Featuring: Thomas “Hell Baby” Lennon , Jenny “‘State of Affairs’” Pellicer , Barbara “Re-Animator” Crampton, and special appearance by Udo “Flesh for Frankenstein” Kier
Directors: Sonny “Wither” Laguna & Tommy “Wither” Wiklund
Writer: S. Craig “Bone Tomahawk” Zahler
In an effort to expand my resume as an “artist/creator” (dear Ra can I not wait for the planet to be swallowed in atomic fire), my agent suggested I get a stage show produced so I qualify as a “playwright”. Well, Calamity of Snakes: the Musical, my plaguerism rampant adaptation of the 1982 Taiwanese horror movie of the same name, will be making its debut on the main stage of the Galaxy of Terror nightclub/sex dungeon in Greenvale, Washington for a six week run starting next week. If you actually attend one of our shows, please don’t send me any feedback as all requests for refunds will be denied – a policy that will be enforced onsite by the mutant bear monstrocity from Prophecy. Speaking of mutant bears, here’s that completely unrelated segway into the review that I ordered!
… “2 day shipping” my hairy ebon ass.
Though you wouldn’t know it by the lack of reviews on the site, I’m a long time fan of Charles Band’s Puppet Master series. Well, the first three movies. The latter NINE, not so much. Once the quality started its supersonic descent into crap movie hell with the 4th installment, my interests waned just as quickly, ultimately petering out when The SciFi Channel’s “Originals” line of TV movies vomited Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys directly into my eyes and turned me off of killer puppet flicks like a germaphobe at a GG Allin show. Even when Band tried to jumpstart the series again 6 years later by taking the aggro action figures back to their Nazi killing ways with a new “Axis Trilogy” project, I couldn’t even be bothered to download a pirated copy of the first flick for fear that a viewing would result in time better spent trying to castrate a badger or just crotching myself repeatedly on a cemetery gate. Even the return of director David DeCoteau was too little too late, and this was before he emotionally abused me with 1313: Bigfoot Island!
The Littlest Reich is Band’s attempt at rebooting the series after 29 years of quantity-over-quality lore building, Band-wagoning (*wink*wink*) on Hollywood’s 21st century fascination with trying to re-animate the corpses of deceased horror franchises in the hopes of hoovering whatever loose change is left in the pockets of their pre-installed fanbases. The only good thing about this is that Andre Toulon’s troupe of tiny terrorizers never had a wide enough fandom to catch the predatory eye of Michael Bay and his perpetual trash fire factory, Platinum Dunes. However, can the writer of the much-loved indie movie Bone Tomahawk and a pair of potential pervaded (though not yet fully proven) horror directors give new legs to a series that’s been dragging its decroded piece of crap carcass through the direct-to-video wasteland?Shit, I’ll be happy if I can get through it in one sitting without falling asleep or questioning the further validity of my existence. Mr. Zulu….engage.
(Yeah, this dude gets it.)
The opening introduces us to this alternate dimension’s Andre Toulon (Udo Kier!), whose oddly swollen head means the stems of his eyeglasses don’t have room to fit behind his ears and just sit tilted along his temples instead. Or maybe that’s just how Nazis wear their spectacles in this Twilight Zone episode. Oh, did I not mention that part? Yeah, in this reality, rather than being a one-man resistance army against the Third Reich, the half-French half-German Andre actually worked FOR the goose-stepping blitzkriegers. And what’s the worst way you can use a miniature death squad from Hitler’s side of WW2? Rooting out the hidden targets of your racist “Make Germany Great Again” campaign and slaughtering any and every Jew, Gypsy, black, homosexual, and so forth that they find. He was basically a more hands-on Hans Landa. I’m guessing Anne Frank’s diary didn’t get many entries in this darkest of timelines…
When we catch up to bringer of diminutive death, it’s 1989 and he’s successfully hidden himself in Texas, the self-proclaimed craddle of ‘Merica no less, for 40+ years. Andre 3000 (probably a fair assessment of his kids’ killcount) lives amid the citizens of Pottsville and we catch up to him as he imbibes in some seeming socializing at a local bar, where his not-great attempts to pick up the female bartender send him home in a huff. Unlike 90% of heterosexual men, Toulon is disgusted when the ‘tender’s tender lady lover explicitly illustrates to the old man that this be-breasted drink slinger’s pants are a “Cowgirls Only” zone. Openly lesbianic gals deep in the hateful heart of 1980s Texas?! If it weren’t for Andre’s fatal retaliation, these two probably would’ve ended up on the receiving end of a Boys Don’t Cry from some sobriety challenged, mouth breathing “good ol’ boys” before too long, so… at least being killed by a grown man’s gore hungry toys is quick and devoid of sexual assault.
Yep, a quick death is pretty much the best case scenario when you’re a non-conservative in the Lone Star Shame.
In an unexplained turn of events, the local law enforcers know Toulon is to blame for the lesbians’ roadside induction into the choir invisible (the tiny bloody footprints, perhaps?) and storm his mansion, shooting him dead in his foyer with a hail of gunfire that later lacks sense with one officers report that they actually executed him in his basement workshop, where he was put down for pointing a gun at them. Given what the recent years of body cams, dashboard videos, and civilian recordings have shown us though, the chances of the official report on the incident being plastered with more horse shit than Hercules (“Heracles” if you’re nasty/Roman) flushed from the Augean Stables is almost a money back guarantee*.
*Some exclusions apply.
Time warping to “Present Day (2018 for us) in the Dallas of Texas, we’re introduced to our protagonist: Edgar Easton (Thomas “Don’t call me ‘John’” Lennon!). Recently divorced from his wife, the comic book writer-illustrator-shop employee is forced to move in with his parents until he can establish a financially viable domicile to call his own. Like most moms, Mrs. Easton is happy to have her little (middle-aged) boy back under her roof, while Mr. Eastman, like most dads, will be using his son as a personal punching bag for his retired old policeman spite and general Republican bitterness. Things look up for the downtrodden graduate from the comic geek old school though, when he gets into an almost immediate romantic bodily fluids exchanging relationship with local lass Ashley Summers (Jenny Pellicer), whose brother he knew during their school days. She works at a record store, takes her cat (and its corpse paint like facial markings) for leashed walks, and when Eddie vocalizes his disdain for hipsters, you’d think their pelvises had suddenly become magnetized by oppositely charged electrons.
If you’re a member of ICP, I suggest Googling that last bit.
Years before this, Edgar’s brother James passed away from an “accident” that nobody feels the need to elaborate on. Amid the deceased sibling’s belongings, Ed finds a very morbid looking puppet he found during summer camp years ago and that would’ve given ’90s Todd McFarlane a hard-on.
If you didn’t collect action figures based on horror movie villains and monsters 25 years ago, I suggest Googling that last bit.
Rather than hold onto the twisted piece of wooden evil for old times sake, Ed opts to sell it instead at a convention in Pottsville commemorating/celebrating the 30th anniversary of the grisly puppet master’s death…except whoever organized it can’t fucking count because 2018 minus 1989 is TWENTY-NINE. Welcome to alternate universe Trump’s America, folks. Anyway, Ed, Ash, and Ed’s friend/boss Markowitz (he seemingly only has one name, like Prince or Cher) road trip to KillerCon, where they learn the legacy of Hitler’s personal toymaker during a tour of the evil bastard’s mansion slash Nazi memorabilia museum, as hosted by retired police officer Carol Doreski (Barbara Crampton!) who was one of the trigger pullers that took down the monster. She’s the aforementioned cop that needlessly changes the story about finding Toulon in the basement.
I’m starting to feel like these “fuck-ups” are intentional attempts by Bone Tomahawk guy to bait nit-pickers as part of some trolling fetish he has.
With an estimated SIXTY-THREE of Toulon’s terrors due to reunite at the convention (he was apparently quite the successful mail-order creature carver in his day), this isn’t a question of if shit will be hitting the fan, but when. And the answer is a resounding “sooner than later”. Fortunately, for fellow gore whores and lovers of practical carnage effects, the deaths are graphic and numerous, with no less than (but probably more than) 20 bloody instances of puppetine peril! I definitely don’t suggest that pregnant women, children, or people with particularly delicate constitutions buy a ticket for this ride, cuz once the safety rail comes down it’s NO REFUNDS!
Littlest Reich does so much right as a reboot movie that the cluster-fuckery of its final act hits me in the life pump harder than a Porky Pete’s Triple-Thick Double Bypass Animal Farm Stacker Surprise with Jumbo Cheese-pocalypse Fried Bacon Rings. Without spoiling this “fresh out of the fryer” feature, I’ll just say that the finale feels confused, rushed, and needs to be flushed. Where as most movies are content with one, maybe two twists, Littlest Reich won’t be happy unless it makes Dee Snider eating a party-size bag of Rold Gold on a roller coaster look straighter than Sweeney Todd’s straight razor. If that outburst of metaphors and similes doesn’t impress upon you how unnecessarily throw together this finish is, than my resultant bout of Vertigo was all for naught.
In my last review, The Quiet Ones too was thrown down a spiral staircase for a 20 minute tumble by its own writers, but those twists and turns and twirls galore carried with them some a road map of revelations explaining how we got there. S. Craig Zahler bukakkes us with loose threads only to pull an Elaine Benes by filling in the gaps with “yadda yadda yadda” that only makes things more muddied! Also, he does so while doing that fucking weird “ghosts have taken residence in my bone marrow” dance she did in that one episode. Clearly a sadist.
Frustrating finishes aside, I applaud this new installment of Puppet Master lore for much more. The looming threat of entire legions of Herr Toulon’s little monsters is enticing. Though some of their styles overlap, the new evil redesigns do the trick. As much as it disappoints that they lack much of the individual charm and character of the originals, as a death squad of murderous miniature racist scum fodder doomed for deletion in Hel’s Obsolete Products Department, they fit the loathsome antagonist bill like Nazis should. And the manipulations of the puppeteers giving them life behind-the-scenes is impressive. It’s still not the return to stop motion magic that lured me into the influences of the original series’ first trio of entries, but it’s a Superman leap (over a tall building in a single bound) beyond poor man’s Punch & Judy stuff we’ve been forced to all too much to endure for more than two decades. Kudos to the crew and here’s to the hopes that you’ll return for a follow-up.
Now, to the less novelty based members of the cast. I’ve been a mark for Thomas Lennon and the rest of his friends from ”The State” since it originally aired on MTV in the golden days of ”Liquid Television”, ”The Brothers Grunt” and ”Oddities”. Seeing him take a more serious, well, reserved role like Edgar is interesting. In a good way. I was expecting his usual comedic act to come out and goof the flick up too much, but the introverted divorcee forced to shack up again in the bedroom of his childhood is just as far from Lieutenant Dangle of the Reno PD as he should be. Though he still gets plenty of funny lines, they’re delivered with the fitting deadpan sarcasm of a bemused Gen-Xer instead of the in-on-the-joke flamboyance of his usual characters. Though he’s busy enough with producing, writing, directing, and all of that other creative chicanery, I’d like to see Mr. Lennon stretch his legs with some similarly non-clowning roles.
The other two big portions of the acting pie, Jenny Pellicer and Nelson Franklin, too do their parts proud. As Ashley, Pellicer is sunny as her character’s last name suggests without going to revolting lengths. She’s a charmer, she and Edgar compliment each other perfectly, her chemistry with Lennon feels real for a pair of newly involved romantic interests, and she’s a perfect foil for the pessimistic Markowitz without, again, taking it to irritating sitcom lengths. It also doesn’t hurt that she gives me good vibrations of a Kristen Wiig variety, and I get hot over women who wear chokers…
Temping down any arousal I just experienced, Franklin’s Markowitz is a nauseating reminder of a comic book store owner I actually worked for. He’s a snide know-it-all prick who thinks he has the answer for everything and any opinion that’s not his is ill-informed, its owner a feckless plebian. Unlike my former employer though, Marko embraces his Jewish heritage once he finds out that their enemies are agents of the Final Solution, and even gets in an act of ancestral reprisal on one of the Fuhrer’s playthings as he introduces it a natural gas powered tanning booth. The something from that oven’s got nothing to do with lovin’!
Of the remaining members of this “and the rest” cast, Udo is serviceably sinister as the newly revolting rendering of Andre Toulon (though sadly lacking in screen time), Skeeta Jenkins and Alex Beh make the most of their ancellary characters Cuddly Bear and the Crispen Glovery Howie respectively, while Barbara Crampton gets a very special mention from moi, the president of her unofficial one-god fan club! Never a slouch when it came to bucking the “damsel in distress” archetype in horror movies, in the 30 years since Re-Animator, BC (as the Evil Dead Bride and I like to call her) has only improved in her acting abilities. I don’t think she gets enough credit for her talent, given her resume in movies that we love though mainstream audiences may not, but she’s easily my favorite supporting cast member here. All my love, Miss Cramps. *mwah*
Before I finish lauding people, allow me to lob one final laud to legendary Italian horror composer Fabio Frizzi for bringing his special touch to Littlest Reich‘s soundtrack and giving Charles Band’s brother Richard’s original Puppet Master theme a tasty splash of his homemade spaghetti horror sauce for what I hope goes on to be a successful reboot.
Despite my middling rating, I still enjoy Littlest Reich. It’s a solid movie that horror-comedy fans and killer toy fetishists looking for a Saturday night popcorn/pizza/pierogie picture should prioritize on their pull list. And if you don’t like it? Well, opinions are opinions and just like at the Outback Steakhouse there are no rules, just right.
Oh, and, uhm, don’t try to cite said corporate motto as a legally binding call for in-restaurant anarchic behavior while visiting an Outback location. They have rules. Many rules. The breaking of which can lead to MOUNTAINS of legal action that the owners, employees, and customers will likely take against you. If you don’t believe me, just go to the restroom and check out the “Employees Must Wash Hands” plaques and see the facade of your Mad Max fantasies crumble in your hands like a sand dildo.
And on that dream shattering peak behind the curtain I bid you adieu, my marionettes of mayhem, and will see you next time on MIDNIGHT SHOCK-TIME HORROR THEATER! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!
I see Udo’s been eating the crumbs at the bottom of the Oreos bag. Someone tell Mr. Kier that a “wet nap” isn’t just what happens when he falls asleep in his Sitz bath.
Store brand Anna Kendrick is displeased. Or concerned? Maybe gassy. I’m not really sure.
Matthias Hues, seen here contemplating his Ticket to Ride strategy for this week’s Tabletop Night.
“Why does this puppet have lips like Janice from the Muppet Band? Oh god… my brother was using this thing to house his fleshlight! GAH!”
That cat has natural corpse paint! Brutal.
“Lady, if you don’t want to see a stranger masturbating in their front seat, then don’t go peeking in parked cars. Now either give me a hand with this or kindly leave.”
Poor Elton. He’s the only puppet Toulon ever made with a desperate need for a comb over.
“Ed, you know not to interrupt me on ‘New Issue of Gigantic Asses Day’. Now go restock the tissues in my office. I’m going to need at least two boxes this month.”
The lady likes her comic geeks like she likes her hams: BONE-IN! Woooooo!
Hitler was definitely a monster, but if Toulon’s home is in any indicator, der fuhrer provided his employees with a hell of a severance package!
“No, I’m not Kristen Wiig or Kate McKenna, but if I give you a fake phone number will you go away?”
Barbara Crampton teaches the rest of the crew how to do the “2 Legit 2 Quit” salute.
Don’t you hate those awkward days when you get called to a violent shootout at work, only to realize that you left your gun at home?
Given the strength of his grill game, MC Kaiser here will be guesting on tracks with 2 Chainz and Wiz Khalifa before the end of the year.
“Ah yes, there’s your penis. Just as the mail order bride catalog advertised. Excellent.”
Featuring a special cameo by your favorite wrestler’s favorite wrestler, David Starr!
(Whose crotch my face is unfortunately planted in for this screenshot.)
In the name of realism (while also avoiding risk of lawsuits), Marvel’s new Ghost Rider action figure requires buyers to provide their own hellfire.
“Damn it. We can’t watch the new episode of ‘Sailor Moon: Crystal’ because my mom and my ex are both using the Hulu account!”
Karl from Die Hard learns the messy side effects of snorting coke while also watching fan service anime.
“No! No! No! It’s a jump to the left and then a step to the right! The show starts in an hour and NONE of you have learned the Time Warp!”
“Und d-d-d-d-dat ist all, folks!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Crazy Eldritch Asians”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Ángel “Street Knight” Vargas , Vera “Stigmata” Yell , Lee “Once played an uncredited drug dealer on an episode of ‘The Young and the Restless‘” Marks
Director: Craig “Dead South” Ross Jr.
Writers: Carl “Urban Massacre” Washington
Followed by: Killjoy 2: Deliverance From Evil ; Killjoy 3 ; Killjoy Goes to Hell ; Killjoy’s Psycho Circus
A glorious day to you, my heathens and sheathens! It’s me, it’s me, your A-N-U-B… I-S. Always rousing suspicions and arousing suspicious women! From Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man to House of Frankenstein to Frankenstein Vs. Baragon, everybody loves a crossover. Tapping into that vein for so much of its delicious delicious blood, I bring you the “Turkey Day Month Casually Mingles with the Year of the Painted Horrors” pairing you never knew you wanted (because you probably won’t) – Killjoy!
And boy does it fucking ever. I haven't seen a movie so forthcoming with its titular content since New York City Lesbian Gangbang.
Fun fact: I once couch crashed for a week in the Brooklyn apartment of Maria DaMaris, one of the titular participants of said location specific “no Y chromosomes allowed” flesh exchange. It’s true! Also, despite my emphasis of the “tit” in “titular”, Maria’s major physical asset is her posterior, even after her breasticular supplementation procedure. Also also, I was there as a regular guest, not as a sexy guest. Also also also, I may or may not have masturbated repeatedly in her shower…
Remember back at the turn of the century, when Charles Band tried to re-ignite the Blaxploitation subgenre in the late-90s/early-00s with his Alchemy Entertainment/Big City Pictures “urban horror” label? Whether it was a note of romantic intent to the ’70s milestone of cinematic screwiness or just a cheap marketing attempt to convince black and “pale skinned appropriators of urban African-American culture” (you know, “whiggers”) audiences to buy into his bullshit, it happened either way. The tent poles of this inner-city circus were The Horrible Doctor Bones, Ragdoll, and the face-painted farce of fear from today’s feature. Given that we never got Ragdoll Vs. Dollman or the much hoped for prequel Doctor Bones: the College Years, while Killjoy would see the light of DVD again and again in no less than a trio of sequels, the Dollar Embargo Pennywise knock-off was the sole survivor of the label’s purge. His adventures culminated with 2012’s Killjoy Goes to Hell, but unlike a certain masked menace who did the same 15 years prior, this monstrous mischief maker has yet to find his way back.
Oh wait, scratch that. It looks like Chuck Band has summoned his jugular juggling jester back from the lake of fire for the recently released Killjoy’s Psycho Circus. Fuck me.
Speaking of getting fucked, I’m reviewing my physical copy of this movie, which is included on a single disc with both the second and third such flicks that were available at the time. The main menu of the trilogy has no extras or options, simply offering the ability to select each movie individually, or to “Play All”… Who THE FUCK marathons the first three Killjoy movies?! This isn’t the original Star Wars or Indiana Jones trilogies! Fuck’s sake, my juice is dried up by the finish of the first film, let alone would I ever have enough left over to even attempt another 3 hours of half-baked harlequin horrors after the fact! Speaking of juices, let’s squeeze this rancid orange (I’m sorry, president rancid orange) for all its worth and hope we don’t get any in our eyes. Sally forth!
In case you weren’t aware that Killjoy was shot almost 20 years ago, it’s made very apparent from the start as our two allegedly high school age female leads, Monique (Dee Dee Austin) and Jada (Vera Yell), exchange dialogue likes extras out of “Martin”. The Martin Lawrence comedy, not the George Romero “vampire who’s not a vampire” movie, in case I needed to be clear. Their deep conversation on the ethical quandary of “using a boy for his phat ride because you’re tired of walking home from school” is interrupted by nice guy Michael (Jamal Grimes), who’s got a heart-on for Jada, despite Monique’s clear disgust of him and, well, pretty much any guy who doesn’t offer to drive her around in their Mustang convertible. Much as Jada opts to treat the lad like a human being, and may even have a little appreciation for his blatant affections for her, it’s made very clear that Mikey’s immediate future will be in a body bag if Jada’s boyfriend Lorenzo (the oil guy?) discovers the pair have been conversing. Despite all this, Mike still feels compelled to spit into the wind and asks Jada to their school homecoming dance. If you think this is the perfect place for this poor man’s Dulé Hill to get his Jansport kicked in and the Puma logo imprinted on his pancreas, you’d be a way better predictor than Nate Silver right now!
And if you don’t know who Dulé Hill is, I’ll do you a favor: he was the black guy on “Psyche”. Yeah, the one who looks kinda like he played Kenny/Bud on “The Cosby Show” in the ’80s, but didn’t. That’s Deon Richmond, who was in the 2011 Kevin Sorbo, Danny Trejo movie Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury… Sorry, just trying to avoid talking about Killjoy. I’ll get back to swallowing this capsule of broken glass now.
Featuring all of the cinematic professionalism of an after-school special, our movie actually starts like one too! In true movie fashion, this is the scene that “hood thug stereotype that red states think all black people look and act like” Lorenzo (William Johnson) and his cronies T-Bone (Corey Hampton) and Baby Boy (Rani Goulant) roll up upon. Mikey receives the beating alluded to previously, courtesy of the “even more of a hood thug stereotype than his boss” T-Bone, as Jada screams in protest. Though seemingly vicious in execution, NY Strip’s assault doesn’t draw an ounce of blood (probably no room in the budget), while the most vicious blow is made instead by ‘Zo, who steps on Piggy’s specs and tells him not to be caught “slippin”. Getting up with relative ease despite his back being the stage for Porterhouse’s stomp dancing (maybe the bully was wearing Pumps, so it was like being stomped with little hemorrhoid donuts?), Michael shoots some pretty harsh stink-eye at a nearby homeless man who offered no help during the incident. Our hero (by default, I guess) then goes home and does what any victim of a tragic love triangle would do – attempt to summon a vengeful spirit named Killjoy by sitting in the center of a circle of his mom’s votive candles and angrily manhandling a clown doll!
No fucking attempt at explaining Mikey’s ritual is made, let alone where he learned such a practice, but the homemade voodoo ceremony is cut short when Tiny Male lures Mike out into the streets under the guise of regretting the earlier fracas and wanting to be friends. Anyone who falls for something that stupid deserves to be beaten up by a guy named after a cut of meat, Mikey, so you’ve only got yourself to blame when the goons kidnap your naive ass. They drive him out to a vacant lot (by way of a car rocking back and forth in front of a blank black back drop!), and getting a lead pacemaker “accidentally” shot into his chest. Well, a bit of a downer ending, but at least the movie’s over now, right? Let’s go home and have a piping hot mug of triple Swiss Miss with brandy!
Awww shit. I knew it was too good to be true. Instead we’re thrown a year into the future, where Jada has long since broken up with Lorenzo and is instead now being courted by another classmate, Jamal (Lee Marks). She still has unresolved feelings for ‘Enz (“What am I supposed to do? He took my virginity when I was with him!”), but Jamal tells her she needs to forget about him and start thinking about Michael… Wait, what?! Why should she be thinking about the would-be boyfriend her ex killed? Shouldn’t she be thinking about herself? Just ’cause you’re black doesn’t make you Montel Williams, man. Stick to the Easy Cheese pick-up lines and lookin’ pretty, leave the self-help shit to the professionals.
Elsewhere from all this woo pitching, Lorenzo, Newborn Male and Sirloin are still in their west coast ménage à trois, trying to freestyle about weed and passing blunts between their shifts at wherever the hell it is they make their money. Let’s say Good Burger. Anyway, as soon as Lorie kisses his homies goodbye so he can engage in a little bump and grind with whatever girl he’s currently staining sheets with, Infant and Rib Eye are lured out of their domicile by the siren song of a passing ice cream truck. Looking to indulge their munchies, the lads engage the truck’s owner, who proclaims himself an undercover drug dealer selling his product under the disguise of an ice cream shilling clown. Of course this painted pusher is actually the mirth spreading murderer of our title, and when he invites the pair into his parlor (well, his truck), they’re magically transported to Killjoy’s private pocket universe: a warehouse covered in shitty graffiti. Yep. No three-ring carnival of carnage, just an abandoned building. Once there, naturally the duo are done in, with Flank being “smoked” like a blunt and Kiddo being… hit by a truck? Okay, Tenderloin’s dollar store Freddy Krueger demise is expected, but dragging a guy all the way to your own little death dimension just to hit him with a truck?! That shit’s whack like Rob Ford’s crack!
Oh well. Adieu, T-Bone. You were too well marbled for this world.
Lorenz falls for the same gag sooner than later (as in the very next scene), attempts to unload 21 rounds from his magical movie REVOLVER into joy boy, then ends up holier than a Swiss cheese sex doll when Killy straight up steals Weird Al’s Rambo gimmick from UHF by making with an oral machine gun and spitting Zo’s bullets back at him, rapid fire. Well, technically there are NO holes in Lorenzo, because this minuscule effects budget couldn’t cover squibs, so instead he just has little bursts of red digital splatter flash over his torso for a few seconds, leaving behind NO holes and NO blood! You can see why it’s one of my “Top 25 Hemorrhage Inducing Movie Moments of All Time”… a list that doesn’t actually exist, but probably should.
Though infuriating, this scene brings with it the movie's solitary redeeming moment (aside from its 65 minute running time) – watching Lorenzo's new girlfriend Kahara (Napiera Groves) engage in a gratuitous shower scene. I know it's an all too common device that I've complained about in the past, but in such a white dominated genre, you just don't get to see a whole lot of brown-skinned beauties in that classic exploitation position so, well, I really appreciate it when it happens. Reminds me of my high school days when porn wasn’t available at the
clit click of a touchscreen. Pardon me while I get “nostalgic” for a minute or two…
Ahhhh. I feel two quarts lighter! Back to business (or “biznaas”), Jada gets a midnight call from Monique of much urgency. In fact, it’s of such urgency that Foreigner would proclaim it an urgent urgent emergency. So urgent, so urgent, just wait and see. Remember that ineffective hobo (Arthur Burghardt) that sat idly by and watched a certain refugee from a butcher block scuff test his new kicks on Mike’s torso the year prior? Well, on the anniversary of the love-lorned loser’s loss of life that same nameless squatter, possibly while hopped up on Viper (+25 movie nerd points to anyone who knows that reference without Googling it!), has sought out the girls to recap everything from the first act to burn off another 5 minutes. For reasons he never explains, the “not nearly filthy enough to be a believable homeless guy” knows that Killjoy operates on CPT (Clown People Time) and has just now answered Michael’s call for revenge, 365 days late. Having offed Lorie and the Hoods though, shit should be all peaches and plums, right? Well, no. Turns out that Killjoy wants to ply his namesake to Monique and Jada too, while Jamal’s just a bonus, I guess. What did the girls do to deserve such treatment? Never underestimate the blind anger of a nerd scorned.
Pro-tip, ladies and gents: just because someone isn’t romantically interested in you doesn’t mean they’re evil. In fact, you’re the more than likely the only one who’s an a-hole, for holding it against them when they reject you. Trust me. Don’t set yourself up for the same regrets I did. Movies and TV and books and songs lie to you – there’s no such thing as someone you were “destined” to be with, and it sure as shit isn’t their fault or yours if they don’t have the same feelings for you that you have for them. Forget about ’em and keep looking elsewhere. Hell, stop looking for love and that little prick Cupid’s arrow might just pop you in the back when you’re not expecting it! Worked for me and EDB, just might work for you too. Now enough of the touchy-feely tripe! I’m not Dr. Drew and this sure as shit ain’t “Loveline”!
So, the old man disappears in a puff of smoke (maybe he has a stick of chronic burning in his jacket pocket?) and our trio of young African-Americans pretending to be even younger African-Americans opt to take the initiative and confront Clown Boy head-on (“Apply directly to the forehead!”), climbing into the back of his seemingly abandoned truck, parked conveniently right out front where the old man said it would be. Wow, so these kids are ready to attack welfare Pennywise (who’s yet to approach either of them and may not even have beef to resolve), all on the word of a random vagrant whose validity is due solely to his knowing their names and disappearing in a cloud of smoke like David Copperfield or Batman? These guys would probably follow David Blaine across an ocean of molten magma!
As soon as the three materialize in Killie’s murder warehouse (why everyone who goes to this place does so by landing on the floor in some kind of Power Rangers pose, I couldn’t tell you to save my fucking life), Jamal starts up with some Scooby-Doo “We need to split up!” nonsense that the girls aren’t having. Jammy-Jams even flubs one of his lines, but director Ross keeps it in anyway! Bravo, sir. John Singleton you’re not.
With repeated utterances of “We got to!”, Jamal pushes his insistence that splitting up is the only option and wanders off alone, leaving the ladies to their paired fate. In reality, I'm guessing this has to do at least partially, with the fact that there are three of them and only two doorways on the set for Bozo von Chucklefuck’s Haunted World of Spooky Black-on-Black Crimes. This lasts every second of about 2 minutes before the three are reunited, scared back together by Killjoy who…doesn’t really do much to bother them beyond his bad laugh, worse lines and some Tim Burton Joker-ish gag where he offers Jamal a literal hand. You know, cuz it’s a hand…and he offered him a hand…because it’s a severed hand…and Jamal thought he was just offering him a figurative hand…but it was literal… because…it’s…a…hand… Anybody wanna go in halfsies on a gun rental and a pair of bullets? I’m really not feeling much for this whole “not being dead” gimmick lately.
Our heroic trio are then forced to fight off illusory dopplegangers of ‘Zo +2, not because Jada needed to evolve as a character by physically exorcising her residual emotional attachment to her ex (she squares off with Steak ‘Ems instead), but because her new boyfriend just needed to kick her old boyfriend’s phantom ass to prove he’s better than a ghost. And he does, thanks to a ninja sword that he recovers from a tipped over box, because I guess Killjoy’s warehouse services those Chinatown outlet stores that sell decorative weapons to wanna-be Bruce Lees for less than a tenner. Right next to the polyester kimonos and the plaster dragons painted to look like they’re made of jade. Speaking of jade, Jada also benefits from said stock as Mo’ passes her a comically theatrical battle ax to fend off Ghost Beef. Because Charles Band’s props department is made up mostly of day-after-Halloween purchases he made from Big Lots. I had to fight him over a battery-operated wolf skeleton this year! It was weird too, cuz the damn thing still had ears somehow despite being a skeleton. I let him keep it. I’ll have to think of something else to get my sister for Cthulhumas this year.
Pastrami is shown that, despite his claims, being dead doesn’t mean he can’t be killed (or in this case, decapitated by Jada), while Jamal struggles with undead Toddler, attempting to gouge out the vato’s oculars only to miss completely and gently massage his eyebrows instead. Fortunately for our hero, it seems the brow ridge is just the weakpoint the exorcist ordered, as said light caress causes the baddie to leak green smoke from his eyes, cry out in pain, dissolve into a cloud of eyesore particle effects, and make that weird zapping sound you always heard from the Tesla Coils in a b-movie mad scientist’s lab.
‘Joy reappears, dispatching Jam and Monique with ease, then corners Jada and asks for a kiss. She complies, but only if he leaves their world forever. The capering antagonist could’ve easily pulled the lawyer card and instead forced her to stay in his world forever, citing unclear wording, but instead just does the dickhead thing and refuses to honor their agreement, just because. He then reveals himself to be Michael, who delivers a monologue about how unfair it was to be bullied by everyone when he just wanted some friends. Jada offers to be his friend, but he wants her to be his girlfriend, not his friend that’s a girl. She clearly wants to tell him she doesn’t like him “that way”, but hesitantly says yes instead, only to knife him in the guts a few dozen times when he gets aggressively huggy. Nothing to do with her station in life or where she comes from, but I’m guessing Jada did a stretch up the river at some point because she shivs that boy like a woman who’s seen some shit (or done some shit) in a prison lunch line before! This Dorothy’s been to Oz, and I’m not talking ruby slippers and flying monkey bellboys!
If you thought everything sounded stupid up to this point, you’ve only dipped a toe in the stupidity quicksand. Now, after murdered Mikey fades away, Jada collects Jamal and Monique and the three stroll out of the warehouse like everything’s hunky-dory. It’s not, of course, because we’re only 55 minutes into this little-over-an-hour mire. As I was saying, they walk out of the warehouse (which is just a warehouse now and not a parallel dimension?) and find the Killjoy Mobile parked across the street. You-dread-who pops up AGAIN with his three lackeys still in tow and proclaims that he can’t be killed in his world. You mean exactly like Freddy Krueger had to be brought into our reality to be killed? Right. But, I’m presuming that they’re all in our reality right now, right? Or are they still in his world?! I’m shit out of theories on this one, and hold your ponies lads and lasses cuz it only makes less fucking sense in a minute!
The good guys hear the homeless guy Obi-Waning in their heads and telling them they need to “kill the doll” (rather than “use the Force”), which they make it a point to vocalize out loud, cuing Kony the Clown in on their plan. He gets pissed and tries to chase them down, but they escape into the back of his ice cream truck, because it looks like all you need to do to get out of his trap dimension really is just walk out of its front door! And this time, rather than being thrown back into the warehouse-between-worlds, the magic fool bus instead transports them to…Michael’s old apartment?! How the fuck does this work!? What the FUCK was going on in your head when you wrote this, Mr. Washington?! I feel my brain being spaghettified right through my eyeballs by the black hole this movie’s collapsed reality is creating! ARRRRRGH!
Before Jada can destroy the doll it turns into Michael, begging her (while she straddles him in Cowgirl position…awkward) not to kill him because everything he did was out of love for her. She hesitates, which is odd considering how savagely she pig stuck the guy not 10 minutes ago! Ultimately her killer instinct wins out again and she gets the chance to murder her admirer a second time. Mikey cries out in pain, reverts back into a toy, and some mystical earthquake sends the villains back through a vortex to whatever homeboy purgatory they’re stuck in now. Jamal warns the girls not to break the circle of votive candles (which aren’t lit anyway…) and they huddle together to hold hands, transported back to Monique’s place with no explanation as to why. Jedi Fred Sanford awaits them there too, only to dissolve sans any further dialogue. Without batting an eye, Jamal suggests that the three go out for a bite to eat and everybody learns to feel good about laughing again. No, seriously, they get all dressed up, sit in a nightclub, and talk about how great it is to laugh… Somebody actually got paid to write these lines!
To keep up with the knock-off A Nightmare On Martin Luther King Blvd bullshit, it turns out this ending is just a nightmare Jada’s having that ends with Killjoy showing up. She awakens screaming in bed next to a horny Jamal who figures the best way to cure his girl’s bad dreams is with a mouthful of beaver, and with a Vera Yell, she cried “MORE! MORE! MORE!”. See what I did there? But when he comes back up from spelunking the meat curtains beneath the sheets, care to guess who he’s turned into? Yep.
And they made
three four more of these fucking things?! There is no god.
I mean, there’s a lot of us, clearly, but there’s no god specifically for shitty movie prevention. I put in a dozen requests with H.R. (Human Resources, not Pufnstuf) and they just keep telling me that jars full of internal organs with “DO WHAT I SAY!” etched into them aren’t acceptable requisition forms. Friggin’ office politics.
And so goes the story of Killjoy, Carl Washington’s double rip-off of A Nightmare on Elm Street and It. A movie that can’t even follow the rules it makes up for itself as it goes along. A movie whose plot has more holes than Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur combined. A movie whose dialogue sounds like it was written by a mentally impaired 10 year old who just learned the term “good pussy”. A movie whose villain’s quips couldn’t even make a hyena hopped up on Nitrous Oxide and Red Bull crack a giggle. It’s sad too, because for the most part the cast isn’t horrible, they’re just playing one-dimensional characters and are bogged down further by the shit Washington filled their mouths with. Sick bastard.
Out of this cast of extras from a season of “The Wayans Bros.”, the only one who can’t blame the script for their piss poor performance is Lee Marks. Sure, he’s given some especially harsh lines, but his readings are wooden enough for Nick Offerman to carve a canoe out of. Either Marks didn’t get a chance to practice his lines and this flick was shot in the Roger Corman “one and done” style (which is very likely given some of the flubbed lines and bumbled camera work that were left in) or the guy was hired straight off the casting couch based on his looks, his lacking of acting be damned. Maybe he’s the ugly girl the others keep around to make themselves look hotter by comparison. Only… you know…the thespian version.
Batting 0-2, Killjoy‘s third strike comes at the hands of director Craig Ross, who is just as bad at his job as everyone else is at theirs. Wretched shot composition, miserable efforts to be creative by shooting from a low “pendulum” angle that even first semester film school students wouldn’t waste their time on. The gratingly stupid Superman landing that he has everybody do when they “jump” into Laughing Boy’s urban squalor Purgatory! It all flies as well as Thoth after a 40 oz. of Olde Egyptian 800 BC. That is one man-bird that cannot hold his liquor, malted or otherwise.
To finish out the bingo card, Killjoy‘s soundtrack, cinematography and editing are also dumpster refuse. Specifically that dumpster Willennium Smith kicks open in Men in Black that vomits cockroaches all over the ground. The only thing it’s consistent at is being terrible. Reminds me of the first time a girl went down on me, only with less teeth. If I were to best sum up my feelings for this incompetently cobbled together “Frankenstein’s monster if he were assembled from large pieces of putrid deli meat” via the medium of referential humor to a scene from a culturally relevant comedy movie released in the last 15 years (oddly specific criteria, sure, but just go with it), it would be the Sex Panther fallout scene from Anchorman where an office full of Paul Rudd’s co-workers are driven to odorous agony by his bio-hazardous, nostril napalm cologne. Remember “SMELLS LIKE BIGFOOT’S DICK!”? That was me by the time the end credits hit.
In the spirit of the season, Killjoy is such a gobbler that Turkey Volume Guessing Man gives it 3000 turkeys!
And if you don't get that joke, go back and watch the Riding with Death episode of “MST3K”. It’s magic. How magic? Remember that time Merlin turned his penis into a rainbow spewing dragon to have 6 month long tantric sex with Grendel’s mother so they could give birth to Electric Light Orchestra and raise them to write and perform “Oh Oh Oh It’s Magic”? That episode is MORE magical. 2 Legit.
With that, I leave you to your dinners of mass consumption, my friends and fiends. You know, if USA Thanksgiving is your thing. I’ll be back after the Great Binge for at least one more course of Turkey Day Month before the upcoming glut of end-of-the-year holiday themed nonsense waiting to come crashing down my chimney. No peeking, you pricks, or Anubis Claus will have to hollow out your eye sockets with a hot fire poker!
And ladies, here’s one for you: don’t ask your man job interview questions post-coitus. He doesn’t wanna hear any of that “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” crap after getting his kumquats juiced.
“Big City Pictures”? Maybe in about as much as Provo, Utah is technically a big city too, sure.
“You paid how much for this fencing, girl!? I told you, my cousin Shaun is the chain link KING! Tell him we’re friends and he’ll hook you UP!”
“I believe I can FLYYYYYYY! I believe I can touch the SKYYYYYY!”
Hey geniuses, you forget to turn on the rear projector for the driving scene! I’d call you the modern day Notorious B.I.G. (Burt I. Gordon), but you couldn’t even get that right!
“You’re right Lorenzo, there is something blocking your barrel. It looks like a… bullet? … Oh shit.”
His stage name should be Rhythm Method Man, cuz just looking at him is birth control. *rimshot*
Movie immersion breaker #262: Who the hell has sex with the bedspread around their waists like that?!
“Come on B, you gotta help me find my contacts! The insurance company’s gonna raise my rates if I tell ’em I lost another pair of lenses, son!”
I’d make fun of her for picking that robe up at Phyllis Diller’s yard sale, but she looks better in it than the guest star of Boneyard ever did.
“Ugggh. I gotta stop eating out of the dumpster behind that vegan place. Those vegetables and shit give me gas out both ends!”
Note to our readers: Just because you memorized the lyrics to every track on “36 Chambers” and own every VHS in the Wu-Tang Collection reissue set doesn’t mean you’re qualified to swing the hardware!
“Hey kids! Remember krumping? Of course you don’t! No one does! Nor should they! We’re all better off without it!”
Looks like somebody didn’t learn their lesson from Richard Pryor’s example.
“There is a great disturbance in the Circus. We have a new enemy. The young rebel who destroyed our clown car. This boy is the offspring of PT Barnum. Search your feelings. You’ll know it to be true.”
Damn McDonald, your teeth are disgusting and your gums look infected! Time to lay off the Kools and Colt 45s, or the suits upstairs are gonna make McCheese the new face of the franchise!
Anubis will return next time in
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Sherri “The Lords of Salem” Moon Zombie , Richard “DOOM” Brake , Jeff Daniel “Westworld (2016)” Phillips
Director & Writer: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie
Hey kids! One concept I tried to get over in The Tomb’s dark age was The Zodiac of Anubis, in which every year a specific movie monster would get the annual spotlight of having a review done on their sub-genre each month. After considering resurrecting the Zodiac for the last couple o’ calendars, I’ve finally decided this is the year. As such, I bid you welcome as we begin, “The Year of the Painted Horrors”!
With the public panic about dickheads donning clown costumes and menacingly loitering around parks and wooded areas in recent weeks, I thought the pariahs of the Barnum & Bailey family would be the best subject for celebration. Per this event, every 13th day up to September 2017 will be dedicated to movies centralized on greasepainted gore makers. In a matter of cosmic coincidence, look at what just happened to release recently – a Rob Zombie movie about murderous clowns! Call it kismet, call it circumstance, whatever you call it, the Roadhouse Necromancer himself calls it 31.
Whether you’re a fan of his work or not, one thing that’s irrefutable is Zombie’s superiority to Uwe Boll. All personal opinions aside, if going by no other metric, the propagator of sinister urges clearly trumps the defiler of video game franchises when it comes to the crowdfunding arts. After a pair of failures to get his project Rampage 3 financed (first via IndieGoGo and again through Kickstarter), Boll went on a rampage of his own, throwing a fit online with a meltdown video where he basically told everyone to fuck themselves. Who would’ve thought people wouldn’t be willing to donate their money to someone who makes SHITTY movies for the purpose of making MORE shitty movies? On the other side of the coin, Rob Zombie’s FanBacked campaign netted him… an as-yet-undisclosed amount. Kinda sketchy. And I’m presuming a lot of that money came from the reward tier that included lifetime VIP passes to every Rob Zombie show, so I don’t know how accurate a gauge it is in determining the number of people who were just chomping at the bit for another installment in the Zombie filmography… BUT, whatever the case, my prior statement stands – Rob Zombie is better than Uwe Boll at crowfunding! Game over!
Some people piss and moan about crowdfunded projects, and 31 isn’t lacking in such detractors. Cries of “Pay for your own movie, loser!” ring throughout the internet, but said people are missing the point of these endeavors. The real reason for such independent efforts at collecting capital are two fold – to gauge consumer interest in such a product and to cut out the corrupting influence of deep pocket financiers. For example, I run The Tomb free of advertisements because I don’t want to be beholden to any company execs bitching at me about my offensive words and concepts, or how I should only review big movie stuff so as to up click traffic. Fucketh that. Now, I was hoping to somehow monetize the site for the purposes of having it support itself, so I put up the Patreon page to test the waters and see if these reviews and ramblings were worthwhile of readers’ pennies. Unfortunately, since I’ve yet to acquire a single contributor (even after offering exclusive Patreon only reviews to make it worth said patronage), it’s clear that I’ve yet to find an audience willing to bridge the gap between readers and customers. THIS is why 31 was made and Rampage 3 was not – there are enough people willing to put their hard earned buckets of duckets behind another Rob Zombie project than there are willing to get behind another Uwe Boll movie. Having never been in a position where I could afford to lend my support to someone else’s creative vision, I more than appreciate those who are in that position, because without them, people like myself wouldn’t be able to see the fruits of those labors. You’re doin’ the work of the gods, kids. Just don’t GoFund any magic bean gardens, cuz the only goose those’ll lead you to will be on your bank account. Insert your own “grab ’em by the pussy” joke here, because the more I have to think about that garbage, the more I die inside.
Now, what’s all this 31 stuff aboot?
In an interview with Fangoria, Zombie said that fans were pretty insistent that they wanted his next run behind the camera to be another movie focused on the trio of domestic terrorists who took center stage in his first flicks, House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Instead, he opted to respond with something new. He noted that people didn’t know even know they wanted The Devil’s Rejects before the movie was made, so rather than play it fiscally safe by supplying consumers with more of what they demand, he chose to play Russian Roulette and tried to convince them to pay for something new… well, something heavily “borrowed” from other movies, but technically altered to be something new… and hopefully some big studio copyright lawyers don’t catch wind of it and attempt to sue everyone involved with its making… like Bobby Z’s philanthropic followers, perhaps? I mean, I’m no law school graduate but… actually, that means in a legal situation I have less legs to stand on than the titular heroin of Boxing Helena. Ignore me on that. The same way Horus ignored me on my birthday.
Yeah, I’m not forgetting that anytime soon. Go eat a box of uncooked Rice-A-Roni, you bird faced fuck boy.
Unlike many of his last few movies, 31 is a simple A-Z tale. Much like House of 1000 Corpses, it centers on a group of happy-go-lucky buddies, trapped in a “The Most Dangerous Game” struggle for survival against sadistic predators who revel in their perceived vulnerability. In this instance, said dangerous game isn’t man, but a literal game called “31”, because of its annual occurrence on October 31st aka Halloween. This numerical factoid was part of why so many people were sure this project was originally going to be the finale of Zombie’s Halloween trilogy, only spurred on by the use of a shabby clown mask in early promotional material. Mayhaps eluding to little Mikey Myers’ use of a clown mask when he went on his inaugural killing spree as a kid? Nope. Turns out the clown mask was just a precursor to the 31 “hunters”, who are clowns… from Satan’s 666 Ring Circus of Eternal Sin and Suffering! Formerly known as the Playboy Mansion aka Hugh Hefner’s Whore House of Soul Crushing Defilement for Rich Old Men and Washed-Up Comedians. I wonder how many of the bunnies forced to give handjobs to Rob Schneider and John Lovitz in the grotto opted for “eternal peace” over lifetimes of PTSD.
The organizers of this carnival of blood are a trio of Ruling Class sadists named Father Murder (Malcolm McDowell), Sister Serpent (Jane Carr) and Sister Dragon (Judy Geeson). They have the Eyes Wide Shut naked lady servants waiting on them, while they dress like French aristocrats with heavy pancake makeup and elaborate powdered wigs. Their hired gang of buffoon goons wear face paint and are all saddled with the odd surname of “Head” for some reason. We start with the Latino Nazi midget Sick-Head (Pancho Moler). This twisted and hateful half-man is followed up by a pair of chainsaw wielding brothers in Leatherface masks (made up like Otis and Captain Spaulding) called Schizo- and Pyscho-Head (David Ury & Lew Temple). Next is another pairing, consisting of the brutal bohemoth (and near-copyright infringingly named) Death-Head (Torsten Voges) and his creepy little perv-o girlfriend Sex-Head (E.G. FUCKING Daily!) who’s just a less savage version of Sherri Moon-Zombie’s Baby Doll character dressed like a porn parody of Harley Quinn.
Be forewarned: among her many roles over the expanse of her career, E.G. Daily’s resume includes being the voice of Tommy Pickles on “Rugrats”. During one scene, where Sex-Head is crying in agony (spoiler, deal with it), she sounds like Tommy fucking Pickles. Yeah. Process that how you will.
Finally, there’s Doom-Head (Richard Brake). Doom-Head, who is the main reason to watch this movie. Holy shit. I didn’t know I was a Richard Brake fan until I watched 31. As generic as the rest of this movie may be, this motherfucker makes it unforgettable for me. He opens the movie going on a murderous soliloquy with one of his previous year’s victims that injects our brains with a massive dose of the heebie-jeebies. Not spooky shit, like the monster at the end of [REC], but that gut twisting “there are actually people like this in the darkest septic tanks of humanity” terror that makes you want to hide away from the world forever and buy stock in Smith & Wesson. Remember the Bloodhound Gang song, “A Lap Dance Is So Much Better”? If The Dick Braker here read those lyrics, I might throw up, because he could get them across ten times more nauseating than they already are. It’d make hearing trump talk about sexually assaulting women sound like Mary Poppins reading Dr. Seuss in comparison. Just thinking about it is agitating my chili dinner something fierce, so I’m gonna stop before I get a ghost pepper lodged in my sinuses. Again. Uggh.
Wait a minute! How the fuck does Zombie make a movie where all of the killers have “Head” in their name, and he doesn’t include one named “Iron Head”?! Granted, it wasn’t one of the better tracks off of The Sinister Urge, but this is the perfect place to bring the “demonoid phenomenon” juggernaut demigod to flesh (and iron)! Wasted opportunity.
And now, for the least interesting part of any Rob Zombie movie – the protagonists. This year’s victims of 31 are a motor home full of carnies! Yep, in keeping with our writer/director’s favored aesthetic of “Texas white trash chic”, the unsung heroes (and appropriately disparaged villains) of the midway take center stage, captured by a gaggle of mask wearing hijackers who stop them along a deserted highway in the middle of the night. Half the crew are killed in the exchange, while the remaining quintet are knocked out and taken away, waking up later in shackles. Of these five, if you think anyone other than the one played by Zombie’s wife Sherri is going to be the mandatory “final girl”, then you aren’t familiar with the esteem in which Bobbie Z holds his bride… except for the constant torment he puts her through with all of the fake blood and harassment and making her do her own stunts and shit. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out she files a temporary restraining order against her husbo after filming wraps on every movie they do to avoid having to file divorce papers instead… until the next movie, anyway.
Aside from being victims, there’s nothing to really make you care if the good guys live or die. There are some canned moments where they’ll comfort each other or defend each other and try to force that “these people aren’t just friends, they’re family” moment to no avail. Not quite as useless as treating cancer with a mix of Robitussin and prayer, but ineffective enough. The same could be said for the last 10 minutes of the movie, which… just… fuck it, I’m not gonna break my vow. Why bother giving us balloons if your endgame is just to pop ’em, Mr. Zombie? Dick.
Speaking of “Dick”, let’s get back to the load bearer of the movie, Richard Brake. Because I’d rather talk about him instead. Given that Brake featured fairly prominently into the movie version of DOOM, I’m curious if that was the motivation behind the name “Doom-Head”. Of further interesting ponderances to ponder, Brake played Joe Chill in Batman Begins, the otherwise unspectacular street thug who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. In Tim Burton’s Batman, Joe Chill was replaced by Jack Napier, who would go on to become Jack Nicholson’s immortal portrayal of The Joker… an evil clown. Is it fate that Richard Brake, who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, has now gone on to become a psychopathic serial killing clown too? No. Because fate’s not a thing. Those hags at the loom? They’re the Wimp-Los of mythology. We just play along while laughing at them behind their backs.
31‘s themes map out as if it’s the result of a weekend tour bus nerd binge by Zombie between performances. Borrowing heavily from Rockstar’s Manhunt games (kidnapped protagonist must fight his way out of a giant snuff film version of The Warriors) and/or The Running Man (unwilling “contestants” are chosen to fight for their lives in a game show where they’re hunted by murderous characters, each with their own gimmick), with a dash of “The Hunger Games” (the impoverished are forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of wealthy people in extravagant costumes), a pinch of Marvel Comics (a circus themed arena of death just straight up called “Murderworld” for fuck’s sake!), then sifted through a grindhouse era filter (“scratched film” visual effect, grimy tones, gore and depravity are key), and finally sifted again through a filter of one of the worst filming methods to come out of the 21st century (fucking SHAKEY CAM!). There’s a nod to The Rocky Horror Picture Show‘s infamous dinner scene for dessert, minus the whimsical birthday hats and the tense atmosphere of everybody at the table having cheated on each other with everybody else. Despite my enjoyment for most of these things (or maybe in spite of it), what we get is an overall recipe for… mediocrity.
I get that Zombo grew up on horror movies and comic books and all that jazz that most people who come to this site probably share an affinity for, but COME ON! When are we going to get something more original out of this guy?! House of 1,000 Corpses was an homage to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Lords of Salem was an homage to Rosemary’s Baby. Halloween was a reboot and an overt homage to Frankenstein by trying to give the monster context and sympathy. The Haunted World of El Superbeasto was an homage to Fritz the Cat and every other crazy-ass Ralph Bakshi cartoon ever made, starring a character that’s just a goofy version of El Santo or Blue Demon. Even his most loved movie, The Devil’s Rejects is basically just a white trash mash up of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place”!
Okay, that last part was mostly a joke (mostly), but you get my gist.
I can understand Bob’s preference to direct his own scripts, as I too have control issues, but I’d like to see him direct something that’s both original and written by someone else. And that doesn’t include Sherri on the cast. It’s nothing personal against her, I don’t even mind her as an actress, it’s just part of my wanting a vacation from the same old same. We’ve been watching the man’s stuff since 2003. We’re overdue on the seven year itch, Rob. You talk about giving people something different, but all you did was rehash your older stuff and berate us with shaky cam shit. You’re not Michael Bay, nor should you wanna be. Just stop it. I haven’t paid for one of your albums since “The Sinister Urge” man, and I’m verging on skipping your next movie at this rate too…
But who gives a clown-shaped shit what I think? Opinions are like assholes – we’ve all got one. I’m just here to make jokes and channel my disdain for life in a fashion that won’t end with me behind bars sharing a toilet with some IBS suffering serial rapist. And on that note, cue the end credits!
So begins The Year of the Painted Horrors. I’ll have more clownin’ around for you come November 13th! Until then, we’ve still got two more weeks of Rocktober Blood to spill, so be sure to check back for more journeys into motherfucking terror with your ol’ pal, Five-Speed Anubis of the Questionable Morality!
Anubis will return next time in
“Balls of Fury”
Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!
All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Corey “The Lost Boys” Feldman , Vanessa “Kingpin” Angel , Danielle “Darkening Skies” Keaton
Director: Ted “Subspecies” Nicolaou
Writer: Courtney “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” Joyner
[Note from Anubis: This review was originally planned for posting on December 25th. Unfortunately, due to technical problems (I couldn’t find my DVD and the only person on the entire internet who still seeded the torrent was offline for a few days) I was not able to make said deadline. Boo-fucking-hoo. The opinions presented here aren’t olive loaf – they’re just as good (or bad) post-expiration! Now, please to enjoy our episode. Won’t you?]
Intro: So The Force Awakens opened last week to staggering box office numbers, bringing love and empathy to all mankind and blah blah blah. The Evil Dead Bride and yours truly have yet to partake in the hoopla just yet, because we’re waiting for the crowds to die down a little first. We both hate people as a general statement, so being surrounded by the squirming masses in cramped seating arrangements always brings with it the very real threat that said crowds will just have to die, period. Besides, there will never be a scene from a galaxy far far away better than when we got to watch Hayden Christensen burned alive, so what’s the rush? Oh, and Merry Cthulhumas!
I needed a bit of yuletide “inspiration” to get my “creative juices” flowing for this one, so I’ve been drinking nothing but eggnog spiked with Captain Morgan for the last 24 hours. It’s how we do a “cleanse” in my family. I better be careful or I’ll burn through my allotted “air quotes” for the review before we even get this donkey show out of the opening act!
For the first time in almost 40 years, there was a Full Moon on Cthulhumas (or “Cthuyule” if you’re a traditionalist). It’s the last such holiday lunar alignment for another 20 years. Since I imagine myself joining the choir invisible before that happens, what more reason did I need to do a review for a seasonally thematic Full Moon movie!?… except that this isn’t a Full Moon release.
In the “unspoken of times” where Full Moon was inactive and Charles Band was operating under his “Shadow Entertainment” banner (probably while he was dodging extradition to Romania to answer for unpaid castle rental contracts), and when SyFy was still known as The Sci-Fi Channel, someone had the bright idea to lease the rights to the Puppets and the Toys for the crossover that bad movie lovers had been clamoring for since the ’90s. Band was given an honorary “Executive Producer” credit, but he makes it a point to tell anyone who will listen that he had zero to do with the movie itself. Having watched it again for the first time in years, I don’t blame him! He’s subjected us to some truly heinous b-movie anus in his extensive time as a cinesadist, but when even Charles Band won’t take any credit offered him for a flick, you know that’s not a worm in the bottom of the proverbial tequila bottle, it’s a fucking Ceti eel. Khhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannn!
(Uh-oh. That’s not good.)
Without further ado, take it away, Ghost of Anubis Past!
Original Review: Man, I’ve been waiting for this moment for… hmmm… let me think… carry the two… adjust for leap years… uhm… shit, it’s been at least 7 or 8 years! Moreover, the concept for this beast has been around since it was originally going to be Puppet Master IV, which was released in 1993!… you know, before it became yet another “not really the last movie of the series, but we’ll call it the ‘Final Chapter’ anyway” flicks and turned into, in the words of John Cleese, “something completely different”.
(Oh what could have been…)
In fact, it took so much effort to get this bitch into heat that the birth father of both floundering franchises (i.e. Full Moon Pictures) wasn’t even responsible for the movie’s release! Nope, those ever-lovin’ bad movie bastards at the Sci-Fi Channel and Anchor Bay released it instead after its debut as a “Saturday Night Sci-Fi Channel Originals” movie, whose victims already include Bruce Campbell, Jeffrey Combs and the Return of the Living Dead flicks. So, though this stands as an evil omen from the darkest depths of the Cinemasochist Inferno, at least the Puppet Master and Demonic Toys titles have both been promoted to a level apart from stuff like Gingerdead ManThough I’m sure it’s going to be more of a horizontal relocation rather than some kind of glorious, money-out-the-butt-in-the-religious-sense ascension for Andre Toulon and his brood of handmade killers.
But let’s not drown too deep in the fret just yet, friends. The flick is directed by Ted “Subspecies” Nicolaou (what, was David DeCoteau too busy making more shitty vampire frat movies?!), so let us instead embrace the potential and see what kind of epic shit-eating tortures these last 13 years have wasted time and resources creating!
The sad part is that I’m actually so excited for this moment that I’m watching this at 2 a.m. on my laptop, which tends to emit a loud and terrible hum when I play DVDs on it. I had a long and painful day of failures and physical labor and up until an hour ago I was welcoming sleep like Tom Hanks welcoming an AIDS infected pecker in his pooper a la Philadelphia. But now I’m all eyes, ears and fingers for this nightmarish little play-by-play. Come on people, it’s a brand new DVD and it only cost me $8!? I haven’t been this excited since I found out there was a sequel to Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare!
Andre Toulon is no longer an elderly puppeteer with designs of vengeance toward the servants of Adolf “Captain Moustache” Hitler and the Third Reich. Gone are the days when Guy Rolfe would send wooden toys imbued with the essence of his dead friends to hack, slash, mutilate and smash those whose turn-ons include goose-stepping, long marches on the beach and the smell of freshly baked Hasidics. No longer does a young prodigy set his miniature do-gooder toys to do battle with foot tall totem demons and giant muppets with scrotum for mouths. No, instead we now have Robert Toulon, great grand-nephew of Andre, who’s bitter because the capitalist swine at Sharpe Toys have rejected him and his screwball ideas for “living” toys.
Well, that or he’s just pissy because he’s Corey Feldman, who is therefore a complete and utter joke in the footnotes of b-Hollywood to whom very few people would tag the prefix of “great” or “grand” with any level of serious admiration.
Bob’s your typical kooky inventor type: harmless for the most part, with little more than some smoke and bad smells to show for his work. If he didn’t hiss and grimace so much, you’d half expect him to shrink down some neighborhood kids and spend 2 hours trying to fix ’em while many a wacky hijink ensued. Then he’d come back for a couple of fuck-awful sequels and endanger the lives of several more kids before being burned alive in a boiler by the unhappy members of the PTA. Speaking of kids, this guy Robert somehow has custody of his daughter Alexandra (Danielle Keaton), with whom he re-enacts the life giving experiments of Great Uncle Andre thanks to a journal (that was no doubt illustrated by an eight-year-old…missing several fingers…that probably resulted in him/her drawing some fucked up looking turkeys at Thanksgiving) and several familiar looking tiny killers discovered in a flea market.
Speaking of the father-daughter relationship, it’s kinda creepy the whole time I’m watching this because Corey Feldman, no matter how many gray streaks he puts in his hair or how much beard scruff he tries to grow, will always look like he’s 16. The idea of him having a teenage daughter just looks unsettling. Let’s just hope “The Feld” is lucky enough to look this young when he’s pissing in a bag and eating food in a primordial ooze state.
Meanwhile, Sharpe Toys presidente Erica Sharpe (Vanessa Angel, who’s showing every day of age since Kingpin last played a multiplex, made all the worse since her lips look like an inflamed anus now) spies on Bobbie’s work via hidden ladybug spy camera while she sips sparkling cider with her “is she fucking that guy, or is he gay?” assistant Julian. Who may or may not be played by one of those hitmen with the ear-raping accents from Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave. (Note: after checking IMDB it turns out I was wrong on that assumption, though he has had small parts in shit like Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, and other non-shark related crap Sci-Fi Channel projects).
Sure enough, not only do Bob and Al do in five minutes what the Nazis and Kandarian demons couldn’t do over the course of 8 movies, but they get it right on the first try, as the puppets are resurrected on a diet of Kool-Aid™ infused with Toulon blood. :::Anubis proceeds to smash through a wall, wielding a pitcher of dyed sugar water laced with LSD::: OH YEAH!
No sooner are Jester, Pinhead, Blade and Six-Shooter back to working order than my Kool-Aid™ smile takes a NesTea™ plunge down the proverbial shit pipe…only in this case it’s literal. The puppet models being used here are by far the worst to date. Much like the rationale used on Pamela Vorhees’ baby (freak monkey murderer) boy for Freddy Vs. Jason, you can tell the diseased minds behind PMvDT wanted to make the Puppets the heroes of the flick, so they changed their appearances to try and invoke a better comfort level with the audience (or lack thereof). The result? Jester and Six-Shooter no longer look like a child molesting clown and drunken rapist cowboy respectively, but instead like “empathetic harlequin” and “child friendly old west kids show host” types that make me ill. Additionally, Pinhead looks like he’s been sucked into the Hollywood scene since his last movie appearance, slimming down immensely to a sickly, heroined out, Olsen Twins-esque look! He’s the fucking Kate Moss of the animated death toy crowd and it’s pathetic! He doesn’t even have that squinty-eyes Popeye quality to his face anymore. Instead, he looks like an anorexic old queen in a shitty brown sweater he knitted for himself! Seriously, I think Feldman would’ve been better complimented if he was acting opposite 90 minutes of badly edited stock footage than what these half-assed action figures are going to give us.
Anyway, it’s Christmas time and Sharpe Toys needs that one thing to put their manufactured plastic crap above everyone else’s manufactured plastic crap, so Erica sends her henchman and some hired goons to Bob’s “Puppet Hospital” (I shit you not) to do a little corporate raiding and acquire her some hot, wet puppet action. In standard fashion, the puppets defend themselves, a ruckus breaks out, Bob gets socked in the shnoz by an FDA approved goober with a fucking dollar sign tattooed on the back of his hand (see now, if Gene Simmons had achieved his lifelong dream of trademarking the dollar sign, he would’ve made $0.03 off of this purchase!), Six-Shooter accidentally sets the place on fire and he and his compadres get their stupid new plastic faces melted off. To which the puppets react as if there was somebody holding them by the leg and simply flailing them around…wonder why that is.
And with that, it’s time to introduce the other half of the titular equation as, back at the Sharpe offices, Ms. Sharpe introduces (i.e. sacrifices the cleavage of) her virginal Christian Youth receptionist (I swear this chick waited on me at Uno’s last night) to her “Board of Directors”, better known to followers of the Church of Chuck (Band) as Baby Oopsy Daisy, Grizzly Teddy, and Jack Attack (a.k.a. Jack-Out-of-the-Box. Which is a “pulling out” innuendo if I’ve ever heard one). Once again, I have to state-the-hate on these new character models. For the most part Teddy doesn’t seem all that different, and well, I think I actually like this new Baby Oopsy better. But as far as Jack goes, he looks like shit! I don’t know if they were aiming for some kind of Pennywise take on the fanged box occupier, but whatever the reason it’s COMPLETELY WRONG. The original Jack’s design was the star of the Demonic Toys movies and unless the Killer Klowns people were threatening legal action, there was NO reason not to have stuck with it. Blegh.
Back to our story (I guess that’s what you’d call it, right?), it looks like Erica has made a pact with the demon Bael (who forgot to take off his “orc mercenary” costume following his earlier Everquest™ cos-play meeting) to bring Hell to Earth by distributing 9 million Sharpe toys to homes around the world, all of which are to be brought to murderous life on Christmas Day following the shedding of the final drops of Toulon blood. It’s almost Christmas Eve and ‘Ric’s done her part, spreading the viral Cabbage Patch Creatures™ across the country. Will the greed demon be able to put the little beasts into blood-letting action, or will Bob and Al save the day with their new line of “burn unit victim” Puppet Master action figures? It’s a rhetorical question kids, we all know how this is going to end. And yes, I know that’s not what rhetorical means, I was just waiting to see if you caught on or not.
While Bob and Al prepare for their miniature war with the unholy playthings, a female cop gets involved because Corey Feldman needs someone to stumble over and sweat in front of. The puppets get “cyber upgrades” that include a plastic knife and hook for Blade, pillow
biting smashing thunder ball fists for Queenie Pinhead, a can crushing mace arm for Jester, and an array of plastic gun arms for Six-Shooter that somehow shoot lasers, because plastics are apparently well known for their abilities to generate intense beams of light and heat.
The good guys get caught “unawares” (to be more specific, while Bob’s christening the S.S. Porcelain Bowl), leaving them and the puppets at the mercy of the upstanding staff at Sharpe Corporation. Vanessa Angel puts on an outfit that would’ve looked a lot better on those legs when she had legs to speak of, and Al’s to be used as the blood sacrifice for Bael’s big global conquest thing. Finally, after over an hour of waiting for it, the title bout (literally) goes into effect and the heroes break free. As the norms around them shoot at each other (and Bael cavorts around in a Santa outfit while the countdown to Judgment Day continues), the puppets and toys trade blows. Blade (along with his very obvious plastic knife and hook) hacks the stuffing out of Teddy and liberates his huggable head, Pinhead squishes Oopsy’s head into a geyser of goo (following one-too-many Oopsy ass blaster joke attacks), while Jester and Six-Shooter make short work of Jack. This all happens in less time than it takes to cook minute rice. The goodies save the day, no Toulon blood is spilled, the great Christmas Holocaust is prevented, Bael takes Erica back to Hell with him as part of their agreement, and Al and Bob have holiday feastings with Bob’s new would-be cop girlfriend.
Whoop-di-shit. I waited over a decade for that?! Fuck! I didn’t have a whole lot of faith that this was going to go anywhere, but I didn’t think these guys would forget the whole point of the movie! You take a movie called Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys and you spend 80 minutes pitting the two sides against disposable human fodder while the two C and D-list actors you get for the lead roles hog the screen time, only to climax with a limp-dicked, one-sided conflict of Custer’s Last Stand proportions?! Maybe if I were into anal intrusions I’d love this movie, but as it stands I’m against getting dicked around, especially in a 90 minute marathon of it! At least Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys lived up to its name. And even then managed to fit in all it had to in just a little over an hour! Unlike this fucking waste of time.
As far as the acting I concerned, was Corey Feldman intentionally performing so over-the-top as a sign that he wasn’t taking the role seriously, or is he really so misguided in the thespian arts as to think he wasn’t making a total ass-hat out of himself? I’m sure it’s the latter, but I’m hoping it’s the former for the Feld’s sake. Vanessa Angel’s never been a good actress and the fact that she’s lost 70% of her sex appeal only throws this fact into our movie watching faces all the harder. Everyone else was pretty much by the books (those of course being the “How to Act But Not Get Noticed for Doing So” series) with the glaring exception of Sylvia Suvadova. Sylvia played the part of the Feld’s law enforcing would-be girlfriend, with the major difference being that of ALL OF HER LINES WERE RE-DUBBED. Does she have a horrible, ear drum grinder of an accent that the producers felt needed to be “redacted” from the film? Or, could it be that her actual acting is so bad that it couldn’t even work with the rest of this bowel obstruction? Inquiring minds want to know! Well, my slightly interested minor curiosity is kinda interested in a short and simple answer.
As you can tell from the numerous bitches and complaints dropped elsewhere as my recipe for hate called for them, the special effects ingredients involved were a good use for a dollar store budget, but otherwise a slap in the face to the series, especially following the otherwise groovy efforts of the first three films. Granted, they didn’t go for the cheap fuck like other recent entries by relying on the same stop-action stock footage born of Toulon’s Revenge, but I’m starting to think I’d rather watch those for a 12th time as opposed to the high school jerk around we got instead.
While I’m ‘picking here, the title graphic is terrible too. Look at it! Why has the classic Puppet Master logo been replaced by toy alphabet blocks?! Though I understand the use of the flaming logo for the latter half of this “Rumble in the Toy Box” title, I always liked the alphabet blocks look for the original Demonic Toys logo design (Note from 2015 Anubis: that wasn’t Demonic Toys, it was Dolly Dearest you dipshit), considering they’re toys and alphabet blocks are toys and… fuck it, nobody’s even listening at this point. The movie’s shite and every fiber of my being is nagging at me to go get my eight bucks back. Guess I should go do that now before all this talking to myself gets me another run at Arkham…
Disengaging Complaint Drive Warp Engine™… now!
Xtro: Uggh. That hurt. Like 50 lashes with a wet string of icicle lights. I forgot how genuinely wretched this movie is. For my original review, I gave PMvDT (huh huh, “VD”) 2 ½ stars. Not out of 10, but out of 5. FIVE! What the fucking fuck was I on!? This is a 90 minute shave with a razor made of broken glass covered in salt and ghost pepper sauce! I feel my anger and disgust have been blunted over the years too, so I must’ve been suffering some kind of horrendous personal agony in my life at the time to have crawled through this level of effluvial grime with a “meh” numeric attitude rather than the revulsion I got from watching it this week. Hey, Past Self? Don’t worry. Whatever Hel you were being dragged through by your armpit hairs back then, you get beyond it and realize just how incompetently assembled this Chinese unicycle truly is.
To add some extra torque to this self-inflicted yuletide titty-twister, it turns out that the only copy of the movie I was able to acquire on such notice also happens to be dubbed over in Russian…as spoken by a single, monotone guy. Yep, all of the lines, including those by female actors, are read by a bland-as-non-fermented potato water dude who may or may not have been very tired while doing so. I listened as well as I could for any instances of yawning, but found none. Anyway, the original English track was just audible enough that I could still follow along with the movie, but in all honesty, the cast’s performances are so “just paying my electric bill” quality that they’re barely worth the effort anyway. Watching Feldman run from Oopsy in one scene is hilarious though. His little jog is silly and not at all a pace I’d be comfortable at limiting myself to were I trying to outrun a homicidal doll that really wets itself! Feld’s raspy “fake old man voice” isn’t funny though, it’s distracting. And not in a good way that it would actually distract us from the thrift store production values of this moving picture calamity.
Everything is cheap in this movie. Everything. Even compared to the lesser Puppet Master movies. Even by TV movie standards. The sets are small and populated with props that even Ed Wood would look at and say “I think we can do better”. Roger Corman, Hal Needham, and Burt I. Gordon would watch this withered little pickle of a flick to boost their confidence in their own productions. Seriously, where did the reported $2.5million budget go for this fucking movie? To cover some Sci-Fi Channel exec’s mob debts!? The cheap plastic and foam rubber used to make these WOODEN puppets are an ipecac for my eyeballs. Pinhead looks like he Face/Off‘ed with Bea Arthur at some point, then was stricken with savagely aggressive puppet cancer! Blade’s supposedly deadly sharp appendages look about as metal as the toy army knives you get from Dollar Embargo, and only about half as dangerous too. Same goes for Jester’s “spiked mace hand” and Six-Shooter’s laser gun arms and “cyber” facial appliance (all of which I’m almost positive were made using salvaged pieces from an off-market Transformers lot picked up on eBay). The Demonic Toys aren’t as cheap and ugly, put I’m still put off by Jack’s facial redesign, and I don’t know what Past Anubis was thinking, but I definitely prefer Baby Oopsy’s original cold black shark eyes to what his peepers appear like here. Oh well, at least none of the Toys had goofy Terminator shit glued to ’em, so they’re automatically the better looking of the titular playthings by a Mongo mile.
But even the lowest of budgets can be overcome by a talented cast and a gripping story, right?! Since we already established that the “talented cast” part isn’t happening, how about that gripping story? Drop one of those ‘p’s, because there’s a piss and moan storm on the horizon. Since Courtney Joyner brought us Puppet Master III, the pinnacle of the PM legacy (not to be confused with the literal Puppet Master Legacy, which roams the sewers of the series like a C.H.U.D. with a crayon lodged in its frontal lobe), I had some hope for this movie. Not a lot, but enough that it wouldn’t give my Full Moon fanboyism anal leakage. Clearly, I should’ve downed a brick of cheddar with an Imodium chaser before watching. I guess I’ll never learn.
This is the kind of story that makes me want to swat Mr. Joyner with my ring hand and practice my acupuncture on the backs of his knees with splintered chopsticks. Andre Toulon’s great-grandnephew couldn’t have received his family’s infamous legacy via some kind of inheritance? Instead he finds them by chance through a flea market. A fucking flea market?! Fuck your flea market. And why does Erica Sharpe’s modern toy factory have a medieval dungeon in its basement?! Does demonic summoning magic (as done with a high-tech modernized version of an iron maiden) require stone block walls and big rusty chains around to perform? Was the factory built over the remains of a castle and they optioned to just use the original basement for the foundation?! Fuck your foundation. While we’re on it, Sharpe’s cadre of minions have a big evil sigil to identify each other by. Erica and her sidekick wear theirs in the form of pendants adorning their necks, which is fine, but her hired muscle bear theirs as big ol’ tattoos prominently displayed across the back of their hands! Shouldn’t you keep the calling sign of your secret cult, I don’t know, somewhere more secret?! Fuck your tatoos.
I’ve got a few dozen chunks of fruitcake fighting their way through my digestive tract like space marines through a nest of Xenomorphs, so just a couple more points of contention to contend before I (s)hit the bricks. Near the end of the movie, as Alex is trapped in Erica’s needlessly elaborate iron maiden (whose only purpose is to puncture victims and collect their blood in a plodding, gore hiding fashion), she does that doofy thing where a character narrates what’s happening to them, since shooting it would seemingly flatline this already anemic budget. Her half-hearted screams of “Dad! The spikes are starting to move!”, “Dad, the spikes are getting closer! You have to save me!”, and “Ow! Dad! The spikes are poking me!” are equal portions unintentional hilarity and teeth-gritting aggravation.
My last (and by no means least) gripe comes down to the eponymous exchange itself. The offensively cheap DVD box art promises us a “rumble”, and what we get instead is toenails in our chili that are most assuredly not hard-shelled peppercorns (http://www.videodetective.com/movies/texas-chainsaw-massacre-2-scene-family-recipe/472419)! On one side, we’ve got four killer puppets with silly albeit dangerous weapon upgrades, including one who wields six functional LASER GUN ARMS. Meanwhile, on the opposing side we’ve got a teddy bear with sharp teeth, a screaming jack-in-the-box also with sharp teeth, and a baby whose sole offensive abilities are propulsive farts and a douchey demeanor. The Toys are trying to ride a seesaw with the McGuire Twins on the other end, and their short-lived losing effort proves it. As if this weren’t already some of the most disappointing metaphorical build-up sex I’ve ever had with a movie I was looking forward to, the 80 minutes of clumsy foreplay leads to 4 minutes of uncomfortable intercourse, premature ejaculation, and 5 minutes of post-coital crying and apologizing before the viewer takes the walk of shame and wonders why they have such little self-esteem that they keep hooking up with such obvious losers. Happy fuckin’ New Year.
Speaking of embarrassing myself, before I go I’d like to take a moment to apologize to everyone for Past Anubis’ unacceptable mistreatment of Vanessa Angel over her looks during my original review. Reading that was like watching The Monster Squad and seeing kids throw around the term “faggot”. It’s not right. I’d call myself a fuck-o to my face if I had a time slide right now, but I’m no Time Angel, so that’s not an option. (Editor’s Note: Anubis is a fuck-o sometimes. I’ve informed him of this, now we can all move on. Bully to him for admitting his fuck-o-ness, apologizing for it and trying to be better moving forward.)
Here’s to wishing you all the best (of the Best) in these final days of 2015. Mine clearly ended face down in a puddle of pig vomit, but here’s to hoping that 2016 (and the continuation of the World Tour de Farce) brings us all something worth smiling about and a little less worth hanging ourselves naked in a sleazy motel closet about. Peace on Earth and Boyz II Men.
“You have been convicted of high crimes against our glorious magistrate! For that, you shall all be crucified until dead! Pray to your plastic gods now, for they will be the last words you ever speak!”
“Damn it mom, stop swindling the neighbors! Damn it Rose, stop being such a stupid bumpkin! Damn it Blanche, stop being such a slut! DOROTHY SMASH!”
“But how do I know this is the actual syringe Barry Bonds juiced with before his record breaking homerun? Do you have a certificate of authenticity or a picture of him using it?”
Free advice: if you’re in an elevator with two people wearing the same type of evil looking pendant and one/both of them are clutching theirs while grinning sinisterly, you’re about 10 minutes away from being the subject of a secret society’s human sacrifice.
That’s why no one ever tried to come between Corey Haim and his nose candy.
“And who’s she supposed to be?! Between that dress pattern and the weird collar she looks like some kinda fairy queen of Christmas presents! I’ll be here all week! Remember to tip your waiter!”
We have top men working on Corey Feldman right now. Top… men.
This summer, he’s back in the slammer and back undercover! Marlon Wayans brings us the long-awaited mash-up sequel to two of his greatest film epics in Little White Chick Man!
“We told you SyFy bastards what would happen if we caught you shooting another one of your shitty movies down here!”
“I’m telling you you’ve got the wrong guy! I’m not Charlie Sheen!”
Though it never made it past pre-production, a handful of prototype action figures were made for the ill-fated Blazing Saddles 2099 reboot.
“Well… I guess I’ll just have to learn to masturbate with my left hand now.”
Well, I wanted Joanna Angel for Xmas, but I’ll settle for Vanessa Angel. Don’t wanna seem ungrateful, right?
This is why you never have your office Christmas parties anywhere within walking distance of a tattoo parlor. You don’t wanna see where their assistant manager got his.
“LIKE A RAINBOW IN THE DAAAAAAAAAAAAARK!”
He died doing what he loved: attending King Diamond concerts in a business suit and corpse paint. God speed, executive metalhead.
“NO! I don’t care what the contract says! You can’t make me do another Lost Boys sequel! IT’S INHUMAN!”
That’s an oddly specific time stamp for a movie…
Damn it, Bael! If you’re not gonna wear the Santa beard properly, don’t wear it at all! Fucking hack!
Pinhead is disturbingly serious about taking his Kanchō game to the next level. I didn’t realize he was made in Japan.
Johnson & Johnson had to scrap their proposed new No More Tears Green Apple Baby Shampoo dispenser when several mothers in the focus group fainted and one had to be institutionalized.
“Don’t think I didn’t know it was you stealing the crunchy boxers out of my underwear hamper, Jester! We all know the weird shit you’re into! Give ’em back!”
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Iko “Merantau” Uwais , Joe “Fast & Furious 6” Taslim, Doni “Hearts of Freedom” Alamsyah
Writer & Director: Gareth “The Raid 2” Evans
Also Known As: The Raid
Sequel: The Raid 2
Hey kids, it’s me again! Your jackal-in-chief, your podunk punk, your Death God with dad bod, and the founder of the no-pants-on pantheon – Anubis Von Mojo! I wanted to have a heavenly chorus singing “Return of the Mack” here while pyro shoots out of a big top hat on my head, but there wasn’t any room in the World Tour de Farce travel budget for any of it. Speaking of, after that extensive layover in Spain I’m back on the proverbial road a-gain! I’m backtracking just a smidge, having realized that my last telemetry jump overshot Indonesia and put my ass in Malaysia instead. Remind me to kill that Stargate operator when I get back. Making the best (or moderately better than worst) of the situation, well, you saw my Apokalips X review. And if you didn’t, rewind 6 or 7 episodes and treat it like halitosis: Scope it! Where was I? That’s right, Indonesia. Here’s some quick trivia on the island nation. We’re still applying for some of Uncle Sam’s sweet educational stipend money, so there will be a quiz at the end of the review. As such, eyes front and mouths shut!
For sharters, errrr starters, Indonesia is the FOURTH most visited country in the world, and the LARGEST congregation of islands, consisting of 17,800 individual isles! Yes, that’s a comma and NOT a decimal. Indonesians laugh when you present them a bottle of Thousand Island dressing. Like Ron Jeremy’s dick laughing at whatever Andy Dick’s dick looks like. It’s no surprise that half the islands haven’t even been named yet. Shit, someone put me in touch with Indonesia’s Department of Naming and for the reasonable price of just $1 per island, I’ll have 9,000 names for ya by the end of the month! Speaking of geographical milestones, Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world with 400! Actually, given that they’ve got almost 18,000 islands in their domain, 400 active volcanoes isn’t nearly as impressive a statistic. I mean, sure, 400 is a LOT of volcanoes, but on a per-island basis that’s barely more than 2%, so mentioning the volcano statistic after the island number statistic is kinda like Extreme going on after a 2 hour AC/DC set. Meh.
Indonesia is not only the largest supplier worldwide of liquid natural gas, cloves, nutmeg, and plywood (80% of all plywood, in fact!), but is also home to the largest number of shark species at right around 150 different breeds! You know which shark you can’t find in their waters? The titular man-eater of Raiders of the Lost Shark. Yep, that’s a thing that I just discovered exists and I’m so happy to spread the disease that I had to namedrop it on your collective chests as soon as possible. Continuing on the native fauna kick, Indo also lays claim to the world’s smallest primate (Tarsier Pygmy), the world’s smallest fish (Paedocypris progenetica – “Paedo” to his pals), the world’s longest snake (Python Reticulates), and the world’s only living “dragon” (Komodo, named for the island they’re native to). Yes, I have a full collection of “Zoobooks“. The anatomical illustrations are fucking metal as Hel and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re living a life unfulfilled. Make like Kool & the Gang and get down on it!
Heyyyyyy! I’m reviewing Theee Raaaaid! (sung to the tune of 2 Live Crew’s “We Want Some Pussy”) Yes! After a grueling 4 year wait, I’m finally allowing myself to watch The Raid! I spent a long time looking forward to this, which is never a good thing as despite my best efforts this practice inevitably builds some form of expectation due to overheard tidbits like “amazing action scenes that’ll make your eyes shed tears of joy before they bleed streaks of awesome from the brain explosion that watching them can cause”. Not a direct quote, but you get the idea. In my experience, met expectations are the rarest of the rare. Not just “bloody” rare, but “still grazing” rare. Sorry, we jackals are opportunistic predatory omnivores – we scavenge puns whenever the window opens. If any of you are homophonephobics, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. There’s no place for your ignorance and bigotry here. *rimshot*
In case you’ve never heard of today’s movie, its original title is simply The Raid. For some reason, “Redemption” was tacked on for international distribution, which is really odd since there isn’t exactly much in the way of redemption happening. Maybe Sony wanted to avoid any possible lawsuits by S.C. Johnson & Son over confusion with their insecticidal product Raid©. Ask me (and even if you don’t), it seems like the perfect chance for a cross promotion! “Raid: when you don’t just want to kill bugs dead, you want to beat ’em violently first and make ’em question the choices they made that brought them to this level of agony!” A bit long-winded, sure, but I imagine one of those big city fancy-pants marketing firm types could shrink my Andre the Giant into a perfectly viable Hervé Villechaize.
Sorry if the last few paragraphs feel like filler, but I seriously don’t know what I’m supposed to talk about once I actually start reviewing the movie itself! Redemption‘s only 4 years old, so it’s protected under The Tomb Accords Anti-Spoilers Law! Unable to discuss the two or three plot developments that mean anything, I’m left with very little to write about! So, yes, I apologize for stuffing a cucumber down my jockeys, but now that I’ve confessed to the true size of my schnitzel, won’t you give me a chance to attempt to get you off? I mean, we’ve already gone this far, and we’re miles from where anyone can hear you. What do you say? 🙂
Oh, and before we really put knife and fork to the entree, let it be noted that I’m reviewing the English dub of the movie (technical problems with the subtitles on the original language version), so if I quote anything that doesn’t gel with the version you’ve seen, don’t crucify me. I don’t have the “Savior Sixer” abs for something like that.
Meet Rama (Iko Uwais). He’s a rookie member of the Jakarta police force about to embark on the biggest “make or break” day of his career. More “make or die”, but who’s counting? Being from Indonesia, he’s also Muslim. Not surprising, as it’s the dominate theological faith in that neck of the woods. If you have a problem with a flick’s protagonist being Muslim, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. As such, may I offer another option for tonight’s entertainment? First, swallow a whole roll of Mentos©. Make it two if you’re macho enough. Then, wrap your head in duct tape until your mouth is securely closed. Next, insert a tube up your nose and have a friend or family member beer bong you with a bottle of Coke, making sure the tube is in far enough that the Coke empties down your throat. After that? Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. Just make sure your friend sends me a link to the video on YouTube! Also, you might wanna make sure your will is up-to-date before trying this. No reason, it’s just a good thing to do every so often.
Before taking part in the biggest mission of his budding career, Rama says his prayers, does his pull-ups, beats the unholy tar out of his punching bag, then kisses his pregnant wife and her big ol’ baby beer gut goodbye. He also says “I’ll bring him back.” to an older gent, who I’m presuming to be his father. From the onset, writer-director Gareth Evans is setting this up to be a tale of major triumph or crippling tragedy. Smart money’s on Rama making it to the end of the day with a still functioning circulatory system, but this could be one of those artsier flicks where the hero dies at the end. Whether that idea makes your eyes water, or you’re a psychopath who gets murder boners from watching protagonists getting popped, keep the Kleenex© handy just in case, pals and gals.
Rama’s part of a twenty man SWAT operation to take down a notorious Jakartan crime lord known as Tama (Ray Sahetapy). Tama is treated like the God of Crime in this city, and is flanked by his top henches Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) and the not-at-all-intimidatingly monikered Andi (Doni Alamsyah). Not to be confused with the short-lived Marvel character of the same name (born from Bob Newhart’s even shorter-lived sitcom “Bob“), Mad Dog is a fitting recipient of the Dolemite “Human Tornado” Award. He’s referred to by SWAT leader Jaka (Joe Taslim) as “a maniac of feet and fists that would tear down walls for his boss” and prefers to kill his enemies with his bare hands rather than with a weapon. As you can imagine, this is gonna lead to a whole shit show of trouble for our law enforcers…unless, you know, one of these cops saw Raiders of the Lost Ark (not to be confused with Raiders of the Lost Shark) and just shoots Doggie in the fucking face from across a room. Not that real life logic finds its way into movies very often, but you never know.
And Andi? Jaka describes him as “the brains of Tama’s business” who “keeps Mad Dog in check” and “given the opportunity, he will put bullets into you”. Though I have to bite the metaphorical bullet here to avoid a spoiler, I’ve gotta say that it’s a miracle Tama’s managed to keep his operation running as successfully as he has if Andi’s really the brains behind it. Later in the film, Andi makes a glaring error in his decision making that deservedly fucks him over big time. A screw up that any remotely intelligent person would’ve considered ahead of time, let alone someone who’s supposed to be the smart one in this Three Stooges empire of the Indonesia underworld.
Now for the movie’s hook: Tama’s crime kingdom operates out of an old apartment complex. He’s got his own in-house narcotics lab, a Sliver style peeping tom closed circuit camera network, and he rents the apartments out to any thieves, pushers, killers, or jaywalkers looking for police protection at an affordable rate with all utilities included and a flexible lease. Sure, the place is a rundown shithole and the Super is almost impossible to get a hold of on the weekends, but it’s still a better deal than most of the places you’ll find in any of the major cities in this country!
Prior to the raid (we have a title!), Rama asks why this group of newbs is being tasked with taking over the Towering Dante’s Inferno of the Jakartan realty market. One of his team members, goofy-ass tough guy stereotype Bowo (Tegar Satrya) throws out the typical good-little-soldier testosterone juiced answer of “WHY THE FUCK NOT!?” and tries to alpha male our protagonist in the pooper by calling him “boy”. Hopefully his death will be hilarious, and let’s hope it includes him screaming like a little kid and pissing himself. Jaka puts Bow in a corner (he doesn’t get Baby privileges) and responds to Ramen’s query, telling him that Tama’s been challenged by rival gangs for years, none of whom was able to topple his felonious tower. None of which addresses the questions of “Why us?” and Why today?”. And why not? Because it’s an incredibly transparent plot point that I’m cursed not to address! Damn gypsies and their hexes!
The busload of blue boys reach their destination, and meet up with their head muckity-muck, Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno, looking like modern day Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat). Wahyu isn’t happy about all of the wet-noses in their group, but given this is probably not a sanctioned operation to begin with, he’ll take all of the bullet sponges he can get. They luck out on getting past the front gate to the complex, when they nab a returning tenant and use his keys to gain entry. The mission goes well at first, with the team going ninja on the first five floors, incapacitating any and all miscreants with the precision of surgeons and the silence of little cat feet. Given that Tama’s Tower only has 15 levels, they should be done cleaning house by lunch! Or at least they would have, if Jaka didn’t have this whole morality problem about not killing kids…
Yep, a young boy gets his big red exclamation point (not literally) when he spots the aspiring Solid Snakes and sends out the warning signal to the adults. Did ‘Nam teach the world nothing? Women and children in a warzone are NOT to be trusted! If they’re not wearing C4 Underoos, they’re always within reach of a damn alarm! Anyway, shit goes south faster than a Yankee slave owner after the signing of The Emancipation Proclamation. Before you can say “pig hunt!”, everyone in the building is on high alert and out for blood, with Tama promising free room and board to anyone who brings him a fresh slice of bacon. Can a SWAT team of well-armed amateurs survive this deadly edition of ghetto “Fun House“? This obstacle course of mayhem and murder? Will Ram Jam, or anyone for that matter, be walking away from Satan’s apartment complex by the end of Act 3? Given that they’re unable to call in reinforcements, Tama’s got the whole place wired with security cameras, and they’re outnumbered something like 25-to-1, it’s gonna take a miracle for the good guys to win this one! Or maybe they’ll just escape through some conveniently placed plot holes.
The break down for the rest of the movie consists of scenes of people shooting at each other, cops running away from gangs of bloodthirsty thugs wielding machetes, Ramesses showing himself to be the deadly version of Jackie Chan as he beats his way through waves of enemies using everything at hand, Mad Dog beating ass like a spanking machine set to “Adrian Petersen”, a really tense scene involving a machete and a crawlspace, a bout of Home Ec amateur surgery, extreme fire ax remodeling, a DIY kitchen bomb straight out of the Anarchist’s Cookbook (or Die Hard 3), and… and…… STUFF I CAN’T TALK ABOUT! ARGH! DAMN MY MYSTICAL KEYBOARD AND ITS CURSED “SPOIL-LOCK” KEY!
As wrapped in anti-spoiler tape as my fingers may be, I can tell you this much: Evans telegraphs his tale like a Street Fighter character shouting the name of their special move before they actually do said move. If you watch Redemption and don’t see the twists in the road from a mile off, you’ll want to consult you physician, because you may have a crayon lodged in your forebrain. In fact, this sounds like the setup to one of those Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck!” jokes. Don’t be a redneck. Buckle your safety belt. Sorry, crossed some reference wires there. I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!
Though his storytelling is very basic and his characters are generic archetypes, the Wales born Gareth Evans (“Doesn’t he run like a Welshman?”) knows how to make an action scene. Given that that’s the kind of thing you’d expect from an action movie, it’s good enough to see The Raid to its finish. Funny enough, GE has said that if you took out all of the fighting, his movie would come off more like survival horror, not unlike [REC]. I can see it. Protagonist gradually works their way up an apartment complex they can’t escape while trying to avoid their would-be killers? Absolutely. Maybe if Evans collaborated with a better writer and focused more of his efforts on the director duties, we could get something amazing out of him. Shit, I’d love to see what he could do with a Moon Knight or Daredevil movie! You never know. If Marvel can take a chance on giving the writer-director of Tromeo & Juliet $170 million to make a movie starring a monosyllabic Treebeard and Ranger Rick’s foul-mouthed cousin, I wouldn’t rule it out…
As is, Redemption still works great as a 90 minute testosterone trip. It’s brain candy. It’s a popcorn flick. A thing of beauty in its own right, and a nice accomplishment for the mere million-or-so dollars spent to make it. A budget that was made back 4 times over by its US box office alone! The fight choreography itself is worth the price of admission and Rama’s mandatory one-vs-many “tonfa and combat knife” battle ballet would give both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mikhail Baryshnikov the green-eyed monster. Give me a movie where Iko Uwais and Tony Jaa hit each other with sticks and knees for two hours and you’ve just leased my eyeballs.
Before I wrap this up, I have a 32oz. slab of nitpicker beef to serve to the Sony advertising department. The Redemption poster promises us “1 Ruthless Crime Lord. 20 Elite Cops. 30 Floors of Hell” as the tagline, but I have two problems with that statement. #1 – It’s well established that most of the officers partaking in the mission are rookies. Skilled as they may be, I don’t think I’d ever refer to a greenhorn in any position as “elite”. Not that I have any doubt any one of them wouldn’t be able to beat the tits off of an American SWAT team member, but still. This pales in comparison to my next bit of under-the-belt irritation though: #2 – The apartment building is only 15 stories high. I get trying to oversell it for crowd hype purposes, but fuck you Sony marketing twats for straight up lying to us. Shit, even the apartment complex portrayed on the poster itself only has 20 floors! Let me upgrade that “fuck you” to a “fuck you with a Roman Candle”. I’m gonna stick my Krakatoa just east of your Java. Indonesian movie joke. It’s okay if you didn’t laugh.
And so goes the deadliest realtor walk-through since The Grudge open house. Blood and adrenaline flowed in equal measure and my four year anticipation was almost completely satisfied, if not for the poor plot development. Be on the lookout for our next less-than-epic episode, coming sooner than you think…unless you think it’ll be anytime in the next 3 days, in which case it sounds like someone needs to temper their expectations. Right now, I have preparations to make for my Evil Dead Bride’s birthday, and the custom shadow box I had made for Her signed copy of The Necronomicon has been sitting in a Daytona Beach FedEx facility for the last week. When can we finally send Florida off into the Atlantic and castrate the US’s flaccid geographical dong?
Oh, and no quiz. I was too high on blowfish toxin brownies last night. Everything I typed came out in tongues (by which I mean you’d have to have your tongue yanked out to pronounce any of it) and that’s all I remember before I lost consciousness. No diggity, I woke up in a bathtub full of V8 and cocktail shrimp this morning, with my laptop on the toilet and an open Word file that was harder to read than an Irvine Welsh novel translated into R’lyehian. Ktulu luv a duck.
Until next time, Mungkin hatimu tidak berlari lebih cepat otak Anda!
*sniff*sniff* “Uggh! Looks like it’s past time to get the old prayer rug washed.”
“You know I love you no matter what, baby, but I think you should seriously consider switching to Lite beers.”
“Okay, if whoever (Whomever?) it is that has the methane leak comes forward now, I promise you immunity from a Defcon 4 soap beating in the locker room after this. This is your last chance: cork it or pay the price!”
These Indonesian knock-off Three Stooges are kinda depressing… and scary. No like.
“Uggh! That stink is trapped in my nose hairs now! When I find out who it is with the IBS, they’re gonna be DOA!”
“I don’t mean to tell you how to do your job, officer, but your continued rubbing of my nipple is making me very uncomfortable!”
This is why you never go cheap and ask your friend to pierce your ear for you.
And here I thought I was the last person on Earth under the age of 70 that still had a LAN line!
“Hello! Machete man! I was wondering if you had any sugar cane or bamboo or coconuts that need macheting? I’m trying to work my way through night school… Hello? Well, I’ll just leave my business card on the table and if you or your friends need my services, please call. Thank you!”
Norelco© tries to appeal to the hipster market with their new Amish Shaver™. It’s disturbingly popular for something that left permanent scarring after 93% of test shaves… well, on the ones that survived, that is.
“You can’t talk to me like that! I defeated “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania III in what many have called the greatest Wrestelmania match of ALL TIME! Sure, my whole run as “The Dragon” was embarrassing, what with that stupid hat and those weird arm fins, but I know Mickey Rourke, damn it!”
This is why you never give a stranger unsolicited advice on why he should get hair plugs.
Anubis will return next time in
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org… 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.
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.
“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.
Anubis will return next time in
“Minor-Ass-Itch Rides Again”
Featuring: Scout “The Runaways” Taylor-Compton , Malcolm “A Clockwork Orange” McDowall , Sherri “The Devil’s Rejects” Moon Zombie , and Tyler “X-Men” Mane as Michael Myers
Director: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie
Writer: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie
Let me get this little statement out of the way before we get underway: I’m not Hindu, so no cow is sacred to me. I just clogged my arteries with the greasy seared flesh and blood of a big double-cheeseburger before I started typing this up. As such, I don’t care what topic it is or how many people love it; if you put anything in front of me I’ll be perfectly happy to dissect it, roll it through breading, fry it up and eat that sucker for dinner. Some people aren’t so quick to agree with this lifestyle though. A number of those people see John Carpenter’s original Halloween, then immediately drop to their knees and start tossing flowers in front of its path in prayer for its safe journey. Fuck that. However, at the same time, don’t confuse me as being anti-Halloween ’78 because I think it’s “cool” to piss on popular movies. I’d rather shiv a hipster and jump rope with his entrails than deride something just because it’s popularly bandied around as a classic. Don’t jump to conclusions. If there’s one thing I hate (of the few thousand things I would rather see awash in napalm than have to accept the existence of) it’s dickheads and she-dickheads that jump to conclusions. I am anti-Halloween ’78, but because I just don’t like it as a movie.
Just because his initials are J.C. doesn’t mean John Carpenter should be getting his ego stroked like he’s the bastard spawn of Jehovah. If Carpenter himself had came up to me with his movie about a random masked killer stabbing teens and lugging around headstones for no apparent reason while tacking 200+lb men up to rickety little pantry doors with nothing more than a butcher knife, I’d just look at him and ask why I should bother. “But it’s just oozing with suspense, sir! It’s an amazing assault on the senses and my very minimalist piano-synthesizer score is icing on the cake!” No, dick brain (may I call you “dick brain”?), it’s really not. Who keeps telling you this is a good thing? It seems more to me like lazy storytelling and a simplistic slasher flick that people are just trying to sell as this astonishing allegory of cinematic greatness packed with more edge-of-your-seat suspense than the best of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. I’d like to say it’s just because slasher movies were a new thing back then (and yes, I acknowledge Black Christmas, so shut it) and people were easier to impress, but I’ve been dumbstruck by people younger than I (usually jerking each other off in the back of Hot Topic) that think, for whatever reason, Halloween is something special. That it’s better than every gimmick slasher movie franchise that’s come since its release, despite its string of dick cheese (dick string cheese?) sequels. Though Season of the Witch is a fantastic movie (again, shut it). In the 20 years (and dozen or so other Carpenter movies) since I first watched it, I still don’t understand the nerd lust. If I were a more egocentric death deity, I’d say the people on Carpenter’s dick are all stupid and useless. But, everyone’s entitled to an opinion. Keep that in mind while you’re thinking of how to word the hate mail some of you send me when I your babies to the dingos like this.
Anyway, here’s what it comes down to: I like my killers with a background. I like understanding my monsters instead of just being satisfied watching them gut people for no apparent reason. It’s a weirdly acceptable trope for most generic ’80s slasher movies about the nerd/janitor/retard/hobo who gets burned with fire/acid by a group of teens/campers/bullies and comes back horribly scarred for a murder revenge tour of dollar store blood and butcher shop entrails. But it’s acceptable because most of those movies are never seen by casual viewers’ eyes, or completely forgotten by most of those who have. When your slasher is hailed as a high water/slaughter mark for the genre, I expect a bit more than “he was an evil boy and now he’s an evil man”. This is where Rob Zombie’s remake takes a different fork in the proverbial road and makes itself something more than just a copy and paste work up with a high-def coat of paint and modernized boob jobs.
Speaking of modernized shit, Zombie isn’t exactly clear about the time period this flick takes place in. When we first set our feet into the writer-director’s rendition of Haddonfield, Illinois, everything feels very ’70s. The music, the clothing, the hair, the cars. Everything. But that’s apparently just because Rob Zombie’s entire life exists in a ’70s sleaze culture aesthetic dimension, because this is actually October 31st, 1992. Anyway, let’s meet the Myers family! Haddonfield citizens that are so white trash, they could only have been born from a team-up of Tennessee Williams, John Waters, and a gallon of Wild Turkey. Matriarch Debbie (Sheri Zombie) works the strip club stage at night while trying her best to be a good mom during the day. Stepfather Ronnie White (William Forsythe, Daniel Day Lewis-ing the shit out of the “scumbag stepparent” role! ) is a crippled drunk who treats his step kids pretty much like every stepfather did in the ’70s. Eldest child Judy dresses like jailbait and has a rep at school as a receptacle for her male classmates’ surplus protein supplies. Baby Boo (played by more babies than Michelle freakin’ Tanner) is…a baby. And lastly, we have middle child Michael (Daeg Faerch, whose family apparently named him after a random handful of tiles drawn from a Scrabble bag). Mikey’s the kind of kid who’s always getting into trouble at school, has an unhealthy interest in dissecting animals (while they’re still alive) and likes to casually wear a cheap plastic clown mask in his spare time, because kids are weird no matter what decade they’re from.
The school principal (Richard Lynch in all his evil old man glory) calls in mommy to tell her about the uncovered evidence of little Mikey’s butchering of the poor, innocent, furry things and suggests that she hand him over to hot shot psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who’s got that groovy “Donald Sutherland in Animal House” liberal college professor vibe going on. When he overhears the conversation, our boy Mikey storms off and eats a whole bowl of Life cereal. Not really. He actually runs off and beats the school bully to death with a tree branch that must’ve been partially petrified given the number of times he lays into the jerk off. The scene’s equal parts, “Yeah! Fuck that shithead up!” for those of us who were ever picked on growing up, and “Okay, that’s a little uncomfortable…” when the beating goes on for a while and the kid’s left with a bloody face crying and begging for mercy. I mean, I wouldn’t have stopped smashing his face in either, but having been a victim twice (and only twice…*menacing pause*) I’m all for bludgeoning bullies to death. Anyway, this is the point of no return for Mikey. Once you’ve graduated from killing four-legged furry critters to killing bipedal hairless (mostly) ones, the law kinda steps in and school counseling isn’t really an option anymore. So, before the cops discover his victim’s body (and have to identify him with dental records), our hero(?) heads home, goes out trick-or-treating, eats some candy, then goes about killing everybody in the house. Ronnie’s respiratory proficiency is greatly increased by the second mouth carved into his throat with a butcher knife, Judy’s boyfriend’s brains paint the kitchen floor courtesy of an aluminum bat (this is why you never call a kid “squirt”), and Judy herself gets a creepy incesty post-coitus leg tickle (barf) from her little brother (now wearing the series traditional William Shatner mask, introduced earlier by the aforementioned boyfriend) before Mikey installs a buncha new blood spigots in her with his stabbing utensil. Afterward, the junior psycho gathers up his baby sis and heads out to the front stoop to await Momma’s return from work. Nothing tops off a night of being leered at by perverts like coming home to find that your son has just violently murdered three people, leaving you the one that constantly needs their diaper changed and spends most of their time screaming and clawing at your tits… no, not Ronnie. I meant the baby.
The media shitstorm that follows would call the middle schooler’s killing spree “Manson-like in its viciousness”. When all was said and done with the most expensive trial in Haddonfield’s judicial history, young Michael would end up at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium (a word that you can’t not hear in James Hetfield’s voice) some 100 or so miles away, under the care of… yep, Sammy Loomis. During their earliest session, Mikey tells Fruit of the Loomis that he doesn’t remember anything about murdering half his family, then claims he had nothing to do with the carnage. He even goes so far as to ask his mom if everyone at home’s okay, meaning the kid’s either be a huge liar or a brain fried maniac. Aside from Samwise Loomgee, the closest person Mike could call a friend at The Grove is kindly old Mexican janitor Ismael (Danny Trejo). Having spent some time behind concrete walls (and bars) himself, Ish recommends that Mikey lose himself in his imagination rather than let his surroundings drive him further down the tracks to Crazyville Junction. This advice only feeds the kid’s already unhealthy interest in masks (to hide his “ugly face”, which I have to admit, isn’t exactly Flinstone Kids spokeschild material), and his “room” (i.e. cell) eventually becomes a goddamn arts & crafts fair of handmade masks. Hell, if he keeps it up another 20 years Etsy will become a thing and he could make a fortune!
Despite mom making weekly visits and Loomis acting almost as much the compassionate father figure as he does the kid’s therapist, Mike sinks further into the quagmire (giggidy) of his own insanity. When he’s not brooding in silence behind his false faces, he’s having screaming rage fits. Loomis deems him “A ghost. A mere shape of a human being.” While this downward spiral continues, the good doctor documents his progress (or lack thereof) in a series of clinically sterile films that give an entirely opposite impression of the more nurturing facade he shows the lad in their sessions. Makes you wonder if Samuel Illoomisnati is more concerned with actually trying to understand Michael to help him, or just so he can be a big dick amidst his peers in the head shrinking community.
After one of mom’s visits, the little wide awake nightmare’s left alone with a nurse (Cybil Danning!) in the cafeteria while Sammy walks Deb to her car. Seeing a picture of Mikey holding Boo, the nurse makes the moviedom kiss of death by remarking that Boo is too cute to be his sister and turning her back to him. If you’re stupid enough to call a pint-sized multi-murderer “ugly” and turn your back to him while he’s within arms reach of a fork, you deserve the repeated stabbings to the neck that you’re guaranteed to receive. And she does. And that’s the straw that break’s Debbie’s brain. She goes home, watches family movies of happier times, cries the tears of a mother whose little boy turned out to be a serial killer, then gives her old friend Smith N. Wesson a Cobain Blowjob (also know as “Sucking Off the Saturday Night Special”).
15 years later, Micheal (who’s become Tyler Mane) has spent the majority of his life in lock-up and taken a straight up vow of silence since mom’s suicide. He’s also grown large and wide somehow, but it’s never explained whether he took up weightlifting as a secondary hobby in between mask crafting sessions, if he’s just a freak-of-nature man colossus, or if the local water supply is in the direct path of the waste run-off from the local bovine growth hormone factory. As for Loomis, he retires from the hospital so he can publish a book (and go on a national speaking tour) based around his time studying Myers that labels the mute galoot the purest definition of a psychopath ever to walk his bloody footprints across the face of the Earth. While mister big shot psychoanalyst’s off signing autographs and sleeping with a new psych school groupie every night, things go all to shit back at Smith’s Grove. In a drunken rape stupor, one of the scum suck late night janitors calls in his equally scum suck cousin so they can “break in” one of the new female incarcerees like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. Here’s where the dingleberries earn themselves a Darwin Award – they decide to do the deed in Micheal’s room, on Micheal’s bed, while wearing some of Micheal’s masks, as Micheal is sitting within arm’s reach, all while yelling at Michael and calling him a faggot. In the history of stupid fucking redneck ideas, this one ranks right up there with putting toxic waste in your moonshine and “Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular”.
To say these good ol’ boys get what they deserve (both from a moral standpoint and an evolutionary one) would be an understatement, as Michael kills the duo with his bare hands. No longer confined to his quarters, Myers makes the term “graveyard shift” a literal reality (or “litereality”) and murders the sanitarium’s entire late night skeleton crew (another term he makes truth). To prove to the audience that Loomis is correct in diagnosing Micheal a remorseless killing machine (maybe a lawnmower with a chainsaw bolted to the top of it with a face drawn on the front?), Zombie makes us watch as the homicidal goon even kills poor ol’ Ishmael in a drawn out segment of assault and water-boarding, topped off with crushing his skull under a tv set. Yes, Robby Zombo, we get the point: he’s a murder tank with a mustang engine when it comes to taking lives. Even those who have only ever tried to help him. Just leave Danny Trejo alone!
Finally, after 45 minutes of fleshing out our killer’s background, the beefy behemoth (or “bohemoth” as he’d be referred to later, in the sequel) is set loose on the unsuspecting public. His next victim is knife-wielding truck jiver Joe Grizzly (Ken Foree in full force ’70s throwback mutton chops), whom Myers gets the drop on in the middle of Joe butt wrestling a taco supreme in the men’s room of a truck wash on the way to Haddonfield. Our blaxploitation heavy puts up a struggle, but ultimately loses his life (and raggedy overalls that probably stink like the darkest recesses of Ammut’s colon) to the Shape of kills to come. The following day (which just happens to be Halloween!), after presumably walking the 100 miles between Smith’s Grove and his hometown, Miguel returns to the rundown remnants of the Myers digs and tears up the floorboards of Judy’s old room to recover the only-minorly-decayed Shatner death mask from where we’re guessing he stashed it that fateful night a decade-and-a-half prior before giving himself up. Now, we can’t have a slasher movie where the killer is our solo focal point, so let’s go meet the tender young flesh of our heroine, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-”Straight Outta”-Compton)!
Hey. Remember the original Halloween II? Yeah, the movie where Jamie Lee Curtis dragged herself around a poorly lit and understaffed hospital trying not to get killed (again) for the entire thing, while Donald Pleasance fleshed out Myers Gen1’s backstory? Remember how Laurie turned out to be Micheal’s little sister? Well, same goes here. They won’t get to the big reveal for a long time yet, but I’m getting it out of the way now so we don’t need to sit on our thumbs waiting for the voice of Chucky to get around to the whole “I dropped the Myers baby off at a hospital two towns over after their mom redecorated the family room with her head guts” revelation. Besides, everybody in the audience knew from the moment the waifish teenager comes on screen and starts clutching her own tits and speaking dirty whorish teenager things to her own mother that she had to be the genetic spillage of some white trash titty bar dancer. Nature vs. nurture, folks.
So, Baby Boo Myers. Raised as “Laurie” by Cynthia (Dee Wallace!) and Mason (Pat [GilliganVoice] “Skipperrrrr!” [/GilliganVoice]) Strode. She’s a high school girl with high school girl friends doing all the high school girl things that reinforce my hatred of high school girls. At least it steels my resolve to stay out of jail by assuring I won’t be one of those chodes Wooderson-ing the jailbait at local cheerleader tryouts or field hockey practice. No, if anything, I’m more likely going to be the only masked slasher who interrupts the underage coitus before it gets started and demands the girl put a sweater on before I yank her lungs out through her gullet. Speaking of graphic purveyors of violent acts, Mikey finds little sister almost immediately upon getting back into town, as if she has a big electromagnet in her head tuned especially for butcher knives and other cleaving implements.
One of the less revolting high school girl stereotypes Laurie fills out is the “babysitting the neighbor kid on the weekends” role. Her particular source of income is young Tommy Doyle (Skyler Gisondo), who hangs on the young lady like a smart mouth barnacle while simultaneously decrying her gross girl cooties. Laurie will be spending her All Hallows Eve tending to Tommy and his would-be girlfriend Lindsey Wallace (Jenny Gregg Stewart), the second barnacle of whom Laurie picks up so her friend and fellow sitter Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) can plump her boyfriend’s Oscar Mayer wiener in her cooter oven. I have to say, Micheal Myer’s little niece grew up nicely since Halloween 5…and it’s okay for me to say that, because she was THIRTY while pretending to be an 18 year old here, so fuck you.
We’re gonna break out the Cliff’s Notes for the rest of the feature, because none of it’s really that important. Loomis comes to town, shouldering the personal guilt that he couldn’t fix Myers and adds a tool to his psychiatric repertoire that may just do the trick: a .357 Magnum. Brains are like TV sets – if they’re broken and you have no luck rewiring them, take a page from Elvis Presley’s book, pretend they’ve got Robert Goulet’s face, and put a big fat bullet through ’em! Local constabulary Sheriff Brackett (Brad Douriff), thinks Dr. L’s threats of a holiday holocaust are unfounded, so Sammy spends much of the remainder of the flick trying to convince the pig otherwise. Meanwhile, Myers just goes about killing Laurie’s family and friends. If you were a fan of the original’s unnecessary “headstone” death mock-up, or that infuriatingly stupid scene where Myers pins a 200+ pound man to a pantry door with the tip of a butcher knife, then congratulations because Zombie redoes them here. If you hated both of those scenes as I did, then wear a mouth guard so you don’t bite off your lip or tongue while trying to hold back your rage. It’s been 7 years and I still can’t pronounce my ‘s’es properly.
With the prelims out of the way, Michael spends the final 20 minutes of the movie chasing little sis around. He drags her kicking and screaming (until she… faints?) across town to their ancestral abode while the doctor and the sheriff (coming to The Hallmark Channel this Fall!) pursue one step behind. In the basement of the house, our speechless specter tries to make his sibling understand their connection, going so far as to remove his mask and drop to his knees to show her he’s no threat to her. Their bonding doesn’t go like he’d hoped though, as Laurie jams his own knife into his neck/chestal area before fleeing outside. Having no luck with getting this family reunion to work, Mike re-dons his Captain Kirk warpaint and heads out to carve little sister out of the Myers will. Just as he’s cornered Laurie and you think there’s no way she can escape, in comes the AARP cavalry with guns a-blazin’ as Loomis fills his former patient full of lead in the empty pool in the backyard. Whoa, hold your shit for one second. So the the poor white trash family struggling desperately to make ends meet had a fucking in-ground pool!? What the Night of the Living Fuck?! I call bullshit. Immersion ruined. Up yours, Robert Zomberson. Movie over.
Refusing to fall victim to the Second Amendment, Michael rises and drags Laurie from the supposed safety of the Loomis Mobile while the good doctor gives the greatest delivery of “WHAT THE HELL!?” I’ve seen in any medium. Don’t know how Malcolm McDowell was robbed of the Oscar for that one, but it’s a crime against good taste whatever the case. King Drama Club follows Michael back into the house and offers himself as a sacrifice to Myers’ wrath in apology for failing to cure him of his mania. The big guy grabs Sam’s skull and crushes/massages his…sinuses? It’s not clear. Looms looks dead, but manages to grab Mike’s ankle later to no real effect (except to establish that he’s still alive for the impending sequel?), to which our killer responds by…walking away from him. Huh. Not a very good killer, is he? Laurie grabs the doc’s hand canon, gets chased around the remnants of the house in a needlessly long chase sequence that could’ve been twice as effective at half the length. Something my penis and I know plenty about. Wakka wakka!
Their merry chase concludes with big brother shoulder tackling the petite teen through a second story window. When they awaken on the front lawn, Laurie’s face is all busted up, but that doesn’t stop her from grabbing the Magnum, straddling her sibling (ewww) and playing one-way Russian Roulette with his dumb rubber face until he finally grabs her hand (to steady her aim, methinks) and she unloads a big lead slug of “thicker than water” justice through his face. She spends her final moments on screen in a fit of Marilyn Burnsian “I BROKE MY BRAIN!” screams before we head into the end credits, interlaced with Myers family films of little Michael smashing a plastic bouncy horse with a stick in a chilling precursor of destroyed playthings to come. FIN.
Coming in at a beefy two hour run time, Halloween is a bit overstuffed. Rob Zombie’s that “get your money’s worth” cook who isn’t happy just serving up a burger at the barbecue. He slaps two ½ lb patties on a bun, then tops ’em off with lettuce and fried onions and tomatoes and pickles and hot peppers and chipotle ketchup and mayo. When you take that first bite, everything just falls out the back and sides and you get a mouthwatering avalanche all over your favorite fucking Blood Feast t-shirt. The movie’s just too long for its own good. Perfect example: too much time is spent hitting us over the head with how Myers is an irredeemable murder maven. Loomis gives us the skinny during a cut from his speaking tour and that does the job. We don’t need to watch the doc explain it to other characters again and again later. We got it the first time!
Speaking of time, I’m split on whether the way Zombie dedicates the first half of the movie to Michael and the second half to Laurie is a good thing or not. I know the movie is about Myers and not so much Laurie this time, but inherently this comes with another slippery slope to climb: centering your movie on a character that forfeits all vocal abilities and hides his face for the majority of the last half of the flick. This shift from making Michael the main character over to putting all the attention on Laurie (who spent her first half of the flick in a high chair and drooling all over her sippy cup) hurts the cohesiveness of the movie for me. How could this have been fixed? Maybe some of the time spent on chronicling Mikey’s stint in the loony bin could’ve been spent showing us exactly what’s been happening to Laurie all this time, so we could start to give a shit about her too instead of just dropping her in our lap later (and making most of us hate her from Scout Taylor-Compton’s first few lines). But no, Laurie’s history is all covered in some dialogue later between Loomis and Sheriff Brackett. Thus, the mild sense of audience vertigo remains. On the one hand, I’m glad that we get a slasher where the killer gets the spotlight and we see what made him the evil bastard he would become. But on the other hand, a true slasher is only as good as his victims, so you can’t NOT give your lead protagonist their time to make us give a fuck about whether they live or die. From a necessity point-of-view it works to fit both roles, but it still feels off to spend the first half of the movie getting to know one guy, then sticking him into the background as the boogeyman while we have to watch obnoxious girls being obnoxious. So, yeah. Time management and editing. Zombie could use a little more practice on both.
As far as the “tribute scenes”? If they were done in legit tribute of how “great they were”, then fuck it. I hated them. Could they have been done in a *wink*wink* or mockery? If so, they were played a little too straightforward for it to be believable. All the bullshit with the tombstone, the “guy stuck to a wall with a butcher knife” crap and the “Myers dressed like a ghost wearing glasses” scene are all accounted for. They all still put groans into my guts and my hand smacked squarely against my forehead.
Zombie knows what he’s doing with the violence though, ya gotta give him that. Rather than go full tilt with dismemberment and insides-on-the-outside, he has a knack for the simple-yet-brutal effect of a bloodied face. Whether it’s the school bully getting his karmaic comeuppance or Laurie after being used as a tackle dummy by big brother, both horror faces made me pay attention and gave me mildly nauseated squirms in that visceral oh-so-good way that few things do. Seemingly simplistic, but so effective when done right. As for the rest of his direction, Zombie puts more of an action flair into his stuff. If you’re the type who oozed your shorts over Carpenter’s thriller atmosphere in the original, this more energetic aesthetic isn’t likely what you were looking for in a remake. Then again, the damn thing’s been out for so long that if you haven’t seen it already, this review probably isn’t going to put this on your “must see” list.
In regards to the cameos: I don’t care if it was just Zombie giving his friends and horror movie idols a paycheck, or if he was trying to appeal to the horror movie geeks who like to point at the screen and name as many of the actors as possible. Either way, I still get that little kick out of being able to do the latter while everyone else around me is generally clueless. Granted, their lives are probably filled with more endearing and humanity benefiting pastimes than what I do on my days off, but being able to say, “Oh shit! That’s Clint Howard!” puts a smile on these lips in the morning.
As far the acting goes: meh. Everybody seemed to be into it, but there weren’t a lot of tour de force performances going on here. Possibly the fault of the dialogue on that one, though. I think Daeg Faerch was the surprising stand-out of the group, as his portrayal of young Michael gave me the legitimate creeps. He manages to play a disturbed-but-still-sympathetic lunatic child without tripping over the “obnoxious little shithead you just wanna smack upside the head” pitfall that other child actors in horror flicks seem inclined to do. William Forsythe was probably one of the best assholes I’ve seen in years outside of a Tarantino movie, but his role was short-lived as it was. Though I could’ve cared less if Laurie lived or died (preferably the latter, if we’re being honest), Miss Compton does one HELL of a scream queen act in her final moments that made for forget just how little I cared for the her up until then! She puts out such believable insanity in that moment that you’d think she just looked into the gaping maw of Cthulhu and saw a dimension of nothing but Carrot Top movies. As for Sherri, she makes a believable “broken down mom just trying to keep her family together”, but just because her last name is “Zombie” doesn’t mean she should let herself decay to the point of looking like a reanimated corpse. Her emaciated body nauseates me as her ribs try to poke out my eyes during her “worn out stripper” routine. Somebody order that woman a corned-beef on rye before she slips into a coma! Is she under the impression that trying to look like Keira Knightley will get her those fat Disney paychecks like Miss Pirates of the Caribbean? Not so, my dear. Please put something into your body other than cocaine and Scotch, okay?
Final judgment? The Halloween remake is a lot like the original with enough new material tacked on to set it apart from its source, and justify its existence. I liked it. I’m good with Michael Myers being an actual guy with a solid history. It’s far from perfect, but I wasn’t demanding my money back at the end. I think the movie actually improves on the life and times of one of horror’s flagship mask-wearers, unlike the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake that threw in Leatherface’s new origin as an abused child as little more than an afterthought. Or the Friday the 13th and Elm Street remakes that just straight up recycled the tales of their originals. Oh wait, that’s because Michael Bay was rubbing his grimy sweaty swampy balls all over all three of those. I almost forgot. Well, I tried to forget.
In closing, though I always welcome frank discussion and debate with our readers, if you’re a biased member of the Loyal Order of John Carpenter Fellatio Enthusiasts and you’re just going to write unintelligible rhetoric to me about how much of an ignorant “traitor” I am to the horror genre because I’ll take Zombie’s movie over Old Man Carpenter’s movie if given the option, keep two things in mind: (1) Carpenter gave Zombie the okay to do whatever he wanted with the movie (so it’s his inbox you should be packing) and (2) please at least do me the favor of spell checking your shit first. If your email looks like the transcript from an episode of “Maury“, you won’t get a response. I let somebody borrow my copy of “How to Communicate with Grammarless Dickweeds” and would have no idea how to respond…
Moral of the Story: Just because someone’s crippled doesn’t mean they can’t still crawl over there and skull fuck the shit out of you.
Little Johnny Gacey’s parents used to wake up to THAT every morning.
“Ahhhh, still smells like Mother.”
“Okay, which one of you jazzy hepcats called for a Groove-meister? Cuz he is here!”
Shit. And I thought my allergies were bad!
You know what happens to the first one to fall asleep at a party. He’ll wake up with penises drawn all over his face, no eyebrows, a Hitler mustache, his underwear in the freezer, both hands in bowls of warm water, and sitting in a very big wet spot.
Alright, who recorded over my horror movie with a Korn video?
Coming directly to video cassette (in 1992): Ted Danson is Dracula.
…still a better Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake than Michael Bay’s.
I’m a deranged pervert and even I wouldn’t take a date back to that bedroom.
The end to Robert Rodriguez’s epic faux-sploitation series: Machete Killed.
A tip to black men in slasher movies: stay off the toilet. Remember Miguel Nunez in Friday the 13th Part V? Exactly.
Nothing tugs the heart strings like the look on a girl’s face when she audibly farts on a first date. Memories.
I don’t mean to tell a professional how to do his business, Mike, but successful stalkers don’t usually just stand around in the open in broad daylight. I can see you. You’re RIGHT THERE. Just trying to help.
Dr. Frankenstein or the Ice Cream Man: which would you rather trust your hysterectomy to, ladies?
It only took him 20 years, but Charlie Brown’s second happiest moment came one Halloween when he finally got his ghost costume (mostly) right! His happiest? When he strangled Lucy later that same night.
They must be enrolled at Horror High.
“You can’t kill me! PLEASE! I had NOTHING to do with Holwing II: Your Sister is a Werewolf! I hated it too! Ahhhhhh!”
That awkward moment when you discover the parents of the kid you’re babysitting left their homemade porno tape in the VCR.
Michael Myers takes the series back to its roots as he stars in Walking Tall 4: the Resurrection of Buford Pusser. Meh. At least he’s not Kevin Sorbo.
Sure, they’ll turn away homosexuals, but I see eHarmony didn’t hesitate to approve Chris Brown’s membership.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Faygo 500”