Feature 45 – Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies (2014)

or “The Wrestling Dead”

Featuring: Roddy “Hell Comes to Frogtown” Piper , Shane “Divided Loyalties” Douglas , Kurt “Sharknado 2: The Second One” Angle

Director & Writer: Cody “Lucifer’s Unholy Desire” Knotts

Origin: USA

This Episode Personally Approved By: Cody Knotts (Director/Writer)!
“While I wish you would have enjoyed it…I loved reading your review…I laughed and laughed. You have a talent for writing funny reviews (though I would focus less on references to feces..you have a real talent for whit).
Anyways, thanks for the review, even though it wasn’t good.”

Review_____

“Jobbers die, NOT main eventers!”

Did you know that gods have gods? Yep. You know that old adage “Respect your elders”? Same applies to us, hence the term “Elder Gods”. The elderest of gods, Cthulhu, recently blessed me for my Cthulhumas sacrifices by gifting me with the second highest item on my tribute want list: Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies. The highest? Same as it always is: 1985 Barbara Crampton. But, like the little girl who asks for a pony every year (looking at you, Demeter), I’m destined to never get the one gift I really want. Oh well, time to get the disappointment out of my system by kicking the tar out of my silver medal!

By the way, as a lifelong pro wrestling geek, I had a few dozen wrestling related jokes to make through this episode. However, I didn’t want to alienate 90% of my audience, so I’ll be making an effort to stick to the general garbage movie defecation commentary you normally get out of me. Consider it your New Years endowment from moi.

Battling Billy (Michael H. Richmond, whose missing credit I actually had to submit to the IMDB cast listing!) is a professional wrestler. Well, given that performing in high school gymnasiums in front of 15-20 people at a time can’t possibly provided him enough money to survive on, “professional” probably isn’t the right word. Let’s just say Billy’s a wrestler. Period. Semantics aside (not to be confused with “semen ticks inside”, which makes my ebony fur stand on end just typing the words), Billy’s ring name is a big fat blumpkin in the realm of grappler monikers. Given that this was written by an obvious wrestling fan, “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a much better alias. Not just because “Battling Billy” sounds like some kid’s submission to a Masters of the Universe create-a-character contest, but because “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a decent call back to Bruiser Brody, whose murder is one of wrestling’s most infamous instances. It’s serious “Diagnosis Murder” type shit. Check out the following link to get the story from wrestling industry mainstay “Dirty” Dutch Mantell, who currently goes by the Tea Party conservative parody persona Zeb Colter in WWE.

Brody’s murder aside, wrestlers like to claim that they’re a brotherhood in the locker room, but they’re really just like any other boys’ club: at each other’s throats the minute money or pussy comes into the picture. Such is the case when Billy crosses washed up (actual) professional wrestler Shane “the Franchise” Douglas (playing himself) by dipping his pen in Dougie’s ink…by which I mean Mr. Battling is tossing his hot dog down Shane’s hallway. Well, not his hallway. I mean the upstart’s fucking the old man’s girlfriend, Taya (playing herself)!

Anyway, catching Tay wrapped around the younger man’s waist like a cheap replica championship belt, Shane doesn’t take too well to the scene. Rather than breaking up with her like an adult though, he instead breaks Billy’s neck during their match with a “botched” tombstone piledriver move. Yep, he kills him with a move called a “tombstone”. No room in the budget for subtlety, I’m afraid.

An indeterminate amount of time later (I guess screen subtitling ended up next to subtlety on the budgetary kill floor), Billy’s brother Angus (Ashton Amhurst) hires promoter Cody Knotts (yep, it’s the director playing himself) and his Extreme Rising wrestling promotion to set up an indie show at an abandoned penitentiary. Anus, errr Angus, insists that Douglas and Taya headline the event, then lets Dog Knotts fill in (yeah, as a man-dog I hear dog knots are pretty filling…) the rest of the card with other has-been grapplers like Roddy Piper and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, still active (just barely) guys like Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle, and some never-weres like what’s-his-name, who’s-it, and you know, that guy. Always wore a shirt? Yeah, him. All of which are self-players as well.

Quick time out. Angus’s ear raping Scottish accent would make Scrooge McDuck and Haggis McHaggis weep with disgust. Someone named Scott Miller gets credit for doing said voice, so Amherst didn’t even do his own lines?! What is this, Horror of Party Beach!? Scratch that. Party Beach‘s monsters were more realistic than the zombies we end up with here. They look like they were made up by a buncha brats during “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” at the Savini School. Blart. Anyway, as we were.

Shane’s given a scene with his extended family shortly after, where he indoctrinates his nephew to be a total Franchise mark. It’s supposed to somehow humanize a bloated sack of shit who we already know is responsible for MURDERING another man just because they became Eskimo brothers (look it up). All this interlude managed to do was make me want to slap the Fruit Loops out of the kid’s mouth, but the urge to backhand kids in movies is normal for me. Annoying turds. Once this is over, Shane and Roddy Piper have a scene where we learn that the two are apparently long term buddies, which is fine. My problem with the scene is the mob of children crowded around Piper begging for autographs. It’s not the kids themselves where my problem lies, it’s that nobody under the age of 25 even knows who the fuck Roddy Piper is! Maybe they mistook him for one of the creatures on “Yo Gabba Gabba!”? Sure, slap a kilt on him and replace his head with a bagpipe with huge googly eyes glued to it and I could see this being a thing.

Reunited for the show, Dougie Fresh and Skanky Not-So-Fresh hook up just like old times…which may very well have been anywhere from a few days ago to a few years. Again, it’s not clear how long it’s been since Billy got broke. Meanwhile, Piper makes friendly with a woman named Sarah (Adrienne Fischer), who’s just been hired as the new Extreme Rising head of marketing. Her whole hook for getting hired is that she promises Snotts (who spends their entire meeting feeling her up like he was that creepy uncle that isn’t invited to family gatherings) that she can make their little wrestling organization the biggest in the world…no. In a movie about zombies fighting men in tights, THAT statement is the most unrealistic thing in these entire 90 minutes. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but that’s the kind of crap that requires utter expulsion of your disbelief into the vacuum of deep space. I’ll let the Iron Sheik express my thoughts further on this one:


Thanks, Adnan!

In a weird bit of idiocy, when the wrestlers’ bus arrives at the prison (nobody can afford their own cars, it seems), they’re randomly offered a chance to “challenge the gods” and “achieve their destiny” by doing combat “in the arena”. Are they performing in an abandoned prison or at Medieval Times?! Before they’re allowed off the bus though, they’re ordered to hand over their cell phones. Horror movie much? Well, that addresses why no one will be able to call for help later when they’re chin deep in living dead. Stupidly addresses, but addresses none the less. No sooner do our faces (wrestling terminology for good guys) get inside, then they’re confronted by Angus’s personal horde of necromanced undead heels (wrestling’s bad guys) and the movie finally lives up to its title. Well, it only took half an hour to get there, so my “finally” may have been a tad unnecessary. Wait a sec. Now that the zombie rampage has already started, what the fuck are they gonna spend the next hour on?! Uh-oh…

Yep, that’s it. The final 2/3 of the movie is really just a series of sequences wherein hordes of zombified extras chase the wrestlers and other cast members, killing them one-by-one, then moving onto the next. Do I look like a shitter? Because I shit you not. The script has to be about 10 pages long. Well, at least they give what they advertise, so that’s something, right? It’s like going into a place called “Ruptured Balls” and not expecting to get your testicles destroyed. They never said it was going to be enjoyable, they just advertised ruptured balls. Just like nobody advertised an enjoyable movie, just one where pro wrestlers go up against zombies. Hey, at least I can admit when my suffering is my own fault!

Sure, at one point Tying Knotts tries to write in that touching zombie movie staple where one of the survivors has to kill his best friend-turned-living dead a la Pete and Rog in Dawn of the Dead. The Romero one, you animals! But given how little time the movie actually dedicates to trying to make us give a shit about any of the cast on a personal level, NO time was spent showing us ANY connection between the two characters in question! Come on, guys. You invite us over to your place for a party, tell us it was a ruse to get us to help you move out of your 5th floor walk-up when we get there, then expect us to do all of the heavy lifting?! Fuck your couch. This is me throwing it through your big stupid picture window. Good luck getting your security deposit back!…and explaining to the cops how your couch ended up smashing your neighbor’s Lexus. I’m out!

Okay, I’m not out. I’ve still got pissing to piss, moaning to moan and bitching to bitch. While I’m on the topic of failed attempts to connect with the audience on a deeper level, there are a few more that shit the bed just as bad. Think Spud’s big brown breakfast in Trainspotting. These emotional moments resonate about as well as farts muffled by a pillow. Even the “will they die or won’t they?” scenes of manufactured tension end up as botched spots (wrestling lingo for failed moves). You know who’s gonna see the end credits and who’s just gonna wind up as the “meat” in an Arby’s pulled pork. Best example? At one point, Sarah’s overcome by a mob of grabby handed ghouls and struggles on the ground for several minutes as they paw at her. She eventually manages to escape without a scratch though because, surprise surprise, she’s scripted to have a future that doesn’t involve being fast food. Oh yeah, spoiler. Oops. Meh, you’ll get over it.

Speaking of pulled pork, whatever the effects guys spent on their “severed legs and torso” prop, they definitely got their money’s worth. Not based on the quality, mind you, just the number of scenes they use the stupid thing in. Remember that amazing scene where the asshole militant guy in Day of the Dead is torn in half while screaming “CHOKE ON IT!”? It was one of the movie’s greatest moments between his defiant death screams, the graphic realistic violence of the effects work and the fact that PEOPLE WEREN’T BEING TORN IN HALF EVERY 10 MINUTES. Sadly, the blood and gore is what you’d expect from a movie whose budget went to hiring out-of-work ex-wrestlers as its stars. It’s a whole bunch of red kero syrup and the occasional prop internal organs. Real effects zombie makeup and gore are an art. As stated prior, here it’s a shart. Multiple sharts, actually. Unrelenting, left and right, up and down, sharts. If it were to be named after a wrestling company, it’d be TNA: Total Nonstop Assblasters. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhharts!

SHARTS

Speaking of pulled pork…I mean, speaking of sharts, how about that soundtrack?! The music is generic half-assed metal that brings to mind a garage band trying to emulate Monster Magnet. Then there’s the ear bleeding bagpipe thrash shit. Holy Lucky Charms in a Guinness, Dropkick Murphys it ain’t. On top of that, of all the covers I’ve heard of “Amazing Grace” in my eons, this movie’s end credits easily has the worst. Worse even than when Mike Tyson did it on that clip from the Arsenio Hall Show that never aired. While my ears are still bleeding, let me call out the audio mixing here too, because it’s TERRIBLE! A lot of the lines sound like they were re-dubbed in post, while the music just explodes in your ears at random at a few decibels higher than the dialog. I shouldn’t have to have my stereo remote within talon’s reach when I’m watching a movie to keep the old lady in the tomb downstairs from banging on the ceiling with her broom.

Despite the few exceptions, there’s a general rule in the wrestling business that actors shouldn’t cut wrestling promos and wrestlers shouldn’t act. PWVZ reminds us why that is. Even if this dialogue weren’t…damn it. It’s hard to come up with a dozen different synonyms for feces. It’s just bad, okay? I don’t know how much of it is written and how much, if any, is ad-libbed by the performers, but it’s awful. Anyway, the acting. Mercifully, at least most of the wrestlers only have a few short lines before they’re killed off. The majority of the work comes from Piper and Douglas. At least Douglas lives up to his infamously self-serving real-life personality by fucking everybody else over left and right, letting other people take the fall for his bullshit, and trying to set himself up as the big hero. Not sure if the guy was acting or just being followed with a camera. Very convincing. Fuck you “Dean”.

Then there’s Piper. It’s so depressing to think that Roddy went from They Live to this. Or hell, from Hell Comes to Frogtown to this! The cantankerous Canadian who made his career pretending to be a scandalous Scot (didja enjoy the mind blowing I just put on your brain?) has been through a lot in recent years, beating cancer (as did Hacksaw!) and making appearances on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, but the guy’s lost a few steps. It’s a little too hard to believe someone who can barely walk (damn hip surgery…and age) fending off waves of the ravenous dead just because he’s the best actor on the call sheet. Then again, he does have the uncanny and possibly mystical ability to pull a crowbar out of thin air to plant into a ghoul’s head when the need arrives for one scene, so maybe that’s reason enough he would be able to survive. Wish I could pull that trick right now and put it through my computer screen!

Before I finish off this episode and wipe its residual remnants off of me with a moist towelette, I wanted to point out that Piper calls Angus a “red-headed stepchild Danny Bonaduche fuckin’ throwback red-headed Carrot Top fuck him reason for legal fuckin’ abortions”. It might be amazing, it might be awful, but whatever it is, there it is. He also declares that Angus is just an “All-American bully”, then proclaims his intentions to thrash him for being as such, despite Piper establishing his entire career on being a bully bad guy character who kicked Cyndi Lauper across a wrestling ring and smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s face before whipping him with a belt. Such is the inherent hypocrisy of the face turn (what it’s called when a bad guy becomes a good guy).

So Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies, a movie I anticipated for the better part of a year. It sucked on toes worse than even I had feared it would. Yet Troma still picked it up for distribution, when it couldn’t hang with Troma originals on their worst days. Hell, Troma’s trailer is better than the movie just by tacking Toxie’s face onto it and making a title card that DOESN’T feel like the Great Muta spewed green mist into my eyes while looking at it. For your perusal:

In closing, I’d like to play a round of The Dozens, strictly for my fellow industry nerds on the wrestling memes boards. The rest of you can skip ahead to the screen cap-caps (captures and captions).

And…go! This movie’s so bad, Kevin Nash tore his quad while watching it! It’s so bad, if it had double d titties, even Dean Ambrose wouldn’t wanna master ’em! It’s so bad, it made Rob Van Dam stop smoking weed and made CM Punk start! It’s so bad, it made Shawn Michaels an atheist! It’s so bad, it doesn’t even need Triple H to bury it, cuz it buries ITSELF! It’s so bad, it must’ve been written by Vince Russo and directed by Eric Bischoff! It’s so bad, it botches more in 90 minutes than Sin Cara did in all of 2013! It’s so bad, it made Terry Funk retire FOR GOOD! It’s so bad, it made Jake Roberts AND Scott (Scotch) Hall relapse! It’s so bad, even Dolph Ziggler won’t sell for it! It’s so bad, it makes The Dead Hate the Living look strong!.. but does nothing for Roman Reigns. Fuck you, Reigns. Your new outfit looks like some shitty Tron cosplay that you couldn’t get to light up. Your “Superman Punch” is a twat move.

Moral of the Story: Pittsburghers know how to kill the undead…though “Pittsburghers” sounds like a burger franchise mascoted by a filthy diner cook with pit cheese (complete with pet flies) who squishes the meat into patty form under his arms…pardon me, I need to pay a visit to Thunderbucket now.

Screenshots_____

Unless you’re a celebrity, a politician, or just rich. Then you can kill people wherever you want.


Looks like somebody just discovered Photoshop’s font options.


Grown men (well, adult men) dangerously throwing each other around for the entertainment of a dozen or so strangers in a gymnasium. Living the dream.


Tea bagging an unconscious guy while flipping everybody in the audience the bird? I see Sammy Hagar’s finished “quality testing” his latest batch of Cabo Wabo.


Your writer-director, ladies and gentlemen of the audience. Just as shabbily thrown together as his movie.


“Taz Jaguar”? Is that your father’s name, or did you take your mother’s maiden name after the divorce?


Black Mass Ceremonial Parkas (white only): just $4.99 this week, only at KMart!


“Forget it, kid. You might as well call me Hulk Hogan because I don’t put ANYBODY over!”


Extreme Rising corporate headquarters. Except on weekends, when it’s the gift shop for the historical reenactment village they rent the space from.


“Come on, Roddy. This guy says he wants to Kickstart a Frogtown reboot and he wants us to star! This could be my big break! I mean, OUR big break!”


To hell with expensive CGI effects. Just paint him green and Kurt Angle could star in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!


Bet Dennis Rodman wishes he would’ve stay in North Korea.


Apparently these zombies don’t crave brains. They just want to sink their teeth into man asses packed into shiny gold trunks like big ol’ Hershey Kisses.


“Stronger Than Death”? Fuck you, Matt Hardy. We’ll see who’s stronger this Sunday in our steel cage showdown!


“With a name like Smuckers, our zombies HAVE to be good!”


“God damn it, Shane! You are NOT going to die owning me fifty bucks! Gimme my damn money, you asshole!”


Roddy Piper reflects on his movie career decisions and wonders if maybe he’s finally fallen to the point that he should’ve just let the cancer take him.


“You don’t need to spend ten grand on a facelift, baby. I’ll just pull back your face like this, slap on a little rubber cement, and you’ll look ten years younger!”


“Shhhh! Don’t let any of the other guys here you say wrestling’s fake or they’ll piledrive your head into your lungs! It’s a very sensitive subject!”


Looks like somebody wandered away from the Nightmare City set.


And this guy used to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.


Bet Roddy REALLY wishes he’d left the house in his kilt today, rather than suffer the undead wedgie of doom!

———————————————————
———————————————————

Anubis will return next time in
“Radio Ga Ga, Eh?”

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

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Feature 44 – Santa’s Slay (2005)

or “Murder on 34th Street”

Featuring: Bill “Half Past Dead 2” Goldberg , Douglas “Stage Fright (2014)” Smith , Emilie “The Hills Have Eyes (2007)” de Ravin

Director & Writer: David Steiman

Origin: Canada

Also Known As: Very Bad Santa

Review_____

“Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!”

Merciful Cthulhumas to you, my fellow cinemasochists! May Our Dark Lord from the hoary nether realm spare you and your loved ones for another year! Today (well, 3 days ago) is the day of the Gregorian calender we set aside to honor our eternally dark Lord Cthulhu by paying tribute to the important persons of our lives: generally through thoughtfully chosen presents, sacrifices of personal wealth, oaths of fealty…or gift cards to Red Lobster. This year, I continue my vow to sacrifice my sanity in the name of your entertainment by shutting myself into the iron maiden that is today’s holiday themed episode. You owe me.

David Steiman’s IMDB profile credits him with four production assistant jobs from 1999-2000, before becoming personal assistant to director Bret Ratner for three consecutive movies: starting with 2000’s The Family Man (I’ll have to excerebrate my gray matter with a nasal hook just to literally get Hall & Oates out of my head now), continuing through Rush Hour 2 and ending with Red Dragon in 2002. Three years later, Ratner himself would end up with a mysterious producer’s credit on this celebration of yuletide retardation: Santa’s Slay. Not only would SS (yep, that’s how I’m referring to it!) be the first-and-only writer-director credit for Mr. Steiman, but it’s also the last industry credit the guy can lay claim to of any kind for the decade since…

So, Bret Ratner produces his ex-assistant’s solo-project? Looks to me like Mr. Steiman really put the “ass” into “assistant” during his time working under The Rat, blackmailed Bret into lending his name and credibility (I use the term loosely… possibly sarcastically) to SS, then exiled himself into oblivion after being confronted with the product of his manipulations, having lost any future he may have held for himself after giving up said blackmail material to BR as part of their arrangement. Oh well, sometimes you gotta swallow a few loads to make your dreams cum true…Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you, you, you, you! Fuck…the H&O earworm only grows fatter. Somebody get me 666 cc of “Super Charger Heaven”, stat!

Our movie cold opens on a Christmas gathering of the Mason family (no, not the Manson family) as they gather for dinner, bickering and implied adultery. They’re your typical horribly WASPy family of well-off shitholes to whom the concept of love died long ago, like a starving polio-ridden Great Depression-era orphan child in a snowstorm. They’re thankful to their god for not making them “poor or Samoan”. Just when the dad (James Caan) is about to stab the son-in-law (Chris Kattan) for fingering the mom (Fran Drescher) under the dinner table, a pissed off mountain of a man dressed like Santa (Bill Goldberg) explodes from their chimney and proceeds to brutally slaughter the whole useless clan till they’re Feliz NaviDEAD! Bludgeoning, immolation, impalement, drowning in egg nog, and finally, James Caan getting a turkey leg jammed down his throat pipe. (Death) God bless them, every one.

Who is this Herculean icon of holiday cheer-turned-brain smashing behemoth (this line to be spoken like the narrator from the Adam West “Batman”)? I’ll spare you the wait and express pass your ass to the head of the class. It’s almost a decade old at this point, so the grace period for plot spoiling is long gone! You know how Jesus Christ was supposedly the result of immaculate conception between an angel and his “virgin” mother Mary? Turns out there was another such birth some time ago, as Satan himself spawned his own offspring from another mortal woman (named Erica)’s baby maker. That child’s name? Santa. What, you though it was a coincidence their names are so similar? The SNL Church Lady knew the score!

Anyway, every year on his birthday Santa would go out and slaughter random people. These annual bouts of unsolved murders were dubbed “The Day of Slayings” (YesVirginia, we have a title), also known as Kerry King’s birthday. As Christianity spread like a plague over the Nordic lands, the people would gather every year for a Christ mass, where they’d beg their new god to save them from Santa’s traditional birthday bash(ing of their skulls). Sometime around the year 1000, Big G finally answered their whining by sending down an archangel to do a BTO job (i.e. take care of business). Disguising himself as just another jobber, the angel challenged the big bully to a winner-take-all round of curling. Curling?! Yep, this movie is definitely a product of Canada. Blart.

If Santa won his challenger would be condemned to an eternity in Hell, while a loss would result in Santa becoming a harbinger of charity and good cheer for the extent of the following millennium. The winged deceiver triumphed and the rest is history…until now: exactly 1000 years later (to the day, since this is a movie), when Santa’s personality inversion has expired! Now he and his reindeerish beast the Helldeer (it’s just a white buffalo…someone call Charles Bronson!) are on the hunt for the heavenly body that pulled the holy wool over his soulless black eyes and permanently scratching a few names off of his Naughty List along the way. Where’s this angel now? He resides in a little middle-of-nowhere hamlet in the wilds of Canada known as…Hell.

And yes, the township’s moniker is abused to full pun effect throughout the next 75 minutes, so gird your laughter loins (or your groan groin), lest ye suffer a pulled muscle from all of the agonizing efforts of fifth grade humor you’re in store for.

Also residing in Hell is a disgustingly mild mannered teen by the moniker of Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith looking like the son of Bud Bundy), whose possession of the Christmasiest sounding name since Santa’s Little Helper (or “Santos L. Halper” if you work in customer service) is guaranteed to get him involved in the coming blizzard of bloody battery. In fact, if I just outright told you now that the elusive angel is his grandpa (Robert Culp) and young Nick was oblivious of the fact until now as Santa Claus is comin’ to town, your shock level would register somewhere around a “minor static shock from touching a doorknob after crossing a carpet in socks” level, right? I thought as much.

Nick works at a Jewish owned deli (is there any other kind?) along with his friend/co-worker/scripted love interest Mary “Mac” MacKenzie (Emilie de Ravin). Mary’s obviously got a girl boner for the gawky weirdo, and if she has her way, she won’t be going the way of the Biblical Mary…by which I mean she’s looking to get her factory seal ruptured for Christmas…by which I mean she wants the Nick dick. As for deli owner Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek), I don’t know his intentions for “the Nick dick”, but I will say that he looks like the bastard love child of Elliott Gould and Adam Carolla. He winds up pinned to the back wall of his establishment by a menorah jammed through his windpipe later on, courtesy of Claus. Does this count as a hate crime? Shouldn’t Santa be down with the Chosen People given their mutual hatred of Jesus anyway? Also, if you say “hatred of Jesus” using the Spanish pronunciation, it rolls off the proverbial tongue nicely. Very lyrical.

Here’s the rundown on Nick’s grandpa (simply credited as “Grandpa”): in his current form, he’s considered the town nutso. He’s a bit of a recluse who refuses to celebrate Christmas, spends his time in his basement bunker watching his oddly extensive surveillance equipment and making weird inventions like a weaponized nutcracker that shoots exploding chesnuts out of its hideous grinning maw. Before all of this, back when he tricked Santa into a thousand years of slavery in the shackles of holiday cheer, the angel gave up his halo and wings to start a life with a mortal Norse woman (little to nothing of which is covered beyond “I fell in love with a human woman”) who we’re presumed to believe became Nick’s grandma. I guess giving up your angelic status doesn’t make you “mortal” though, because the old man’s still spry after ten centuries. That’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg, because there’s no mention of what happened to Nick’s parents, or just how shallow the roots are on his family tree. Did Gramps fall in love, spend a lifetime with the woman, then just kinda live and love for the next 900 years or so until he met Nick’s actual grandma before settling down and raising a family? Did he sire another family, or possibly multiple other families, before spawning the bloodline that would lead to young master Yuleson? It’s never addressed, let alone made clear, and just leaves gaping-like-a-size-queen plot holes big enough to fly a team of reindeer through. Thought I’d stuff your stockings with a little holiday twist to an old reviewer’s cliché.

While all of this is going on, we’re introduced to Hell’s resident representative of the Christian faith, Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas!). PT is your standard issue “Don’t be a sinner – give money to me! Errr, the church!” man of the cloth, and regularly holds mass…by which I mean the mass of the big fake titties hanging off of the pole jockettes sluttin’ it up at the town gentlemen’s club. Yep, the contents of the collection plate are destined for the g-strings of Hell’s single mothers and “working girls”. In no way surprising, but makes the Pastor’s statement in a prior scene telling his congregation to not donate loose change and keep it to bills incrimentally funnier in retrospect.

Juggernaut Claus runs (unstoppably so, “bitch”!) through the club and murders a handful of denizens while casually sexually harassing and/or assaulting several of the employees before just burning the STD hole to the ground via a flaming hot coal grenade that leaves the place looking like a Vietnamese orphanage after one of Uncle Sam’s anti-communism napalm showers. Timmons eludes paying the proverbial piper (only to be corpsed up while dressed as Santa later on, in the moments before the closing credits roll), but professional wrestling nerds should take note – infamous pro-wrestling writer cum onscreen character Vince “Vic Venom” Russo cameos as one of the victims of Santa’s rampage! Funny from a geek standpoint since many fans blame Russo for the murdering of former “sports entertainment” titan and builders of Bill Goldberg’s career World Championship Wrestling. The only true WCW, by the way, for all the those “woman crush Wednesdays” social media she-wankers. 😛

Eventually Santa gets around to hunting Nick and Grandpa so as to wipe their lineage from the face of the Earth in revenge for being reduced to “a bowl full of jelly” with “dimples so merry” for most of his existence. He managed to locate the duo thanks to a letter Nick sent to him years ago (where did you think those letters to Santa wound up?!), asking for an Easy Bake Oven. Mary tags along for the adventure (gotta have those “Don’t you realize yet that I want the Nick dick!?” moments) and Nick somehow comes to the conclusion that they’ll be okay so long as they can survive until 7PM their time, because that would make it midnight at the North Pole, thus Christmas would officially be over. I hate it when the protagonists just make up their own rules to shit like this! Not since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!, when Tommy randomly decides that the only way to stop super zombie Jason Vorhees is to chain a boulder around his neck and trap him in Crystal Lake amid a ring of fire just BECAUSE, have I screamed “Who gave you creative control of the script?!” at my TV screen. Horse. Shit.

Almost as annoying is Nick’s insistence on putting his dick in the fourth wall glory hole by reminding everybody several times about how absurd the whole scenario is. Christ’s nipple clamps! If you’re gonna have a character riff on how stupid your own movie is, just go all out with it. He comes within inches of just saying “It’s like we’re in some bad horror movie!” before looking straight into the camera and winking anyway, so take a fucking cue from Nike and JUST DO IT!

Santa follows Nick back to Grandpa’s, but while our teen heroes try to escape the brutal bearded beefcake, Grandpa gets run over by the Helldeer…and yes, they make the obvious joke, in case you were wondering. The rest of the movie is basically the Degrassi dropouts running away from Santa until they wind up at the local high school, where Santa pulls out a glowing green candy cane (like one of those throwaway glow sticks spelunkers use) to light up his face for dramatic effect…then immediately throws it down…because he only needed it for that one second…oy. He chases them onto the school hockey rink, but just as the homicidal holiday icon is about to run down the soory pair under a hungry Zamboni, he’s stopped by a glowing golden curling stone…

Yes, apparently when an angel gives up their angelic status to become a seemingly un-aging human (is this where Highlanders come from?), once they’re killed they’re allowed to get their old jobs back. If that’s the case, then why don’t ALL angels do this?! Shit, it’d be worth it just to experience the blowjobs and cheeseburger pizza alone! You get to just become an angel again when you die anyway!

Grandpa tries to trick the sadistic behemoth into another curling match, this time demanding Claus becomes a good guy forever (why wasn’t that the stipulation for the original face-off?!) if the golden geezer triumphs once more, once again offering himself up to eternal damnation in Hell if he loses… except that angels aren’t human and thus do not have souls to damn, so the bet’s already bullshit to begin with! Anyway, Santa agrees to the wager, but this time demands that Gramps shoots first. Star Wars geeks, please save your Han-Greedo arguments (and slash fiction) for the appropriate message boards and Facebook groups. Thank you.

Santa pulls a shitlord move (he is Beelzebub Jr. after all), and rather than taking his turn at slide ‘n sweep, just grabs Gramps and tosses him into a literal hell hole! Nick’s completely meritless deadline finally expires, to which Claus pleasingly tells Nick to go fuck himself with that bullshit. He’s Santa Claus. HE decides when Christmas is over! He then tries to blow up Nick and (There’s Something About) Mary with a Megalon napalm loogie (why did he even need the coal bomb at the strip club?!), but it’s deflected by Nick who uses the nutcracker weapon from earlier in one of the most gob smackingly dumb-fuck moments in a movie infested with dumb-fuck moments. Santa takes a chestful of chestnut shrapnel (yeah, they make THAT pun too) in the exchange and escapes into the night on his Zamboni while the kids help Grandpa, who’s been hanging onto the edge of the Hell portal for longer than an old man should be able to hold his own body weight. Grandpa can’t leave the boundaries of the hockey rink (huh?!), so Nick and Mary set off to finish the job on Santa on their own. Rather than find him and defeat him, they opt instead to get Mary’s family of Canadian rednecks to shoot down the Helldeer (with a rocket launcher, because Canada’s seemingly littered with live military armaments), blowing it into scattered meat and guts…until it’s shown again two minutes later as a complete carcass tied to the top of someone’s truck! I can only wish that I regenerate the brain cells killed from watching SS as fast.

The movie ends threatening us with the possibility of a sequel as Nick takes up Grandpa’s Santa grimoire (which I’ll call the Navidadicon) and bukkakes the screen with Velveeta as he declares “my saga’s just beginning”. BLAAAAART! Meanwhile, Santa winds up at an airport with a plane ticket to the North Pole…and that’s it. It’s over. Roll the really shitty end credits theme “Bye Bye Santa”, as done by a sad excuse for a Ramones cover band called Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon, a half-hearted hardcore version Deck the Halls, and some more JDPM shit called Christmas In Detroit…for this movie that was filmed entirely in Canada. May that threat of a sequel be an empty one, and let us thank Cthulhu that Dave Steiman’s resume has since been trapped in magical Christmas ice, from which we can only pray it is never thawed and is freezer burned beyond recognition.

I’ve been shitting on the writing enough by this point, so you already know how I feel about that. What I’d like to do now, is drop a few Cleveland Steamers on the friggin’ editing hack job. It wasn’t horrible for the most part, but during the last chunk of this hour and fifteen it read like a clusterfuck. It came off like someone with a meat cleaver and high on airplane glue was told to chop off 20 minutes or so of footage and this is what was left. Ever seen Evil Ed? That. The entire non-ending was awful, and any movie that sets itself up for a sequel doesn’t deserve one. Every movie should be made under the idea of “THIS IS OUR ONLY CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING, SO LET’S NOT DO IT HALF-ASSED! WE USE OUR WHOLE ASS, DAMN IT!” because you don’t wanna be a one-termer asshole like Carter or Bush Sr. who didn’t get to live up to their first term promises.

Creative now properly crucified, how about this cast? Douglas Smith? Simply put, he sucks. Remember how I said he had this next-gen David Faustino/Bud Bundy thing going on? I would’ve preferred a time traveling David Faustino circa 1992 playing Nick. Robert Culp’s okay, but his Nordic accent sometimes dips into “I didn’t know the Nords were from Ireland” territory. Emilie de Ravin is passable, but delivers lines at times that give me the impression she’d just put her retainer in between scenes. Take this how you will, but she also looks like a barely legal Patricia Arquette. If I were 10 years younger…I’d still feel like a dirty old man for wanting to see what she looks like with my balls on her chin and my pubes making time with her nose hairs. Shit. Onto a less damning statement, Dave Thomas (the Strange Brew guy, not the dead guy from the Wendy’s commercials) is… well…there. He showed up for work and read his lines. He wasn’t very funny, but the material wasn’t exactly Mel Brooks. Tommy “Tiny (but I’ll always know him as Zeus)” Lister gets a paycheck for a short cameo as a gas station attendant (AKA the only black guy in rural Canada) who’s moved to Hell to get away from all the violence in “the hood”…Canada has a “hood”?! I was really hoping Lister would reveal himself to be some kind of opposing force for Santa, but once Grandpa came back into the picture as a member of the haloed crowd, I knew my hopes were for naught and his appearance was just a nod to old school wrestling geeks like yours truly. Go watch No Holds Barred and weep at the smell of dookie.

The only worthwhile stand out from this movie is Goldberg, and that’s because Santa plays to his strengths: look like a big psychotic colossus, snarl and grin like a maniac a lot, and speak English clear enough that you can recite bad holiday themed one-liners. The one-liners themselves are crap, but Bill delivers them with enough aplomb to show that he was at least having some laughs behind his gigantic fake facial mane.

Everything started out great, with Santa handing out comically graphic violence to the jerk-off brood, followed by running a bitchy old lady off the road to her great reward (that’s what happens when you berate Jews for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”!), but once the story started to form, the foundations for this gingerbread house immediately dried out and began crumbling. The whole thing starts to feel like a slapdash Hallmark Channel Christmas Original, only littered with foul language, crude humor, big naked fake-o boobs, and cartoony (albeit bloody) levels of murder. You could slap “Hallmark After Dark Presents” on the title card and I wouldn’t be surprised. On the plus side, if you’ve ever wanted to the see The Nanny’s head set ablaze, here’s your chance!

I say watch Santa’s Slay for the bloodshed and fast forward through the rest of this mire. And this is coming from someone who likes Jack Frost…no, not the Michael Keaton movie…and not the Russian one they watched on the Satellite of Love. All in all, I’ll use a quote from Nicholas and sum Santa’s Slay up as “File that next to brown colored toilet paper as a bad idea”. I thought SS would be gold, but it was bronze. Sorry, I wanted to get this movie out of my system so I marathoned “Snuff Box” last night and now I can’t get that damn theme song out of my skull.

Fun fact: Goldberg’s not the first professional meathead to don the red, white and beard! In 1996, man-shaped Ziploc bag full of gravy Hulk Hogan starred in Santa with Muscles, where he played a guy who did things, presumably dressed as Santa, that likely included performing wrestling moves on some less-than-noble types. It’s so shit streaked that it makes it almost impossible for me to masturbate to Mila Kunis, knowing that she was in it. Sadly, it’s outside of my realm of influence, as the be-hair curtained Real American’s entry into the pantheon of holiday “Why hasn’t this been done by RiffTrax yet?” cin-enemas was left behind in the wake of the last millenium with the rest of the Hulkster’s floppy dicked attempt at a movie career. If I could have my way though, I would Charles Band the crap out of these two bicep blasted incarnations of Ol’ Saint Nick and make them do Yuletide combat in Santas with Muscles: 2 Holly 2 Jolly 2 Slay.

In more positive news, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Street Fighter – the world’s first movie adaptation of a video game, that also had a video game adaptation of itself…dividing by zero before dividing by zero was a thing. It killed Raul Julia. To celebrate, here’s movie Blanka! Despite the rest of his body being violently deformed through experimental mutation, at least his dentist will be happy to see that it didn’t effect his teeth. Merciful Cthulhumas, everyone!

Blanka

So I guess it’s goodbye now, it’s over
Nothing much changed, we’re just older
But if I see you again back in detox
Put my remains in my snuff box

Moral of the Story: James Caan’s intentions for turkey are strictly carnivorous and NOT sexual. He will make it a point to tell you as such.

Screenshots_____

“Got any roles I can audition for? I’ll do anything for a part! I sucked off and swallowed 14 studio execs in a sauna once for Corky Romano, and I knew that movie was going to be shit from first glance!”


James Caan’s just gone straight senile. Every time we invite him to our Tuesday night Knifey-Spoony games, he always shows up with a fucking fork…


It’s Kool-Aid Claus! “Ho-ho-hoooooh Yeah!”


“Where’s the (roast) beef!… oh wait. There it is.”


“Every time you come in here Mrs. Smith, I tell you I’m NOT Paul Reiser. Please stop asking for my autograph and telling me I should give Helen Hunt a call to see how she’s doing.”


That has to be the most name brand stocked fridge I’ve seen in a long time!


“And don’t ever try putting your dick in that thing, kid. There’s a reason they’re called NUTcrackers!”


Despite what this may look like, that guy’s just trying to give Santa a complimentary shave. The beard’s just getting too big to manage.


She’s either doing her impression of Frankenstein’s monster, trying to keep her “silent but deadly” silent, or showing us her “o face”.


Billy Baldwin, tired of waiting for the call to come, goes ahead and starts up his own homemade sequel to Sliver.


“Ho-ho-HOLY SHIT! Who slipped acid into my milk and cookies?! I am freakin’ out!”


“Today’s passing of the collection plate is to raise the funds needed to replace our tissue paper windows with actual stained glass. Please give what you can, then add $10 on top of that.”


“What are you punk-asses looking at?! Tell Hanukkah Harry I’ll be waiting for him at the Nativity Scene downtown whenever he’s ready to man up and settle this once and for all!”


“Look, after Ice Cube sold out and stopped making Friday sequels, I had to make money somehow! Not like No Holds Barred 2 is every gonna be a thing! Now, you gonna buy these Cheetos or what?!”


He was only supposed to bleed from the throat for a few hours, but he somehow bled for 8 nights. It was a new Hanukkah miracle!


Having taken a bunch of Ecstasy and eaten several snowballs packed with Viagra, Santa is ready to rave straight on into the New Year!


A still from the Canadian remake of Heaven Can Wait. This is what angels look like North of the border.


President of the Canadian expansion of the NRA. Not sure how rocket launchers classify as “Rifles”, but if you ask them why they’ll just threaten to murder your family for “trampling their rights”.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Wrestling Dead”

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

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

Feature 43 – Tales of the Black Freighter (2009)

or “It’s an Open Sore On a Putrid Shore”

Featuring the Voices of: Gerard “300” Butler , Siobahn “Feardotcom” Ellen , Jared “I Shot Andy Warhol” Harris

Directors: Daniel “Other” DelPurgatorio , Mike “1001 Nights” Smith

Writers: Zack “Sucker Punch” Snyder , Alex “Watchmen” Tse

Origin: USA

Also Known As: Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter

Review_____

“I knew again the stench of powder and men’s brains and war.”

What’s behind my advent calender of eldritch horror today? A cruise across the seas of blackest nightmares aboard the boat of blackest love. No, it’s not a vacation on the Black Sea aboard Disney Cruises’ new Mandingo Party Boat (sorry, still scrubbing the residue of Haunted House 2 off of my hands) in the middle of a black hole. Welcome to Tales of the Black Freighter.

Given that my prior episode was for a Marvel superhero feature, I thought I’d give longtime rivals DC a fair chance in the spotlight. Rather than double down on the tights & capes crowd, I opted for something a bit more unique and adult from the house that The World’s Finest built. And since Preacher isn’t a thing (yet), We3 never happened, Swamp Thing will probably never recover from those fucking live-action movies, and “Constantine”’s not animated, this is the adventure I choose. The Black Knight runs you through with his sword. The last thing you see is your internal organs spilling out of you as you try desperately to hold onto ’em like that guy in the meme who can’t hold all those limes. You died. Return to page 37.

Zack Snyder couldn’t find a spot for Gerard Butler on his Watchmen cast, so rather than leave his good friend (and then meal ticket) the Butt Butler alone and hungry in the cold, Snyd finagled him the lead voice job in Tales of the Black Freighter. The part doesn’t require him to oil up and jump around with other guys homoerotically grunting and screaming in manties, so already Butts is out of his element and spitting into the wind.

Originally a comic book-within-a-comic book (meta before meta was a thing), TotBF appeared in Alan Moore’s spectacular 1986 Watchmen maxi-series as a barely-subtle mirroring to the events in the Watchmen story proper about how some heroes are really just villains who think they’re the good guys. Everybody’s the hero of their own tale.

Oh yeah, spoilers. Check the expiration date though, kiddies: Black Freighter came out in 2009, so this milk is officially past the 5 year “Sell by” date. As such, curdle ahoy!

The tale takes place in the mis-romanticized age of pirates. I mean real pirates. The guys with the eye patches and the peg legs and the treasure maps and the scurvy, not the skinny Somalian guys on motorboats wearing track suits and wielding rusty uzis. Butler’s clunky reading skills give voice to a nameless ship captain (we’ll call him Skipper) with the grave misfortune of having his craft targeted by an infamous and unholy hell barge known the seven seas over as the Black Freighter. Not your everyday pirate schooner, the BF is a hulking ark from Satan’s own armada. Massive in its size and colossal in its evilness, it looms like a reaper’s shadow over all who encounter it. Forged of a mountain of bones and skulls, it’s painted in a blackness darker than a tar pit filled with coal mined from the deepest pits of Earth by the souls of history’s worst sinners during a total eclipse of the sun (and heart). We’re talking Wesley Snipes shades of black and “Jeffrey Dahmer having phone sex with Charles Manson” shades of darkness.

When we meet Skip, his boat’s been left in splinters and his crew litters the tide like a New Orleans cemetery post-Katrina. He washes up on the shores of a deserted island along with the remnants of both his ship and his men with the single-minded focus of what horrors the Black Freighter’s twisted monstrous occupants will unleash upon his beloved wife and daughters once it casts its cloak of pitch upon the harbor of their home, Jonestown. Skipper is determined to reach said docks ahead of the flagitious frigate in the hopes of saving his friends and loved ones from the looming doom. How will he accomplish this daunting odyssey? Therein lies the element that cements Black Freighter‘s place in the history of horrifying shit…

With nothing to saw down any of the trees on the isle, Skippy tries to assemble what he can of his former craft’s remains into a viable raft. Unable to cobble more than a ramshackle skeleton together, our wayward Robinson Crusoe takes this time to notice that the bodies of his former crew are starting to bloat, making them exceedingly buoyant…yep, he’s going to make a cadaver catamaran with his deceased mates as posthumous pontoons. He lashes them together with the scraps of their clothes, severing limbs and breaking bones to form them to his needs. It’s gloriously retch-inducing.

Setting out as the most death draped gondolier since Charon had to break out his ferry to take the citizens of Pompeii across the Styx, Skip struggles to stay alive as his brain bakes in the sun, drinking minimal amounts of salt water to stay hydrated and trying to eat raw seagulls he catches while they peck at his makeshift transport. It’s a gruesome cruise, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until 2013 when the Carnival Triumph became stranded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the nightmarish conditions that would earn it the title of “The Skat Boat” a.k.a. “The Poop Cruise” a.k.a. “The Shit Ship” a.k.a “Bush/Cheney 2013”.

Amidst his rapidly deteriorating mental state (including casual chats with his former first mate Ridley [Jared Harris]’s corpse), Skip’s trip is interrupted by a shiver of sharks. The gang of great whites go all feeding frenzy on our hero’s raft, tearing body after body away as he tries to fend them off without getting eaten himself. One of the monsters gets caught up in his ropes and Skippy manages to kill it (like Olga Karlatos in Zombie), using it as his new ride for the remainder of the cruise home, bringing Ridley’s severed head with him. Comedy comes from tragedy, so at its heart, Tales of the Black Freighter is really a buddy comedy in disguise!

Arriving at the shores of his hometown, Skip notes the complete lack of turmoil and carnage he expected to be met with upon his return. Convinced that there’s no fucking way he could’ve gotten there ahead of the BF, he figures that the village had already been taken and his only concern now is to find out the fate of his family. He comes across a man and his date on their way to hump town alongside the road and presumes the guy must’ve turned traitor to save his own miserable ass from the bloodthirsty buccaneers. Skip grabs a rock and bashes the guy’s brains into paste before strangling the hussy, who deserves no less lethal a fate for letting such a miserable privateer into her private parts. Slipping into the suspiciously silent streets of the town, Skip finds his way to his home and finds his daughters asleep in their bed. Before he can rejoice about the revelation, a shadowed figure comes into the room. Sure that this must be a marauder, our hero leaps into action and dispatches the fiend permanently, violently beating his head into the floorboards. Cue the look of horror on his girls’ faces, followed by the agonizing realization of Skipper’s own visage when he discovers that the fiend he’s just murdered in cold blood (it could just be gazpacho…) is in fact…shit, if you couldn’t guess it by now, I’m gonna shove thumbtacks between your fingers and toes until you figure it out for yourself.

Shocked and appalled by what he’s done, Skippy escapes into the night, followed behind by a contingent of his non-ravaged neighbors who have since discovered the bodies he left along the road and are now wielding torches in search of mob justice. He finds his way to the docks and back into the aquatic purgatory from which he’d just freed himself, only to see the Black Freighter lurking nearby. Rather than warn his very angry peers, he instead swims to the ship, where a rope is lowered for him. He takes hold, climbs the side of the ship, and gives himself over to the horde of twisted atrocities that surround him. And now it all makes sense: ultimately, man is his own antagonist. As Nietzsche said in his second most quoted-to-the-point-of-cliche philosophical statement, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

When I originally read Watchmen, I remember skipping over some of the Black Freighter segments. For me, they broke the pacing of the main story and felt unnecessary. I didn’t need a story within a story explaining the theme of the first story to me. As such, when Watchmen delved into the dimension of sight AND sound, I wasn’t bothered by its being trimmed from the movie. I do appreciate Warner Bros going all out and giving it its own animated format and release though. I’m also happy that they kept it to a trim 30 minutes, because as a 90 minute feature (or even a 60 minute demi-feature), I fear it could’ve ended up a little unbalanced to the tune of more-filler-than-killer. As it stands? Fantastic. Well, aside from Butler’s line reading. Maybe he should’ve taken a couple of muscle relaxers (or skipped the Viagra) before recording, because his delivery was a little too stiff to ignore. Wakka-wakka.

The animation has that twisted, rough look to it like a cleaner version of an “Aeon Flux” episode without everyone looking quite so elongated. The writing is just fucking incredible and Butler’s got the perfect voice for it. Again, it’s just sad that he can’t read about 20% of the words without making them sound stiff and awkward. Alan Moore’s words resonate in the dark corners of your brain, and if you’ve never read any of the man’s work, get thee to a library. And if they don’t have any Alan Moore stuff? Burn it to its foundations, then shit in the basement. Don’t just ask them to order it, make a statement about how you shouldn’t have to!

Overall, TotBF invokes the same feelings in me as the segments of the original Heavy Metal did as this dark, very adult, well animated (but not too well animated), self-contained story. It really is a brilliant piece. And that closing song. Holy shit. “Pirate Jenny” by Nina Simone? The end credits for an animated zombie pirate gore story doesn’t seem like a great place for a blues song (beyond the obvious thematic connections, since the original rendition of PJ from ”The Threepenny Opera” was Alan Moore’s inspiration for the comic-within-a-comic to begin with), but when I think about the track later on, independent of the movie itself, it sends literal chills up my neck and gives me phantom goosebumps. I’ve never been haunted by a song before, but this one might as well be a pasty white Japanese girl in heavy goth eyeliner with long raggedy hair crawling on top of me while I sleep. If I say “Black Freighter” five times in the bathroom mirror with the lights off, Nina Simone will come out and go all Candyman on my hairy canis-sapien butthole.

Great, now I’ve gotta go smash my mirror and clear a few million bees out of my toilet before they fuck up the pipes and I have to spend my Cthulhumas bonus on hiring a plumber. Fuck. I’ll be back next time with…something. Until then, keep your taints clean, your streets mean, and always tip your cleaning staff or you might wind up with your fucking head on a stake!

Moral of the Story: “Whoever we are, wherever we reside, we exist on the whim of murderers.”

Screenshots_____

I see yet another person who doesn’t understand that the answer to “Is black-face okay?” is always “NOOOOOO”.


Lindsey Lohan earned her boating license and held a booze cruise in honor of the accomplishment. There were no survivors.


Guys, I know sometimes we do extreme things during times of severe sexual frustration, but trust me when I tell you this isn’t the answer. It’s just not worth the dick splinters. Nothing is.


In case you forgot this story was originally a part of Watchmen, here’s Skipper’s Rorshach sail… you’ll be seeing it many many times again to assure that, like 9/11, you never forgot.


Beachhead. Because there’s a head. And it’s on a beach. It’s a beach head on a beachhead. Because even in times of plague and horror, no one is safe from visual puns!


Shark attack! Quick, somebody get Lance Guest and Mario Van Peebles here so we can impale it on their schooner!


When your friends tell you you need to “get some head”, this isn’t what they mean, Skip.


That’s exactly what I look like every time I have to plunge my toilet.


The most metal fucking raft EVER! If Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson, and Rob Halford went on a fishing trip, they’d do so on THAT!


Yeah, I remember the first time I had sex with a woman on her period too. They tell you it’ll be alright… you’ll never be the same again.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Murder on 34th Street”

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

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

Feature 42 – Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013)

or “Tony Starkner’s TechWar”

Featuring the Voices of: Matthew “Thundercats (2011)” Mercer , Eric “Ren & Stimpy ‘Adult Party Cartoon’” Bauza , Norman “The Walking Dead” Reedus

Director: Hiroshi “Highlander: the Search for Vengeance” Hamazaki

Writers: Brandon “Dead Space: Aftermath” Auman , Kengo “Tokyo Gore Police” Kaji

Origin: Japan

Follows:Marvel Anime: Iron Man

Followed By: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

Review_____

“Why should I listen to someone irrelevant?”

Today’s topic may be about a good ol’ American made superhero icon, but the feature itself is a product of the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s like being told that you’re getting a Baconator from Wendy’s, only it was made by a sushi chef. You know it’s going to resemble what you asked for: it’ll probably be made with some fine Kobe beef, but there’s also the very high possibility that after you bite into it, something with tentacles is going to be smiling back at you from between those buns. That just sounded more x-rated than it needed to be. You’re welcome.

Back at the turn of the Willennium, Marvel created its own Japanese influenced comics known as the Mangaverse, where classic characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man were given new spins and designs based on pop culture tropes from across the pond, just without going so far as to include rape monsters. The Mangaverse started as a larf but went on to become a canonical dimension in the Marvel pantheon of alternate realities, designated Earth-2301. For those curious new-comers out there, the main Marvel universe that we all know and love is known as Earth-616. The 2301 wasn’t the first instance of a slathering of wasabi and roe on a Big Mac though. For that, we’d have to toss Mr. Peabody some Beggin’ Strips so he’d take us on a trip in the Wayback to 1978. Japanese geek dream factory Toei created their own version of Marvel’s Spider-Man for a live-action TV series. Ever wonder what the webslinger would look like as imagined by the people who gave the world Sailor Moon, Power Rangers and Prince of Space (“MST3K” fans know that last one painfully well)? I present to you: Supaidâ-Man .

Unlike the American live-action TV series that came the year before, at least that Japanese shit was fun stupid and not just stupid stupid!

Anyway, that was 35 years ago. More recently, in 2010, Marvel produced four 12-episode animated maxi-series for Japanese television network Animax that starred Marvel characters adapted to appeal to the new foreign audiences while trying to keep the core characteristics that made them globally popular in the first place. The subjects for this targeted marketing project were Iron Man, Wolverine, the X-Men, and Blade. Not sure how Blade made it into the mix to be honest, given that his cinematic career went out with a fart back in 2004 with Blade: Trinity. This isn’t like the days before the internet when Japan was always 10 years behind in terms of catching up to US pop culture. Whatever the case, if you’ve seen the Iron Man movies, then you should be good to go here without having to have seen the 12 episode anime. The titular villain is the only real new addition to the story, but his background is heavily linked to the events of the first live-action movie, so we dirty gaijin won’t be left out of the loop. With all of that said, let’s see what’s in this spicy tuna burger.

For starters, IM:RoT (love that acronym) is written by Kengo Kaji and Brandon Auman. Kaji wrote for Tokyo Gore Police and Uzumaki (two brilliant pieces of Japanese guano lunacy), while Auman penned several episodes of “Iron Man: the Armored Adventures” and “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”. Ironically enough, NOT the Technovore centric episodes of either series. I can’t speak much for “Armored Adventures”, but “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” is one of the best comic book cartoons since “Batman: the Animated Series”. A pretty solid pedigree to build something spectacular around, correct? That fucking two star rating at the top of this page says otherwise.

Tony Stark (Matt Mercer) is up to his usual high-tech industrialist antics. His latest project is The Howard: a super-powered surveillance satellite designed for Marvel’s Black Ops peace keeping organization SHIELD. You know, Strategic Hazard something Espionage something Dentists or whatever. The satellite is named after Tony’s dad Howard Stark, and will allow SHIELD to go full-on Big Brother on the Earth to prevent global terrorism. Basically, they’re looking to do a full Orwell and go 1984 squared, which would be 3936256… I don’t know, math humor? Anyway, a planet spanning snooping plan that will allow its controller to record everybody in the world on the shitter and/or masturbating in the shower? Yeah, no way this can POSSIBLY go wrong!

On the day The Howard is set to make its launch into orbit (to the chagrin of EVERYBODY who doesn’t already live in a nudist colony), the launch site is assaulted by a group of mech suited mercenaries called The Raiders, who are seemingly set on keeping SHIELD’s balls off of everybody’s lips while they’re sleeping. If these guys are anything like their NFL counterparts though, they fail their jobs 96% of the time. Not exactly the kind of confidence you should be instilling in potential clients. Though they’d probably manage to screw the job up if left to their own devices anyway, Iron Man and War Machine (aka runner-up Iron Man) are there to make sure that Howie makes it to its new home amid the stars. Yep, Jimmie “War Machine” Rhodes (James Mathis III) is along for the ride too, so expect the casual dick measuring contests between he and Tony, as well as the usual “Rhodey saving Tony from his own overconfidence” routine. Given the “your real friends are always there when you need them” mentality of the ol’ superhero team-up scenario, don’t be surprised if War Machine also ends up being our tale’s Deus ex Machina… or Machina ex Machina, as the case may be. Speaking of machines, enter Technovore (Eric Bauza).

Well, don’t enter him, exactly. I’m no robosexual. You know what I meant.

In its original American form, Technovore looks something akin to a Human Centipede made of Terminators. A Termipede, you might say. It’s made up of a colony of rogue nano-machines (i.e. microscopic robots) that allowed it to regenerate from damage and change its shape at will. This new version of Technovore is similar, yet very very different. Like every time a new Ninja Turtles show comes out. Instead of being pure machine, Neo-Vore’s actually an evil albino emo anime teen who speaks in anti-corporate rhetoric like an Occupy Wall Street castaway… wait, don’t go yet! The nano-machines are still in effect, but now they act more like a living techno-organic armor that can morph around this kid like liquid metal, T-1000 style. While Techy could presumably be using this to whip out an arsenal of blades, he opts instead to weaponize a series of floating spheres that hover around him. Guy’s got more balls flying around him than The Tall Man! But, not nearly as many balls as porn icon Houston, who added “author” to her resume when she chronicled her life in the autobiography, Pretty Enough: The Story of the Gang Bang Queen. A truer story than “The Real World”.

The attack on the Howard launch complex leads to a whole buncha civilian deaths, but TV fails to prevent Howard going into orbit thanks to Fe Sapien’s timely interference. The villainous ne’er-do-well refugee from One Direction gets away, but before he does he makes sure to detonate the control tower and everyone in it, including Rhodey and Starky. Ozzy Osbourne’s favorite hero escapes, but his sidekick ends up buried under a million tons of concrete and steel. He tries to dig through the rubble to find him (really? No GPS locator for such an emergency?), however Tony’s got shit to answer for with the powers that be like right fuckin’ now, so SHIELD sends a search and rescue team in to recover Iron Man Junior while Stark’s interrogated by SHIELD head honcho Nick Fury (John Bentley). The cycloptic hard-ass wants to make sure Stark himself had nothing to do with the attack on the Howard launch party (because… reasons?), and also wants him to stay out of the public eye (ocular humor!) until SHIELD can get the whole Technovore problem neutralized. Not one for the sidelines treatment (plus, his name is plastered across the fucking marquee), Iron Pants pops his clutch and invites the authority to bite his shiny metal ass, taking off to find TV on his own and deal out some genius billionaire philanthropist vigilante justice! Because we comic geeks love our crossovers and team-ups (and because The Avengers is one of the highest grossing movies EVER), Fury sends agents Black Widow (Clare Grant) and Hawkeye (Troy Baker) out to bring the errant outlaw back. Hey, when your villain has the potential to create techno-organic tentacles, you can’t just have a big sausage party! Hence, Busty St. Widow. Speaking of tentacles, I’ll bet Mickey Rourke’s electrified whip gimmick went in a whoooole different direction for the Japanese cut of Iron Man 2. Hell, Whiplash was probably the hero!

In his efforts to hunt Techy to avenge Rhodey, stop the baddie AND prove that his old clunky iron dick is superior to the shiny young morphing dong of the new hotness, Tony needs a tour guide to the underworld (not the the literal underworld, otherwise he would’ve been ringing my hotline) to help him connect the dastardly dots and find the fiend for which he searches. He needs someone with a history of deep involvement in the world of illegal death dealing on a military scale. Someone to whom human life is justified as disposable for the right reasons: his reasons. Someone to whom the justice system is to be ignored for the sake of his own benefit and to whom “morals” is a four-letter word. Someone willing to shoot his own friend in the face if the situation calls for it. Yes, Tony needs the help of… Dick Cheney! But, despite his cyborg circulatory system, “Deadeye” Dick’s a little old for this line of work, so Tony just tracks down The Punisher (Norman Reedus) instead.

I guess Big Pun must still be really popular in Japan, cuz I can’t think of any other reason he’d be shoehorned into this story. Especially given Stark’s whole “murder is not the answer” philosophy. His entire basis for becoming a superhero (beyond his ego) is to make up for all the years his company developed military weapons that led to the deaths of untold tens of thousands of people! Yet, rather than contact Captain America or some other non-fatal character who could get him the info he needs, Stark’s first choice is to shake hands with a devil whose mitts aren’t red because he’s an actual devil, but because he’s been elbow deep in so much blood in his lifetime that they’re stained that color.

Without pulling the veil back too much (IM:RoT was just released last year, after all), I’ll just say this about the rest of the movie – it’s pretty much a testament to Japan’s love for mech porn, twisted monsters, penis shaped entities that shoot sperm-like tendrils, and the island nation’s long standing feud with China. Shanghai gets it pretty hard in the last 15 minutes or so. And when the ACTUAL deus ex machina comes around in the end, it is PAINFULLY stupid, despite Tony saying he’s not stupid for preparing such protocols for said emergency. It’s not the prep that’s dumb, it’s the circumstances required to activate said emergency protocols and… damn that old gypsy chieftain for touching my face and whispering “No spoilers!” after I ran over his wife while getting road head! Ra damn it! Where’s Joe Mantegna when I need him?! ARGH!

Anyway, enough about the story. If you want to see the rest of it for yourself, that’s on you. As for me? On with the complaining!

Let’s start by addressing the elephant-shaped turd in the room: the voice acting. When it comes to an animated movie, voice acting should be your first priority. Your movie can look like utter eyeball orgasms, but if your voice cast spends their time jamming filthy Q-Tips into my ear canals, I’m not gonna care. The voice acting just straight up murders this movie. Red handed. In front of witnesses. On camera. In the middle of the Super Bowl halftime show.

Matt Mercer’s Tony Stark is baaaaaad. I don’t mean black breakdancer in an ’80s movie “baaaaaad” to mean exceptionally good, I mean the originally intended detrimental terminology of the word, extended outward with numerous additional ‘a’s to accentuate the shittiness of this performance. Mercer’s reading Stark’s trademark cocksure dialogue with about as much aplomb as a guy reading the instructions off of a Hungry Man frozen dinner box. Granted, the writing’s not exactly up to Joss Whedon standards, but that doesn’t mean your cast shouldn’t put a modicum of character into it. Sadly, Mercer’s performance isn’t the only one to pierce the annoyance centers of my cerebrum. Norman Reedus is a terrible choice to voice The Punisher, and was no doubt hired for his recognizable (yet still affordable) name due to “The Walking Dead”. Brooklyn born and raised Frank Castle does NOT sound right with a southern drawl, even as slight a one as Reedus tries to rein in. On top of the accent, Castle’s also given that perpetual “guy who just woke up” gruff whisper voice and doesn’t come off as bad-ass, it just makes him sound really disinterested and cranky. Finally, John Bentley as Nick Fury? After watching Samuel L. Jackson give us a calm, calculating, completely in command version of the visually impaired roughneck ever since the post-credits tease from the original Iron Man, it’s weird to see him vocally portrayed here more like Jules fuckin’ Winnfield from Pulp Fiction. You know how Japan is though: all black people fall into one of two categories – 90s rap videos or 70s blaxploitation movies. To them, all Samuel L. Jackson characters look the same.

When it comes to adapting characters for Japanese audiences, Iron Man is a natural fit. Sure, the “wealthy industrialist” aspect of his persona kinda conflicts with the traditional Japanese transforming hero archtype of loner motorcyclist/orphan child/unassuming shoe-shiner, but imagine him as Roger Smith from “Big O” and it’s not so hard to see Japan getting behind him. Stark’s snark remains intact, it’s just really flaccid. As for Iron Man, I was looking forward to seeing something interesting in regards to the suit design, but was disappointed to see it’s basically the same stuff we’ve been given in the US. About the only real change made to Iron Man was his methodology toward killing robots. Rather than just punching and shooting everything into scrap metal, during a fight scene with a few dozen SHIELD mandroids (“big robots” for you uninitiated), Tony fights more like Casshern than Shellhead! He was running and jumping around and doing sick axe kicks! When did Tony Stark become Tony Jaa?! Just one of those little tweaks to appeal to the foreign market. Feels weird, but I understand why it’s there. Besides, how can I say no to SICK AXE KICKS?! WAAAAAAAAAA!

Okay, on the topic of tweaks, let’s talk Technovore. Rather than just being a rogue AI, TV’s one of those kids whose dad was a huge dickhole that placed impossible educational standards on him his entire life, and treated him like he was nothing more than the $20 worth of organ meat he’s be sold as in a batch of Farmer Vincent’s Fritters. Impossible parental expectations? Japanese kids can identify with that. On top of it, he’s got a connection to Tony’s past (“No spoilers!”) which throws in another dimension to the proceedings. Also, Techno works way better as a human in a morphing suit of armor than as a weird cyber monster. At first I questioned why you’d want your big feature headlined by a bad guy that’s barely a footnote in the hero’s history. The exact question being “What the fuck is this?”. But, by turning ‘Vore into a threat to Stark on a tech level, an intelligence level AND an old generation vs. new generation level, I was on board. I’d be interested in seeing this version of Techy carry over into the actual comic series, especially given Iron Man’s notorious lack of depth in his rogues gallery.

Like most Marvel characters, the appeal in Iron Man is in the person behind the heroics. IM:RoT ignored that for the most part, and thus Tony takes a backseat to almost everybody else in the cast. Maybe if they’d spent less time trying to build a market for other characters and remembered whose name is actually in the title, we would’ve had time for a little more characterization. It’s a PG-13 movie too, so you can’t even market this to kids who would look past the bad voice acting and poorly constructed story because of the Punisher’s graphic gun violence toward a gang of arms dealers and the casual use of the word “shit” by a few characters. Then again, parents these days let their 5 year olds play Grand Theft Auto, so what the fuck do I know.

Final judgment? I like Technovore the villain more than I like Technovore the movie. I’m okay with sitting through the cliched “hero turned outlaw” story, but I think tossing in The Punisher was unnecessary. There are a couple of decent moments showing off Stark’s self-absorbed personality (the best of which can be seen in one of the screenshots below), but very little is shown of his insecurity as the old guy at risk of being outdone by the younger model. And that big emergency plan at the end? Eyeballs deep in bullshit. As for me, I’ve gotta finish trimming my Cthulhumas tree and putting together my wreaths of shapeless horror for next week’s Feast of the Damned Souls, so I’m gonna get my hoary hosts of Hoggath in gear. See yourselves out and feel free to take one of the human skin umbrellas by the door. Don’t want ya getting wet and catching a cold this time of year. After while, crocodiles!

Moral of the Story: You don’t need your kneecaps to breathe.

Screenshots_____

The movie’s called Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, and The Punisher gets top billing in the credits over both Iron Man AND Technovore?! Whatchoo talkin’ about, Reedus?


“Damn! These iPhones are getting RIDICULOUS!”


Of course Japan would create a supervillain that looks like a big armored dildo straight out of Daft Punk. Of fucking course.


“Yes, Ron. Everybody knows about your weird fetish and we’ve all accepted it as a major part of who you are. But this is a call center and if you can’t come to work dressed appropriately, we’ll have to let you go.”


Sure, he looks cooler because of the black in his color scheme, but there’s a reason War Machine’s also decked in silver: he’ll always be second best when it comes to Iron Men.


Tony Stark realizes too late that he neglected to include a rear ventilation system in his latest armor design…


“I can hear you whispering back there. For the record, I lost my eye during a VERY intense game of Paper, Rock, Scissors that got out of hand. Never play that game drunk. End of story.”


“Yeah, I mean, it came out fine. I wish I’d gone with the ‘me as a centaur’ plan though. Alex Rodriguez swears by his guy. Oh well, maybe next time.”


“Hello, ma’am. May I have a moment of your time to tell you about Android-tology?”


I hope that little red dot’s a bindi, cuz if that guy isn’t a practicing Hindu, he might wanna start praying that reincarnation’s a thing real quick.


Punisher’s about to learn the meaning of the term “like fighting a rhino with spitballs”.


This is what Burt Gummer means when he says he has a new “magazine rack” next to his toilet.


Castle knows that Stark pissed in his coffee, but he’s not going to give him the satisfaction of spitting it out.


Vigilantes get a little too kinky for my tastes.


“Deal with it.” (I’m too lazy to animate a pair of 8-bit sunglasses into the picture. Use your imagination.)


“What what? In the butt butt!” (Since we’re digging up internet fads)


“Do I leave my breasts so exposed because it allows me a tactical advantage by distracting my enemies, or am I just seeking the wrong kind of attention from would-be father figures? It’s way past time for me to get to know me.”


I knew there was going to be a tentacle monster in this movie somewhere! This is what happens when your population eats genetically engineered, cube-shaped watermelons!


After that day, Tony Stark never watched Asian schoolgirl porn again… or ate spaghetti.


Featuring an appearance by special guest kaiju Dogora! (Godzilla was busy filming his big American re-debut)

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Anubis will return next time in
“It’s an Open Sore On a Putrid Shore”

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

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

Feature 37 – Life After Beth (2014)

or “Night of the Living Ludgate”

Featuring: Aubrey “The To Do List” Plaza , Dane “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” DeHaan , John C. “Step Brothers” Reilly

Director & Writer: Jeff “I ❤ Huckabees” Baena

Origin: USA

Review_____

“I’m not dead, I’m alive. I can’t be both!”

Hey kids. Long time no see. Sorry about pulling the old “I’m going to the Chug ‘N Plug for cigarettes” routine on ya. I didn’t plan on leaving you guys and gals in the lurch with no Death God-spun reviews and ridicules for the last two months. Unfortunately, your Uncle Anubis is a Quixotic Casanova, and this hopeless romantic was out falling in love with a fling that ended up being just another windmill. But, bruised heart aside, it was one of those relationships that just wasn’t meant to be. “Love” is what you call it when two peoples’ mental illnesses synch up…until they don’t…then it’s called…ah, who the fuck knows, fuck nose. Enough with the heartache, Lord Byron, we came here for a movie review!

On today’s docket is Life After Beth, a zombie-centric tale about love post postmortem and dealing with the regrets and realities of break ups…shit…what an awkward time to do a movie like this…that I fully intended to review two months ago. I guess my Evil Dead Bride is right: I’m a self-fulfilling prophecy! Maybe if I keep telling myself that I’ll become Aubrey Plaza’s canine-humanoid object of eternal lust, I’ll actually become a prophecy I WANT to fulfill! Propheting for fun and profit! Meh. Enough with the life coaching, Tony Robbins, get to the damn review!

Aubrey Plaza stole my heart as the foulmouthed Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, and has since kept a stranglehold on said life pump as April Ludgate, the modern day Darlene Conner in “Parks & Recreation”. Her quick wit and paralyzing sarcasm are like 500cc’s of liquid Viagra right into my happiness parts. Because you can’t pronounce “happiness” without “penis”. I wrote a haiku about it in sixth grade English. True story.

Ms. Plaza plays our titular “Beth” – a barely legal gal who lives with her parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon) in their well-to-do, whitewashed paradise in the Los Angeles suburbs. Life’s not all sunshine and sugar-free gum for young Miss Slocum though (whose last name is one letter away from the first girl I feel in love with, and thus makes this review all the more awkward than it already was…THANKS, MOVIE!). Recently she broke up with her beloved skinny, emo walking corpse of a boyfriend Zach Orfman (Dane DeHaan) for reasons of, I don’t know, “teen stuff”. Possibly because he’s so creepy looking. Did you see Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 2 after he was exposed to the Green Goblin gas? That’s Dane DeHaan without makeup! It’s true! Imagine that on top of you, humping away, making all those horrible sex faces… Yeah… Blart.

While out on a little hike through the 1% of unmolested LA countryside, our adorable antagonist runs afoul of an unfriendly serpent (not to be confused with my very affectionate trouser snake I’d like to introduce her to) who penetrates her alabaster legs with its venomous love tap, killing our angel-with-resting-bitch-face before we even get to the opening credits.

Would I still? Oh, I would. You know what I mean. It’s not necrophilia if it’s done out of love, it’s necroamory. Just because I can’t legally marry Aubrey Plaza’s bloated, discolored corpse doesn’t make our love any less real than what you have, you fucking Nazis! Ah, who am I kidding. Corpsey Plaza would probably just break my onyx-encrusted jackal heart too.

After Beth’s unexpected expiration, Zach bonds with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum in their shared grief, playing late night games of chess and sparking up jazz cigarette doobies full of the marijuanas together. Zach also starts wearing one of Beth’s old winter scarves (During summer in California? Fucking hipster.), to which he forms a bond that…I’ll leave up to you to view. Just keep a barf bucket handy for your eyeballs. Anyway, their little three-person support group is cut short when the object of said grief suddenly returns! Was Beth brought back by the Slocums’ minority housemaid a la Zombie Nightmare? Was she possibly bombarded by cosmic radiation from a crashed satellite? Was the ground she was buried in saturated with a failed experimental marijuana defoliant created by the US government? Did her parents have her buried in the Pet Sematary by accident?! Whatever the case, their Life After Beth has just become…uhm…life with Beth? Re-life with Beth? Life with re-Beth? Bah. Enough with the shitty re-titling jokes, Rex Reed, get to the rest of the review!

All weirdness and mystery around Beth’s resurrection (not to be confused the with res-erection she gives me) aside, mom and dad are just pleased as (spiked) punch to have their little girl returned to them by the grace of “God”. But, they’re also well aware of the potential shitstorm it would cause if anyone else ever found out about this miraculous event, so they opt to keep Beth in the house and away from the outside world. Attempts to keep Zach away were unsuccessful though, and his snoopery ended up getting him in on the big secret. He immediately wants to take her out and use this second chance at shared happiness to experience the world with her, bucking the adults’ better judgment as teens are oft to do. To paraphrase a Texas propane salesman though, that Beth ain’t right. She has no recollection of dying, now insists on living in the attic, keeps talking about how she has some test she needs to study for and goes through violent mood swings while displaying signs of superhuman strength. She also has an odd aphrodisian proclivity for smooth jazz and she doesn’t remember breaking up with Zach, thus she’s still madly in love with him…a bit more madly than prior to her death. Weird, right? Nah. I’d still let her put a gimp mask on me and lead me around on a leash. Enough with the sadomasochism, Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, is the movie any good or not?!

As a dark comedy, Life After Beth works. The movie delves into pretty dark territory more than once. Not Under Siege 2: Dark Territory either, but actual dark territory. Like, “that’s some upsetting shit” type dark territory, not terrorists-on-a-train type dark territory. Just wanted to make sure that was clear. Sadly, the bite of some of said darkness is blunted later on like a crocodile with corked teeth, but there’s still some sad to be had that throws off the comedic ballast of this boat trip just a bit. But hey, any comedian will tell you that comedy comes from suffering, and the whole movie’s all a big metaphor for getting over a bad breakup. Heartbreak is the worst pain of all, right? Just don’t tell that to people with cluster headaches. No, seriously, that shit’s supposed to be worse than giving birth. I read it on a “Top 10 Most Painful Medical Conditions” website…GO LOOK IT UP! Enough with the snap diagnosis, WedMD, let’s get this over with!

As a zombie flick, LAB‘s makeup work is pretty damn slick, while the gore is pleasantly graphic and gets abundant later on. It’s no Braindead, but it is a bit of a shock at how much of the red stuff comes out once they open the floodgates. It’s like a suicide bomber going to Heaven and finding out that ALL 72 of his promised virgins get their period on the same cycle. Speaking of misery, the stages of Beth’s zombie transition and Zach’s handling of it are a horror movie embodiment of the five stages of grief, and I appreciate the metaphor. It doesn’t come off as too “punch you in the face” with the approach and actually made me feel a little better about my own recently deceased bout of romantic human interaction.

Personal therapeutic biases aside, overall I thought it was an okay movie. Not bad for the guy who wrote I Fart Fuckabees. Nothing to set the world on fire, and I think I’m a little too old for romantic teen zomedies at my advanced state of chronological decay, but it’s a charming little flick to share with the horror lover in your life. Or, just watch it by yourself while crying into a pillow after said horror lover leaves you for any of the myriad of reasons you’ll be spending the rest of your miserable life alone eating microwaved mac & cheese while jerking off into that sock they lost under your bed the last time they were over.

Amusingly enough, in addition to dear Aubrey, someone else I first found out about by viewing Scott Pilgrim also appears within these scenes. Anna Kendrick (who played Scott’s caffeine slinging sister Stacey) shows up as Zach’s school peer Erica, who becomes Mopey McGaunt’s potential new girly girl while he’s on the rebound and down. As you might guess, things go all 90210 when our titular living dead girl, in her heightened state of bestial ferality, discovers said rival for her hunk of man meat…well, maybe “thinly sliced scraps of off-brand boy meat substitute” would be more fitting.

I hate looking at Dane DeHaan so much. Just look at him. Take a good long look.

Feel that mass trapped in your throat? That’s not the hamster you swallowed last night (you weirdo), it’s a chunky cocktail of rage and vomit. The guy’s like the Rage virus spliced with Ebola and stabbed directly into your eyes and ears with foot-long hypodermic needles.

And that’s that. Sorry it took me TWO MONTHS to write so little about the movie itself. It’s a new release, so I didn’t wanna spew too much and ruin it for viewers-to-be who just wanted to find out if it was worth a watch, or just came for some laughs without a buttload of spoilers. Thanks for joining me here for magical Episode 37. Or, as Kevin Smith afic(ionados) would call it “The ‘Sucked Dicks’ Episode”….hmmm, really should’ve thought this through and reviewed Dogma instead…fuck it. I’m sure this review wasn’t worth the wait, and may very well have fellated proverbial phalli in the process, but it’s over. Now, much like Zach (and yours truly), we can all get beyond this Thunderdome known as love and move on to greener pastures…especially if said landscape is the verde dyed pubic hair of some no-strings-attached punk rock rebound fuck.

By Osiris’s Prince Albert, I am one romantic son of a jackal bitch.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m really nervous for the test tomorrow and my Evil Dead Bride and I are going hiking. Sjáumst!

Moral of the Story: In the land of the dead, Kenny G is king.

Screenshots_____

Miss Plaza, seen here dialing the police after the last bout of drunken texts I sent her… I think the bestiality pics I sent may have been a little much… I STILL WANNA MAKE A LITTER OF PUPS WITH YOU, BABY! PLEASE CANCEL THE RESTRAINING ORDER!


The vent cover watches its prey, waiting for the moment to pounce and claim the car as its victim. The circle of life continues.


“That’s checkmate AGAIN Mr. Slocum! Off with the pants!”


“Filthy, nasty hobbitses! They have stolen it! My Precious!”


“You fucking poser! You call yourself a Whovian?! That looks NOTHING like the 4th Doctor’s scarf! Take it off before I go all Dalek on your ass!”


If some studio tries to pull the Twilight bullshit on the Frankenstein mythos, here’s your YA Monster. “Girl hottie… too hottie… FIRE BAD!”


He looks like she just told him the pee strip turned blue… THOSE ARE MY PUPPIES, YOU SON OF A BITCH!


Molly Shannon’s great, but she’s got one of those frighteningly over-gummy smiles that looks like her dentures are falling out…


A young Matt Frewer after a fortune teller’s crystal ball shows him what the future holds for his hairline. Poor kid.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Grand Kill-the-Rest Hotel”

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

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

Feature 35 [Rerun] – Wiseguys Vs. Zombies (2003)

or “Minor-Ass-Itch Rides Again”

Featuring: Adam “The Walking Dead” Minarovich , William “Louie the Moon” Palko , Matthew “Buy, Sell, Kill: a Flea Market Story” Pierce

Director: Adam “Ankle Biters” Minarovich

Writer: Adam “Ankle Biters” Minarovich

Origin: USA

Review_____

“Those guys smelled like Cheetos and cat pee in a bowl.”

Intro: Wiseguys Vs. Zombies in one of those movies, where you look at the DVD case or a trailer and immediately feel like the college admissions board reviewing Homer’s application in that one “Simpsons” episode: watching it would just waste valuable seconds. Your instinct is to drop kick it into a biohazard bag and leave it on the doorstep of your nearest hospital so professional waste disposal technicians will handle it. And your instincts would be correct. I seethe so much vitriol for Ass-Dam Minor-Ass-Itch (or, “Adam Minarovich” as he’s credited). It cramps my taint that this guy, whose poor excuses for horror-action-crime movies should have condemned him to a painful and lonely death of complete obscurity. Instead he somehow managed to land a moderately prominent role in the first few episodes of one of the biggest shows in cable history! Meanwhile, I’m just sitting here picking my nose as I debate the nutritional merits of the Mr. T breakfast cereal with some guy on the Quaker Cereal customer service line. And by “debate the nutritional merits”, I’m just repeatedly insulting the poor gentleman’s family while screaming that Mr. T and his crunchy morning goodness be returned to my local supermarket shelves post haste, lest he suffer my cane cross his skull. The world is a cruel joke of a place.

Hopefully by rerunning this review, I can do some good in the world and dissuade any potentially curious parties from making a scrotum-tearing decision they could very well regret for their entire lives…or at least the hour or two after it’s over. Those are precious hours that could be better spent sleeping, drinking, sleep-drinking or drink-sleeping. Meh, let’s just get this over with.

Original Review:
When Rob over at The KO Picture Show was taking volunteers for a “Vs.” roundtable, I had no choice but to throw my hand up (having eaten it the night before *rimshot*) and toss my hat into the ring. At first, all that came to me were the always reliable Godzilla flicks, since 90% of them have “Vs.” in the title. I put a little thought into the process though, and since Rob had already planted his flag into King Kong Vs. Godzilla big ape-lizard ass, I thought it would be more interesting to seek my opponent elsewhere. I was going to go for the Mexican Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, or any of the numerous Santo flicks, but then found myself struck by inspiration. During my daily voodoo ritual in which I attempt to put the whammy on Adam Minarovich, I remembered Mr. Minor-Ass-Itch had befouled the world with a home movie abortion of his own that fit the criteria perfectly: Wiseguys Vs. Zombies. In that it had the word “versus” in the title, anyway.

I’d been looking for another chance to lay a steel toe into the back of the head of the guy who makes Ed Wood look like Albert Hitchcock for reasons that, well, this review should explain. As if that weren’t bad enough, last week I complained in my review of Karate, the Hand of Death that directors should never be allowed to star in their own movies, followed by a similar comment earlier this week in my Freaky Farley review that writers should be subjected to similar cinematic law. Well, guess what kids, today’s star happens to be both the writer and the director! Minaroviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich! Somebody get me a fresh needle and a hit of mountain lion testosterone (stolen from Ted Nugent’s medicine cabinet of course), cuz I’m fixin’ to get ornery!

Last time Minor-Ass-Itch attacked us, it was with a litter box amalgamation of Blade and Terror of Tiny Town. This time he duct tapes copies of Pulp Fiction and Return of the Living Dead together and tries to lodge them into our rectums with no consideration as to whether or not any of us actually wants movies planted amidst our un-expelled fertilizer. The stinkweeds that result go down as such: a government experiment (given the uninspired named of “Project: Lazarus”) to reanimate dead soldiers is deemed a failure and all remnants of this waste of taxpayer money is destroyed. Most of it anyway, with the exception of (wait for it, cuz here comes the part we could all see coming as soon as the words “government experiment” clacked out of my keyboard) a single barrel of the chemical that them high-fallootin’ army types managed to lose. The missing stash was snagged by a low-level gambling addict soldier at the base who stole it to use for barter with his loan shark, hoping the silly little man (who sounds like he’s fresh out of the trailer park) will take it and sell it in exchange for the $6000 the G.I. Joke owes. The shark even ends their conversation with “Have a good day, sir.”.No doubt ad-libbed because he probably finished his shift at KFC before coming out to shoot the movie and was still in customer service mode. Naturally, Sharky forces G.I. Joke to sample the shit first before he’ll accept the exchange, so immediately after Sharky leaves, Joke of course starts to get the vapors (is he turning Japanese?) before his head turns into a blood fountain

It hasn’t even been five minutes and already I’ve sat through poorly shot scenes of the camera trying its best to focus on a Hummer with a homemade military “Pimp My Ride” job, and way too much camera time spent staring at Sharky’s gun instead of the characters. We just started and the movie’s wasted no time going down faster than Bill O’Reilly in the men’s room at the Republican National Convention. I can feel that mountain lion testosterone starting to kick in…

In Miami, a dime store Tony Montana (who can’t even keep his shitty fake accent in check) is upset that he’s yet to receive his latest shipment of street candy from his supplier. He calls a friend in New York to address the matter for him, hence how we meet Freddy Six Times (William Palko) and Gus (Minaroviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich!) who are both sent out to collect Mony Tontana’s goods. Which will be the sole use of the label “good” in any way, shape, or form for the remainder of this review/curb stomp. Though I’m not positive, I’m at least 87% sure that the four different rooms used to shoot the scenes involving each of these four characters interacting were all shot in the same house. From here on out, Gus will be referred to as “Assy” (because of the whole “Minor-Ass-Itch” joke I’m running into the ground) and Freddy will carry the moniker of “Douchey”. I would’ve called Gus “Douchey” instead due to who’s playing him, and because of the half-wit shit-for-brains Travis Bickle impersonation he pulls in front of a bathroom mirror as part of his Stuart Smalley daily affirmation exercises, but we’ll stick with “Assy”. If Robert of Niro ever gets out of his Craftmatic®
adjustable bed, puts on his arch-support Dr. Scholl’s grandpa loafers, and kicks Minor-Ass-Itch’s teeth down his throat, Assy would be a lucky man.

The fucker sweats like Bill Clinton watching a “Mama” Cass Elliot performance too.

Assy and Douchey’s journey starts with an interrogation scene, where Assy spends 5 minutes telling the guy (who I remember (painfully enough) from Ankle Biters) how much he’s going to hurt him, then spends 5 more minutes standing with his back blocking the camera as he pretends to pummel the guy. This is followed by another “beating” scene, as Assy throttles another redneck incest case in what looks like my grandma’s bedroom, only with a handful of Chopper movie posters strung up in an effort to balance out the flowery bedspread and dresser. Maybe Eric Bana can sue somebody over this for, like, retroactive defamation? Somebody get one of those TV lawyers with nicknames like “The Hammer” or “Thunder Dick” on the phone!

After packing a handful of dead hillbillies into their trunk and commandeering Mony Tontana’s “drugs” (the army zombie fruit punch), Assy, his extra sweat gland and Douchey stop over to start trouble in South Carolina. They clash with the local Sheriff at a Greasy Spoon, their ride gets impounded and before you can say “Wait, is this a Redneck Zombies sequel?!”, the dead rise from Assy’s trunk and we finally get some of the titular zombies…45 minutes into this exercise in cruel and unusual punishment. This is turning into the spiritual successor to Zombie ’90 and I am officially in my own personal b-movie Hell. There’s no other explanation for what I’m going through! And there’s still an hour left to it! ARGH!

When Assy and Douche start up with all this bullshit about the living dead, both their fake-Cuban and fake-Italian bosses decide the two duo are on drugs themselves and both send some more men into South Carolina to find ’em. Meanwhile, Assy continues to run around making stupid sound effects and trying his damnedest to be a toned down Robin Williams. The blast sound effects of his shotgun sound like an actual shotgun half of the time and somebody breaking a rack of billiard balls the other half, while one of the zombies sounds like Chewbacca passing a kidney stone. Not in that berserker freak out way, but in that, “This is what it sounds like when wookies cry” way. And you can’t even call him a pussy for it, because Chewbacca or not, passing a stone will make skinned knee little girls out of the most biggest balled of the he-est of he-men.

Oh, and to prove that Ankle Biters wasn’t the end of his Blade ripping offing, Minor-Ass-Itch makes it a point to include a scene where Assy has to kill his older, father-figure type partner after Douchey is bitten by a zombie. Remind you of something? Yeah, he did the same fucking scene in Ankle Biters, only his partner was a midget. To further show off his Blade theft, Assy starts killing the zombies by injecting them with more of the military grade Hi-C Zombie Cooler, thus overloading them into oblivion. To put his own hillbilly spin on it though, he makes sure that each ghoul’s death is succeeded with a voiding of their bowels. I guess that was one of the requirements to warrant the movie’s DVD distribution through Troma.

In an effort to win back the audience that he never had in the first place, Minor-Ass-Itch attempts enticing us with some zombie chainsaw violence. Unlike Zombie ’90, which at least got the chainsaw gore kinda right, Assy manages to fuck this up too! We’re slapped in the eyeballs with close up shots of himself getting fake blood tossed onto his face while all of the actual chainsaw shit happens off camera! Either the guy’s an egomaniac for stuffing close-ups of his big dumb face into EVERY scene, or he realizes the special effects are just that damn shitty and showing them on screen would be cinematic suicide. Well, a more painful cinematic suicide anyway. Like opting for a bullet to the brain instead of slicing open his stomach in a den of starving hyenas.

As a quick aside for all of the wrestling fans out there, if you close your eyes while watching this movie (something I did many times), you’d swear that Minor-Ass-Itch sounds exactly like Jim Cornette when he’s talking. From the accent to the way he yells and talks down to people, it conjures up images in the mind of Big Jimmy C running around in his glasses goofy jacket, face swollen and manic as he’s whacking the undead upside the head with his trusty old tennis racket. Does he even carry the tennis racket around these days?

Every scene lasts twice as long as it should, and that’s taking into consideration whether anything from this fucking movie deserved to be shot in the first place. The dialogue seems like it’s made up entirely on the spot by a cast of people who have never done improv acting in their life. When Minor-Ass-Itch put himself down for a writing credit, I’m guessing it was because he wrote the general plot down on a square of toiler paper while pitching his morning loaf, because I don’t think any of these lines were so much “written”. The cast was apparently given the gist of what they were supposed to convey in each scene right before shooting and allowed to mumble their way to the finish line. Speaking of shooting, is it too much to ask for a Brandon Lee moment or two here? Couldn’t Minor-Ass-Itch just get shot in the face, die and leave the collection of dingleberries that he calls a filmography as it is? You don’t need a big budget and high class actors to make a fun zombie flick, butWiseguys Vs. Zombies is definitely ten times more irritating than it is entertaining. What the fuck is Mr. Director’s fascination with frequently shooting ceiling fans? Were the profits from Ankle Biters so good to him that he can finally afford ceiling fans in his house and he wants to show them off to everybody to prove that he’s “made it”?! Even the references to Assy’s scratchy nut sack and a radio song about licking testicles (the closest things to partially funny running gags we can come up with) lose their humor half-life almost instantly from overuse. And what’s with the fucking yappy dog whining off-camera for half of the outdoors scenes?! Were they all shot in somebody’s backyard and nobody had the balls to tell the neighbors to put their fucking mutt inside for 20 minutes?! Osiris damn it do I have a raging hard-on to napalm South Carolina right now!

Xtro: Every time I read one of these old reviews, I feel they’re going to be used as evidence in a murder trial against me in the (near) future. They’re so angry and violent and disjointed. If I tried to print them out, I’m pretty sure they’d come out looking like a kidnapping note made of letters cut from magazines. I wonder if I’ve become less of a psycho in the years since, or just a more refined lunatic. Does it really matter?

By the many arms of Vishnu, Wiseguys Vs. Zombies is without a doubt one of the shittiest movies I’ve ever been tied to a chair and forced to sit though. This is the Casino Royale torture scene of zombie flicks. I tried begging my tormenters to just shove rusty barbed wire under my toenails and stuff sandpaper under my eyelids, only to realize I’d strapped myself to the chair in the first place and there was nobody else there to turn the TV off, no matter how much I screamed and pleaded. My only hope was that, if I shed enough tears from my impotent rage, I’d lose consciousness from dehydration.

The cinematography is abysmal. It looks like the movie was shot on Minarovich’s off-brand cell phone camera by Shannen Doherty’s even more ocularly lopsided brother who keeps accidentally hitting the fucking zoom function! The editing drills holes in your brain too, as most scenes are just haphazardly Frankensteined mash cuts of amateur hour ad-libbing (the dialog of which sounds like it was recorded via microphones clenched in the actors’ buttcracks), and then it’s all overladen with generic rock music performed by the cheapest band of middle-aged never-weres the local dive bar could drum up on a Tuesday night. It’s a concentration camp of bad movie making – all of it’s terrible and everyone suffers.

The only one who looks like he’s having any fun in Ass-Itch himself, but that’s probably because he’s the guy in charge and got to say/do whatever inane garbage he wanted to. His improvised performance makes even the worst scenes of The Blair Witch Project look like an alumni reunion of The Upright Citizens Brigade. The aplomb with which Assy jumps around shouting and frolicking like a little kid on Pixy Stix is almost admirable. But when you realize he’s also the one heading the production, the entire feature feel like it was just a few more bad decisions away from becoming a Manson Family murder scene.

I don’t even know if that was a valid point. I’m on the verge of drooling into a cup the longer I have to think about this swirling cauldron of pig vomit. My brain cells are all writing out their suicide notes as I type this. I need to wrap this up before they get into their tiny nooses and kick their tiny chairs out from under their tiny selves. Fuck your crabs-infested balls, Ass-Itch.

Moral of the Story: It doesn’t matter where you live or what your race is, everybody on the East Coast has a stupid hillbilly-ass Southern accent.

Screenshots_____

A movie whose budget was so low, they couldn’t even afford punctuation for their back story cards.


That name puts the “moron” in “oxymoron”.


Look at those clouds! Even Thor, the god of thunder, didn’t want this movie made!


They burned their only copy of the script for this shot. Well, at least that explains all of the lines sounding off-hand!


“I’m tellin’ ya Curly, I can shoot this zit off your ear you won’t even feel a thing! Your ears might not work for a few days, but other than that you’ll be fine!”


By which they mean, “Some backwater bumblefuck in South Carolina”.


You can Lady Macbeth it all you want, Minarovich. You’ll never wash the stain of this shit from your hands.


When their tripod broke, what was Mr. Director’s MacGyverian answer? “Just lean it against that dog turd on the sidewalk. It’ll look ‘edgy’!”


Sunday, Monday, Happy Days! Tuesday, Wednesday…. what? I know it’s not the Fonz. I fell asleep watching Nick at Nite (in 1997) and now I’ve just got that damn theme song stuck in my head.


I can’t tell if this is supposed to be one of those Evil Dead – The Hills Have Eyes – Jaws movie poster gags, or if they’re just using the Chopper poster to cover up the giant hole somebody punched in the wall when they saw their girlfriend Debbie reveal she was a man on a rerun of Jerry Springer… from 10 years ago.


That’s funny, because the last time I was there I was chased out by a bunch of guys wearing bedsheets and carrying torches.


The Big Boss Man!


Clorox – just because you’re a zombie doesn’t mean you can’t get your whites their whitest!… I’m sure there’s another Klan joke in there somewhere too.


Someone probably should’ve told Roy that the term “shit eating grin” isn’t meant to be taken literally.


“Listen to Zombie Bob and the Blart during ‘The Morning Monkey House’, here on WROG 102.9 FM! Turn it up and tear the knob off! Then, shove the knob up your ass and jump into a burning building! Faaaaaaaaart Soooooouuuuuunds!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“Kill Kill Bang Bang”

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Feature 34 [Rerun] – Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned (2007)

or “Viva Spook Vegas”

Featuring: Scott “Reeker” Whyte , Michael “The Hills Have Eyes” Berryman , Sig “Spider-Baby” Haig

Director: Charles “Evil Bong” Band

Writer: Dominic “Critters” Muir

Also Known As: The Haunted Casino

Origin: USA

Review_____

“Dragna was cleaner than a nun’s underpants on Sunday.”

Intro: As brilliant Otter Pops scientist Sir Isaac Lime once said, “Oy! This fucking movie!”. I rented this from Blockbuster 7 years ago when it first released so I could shit all over it a.s.a.p. – as soon as poopable. Here we are in 2014 and Blockbuster is gone. You know who’s not gone? Charles Band. The polyp that no proctologist can get rid of. Fun fact: my spellcheck dictionary doesn’t recognize “proctologist” as being a thing. I better hope it doesn’t get colon cancer or I’m gonna need to install a new dictionary.

Anyway, Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned. For starters, what’s the Jerry Seinfeld with that title?! It’s a major fucking mouthful and I’m not even speaking it out loud! Could Band not decide on one of the two title ideas he came up with, so he just threw them together?! A title that long is usually reserved for a sequel! I can see confused people at 2007 Blockbuster stores (or just current NetFlix users) thinking to themselves, “I never saw the original Dead Man’s Hand, so I won’t know what’s going on in Casino of the Damned. Oh well, I’ll just have to rent Corky Romano instead.” Now I can blame Charles Band for giving money to Corky Romano! Somebody get Kevin Murphy on the horn.

After originally settling on this as my next rerun review, I ended up searching all of the usual torrent spots for a copy and come up with a big middle-finger-shaped ZERO for hits. I took to YouTube and all of the usual streaming suspects to try and find an Isis damned source, all for NAUGHT. The cheap bastard internet failed me. Finally, I had to break down and rent it from Amazon for $2.99. Yes, I paid the better part of three American dollars to sit through this stupid, stupid movie again. If you enjoy this review and would like to contribute to the Anubis Suffered for Our Entertainment Relief Fund Refund, please make PayPal donations to cellardwellerbazaar@gmail.com… my tombofanubis account was seized by the FBI for suspected terrorist activity. Start ONE KickStarter to have Uwe Boll publicly drawn and quartered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and they call me the terrorist! Blart.

Hope you’ve got your pillows and pajamas on standby dear readers, because it’s time for a mouthful of concentrated narcolepsy.

Original Review:
In an effort by Chuck Band to cash in on the revitalized career of Sig Haig following The Devil’s Rejects, as well as the world’s never-lost love for gambling, here comes Dead Man’s Hand: Casino of the Damned. Oh Charles Band, how you refuse to let your Full Moon set. After Evil Bong I wondered if you’d really have the plugots to stick around and try yet again to squeeze blood from one more turnip… and not karo syrup either, I mean actual blood… by which I mean money… huh? Stop trying to confuse me with your mind games Band! Damn you! You will not beat me this time! I will watch DMHCotD and I will be endowed with a peace-of-self that Buddha only wishes he could achieve!… or just hate it with a seething irritation unseen since I last forced my guts to digest a whole jar of spicy pickled eggs. Now, watch me air guitar “Run to the Hills” as we fade into the play-by-play for tonight’s horizontal bop…

The first thing I noticed is that the Full Moon opening logo has been updated from the classic “rising moon” motif into a slightly fancier “flurry of bats” version. Though I prefer the original, it really is more an icon of the “1990s direct-to-video” legacy. The new one’s actually not shittily done either, so I guess I approve. Hopefully this isn’t the best in store for the next 90 minutes of my life, though a familiar stabbing pain in my kidneys makes me think otherwise… and tells me I’ve probably been drinking way too much in recent weeks. Speaking of which, what exactly are the next 90 minutes of my life about? Well, an 8 minute intro scene that establishes the tissue paper thin plot (and wanders aimlessly for the other 7 minutes and 54 seconds) insists on our attention before we even get to the opening credits. Already my teeth are floating and I now wish I hadn’t sold my last blunt to my former 10th grade art teacher… who soooo wants me to pose nude for her next night school class. The topic is lewd cubist etchings! Looks like I better get to work trimming my pubes into a whimsical topiary before Tuesday!

There’s a story in here somewhere, and its whimpering cries sound a little like this: Matt (Scott Whyte) inherits the abandoned remains of the Dragna Mysteria Casino from his recently deceased uncle, Franco Dragna. That’s a name so hokey I’d be willing to bet my Cyberfrog back issues that Band lifted it straight from a circa ‘60s Stan Lee tale. You know, back when every month there was a new giant monster with a single-syllable name like Groot or Mung or Klur, or the occasional double-syllable name like Zarkorr… which Band outright stole for his $40 kaiju claptrap Zarkorr the Invader. That’s right Chuck, I know of your four-color plagiary. Meet me on Pier 19 at 2:43am. Bring 10,000 blank DVD-R’s and a set of Puppet Master statuettes. Come alone… not to be confused with what you do while crying into your bath towels on the toilet every night before bed.

Wasn’t there supposed to be a movie somewhere in between all these random tirades? Shit, I’m only 10 minutes into the damn thing and I’ve already finished my third paragraph…

Matt and his undeservedly cute girlfriend Jennifer (Robin Sydney, who reminds me of Laura San Giacomo with nicer hair and sans Letterman tooth gap) take a road trip to claim his new rundown party spot, bringing along their friends who I will name Stoner (Jeff Spicolli protege), Groaner (fun-hating protocol nerd), and Boner & BoneHer (horny “beautiful people” couple). Matt and Jen are the “in love” couple, Stone and Groan are the non-couple pair from opposite sides of the main couple’s friend spectrum who can’t stand each other, while ‘Ner and Her are the pseudo sex mongers with the “pseudo” part actually being a “kinda funny” take on the slasher stereotype in that “little blue pill” kinda way…

He suffers from Erectile Dysfunction is what I’m alluding to there. She just bangs on the walls of their motel room and makes fake orgasm sounds to perpetuate the falsehood of raucous sex time so Boner’s buddies don’t need to know about his floppy jalopy.

Apparently unhappy with the caliber of desperate young actors he can get now as opposed to 15 years ago, once the kids get to the abandoned casino Band has them spend a lot of time as little more than talking silhouettes. Maybe they get paid by the scene, and scenes where their faces are obscured pay less? I dunno. While Jen tries to build up Matt’s confidence about wanting to re-open the dump and make money off of Nevada’s Welfare gambling addicts and old people on assisted living, one of the old slot machines she pops a quarter into coughs up bloody teeth instead of Chuck E. Cheese tokens! Looks like there’s something wrong at the Mysteria… though the violently killed janitor and executor of the estate in the beginning could’ve told you the same thing. Did I forget to mention that part? Don’t worry, it wasn’t important.

Thanks to an old (conveniently placed) publication of the Las Vegas Daily Plot that Matt finds amidst the one-armed bandits, we learn that 40 years (and a day) prior to our cast’s arrival, five mobsters were killed at that very casino (on a dark and stormy night, no doubt). The two most notable bodies being man-in-charge Roy “the Word” Donahue (Sid Haig) and his hired goon Gil (Michael Berryman). Uncle Franco was trying to run a legit gambling house back in the ‘60s, but Roy and friends didn’t like Draga not sharing any slices of his Lucky 7 gamble pie. I know how they feel too, because when my Uncle Horus took the last slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving a few years ago, his arm needed 30 skin graft surgeries and most of his ass flesh before it looked like anything resembling a humanoid limb again.

As you can guess, those five dead bad guys are now haunting the place and ready to get back to taking pieces from other peoples’ pies. This time said pies being the bodies of our cast of generic twenty-somethings. Various toenail yanking gambling puns are made, there’s a lot of drawn out screen time where literally nothing happens, and finally, 50 or so minutes into the mire, ghost Roy and his phantom posse pop up to say hi. The ghouls threaten to pretty much rape and torment the kids (not necessarily in that order), but rather than get right to it they have time to pad out before then, so first they mention a secret stash of 2 million in silver that Franco hid somewhere in the casino. This tidbit leaves Matt adequately interested in sticking around. I get the feeling they’ll all have ectoplasm in their cornholes come morning, but I guess some people would rather be rich and ghost raped than poor and and with their not ghost raped dignity intact.

Even when the group says fuck the hidden treasure and try to escape, they find the exits have all been barricaded and no cell phone signal can escape the supernatural structure… not unlike when I swing by one of Dionysus’ booze blitzes on Mount Olympus, where no cell service provider dares trek. Anyway, each of Roy and Gil’s supporter spooks has their own alternate form that reflects their casino jobs in their past lives: the slots girl is a banshee with slots for eyes, the black jack dealer turns into a machete wielding poker card Jack with black hair, and the roulette guy… has a fat round head. I’m getting flashbacks of the ulcer encouraging cenobites (“cenoshites” being a more appropriate term me thinks) of Hellraiser III, and flashbacks like that more often than not result a flare up of my Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, so let’s not talk about them anymore.

In the end the title poker hand comes into play, and the silver plot point feels more like a bad afterthought than an integral part of the “story”, much like our two marquee names’ roles. Oh yeah, and there’s also a little mathematical discrepancy about just how many people the ghostly quintet kills in the repayment of the blood debt Matt inherited from his uncle. I’d say I was surprised, but I literally have no poker face. Seriously, every year I get together with the pantheon of deities and we have a Texas Hold ‘Em tourney. In an effort to avoid my usual tells I tear off my own face. If I could figure out how to play without my eyeballs too I’d win every time! Unfortunately, I do not win with DMHCotD. No one wins with it. Actually, that’s not 100% confirmed. It’s possible that the old adage stays true and the house wins, so long as Full Moon managed to recoup whatever their costs were on this wheel of CHUD cheese. At this point I’ve pretty much given up hope on Charles Band turning his act around, so I’d rather this particular house burn… to the ground… then be buried in a large hole… and eaten by Graboids… who are then harvested, shot in the face with an elephant gun, melted down with corrosive acid, dished into an old Cool Whip container, and buried 75 miles beneath the North Pole… amidst flesh eating bacterium… and radioactive polar bear droppings… and even then I will still not know true peace.

I don’t expect genius from Full Moon features. I don’t expect high art, or even passable art. I don’t ask for blockbuster cinema or high concept filmmaking. But come on, if I have to watch stupid hollow characters give me lessons on being disposable, at least dish them out to me en masse and have ’em grotesquely dispatched equally so. And how the fuck do you introduce the seeds for a potential lesbo love scene (turns out Groaner’s got a wet spot for BoneHer) and not deliver on it Band!? Did you really have to toss out the shameless displays of horny male placation along with the already questionable “good” qualities once associated with Full Moon’s productions?! Come on, man. You’re not only insulting the fans at this point, but you’re insulting their semi-iconic bad movie heroes as well by suckering them into your cinematic quicksand, then dealing them out a meager 5 minutes of screen time! For shame. Your movie gets a big fat raspberry. I don’t mean a regular raspberry either, I mean a raspberry delivered with the disgust the general public reserves for Hitler, and razzed by a tongue infected with those gooey rupturing pustules from Planet Terror!

And then there’s Rihanna, who I’d give a DNA whitewashing to so fast you’d think she’d gotten the Michael Jackson express skin bleach treatment. She’s not in this movie, and I don’t think she’d ever be caught dead (or undead) watching it, but showering her in my nut custard is tops on my “shit I think about when the movie sucks” list. I don’t care if she does look like she’s sporting peg legs when she’s wearing ballet shoes in the video for that umbrella song! Speaking of women who make my pole stand up and salute, she hasn’t seen the movie (and never will), but I can guarantee you that my Evil Dead Bride won’t be too pleased when I tell her that one of the characters quotes Dostoyevsky in a movie that thinks the term “ghoulette wheel” constitutes wit. I can hear her copy of The Brothers Karamazov trying to break its own binding from here. With any luck, her promise that she reads my reviews is just to make me feel better about wasting my time on them and she never actually learns this horrible horrible truth. As for me, here comes that PTSD again…

Xtro: You know what’s worse than a really low budget amateur horror movie made on the proverbial shoestring budget? A really BORING low budget PROFESSIONAL horror movie made on a BOOTLACE budget. Both Charles Bland and Dominic Muir have been making movies for decades, so you can’t blame this meandering chore disguised as a full length movie on being the work of know-nothing first-timers. Though low to be sure, this budget obviously wasn’t miniscule, yet I’ve seen lesser money do more because those productions at least had some gusto behind them. Granted, it was dollar store gusto (the name of my imaginary band Sex Golem’s unplugged album), but a little gusto goes a lot further than the lazy ass “we need to put together a movie in 7 hours before the car wash owner we convinced to finance us sues us for spending all of his money on scratch-off lotto tickets!” movie we were stuck with.

DMH:CotD will either cure your insomnia or infect you with ADHD. It’s got so much padding to it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Martin Lawrence wearing it under a house dress in another Big Momma’s House sequel. The first five minutes are spent watching a janitor (who we’ll call Scruffy) and an estate lawyer (who we’ll call Single Female Lawyer) wandering around the dust and cobweb strewn titular gambling establishment to “prepare” it for Matt’s arrival. FIVE MINUTES. Sure, at the end they’re both killed (Scruffy apparently getting his face ripped off by the Evil Dead “first person camera” demons), but their sacrifices aren’t worth the effort it takes the viewers to get there. And there’s a LOT of equally aimless scenes to be had over the course of this tiptoe through the poppy fields. My least favorite of which would have to be watching Boner take pics of BoneHer in the so-called gambling establishment of damnation for her website. It’s only 60 seconds, but it’s 60 seconds of him just taking pictures, pretending to be aroused, and saying generic stuff like “You look so killer, babe!” and “These are gonna look sooooo good for your website!”. My only hope is that this scene was born of poor ad-libbing and that Muir didn’t actually waste the printer ink on putting this excuse for dialog into the actual script.

When the ghosts finally do show up, they don’t really do much at first. Again, gotta pad the run time. Can’t afford to shoot any scenes outside of the cheap set they rented for the afternoon, so said padding has to be done within the casino. When the killing does get underway, it just involves the spooks handcuffing their victims to gaming tables, then cheating them at Black Jack and Roulette as an excuse to dismember them. Except for BoneHer, who just gets her face supernaturally sandblasted off by the ghost of the slot machine girl after she calls Slots a “skank” for trying to wake up Boner’s pliant pony. Dead or alive, bitches don’t front. Also, when the ghosts are about to kill their victims, they turn from perfectly human looking specters into big weird puppet headed things with goofy glowing red eyes taken out of a SegaCD FMV. These “visions of horror” are goofy. They’re mega goofy. They’re so damn goofy that they’re goofier than a dozen alternate timeline Goofys having a circle jerk, and all their penises have Goofy faces on them that go “HYUK!” after every stroke. In other words: the goofiest Goofy to ever goof.

Well, Sid Haig and Michael Berryman aren’t goofy. They’re spared the corny rubber heads because they never actually kill anyone. That’s right, Captain Spaulding and Brother Pluto are in your movie as murderous gangster ghosts and they don’t kill ANYONE. What the fuck are you doing, Charles Bland?! Do you hire these guys for your movie just to show us that you can make them completely un-cool at your petty whims?! Shit. You already ruined the Full Moon name, but do you have to rub it in our faces all the harder by infecting the filmographies of good horror icons with vulgar tumors like this!? No wonder your mother cursed your name before throwing herself into that alligator pit. You’re a monster!

As far as the review itself goes, the movie hasn’t aged well. But, given that it was dog shit to start with, you can’t really expect dog shit to improve or deteriorate with age. Either way it’s still dog shit, so DMH is what it is. I’m finding myself becoming a bigger fan of Robin Sydney though, every time I see her. Not for her acting chops, but because she’s my type. Well, in regards to “actresses I would’ve beat off to back in high school before free internet porn was readily available on EVERY DEVICE IN THE HOUSE”. I just watched a boner burner on my microwave last night! …though that may have just been a bowl of tacos and hot dogs I was reheating. Either way, my penis thanks you, Robin Sydney. Beyond that, I’m pretty disappointed in myself from 7 years ago for failing to make a “not to be confused with the Goulet Wheel” joke upon mention of the movie’s ghoulette wheel gag. Especially now that Robert Goulet’s dead, that joke’s well past its own expiration date. Oh well, hindsight’s a story on “20/20”!

In closing, I’d like to echo Roy’s final words from the movie as my last sentiment for this movie “Fuck you!”. Now I’m getting out of here, as I have more important things to do today. I Tivo’d “Jeopardy”!

Moral of the Story: “Seems to me like your withered wang can use all the help it can get.” If Dead Man’s Hand is any indicator of the status of Charles Band’s “wang”, we’re gonna need a few thousand cc’s of extra strength boner juice before we get anything resembling another Trancers or Puppet Master. Chuck? This is nature’s way of saying Full Moon shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce anymore. Stop with the Mexican knock-off Viagra and just retire. Nobody wants to see your flaccid old nub anymore.

Screenshots_____

“Converting this abandoned men’s room into a luxury water bar for rich dogs is my ticket to the good life!”


She’s cute, but she takes up all the covers… and the bed… and she farts in her sleep… like, a LOT.


“Remember how I told you I had an IUD put in last month so you couldn’t get me pregnant? Well… here it is! Hello 18 years of child support payments! Tee-hee.”


“It’s okay, honey. I’m sure plenty of guys get unintentionally turned on at family reunions. Aunt Cally will probably forget all about your disturbing tent pitching by Christmas… 2028.”


Sounds like the kinda place named by a really bad DM in the worst game of Dungeons & Dragons ever.


Hey, it’s “The Sunday Night NBC Mystery Movie“! (shout out to my SoL peeps)


Separated at birth or just separated at beard? You decide!


After the last incident, Greg only reads his “Goosebumps” stories now while sitting on the toilet.


“ANY girl can get an engagement ring, but with this gift shop hat and these dollar store cobwebs, you’ve won my heart forever! Yes! A thousand times ‘YES’! I WILL become Mrs. Ralph Hapschatt!”


I know that look. It’s the one my grandfather always used to get right before he told you to pull his finger. My advice: don’t pull Sid Haig’s finger.


Ah, the look of a man who regrets putting “I’ll try anything once” in his Craigslist “Casual Encounters” ad. I know it well… painfully, painfully well.


“I know you’re really upset right now and you probably want some personal space, but that’s the only hand towel we’ve got… and… I kinda need to… dry my hands… so…”


It’s Anne Coulter! Somebody get the duct tape and gasoline from my trunk!


I hate that guy. He’s such a Jack-off!… cuz he’s a Jack… like the poker cards?… I’m going to die alone, aren’t I?


If Band doesn’t stop putting that stupid Gingerdead Man costume in all of his movies, the thing’s gonna be more beat up than Godzilla’s in Hedorah the Smog Monster! Hmmm, a lot of very niche jokes today… not predicting strong numbers on this review.


If the Ninja Turtles are the product of turtles doused in mutagen following exposure to humans, I’m pretty sure Michael Berryman is a product of the opposite.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Minor-Ass-Itch Rides Again”

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