Featuring: Tedd “Paper Moon (not that one)” Chan , Henley “Kepong Gangster” Hii , Mark “‘Police & Thief‘” Lee
Writer & Director: Gilbert “Ghost Child” Chan
Singapore! Not just Super Mario’s response to why he never pursued a career in opera (“I sing-a poor!”), Singapore’s also a major global city-state and the southern-most point of continental Asia. AKA “The Lion City”, “The Garden City”, “The Red Dot” (“Where ever the red dot goes, ya bang!“), and the World Bank’s “Easiest Place to Do Business” 9 years running. An original founding member of Malaysia, Singapore was punted from the team after just two years over “ideological differences”, i.e. race riots. They’re currently celebrating their 50th anniversary as an independent nation, so happy golden anniversary, Singapore! Sadly, the only gold I can offer you as a gift is my golden sense of humor… or a golden shower if that’s what you’re into. I mean, I’m not into it myself, but if it’ll get you off, I’m cool with it. It is your birthday after all.
Singapore also has one of the lowest unemployment rates amidst developed nations the world over, as well as some of the lowest rates of violent crime and homicide. Possibly due to it also having one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita. Angers up the blood! The population is over 40% foreigners and the Economist Intelligence Unit (sounds like a Wall Street thought police group) ranked Singapore 6th in the world for qualify of life and 1st in Asia! Damn. Kinda getting the urge to move here. But what Singapore isn’t is a plateful of bacon, so enough buttering it up. Singapore’s dark side is pretty infamous for gangs, prostitution, and gambling. Plus there’s apparently still a lot of racism issues that haven’t been worked out in the last 5 decades too. If they’d just import a bunch of American Republicans though, racism would stop being a thing simply because they’d say so! Ignorance is bliss. Oh, there’s also dangerous insects to be had in the ‘Pore, but nothing a little insect repellant won’t fix. When you’re in the deep jungle, you can’t beat Off!
Fuck you. I find jungles and forests to be very erotic and I’ll beat off anywhere I damn well please! *rimshot*
In case you’re not savvy on the concept of the 24 hour time cycle adopted by the global military as a whole (you know, that “oh eight-hundred hours” type stuff), the title of today’s feature is a reference to 11:59 PM. Sadly, it’s not a cinematic sequel to Iron Maiden’s song “2 Minutes to Midnight”, which would have then been followed by a multimedia project consisting of a VCR flashing “12:00” while accompanied by a Muzaked rendition of Powerslave to finish out a proposed trilogy. No, really. I proposed it to Bruce Dickinson’s cousin’s stepdaughter’s legal representation and they said they were “really excited at the prospect” before having me escorted from the building by security personnel! “REALLY excited”!
As I was saying, what 23:59 is instead is an Asian ghost story. Yep, yet another one. Just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity made every American filmmaker-to-be think they could lure a lightning bolt into their empty Zima bottle too via a $500 “found footage” video of their own, the entirety of the continent of Asia have their chopsticks crossed that they’re on the verge of the next Ring or Grudge that’ll earn them big American party dollars on the 1-in-300,000 shot that Hollywood comes knocking on their door for the remake rights. Ghidorah H. Christ.
Let’s grab hold of the duct tape and see if we can’t pull this off quick with only minimal pain, and without having our righteous Magnum PI mustache torn out by the roots in the process! As always, since this movie comes in under the 5-year age of spoiler consent for this site, I will NOT be posting any major twists or revelations. So, should you feel it’s worth the trouble of tracking down and sitting through, fear not, as there be no spoilers here.
Our introductory pre-credits sequence finds us back in the bygone days of 1983. The Men at Work emerged from a land down under to introduce themselves to the world! Jason Vorhees acquired his now iconic hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 3-D! “M*A*S*H” ended and “Fraggle Rock” began! In a Singapore boot camp, a young soldier named Tan (Tedd Chan) is asleep in the barracks when a ghostly child (along with its presumably spectral matriarch) interrupts the lad’s R.E.M. (the state of sleep, not the folks who gave us “Shiny Happy People”), scaring him shitless, courtesy of a face that resembles a giant prolapsed colon. Sound gross? Now imagine two people with faces like said inside-out buttholes, but they also have long, slimy tongues and they start licking each others facial rims. Hope you liked the last meal you ate, because you’re probably gonna be tasting it again real soon if you haven’t already! 😀
This leads us into some decidedly poor opening credits, ran over what looks to be storyboard material. I appreciate that ‘boards are just to structure the shots of a flick and not meant to be works of art or anything, but if yours look like they came from a comic book an 8th grade school kid would draw in their spare time, you might not want to open your movie with it. Upon first viewing, I worried that said illustrations were spoiling what looked to be some decidedly decent moments from the oncoming 90 minutes. The only thing worse than laying your scares out for your audience WAY ahead of time, though? Nothing interesting from them actually comes to fruition! Yep! On the arbitrary thermometer graphic of “Things You Shouldn’t Do to Your Audience”, I’m pretty sure “Telegraph your best moments in the opening credits” ranks lower than “Tease them, only to give them ZERO payoff”.
I couldn’t find confirmation to support the previous assumption, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that said storyboard art was from scenes that had to be cut from the movie for budgetary concerns or technical limitations. They feel like Gilbert Chan’s way of saying, “I’m not bland! I have fun, scary ideas too! See what I wanted to have?! THEY wouldn’t give me the money! If you don’t like this movie, it’s not my fault!”. These probably should’ve been saved for the end credits though, rather than the openers. Maybe Chan just did the same backwards thing Asians do with their printed material and edited the movie right-to-left, so what would have been the end credits sequence wound up at the start-up instead? Honest mistake.
Back to the barracks, we catch up with Tan and some of his fellow freedom fighters, who are sitting around listening to ghost stories told by resident jerk-off Dragon (Lawrence Koh). They’re pretty much the Singapore branch of the Midnight Society. Despite being the most superstitious member of the group, Drags stink faces everybody else for getting the terror sweats at his tales. He sets the running theme for us when he tells us that midnight is the apex of evil, and the soul of anyone who dies at 23:59 (and we have a character saying the title of the movie! And less than 10 minutes in, too!) will be forced to remain on Earth, wandering for eternity…for some weird reason that nobody can explain beyond random, made up superstition. Hey, if being terrified of the unproven is good enough to establish religions on, it’s good enough for generic ghost stories!
One of said stories is 100% true and involves a former recruit named Lye. Three years prior, in that VERY bunk, on a night VERY much like this, Lye punched his own ticket, hanging himself while everyone else slept. Why do the Hangman Tango? Turns out he was bullied and harassed by some of his bunk-mates for being “effeminate” and apparently threatening their own masculinity (i.e. they didn’t like that they were so attracted to him, obviously). Fuck that. If I were ever tormented to the point of taking my own life, you know damn well I’d be taking every asshole along with me! Then I’d leave a note detailing the trauma I’d been subjected to before taking myself out David Carradine style! And I’m not talking about Uma Thurman giving me the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique, either.
The bard of the barracks continues his tales of terror, telling us about the Kuntilanak (sounds like a Conan villain) – the particularly vicious and violent spirit that results from a suicided pregnant woman. Coincidence that its name starts with “Kunt”? It’s not clear (like a lot of this movie), but I think one of these Kunts was summoned by a trio of nameless recruits (the credits are full of ’em) using a makeshift Chinese knock-off Ouija/Witchboard in one of Drag’s stories. When they asked her to leave, spooky lady indicated “All Signs Point to ‘No'”, then terrified them by leaving wet footprints across their floor (and wet spots in their shorts). The horror of the creeping moisture! Now, imagine that last line in Vincent Price’s voice. You’re welcome.
Though this ends the shirtless punk’s story hour for the night, he does break out another scareative later on about a local ghost whisperer whose impregnated womb became haunted by a Kuntilanak (so she had a Kunt in her cunt!) during a seance. Immediately after which she gave birth to a mutant baby who would grow up looking like the daughter of the Toxic Avenger and is said to still lurk the island. So Asian people used to think birth defects were the result of angry ghosts possessing mother-to-be? Maybe stop smoking, drinking, and sitting on active microwaves while you’re gestating and you wouldn’t get so many flipper babies! Anyway, the Rule 63 Quasimodo’s name is Yi Gu, which my geek brain interpreted as “YuGi”, then responded to by shouting “It’s time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!” before realizing I’d activated my own trap card… almost no one over the age of 25 is going to get that joke, but if any younger type card slingers do get it, well, I don’t pander to you often so you can have that one.
Each of these stories is accompanied by their own filmed segment, and given how they’re presented I feel like Chan originally meant this to be an anthology that wound up being paired down into a straight feature with a Frankensteined script instead. Makes all the more sense when you consider the unused storyboards, right? By the time you get to the finish line, so much of what’s established makes so little sense otherwise, so that’s the theory I’m sticking with.
Unlike Lye, Tan (by name, not by skin pigment) only has a sole tormentor in Dragon. He doesn’t show signs of taking his own life. Plus, several of the guys in the group do stick up for Tan, including their platoon leader. I bet a good old fashioned “soap in a sock” party would get Dragon to turn his dickhead dial down to ‘1’. Tan’s childhood buddy-slash-bodyguard Jeremy (Henley Hii) looks out for him too, but instead of fistally re-educating the bully, he opts to victim blame his buddy, telling him that he’s gotta stop being a pussy and man up. Tan’s problem isn’t that he’s a wimp though, he’s just got PTSD – Phantasmal Traumatic Stress Disorder. That close encounter of the ghostly kind in the opening has left him with a yellow streak. Uhm, that wasn’t a racist thing because he’s Asian! Scout (Taylor-Compton)’s honor!
Later that night, Dragon and four accomplices tie up and gag the sleeping Tan, stuffing him into a locker to torment him further. Naturally he’s visited by the ghostly hand of the Kunt, who leaves deep scratches on his neck by the time Jeremy (spoke in class today) wakes up and lets him out. Jer blows off Tan’s neck wounds, excusing them as being caused by a tussle with a wire hanger during his panicked spaz out. Sticking up for his little buddy, Jer get physical (physical!) with Draggy and the pair fight. Well, by “fight” I mean they shove each other, then Jeremy holds the scrawny little shit down and gives him some really weak punches. After those love taps, I wonder if maybe Tan’s not the bunker sissy of this group. Jer would’ve done more damage giving the prick an Indian Burn! Then again, they might not know what those are over there. On that side of the globe, “Indian Burn” is probably the rectal fallout of a really spicy curry dinner.
The group’s commanding officer, Sergeant Kuah (Mark Lee), arrives and breaks the tussle up. He reminds them that they have an incredibly important 24km road march in the morning, so they better stop with all the Grab-Ass and get some sleep. But coach, the Grab-Ass Championship Games are in two weeks and we gotta train! While we’re on the subject of Kuah, we learn that he’s a superstitious lot (and cowardly too, right Batman?) and asks that his own higher up, Captain Hong (Benjamin Lim), postpone the road march until a less unlucky date. Seems the moons of Jupiter are in the house of the seventh planet or some malarkey and that’s bad voodoo for the boys. Hong looks at him like he has three heads, gives him the workplace appropriate equivalent of a double middle finger, and declares that the march will go on as planned. To which, Kuah calls his c.o. a “fake caucasian” behind his back. Well, he’s Asian, so at least that makes him half Caucasian, right? Yeah, I deserve a smack for that one.
Tan has a bad feeling in his gut about going on the march, but Jeremy again denounces him for being a wimp. Tough Guy says he doesn’t believe in the supernatural because his father was a charlatan medium who used to use him to con marks out of their Singapore Dollars (yep, not unlike M. Bison in Street Fighter, they just tack “dollars” onto the ass of their name to name their currency!) with a Jon Edwards-style “chat up the dead” scheme. It left one bereaved old man heart attacked into the afterlife himself though, and that incident left the father and son pairing forever estranged. Also as a result, Junior is Singapore’s biggest skeptic, i.e. the most reasonable person in the nation. In fact, when Kuah insists on giving his men good luck talismans (that look oddly like dry cleaner tickets) to ward off evil spirits and bad juju during the trek, Jer not only refuses one, but denies one for Tan too. “Tan too”? I feel there’s a joke I should be making right now, but the heat from my laptop is making my Ballpark Frank plump and it’s too distracting. You win this time, phallus perspiration!
The marchers are beset by an inopportune thunderstorm and our main cast (Tan, Jer, Dragon, and porcine comedy relief character Lim) fall behind the rest of the group. Without spoiling anything specific, I’ll tell you this much – we’re only half way down the hasenpfeffer hole at this point. The events of the march that night change the dynamics of the group greatly, as Tan isn’t the only one being haunted once it’s over. Can they ever be rid of the Class IV Anchored Remnant (bone up on your Tobin’s, nerds) on their backs, or are they destined to just become another sinister anecdote in the book of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Barracks”? Are the ghosts even real, or did Gilbert Chan opt to make an ode to Jacob’s Ladder and what we’re actually watching is, in reality, just a shellshock allegory? What does this all have to do with a fellow recruit named Chester? And why is his name Chester?! What kind of Asian name is “Chester”?! Or “Jeremy” for that matter!?
Though I won’t be going any further into the story beyond this point, I will say this much – the finale involves what will either be a very touching, very depressing, very cheesy (or very arousing…depends on your brain chemistry) moment that features one of our characters crying profusely. Unfortunately, the intended emotional impact of the scene collapses in on itself as I was incredibly distracted during the whole thing. What by? Not only do the character’s eyes leak the whole time, but their nose flushes like they just ran a Neti Pot through it. We all know that the locks are blown open on the Panama snot canals when a heavy bawling front rolls in, but wipe your damn nose, character whose name I will not divulge!… Huh huh, “but wipe”.
Though not entirely bad, 23:59 feels like a movie that could’ve been better than it is. I know that almost any movie could be “better than it is”, technically, but this is the statement that stands out the largest in my mental word cloud, having watched it twice now. My biggest problem is the story’s structure. It’s shoddy and unstable. If it were a building, it’d be condemned by code enforcement. Even the junkies would reconsider squatting in it. As stated prior, the whole thing feels as if it was intended as an anthology, but was converted into a basic “Point A to Point B” feature without wanting to throw out the leftovers. Like they put up the house over the Indian burial ground, but didn’t feel like removing the grave markers and just built around them instead. Or if a storefront that was originally a beauty parlor was turned into a Carvel© store and they chose to keep the big hair dryer chairs to soften the ice cream; except they left them right in the middle of the damn floor, inconveniencing the customers who just want a spot to sit and eat their damn Fudgie in peace!
I don’t watch a lot of Singaporese movies, so forgive my ignorance if this next annoyance is a common practice, but the dialog was littered with some kind of bastard ManderEnglish for some reason! Is this how their movies are usually done?! The cadets would slip in an English word here or there, which was fine because I get that there are some words we Yanks have that they don’t. Instead of making up their own, they figure “Fuck it, I guess we know slightly more English now!”. However, when the Sergeant and Captain were in the picture, everyone was speaking better English than half the kids in your average American graduating class! It was jarring. This does explain why every original audio copy of the movie I tried to download was labeled “English dub” though.
The Americanising of the feature is furthered by the inclusion of US movie posters on the walls of the bunkhouse, including ’80s classics The Terminator, Platoon, and Blade Runner. Is this a military training facility or an AV Club?! Funny enough, of the three flicks, only Blade Runner (’82) was actually released prior to 1983, the year this movie takes place. Terminator was ’84 and Platoon was ’86, so a hearty dick kick to the prick in charge of continuity for not doing his damn job.
In the end (also Sean Connery’s answer to “Where does Alex Trebek’s mom take it?”), what could’ve been something good (or at least not as bad) just peters out into something completely unsatisfying, thus making 23:59 Singapore’s cinematic parallel of Adam Sandler’s career. Or, every episode of my sexual congress as told from my partners’ points-of-view. There’s some decent tension building, but it’s bogged down by too many attempted jump scares, some acceptable-to-terrible makeup effects, a congested story structure, and the disappointment of the opening credits promising more graphic imagery than the movie itself puts out. An unfortunate let down from the country that brought us the pure chewing satisfaction of the Michael Fay caning. Oh well.
For our next World Tour stop, I’ll be spoiling the crap out of an early 2000s monster movie that’s been collecting dust on my “To Do Pile” for over a decade! Drain the last of your Dirty Banana and join us, won’t you?
Bonus Moral: If someone dies at training camp in the Singapore army, recruits are given a half-day to cope. The turn around for mourning over there is stricter than their anti-chewing gum laws!
That’s exactly how my head feels every time a Linkin Park song comes on the radio.
Well, at least that would be convenient for people with shoulder problems who have no one else to brush their hair.
“The camp talent show is in 3 days and you still haven’t figured out how to make the puppet talk while you’re drinking the glass of water!”
“Because I will Frank Castle your asses in the blink of an eye!”
“Sure he’s got a Cheetos™ dust addiction, but everybody knows he’s a stand up cat otherwise!”
When grandpa asked to play a card game during their visit to the retirement home, they had no idea he meant Strip Poker. Worst. Visit. Ever.
Wait. Did this movie suddenly turn into a tampon commercial?
Yup. It’s definitely a tampon commercial.
Maybe you should stop squinting your eyes then, dipshit. We in the audience can see everything just fine thanks to ALL OF THE PRODUCTION LIGHTS!
“Oh my god… did I remember to turn the oven off before I left for boot camp!? This could be VERY bad.”
“She sounds hot. Is she seeing anyone?”
Sadly, he’s right. I’ve been trying to do that with those fucking Kardashians for years and they’ve yet to fade from existence.
We used to put completely black contacts on the first guy that fell asleep back during high school b-movie weekend parties. It’s hilarious watching them run around screaming “I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND!” while falling all over everything. Ah the memories.
And I thought the Asian takeout places in the U.S were aggressive with their doorknob menus. Yikes!
“Well, I don’t know her personally, but I’m a high ranking official in her fan club! I’m sure Mrs. Arquette would be happy to help us!”
Yeah, I’ve had ghost pepper sauce thrown in my oculars too (true story!). Trust me, just clench your eyes as hard as you can and pray for death until it stops hurting. Should be about an hour or two.
Hence why his friends gave him the nickname “Arby’s”.
Oh man, he’s having one of those “dislocate your shoulder trying to reach it” level itches on his back.
Just another one of the ProActiv™ horror stories they never tell you about in the commercials.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Unexpected Vishnu of Ignorance”
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Featuring: Bill “Half Past Dead 2” Goldberg , Douglas “Stage Fright (2014)” Smith , Emilie “The Hills Have Eyes (2007)” de Ravin
Director & Writer: David Steiman
Also Known As: Very Bad Santa
Merciful Cthulhumas to you, my fellow cinemasochists! May Our Dark Lord from the hoary nether realm spare you and your loved ones for another year! Today (well, 3 days ago) is the day of the Gregorian calender we set aside to honor our eternally dark Lord Cthulhu by paying tribute to the important persons of our lives: generally through thoughtfully chosen presents, sacrifices of personal wealth, oaths of fealty…or gift cards to Red Lobster. This year, I continue my vow to sacrifice my sanity in the name of your entertainment by shutting myself into the iron maiden that is today’s holiday themed episode. You owe me.
David Steiman’s IMDB profile credits him with four production assistant jobs from 1999-2000, before becoming personal assistant to director Bret Ratner for three consecutive movies: starting with 2000’s The Family Man (I’ll have to excerebrate my gray matter with a nasal hook just to literally get Hall & Oates out of my head now), continuing through Rush Hour 2 and ending with Red Dragon in 2002. Three years later, Ratner himself would end up with a mysterious producer’s credit on this celebration of yuletide retardation: Santa’s Slay. Not only would SS (yep, that’s how I’m referring to it!) be the first-and-only writer-director credit for Mr. Steiman, but it’s also the last industry credit the guy can lay claim to of any kind for the decade since…
So, Bret Ratner produces his ex-assistant’s solo-project? Looks to me like Mr. Steiman really put the “ass” into “assistant” during his time working under The Rat, blackmailed Bret into lending his name and credibility (I use the term loosely… possibly sarcastically) to SS, then exiled himself into oblivion after being confronted with the product of his manipulations, having lost any future he may have held for himself after giving up said blackmail material to BR as part of their arrangement. Oh well, sometimes you gotta swallow a few loads to make your dreams cum true…Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you, you, you, you! Fuck…the H&O earworm only grows fatter. Somebody get me 666 cc of “Super Charger Heaven”, stat!
Our movie cold opens on a Christmas gathering of the Mason family (no, not the Manson family) as they gather for dinner, bickering and implied adultery. They’re your typical horribly WASPy family of well-off shitholes to whom the concept of love died long ago, like a starving polio-ridden Great Depression-era orphan child in a snowstorm. They’re thankful to their god for not making them “poor or Samoan”. Just when the dad (James Caan) is about to stab the son-in-law (Chris Kattan) for fingering the mom (Fran Drescher) under the dinner table, a pissed off mountain of a man dressed like Santa (Bill Goldberg) explodes from their chimney and proceeds to brutally slaughter the whole useless clan till they’re Feliz NaviDEAD! Bludgeoning, immolation, impalement, drowning in egg nog, and finally, James Caan getting a turkey leg jammed down his throat pipe. (Death) God bless them, every one.
Who is this Herculean icon of holiday cheer-turned-brain smashing behemoth (this line to be spoken like the narrator from the Adam West “Batman”)? I’ll spare you the wait and express pass your ass to the head of the class. It’s almost a decade old at this point, so the grace period for plot spoiling is long gone! You know how Jesus Christ was supposedly the result of immaculate conception between an angel and his “virgin” mother Mary? Turns out there was another such birth some time ago, as Satan himself spawned his own offspring from another mortal woman (named Erica)’s baby maker. That child’s name? Santa. What, you though it was a coincidence their names are so similar? The SNL Church Lady knew the score!
Anyway, every year on his birthday Santa would go out and slaughter random people. These annual bouts of unsolved murders were dubbed “The Day of Slayings” (YesVirginia, we have a title), also known as Kerry King’s birthday. As Christianity spread like a plague over the Nordic lands, the people would gather every year for a Christ mass, where they’d beg their new god to save them from Santa’s traditional birthday bash(ing of their skulls). Sometime around the year 1000, Big G finally answered their whining by sending down an archangel to do a BTO job (i.e. take care of business). Disguising himself as just another jobber, the angel challenged the big bully to a winner-take-all round of curling. Curling?! Yep, this movie is definitely a product of Canada. Blart.
If Santa won his challenger would be condemned to an eternity in Hell, while a loss would result in Santa becoming a harbinger of charity and good cheer for the extent of the following millennium. The winged deceiver triumphed and the rest is history…until now: exactly 1000 years later (to the day, since this is a movie), when Santa’s personality inversion has expired! Now he and his reindeerish beast the Helldeer (it’s just a white buffalo…someone call Charles Bronson!) are on the hunt for the heavenly body that pulled the holy wool over his soulless black eyes and permanently scratching a few names off of his Naughty List along the way. Where’s this angel now? He resides in a little middle-of-nowhere hamlet in the wilds of Canada known as…Hell.
And yes, the township’s moniker is abused to full pun effect throughout the next 75 minutes, so gird your laughter loins (or your groan groin), lest ye suffer a pulled muscle from all of the agonizing efforts of fifth grade humor you’re in store for.
Also residing in Hell is a disgustingly mild mannered teen by the moniker of Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith looking like the son of Bud Bundy), whose possession of the Christmasiest sounding name since Santa’s Little Helper (or “Santos L. Halper” if you work in customer service) is guaranteed to get him involved in the coming blizzard of bloody battery. In fact, if I just outright told you now that the elusive angel is his grandpa (Robert Culp) and young Nick was oblivious of the fact until now as Santa Claus is comin’ to town, your shock level would register somewhere around a “minor static shock from touching a doorknob after crossing a carpet in socks” level, right? I thought as much.
Nick works at a Jewish owned deli (is there any other kind?) along with his friend/co-worker/scripted love interest Mary “Mac” MacKenzie (Emilie de Ravin). Mary’s obviously got a girl boner for the gawky weirdo, and if she has her way, she won’t be going the way of the Biblical Mary…by which I mean she’s looking to get her factory seal ruptured for Christmas…by which I mean she wants the Nick dick. As for deli owner Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek), I don’t know his intentions for “the Nick dick”, but I will say that he looks like the bastard love child of Elliott Gould and Adam Carolla. He winds up pinned to the back wall of his establishment by a menorah jammed through his windpipe later on, courtesy of Claus. Does this count as a hate crime? Shouldn’t Santa be down with the Chosen People given their mutual hatred of Jesus anyway? Also, if you say “hatred of Jesus” using the Spanish pronunciation, it rolls off the proverbial tongue nicely. Very lyrical.
Here’s the rundown on Nick’s grandpa (simply credited as “Grandpa”): in his current form, he’s considered the town nutso. He’s a bit of a recluse who refuses to celebrate Christmas, spends his time in his basement bunker watching his oddly extensive surveillance equipment and making weird inventions like a weaponized nutcracker that shoots exploding chesnuts out of its hideous grinning maw. Before all of this, back when he tricked Santa into a thousand years of slavery in the shackles of holiday cheer, the angel gave up his halo and wings to start a life with a mortal Norse woman (little to nothing of which is covered beyond “I fell in love with a human woman”) who we’re presumed to believe became Nick’s grandma. I guess giving up your angelic status doesn’t make you “mortal” though, because the old man’s still spry after ten centuries. That’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg, because there’s no mention of what happened to Nick’s parents, or just how shallow the roots are on his family tree. Did Gramps fall in love, spend a lifetime with the woman, then just kinda live and love for the next 900 years or so until he met Nick’s actual grandma before settling down and raising a family? Did he sire another family, or possibly multiple other families, before spawning the bloodline that would lead to young master Yuleson? It’s never addressed, let alone made clear, and just leaves gaping-like-a-size-queen plot holes big enough to fly a team of reindeer through. Thought I’d stuff your stockings with a little holiday twist to an old reviewer’s cliché.
While all of this is going on, we’re introduced to Hell’s resident representative of the Christian faith, Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas!). PT is your standard issue “Don’t be a sinner – give money to me! Errr, the church!” man of the cloth, and regularly holds mass…by which I mean the mass of the big fake titties hanging off of the pole jockettes sluttin’ it up at the town gentlemen’s club. Yep, the contents of the collection plate are destined for the g-strings of Hell’s single mothers and “working girls”. In no way surprising, but makes the Pastor’s statement in a prior scene telling his congregation to not donate loose change and keep it to bills incrimentally funnier in retrospect.
Juggernaut Claus runs (unstoppably so, “bitch”!) through the club and murders a handful of denizens while casually sexually harassing and/or assaulting several of the employees before just burning the STD hole to the ground via a flaming hot coal grenade that leaves the place looking like a Vietnamese orphanage after one of Uncle Sam’s anti-communism napalm showers. Timmons eludes paying the proverbial piper (only to be corpsed up while dressed as Santa later on, in the moments before the closing credits roll), but professional wrestling nerds should take note – infamous pro-wrestling writer cum onscreen character Vince “Vic Venom” Russo cameos as one of the victims of Santa’s rampage! Funny from a geek standpoint since many fans blame Russo for the murdering of former “sports entertainment” titan and builders of Bill Goldberg’s career World Championship Wrestling. The only true WCW, by the way, for all the those “woman crush Wednesdays” social media she-wankers. 😛
Eventually Santa gets around to hunting Nick and Grandpa so as to wipe their lineage from the face of the Earth in revenge for being reduced to “a bowl full of jelly” with “dimples so merry” for most of his existence. He managed to locate the duo thanks to a letter Nick sent to him years ago (where did you think those letters to Santa wound up?!), asking for an Easy Bake Oven. Mary tags along for the adventure (gotta have those “Don’t you realize yet that I want the Nick dick!?” moments) and Nick somehow comes to the conclusion that they’ll be okay so long as they can survive until 7PM their time, because that would make it midnight at the North Pole, thus Christmas would officially be over. I hate it when the protagonists just make up their own rules to shit like this! Not since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!, when Tommy randomly decides that the only way to stop super zombie Jason Vorhees is to chain a boulder around his neck and trap him in Crystal Lake amid a ring of fire just BECAUSE, have I screamed “Who gave you creative control of the script?!” at my TV screen. Horse. Shit.
Almost as annoying is Nick’s insistence on putting his dick in the fourth wall glory hole by reminding everybody several times about how absurd the whole scenario is. Christ’s nipple clamps! If you’re gonna have a character riff on how stupid your own movie is, just go all out with it. He comes within inches of just saying “It’s like we’re in some bad horror movie!” before looking straight into the camera and winking anyway, so take a fucking cue from Nike and JUST DO IT!
Santa follows Nick back to Grandpa’s, but while our teen heroes try to escape the brutal bearded beefcake, Grandpa gets run over by the Helldeer…and yes, they make the obvious joke, in case you were wondering. The rest of the movie is basically the Degrassi dropouts running away from Santa until they wind up at the local high school, where Santa pulls out a glowing green candy cane (like one of those throwaway glow sticks spelunkers use) to light up his face for dramatic effect…then immediately throws it down…because he only needed it for that one second…oy. He chases them onto the school hockey rink, but just as the homicidal holiday icon is about to run down the soory pair under a hungry Zamboni, he’s stopped by a glowing golden curling stone…
Yes, apparently when an angel gives up their angelic status to become a seemingly un-aging human (is this where Highlanders come from?), once they’re killed they’re allowed to get their old jobs back. If that’s the case, then why don’t ALL angels do this?! Shit, it’d be worth it just to experience the blowjobs and cheeseburger pizza alone! You get to just become an angel again when you die anyway!
Grandpa tries to trick the sadistic behemoth into another curling match, this time demanding Claus becomes a good guy forever (why wasn’t that the stipulation for the original face-off?!) if the golden geezer triumphs once more, once again offering himself up to eternal damnation in Hell if he loses… except that angels aren’t human and thus do not have souls to damn, so the bet’s already bullshit to begin with! Anyway, Santa agrees to the wager, but this time demands that Gramps shoots first. Star Wars geeks, please save your Han-Greedo arguments (and slash fiction) for the appropriate message boards and Facebook groups. Thank you.
Santa pulls a shitlord move (he is Beelzebub Jr. after all), and rather than taking his turn at slide ‘n sweep, just grabs Gramps and tosses him into a literal hell hole! Nick’s completely meritless deadline finally expires, to which Claus pleasingly tells Nick to go fuck himself with that bullshit. He’s Santa Claus. HE decides when Christmas is over! He then tries to blow up Nick and (There’s Something About) Mary with a Megalon napalm loogie (why did he even need the coal bomb at the strip club?!), but it’s deflected by Nick who uses the nutcracker weapon from earlier in one of the most gob smackingly dumb-fuck moments in a movie infested with dumb-fuck moments. Santa takes a chestful of chestnut shrapnel (yeah, they make THAT pun too) in the exchange and escapes into the night on his Zamboni while the kids help Grandpa, who’s been hanging onto the edge of the Hell portal for longer than an old man should be able to hold his own body weight. Grandpa can’t leave the boundaries of the hockey rink (huh?!), so Nick and Mary set off to finish the job on Santa on their own. Rather than find him and defeat him, they opt instead to get Mary’s family of Canadian rednecks to shoot down the Helldeer (with a rocket launcher, because Canada’s seemingly littered with live military armaments), blowing it into scattered meat and guts…until it’s shown again two minutes later as a complete carcass tied to the top of someone’s truck! I can only wish that I regenerate the brain cells killed from watching SS as fast.
The movie ends threatening us with the possibility of a sequel as Nick takes up Grandpa’s Santa grimoire (which I’ll call the Navidadicon) and bukkakes the screen with Velveeta as he declares “my saga’s just beginning”. BLAAAAART! Meanwhile, Santa winds up at an airport with a plane ticket to the North Pole…and that’s it. It’s over. Roll the really shitty end credits theme “Bye Bye Santa”, as done by a sad excuse for a Ramones cover band called Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon, a half-hearted hardcore version Deck the Halls, and some more JDPM shit called Christmas In Detroit…for this movie that was filmed entirely in Canada. May that threat of a sequel be an empty one, and let us thank Cthulhu that Dave Steiman’s resume has since been trapped in magical Christmas ice, from which we can only pray it is never thawed and is freezer burned beyond recognition.
I’ve been shitting on the writing enough by this point, so you already know how I feel about that. What I’d like to do now, is drop a few Cleveland Steamers on the friggin’ editing hack job. It wasn’t horrible for the most part, but during the last chunk of this hour and fifteen it read like a clusterfuck. It came off like someone with a meat cleaver and high on airplane glue was told to chop off 20 minutes or so of footage and this is what was left. Ever seen Evil Ed? That. The entire non-ending was awful, and any movie that sets itself up for a sequel doesn’t deserve one. Every movie should be made under the idea of “THIS IS OUR ONLY CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING, SO LET’S NOT DO IT HALF-ASSED! WE USE OUR WHOLE ASS, DAMN IT!” because you don’t wanna be a one-termer asshole like Carter or Bush Sr. who didn’t get to live up to their first term promises.
Creative now properly crucified, how about this cast? Douglas Smith? Simply put, he sucks. Remember how I said he had this next-gen David Faustino/Bud Bundy thing going on? I would’ve preferred a time traveling David Faustino circa 1992 playing Nick. Robert Culp’s okay, but his Nordic accent sometimes dips into “I didn’t know the Nords were from Ireland” territory. Emilie de Ravin is passable, but delivers lines at times that give me the impression she’d just put her retainer in between scenes. Take this how you will, but she also looks like a barely legal Patricia Arquette. If I were 10 years younger…I’d still feel like a dirty old man for wanting to see what she looks like with my balls on her chin and my pubes making time with her nose hairs. Shit. Onto a less damning statement, Dave Thomas (the Strange Brew guy, not the dead guy from the Wendy’s commercials) is… well…there. He showed up for work and read his lines. He wasn’t very funny, but the material wasn’t exactly Mel Brooks. Tommy “Tiny (but I’ll always know him as Zeus)” Lister gets a paycheck for a short cameo as a gas station attendant (AKA the only black guy in rural Canada) who’s moved to Hell to get away from all the violence in “the hood”…Canada has a “hood”?! I was really hoping Lister would reveal himself to be some kind of opposing force for Santa, but once Grandpa came back into the picture as a member of the haloed crowd, I knew my hopes were for naught and his appearance was just a nod to old school wrestling geeks like yours truly. Go watch No Holds Barred and weep at the smell of dookie.
The only worthwhile stand out from this movie is Goldberg, and that’s because Santa plays to his strengths: look like a big psychotic colossus, snarl and grin like a maniac a lot, and speak English clear enough that you can recite bad holiday themed one-liners. The one-liners themselves are crap, but Bill delivers them with enough aplomb to show that he was at least having some laughs behind his gigantic fake facial mane.
Everything started out great, with Santa handing out comically graphic violence to the jerk-off brood, followed by running a bitchy old lady off the road to her great reward (that’s what happens when you berate Jews for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”!), but once the story started to form, the foundations for this gingerbread house immediately dried out and began crumbling. The whole thing starts to feel like a slapdash Hallmark Channel Christmas Original, only littered with foul language, crude humor, big naked fake-o boobs, and cartoony (albeit bloody) levels of murder. You could slap “Hallmark After Dark Presents” on the title card and I wouldn’t be surprised. On the plus side, if you’ve ever wanted to the see The Nanny’s head set ablaze, here’s your chance!
I say watch Santa’s Slay for the bloodshed and fast forward through the rest of this mire. And this is coming from someone who likes Jack Frost…no, not the Michael Keaton movie…and not the Russian one they watched on the Satellite of Love. All in all, I’ll use a quote from Nicholas and sum Santa’s Slay up as “File that next to brown colored toilet paper as a bad idea”. I thought SS would be gold, but it was bronze. Sorry, I wanted to get this movie out of my system so I marathoned “Snuff Box” last night and now I can’t get that damn theme song out of my skull.
Fun fact: Goldberg’s not the first professional meathead to don the red, white and beard! In 1996, man-shaped Ziploc bag full of gravy Hulk Hogan starred in Santa with Muscles, where he played a guy who did things, presumably dressed as Santa, that likely included performing wrestling moves on some less-than-noble types. It’s so shit streaked that it makes it almost impossible for me to masturbate to Mila Kunis, knowing that she was in it. Sadly, it’s outside of my realm of influence, as the be-hair curtained Real American’s entry into the pantheon of holiday “Why hasn’t this been done by RiffTrax yet?” cin-enemas was left behind in the wake of the last millenium with the rest of the Hulkster’s floppy dicked attempt at a movie career. If I could have my way though, I would Charles Band the crap out of these two bicep blasted incarnations of Ol’ Saint Nick and make them do Yuletide combat in Santas with Muscles: 2 Holly 2 Jolly 2 Slay.
In more positive news, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Street Fighter – the world’s first movie adaptation of a video game, that also had a video game adaptation of itself…dividing by zero before dividing by zero was a thing. It killed Raul Julia. To celebrate, here’s movie Blanka! Despite the rest of his body being violently deformed through experimental mutation, at least his dentist will be happy to see that it didn’t effect his teeth. Merciful Cthulhumas, everyone!
Nothing much changed, we’re just older
But if I see you again back in detox
Put my remains in my snuff box
“Got any roles I can audition for? I’ll do anything for a part! I sucked off and swallowed 14 studio execs in a sauna once for Corky Romano, and I knew that movie was going to be shit from first glance!”
James Caan’s just gone straight senile. Every time we invite him to our Tuesday night Knifey-Spoony games, he always shows up with a fucking fork…
It’s Kool-Aid Claus! “Ho-ho-hoooooh Yeah!”
“Where’s the (roast) beef!… oh wait. There it is.”
“Every time you come in here Mrs. Smith, I tell you I’m NOT Paul Reiser. Please stop asking for my autograph and telling me I should give Helen Hunt a call to see how she’s doing.”
That has to be the most name brand stocked fridge I’ve seen in a long time!
“And don’t ever try putting your dick in that thing, kid. There’s a reason they’re called NUTcrackers!”
Despite what this may look like, that guy’s just trying to give Santa a complimentary shave. The beard’s just getting too big to manage.
She’s either doing her impression of Frankenstein’s monster, trying to keep her “silent but deadly” silent, or showing us her “o face”.
Billy Baldwin, tired of waiting for the call to come, goes ahead and starts up his own homemade sequel to Sliver.
“Ho-ho-HOLY SHIT! Who slipped acid into my milk and cookies?! I am freakin’ out!”
“Today’s passing of the collection plate is to raise the funds needed to replace our tissue paper windows with actual stained glass. Please give what you can, then add $10 on top of that.”
“What are you punk-asses looking at?! Tell Hanukkah Harry I’ll be waiting for him at the Nativity Scene downtown whenever he’s ready to man up and settle this once and for all!”
“Look, after Ice Cube sold out and stopped making Friday sequels, I had to make money somehow! Not like No Holds Barred 2 is every gonna be a thing! Now, you gonna buy these Cheetos or what?!”
He was only supposed to bleed from the throat for a few hours, but he somehow bled for 8 nights. It was a new Hanukkah miracle!
Having taken a bunch of Ecstasy and eaten several snowballs packed with Viagra, Santa is ready to rave straight on into the New Year!
A still from the Canadian remake of Heaven Can Wait. This is what angels look like North of the border.
President of the Canadian expansion of the NRA. Not sure how rocket launchers classify as “Rifles”, but if you ask them why they’ll just threaten to murder your family for “trampling their rights”.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Wrestling Dead”
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Featuring: Glenn “See No Evil” Jacobs , Danielle “Halloween 4” Harris , Katharine “Ginger Snaps” Isabelle
Directors: Jen & Sylvia “American Mary” Soska
Writers: Nathan “Lockdown” Brookes , Bobby Lee “Lockdown” Darby
Sequel to: See No Evil (duh)
Oh look, 8 years after their maiden voyage WWE Films is still insistent upon making movies. And after sequelizing their generic action series The Marine 3 times too many, they finally got back around to that See No Evil 2 I’ve been writing half-hearted fan emails to them about this since 2006. Neither director Greg Dark nor writer Dan Madigan were allowed back to continue their tale though, as WWE instead opted to give the writer’s pen/keyboard over to a new pair (whose only other viable credit is another upcoming WWE Films release) filling the director’s chair with indie horror darlings “The Soska Sisters” (Jen and Sylvia). Their feature debut American Mary has been the subject of much praise around the underworld water cooler in recent years. Despite my feral lust for Katharine Isabelle, I have not seen said movie yet, much to the chagrin of my gore whore lady friends. But I promise it’s on my “to do” list…with about 70 or 80 other “must see” recommendations. A term that NBC made completely invalid with their Thursday night lineups over the last decade.
Last time on “The Tomb of Anubis”, we met big, filthy, sweaty, no doubt stanky (thank Osiris that Smell-O-Vision never caught on), The Hills Have Eyes reject (and possible bassist from a ’70s funk ensemble with a name like this) Jacob Goodnight. Which those who didn’t watch the closing credits never would’ve realized, because the sole utterance of his moniker within the movie proper was cut out by an editor who probably spent most of their childhood eating lead paint chips while standing in front of an active microwave directly under high tension wires!
Goodnight was (and still is) played by WWE professional wrestler Kane, as he was also credited previously. This time he’s not just “Kane” though, he’s Glenn “Kane” Jacobs. This break in kayfabe (wrestling industry term for the false reality in which their characters and stories exist) is probably due to some kinda snag, likely with the Screen Actors Guild. So, a “SAG snag”, if you please. Or if you don’t please. We are Siamese either way, chunder thunder. Anyway, in our previous “getting to know you” installment, we learned that Jake had a Norman Bates-ian upbringing at the hands of his tyrannical matriarch, who kept her baby boy locked in a cage and frequently abused him as punishment for having perfectly natural teenage hormonal urges. Almost as bad as the time my own mother got drunk at a party and outed me to a group of strangers over my masturbatory practices to the Marvel Comics Swimsuit Special. Forensics are still uncovering victims (or at least parts of them) to this day.
As with any movie slasher, Mr. Goodnight was disposed of by his would-be victims, and suffered one of the funniest ends in the history of the pantheon of lowest-common-denominator cinematic slaughterers. Though one of the most repugnant slasher film protagonists walked away from the ordeal in one piece (said piece being very much shit-shaped, as the guy was the epitome of asshole chowder), overall I thought the movie did its job better than most of its ilk and deserved a sequel. Well, here we are, 80% of a decade after-the-fact, and check out the latest aphoristic black cat to cross my metaphorical path under the proverbial ladder: See No Evil 2. Was it worth the wait? Find out now as we continue the surprising adventures of ME, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar!
Sorry, a recent friend of mine (was she?) turned me onto “Peep Show”, which led me to a Hulu marathoning of “That Mitchell and Webb Look” from which my brain refuses to rewire.
Following his head holing at the finale of the prior feature, Jake Goodnight’s been recovered by paramedics and rushed to the hospital in a desperate attempt to save yet another life not worth saving. He saves the taxpayers a bunch of loose change by flatlining on the way, and he’s instead dropped off at the loading entrance for the morgue. So already we’re starting off in that awkward spot as the audience where we know there was an 8 year gap between the movies, but we’re supposed to accept that the events of both are happening one after the other. Oh well. Still not nearly as awkward as those movies where scenes are shot out-of-sequence and over the span of several years, so characters’ facial features inexplicably do the time warp back and forth for the length of the run time…I’m looking at you, Equinox.
Working in the morgue are the “requisite cute girl that you know was an emo/goth kid in high school” Amy (Danielle Harris), her “opposite gender co-worker who’s in love with the protagonist but can’t bring it upon themselves to ask so-and-so on a date” Seth, and their “guy in a wheelchair who you just know is gonna end up being a Franklin Hardesty homage” boss Holden. Uggh. “Holden”. That’s the kind of name you give your character/child when you want people to cheer their graphic murder at the business end of something from the Black Friday Sale at Home Depot. “Holden”. It would be beholden of you to give yourself a real name, you fucking toerag!
It’s the night before Amy’s birthday, so she’s got plans to go out and party it up with her buddies at a bar. Adult birthdays really are shit, aren’t they? No bigger deal than any other Friday night, except for some party favors and another excuse to get blackout drunk because it’s a “special occasion”. Knobs. Amy has to cancel her plans though, because Jake and his 9 victims (sounds like a kids’ story about a serial killer) kinda take priority. Enter Seth and Holden (ARGH!), who call her friends and invite them to bring their party to the her!…in the basement full of dangerous chemicals and corpses. Okay. Probably the worst idea you’ve okay-ed since whatever it was that crippled your legs, Holden. The birthday girl’s big brother Will (Greyson Holt) comes along for the festivities and to play actual Big Brother (the police state, not the tv show) by supplementing Seth’s own self-cockblockery. Billy takes him aside and tells him not to get too attached to little sis, because she’s too good for him and doesn’t deserve to be stuck in a dead end (pun intended) job poking necrophiles’ dream dates for the rest of her life. In the words of the doctor who gave me my last physical, “What a dick!”.
Amidst the socializing and festivities, Amy’s freako fetishist friend Tamara (Katherine Isabelle) sneaks off with her hipster boy toy Carter (Lee Majdoub) to do some exploring. They’re the type of horror flick couple to which the term “exploring” implies “going in search of new locales and/or surfaces to do sex on”. Tamara’s squishy over the news that the body of the latest flavor-of-the-month serial killer happens to be in that very morgue and, being the sex maniac of the movie, seeks out the big galoot, as she’s very warm for his very cold form. Well, that explains Amy’s earlier comment about how she’s living TamTam’s “dream job”! The girl rubs her leather skirted, thigh-high socked self over Goodnight like a second coat of paint, until Carter gets grossed out enough to stop her and bang her himself. Note: if your partner spends their time eye-fucking a dead body while you’re inside them, it’s not a good sign. Then again, there shouldn’t be a dead body in the same room that you’re committing the meat market mambo in to begin with, so I guess you’ve got worse things to worry about than what name your hump buddy’s gonna mistakenly call you upon climax anyway. Carry on.
Through some manner of coital necromancy that’s hereto unexplained for the entirety of our tale, the slapping of the duo’s greased genitalia awakens our antagonist like the ancient utterances of some sort of sexy witch doctor. Maybe J’s got that Voorhees premarital sex murder slasher aura? Maybe it’s to such a degree that, when he’s in close enough proximity to people doin’ the ol’ pump ‘n grunt, even Death cannot stay his blood soaked hand from enforcing the only truly 100% effective form of birth control! Whatever the source of his resurrection, it’s apparently given Goodnight super speed too, because me manages to get off his examination table and slip out of sight during a brief moment that Tammy looks away from his body.
Given that his hook chain is no doubt sitting in an evidence locker elsewhere in the city, Goodnight has to make due with a veritable armory’s worth of bladed and/or gougey medical instruments. But first, he fashions a shiny new surgical grade hook chain. Because how else is he supposed to drag victims down a hallway in that “elevated horror of slowly being pulled to your inescapable doom” that audiences eat up? He only uses it the one time though. I guess he doesn’t wanna get typecast as “that hook chain guy”. Nobody else at Local Slashers’ Union 187 would take him seriously! But, at the same time, Jake’s given up his whole eyeball-plucking angle! That was his whole gimmick! Taking out Goodnight’s ocular dismemberment is like someone making a Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel where Leatherface doesn’t wear masks he made out of human flesh. Or, for wrestling fans, it’s like Kane giving up his masked, deranged, pyromaniacal burn victim persona and just putting on something from Men’s Wearhouse and walking around like some white collar shit heel! Which WWE totally did. They call him “Korporate Kane” and he looks…well… Remember how weird it was when the middle school gym teacher became the new high school principal and started combing his hair and shaving and wearing a suit? That.
Obviously wanting to be taken seriously amidst his peers in the slasher crowd, Jacob knows you need a signature look. Knowing this, Jake dons a black apron (very American Mary-ish… at least from the one poster I’ve seen) and one of those protective mask appliances for people who get their faces burned off in comical barbecuing mishaps or pissed off squirrel attacks. Properly geared, he marches on to maraud this new posse of gudgeons (thanks, thesaurus.com!) while he flashbacks to the previous movie AND the previous movie’s flashbacks (flashback within a flashback… flashbackception!). No worries though, kiddies: the Soskas don’t sacrifice half the runtime to recycled footage of the first movie. Did enough of you even see Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 for me to make a tribute joke here? I didn’t think so.
From here you can pretty much guess how the rest of the movie pans out. Dead person, running, screaming, dead person, dead person, running, screaming, hiding, running, dead person, screaming, dead person, running. That’s it. There’s an interesting little surprise about 15 minutes before the finish, albeit one that comes about through entirely illogical circumstances. But hey, it’s a slsher flick, not a Shyamalan movie! There’s also this lovely little gruesome scene at the end that gives me fuzzy memories of the Tall Man’s “death” in Phantasm II. However, the mandatory threequel threat ending comes off like the kid behind the counter at KFC sneezing into your bucket of Extra Crispy before handing it to you and telling you to have a nice day. And that’s the best way to sum this whole experience up.
Even keeping my hopes at a minimum, I was still disappointed. Now, when I say “minimum”, I don’t mean the bare minimum. I wasn’t going into SNE2 with the sense of “If it’s better than Rise of the Zombies, it’ll be worthwhile.” No, I came at it like you should any sequel: if it’s isn’t better or at the least on par with its predecessor, then you’ve wasted your time. I’m not a fan of having my time wasted. I may have such a surplus of free time that I could use it for toilet paper every time I shit and still be bored for the rest of my life, but that’s MY time to wipe MY ass with, not yours. See No Evil 2 just takes the opening sequence of Friday the 13th The Final Chapter, then stretches it out into an entire movie to save on the cost of shooting in two locations. Sure, it looks okay while it does it, but that only takes you so far. You could be the hottest piece of flesh on the planet, but if you don’t know how to work your partner’s pieces, you’re spending your nights alone. Which is a complete lie, as there are people out there shallow enough to get off having sex with someone just because they’re physically attractive, even if they just lay there like a corpse. Be careful they don’t get up and kill you after, though.
Speaking of looks, permit me to be shallow for a minute. Only for a few sentences, I promise. Danielle Harris looks fantastic. She’s actually old enough NOT to look like a little girl now, so I don’t need to feel deep shame and tormentous self-loathing while wanting to: take her out to a nice romantic dinner, where I ask her about her hopes and dreams before she sits on my face and calls me a pathetic, disgusting pervert who isn’t even worthy of being spit on by her. Shiiiiiit. Now I need to wash my robes before they stain. On the opposite end of the dirty old man spectrum: I was so sad to discover that Katharine Isabelle is not the same weirdly hot slice of life she was when last I looked upon her with glazed eyes and pitched tent. I’m no chauvinist, and it could very well be some poor makeup work on her here or that her character is intended to be portrayed as a disheveled drunk (which she is); but Miss Isabelle looks like she’s basically Lindsey Lohan-ed herself since I last saw her. Which was Freddy Vs. Jason. I realize she’s actually had steady work in those last 11 years, which is great for her because she definitely deserves it after her mini-breakout with Ginger Snaps, so maybe my shock is solely my fault for not keeping up with her as she aged like any human being. I’m not the boner-inducing spring chicken I once was myself, but I’ve got the benefit of a massive mandibular mane to cover up my personal passage down the chronal chasm. That said, I’d still give up both of my big toes to have been in Kane’s place while Miss Isabelle was rubbing herself all over his deceptively undeceased cadaver, if for no other reason than to have “Totally got groped on by Ginger” etched in gold upon the door of my crypt after I depart. She could have half her faced burned by acid and the other half chewed off by wolverines, but she’ll always be Ginger to me.
And so it goes. A sequel I’ve spent 1/3 of my life waiting on finally lands in my lap. Not as the most enchanting stripper you’ve ever seen, but as the gangrenous, shit encrusted, vomiting homeless person that even the C.H.U.D.s want nothing to do with!
Alright, I admit that was excessive hyperbole for the sake of churning the cookies of as many of you as possible before ending this episode. Now, before those technicolor yawn bombs go active, I bid you all adieu!
Not a title card, but an endorsement that you should see No Evil 2: Evilectric Boogaloo.
Their names are Isaac and Fig.
“We’re such a cute couple. Too bad one or both of us will probably not have a functioning circulatory system by the end of the night.”
That moment you realize the only reason a hot girl’s been flirting with you for the last few hours is because she thinks you’re Seth Rogen.
The sad sad image of a middle-aged man on the phone with Hot Topic customer service because the lip ring he ordered doesn’t make him look as young as he’d hoped.
Holden REALLY wishing he still had physical sensation from the waist down… and remembering that his name is “Holden”.
“Trent, I really liked it better when I thought you were just another hipster dressing like a Turkish refugee, not an actual Turkish refugee hipster. Your balls smell like Tabbouleh and Patchouli. It’s gross.”
The awkward moment at a party when you look into a girl’s eyes and see so much crazy behind them that you fear you may not make it home tonight with your genitals intact.
Good thing I’ve already got hairy palms and limited vision, or this screenshot could cause me a lot of problems…
Cue the cries of “ZOINKS!”, turn on the Monkees music, and prepare for the chase scene through a hallway of doors that inexplicably warp space behind them in 3, 2, 1…
Sorry to be the one to break this to ya, Jake, but you’re gonna need more than a Sammy Davis Special for that!
Looks like somebody bought out everything at Dr. Giggles’ yard sale.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the worst lit hospital since Halloween II.
It’s no hockey mask, but… well… as I just said, it’s no hockey mask!
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Glenn “WWE’s Kane” Jacobs , Christina “Welcome to the Dollhouse” Vidal , Steven “Salem’s Lot (2004)” Vidler
Director: Gregory “Dead Man Walking (no, not that one)” Dark
Writer: Dan “SmackDown!” Madigan
Sequel: See No Evil 2
I was watching Dollman the other day for the first time in what had to have been at least a decade. You know who plays the villain in that movie? Jackie Earle Haley. Yep. Fucking Rorschache. Also known as the unfunny, sinister retard version of Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot I skidmarked all over a few months ago on this very site. And thus, I have scrounged up a tiny thread of reasoning for including this completely random information in this review! Progress! You know what’s NOT progress? Candy Corn Skittles. Uggh. Quick marketing research survey: would a better name for those little abominations be “Shittles” or “Skattles”? Please leave your answer in the comments section located at the bottom of this review. You will not be compensated for your time.
What was I doing again? Oh yeah, the review. Every once in a while a movie comes along that surprises the crap out of you with just how unassuming, yet spleen jarringly awesome it turns out to be! See No Evil is not one of these, but let’s just say that lowered expectations make for a much smoother ride down the bumpy back roads of writing opinion pieces on bad movies.
The time was 2006: World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the WWF for those of you who missed out on the whole World Wildlife Fund lawsuit many, many moons ago) had decided to get into making their own movies. With former company carrying beefcake charisma machine Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson making a sizable name for himself as the new go-to “action hunk with perfect teeth” for Hollywood, WWE head honcho Vince McMahon decided it was time to take preventive measures, lest any more of his potential bank makers jumped ship for the high glamour, big pay-off, easy living life of the Tinsel Town set. Wanting to get as much company exposure as possible without risking the loss of his contractual work horses, Vinnie Mac started a movie production division of World Wrestling Entertainment that would solely feature WWE contracted performers in the top billing. Not only was the hope to get the logo out there into the mainstream again (something the company’s been struggling to do since the booming days of “Austin 3:16”), but to possibly placate the locker room prima donnas’ egos. Or just drive their so-called “good names” deep into the Hollywood sewage so as to make them box office poison, killing their sad little dreams of starring in summer blockbusters. Either way, WWE Films is still manufacturing crap like a Play-Doh Fun Factory full of feces these many years later. But today we harken back to its original dipping of toes into the modestly budgeted movie hot tub. Embracing the “horror movies can be made for cheap and are guaranteed to turn a profit” commandment of the movie industry, it’s a simple little slasher called See No Evil. Not to be confused with the 1971 movie where a blind Mia Farrow is stalked by a maniac, though they do share both the visual impairment and deranged murderer themes.
Instead of going with a big name wrestler who already had some mainstream exposure (say “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Paul “Triple H” Levesque who had slightly-more-than-minor roles in Adam Sandler’s The Longest Yard remake and Wesley Snipes threequel Blade: Trinity respectively), the WWE decided to play it safe and push ahead with a lesser known (by the mainstream) performer by the name of Glenn Jacobs. The staunchly libertarian Jacobs is better known by most as his in-ring alter ego “Kane”. For the uninitiated, Special K’s origin goes a little something like this: he’s a former full-body burn victim (amazing the advancements medical science has made with skin-grafting over the last 20 years) and the not-so-little brother to fellow WWE horror show phenom character The Undertaker; who himself played the role of an intergalactic bounty hunter with the voice of a small child in the Hulk Hogan vehicle Suburban Commando. I will never get the sound of “You’re a dead man Ramsey!” out of my brain for the extent of my deitic existence… Anyway, Kane came to the then-WWF to take revenge on his older brother, who he blamed for the fire that both scarred him for life and took the lives of their parents. As “South Park” so succinctly put it years ago (long after my Evil Dead Bride had been saying the same forever), this is the male soap opera.
Jacobs aside, the rest of the movie’s players aren’t household names, but neither are they unknowns fresh off of squeegeeing the casting couch. No, this cast is pretty much made up of “Hey, wasn’t she in the Freaky Friday remake?”, “Wasn’t he that guy in Stella Got Her Groove Back?” and “Is she Jesse Ventura’s daughter?!” types. By the way, for those keeping score at home, the answers to the previous queries are “yes”, “yes”, and “no”.
So, we’ve got a gang of never-weres headed by a guy who throws around half-naked men for a living. Not exactly a good start on the road to financial success for the hitchhiking WWE Films’ first feature. Will they have better luck using their thumb to flag down a ride to success? Well, when your other thumb consists of a writer whose sole experience is penning stories for televised professional wrestling programs and a director whose resume lays in the realms of music videos and spank-your-crank skinema (including such wank classics as Between the Cheeks , The Devil In Miss Jones 3 and a personal favorite from my barely pubescent days: Deep Inside Vanessa Del Rio), you’re setting yourself up for critical and box office suicide. Or maybe not.
Yes, it’s taken me an inordinate amount of time and space to get to the actual movie itself, but now let’s shed the formalities, do like they do on Mud Wrestling Night at Big Earl’s Drunk Hole, and get straight to the down ‘n’ dirty! One sunny afternoon, a pair of cops investigating a house upon reports from neighbors of screaming heard inside, discover a borderline Texas Chainsaw residence. If Leatherface had become a Born Again and gotten his interior decorating certification through ICS’s “At Home” program, this place would’ve been his first paying job. Thank you, Sally Struthers!
Inside the disturbing domicile, the fuzz find a young woman whose peepers have been jeepered right outta their head holes. One of the blue boys gets his face suddenly bisected via ax courtesy of a hulking, inbred looking sort of man, while his partner (Steven Vidler, who resembles the poor man’s Aaron Eckhart in this scene) is relegated to a life of having no need for left handed gloves. Despite losing a good 35% of his other arm though, the pig keeps his cool and pops a cap through the creep’s eyeball with his good arm, sending the mongoloid packing. Impressive. He must’ve studied at the same sharpshooter program Laurie Strode did that allowed her similar perfectly placed shots on both of her big bro’s visual receptors at the end of Halloween II. Our hero (who we come to know as Sgt. Frank Williams) manages to call in the emergency and keep from bleeding to death long enough for help to arrive…several hours later apparently, given that it’s well into the night by the time he and the man mountain’s victim are carried away from the scene.
Said man mountain is Jacob Goodnight (Glenn Jacobs), a name that’s never uttered in the movie, because some dipshit edited out the scene where Williams tell us this necessary tidbit! Like most movie slashers built like brick shithouses, Jake had a rough childhood. As if having a name that sounds like it belongs to an Amish vampire hunter weren’t bad enough, his crazy conservative religious fanatic of a mother had a thing for punishing his young male masturbatory efforts by locking him up in an animal cage, beating him repeatedly, and constantly demeaning him in an effort to make him a good little Christian soldier for the Falwell militia. Momma Goodnight was the type of matriarch that makes Norma Bates a strong contender for Mother of the Year… well, a strong contender for one of those “Best Mom Ever” coffee mugs… well, one of those “Not the Worst Mom Ever” shot glasses… maybe.
There was a heavy emphasis on the visually alluring form that Satan’s influence likes to take (in other words, “attractive women are evil!”) coupled with the message that the eyes themselves are the ground zero for sinful acts (I guess?), hence why Jake grew up to be a demented serial killer whose calling card was leaving his victims sans soul windows. Also, being forced to listen to “Jesus Loves the Little Children” on an infinite loop would turn anyone into a serial killer. Naturally, following his run-in with Sgt. Williams, Goodnight’s body was never found. Somewhere out there is a demented goliath with a bullet in his head and revenge in his belly, so you can bet a new bevy of blinded victims will be littering some poor community sooner or later. In fact…
“4 Years Later…” Sgt. Frank has been reduced to a plastic handed corrections officer, babysitting society’s teenage no-goodniks at the local juvenile confinement facility. Insert the generic hip-hop “heartbeat of the mean streets” music here. One such group has been deemed worthy of a shaving of their juvie sentences by a month if they do a weekend of community service under the supervision of our handicapable hero. In this case, the youngsters are tasked with cleaning up the burned out remnants of a luxurious old hotel so the local Historical Society can turn it into a homeless shelter. Juvenile delinquents are nothing if not an exploitable source of free labor! And because nothing promotes good behavior between young hoodlum males exploding with angst and hormones like grouping them into a social engineering sleepover with some equally non-law abiding female ne’er-do-wells, let’s make it a co-ed outing! Besides, sausage parties aren’t good for a slasher movie’s bottom line. There needs to at least be the potential for 24 year old boobs pretending to be 17 year old boobs to be shown on screen to keep the horn dogs wagging their tails.
If you’re still not 100% sure of the types of teen fodder we’re looking at here, think of one of those movies where the hard life city kids turn their lives around thanks to a loveable yet bumbling, camp counselor/youth league football couch who never gives up them. Only the Jim Varney/Rob Schneider/Cuba Gooding Jr. character’s replaced with a reject from The Hills Have Eyes. In other words, we’ve got your standard Rainbow Coalition of shoplifters, purse snatchers, pot heads, car thieves, wearers of miss-matched socks, “political activists”, and kids who stabbed their stepfathers to death after years of bad touches. They’re cookie cutter in the litany of slasher movie stereotype fodder. You’ve seen their types a million times, and nobody’s even bothering to try giving these characters depth anymore because we all know they have no real value beyond being turned into hamburger through graphic forms of violence. Speaking of cliches, to further the movie stereotype of people in charge making nothing but bad decisions, one of the boys named Mike (Luke Pegler), happens to be the racist, violent, drug dealing, ex-domestic abuser/pimp of one of the girls: Kira (Samantha Noble). I see no risk of conflict here. Smooth sailing for days… until that big inbred iceberg inevitably sinks this Titanic-in-the-making.
Meanwhile, Frank shows us he’s not a huge dick about protocol when he flirts it up with the girls’ handler (who may or may not be engaged) and lets the young ladies suck on stolen cancer sticks when they’re on break without doing the skeez thing and trying to make them tug on his Slim Jim for the privilege. SNAP INTO IT! To try and shoehorn another dimension into this deli-sliced thin tale, while everybody else is trying to hook up and avoid/engage in other uncomfortable social interactions, two of the boys go in search of a safe packed with money lost somewhere in the burnt out structure. The story goes that the safe is the legacy of the hotel’s creator and previous owner, Mr. Blackwell, who left it behind upon his death in the 1971 fire that claimed the building. Blackwell was said to be an eccentric Howard Hughes type to boot, so naturally the hotel is rumored to be littered with secret passageways and two- way mirrors and all that haunted funhouse bullshit. Perfect place for a homicidal maniac that was supposedly killed 4 years prior to hang his hat, right? And by “hat”, I mean the severed heads of his victims, whose eyes he removes to turn them into an affordable way of dodging the potential embarrassment of ordering a Fleshlight™ from Amazon…
Oh yeah. I took it there, Pvt Pyle. Now wipe that stupid grin off your face, stop sucking on that garden hose, and sound off like you’ve got a pair!
After our 30 minutes of mandatory “meet the victims” establishing scenes, the slaughterhouse goes live and the bodies begin to pile. From here on out it’s pretty standard murder music: the monstrous amateur eye surgeon plies his hobby on the sinners, adding a good half-dozen notches to the handle of his meathook. Well, more like five and a half notches, since he can only get an assist credit on one gal. A pack of stray dogs did the bulk of the work on her. And since the only cell phone in the place was stolen by one of the last two people to find out there’s a bloodthirsty colossus on the loose, nobody can call the proper authorities to rescue their asses. No one is safe from Jake’s wrath, as young and old alike are taken out with lumpy’s meathook-on-a-chain (that’s pushed as his signature kill utensil) and numerous painful looking eye gouges/pluckings. Makes me wonder if writer Dan Madigan didn’t take at least one happy memory away from his assumed viewing of Gigli.
Back to the cell phone thing for a side note, it’s too bad Jake-Off couldn’t have gotten a job as a theater usher. Given what he does to said victim with her phone, I’d love to see him enforcing the “please turn off your cell” suggestion before the features play. It’s one request that SHOULD be turned into a law punishable by a cruel and unusual death sentence!
Margaret, the elderly lady who organized this whole clean-up project, eventually reveals herself to be Jake’s mom (one of those spoilers that’s barely a spoiler because it’s practically rubbing against your face the entire time), and she’s really got her granny panties full of fiberglass over the way her baby boy has kept Kira as a pet (due to his reverence for her big dumb Christianity themed back tats). To teach her goon spawn a lesson, Marge threatens to pop the gal with Williams’ recovered revolver. After 30 or so years of being cockblocked by Momma, though, Jake’s ready to throw off the shackles keeping his testicles cobalt tinted, and impales the old broad’s face on a spike! Good thing he never actually gets his dick wet though, because according to director Dark, Vince McMahon (who was an executive producer) reportedly wanted the towering meathead to be swinging one disturbingly huge tailsplitter (a full yard long, to be exact!) between his grimy thighs. I’ll let that horse cock sized image of depravity spit-roast your psyche for a money shot moment. Move on to the next paragraph once the little red light *dings* and your mind has been properly fried.
Oddly enough, Mike, the least redeeming of the cast of miscreants is the hero of the ordeal, as the racist, drug dealing, white trash pimp returns to save Kira and her girlfriend Christine (Christina Vidal) from the lumpy lumbering lout. Jake is beaten with a lead pipe like Mikey Myers getting wailed on by Paul Rudd at the end of Halloween 6 until the brute’s sent careening out of a 7th story window to his comical and ironical demise. Think Homer Simpson falling down Springfield Gorge, only with a length of plumbing in his face. And when he hits the bottom? A mangy stray dog uses his eye socket as a puppy urinal. It’s pretty much the highest high note you could hope for a movie like this to end on. Fuck, it’s a better ending than any of those big budget studio slasher re-hashers ever gave us!
See No Evil tries to be at least a little creative, even if just in regards to its antagonist. For instance, ever wonder how those celluloid slashers seem to have no problem finding their victims, even in a big place like, say, a 12-story hotel? In this case, Lumpy McEye-stab has tied lengths of wire to various items throughout the hotel (things dirty sinners would use, like beds) that all connect back to an old-fashioned service bell set-up. As such, every time someone sets off one of these bells, it’s labeled for whichever part of the hotel the victim-to-be is in. Hey, it’s pretty friggin’ clever in lieu of a Sliver Special (i.e. security cameras) if you ask me, so this works as a big pointy check mark in the “Positives” column. Hell, it’s a similar tact that was used by Re-Jason in the Friday the 13th remake 3 years later to help him patrol his Crystal Lake stomping grounds, so somebody else obviously agreed with me.
The gore is graphic, squishy, and passable for the most part, with many of the killings inducing the occasional cringe or wince of pity pain from yours truly. The final resting place for the cell phone is particularly satisfying. It’s painful, justified, left me with a warm glow in the pit of my torso, and put a soft smile across my chapped lips. Though this is a nice little change of pace from the plucking of peepers, there is a slight problem with the cell phone death scene, as it doesn’t involve the destruction of the victim’s oculars in any way. We already established that Jakey-Pooh’s got OCD for mutilating eyeballs, so why does he choose to break character for this one death? Could it be that he hates loud cell phone users enough to break his murderous mantra momentarily in the name of semi-ironic violent retribution, or am I just being a nitpicking shithead? To paraphrase an old adage: shitty is in the eye of the beholder.
Commenting on the caliber of acting in a slasher flick is like criticizing the thespians in a third grade Christmas play, so let’s just get to the man behind the camera. Though I can’t speak for Dark’s prior work, his aesthetics make it obvious that he came from music videos. Everything looks dirty and dreary and swimming in amber while the camera jumps around frantically and things tremor violently from time to time like the whole thing was filmed on top of a fault line for a Nine Inch Nails vid. Though many will thumb their big critical noses at this type of generic “frantic” movie making, I hold no such grudge. I wouldn’t call Darky or his final product “genius” in any definition of the word (especially since two of those definitions are for a Roman guardian spirit and a Muslim genie), but I do call it a half way entertaining way to butcher off a couple of hours from your day while waiting for something better to happen. All in all, there are a hundred-thousand worse ways I could think of to spend your time and money and a few hundred of them are sitting on the shelves of my DVD collection right now.
I took 8 years for a See No Evil sequel to happen (review incoming… like, next episode… HINT HINT), and that’s not really a surprise, given how pretty much no one saw/remembers the original. SNE managed to double its budget at the box office though, so even without setting the target audience on fire, it was a success for WWE Films’ maiden voyage. Glenn Jacobs didn’t become the next Dwayne Johnson (or even Kane Hodder), nor did Dark become the next David Fincher, but I stand firm (well, firm enough) behind my belief that See No Evil deserves better than to be lost in the bowels of slasher obscurity the way it has been. It’s a simple-yet-solid stab at an original “slash & scare” that deserves a rental/download by any appreciator of brutal bloodletting bad men the likes of Misters Myers and Voorhees.
One last happy thing to say about Glenn: before he became Kane, he had a far more hilarious other-self by the name of Isaac Yankem D.D.S. whose whole gimmick was that of a large and menacing dentist with a taste for pain and inflicting the kind of dental work that would make Dr. Alan Feinstone (a.k.a. The Dentist) take notes. Check out the following video for a taste of what Dr. Yankenstein had in store for his opponents, then come back here next time for some more visually challenged antics in The Tomb of Anubis! Keep fucking that chicken, kids!
Lionsgate and WWE Films? The hallmarks of quality. Truly a match made in Hell… not to be confused with the main event of Summerslam 1991… wrestling nerd humor.
Thank you, Thing. You’re always there when we need a hand. *rimshot*
Photo taken during JCPenney Portrait Studio’s 2003 Labor Day Sale. They were such a cute couple.
Production still from the new prequel movie, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Pups. [Disclaimer: in no way associated with Quentin Tarantino].
Are you sure TL Hopper wasn’t supposed to play the villain of this movie?… more wrestling nerd humor.
AH! HE’S A VAMPIRE! HE’S ONE OF THOSE DREAMY VAMPIRES!
For those who want to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but can’t afford a day at Disney’s California Adventure, just head down to Big Zeke’s Discount Amusements in downtown Stockton! Get the real deal feel of what it’s like to be trapped in a falling elevator as Big Zeke himself gives you the (possibly final) thrill ride of your life! Cash only.
Actress Rachel Taylor proves, with this single screenshot, that she has all the range of higher paid “actress” Megan Fox. Possibly more. Probably more.
Do all women shower like this? I mean, do they only buy shower curtains so they have something to hide the unsightly soap scum when company comes over?!
On the back of Samantha Noble’s 8×10 headshots, it says “For when you can’t afford to pay Hillary Swank to do a nude scene”.
“I know having a giant meat hook stabbed into my trapezius should hurt like hell, but DAMN is it loosening up some deep stress tension! Don’t stop!”
“Nothing personal, kids. But, as a white man in a uniform, I’m afraid I have to place you under arrest for suspicion of having brown skin. I will also have to assault and possibly shoot you a few times whether you resist or not. Sorry, but it’s protocol.”
In that brief moment, Craig T. Nelson regretted every fishing trip he’d taken in his life… which was flashing before his eyes.
The truth behind what really happened to Katie Vick… sorry, last wrestling nerd humor. I promise.
I know this looks bad, but clearly he’s just helping adjust her jaw due to an obvious case of TMJ Syndrome.
Teenage Vinnie Jones’ mom tries to get him to eat some traditionally horrifying British cuisine. No doubt while saying something about not having pudding if he won’t eat his meat.
Not all that shocking, really. My grandma has to pull her piece anytime some jag-off cuts in front of her at the pharmacy.
What Republicans think Obamacare does to your grandma when she turns 70.
Okay, I know you want your shot to count, and I know you didn’t take lessons at the Laurie Strode Sharpshooting School, but I don’t think you need to get that close to somebody to score a headshot.
Kids? This is why, when your parent/teacher/doctor/dominatrix tells you “don’t pick at it”, you DON’T FUCKING PICK AT IT!
Anubis will return next time in