike for Sunny’s goofball demeanor (and those stupid hand motions he makes every time he refers to himself as “Twin-Daggers”), finally seeing him buckle down and become the mature good guy in the final act, despite being hackneyed, made me hate him a bit less. He’s still a heaping tub of chodeslaw though for putting that audience member’s life at risk in the beginning. Psycho. Angel’s only a smidgen further north on the moral compass, because she didn’t almost kill somebody with her fuckery. She did start her relationship with Sunny under the animus of hitching herself to his rising star though, looking out for her own best interests while also getting to stick it to her former employer for letting her go. Because again, she was being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman, the same way she herself ascended to the position in the first place!

As noted prior, Hao and Wah are my favorite part of this titular besieged metropolis. They’re cute without being overly saccharine. They’re equal parts business and pleasure without going too far to either end. Hao’s conceit leads to his greatest loss, but he earns his redemption by becoming the hero’s teacher, then gets his peace in the end, fulfilling his duty and joining his beloved in oblivion. Aces. Sadly, when your supporting cast is more endearing than your main characters, you’re doing something wrong, Benny. Write better.

I’m going to end this episode on the movie’s groaniest groan-inducer before I take off. Remember when I said I’d get back to my ire over the destruction of the Japanese army’s Malaysian Frankenstein lab? Yep. Although the attack on the lab comes from outside, a series of precisely laid out explosions erupt inside of the cave in a designated order. I’m not the type to think that anything is impossible. Highly improbable, of course, but not necessarily impossible…except this. Could the Chinese forces have infiltrated the lair the night before, laid out a bunch of C4, and simply been waiting for the right time to blow their load of shock & awe all over the faces of their enemies? Sure. Maybe. No. Never. Stop. I’ve included a little visual aid to illustrate this particular blister on my butt.

Our next two episodes will be features in name but not in length, so they shouldn’t take four months to finish. Keep your eyes peeled like the delicious delicious grapes they are for the first such installment in the next few days, with the other coming out Sunday-ish. Until then, this is the end. The only end, my friend. Always live your life like a flying dagger!

Moral of the Story: Don’t take for granted the love you have today, because you could lose it tomorrow. Also, acupuncturists are some of the most dangerous people on the planet!

Screenshots_____


But… if it’s “Universal”, how can it be “Limited”?


“GAH! I’VE HAD THAT FUCKING ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ SONG BURIED IN MY BRAIN FOR FOUR YEARS! FOR THE LOVE OF CRONENBERG, SOMEONE HIT ME WITH A SHOVEL AND DISLODGE IT!”


“Gacy Good Times International – introducing underage boys to crawlspaces the world over!” (Coulrophobics? I’m sorry. Coulrophiliacs? You’re welcome.)


So other countries have their own Criss Angel to suffer through? Kinda nice to know we in the US aren’t alone in suffering madoucheians.


“Your milk money or your life!”


“I know you’re hungry, but we can stop and get you some fresh clam strips. Those have been sitting under my seat for at least a week.”


“This is James Chang. James came out of a 10 year coma last week and has never seen ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’. We’re going to broadcast his reaction live, tonight on ‘60 Minutes‘.”


Looks like the next Wolverine movie will be based entirely on a version of the character found in those Chinese dollar store action figure sets. Maybe this will be the first step toward finally getting that Super Man Big Alliance team-up movie we’ve been begging Marble and CD Comiks for!


Up next in the Chinatown Burt Reynolds Look-a-like Pageant: Charlie “The Gator” Zhang!


If Beavis and Butthead taught us nothing else, it’s that nothing stops a nosebleed better than a tampon.


“I want to thank you for electing me your King Dingus for the season! I will do my best to uphold the honor of the position at the sacrifice of what little dignity I have left!”


Nice shades. If they look into each others’ eyes, will it create some kind of reality collapsing infinity loop?!


Hey! He stole Meg Griffin’s power to grow her fingernails long! Plagiarist!


“Well, you know we’re gonna end up in this 3-way eventually, so we might as well get it over with so we can make our car payment on time. Paper, Rock, Scissors for position?”


“I killed my stylist for dressing me in this stupid hat. Then I formed his face skin into my corsage!”


As much as I love Elizabeth Banks, this is what the new Rita Repulsa should look like!


Excedrin headache number 245 – You’ve been exposed to an experimental toxin and turned into a raging mutant. Your brain feels like its going to explode out of your skull, and simple aspirin won’t do the trick. You need Excedrin!… or a hole drilled in your head to release the evil spirits that are haunting you. Either one works, really.


Ever cried so hard that tears came out of your whole face? If not, you’ve never known real love. Congratulations.


This is why you never try to cuddle your pet porcupine.


“So you decided to turn the car we stole into your fiancee’s funeral pyre?”
“Yes…”
“Okay. Did you happen to look it over first to make sure there wasn’t anything else in there? I only ask because I can’t find my wallet…”


Hao’s DIY car crematorium was such a success that he decided to really up his game and turn it into a career! He’s in such demand now that he’s burning entire skyscrapers full of bodies every day!


Yes! Someone finally answered the Craigslist contract I put out on Justin Beiber! Guess I better get that $120 together. Time to turn in my bottles and cans.


I told Nosferatu not to feed on those professional bodybuilders, but at least he’s seeing some sick gains! What vampire needs the use of their testicles anyway?


The ages old geek query of “What if Venus De Milo (from the live-action Ninja Turtles show) fucked Killer Croc?” is finally answered.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Three People You Meet in Texas”

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.

Feature 75 – Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance (2015)

or “Heads on Pianos: Return of the Black Gift”

Featuring: Mathew “Samurai Cop” Karedas , Mark “Samurai Cop” Frazer , Bai “Crank: High Voltage” Ling , and a VERY special appearance by Tommy “The Room” Wiseau

Director: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka

Writers: Gregory “Mad Cowgirl” Hatanaka, Rich “Sociopathia” Mallery, Tony “American Nudist” Young

Origin: USA

Follows: Samurai Cop

Review_____

“I am not you! I will NEVER be you! I. Am. Joe. MARSHAAAAAAAALL!”

Hey. So… I’ve been gone awhile. Let’s just say it was something funny like a whiskey-fueled vision quest through the Gobi Desert with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson so I don’t have to talk about my actual problems. Groovy? Groovy.

Anyway, 2015 ended on an omega level downer with the passing of Our Lord Lemmy Kilmister, and so far 2016 has been a Hollywood hit parade of death. I won’t post the ever growing list of the lost, as we’ve all got enough to be down-in-the-dumps aboot. Prior to anybody pointing their accusation fingers, let the record show that their deaths weren’t my doing! My bosses in the Pantheon decided that they were doing away with letting vacation days roll over, so I’ve been on a break from the reaping race for the last few months with that whole vision quest thing, lest I lose my paid days cache. Nobody fucks with my vacation days, ya dig? Dunno who’s been covering my shifts since, but I’d bet my life savings (an abandoned van buried in upstate NY that’s full of empty bottles and cans) that you can direct your digital hate mail to Tuoni via tuonideathmaker420@pantheon.fi if you’re looking for someone to vent on. Those Finnish gods can be real pricks when no one’s looking. He’s the hemorrhoid who pulled the trigger on Donald Pleasence after finally seeing The Puma Man on “MST3K”!

The year kicked off on a total wet fart start and has rolled mercilessly down that same path ever since. But, let’s just see if we can’t open up a Glade Freshness Bomb© and dissipate some of this emotional flatulence with a few laughs! Before we grab our garlic buttered popcorn and our pitchers of Jack & Coke (now known as “The Lemmy”), let’s catch the neophytes up on just what a “Samurai Cop” is.

In 1991, a thistle thong bikini of a movie named Samurai Cop was let loose on the metaphorical bathing suit area of cinema seekers the world over. The penultimate picture for since-dead Iranian writer/director Amir Shervan, SC was made on a budget that would make so-called “shoestring” projects look like summer blockbusters in contrast. Known by some as the homeless man’s Lethal Weapon, the flick was an offense to the senses. At the plot’s epicenter, two Asian gangs were at war over some prime crime Los Angeles real-estate: a Chinese gang known as the Ginza and a Japanese Yakuza splinter group calling itself The Katana, who were such a tiny splinter of the Yakuza that there were only two Asian members (one of whom may have actually been half Mexican), with the remainder of the roll call being filled with black and white extras in thrift store “$5 Bag of Rags” wardrobes. The most notable of the Katana was their big white enforcer, Yamashita, whose full beard wasn’t enough to disguise the monstrous jaw behind it. Yep, it’s our dear dearly departed friend of the Tomb: Robert Z’Dar. The Maniac Cop himself. May his chin forever rest in peace.

Assigned to take the bad guys down were LAPD Detective Frank Washington (Mark Frazer) and SDPD Detective Joe Marshall (Mathew Karedas), who was flown in to help with the case given his extensive background in Japanese culture. Yep, our titular titan of law enforcement is a white guy name Joe. Such brave casting. Bravo.

Between Joe's sped-up sword fighting powers (and the poorly attached lady mop upon his brow) and Frank's penchant for indiscriminately shooting bad guys on a whim (and his arsenal of goofy facial expressions and bad jokes), the villains had no chance. The bad guys were brought down, invitations for sex were thrown around between characters more than an '80s porno, cake was served, and another awful movie slipped into the obscurity it was condemned to, not even getting a riffing aboard the Satellite of Love like fellow '90s trash bin refugees Future War, Werewolf, The Final Sacrifice, and Soultaker.

The acting, the dialogue, the dubbing, the action-free action sequences, the FF>> car chases, the FF>> sword duel, the inconsistent film quality (and tint), the unbalanced audio, the awkward sex scenes (one preceded by the seduction of a woman via birthday cake and banana hammock), the 4th grade art class wall decoration of a lion’s head, the random gay Costa Rican waiter with an affinity for cops (or “cawps” as he calls them). It all added up to a mind-boggling murder orgy for the IQ points of all who watch it. I was lucky to have the commentary track of Trash Movie Master Joe Bob Briggs hold my hand through the initial viewing, so I recommend you seek out the same DVD release to lube up your sanity sphincter rather then just trying to cornhole yourself dry with this one. Barring that, I suggest getting your wittiest friends together and ingesting some mood enhancing chemicals if nothing else, because it is a sanity train wreck.

I honestly couldn’t tell if Samurai Cop was a clusterfuck of outright incompetence, or the many-layered master plan of a diabolical genius who was crafting a legacy that would inspire others long after his death. Either way, thanks to the total corruption of humanity by the internet’s reach, some of history’s failingest failures that ever failed have been brought to the attention of people who probably would have avoided them otherwise. And thanks to another arm of the worldwide web’s spider god (crowdfunding sites), Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance was conjured from the darkest depths of The Deep Ones to rain emotional trauma upon us as like a golden shower of madness from All-Father Odin himself. That guy downs a LOT of mead too, so you know that’s gotta be a frothy, odorous, volatile shower.

So yes, my own cinemasochism aside, I place a mountain of blame for the mental meltdown given to me by watching Samurai Cop Part Deux upon YOU, the sadists who threw their disposable income at the creators of this project, thus enabling them to commit their proposed sin upon the rest of us! Speaking of, we’re two pages into this episode, so I should probably prematurely eject the pregame show and make with reviewing the actual movie whose moniker adorns the above subject line! Don’t worry, since it’s still a relatively new release I won’t be going into a lot of detail about the plot, so this is gonna be a shorter read for those with a bus to catch or a loved one waiting for you to pick them up from prison. But not for you dominatrices out there. You’re being paid to be in charge, damn it! Earn your paycheck and subject them to the sweet abuse of tardiness!

Also, ignore the irony of letting me tell you what to do if you actually took that last bit to heart. *wink*wink*

For anyone who wasn’t sure what tone the movie was going to take (like myself), here’s a hint: the opening scenes flashbacks to 1991 to focus on detectives Washington and Marshall and the tragic event (and Joe’s subsequently hilarious reaction – the greatest repeated delivery of “NO!” since Dr. Loomis lost his shit during the Halloween IV finale) leading up to their eventual separation from each other… and no attempt is made at concealing how much both actors have aged in the quarter-century since. So, yeah, this flick is gonna be intentionally terrible. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is relative to your personal preferences. As for me? It’s a fine line between dumb and fun and dumb fun when it comes to intended crappy movie-ness. That said…well, if I told you right now, you might not read the rest of the review, so let’s carry on!

25 years later, Joe and Frank are estranged. While Detective Washington has continued the civil struggle to uphold law and order (the state of social being, not the TV show) in LA, Marshall-san has gone off the grid to live the hermit life away from the temptations and torments of humanity. You know, like a “Facebook break”, but in real life. The conflict that will inevitably bring the pair back together? The Katana and Ginza are at it again! Despite being killed in the prior feature, Katana patriarch Fuj Fujiyama (Cranston Komuro) is back, older than dirt and twice as ugly. Since the slapdash “take what you can get” assemblage of random black and white guys didn’t serve his needs so well in ’91, Fuj Fuj’s since outsourced his goon hiring to one of those talent agencies that works solely in porn actors. Not to be confused with one of those video series where it’s a fake porn agency and the guy’s just pounding amateurs on a casting/blasting couch to post on his xHamster account.

Fuj Fuj’s Clitori Quorum cuntcists (“Cunt cysts”? Might wanna get to your gyno.) of adult actresses Bai Ling, Lexi Belle, and Nicole Bailey (aka Zoey Monroe – check out “Princess Peach Gets Fucked By Her Kingdom” for more of Miss Monroe’s thespianism). Ling plays Doggé, not to be confused with Doge the canine meme. Snoop Doggéy Doggé is Fuj Fuj’s current Katana enforcer, while Hera (Belle) and Tessa (Bailey) bring up her rear (much where I’d like to be) as her kinky muscle. And if you expected a muffdive-a-trois scene in a movie where a trio of porn actresses play deviant characters in roles involving power differentials, well, you’re right. Don’t get too excited though, cuz it looks like the movie’s Kickstarter didn’t make it to the “hardcore sex scenes” tier. It’s 10 seconds of 2am Skinemax at best.

A series of assassinations have sprung up in the LA area in recent weeks, with bigwig power players from the Ginza (no longer Chinese and instead now ALSO members of the Japanese Yakuza for no apparent reason) being the targets. The killers leave Katana medallions behind, so it seems we’ve got a Yakuza civil war on our hands. Not nearly as cool as Captain America: Civil War, but what is? You know what else isn’t? Batman v. Superman. Fuck you and your Christ allegories right in the gall bladder, Zack Snyder.

In their rise to power, the Katana also start shit with their other rivals, the Shinjuku, turning this tale into a 3-way war to keep the Shins and Gins from treaty-ing up against them… I think? I don’t know. Either I’m being dragged through a shit pit of a script or I’ve suddenly been stricken with ADHD. I re-watched the first 15 minutes half-a-dozen times and I still couldn’t make heads nor tails of this clusterfuck! Anyway, Frank’s investigation brings him into contact with an emaciated Joe Marshall who looks like human beef jerky. After killing an impromptu gang of pop-up ninjas, the Black Gift and the Wonder Bread Warrior re-buddy up and get down to hero business.

The remaining hour boils down to oddball fight scenes, Joe using the old Samurai Cop magic to seduce a young Joan Jett look-a-like, random cameos from returning bit characters, Tommy Wiseau in bad Black Mask cosplay shouting incoherent lines of dialogue fed to him from off-camera, and all manner of oddly shot scenes awkwardly cut together with flashback footage and unexplained clips from fake TV commercials. The callbacks and parodizing of the original movie (like the return of the random lion head!) give way to weird-ass fever dream nonsense that was either included as a film school freshman effort to “art up” the production a la David Lynch, or was the result of the movie being edited with a wood-chipper and an industrial sized jar of Elmer’s.

Whereas much of Samurai Cop was shot in generic outside settings (parking lots, presumably abandoned property, etc), Deadly Vengeance was shot almost entirely on closed sets, many of which resemble the backgrounds for any number of direct-to-video Aliens and Terminator knock-off features from the far gone ’80s and ’90s. Exterior scenes mostly consist of fly-by footage of LA and the actors standing in front of green screens… mostly. Green screens? Yeah, Executive Producer Wiseau definitely had more than one hand in this hole. My favorite instance of this? A Tor Johnsony Yakuza goon marches in place in front of a Chinatown backdrop, only said backdrop stays stationary, thus killing the illusion of movement outright. If Ed Wood were alive today, this type of screen tech tomfoolery would be one of his hallmarks.

Speaking of Ed Wood, the acting is all bad. Very bad. Very very bad. Not sure if it’s all just part of the joke (which Mark Frazer is clearly in on, if nothing else) or what happens when your cast is made up of more than a few professionals from the meat market back lots. Or back door lots if you pay them an extra 20%. Bai Ling’s performance is particularly horrendous, but she’s such a coke-fueled dynamo that it was impossible for me not to witness! She’s the type of woman you equally want to get drunk with and fear getting drunk with because you’re almost positive that she’s the 29th Lord of Chaos. You never know which direction she’s gonna take her Wonkavator in, but you should have your life insurance paid up before you get on board! Speaking of things I unironically enjoyed, I would legit pay real money for a copy of the movie’s soundtrack. Why? Because I’m a manimal.

A couple interesting tidbits of triv for y’all – at one point, Joe comments that he’d heard everyone on the force thought he was dead. Chances are this is an inside joke. The movie was originally supposed to feature Frank teaming with Joe’s daughter to fight the almost exclusively Caucasian Japanese marauders…because Hatanaka and friends didn’t realize that Karedas was still alive to reprise the title role! Once they found out, though, everything was rewritten and so we got the movie we have today instead. Also, despite his passing before he could be involved with the actual production of the movie, Robert Z’Dar’s visage plays “Where’s Waldo?” a few times along our trek to the end credits, as well as an homage drop of someone being called a “maniac cop”. Finally, were you aware that one-off 007 George Lazenby was originally enlisted to play a part in the pic? True story. Unfortunately, the geezer was a bit under the weather when he was scheduled to shoot his part, so his “shaken, not stirred” ass had to be written right off Her Majesty’s secret service and out the proverbial door. Oh what could have been though…

And that’s that. Samurai Cop 2 was part fanboy love letter sequel and part Russian Roulette of retarded nonsense. The good, the bad, and the mediocre. I came, I saw, I did the walk of shame after. It outdoes its predecessor in terms of production value and general competence, but doesn’t snag that coveted “so bad, it’s good” category that it seemed to want to be. There are hushed whispers in these haunted hills of a making-of documentary on Deadly Vengeance‘s origins rumored to see release this summer. If said fruits reach a ripened state, you can bet I’ll be throwing up my thoughts here like so much expired canned lobster meat. So, look forward to that! Or don’t. I’m not responsible for your personal expectations.

For those who tried to call me out (including one person who actually sent me a fax!) over my disdainful comments about black licorice in my last review, let me state very clearly right now so everyone knows it: I do NOT discriminate against candy based on its color nor country of origin! I’m no Reescist. *rimshot*

Oh, and on the topic of call outs, this one goes to the Donald Trump supporter who called me a “faggot” for my negative comments about said sentient anal wart Chia Pet marinated in Nacho Cheese during my Danger 5 review: I am unvexed by your lazy slur. It doesn’t apply to me, so it has no power over me. It’s about as effective as calling me a giraffe or a dining room table. If I were gay, I’d feel empowered to separate your jaw from the rest of your no doubt misshapen skull, rattling your tiny pea brain around like the stirring bead inside of a can of spray paint. As is though, your insult was flaccid. Actual gay men would probably be more insulted at you calling me a “faggot”, as I’m far from being the sexiest bear in the Yellowstone circle jerk. Either way, get your head out of your grandpappy’s ass and check your calendar. It’s 2016. If you can’t come up with something portraying a little spontaneous wit (might I suggest “shit juggler” or “coconut fuck” to get you started?), don’t waste our air oxygenating your racist, sexist, xenophobic, fetid gray matter. And you know why I can call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe? Because you’re supporting someone who is literally those things! I’d toss some more unsavory truths your way in retort, but you’ve already outed yourself as a Trump Thumper, and it’s hard to hit you below the belt when you’re so proudly wearing it around your ankles. Besides, insults coming to me from a Drumpf guzzler? You might as well be shooting spitwads at a Sherman. Hell, you didn’t even have the chutzpah to use your real email address in your feedback form! If you wanna live under the rule of a propaganda propagating penis potato (or “dick tater”), break out your Mr. Fusion and go heil Der Fuhrer with the rest of your time displaced ilk. #MyStruggle #DoTheDrumpftyDrumpf

Now, I’m off to watch “Lucha Underground” and make love to the root beer float birthday cake my Evil Dead Bride made me before she gets home from the killing fields. Will I be back soon with another mediocre episode of tepid humor and unwarranted angerlust? I make no guarantees beyond the guarantee that there are no guarantees…I gare-own-tee! Later, nerds.

Moral of the Story: Love is one continuous stream that never ends. Didn’t know that? You should’ve gone to Japanese school.

Screenshots_____

I guess Troy McClure is renting his place out for porno shoots now. Here’s a screenshot from Gropers & Groupers, cumming soon!


Jeezus. I used to think I was 100% hetero, but after this I think I may be a Bai sexual. *rimshot*


Ladies, if your ass has never caused a black man to make a face like that, you need to drink more milk. Yowza!


“You’re lucky. I wanted a machine gun too, but they just gave me this weird Spencer’s Gifts disco ball piece of shit. How the fuck am I supposed to kill anybody with this thing!?”


Special guest appearance by “Strangers with Candy”’s Jerri Blank.


Holy Nefertiti’s titties. After 25 years, Joe looks like an unwrapped mummy.


Kids, THIS is why you always use a lubricant when masturbating. *The More You Know*


Tommy Wiseau’s next project? A remake of the David Hasslehoff “drunken cheeseburger consumption” video.


The lion patiently stalks his prey. As much as we want to interject and save her, we cannot interfere with nature. We can only continue filming as Joyce DeWitt’s fate is sealed.


Wiseau is not shielding his eyes to view an atomic blast or a solar eclipse. He’s simply heeding the Surgeon General’s warning for the safest way to watch Paul Blart 2.


Sure, it’s only a repainted NERF gun, but in her hands it might as well be a grenade launcher! RUN!


Don’t worry Joe, everyone’s probably too distracted by the naked lady sword fight to notice you desperately sucking in your gut back there.


One of the gaffers filled Joe’s suit with centipedes during his last bathroom break.


There are worse ways to wake up than with a woman’s nipple giving you a Wet Willy. Joe’s just upset because he was having that nightmare where he’s Chekov in Wrath of Khan.


“Yes, I am Joe Estevez. Yes, I am the brother of Martin Sheen, and the uncle of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez. And yes, I was the villain in Rollergator. Now, if you’re done being starstruck, could you direct me to the craft services table?”


President Donald Trump with Vice President Nightman (ahhhAHHHHahhh!).
(The Nightman Cometh)


A still from Greg Hatanaka’s new Kickstarter campaign to fund his next Tommy Wiseau vehicle: Black Mask 3: Meet Joe Black Mask.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Big Top Beatdown”

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.

Feature 68 – Pizza (2012)

or “Life of Pi(e)”

Featuring: Vijay “Sundara” Sethupathi , Namya “Chocolate” Nambeeshan , Aadukalam “Moogamudi” Naren

Writer & Director: Karthik “Jigarthanda” Subbaraj

Origin: India

Sequel: Pizza II: Villa

Review_____

“The most dangerous ghosts in the world are still alive.”

Maybe it’s just the casual racist in me (“casual” as opposed to “malicious”, so it’s okay), but I wouldn’t have expected a movie from India to be called “Pizza”. If anything, I would’ve thought something like “Curry” or “Vindaloo” or “Tikka Masala” to be more apropos. Oh well. So goes my Western ignorance. Speaking of India…

We all know about the rampant sacred cows strolling the streets carefree and careless, or the infamous “people piss and shit anywhere and everywhere” stuff, but did you know India is the largest democracy in the world? Well, it is. Did you know it exists in its own time zone? Well, it does. Did you know it’s the second most populous country in the world, but only the seventh largest? Yeah, if you thought Mexican stereotypes were the champions of “clown car apartment housing”, then you’ve clearly never been to India… not that I have either, but, shut up. In 2001, a Hindu religious festival called the Kumbh Mela (“Grand Pitcher Festival”) had 60 million attendees, breaking the world record for “largest gathering”! You could see the massive get-together FROM SPACE.

India is also the birthplace of chess (or “nerd checkers” if you’re the type whose respiration is an entirely oral process…and you didn’t understand what the Fuddruckers I just said there), spun and woven cotton, the decimal system, use of zero as a number, plastic surgery, Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi, and the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It’s also the largest producer of dried beans, bananas, milk, and tea. The Himalaya Mountains (which are growing 2.5 centimeters a year!) and the Taj Mahal call the country home, as do the temples of Khajuraho. A major tourism magnet, said temples are (in)famous for their explicit erotic sculptures that portray a litany of sexual acts, including some that portray beastiality. Though I’ve never been, as a half-man half-dog god, I know where I’m going on my next honeymoon!

Now for some *dramatic pause* tales statistics from the dark side (cue the “Tales From the Darkside” theme). India has the world’s largest murder rate, at over 40,000 per year. Sounds scary, but when you’re the second largest population in the world, 40k is a drop in the bucket (of blood). As for how all those bodies are disposed of, in order to avoid polluting the air, ground, and water, a common practice is to leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence”, where vultures feed on the decaying remains. The bones left behind are then swept into deep wells at the center of the structures. Somebody needs to make a fucking slasher movie set in one of these corpse campaniles toot damn sweet!

In 2012, there were as many as 7 million abortions performed in India. That number doesn’t disturb me, as I whole-heartedly advocate for abortions. Not just because of the whole “pro-choice” thing, but because I’ve been all in on the “pro-death” kick since high school! I endorse free rides on the coat hanger express for every baby-to-be! Sure, you could be snuffing out the person who unites the world under a banner of peace, but you could also be saving the world from the instigator of a global holocaust. Think about it. Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not the 7 million abortions that I don’t like, it’s the “one woman every two hours” death statistic that comes with 65% of these being done in unauthorized, unsanitary facilities that bums me out. That and India’s unfortunately high rate of female fetus abortions at that. Silver lining? Maybe after a few generations of “gendercide” they’ll make a dent in their overpopulation. We see how that’s working out for China.

Okay. Okay. Enough killing the mood. I won’t even get into the “Delhi Belly” epidemic (hint: it’s a mudslide of a topic). Let’s just scrounge the couch cushions for loose change and see if we can’t afford to order some Pizza!

For anyone wondering if this is a musical, given its birth nation, it is not. Musicals are Bollywood stuff. Pizza was an independent movie, so no singing and dancing to be had here. It was a massive success for its meager origins too, and in the 3 short years since its release, it’s spawned an immediate follow-up and several remakes, including (reportedly) an American knock-off on the horizon! More on that later though. For now, let’s have a tale of life, love, tragedy, torment, and Chicken Supreme pizzas.

Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Anu (Namy Nambeeshan) are a young, carefree couple who haven’t yet been together long enough to want to kill each other every minute they’re in the same room. Instead, they just nag and pick at each other. Ah, young love. Living in a small apartment, she works on writing a ghost novel and watches horror movies all day (my kinda lady!) while he’s a delivery boy at a pizza place called PitStop. I say “boy”, but not in the literal sense (or the racist sense…nor the Tall Man sense), as this dude’s got a headstart on some serious facial mane. The pair’s comfortable little existence living off of Anu’s passed parents’ insurance pitance is plunging toward its own inevitable demise, because she just found out she’s hosting a parasite. Or “pregnant”, as such an infection is more commonly referred to by those less infanticidal than myself. After those abortions stats I listed earlier, you can understand why she’s so upset by the prospect when she breaks the news to her husband. That’s a piping hot bowl of scary curry for any unprepared pair to be presented with, let alone a pair already desperately clinging to the poverty line.

‘Nu insists on nurturing the uterine leech, despite her own misgivings about their being able to handle the responsibility. Rather than throw her down some stairs (I think it’s a few months early for that anyway) or spend the rest of his life on the run from the child support police, Mike makes Spike Lee proud and does the right thing – he stays. Not only does he stay, but they agree that they need to be married before this hell-beast is torn screaming from her spawn hole. Since they’re light on rupees, the two decide to just have an at-home ceremony alone sans friends or any sort of officiate, where they exchange rings and half-assed vows (does that count for a legally binding union in India?!), agreeing to save up their money for a nice party later on. Their DIY nuptials are followed by a romantic montage of sitcom-esque “couple moments” they share. Cue the canned audience “awwwww” sound.

After telling everyone at work the big news, Mike’s sent to his boss Shanmugam’s (Aadukalam Naren) house to deliver some paperwork to Mrs. Boss. When he rings the bell though, their daughter Periya answers the door…while screaming and flailing and generally freaking the fuck out! Several people take her away while Mrs. Boss tells Mikey to go fetch her mustachioed mate toot sweet. Per may be feral, or she may just have mistaken our brotagonist for a Jehovah’s Witness or a political advocate. You can only take those bung weasels banging on your door so much before your switch flips to “I’m going to beat your head in with a claw hammer!” Turns out it’s none of this though, because the maniacal teen is actually possessed by a spirit calling itself “Nithya”! Yep, she’s doin’ the Regan MacNeil Bop. Actually, given the setting, I guess it’d be more on point to call it the Regan MacNeil Kuchipudi…not to be confused with the Regan MacNeil cooch, which is where Linda Blair went to 3rd base with her lord and savior.

Boss’s spiritual guru Raghavan (Karunakaran – that’s it, just one name on this guy) takes over and Mikey hangs around to watch the freakshow until Periya gives him a death stare and spooks his balls off. Raggy insists that the squatter spirit is doing this out of revenge for some unknown slight that Shan must’ve committed against the ghost in life, but boss man denies any wrong doing…except that he keeps getting this look on his face like he’s clearly lying and probably ran this Nithya girl over with his car or never paid her for some Girl Scout cookies he ordered. He sends Michael home, asking that he not tell anyone about what he’s just seen. Naturally, he runs home and tells Anu all about it. Great. Don’t ever give this guy incriminating evidence of any kind, cuz his lips are looser than a hypertrophic labia!

Google it. Or don’t, if you’re a pussy. Or are afraid of pussy. Pussy.

Anu doesn’t exactly feel bad for her mate, though. Not because she lacks sympathy, but because chicks dig irony and she just told his skeptic ass that he was going to have his face-to-face with the supernatural someday. Thus, she spends the next few days “BOO!”ing the tar out of the guy at every opportunity as a torturous “I told you so”. You know your spouse really cares about you when they mock your trauma by abusing your PTSD. Of all the times to hate it when your partner’s right, this is probably one of the worst. Right up there with “I don’t think you should have given that person your social security number.” and “You shouldn’t go up on the roof to mess with the satellite dish, because you’ll probably break your neck.” People, learn to listen to your significant other. Especially if you have a blighted track record of personal decision making on par with the father of an animated sitcom family.

One night, before he’s sent out on a delivery, Shanny requests that Mike stop by Chateu le Boss again, this time to drop off a box of candy. Despite his not-as-reassuring-as-he-intended-it-to-be promise of “My daughter will not kill you!”, our protagonist is hesitant to go and I can’t really blame him. Alas, it’s one of those boss requests that comes with the not-so-under undercurrent of “Do this or I will punish you severely as my employee.”, so he reluctantly gives in and undertakes the undertaking. FF>> to later that night, as Shanmugam shows up at PitStop to the sight of his trio of employees bloodied and battered (as in beaten up, not fried in batter)! According to Heckle and Jeckle (I forget their actual names), their ass thumping was the work of Michael, who sits inside the store in a panicked daze. When Boss demands an explanation, the haunted hero relates his scary story to tell in the dark.

When he delivered the pizza, the lady of the bungalow invited him in while she rifled through her purse for the money (note to all readers: don’t be a shithead – have your payment and tip prepared before your delivery person arrives!), only to find out that Mikey didn’t bring enough change for the large denomination note she attempted to pay with. She excused herself upstairs to find a smaller bill and, well, if our hero thought this life was turning into a “Tales From the Crypt” episode before, it looks like Ganesh had put in a full season order for him!

I won’t open my jacket and expose all of the goodies, but Michael ended up trapped in what turned out to be a spook shack. The walls were covered with weird etchings of terrified people’s faces close-up, specifically their big creepy eyes. Mike was menaced for an extended period of time by forces beyond his comprehension, narrowly escaping with his life. And no bitching about how that last bit’s a spoiler, because he obviously escaped if he made it back to the shop to tell the tale! The experience leaves him a disturbed man hanging on to the barest threads of sanity and that’s only the beginning of his downward spiral…technically it’s the first 75% of the movie and not just the beginning, given that there’s still half an hour left after, but you get my (Tokyo) drift.

The rest of the movie is… hmm…it’s really hard to refer to it without…GAH! Alright, I’ll tell you this much – Karthik Subbaraj pulls a better M. Night Shayamalan than his fellow countryman has managed to pull off himself since Unbreakable. It’s great. It took me by surprise. It was unexpected and well explained. But then he takes it too far and ruins it. If Karthik were an Olympic gymnast, Pizza would be his gold medal floor routine that ends, sadly, with him landing on his foot sideways, rolling his ankle and getting the silver instead. If he were a concert pianist, Pizza would be his opus at Carnegie Hall that wraps with him letting out the loudest, wettest shart as he’s taking his bow for applause.

In case I’m being too subtle, allow me to Big Cass for a moment and “SPELL IT OUT FOR YA!” – I do not like the ending of this movie. To be more specific, the last 3 minutes. I suggest getting yourself a copy and seeing it for yourself, as it’s a decent piece of Indian indie filmmaking. If you’re overwhelmed by curiosity but don’t have the will to hunt it down, just read the Wikipedia entry that unbags the proverbial cat instead. That whole site is spoiler central. Did you know that the Nazis lost World War II?! Not cool, Wikipedia.

As mentioned before, Pizza was such a success that two remakes have already been released with additional ones being prepped for delivery down the line. One of them, 2014’s Pizza in 3D, made its way onto my hard drive and was actually the first of these features that I watched! I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t the original movie, and thought the release year was a typo, while the completely different character names from the IMDB listing I was referencing were personally chalked up to a bad set of amateur subtitles. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before publishing the review and managed to not betray just how much of a dumbass I am to all of you. Hooray.

Since I won’t be doing an episode for Pizza in 3D, as they’re too similar to warrant stretching a full review for the remake, let’s see how said reproduction compares to the autochthonous article. Though they follow the same base plot (while changing the characters’ names), there are moderate changes that generally improve upon the recipe. Some of the fat is trimmed down (especially from Michael/Kunal’s time trapped in the house), both improving the flow and giving us a more manageable 107min runtime down from the clunkier 124min. The marriage theme is ousted since our young lovers are already bonded in holy matrimony from the start, and the focus is shifted more to the pregnancy. In fact, the overarching theme of the remake is pregnancy, as the possessed character is no longer the boss’s daughter, but a pregnant Mrs. Boss! On top of that, when our hero makes his delivery to the haunted bungalow, the woman there is also pregnant, making the moral of the story for that version, “People in India have apparently never heard of ‘pulling out’!”

The structure of the narrative gets a few slight but very important changes as well, but you’d have to know the ending to understand why so I won’t spill the beans further. Anu/Nikki’s role in things post-haunted house is changed slightly, but it’s in such a way that it makes for some radical remodeling of the second half of the flick. Remake turned up the horror show element too, using more gruesome imagery and makeup to make the supernatural stuff less realistic and more fantastic. Speaking of “fantastic”, on the topic of remake’s lead actor Akshay Oberoi? No homo, but he’s got some damn pretty eyes…okay, maybe a little homo? But damn it, dude looks like he got poked in the oculars by King Midas! Dreamy bastard. ANYWAY!

The last modification I’m gonna shine a light on is the music. Though the 2012 soundtrack is good to great, 2014 wins hands down solely based on its title theme alone! It’s enjoyably silly, opening on the appropriately punny line “All we are saying is give pizza a chance”. Brilliant. The entire front credits sequence is something not to be missed, either! A “not terrible but not great” 3D computer animated sequence that follows a ghostbusting delivery boy as he action heros through traffic, dodges monsters, and exorcises spooks with spring loaded pies. Clearly not the hero the song credits him as being though, otherwise he would’ve gotten said pizzas to the fucking customers rather than launching them at specters! The whole thing’s cheesier than a party-size triple stacked twelve-cheese heart-exploder deluxe from Benito Mussacheesy’s Pizza Regime at the corner of Taft Street and DeLuise Avenue. I ate an entire slice once on a dare! Almost choked to death getting it down and I was still shitting string cheese two weeks later.

Okay, maybe my comparison was a tad over spiced with hyperbole, but my eyeballs still felt a little constipated after watching that opening. At least it was fun though.

In the end, Pizza is the Evil Dead to Pizza in 3D‘s Evil Dead 2. Though 3D wasn’t made by Subbaraj, it feels like the product of a scenario where Subbs wanted to go back and make changes to his original product and had more money to fund it. Again, that’s NOT what happened, but it still feels like it could have. If there was some way to combine the two into one great movie, well, it’d still be stuck with that nasal nugget of a finale, but would’ve at least pulled an aggregate score of 4 hearts. Separately though? Three will cover it.

By the way, if you didn’t finish reading this review in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. We strive for customer satisfaction here at TheTombOfAnubis.com, mainly because I’d rather lose a couple bucks on free reviews than have to put up with your bullshit. “But aren’t all these reviews free to read anyway?” you ask? To which I say, take this crust and stuff it!

See you kids at Thanksgiving for my annual Turkey Day review! After whiles, crocodiles.

Moral of the Story: For everyone there will come a moment in life that makes the unbelievable, believable. Your moment is coming. Mine? It’ll be the day we get a new “Captain N: the Game Master” cartoon…

Screenshots_____

“Damn it! You better not have dragged me into a gods damned found footage horror movie, you dick!”


“The doctor told me to get plenty of Vitamin C. You know what has Vitamin C? Orange juice. You know what has orange juice? Mimosas. Now shut up and go buy more champagne!”


“Come on Raheed, we told you on your second day here that the hairnet requirement was just a joke. It’s been THREE YEARS! Take it off!”


“I love you dear, but if you don’t do something about your halitosis, I’m going to have to take care of it myself.”


“I told you what would happen if you didn’t fix your bad breath! Now open your mouth! LET THE REFRESHING MINT FLAVOR MURDER YOUR DISGUSTING MOUTH BACTERIA!”
(This is called “Scope boarding”)


I see Tom Savini decided to grow a sick Stalin mustache. Looks good on him.


I know how she feels. That’s how my review notes always end up looking after I watch an Asylum movie.


“I’m serious, my throat REALLY hurts! Would you just look in and see if it’s red and spotty? It could be Strep!”


This one’s called “No Child Left Behind?” from the artist’s “Republican in the White House” series.


Ketchup on pizza?! This is a horror movie!


Uh-oh. Looks like the camera guy came to work drunk again. He’s been having a hard time of it lately, but you can only do so many re-shoots before ya gotta shit can him.


Uhm… is this racist? I mean, in America this would definitely be cause for pause, but is it okay in India? I don’t have a clue, so let’s just move on!


Nasty. I bet she’s got “Made in Germany” stamped on the bottom of one of her feet. I wonder if she comes with a tube of that stuff or if you have to supply your own.


“Are you the one who wrote ‘Death to Pigs’ on the walls?! What did you use to write that, blood?! I ask because my wife and I want to re-paint and I think that color would look really nice for the walls of our bathroom!”


“Man, those Pizza Hut guys came at us out of nowhere! But we whipped ’em, didn’t we? Didn’t we… didn’t we whip ’em? WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”


Why is there a cardboard cut out of Hitler in a bowler hat yawning in their store?! What niche demographic are they marketing to, narcoleptic hipster anti-Semites!? That’s a great name for a punk band, by the way.”


Boss getting his rocks off to his favorite types of internet porn – restaurant supply store liquidation sales.


For the love of Isis’s nipple rings, why is this little making the blow job face?! GAH! HAVE I STILL BEEN IN THAILAND THIS WHOLE TIME?! GET ME OFF THIS CONTINENT!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Shittin’ On the Schlock of the Bay”

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

Feature 57 – Arachnid (2001)

or “Where Monsters Dwell”

Featuring: Alex “The Descent” Reid , Chris “’Kung-Fu: the Legend Continues‘” Potter , Neus “Torrente” Asensi

Director: Jack “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” Sholder

Writer: Mark “Sci-fighters” Sevi

Origin: Spain

Review_____

“All spiders go to Heaven.”

TheTombOfAnubis.com – Promoting literacy through good ol’ fashioned read-only bad movie pontifications! Video reviews be damned! (Maybe now we can qualify for one of those big-ass educational grants from the government!)

For our final furlong (not Edward) of this field trip to the Fantastic Factory, I’ll be pulling the limbs off of the eight-legged freak known as Arachnid. And as you may have guessed by the rating, said furlong is a fucking death march. I could’ve saved myself a lot of misery had I done the rerun re-view review of Stuart Gordon’s Dagon, which originally left me with the unfulfilled hope that Gordon would be more involved with Yuzna’s company beyond the singular feature he helmed. You know, kinda like how people who hope that House of Re-Animator will ever happen are living in a fool’s paradise, eating the deceptive fruits of the delusion tree. Anyway, Dagon has already been earmarked for another reviews thing, so worry not, I’ll get to it sooner or later! For now? Shit, let’s get this over with…

Arachnid wastes no time dumping our books and pushing us into an impossibly deep mud puddle, establishing itself as our bullying tormentor from the opening scene. An eye blistering sequence of the most amateurish of computer-borne special effects plays out, as a devil-may-care test pilot codenamed Lightfoot (Jesus Cabrero) flies a stealth bomber and rocks us like the proverbial hurricane. He’s blasting ass all over the Pacific Ocean, minus the dulcet tones of Kenny Loggins telling us about his scenic drive to the titular Danger Zone. Speaking of, today’s episode is brought to you by The Danger Zone™!

Parents, do you need somewhere to drop off your little ones while you and the spouse test drive the new gimp suits down at Paco’s Pleasure Palace™? Leave ’em at The Danger Zone™ – It’s like Chuck E. Cheese’s, but with more exposed wiring, broken bottles, and used hypodermic needles in the ball pit to help your brat grow some balls instead of encouraging them to be a weak little sissy like those other family fun centers do! We don’t accidentally hire known sex offenders anymore (or any less)! Just take Exit 37 off the highway to The Danger Zone™!

No sooner does Lightfoot go full stealth (and “mean and extreme”), than he catches sight of an alien spacecraft, camouflaged with some of that Predator brand “wavy air” cloaking tech…because they were too cheap to dedicate any of this already middling computer effects budgets toward designing an actual ship. The craft appears to have been harvesting sea life via a self-generated water spout when ‘Footsie interrupted. When he decides he can’t leave well enough alone and pursues the ship, his plane’s systems fail and he’s forced to bail…I’m sorry, I mean he’s forced to extreme bail in the meanest of totally gnarly fashions, bro! The bomber rear-ends the alien ship (looks like the Pentagon’s gonna be raising taxes to cover the bump in their insurance premium from this one!), resulting in a hilarious explosion that looks like it was lifted out of a ’90s PC game. The first rule of making a low budget movie? If you can’t afford to make something look even remotely realistic, DON’T SHOOT IT! And if you do, and it’s so stank-awful it makes your nose hairs curl and your eyes squirt like Flower Tucci’s twat? LEAVE IT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR! Fuck. And this is the movie’s opening! I told you we were in for some pain and shame, kids.

‘Foot parachutes down to a nearby island (that was NOWHERE to be seen in any of the wide open ocean footage we just saw), and within its luscious green canopy he finds a smoking crater that’s WAY too small for the size of the alien ship he just jackknifed. Also, despite crashing, the craft’s remnants are nowhere to be seen as the alien cloaking system was apparently unaffected by the mid-air collision nor the face plant into terra firma, because fuck the audience. An e.t. (that resembles what I imagine years of inbreeding between the mutants of This Island Earth would produce) appears, but its personal cloaking device must be failing as it distorts in and out of view like the picture on an old TV when someone turns on the Hoover. As Lightfoot watches in horror, gun drawn on the visitor, some giant spidery legs sprawl out from behind it, restrain it, then impale it on what I’m guessing to be a big spider dick. The murderous arachnid then leaps into the trees, with ‘Foot firing after it to no avail while the alien begins to sizzle (at least that’s what the closed captioning “subtitles” call it) before fizzling into nothingness. Goodbye, shitty digital alien puppet thing. You won’t be missed.

Some Silly String looking shit then sprays over our hero (looks like the same stuff the Mothra larva and Kumongas used to jizz out in the old Toho Godzilla movies) before he turns away, coming eye-to-eyes with what I’m guessing is the eponymous subject of the movie. Cue his screams and likely pants filling before we cut to the title card.

As our opening credits fade in and out of reality (not unlike the alien), we’re taken to a small airstrip in Guam, where we meet who’s sure to be the movie’s real hero(ine), Loren Mercer (Alex Reid). Merc’s been hired by one of the local physicians, Dr. Leon (Jose Sancho), to fly a small group out to a nearby island where the natives have been dying of an unknown illness transmitted by mysterious spider-like bites. The fatal sickness looks to me to show the symptoms of onset Brundlefly-itis, but damn it Jim, I’m a Death God, not a doctor! Also along for the trip are Dr. L’s assistant Susana (Neus Asensi), hired gun/field leader Lev Valentine (Chris Potter), Lev’s heavies Bear (Rocqueford Alan) and Reyes (Luis Lorenzo), published entomologist Dr. Henry Capri (Ravil Isyanov, stealing work from Ted Raimi) and native guide Toe Boy (Robert Vincencio, stealing work from that guy who played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite). No idea if “Toe Boy” is his tribe given name or just a joke name he was stuck with by the missionaries who brought him there in the first place, but Toe Boy’s his name, so Toe Boy’s what we’re calling him! You know, if he grew up to become an orthopedic surgeon he could graduate from Toe Boy to Toe Cutter…

Obviously, Henry’s going because Dr. L suspects some new breed of spider to be the cause of the sickness, but what else is he preparing for if he’s hired a trio of heavily armed military types to escort them?! Turns out Lev’s just one of those “overcompensating” types, as he declares to Lore that his sense of personal security directly correlates with the amount of armaments he carries with him. Or, to use his exact words: “The more guns I have, the safer I feel!”. I’ll let Matt Parker and Trey Stone posit my reaction on that statement:

On the ride over, Lev and Lore chat it up a bit and establish some character background for us. He and Bear are both former Marines, while Loren is a recently retired Air Force fighter pilot. She resigned her commission with Uncle Sam to become a small time charter pilot on a two-bit island to “look for something”, of which I’m sure we’ll learn later. Mistaking Lev’s interest in getting to know her better as smooth talk, Lore makes sure to put it out there that she’s not interested in “companionship, a relationship, or even a hump buddy”… hump buddy?! What ex-military personnel calls it “humping”?! The term is FUCK buddy! Humping is what dogs to your leg. Believe me, as a human-jackal hybrid deity, I know.

Loren’s electronics randomly die out on her, so she’s forced to crash land on the island’s beach. It’s a groaner of a scene, worthy of an episode of “Perfect Strangers” as the passengers throw themselves about in a panic and the camera’s shaken violently. The crash initiates an irritating back-and-forth bickerfest between Ms. Mercer and Doc Leon that carries on until one of them dies later (guess which one), and also divides the others as loyal attendant Susana and inevitable love interest Lev take obvious sides. The only silver lining about putting the group at odds is a scene where Loren makes a comment to Lev alluding to the idea that Susana sucked her doctorate out of the doctor’s dick, only to have Suze lock her smarmy holier-than-thou ass in “Oh Snap!” Jail when she runs down all of the bad ass work she had to do to earn her position! Even when Lore tries to salvage a sliver of pride with “Impressive. I just fly planes.”, Suze straight napalms her with “Apparently not very well”, then puts a black cherry on top of her shit-talk sundae by offering to help Loren with the scads of gnarly blackheads on her nose!

It’s a good thing there are two such experienced medical practitioners in her party, because I doubt this backwoods jungle had a burn center equipped to treat the degree of posterior immolation our heroine just experienced. Her backside’s figuratively looking like some redneck’s after launching a bottle rocket from his butthole: scorched earth. Ouch!

Mercer plans to stay on the beach with the plane and try to hail a cab ride home, but when she notices that Toe Boy’s wearing a scarf made out of a familiar material not native to the natives, she reconsiders and goes into the ominous overgrowth with the others. Could it have anything to do with the mysterious “something” that she mentioned she was looking for earlier? If you said, “Of course it does!” then you get a cookie! If you said “Huh? Why would you think that? I don’t think it does.”, then slap your parents for me. They know what they did…

From here on it’s your basic slasher formula, as everybody gets picked off one-by-one by the killer. In this case, the jungle is the knife-wielding murderer in the situation appropriate mask. Macho macho man Reyes is the first to ride the bus, errr bite the dust, and he’s not even done in by the movie’s title terror! Instead, he ends up infested by some unholy tropical monstrosity breed of super ticks that plant themselves under his skin, crawl around to gross out the audience, mate, then force their way out of the nearest orifices. In this case, that would be his left eye socket and mouth. Somehow, as soon Henry told us the little buggers would extract themselves once they were done filling their gore sacs with Meathead’s life juice, I knew he wasn’t going to get out of this with both oculars intact. As decent an ipecac as this may have been for amateurs, I just re-watched Ticks a few weeks ago, so what happens here is Baby Town Frolics compared to watching a steroid engorged ultra-tick wearing Carlton Banks as a skin suit.

Reyes is no big loss, as all he really contributed to the movie was being the resident douche-knocker who spent his time failing attempts at promoting himself to Susana as desirable breeding stock. That and doing bong hits off of a canister of liquid nitrogen for laughs. The latter serves to prove himself a dumbass while also establishing that liquid nitrogen will no doubt be used again later on, given Doc Leon’s graphic description of what it would do to the human body if swallowed. It’s nothing nearly as cool, but at least when it is brought back later, no one’s left throwing empty beer cans at the screen and shouting, “WHERE’D THE HELL THAT COME FROM?!”. Once the oversized parasites jump their lumpy ship (and are burst via bullets), Bear puts his partner out of his misery with a pity round planted in his coconut, turning the galoot’s ideas that Vitamin B was a pliable alternative to bug repellant into so much red mist. Two things you never turn down when offered? Bug spray and sunscreen. Don’t question me, make like Nike and JUST DO IT!

Upon finding Toe’s village, it turns out that the place is empty. Either we’ve got a Roanoake Colony situation here, or everybody’s already been digested by the abominations of the surrounding terrain. I’d hazard a guess and say they’re all spider poops by now. Lore also discovers more of the aforementioned mystery material amidst the remnants of the tribe, which Lev confirms to be parachute cloth. Remember Lightfoot? Turns out he’s Loren’s brother. Well, more likely was her brother. Seems that after he went missing, the Navy searched two months for him before giving up. Hence, she left the Air Force to continue her own search via part-time chartering. 2-to-1 says he’s NOT living like Robinson Crusoe nearby, while 200-to-1 says he’s become the King of the Spider-People! Just the way Horror of Spider Island should have ended.

Meanwhile, Henry’s study of the specimens he collects reveals that there are species of spiders on the island that have heretofore unseen evolutionary traits, like internal skeletons in addition to their exoskeletons. This Darwinian wet dream continues on as another overdeveloped freak combining serpentine and arachnid traits (but resembling a giant centipede with most of its legs removed), drags off one of Toe Boy’s peers (let’s call him Toe Rag) and pumps him full of what I can only imagine to be some manner of mega-venom. After emptying a few dozen clips of ammo trying to shoot the hellspawn, it hyper-slithers off into the night like a Chestburster on Four Loko.

After the attack, Lev decides it’s time to scrap this death march and get the fuck outta Spiderville, to the chagrin of Doctors Leon and Capri. Lore insists on staying to look for her brother, but agrees to go too when Lev offers to come back with her and continue the search once the civvies have been returned home. Except for Bear, who gets the shit task of going into the hills with no one but another of Toe Boy’s victim-fodder buddies to try and snag an emergency radio signal! You’ve just discovered that the place is littered with super-evolved killing machines and you send the only black dude in the cast out into the woods with an extra who doesn’t get any lines in the script other that screaming “AH! AHHH!” when he gets a bio-acid bukkake 2 minutes later?! Fuck you, Cracker Jack!

Henry wanders off on his own against Lev’s orders to do some more entomological exploring and ends up confronted by the giant alpha arachnid. By the time the others catch up to him, he’s been turned into an incubator for the next generation of mutants and bound up tighter than my colon after that time I ate an entire wheel of cheese by myself. He’s also transformed from a poor man’s Ted Raimi into a slightly less-poor man’s Dominique Pinon (the guy who played all of the clones in City of Lost Children, which is sadly disqualified from being reviewed here) as he babbles about how the spider is trying to evolve-fuck with everything on the island (including him, presumably), and how its structure is far too large to have developed in Earth’s gravity, thus it must be alien in origin. Well, at least that semi-verifies that it came here on the crashed alien ship, thanks to Loren’s dumbass brother. Oh, speaking of which, they found Lightfoot’s remains webbed to a tree nearby, hollowed out and heavily decomposed. Likely what Dr. Capri is gonna look like after his intestinal spider-babies hatch. No mother’s ever the same after she gives birth. Trust me, I’ve seen my share of scrotummies in my eons.

Henry too gets a mercy death, only instead of a slug through the dome he gets pumped full of morphine as he vomits blood and fades out, asking that the group take his spider samples back with them so the species can be cataloged and named after him. Ruining the moment, Big Momma Octo-Legs shows herself in all of her giant puppet glory, and the heroes unload a few dozen rounds into her to little avail. The design’s actually not bad looking, and the numerous active bits around her mouth are pretty impressive! Kinda reminds me of a Graboid mouth minus the cluster of snake monster tongues. After the opening scene instilled the horror in me that we’d be getting some piss-poor CG beast a la Ice Spiders, I’ll gladly endorse a big angry animatronic! Sure, it’s a bit stiff and barely mobile (not unlike Pumpkinhead) in the wide shots, but at least it’s not the furry VW Bug from Giant Spider Invasion! Then again, this movie is actually making me pine for that sweat stained ’70s hillbilly monster matinee, so maybe a furry VW doesn’t seem all that bad right now.

In their escape from Jeff Daniels’ worst nightmare, Susana gets wrapped up in a massive web (look where the fuck you’re going, Miss Brown Belt!) and while the others try to free her (told you that liquid nitrogen was going to come back into play later), dipshit Dr. Leon just casually stands around doing nothing in particular. While everyone else is trying to save his assistant, the geezer looks like he’s nonchalantly waiting for the fucking crosstown bus or wondering if he remembered to cancel his mail service before he left!

With no apparent fucks to give, the old man is naturally the next to die, pumped full of paralyzing toxin and barfed on with alien Alka-Seltzer. Suze, Lev, and Loren escape to an abandoned WW2 Japanese military shed nearby, and Toe Boy has managed to disappear. No doubt he’ll be back later, likely to play cavalry with a machine gun toting Bear in tow, provided the trio can hole up long enough to be saved. Speaking of, when the beast tries to get in through a boarded up window, Lev manages to get himself bitten, which is bound to happen when you’re stupid enough to attack something like that head-on He-Man style with nothing but a machete! While he lays on the floor going into shock, Shelob’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter manages to creepy-crawl into the hanger without notifying the girls (maybe because they couldn’t hear anything over the blaring background music), forcing them to escape into a backroom to continue hiding. “Lady Tarzan” Suze, revealing that’s she’s claustrophobic, takes the first chance she gets to bolt from the enclosed space, budging her way to the head of the “who dies next” line. As the last interesting character in the cast goes, so does my already impotent interest. Actually, we’ve still got Bear, so maybe there’s hope yet!

Lev and Lore manage to find some old tunnels underneath the building that lead them to safety. Well, not safety so much, as they’re still in the living death trap ecosystem that is the jungle, but elsewhere none-the-less. They rest, and Loren has a nightmare about her brother becoming a more realistic version of what you’d think Spider-Man would’ve looked like if his movie had been directed by David Cronenberg. Though a nicely gruesome sequence on paper, big brother’s cheap rubber mask face kills the mood faster than the cries of a dumpster baby on prom night.

As expected, she wakes up to find Bear and Toe standing over her, so they load up and go spider hunting while Mr. Valentine continues to cling to life. Tracking the creature feature to its underground lair, they catch it sleeping/molting and find hundreds of eggs just waiting to crack open and unleash new rubbery horrors on the world. What a time to lose your flamethrower at the baggage check! Of course the Bride of Tarantula wakes up and takes out the movie’s real hero, jamming a head spike into Bear’s eye and killing him as Loren spends the whole time just shouting “No! Bear! Oh my God, Bear! Bear, get out of there! Bear! Look out, Bear!”, saying his name repeatedly as a less creative version of the Meow Game in Super Troopers. Just as she too is about to succumb to the monster’s appetite, Lev uses the last of his strength to come to the guns blazing rescue, alongside Toe Boy. TB fulfills several sequences of foreshadowing from earlier and uses blowdarts dipped in Black Widow venom to wound Big Momma further. Loren, connected to the creature via a tow line of webbing, finishes the beast off by pulling it down from the cave ceiling and impaling it on a waiting stalagmite as it shrieks its death rattle, bringing to mind the hilarious finale of Jaws: the Revenge. Fucking roaring shark. Thinking about it puts me in the mood to make love to an angry welder. Or get a hoagie.

So, I guess this means Loren and Lev are off to get married and raise Toe Boy as their own, now? Or, since he’s the last of his tribe, will they just sell him to a museum? Or, will the Amazing Man-Spider watching them from the shadows (likely Loren’s niece/nephew) just kill all three of them? I don’t know about you, but given that we’ll never get a squeakquel on this one (thank Isis for small miracles), I’m going with that last one as the canonical epilogue to this tale. With that behind us, let’s make like a responsible dick owner on a one-night stand and wrap it up!

Son of a Sniglet. What a way to end a reviews thing. Four weeks of episodes dedicated to a dumb theme and this is how it goes – not with a bang, but with a fart. The uptick of Beneath Still Waters was immediately followed with a massive kidney stone. I haven’t seen all of the Fantastic Factory offerings, but Arachnid has to be their lowest of low notes. Their own personal Brown Note, if you will. Now all I can hear in my brain is Depeche Mode singing “Their own. Personal. Brown note”.

Mark Sevi’s first EIGHT writing credits were all forgettable sequels to action and sci-fi movies in the ’90s, most of which were direct-to-video. The biggest titles on his resume that stick out to me are the reprehensible Ghoulies IV and the Corey Haim starring Fast Getaway II. Sevi’s “talent” really shines through in Arachnid too, most notably in one scene straight out of a waaaaaaacky comedy. As Lev interrupts Loren while she’s taking a shit, he makes a comment about being careful because of ticks. She makes her best “Goldie Hawn in Overboard” snooty face in response, then gets stuck in a giant spider-hole full of arachnid spooge. Lev and Bear pull her free before she can be eaten by whatever’s down there, and she falls on top of her boyfriend-in-waiting, only to have their shirts glued together by said spider-goo, causing them both to go topless (don’t get excited folks, she’s wearing a bra), leading to the “hilarious” misunderstanding of everyone back at the group thinking they were off bumping the proverbial uglies in the bushes. There’s even a half-baked jump scare moment, as Lev reaches back into the hole to retrieve Loren’s boot, ignorant that he narrowly evaded an attack by the monster. It’s 5 minutes of movie that not only didn’t tickle my funny bone, but shattered it with a hammer while I had to type the whole scenario out just now. And you know that’s never going to heal right. Blart.

Thematically, I’m down with the concept of a super spider mating with other species to create the apex of predation, but it just brings up the same problem I have every time I’m presented with an alien that mates with Earthlings: how the fuck are their reproductive systems compatible?! I get that a big component of science fiction is the “fiction”, but the other big component is the “SCIENCE”! If you’re gonna have intergalactic baby makin’, show me you put the effort into explaining how it’s possible! Or at least have someone bring up the question! Fuck! We’ve got two scientists in the party and neither one of them says, “Wait, so a spider’s been fucking snakes and ticks and people and everything else it can jam it’s furry spider-dong into, but how the hell are the Earth creatures reproductively compatible?!”. It’s the gods-damned “Saiyan frustration” all over again and it’s gonna make me lose my shit! GRARRGH!

Okay, settle down Anubis. Tranquilizers are your friend. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Serenity….now. Okay. Anyway, to be fair, the acting’s not terrible and some of the characters are likable. I would’ve preferred Susana and Bear making it to the end with Toe or Dr. Capri, but you knew they were all destined for the spider’s dinner plate…or breeding dungeon. The gore’s okay too, but those CG effects in the beginning? After already having to sit through them twice, I’d rather wear contact lenses bathed in ghost pepper sauce than do it again. And though the big evil spider puppet looks good when stationary, it’s painfully ugly when in motion (aside from those cool mouth tendrils) and even uglier when reduced to more of that nauseating, no-budget, computer-made rubbish as it jumps around its den.

Overall, I’m glad we were never “blessed” by the sequel we’re threatened with at the end. I never advocate for arachnicide. Hell, my Evil Dead Bride and I welcome all eight-legged guests in our tomb and encourage them to stay a while, so long as they don’t get stepped on or eaten by our cats. I had spiders wind up in my hair, beard, and behind my ear on three separate occasions in one week, so they’re not a source of scares in our home. But Arachnid? Kill it with fire, flush the ashes, and salt the earth it was filmed on so nothing like it can ever grow again.

And with that, we say goodbye to the Fantastic Factory. Probably the best thing to come about from that shit awful Fant4stic box office poison. I hope you had as much fun reading these reviews as I had writing them. The overall quality of the movies wasn’t great, but at least the concepts behind them lived up to the company moniker! They’re a decent atypical alternative to the endless generic slashers, zombie-fests, and found-footage hauntings that overrun the horror show market. There are a few more titles in their cache, so you can bet your Re-Animator 10th Anniversary LaserDisc that I’ll be coming back to finish what I began, not unlike Beatrix Kiddo in her titular revenge quest. Only, you know, less about vengeance stuff and more about being a completionist to whom this unfinished business will be itching powder on my medulla oblongata until it’s done.

With the “Fantastic Four” reviews thing now in the books (and said books going into the pyre as soon as government agents kick in my front door), what depths of darkness and depravity are waiting around the bend? All I can say is that the next new review will be a very special episode of Blossom The Tomb of Anubis, so be sure to tune in with someone you love!

Moral of the Story: When going into the hoary undergrowth of any tropical hell dimension, remember that “mega dosing Vitamin B” ain’t shit compared to some good old fashioned OFF™. It could save your life! Or at least keep you from being torn inside out by Darwinian super-ticks until you can have your entrails melted by something bigger later.

Screenshots_____

The self-proclaimed “Cheese King of Green Bay”.


There’s a space ship in this shot. Can you spot it? This is what happens when you spend your budget hiring the guy from ‘Silk Stalkings‘ to star in your crappy giant spider movie.


My computer made the same request when I put in the Arachnid DVD.


It’s an adult version of one of those little rubber puppet demons from Rock ‘N Roll Nightmare!


“No, I’m not Ted Raimi, but yes I will star in your Skinner 2 Kickstarter project!”


They’re all laughing because they ate Taco Bell for lunch and this is going to be a LONG plane ride… and Susana knows it too.


“Do you like the X-Men? I was the voice of Gambit in the cartoon, you know. Maybe you’d like to go out sometime, chere?”
“Sure. Have you every been… spelunking?”


“I’m sorry! This has never happened to me before, I swear! Oh jeez. There’s never been so much of it, either. Oh Hell, I got some in your hair too. I have some baby wipes in my pack, just gimme a second.”


I see someone took that “eat with your butt and poop with your mouth” episode of ‘South Park‘ to heart. Uggh.


The Red Ryder BB Gun’s campaign of cycloptic terror continues!


“No, I’m not the wheelchair guy from Alien Resurrection. But, if you get me out of here, I will give you my autograph!”


Every year, 1 out of every 10 entomologists is sexually assaulted by giant spiders. Don’t let this happen to you. Never accept drinks from spiders you don’t know.


[Graboid voice:] “Something smells like Kevin Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! Only one thing smells like Kevin Bacon and that’s Kevin Bacon! IT’S BAAAAACOOOON!”


“Oh Garfield. If you can hate Mondays as much as you do, but still have the capacity to love lasagna like that, maybe we all have a chance at happiness.”


That guy’s putting his optometrist’s kids through college!


Looks like they’ll have to reset their “Days Since Last Giant Spider Attack” counter back now.


“Rocky Dennis is the Amazing Spider-Man!”


“What? Don’t you get it? ‘A man walks into a bar – OUCH!’? You don’t GET IT?! COME ON! It’s a pun on the word ‘bar’! How are you not laughing right now?! Clearly you’re some kind of sociopath.”

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Anubis will return next time in
“Appetite for Duodenum”

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.

Feature 52 – Danger 5: Series 1 (2011)

or “Glorious Bastards”

Featuring: Sean James Murphy , Amanda Simons , David Ashby , Natasa Ristic , Aldo Mignone

Director: Dario Russo

Writers: Dario Russo & David Ashby

Origin: Australia

Sequel: Danger 5: Series 2

Review_____

“As always, kill Hitler!”

Australia… Shit. I’m still only in Australia.

Oh well. While I’m waiting for my dimensional transport portal to [REDACTED] so I can continue on with the World Tour de Farce 2015 (i.e., I’m still waiting on the DVD for the next movie to come in the mail…), let me scratch this writing bug bite that’s been gnawing on my fingers by telling ya about a little show I discovered down under called “Danger 5”.

Not to be confused with the terrible twos, these questions three, the Fantastic Four, Eve 6, Ultra-7, the Hateful Eight, Session 9, Perfect 10, or 7-Eleven, (yes, that should pad my search result click-throughs nicely…) Danger 5 are an international quintet of elite Nazi fighters brought together to stop the more “ambitious” plots of the Third Reich. Oh, and if they get a chance to, kill Hitler. Provided he doesn’t leap out of any conveniently placed windows nearby and escape to cause trouble in the next episode… which he always does. Uhm, spoilers? Oops.

D5’s members are Tucker (Sean James Murphy) – the uptight, by-the-books Aussie-in-command of the group, Claire (Amanda Simons) – the proper British Cambridge graduate who majored in lady spy stuff; Jackson (David Ashby) – the overflowing bucket of “shoot first and fuck the questions!” American testosterone; Ilsa (Natasa Ristic) – the hard-as-ice (and twice as cold) Russian vamp; and Pierre (Aldo Mignone) – the cool and charismatic “European” party guy who’s always quick with the cocktails and even quicker cocking the ladies’ tails. These allied powers operate under the leadership of their head honcho, Colonel Chestbridge (Tilman Vogler) – a well-dressed chap with a BIG BALD EAGLE HEAD!

No, I didn’t drop acid into your oj while you weren’t looking (yet). Yes, the remaining paragraphs of this review will contain some of the craziest shit your eyes will ever lay sight upon. Now, Danger 5 ASSEMBLE!

  • Episode 0 – “The Diamond Girls”

    A prequel episode originally presented on YouTube (good luck finding it now, though… buncha dongas), we’re introduced to Tucker, Johnson, and Pierre as they’re on assignment undercover at Hitler’s favorite beer hall The Black Dog. Despite the name, there’s not a single Meatloaf or Randy Travis cameo to be had.

    After 3 months of work, the trio finally gets their opening to assassinate the man who ruined little square mustaches forever, but are foiled by Der Fuhrer’s newest evil creation: Nazi she-wolves with impenetrable black diamond skin!

    Unable to stop the fortified frauleins with simple Allied firepower, the boys are sent packing. Having failed the mission, Chestbridge chews their butts out like he’s looking for grubs and mocks their stories of unkillable uber-fraus. The Colonel then brings in two new operatives to babysit the lads on their next attempt: the lovely, lethal ladies Ilsa and Claire. Claire immediately puts Tucker in his place regarding military strategy, while Ilsa picks a fight with Jackson over his comment about how they never would’ve been beaten by regular women. And so we have Danger, Party of 5!

    From here there’s a diamond heist, our heroes disguising themselves as members of the clergy, an example of how weird German TV shows are, a car chase with some Italians (“How do you know they’re Italian?” “They’re all immaculately dressed, and the driver keeps checking his hair in the rear view mirror.”), along with the establishment of all kinds of tropes the series would go on to blow up in bigger and better ways. Not as good as the episodes that would follow, but a good pilot nonetheless to lubricate us in preparation for the madness to come!

    The production design is based on a 60s tv show motif. It’s something of a re-mix of “The Prisoner” and “Thunderbirds ”, including brightly colored uniforms and sets, models/toys used for vehicles and buildings, and the occasional talking dog puppet for good measure. Though I side solidly on the McD’s side (I’m lovin’ it!), I can understand detractors who would say it tries too hard and pushes the joke ad nauseum. Go into it with that grain of salt under your tongue and gauge your interest appropriately.

    Favorite line: “All these programs seem to be about corrupt police dogs.”
    Favorite moment: Ilsa shoots a Nazi agent in a way that defies all telecommunications logic, proving the advantage of hardwire phones over cellular ones. I suspect she may be a disguised cartoon character, not unlike Judge Doom.
    Moral of the Story: Not all precious gems are the same. When it comes to bulletproofing your bodyguards, diamonds are a megalomaniacal dictator’s best friend.


    I feel like I should be really offended by this, but that might be my “politically correct liberal guilt” that racist white people like to insult non-racist white people with.


    That moment you realize your friends put LSD in your Harvey Wallbanger while you were at the jukebox.


    “Though I think you fill out that nun getup nicely, you shouldn’t make a habit of dressing that way… Yeah, that’s the look I was expecting you to make.”

    ————————————-

  • Episode 1 – “I Danced for Hitler”

    As we join our courageous crew (already in progress), they’re casually cooling off in their cozy cocktail lounge compound. Pierre is regaling Ilsa with the story of how a dying friend taught him the secrets of making perfect mixed drinks. Tucker plays chess with a waving Lucky Cat statuette named Maneki. Having no working appendages with which to move the pieces, the golden feline instead uses his telekinetic powers, accompanied by the classic screeching sound effect made famous by Ghidorah in Toho’s Godzilla movies! As for Claire, she’s her usual stick-in-the-mud self until Jackson uses his pistol to fire a lit cigarette into her mouth. James Bond levels of smarmy cool guy stuff, that.

    The D5’s downtime is interrupted, however, when Colonel Chestbridge storms in to give them their latest assignment. Nazi Prime Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, has the Third Reich misappropriating various national monuments from around the globe so he can assemble the ultimate tribute to the big H! Meanwhile, female Allied agents are being kidnapped to perform a stage show for Hitler’s birthday! It’s up to Danger 5 to infiltrate the festivities, liberate the absconded tourist traps, put a spanking on the Reich’s merrymaking and, as always, KILL HITLER!

    …You know, provided Ilsa can get over her jealousy about Hitler getting a boner over Aryan stroke fantasy Claire.

    In addition to ramping up the absurdity levels from their initial pilot, Episode 1 introduces a couple of the maiden series’ most memorable trademarks. Namely, a soon-to-be repeatedly used clip of Hitler escaping capture by jumping through a window, and ancillary characters sharing their perfect cocktail recipes with Pierre as they die in his arms. That explains why his bartending expertise is so extensive! That guy has watched more friends die than Toki Wartooth.

    Favorite line: “You know what? The world doesn’t need national monuments to remind people why they shouldn’t kill themselves.”
    Favorite moment: Jackson uses a robotic decoy disguised as Hitler’s dog (who all the Nazis recognize, for some reason) to seduce a guard dog and incapacitate it with knock-out gas. Later, it self-destructs to take out a room full of goose steppers after asking them to light her cigarette.
    Moral of the Story: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… also, Hitler loves swans.


    Wow. I have been gravely mislead about how sexy things are in Siberia, then!


    Believe it or not, I’ve had worse last call hook-ups…


    Still not as offensive as “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”.


    Oh Hel! You know when a German lays under a glass top coffee table that things are about to get messy. Like, “Let’s go see that Paul Blart sequel!” messy.

    ————————————-

  • Episode 2 – “Lizard Soldiers of the Third Reich”

    Nazi super dinos are munching on Allied GIs (who love each other “like a lover”) along the Western front! These beasts come in two flavors – classic full-sized dinos (like a T-Rex with a big ol’ swastika banner across its back) and humanoid thunderlizard soldiers (like a pants wearing pterodactyl-man with a hard-on for helpless civilians). Danger 5 are called in to help (after a rather tense bit of drama at HQ), and after narrowly escaping a hungry Tyrannosaurus and a Triceratops with machine guns mounted on its horns they discover strange crystals being used to control the ‘saurs. Further research determines that the crystal are only found in Antarctica, so our intrepid Axis battlers (*cough*Golden Ax joke*cough*) are off to the South Pole to stop the bad guys!

    The sinister Krauts have set up shop in a prehistoric tropical paradise hidden in the frozen wastes (a la The People That Time Forgot), where Josef Mengele plays Dr. Moreau with his army of Triassic terrors and Jurassic jerk-offs. Jackson, Ilsa, and Claire are all captured by Mengele’s forces, with the former pair forced to fight for their lives against the mad doctor’s mutants in the arena of death. Claire is forced to fight for her virginity against the sweaty meat sack that is a horny Dr. M. Elsewhere, Tucker and Pierre wind up captives of the indigenous “savage” women (who of course wear elegant gowns). If they hope to save their captured comrades and bring down Hitler’s saurian super soldiers, T & P (heh, “TP”) must unite the fallopians with their mortal enemies – the jazz club ape men!

    Ever since Idiocracy, I’ve wanted someone to delve more into the prehistoric aspects of Hitler’s schemes. You’ve given me just what I wanted, “Danger 5”. I will break my “no reproducing” rule in your honor and name the bastard Danger Five as my tithe.

    Favorite line: “I think we can all agree, that was an interstellar goulash!”
    Favorite moment: Ilsa takes a tug off her flask and screams a stream of flames at her enemy.
    Moral of the Story: Learn to play the bongos. When Planet of the Apes happens, your skills with the skins may just save your life.


    There’s really nothing I had planned to say about this scene. I just thought “Sensible Chuckle” was the greatest name for a magazine since “How To Kill” in Dominion: Tank Police.


    Ever since dinosaurs were given the right to vote, our entire political system’s just gone to shit.


    After the success of 50 Shades of Gray, Hollywood decided other risque housewife spank-lit should be adapted for the big screen. First up: “Pumped By a Pterodactyl“!


    “Something about its mushroom-like shape fills me with unease…”

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  • Episode 3 – “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun”

    Allied fighter pilots around China have been taking a spanking, courtesy of one-sided dogfights against Japanese Zero planes piloted by some very familiar faces. Namely, their own Allied MIAs! In possibly (guaranteed) related news: the entire island nation of Japan had disappeared! What are those wacky Nazis up to now? Danger 5 will find out!… after Jackson and Tucker resolve their staring contest… and Ilsa puts her panties back on. Sorry, I can’t finish typing this until the massive boner blocking my view of the screen goes away.

    Where was I? Oh yeah, Danger 5! Their mission: capture a Zero pilot to uncover their secrets. Also, find Japan while they’re at it! Oh, and like every other time, KILL HITLER!

    Emperor Hirohito (portrayed here as a moping wiener in a cheap suit) has devised a method of brainwashing captured Allied prisoners into robotic kamikaze pilots turned against their former sky brothers-in-arms! If he can get over his relationship issues, the wet blanket genius leader of the Rising Sun nation will help serve China up to Hitler on a silver platter… along with a sculpture of Godzilla wrestling a Gundam, made entirely of schoolgirls’ used underwear. Danger 5’s investigation leads them to the coast of China, where they discover a strangely Japan-looking island that shouldn’t be there. They end up shot down and divided…again. These guys split up more than Scooby and the Gang!

    Tucker’s befriended by the local welcome wagon, who take him back to their…luxurious spa-resort?! Here he meets other Allied “prisoners” who are soaking up the hospitality like a sponge soaks up spilled bourbon and hooker blood. Ilsa follows to keep an eye on her teammate and investigate the spa further. Elsewhere, the others have been taken captive by Japanese girls with machine guns (no, Cramps fans, they were not wearing bikinis), but at their “Burmese” opium den our heroes find the ladies’ leader to be none other than Pierre’s longtime pal, Hans Chang! Like Pierre’s other amigos seen throughout the series, Hans knows the mustachioed smooth talker by a different alias. Yet another example of the show’s 100 yard dash humor…in that it’s a running joke…keep up, kids, or I’ll dump you off at the next dingo den and tell your family that you ran off with some cannibal in drag who claimed to be Mitzi Del Bra.

    Will the Danger 5 lose a member (or two) and have to get all new business cards and uniforms? Will Hitler finally take over the world with his unstoppable robotic kill-men? Will Hirohito’s heart mend before his head is blown apart like an overripe cantaloupe? What the fuck is going on in Joseph Stalin’s mustache!? Find out for yourself when you watch “Kill-Men of the Rising Sun”!

    Favorite line: “You always were a joking man, Glen! A man of jokes! Hahaha!”
    Favorite moment: In a bid to distract Jackson during the opening scene’s staring contest, Ilsa slips off her panties and tosses them into beard-o’s face. When this doesn’t do the trick, she starts crossing and uncrossing her legs…my penis is in love.
    Moral of the Story: Love conquers all. Unless it gets me Ilsa’s panties, I don’t give a dry fuck.


    “The doctor told me I wouldn’t get so many nosebleeds if I’d just keep my finger out of there… I COULDN’T KEEP MY FINGER OUT OF THERE!”


    I see Australia has their own James Franco!


    “Because it’s MY birthday and I REFUSE to pay for everyone else’s dinner AGAIN this year!”


    Ah! I see Australia has their own Nick Offerman too! Good for them. Every continent needs one.

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  • Episode 4 – “Hitler’s Golden Murder Palace”

    Uncle Adolf has established a Nazi casino in Morocco, where he’s mass producing golden semi-automatic rifles (that HATE crotches like Nazis hate Jews) to give his men the perfect advantage over the Allied troops! Speaking of the Allies, big time operative Agent Gruber was sent in to case the joint, but has since gone missing. It’s up to D5 to infiltrate the golden murder palace, recover Agent Gruber, and find out what der Fuhrer has planned…after they finish their Mousetrap knock-off game Fu Manchu (“You can’t just keep yelling the name of the game, Pierre! That’s not how it works.”). Then Colonel Chestbridge eats that spider off his shoulder.

    Jackson and Claire (and technically Tucker, though nobody cares what he says) have different ideas of how to go about their mission, so they…come on, you got this! They…come on…it rhymes with “slit cup”…Yes! They split up! Good girl! Have a ram chip. Anyway, Claire and Tuck work to take out the submarine guarding the casino from the bay, while the rest blend in with the gamblers inside to get their iron sights on Hitler himself. Will they be able to get past head manager (and Ilsa’s ex-husband) Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel? Or, will Jackson (under his card trick slinging alter ego, John Baccarat)’s jealousy jeopardize their chances to finally put a bullet in Hitler’s brain box?

    Favorite line: “I’ve been married to things a lot scarier than Nazis, my friend!”
    Favorite moment: Any time Tucker vocalizes his disgust for Italians.
    Moral of the Story: Italian imagination is a VERY dangerous thing! Maybe it’s all that coffee they drink?


    Test footage from the 1979 Ghost Rider film that Marvel would like you to forget about. Four stuntmen died before production was halted… after the first day.


    A gold-plated hotel with their logo brazenly splayed across the front? Finally, a political party Donald Trump can relate to!


    If you think those kebabs look hot before they go into you, just wait till you see how they feel coming outta you.


    Everyone always says you’ll grow hair on your palms and go blind if you masturbate too much. The truth is almost as bad.

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  • Episode 5 – “Fresh Meat for Hitler’s Sex Kitchen”

    After this episode, I may just change my name to Conrad Turbo: Fist Machine.

    The Nazis (wearing cool-ass shark hoods for some reason) have taken over The Palomino: a Swiss whorehouse hot spot for Allied troops looking to “lighten their load” while on R&R. They’ve replaced all of the usual working girls with corset clad Aryan prostitutes, and suddenly all of the customers are trading in their home colors for the black and red swastikas of the Stepfatherland! How are they doing it and who’s going to stop them!? I think you know…

    At least you should by now. We’re five episodes into the series and there’s only one left after this!

    After losing Jackson and Ilsa to the Krauts on the train ride over, Tucker, Claire and Pierre have to infiltrate The Palomino to rescue them. With the help of a former employee of the equine-titled bordello (whose sister was killed by the goose steppers), the trio don disguises to sneak into the cathouse: Tucker dons an SS uniform, Claire is disguised as one of the blonde bombshell strumpets, while Pierre (who doesn’t look enough like a Nazi) is also gussied up like one of Hitler’s dream girls.

    I feel there was a missed opportunity to revisit that “F-Troop” gag where Agarn refuses to wear a dress only to end up wearing a dress in that old timey sitcom way. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go watch “F-Troop”. Or, just watch this “Freakazoid” clip (http://youtu.be/YmIaL2BK1Zk) from the Candlejack episode explaining it. Oh shit…I said his name didn’t I? Fuuuuuuu—-

    If this initial premise doesn’t sound outlandish enough for a D5 adventure, rest assured that there’s also an ominous castle, a fountain that spouts some kinda Nazi voodoo H2Whoa! and a colorful occult sequence that’s straight out of an Argento flick. It’s packed with more flavors than a Double Down™ or Most American Thickburger™! But not quite as much flavor as the Pizza Crepe Taco Chili Bag™ ((https://screen.yahoo.com/taco-town-000000333.html)). That’d just be like stuffing every random moment of weirdness from the entirety of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” into 20 minutes – an unwatchable clusterfuck.

    Favorite line: Tucker (while looking for Jackson and Ilsa): “One of them looks American, the other looks volatile.”
    Favorite moment: Tucker gets into an extended machete fight with a Swiss gangster named Gordon, who wears fingerless gloves and has a big tiger head.
    Moral of the Story: The king of whiskey tastes like petrol. Also, Sin City‘s Yellow Bastard is apparently Swiss! Also also, money is the antidote for Nazi black magic, hence why Capitalism won World War II.


    Scary as their ceremonial “spooky ghost” attire may be, the KKK’s got nothing on the Nazis’ “pissed off shark men” hoods!


    Pierre’s got that “something about this just feels so right” look about him.


    You mean putting your hands up in a non-threatening way, stepping aside, and saying “It’s none of our business!” before turning around and walking away, whistling to yourself all the while to drown out the sounds of victimization going on behind you?


    Gross. That’s why you never let Goldmember finish on your face. Good luck washing that off. Blart!

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  • Episode 6 – “Final Victory”

    And now, the grand finale!

    For the swan song of Series 1, Hitler has created a posse of invincible giant monsters to crush the Allied forces! With the good guys on the verge of losing WW2 against these killer Kraut kaiju, what can Danger 5 do to save the world!? We’ll have to wait till after their doubles game of ping-pong finishes before we can find out.

    An Atlantean (yes, as in “from Atlantis”, not “from Atlanta”) named Gibralter has telegrammed Allied Command (using a Homing Porpoise, perhaps?) with news that the sub-aquatic populace has developed a weapon capable of defeating the Reich’s super beasts! All they need is enough refined Allied Uranium to power it, and the Axis will be defeated once and for all. *Sniff*Sniff* Do you smell something fishy? Yeah, it’s not just the shiny silver underpants of Gibralter’s submerged henchwenches. I won’t tell you exactly what happens, but Hitler shows up with one of the most convoluted schemes yet and the episode ends in a MASSIVE Ultraman/Power Rangers model city mashing fracas. If you’re gonna go out, go out BIG!

    The Series 1 end episode also introduces Danger 5’s cartoon canine cohort Killroy, whose cheap animation and stoner personality will either nudge your funny bone or chafe your taint. Consider me amongst the latter. I get the joke, but one key moment aside, I needed a mouth guard to keep from grinding my teeth into shards whenever Killroy popped in. On the plus side, at least Hitler hired someone creative to design his daikaiju. Tank Demon is easily my favorite of the trio. His body looks like a bad cosplay of Decepticon Brawl with a tank gun in his chest and a tiger’s head. Magical? Super califragical.

    Though I’m sad to see the adventures of die Gefahr von Fünf come to a close, stick around after the finale’s cocktail party credits sequence for a teaser of Series 2. As someone who’s already seen it, believe me when I say it’s a log flume ride through ever rising waters of even greater insanity and chicanery.

    Favorite line: “Betting on a table match is an unbreakable bond!”
    Favorite moment: In the final fight against Hitler’s big black knight of the Third Reich, Der Fuhrer unsheathes his ultimate weapon: a Jet Jaguar-size flame-throwing chainsaw!
    Moral of the Story: When the sit-down gun comes out, you sit down and SHUT UP!


    Next time you get into an argument with a Republican online, just show them this pic and they’ll be too busy masturbating themselves to sleep to bother you further.


    Killroy – the Scrappy-Doo of Danger 5. Like his namesake, he “was here”. Now go away.


    Ultraman villains as created by the Chinese toy company that makes those horrible knock-off comic book hero action figures sold at every corner Dollar Store in New York City.


    Germany’s way of telling Godzilla to “Keep the fuck OUT!”.

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    Though this is my first (new) review for a TV show on Tomb 2.0, I couldn’t have gone with a better pick. Scanned during a typical “spend 45 minutes on NetFlix looking for something to watch, only to settle on NOTHING TO WATCH before giving up and doing something else” trek, the concept and preview still were just enough to get me to sit down and donate my time like so much precious precious blood. Blood that I can’t donate, as I’m on enough pills to choke the eponymous Ursa from Grizzly.

    As I said, the 60s retro elements being parodied here are brilliant. I loved every minute of it. From the pulp inspired episode titles to the re-used tropes of every outing (the team get divided, someone(s) needs rescuing, someone(s) is brainwashed by the enemy, somebody from Pierre’s past knows him by a different name, Hitler escapes out of a window, etc.) to every episode ending with a commercial for a fake product and all of the characters from the episode having a cocktail party. Speaking of, today’s episode is brought to you by “Tough Actin’” Tinactin™! Remember, Tinactin™ only acts tough because deep down it just wants to be loved. So show your love and BUY SOME FUCKING TINACTIN™, YOU EMOTIONALLY STUNTED PRICK!

    It’s amazing the amount of violence and, well, Nazi shit that Dinosaur (the production company) got away with in “Danger 5”, given Australia’s stick-up-the-ass policies on censorship. Even in a comedic sense, the graphic violence comes as a surprise. Maybe the Aussie big wigs (yes, some Australian judges still wear court wigs!) just hate video games? I won’t go into it, but if you want to learn more about Australian video game politics, you can find out more at your local library by using one of their computers to view the following article – http://www.techly.com.au/2014/09/26/australias-ridiculous-instances-video-game-censorship/ … or, you could just do it from the device you’re currently reading this review from. Whatever floats your U-boat.

    There you have it – “Danger 5”. I can’t recommend it enough for the right niche crowd. I love it, my Evil Dead Bride loves it (Ilsa’s her new hero/life coach), and I’m sure there are untold thousands out there who would also love it if they’d seek it out. Here’s to hoping this review brings it to light for a few dozen of those thousands.

    On a final note, though it will never happen, if there was ever a Danger 5 movie, Chris Pratt would be the perfect Jackson. Just sayin’.

    Auf Wiedersehen!

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    Anubis will return next time in
    “What Fight Through Yonder Window Breaks?”

    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!

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