Feature 101 – Would You Rather (2012)

or “Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”

Featuring: Brittany “Pitch Perfect” Snow , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs , Sasha “Swallow My Children” Grey

Director: David “A Love Affair of Sorts” Guy Levy

Writer: Steffen “Primal” Schlachtenhaufen

Origin: USA

Review_____

“It’s just like life, isn’t it? There are no do-overs.”

Hello, kids! Your humble narrator here, once again. My apologies for my absence these last few weeks. I wasn’t intentionally being enticingly elusive, I just lost all of my fingers after a “business agreement” with Robert Durant kinda fell through, and have been awaiting their regeneration. They’re still not 100%, but I’ve got enough stubbage to bang out a few words for today’s overdue review!

Also, no matter how hard you try, you’re now unable to read this without imagining my creepy little malformed digits clacking away at my keyboard. Take it, you slut. Take it all! Take it to your GRAVE!

Now then, back when “The New Adventures of Old Anubis” here started up, it got off on the right foot (the left one, if you’re Christy Brown) with The Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation, a repugnantly poor zombie sequel with an upsettingly long title starring personal favorites Andrew Divoff and, the reason The Tomb exists in the first place, Jeffrey Combs! Unfortunate to say, it was a decidedly drab performance by the career Herbert West, which may have had some small part in why I’ve only reviewed one other Combs movie since – Beyond Re-Animator. Though the lesser of the beloved trilogy, BRA was a better-than-average entry in the SIP (Scientists In Prison) sub-subgenre and an exponentially better outing for Combs than what we wound up with for TNotLD3DR. Then again, you can transplant the blame for that one to whomever cast such a master of scenery chewing for a barely-better-than-background-character role, should you feel so inclined to.

Today’s movie is a return to form for Mr. Combs, so I’m happy to start off our next 100 episodes with a heavy dosage of Jeff Monster Dos (Jeff Monster Uno being Jeff Goldblum) in the dinner party game to end all dinner party games! Or we could just get a pizza, order The Bye Bye Man on pay-per-view and stay in tonight. Would you rather? Too bad, cuz this review’s happening with you or without you.

Still here? Cool. Embrace your life of servitude. Our protagonista Iris (Brittany Snow) is one of those unfortunate “had so much potential and was going to college to do great things, but was forced to drop out and return home to take care of a sick family member by getting a low paying job she’s tragically overqualified for” dramatic heroines that we all root for out of a deep sense of pity or, worse, sympathy. The ailed family member in Iris’ case is her younger brother Raleigh (Logan Miller) whose leukemia is a total buzzkiller, man! I’m talkin’ Bring Down City, dudes, population Iris! Totally bogus, she-brosef! When their parents died in a car crash, she literally became her brother’s keeper. While Iris may accept her burden like a leading character would, Rals is less than happy about being a big dumb cancer-riddled shackle around big sister’s ankle, so he sits around all day feeling sorry for her while mocking her inability to speak with a French accent. Given that she pronounces “monsieur” as “man-sewer” like she’s one of the wild and wonderful Whites of West Virginia, I have to question the legitimacy of the movie’s claim that she was on the road to any kind of “greatness” beyond assistant manager of an under-performing Cracker Barrel. C’est la cinéma.

With medical bills mounting and the government dominated by elephant worshiping mutants genetically predisposed to refusing affordable healthcare for people in need, Raleigh’s grave illness is looking more and more deserving of that descriptor as time ticks away. Fortunately for the siblings, this is a movie! And since it’s a movie, the highly unlikely prospect of finding a bone marrow donor for Raleigh and covering the cost of the transplant operation is offered to Iris by the lad’s oncologist, Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.)! Well, not Dr. B exactly, but he does introduce her to an incredibly wealthy philanthropist type guy named Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) who offers her the self-same salvation.

Hold up. Shepard Lambrick? Shepherd? Lamb? What the fuck is that about?! I hate whimsical naming tropes. Blart.

Shep invites our gal to a dinner party he’s hosting and promises to solve all of Raleigh’s problems if she participates in and wins a no doubt left intentionally ambiguous “party game” with his other guests. Barden vouches for the eccentric, evil emanating gent’s offer, revealing that the mustachioed mystery man’s charitable foundation opened the very same drive thru window of McOpportunity for him some years back when he too was in dire need of help. That might explain why Doc doesn’t seem to give a shit that Sheppy Warbucks has been building a mountain of discarded peanut shells on the fainting couch in his office for the extent of this exchange. Had Ed McMahon ever come through with that giant check he was always promising me, I’d have let him sit naked on my couch during the hottest day of the year and shuck all the legumes he wanted wherever he wanted!

Not entirely sure that she isn’t being set up to play one of the titular tuchi in an “ass to ass” show for a roomful of guys in business suits a la Requiem for a Dream (still a less disturbing scene than watching Marlon Wayans rape stuffed animals in A Haunted House), Iris needs some time to think about the offer. When she goes home and gets the GTFOut callback from TGIFridays about the hostess job she was hoping to land, she’s left with little option but to toss her metaphorical hat into Mr. Lambrick’s dinner party ring. She tells Ral that she’s going out for the night to blow off some stream with her friends, rather than doing the smart thing and explaining the situation to him.

Any time you’re invited to an affluent stranger’s dinner party (the closest to which I’ll ever experience being GJ Echternkamp inviting me to lunch after reading my review for Death Race 2050), you should leave behind every piece of information you can with as many people as you can, as your first presumption should be that said affluent stranger intends to either kill and eat you (not necessarily in that order) or, best case scenario, that their friends are going to hunt you across a private island like some sort of game. A dangerous game, if you will. Perhaps, dare I say, the most dangerous game?

Our embattled heroine is chauffeured to the event, which she's told is not held in the Lambs’ personal home, but in a mansion the family uses solely for this special annual dining event… Sorry to keep harping on the inevitable danger we can all see waiting for Iris like Shin Godzilla on the horizon, but sometimes my mind takes its cue from my Jethro Tull “Thick as a Brick” cassette – it has 1 track. Ready for a 100cc injection of irony? The 8-track version of “Thick as a Brick” too only has said singular track. Think about it.

At the party, Iris (and the viewer, vicariously) is introduced to the other 7 attendees. We don’t learn much about each, so I’ll just give you the quick role call. We have Lucas (Enver Gjokaj), Cal (Eddie “CRABMAN!” Steeples, who still has the same rebellious mane he did in ‘My Name is Earl’), Peter (Rob Wells), Linda (June Squibb… no relation to the man who invented the squib), Travis (Charlie Hofheimer), Amy (Sasha Grey), and Conway (John Heard… what? What has John heard?). Each was recruited for tonight from one corner of the country or another, with Iris as the only local talent. Given that Doc was a past winner though, maybe that’s good luck? You know how competitive people are about their superstitions, after all. Still, that does come off as convenient…

Once their meal gets underway, the reason for the dinner (and our title) becomes immediately obvious when Iris declares herself a vegetarian and apologizes for having to decline the flesh heavy entree. Shep in turn offers her $10k to bypass her dietary morals and choke down her steak and foie gras in front of everyone. Naturally (and literally), she bites and earns herself a handy five figures to stomach rich people food that doesn’t consist of live snails or monkey brains! Nice. Next on ‘Deal or Ordeal’, recovering alcoholic Conway cashes in his 16 year chip for a decanter of “the finest Scotch money can buy” and a $50k payday of his own. Shit, I’d down a gallon of Tenafly Viper and a chaser of Shaq’s sweaty sneaker full of horse piss for $50k! I also have zero shame.

So, as far as asshole rich people in movies go, our antagonist has established himself as the Ted DiBiase type: offering the less fortunate what he considers a pittance to shit away their dignity for his amusement. Ladies and gents, welcome to the game that’s a sadist’s paradise – Would You Rather.

With the pre-show over and everyone sufficiently intrigued/terrified, the guests are offered an out before things go any further. Looks like they all assume that they’re just going to be paid to eat and drink things they normally wouldn’t be into though, so no one takes the Get Out of Guantanamo Free card. When Shep’s hired goon Bevans (Jonny Coyne) rolls in a DIY shock therapy machine, the now imbibed Conway indignantly tries to take his $50k and run, only to be met with a bullet in the face from the former MI5 spook-turned-Caucasian Random Task (hopefully without all that “Christmas Eve gang rape and torture” nastiness)! Yes, kids, when someone who’s clearly a sadist says you’re allowed to leave the situation before things get “serious”, you run for that glowing red EXIT sign as fast as your feet will carry you before Million Dollar Man Jigsaw changes his mind!

In addition to Bev, Lambrick also introduces his son Donald Jr., I mean Julius (Robin Lord Taylor) to the group. As you’d anticipate, Jules is your typical fucking rich kid snot rag who clearly carries daddy’s mean streak in his DNA, minus the false face of eminence and empathy that pops portrays to the plebians. The wormy shit’s last name would be better pronounced “Lame-prick”, and if you didn’t wanna punch the young Oswald Cobblepot in the face with a bedpan bad enough before seeing this movie, you’ll wanna shove Domon Kasshu’s burning finger through his face by the end of it.

Round 1 (FIGHT!) involves the guests zapping each other with the “enhanced interrogation” electroshocker, as two players per turn get their heads wired. Each person is offered the opportunity to rattle their own fillings or give the person to their right a taste of the Carrie Fisher Treatment. It’s like the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray at the liquor store, only with a higher risk of heart attack and self-defecation. Though most of the remaining 7 play nice and opt to take Ben Franklin’s Kite Ride themselves, Amy keeps it 100 and buzzes old lady Linda’s wig faster than Electro on uppers. Clearly someone’s grandma was a bit heavy handed with the wooden spoon while she was growing up and now has a case of Grandmasogyny. You can’t watch this part of the game without thinking about the family therapy episode of ‘The Simpsons’

With no fatalities (aside from Conway getting a case of .45 caliber gray matter splatter in the pre-show), the Surviving Seven all go on to Round 2. Then again, Round 1 clearly wasn’t meant to eliminate anyone, so much as it was just a way to prod (No pun intended? No, pun intended!) everyone into disclosing who the Samaritans are and who the Jeff Varners/human skidmarks are (*whisper* it’s Amy). During their between-rounds timeout, the gang try to work out an escape plan. While they ponder how best to jump Bevans and his back-up lackeys, they make sure to let Amy know that her bitch-ass is on her own. Much as I echo the sentiment, that’s the kind of thing someone who’s shown themselves to be self-centered to a violent extent is just going to use later to further smother their conscience and fuel their “fuck the rest of you” mentality. Good luck with that.

Round 2 ramps shit up a few levels, graduating to “Would you rather stab so-and-so in the leg with an icepick or cane the ever loving nougat out of Travis”, who made the mistake of talking back to Orange Julius during his intermission “mock the poor people” pep talk. Trav offers himself up as the sacrificial lamb so no one has to risk taking a poke in the femoral artery and bleed to death. Some people opt to look their personal gift horse in the mouth and, rather than just let Travis die, take a chance with stabbing their neighbor instead. Not unlike the way I stab myself in the thigh with the old steak knife I keep next to my keyboard whenever I start zoning out while typing reviews.

Without going into too many specifics, the round ends with 2 victims, which is way more than any of the Stalkers in The Running Man were able to rack up. The remaining players attempt their coup (oddly devoid of background music) before Round 3, only to fail. One contestant tries some saber rattling with an actual saber, but his revenge is cut short by the gun that Shepard keeps on himself for just such as occasion. While the others are forced to return to the table, Iris escapes into the house’s basement, only to be snatched mere inches from freedom by none other than Julius Seize-Her *rimshot*. The living embodiment of a garbage bag full of used tissues attempts to rape our heroine, only to get a first hand taste of girl power as Iris beats the fluid out of the little douche bag and leaves him lying. Doc Barden (whose guilty conscience forces him to try and rescue Iris) appears intending to assist in her liberation, but his best efforts just make him the modern day Dick Halloran when his big ol’ PHD brain proves no match for Bevans’ peacemaker, mere seconds later. You can’t help but hear Groundskeeper Willy uttering “Ach, I’m bad at this!” from the ether.

Bev retrieves our leading lady, with Summer’s Eve being the one who gets punished for his uncouth behaviors. Nothing in a cool “gets his dick shot off” manner, though. The rat faced Pat Bateman wanna-be is just sent to his room and basically grounded from watching the rest of the game. Boo hoo.

Would You Rather Round 3 kicks off with the extant contestants not too happy that Iris gets to return to the game despite her near-successful dash for freedom. To be fair, running away is akin to a forfeit, but since she’s the Atlas upon whose shoulders our tale is told, their host turns a blind-eye to any repercussions. Then again, if you consider it, maybe adding Iris back into the game is her comeuppance? Whatever your opinion, the clash’s 3rd quarter is, as Shep calls it, “the known vs. the unknown”. Its gimmick revolves around a series of “punishment cards” issued randomly to each player via nondescript envelopes. Before opening their individual fates, they’re given a choice between gambling on what torment the card holds for them or spending 2 minutes held face down in a cask of H2O by Bevans. Given their host’s upper crustiness, I would imagine it’s VOSS or Volvic or at least Evian in there. Whatever its origin, as you may remember from grade school science, water is not a substance that humans can breathe.

Again, to avoid ruining the outcome of the scene for you I’m just going to tell you what the anonymous tortures consist of. One card entitles its holder to one free FULL dental extraction. Another requires its recipient to hold a lit quarter stick in their hand to completion. A third card forces its owner to slit open one of their eyeballs with a razor blade (at least they get to choose which one, so… that’s fair… right?). The final card, well… I’ll get to that. Now, though we may have shed our gills millions of years ago in the evolutionary march to now, scienticians have told us for ages that the average human can hold their breath for 2-3 minutes with relative ease. So, provided you don’t have a stroke, why wouldn’t anyone opt for the barrel instead of the card? Unless they’ve got “kid on christmas” syndrome and not knowing what’s in the envelope will make them go into seizures. Or you’re horrified of water because someone or someones very near and dear to you drown… which happened to one of the final four. Said player clearly doesn’t want that, so they opt for their card – FOUR minutes of face time with the supposed source of all life (and its fair share of death). Given such a “coincidence”, I have to wonder how true Lambrick’s claim was that these cards were issued completely at random. Hell, given the entire barrel concept I’d say its a safe bet that this entire round was targeting that self same player. Hmmm.

With two more eliminations courtesy of round 3, the game goes into its 4th and final showdown between our last two survivors. A coin toss to decide who goes first sees Iris win (like you didn't know she'd make it to the end) and she's presented with the following scenario: she and her opponent are both allowed to leave, pockets none the richer but both allowed to live, or she has one shot with a dueling pistol to kill the person across the table from her, in which case she stands the victor atop the bodies of her enemies and Raleigh gets an expansion on the figurative ranch house that is his life.

Now, here’s the fun part. If you’re adequately intrigued by this premise and want to keep your brain virginal so as to experience its finale for yourself sans spoilage, you have two choices to continue your adventure – allow me to pop your cherry and continue reading, or close this window immediately and read no further until you’ve watched Would You Rather, returning later instead. Make your choice now before reading further!

Iris' opposition offers up the sob story that brought them here in a last ditch effort to make us care about them, but Iris is even less interested than we are and puts them down before their guilt trip gambit can get past “I have 3 sisters”. Arrangements are made for Ral's operation, a donor was already found beforehand so the transplanted marrow will be on a plane to the US in less than a day, and on top of all that, Iris will be given enough money to take care of things for both of them while also getting the chance to go back and finish her education. She mutters out a mandatory “thank you” to her captor/savior and is taken home. Hooray! The Day is won! At a terrible cost of her humanity and likely any semblance of non-PTSD ravaged sleep for the rest of her life, granted, but at least it all worked out in the end!

…Until she gets home and discovers that Ralo pilled himself straight into deceasedhood while she was out.

There are only two real ways WYR should have ended for me. I would’ve accepted a happy ending (which I always do, ladies) had the final scene been a montage of Raleigh going through the surgery while Iris sat alone in a hospital waiting room until he comes out in the clear and the pair share a brother and sister moment of triumph, only to have a Psycho-ish final shot where the camera pans slowly in to Iris’ face, freezing on her eye, finally saturating into a grainy black & white while a sound byte of her screaming from earlier plays over it. Or, the ending we got, despite my telegraphing it as soon as we got the shot of little bro feeling guilty over his sister having to make special plans to have something as simple as dinner with her friends while probably worrying about him being home alone the whole time. My suspicions were proven as soon as the last few minutes of the movie focused on Iris checking on her “sleeping” brother before showering and getting some manner of rest only to discover Ral’s state when she goes to wake him the following morning. Hey, sometimes being right about the surprise awaiting you is even more satisfying than getting something out of left field just for the sake of an audience swerve.

I also thrive on “sad” finishes. When The Mist wrapped up, I laughed and cheered, clapping as Tom Jane crumbled into a heap of overwhelming, impotent horror. I love downer endings! The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite Star War. Not just because I find the standard issue “Hollywood ending” impractical for as many times as we’ve seen any and every conflict, no matter the scale, wrapped up with a last minute feel good resolution just in time for the end credits, but because I’m a callous prick who likes to see imaginary people suffer horrible losses. And sometimes real people… when the situation calls for it… or I’m just feeling sadistic… or when I can’t sleep… or when I sleep too much…

As a general statement, I’m not a big fan of what the faux-conservative types have long since labeled the “torture porn” subgenre. Clearly not due to some bullshit ethical quandary, given half the tirades I’ve thrown out here over the years. I didn’t mind Hostel, and I’m not against people enjoying movies whose main selling point is graphic violence. Hell, vulgar displays of blood and guts and meat and bones are always welcome in The Tomb! As sad as it may be to say, though, I’ve been doing this (i.e. criticizing “bad movies”) for almost 20 years. With extended gaps in between and having lost 90% of my material from before 2013, sure, but that’s still a LONG time in which I’ve seen a LOT of movies. Mutilating people for fun should be but a single bloodsoaked piece of your plot, not the whole thing. This is where Would You Rather becomes torture porn done right! It’s not just a group of masked sadists causing physical violence on wayward vacationers for kicks, it’s subjecting the characters and audience to psychological torments too. The fact that it doesn’t go to comical excesses the way something like a Troma movie would, and treats even potentially goofy things with a serious tone that makes it way more effective.

I do have a qualm or two with Shep’s excuse that he does all of this under the auspice that it’s for his guests’ “own good” to unveil each player’s “true character”. Just like Jigsaw always said his games were about “making the victims struggle to appreciate their lives and earn the right to keep living”, it’s all bullshit. Both guys are clearly just getting off on making people torture themselves and each other, so don’t pretend it’s some kind of higher level existential crap. They’re violent psychos with too much time and too many resources on their hands that could be making the world a better place, but instead choose to be self-indulgent assholes who can get away with murder, so they do. Repeatedly. Deal with it.

The setup for Shep’s game feels more than a little absurd, even beyond the whole “Iris just happens to live in the same general area, while everyone else was flown in from around the country”. And if you’re asking yourself “Why wouldn’t someone who survived the game have told the cops about all this?!”, that’s an easy one – since the winner is the only one to survive, and their entire motivation for going through with it was to live the rest of their life on the Lambrick Foundation’s tab, why would they go to the authorities? “But why didn’t the doctor just go to the cops when he decided to help Iris?!” you say? Why? So, provided he survives long enough to make it to trial, he can then spend a chunk of his life in prison for being an accessory (and get shower shivved by someone on the inside on Shepard’s behalf) while Lambrick’s money and standing within society gets him off? Sure, he was killed anyway, but chalk it up to the illusion that too many gun owners buy into the fantasy that they’re invincible… until someone else with a gun kills them… or someone without a gun just takes their gun from them and kills them.

I think my biggest logic fart with today’s flick is covering up all of the “unsuccessful” contestants. There’s no mention of how long the Lambs have been shepherding unknowing victims for their slaughter, but it’s been at least twice. Now, if the previous game included the same number of players, that’s 7 victims from each dinner, for a total of 14 people. Among those 14 people, you have to imagine than no less than, let’s say 4 of them must’ve told someone where they were going and what they were doing. Especially given that they were flown in from sea to shining sea. How has the game gone on this long, even if it’s only the second time, without any major red flags being raised over at least 14 missing people?! Given that those 14 people were brought to the house all expenses paid, there must be some kind of figurative paper trail to lead the authorities back to the fucking Lambrick Foundation! I enjoy your your concept in a style befitting of that one kid from Prince of Space (in other words, “Very much!”), and the story plays out entertainingly enough (especially that nod to The Shining with Doc), but the devil’s in the details Steffen Schlachtenhaufen (gesundheit!), so maybe fill in some of those plot holes next time for a smoother ride.

And this isn’t ‘MST3K’, so don’t tell me I should “really just relax” either!

Finally, the cast. Brittany Snow is a serviceable leading lady, at least in a movie where the focus is spread throughout a dozen or so people sitting around a table for most of the runtime. Not sure if she could have carried a more centrally focused flick, but that’s nothing to do with Would You Rather. On the opposite end of the lady spectrum, Sasha Grey makes a GREAT high-riding bitch! Then again, if you’d seen her dominating other women in as much of her, uhm, “other roles” as I have, you wouldn’t be surprised. On the other side of the chromosomal line, Robin “Lord” Taylor is as good a loathsome shit shucker as Grey is a massive cunt. The duo would’ve made a great couple, simply because seeing someone as attractive as her on his arm would’ve just made the audience want to feed him to an industrial lawnmower all the more!

I was a little disappointed that John Heard wasn’t around longer, especially since his character would’ve been drunk for the extent of the proceedings. Oh well, despite his short screen time, it was still better here than what he gave us in Sharknado. Speaking of letdowns, Eddie Steeples. Man, I had hopes to see something special out of the guy. He’s a solid comedy guy, so I was hoping to see how far he could stretch his legs with a dramatic role. Then again, the role didn’t exactly give him much to run with, so go piss up a rope with all that “no small parts” crap, Stanislavski! Everybody else in the movie? Fine. With the exception of Rob Wells’ slight resemblance to Danny McBride (who’s in Alien: Covenant – what the fuck?!), I doubt I’d recognize any one them in another movie ever again. There is always the possibility one of them could be involved in some crazy shit like that Ryan Jenkins “stuffed his dead wife’s naked body into a suitcase he then left in a dumpster” stuff, but I’d imagine not.

As for Combs? The reason we’re all here today? I thought he was amazing. The star of the show. He brought his overacting gloves to the set and a big appetite for that aforementioned scenery! He makes what could have been a throwaway evil rich guy into a memorable bastard who treats the entire game as an amusing but perfectly normal get together. He has a weird respect for the game and seems personally invested in the others’ actions, studying them and eager for the next surprise. He takes joy in it, but keeps a moderate air of dignity for the most part, keeping a firm hold on the reins as he leads the confused, frightened, angry guests through the challenges. He full on loses his cool during one scene and Combs’ voice cracks, but it adds a smidge of realism to the moment, much the same way that Veronica Carwright’s legit delivery during Alien‘s chestburster reveal helps lend it credence. I’m not recommending that JC’s act is going to wow everyone, but for my tastes, I really enjoyed it.

Much as I’d like to see a continuation of the Lambricks’ lethal luncheons, after 5 years I’m pretty sure we’re not getting a sequel. Then again, it was 41 years between Two-Thousand Maniacs and 2001 Maniacs, so as improbable as it is, nothing is impossible! Except that live-action Attack of the Super Monsters movie I keep bugging Senor Spielbergo to direct. That’s pretty impossible. Your lawyers can only protect you from my script for so long, Steven!

If a Would You Rather follow-up isn’t on the table, you know what should be? A board game and/or card game! See what I did there? Because of the table and the games that are played on tables? Yep. Anyway, if nothing else, WYR is screaming for a Kickstarter project to make such a thing happen!… wait, those may be the screams from my basement where I… left the TV on? Never mind!

That’s the tale of “When Anubis Watched Would You Rather”. It’s a nice solid step to start our journey through the next 100 episodes, which is sure to bring us sights, sounds, and stupid shit the likes of, well, what you generally expect from movies around here. You should give it a watch if you like seeing people suffer, you’re a fan of Pitch PerfectHome Alone crossover fanfic, or you’re like me and worship at the alter of a JC whose hands you can really put your faith in. Combs be with you, brothers and sisters and everyone in-between.

Finally today, despite all of that Kylie Jenner commercial retardation, my stance as a proud Pepsi drinker was only reinforced recently, as it was revealed that President Nacho Cheez Dick Sneeze has a button in the oval office specifically for calling a butler to serve him his favorite beverage: Coca-Cola. Yep. Just imagine he and the rest of white trash Mount Rushmore (palin, nugent, and… uhm… “rock”) in a helicopter gunning down the hibernating Coca-Pola’ Bears this christmas. I think I just gave Hallmark their top-selling holiday offering in the southern and midwestern US markets for 2017!

Moral of the Story: You’ll never know if your dynamite’s a dud if you don’t light the fuse.

Screenshots_____


IFC Films – Buying back the indie cred our channel lost by putting out movies that no one in your family has ever heard of!


“I don’t care what the commercial said, just because pizza’s on a bagel does NOT mean you can eat pizza anytime!”


Maybe Jason Chaffetz was right. Maybe if Raleigh hadn’t spent all of his allowance on that PSP, he could’ve afforded to pay for an anti-Leukemia health plan! You know, cuz all it takes to prevent Cancer is $100 in GameStop trade-in credit…


“That’s just Norman. Don’t mind him, he’s just feeding peanuts to his imaginary baby elephant again. He doesn’t bite. The elephant I’m not so sure of.”


Brittany Snow is disappointed to discover that plans for the ‘Nurse Jackie’ prequel series she’d audition for have been scrapped.


Looks like he just asked her out for a drink sometime and she replied with “I don’t date… uhm… jazz people.”


Spoiler for Trainspotting 2 – Spud and Sick Boy one made a co-donation at the local sperm bank, and their grown up son comes looking for his two dads!


Disappointed that her blind date isn’t as interested in her as he is in their waitress, Iris begins playing footsie with herself.


“Come on, Fluffy! Do your trick! Show everyone your talent! He eats his steak with a knife and fork. It’s so cute. Usually he does it, but he might be too excited with everyone else here. Fluffy! DO THE TRICK!”


“So then Bill Bixby says, ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’ and starts hulking out like this as he turns into Lou Ferrigno! Grrrr!”


Someone implied the group should say Grace before dinner, not realizing that Shepard is a militant atheist. Shortly after this he started throwing mashed potatoes at them, screaming “Where’s your god now?!” and everyone agreed that Thanksgiving was ruined yet again.


Peter McCallister is briefly concerned that he left son Kevin home alone again, only to remember that Kevin was beaten to death by the Wet Bandits and disposed of in a river 10 years ago.


Ever since discovering Primer, Terrance has been trying to create his own time machine. Just tell him how good it looks and how smart he is, then walk away.


That’s what happens when you’re sitting across from Sasha Grey at a table and ask her if she was “any good” during her adult film days. Like two golf balls being sucked through a garden hose…


When your host tells you they run their home under “Singapore Rules”, DON’T leave your gum under the dinner table!


My grandma gives me the same look every time I try to explain how to access the on-screen guide via her cable remote. Hopefully no one tells her about DVR or I may just push her down her basement stairs.


People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes,something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.


You know you had a hellish night out when you shower the morning after, look down, start seeing red randomly circling the drain and have no idea where it’s coming from.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Dicks Don’t Get Wet”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

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

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Feature 96 – Death Race 2050 (2017)

or “Faster, Frankenstein! Kill! Kill!”

Featuring: Manu “Arrow” Bennett , Marci “Days of Our Lives” Miller , Malcolm “A Clockwork Orange” McDowell

Director: GJ “Virtually Heroes” Echternkamp

Writers: GJ “Frank and Cindy” Echternkamp & Matt “Virtually Heroes” Yamashita

Origin: USA

Remake of:Death Race 2000

Also Known As:Roger Corman’s Death Race 2050

This Episode Personally Approved By: GJ Echternkamp (Director/Writer)!
“Your review of Death Race 2050 was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read… thanks for making my night!”

Review_____

“It’s like having sex with 500 men at once – awesome.”

So,we’re only two weeks into the new year and already David Blaine has shot himself in the mouth and Martin “Shcrotin” Shkreli has gotten a face full of doggy dung. Don’t do it, 2017. Don’t tease me like this. After all the bullshit that 2016 pulled, you’re gonna have to give me a LOT more than this to wash off the stink of your predecessor’s legacy! Now, if you were to have Blaine and Criss Angel kill each other off in some form of magician blood feud a la The Prestige and have Shkreli choke to death on a log of piping hot canine crap straight from the pooch’s poop chute, you’d score a fair bucket of cred with both myself and many others. But you’re on super double secret probation until at least mid-April, so keep your nose clean.

Speaking of 2016, despite the murder spree we all witnessed over the length of the last calendar, you know who survived the celebrity serial killer year-that-was? Roger Corman! The spiritual successor of Ed Wood hasn’t directed a flick in over 25 years, but that sure as shit hasn’t stopped the master of the minuscule budget from keeping the bad movie spawning beds bubbling atop his “Producer” chair throne. Much as my opinion of the man’s work ebbs and flows with the shifting of the sands, I will not deny that Cor-Man is the friggin’ Jack LaLanne of schlock. My all time favorite of his features? Without hesitation – Death Race 2000.

If you don’t know that which DR2K is about, it better be because you’re younger than the carton of cottage cheese long thought lost in the dark recesses of my fridge. Why haven’t I thrown it out yet? By the time I found it, I was too afraid to open it, let alone lay my hands upon it. Know what’s in there? Me neither. Let’s keep it that way. Back on topic, DR2K is a 1975 flick that plays like a live-action “Speed Racer” cartoon if it came with an ‘R’ rating and revolved around turning pedestrians into street meat. It was Cannonball Run meets Rollerball. So it was Rollerball Run, I guess. Also, it was already remade in 2008 as just Death Race, as some kind of edgy gay prison sex action-drama art house film starring Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson also executive produced by Roger Corman. It had two sequels, with a third currently in production as of this review. Samuel L. Jackson that’s a lot of spin-offs for a movie that’s never had an actual sequel! Good on Mr. HardCorman for beating every last cent out of that dead horse. At least it’s his own and he’s not just Michael Bay-ing off of someone else’s work. Speaking of deceased equines, let’s saddle up this thoroughbred and see if it’s riding majestically into the sunset or shuffling off to the Elmer’s plant.

Oh yeah, so (not my) president Pissler and his turd reich are on their way into the White House soon, and though I had another movie in mind to mark the end of civilization as we know it, DR2050 dropped itself face first into my lap instead, and the timing was just too perfect not to unzip. As such, if you were shivering with antici………..pation for this as much as I was, well, urine luck!

For those who have already seen Death Race 2000, you can pretty much Choose Your Own Adventure the next few paragraphs and turn to “Page 32”. For those new to the game, continue on to “Page 7”.

Page 7

30 or so years in the future, the USA is a much different landscape. Well, it’ll probably be like looking in a mirror 4 or so years in the future from where we are now, but let’s all try to escape reality for a few minutes together and focus on the flick. Corporations have hijacked the land of milk and honey and turned it into Occupy Wall Street’s worst night terror, going so overboard as to rename the nation The United Corporations of America. This “re-branding” includes the replacement of the stars on the flag with dollar signs. Like the most constipated man in history would say, I shit you not. The states have been divided among the most elite of the 1% and also re-branded with new monikers to reflect their new owners, and in some cases strip mined of every available resource straight into hellholes that only extras from a Mad Max movie would be fit to survive in. Sitting atop this smoldering shit heap is the Chairman (Malcolm McDowell), whose goofy haircut, bold faced lies and constant disregard for the welfare of his citizens in favor of bilking every last cent out of their pockets make him an obvious parody of a certain baby-handed megalomaniac obsessed with swimming in gold, and I don’t mean the way Scrooge McDuck does.

With the advancement of medical technology, mankind has managed to eliminate life-threatening diseases like cancer, while also giving the people an Extended Play in the game of life, with most living into the triple digits like it’s no big deal. The resultant unexpected population explosion (remember, guys like the Chairman don’t listen to any science that doesn’t bump up their profit margin) left the nation with an immediate need to relocate their excess citizenry. But, since the UCA grabbed the other nations of the world by their pussies with nuclear rape hands, the remainder of the planet’s kinda unlivable. Hence, violent competitions were established where the participants murder the peasantry en masse for the entertainment of said peasantry smart enough to stay home and watch instead. On that note, cue the theme music as we present you with Death Race: a cross-country rally style automotive conflict whose drivers (and their navigators/co-pilots) do their damnedest to turn every person along the path into meat bag versions of the Incredible Crash Dummies. You know, the characters from that weird ’90s cartoon/toy line, not that weird ’90s band/reason I uncontrollably punch people who hum as hard as I can in the face… with a knife.

Not everybody in the UCA is down with an entertainment industry based on a “re-envisioning” of the Roman Colosseum days. Said like-minded individuals have become a like-minded institution of rebels working toward the common goal of “waking up the sheeple” (I hate young people) and uniting the common folk against their corporate oppressors. How? By stopping the Death Race! How? By killing the drivers! These inept understudies from an off-Broadway musical version of Beyond Thunderdome are lead by an ex government Head of Programming-turned-revolutionary hard-ass named Alexis, who’s played by the former starlet of TNT’s ”Witchblade” TV series – Yancy Butler! Oh, nobody remembers ”Witchblade”? Well, fist my ass.


NOT WITH THAT!

Page 32

And now, your Death Race racer roster!

Frankenstein (Manu Bennett) – Dressed up like a leather daddy wearing a lava golem mask that may or may not be made from re-purposed tire rubber, this four time winner of Death Races past is a manly man budget version of Tom Hardy and the franchise hero of the coast-to-coast abattoir. Bearing the title of Mary Shelley’s most memorable monster (Victor, not his patchwork zombie “son”), he’s survived his fair share of fender benders thanks to the advanced cyber-prosthesis that have left him a mechanical man. Query: though this explains the Frankenstein name, was his name always Frankenstein, even before he became a walking quilt of flesh and circuitry? Enquiring minds are mildly curious! His co-pilot Annie (Marci Miller) is our main man’s mandatory love interest, so try not to be surprised when their elementary school playground name calling and verbal sparring turns into a begrudging union of souls. Finally, am I the only one who looks at Frankie’s car and can’t stop seeing the TMNT Footski toy?

Jed Perfectus (Burt Grinstead) – The self-proclaimed apex of manliness and a nonstop testosterone factory, Perfectus is the test tube baby byproduct of a genetic engineering experiment tasked with making the ultimate male. He’s determined to defeat Frankenstein (to the point of obsession) and prove himself the new hero that the Death Race fans deserve. A blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan asshole, this personification of the Übermensch would have Hitler creaming his pants so hard you’d think he’d just poured bottles of Coffee-Mate down both pockets. All that aggressive man juice pumping through his brain makes Jed a bit of a psycho though, so when he strips down to his golden Rocky Horror skivvies and his mole-covered pecs get to flexing, prepare for some of the old ultra-violence. Though the gay jokes are frequent and expected, in spite of them, Jed’s fractured mental state is actually an interesting study in the dangers of toxic masculinity. Unlike the prior picture’s antagonist, Machine Gun Joe, Jed opts for a spear gun over a Tommy Gun. Given the whole “insecure man” angle, I’m sure that’s not just a Freudian slip on the peel of a Freudian banana. Wakka wakka!

Tammy (Anessa Ramsey) – Also known by the nom de carnage of “Tammy the Terrorist”, I’m pretty sure this mid-western religious nut heralded by the stink of brimstone and burnt rubber is named after the infamous Tammy Faye-Bakker. Then again, her lack of comically heavy makeup could indicate otherwise. Whatever the case, Tammy here bears no small resemblance to an out-of-work Jaime Pressly. She’s dressed to the nines in her eye-blisteringly “’MERICA!” outfit that approximates a grown-up version of something you’d see at one of those creepy Dallas prostitot beauty pageants that I’m pretty sure are just massive bait traps for pedophiles. Her white trash Barbarella fashion senselessness aside, Tammy’s defining trait is that she’s the leader of a religious extremist group (i.e. suicide bombers) who worship dead celebrities from the past, so expect numerous name drops along the lines of James Dean, David Bowie, Elvis Presley and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In case it wasn’t blatant enough for you (or you just weren’t paying attention), she represents the ridiculous forms that celebrity worship can take and the dangers that faith can lead to in the wrong hands.

Minerva Jefferson (Folake Olowofoyeku) – The obvious foil for Miss Tammy, Minerva is a hard-nosed hip hop harlot draped in bad girl bling who’s made a career out of calling for the killing of white people. Not “Whitey” or “The Man” in particular, mind you, but Caucasians as a whole. And no, not Caucasian ass-a-holes specifically, hyuk hyuk. Though I’m a member of the “rap is crap” mentality, as a self-hating honky I probably relate more to Minerva’s motivations than any of the other drivers’. Her car (the Whitey Whacker) has a pair of external speakers that are supposedly so loud they can make peoples’ heads explode, but I’m not sure that’s how sound waves work. Minerva’s latest hit single is in honor of her enrollment in the competition and it’s no surprise that it’s just her chanting “Drive! Drive! Kill! Kill!” to a generic backing track. It’s all a flagrant rip-off of a Homer Is B.I.G. track, anyway.

ABE (voiced by D.C. Douglas) – The fifth and final perforator of pedestrian entrails in this endeavor is even less human than Jed! That’s because this driver is actually the K.I.T.T. of the movie, minus Mr. Feeny’s voice or Mitch Buchannon’s ass in its face. The AI’s creator/co-pilot/girlfriend is Dr. Von
Creamer (Helen Loris)… wait… “girlfriend”? Yep. Though we’re given no background on the self-driving murder machine’s origins, going by Creamy’s frequent usage of its passenger pleasure functions, I’m gonna go with the safe bet that the doctor’s obsession with creating the ultimate vibrator got so out-of-hand that she couldn’t keep it a secret from whoever supplied her research grant, so she just said it was a Death Race car and ended up here. Interestingly enough, ABE (the meaning of whose acronym is also ignored) presents us with the ages old “What’s the meaning of life?” query as applied to an AI. Curiouser and curiouser.

And that’s as deep as I’m gonna delve into this gumball rally of gore. For returning audiences wondering where the flick’s endgame lies, it’s both familiar and new. Not soul crushingly new like New Coke, but more “better than we feared” new like the New Mutants. Also, no, that certain beloved pun-based explosive device (you know the one) does not make a return, despite it fitting this flicks goofy-as-fuck tone. A tad sad, but that’s just the way it is. At least we got this guy, so it’s not like we’re left empty handed!


Find someone who loves you the way this guy loves his giant fiberglass wiener.

So there you have it – Death Race 2050. I’m not gonna lie to you (or am I?), but upon my first viewing of it, I was the kid on Cthulhumas morning who was anticipating a severed head awaiting me under the burning tree of madness, only to find a basket of graphically soiled hobo underwear instead. I was hoping for a movie more akin to Death Race 2000 – a lower budget think piece disguised as a campy celebration of the normalization of violence. What I got was a slightly higher budgeted version of Death Racers with much the same eye violatingly miserable digital effects, written by people to whom the word “subtlety” seems to have a “that which shall not be named” air to it. An embodiment of every vulgarity Echternkamp and Yamashita recoiled at during their formative years, and have since become straight phobias. An offense equal to shitting into their respective grandmothers’ mouths.

Upon my second viewing though, I had one of those RARE changes of heart. Having suffered the shit tier special effects once and watching it with my expectational loins properly girded, I was able to ignore the visual garbage fire and really enjoy the extreme lengths to which Brand Echt and Holy ‘Shita didn’t just put their plans out there for us to see, but fired them into our faces via figurative bazooka. Their revulsion of subtlety works in their favor! It gives the whole movie a boost of Idiocracy style absurdity with a hot beef injection of Troma type energy, blatant sociopolitical subject matter, and tongues so firmly in-cheek that they’re seeing daylight. And in today’s climate? Being released mere days before Pissler’s inauguration? You couldn’t have picked a better time to release a movie like this if you had a DeLorean with a souped-up Mr. Coffee strapped to it. It’s one of those movies whose dialogue is endlessly quotable too, so if you hate flicks that focus on snappy-like-a-mousetrap exchanges and one-liners over more realistic speak, take your bland ass elsewhere.

Speaking of great lines, they’re nothing without proper delivery, which is where our cast comes in. And what a cast they are! All of the racers feel fleshed out, with their own defining moments and personal conflicts. The political participants and co-pilots (except Annie of course) have less dimensions than the characters in Megan Fox’s filmography, but the main cast tow the film fine on their own. The lines feel so natural coming out of their mouths that you almost feel like the characters themselves were tailored for the actors. It’s not high drama Oscar stuff. We’re not seeing the next generation of Streeps and DiCaprios here, but for what the roles required, I don’t think we could’ve gotten better than this batch of relative nobodies. That might sound like faint praise, but coming from someone who’d rather cuddle David Carradine’s bloated corpse in a closet for a night than watch The Departed again, consider it my official approval. Officially.

No matter how much I can indulge in everything else though, none of this helps wipe away the stain of DR2050‘s hideous coat of shit colored digital paint. It hangs heavy over the whole thing like a big brown cloud blotting out the sun. I hate the person who invented computer generated cars. And computer generated explosions. And computer generated gore. Fuck he/she/them with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire and soaked in ghost pepper sauce. I blame The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but then I tend to blame Tokyo Drift for most of the problems in my life. Every time I stub my toe or get a paper cut, you can usually hear me shouting “TOKYO DRIFT!” at the top of my lungs. ‘Struth.

In case It wasn’t obvious, I’m recommending this movie for those readers looking to have a laugh with a VERY liberal lean. Just go in expecting Syfy Original “quality” computer effects and you’re less likely to be as mortified as I was at first. If you’re looking for more serious car combat, watch Death Race instead (or again), or just let Fury Road blow your mind for the 20th time. Either way, I’ve had my say, so here’s to hoping it made your day. Later, taters!

Moral of the Story: God is a woman, and she is black as fuck.

Screenshots_____


“What’s new, pussycat? Whoooooa oh oooooooh!”


Prop Corn”? What, they couldn’t afford the real stuff? I’m not saying it had to be a case of that fancy Redenbacher bastard’s stuff, but nobody could just pony up for a few bags of generic store brand popcorn?!


In the future, people will be able to splice their genes with other species, Moreau style. Amanda here has just started her transition into a Lepus-American, and we at The Tomb wish her all the best!


Sadly, it’s not whether the black and Asian characters will be killed off, but which one will die first. Sorry, minorities.


“Oh no, darling. This isn’t an oral exam camera. Turn around and think warm thoughts!”


Our hero looks like the gimp from an intergalactic Ilsa movie.


Frankenstein and his car pose for their action figure box art.


From an alternate reality in which Michael Jackson lived well into his 80s and became not just the king of pop, but the king of the world.


NOT the type of face you want to wake up to! Or step out of the shower to! Or… come home to… or… you know what, no one should ever have to see that face… ever.


“How’s our repeal of The Constitution coming along? What do you mean ‘What are we going to replace it with’? No we don’t have anything to replace it with! That didn’t stop us from repealing Obamacare or Social Services, why should it stop us now?!”


“They actually think the audience is going to believe these painted dollar store swimming goggles are VR glasses! Ha ha ha ha ha!”


Presenting Mister & Missus Carl’s Jr. 2017!


“You see these sunglasses? They cost more than your car! Why? What’s so great about them? I DON’T FUCKING KNOW! IT DOESN’T MATTER! They cost more than any other pair of sunglasses, so that makes them (and by proxy ME) better!”


When your shadowcast’s Riff Raff calls in sick and Rocky has to pull double duty.


Gah! I’m being haunted by the ghost of Liberace!


I once ate a rancid can of alphabet soup on a dare, and the resultant game of gastric Scrabble I played in the toilet afterward spelled out something like that.

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Anubis will return next time in
“How Gurdy Got His Groove Back”

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 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”

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 86 – The Neon Demon (2016)

or “Monsters of the Runway”

Featuring: Elle “Maleficent” Fanning , Jena “Sucker Punch Malone , Keanu “The Matrix” Reeves

Director: Nicolas “Bronson” Winding Refn

Writers: Nicolas “Bronsons Winding Refn , Mary “‘Preacher’” Laws & Polly “Eleanor” Stenham

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You know what my mother used to call me? Dangerous.”

When I was a horny young pup just looking for a wet spot to stick my prick into, my criteria for what I desired in a sheet staining partner was a very simple three point plan – looks, looks, and looks. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, as it is for most impressionable post-pubescent types looking to make an “impression” of their own into/onto someone. Much like tickets to a Don Johnson concert, my virginity was something I had an impossible time giving away. The few young ladies I shared the halls of academia with in high school that I had any interest in were either already dedicated to other lads, or had turned down my romantic advances faster than a stepdad turns down the thermostat when somebody puts it over 60. After reaching the ripe old age of legality known as 18, I would eventually find myself a finely figured female who was more than happy to commence with my deflowering (or, in my case, my weeding), and she and I are well on our way to the 17th annual celebration of our first date come the next Krampusnacht Eve. Happy pre-anniversary, dear!

As I’ve aged (and unholy Hel have I!), my taste in women has evolved well past favorite shapes of flesh and into a Twilight Zone-ian preference for dimensions not just of sight and sound, but of mind. Not strictly book smarts neither, but ladies with more esoteric tastes that match mine own. Namely, bad horror movies, sketch comedy shows, and morbid humor peppered liberally with sarcasm and contempt for humanity. Attempts at such relations haven’t always worked out for the best, but whatever doesn’t kill us gives us fun stories to tell our court appointed lawyers, right!? What does this have to do with today’s “Ladies Night!” installment, The Neon Demon? Not a shit ton. Much the opposite, in fact. Today’s feature is actually about physical beauty, and the obsession some have with not only getting it, but retaining it in the face of the unconquerable hellbeast known as Age-zilla.

Given that my looks have been known to make gargoyles cry tears of gasoline (I swear that’s how that church fire started!), I’d know nothing about that. Instead of relating to our tale, I’m just gonna let my eyeballs go gonzo over all the wonky visuals and my ears get made sweet love to by the supersexy swingin’ sounds of its synthy score!

Today’s movie is sadly not the sequel to Neon Maniacs we’ve been waiting 30 years for. It is, however, brought to us by Nicholas Winding Refn (director of Drive), Amazon Studios, and the letter ‘Q’. Despite my recent review for the Amazon Pilot Season episode of “The Tick”, I swear on Horus’ right eye that I’m not being paid to promote their productions! Those dickards won’t even give me a free trial month of Prime at this point, let alone actual capital compensation to type up piss & moan articles. Sorry to say, folks, but the mildly amusing musings of a Death God ain’t worth two farts to the mighty Reaper of Brick & Mortar Stores. Fuck it. As Chris Pratt said, “It’s important to make your big mistakes in relative obscurity” anyway. If this site were popular enough to grab anyone’s attention, it would ruin all the fun of the chase for a lot of bail bondsmen (and bail bondswomen) out there!

The Neon Demon stars Dakota Fanning’s younger sister Elle, who continues her efforts in making a name for herself with a role that’s meatier than just playing a younger version of one of Big D’s parts. Since the movie’s plot is little more than your basic tale of glamorous industries seducing innocent youth just to use them, abuse them, suck them dry, and throw them away like used condoms once they can no longer pull off the “jailbait couture” look, said movie also requires your basic “small town, big dreams” victim to consume the soul of before metaphysically defecating into the empty space left behind. As such, Elle plays Jesse – the latest fresh face the City of Angels cannot wait to R. Kelly upon. Hell, within the first 10 minutes of the movie we discover she’s “not from around here”, lives alone in a sleazy motel room, and has no family of which to speak! To paraphrase Pinhead, “Norma Jeans are such easy prey.”

Speaking of, a makeup artist radiating a strong sexual predator vibe and calling herself Ruby (Jena Malone) comments on our subject’s beautifully smooth skin and immediately attaches herself to Jesse after working together on one of those “gore + glamour = art” photo shoots that the kids these days apparently think are so “edgy”. You know, like that “Girls and Corpses” magazine that people keep gifting me subscriptions to for some reason despite my frequent comments of “If it’s not Linnea Quigley stripping in a graveyard or a severed head going down on Barbara Crampton, don’t waste my time”.

Not five minutes into their new friendship, Ruby invites (i.e. insistently drags) Jesse to a party to introduce the young lady to her new peers in the industry, specifically her pals Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote). Gigs is the faux friendly type whose smile is as artificial as the lips and teeth that make it up, while Sarah is colder and blunter than the sledgehammer I keep in my meat locker. As with any newbie to a social group, our protagonista is circled by the other members of the pack and has her mettle tested in judgment. In this case it’s the usual ladies’ room emotional hazing of woman-on-woman mockery about how the fresh-faced bumpkin isn’t fit to be one of them. Gigi and Sarah might as well both be named Heather, but that’d be too on-Gigi’s-surgically-manipulated-nose.

Despite the pair’s “never evolved past high school” treatment of Jesse, Ruby sticks by the girl and takes her under her big sister wing to help guide her through the labyrinth of the modeling world and not get trampled to death by the metaphorical Minotaur. I’d be more inclined to believe the legitimacy of the cosmetologist’s intentions for the Georgia Peach if only she’d stop throwing Jesse the Big Bad Wolf leer every 10 minutes! Instead I’m anchored with the unshakable presumption that the would-be mentor’s so obviously going to be the one holding the knife that goes into our gal’s back come Jesse’s inevitable nosedive from grace.

Speaking of, much like a modern fairy tale, our Cinderellian peasant destined for princessery is picked up by an esteemed modeling agent (Christina Hendricks) and immediately paired with a highly regarded camera jockey named Jack (Desmond Harrington) who looks more like the type of guy who shoots amateur gangbang porn in the backyard of his stepdad's mansion than he does a sought after fashion photog. You know what really takes the audience out of the fantasy, though? No self-respecting (or self ego-inflating) “artist” in any industry would call himself “Jack”.

As if the modeling industry’s ominous presence as our heroine’s personal chainsaw of Damocles weren’t enough of a threat, Jesse’s also endangered by the sadism of Hank (Keanu Reeves), the manager of the motor lodge in which she’s living. Henry probably got his Hotel Management diploma from the ICS home education courses that Sally Struthers used to shill for…while he was doing a stretch in prison for sexually assaulting a troop of girl scouts. Seriously, the guy would whip out his 3” killer to a single mom at a bus stop and insist she swallow his tadpoles while her preschooler and a nearby nun looked on. He reveals himself as the kind of human garbage that makes even my cast iron stomach churn harder than an industrial washing machine on the “Wipe Clean the Stains of a Life Lived in Filth” setting. His assistant/apprentice Mikey seems generally harmless, but he looks like Iggy Pop Junior (somebody’s gene pool needs a lifeguard!) and works for Hank, so that’s probably enough to land him at least somewhere near the latter rungs of Dante’s ladder.

As much as the deck is clearly stacked against her, Jesse’s not alone in her story. How’d she get to the spiritual wasteland in the first place, anyway? Enter Dean (Karl Glusman)…well, I guess you can enter him if he’s okay with it. I’ll take a pass, myself. Back on topic, Dean is an aspiring photographer who came across Jesse on the internet and convinced her to come to the left coast so they could make art together. I met my Evil Dead Bride in a fucking AOL horror chat room and even I think this pairing sounds sketchier than MC Esher’s high school notebooks! Despite his efforts to woo her while still being respectful and protective of her, Jesse is very reluctant to refer to him as any kind of boyfriend figure in conversation with others. He’s a surprisingly decent dude who never tanks his decency by pulling the bullshit “you owe me sex!” card on Jesse, which you totally expect to happen given how he too leers at Miss Jesse like fucking Jack the Ripper in the movie’s opening scene!

No friggin’ diggity, Jesse gets eye fucked from people so often in this flick, you’d think she farts Spanish Fly. It’s unnerving.

Predictably enough, as Jesse’s successes compile, so does her ego. She mutates from innocent southern teen into Family Guy rendition of Julia Roberts (“ME! ME! MEEEEE!”), talking about herself as if she were the second coming of Cindy Crawford. Such a path couldn’t lead to our heroine’s downfall harder if it were a literal street named “Downfall Avenue”. I’m presuming this transformation is what the title’s referencing, given that (spoiler alert) there isn’t a single giant neon devil sign brought to life to kaiju the downtown Los Angeles area. Will Jesse find love and safety in the arms of her unavoidable love interest Dean, or will the D-Man discover he’s better off with an inflatable girlfriend? Don’t knock it. The only rubber you need to use with her comes in her repair kit! Will Jesse instead be a “grrrl”, pull her life out of her tailspin on her own and conquer her enemies to become the new White Queen of the fashion industry? Will our neon demon predictably wind up eaten alive by the green-eyed monsters that she so naively trusts with her well being? Will this modern fable end triumphantly for Jesse like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or tragically like Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid? That’s for me to know and for you to find out…I mean, if you feel like it. You don’t even have to watch the movie if you don’t want to to find out. The internet will just tell you how it ends, if you prefer to do it that way. Doesn’t effect my day either way. Que sera sera.

And so our story goes. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, beauty and the beast. It’s nothing to write home about, really, unless your family gets excited over loose threads. Plot threads, that is. Story elements that drop off the map, never to be seen again and character threads that drop right off with them. If it’s so bad, though, then why the quartet of disembodied blood pumpers at the top of the review? Because NeoDemo is a classic case of style over substance being a good thing. Oddly appropriate given the theme of the movie, dontcha think? You can almost believe it was poorly written intentionally

The performances are all fine, almost in spite of the roles being generic. It doesn’t help your story’s endgame seem less obvious by having your actors play their characters so blatantly. I do give Elle Fanning credit for not taking Jesse overboard in personality even though her lines still take the character there. It’s a well done balancing act and I hope the young lady earns herself a reputable career. Glusman’s Dean is a good dude done well, with the exception of his almost Captain Howdy levels of “creepy, shadow monster face” in the opening. Everyone else is just as shallow and one-dimensional as their roles are intended to be (at least that’s my guess), so that’s fine. Now, story and cast outta the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this Neon Demon.

Hold onto your bippies, kids, because I’m about to slap you in the faces with a big cold salmon of shock . Surprise you it may well, but this is my first date with Mr. Winding Refn. I’ve never seen Drive. I’ve heard great things, but universally renowned projects are a breed of poultry that rarely cross my proverbial path. You know what else I’ve yet to see? The Force Awakens. Yep. Let that one soak into your corpuscles for a few. Back to Nicky WR, his presentation style fills me with the similar fondness I have for Dario Argento and Stanley Kubrick’s stuff. His heavy accentuation on the use of colors and shadows and mirrors and trippy imagery combined with jarring/haunting music are tres Argubrick. He also throws lots of different patterns straight into our eyeballs, from wallpapers to curtains to bed sheets to carpets to clothing, and they all bleed into this visual clusterfuck that borders on overwhelming without going full-on brain barf. The aforementioned music is very dream-like, and makes the whole movie feel very surreal. It’s a psyche smothering safari for the senses.

Of the biggest complaints I came across while poking around the worldwide wasteland for details were people who called out Winding Refn, some for perpetuating mainstream misogyny (all women are jealous, petty cunts to each other and will do anything to get ahead) and others for ripping off Argento’s style. Regarding the former, I can’t really weigh in, given that my gonads reside on the outside. As for the Argento complaint, it depends on whether you want to call it a rip-off or an homage. Potato, potato. However you wanna pronounce it, I’m all for it. Kubrick’s long croaked and nobody’s really doing the Argento thing anymore. Christ at a Cracker Barrel, at this point even its namesake hasn’t properly Argentoed for a good twenty years! I’d rather watch someone doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well instead of trying to force the old Italian to go back to his roots. So, for those who disagree with my positive take on the matter, I’ll let Academy Award winner Tommy Lee (the actor, not the drummer with the horse dong) answer for me.

Given the mostly cold shoulder reception The Neon Demon was given (50%ish scores on aggregated criticism sites), I’m sure there are plenty of people who would accuse me of “falling for the sales pitch”, but you could fill a thimble with all the shits I give and still have plenty of room left to fit your fingertip so you can deposit it straight into your orifice of choice. If “artsy fartsy” stuff bothers you, bypass this flick because that’s its big selling point. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re down for something different and you’re not up for taking Suspiria off your shelf for the 164th time. Keep in mind that, despite ND‘s categorization as a “horror” movie, it’s really more psychological wrapped up in an air of dread. The one traditional horror movie element kicks in in the flick’s final stretch… then it goes on for another 15 minutes. These last minutes have very little dialogue. Like almost zero. Makes you wonder if the actors were getting paid by the line and the budget ran out. What is there is still technically part of the movie, but exists less out of necessity to the story than it does to drop some more visual weirdery and fuck with the audience one last time. It reminds me a lot of what Rob Zombie did with the last act of Lords of Salem, come to think about it. Leaves us with more questions than answers, really.

Still, it looks fucking cool.

Coming up will be the next and last installment of our “Ladies Night!” cineménage à trois, so any misogynists like the one who messaged me last week telling me this kind of “pandering pussy shit” isn’t what they want to see? You can rest easy, cuz it’s almost over. Or, you can just get the fuck out. You don’t like woman-centric movies? Guess what…

Now I gotta head over to the local halal eatery and get a pile of Samosas for lunch. Those taste bud tantalizing s.o.b.s get my salivary glands more excited than Gorunk the Baby Eating Gibbon gets around babies! Yum!

Moral of the Story: If you’re ever in a food court and some guy named Chad tells you that you’re beautiful enough to be a model, kick his dick off. And stay the fuck away from LA!

Screenshots_____


Dean looks like he’s plotting to take revenge on someone by cooking their family into a pot of chili and feeding it to them… possibly after he’s had sex with it.


Eli Roth’s homage to the 20th anniversary of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” music video is, well, pretty much what you expected it to be.


“Don’t worry, I was an intern on Evil Dead II. I know how to get karo syrup and red dye out of ANYTHING.”


If Dario Argento directed Mean Girls.


“I don’t care how many penises you have, Mr. Sinclair, this isn’t a casting call for Marilyn Manson’s adults only traveling freakshow! That’s down the hall in Suite 31.”


Was this room decorated by a blind person or somebody on acid? Either way, if I have to look at it much longer I’m gonna lose my Fritos!


“Look, I know SLC Punk 2 was garbage and if you wanna throw yourself off a cliff over it, I totally understand. But I gotta get to my shift at Big Kahuna Burger in 20 minutes, so either shit or get off the pot!”


Could this mean Nicolas Winding Refn’s next project will be that rumored Smokey and the Bandit remake we’ve been hearing about for years?! I’d bet my White Lightning / Gator double-feature LaserDisc on it!


Keanu Reeves finally takes measures to have Alex Winter forcefully removed from his guest house. After 25 years of his “I’m almost done with the script for Bill & Ted 3!” excuses, Keanu has had enough.


Hey, they’ve finally started casting for the She-Ra live-action movie! I really hope they opt to cast a real Pegacorn for Swift Wind instead of cheaping out and ruining her with some stupid cgi crap.


At the Sears catalog model tryouts, dozens of moderately attractive women compete for the chance to be thousands of young American boys’ first effort hording wank material. At least until they can convince their older cousin to buy them an issue of “Hustler”. Well, that’s how it was before the internet, anyway. Kids today have it way too easy…


Only true industry insiders know about the sacred Triforce of Fashion! It’s made up of the Triforce of Beauty, the Triforce of Design, and the Triforce of Film, each of which is held by one of three legendary heroes. The sacred texts say that, one day, the three will be brought together to create the GREATEST fall collection in all of fashion!


“Screw the picture. I’m gonna make her look like Large Marge just to see the family’s reaction when they open up the casket!”


“This is why I tell you not to eat candy in bed. You’ve got a whole Sugar Daddy tangled up back here! Uggh!”


“Is THIS your card?… Ah, shit! Let me try that again.”


I know how she feels. I feel the same way when I have a third Most American Thickburger too. Brutal.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”

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 82 – Batman: the Killing Joke (2016)

or “The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

Featuring the voices of: Kevin “’Batman: The Animated Series‘” Conroy , Mark “the Star Wars movies” Hamill , Tara “’The New Batman Adventures‘” Strong

Director: Justin “Planet Hulk” Liu

Writer: Brian “Batman: Gotham Knight” Azzarello

Origin: USA

Review_____

“It doesn’t have to be good to be a classic!”

Uggh, the summer heat continues to drain my waning lifeforce straight out of my sweat holes on a daily basis. Call me Carbon monoxide, cuz I’m exhausted. Much like Simon Le Bon in “Hungry Like the Wolf”, I smell like I sound… if I sound like the embodiment of misery trapped in Sam Raimi’s Skinner flesh suit, saturated with the contents of the New York Giants’ training camp sweat bucket. Fucking festering bloody HELL! Those Faux News knob ends love to make their tired old “Where’s all this global warming liberal nonsense now?!” jokes every winter when the quicksilver dips into single digits (because they’re thumb sitting finger sniffers who don’t know how climate change works), but where are the same snide comments when every street reporter and their sweet Aunt Petunia is cooking Hot Pockets and fried eggs on the sidewalks? Exactly. Twats.

Speaking of twats, as good as a comic writer as Alan Moore is, he's got an unfortunate obsession with putting rape scenes into a lot of his work. I know it makes his stuff more “adult” and “gritty”, but there is an unnerving preoccupation with sexual assault going on in that man's head, and possibly even scarier things going on in that man's beard. These moments are always done in nauseating ways that make sure to remind the reader that rape is not an arousing act, but a hideous crime committed by monsters in human costumes, so I'm not accusing him of including them for his own titillation nor to attract sales from miserable worms who do get off on that shit. For you SAT lovers out there, sexual assaults are to Alan Moore’s work as The Classic is to Sam Raimi’s movies! Despite my prior diatribe (“priotribe”?) though, today’s review is for the recently animated adaptation of one of the man’s most prolific DC Comics projects of the ’80s, and one of the least rape prevalent works on the man’s resume. Whether it’s because even a “mature readers only” Batman story was only allowed to go so far under the watchful eye of Big Brother DC or Moore just wanted to leave it up to the readers’ brains to fill in the blanks with their own Mad Libs-ian answers, there was no graphic intercourse (forced or otherwise) to be had in this tale, considered by many to be the definitive story of the Batman’s oldest and darkest nemesis – the Joker.

Warning: If you’ve never read the 29 year-old comic book this movie is based on and are allergic to so-called cinematic spoilers, continue not but at your own risk! I have much to muse on this venture and not the emotional balance to tip-toe around all the broken glass. If you choose not to heed Crazy Ralph’s warning, your severed head will have no one but yourself to blame!

Originally conceived as an alternate universe one off (a gimmick DC would later dub “Elseworlds” stories), “The Killing Joke” laid out the Joker’s till-then-untold origin, making Batman and his cackling nemesis much more alike that anyone would have thought before. Although it drew these parallels between the pair it also made clear that three people, who each suffered the worse single days of their individual lives, all took very different paths amid their own personal mental fallout. As much as we’re all the same, we’re all still very very different… and yes, I ate the cookie after reading that.

The Clown Prince of Crime had escaped from Arkham Asylum yet again to cause his signature brand of maniacal mayhem. Rather than attack Batman directly this time, Grinnin’ Jo’ targeted the number one accomplice to the vigilante’s acts: GCPD Commissioner James Gordon. Jimmie’s night of terror began with his daughter Barbara being shot in the abdomen, leaving the lovely ginger paralyzed from the waist down and clawing at her unwanted second navel as she bled out on the carpet of her dad’s apartment. After getting throttled by the Laughing Man’s hired goons (Homer Simpson: “Hired goons?!”), Gordon would wake up later in the remnants of a rundown amusement park, the likes of which you’d expect to be owned by Dick Van Dyke and “haunted” by a guy pretending to be the ghost of a sideshow strongman in an episode of “The New Scooby Doo Movies”. Upon regaining said consciousness, the Commish (not to be confused with Michael Chiklis and his radioactive orange rubble dick) was stripped naked and harnessed by creepy bug-eyed midgets in S&M dungeon cupid get-ups, then dragged through a Tunnel of Love Torment where Mr. J tried to drive him to utter madness (not to be confused with the script-in-progress for my mad cow disease scare movie Udder Madness) with a bombardment of images showing the crippled and bloody Barbara in a disturbing state of undress.

Whether Jokes actually violated Babs with his unfunny bone in the process has been a state of contention between readers in the nigh-thirty calendars passed since its publication. Moore himself declared that Barbara was NOT raped in the story, but in a world where so-called Christian politicians are frequently disregarding their own fucking POPE every time the old man tells them to stop stealing from the poor and shoving golden butt plugs up their asses, fanboys and fangirls continue to debate exactly how many fluids stained that carpet off-panel and from whom they came.

That wasn’t intended as a rape joke, but it feels like it came out a lot skeezier than my usual sense of perverse humor normally would, given the context. If it made your guts feels greasier than a bag of McDonald’s double cheeseburgers (I’m convinced they straight up dip those nasty sammies into a bucket of old grease next to the grill before they wrap ’em up), my apologies.

Remember the part where I said “Killing Joke” was intended as an alt uni story? Well, it was so popular and well received that DC opted to make it canonical and crippled Batgirl in the base continuity. Babs would inspirationally overcome the limitations of her handicap and continue on as the superhero information broker Oracle, hacking the bad guys’ Ashley Madison accounts from the comfort of her wheelchair and forever battling the scourge of bedsores on her backside. Don’t laugh. Bedsores killed Superman, after all! Anyway, DC later rebooted their entire existence and recreated it as “The New 52”, a world where Miss Gordon would still be shot in the spine by the murderous jester of ill-repute, but would fully recover from the physical trauma and retake her place as the be-breasted member of the Batman’s brood, ultimately becoming a hipster heroine residing with the trust fund trash in Gotham’s version of Williamsburg. Blart.

If any of the trigger material I’ve run down up to this point has bothered you at all (especially for those with a fear of thick rimmed glasses and pork pie hats from that last bit), then I suggest you end your experience here and return the unused portion for a full refund… of your zero dollar investment. Fair warning – as much as everyone was anticipating this cartoon conversion of the beautifully rendered battle between two disturbed paragons of good and evil (if you haven’t seen Brian Bolland’s original art, get thee to a funnybook dispensary and partake, post haste!), it’s so much sleazier than the material that inspired it.

Killing Joke was released by Warner Bros (owners of DC Comics) one convenient week before their summer blockbuster-to-be, Suicide Squad. Despite being a team movie, the only real focus of the live-action SS has been on team member Harley Quinn and the controversial remodeling of their white trash version of The Joker, which does a disservice to the rest of the potentially entertaining cast. No diggity, a better suited title would’ve been Joker & Harley: Send in the Clowns! (featuring Batfleck and Big Willy Style). Hoping for something more than a marketing tie-in, fans moistened their Underoos when it was revealed that the characters’ voice actors from the now classic “Batman: the Animated Series” would be reprising the roles they helped make larger than life for kids of the ’90s. Kevin Conroy as Batman! Luke Skywalker as Joker! What’s-her-name as Batgirl! Woohoo! But, was it actually worth the anticipatory pants shittings that came about from the announcement?

To kick things off, if you were wondering how a 64 page one-shot graphic novel was going to be stretched into a 90 minute feature, that answer comes in the form of an original Batgirl tale, written by renowned comic scribe Brian Azzarello. Regarding the Bat, the Bazz has some experience already, including the acclaimed “Joker” one-shot with the dynamic Lee Bermejo on art, and the much less lauded “Broken City” storyline in the main “Batman” series with illustrator Eduardo Risso. In all fairness, “Broken City” was coming off of the heels of the massively successful all-star pairing of Jim Lee & Jeph Loeb’s “Hush” event, so despite not revolutionizing the character, it wasn’t a bad story so much as it was overshadowed… and I’ve probably lost most of you after that last paragraph, meant for comic geeks over Hollywood hangers-on. MOVING ON!

Presumably taking place in the period between the murder of Robin 2 and the arrival of Robin 3, Batgirl (Tara Strong) is pulling sidekick shifts for Batman (Kevin Conroy), helping keep the peace in Gotham City. And doing it in high heels no less! As with any female in a position of prominence, Barbara’s garnered the unwanted attentions of a fan-gone-too-far in the form of a criminal who calls himself Paris Franz (Maury Sterling)… really, Bazz? That’s what you call him? Sweet Christmas, man, if you didn’t want the job you could’ve just turned it down! Uggh.

This small time sleazeball has a hard-on for the ginger vigilante and though his efforts to get cozy with her go unrequited, they’re still enough to throw the high-heeled hero off her game and allow him to continuously get away. This doesn’t sit well with her spandex clad father figure, who reprimands her several times about staying away from Paris the Tongue Bandit. Pretty hypocritical of the old man, given his long term on(her)-again, (get)off-again humpin’ buddies relationship with Catwoman, not to mention (though I’m mentioning it) his belfry bang sessions with Talia fucking al Ghul, which resulted in the birth of THEIR SON! For Fastback’s sake, Bats, you ran out of orphans to be your leotarded right hands, so why not knock up the daughter of one of your most dangerous enemies for Robin #5! Left your Bat condoms back at the cave and figured Talia couldn’t get pregnant if she just jumped up and down after?! Sounds like Alfred was a pretty piss poor home educator when it came time to have “the talk”.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Batgirl. She rebels like a teenager, throwing hissy fits in her private life and rebuking Die Fledermaus’ orders, shouting about how she can handle the job and how her hormones won’t get in the way… then she completely contradicts herself and throws herself all over Bruce’s batpole. And so signals the moment when Brian Azzarello shat away his legitimacy with a large section of the fanbase.

Sorry kids, but it’s true. Batgirl is reduced to being a hormonal chick with authority issues who just can’t keep her tongue to herself. And Batman? He’s equally incapable of controlling his animal urges (despite how his whole deal is being in control of everything) for the sake of trying to give geeks something to wank about. Bats swaps spit with his young protege, gropes her ass, and gives his will over to Lil’ Brucie as his nubile daughter figure straddles him and undresses herself faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth as a creepy concrete gargoyle creep-eyes the joining of junk from above.

For the kids out there – a phone booth was basically a Tardis without all the space-time manipulation stuff. They just had, well, a phone inside. Shut up. I’m not old, you’re just stupid! BAH!

I thought the numerous shots of Batgirl’s/Barbara’s backside were the gratuitous work of a 14yo boy before this, and had concerns when one scene featured a redheaded hooker alluding to Paris’ penchant for mask play, but for the filthy love of Bob fucking Kane (or Bill fucking Finger, depending on whose side you’re on), Bazz! No, you know what, forget my prior pet name. After reducing this to a PG-13 fanboy fantasy, your new moniker is now “Brazz”, as in short for “Brazzers”.

And for the dickards out there wanking themselves to this with one hand (Seriously? Google “Batgirl hentai” or just search “Batgirl” on PornHub, YouPorn, PayNadaPornanza, or whatever your free fuck movie service of choice) and using the other to type out disparaging YouTube comments for those of us against the needless character assassination going on here or anywhere else by calling us “social justice warriors” because we're not misogynists like you, feel free to choke on your own mincing members, you putrid, seething, self-loathing, subhumanoid cum squats.

What nut fart coined phrases like “social justice warrior” and “white knight” to begin with, anyway? Clearly some CHUD who thought that the reason women weren’t throwing themselves face first at his dick had nothing to do with his being a sack of rancid garbage and everything to do with weak little pussy boys who pretend they’re better than him by treating women like they’re not just prettied up breeding stock put on this planet to make casseroles and babies. Just the type of scrotal flea who thinks words like “social justice” and “white knight” are bad things, because they go against the “alpha male” rapist personality that they were told they had to be their entire lives if they wanted to be a success, but upon whom the total irony of using those terms as insults is lost when they’re looking up to heroes like Batman as their fucking idol. Grow up, you simpering shit sniffers. Learn some gods damned empathy and figure out how people want to be treated instead of just treating them like crap for starters! Chances are you can’t afford to import a slave wife of your own, so straighten the hell up or you’re only going to have yourself to blame when you die alone having never known real love.

And not that mandatory love given by someone who was legally responsible for your well being. That doesn’t count!

And the fuckery doesn't end there, either. Oh no no no. After giving Batgirl the best sex of her life (as we're forced to overhear during one of Babs' workplace girltalk sessions with her gay co-worker, who might wanna call the fire department, cuz he's a straight up flaming stereotype), post-hookup Batman turns into Craftsman (i.e. a complete tool) and altogether AVOIDS Batgirl. For WEEKS. So, the same guy who’s trained his mind and his body for decades to the point of being one of the most dangerous men on Earth becomes a whimpering little bitch-boy just like that?! Holy chastity cages! Matching wits with Riddler? Going toe-to-claw with Killer Croc? Holding the mangled corpse of his murdered ward in his arms? Nothing, compared to the nerve crushing intimidation of having to talk to Batgirl after a one-nighter. Did she slip a digit in his dumper without asking and he’s ashamed that he liked it? Did he blurp out a Brodie Bruce while she was going down on him? Did he call her “Robin” when he came? You’re Batman, for fuck’s sake! BATMAN! DAMN IT, BRAZZ! WAS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE EDGY?! YOU ACTUALLY GOT PAID FOR THIS!? BUCKETS OF BLOOD! ARGH!

That's it. Forgive me if this sounds like fanboy rage, but if I linger on this amateur fanfic shit storm story any longer, I'm gonna have a fucking stroke and risk losing my spot in the tontine I signed into with the boys and girls from up North for the keys to the Kraken. From this point on, the movie basically follows the “Killing Joke” story to the letter anyway, minus a bonus scene here and there for further running time enhancement. Unfortunately, this includes one of Bats hitting up some hookers for info on Jokeman that just tries to lead more credence to the “Joker raped crippled Barbara” theory THAT ALAN MOORE ALREADY SQUASHED. Yep, more of that edgy “pander to the maturity retarded” bullshit to try and justify the R rating. Guy Gardner help me…

Okay, so the story’s a lead balloon filled with farts in a church… so much for mixing metaphors. The entire first half, which was created to not just pad time (mmmm, pad thai) but show non-fans why Batgirl’s part in the story is important (which it never really was, and now just smells like so much exploitational stink!), is just needless and irritating and tonally wrong wrong WRONG!

That said, let's pretend we're a Grindr user with blue balls and see how the rest measures up! The animation is solid. It's standard DC stuff a la previous Batman Merrie Melodies, such as Under the Red Hood and Son of Batman. That’s not a bad thing if you’re looking for a more realistic art style. It fits the other DC movies just fine, but not so much in this instance. Brian Bolland’s art (I repeat, funnybook dispensary, post haste, get thee!) in the book is a high standard to live up to. Its heavier shadowing and richer colors are poorly represented by the paint-by-numbers job we end up watching. And in a story that hinges on Joker’s personal flashbacks and special demented brand of insanity, there’s so much room for creative license that just gets ignored! To paraphrase the late Heath Ledger’s jolly sociopath, “Why so lazy?” Maybe WB could’ve taken a cue from Beavis and Butthead Do America‘s Rob Zombie hallucination sequence and brought in industry folks like Sam Keith (remember the MTV adaptation of his psychedelic “Maxx” comic book?) or Simon Bisley to add their own stylized touch, punching the visuals up a bit. Hel, go outside of the proverbial comic box and hire a freak like Ralph Steadman to really kick the shit out of those bastard visuals! You just know those visuals did something to deserve it, so if the cops come around asking if you witnessed anything, you didn’t see NOTHIN’. Got it? Good.

By the way, if you hate rambling reviews where the writer just pisses on and on about how they would've done the thing they're reviewing differently, my apologies. I try not to be that person, but comic books are one of the few things I’ve had a boner for longer than movies. Sometimes my metaphorical urine stream just doesn’t stop and we get an “Ogre takes the world’s longest leak in Revenge of the Nerds 2” position like the one I’m currently locked into. I once again throw myself to your tender mercies in repentance, but I don’t feel right when bitching isn’t backed up with reasons and alternatives aren’t offered by the offended. It’s too “Conservative politician” for me.

As mentioned, the announcement of Kevin Conroy AND Mark Hamill returning to lend their voices to the pop culture icons that they helped redefine during the dark days that were the Schumacher movies left the internet losing control of its collective bladder. I mean, sure, the duo had just finished voicing the very same pairing last year in the Batman: Arkham Knight video game (as they had also done for the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City installments before), but what self-respecting geek plays video games these days, right?! Ignoring the massive sarchasm with which I just split the Earth apart wider than Michelle Duggar’s birthing void, the reason this was a big deal was due to Hamill’s vow that he would never again do his signature Joker voice (because of the wear and tear is does to his vocal chords), unless there was to be an adaptation of “The Killing Joke”. So, banking on Hamill’s renewed popularity following his part in the highest grossing movie of all time (which I still haven’t watched), DC and WB fast tracked the production with a Wally West quickness, cracked out on the possibility of a “Big money, no Whammies!” payout. Too bad they also managed to bury the lead when it was announced before the movie’s release that this wouldn’t be Marky Mark Skywalker’s final portrayal of the clown-faced killer, as he and Conroy are both coming back AGAIN to voice their respective alter egos for the not-out-as-of-this-writing cartoon series “Justice League Action”…

Were this not disappointing enough, not only is the Hamill “get” not nearly as special as we were first told, but the damage the Joker role has done to the old man is pretty damn prevalent listening to the hoarse delivery, with several instances of bordering-on-cracking. You can just picture his voice box exploding like an IED the next time a convention hall full of fanfolk goads him into doing it “just one more time!”. Even if Cock-Knocker's gullet wasn’t resembling that of a deep throat porn star’s post-retirement, Killing Joke‘s dialogue is just too moody and philosophical for his brand of Mr. J mania. Alan Moore’s words are some of Joker’s most prolific, but they’re square pegs in Hamill’s round mouth hole. HOWEVER, I gotta give props where they’re owed – Hamill’s rendition of the movie’s big song and dance number is perfectly suited for him and he pulled it off brilliantly. Kudos!

Speaking of said scene, here’s something else I can’t let slip through my grip without a gripe – Joker’s gaggle of sideshow goons. Yes, with every day of age I get a little more cantankerous and bitching about small things is cheaper than therapy. Now, despite what the posters of Old Man Withers’ haunted amusement park would suggest, I’m presuming that Joker’s gang was not included with the deed and are an actual team of thugs he had on retainer for whenever he made his latest escape from Arkham. They’re all trained in various disciplines of combat (including the two-headed lady’s knife-throwing ability, which is sometimes accurate enough to take Batman’s smoke bombs out in mid-air, but other times inaccurate enough to stab her own associates in the back) to further pad the action a tad, but they’re also fairly well trained as a troupe of back-up dancers for Joker’s big musical scene… The fuck?

As much as some of my opposition to the movie during my first viewing cooled off by the second viewing, it’s still far from great. What should’ve been a milestone in DC appealing to their mature audiences with an adaptation of one of the Dark Knight’s most infamous tales instead turned out to be a clunky, uneven, off-putting clusterfuck that tries too hard to humanize its heroes and only tarnishes them when all is said and done. In the end, The Killing Joke lands in the camp of crappy attempts at making Alan Moore comics into movies, right alongside The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. Much like post-bang “bitchy broad” Barbara, who hurls a civilian onto the back of his head for no reason beyond telling his girlfriend he needs space (IT HAPPENS!), I’m tossing The Killing Joke into some bushes and walking away like nothing happened.

As Warner Bros spokesbacon Porky Pig always says, “F-f-f-f-f-f-fuck off, folks!”

Moral of the Story: As per his own words, The Joker is a connoisseur of piss… Now all I can think of is Batman’s deadliest villain, dressed like a purple hipster, partaking in a frothy yellow wine tasting. Damn it.

Screenshots_____


“Wanna see me do a trick? But first, did you ever see Night of the Demons III? I don’t want to spoil the surprise!”


So the villain of this story is Guy Smiley?


Ever since the mall perfume stands switched to a commission only pay structure, employees have gotten WAY too aggressive.


“Can you hurry up and catch the damn Vulpix already?! We’ve got crime to fight!”


Wow, even underwater that guy’s hair retains its full body! He must use Mary Matthews’ All Natural Protein Hair Gel™.


I wonder if Peter knows that Mary Jane’s been posing for sexy mobster paintings… really shitty paintings at that. Why’s her torso so short?!


“Sorry Manuel. As much as I’d like to strike out under my own persona, I just don’t think ‘Pigeon Princess’ strikes fear into the heart of the criminal element.”


“Oh my god! Mad Hatter’s running naked through the street!”
“Meh. I’ve seen bigger. And scarier. Ever seen Killer Croc naked? Trust me, you don’t want to.”


“BatPhone jack… BatPhone jack… DAMN IT! Why do I always have to put so much bullshit in my car that I can’t even find the Grodd damn BatPhone jack without a GPS?!”


Get it? Cuz it says “GOTHAMS RAGE” and Batman is Gotham’s outlet of revenge? You know, like in Batman Returns, when Catwoman wrecks her big neon “Hello There” sign and it says “Hell Here”? Uggh.


Despite tragic results with early test audiences, Sony went through with the release of Paul Blart 2 as planned. Though the long-term damage to society as a whole has yet to be measured, experts agree that we, as a species, may never recover…


That’s not so much an advertisement for the Fat Lady as it is a matter-of-fact poster made for skeptics. “See… the Fat Lady. I told you she was real. Pay up.”


The Joker’s secret origin? He used to be Kramer!
(And why the fuck is that doorway twice the size of the actual door?!)


I’ve had fantasies that looked exactly like this… uhm, I mean, “nightmares”! I’ve had nightmares that looked exactly like this!


“The fax machine at work broke down, so the company’s sent me out door-to-door to inform people that they may be eligible for our free cruise giveaway!”


Many wars and feuds did Joker fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… But that is another story.


“Yeah, we can do all that! But you’re gonna have to pay us the premium rate, you give us the money up front, and if you put this up online, our pimp is gonna scalp you! Now, you got a room already, or you wanna use ours?”


“Damn it. EVERY time I start making brownies, these assholes need something!”
(How the Hel is he even able to see the signal from that position!?)


Alright, which one of you assholes got Bat Mite hooked on meth?!


“No… hey… come on, Bats… you gotta stop… DAMN IT! I HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOU THE JOKE YET! STOP LAUGHING!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“#SquadHoles”

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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 80 – Dead Rising: Endgame (2016)

or “Not Just Another Zombie Movie (Yes It Is)”

Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Jessica “iZombie” Harmon , Dennis “The Unit” Haysbert

Director: Pat “Degrassi: the Next Generation” Williams

Writers: Tim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” Carter & Michael “Catwoman” Ferris

Sequel to: Dead Rising: Watchtower

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You’re outta control Chase. Are you a journalist or a vigilante?”

Welcome back, boils and ghouls. ‘Tis I, your humble narrator, thriving on the mundane and bleeding mediocrity as always. The Master of Mating Magnetism himself… keeping in mind that magnets both attract and repel… props to the Sonic commercial I stole that punchline from. Anyway, if I sound a bit disappointed today, it’s because I fell for one of those click bait articles about “SHOCKING CELEBRITY SUICIDES!” that uses a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas in the link. I clicked through all 200 pages of that fucking site and JTT wasn’t among them! From now on, I’m checking IMDB before getting my hopes up about forgotten ’90s quasi-celebs murdering themselves. Speaking of shat upon expectations, there were two things I was very much looking forward to experiencing last week: Burger King’s newest lifespan eroder, the Mac & Cheetos, and Crackle’s new original zombie-a-go-go, Dead Rising: Endgame. Of the two, one was moderately satisfying and the other was monstrously disappointing. Here’s a hint about which is which: the following review is for the shit show. Spoilers.

In case you missed my review for last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower (Episode 47, as seen here), here’s a quick refresher for the sequel. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game series. Each installment of which centers around a different male main character stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to survive with an armory of do-it-yourself weapons that combine everyday objects like a sledgehammer and a fire ax, a broadsword and motor oil, a vacuum cleaner and buzz saw blades, and so on and so forth. Watchtower opted not to adapt any of these games, and instead introduced us to a new protagonist named Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is an investigative reporter (cuz reporters are always chasing stories… get it?… do you get it?… you get it.) for an online-only news outlet that covers all the stories the “lamestream media” won’t, due to the whims of their corporate overlords and being on the short leash of their Wall Street masters and blah blah occupy blah blah blah.

Chase uncovered a conspiracy (as reporters in movies are oft to do), killed some zombies, “Point A? Meet Point B.”, nothing was resolved (gotta set it up for the sequel after all!), roll the credits. If you didn’t watch it and are one of those spoiler-phobic types, you might wanna end your experience here and return the unused portion of this review for a full refund. Being a sequel, major plot points from the previous picture need to be touched upon, and like a doctor giving you a physical, I wanna make said touching as non-awkward for you as possible. Your body is a magical, disgusting pile of nerves that react to stimulation in an aroused fashion independent of your brain sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone… please stop masturbating.

Still here? Okay. Let’s continue with the Ballad of Chase Carter… not to be confused with “The Ballad of Chasey Lane”, which is a Bloodhound Gang song that has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with analingus.

When we last left our venturesome muckraker, he had made a deal with one of the big TV news outlets to provide them with an exclusive story about the behind-the-scenes of a recent undead outbreak, including how it may have actually been caused by Phenotrans – the pharmaceutical company that produces the zombieism sytmying drug Zombrex™ and NOT a Phoenix based social group for trans people with dyslexia. It had something to do with bitten people being implanted with microchips that would track their vitals and release Zombrex™ into their systems as needed to prevent them from turning. Sinister Army man General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) wanted to weaponize the chips (or something. I don’t remember a whole lot from the first movie, to be fair) and instead used a portion of them to turn their users into the living dead, taking advantage of the resultant panic to manipulate things to his favor somehow… maybe… I don’t know. The end result was the eponymous program “Watchtower”, which instituted mandatory chipping for millions of otherwise uninfected civilians.

As we join our journalistic joy-boy Chase, he has indeed parlayed himself a well paying gig as a World War Z correspondent for UBN (let’s say “Universal Broadcast News”?). While sticking his nose into every hole he can find (dirty dirty dirty) to try and uncover evidence of Lyons’ wrong doings, he’s also trying to track down his former producer Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) who went missing at the end of Watchtower. It’s been a pair of calendars since the big outbreak, and despite East Mission City being voted Zombie Digest‘s “Biggest Necropolis of 2016”, the streets aren’t exactly teeming with bite bags. Another unfortunate instance of a low-budget movie bragging about having a 10 inch pocket monster when all they’re packing is a 2 inch pelvic thumb. Denoting your shortcomings beforehand is better than trying to excuse your lies after the fact. Admission over apologizing, people.

Despite his efforts, Chase is story-blocked by his bosses, who don’t need the hassle of a Phenotrans lawsuit or a government sanctioned mass execution to bring down their executive cocaine lunch highs. To continue down his checklist of “movie reporter tropes”, Chase ignores the demands of those-in-charge and continues to meddle in the matters of General Lyons, the Scooby-Doo to his Old Man Withers. Monotoned Army guy’s big scheme continues to revolve around those damn Big Brother chips, only this time he plans to insta-kill a few million people instead of just turning them into ghouls. With just 24 hours to put the ki-bosh on this “Afterlife” contingency, Double C and his elite Channel 6 News Team strike out to bring down Iran Contra II before it turns into September 11th IV. Said crew includes such movie caricatures as “sassy computer hacker girlfriend who owes the hero her life” (Maria Avgeropoulos), “tough talking cool guy that supplies the group with guns, who we first meet playing the video game the movie’s based on before he answers the door in his underwear and a robe” (Patrick Sabongui), “experienced news person who uses their connections to try and take down the evil corporation with the Power of the Press” (Jessica Harmon), “corporate whisteblower who will either turn on the heroes to save their own ass or die proving their dedication to doing what’s right” (Ian Tracey) and “character from the hero’s past who shows up to save them in the nick of time”. You know, all those old “seen it before” chestnuts.

Endgame follows much the same path that Watchtower did in regards to its influence from the games, only this time around the Zombie-Go-Round the marauding rejects from a Mad Max movie are replaced with a scurrilous gang of heroin handling (which is never reasoned why) mercenaries, the wacky interview segments with Dead Rising hero Frank West are dropped in favor of a much less wacky deus ex machina cameo by Dead Rising 2 protagonist Chuck Greene (Victor Webster), the creative engineering of mash-up weapons (all of which look too silly for a serious toned tale) feels tacked on now rather than a fun nod to fans of the games, and the previous flick’s “boss battle” finale is dropped in favor of a pair of dramatic stand-offs – one about two guys waiting for lab test results and the other over a computer virus’ upload progression bar… As the constipated old man said to his Depends, “I shit you not”.

By the time it was over, my faith in Dead Rising as a movie series had expired. Were you here, you would’ve heard the last gasps of hope leave my body via an audible sigh. It was as if the ghost of my own enjoyment had been exorcised by an ordained priest from the Church of Mediocrity. Though some would praise Endgame‘s eschewing of its comedic roots in favor of a more dire tone, I say thee nay. If I wanted my made-for-TV ghoulocausts to be low-budget bowls of freezer-burnt vanilla ice cream, I wouldn’t have relieved myself all over Rise of the Zombies way back in episode 6! No, I want my Dead Rising ice cream to be filled with sprinkles and gummi worms and little chocolate zombies, damn it! I said it when Michael Bay prison sexed the Ninja Turtles and I’ll say it again – if you’re just going to ignore 90% of the source material and do your own “in name only” thing, spare the fans your lazy cash-in and just call it something else! Then again, when one of your writers was responsible for the crime against geek humanity that is Catwoman, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for, right? No. That’s victim blaming, you asshole. Fuck you.

On the good side of things, Billy Zane himself shows up for a payday as a not-quite-mad-but-definitely-morally-spotty scientist! Not-so-good? His role has him onscreen for all of 5-10 minutes and lacks the Zane zaniness of something like his turn in Demon Knight that I was hoping to get when I saw him mentioned in the opening creds. On a less lackluster positive note, though, I have to admit that what action pieces we get are generally better put together than what we got in Watchtower. Chief among them for me being a Chase chase (wakka wakka!) sequence where he tries to escape the dead menace amid a series of escalators and an interestingly shot fight between the hero and some zombos in an operating room that shoots for what I can only describe as “tethered filming”.

So, all said and done, Endgame isn’t all bad. Generic, sure, but not a totally wasted 90 minutes of wear and tear on the eyeballs. It doesn’t leave me looking forward to the purported TV series that Crackle has in the works, but as a stand alone zombie movie, I’ve seen worse. Far worse. Skin-peelingly bad “I’d rather jam toothpicks under my toe nails than watch another minute of this” worse. Toe suckingly terrible stuff, folks. Seriously.

As previously noted, the biggest problem with the movie is making it 100% serious while still keeping the “Dead Rising” moniker. It’s tantamount to taking a charismatic, over-the-top madman like Jesse Ventura and casting him as a cookie-cutter, potatoes-without-the-meat, bland as raw tofu, good guy. How do you make an intergalactic space cop played by one of professional wrestling’s greatest a-holes a walking, talking sleeping pill? Abraxas. How do you suck all of the fun out of Dead Rising‘s wholesale zombie murdering and DIY death dealers? Endgame.

Hey, I wonder why they named the first movie after Lyons’ plan (“Watchtower”), but didn’t do the same with the sequel? “Afterlife” would’ve made for a better title, especially given that this clearly isn’t the series’ “endgame”, what with the TV show planned. Just junk food for thought.

Since it’s a Crackle exclusive, if you want to check out Endgame (or Watchtower for that matter) you can do so for free on the Crackle app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or TV streaming device of choice. Of course, you’ll have to sit through a shitload of commercials for that privilege, but nothing is truly free… unless you download it from a torrent site. Technology, you sex us so good!

Oh, and despite not making Mac & Cheetos wretched fried tripe, BK isn’t off the hook! One time they sold me onion rings and didn’t give me the designated sauce that goes with it. Onion rings without onion ring sauce is as much a crime as a Dead Rising sequel without Rob Riggle’s Frank West. And I was told this was the land of liberty. Oh the unabashed verisimilitude. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

Moral of the Story: At least I still have Dead Rising 4 to look forward to this year! Yay video games!

Screenshots_____


Those sadists in the Jackass crew have run out of wacky ideas and are just straight up mutilating themselves now.


I see someone never figured out how to turn the on-screen display off on their camera…


“Damn, baby! You looked a hell of a lot better last night when I had my Jack Daniels goggles on!”


She’s Selena Gomez-ing.


Dennis Haysbert parodying the McConaughey Lincoln commercials? You’re a few years late to the party, Allstate.


Hey, movie. You’re not endearing me to you any more so by showing me what I could be playing instead of watching you. Stop it.


“You mind if we stop by my dealer’s place real quick on the way to the airport? I’ve been itching for a fucking hit since lunch and I just can’t drive straight when I’m, well, straight! Oh, and can you give me a 5 star rating on Uber? It hasn’t been a good week.”


“Thanks for meeting me in secret… here in this public place… out in the open… during the day… You’ve never done corporate espionage work before, have you?”


A human pinata! THAT’s what I want for my birthday next year!


“My custom weapons are NOT stupid looking and cumbersome! They’re friggin’ AWESOME! You’re gonna owe me so many Mac & Cheetos when you see how right I am and these save your dumb life!”


For those cold footed husband-to-be out there hoping the zombie apocalypse will be a good enough reason to cancel your marriage? She will find you. And eat you.


“What are you two doing?! Do you have a permit to film here?! Fuck off before I call the cops!”


“So you’re not going with a crazy, over-the-top tone with this one? You just want me to play my role straight? Okay… you have until my bank clears the check, then I’m out of here.”


Hey kids, remember Hackers? Remember how cool it is to watch a fucking progress bar for 10 minutes?! Have we got a movie for you!


“Chuck? I know your cameo is completely superfluous and all, but could you have at least worn your bright yellow motocross jacket so the gamers could have had some kind of fan service?!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“What Do You Call 8 Teens At Crystal Lake?”

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