Featuring: Thomas “Hell Baby” Lennon , Jenny “‘State of Affairs’” Pellicer , Barbara “Re-Animator” Crampton, and special appearance by Udo “Flesh for Frankenstein” Kier
Directors: Sonny “Wither” Laguna & Tommy “Wither” Wiklund
Writer: S. Craig “Bone Tomahawk” Zahler
In an effort to expand my resume as an “artist/creator” (dear Ra can I not wait for the planet to be swallowed in atomic fire), my agent suggested I get a stage show produced so I qualify as a “playwright”. Well, Calamity of Snakes: the Musical, my plaguerism rampant adaptation of the 1982 Taiwanese horror movie of the same name, will be making its debut on the main stage of the Galaxy of Terror nightclub/sex dungeon in Greenvale, Washington for a six week run starting next week. If you actually attend one of our shows, please don’t send me any feedback as all requests for refunds will be denied – a policy that will be enforced onsite by the mutant bear monstrocity from Prophecy. Speaking of mutant bears, here’s that completely unrelated segway into the review that I ordered!
… “2 day shipping” my hairy ebon ass.
Though you wouldn’t know it by the lack of reviews on the site, I’m a long time fan of Charles Band’s Puppet Master series. Well, the first three movies. The latter NINE, not so much. Once the quality started its supersonic descent into crap movie hell with the 4th installment, my interests waned just as quickly, ultimately petering out when The SciFi Channel’s “Originals” line of TV movies vomited Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys directly into my eyes and turned me off of killer puppet flicks like a germaphobe at a GG Allin show. Even when Band tried to jumpstart the series again 6 years later by taking the aggro action figures back to their Nazi killing ways with a new “Axis Trilogy” project, I couldn’t even be bothered to download a pirated copy of the first flick for fear that a viewing would result in time better spent trying to castrate a badger or just crotching myself repeatedly on a cemetery gate. Even the return of director David DeCoteau was too little too late, and this was before he emotionally abused me with 1313: Bigfoot Island!
The Littlest Reich is Band’s attempt at rebooting the series after 29 years of quantity-over-quality lore building, Band-wagoning (*wink*wink*) on Hollywood’s 21st century fascination with trying to re-animate the corpses of deceased horror franchises in the hopes of hoovering whatever loose change is left in the pockets of their pre-installed fanbases. The only good thing about this is that Andre Toulon’s troupe of tiny terrorizers never had a wide enough fandom to catch the predatory eye of Michael Bay and his perpetual trash fire factory, Platinum Dunes. However, can the writer of the much-loved indie movie Bone Tomahawk and a pair of potential pervaded (though not yet fully proven) horror directors give new legs to a series that’s been dragging its decroded piece of crap carcass through the direct-to-video wasteland?Shit, I’ll be happy if I can get through it in one sitting without falling asleep or questioning the further validity of my existence. Mr. Zulu….engage.
(Yeah, this dude gets it.)
The opening introduces us to this alternate dimension’s Andre Toulon (Udo Kier!), whose oddly swollen head means the stems of his eyeglasses don’t have room to fit behind his ears and just sit tilted along his temples instead. Or maybe that’s just how Nazis wear their spectacles in this Twilight Zone episode. Oh, did I not mention that part? Yeah, in this reality, rather than being a one-man resistance army against the Third Reich, the half-French half-German Andre actually worked FOR the goose-stepping blitzkriegers. And what’s the worst way you can use a miniature death squad from Hitler’s side of WW2? Rooting out the hidden targets of your racist “Make Germany Great Again” campaign and slaughtering any and every Jew, Gypsy, black, homosexual, and so forth that they find. He was basically a more hands-on Hans Landa. I’m guessing Anne Frank’s diary didn’t get many entries in this darkest of timelines…
When we catch up to bringer of diminutive death, it’s 1989 and he’s successfully hidden himself in Texas, the self-proclaimed craddle of ‘Merica no less, for 40+ years. Andre 3000 (probably a fair assessment of his kids’ killcount) lives amid the citizens of Pottsville and we catch up to him as he imbibes in some seeming socializing at a local bar, where his not-great attempts to pick up the female bartender send him home in a huff. Unlike 90% of heterosexual men, Toulon is disgusted when the ‘tender’s tender lady lover explicitly illustrates to the old man that this be-breasted drink slinger’s pants are a “Cowgirls Only” zone. Openly lesbianic gals deep in the hateful heart of 1980s Texas?! If it weren’t for Andre’s fatal retaliation, these two probably would’ve ended up on the receiving end of a Boys Don’t Cry from some sobriety challenged, mouth breathing “good ol’ boys” before too long, so… at least being killed by a grown man’s gore hungry toys is quick and devoid of sexual assault.
Yep, a quick death is pretty much the best case scenario when you’re a non-conservative in the Lone Star Shame.
In an unexplained turn of events, the local law enforcers know Toulon is to blame for the lesbians’ roadside induction into the choir invisible (the tiny bloody footprints, perhaps?) and storm his mansion, shooting him dead in his foyer with a hail of gunfire that later lacks sense with one officers report that they actually executed him in his basement workshop, where he was put down for pointing a gun at them. Given what the recent years of body cams, dashboard videos, and civilian recordings have shown us though, the chances of the official report on the incident being plastered with more horse shit than Hercules (“Heracles” if you’re nasty/Roman) flushed from the Augean Stables is almost a money back guarantee*.
*Some exclusions apply.
Time warping to “Present Day (2018 for us) in the Dallas of Texas, we’re introduced to our protagonist: Edgar Easton (Thomas “Don’t call me ‘John’” Lennon!). Recently divorced from his wife, the comic book writer-illustrator-shop employee is forced to move in with his parents until he can establish a financially viable domicile to call his own. Like most moms, Mrs. Easton is happy to have her little (middle-aged) boy back under her roof, while Mr. Eastman, like most dads, will be using his son as a personal punching bag for his retired old policeman spite and general Republican bitterness. Things look up for the downtrodden graduate from the comic geek old school though, when he gets into an almost immediate romantic bodily fluids exchanging relationship with local lass Ashley Summers (Jenny Pellicer), whose brother he knew during their school days. She works at a record store, takes her cat (and its corpse paint like facial markings) for leashed walks, and when Eddie vocalizes his disdain for hipsters, you’d think their pelvises had suddenly become magnetized by oppositely charged electrons.
If you’re a member of ICP, I suggest Googling that last bit.
Years before this, Edgar’s brother James passed away from an “accident” that nobody feels the need to elaborate on. Amid the deceased sibling’s belongings, Ed finds a very morbid looking puppet he found during summer camp years ago and that would’ve given ’90s Todd McFarlane a hard-on.
If you didn’t collect action figures based on horror movie villains and monsters 25 years ago, I suggest Googling that last bit.
Rather than hold onto the twisted piece of wooden evil for old times sake, Ed opts to sell it instead at a convention in Pottsville commemorating/celebrating the 30th anniversary of the grisly puppet master’s death…except whoever organized it can’t fucking count because 2018 minus 1989 is TWENTY-NINE. Welcome to alternate universe Trump’s America, folks. Anyway, Ed, Ash, and Ed’s friend/boss Markowitz (he seemingly only has one name, like Prince or Cher) road trip to KillerCon, where they learn the legacy of Hitler’s personal toymaker during a tour of the evil bastard’s mansion slash Nazi memorabilia museum, as hosted by retired police officer Carol Doreski (Barbara Crampton!) who was one of the trigger pullers that took down the monster. She’s the aforementioned cop that needlessly changes the story about finding Toulon in the basement.
I’m starting to feel like these “fuck-ups” are intentional attempts by Bone Tomahawk guy to bait nit-pickers as part of some trolling fetish he has.
With an estimated SIXTY-THREE of Toulon’s terrors due to reunite at the convention (he was apparently quite the successful mail-order creature carver in his day), this isn’t a question of if shit will be hitting the fan, but when. And the answer is a resounding “sooner than later”. Fortunately, for fellow gore whores and lovers of practical carnage effects, the deaths are graphic and numerous, with no less than (but probably more than) 20 bloody instances of puppetine peril! I definitely don’t suggest that pregnant women, children, or people with particularly delicate constitutions buy a ticket for this ride, cuz once the safety rail comes down it’s NO REFUNDS!
Littlest Reich does so much right as a reboot movie that the cluster-fuckery of its final act hits me in the life pump harder than a Porky Pete’s Triple-Thick Double Bypass Animal Farm Stacker Surprise with Jumbo Cheese-pocalypse Fried Bacon Rings. Without spoiling this “fresh out of the fryer” feature, I’ll just say that the finale feels confused, rushed, and needs to be flushed. Where as most movies are content with one, maybe two twists, Littlest Reich won’t be happy unless it makes Dee Snider eating a party-size bag of Rold Gold on a roller coaster look straighter than Sweeney Todd’s straight razor. If that outburst of metaphors and similes doesn’t impress upon you how unnecessarily throw together this finish is, than my resultant bout of Vertigo was all for naught.
In my last review, The Quiet Ones too was thrown down a spiral staircase for a 20 minute tumble by its own writers, but those twists and turns and twirls galore carried with them some a road map of revelations explaining how we got there. S. Craig Zahler bukakkes us with loose threads only to pull an Elaine Benes by filling in the gaps with “yadda yadda yadda” that only makes things more muddied! Also, he does so while doing that fucking weird “ghosts have taken residence in my bone marrow” dance she did in that one episode. Clearly a sadist.
Frustrating finishes aside, I applaud this new installment of Puppet Master lore for much more. The looming threat of entire legions of Herr Toulon’s little monsters is enticing. Though some of their styles overlap, the new evil redesigns do the trick. As much as it disappoints that they lack much of the individual charm and character of the originals, as a death squad of murderous miniature racist scum fodder doomed for deletion in Hel’s Obsolete Products Department, they fit the loathsome antagonist bill like Nazis should. And the manipulations of the puppeteers giving them life behind-the-scenes is impressive. It’s still not the return to stop motion magic that lured me into the influences of the original series’ first trio of entries, but it’s a Superman leap (over a tall building in a single bound) beyond poor man’s Punch & Judy stuff we’ve been forced to all too much to endure for more than two decades. Kudos to the crew and here’s to the hopes that you’ll return for a follow-up.
Now, to the less novelty based members of the cast. I’ve been a mark for Thomas Lennon and the rest of his friends from ”The State” since it originally aired on MTV in the golden days of ”Liquid Television”, ”The Brothers Grunt” and ”Oddities”. Seeing him take a more serious, well, reserved role like Edgar is interesting. In a good way. I was expecting his usual comedic act to come out and goof the flick up too much, but the introverted divorcee forced to shack up again in the bedroom of his childhood is just as far from Lieutenant Dangle of the Reno PD as he should be. Though he still gets plenty of funny lines, they’re delivered with the fitting deadpan sarcasm of a bemused Gen-Xer instead of the in-on-the-joke flamboyance of his usual characters. Though he’s busy enough with producing, writing, directing, and all of that other creative chicanery, I’d like to see Mr. Lennon stretch his legs with some similarly non-clowning roles.
The other two big portions of the acting pie, Jenny Pellicer and Nelson Franklin, too do their parts proud. As Ashley, Pellicer is sunny as her character’s last name suggests without going to revolting lengths. She’s a charmer, she and Edgar compliment each other perfectly, her chemistry with Lennon feels real for a pair of newly involved romantic interests, and she’s a perfect foil for the pessimistic Markowitz without, again, taking it to irritating sitcom lengths. It also doesn’t hurt that she gives me good vibrations of a Kristen Wiig variety, and I get hot over women who wear chokers…
Temping down any arousal I just experienced, Franklin’s Markowitz is a nauseating reminder of a comic book store owner I actually worked for. He’s a snide know-it-all prick who thinks he has the answer for everything and any opinion that’s not his is ill-informed, its owner a feckless plebian. Unlike my former employer though, Marko embraces his Jewish heritage once he finds out that their enemies are agents of the Final Solution, and even gets in an act of ancestral reprisal on one of the Fuhrer’s playthings as he introduces it a natural gas powered tanning booth. The something from that oven’s got nothing to do with lovin’!
Of the remaining members of this “and the rest” cast, Udo is serviceably sinister as the newly revolting rendering of Andre Toulon (though sadly lacking in screen time), Skeeta Jenkins and Alex Beh make the most of their ancellary characters Cuddly Bear and the Crispen Glovery Howie respectively, while Barbara Crampton gets a very special mention from moi, the president of her unofficial one-god fan club! Never a slouch when it came to bucking the “damsel in distress” archetype in horror movies, in the 30 years since Re-Animator, BC (as the Evil Dead Bride and I like to call her) has only improved in her acting abilities. I don’t think she gets enough credit for her talent, given her resume in movies that we love though mainstream audiences may not, but she’s easily my favorite supporting cast member here. All my love, Miss Cramps. *mwah*
Before I finish lauding people, allow me to lob one final laud to legendary Italian horror composer Fabio Frizzi for bringing his special touch to Littlest Reich‘s soundtrack and giving Charles Band’s brother Richard’s original Puppet Master theme a tasty splash of his homemade spaghetti horror sauce for what I hope goes on to be a successful reboot.
Despite my middling rating, I still enjoy Littlest Reich. It’s a solid movie that horror-comedy fans and killer toy fetishists looking for a Saturday night popcorn/pizza/pierogie picture should prioritize on their pull list. And if you don’t like it? Well, opinions are opinions and just like at the Outback Steakhouse there are no rules, just right.
Oh, and, uhm, don’t try to cite said corporate motto as a legally binding call for in-restaurant anarchic behavior while visiting an Outback location. They have rules. Many rules. The breaking of which can lead to MOUNTAINS of legal action that the owners, employees, and customers will likely take against you. If you don’t believe me, just go to the restroom and check out the “Employees Must Wash Hands” plaques and see the facade of your Mad Max fantasies crumble in your hands like a sand dildo.
And on that dream shattering peak behind the curtain I bid you adieu, my marionettes of mayhem, and will see you next time on MIDNIGHT SHOCK-TIME HORROR THEATER! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
I see Udo’s been eating the crumbs at the bottom of the Oreos bag. Someone tell Mr. Kier that a “wet nap” isn’t just what happens when he falls asleep in his Sitz bath.
Store brand Anna Kendrick is displeased. Or concerned? Maybe gassy. I’m not really sure.
Matthias Hues, seen here contemplating his Ticket to Ride strategy for this week’s Tabletop Night.
“Why does this puppet have lips like Janice from the Muppet Band? Oh god… my brother was using this thing to house his fleshlight! GAH!”
That cat has natural corpse paint! Brutal.
“Lady, if you don’t want to see a stranger masturbating in their front seat, then don’t go peeking in parked cars. Now either give me a hand with this or kindly leave.”
Poor Elton. He’s the only puppet Toulon ever made with a desperate need for a comb over.
“Ed, you know not to interrupt me on ‘New Issue of Gigantic Asses Day’. Now go restock the tissues in my office. I’m going to need at least two boxes this month.”
The lady likes her comic geeks like she likes her hams: BONE-IN! Woooooo!
Hitler was definitely a monster, but if Toulon’s home is in any indicator, der fuhrer provided his employees with a hell of a severance package!
“No, I’m not Kristen Wiig or Kate McKenna, but if I give you a fake phone number will you go away?”
Barbara Crampton teaches the rest of the crew how to do the “2 Legit 2 Quit” salute.
Don’t you hate those awkward days when you get called to a violent shootout at work, only to realize that you left your gun at home?
Given the strength of his grill game, MC Kaiser here will be guesting on tracks with 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa before the end of the year.
“Ah yes, there’s your penis. Just as the mail order bride catalog advertised. Excellent.”
Featuring a special cameo by your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestler, David Starr!
(Whose crotch my face is unfortunately planted in for this screenshot.)
In the name of realism (while also avoiding risk of lawsuits), Marvel’s new Ghost Rider action figure requires buyers to provide their own hellfire.
“Damn it. We can’t watch the new episode of ‘Sailor Moon: Crystal’ because my mom and my ex are both using the Hulu account!”
Karl from Die Hard learns the messy side effects of snorting coke while also watching fan service anime.
“No! No! No! It’s a jump to the left and then a step to the right! The show starts in an hour and NONE of you have learned the Time Warp!”
“Und d-d-d-d-dat ist all, folks!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Crazy Eldritch Asians”
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Nathaniel Holt , Julie Fortenot , William Almaguer
Director: Eugene Hughes
Writers: Eugene Hughes & Buddy Howard
I come to you with a broken heart today, children. My fellow Jethro Skull bandmates and I have agreed to shelve our ambitions of being a death metal group that covers folk rock songs. After 7 years of trying and failing to book a single show (and no, Allen, that time we played your nephew’s graduation party for “exposure” does not count as a gig), the dream has died, been dismembered, the parts stuffed with blasting powder, and finally set ablaze in a VW bus abandoned in a WalMart parking lot. In lieu of flowers, we’d ask that all mourners send donations via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “My condolences on your loss” and a personal message of your choosing, should you feel so inclined. Thank you.
Now, much like I told my psychiatrist when she tried to convince me to go back on my meds, the only cure for my sadness is some shitty movie badness! And my choice of balm for the occasion? Continuing my year-long march down the trail of clown-based tears! Today’s mile marker? Cannibal Killer Clowns on Dope. Strap in, strap on (huh huh), and strap…up? Uggh. Never mind. Scratch that last bit and let’s just get this over with.
Much like people, sometimes a movie can sell you on its moniker alone. Do you think Martin Sheen would've had the career he did if his name were, oh I don't know, “Joe Estevez”? No. We've seen what happened to Joe Estevez and that wasn't because of his lack of talent, it was all about the name. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but would you want to smell a one if it were called a “shit weed” or a “dumpster squirt” or a “diaper cheese”? No. And if you would, maybe you’re the one my grief counselor should be threatening to have institutionalized because you’re a danger to yourself and anyone within stabbing distance. It was a rubber knife, Barbara! It was a joke! Do you not recognize that I deal with my depression through gallows humor that often infringes on the peace of mind of others, or were you just not born with a sense of comedic timing!?
Anyway, you can understand why the subject of this installment made a big fat blip on my cinemasochist radar as soon as I did my initial search online for “killer clown movies”. For the second time today, though, I have to drop a bomb of misery that will shake your belief in the value of existence – I regret my decision to review this. It’s high up there on my “If I had it to do again, I’d risk destroying the fabric of reality by altering history” list, right between selling my CGC graded 9.6 copy of New Mutants #98 a week before Deadpool was confirmed and getting Rocky Dennis’ likeness tatooed on my left cheek. Thank The Shapeshifter for the person who invented skin grafting! And thanks to Trainyard Larry, the hobo whose face I now wear. Ra rest his soul. You finally caught that leprechaun, Larry. You finally caught him…
“The subject matter of this movie contains blood, gore, guts, murder, nudity, sexual perversion, a man getting butt raped by a clown. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, tonight's movie is damn good entertainment in my book!”
I’d like to thank Dr. Teeth’s understudy for that introduction, along with the rest of the narration he provides for today’s feature, senseless as it may be.
The titular flesh-eating junkie jesters in question inhabit what we’re told is an abandoned farmhouse amidst a secluded section of forest near the small Texas town of “Cooter’s Pass”. Now, I know it’s likely just a crude gag, but in the fantasy world I’ve made in my mind to serve as the vine that will help me struggle free from the quicksand pit lying ahead, it’s actually a heartfelt homage to ‘The Dukes of Hazzard‘ supporting character Cooter. Just let me have that. As for the delinquents’ domicile, no farm house would be located in the middle of the woods, unless the previous owners were fucking tree farmers (i.e. lumberjacks), because it’s kinda hard to farm any manner of crop or animals when you’re surrounded by TREES. Furthermore, said “abandoned” house is clearly NOT abandoned if there are people (clown or otherwise) LIVING IN THE DAMN THING! I’m one paragraph into the feature itself and already I’m saying “fuck this movie”.
Were I to describe CKCoD‘s narrative structure in the form of a non-existent adult breakfast cereal, it’d be Honey Nut Cluster Fucks. The majority of the “story” consists of unrelated segments in which one or more of these refugees from a hillbilly meth circus stalks, harasses, occasionally rapes, and eventually murders random victims that are more than likely played by members of the cast’s friends and/or families. I’d much rather talk more about Honey Nut Cluster Fucks, and their shill-happy mascot – an animated honey bee named Bangz whose stinger had been replaced by a big veiny dildo with which it forcably penetrates (and ejaculates into) honey combs.
Actually… that’s everything I had to say about that, so… shit. I guess we have to get back to the movie.
The clowns’ first victim, Dollie, doesn’t even get her own segment really. Instead, she’s given a mash-up of random clips with the narrator telling us how she got there (she went to a juggalo style gathering and was lured away by the temptation to party with the dope slinging slobs), searing our eyes with an “F for effort” photoshopped image of her dismembered body swinging on a rope, and finally alluding to the possibility that her soul is now trapped inside of a toy doll, joining a mountain (well, a sizable pile) of similar plastically incarcerated spirits on the clowns’ property. This potential plot point ultimately leads absolutely no-fucking-where, so any errant agalmatophiles who were directed here while looking for a quick jerk ‘n wipe (I’m looking at you, Charles Band!), you’re s.o.l., and I don’t mean Satellite of Love.
From these first steps into the gurgling cesspool (hope you brought your waders!), we’re greeted by the first actual act of this half-assthology. The victim is a no-doubt poorly compensated and underappreciated single mom type who’s forced to stay late at her job at a hot tub outlet store. As if her station in life weren’t bad enough, being one laugh track away from a ‘Grace Under Fire’ re-hash, the lady is harassed and eventually carcassed-up by a wanna-be Pogo who keeps blathering inane threats of “Who’s got the fuckin’ meat cleaver now, baby?” on repeat. Could he be referencing an untold exchange from their past in which his victim, in fact, once brandished the self-same meat cleaver for… some… reason? As with the number of licks required to breach the core of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know. I tried to ask Mr. Owl, but after ten minutes without a reply I realized I had been in a battle of steel wills with my replica of the StageFright killer’s mask that’s mounted above my chamber door. I guess I’ll get my answer, nevermore.
The tormentous mirthmaker in this instance wears more traditionally appropos attire than the panel of inbred pagliaccis populating the rest of the picture’s residuum, so call me
maybe crazy for postulating that this segment is either a case of unassociated runtime padding, or a possible proof-of-concept made by creators Hughes and Howard to swindle potential investors into sponsoring their movie. And by “investors”, naturally I’m refering to the local liquor store owner who donated old crates of Tennafly Viper and enough petty cash to pick up a stack of DVD-Rs (from the nearest Circuit City’s “Going Out of Business” sale) upon which to burn sellable copies.
The next course on the cannibal clowns’ menu is a “glamour model” (Liz Ashley), who’s apparently no longer able to find work playing a waitress in commercials for local greasy spoon eateries and has reduced herself to doing a nude pictorial for the all-too handsy photog David Sleazy (William Almaguer), who’s plotting to steal her dirty socks and panties when she’s not looking. We spend an irritating amount of time watching her pose in various states of undress on a rundown tractor (or, if you’re an actual farmer like my grandfather was, a tractor) while the sniveling, “what people from the US midwest think the average Frenchman sounds like” accented perv snaps pics and tries to cop feels. The lass is a genuinely attractive au natural gal who could definitely convince me to buy an X-rated Kubota calender and would be one of the best looking girls on the set of a Troma shoot, but if she appeared in anything other than CKCoD and some webcam videos her boyfriend shot of them drunkenly copulating in a poorly lit bedroom, I’d be surprised.
The clowns (the ones from the opening scenario, not the solitary tormentor of the previous) overhear the antics of perver and pervee from nearby and interrupt the backwoods photo shoot, stripping the camera wielding creep down to his panties and garters (and apparently fitting him with a pair of high heels, since he wasn’t wearing them before…) because, again, he’s “French”. David (“No no no, eet’s ‘Dah-veed’.”) then runs off in a girly screaming panic (“French”, ladies and gents…) while the still nude model points and laughs… seemingly oblivious to the fact that she’s now been left alone, bare ass and defenseless, with a gang of miscreants that were possibly spawned from a nightmare Emmett Kelly had after eating an entire anchovy pizza and falling asleep watching Deliverance. She’s made keenly aware of her situation though, when they chase her and her bouncing breastisses down and stab her to death. She also gets the “shareware ‘shop job” treatment previously seen with Dollie, as her quadruple amputee image too is strung up and further pasted over with unrelated images of mutilation. Sleazy’s death isn’t as poorly budgeted, however, as we watch him tied up and clown hammered in his crap hole before being decapitated. All of this for the sole sake of showing off a severed head prop (which bares a passing resemblence to Dahveed if you squint hard enough… and imagine he was bombarded with Frogtown radiation) that the director probably picked up for 70% off at a K-Mart “Day After Halloween Sale”.
The next lot of prey are three misbehaving ladies (names withheld because fuck it, I don’t feel like typing them) who, as our gravely voiced narrator puts it, “thought it’d be funny to get stoned and laugh at the clowns”. The cadre of painted killers are apparently considered to be a rural legend in them there parts, not unlike the ghost of John Wayne or the Chupacabra or someone who wears a cowboy hat while voting Democrat. Unlike those last three though, no one seems to have any trouble finding the clowns, nor do the police seem interested enough to bother investigating them during any of the purported dozens of missing person cases that come up in Cooter’s Ass! I mean “Pass”! Cooter’s Pass! Back to the estrogenical trio, they meet their end about as you’d expect with one chainsaw’d (or at least drenched in blood by a non-running chainsaw that never comes within a foot of her body), one de-sanguinized on a meathook Texas Chainsaw Massacre style (minus any semblence of acting beyond shivering like she’s cold and in need of a jacket) and the third dealt an unexceptional throat slitting.
We now interrupt our regularly scheduled shit show for an important news bulletin, as reported by Buck Ross (Eugene Hughes) – a girthy bald man who likely spent the majority of his adult life selling used trucks off of a car lot before choking to death on a plate of Jimmy Dean’s “Hung Like a Horse” Sausage Links. According to this so-called journalist for CANN News (I guess because “can” is a euphamism for the butt?), the clowns’ rampage of terror has been discovered by the local constabulary with the remains of over 40 victims found in their rundown farmhouse lair… So, hold on a sec. If their death shack has been unfurled already, does that mean this story is being beamed back to us from the movie’s future? Somebody call Dr. Who so he can fix this reTardised timeline! Whatever the chrono-illogical chicanery at play here, Buck graphically editorializes the hell out of the story, going on a tirade about how the once jovial practioners of the buffooning arts no longer caper for the amusement of others, but instead “man-rape ya, toss your salad, hack you to bits, then EAT your ass”. Well, at least they’re considerate enough to toss your salad after “man raping” you! Most places you’re likely to get a slap in the face or a punt between your uprights for asking someone to apply a gentle propulsionary mixing to your combined vegetative elements! Bucky ends his special report calling for the genocide of all clowns, whatever their ethical/moral alignment. Something of an Alex Jones of his day, minus the marketing genius of hawking his personal brand of taint wipes to his butt hurt viewers.
(If this guy has never once sat astride a horse while shouting into a TV camera about how mentally unfit he is to price used cars and/or home appliances, I will exhume Rue McClanahan and tongue wash her expired clam pocket.)
The next station on this train ride through scenic Non-Sequitur County sees another random victim (Anthony Bailey) secured to a wall of iron bars and awakened by the group of fools’ only female (Dementia Armand), whose attire of choice leans heavily in the direction of “podunk mall goth”. Rather than demanding to know where he is, how he got there, or who put him there (as that would require a backstory of some fashion), the captive’s first instinct is to try and flirt his way into a blowjob, rapidly securing him the award for Most Deserving Casualty. Trailer park Harley Quinn takes the disgruntled UPS driver approach instead and violently mishandles his package. She may not have intended to hurt him though. She may have just really suck at giving hand jobs! Like the girl who gave me my first… I’m lucky I didn’t get PTSD from that.
When she-clown asks him (in her oddly British accent) if he’s ever done meth before, he declares his proclivity for crack instead (because he’s black after all… uggh), but ends up forcibly spoon fed some homemade clown amphetamines anyway, dying from an overdose. Declaring her one-pot artificial sweetener part of a bad batch, she then wanders off to chew on the disembodied bits of a caucasian no-one-in-particular just left sitting around the house. I guess when you’re a gussied up Barnum & Bailey reject by way of Hot Topic whacked out on smack, you don’t really sweat small stuff like refrigerating your leftovers.
The narrator doesn’t chime in on this segment, possibly because he was taking a meth break or sleeping off the previous night’s hangover in the back of his windowless van. Let this be a lesson to anyone out there who intends to hire their uncle to do a voice-over for their movie – you never give him the full case of beer before the recording session is over! Give him one or two to wet his whistle and keep him motivated, but make sure he earns his round trip ticket through the mountains of Busch!
Following this is yet another “how many of the fucking things are there?!” scene of random clown degeneracy. This time, the group’s answer to “What would happen if Jame Gumb and Baby Firefly reproduced?” goes all transvestite Mr. Blonde on still more random captives. Like too many of these scenes, this too is a cacophany of clips thrown into a digital blender and played over a backing track that… actually isn’t that bad. It’s got that amateur stripper, spookshow dancer, “just hip-hoppy enough to have a bit of a hook to it” vibe that’s better than this crapapalooza deserves. Wouldn’t you know it? I guess if you dig through piles of dogshit long enough, you’re bound to come across a shiny
quarter nickle sooner or later!
Reminding us that there’s still much more canine caca in question to get lodged under our fingernails before we can sleep, the next excerpt illustrates that the antagonists are equal opportunity sexual assailants and don’t just ply their perversions on “French” men. Three of the cavortous cornholers forceably strip, grope, manhandle and manacle a wayward redheaded lass (Rose Shannon), during which one of them repeatedly proclaims that he’s going to play with her because “she’s my doll”. Oddly enough, his repetition of the term “my doll” is at such an excess that it comes off like a superliminal advert for Midol. This scene is likely just to showcase Miss Shannon’s willingness to be filmed engaging in moderately rough rape play though, as the clowns exit stage left afterward to leave her mildly struggling against her bondage as things fade to black. I should’ve just called this episode “Twenty Two Short Films About Clown Ghouls”.
Our gravely voiced narrator finally returns (having eaten his daily regiment of broken glass) to introduce the next segment, which will take up the whole second half of today’s movie, making it the most movie part of the whole fucking movie! The (anti-)hero for this final leg of our slog through circus sewage is a prison escapee (Nathaniel Holt) who goes by the nom de bitch of “Zed the Loser”. As our story (45 minutes in and we finally have one!) would have it, Zed had an unfortunate run-in with a clown once that consisted of being suckered into pulling said joker’s finger. The result? No clue. I’m presuming that the clown then farted (possibly under the false pretense of a whoopie cushion), but again, it’s left incredibly vague. After liberating himself, Zed also breaks his fellow clown despiser and grrrlfriend Sally (Julie Fontenot) out of her padded room at the local mental care facility. Her loathing for the Painted Ones stems back to an experience she had as a child during a birthday party wherein a clown did “something” with a balloon animal that she didn’t like. What that “something” was is also left incredibly vague, forcing us to fill in the blanks for ourselves. My guess? That my “fill in the blanks” comment just unintentionally summed it up. Blart.
Because three heads are presumably better than two (unless you’re Ghidorah and lose no matter how many you have) when it comes to combating the menace of imitation juggalos, Sally’s friend-in-fiending Shorty (Kim Mason) tags along for their trolley ride into the three-ring nightmare. They arm themselves with military hardware stolen from a local gun store whose owner they’ve freshly murdered. Given that we were introduced to said owner while he was storytelling his security guy about the time he raped a goat in Iraq, I’m sure you’ll join me in not mourning his passing as any kind of “loss”. Watching this movie, I get the sense that Hughes and Howard have some serious sexual issues that a few years in therapy might be able to start scratching the surface of.
Hopped up on dope they stole from some “about as Mexican as Taco Bell” dealers (in a segment I couldn’t be bothered to relay) and well stocked with absolutely not plastic, I repeat, ABSOLUTELY NOT PLASTIC guns, the raid on the clown college dropouts (awesome name for a band, by the way) is a go. They split up so the girls can start thinning the figurative herd as Zed takes the tactical route of “looking for weaknesses in the clowns’ defense system”. Shouldn’t be too hard given that they’re methed-up hillbillies whose entire success rate as serial killers depends on exponentially stupider people (most further impaired on narcotics) wandering within the perimeter of their secluded shanty, and perhaps the odd blind hiker or “person with their head stuck in the upright position” that trips over one of their in-no-way-conceled booby traps. Given that Zed managed to kill 7 or 8 gangbangers on his own with just a knife (again, previous scene), you’d have to think he can handle 5 rape happy honkeys in Halloween makeup while paired with his new life partner, Mr. Shotgun.
After taking way too long playing out a weak cheese Vaudeville act where the clowns’ mentally retarded member swats at her targeting laser dot like a fly he can’t brush off, Sally aces one of the goobers with ease. She immediately regrets her excessive pre-raid drug consumption though, when it sucks her down the super happy fun slide to Bad Trip Boulevard. She somehow manages an escape, but gets a cloud of clown dope up her nasal hatch courtesy of one of their traps. The narrator says the drug will destroy her mind forever, but it DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER since she’s just grabbed my her prey-turned-predators later on anyway!
Shorty is the trio’s first fatality, as she’s stalked all too slowly around the compound by the gang until being unexceptionally headlocked to death. I was going to call it the clownpound but, by the maligned suggestiveness of Yog-Sothoth, that name just conjures up an all-clown gangbang porn the likes of which my ebbing sanity can never again fathom! I’m by no means a caulrophobic, but even I have my limits. Speaking of pornographic imagery, the previously imprisoned Duracell (because she’s a copper top…. and bottom, in case you were curious just how much) gets additional screen time when she’s spanked crimson with a rubber chicken, then slips her bonds to attempt an escape, but is ultimately stabbed to death before she could get far. I’m actually glad there was never an effort to establish who the Hel she was, because even my naming her after a battery was more effort put into establishing her character than the writers bothered with.
Back to Sally, she winds up the Marilyn Burns guest of honor at the clowns’ homage to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre supper scene. Much like that Sally, this Sally too escapes her cannibal captors (where did these fuckheads learn to tie knots?!), only to be rundown and killed by her rotund pursuer because there’s no convenient passing pick-up truck to carry her cackling ass to safety. And what about Zed? Not that it matters, but “The Loser” lives up to his nickname when he’s unceremoniously exploded by one of those tripwire traps he was supposedly looking out for. Anti-climactic? Absolutely. But at least it’s over now! Praise Professor Bobo’s tick ridden backside for that!
This could very well be one of those “It’s amazing if you watch it while drunk or fucked out of your lobe on brown sauce!” instances, but where does that leave those of us not allowed to indulge in mind altering substances because we’re on permanent probation for burning a busload of school children alive? I’ll tell you where it leaves me, I mean “us” – losing unrecoverable time from our lives that could’ve been spent productively, including but not limited to plowing mouth-first into a 6ft hoagie, bleach-washing the blood out of the trunk out of our car, or masturbating ourselves to sleep, content in the knowledge that we didn’t watch a bunch of bumblefucks in clown outfits splice together a series of lazy, incoherent, otherwise unrelated skits under the false pretense that they were trying to cobble nonsense into a feature.
And for anyone who read that last indictment of this micro-budget, shot-on-video, rectal recital of an anthology and immediately condemned me for being an unfun movie snob (which is likely the nicest possible term I could imagine any motherfucker reading this would use), remember that it all came from someone who has a long standing love affair with Redneck Zombies and has no issue shouting as such from the metaphorical rooftops while dancing along to the musical accompaniment of an unnamed, fiddle-playing, Hasidic gentleman. No, Cannibal Killer Clowns on Dope is a muddled, wanna-be shocker, chicken with its head cut off, so bad it’s bad, blender full of dog shit set to puree. Fuck. This. Movie.
For the sake of the ladies who bared their all for this fart locked in a plain black DVD case, I really really REALLY hope they were either paid moderately well to do so, or are residents of a local nudist colony and got naked on camera “for the cause”. The thought of them doing so under the false pretense of becoming the next Demi Moore, Jennifer Anniston, Charlize Theron, or Renee Zellweger (all of whom started in low budget horror roles) would rupture my oil and tar belching heart, undoubtedly ruining the carpet in my den.
Before I go, I’d like to bookend this review with the announcement that my new band, Gore & Greasepaint, will be holding a release party this Thursday night at The Pumpkin Patch to celebrate the release of our first demo tape: Ruined By Clowns. It’s going to be a cash bar event and clown attire is mandatory. The dress code will be strictly enforced, so don’t show up without your polka dots and comically oversized shoes unless you want to leave your family emotionally distraught for the rest of their lives while they try to solve the mystery of your disappearance. Anyone unable to make the show is welcome to donate to our possible future endeavors through PayPal via email@example.com or can buy our t-shirt (or any of a hundred other things) at The Tomb’s CafePress and/or TeePublic stores.
Until next time, fight the power, don’t fear the reaper, party hard, burn down the KKK, have a drink on me, and say hi to your mother for me!
Ever the Rip Van Winkle of popular culture, Jay Leno’s attempt at revitalizing his comedy career via YouTube starts (and ends) with his first video, “Baby Planking”. One look at the comments section an hour later and Leno deleted his account.
Sandra Bernhard researches Uwe Boll’s filmography to mine material for her upcoming NetFlix “original” series, ‘Reel Wild Cinema: the Return’. The streaming service’s deepest dive into nostalgia niche necromancy to date, until they figure out who owns the rights to ‘Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys’.
Oh no. These commercials from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Balloon Animals (ASPCBA) always break my heart. The Puddles Pity Party cover of that Sarah McLachlan song is the last nail in the coffin.
Genre section sign purchased at the local Circus Video store’s going-out-of-business sale.
Kubota’s efforts to publish an “Easy Rider” style magazine for farmers never caught on like they’d hoped.
“I told you to stop getting your breasts in the pictures. Why are you topless anyway?! This shoot is for a Fruit Stripe Gum ad!”
Eschewing theatrical tradition, this year’s “Shakespeare In the Park” program will be replaced instead by a production of “Rocky Horror In the Trailer Park”. No refunds.
Uggh! That’s disgusting! Don’t just leave your dismembered human leftovers lying around! THAT’S HOW YOU GET ANTS!
“I don’t understand! He continues to promote class warfare, white supremacists, anti-Muslim bigotry, and nuclear war against other psychopathic dictators! When does Twitter step in and DO SOMETHING?!”
In the Mirror Universe, Amy Schumer became an ultra-conservative Republican extremist freedom fighter. Seen here moments before liberating a convenience store from its Muslim oppressors.
“Uggh. I keep waking up with centipedes in my sinuses! Maybe it’s time to stop sleeping on the ground… or start sleeping in a beekeeper helmet.”
Just your average scene from a Gathering of the Juggalos men’s room.
Just your average scene from a Gathering of the Juggalos ladies’ room.
The famed artist depicted here working on his masterpiece: the Shitstain Crappel.
Anubis will return in
“Jim Henson’s Scanner Babies”
Featuring: Alexandra “Boy Meets Girl” Turshen , Keenan “First Person” Henson , Caitlin “‘Continuum’” Cromwell
Writer & Director: Bradley “Clearly wrote his own IMDB biography” Stryker
The Evil Dead Bride and your humble narrator were perusing the alcohol offerings at NileMart the other day when we discovered that, not long after the re-emergence (and re-disappearance) of Crystal Pepsi, fellow transparent ’90s punchline drink Zima is now also back on the market. My long standing theory that the latter is just a fermented form of the former? Confirmed.
Pop culture footnote beverage humor aside, after finally conquering the world’s Russia problem with my last review (The Guardians), it’s time to live up to my promises, play a game of ketchup (“catsup” if you’re nasty) and get the circus train back on its tracks. Well, not the whole circus. It’s more like I’m about to abandon an overbooked clown car on a railroad crossing, let the 7:06 bullet from Tarker’s Mill do the dirty work for me, then all I’ve gotta do is report on the aftermath.
In the interest of transparency, I admit that I’m taking some liberties when it comes to Land of Smiles being a killer clown flick, especially when it comes to the whole “painted horrors” technicality, but if the oozing cold sore on America’s dick can give ethics the tiny middle finger by appointing government positions to his defective offspring and filling his cabinet with the highest bidders, I can bend the rules of the Republic of Tombistan. Though the movie’s antagonists conceal their faces under the visage of sinister jesters, they do so with rubber masks, possibly purchased from the clearance bin of a Spirit Halloween pop-up store. It’s not like the world’s lacking in movies out in the nebulous “there” that center on actual grease-painted murderous mirth makers, I just thought I could use a little change of subgenre scenery. It’s not as if I signed any kind of contract (at least not one that falls under the jurisdiction of any mortal justice system) saying I can’t, so just make like a shed uterine lining and go with the flow, Joe!
The basis for Smiles is nothing new. It’s about backpacking Americans whose vacation to a beautiful country they’ve never been to before leads to the reveal of a seamy underbelly that threatens to swallow them whole in its gaping maw of stranger danger, inducing increased paranoia in any members of its audience who already didn’t need any more reasons to never take a vacation beyond pitching tents and making s’mores in their own backyard. See Wolf Creek, Turistas, A Perfect Getaway, Eli Roth’s Hostel flicks and, of course, The Hangover Part II. I would’ve included The Ruins on that list, but that’s supernatural horror and thus does not fall under the “people from other countries are the real monsters” xenophobia gimmick.
Our vulnerable young travelers begging to never be heard from again are lifelong friends and overly confident American college students Abby (Aleandra Turshen) and Penny (Krista Donargo). Having planned a trip to Thailand together for the longest time (oh, oh, oh, for the longest time), Abby earns her BFF of 19 years’ ire when she backs out of their girls only vacation to stay near her boyfriend Brad (Brandon Nagle), who more than likely didn’t like the idea of his girlfriend being half-way across the globe and possibly getting peanut sauce licked off her ass by some beefcake with jungle herpes.
In a moment that can only be scripted (and poorly at that), Ab’s sacrifice of Pen’s friendship blows up in her face almost instantaneously when her attempt to surprise Brad with a candlelit cupcake (birthday/anniversary?) leads to her walking in on Brad in the middle of a Skinemax bump n’ hump session with Lacy (Charisse Bellante) – a random blonde who comes off just as “trashy party girl who’s upset she never got to be in a Girls Gone Wild DVD” in her sex making as her name would suggest. To any Lacys out there who take offense to that, I’m sorry, but maybe your parents shouldn’t have named you after a style of lingerie trim.
Blinded by confusion and rage, Abby unleashes a few shots of Cowboy Mike’s Extra Bold Red Hot Ricochet Pepper Spray upon the ocular orbs of the indignant fornicators, apologizing at first before revoking said formality and storming out in justified rage. If you think pepper spray’s a little intense, these two are just lucky Abby’s probably too young to remember the whole Lorena Bobbitt episode. However, as is all too common the case, the cupcake is the true victim of the break up. Poor thing’s probably going to be swallowed up by the foster system like so many little lost souls before it. If you would, say a little prayer for the cupcake’s well being tonight while you’re taking your pre-bedtime dump, won’t you?
Of course Abby couldn't have made this discovery before Penny’s departure, so now she’ll play some ketchup of her own and do the first leg of their itinerary solo. No idea why she couldn’t have just traveled ahead and met Nickel immediately, but then we wouldn’t have a movie. Why? Because Dime gets kidnapped. Not ready to cancel your plane tickets to Thailand yet? Well, the people who take her are dressed in those aforementioned clown masks. Calling the airline now to see if you can get a refund? I thought so. Besides, why travel when you can spend summer break crashed on your couch in your underthings (or, if you’re like myself, au natural) with the AC cranked to “Absolute Zero” as you eat can after can of overstuffed ravioli and play your favorite video games? I’m currently working through Saint’s Row IV right now. Did you know you can dress up your character in a MechaGodzilla costume?! It’s true taint-tingling terrificness!
Anyway, Abby isn’t aware of her sister-from-another-mister’s peril, so she simply does the tourist thing for a bit as intended. Her only communications from Quarter involve random pics without any accompanying messages to explain them, which our heroine chalks up to her still having rump rash about the whole “I’d rather spend summer break with the boyfriend that you’ve repeatedly informed me is a heaping piece of pooper pie than go to on a tropical dream vacation with my oldest, dearest friend” drama. Along her travels, she meets a pair of fellow out-of-towners in Ben (Keenan Henson) and Jewel (Caitlyn Cromwell/Stryker, the writer-director’s wife), who approach her under the most suspicious of methods when Ben steals her backpack. He returns it to her right after though, calking it up to a lesson that she should keep on her toes lest she be destitute (given that she’s already Pennyless *rimshot*) and giving bareback Around the Worlds to American businessmen by Tuesday.
A bit douchey, but in that “big brother tough love” sorta way, Abby accepts the advice as well as the offer to tag along with the couple. Their reason for being in Thailand is so Brad can traverse the whole of Southern Asia, shooting a wanna-be VICE style vid about the things backpackers experience while trekking through third world countries. I think. I don’t really know what his point is, because it all just looks like a tourism video to sell Thai travel packages to college kids back in the states. They also fraternize with a fellow outsider named Dale (writer-director Brad Stryker), an Aussie guy there for the nightlife, the pretty scenery, and to bang as many random prostitutes dressed in “sexy (career here)” Halloween costumes as his down under can afford. I’d advise him to make sure the females he’s bedding are actual females, given that it’s Thailand and all, but somehow Dale seems like the type of guy that wouldn’t really care either way once his Foster’s and Cialis cocktail kicked in.
And for anyone protesting that Foster’s isn’t what actual Australians drink, it’s okay. Stryker was born in fucking Oregon, so he’s about as not an actual Australian as a white person can get. His put-on accent (as in “put-on like Kris Kross’ pants – incorrectly”) will support me on that.
When Abby does finally get the confirmation video that Half-Dollar has been Taken-ed, the young lady’s clown cloaked absconders have two simple demands – (1) Do NOT tell anyone about the crime and (2) continue on with the plans to rock n’ roll all night and party every day. If Abs can ignore the anxiety of her best friend’s peril and embrace the drunken American party girl stereotype inside her that she came to Thailand to rediscover in the first place, then they’ll release their abductee and the girls can be reunited. That’s…weird. Have I been lied to my entire life and the point of kidnappings isn’t to demand ransoms, but rather force people to live the Miller High Life?! Because as much as I love some of the people in my life, I wouldn’t be willing to drink excessively of such bottled piss swill for the return of some of them.
Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t so much the case. When Absinthe breaks the first rule of fight club and talks about fight club with B&J, Ben (last name “Dover”?) introduces her to the world of Southern Asia’s newest craze – staged abductions! Seems that there’s a whole subgenre of today’s Generation Meme culture dedicated to setting up false kidnappings for the sake of “reminding people how to have fun”, then posting the reaction videos online when the victim is told it was all for funsies. Just psychologically scarring, emotionally terrorizing, friendship shattering funsies. Fucking people and their fucking reaction videos. It was funny for about 5 minutes in the wake of the “2 Girls 1 Cup” epidemic, but I never wanna see another one of those stupid things again. Unless it involves the kind of reaction George Clooney had when he found Brad Pitt hiding in his closet. Now THAT’s a multi-million views moment!
(Today’s lesson: don’t come out of the closet to Worst Batman)
Additionally, what the frosted fucks does that ambiguous “reminding people how to have fun” description mean? In this case, “people” refers to adults and “have fun” refers to intoxicating ones self to the point of long term brain damage because your friends apparently only like you when you're making as asshole out of yourself in public, throwing up $60 in margaritas, and blacking out so you can put yourself at risk of being sexually assaulted by any horny festering pustule excuse for a human being that happens to be passing by. Given the length of that explanation, you can see the need for the “TL;DR” version provided.
And so we’re left with the mystery of whether this is a legitimate criminal situation by a Thai maniac clowning with their prey, or if it’s all just a really shitty scheme by Hay Penny to make Abby abandon the maturity of adulthood and “loosen up”. Which is just a dickhead way of Sixpence (who’s none the richer… *rimshot*) saying that she fundamentally intends to drag her friend down so she herself doesn’t need to be alone in her terror of growing up and assuming responsibilities that she’s not ready for. Could she have opted for a less vindictive, “Reverse Jigsaw” method? Maybe. But that would kill Stryker’s entire effort to make something he likely mistook as being “visionary”.
Not only does what could have been a decent little flick foil itself in the finish with a fumbled finale, but Stryker opted to be the seventy-thousandth indie movie director to think they’re the one who’s going to breathe unasked for life into the fetid, deflated lungs of the “found footage” movie, completely ignoring the Do Not Resuscitate notice the subgenre has hanging around its neck. And it’s not even some semi-reasonable bullshit like the Paranormal Activity security cam footage concept, it’s just yet another instance of the characters shooting their own videos of the proceedings, likely until they all die, never putting the camera down no matter how much immediate peril they’re put in. Once they’re dead, all of this “found footage” then gets spliced (I guess “merged” would be the modern digital version?) by some unknown editor who cobbles together a single project whose final cut just happens to be very movie-like, both in structure and length, and includes numerous clearly not found helicopter shots and professionally framed footage of the landscapes. Sounds like mister first-time feature couldn’t play it casual and stick with his own theme. I guess you can’t “make the environment a character” without pricey aerial establishing shots, eh?
Land of Smiles makes some attempt at explaining itself in the finish, but does about as well as a stoner trying to explain to their probation officer that their eyes are red because they “just have bad hay fever”. It even comes with a lazy, forced Shyamalanian pseudo-twist hanging off of its ass, metaphorically wrapping the whole thing up in a way that’s equivalent to actually wrapping a broken toaster with soiled newspapers, not unlike those I put around Bastet’s litter box so she won’t track her shit grit into my bed during one of her 2am “u up?” booty calls. I haven’t been this aggravated about such a fucking stupid, pointless, shoved-in-dry, “for the sake of getting one over on the audience” Chubby Checker conclusion since The Bone Collector (aka “That there Bone Crusher” to quote a private joke). It’s not even the whole ending, either! If you circumcised Styrker’s failed attempt at being cutesy with his end credits sequence, it would’ve been a perfectly fine ending to a mediocre thriller. As is, though, you may audibly boo it the same way I did. Try not to wake up your downstairs neighbor when you do so the same way I did, otherwise you too will have very awkward mailbox interactions for the next few days also…
All of that nonsense aside (if you can put the last minute alteration of the entirety of the movie’s story “aside”), Stryker’s other major effort goes into the “ugly behind the beauty” theme he seems to believe he himself created. In case the fact that you’re watching a HORROR movie titled Land of Smiles is too subtle for you, the guy includes numerous shots of beautiful locales populated by beautiful people having beautiful good times with beautiful beautiful party party yadda yadda blah blah inter-cut with moments of our protagonists freaking out (again and again and again) and vids of Penny maybe-or-maybe not being tortured. It’s juxtaposition overload! It’s the hallmark of a film school student who doesn’t respect their audience’s intelligence/awareness, so they spend too much time hitting us over the head with it to make sure we get the point. Though, as we all know, no one will ever truly get the deep introspective point of Mr. Stryker’s art because, well, he’s a creator while we the audience are simply refuse in his path to brilliance.
Except for those who leave 8+ star reviews on IMDB. Clearly they “get it”…
In case you require more evidence of my claim (like the police insisted on that time I accused my aforementioned downstairs neighbor of shitting on my doormat), observe the name of Stryker's self-production company as Exhibit D –
That’s not a ‘shop job, kids. He actually calls it “Stryke-Force Films”. A guy who wants us to take his very serious horror movie very seriously sticks a name like that onto the opening. For Francis Ford Fuckula’s sake, this is not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary tale. This is for real. He’s Tommy Wiseau without the charming Ed Wood-ian naivete. I can only hope that whichever family members he conned into putting up the money for this vacation-turned-movie are the “more money than brains” type, otherwise I fell sorry for them.
But, despite all of this fresh personal contempt I’ve discovered for one Bradley Stryker, Land of Smiles isn’t a terrible movie. It’s better-than-bad without quite reaching the lofty levels of “good” as established by Log (*from BLAMMO!™). It at least makes an effort to do something uncommon if not new (even going so far as name dropping The Game as the in-continuity inspiration for the fake kidnapping business), and the cast (excluding Stryker’s needlessly Australian Dale that is) does a well enough job conveying their fear to keep playing along while Ben urges the girls on. Whether his motivations are as altruistic for Penny as he claims them to be, or he just wants to finish his video project like the girls have growing suspicions of is never entirely clear, which works in the flick’s favor. Oh, and if you close your eyes, there are times you’d swear Keenan Henson’s lines were being delivered by a manic Vince Vaughn. It’s neither a pro nor a con, really, unless you’re Isla Fisher’s character from Wedding Crashers, in which case it’ll probably create a babbling brook down your thigh.
I have a titanium firm “no toilet sex” rule, but ever since that movie she gets an exclusive pass. Well, her and Barbara “Megan Halsey” Crampton, but she’s of an unlimited classification all her own. Don’t ask me the acts I would do for that woman, lest ye have a cast iron constitution or have long lost your soul to the dark horrors of the internet.
Oh, back on topic, as much as I hate The Blair Witch Project for its piss poor “let’s just say ‘fuck’ a lot because we can’t ad lib to save our thrice damned lives” improvised dialogue, it was at least more realistic than a lot of the supposedly “real footage” exchanges in Land of Smiles. Blame the actors for not being able to make it believable or blame Stryker for a clunky script, but either way it doesn’t help sell the lie that we’re meant to get lost in. In spite of my gripes about this, the crap ending, and a shooting style too schizo to settle on whether it’s trying to be a traditional movie or a vacation video, the movie is still oddly watchable! Weird, right?! I know! I’m as shocked to type it as you are to read it! So, yeah, there are way worse ways to wear out your eyeballs for an hour or two and if that’s enough of an endorsement for you to seek LoS out, have at it, friends.
Whether Brad (the director, not the cheating boyfriend…though Stryker could very well be the type who needs a woman to tell him he has a big dick to perform) can parlay his first feature into a career win in the long run or not, only time will tell. Whether the sparks of potential are enough to feed a flame of success, at least he can fall back on his extensive work as a bit part player in TV shows and direct-to-DVD movies. It may not make him a household name, but at least it pays the bills!… I presume.
My role as the grand marshal of this parade of fools continues next time (and four or so times again after that) with a movie that’s, well, less a movie than a digital version of a lost Hippolytus de Marsiliis torture method. While you look that name up, I’m gonna casually slip away via the escape hatch I had installed under my desk… CIAO!
“I never understood how these stupid horoscopes work. What does my having been born in the first week of November have to do with not being compatible with someone born in mid-June?! I call bullshit… So, what does mine say?
I understand that this guy’s probably doing the clown thing to work out some deeply depressing personal issues, but you may not want to do the “limp flower as a metaphor for my erectile dysfunction” bit around the ladies.
“Shit! That’s the fourth iPhone I’ve lost to the porcelain Sarlak pit this year! There goes the rest of my savings.”
Sarah and Elaine’s attempt to resurrect the “Girls Gone Wild” series with all of the drinking and partying minus the nudity and “lesbian stuff” proved grossly unsuccessful.
“Why do you need such a big backpack?”
“So I can sleep inside it at night while hanging it from a tree to avoid bears!”
“I keep telling ya, love, even if there were sharks this far inland, they wouldn’t come after ya! Just because you’re on your period doesn’t mean you’re ‘bikini chum’!”
“I don’t get it. I ask you what a ‘lemon party’ is and now you’re recording me watching a video? You’re so weird.”
“I hope you’re at least not being cheap and paid extra for a reach around, Greg.”
“Welcome to ‘Clowning Around’ with your host, Zippo VonLaughsalot. This week’s contestant is Janet, and she’ll be playing ‘What’s Crawling On My Leg?’ for her chance at a $25 Best Buy gift card!”
“I know it’s tradition to swallow the worm when drinking a bottle of Mezcal, but that thing last night… it had a face… a human face! I swear it looked at me and mouthed my name before… before… oh god, what have I done?!”
Oh jeez. I hooked up with her at last call a month ago and the bitch gave me crabs. Let’s just go before she… DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER! GAH! RUN!
It’s sad to know I will never be as happy as she is right now. Let’s not ruin it and tell her that every stray cat in the neighborhood makes that place their litter box.
Uh-oh! Looks like some tourists discovered their hotel’s hidden toilet cameras!
I’m not the most culturally educated man-jackal, but I can’t imagine it’s very sanitary of Thailand letting elephants just leave piles of number two in their human restrooms.
Laugh all you like, but lonely weirdos pay $200 a night just to watch her sleep on a webcam site!
“You know what I hate? Stupid assholes in goofy rubber clown masks that sneak up on people to try and scare them… Damn it, there’s one right behind me, isn’t there?”
“Wow! These Gushers fruit snacks really are bursting with fruit flavor!”
This is why I stopped going to the local beer garden during carnival season.
And this is why I started going to the local strip club during carnival season!
Anubis will return in
“The Inbred Clown Posse”
Featuring: Kelli Jensen ; Nathaniel Ketcham ; Chris “Surviving the Rush” Peters
Director: Tommy “They Must Eat” Brunswick
Writer: Todd “The Remake” Brunswick
Sequel: Jingles the Clown
In the greatest piece of fast food news since they brought back cheesy tots, for Valentine’s Day Israeli Burger Kings offered “adult” meals that came with free sex toys, upgrading from happy meals to happy ending meals!… yes, I know that’s McDonald’s, but suspend your disbelief for the sake of the joke, okay? Though I don’t expect this to be a thing at BKs in our neck of the planet anytime soon (despite the rapist-in-chief being in office), it wouldn’t surprise me if Carl’s Jr. took their dirt-bag exploitation business model in a similar direction by offering a free bottle of their famous Budweiser cheese-flavored lube and a mini-fleshlight/pocket vibrator with every purchase of a Double Bacon 3-Way Burger value meal.
Get it? “3-Way Burger”? Cuz it’s sex. Get it? Yeah. Softcore commercials of Hustler rejects jamming garbage-even-by-fast-food-standards burgers in their mouths while stuffing bacon cheese fries up their o-rings (and that ‘o’ doesn’t stand for “onion”). Of course, that last part is always cut from the ads, as they’re only meant for Andy “Jerks off in the special sauce” Puzder’s private collection.
With that out of the way, it’s time to put on your rainbow wig, refill your squirting flower and lace-up your over-sized novelty footwear!
Before we delve too deeply into today’s quicksand cinema, I’m sad to report that The Tomb’s beloved feline elder, Merlin “Don’t call me Murray” Cow, has written the final page of his life story. Living to the ripe old age of 16, he was too good and pure (and stupid) for this world, and will take his place in the pet pantheon of the great beyond. However, as Mrs. Forrester once historically proclaimed, the only balm that truly soothes an aching blood pump is a skin-peelingly bad movie! If that’s true, then boy howdy is Mr. Jingles just the hypodermic full of morphine I need right now.
Today’s Zodiacal feature is probably the no-est no-budget backyard bad movie I’ve seen since Addicted to Murder or pretty much any movie released by Brimstone Productions in the ’90s. Don’t feel bad if your crap movie education doesn’t include a course in Brimstone, because not only are they obscure as fuck (and for good reason), but you’re better off not losing anymore hours of your life than you’re already losing reading these reviews. Maybe I’ll break out my old VHS tapes and write an e-book.
Back to the Jingling (which is what the sequel should’ve been called), the length is a merciful 74 minutes, 7 of which could’ve been further shaved from the opening and closing credits. You know what’s not a great way to start your movie? Almost 4 minutes of big orange names fading in and out of a black background while some slow, generic rock song plays over it. No doubt performed by the director’s cousin’s Stryper cover band, probably recorded the morning after they were yet again eliminated in the first round of another “Battle of the Bands” competition at The Chug & Piss & Chug Again Pub.
When we find our way to the other side of this debilitating limbo of an intro, it feels like we walked into the theater a few minutes late. A twenty-something actress (Kelli Jensen, whose only other IMDB credit is an episode of ‘Nash Bridges’) trying to convince the audience that she’s a 12 year old girl (by putting her hair in pigtails and wearing little girl pajamas) named Angie Randall hides in her bedroom closet while a murderous maniac in clown makeup named Mr. Jingles (Dr. Rudolph Hatfield, because he didn’t go to evil clown medical school to not be addressed by his honorific) kills her parents with a pair of hatchets. Dad (David Cunningham) has already been dealt with by the time we walk in on the situation and, if Mr. J’s taunting of Angie minutes later is to be believed, the greasepainted spiller of gore put a fatal hatchet wound in daddy’s ass! Icky. Jingles is NOT to be believed, however, as when Pops pops back up later in a last breath effort to protect his daughter, the seat of his acid wash jeans remains fully intact and without so much as a Chipotle stain, let alone the promised superfluous additional ass crack.
So, not only is our eponymous antagonist a murderer, but worse he’s also a liar. Well that’s just great. Given such a poor role model it’s no wonder the youth today are such a mess what with their underwear on the outside and their “emorgies” (emoji orgies) and the Twix-ing. Just thinking about it makes my lumbago act up! Somebody get me my Dr. Johnny Walker’s Patented Magical Miracle Tonic!
Though we missed Mr. Randall’s initial injuring, we do show up just in time to see his wife (Karen Turner) get her own innards eviscerated! Well, not really. Technically her sweater gets sliced open and we watch as the pile of butcher shop pig guts she was storing in there for some reason spill out onto the floor.
(Weird. I always thought the large intestines were attached to things. Human biology be damned!)
While hidden deeper in the closet than the dad on ‘The Brady Bunch’, Angie soaks her unmentionables like they were one of those diapers they pour the blue liquid into in the commercials. I’m guessing she had a lot of asparagus that day too, as Mr. J can smell it from across the room, declaring her a bad girl for pissing her panties. Now I just wish I were watching the original Last House on the Left, because as much as watching Krug and friends torment the girls makes my soul want to vomit all over the entirety of existence, at least I wouldn’t be watching Mr. Jingles. Existential dilemma…
(Strange how neither her pajama bottoms nor underwear absorbed that. Maybe they were made of that water repellent fabric that only looks like cotton.)
As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted by myself, the now cornered Angie opts for flight over fight and makes a break for freedom, easily slipping by her pursuer only to trip over mom’s corpse. Her resultant screaming alerts a pair of plain clothes detectives sitting outside in their car (stakeouting because, as we find out, Jinglypuff has been busy on this particular street as of late), which I find odd since J’s louder shouting as he taunted Angie throughout the house wasn’t enough to catch their attention. The cries of distress prompt the pair to spring into action (good thing Coily the Spring Sprite wasn’t there to fuck things up) and fire a few new breathing holes into Jingles with their prop guns that don’t have muzzle flash when fired, and whose shots were just blatantly made with dollar store pop guns. Angie is saved, preceded by the odd random sound of sleigh bells as circus boy attempts to tell her something that will no doubt result in a major pseudo twist/reveal before the finale. Whoopee. And I don’t mean cushions.
Lucky Number Sleven years later (or “seven” if you just want to sandbag my terrible joke), Angie’s lack of pigtails and shapeless bedtime attire denote that she’s all grown up now. And just in time to be discharged from the mental health facility (which is clearly just someone’s living room) she’s been kept in since the death of her parents.
She’s released to the care of her Aunt Helen (Nicole Majdali) with whom she moves in, along with our heroine’s clear lack of significant possessions. Also living with her are her cousins Heidi (Jessica Hall) and Dylan (Nathaniel Ketcham). Heidi’s your typical unremarkable “business casual” girl who is in her early-twenties, while Dylan is your stereotypical Hot Topic high schooler (despite looking to be hovering around 25) and looks like he’d be better suited to play Renton in a musical version of Trainspotting. At least he wears a Goblin shirt for the entirety of his screen time, so that’s one thing not to be disgusted by. It turns out that he’s also enamored with the Mr. Jingles legend and keeps a binder of his collection of newspaper clippings (I’m assuming, since they never show what’s in the damn binder!). He leaves it out in the open too, where Angie immediately discovers it not even five minutes after moving in. Intentional or idiotic? You decide!
Dyl Pickle’s girlfriend and fellow mall goth emo stoner punkish is Melanie (Heather Doba), who decks herself out as a wanna-be member of The Craft. She’s so dark and brooding that when we first meet her she’s smoking weed and giggling profusely about being “The Pretzel Queen”. With the help of their doobie buddies, Chris (Doug Kolbicz) and Curtis (Brian Zoner… which can’t be his real name), the couple plan to ruin Angie’s big welcome home birthday party later by attempting a convoluted Mr. Jingles themed knock-off of the already convoluted sequence from Halloween where Myers, for no other reason than adding some extra theatrical zing to his murder spree, dug up and dragged a quarter-ton headstone around with him… I hate that movie sometimes.
When the quartet head to the local boneyard to dig up Jingles’ tombstone, they find Mel’s dad Bill (Chris Peters – one of the only actors in the cast with a picture in their IMDB profile), who we’ll remember as one of the cops who saved pigtails Angie in the opening. Along with him is Bill’s then-partner-turned-mayor Baines (Tom Reeser) and the cemetery caretaker (Michael Pilson), who called them upon the discovery of a dead body on his God’s acre. The corpse in question is a nameless stranger (John Anton – another actor with an IMDB head shot!) who was dispatched earlier while drunkenly yelling at his mom or dad’s grave, bitching at them for leaving him nothing but unpaid bills and “an alcoholic gene”. His immediate massacre was heralded by a familiar sound byte of sleigh bells before his hand was hatcheted off, screaming all the while like a proverbial girl. The caretaker, who I’ll call “Carl” for the rest of the review, shouts rampant angry accusations at Baines, blaming him for inciting the initial Mr. Jingles murders and also for the new mass killings to come on this, the Sleventh anniversary of the madman’s violent ventilation. But wasn’t he turned into Swiss cheese in a rainbow wig? If he’s dead, how could he possibly be responsible for this nameless dead extra? Surely you, dear reader, underestimate the power of half-assed screenwriting!
After chewing out Baines, Carl takes Bill back to his creepy little apartment for a friendly plot drop over a cup of General Foods International Coffee. According to his story, Jingles was wrongfully accused (starring Leslie Nielsen and Kelly LeBrock!) fifteen years ago when, on her birthday, a freshly four Angie was almost abducted by a bad bad man in their neighborhood. Children’s party clown Mr. Jingles actually saved Angie from the bastard, but her family and neighbors thought her hero was actually her kidnapper and proceeded to beat the Samaritan within that inch of life people always like to refer to. How can you measure someone’s life, either by length of time or quality of physical being, using inches? Shouldn’t you say that he was “near-fatally beaten” and leave it at that? Meh. Pardon my semantics. Not to be confused with my mutant ticks that killed all those seamen.
(Semantics. Seamen ticks. Laugh.)
Though the real Freddy
Keurig Krueger copycat was later captured in the act of trying to nab another brat, Jingles was still jailed for his non-crime to cover up the fact that his gang assault was one big illegal beatdown that would’ve landed everyone involved behind bars themselves. During his time in the big house, Jing-a-ling took up the popular horror movie hobby of occult studies between sessions of being beaten and raped by the guards and his fellow inmates. After 3 years he managed to escape, leaving his little black magic handbook behind in his cell, allowing Carl (who worked at the facility at the time) to snag it for his personal collection. Over the next 4 years (at least if the movie’s muddled timeline is to be believed) Jingles exacted his revenge on the guilty families before finally being stopped that fateful night by Bill and his stupid prop pop gun. But, if Carl’s to be believed, our dollar store Pennywise, with his dying breath, uttered some manner of incantation that made his body a flophouse for residents from the lake of fire. For whatever reason (movie magic is often oddly [i.e. conveniently] loose with the details), said Satanic slumlord of his own biological apartment complex has now returned, Slevin years after his seeming demise and coincidentally coinciding with Angie’s release from the loony bin. Following his long period of unemployment he’s ready to get back to work, confusing his victims with his out-of-season sleigh bells before shoving hatchets into their faces.
Despite being the protagonista of the production, Angie’s part of the movie is the least entertaining, hence why I’ve made a zilch level effort in talking about it till now. It’s just girl talk garbage scenes of Angie, Heidi and Heidi’s friends planning the “Welcome Back to Normalcy and Happy 19th Birthday!” festivities. Oh, and Aunt Helen gets called out of town for important business reasons we’re supposed to ignore. Why? Without her around, the girls can invite boys over against their legal guardian’s instructions! Scandal!
At one point, Heidi just stands in front of the bathroom mirror eye fucking her own amateur porn chesticles for several minutes while letting the shower run (thus WASTING HOT WATER!) as Angie drifts off to sleep in the adjoining room and has a nightmare about Mr. J. Once we get past the detours, our destination leads to the “party”, where the girls and a handful of “band guys” they’re all squishy over sit around smoking weed and trying to get Angie (at her behest) a piece of Rusty (Jacob Baily), the townie Frank Booth – in that he’ll fuck anything that moves. With a name like “Rusty”, and given his infamous promiscuity, I’d bet anything that his circulatory system is swimming with more STDs than Kid Rock’s nut chum. When he walks out on Angie during foreplay (10 minutes of tongue wrestling is about 8 minutes too much) because she has the ill-timed hallucination of her stalker’s face that every PTSD female has in any horror or thriller movie, you have to figure she’s better off not spending the last few moments of her life being invade by Rusty’s penile plagues.
Back to that whole prank thing the potheads were putting together, Dyldo and Mel go back home to pretend sex and leave it up to the C-Boyz to acquire Jingles’ headstone. The fuckoes fail their task when you-know-who literally materializes from nowhere in his new demonic form (i.e. under a rubber mask and wearing demon dentures) and wrecks them both, smacking one in the face with the other’s dick… well, a dildo that we’re supposed to believe is a dick, except that it’s fully erect and has the little “for heightened realism” rubber ballsack front portion still attached…
The murderer's marker in question is hilariously fake too, as it's set aside from the rest of the cemetery stones and much smaller and cleaner than the others despite having been there under little-to-no tree coverage for the last Slevin years. Although Jingles' real name is never mentioned (he's solely referred to by his stage moniker), his stone lists his name as “David Hess”, which explains his perving predilection for Angie's soiled drawers. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't murderers' bodies cremated after they die? I mean, sure, Friday the 13th Part V could have been lying to me about that (which it clearly was, given Jason’s non-cremated body returning in Part VI), but even if Jingles’ body was left for worm food instead, wouldn’t it have been in an unmarked grave to prevent vandalism and/or body snatching? Uggh, this review is going on longer than this movie deserves and making my brain burn way more calories than it should be.
Back at Carl’s place, after spending 10 minutes of runtime convincing Bill that they need to defeat Jingles with an enchanted ceremonial blade (that was probably purchased for $19.99 on one of those 3am knife-o-mercials), the clown shows up at Carl’s door without any explanation of how he knew where to find him and jams his fist through the torso of the only enjoyable member of the entire cast, making the middle finger he flips the camera all the more painfully pertinent.
(Take that people who paid money to watch this camcorder crap pile!)
Our painted predator then proceeds to beat Bill down with the dull sides of his hatchets…thus solidifying that the former law enforcer is now guaranteed to show up again during the finale, bruised but brave, to make the save because Jingleberries forgot how his baby axes work. Maybe he should get a pair of “this side toward victim” stickers for future reference.
From here on out, it’s just a matter of upping the bodycount as much as possible before the curtain call. Mel dresses like Mr. J to scare the uppity party guests devoid of feces, only to be predictably taken out by the real thing, stabbed in the back with the dildo that’s supposed to be her dead friend’s still very erect dismembered member. This leads to Heidi and her boyfriend going into the backyard to investigate, only to be killed themselves. The rest of the group (Dylan included) are all killed off as well, leaving Angie alone to experience Jing Jong-un’s Happy Birthday to Me inspired “corpses positioned sitting around a table” set piece. The two seem poised for their final confrontation, but instead we cut to Mayor Baines and a pair of patrol piggies busting onto the scene, discovering Angie alone among the dead (great name for my next Sex Golem album) and wielding a familiar pair of hatchets. Twist ending that doesn’t make any sense because it was impossible for Angie to be in two places at the same as much as she would have to have been to be the movie’s surprise killer? Nice try, Todd, but nobody’s stupid enough to fall for it. Especially not the guy who sussed the plot twist of The Village just ten minutes into the movie!
Immediately dropping its false finish, as Angie is being led away for the suspected slaughter of her peers and dickhead Baines postulates she’ll spend the rest of her life in the dangerous criminals wing of the mental ward, Bill (toldja so) appears from the darkness and cold cocks the attending female officer (Hitchcocked by directress Tommy Brunswick). He makes off with Angie so the pair can seek to end the menace of The Jingler in the sequel while said unholy roller gives himself two last victims in Baines and the male officer. They made a sequel to this bowel obstruction?! Yep. When your first movie is made for the cost of a rented camcorder, a boom mic, some blank VHS tapes, and enough Red Vines and Mountain Dew to keep your cast happy, you just knew the Brunswicks would be back to make a follow-up as soon as their income taxes cleared!
Oh, and about that big reveal of the thing Jingles tried to tell pigtails Angie before he was shot? Well, according to the nightmare she has before things go to shit, he said “I’ll see you later”…yep, that’s it. A meta joke about the trite cliches of mass produced movie scripts, or just another lead zeppelin attempt at unironically engaging in said cliches? I’ll leave you to figure that out for yourself, as I now need to grab a nap thanks to the narcolepsy that watching Mr. Jingles has struck me with.
…Or, as the imp in the red pajamas keeps telling me as it pokes my ribs with its pitchfork, I need to finish this review. In the name of Dan Kester’s stained man girdle, sometimes I really regret signing my name to that ominous looking scroll in my own blood. Uggh.
Maybe it’s the chronic depression talking, but this movie wasn’t even “so bad it’s funny” fare. It was just pathetic. Bland. Boring. Incapable of eliciting any emotional response from its audience beyond a lot of yawns and watch checking. Funny must have had an order of protection placed against Jingles’ jokes, because there wasn’t a chuckle to be had from any of them. Even Killjoy had a better gag writer than Mr. J, and I harbor a non-racially motivated HATRED for Killjoy!
Mr. Jingles is so stagnantly written and acted and just made that it’s not even worth doing a proper breakdown of. How it found any kind of distribution, even with one of those generically made “look at the evil painting of the monster on the cover!” DVD covers that were so big in the early 2000s, is less stupefying and more sad. Sad that some shithead at Lions Gate agreed to put it out, and I hope whomever it was that signed the contract in question has since exiled themselves to a tiny underground cell to live out whatever remains of their shameful existence, wallowing in their own filth.
There are no actors in this movie. It was not written by someone who deserves to call himself a writer, nor directed by someone who deserves to pretend she’s a director. This is not a movie. What we have here are just…lies. Fucking lies.
It’s probably gonna take me Slevin years to forget this friggin’ dick wrinkle excuse for a feature even exists, and that’s provided I never fall so far down the stairway of my own self worth that I opt to review its sequel first. But then, such is the suffering of the cinemasochist. Don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m already dead…
Too dramatic? I should’ve been an actor. Speaking of, there is one worthwhile piece of this movie I can get behind besides Dylan’s Goblin t-shirt – Michael Pilson. Mike is the only person in the cast who actually made an effort to act, and boy does he go over the fucking moon. His aggressively angry, shouty style of thespianism made me wish he was the center of the flick, because he was the only star shining in this otherwise pitch black sky. So at least there’s that. Thank you Mr. Pilson.
On that note, cue the end credits. You can call me Doug, cuz I’m outta heeeeeeeeeere.
I call bullshit! That should say “A Tommy Brunswick VIDEO”, because there’s no way this movie was shot on film!
First, “Station Wagons” is two words. Also, the other name sounds like an obtuse way of saying “palm full of jizz”.
A 20 year-old blond wearing pigtails and pretending she’s much younger? That’s usually something you only find in those movies that are preceded by an “All models appearing in this video are 18 years or older” disclaimer.
How the rest of the world sees our new Cheeto-in-Chief.
I never knew Juggalo scrapbookers existed until now.
“Hello? Nintendo Power Line? I was wondering if you had any tips to help me with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Throw it in my toilet, then burn the house down? Got it!”
“Come on, guys. I found out where the neighborhood boys hide their stash of Playboys! We’ll steal ’em all and replace them with my mom’s old Playgirls!”
Every hetero guy’s worst nightmare: when your girlfriend/wife gets her hair done and asks you how it looks.
Set props provided by whatever was left over after the Brunswicks’ last garage sale.
Hey! It’s the movie’s only fan! (And the look on that guy’s face is probably very similar to yours having read this.)
“It’s not gay, man, it’s a prostate massager! Prostate massage is a perfectly natural and healthy way for men to enhance sexual stimulation! Don’t be such a judgmental puritan!”
Folks, never buy your girlfriend lingerie from the “Day After Valentine’s Day Discount Bin” at WalMart. It won’t work out for either of you.
And here we have a failed prototype design for unused Thundercats character Jestro. I’m not sure the story behind it, but it’s easy to see why the show’s creators passed on using him.
Anubis will return next time in
“Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”
Featuring: Georgia “Vampire Biker Babes” Chris , Joe “Experiment 7” Davison , Jack “Experiment 7” Amos
Director: Marcus “Rot” Koch
Writer: Joe “Experiment 7” Davison
You know what I hate? Ironing. You know what else I hate? Irony. Not all irony, just the kind that inconveniences me personally. Like when I’m taking bottles back to the store and their machine, which accepts brands sold exclusively by other stores, will NOT accept drink bottles of their own fucking in-house brands! Slanderman’s Amerika just started and already shit’s going to Hel in a knock-off Louis Vuitton. SAD.
I wish I could indulge in the blissful levels of cognitive dissonance that Cheeto Chiang Kai-shek’s supporters must live in to not only vote the fuck face into office, but continue to sing his praises after the litany of idiocy he continues to vomit from his ass day in and day out. Oh well, ignorance is bliss so I’ll forever be a pessimist. And pissed. And impossible to resist. But not a pacifist. Nor a partaker of the Eucharist. I prefer my flesh and blood consumption to be legitimate and not just some weak cheese metaphor for sipping wine and eating salt-free crackers. Speaking of flesh and blood, let’s review 100 Tears!
The heroes of our picture are Mark Webb (Joe Davidson) and Jen Stevenson (Georgia Chris). The duo are co-writers of made-up articles (you know, ones about “alternative facts”) for a grocery store checkout line tabloid rag called The Midnight Star. This may or may not be a reference to the newspaper Weird Al sang about in the track of the same name, but either way I’d like to clutch my heightened nerd awareness and continue with that line of thinking. It’s assuredly not to be confused with the band Midnight Star, who taught us all the dangers of parking on the dance floor. Thank you for your service, gentlemen. We salute you.
Unable to decide between the raising of the Titanic or the further adventures of Reptile Boy, the pair put their paying job on the back burner for a few days and turn their focus instead on trying to be real reporters by cracking the case of the infamous Teardrop Killer. According to the info provided to her by Jen’s sister in the FBI, Teardrop has iced in excess of 160 people up and down the East Coast over the course of the last 2 decades. Their only info about the monster? He leaves a bloody teardrop smeared at the scenes, hence the name… and that’s all they know?! A maniac violently dismembers people in the triple digits for TWENTY YEARS and all the fucking FBI have come up with is a sugar-free gum equivalent codename for him?! Herbert Hoover must be rolling in his muumuu and high heels!
As “only in the movies” luck would have it, that very night said slayer takes it upon himself to maul, maim and dismember an entire halfway house of fresh victims! What do we know that the FBI doesn’t? The killer is a big & tall guy dressed like a clown who wields a giant meat cleaver that he may have stumbled across in an abandoned slaughterhouse while looking for a place to get in out of the rain and slip in a quick gherkin jerkin’. After the facial devastation of an unfortunate gent in the basement, this Walter Paisley art expedition’s second project is a presumed ex-military dude (unless his dog tags are from Hot Topic and have pictures of Shrek on them) whose best haymakers don’t even faze the grease-painted assailant! Maybe G.I. Joey here got a dishonorable discharge because he throws punches like a Keebler elf? Gung-Ho he’s not.
(Bet you didn’t know the US Military subliminally advertised to gay children in the ’80s.)
The evisceration of a half-dozen people not withstanding, I have some quick thoughts about this killing spree. First, human anatomy. Did you know that you can kill a man instantly by jamming a meat clever into his taint? One whack and two seconds later you’ve got yourself a fresh carcass. It’s true! Speaking of truth, despite being told since childhood that seppuku resulted in literal hours of agony before the participant would finally give up the ghost (I had a good childhood), it turns out that was a lie. As one young female victim shows us, slicing someone’s stomach open also warrants an immediate need for a body bag. All the death without the wait! Additionally, despite what movies like American History X would lead us to believe, the human skull is not nearly as strong as you might think. As our killer clown demonstrates for us, a single stomp from a man’s foot (at least one encased in a comically oversized novelty shoe) causes an adult woman’s head to burst like a balloon full of crimson Karo syrup. No brains, no skull fragments, just a splatter of red goo. Slim Goodbody lied to us all! No wonder he always hid his head under that afro!
As for the halfway house itself, the kitchen seemingly double as a laundry room given the washing machines and coin-op detergent vendor stuffed in the corner. I can’t imagine that’s up to snuff per local health codes, given the risk of cross contamination between the food and shit like laundry soap and whatever microbial eldritch horrors might be living in the occupants’ bedsheets, towels and *dry heave* their skivvies… BLART! Additionally, what kind of halfway house has a big sign on its front door broadcasting that there’s an ATM on the premises? Aren’t those usually saved for corner shops and liquor stores? Unless of course it’s advertising the presence of a prostitute on the premises who offers ass-to-mouth. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Come morning, after Jen wakes up atop Mark (in their shared futon, because they’re also roommates and I guess they don’t have their own bedrooms?) and they have more wacky “fat guy and hot girl” sexual tension (including her offering to fuck him in the shower if he can do 100 sit-ups, followed by his farting in her face as he stands over her) before a hot tip about last night’s bloodbath prompts them to rush to the scene of the crime. They bribe a detective associate of theirs (Rod Grant) to let them take pics of the slaughter before the clean up crews come in to scrub the gore. Finding a terrified girl in hiding, our heroes rightly chastise the cops for not finding her themselves during their own sweep of the premises and learn from the lass that the killer in question was dressed like a clown. So, having been on the case of the Teardrop Killer for all of 15 hours, the pair have already learned more about the mofo than the FBI has in twenty years? Crow T. Robot.
J & M also learn from the attending pig that two other residents of the house are unaccounted for, prompting us to an as-yet-undetermined locale where Bloodthirsty Bozo is revealed to have nabbed the missing couple and taken them home to finish off like human doggy bags. But why? You’ve gotta imagine it’d be more effort than it’s worth to drag two live people across town just so you can kill them there shortly after. Why give yourself additional work to do disposing of them on top of getting them there rather than just adding them to the rest of the mutilated bodycount at the scene of the crime?! How has this putz successfully evaded the feds for this fucking long doing dipshit stuff like this?!
Following up on the clown gimmick, our intrepid off-brand Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson seek a lead at a nearby carnival, interviewing a foul-mouthed old bartender (whose shouting voice sounds oddly like Super Dave Osborne) named Ed (Jerry Allen) and a bite-size circus barker porn mag enthusiast named Draga (Norberto Santiago). Though both peg the pair as cops at first, once our protags ID themselves as tabloid writers hunting a lead the carnies are more than happy to accommodate. Right around here is when we focus our attention elsewhere in the neighborhood and are introduced to Christine (Raine Brown) – a thrift store Harley Quinn who professes an affinity for clowns and a violent dislike for those pesky “normies”, which is a term that Norm Petersen fanboys call themselves. Didn’t know such people existed? Sure they do! They converge for their own convention in Boston once a year, where they cosplay as the iconic alcoholic and occupy the stools of the local drinking establishments for a weekend long bar crawl, nursing beers and shouting “NORM!” every time one of them comes through the front door. No, seriously! Google it!
Oh, and since George Wendt almost never comes up in casual conversation, I’d like to take this chance to tell everyone that he played Dean Halsey in a production of Re-Animator: the Musical that The Evil Dead Bride and I attended some years ago when we still lived in the teeming, heaving mass of bodies and filth you call New York City. He was…okay. True story!
Christine will have a more important role in our tale later on, but for her first few scenes we just kinda watch her get dressed up, go to a bar, pick up some random perm-haired nerd who she convinces to go down on her in an alley (not even with an immunity to STDs and all of my taste buds burned off would I do such a thing to someone I’d just met in a bar) before slitting the chump’s throat and leaving him for a wino to stumble upon later while, she goes home to carve emo etchings on her abdomen for further jollies. Despite this portrayal, keep in mind that the majority of self-cutters aren’t interested in hurting others, just themselves. So if you should see someone with scars on their arms/legs/whatever, fear for them more so than for yourself. Anyway, yeah, now our movie has two killers. When they inevitably meet in the second or third act, do you think they’ll have a team-up or a face-off? Before we answer that…
While Mr. Webb and Miss Stevenson follow up on some other potential leads, Drags is confronted by the obese mirth murderer who threatens short legs’ tiny life until he trades Clowny his continued existence for a piece of paper containing the address of a woman named Tracy. When our would-be Woodward and Bernstein come back to check on half-pint, he spills the garbanzos on all the circustral shenanigans and gore-soaked goings-on. Roll that beautiful bean footage!
The clown’s name is Gurdy (not a great clown name…too close to “Turdy”) and he used to work with Draga at the same circus 20 or so years ago. At the time, two teenage girls named Roxie and Tracy ran away from home and joined said three ring mobile home as carnie groupies. Some ladies just love tiny hands and the overwhelming stench of month old boiled cabbage. I don’t get it either, but every relationship I’m in has to be inter-species, so I don’t judge what gets the blood flowing to your genitalia. Anyway, Roxie shacked up with sideshow strongman Ralphio, while Tracy indulged her fetish for balloon sex toys by sharing sheets with the Gurdler. Turned out that Roxie, despite getting the less nightmare inducing of the potential suitors, was still a cockblocking cunt that didn’t want Tracy being happy too. So, while Trace was getting her womb seltzered, Rox told ‘Phio that Gurds was actually raping her. You know what’s the only thing that makes the idea of being sexed by a clown worse? Being sexed by a clown against your will. The sound of his horn honking as it’s repeatedly mashed between your bodies…
Uggh, I just threw up. Not a little either. It looks like someone just dumped a gallon of Dollar Embargo vegetable soup and a sleeve of mashed up Saltines on my couch. Who wants to take bets on how long I can keep typing through the smell?
A social justice warrior for his time (not a bad thing, despite what tiny penised douche boys would tell you), Ralph didn’t take Roxie’s declaration well and laid a wall-to-wall walloping on Gurdy, stomping his ass like it was flaming bag of dogshit. And just like stomping said immolated brown paper IED, the strongman instantly regrets his actions, because Big Top Shakes responded by strangling Rox and jamming a tent stake through the back of big boy’s brain case. Citing the landmark case of Eye v. Eye, the rest of the circus folk “dealt with Gurdy for good” in a way whose specifics are never explained. Unless Gurds is a literal ghoul (which might explain why he doesn’t talk), I’m presuming “dealing with him” didn’t include killing him, as you might expect. Whatever the case, the painted madman has been cutting throats and gutting folks, following his old place of employment up and down the East Coast ever since. Draga says you could always “feel his presence” at the circus despite having never seen Gurdy in person since the incident. So, now big murderous old Gurdy has finally found Tracy, who he’s been searching for all this time…while slaughtering people for…no…real…reason.
I know it wasn’t easy to find caulrophiles back in the ’80s, but if someone had just shown Gurdy OkCupid or Craigslist or JuggaLove, he could’ve given up his desperate quest to find Tracy and a whole lot of nameless extras would still be alive today.
Speaking of dead extras, while all this has been playing out, Gurdles has been adding a whole lotta notches to the handle of his giant guillotine blade with a handle. His current crash pad is the basement of a local warehouse, and when the place’s realtor stops by with a pair of potential tenants, all three are turned into stew meat for a cannibal potluck. Not exactly smart given that the realtor’s secretary knows where the guy was when last he spoke to her, so when neither he nor the two other guys he took with him return, that’s an easy call to the police to send someone by to check the property out. She doesn’t and they don’t though, but a rent-a-cop instead finds the bloody remnants of the guy in his SUV later that night, which Gurdy just LEFT OUT IN FRONT OF THE WAREHOUSE. Again, HOW THE FUCK DID THIS GUY LEAVE THE FBI CHASING ITS OWN FUCKING TAIL FOR TWENTY YEARS?!
Gurdy’s decades long search for his lost love is all for naught though, as he finds her on the floor of her home with her throat slit! Who could’ve done such a thing? Yep, you guessed it, Christine is Tracy’s daughter and she just killed dear old mom. Rather than hanging the girl by her own intestinal tract for killing the woman he’s spent half a lifetime hunting, Gurd kidnaps Chris (seems she’s only good at killing people who don’t expect it), takes her back to his wretched basement apartment and reveals to her what we’ve all been expecting this whole time – she’s his daughter. Contrived as it is, it’s much better than the other possible outcome, which would’ve been Christine being his new groupie. Not only would that have likely resulted in an ipecac of a sex scene, but it also would’ve made zero fucking sense that a random civilian thrill killer would have known about Gurdy and been able to track him down when, again, the FBI (Fucking Bunch of Idiots) are all too busy giving themselves first-person colonoscopies.
Despite the initial horror of a big psycho clown materializing in her home mere moments after giving her own mom a botched second-chinectomy, Christine seems pretty nonplussed by her poppa’s sudden appearance. She also doesn’t seem all that confused as to why he’s a mute, nor does she question the validity of his claim, and instead just accepts the whole thing as legit. The pair have an instantaneous connection and waste no time getting to the daddy-daughter bonding stuff either, when a gaggle of convenient twenty-somethings out to rave the night away pick the absolute wrong seemingly abandoned warehouse to pass their tress…tress their pass? Whatever, Officer Leroy! (Sifl & Olly joke, so don’t feel bad if that one lost ya) Brandishing the massive slice n’ dicer and a sledgehammer between them, Gurds and Whey make quick work of the kids in their typical gory fashion. Naturally the prey are all too terrified to stop and realize they outnumber their attackers 5-to-1, or that Tweedledaughter shouldn’t be too hard to disarm while awkwardly wielding that big clumsy hammer around, but this world is generally populated by the kind of morons that always come to mind when you ponder just how the “so-and-so wouldn’t know the difference between their asshole and a hole in the ground” witticism gained so much traction.
In our flick’s big finale, Matt & Jen are clued in to the locale of our killers by FBI sister (based on the guard’s SUV discovery the night before) so they head out to investigate before the place is taken over by feds. On the way, they call in their local police squad pals (one of which just wants to bone Jen, not that I blame him) so they won’t be without some form of backup. Rather than wait for the 2 guys with the guns to show up (and it is just the two, since neither apparently thought it a good idea to call in the rest of the pig parade precinct to take down a SERIAL KILLER RESPONSIBLE FOR 200 OR SO MURDERS), our intrepid investigators search the basement of sins (that appears to be lit by some battery powered stick-up lights and a blacklight from Spencer’s Gifts) and end up face-to-painted face with Gurdy. A struggle ensues and Matt shows us that he’s never fired a gun in his life, shooting off a few rounds without so much as a scratch. All the sadder because Gurdy’s of sizable carriage. Have I mentioned that? That he’s fat? I did? How about old? Did I mention that he’s also old? I did. Okay. Just making sure.
Discount bin Crockett and Tubbs show up soon after, but in the interest of expediting these final 15 minutes, let’s leave it at this – the daddy-daughter duo are too much for the quartet. Despite the movie’s earlier exchange of the ex-military dude punching Evil Binky repeatedly in the face to no effect, Mike socks the lummox once in the mouth and fatty’s left reeling like friggin’ Glass Joe. His Tyson-like punches (less the boxer and more the frozen chicken products) notwithstanding, the illegitimate son of Louis C.K. ultimately takes a bullet in the mouth and sheds his mortal coil. The white cop gets his throat slit by Christine (who pretends to be poppa’s prisoner), the black cop (Kibwe Dorsey) gets his head lopped off by the novelty sized butchering implement, and Jen gets slashed up by Chris’ razor blade, has her spine tenderized twice via sledgehammer and finally has her face smashed into the floor multiple times before being left for dead…which she clearly isn’t, as her eyes are wide open and she’s still breathing and writhing around. Rookie mistake on daddy’s little monster’s part. Speaking of, Chris shoots her father in the head (cuz bitches be cray-cray, y’all!) before leaving the scene of the crime. She ends the flick Bill Bixbying down an empty backroad before bursting into 100 Tears‘ final splatter of hemoglobin when she’s street pizza-ed by…Jen. Do Greek women have adamantium skeletons by nature? I mean, even if she didn’t endure multiple concussions from having her face repeatedly bounced off of concrete, I’m pretty sure those SLEDGEHAMMER SHOTS DIRECTLY TO HER SPINE should’ve turned her into b-horror Ironside!
But, you know, movies. What are ya gonna do?
And that’s our movie. It’s truly an HG Lewis flick for the modern age (besides 2001 Maniacs, Blood Feast 2 and so forth). Not because it’s in any way revolutionary or controversial, just because its only real selling point is its graphic violence! It’s a gore whore’s goregasmic delight to behold. The red stuff and chunky inner bits are so prevalent that the movie was given an NC-17 rating for “extreme horror violence”. A badge of honor I’m sure those behind it are proud to display! As they should be. Said splatter showcase is one of the finest (if absurdest) bloodbaths to hit my screen since the last time I watched Evil Dead 2, which any fan of cinematic viscera will recognize as high praise. Give me practical effects for the win, Peter Marshall!
In contrast, 100 Tears‘ story is the whitest of white breads in terms of slasher fare. Think Wonder Bread dipped in a jar of Miracle Whip and fed to an albino polar bear. Whiter than the sheets the republican party wear on their weekend “retreats”. A man and a woman track down a serial killer with a gimmick? Meh. His gimmick is that he’s a clown? And he’s hunting down a figure from his past? Meh again. His murder weapon of choice is a massive meat cleaver? Okay, it’s not just another machete or power tool, so that’s fine. Sadly, making matters worse, this shoestring plot’s got more holes in it than the dozens of apple pies in Jason Biggs’ linen closet. When you’re telling us that the FBI have near-zero info on a serial killer responsible for the deaths of more than 160 people over a twenty year stretch, all of which just happened to be done along the coastal route of the same traveling circus every year over that period, it’s mentally comparable to getting a fucking sliver! It just sits there, stinging and infuriating me more and more as I gnaw at it unsuccessfully in impotent frustration.
Don’t read anything more into that last part, either! Those pills I ordered from Canada are for my liver and nothing else!
On top of that, we only ever get to see Gurdles either in full clown regalia or in the final stages of applying his makeup. Given as such, he must spend time without the greasepaint on if he has to paint himself up again. He has to have more duds in his wardrobe than just his work clothes too, otherwise that shit would’ve been reduced to tatters, cuffs and a collar after twenty years of constant usage! One would have to presume that Gurdy has a secret identity, right? A persona under which you would image he does odd jobs or something to contribute to his basic nutritional needs and travel budget? Or has he just been dumpster diving half-eaten corn dogs from the carnival’s midway trash cans, hence his constant “presence” since his disappearance that Draga refers to? And mayhaps he was just really good at hiding amid the trucks and trailers so no one ever caught him hitching a ride every time they pulled up stakes and moved on? If the devil is in the details, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this flick to any Satan worshipers…
Of which Satanists are not included, so stop being so egocentric with your ignorance to the workings of religions that aren’t your own.
The cast is every bit as amateurish as you’d expect from a homemade horror movie, with writer-star Joe Davison playing comedy relief and giving himself the best lines of the script. At least he delivers them better than I imagine most writers probably would. Georgia Chris and Raine Browne were okay. If nothing else, Raine wasn’t nearly as bad in her pseudo-Harley Quinn role as Margot Robbie was in her actual Harley Quinn role, so…there’s that. I guess. Santiago, sadly enough, seems to have been cast simply for his stature rather than his acting talent. The guy staggers over his lines as if he were a first timer, of which I’m relatively assured he was. If you told me he had even a week of acting classes, or Hel, even some high school drama club experience, I’d probably slap your mother for raising such a foul liar.
As for Amos’ portrayal of Gurdy? For starters, he didn’t have a single line to utter, so he’s off the hook there. His physical stuff was good though. His imposing size and massive cleaver did a lot of the work for him, but his use of the classic movie-killer head tilt was well done. On the downside, the way he’d fling Ol’ Chopper (my name for his cleaver) over his shoulder with a heavy cockiness to his mannerisms and a sneer on his lips just came off as silly bullshit. I’d ask for some leeway when it comes to the cast though, as I’m guessing that a number of these scenes were made under the Roger Corman “one and done” method, because if there were multiple takes and these were the best performances they opted to keep, that’s going to keep me up at night.
So goes today’s feature, 100 Tears. Come for the gory clown violence, stay for…more gory clown violence. If fake blood drenching the screen ain’t your thing, don’t bother tracking this one down, as that’s about all it has to offer. Can’t say a lot for Koch’s directing (especially the lack of fucking lighting in the last 15 minutes), but his special effects are worthy of a girthy upward pointing thumb! Good to see that’s where he’s spent most of his 20 year career.
Before we go, I’ve got one final bone to pick. During Draga’s first scene, things get jarringly goofy when Matt and Jen resort to chasing him on foot through a lightly wooded area. Fat guy awkwardly running after a midget? You betcha.
“Get in mah belly!”
It’s not the chase itself from which said bone protrudes however, but rather the accompanying music that gave me cause to pause. Why? Because it steals the opening to Gogol Bordello’s “I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again”, the 2nd track off of their 2005 album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike! I only say “stolen” because there’s no credit accredited said band anywhere in the credits. In other words, well, it’s stolen. So here I am, making sure the lads from the Lower East Side get as much recognition for their work as, well, posting it here will give them.
You don’t wanna know where that finger’s been. Clowns are disgusting creatures by nature.
“You’re putting too much effort into the jokes actually being funny. We’re writing a sitcom about a fat guy (me) married to an attractive wife (you). Whether it’s funny or not, there’s no way one of the major networks won’t give us a 2 season deal!”
She thinks she’s on hold with the Suicide Prevention Hotline, but it’s actually one of those morning radio show prank calls.
“Heh heh. Just look at that bisection job! Damn, I’m good. Look out world, Gurdy’s coming for ya!”
If “The Truck Stop Massacre” isn’t already in production at Troma, I’ll be disappointed.
Portrait of a man who will never have sex with his hot female friend. Been there, done that, walked out of the sequel.
“Of course I’m a detective! Just look at my long coat, my taint-length tie and my dress shirt tucked into my high-waisted pants!”
Ladies, no matter how sexy it makes you feel, this is why you never go out in a skirt or dress without underwear. You never know when Aunt Flo is gonna make an unwanted visit.
“Alright, baby. Now I’m gonna show you how a real man… FUCK! YOU TOLD ME YOU’D ALREADY HAD THE SURGERY! GROSS!”
I hear they sold their original SCAT ride to a wealthy German Count.
I see somebody turned my worst Porta John experience into a logo. How fun.
“Sure, the internet may be filled with every kind of porn you can imagine, but you just can’t beat the feeling of a crinkled magazine between your fingers during ‘foreplay’. I guess I’m just a romantic!”
He’s the writer, the male lead AND he does his own stunts! Watch out Hollywood, because Joe Davison is a genuine triple threat!
“21 across – ’45th president of the United States’; 5 letters; begins with ‘P’. Any idea?”
And this, children, is why you never eat an entire package of Gushers fruit snacks at once.
“Try not to blow any of your lines on this take. We need to finish shooting this scene before the Olive Garden employees realize what we’re doing in here.”
On the drive home following Burning Man, Lisa realized that she had a lot of life choices to make that she just couldn’t put off anymore. She’d probably never be able to forget the things she saw that fateful weekend, but she preyed that somehow, somewhere down the line, she would one day be freed of those demons and learn to be human again.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Murderous Misadventures of the Crisco Kid”
Featuring: Mark “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” Holton , Charlie “‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’” Weber , Adam “Full Metal Jacket” Baldwin
Director: Clive “Love for $17.50” Saunders
Writers: Clive “Love for $17.50” Saunders & David “Elle” Birke
Also Known As: The Crawl Space
Hello, children. Sorry for the lack of content for the holiday season this year. I was helping Sobek file a defamation lawsuit against Geico on behalf of himself and other anthropomorphic members of the Crocodylia order over their “alligator arms” commercial. The litigation process has taken up a lot of my time and I have a bad feeling we’re not gonna win this one. Which especially sucks, because if we lose I don’t get paid, and if I don’t get paid, there are going to be some very disappointed shapeless horrors down in Cthuwhoville come Cthuyule morning. For anyone who hasn’t seen said discriminatory advertisement, here it is. Be warned though, if you’re of a delicate nature when it comes to vulgar specism, I don’t recommend watching it.
Disgusting. Speaking of disgusting, given my inability to provide any calendar apropos reviews about homicidal maniacs dressed up like Saint Nick, I thought I’d instead use this month’s Zodiac review to focus on another rotund man who dressed up in his own colorfully festive outfit and also enjoyed having young men in his lap!
Just a quick statement of random weirdness before we get started – I came up with the “Pogo’s Big Adventure” alternate title for this episode before discovering that Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure antagonist Francis (Mark Holton) plays the titular human horror show. Crazy, right? If my brain doesn’t time travel while I sleep, I’d be surprised. Especially since I keep buying pills from a blind woman behind Dollar Embargo that says they do just that…
Today’s movie calls itself “semi-biographical” and was produced in those glory days of the early aughts when it felt like a new direct-to-DVD movie about one real life serial killer or another was materializing on the New Releases shelf at Blockbuster every few months. Despite my enjoyment of the true monsters who make fictional fiends look like sugar plum fairies in comparison, the only of said movies I’d actually seen before this was Ed Gein. Not just because Eddie G’s my favorite maniac (because of the horror classics he inspired), but because it starred my favorite Charles Manson, Steve Railsback, as Wisconsin‘s favorite son! It also featured the always amusingly monikered Carrie Snodgrass. Heh heh, “Snodgrass”.
Speaking of people with names, here’s one of my patented Fun Facts for ya, Gacy co-writer David Birke also wrote the screenplay to Elle – a French revenge film that sees the head of a video game studio hunting down her rapist in one of those “games of cat and mouse” dealies. That tried and true term always brings to my fore-brain the thought of two people assaulting each other with frying pans and rolling pins a la Tom & Jerry. As of this review, Elle‘s actually a Golden Globe nominee for “Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language”, so Gacy could very well become retroactively artsy post-January 8th!
[Writer’s note: Elle did indeed win the little gold planetoid! Whether that ups Gacy‘s stock though has yet to be seen.]
Now, mothers and fathers, it’s time to gather the kids (but especially the boys) and teach them why shit like “stranger danger” may be the best life lesson for them to learn since “look both ways before crossing the streams”.
As soon as the opening credits start in, this lacking-in-funds line dance kicks off on the wrong foot. The background music is appropriately ominous and understated (not unlike our movie’s subject), but the credits themselves reek of “Lifetime Original” bullshit, transitioning in and out of focus as they enter and leave the screen. They’re too goofy not to groan at, which is never a good way to start off your movie about a murderous rapist of teen boys who spent his weekends dressing like a clown for kids’ parties! Oh, spoiler alert if you’ve never heard of John Wayne Gacy. Anyway, the power point presentation my friends and I put together for Civics class back in ’98 had a better credit roll than this tripe. And now, this free tripe!
(There was supposed to be a gif of this, but I kinda forgot to make it before sending the movie back to NetFlix, so… sorry.)
The follow-up disclaimer to these credits informally informs us that Gacy is inspired by events from the strangulating merrymaker’s life, but “Certain names, characters and events have been fictionalized”. In other words, don’t plan on citing it as a source when you write your “The Mass Murderer I Most Admire” report for 7th period History. I get the whole “the names have been changed to protect the innocent” thing, Sgt. Friday, but if you’re just making things up when it comes to the characters and the events, then what’s the fucking point?! The appeal of watching such a flick is supposed to be the true crime aspect, but you’re telling us ahead of time that two very important parts of a true crime story aren’t even true! You may as well have just made a completely fictionalized horror flick about Gacy stalking people as Pogo like all those great anti-biographical exploitation outings we’ve been given about Charles Manson over the decades! If you’re not going whole hog in either direction, you’re presenting would-be viewers with a product that sits in that weird Lifetime Original limbo between realities.
(or maybe it did?)
And given how terrible I am at limbo (my back’s not what it used to be…“back snot”?), it’s as likely as getting an instant STD collection from a bareback juggalo gangbang that this venture won’t end well for me. *rimshot*
Our tale of half-truths (and possible falsehoods) opens in a nameless area of Wisconsin circa 1953, a mere year after the inception of Tommy Bartlett’s famous water show (not to be confused with Billy Barty’s infamous water show…because it involved him R. Kellying on prostitutes dressed as nuns) and 20+ years before that whole giant invading space spiders misunderstanding. The land of cheese and honey (or just more cheese in this case) was home to a young Johnny Gacy (Scott Alan Henry and his 3 first names!) and his father, also named
Bort John (Adam Baldwin, who is not a Baldwin brother). The two take a father and son fishing excursion where John Sr. denotes his dislike for “dirty city air”, tells Junior that he needs to stop spending so much time “in that room of yours”, and intends to teach the awkward, chubby lad how to fish. But, as they’re cooking their catch over the ol’ campfire that night (and after dad’s had one too many of the ol’ brewskies), Senior expresses his disappointment in his boy’s inability to treat the time-honored tradition of the fishening with the respect that luring lower lifeforms into impaling their mouths on metal hooks deserves.
By the way, being the podunk punk that I am, I’m not knocking fishing. I’ve done it many times in my life and enjoyed the empowerment of acquiring my own dinner fresh from the cesspool. But respecting it? That’s another joke entirely. It’s a hobby, not a sacred ritual of adulthood like when Arborian boys have to stick their dick into a wood beast den to prove they’re worthy of buying their own cigarettes.
Dad’s disappointment transmogrifies into outright loathing in the blink of an eye when he gives Lil’ John the ol’ “Bing Crosby I Love You” right in the face! The left hook raises Chunk’s ire enough that he tackles his old man to the ground, laying in a few of the best haymakers his chubby fists can muster before an impromptu stoppage of whimpering. Dad calls him a jag-off who doesn’t have the guts to beat up his own father before sending the boy to bed with a literal kick in the ass. It’s all very reminiscent of that episode of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ where Ward did the same to Wally on their own camping trip before burning the kid with his pipe and telling him “Bitches get stitches”. Nothing like the ol’ ’50s father-son manly bonding!
Speaking of boy ass **cringe**, from this happy family moment we time jump ahead an indeterminate amount of chronological progression later (would a simple time period be too much to ask for, movie?!) when, having served a year-and-a-half sentence in an Iowa reformatory for sodomizing a boy, JWG was paroled and returned to his hometown of Chicago to “try to put his life back together”. Isn’t one of the rules of a parole that you’re not supposed to leave the state or even the county? When exactly was his parole and when did he leave for Chicago? Even when Gacy is sticking as close to the true story as it can, it’s way too obtuse with the details. (After-the-fact note: having gone back and read up on Gacy’s history between the initial conception of this review and its finish, it turns out that the move to Chicago was part of his parole agreement. Would that have been so hard to mention, movie?!) 6 minutes in and already I feel I’d be learning far more from reading the man’s Wikipedia page than I will watching this movie. Fuck, I’m confident that I’d find more info on the movie’s Wikipedia page than what the movie is gonna provide at this point! Where’s my non-FDA approved nerve tonic when I needs it?!
We stop time jumping and join the movie in 1976 where, at his home in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines (which is French for “The Plains”), we’re introduced to adult John Jr. and his family. There’s his mom (Edith Jefferson), his wife Kara (Joleen Lutz), and their two girls Tammy and April (Jessica and Grace Hanamoto respectively), both of whom I’m sure were relieved not to have been born with Y chromosomes once their dad’s after dark antics were exposed. Uggh. That’s a stomach churner of a thought. Uh-oh…here comes that nerve tonic!
After-the-fact note: Though not mentioned in the movie, this is actually John’s second marriage and the girls were from Kara’s prior marriage. His original wife (I don’t know her name, look it up) did birth him two brats, one of which was indeed a male, so it’s a good thing she divorced the portly psycho after that criminal sodomy business. She may have saved their son a lifetime of similar treatment. Small victories.
The first half-hour of the flick introduces us to the type of guy Gacy was when he wasn’t picking up underage male prostitutes and strangling them to death. A real schmoozer, he kept good relations with his community and built himself the reputation of a generous Democrat always looking out for his fellow human being…which he was of course masquerading as, since he was never human, just a sentient pile of sewage and congealed evil in a poorly maintained patchwork skin suit. I’m shocked the trumpublicucks don’t add that to their Abe Lincoln slogans. “We had Abe Lincoln! They had John Wayne Gacy!”. JWG also owned a small construction business staffed entirely by off-the-books teenage boys from around the neighborhood. If you think this is going to lead to terrible things, not unlike putting a dozen sea otters in a pool with a baby seal, then congrats because you just graduated magna cum laude from Nostradamus University.
If our movie is to be believed, the repugnant subhumanoid slime mold wasn’t just a serial killing sodomite, but also a HUGE deadbeat! This bites him in the ass in two instances (the second of which turns out to be complete horseshit for the sake of spicing up the finale), the first of which sees his disgruntled brat pack employee Stevie (Devon Sawa look-a-like Jeremy Lelliot) and a pair of “legitimate business associates” mugging John in a parking lot for overdue wages. During the fracas (and several other times in the movie), Gacy cites a heart condition and threatens his aggressors with murder charges if he croaks as a result of being terrorized into an attack. Despite my presumptions that this was a falsity Sluggy G used to try and guilt his creditors into cooling off, the real deal did have a legit heart condition since childhood. Though the trio made off with whatever paper Fatty had on him, JWG wasn’t about to let such a (deserved) slight stand. So, that night (I presume), he pulled a Copperfield and made Stevie disappear, leaving behind little more than a pile of clothes, a soiled mattress and a bad smell in his wake.
Did someone say “bad smells”? Yes! It was me. I just said it in the last paragraph. Anyway, one of the running themes of the movie is the horrible odor and mysterious scads of cockroaches and maggots coming from the crawlspace under the Gacy family’s charming 3 bedroom ranch home. Ominous for anyone who doesn’t know what’s coming, but it drags ass like a midget with a 40lb lead butt plug in their colon for the rest of us who already know the source of said verminous scourge. Then there’s people like me who are throwing empty bottles at the TV because the cockroaches on screen are just the harmless hissing breed that movieland uses because they’re bigger and thus more hideous to the casual viewer, while the so-called maggots are, in fact, mealworms. I don’t find the worms to be nearly as skin-crawling as actual maggots (fucking Phenomena *shivers*), but maggots also come with the added difficulty of the short maturation period effects folk are left to work with when it comes to genuine fly babies. Meanwhile, mealworms come with a longer shelf-life and are no doubt easier to shoot given their size and color.
Oh, and as today’s justification for The Tomb’s government sponsored education grant, I have a related lesson with which to give thine noggins a floggin’ – despite their name, mealworms are not worms! They are instead larva that will go pupa and finally turn beetle if you don’t just shove ’em down your pet iguana Tyrone’s throat. The name of this final evolution? The mealworm beetle. In other words, the larva is so more well known than its final form that the beetle is named after it! By Pokemon terms, that would be like calling a Beedrill a Weedle Beetle…which sounds like one of those names a preschool teacher would ask their students to use when referencing penises, because anatomical terminology is too egregiously upsetting for puritan pantywastes to handling hearing out of the mealy mouths of their otherwise angelic offspring.
And it’s this piss-poor empowering of “bad words” through their introduction as forbidden fruit that results in entire generations of adults like myself whose casual conversing comes off like a Tourette’s patient that learned English by watching Cheech & Chong movies and George Carlin’s HBO specials to make up for the 16 or so years of vocabulary policing by otherwise proud parents. Shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits!
Gacy’s taste for ‘Tiger Beat’ meat was probably just due to him being a middle-aged, out-of-shape guy sexualizing the younger generation as a way to make himself feel younger or abuse both the power differential he held over them and their naivete in the ways of the adult world. The physical assaults and murder stuff were clearly contributed to his agonized upbringing, illustrated in the otherwise pointless opening. In case you missed that little lesson in Cinema Psychology 101, worry not as we’re reminded of it later when JWG hears his fist happy father’s insults in his head while our killer attempts to cave in his employee Dave (Kenneth Swartz)’s skull with a hammer! Sleazy (the worst Smurf) “snaps out of it” when the kid puts up enough of a fight to fend Fatso off, leaving John apologizing profusely while trying to excuse the attack as an “accident”. He helps bandage Davy’s ruptured dome as the boy whimpers like a injured animal (a genuinely well acted scene from Swartz, I must say) before warning him not to tell anyone about “them” because it’ll just end badly for both parties. “Them”? What do giant radioactive ants have to do with this? Whatever. Gacy also buys Dave’s silence before sending him home, having the nerve to call after him with “And don’t be late tomorrow”!? Holy Skipper double-dipper! I’m so flabbergasted by that that I just said “Holy Skipper double-dipper”.
While we know where this train wreck is destined to derail, Kara’s still in the suspicions phase when she finds several pairs of jeans far too small for John stuffed away in a dresser drawer (why would he keep their pants!?), then furthers said suspiciousnesses when she uncovers her hubby’s secret stash of fag mags (written for the rhyme, not out of malice) and handcuffs in the garage. She focuses her attention on the cuffs, no doubt subconsciously ignoring the MASTADONIC DILDO sitting adjacent to them in the drawer! At least now she knew why John never needed Ex-lax despite their constant ingestion of meat.
Sadly, a lot of gay men (Gacy only professed to being bisexual in real life) had to marry and procreate to beard over their true faces in the '70s, so this wasn't uncommon. Just look at Mike Brady. The poor guy married, had 3 boys, then had to remarry when his first wife died just to keep up the deception! Look it up!
As if her findings weren’t bad enough for an ignorant/in denial wife to unveil, Kara’s discovery just so happened to fall on Mothers Day, dumping a whole bag of salt on the seething, gaping, metaphorical wound now carved into her soul. Despite his declaration of “I’m not! You know I hate homos!”, rather than play along with it like Carol Brady and just accepting her spouse’s penchant for boy bumming, Kara takes the girls and moves out…but not before calling him a “jag-off”. Was that really an insult used in those days?! I thought it was an invention of the ’90s, not a popular phrase of the ’50s and ’70s. It feels so out of place, like an Amish buggy lined up at the Arby’s drive-thru.
Having revealed John’s secret a mere 36 minutes into the runtime, the movie makes no further efforts to hide what’s happening in the crawlspace and transitions from thriller to slasher faster than Flyboy got his blueface on in Dawn of the Dead. Hell, the very next scene following the girls’ exodus is just John dragging a young man’s bloodied body down there to dispose of! Can you imagine how much of a pain in the ass it must’ve been for Tubby to bury all of those bodies down there over the years? Shallow graves or not, digging holes in such cramped quarters had to be a bitch the size of Fenrir’s mom! I would’ve been relieved to have gotten caught just so I’d never have to dig another hole again for the rest of my inevitably short post-conviction life! Then again, knowing my luck I’d end up on a chain gang ironically digging ditches for whatever time I had left on death row. You could call me Sasha Grey, because one way or another I’d be getting fucked.
With spare space in his domicile now, John invites his handsome young employee Tom (Charlie Weber) to move in with him, given the boy’s troubles at home, constantly arguing with his parents as young adults are known to do. The fact that he wants to engage in premarital intercourse with his girlfriend Gretchen (Allison Lange) in a bed for once rather than his El Camino (which was a VW punch bug earlier…) also plays heavily into his decision, much to said gal’s chagrin given the rumors she’s heard about Creeper John. Not to be confused with Trapper John, who somehow mutated from Wayne Rogers into Parnell Roberts during his return flight home from Korea. War changes every man. Sometimes it even changes them into an entirely different man!
Were Tom smart, he’d just get himself a futon mattress for the back of that car-truck hybrid beast of his and drive his lady to Penetration Station in the Kmart parking lot under the stars every night! Chicks dig stars…or is that scars? Meh, let’s play it safe and say nothing gets the ovaries boiling (that’s what happens when women get horny, right?) like getting pounded in the back of an El Camino under the stars by a guy covered head-to-toe in a gnarled topographical map of scar tissue that makes Freddy Krueger look like an after photo from a Proactiv® commercial. Spanish. Fly.
With no one else around to hide his true nature from (Momma’s on a short trip to Arkansas), John briefly takes on another resident – prostiteen Roger (Joe Sikora), whose presence in the place isn’t voluntary. Whether Rog escapes or is let go is unclear, as we simply get a brief scene of him badly bruised, plumber’s crack in full effect, and violently coughing in a public park while JWG drives around with a menacing look on his mug. (After-the-fact note: the real life counterpart he’s based on was dropped off at a park by the actual Gacy, released for no clear reason. Maybe John just didn’t feel like having to dig another fucking hole for another of his fucking holes…blech.) Roger shows up again later looking for JWG, but unable to find him takes his frustrations out on the elderly mother, yelling at her about how her son’s a rapist animal. She tells him to fuck off, so Rog instead goes to the police to take his revenge nice and legal like.
There comes a point in everyone’s life where they look at themselves in the mirror and ask “Why didn’t I listen to my parents?”.
Mothers, your children are always capable of acts of horror the likes of which your misfiring biased brains will never conceive. When someone tells you your spawn is a sadistic sodomizer of unwilling abductees, do not brush it off as nonsense! Save yourself a possible accomplice accusation and get 911 on the fucking phone!
More on that later, though, because just when I was convinced that we’d never get an appearance by our subject’s coulrophobia triggering alter ego, right around the 50min mark I’m proven wrong! When a kid shows up to sell his car to the Nightmare of the Des Plaines (which is still French for “The Plains”) Boys’ Club, he interrupts the madman in full Pogo regalia! After the test drive, Gacy of course drowns the lad in his bathtub while Mother snores it up in her recliner. Things get even more grimly comical when John goes so far as to leave the kid’s corpse on their kitchen floor while going out to address other matters as mom continues to sleep through the entire scene! Did Adam Sandler produce this under a pseudonym?!
As much as you’d think going on a test drive around the local locale while dressed like a clown would be a poor idea when you plan on turning the kid you’re with into the local milk carton manufacturer’s newest star, such strange behavior is in accordance with the casual craziness Gacy has adopted since Kara’s exit. This reckless state of mind is only embiggened by the obese ogre’s 100% success rate in the field of snatch & stash! Even after he sells the now stolen car to one of his employees and said dumbass gets caught by the fuzz following a gas-and-dash incident, the dots continue to go unconnected! Crap like this must be why we never got a ‘CSI: Chicago’, because it’d take them 6 episodes to solve one case!
After-the-fact note: though much of the prior paragraph matches up to the truth, Gacy was never dressed as Pogo during any of his nightmarish acts. Also, the part about the stolen car being collected by the police is true, but the real cops were able to match the plates to those of the missing car, rather than the “two boats passing in the night” scene we get between the officers working the separate cases for the sake of audience tension.
JWG’s overconfidence continues when he sends a pair of his boys into the ‘space to dig trenches for laying down pipe. Not an innuendo, as they actually did do the digging despite disagreeing with the stomach churning unsanitary conditions, but said holes weren’t for plumbing purposes, rather they were to save John the effort of digging future graves himself. And he trusted these idiots to stay within the assigned parameters and not accidentally unearth some festering dude ho’s coagulating cadaver. Fuck’s sake. Possibly emboldened by his continued success at hiding his extracurricular hobby from the world at large, John plies Tom with bong loads and home movies in an effort to finally make his move. Not unlike my efforts to do the same with a waitress I worked with back in high school, Tom’s reaction is less than accommodating to John’s intentions. However, whereas Kristina simply rejected my efforts to give her my virginity before I even had the chance to awkwardly attempt to initiate, Tom freaks out when he realizes they’re watching gay porn and threatens to fuck his boss up in a wholesale manner not in line with what the grimy ol’ perv was hoping for. You can almost pinpoint the exact moment John’s heart breaks. So much for true love.
Instead of doing the sensible thing and getting the fuck outta Dodge after the incident, Tom continues to live in the manbomination's extra room. Hey, everybody's first apartment is gonna have some problems. You just suffer through them knowing that sometime in the future you'll be able to look back on it and laugh! Besides, it builds character. And good luck finding another place for that price that comes with access to a pool table and a room full of not-at-all-horrific clown paintings! Clearly not one to pass up a deal just because his landlord wants to forcibly insert objects into his asshole, Tom instead exercises caution and takes to sleeping with a cudgel. He also probably kept an eye on the Pennysaver to see if any of the local hardware stores were having a sale on chastity belts. Good luck, man. Those things only go on sale maybe twice a year!
John tries to pass off his pass making as a “test” to see if Tom was deserving of a promotion, which the hippie doesn’t buy but plays along with anyway until he can figure out how to proceed. You can’t just up and leave a job and break your lease without having contingencies lined up! As for Gacy, his deteriorating sanity contributes heavily to his inevitable downfall. Remember how he not only let Roger live but even dumped him off at a fucking public park in broad daylight? Well, Roger’s accusations don’t fall on deaf ears, because two plainclothes dicks establish a stakeout outside the fat man’s front door. The pair attempted to search the place, but without a warrant they’re shit outta luck, so constant surveillance verging on harassment in the hopes of catching him red-handed is the soup du jour! Whether the aforementioned “red” is blood or clown paint (or Manhattan clam chowder) isn’t clear.
Despite Starsky and Hutch car camping in his driveway, JWG’s severe psychosis STILL drives him to go out and sneak a mustache victim (in that it happens right under their noses) back into the house! His obsession with Tom and dodging the fuzz has been weighing heavy on the big lug’s mind though, so you can understand John’s mistake when he discovers there’s no more space in his ‘space for this latest notch on his DIY pillory. Always the improviser, he instead tosses the boy in his trunk, slips past the cops again and disposes of the corpse in the river under cover of a clear, sunny afternoon. Sweet chipotle cheese logs, this guy must’ve been born with a massive four-leaf clover shaped birthmark on his ass!
Unintentional Leprechaun reference/joke for those with geekcyclopedic knowledge.
Knowing that it’s only a matter of time until even his box of Lucky Charms goes stale, Gacy gives in to the crushing anxiety and, verging on a total breakdown, professes his laundry list of sins to his friend and fellow fried food aficionado Hal (played by professional Coleman Francis impersonator, Tom Waldman) and shares his plans to take an extended vacation to Belgium, where he will likely binge himself to death on Belgian Burgers…which is just a fist-sized lump of partially melted decadent chocolate between two square waffles…and is also something I just made up…but would now willingly trade one year of my lifespan for.
Hal doesn’t report any of this impromptu confessional to the police though, since the rabbit’s foot on Gacy’s keychain must have had a little juice left in it (rabbit juice? Nasty.), so John just heads home. There his ever increasingly lubricated (ewwww) grip on his own sanity leads to hearing voices and having flashbacks to the earlier days of his dirty deeds. When Tommy gives notice that he’s moving out to the west coast to “check things out”, John decides this is his last chance to take his romantic interest and would-be clowning sidekick to the bone zone against his will. He does so by betting the young lad $100 he can’t pull off Pogo’s “have your hands cuffed behind your back and Houdini out of them” trick. Tommy, who could always use another $100 for gas, grass and ass on his upcoming road trip, takes the challenge, discovering too late that the trick only works if you have the keys. Mwomp mwomp! Now, nobody deserves to be raped (well, except for rapists, dictators and Uwe Boll), but it’s also my mantra that stupidity should be punished, so…I’m not sure how to feel about this scenario.
Thomas must have a whole roll of lucky pennies in his pocket (or he’s just happy to see us) though, because he can thank his fortunate orifices (“orifi”?) that a guy named Ray (Rick Dean), to whom Gacy is indebted, chooses this of all moments to rampage onto the scene from nowhere like the proverbial t-rex teleported into a window warehouse (it’s an ancient Tibetan proverb that you’ve probably never heard of)! Interrupting Ray coldcocks (phrasing!) both John and Tommy without hesitation before emptying butterball’s wallet and leaving like an angry fart into the night.
After-the-fact note: If you think this timing reeks of being a little too convenient to be faithful to the actual events of our reality, then good for you because your bullshit detector is up to code. This is the “Hollywood” ending. The final nail in Gacy’s clown-painted penis was far less action packed god-in-the-machine chicanery and far more ‘Dateline’ procedural.
It turns out John can’t take a punch to save his life (literally in this case), while Tom and his sick denim jacket recover with a quickness and escape out the front door into the arms of the pork rinds awaiting outside. You can imagine where the story ends from there…but just in case you can’t, it involves lots of exhumed bodies and an overweight human horror show sitting in a jail cell demanding to see his lawyer. Just like the time I paid $60 to see a live performance of ‘God of Carnage’, only to discover that the title was a lie and the box office wouldn’t honor my demand for a refund!
According to the movie’s epilogue, the estimations of John Wayne Gacy’s gigolo fixation led to him “picking up” over 2000 men (most lured into his car with the flashing of a Chicago PD badge by his alias, “Detective Hanley”), making him the Wilt Chamberlain of teen boy rapist-murders. Only, you know, in this case the nickname of “The Stilt” would likely refer to an actual stilt JWC would’ve forced into his captives’ anuses. Oh Hel, here comes the rest of that tonic!
Not all of Gacy's conquests over the duration of his 6 year spree were killed, clearly, but 29 of those who were were exhumed from the now infamous crawlspace with an additional 4 fished out of the Des Plaines River, which is French for “The The Plains River”. On May 10th, 1994 (hey, just 5 days after my 13th birthday!) Gacy got the prick of death, with his last words reportedly being “Kiss my ass!”. As much of an irredeemable monster as he was, you gotta admit those are some pretty hardcore last words to go out on.
Say what you will about Gacy, he’s still not the worst human being to be attached to the name “John Wayne”! At least he never wore brown face to play Genghis Khan in a movie that resulted in the cancer deaths of over 40 cast and crew members, nor did he participate in a segment on WWF television wherein he saved an adulterer from phallic dismemberment by a gang of broad, evil, Japanese stereotypes! Then again, Gacy did rape and murder a lot of teenage boys, so…shit. Okay, okay, I guess he was the worst John Wayne. Definitely more deserving of getting his dangler hacked off by his wife, that’s for sure.
Though I'm still not a fan of the “some of it's real, some of it ain't” motif, what we get is understandably dramatized “movie of the week” style to help sell the flick to a broader audience. I actually did check out the insidious adventures of the Des Plaines butt plunderer after my first viewing of Gacy and, compared to the actual events, I can see why punching the story up a bit was preferable. It ignores certain important aspects of JWG’s upbringing, most notably his repeated molestation at the hands (literally) of a family friend and his unwillingness to tell his parents for fear that John Sr.’s abusive tendencies would direct the blame at him. This could have been left out intentionally so as not to risk the audience getting too sympathetic with our eponymous antagonist. There’s also zero mention of Gacy’s first marriage and children, nor the explanation that the daughters of his second marriage were actually stepdaughters from Kara’s prior nuptials, which I’m presuming to be for the sake of preserving more of the runtime for what the viewers really came for – murders!
Unfortunately, none of this excuses the oft times sloppy edits and incoherent moments that are never explained, many of which were covered in the review. If you are going to watch it for yourself (or you have already and have some of the same questions I did), you should look into the real story yourself, provided you’re inured enough to the horrors of reality to stomach it…which is the same warning I give to anyone who asks me if I can recommend a Dario Argento movie from the last 20 years.
There’s not a lot to talk about in terms of the movie’s style. Saunders didn’t seem to know if he was going for a suspenseful thriller or a cookie cutter slasher, and I’m genuinely surprised not to have seen a single thrown cat jump scare scene. Some moments come off as subtly unnerving, but others are just simple “okay, so he’s just gonna kill this guy next, right?” kill scenes, overly peppered with a lazy reliance on repeated shots of clown paraphernalia and writhing insects. The first half-hour held mild tension, but pulled a complete about-face for the remainder, spending the rest of the flick more worried about upping the body count than manipulating the viewers’ emotions. Not that there’s anything wrong with a sizable body count, mind you, but this just adds fuel to the “reality versus exaggeration” conflict that’s been the running theme for this entire episode!
Speaking of exaggeration, you can make a convincing argument that Gacy is an exploitation movie. Not in the traditional sense of swathes of sex and violence and vulgar acts strewn across the screen, but in that its DVD cover exploits would-be buyers. Despite the menacing Pogo image advertised, the single appearance by Gacy’s face painted alter-ego doesn’t jive with his lack of prominence in the feature itself! You know those pictures on the menus at fast food places that include the accompanying disclaimer of “picture may not represent actual food”? They need one of those disclaimers asterisked to the bottom of this DVD. Do your job, MPAA! At least HBO’s JWC movie, To Catch a Killer, gave us exactly what its VHS box promised – big ol’ Brian Dennehy! Well, with the exception of the Danish release, which seemingly promised us “Attack of the Fifty Foot B-Actor” Dennehy gazing somberly at Matthew Broderick’s silhouette from the Project X (1987) poster.
In conclusion, Gacy suffers from something of an identity crisis. I do have to admit that the cast helps make it an easier watch, as they’re all perfectly competent and deserving of whatever presumably minor paychecks they cashed for their work. Holton gets special mention for his work as the spiritual Ebola that is JWG, bouncing back and forth between a psychopath whose public face garners him the respect of his community and the trust of his victims, while his true face fosters fear and discomfort upon us in equal parts, until his mental breakdown almost plants a seed of minute pity for the guy. It’s an overlooked role that the guy deserves more credit for, but will never dig him out of his infamy as Chubby from the Teen Wolf movies or the fat jag-off who stole Pee Wee Herman’s bicycle.
You know who would make for a great Gacy, should he ever accept an offer to play the most hated clown not named “Pennywise”? John Goodman. The man’s got so much range and a physique that’s both comical and intimidating, he’d be perfect for the part! Well, he would have been, say 20 years ago. If I find an alternate dimension where this was a thing that happened, I’ll let everyone know.
As a final piece of FYI trivia, did you know that the beverage John Wayne Gacy chose as part of his last meal was a Diet Coke? Just another reason I’m a proud Pepsi drinker!
“Son, your mother and I have been having a lot of problems as of late, and we agree that it’s all your fault. So, rather than get divorced, I’ve brought you out here to kill you and bury you in a shallow grave. Look at it this way – at least now you won’t have to deal with things like school bullies or impotence!”
This is where the neighborhood parents hold their weekly Toddler Fight Club meetings. The first rule of Toddler Fight Club? Always bet on the one who’s clearly a midget pretending to be a child, but no one says anything because they don’t know what to call him without being called racists.
“Yeah, I may just be a Devon Sawa look-a-like, but you know what I’m not? The asshole who thought SLC Punk 2 was a thing the world needed!”
So this is what it’s like when world’s collide. (You know… cuz they’re both big and round… like planets… Well, it was this or a sumo wrestling joke that I couldn’t concoct a punchline for!)
“Oh come on, mister! When I said I could suck a dick for a Shasta right now, that doesn’t count as a verbal contract!”
Mr. and Mrs. Roeper star in The Thing with Two-Heads Part 2: Two’s Company!
Anubis ProTip #561: just because Mitchum claims to be “So effective you can skip a day.”, it doesn’t mean you should.
“Handcuffs?! I’ve been trying to get John to experiment with BDSM for 15 years and he always tells me it’s for perverts and weirdos!”
Someone needs to tell John that gasoline soaked rags are not a proper form of antiseptic.
“You and me are gonna have a real good… What the fuck? Do you have LICE!? Gross! Get the hell out of my rape room before you contaminate the whole house, you scumbag!”
Yeah, that was my reaction leaving the theater after I paid to see The Phantom Menace on opening night. All that time hunting limited edition Pepsi cans for nothing.
I used to dress like that to answer the door whenever the Witnesses came by hawking ”Watchtower”. It got to be too much effort though, so I switched to nothing but a hockey mask and a pair of tighty-whities with the Bat Signal Sharpied onto the front. That’s all I’m legally allowed to say about it, so let’s move on.
Some people take their apple bobbing training way too seriously!
Trapped in a closet? Where’s R. Kelly when you need him!? Oh… that’s right… eww.
If Michael Berryman and Paul Scheer had a baby… and kicked it down some stairs.
Gacy used to be one of those weirdos who wears multiple watches at once, but had to stop because he had *cue the music* too much time on his haaaands!
(That one was for you, Tommy Shaw.)
Gacy auditions to be the next in the long line of recent Colonel Sanders actors. His motivation for this scene? “Pretend you’re Marv Albert and the chicken wing is a succulent prostitute!”
Ever since he saw The Tooth Fairy, Tommy’s been unable to sleep without a baseball bat by his side.
I’m just really not enjoying The Asylum’s latest mockbuster, The Large Balooski. I mean, it’s been 20 years so… why?
Anubis will return next time in
“The West Wing: Japan”