Feature 68 – Pizza (2012)

or “Life of Pi(e)”

Featuring: Vijay “Sundara” Sethupathi , Namya “Chocolate” Nambeeshan , Aadukalam “Moogamudi” Naren

Writer & Director: Karthik “Jigarthanda” Subbaraj

Origin: India

Sequel: Pizza II: Villa

Review_____

“The most dangerous ghosts in the world are still alive.”

Maybe it’s just the casual racist in me (“casual” as opposed to “malicious”, so it’s okay), but I wouldn’t have expected a movie from India to be called “Pizza”. If anything, I would’ve thought something like “Curry” or “Vindaloo” or “Tikka Masala” to be more apropos. Oh well. So goes my Western ignorance. Speaking of India…

We all know about the rampant sacred cows strolling the streets carefree and careless, or the infamous “people piss and shit anywhere and everywhere” stuff, but did you know India is the largest democracy in the world? Well, it is. Did you know it exists in its own time zone? Well, it does. Did you know it’s the second most populous country in the world, but only the seventh largest? Yeah, if you thought Mexican stereotypes were the champions of “clown car apartment housing”, then you’ve clearly never been to India… not that I have either, but, shut up. In 2001, a Hindu religious festival called the Kumbh Mela (“Grand Pitcher Festival”) had 60 million attendees, breaking the world record for “largest gathering”! You could see the massive get-together FROM SPACE.

India is also the birthplace of chess (or “nerd checkers” if you’re the type whose respiration is an entirely oral process…and you didn’t understand what the Fuddruckers I just said there), spun and woven cotton, the decimal system, use of zero as a number, plastic surgery, Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi, and the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It’s also the largest producer of dried beans, bananas, milk, and tea. The Himalaya Mountains (which are growing 2.5 centimeters a year!) and the Taj Mahal call the country home, as do the temples of Khajuraho. A major tourism magnet, said temples are (in)famous for their explicit erotic sculptures that portray a litany of sexual acts, including some that portray beastiality. Though I’ve never been, as a half-man half-dog god, I know where I’m going on my next honeymoon!

Now for some *dramatic pause* tales statistics from the dark side (cue the “Tales From the Darkside” theme). India has the world’s largest murder rate, at over 40,000 per year. Sounds scary, but when you’re the second largest population in the world, 40k is a drop in the bucket (of blood). As for how all those bodies are disposed of, in order to avoid polluting the air, ground, and water, a common practice is to leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence”, where vultures feed on the decaying remains. The bones left behind are then swept into deep wells at the center of the structures. Somebody needs to make a fucking slasher movie set in one of these corpse campaniles toot damn sweet!

In 2012, there were as many as 7 million abortions performed in India. That number doesn’t disturb me, as I whole-heartedly advocate for abortions. Not just because of the whole “pro-choice” thing, but because I’ve been all in on the “pro-death” kick since high school! I endorse free rides on the coat hanger express for every baby-to-be! Sure, you could be snuffing out the person who unites the world under a banner of peace, but you could also be saving the world from the instigator of a global holocaust. Think about it. Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not the 7 million abortions that I don’t like, it’s the “one woman every two hours” death statistic that comes with 65% of these being done in unauthorized, unsanitary facilities that bums me out. That and India’s unfortunately high rate of female fetus abortions at that. Silver lining? Maybe after a few generations of “gendercide” they’ll make a dent in their overpopulation. We see how that’s working out for China.

Okay. Okay. Enough killing the mood. I won’t even get into the “Delhi Belly” epidemic (hint: it’s a mudslide of a topic). Let’s just scrounge the couch cushions for loose change and see if we can’t afford to order some Pizza!

For anyone wondering if this is a musical, given its birth nation, it is not. Musicals are Bollywood stuff. Pizza was an independent movie, so no singing and dancing to be had here. It was a massive success for its meager origins too, and in the 3 short years since its release, it’s spawned an immediate follow-up and several remakes, including (reportedly) an American knock-off on the horizon! More on that later though. For now, let’s have a tale of life, love, tragedy, torment, and Chicken Supreme pizzas.

Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Anu (Namy Nambeeshan) are a young, carefree couple who haven’t yet been together long enough to want to kill each other every minute they’re in the same room. Instead, they just nag and pick at each other. Ah, young love. Living in a small apartment, she works on writing a ghost novel and watches horror movies all day (my kinda lady!) while he’s a delivery boy at a pizza place called PitStop. I say “boy”, but not in the literal sense (or the racist sense…nor the Tall Man sense), as this dude’s got a headstart on some serious facial mane. The pair’s comfortable little existence living off of Anu’s passed parents’ insurance pitance is plunging toward its own inevitable demise, because she just found out she’s hosting a parasite. Or “pregnant”, as such an infection is more commonly referred to by those less infanticidal than myself. After those abortions stats I listed earlier, you can understand why she’s so upset by the prospect when she breaks the news to her husband. That’s a piping hot bowl of scary curry for any unprepared pair to be presented with, let alone a pair already desperately clinging to the poverty line.

‘Nu insists on nurturing the uterine leech, despite her own misgivings about their being able to handle the responsibility. Rather than throw her down some stairs (I think it’s a few months early for that anyway) or spend the rest of his life on the run from the child support police, Mike makes Spike Lee proud and does the right thing – he stays. Not only does he stay, but they agree that they need to be married before this hell-beast is torn screaming from her spawn hole. Since they’re light on rupees, the two decide to just have an at-home ceremony alone sans friends or any sort of officiate, where they exchange rings and half-assed vows (does that count for a legally binding union in India?!), agreeing to save up their money for a nice party later on. Their DIY nuptials are followed by a romantic montage of sitcom-esque “couple moments” they share. Cue the canned audience “awwwww” sound.

After telling everyone at work the big news, Mike’s sent to his boss Shanmugam’s (Aadukalam Naren) house to deliver some paperwork to Mrs. Boss. When he rings the bell though, their daughter Periya answers the door…while screaming and flailing and generally freaking the fuck out! Several people take her away while Mrs. Boss tells Mikey to go fetch her mustachioed mate toot sweet. Per may be feral, or she may just have mistaken our brotagonist for a Jehovah’s Witness or a political advocate. You can only take those bung weasels banging on your door so much before your switch flips to “I’m going to beat your head in with a claw hammer!” Turns out it’s none of this though, because the maniacal teen is actually possessed by a spirit calling itself “Nithya”! Yep, she’s doin’ the Regan MacNeil Bop. Actually, given the setting, I guess it’d be more on point to call it the Regan MacNeil Kuchipudi…not to be confused with the Regan MacNeil cooch, which is where Linda Blair went to 3rd base with her lord and savior.

Boss’s spiritual guru Raghavan (Karunakaran – that’s it, just one name on this guy) takes over and Mikey hangs around to watch the freakshow until Periya gives him a death stare and spooks his balls off. Raggy insists that the squatter spirit is doing this out of revenge for some unknown slight that Shan must’ve committed against the ghost in life, but boss man denies any wrong doing…except that he keeps getting this look on his face like he’s clearly lying and probably ran this Nithya girl over with his car or never paid her for some Girl Scout cookies he ordered. He sends Michael home, asking that he not tell anyone about what he’s just seen. Naturally, he runs home and tells Anu all about it. Great. Don’t ever give this guy incriminating evidence of any kind, cuz his lips are looser than a hypertrophic labia!

Google it. Or don’t, if you’re a pussy. Or are afraid of pussy. Pussy.

Anu doesn’t exactly feel bad for her mate, though. Not because she lacks sympathy, but because chicks dig irony and she just told his skeptic ass that he was going to have his face-to-face with the supernatural someday. Thus, she spends the next few days “BOO!”ing the tar out of the guy at every opportunity as a torturous “I told you so”. You know your spouse really cares about you when they mock your trauma by abusing your PTSD. Of all the times to hate it when your partner’s right, this is probably one of the worst. Right up there with “I don’t think you should have given that person your social security number.” and “You shouldn’t go up on the roof to mess with the satellite dish, because you’ll probably break your neck.” People, learn to listen to your significant other. Especially if you have a blighted track record of personal decision making on par with the father of an animated sitcom family.

One night, before he’s sent out on a delivery, Shanny requests that Mike stop by Chateu le Boss again, this time to drop off a box of candy. Despite his not-as-reassuring-as-he-intended-it-to-be promise of “My daughter will not kill you!”, our protagonist is hesitant to go and I can’t really blame him. Alas, it’s one of those boss requests that comes with the not-so-under undercurrent of “Do this or I will punish you severely as my employee.”, so he reluctantly gives in and undertakes the undertaking. FF>> to later that night, as Shanmugam shows up at PitStop to the sight of his trio of employees bloodied and battered (as in beaten up, not fried in batter)! According to Heckle and Jeckle (I forget their actual names), their ass thumping was the work of Michael, who sits inside the store in a panicked daze. When Boss demands an explanation, the haunted hero relates his scary story to tell in the dark.

When he delivered the pizza, the lady of the bungalow invited him in while she rifled through her purse for the money (note to all readers: don’t be a shithead – have your payment and tip prepared before your delivery person arrives!), only to find out that Mikey didn’t bring enough change for the large denomination note she attempted to pay with. She excused herself upstairs to find a smaller bill and, well, if our hero thought this life was turning into a “Tales From the Crypt” episode before, it looks like Ganesh had put in a full season order for him!

I won’t open my jacket and expose all of the goodies, but Michael ended up trapped in what turned out to be a spook shack. The walls were covered with weird etchings of terrified people’s faces close-up, specifically their big creepy eyes. Mike was menaced for an extended period of time by forces beyond his comprehension, narrowly escaping with his life. And no bitching about how that last bit’s a spoiler, because he obviously escaped if he made it back to the shop to tell the tale! The experience leaves him a disturbed man hanging on to the barest threads of sanity and that’s only the beginning of his downward spiral…technically it’s the first 75% of the movie and not just the beginning, given that there’s still half an hour left after, but you get my (Tokyo) drift.

The rest of the movie is… hmm…it’s really hard to refer to it without…GAH! Alright, I’ll tell you this much – Karthik Subbaraj pulls a better M. Night Shayamalan than his fellow countryman has managed to pull off himself since Unbreakable. It’s great. It took me by surprise. It was unexpected and well explained. But then he takes it too far and ruins it. If Karthik were an Olympic gymnast, Pizza would be his gold medal floor routine that ends, sadly, with him landing on his foot sideways, rolling his ankle and getting the silver instead. If he were a concert pianist, Pizza would be his opus at Carnegie Hall that wraps with him letting out the loudest, wettest shart as he’s taking his bow for applause.

In case I’m being too subtle, allow me to Big Cass for a moment and “SPELL IT OUT FOR YA!” – I do not like the ending of this movie. To be more specific, the last 3 minutes. I suggest getting yourself a copy and seeing it for yourself, as it’s a decent piece of Indian indie filmmaking. If you’re overwhelmed by curiosity but don’t have the will to hunt it down, just read the Wikipedia entry that unbags the proverbial cat instead. That whole site is spoiler central. Did you know that the Nazis lost World War II?! Not cool, Wikipedia.

As mentioned before, Pizza was such a success that two remakes have already been released with additional ones being prepped for delivery down the line. One of them, 2014’s Pizza in 3D, made its way onto my hard drive and was actually the first of these features that I watched! I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t the original movie, and thought the release year was a typo, while the completely different character names from the IMDB listing I was referencing were personally chalked up to a bad set of amateur subtitles. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before publishing the review and managed to not betray just how much of a dumbass I am to all of you. Hooray.

Since I won’t be doing an episode for Pizza in 3D, as they’re too similar to warrant stretching a full review for the remake, let’s see how said reproduction compares to the autochthonous article. Though they follow the same base plot (while changing the characters’ names), there are moderate changes that generally improve upon the recipe. Some of the fat is trimmed down (especially from Michael/Kunal’s time trapped in the house), both improving the flow and giving us a more manageable 107min runtime down from the clunkier 124min. The marriage theme is ousted since our young lovers are already bonded in holy matrimony from the start, and the focus is shifted more to the pregnancy. In fact, the overarching theme of the remake is pregnancy, as the possessed character is no longer the boss’s daughter, but a pregnant Mrs. Boss! On top of that, when our hero makes his delivery to the haunted bungalow, the woman there is also pregnant, making the moral of the story for that version, “People in India have apparently never heard of ‘pulling out’!”

The structure of the narrative gets a few slight but very important changes as well, but you’d have to know the ending to understand why so I won’t spill the beans further. Anu/Nikki’s role in things post-haunted house is changed slightly, but it’s in such a way that it makes for some radical remodeling of the second half of the flick. Remake turned up the horror show element too, using more gruesome imagery and makeup to make the supernatural stuff less realistic and more fantastic. Speaking of “fantastic”, on the topic of remake’s lead actor Akshay Oberoi? No homo, but he’s got some damn pretty eyes…okay, maybe a little homo? But damn it, dude looks like he got poked in the oculars by King Midas! Dreamy bastard. ANYWAY!

The last modification I’m gonna shine a light on is the music. Though the 2012 soundtrack is good to great, 2014 wins hands down solely based on its title theme alone! It’s enjoyably silly, opening on the appropriately punny line “All we are saying is give pizza a chance”. Brilliant. The entire front credits sequence is something not to be missed, either! A “not terrible but not great” 3D computer animated sequence that follows a ghostbusting delivery boy as he action heros through traffic, dodges monsters, and exorcises spooks with spring loaded pies. Clearly not the hero the song credits him as being though, otherwise he would’ve gotten said pizzas to the fucking customers rather than launching them at specters! The whole thing’s cheesier than a party-size triple stacked twelve-cheese heart-exploder deluxe from Benito Mussacheesy’s Pizza Regime at the corner of Taft Street and DeLuise Avenue. I ate an entire slice once on a dare! Almost choked to death getting it down and I was still shitting string cheese two weeks later.

Okay, maybe my comparison was a tad over spiced with hyperbole, but my eyeballs still felt a little constipated after watching that opening. At least it was fun though.

In the end, Pizza is the Evil Dead to Pizza in 3D‘s Evil Dead 2. Though 3D wasn’t made by Subbaraj, it feels like the product of a scenario where Subbs wanted to go back and make changes to his original product and had more money to fund it. Again, that’s NOT what happened, but it still feels like it could have. If there was some way to combine the two into one great movie, well, it’d still be stuck with that nasal nugget of a finale, but would’ve at least pulled an aggregate score of 4 hearts. Separately though? Three will cover it.

By the way, if you didn’t finish reading this review in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. We strive for customer satisfaction here at TheTombOfAnubis.com, mainly because I’d rather lose a couple bucks on free reviews than have to put up with your bullshit. “But aren’t all these reviews free to read anyway?” you ask? To which I say, take this crust and stuff it!

See you kids at Thanksgiving for my annual Turkey Day review! After whiles, crocodiles.

Moral of the Story: For everyone there will come a moment in life that makes the unbelievable, believable. Your moment is coming. Mine? It’ll be the day we get a new “Captain N: the Game Master” cartoon…

Screenshots_____

“Damn it! You better not have dragged me into a gods damned found footage horror movie, you dick!”


“The doctor told me to get plenty of Vitamin C. You know what has Vitamin C? Orange juice. You know what has orange juice? Mimosas. Now shut up and go buy more champagne!”


“Come on Raheed, we told you on your second day here that the hairnet requirement was just a joke. It’s been THREE YEARS! Take it off!”


“I love you dear, but if you don’t do something about your halitosis, I’m going to have to take care of it myself.”


“I told you what would happen if you didn’t fix your bad breath! Now open your mouth! LET THE REFRESHING MINT FLAVOR MURDER YOUR DISGUSTING MOUTH BACTERIA!”
(This is called “Scope boarding”)


I see Tom Savini decided to grow a sick Stalin mustache. Looks good on him.


I know how she feels. That’s how my review notes always end up looking after I watch an Asylum movie.


“I’m serious, my throat REALLY hurts! Would you just look in and see if it’s red and spotty? It could be Strep!”


This one’s called “No Child Left Behind?” from the artist’s “Republican in the White House” series.


Ketchup on pizza?! This is a horror movie!


Uh-oh. Looks like the camera guy came to work drunk again. He’s been having a hard time of it lately, but you can only do so many re-shoots before ya gotta shit can him.


Uhm… is this racist? I mean, in America this would definitely be cause for pause, but is it okay in India? I don’t have a clue, so let’s just move on!


Nasty. I bet she’s got “Made in Germany” stamped on the bottom of one of her feet. I wonder if she comes with a tube of that stuff or if you have to supply your own.


“Are you the one who wrote ‘Death to Pigs’ on the walls?! What did you use to write that, blood?! I ask because my wife and I want to re-paint and I think that color would look really nice for the walls of our bathroom!”


“Man, those Pizza Hut guys came at us out of nowhere! But we whipped ’em, didn’t we? Didn’t we… didn’t we whip ’em? WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”


Why is there a cardboard cut out of Hitler in a bowler hat yawning in their store?! What niche demographic are they marketing to, narcoleptic hipster anti-Semites!? That’s a great name for a punk band, by the way.”


Boss getting his rocks off to his favorite types of internet porn – restaurant supply store liquidation sales.


For the love of Isis’s nipple rings, why is this little making the blow job face?! GAH! HAVE I STILL BEEN IN THAILAND THIS WHOLE TIME?! GET ME OFF THIS CONTINENT!

———————————————————
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Anubis will return next time in
“Shittin’ On the Schlock of the Bay”

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Feature 45 – Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies (2014)

or “The Wrestling Dead”

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

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

Origin: USA

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

Review_____

“Jobbers die, NOT main eventers!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thanks, Adnan!

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

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

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

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

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

SHARTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots_____

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


Looks like somebody just discovered Photoshop’s font options.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Looks like somebody wandered away from the Nightmare City set.


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


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

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

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

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

Feature 23 – Cthulhu (2007)

or “Even Death May Die”

Featuring: Jason “Act of Valor” Cottle , Scott “Milk” Green , Tori “Beverly Hills 90210” Spelling

Director:  Dan Gildark

Writers: Dan Gildark , Grant Cogswell , Douglas Light , Jason Cottle

Origin:  USA

Review_____

“Don’t let those salty bitches get their hands on it!”

I like H.P. Lovecraft. I can’t say I “love” him, not just because it’d be a cheese-ass pun even for me, but also because I’m not much of a book person and have only read a handful of the man’s work. Hey, my cup already overfloweth with movies and comics and video games, with a side helping of pro-wrestling and cartoons and TV shows. Don’t judge me. Anyway, as with all great writers, Lovey turned his personal demons into memorable stories for people cool enough to seek them out to enjoy long after his passing. When I was in high school, I got clued in to his coolness after discovering Re-Animator… which I discovered after unearthing an issue of the 1991 comic adaptation in a bargain bin. Hunting down a collection of the original “Herbert West – Reanimator” short stories, I realized that I wasn’t the type of 15 year-old who could appreciate deep tales of extremely descriptive horror that took 3 pages to explain the terror a character felt from ascending a dark staircase. As you can probably guess, Poe didn’t exactly instill me with fear boners either, giving me more fear yawns instead. Meh.

After adulthood set in, I gave the ghoulish tales of Herbie West another go-round and, despite still suffering from fear impotency, I REALLY appreciated the man’s knack for setting a mood. Though never a ‘Craft nerd myself, I did take a shine to the man’s eldritch nightmare Cthulhu well before he was co-opted by anti-pop culture. The idea of a giant eternal humanoid dragon star god with the head of an octopus was just the kinda crazy shit I horrified my art teachers with while growing up. You can imagine my intrigue when Cthulhu came onto my radar…and the immediate black hole that imploded my guts when I also read the name “Tori Spelling” attached to it. But, lucky for you, black holes in our guts is little more than a bad bag of Taco Bell waffle tacos to we Death Gods. So, I crapped that reality-collapser into the Bowl of Eternal Torment, underwent several hours of hypnotherapy to repress my gag reflex enough that seeing Tori Spelling wouldn’t invoke violent upheaval in my nervous system, sat down with my notebook bound in human flesh, an ink well filled with the blood of a mermaid, a quill made from a cockatrice feather and set about my dark task.

…oh, and don’t get too impressed about the cockatrice. I kinda pulled a Corman and just glued a bunch of emu feathers to a taxidermied iguana. It’s actually pretty sad to look at and I don’t know why I brought it up. Sorry.

Despite its title, the movie’s actually based on the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, which has little to do with the Elder God Cthulhu beyond a passing mention or two. The original narration is really about introducing readers to another section of the Lovecraftian pantheon of abominations – Dagon, and his order of man-fish followers/offspring known as the Deep Ones. In that respect, Cthulhu sticks to its source material fairly well, keeping the name-dropping of He Whose Face Makes Japanese Schoolgirls Squirm minimal, even then not until much later on. I’m assuming the titular adjustment is to cash in on the recognition of the Cthulhu name. Nightmare nomenclature notwithstanding, the hero of our tale is Russell Marsh (Jason Cottle), a gay (in the literal sense) Seattle based English professor who we meet as he’s woken from his slumber by an unfortunate phone call – his mother has passed away. The best comfort his club conquest from the night before can muster from Russ’s bed is a half-hearted “That sucks.” before hitting our milksop protagonist up for an Andrew Jackson… by which I mean $20 and not some kinky sexual maneuver…though there could very well be something called an “Andrew Jackson” and I’m just not up to par on my perversion lingo…not to be confused with Perversion Bingo, which is a fun game you can play with your friends where you go to ExtremeTube.com and watch random clips while marking off a Bingo card filled with various sexual acts until someone wins…or until everyone has to go to separate rooms to whack their wank meats. Where was I? Oh yeah, I’m guessing this thing between Russell and Club Kid (literally what the guy’s credited as) isn’t one of those relationships that will lead to these two not being allowed to file their taxes jointly.

Like most gay men in movies, Russell grew up in a small town of “traditional moral values”, so when he was outed as being a fancier of phalli, his final years at home basically consisted of being the object of homophobic ridicule from everybody. Has the sleepy coastal Oregon burg of Rivermouth socially evolved in the years since Russ’ retreat? The eerie exchange our hero has with a pair of skinheads in a pickup truck on his way there may prove otherwise…or, it could signal something FAR more unsettling than repressed hate mongers. Either way, I was starting to get PTSD flashbacks of Birdemic before the pickup conflict, what with the camera riding along in Russell’s back seat and the conveyance of seemingly innocuous radio news programming during a scene I feared would go on well beyond its welcome. So, thank you pickup truck. You may have saved me from an anxiety attack that could have ended with a lot of dead orphans.

Speaking of traumatic flashbacks, Russell immediately starts having some of his own upon his arrival. Nothing straightforward though, just flashes of enough to keep the audience guessing. I understand it from a movie standpoint, but really, who only thinks back to quick cuts of their past?! If I think back to the time I saw my dog hit by a car when I was 8, or my heartbreakingly awkward first time (or seven) getting laid, I don’t just remember brief nigh-hallucinatory glimpses, I relive ALL the horror and shame! Anyway, momentary lapses of sanity aside, Russell’s homecoming isn’t improved by strange nightmares of becoming his father or waking up in a cold sweat to bizarre onyx totems covered in runic carvings clenched in his fist. THIS is why I stopped drinking. The problem with becoming his father, you ask? Unlike most sons who would rather not become a chartered accountant or championship arm wrestling truck driver like their own dear papas, Russell’s dad (Dennis Kleinsmith) is some kinda new aged “reverend” (*cough*cult leader*cough) who dresses in purple robes (at least they’re gay pride friendly) and wants Russell to give him a grandchild. Sorry old man, I don’t know what sex ed film they showed you back in 1950s high school (actually, thanks to RiffTrax and “MST3K” shorts, we do), but gay people don’t work that way. They can’t just reproduce by budding. They’re not sponges!

Russet Potato’s visit isn’t all bad, though. His sister Dannie (Cara Buono) clearly misses him, and despite also wanting her brother to spawn a niece/nephew for her, she obviously still loves him. He also reconnects with his boyhood friend Mike (Scott Green), who’s grown into a tow truck driving divorcee since last they frolicked along the cliff sides and capered in the ocean’s salty froth. Speaking of salty froth…uhm, never mind. We’ll wait till the kids go to bed before discussing private matters. While in town, Russell also makes time to visit his aunt, who’s been relegated to a nut house for alleged dementia. Their sit down doesn’t last long, but includes curious portents of Russell’s mom dying of less-than-natural causes, and something of huge importance she left behind for him at the house. It’d be too easy for the movie gods to just let her spill ALL the beans, so Auntie has what could be a mini-stroke and starts mumbling some gibberish that sounds like ancient Aramaic as written by a college linguistics drop out on Quaaludes and Jim Beam. ALSO why I stopped drinking…and taking Quaaludes…and sniffing glue.

Like any horror movie worth its salty froth (not yet…), Cthulhu has a crazy old town drunk to drop some necessary background for our protagonist. His name is Zadok (best He-Man villain name for a non He-Man villain character ever) and he’s an alcoholic old sailor who approaches Russell in a bar about the small onyx (“SLAM! SLAM!”) obelisk/butt plug our hero woke up next to in his hotel room, linking it to the whispered local legends of the human sacrificing fish-men cult of Dagon. Zadok’s tutoring in Lovecraftian horrors isn’t free though: he requires Russell to buy him a bottle of Wild Turkey and a sixer of Miller High Life before meeting him later to discuss the itinerary further. Shit, this movie’s turning into a fetch quest from an RPG. So, while at the liquor store acquiring their special Zadok’s Friday Night Combo, Russ Meyers is slipped a note by Julia (Amy Minderhout) the register girl (who doesn’t look old enough to drink, let alone work in a liquor store) telling him not to talk with ‘Dok. He does anyway, but comes back to girlie girl later demanding to know what the fuck she knows about what’s going on in this town. She just ends up cluing him in on her little brother Kellan, who went missing several years earlier and telling Russell he’s the only one who can save him.

Now, you might think this glass bottom boat tour is getting a little overbooked in the plot department, and reading it out as I type this, I’d be with you on the concerns of all the extra weight sinking the ship straight down to Davy Jones’ locker (or any of the Monkees, really). Hell, we haven’t even gotten to Tori Spelling using her homosexuality neutralizing Dagon roofies to rape Russell (which I just did, so now I don’t need to mention it anymore) or the whole “waking Dagon to end the world of men” plot! The funny thing is that none of this felt as cumbersome to watch as it does writing it out. It says a lot about Dan Gildark that he can stuff this much story into the movie while making it all move along as smoothly as it does within its 100 minute running time. It’s the hallmark of a guy who knows what he wants to put into what could be his only chance to make a movie, and has figured out how to make ALL of it edible. He took the elements of a four course meal, and rather than risk over serving his dinner guests to the point of making them sick (*cough*TheHobbitTrilogy*cough*), he ran everything through a grinder and fit everything into one well packed sausage. NOT a gay euphemism, by the way, though I appreciate anyone who knows me well enough to think that’s what I was going for.

As I’ve noted before, my moratorium on spoilers is 5 years, which makes Cthulhu ripe for ruining. If you’d rather avoid further plot putrefaction, I would suggest skipping down a few paragraphs to the one that starts with “WAY back in 2001”. Otherwise, I will be skinning this fish monster and baring its guts for all, so you’re welcome to stay and watch if that’s the type of thing that salts your froth!

Russell’s talk with Zadok results in drunken rantings of an island off the Rivermouth coast that housed the ruins of an ancient city. The townspeople would gather together in the mansions along the hillside (one of which Russell’s family home) to perform rituals, while making human sacrifices of their children in the boathouses to the horrors that lived on the island so that their nets would always be filled to the gills. Heh, fish humor. Zads name- drops Shoggoths (big monster Lovecraftian amoeba introduced in “In the Mountains of Madness”) and talks about how they came in droves from the sea and dragged the children of Rivermouth back into the brine. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what the old boozehound said. He spews a lot of incoherent drunken nonsense, but that’s what I could piece together. When half your family is made up of lifelong alcoholics, you get a lot of practice deciphering drunk-speak.

Dannie introduces Russ to her buddy Susan (Tori Spelling) who starts hitting on him from the word “homo”, inviting him back to her place under the premise that her hubby Ralph has a book about artifacts that has info on Russ’s mysterious stone trinket. Once there, Susan wastes no time in trying to seduce Russ into putting a baby in her belly, citing Ralph’s jizz factory no longer being in service thanks to a work site accident involving an exposed rebar. I just threw up a little. When Ralph’s pleading of “Susan needs your swimmers” falls on deaf/gay ears, the couple instead drug Mr. Marsh, allowing Susan to strip him down and milk the reproduction juice out of him with her ham wallet. Pretty sure that’s how Ms. Spelling ended up getting pregnant in real life too. Not to worry though folks, this is so low budget a production they couldn’t afford to pay the woman to go topless. That’s a horror that will, praise Isis, remain unknown…unless you saw that creepy pic her real-life husband “accidentally” posted to Twitter with her swollen mom boobs flopped out behind her son’s head. In which case get in touch with me and I’ll forward you the meeting times for our support group. The awfulness I come across when researching for these reviews. Blart.

With the book thing a bust, Russell just kinda ignores the whole “I was raped by the ugliest girl from 90210” plot and hits up the local library archives to do some sleuthing. He doesn’t find a lot about the stone, but he does come across a lot of old newspaper articles covering people gone missing around Rivermouth. I guess the American Library Association is immune to the corrupting influence of the Deep Ones? Anyway, Russ enlists Mike’s help in investigating the cult’s sacrificial boathouses, where he runs into some weird supernatural shit and old guys in robes before escaping to a random nearby house. Here he finds Kellan, conveniently enough, as he stares at a snowy TV screen like a latter day Carol Anne Freeling. When asked why he’s there, the boy tells Russell that he lives in the basement of the house with others while they await the coming of Cthulhu (finally, our movie has a title…an HOUR in!). The kid then leads our man into said basement, where he finds a network of tunnels that are inhabited by weird humanoid fish mutant babies! Running in terror like most anyone would (except maybe a hungry weird humanoid walrus), Russ escapes to the surface, emerging from a hole covered by a manhole with an elaborate carving of Cthulhu on it, the likes of which you can find on any number of cheap arts & crafts jewelry, as sold in any number of stores on Etsy.

Russell retreats back to Mike’s apartment, where they have a heated exchange about Mike ditching him (thanks to a nosy sheriff) that escalates into a full-on spat about Mike’s lack of jelly for the PB&J Russ is making, ending in our hero calling him “a very bad host” before storming off. I know it doesn’t sound like much an in insult, but a gay man telling you you’re a bad host is like someone calling you a limp dick piece of shit who should save your family years of shame by just slitting your throat right now! All in all though, I gotta say that this scene is a brilliant piece of inspired madness that leaves you wondering what the fuck it was you just watched. Speaking of, I suggest you watch it at THIS LINK, post haste! You know, when I get around to posting it on YouTube…

The next morning, our gents intend to go look for Kellan, referring to him as “the blind boy” for no apparent reason (also what he’s referred to by in the credits). They don’t have to look far though, because upon exiting Mike’s apartment they find the lad waiting for them. Yay! That was easy! Except that he’s tied to Mike’s porch with a huge exit wound in his forehead. Boo. This isn’t gonna be easy to explain to the small town law enforcement. Small town law enforcement in movies don’t have a very good track record when it comes to gays and/or liberals “finding” dead bodies. See, to them a gay man “finding” a dead child translates to “raping and murdering”. And to add to the sting, Russell gets taken away in front of a whole group of townsfolk at his mother’s estate auction, immediately after losing a bid-off for her house to some unspeaking guy dressed like a government spook who just drives away without saying a word after. After getting the “small town hospitality” treatment from the Sheriff, Russell wakes up in a jail cell straight out of the Inquisition to the sounds of rioting outside. We don’t actually see the rioting, but the first rules of low budget horror and Lovecraft adaptations are both the same – less is more.

Russ makes his way out of confinement only to be drugged in an alley by Ralph and Susan (whom he NEVER confronted after being raped of his baby seeds), who seem to make some effort to drag him into a nearby doorway, only for our hero to regain his druthers and run away. For anyone still confused with what’s happening here, Russ heads to his mother’s home and finds a videotape she left him in which she pretty much explains everything about the fish people and his family’s connection to the cult directly…and proves that his dad doesn’t know shit about camcorders and how to record over VHS tapes when a message of his own is included right after Mom’s, then cuts off mid message. Oh old people, so casually racist and ignorant of modern technology no matter what their species. Equal parts cute and pathetic, really.

Oh yeah, remember that riot I mentioned before? Turns out it’s time for the spawn of Dagon to return to the sea, which includes murdering as many norms as possible in the process…for some reason? It’s not entirely clear what’s happening here. There’s a bunch of naked people setting fires and people with sub-machine guns interlaced with public domain footage of actual riots. All that really matters is Russell and Mike are making an exodus out of town on the next train to Get The Fuck Outta Dodge. By “train”, I mean Mike’s tow truck. They stop by dear old Daddy Marsh’s place to pick up Dannie, still oblivious to the fact that she’s PART OF THE CULT, and end up captured. Russell’s introduced to the “children” Susan turned his swimmers into (which we don’t actually see, under the aforementioned “less is more” rule), before he’s pegged by the gathering of sushi sapiens to ascend and replace Papa as the new Leader Bean (“Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah LEADER!”). The price for his promotion? The sacrifice of the man he loves. One of the most important things that can make or break a movie is its ending, and this is the proverbial nail that Cthulhu hits squarely on the head for me. While his dad restrains Mike, Russell hauls back with the jagged onyx totem, screams and…hello end credits. Does he kill Mike? Does he kill his father? Does he kill himself? Does he get a monster leg cramp and just roll around on the ground screaming in pain for 5 minutes? Nobody knows because it’s left up to us. Speaking of the end credits, they run over a song called “White Daisy Passing” by some guy named Rocky Votolato. Not the kinda music I listen to normally: it’s a simple twangy, folk-songy ballad about sleeping on the bottom of the ocean that really fits the tone of the movie. I won’t link to a vid, cuz you really need to see the end of Cthulhu to put it into the right context. That said, go watch Cthulhu!

Before I go any further, I gotta make one stupid joke that only people who watched that Kanye West episode of South Park a few years ago will get – so, now that it’s revealed Russell’s a gay merman, you could say he really loves fish sticks! I know it’s violently shoehorned in there (that’s what SHE said!), but there was no humanly way possible to review this movie without making that reference somewhere.

WAY back in 2001, the undisputed (and if you dispute it I will pinch a Greenland shaped bruise into your neck) grandmaster of Lovecraft adaptations, Stuart Gordon, teamed up with his frequent collaborator in Lovecraft crafting (and the 1979 TV adaptation of “Bleacher Bums”), Dennis Paoli, to make Dagon – their adaptation of “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (which you can read at this link if you feel so inclined). I’ll get around to reviewing it here eventually, but for those of you who have already supped upon its chalice of greatness, if Dagon and The Cake Eater had a gay son who went to film school and mortgaged his house to fund a movie for Sundance (i.e. no money for monster makeup), it’d be Cthulhu>.

As with any no-budgeter, you’ve gotta temper your expectations going into it. If you can pull off a good story, some halfway decent camera work, and some talented storytelling, you don’t need high-grade effects and big names to hook your audience…fish pun not intended. The story of a gay man returning to his bigoted hometown is perfect for the paranoid anxiety of a Lovecraft tale. You don’t have to be gay to sympathize with Russell’s plight, and if gay men make you uncomfortable, well just consider that adding to the discomfort of the atmosphere! The minimal-to-non-existent gore and effects are fine because, I’ll say it again, less is more here. A few brief flashes of mutant fish-babies and the rest can be taken care of with the horrified reactions of the characters. Speaking of, the acting’s not great, with the exceptions of Cara Buono and Jason Cottle. Buono (whose actually done a lot of TV work on more than a few respectable dramas) makes Dannie a loving sister figure who manages to be a cultist without resorting to the too obvious “Join us! Join us!” tropes. Cottle’s well cast as our lead, since he’s the best actor of the bunch. He’s nothing fantastic when Russell’s being laid back or scared, but the guy knows how to crank the intensity when Russell’s got his angry face on. Somebody call Dick Wolf and get this guy a guest spot on whatever one of those “Law & Order” shows is still on the air! That being said, we still have to deal with some pretty limp fish performances from much of the rest of the cast, which includes Scott Green. I understand Mike’s supposed to be that “simple small town guy” persona, but listening to Green’s line delivery hurts. And I know “love conquers all”, but a college English professor falling for an inbred tow truck driver who constantly mumbles like a goober 9 cans deeps into a case of Labatt’s feels irritatingly sitcomish.

Overall, I gotta hand it to Dan Gildark and Grant Cogswell for cobbling together a great piece of movie that’s not without its warts, but shines despite them. It’s sad to see that neither has added any further film credits to their resume in the years since Cthulhu was spawned. Maybe they felt their story was told. Maybe their dream had been realized. Maybe they walked off into the sunset. Or maybe they got some negative feedback they couldn’t handle. Maybe they bankrupted themselves into a financial quagmire from which there was no rescue. Whatever their epilogues, I hope they’re happy with their final product, because I’m definitely a fan.

On a final note, I’m pretty sure my TV’s haunted by a homophobic ghost, cuz the audio went all schizo on me during BOTH viewings of the movie when the inevitable sex scene (there’s your salty froth!) between Russell and Mike came up (salty froth!). By the way, if you thought that was a spoiler (a salty, frothy spoiler!), you obviously know nothing about indie movies – it’s all gay cowboys and pudding. And that’s my quota for “South Park” references today, kids! I am outta here! Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

Moral of the Story: Don’t ask Tori Spelling where all the sea lions are. Better yet, don’t talk to Tori Spelling at all. She just wants your swimmers, and that fishy smell isn’t poor hygiene. At least she’s well cast. I mean, she already looks like something out of an H.P. Lovecraft fever dream!

 

Screenshots_____

“Just look at it out there. Fish of all shapes and sizes are having sex and shitting everywhere. It’s like a huge orgy in a giant unflushed toilet. My GOD the ocean is a horrible, disgusting place! Magnificent.”


Justin Bieber from 5 years in the future has come back to our time to convince his current self to kill himself now and spare them both the years of heartbreak after Usher ends their relationship.


“Hey faggot! You got any Grey Poupon… your dick?! Cuz, you know, it sounds like I’m saying ‘grey poop on your dick’, referring to your homosexuality while also referencing a popular mustard commercial from the ’80s!… But seriously, do you?!”


“Shaun, you’ve got red on you.”


The Rivermouth High School football team, sponsored entirely by an “educational grant” from Gorton’s Frozen Seafood.


No joke to be made here (unless you wanna come up with your own reference to The Accused). I just wanted to point out that I fucking LOVE that the Attack From Mars pinball machine is making a cameo! I used to play the shit out of that machine! YEAH!


“I love you too Aunt Ruth, but can you please let me go? You smell like pea soup, soiled diapers, and cheap vitamins. I may throw up on you if you don’t stop right now.”


“Hey guys. This is my friend Tori Spelling. She’d really appreciate it if one of you would have sex with her. She can pay.”


“So, my dad was really rich and famous… but he’s dead now… which means I inherited a lot of money… I mean a LOT of money! That being said… ya wanna go fuck in the mens’ room?”
“I keep telling you, no! I know you’re my sister’s friend, but if you don’t leave me alone, I’m going to call the police!”


And finally, this is where EVERY man ends his night after a conversation with Tori Spelling.


What?! She had to work a children’s party today and didn’t realize she was out of white greasepaint. What was she supposed to do, skip out on a paying job? Give Bonko the Clown a break. She did the best she could.


I find it hard to believe there’s such a thing as a “beloved” garbageman. I mean, the closest I’ve ever seen was Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, and he still wasn’t even close to being “beloved”.


“I don’t care if you don’t know what ‘Memorex’ is, Billy. Just do what I tell you. This recreation is gonna skyrocket my YouTube page to a million views!”


Well, it’s still better than the official It’s Alive remake. You gotta give it that.


“Finally, my own bridge! And that guy sold it to me for such a bargain! Once I put up the toll booths, I’ll make double my investment back in no time! Things are finally coming up Russell!”


And this is a New York City subway train simulator. It gives people in small towns a taste of the big city life. At the top of every hour a pair of women have a very shrill conversation in Chinese while a homeless guy stands on top begging for change and pisses all over everybody. It’s VERY realistic!


I’d ask what’s going on in that toilet or what the big oily stain on the bed is from, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t like the answer to either.


If I’m ever involved with a movie production of some kind, I insist that I be credited for “Asskicking”!

Anubis will return next time in
“Criminalize It”

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

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

Feature 15 – Krampus: the Christmas Devil (2013)

or “May Krampus Never Cramp Us”

IT STINKS!

Featuring: A.J. “The Four” Leslie , Bill “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies” Oberst Jr. , Richard “Professional uncredited movie extra” Goteri

Director & Writer: Jason “Chasing Darkness” Hull

Origin: USA

Review_____

Time is short, and the naughties must be PUNISHED!”

 Well, I’m sorry to tell everybody this, but January and February are apparently canceled for 2014. I bought myself a Marvel Heroes calender at the Emporium of Savings for $1, and opened it up to discover that 2014 actually starts with March. Though this means Spring will be early, it also means that we won’t be celebrating Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays with discounted mattresses, nor will we be forced to buy our significant others’ senseless idols of emotional intent for Valentine’s Day, nor will we need to respect the African-American community for Black History Month. Then again, maybe my calender was just defaced by a heartbroken white supremacist with a hatred for elected officials? Or, maybe I’m being punished for my misdeeds of the last year. What misdeeds? Well, for starters, this review was supposed to be done in time for Cthulhumas! Oh well, for anybody who didn’t get what they wanted for the holidays, here’s your chance to live through the disappointment of the season all over again! Maybe this disappointment is courtesy of the original holiday disciplinarian, Krampus!

I learned of today’s movie during my review for Saint Nick in episode 11. Much like Cthulhu before him, the holiday hellbeast myth of Krampus has been getting a lot more mainstream exposure in recent years, being the subject of various TV show Christmas specials like “The Venture Bros.”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Suburgatory” and just last month on “Grimm” and “American Dad”. Given that various sinister shapes of Santa Claus have been given the movie treatment this millennium, I thought for sure that someone had to have given the penance fiend and child abuse factory known as Krampus a creature feature! Though I found references on the internet base of movie datas for a few shorts focused on ol’ Special K, the only long-in-the-dong running time entry I could exhume was this independent flick filmed in the wilds of East Bumfuck, Pennsyltucky. So hyped was I for such a find (and because it’s so obscure that I couldn’t find it on any of the torrent sites…), I immediately made my way to the movie’s website, slapped down my $15 for a copy, and awaited what would either be an amazing triumph of the human will, or the mad creation of a bloodthirsty despot-to-be like Triumph of the Will… or could very feasibly fall anywhere in between these two extreme (or, if this were the ’90s, “x-treme”) extremes of extreme extremism… EXTREEEEEEEEEEEEME! Anyway, after sitting on it for almost a month and missing my Cthulhumas review deadline with the “couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a bazooka” scheduling accuracy I’m well known for, the time has arrived. Now, let us all share our collective punishment for being bad boys and girls by watching Krampus: the Christmas Devil… and to all you bad girls out there, I’ll be doling out your mandatory spankings after the show. I suggest warming your butts ahead of time, cuz 50 lashes on cold asses sting like a beard of butthurt bees… hurtin’ your butt… cuz they’re bees… you get the idea.

If you’re unfamiliar with the legend of Krampus, I’m not a tutor. Not anymore. Certain “allegations” of “misconduct” and “abuses of power” got my “license” “revoked” for the foreseeable “century”. Now, just imagine me dressed like Chris Farley’s Bennett Brauer character while tossing up air quotes for those parentheticals and that last line might be funny. You know what would’ve been funny? An SNL movie where Chris Farley dual roled as Bennett Brauer and Matt Foley. Even if it somehow turned out worse than Beverly Hills Ninjas, it still would’ve been a few hundred times funnier than Jack and Jill or Norbit… sidetracks about NOTHING RELATED aside, if you need an intro/refresher on the patron saint of ass lashing, just wiki dat shit right here.

The version of Krampy in today’s movie is portrayed as not merely the unholy antithesis of Saint Nicholas, but as the jolly red meat sack’s twisted monstrous brother! Sadly, there’s no origin story to explain who these brothers are, how they came to be, or why Kramps sports cloven hooves and a face that looks like a big animal skull-turned-underground art piece, because that would’ve been a way better focus for the movie given the big guy’s name is the friggin’ title. As our opening narration, uhm, narrates, Krampus travels the world every December kidnapping bad children and murdering them for their misdeeds. I don’t mean kids who don’t wash their hands after they use the toilet or who swipe from the cookie jar (though putting your hands in the cookie jar after having not washed your hands after using the crapper is a killable offense), but the REALLY fucked up little punks whose obituary bullet-points will be about how they killed their parents and burned down retirement homes in their spare time.

Krampus has to complete his appointed terror tasks by 11:59pm on Christmas Eve though, cuz once those clock hands cross, he’s back on unemployment till next December. Union rules. One such candidate for comeupance in the bygone year of 1900 and 83 was little Jeremy Duffin, whom Krampy ‘napped while the boy waited for his school bus. Wrapped in a sack, dumped in a frozen pond, and left to drown, Jer managed to squirm free and wander through the woods back to his house before turning into a hypothermia flavored kid-sicle. He would grow up to be a healthy, sane, perfectly adjusted adult male with a family who love him. End of story.

Okay, the “adult male with a family who love him” part is the only truth to that statement. Jer (A.J. Leslie) actually ended up becoming a PTSD ravaged police detective obsessed with hunting down the murderous monster that nearly denied him the tortured life he would grow into. Cuz, who wouldn’t want to spend every night after work drinking yourself ugly and having single player games of Russian Rhoulette? Not because it’s depressing and life threatening, but because it’s so fucking cliché! Besides, the hard boiled types that end up with a scotch on the rocks in one hand and a single-rounded handgun in the other don’t have nice things like a loving family. Everyone they know is either dead or left them because of their insane depression (i.e. alcoholism) and self-destructive ways. Don’t worry though, as this sure as shit isn’t the only time writer/director Jason Hull (who also credits himself as both a Producer AND Executive Producer…) decides to needlessly shoehorn one of his favorite “monkey see, monkey do” story elements into his own production… and I use that term much in the same way that a stool sample is a “production”, in that it’s something that’s been produced… by your butt.

Okay, so operating on the idea that Kramps is real (and they are, just ask my WIFE! ZING!), then at what age do kids no longer need to fear him? I mean, he obviously doesn’t drown evil adults, otherwise overcrowded prisons wouldn’t be an issue. Just lock the fuckers up till December, send the guards home till January, then come back and start over again for next year. Easy peasy titty squeezy! Who decided that the 18 and older crowd are well enough off that we can just govern each other, but our kids require discipline from a hairy hellbeast with a tongue that would give Venom a run for the Gene Simmons King of Lickers Award?! Speaking of, who makes a Having a Krampus of our own to weed out the shitbags would definitely make life easier on the law abiding. Anyway, let us continue down this road paved with complaints.

It’s been 30 years since Jeremy escaped the frozen ebon clutches of yours truly, and the yuletide has taken a grim turn for a few families in the Podunk Eden of East Bumblefuck, Pennsyltucky. Or, as our hero and the rest of its citizens call it, Caimbridge. A new rash of missing children have sprung up, and while it means a very un-merry Christmas for some, it means a chance at violent, final vengeance for Det. Duffin!… okay, I need to break now for another aside: my biggest problem with small budget movies isn’t the lack of money. I can deal with the chinsy “made with common household items” special effects and actors who were never in a high school drama club let alone professional acting institutions and shitty generic garage metal soundtracks and opening credits sequences that look like the kind of half-assed self made DVD menus I used to whip up on Roxio Creator. What I can’t deal with are overreaching concepts. If the best locale you can afford to shoot your shit show in is a little town in the middle of nowhere, then go with a story that could take place in such a place – serial killer, escaped mental patient(s), shellshocked war vet drifter pushed too far by bloated asshole sheriff, crashed alien ship, marauding biker gang, top secret government science experiment gone wrong, cave of flesh eating evolutionary off-shoots stumbled upon by spelunking friends, haunted bed & breakfast, clandestine devil worshipers trying to summon their hoary horrorist master from within the walls of their black lodge, or just go with the classic standby – local Sasquatch. Hell, just watch a few episodes of Scooby-Doo and see if anything percolates! Fuck, if it’s an episode of “The Scooby-Doo Movies”, provided the special guest is still alive, they might even appear in your shitty knock-off for a plane ticket and a month’s prescription of painkillers! The point is, Krampus is sure to tell us that these cases of missing children show up every December all over the world. If Krampy’s a globetrotting terrorizer of youth, why would he EVER stop over in a dump like Caimbridge, where there aren’t enough people to warrant one owning a horse by which to call it a “one horse town”?!

In short (which, as you can see, I never adhere to), if all you can afford to shoot in is a minor village, don’t try to make it a major hub of the fucking global community.

Oh yeah, and when your movie’s antagonist is a worldwide threat, stop making the only person who can hope to defeat it a denizen of said small town! I get that it’s supposed to feel empowering to the Joe Six Packs in the audience to relate to the average shlub and inspire them to think they can do great things in their own lives (which Joe believes more so after the ingestion of a few of his namesake), but it’s so damn common anymore that it actually makes me pine, PINE, for the ’50s glory days when every cinematic Armageddon (or “cinemageddon”) left entire militaries impotent and could only be stopped by ruggedly handsome scientists declaring martial law and killing the threat with whatever box the writer hit with a dart on his Periodic Table of the Elements. You know what Krampus’s only weakness is? It’s… one sec… shit, missed it entirely… okay, it’s… *thunk*… Cobalt. Krampus will die if you stuff Cobalt up his butt in the light of a full moon. There. There’s your movie.

Jeremy (who spoke in class today *rimshot*) is convinced that Krampus has targeted Caimbridge for 2013, and is determined to put an end to the monster. I’m hoping Kramps is back to finish Jer off as punishment for the stupid douche bag soul patch he’s chosen to grow as a sign to those around him that he really has just given up on life. You know, in case the Russian Roulette and alcoholism weren’t sign enough. He has the support of his Captain (Richard Goteri) to put together a small task force to scour the woods around the local lake and hunt the beast down in the hopes of saving the missing brats. Cap either believes Duff (not to be confused with “Düff, from Sweden…”), or just goes along with the loony’s tale because he was close buddies with Jer’s old man (who was also a cop before his own untimely death), so he tells our tormented hero to get his team together and go kill a mythical creature!… worst police captain ever. Jer’s dynamic backup duo in this Destiny’s Child of destruction are Bob Norris (former Hell’s Angel and author Jay Dobyns) and John Walker (played by Jeremy Sidun and, sadly, not just a big debonaire bottle of Scotch Whiskey with a fake beard glued to it). John is the fat, bald, bearded Michelle Williams of the trio – completely forgettable and destined to die cold and alone. As for Bob, he’s the Kelly Rowland to Jer’s Beyonce Knowles, also shares his partners’ penchant for head shaving and facial hair, and knows that, despite the vast wealth our hero has sitting in the bank (inherited from his dad, who inherited it from Grandpa Duffin), Jer chose to be a cop to help people and isn’t “in it for the money”… well NO SHIT! The only time you become a cop for the cash is when your goal is to be one of those big city crooked cops in the back pocket of organized crime! Small town cops are in it for the free drugs and beer seized from high school keggers, and the occasional bj from the toothless strippers who work street corners on weeknights hooking for rent and baby formula. But, again, Jason Hull feels the need to shoehorn all of his favorite characters (*cough*caricatures*cough*) into his movie, so not only is Jeremy the tortured, hard-boiled, suicide case, not only does he have a lifelong vendetta to accomplish, and not only is he following in his father’s dead cop footsteps, but he’s ALSO the secret rich guy whose heart is just as golden as his bank account, and thus chooses to risk his life to make the world a better place for everyone else rather than sit around doing rich guy until he dies of a cocaine overdose in bed with half a dozen Maxim cover girls! If we get anymore scenes of needless protagonist background padding, we’ll discover that Jeremy’s also been stalking Caimbridge’s deviant criminal underworld in his off-hours as the mysterious masked vigilante known only as THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCHMAN! Jeezus Kryst riding naked on a giant fiberglass banana…

While our threesome of bald headed, chin furred law enforcement officials lay asleep in their beds, resting off the night’s boozing before their big Kramp hunt, their prey gets a visit from brother Claus, who came all the way to Pennsyltucky from the friggin’ North Pole just to tell goat legs about adjustments to this year’s Naughty List. I’ll get this out of the way now – this rendition of Santa is less a “right jolly old elf”, and more like the President of the Santas of Anarchy motorcycle club. He’s got long white hair and a beard, sure, but both are “serious business” straight, not cottony fluffs of merriment. He’s got the red outfit, and though it’s not a leather jacket and chaps, it’s still not the velvety ensemble of the Christopher Kringle we’ve been told of since childhood. Also, whereas traditional Santa smokes a tobacco pipe with which he wreathes his head in smoke and fills his bulbous torso with cookies and milk, Krampus’s bro looks like his pipe’s full of meth and his gut’s full of cheap beer and various pickled food stuffs like eggs and tube meat. To go with the biker look, he’s also a total hard-ass PSYCHO! He’s fucking crazy! He acts like Scarface, or Toecutter, or Jack Nicholson… I was gonna say Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed, but I think old Jack himself is just as good a description.

Anyway, since mythical creatures like Santa and Krampus are devoid of a more convenient method of communication like cell phones, Nick traversed a good 3500-4000 MILES for a 30 second face-to-face about who gets highest whacking priority. For me, Aubrey Plaza currently has highest whacking priority, hands down… then up… then back down again… repeating until climax. Hubba hubba!

Okay, got another detour in the road here for ya, folks. Now, Santa and Krampus are supposed to be brothers. Fine. They’re both immortals who never age. Fine again. We can assume that Santa has some kind of mystical powers, given that he’ll travel half way across the Northern Hemisphere for a half-minute conversation, let alone that whole “presents to every good kid that celebrates his holiday in one night” thing. We can also assume he’s got some kinda polar voodoo powers that allow him to pull his invisible man act and avoid all form of surveillance, AND keep track of the karma for every child on the planet, or at least, again, the ones who celebrate his holiday. In light of all of this, how is it that Krampy got the shortest of all possible short ends on the whole “super powers” stick?! He has no connection to the collective spiritual realm of the populace (since Santa has to play manager and pop down to update the Naughty List FOR him), he can’t turn invisible (since he’s seen by EVERYBODY he comes across), and instead of turning into smoke or a swarm of spiders or some such coolness so he can slip into kids’ houses and snatch them from their beds, Krampy has to wait until they’re outdoors and alone before tossing a potato sack over them and absconding like a bank robber in a striped shirt and bandit mask holding one of those fucking bags with the dollar sign drawn on it! Then he has to dump the kids into the nearest body of water to drown them. If the water’s frozen over? I doubt he can melt it with firebreath or even hot charcoal briquet oral projectiles like Megalon. He probably has a rusty pickax or an old spade with a busted handle wrapped in duct tape that he has to use to manually break up the ice enough to stuff the kid through. And if someone catches the creature in-the-act? Krampy knocks them out with his length of rusty chain… this really is a horror movie made by and for bikers. He’s not completely devoid of magical powers though. He does have the abilities to move fast and to shoot little electrical impulses from his fingers that cause a sensation in his victims not unlike giving them Ecstasy… because the guy responsible for PUNISHING the bad kids should have the ability to instill EUPHORIA?! My eyes are starting to cross…

I’ll address the latter of these two magical gifts later, but for now, allow me to explain why Kramp’s other power is of note – it’s fucking HILARIOUS to see in action. You know that cool little jumpy-jerky “teleportation” visual effect a lot of movies have these days that show the monster/ghost/alien kinda shifting through reality in quick steps? I’m pretty sure that’s what Hull wanted Krampy to have here. I can get behind that. I love that effect. It was one of the standout points of the House on Haunted Hill remake watching evil ghost Jeffrey Combs doing it. I’m guessing they didn’t have the tech and/or know how to make that visual a reality for this little project, so instead they just put these scenes of Krampus into fast forward… and it just looks like he escaped a fucking Benny Hill chase sequence, minus the wacky music and women in their underwear… ARGH! I just put a lit cigar out on my left testicle to keep from flipping my desk, lighting my computer on fire, and just walking away from this bullshit right now! Don’t worry, ladies. If any of you still want to carry my jackal headed offspring, I’ve got 20 plastic gallon milk jugs brimming with my semen in a refrigerated storage locker in the basement of the University of Dubuque in case of movies like this where severe genital mutilation are always a risk. However, all pups spawned from the unholy gestation of my seed in your cursed wombs must be named “Abobo Bowen” as part of the contract. Don’t ask why. It’s a lot of red tape involving cosmic prophecies and the end of man. Nothing you’d be interested in… JUST ACCEPT MY SPERM!

Wow, almost 4,000 words in and I’m not even halfway through the review. Shit. This is gonna be a marathoner. Hope you stretched before we started. Well, back to the grindstone.

Armed with tactical automatic rifles and decked out in arctic camouflage (the purpose of which is kinda defeated when you wear black pants, black hats, and black flak jackets OVER THE CAMO), the trio sets out the next morning on their hunt, doing all those military hand gestures and sticking way too close to each other to effectively comb an area the size of which they’re investigating. I see three guys who play way too much Call of Duty… It’s not long before they see somebody in a long black robe that they assume to be Krampus, but that assumption is enough proof for them to bypass police protocol like telling him to freeze or identify himself first, so they just open fire on the guy with a few dozen rounds! To further sandpaper my nipples, the gunfire is completely muted and instead replaced with a few seconds of generic metal music… if they had to use paintball guns or silence the rifles so as not to startle unsuspecting neighbors while shooting the scene, they could’ve at least used actual gunfire sound effects over the muting. Hell, they do it later on when someone’s pretending to fire an uzi, so why not do so here?! WHY THE METAL MUSIC?! ARGGGGH!… well great, there goes my other testicle…. sheesh.

Because I haven’t had enough metaphorical salt poured into my metaphorical eyes or metaphorical toothpicks jammed under my metaphorical toenails (metaphorically speaking), when the shadowy figure escapes the hail of bullets, the trio don’t immediately pursue like you’d imagine they should. I’ll have to slap your hand with The Disciplinarian now (a wooden ruler with thumbtacks taped to its surface) as punishment for your flagrant use of common sense. Instead, the guys hang out for a minute or two talking about what just happened, reload their guns (because, much like the old Resident Evil games, they apparently can’t reload or shoot while moving), then casually pursue as is convenient for them… NOW they opt to split up, allowing Krampy to take them each out with his magical beatin’ chain. He takes Bob and Jeremy back to his nearby lair (funny how a bunch of kids go missing in the area and nobody thinks to search the local transient cave…), but stomps Johnny’s big fat head in with his hoof, because he probably didn’t wanna risk his scoliosis dragging SuperChunk around the woods. Back at the cave, Kramps tears out Bobby’s heart (he dragged him all the way back just to kill him anyway!?), which looks like a bright red rubber children’s toy upon removal, then oozes out of his fist like that pink slime garbage they put in the ground beef for school lunches when he “crushes” it. I guess Hull missed that day in biology where they taught you that the heart is a large organ made of very densely fibrous muscle and not just a cheap stress ball full of strawberry Jell-O.

Since Krampus couldn’t be bothered to actually restrain Duffin in any way, the hero regains consciousness and escapes. Rather than give chase, the villain’s too busy raping a topless blond woman he has chained up in his drifter den. Yep, you read that right. Go back and read it again if you need to. Now, just who this unlucky lady is is never made clear. She’s just there. She screams and writhes and struggles, so I’m assuming she’s not the type of freaky dame into that weird ass kink like the kind I usually entertain in the Tomb’s own sex dungeon every other Thursday. I’m not sure if she’s there for Krampus to punish with this rape, but if she is, the punishment’s pretty shitty since he zaps her eyeballs with his previously mentioned Spanish Fly powers and turns her on like a vibrating fleshlight. If she’s going to enjoy the rape, it’s hardly punishment, right? I mean, women do have the capacity to enjoy sex, right? I’ve been with the Evil Dead Bride for almost a decade and a half, so I hope she hasn’t just been faking it all this time.

This leads us to detour #37 on our journey – who exactly is Krampus supposed to exact righteous vengeance on? In the opening (and pretty much every myth about the monster), it says that Krampus punishes bad children. Let’s just go by the legal definition here in the US that anyone under the age of 18 is not an adult, so we’ll include teens and infants in this whole “children” argument. Now, killing two of the men who attacked him first, I can understand Krampus getting away with that on either a “self defense” plea, or because their escape would mean others finding out about him and his hobo habitat. Fine. But, unless the roofied rape victim chained to his wall is supposed to be underage (in which case I may have to dispose of this disc before it can be used against me in a court of law), this scene would mean that Krampus is also responsible for the punishment of bad adults… which would make no sense, as I discussed earlier! On top of all that (no sexual assault pun intended there, honest), once he’s done with the girl, Brother Claus shows up again release the dame back into the wild (complete with an “And have a merry Christmas!” send off) to chastise Krampy, not for raping the girl, but because “play time was 2 days ago”… meaning that this rape is his extra-curricular activity?! Is Krampus drowning boys and raping girls, drowning all children and raping teens, or has he upgraded to adults and is raping them now too!? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME, JASON HULL!? You’re shitting on continuity harder than fucking Jason TODD!… a completely wasted joke unless you read DC Comics around 2005 and saw that whole “Superboy-Prime throws a fit and punches reality’s butt” bullshit from Infinite Crisis that single handedly gave Marvel Comics the win in the “I don’t read DC Comics because they’re retarded” argument. Gwen Stacey having Norman Osborn’s statutory rape babies? Nothing compared to “Superbody-Prime FISTED REALITY”.

Okay, keep it together Anubis. You’ve survived Demonicus. Keep repeating, “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie…” Alright, so Jeremy escapes back to his truck and drives to the police station, where the Captain takes his badge and gun. Not because he thinks our hero’s lost his mind and is a danger to the public, but just because. I thought that this was going to be an obvious setup for someone to steal both and frame Duffin for all the child murders (possibly even the Captain himself for some nefarious reasoning), but no, NOTHING HAPPENS to the badge and gun. Cap just tells him to go take a shower, cool off at the local bar, and they’ll investigate Kramp’s murder hole… maybe later? I mean, two of this guy’s men were just killed, but rather than mobilizing more officers to go out and investigate the murdered cops, he sends Jer off to clean up and go to the bar for a few drinks?! HOW MANY ANEURISMS MUST ONE MAN-DOG SUFFER BEFORE HE CAN ENJOY DEATH’S SWEET EMBRACE?!… oh… right…………. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

You know what would’ve been great? If, while recuping at the bar, Jeremy looked over to a bottle of Johnny Walker, put on his best/worst Anakin, and just screamed “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” to the heavens. But my job isn’t to write movies and make them better, my job is to sit here and watch garbage that other people have no place making and write about them after the fact, because I apparently kicked old ladies off of cliffs in my past life. Fuck. Anyway, as he’s throwing back shots to numb the pain of his dead friends from the Hairless Club for Men (WHO HE’S NOT OUT TRYING TO AVENGE!), our hero gets a call from his angry wife who found out about Jer’s fatal hunting trip not from him, but from the world’s shittiest newscast. Seriously, that fucking report made even the crappiest episode of “Action News for Kids” look like the best produced episode of “Dateline”. That shows you how much Jer gives a crap about his family when he ends up at the verge of death from some mythical goat man demon, and the first person he wants to see after showering his friends’ gore of his face is… his bartender. Uggh. Still hanging out at the bar rather than going home to his family, Detective Duff is approached by a trio of fellow cops who aren’t too happy about him getting Norris and Walker (Get it? Chuck NORRIS was WALKER, Texas Ranger. At least, I hope this was Hull showing some kinda creativity.) corpsed. These must be the kind of cops who are just in it for the money though, otherwise they’d be going out to the FUCKING LAKE TO KILL FUCKING KRAMPUS! Is Caimbridge the only hicksville burg in the country where drunken posses aren’t a thing that happens every time a heinous crime is committed?! The only real justice is mob justice! No, instead these dipshits would rather dog pile on Duffin, threaten to force their hot dogs in both his AND his wife’s chocolate starfish, and engage in the WORST BAR FIGHT EVER FILMED! How “worst”? Not an ounce of hyperbole there. Take the crappiest round of William Shatner fisticuffs ever seen on an episode of “Star Trek”, and it would look like the greatest brawl ballet of the most perfectly made Jackie Chan “beat up thirty guys with everything in the room” choreography after watching the bar fight from Krampus

I’m running out of hate for this movie. There’s just so much of it, and my rageahol is actually starting to run dry here. I feel my agner sputtering to a miserable halt and… I don’t know what the fuck I’m supposed to do for the rest of this review! There’s still SO MUCH blood that needs to be spilled on this trash carnival… 5000 words in, and it’s STILL not enough bitching and moaning and self-abuse to get across ALL of the incompitent, stupid, HORRIBLY written, toe-sucking SHIT on display here… it’s an ineptitude event horizon creating an stupidiocy vaccuum – a black hole of cinemasochism that’s inhaled every ounce of tolerance I can muster… Even going into the movie with a love for Krampus and incredibly low expectations… even forgiving it ahead of time for what was sure to be a poor effort… all of these caveates that I put forward, and Jason Hull STILL manages to vomit up a repugnant script the likes of which has left a stain on my soul I will never be able to remove. Weep for me, children. Weep long into the darkness of night for the heart that was broken and scarred here today…

Alright, taking the shortcuts for the rest of this fecal field trip to Grandma Suck’s house. Nearly publicly butt humped by his disgruntled co-workers in the fight, Jer’s saved by the Captain, who arrives just in time to send Duffin home while he and the bartender (a former beat cop himself) beat the rape happy officer with a baseball bat… and kill him and his two cohorts if the end credits epilogue is to be believed… because police captains are all about mafia justice, killing insubordinates, disposing of the bodies, then just hiring new cops and giving public service announcements to anyone who asks questions about how unhealthy it is for people to ask questions.

While this whole stupid bar scene was happening, the Duffin house was being home invaded by a trio of ne’er-do-wells (lots of people in groups of three in this movie…) – two nameless rednecks and their leader: a bank robber/kidnapper/rapist/jaywalker named Brian Hatt (Bill Oberst Jr.) who’s out of prison thanks to his blanket “scumbag lawyer” on one of those nebulous “technicalities” that movies like to use but never explain, because that would require dipping into the budget for a law consultant… or doing a quick internet search…

You can’t just have Hatt terrorize Jer’s wife Rebecca and their daughter Heather though, because Jason Hull has seen Real Killers or Last House on the Left or any of those other movies where the murderous gang picks the wrong family to terrorize, and decided to make Heather (who could be anything from 16 to 26, I’m not good with guessing ages… thank Osiris for state issued photo id cards!) a secret serial killer who seduces one of the thugs and stabs him to death… and don’t jump up my ass about spoilers on that little twist, because not 10 minutes before it happens, HULL RUINS THE TWIST HIMSELF BY HAVING SANTA FLAT OUT TELL KRAMPUS THAT HEATHER DUFFIN IS A SERIAL KILLER! Sure, seasoned vets of horror flicks like myself (and I’m sure many of you reading this) probably wouldn’t have been all that shocked by a surprise like that, but Hull doesn’t even give us the chance! It’s like he knows it’s a stupid idea and wanted to avoid people being able to say “Oh yeah, I saw that coming a mile away!”, so he just went scorched earth all over the fucking thing and ruined the surprise ahead of time himself rather than rewrite it.

Home stretch now, folks. Kramps and Jer show up at the house at the same time – K to claim Heather and J to makes sure his daughter (who he doesn’t know has been murdering people in her spare time) is at least safe until midnight. Hatt winds up Kramp’d (after trying to shoot skull face with his uzi), Hatt’s remaining redneck partner ends up getting third-eye blinded by Jer’s gun (didn’t the Captain take that from him earlier?), and our hero ends up bonked on his coconut for the second time today by K-Fed’s chain. When we comes to he finds Heather missing… and Rebecca strangled to death by a length of chain?! What the fuck did she do now!? You know what? Fuck it. I’m done here. I’m not adding to my blood pressure anymore, nor to my count of gruesome burn scars below the belt. Even ignoring all of the amateur camera work, poor cinematography, crap-ass musica generica, miserable acting, and dollar store special effects work, Hull’s writing is such a gods damned shartnado that there’s nothing left to excuse! The only saving grace is that pretty much no one will ever see Krampus: the Christmas Devil. It will smolder in obscurity, its final fading embers doused in a golden shower of its creator’s own incompetence, forever extinguished and never heard from again. Sorry Krampy. Maybe someday someone will do your legend justice. Jason Hull just is not that person… and you should probably hit him with a chain.


The Moral of the Story:
“There’s nothing that any of us can ever do to bring those dead babies back!”
(PS – Krampus doesn’t kill babies. Babies don’t do anything bad to deserve punishment. They just mindlessly scream and cry and shit themselves. They’re not evil, they’re chaotic neutral.)

Screenshots_____
Are they a movie studio or a snowmobile detailing shop? Maybe both.


Oh sure, they make Krampus put on clothes around children now, but Porky Pig is still running around with his asshole hanging out!


“I know they say sex dreams aren’t about being turned on by the person, but all these George Wendt fantasies I’ve been having must mean something!”


“As you can see, I’ve drawn what looks to be a booby on the map. Boop. Boop. Booooooop. Come on, touch it! It’s fun!”


I hope they’re done shooting his scenes early. He’s got auditions at the “Grimm” sound stage to try out for Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, and Humpty Dumpty.


I know it’s incredibly blurry, but do you think that’s enough for Mark Zuckerberg to sue and have this movie legally blocked from ever getting a distribution deal!?


“So the lady at the CVS was like, ‘Sir, I don’t think Just For Beards has a whitening option.’ So I told her to go fuck herself, bought a can of aerosol snow, and made my own magic! What do you think?”


Dooo it… Dooo it….. Dooo it…….. DOOO IT!……. DOOOO IIIIIIIIIIT!


Okay, (1) – those missing posters are all duplicated! (2) – one of those missing “children” has a beard!


“I don’t like this Naziopoly game grandpa gave us. I can’t pronounce any of the properties, and the railroads don’t even have different names. They’re all just labeled ‘Holocaust Trains’. And why are the Electric Company and Water Works replaced with Oven Works and Gas Showers!? This is worse than that Cambodian Candyland knock-off, ‘Pol Pot’s Killing Fields’.”


I hate guys who treat their paintball games like it’s fucking SEAL Team training… at least that’s what I think is happening in this shot, given how it’s SO FUCKING OUT OF FOCUS! Kids, always learn to USE the camera before you start making your movies.


Taking a cue from his hero, Jim Varney, Larry the Cable Guy decides to star in a bunch of really dumb cheap-o comedies. Up first: Larry the Army Guy. After this? Larry the Camping Guy, Larry the Christmas Saving Guy, Larry the Scared Stupid Guy, Larry the Slam Dunking Guy, and if there’s enough money left over, Larry the Fat White Redneck in Africa Guy… which sounds like an interracial gay porn. Perfect.


Krampy tries out his new UrbanDictionary sexual maneuver entry on his girlfriend. He doesn’t know whether to call it a “Sam Elliot” or a “Wyatt Earp”. You can’t just call it “the Cumstache”, after all.


I have a feeling his jolly red nose isn’t because of Jack Frost so much as it’s thanks to Old Milwaukee and cocaine.


Typical fucking cop – pulls over everybody he sees driving on their cell phones, then just goes right ahead and does it himself! What a dick cheese!


Ah, I see Santa’s starting his own veal venture geared toward cannibals. Always the entrepreneur, that guy.


How to make the world’s least believable Action News cast – for starters, her teleprompter is apparently GLUED TO THE CEILING! Also, the file photo they have for the dead Officer Walker? Apparently taken from Duffin’s cell phone RIGHT BEFORE THEY STARTED HUNTING FOR KRAMPUS!


Heather (in the pink): “Mom, I’ve always wondered but… have I always looked five years older than you?!”


“Excuse me ma’am, but I’m a door-to-door lung salesman. Are you in need of any lungs? Or, perhaps you have any lungs you don’t need and would like to part with?”


Man with massive head wound (or was just hit with cherry syrup) is watched from the window behind him by a happy cartoon polar bear who’s apparently masturbating, while the jersey of an infamous football playing rapist hangs proudly on the wall behind them… this is a shot worthy of Lynch.


He’s about to learn that you don’t ignore this bar’s two drink minimum policy!


Imagine this guy coming at you while making that face and waving his dick around. If he’s the President of Steelers Country, I suggest you stay the fuck away from Steelers Country!… though he would be perfect to play Egg Head in Edgar Wright’s Ant Man movie!


If David Cronenberg’s mask from Nightbreed were a person.


So that’s Krampus. Pretty bad ass for a Halloween mask from Spencer’s Gifts, right? Except for one huge problem. See that little band of white right behind his top row of teeth? That’s the mouth of the person inside the mask… it’s prevalently viewable during the ENTIRETY of this scene…


Oh my gods! They killed Bubba Ray Dudley!


“PADME!… I mean, KRAMPUS! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

KRAMP

Anubis will return next time in
“They Prefer to Be Called ‘the Vertically Challenged Living Impaired Motorcycle Enthusiasts’”

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