Featuring: Brittany “Pitch Perfect” Snow , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs , Sasha “Swallow My Children” Grey
Director: David “A Love Affair of Sorts” Guy Levy
Writer: Steffen “Primal” Schlachtenhaufen
Hello, kids! Your humble narrator here, once again. My apologies for my absence these last few weeks. I wasn’t intentionally being enticingly elusive, I just lost all of my fingers after a “business agreement” with Robert Durant kinda fell through, and have been awaiting their regeneration. They’re still not 100%, but I’ve got enough stubbage to bang out a few words for today’s overdue review!
Also, no matter how hard you try, you’re now unable to read this without imagining my creepy little malformed digits clacking away at my keyboard. Take it, you slut. Take it all! Take it to your GRAVE!
Now then, back when “The New Adventures of Old Anubis” here started up, it got off on the right foot (the left one, if you’re Christy Brown) with The Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation, a repugnantly poor zombie sequel with an upsettingly long title starring personal favorites Andrew Divoff and, the reason The Tomb exists in the first place, Jeffrey Combs! Unfortunate to say, it was a decidedly drab performance by the career Herbert West, which may have had some small part in why I’ve only reviewed one other Combs movie since – Beyond Re-Animator. Though the lesser of the beloved trilogy, BRA was a better-than-average entry in the SIP (Scientists In Prison) sub-subgenre and an exponentially better outing for Combs than what we wound up with for TNotLD3DR. Then again, you can transplant the blame for that one to whomever cast such a master of scenery chewing for a barely-better-than-background-character role, should you feel so inclined to.
Today’s movie is a return to form for Mr. Combs, so I’m happy to start off our next 100 episodes with a heavy dosage of Jeff Monster Dos (Jeff Monster Uno being Jeff Goldblum) in the dinner party game to end all dinner party games! Or we could just get a pizza, order The Bye Bye Man on pay-per-view and stay in tonight. Would you rather? Too bad, cuz this review’s happening with you or without you.
Still here? Cool. Embrace your life of servitude. Our protagonista Iris (Brittany Snow) is one of those unfortunate “had so much potential and was going to college to do great things, but was forced to drop out and return home to take care of a sick family member by getting a low paying job she’s tragically overqualified for” dramatic heroines that we all root for out of a deep sense of pity or, worse, sympathy. The ailed family member in Iris’ case is her younger brother Raleigh (Logan Miller) whose leukemia is a total buzzkiller, man! I’m talkin’ Bring Down City, dudes, population Iris! Totally bogus, she-brosef! When their parents died in a car crash, she literally became her brother’s keeper. While Iris may accept her burden like a leading character would, Rals is less than happy about being a big dumb cancer-riddled shackle around big sister’s ankle, so he sits around all day feeling sorry for her while mocking her inability to speak with a French accent. Given that she pronounces “monsieur” as “man-sewer” like she’s one of the wild and wonderful Whites of West Virginia, I have to question the legitimacy of the movie’s claim that she was on the road to any kind of “greatness” beyond assistant manager of an under-performing Cracker Barrel. C’est la cinéma.
With medical bills mounting and the government dominated by elephant worshiping mutants genetically predisposed to refusing affordable healthcare for people in need, Raleigh’s grave illness is looking more and more deserving of that descriptor as time ticks away. Fortunately for the siblings, this is a movie! And since it’s a movie, the highly unlikely prospect of finding a bone marrow donor for Raleigh and covering the cost of the transplant operation is offered to Iris by the lad’s oncologist, Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.)! Well, not Dr. B exactly, but he does introduce her to an incredibly wealthy philanthropist type guy named Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) who offers her the self-same salvation.
Hold up. Shepard Lambrick? Shepherd? Lamb? What the fuck is that about?! I hate whimsical naming tropes. Blart.
Shep invites our gal to a dinner party he’s hosting and promises to solve all of Raleigh’s problems if she participates in and wins a no doubt left intentionally ambiguous “party game” with his other guests. Barden vouches for the eccentric, evil emanating gent’s offer, revealing that the mustachioed mystery man’s charitable foundation opened the very same drive thru window of McOpportunity for him some years back when he too was in dire need of help. That might explain why Doc doesn’t seem to give a shit that Sheppy Warbucks has been building a mountain of discarded peanut shells on the fainting couch in his office for the extent of this exchange. Had Ed McMahon ever come through with that giant check he was always promising me, I’d have let him sit naked on my couch during the hottest day of the year and shuck all the legumes he wanted wherever he wanted!
Not entirely sure that she isn’t being set up to play one of the titular tuchi in an “ass to ass” show for a roomful of guys in business suits a la Requiem for a Dream (still a less disturbing scene than watching Marlon Wayans rape stuffed animals in A Haunted House), Iris needs some time to think about the offer. When she goes home and gets the GTFOut callback from TGIFridays about the hostess job she was hoping to land, she’s left with little option but to toss her metaphorical hat into Mr. Lambrick’s dinner party ring. She tells Ral that she’s going out for the night to blow off some stream with her friends, rather than doing the smart thing and explaining the situation to him.
Any time you’re invited to an affluent stranger’s dinner party (the closest to which I’ll ever experience being GJ Echternkamp inviting me to lunch after reading my review for Death Race 2050), you should leave behind every piece of information you can with as many people as you can, as your first presumption should be that said affluent stranger intends to either kill and eat you (not necessarily in that order) or, best case scenario, that their friends are going to hunt you across a private island like some sort of game. A dangerous game, if you will. Perhaps, dare I say, the most dangerous game?
Our embattled heroine is chauffeured to the event, which she's told is not held in the Lambs’ personal home, but in a mansion the family uses solely for this special annual dining event… Sorry to keep harping on the inevitable danger we can all see waiting for Iris like Shin Godzilla on the horizon, but sometimes my mind takes its cue from my Jethro Tull “Thick as a Brick” cassette – it has 1 track. Ready for a 100cc injection of irony? The 8-track version of “Thick as a Brick” too only has said singular track. Think about it.
At the party, Iris (and the viewer, vicariously) is introduced to the other 7 attendees. We don’t learn much about each, so I’ll just give you the quick role call. We have Lucas (Enver Gjokaj), Cal (Eddie “CRABMAN!” Steeples, who still has the same rebellious mane he did in ‘My Name is Earl’), Peter (Rob Wells), Linda (June Squibb… no relation to the man who invented the squib), Travis (Charlie Hofheimer), Amy (Sasha Grey), and Conway (John Heard… what? What has John heard?). Each was recruited for tonight from one corner of the country or another, with Iris as the only local talent. Given that Doc was a past winner though, maybe that’s good luck? You know how competitive people are about their superstitions, after all. Still, that does come off as convenient…
Once their meal gets underway, the reason for the dinner (and our title) becomes immediately obvious when Iris declares herself a vegetarian and apologizes for having to decline the flesh heavy entree. Shep in turn offers her $10k to bypass her dietary morals and choke down her steak and foie gras in front of everyone. Naturally (and literally), she bites and earns herself a handy five figures to stomach rich people food that doesn’t consist of live snails or monkey brains! Nice. Next on ‘Deal or Ordeal’, recovering alcoholic Conway cashes in his 16 year chip for a decanter of “the finest Scotch money can buy” and a $50k payday of his own. Shit, I’d down a gallon of Tenafly Viper and a chaser of Shaq’s sweaty sneaker full of horse piss for $50k! I also have zero shame.
So, as far as asshole rich people in movies go, our antagonist has established himself as the Ted DiBiase type: offering the less fortunate what he considers a pittance to shit away their dignity for his amusement. Ladies and gents, welcome to the game that’s a sadist’s paradise – Would You Rather.
With the pre-show over and everyone sufficiently intrigued/terrified, the guests are offered an out before things go any further. Looks like they all assume that they’re just going to be paid to eat and drink things they normally wouldn’t be into though, so no one takes the Get Out of Guantanamo Free card. When Shep’s hired goon Bevans (Jonny Coyne) rolls in a DIY shock therapy machine, the now imbibed Conway indignantly tries to take his $50k and run, only to be met with a bullet in the face from the former MI5 spook-turned-Caucasian Random Task (hopefully without all that “Christmas Eve gang rape and torture” nastiness)! Yes, kids, when someone who’s clearly a sadist says you’re allowed to leave the situation before things get “serious”, you run for that glowing red EXIT sign as fast as your feet will carry you before Million Dollar Man Jigsaw changes his mind!
In addition to Bev, Lambrick also introduces his son Donald Jr., I mean Julius (Robin Lord Taylor) to the group. As you’d anticipate, Jules is your typical fucking rich kid snot rag who clearly carries daddy’s mean streak in his DNA, minus the false face of eminence and empathy that pops portrays to the plebians. The wormy shit’s last name would be better pronounced “Lame-prick”, and if you didn’t wanna punch the young Oswald Cobblepot in the face with a bedpan bad enough before seeing this movie, you’ll wanna shove Domon Kasshu’s burning finger through his face by the end of it.
Round 1 (FIGHT!) involves the guests zapping each other with the “enhanced interrogation” electroshocker, as two players per turn get their heads wired. Each person is offered the opportunity to rattle their own fillings or give the person to their right a taste of the Carrie Fisher Treatment. It’s like the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray at the liquor store, only with a higher risk of heart attack and self-defecation. Though most of the remaining 7 play nice and opt to take Ben Franklin’s Kite Ride themselves, Amy keeps it 100 and buzzes old lady Linda’s wig faster than Electro on uppers. Clearly someone’s grandma was a bit heavy handed with the wooden spoon while she was growing up and now has a case of Grandmasogyny. You can’t watch this part of the game without thinking about the family therapy episode of ‘The Simpsons’…
With no fatalities (aside from Conway getting a case of .45 caliber gray matter splatter in the pre-show), the Surviving Seven all go on to Round 2. Then again, Round 1 clearly wasn’t meant to eliminate anyone, so much as it was just a way to prod (No pun intended? No, pun intended!) everyone into disclosing who the Samaritans are and who the Jeff Varners/human skidmarks are (*whisper* it’s Amy). During their between-rounds timeout, the gang try to work out an escape plan. While they ponder how best to jump Bevans and his back-up lackeys, they make sure to let Amy know that her bitch-ass is on her own. Much as I echo the sentiment, that’s the kind of thing someone who’s shown themselves to be self-centered to a violent extent is just going to use later to further smother their conscience and fuel their “fuck the rest of you” mentality. Good luck with that.
Round 2 ramps shit up a few levels, graduating to “Would you rather stab so-and-so in the leg with an icepick or cane the ever loving nougat out of Travis”, who made the mistake of talking back to Orange Julius during his intermission “mock the poor people” pep talk. Trav offers himself up as the sacrificial lamb so no one has to risk taking a poke in the femoral artery and bleed to death. Some people opt to look their personal gift horse in the mouth and, rather than just let Travis die, take a chance with stabbing their neighbor instead. Not unlike the way I stab myself in the thigh with the old steak knife I keep next to my keyboard whenever I start zoning out while typing reviews.
Without going into too many specifics, the round ends with 2 victims, which is way more than any of the Stalkers in The Running Man were able to rack up. The remaining players attempt their coup (oddly devoid of background music) before Round 3, only to fail. One contestant tries some saber rattling with an actual saber, but his revenge is cut short by the gun that Shepard keeps on himself for just such as occasion. While the others are forced to return to the table, Iris escapes into the house’s basement, only to be snatched mere inches from freedom by none other than Julius Seize-Her *rimshot*. The living embodiment of a garbage bag full of used tissues attempts to rape our heroine, only to get a first hand taste of girl power as Iris beats the fluid out of the little douche bag and leaves him lying. Doc Barden (whose guilty conscience forces him to try and rescue Iris) appears intending to assist in her liberation, but his best efforts just make him the modern day Dick Halloran when his big ol’ PHD brain proves no match for Bevans’ peacemaker, mere seconds later. You can’t help but hear Groundskeeper Willy uttering “Ach, I’m bad at this!” from the ether.
Bev retrieves our leading lady, with Summer’s Eve being the one who gets punished for his uncouth behaviors. Nothing in a cool “gets his dick shot off” manner, though. The rat faced Pat Bateman wanna-be is just sent to his room and basically grounded from watching the rest of the game. Boo hoo.
Would You Rather Round 3 kicks off with the extant contestants not too happy that Iris gets to return to the game despite her near-successful dash for freedom. To be fair, running away is akin to a forfeit, but since she’s the Atlas upon whose shoulders our tale is told, their host turns a blind-eye to any repercussions. Then again, if you consider it, maybe adding Iris back into the game is her comeuppance? Whatever your opinion, the clash’s 3rd quarter is, as Shep calls it, “the known vs. the unknown”. Its gimmick revolves around a series of “punishment cards” issued randomly to each player via nondescript envelopes. Before opening their individual fates, they’re given a choice between gambling on what torment the card holds for them or spending 2 minutes held face down in a cask of H2O by Bevans. Given their host’s upper crustiness, I would imagine it’s VOSS or Volvic or at least Evian in there. Whatever its origin, as you may remember from grade school science, water is not a substance that humans can breathe.
Again, to avoid ruining the outcome of the scene for you I’m just going to tell you what the anonymous tortures consist of. One card entitles its holder to one free FULL dental extraction. Another requires its recipient to hold a lit quarter stick in their hand to completion. A third card forces its owner to slit open one of their eyeballs with a razor blade (at least they get to choose which one, so… that’s fair… right?). The final card, well… I’ll get to that. Now, though we may have shed our gills millions of years ago in the evolutionary march to now, scienticians have told us for ages that the average human can hold their breath for 2-3 minutes with relative ease. So, provided you don’t have a stroke, why wouldn’t anyone opt for the barrel instead of the card? Unless they’ve got “kid on christmas” syndrome and not knowing what’s in the envelope will make them go into seizures. Or you’re horrified of water because someone or someones very near and dear to you drown… which happened to one of the final four. Said player clearly doesn’t want that, so they opt for their card – FOUR minutes of face time with the supposed source of all life (and its fair share of death). Given such a “coincidence”, I have to wonder how true Lambrick’s claim was that these cards were issued completely at random. Hell, given the entire barrel concept I’d say its a safe bet that this entire round was targeting that self same player. Hmmm.
With two more eliminations courtesy of round 3, the game goes into its 4th and final showdown between our last two survivors. A coin toss to decide who goes first sees Iris win (like you didn't know she'd make it to the end) and she's presented with the following scenario: she and her opponent are both allowed to leave, pockets none the richer but both allowed to live, or she has one shot with a dueling pistol to kill the person across the table from her, in which case she stands the victor atop the bodies of her enemies and Raleigh gets an expansion on the figurative ranch house that is his life.
Now, here’s the fun part. If you’re adequately intrigued by this premise and want to keep your brain virginal so as to experience its finale for yourself sans spoilage, you have two choices to continue your adventure – allow me to pop your cherry and continue reading, or close this window immediately and read no further until you’ve watched Would You Rather, returning later instead. Make your choice now before reading further!
Iris' opposition offers up the sob story that brought them here in a last ditch effort to make us care about them, but Iris is even less interested than we are and puts them down before their guilt trip gambit can get past “I have 3 sisters”. Arrangements are made for Ral's operation, a donor was already found beforehand so the transplanted marrow will be on a plane to the US in less than a day, and on top of all that, Iris will be given enough money to take care of things for both of them while also getting the chance to go back and finish her education. She mutters out a mandatory “thank you” to her captor/savior and is taken home. Hooray! The Day is won! At a terrible cost of her humanity and likely any semblance of non-PTSD ravaged sleep for the rest of her life, granted, but at least it all worked out in the end!
…Until she gets home and discovers that Ralo pilled himself straight into deceasedhood while she was out.
There are only two real ways WYR should have ended for me. I would’ve accepted a happy ending (which I always do, ladies) had the final scene been a montage of Raleigh going through the surgery while Iris sat alone in a hospital waiting room until he comes out in the clear and the pair share a brother and sister moment of triumph, only to have a Psycho-ish final shot where the camera pans slowly in to Iris’ face, freezing on her eye, finally saturating into a grainy black & white while a sound byte of her screaming from earlier plays over it. Or, the ending we got, despite my telegraphing it as soon as we got the shot of little bro feeling guilty over his sister having to make special plans to have something as simple as dinner with her friends while probably worrying about him being home alone the whole time. My suspicions were proven as soon as the last few minutes of the movie focused on Iris checking on her “sleeping” brother before showering and getting some manner of rest only to discover Ral’s state when she goes to wake him the following morning. Hey, sometimes being right about the surprise awaiting you is even more satisfying than getting something out of left field just for the sake of an audience swerve.
I also thrive on “sad” finishes. When The Mist wrapped up, I laughed and cheered, clapping as Tom Jane crumbled into a heap of overwhelming, impotent horror. I love downer endings! The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite Star War. Not just because I find the standard issue “Hollywood ending” impractical for as many times as we’ve seen any and every conflict, no matter the scale, wrapped up with a last minute feel good resolution just in time for the end credits, but because I’m a callous prick who likes to see imaginary people suffer horrible losses. And sometimes real people… when the situation calls for it… or I’m just feeling sadistic… or when I can’t sleep… or when I sleep too much…
As a general statement, I’m not a big fan of what the faux-conservative types have long since labeled the “torture porn” subgenre. Clearly not due to some bullshit ethical quandary, given half the tirades I’ve thrown out here over the years. I didn’t mind Hostel, and I’m not against people enjoying movies whose main selling point is graphic violence. Hell, vulgar displays of blood and guts and meat and bones are always welcome in The Tomb! As sad as it may be to say, though, I’ve been doing this (i.e. criticizing “bad movies”) for almost 20 years. With extended gaps in between and having lost 90% of my material from before 2013, sure, but that’s still a LONG time in which I’ve seen a LOT of movies. Mutilating people for fun should be but a single bloodsoaked piece of your plot, not the whole thing. This is where Would You Rather becomes torture porn done right! It’s not just a group of masked sadists causing physical violence on wayward vacationers for kicks, it’s subjecting the characters and audience to psychological torments too. The fact that it doesn’t go to comical excesses the way something like a Troma movie would, and treats even potentially goofy things with a serious tone that makes it way more effective.
I do have a qualm or two with Shep’s excuse that he does all of this under the auspice that it’s for his guests’ “own good” to unveil each player’s “true character”. Just like Jigsaw always said his games were about “making the victims struggle to appreciate their lives and earn the right to keep living”, it’s all bullshit. Both guys are clearly just getting off on making people torture themselves and each other, so don’t pretend it’s some kind of higher level existential crap. They’re violent psychos with too much time and too many resources on their hands that could be making the world a better place, but instead choose to be self-indulgent assholes who can get away with murder, so they do. Repeatedly. Deal with it.
The setup for Shep’s game feels more than a little absurd, even beyond the whole “Iris just happens to live in the same general area, while everyone else was flown in from around the country”. And if you’re asking yourself “Why wouldn’t someone who survived the game have told the cops about all this?!”, that’s an easy one – since the winner is the only one to survive, and their entire motivation for going through with it was to live the rest of their life on the Lambrick Foundation’s tab, why would they go to the authorities? “But why didn’t the doctor just go to the cops when he decided to help Iris?!” you say? Why? So, provided he survives long enough to make it to trial, he can then spend a chunk of his life in prison for being an accessory (and get shower shivved by someone on the inside on Shepard’s behalf) while Lambrick’s money and standing within society gets him off? Sure, he was killed anyway, but chalk it up to the illusion that too many gun owners buy into the fantasy that they’re invincible… until someone else with a gun kills them… or someone without a gun just takes their gun from them and kills them.
I think my biggest logic fart with today’s flick is covering up all of the “unsuccessful” contestants. There’s no mention of how long the Lambs have been shepherding unknowing victims for their slaughter, but it’s been at least twice. Now, if the previous game included the same number of players, that’s 7 victims from each dinner, for a total of 14 people. Among those 14 people, you have to imagine than no less than, let’s say 4 of them must’ve told someone where they were going and what they were doing. Especially given that they were flown in from sea to shining sea. How has the game gone on this long, even if it’s only the second time, without any major red flags being raised over at least 14 missing people?! Given that those 14 people were brought to the house all expenses paid, there must be some kind of figurative paper trail to lead the authorities back to the fucking Lambrick Foundation! I enjoy your your concept in a style befitting of that one kid from Prince of Space (in other words, “Very much!”), and the story plays out entertainingly enough (especially that nod to The Shining with Doc), but the devil’s in the details Steffen Schlachtenhaufen (gesundheit!), so maybe fill in some of those plot holes next time for a smoother ride.
And this isn’t ‘MST3K’, so don’t tell me I should “really just relax” either!
Finally, the cast. Brittany Snow is a serviceable leading lady, at least in a movie where the focus is spread throughout a dozen or so people sitting around a table for most of the runtime. Not sure if she could have carried a more centrally focused flick, but that’s nothing to do with Would You Rather. On the opposite end of the lady spectrum, Sasha Grey makes a GREAT high-riding bitch! Then again, if you’d seen her dominating other women in as much of her, uhm, “other roles” as I have, you wouldn’t be surprised. On the other side of the chromosomal line, Robin “Lord” Taylor is as good a loathsome shit shucker as Grey is a massive cunt. The duo would’ve made a great couple, simply because seeing someone as attractive as her on his arm would’ve just made the audience want to feed him to an industrial lawnmower all the more!
I was a little disappointed that John Heard wasn’t around longer, especially since his character would’ve been drunk for the extent of the proceedings. Oh well, despite his short screen time, it was still better here than what he gave us in Sharknado. Speaking of letdowns, Eddie Steeples. Man, I had hopes to see something special out of the guy. He’s a solid comedy guy, so I was hoping to see how far he could stretch his legs with a dramatic role. Then again, the role didn’t exactly give him much to run with, so go piss up a rope with all that “no small parts” crap, Stanislavski! Everybody else in the movie? Fine. With the exception of Rob Wells’ slight resemblance to Danny McBride (who’s in Alien: Covenant – what the fuck?!), I doubt I’d recognize any one them in another movie ever again. There is always the possibility one of them could be involved in some crazy shit like that Ryan Jenkins “stuffed his dead wife’s naked body into a suitcase he then left in a dumpster” stuff, but I’d imagine not.
As for Combs? The reason we’re all here today? I thought he was amazing. The star of the show. He brought his overacting gloves to the set and a big appetite for that aforementioned scenery! He makes what could have been a throwaway evil rich guy into a memorable bastard who treats the entire game as an amusing but perfectly normal get together. He has a weird respect for the game and seems personally invested in the others’ actions, studying them and eager for the next surprise. He takes joy in it, but keeps a moderate air of dignity for the most part, keeping a firm hold on the reins as he leads the confused, frightened, angry guests through the challenges. He full on loses his cool during one scene and Combs’ voice cracks, but it adds a smidge of realism to the moment, much the same way that Veronica Carwright’s legit delivery during Alien‘s chestburster reveal helps lend it credence. I’m not recommending that JC’s act is going to wow everyone, but for my tastes, I really enjoyed it.
Much as I’d like to see a continuation of the Lambricks’ lethal luncheons, after 5 years I’m pretty sure we’re not getting a sequel. Then again, it was 41 years between Two-Thousand Maniacs and 2001 Maniacs, so as improbable as it is, nothing is impossible! Except that live-action Attack of the Super Monsters movie I keep bugging Senor Spielbergo to direct. That’s pretty impossible. Your lawyers can only protect you from my script for so long, Steven!
If a Would You Rather follow-up isn’t on the table, you know what should be? A board game and/or card game! See what I did there? Because of the table and the games that are played on tables? Yep. Anyway, if nothing else, WYR is screaming for a Kickstarter project to make such a thing happen!… wait, those may be the screams from my basement where I… left the TV on? Never mind!
That’s the tale of “When Anubis Watched Would You Rather”. It’s a nice solid step to start our journey through the next 100 episodes, which is sure to bring us sights, sounds, and stupid shit the likes of, well, what you generally expect from movies around here. You should give it a watch if you like seeing people suffer, you’re a fan of Pitch Perfect – Home Alone crossover fanfic, or you’re like me and worship at the alter of a JC whose hands you can really put your faith in. Combs be with you, brothers and sisters and everyone in-between.
Finally today, despite all of that Kylie Jenner commercial retardation, my stance as a proud Pepsi drinker was only reinforced recently, as it was revealed that President Nacho Cheez Dick Sneeze has a button in the oval office specifically for calling a butler to serve him his favorite beverage: Coca-Cola. Yep. Just imagine he and the rest of white trash Mount Rushmore (palin, nugent, and… uhm… “rock”) in a helicopter gunning down the hibernating Coca-Pola’ Bears this christmas. I think I just gave Hallmark their top-selling holiday offering in the southern and midwestern US markets for 2017!
IFC Films – Buying back the indie cred our channel lost by putting out movies that no one in your family has ever heard of!
“I don’t care what the commercial said, just because pizza’s on a bagel does NOT mean you can eat pizza anytime!”
Maybe Jason Chaffetz was right. Maybe if Raleigh hadn’t spent all of his allowance on that PSP, he could’ve afforded to pay for an anti-Leukemia health plan! You know, cuz all it takes to prevent Cancer is $100 in GameStop trade-in credit…
“That’s just Norman. Don’t mind him, he’s just feeding peanuts to his imaginary baby elephant again. He doesn’t bite. The elephant I’m not so sure of.”
Brittany Snow is disappointed to discover that plans for the ‘Nurse Jackie’ prequel series she’d audition for have been scrapped.
Looks like he just asked her out for a drink sometime and she replied with “I don’t date… uhm… jazz people.”
Spoiler for Trainspotting 2 – Spud and Sick Boy one made a co-donation at the local sperm bank, and their grown up son comes looking for his two dads!
Disappointed that her blind date isn’t as interested in her as he is in their waitress, Iris begins playing footsie with herself.
“Come on, Fluffy! Do your trick! Show everyone your talent! He eats his steak with a knife and fork. It’s so cute. Usually he does it, but he might be too excited with everyone else here. Fluffy! DO THE TRICK!”
“So then Bill Bixby says, ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’ and starts hulking out like this as he turns into Lou Ferrigno! Grrrr!”
Someone implied the group should say Grace before dinner, not realizing that Shepard is a militant atheist. Shortly after this he started throwing mashed potatoes at them, screaming “Where’s your god now?!” and everyone agreed that Thanksgiving was ruined yet again.
Peter McCallister is briefly concerned that he left son Kevin home alone again, only to remember that Kevin was beaten to death by the Wet Bandits and disposed of in a river 10 years ago.
Ever since discovering Primer, Terrance has been trying to create his own time machine. Just tell him how good it looks and how smart he is, then walk away.
That’s what happens when you’re sitting across from Sasha Grey at a table and ask her if she was “any good” during her adult film days. Like two golf balls being sucked through a garden hose…
When your host tells you they run their home under “Singapore Rules”, DON’T leave your gum under the dinner table!
My grandma gives me the same look every time I try to explain how to access the on-screen guide via her cable remote. Hopefully no one tells her about DVR or I may just push her down her basement stairs.
People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes,something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.
You know you had a hellish night out when you shower the morning after, look down, start seeing red randomly circling the drain and have no idea where it’s coming from.
Anubis will return next time in
“Dicks Don’t Get Wet”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Elle “Maleficent” Fanning , Jena “Sucker Punch Malone , Keanu “The Matrix” Reeves
Director: Nicolas “Bronson” Winding Refn
Writers: Nicolas “Bronsons Winding Refn , Mary “‘Preacher’” Laws & Polly “Eleanor” Stenham
When I was a horny young pup just looking for a wet spot to stick my prick into, my criteria for what I desired in a sheet staining partner was a very simple three point plan – looks, looks, and looks. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, as it is for most impressionable post-pubescent types looking to make an “impression” of their own into/onto someone. Much like tickets to a Don Johnson concert, my virginity was something I had an impossible time giving away. The few young ladies I shared the halls of academia with in high school that I had any interest in were either already dedicated to other lads, or had turned down my romantic advances faster than a stepdad turns down the thermostat when somebody puts it over 60. After reaching the ripe old age of legality known as 18, I would eventually find myself a finely figured female who was more than happy to commence with my deflowering (or, in my case, my weeding), and she and I are well on our way to the 17th annual celebration of our first date come the next Krampusnacht Eve. Happy pre-anniversary, dear!
As I’ve aged (and unholy Hel have I!), my taste in women has evolved well past favorite shapes of flesh and into a Twilight Zone-ian preference for dimensions not just of sight and sound, but of mind. Not strictly book smarts neither, but ladies with more esoteric tastes that match mine own. Namely, bad horror movies, sketch comedy shows, and morbid humor peppered liberally with sarcasm and contempt for humanity. Attempts at such relations haven’t always worked out for the best, but whatever doesn’t kill us gives us fun stories to tell our court appointed lawyers, right!? What does this have to do with today’s “Ladies Night!” installment, The Neon Demon? Not a shit ton. Much the opposite, in fact. Today’s feature is actually about physical beauty, and the obsession some have with not only getting it, but retaining it in the face of the unconquerable hellbeast known as Age-zilla.
Given that my looks have been known to make gargoyles cry tears of gasoline (I swear that’s how that church fire started!), I’d know nothing about that. Instead of relating to our tale, I’m just gonna let my eyeballs go gonzo over all the wonky visuals and my ears get made sweet love to by the supersexy swingin’ sounds of its synthy score!
Today’s movie is sadly not the sequel to Neon Maniacs we’ve been waiting 30 years for. It is, however, brought to us by Nicholas Winding Refn (director of Drive), Amazon Studios, and the letter ‘Q’. Despite my recent review for the Amazon Pilot Season episode of “The Tick”, I swear on Horus’ right eye that I’m not being paid to promote their productions! Those dickards won’t even give me a free trial month of Prime at this point, let alone actual capital compensation to type up piss & moan articles. Sorry to say, folks, but the mildly amusing musings of a Death God ain’t worth two farts to the mighty Reaper of Brick & Mortar Stores. Fuck it. As Chris Pratt said, “It’s important to make your big mistakes in relative obscurity” anyway. If this site were popular enough to grab anyone’s attention, it would ruin all the fun of the chase for a lot of bail bondsmen (and bail bondswomen) out there!
The Neon Demon stars Dakota Fanning’s younger sister Elle, who continues her efforts in making a name for herself with a role that’s meatier than just playing a younger version of one of Big D’s parts. Since the movie’s plot is little more than your basic tale of glamorous industries seducing innocent youth just to use them, abuse them, suck them dry, and throw them away like used condoms once they can no longer pull off the “jailbait couture” look, said movie also requires your basic “small town, big dreams” victim to consume the soul of before metaphysically defecating into the empty space left behind. As such, Elle plays Jesse – the latest fresh face the City of Angels cannot wait to R. Kelly upon. Hell, within the first 10 minutes of the movie we discover she’s “not from around here”, lives alone in a sleazy motel room, and has no family of which to speak! To paraphrase Pinhead, “Norma Jeans are such easy prey.”
Speaking of, a makeup artist radiating a strong sexual predator vibe and calling herself Ruby (Jena Malone) comments on our subject’s beautifully smooth skin and immediately attaches herself to Jesse after working together on one of those “gore + glamour = art” photo shoots that the kids these days apparently think are so “edgy”. You know, like that “Girls and Corpses” magazine that people keep gifting me subscriptions to for some reason despite my frequent comments of “If it’s not Linnea Quigley stripping in a graveyard or a severed head going down on Barbara Crampton, don’t waste my time”.
Not five minutes into their new friendship, Ruby invites (i.e. insistently drags) Jesse to a party to introduce the young lady to her new peers in the industry, specifically her pals Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote). Gigs is the faux friendly type whose smile is as artificial as the lips and teeth that make it up, while Sarah is colder and blunter than the sledgehammer I keep in my meat locker. As with any newbie to a social group, our protagonista is circled by the other members of the pack and has her mettle tested in judgment. In this case it’s the usual ladies’ room emotional hazing of woman-on-woman mockery about how the fresh-faced bumpkin isn’t fit to be one of them. Gigi and Sarah might as well both be named Heather, but that’d be too on-Gigi’s-surgically-manipulated-nose.
Despite the pair’s “never evolved past high school” treatment of Jesse, Ruby sticks by the girl and takes her under her big sister wing to help guide her through the labyrinth of the modeling world and not get trampled to death by the metaphorical Minotaur. I’d be more inclined to believe the legitimacy of the cosmetologist’s intentions for the Georgia Peach if only she’d stop throwing Jesse the Big Bad Wolf leer every 10 minutes! Instead I’m anchored with the unshakable presumption that the would-be mentor’s so obviously going to be the one holding the knife that goes into our gal’s back come Jesse’s inevitable nosedive from grace.
Speaking of, much like a modern fairy tale, our Cinderellian peasant destined for princessery is picked up by an esteemed modeling agent (Christina Hendricks) and immediately paired with a highly regarded camera jockey named Jack (Desmond Harrington) who looks more like the type of guy who shoots amateur gangbang porn in the backyard of his stepdad's mansion than he does a sought after fashion photog. You know what really takes the audience out of the fantasy, though? No self-respecting (or self ego-inflating) “artist” in any industry would call himself “Jack”.
As if the modeling industry’s ominous presence as our heroine’s personal chainsaw of Damocles weren’t enough of a threat, Jesse’s also endangered by the sadism of Hank (Keanu Reeves), the manager of the motor lodge in which she’s living. Henry probably got his Hotel Management diploma from the ICS home education courses that Sally Struthers used to shill for…while he was doing a stretch in prison for sexually assaulting a troop of girl scouts. Seriously, the guy would whip out his 3” killer to a single mom at a bus stop and insist she swallow his tadpoles while her preschooler and a nearby nun looked on. He reveals himself as the kind of human garbage that makes even my cast iron stomach churn harder than an industrial washing machine on the “Wipe Clean the Stains of a Life Lived in Filth” setting. His assistant/apprentice Mikey seems generally harmless, but he looks like Iggy Pop Junior (somebody’s gene pool needs a lifeguard!) and works for Hank, so that’s probably enough to land him at least somewhere near the latter rungs of Dante’s ladder.
As much as the deck is clearly stacked against her, Jesse’s not alone in her story. How’d she get to the spiritual wasteland in the first place, anyway? Enter Dean (Karl Glusman)…well, I guess you can enter him if he’s okay with it. I’ll take a pass, myself. Back on topic, Dean is an aspiring photographer who came across Jesse on the internet and convinced her to come to the left coast so they could make art together. I met my Evil Dead Bride in a fucking AOL horror chat room and even I think this pairing sounds sketchier than MC Esher’s high school notebooks! Despite his efforts to woo her while still being respectful and protective of her, Jesse is very reluctant to refer to him as any kind of boyfriend figure in conversation with others. He’s a surprisingly decent dude who never tanks his decency by pulling the bullshit “you owe me sex!” card on Jesse, which you totally expect to happen given how he too leers at Miss Jesse like fucking Jack the Ripper in the movie’s opening scene!
No friggin’ diggity, Jesse gets eye fucked from people so often in this flick, you’d think she farts Spanish Fly. It’s unnerving.
Predictably enough, as Jesse’s successes compile, so does her ego. She mutates from innocent southern teen into Family Guy rendition of Julia Roberts (“ME! ME! MEEEEE!”), talking about herself as if she were the second coming of Cindy Crawford. Such a path couldn’t lead to our heroine’s downfall harder if it were a literal street named “Downfall Avenue”. I’m presuming this transformation is what the title’s referencing, given that (spoiler alert) there isn’t a single giant neon devil sign brought to life to kaiju the downtown Los Angeles area. Will Jesse find love and safety in the arms of her unavoidable love interest Dean, or will the D-Man discover he’s better off with an inflatable girlfriend? Don’t knock it. The only rubber you need to use with her comes in her repair kit! Will Jesse instead be a “grrrl”, pull her life out of her tailspin on her own and conquer her enemies to become the new White Queen of the fashion industry? Will our neon demon predictably wind up eaten alive by the green-eyed monsters that she so naively trusts with her well being? Will this modern fable end triumphantly for Jesse like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or tragically like Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid? That’s for me to know and for you to find out…I mean, if you feel like it. You don’t even have to watch the movie if you don’t want to to find out. The internet will just tell you how it ends, if you prefer to do it that way. Doesn’t effect my day either way. Que sera sera.
And so our story goes. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, beauty and the beast. It’s nothing to write home about, really, unless your family gets excited over loose threads. Plot threads, that is. Story elements that drop off the map, never to be seen again and character threads that drop right off with them. If it’s so bad, though, then why the quartet of disembodied blood pumpers at the top of the review? Because NeoDemo is a classic case of style over substance being a good thing. Oddly appropriate given the theme of the movie, dontcha think? You can almost believe it was poorly written intentionally…
The performances are all fine, almost in spite of the roles being generic. It doesn’t help your story’s endgame seem less obvious by having your actors play their characters so blatantly. I do give Elle Fanning credit for not taking Jesse overboard in personality even though her lines still take the character there. It’s a well done balancing act and I hope the young lady earns herself a reputable career. Glusman’s Dean is a good dude done well, with the exception of his almost Captain Howdy levels of “creepy, shadow monster face” in the opening. Everyone else is just as shallow and one-dimensional as their roles are intended to be (at least that’s my guess), so that’s fine. Now, story and cast outta the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this Neon Demon.
Hold onto your bippies, kids, because I’m about to slap you in the faces with a big cold salmon of shock . Surprise you it may well, but this is my first date with Mr. Winding Refn. I’ve never seen Drive. I’ve heard great things, but universally renowned projects are a breed of poultry that rarely cross my proverbial path. You know what else I’ve yet to see? The Force Awakens. Yep. Let that one soak into your corpuscles for a few. Back to Nicky WR, his presentation style fills me with the similar fondness I have for Dario Argento and Stanley Kubrick’s stuff. His heavy accentuation on the use of colors and shadows and mirrors and trippy imagery combined with jarring/haunting music are tres Argubrick. He also throws lots of different patterns straight into our eyeballs, from wallpapers to curtains to bed sheets to carpets to clothing, and they all bleed into this visual clusterfuck that borders on overwhelming without going full-on brain barf. The aforementioned music is very dream-like, and makes the whole movie feel very surreal. It’s a psyche smothering safari for the senses.
Of the biggest complaints I came across while poking around the worldwide wasteland for details were people who called out Winding Refn, some for perpetuating mainstream misogyny (all women are jealous, petty cunts to each other and will do anything to get ahead) and others for ripping off Argento’s style. Regarding the former, I can’t really weigh in, given that my gonads reside on the outside. As for the Argento complaint, it depends on whether you want to call it a rip-off or an homage. Potato, potato. However you wanna pronounce it, I’m all for it. Kubrick’s long croaked and nobody’s really doing the Argento thing anymore. Christ at a Cracker Barrel, at this point even its namesake hasn’t properly Argentoed for a good twenty years! I’d rather watch someone doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well instead of trying to force the old Italian to go back to his roots. So, for those who disagree with my positive take on the matter, I’ll let Academy Award winner Tommy Lee (the actor, not the drummer with the horse dong) answer for me.
Given the mostly cold shoulder reception The Neon Demon was given (50%ish scores on aggregated criticism sites), I’m sure there are plenty of people who would accuse me of “falling for the sales pitch”, but you could fill a thimble with all the shits I give and still have plenty of room left to fit your fingertip so you can deposit it straight into your orifice of choice. If “artsy fartsy” stuff bothers you, bypass this flick because that’s its big selling point. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re down for something different and you’re not up for taking Suspiria off your shelf for the 164th time. Keep in mind that, despite ND‘s categorization as a “horror” movie, it’s really more psychological wrapped up in an air of dread. The one traditional horror movie element kicks in in the flick’s final stretch… then it goes on for another 15 minutes. These last minutes have very little dialogue. Like almost zero. Makes you wonder if the actors were getting paid by the line and the budget ran out. What is there is still technically part of the movie, but exists less out of necessity to the story than it does to drop some more visual weirdery and fuck with the audience one last time. It reminds me a lot of what Rob Zombie did with the last act of Lords of Salem, come to think about it. Leaves us with more questions than answers, really.
Still, it looks fucking cool.
Coming up will be the next and last installment of our “Ladies Night!” cineménage à trois, so any misogynists like the one who messaged me last week telling me this kind of “pandering pussy shit” isn’t what they want to see? You can rest easy, cuz it’s almost over. Or, you can just get the fuck out. You don’t like woman-centric movies? Guess what…
Now I gotta head over to the local halal eatery and get a pile of Samosas for lunch. Those taste bud tantalizing s.o.b.s get my salivary glands more excited than Gorunk the Baby Eating Gibbon gets around babies! Yum!
Dean looks like he’s plotting to take revenge on someone by cooking their family into a pot of chili and feeding it to them… possibly after he’s had sex with it.
Eli Roth’s homage to the 20th anniversary of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” music video is, well, pretty much what you expected it to be.
“Don’t worry, I was an intern on Evil Dead II. I know how to get karo syrup and red dye out of ANYTHING.”
If Dario Argento directed Mean Girls.
“I don’t care how many penises you have, Mr. Sinclair, this isn’t a casting call for Marilyn Manson’s adults only traveling freakshow! That’s down the hall in Suite 31.”
Was this room decorated by a blind person or somebody on acid? Either way, if I have to look at it much longer I’m gonna lose my Fritos!
“Look, I know SLC Punk 2 was garbage and if you wanna throw yourself off a cliff over it, I totally understand. But I gotta get to my shift at Big Kahuna Burger in 20 minutes, so either shit or get off the pot!”
Could this mean Nicolas Winding Refn’s next project will be that rumored Smokey and the Bandit remake we’ve been hearing about for years?! I’d bet my White Lightning / Gator double-feature LaserDisc on it!
Keanu Reeves finally takes measures to have Alex Winter forcefully removed from his guest house. After 25 years of his “I’m almost done with the script for Bill & Ted 3!” excuses, Keanu has had enough.
Hey, they’ve finally started casting for the She-Ra live-action movie! I really hope they opt to cast a real Pegacorn for Swift Wind instead of cheaping out and ruining her with some stupid cgi crap.
At the Sears catalog model tryouts, dozens of moderately attractive women compete for the chance to be thousands of young American boys’ first effort hording wank material. At least until they can convince their older cousin to buy them an issue of “Hustler”. Well, that’s how it was before the internet, anyway. Kids today have it way too easy…
Only true industry insiders know about the sacred Triforce of Fashion! It’s made up of the Triforce of Beauty, the Triforce of Design, and the Triforce of Film, each of which is held by one of three legendary heroes. The sacred texts say that, one day, the three will be brought together to create the GREATEST fall collection in all of fashion!
“Screw the picture. I’m gonna make her look like Large Marge just to see the family’s reaction when they open up the casket!”
“This is why I tell you not to eat candy in bed. You’ve got a whole Sugar Daddy tangled up back here! Uggh!”
“Is THIS your card?… Ah, shit! Let me try that again.”
I know how she feels. I feel the same way when I have a third Most American Thickburger too. Brutal.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Leila “The Long Home” George , Emily “Adventures In the Sin Bin” Meade , Tori “Cthulhu” Spelling
Director: Melanie “Actors Anonymous” Aitkenhead
Writers: Amber Coney & James “Bukowski” Franco
In-Name-Only Remake of: Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (1996)
Labor Day. Most people think Union bosses and picnics, but as an everyday appreciator of those baring a sexy pair of XX chromosomes, I think of screaming parasites being torn into the blood soaked agony of existence through unwilling vaginal portals. Instead of making this about the bite-sized monstrosities, I prefer to put the spotlight on the iron ladies who bear said abominations and made all of us possible. Yes, even you test tuber viewers, because you can’t grow a human horror from microscopic tadpoles alone…yet. Anyway, as such, I present to all you of-the-ovarian-sort a trio of flicks for ladies, by ladies (mostly), featuring ladies (FLBLFL). “Ladies Night!”, enrage! Errrr, engage!
Let me start with an apology, kids. I know many of you would probably prefer that the “Franco” in today’s credits was referring to Italian sleeze legend Jess Franco, but no such luck. I may have something from the deceased trash maestro a little further down the pipe (provided I get the gusto to snake the drain that is my motivation), but today you’ll have to settle for James instead. However, if you’re an enthusiast, don’t get too excited. And if you’re a detractor, don’t feel down. The screenplay’s only half his, as you can see by the credits he’s not the director (his character even has a line where he literally says “I did not direct that!”) and his on-screen role might as well come with one of those “for novelty purposes only” disclaimers they stamp on penis pump packaging.
Oh yeah, like you’ve never injured your dick and/or your partner’s dick with a prick thickener before. How’s the weather way up there on your golden pedestal, you high-horsing mothertrucker? That’s what I thought.
On the topic of today’s movie, did you know it’s been 20 years since the original Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? premiered? Neither did. Because I never watched it. Because I don’t tend to watch Lifetime. Being “Television for Women”, I’m not even entirely sure it’s legal for me to post this review! Not that I’m a stickler for following the law, but when you’re covered in jet black fur like I am, you don’t really want to tempt any antsy-pants patrol officers into using yours truly for target practice…
Edgy, socially relevant humor!
You know who did see the original Lifetime Original? My Evil Dead Bride! I’m now turning over the steering wheel to EDB, so She can share Her thoughts:
Ahh, Lifetime movies: an incredible exercise in estrogen drenched dramatics and progesterone chugging shenanigans. Scared yet? You should be. Ladies are frightening, especially when they’re busting cheating husbands and bravely trying to find love again while raising kids with no heads. Okay, the missing head part wasn’t real. That’d be hype as fuck if it was real though, right?
Anyway, Lifetime is “Television For Women”, in that it’s ludicrously written and hilariously overacted treacle often “based on true events” (yet somehow not as entertaining as “Law and Order”) involving Ovarians. In every genre of film, there are certain works that can be considered cornerstones. Lifetime dreck is no different. The first Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is certainly part of Lifetime’s bedrock, along with A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story and Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter (Seriously, watch the Betty Broderick movies, they’re incredible). It’s the typical “previously good teen rebels against overly involved parent and loves bad boy who is way worse for her than she realizes until it’s almost too late” affair, perfectly un-acted by Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei (both of whom reappear in the remake for funsies for people like me who’ve spent too much time watching utter garbage like this). The writing is atrocious, yet oddly gratifying. Truly a hallmark in mammarian moviemaking if I’ve ever seen one, right along with that terrifying movie where John Stamos makes out with his dad at the end. That’s a real thing, by the way.
Lifetime isn’t for the faint of heart or those of weak constitution. Kinda like Tori Spelling’s “acting” and unsettling amount of facial fillers she’s rocking these days. (Seriously Tori, you’re starting to look like Robert Z’Dar: face like a catcher’s mitt. Quit while you’re only yards behind.) Lifetime movies are basically exploitation movies for suburban moms who drink box wine and proudly sport that baffling Kate Gosselin hairdo, sans over the top gore and gratuitous nudity. If this sounds appealing to you, question your life choices. I’ve done the introspective work, and am left with a calm that can only be achieved by allowing “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” to silence my constantly chattering mind with its myriad mysteries and deep existential inquiries. Perhaps this movie is actually a life altering koan delivered via poor 1990s television filmmaking, meant to teach me something I can simultaneously know and be ignorant of at the same time…
Hahaha. Nah. It’s just dumb pablum meant to pacify bored people like me with no taste. Enjoy it for what it is and isn’t. Don’t think too hard, cause that’ll give you little wrinkles on your forehead. Vaya con Dio Brando, fuckers.
See why I’m frequently bugging her to start up her own movie blog? If you agree, let us know! She has to bow to peer pressure eventually!
And now, Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?
Honey, maybe you should get to know Danger first, before jumping into bed with them. Perhaps by introducing yourself with a firm but genial handshake!
I considered going with a Carlos Danger or “Is Danger his first name or his middle name?” joke there, but I stand by my decision.
Leah Lewisohn (Leila George) is just your typical West Coast college girl. She lives at home with her “why does she wear high heels in the house?” mom (Tori Spelling), she speaks with a soft-yet-grating Valley Girl accent, she awkwardly pretends not to notice that her friend Bob (Nick Eversman) would like nothing more than to suffocate himself with her crunchy underpants, she’s pushing gender boundaries by being the first female lead in her drama class’s rendition of Macbeth (as directed by James Franco’s character), and her new significant other is hiding from her the potential relationship shattering knowledge that they’re a vampire. Oh, and said sucker-of-the-sanguine is a lesbian goth “photographer” named Pearl (Emily Meade), which probably won’t sit well with Mrs. Lewisohn’s conservative Christian outlook.
As if the teenage nosferatu thing wasn’t bad enough, Pearl’s being pressured to bring Leah into the pink & black mafia (the Hart Foundation?) by her fellow monsters. “Monsters” in that they’re also vampires, not college students who think overexposing photographs makes them artists. Calling photography students “monsters” would be giving them more credibility than most deserve, and if their parents never encouraged them while growing up, why should the rest of us? I don’t want a brood of my own. If I wanted a bunch of responsibilities, I’d learn Hebrew and animate some golems. At least they don’t leave DNA evidence at crime scenes…
And that’s pretty much it! In my usual effort to avoid the stink of mold by not spoiling the bread, I won’t elaborate on this grown up After School Special anymore beyond that. To be fair, though, there’s really not a LOT to the plot of MMISwD?, as it’s a very straight forward, simple little horror movie. First time feature maker Melanie Aitkenhead directs the whole affair with a ’90s teen horror flair and moderately intense girl-on-girl makeout montages. Clearly our lady was very much a fan of The Craft (which also came out in 1996, coincidentally enough). Retro. Or, if you’re me, it’s nostalgic of my better experiences in high school: masturbating to Fairuza Balk. Speaking of the ’90s, former smasher of pumpkins and perfecter of circles James Iha’s industrial-goth score suits the movie and sets the tone well for Young Adult soap opera horror. It can get repetitive now and then, but for a Lifetime Original it’s solid, more so given that Smashing Pumpkins are to my ears as Slim Whitman is to Martians’ whatever it is they perceive auditory stimulation with.
And yes, that last line’s analogy counts as SAT tutoring, so don’t forget to pick up your bill at the exit. You don’t want us to have to bring it to your house. Trust me.
Being a bloodsucker pic, the gore in Mother (♫ “tell your children not to hold my hand”♫) is kept mostly to bloody mouths (with oddly clean teeth…), with the most intense wetness kept to the Macbeth play in an oddly meta “story-within-a-story fake violence” angle that I can’t really put any clearer. Sometimes I don’t word good. Now, without any serious gripes beyond some not great acting (and a non-PC concern about Tori Spelling looking like a melted mess of Barbie plastic), what’s my dominant issue with the movie? Sometimes, it doesn’t give its audience enough credit.
Leah’s scholastic screen time outside of the Drama Department is spent in a class that explores the parallels between traditional horror stories and the historically phobic persecution of LGBTQ folk. This, of course, is the theme of this remake/revision/reimagining/rebranding/reskinning, likely in an effort to both let said LGBTQ know they’re not alone, and also get the ignorant of we heteros to empathize with people who have been unfairly demonized for centuries. Pardon me if this is projecting, but it gets too heavy handed (going so far as to juxtapose the professor’s words directly over a scene of the vamp squad on the hunt) in its efforts to make sure the message permeates even the densest of numbskulls. Meanwhile, to those with more open minds, it can come off as condescending. Not due to the message, but how many times we’re told that what’s happening to Leah (IN a horror movie, no less) has already been covered a thousand times before in books and poetry.
You could look at this bludgeoning of subtlety as a negation of any need for the movie to exist in the first place since it’s just the same old story. Or, you could look at it as a statement that the need for such stories sadly still exists today and will continue to until the dickards of the world get over whatever personal problem it is that causes them to try and ruin other peoples’ lives. Hint: it’s usually because they hate their own lives, but are too fucking lazy or helpless to fix it, so they just redirect their angry frustration into aggressive outward displays of hatred and attempted domination. You know, typical grade school bully shit, because some cunt waffles never evolve past a 6th grade level.
Given that you’re probably here because you want to know my opinion (secondary to the dick and fart jokes, of course) , let’s discuss where I stand in regards to MMISwD?‘s message – being neither LGBTQ person nor a homophobe, it doesn’t speak to me. Nor am I saying it should. Much like my feelings on The Babadook, the message is clear to me and doesn’t need to be repeated ad nauseum, rubbed all over my brain like a young intern’s balls across a Republican senator’s face. As a Lifetime Original, the presumed target audience for this flick is middle-aged women (and any channel surfers whose attention can be easily grabbed by TV-14 approved barely legal lesbos dry humping), so if any such ladies out there have seen this and would like to give their opinion, please reach out and touch-a touch-a touch-a me as I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the script’s hand holding really is overly aggressive, or if I’m just too into buttering my own nuts.
For me, it’s the same as a smoker being told repeatedly by their spouse that cigarettes are going to kill them. I know. I’m not stupid. I’m also not Leonard fucking Shelby. I can retain knowledge, and I do remember the other 500 times you told me about all the cancer I’m going to get from smoking!
…Where was I going with this? Oh, right, the exasperation of repetition. To quote Mr. Horse, “No, sir. I don’t like it.” Ignoring that, as stated prior, it’s an overall okay movie. Direction was fine, dialogue was fine, performances were fine for the most part (minus a little too much of leading lady Leila George’s grating accent). Better than what I expected from a TV movie, albeit a bit too predictable and all that “Bob Huge Hands wearing lead over mitts” heavy handedness. Given Franco’s involvement I was hoping for something a little more guano than the socially conscious made-for-TV remake of Embrace of the Vampire (sadly lacking the lusciousness of 1995 Alyssa Milano in a skirt) we got instead. That was also when I thought he was going to be directing it, though, so fuck me for having expectations scaled to false information. ‘Tis no one’s fault beyond mine own.
There are other heavy topics at work here, like domestic abuse (physical, emotional, and vampiric), peer pressure, date rape, generation gaps, gender politics, parental loss, gray morality, and how the first “Twilight” book was okay in theory but the sequels rolled downhill faster than Barbara Hale and Steve Brodie in The Giant Spider Invasion. Fuck you with a wooden stake, Stephanie What’s-Her-Name. Your hack novels have corrupted more young people than ISIS! You know, the terrorist organization, not actual Isis. She’s thinking of changing her name to “Brooke” now, just to avoid that whole messy “kill the non-believers!” thing. Anyway, one of the smaller, intimate themes I like about the movie fits in with the “being gay = movie monster” matter, but it’s a huge giveaway so I can’t even talk about it under
ape spoiler law! Tell you what though, you send me a message asking me to expand upon said story element, and I will spoil the shit out of it just for you, Sugar Tits.
Final complaint? The movie’s finale must’ve been raised in a barn, because it leaves the door for a sequel WIDE OPEN. And in doing so, lets all of the metaphorical heat out. It’s better left as a one off flick and the possibility of a follow-up thrills me as much as mere alcohol thrilled Sinatra – not at all. Lifetime could probably win me back if they give Franco the reins to reign over it, especially if he had a few lines of coke to “inspire” him through the creative process!
Unless and until, I’m just going to treat MMISwD?‘s canned cheese epilogue like another kind of “log” and flush it from my memory. My Evil Dead Bride offered up a legitimate position on how said ending could symbolize certain peoples’ stances about the corruption of…damn it, there goes that spoiler warning alarm in my explosive collar again! I reiterate: if you want me to ruin the movie for you, please submit a formal request. In triplicate. My lawyers’ assholes are puckered so tight that light can neither enter nor escape them.
Beyond being part deux of my “Ladies Night!” Cineménage à Trois trilogy, I won’t say what the subject of our next episode will be. All I can guarantee is that it won’t be anything from a certain knockbuster factory whose name rhymes with “ass xylem”. Afraid I may have been showing the early signs of Stockholm Syndrome with my Sinister Squad review, I’ve had myself voluntarily committed (get it?!) into an Asylum asylum program until at least the end of the year. For now, I gotta get back to work on my death ray, so this ends our broadcast day. Ladies? Keep it sleazy, make ’em queasy, and when you can, top it off with a bit of the ol’ squeezy squeezy. Good night everybody!
Someone using their phone to actually talk to someone? This must be a flashback!
When three hot women come up to you out of nowhere and ask if you want to “have some fun” with them, kindly decline. They’re either going to make a blackmail video of you, or use you for a human sacrifice.
“Welcome to ‘Introductory to Film Making’. I am your professor, Uwe Boll, and I would like to take this moment to inform you all that this class is NON-REFUNDABLE!”
“You know how you said you ‘love me like a brother’ yesterday? Did you ever, you know, fool around with your brother or give him, like, a pity handjob or anything when you were younger? I mean, you know, just asking.”
Damn it, Franco, stop looking at the camera! You’re worse than Jimmy Fallon was when he’d break character on SNL!
“Hey! It’s that Tom Green guy! I wonder what he’s doing on our campus? Wait, is he… oh sweet Jimmy Dean! Is he having sex with the school mascot?! That poor platypus!”
“Baby, what did I tell you about throwing away your gum before bed? Jeez, that’s really in there. Well, looks like I know somebody who’s getting a butch cut when we get home!”
Whenever Sally’s feeling down, she knows Alice’s “derp face” will always pick her back up.
Good news, bad movie lovers! Robert Z’Dar didn’t z’die, he just had a sex change! Maniac Cop IV: Meter Maid from Hell, here we come!
Ladies and gentlemen, the world’s sexiest (and worst) ventriloquism act – Madam Marilyn and Her Mischievous Marionettes!
“No babe, don’t freak out! It’s not really my penis, it’s just my thumb sticking out of my zipper! See?!”
Another successful production of “Evil Dead: the Musical” is in the books.
What’s with her costume? Wait. Let me guess. She’s going as a chandelier lamp from WalMart!
A promotional still from the CW’s newest attempt at a recycled franchise: “Eddie Munster: the College Years”
“What do you mean they made a ‘90210‘ reboot and I wasn’t a part of it?! Wait, I was on it?! Why don’t I remember ANY of this!?” (Don’t worry, Tori, NOBODY remembers anything about that show.)
She must use Listerine’s new “Blood Blocker” formula mouthwash, or Orbitz’s new “Gore-B-Gone” gum. All this image is missing is a hot British blond saying “FABULOUS!” while light gleams off of Pearl’s pearlies despite her menstrual beard.
Anubis will return next time in
“Monsters of the Runway”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Monica “The Encounter” Engesser , Amelia “The Toy Soldiers” Haberman , James “Match.Dead” Ray
Director: Robert “Exit to Hell” Conway
Writers: Robert “Exit to Hell” Conway & Owen “brother(?) to Robert” Conway
Before we start, here’s my statement on the death of Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland, as posted via my private facebook account – “The shock isn’t that Scott Weiland died at 48. The shock is that he didn’t die at 38. Or 28. He outlived most rock tragedies though. Meanwhile, that painting Keith Richards keeps of himself in his attic has to be nothing but a skeleton and a pile of cocaine by now… “
Take THAT, Keith Richards! Now, back to our regularly scheduled cinemockery.
So Saint Nick’s demonic hench-beast of Germanic folklore has been gentrified by mainstream Hollywood with last week’s theatrical deliverance of Krampus. The Wicked Warden and I saw it during Phase III of our Sweet 16 Hype-aversary Weekend, and despite my mild reservations to the contrary, Legendary once again disproved my paranoia and delivered a new holiday classic. It’s like something that was started by Charles Band, but was finished by professional moviemakers with a decent budget who knew what the fuck they were doing. Anyway, the thing I personally hate most about the monster-of-the-month mentality is the guff I get from people calling me a hipster because I knew about Krampus years before they did. Fucking shitsters have made it impossible to declare that you were a fan of something prior to its popularizing without getting mislabeled like a Sikh in Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim “Days of Future Past” America. It’s gonna happen all over again when Tinseltown (pun intended) finally gets their Cthulhu movie all sorted. Just you wait.
As with any notable wide release (especially one based around a mythological character immune to the laws of copyright), we all recognized the inevitability of at least one jerry-built knockoff coming to a RedBox kiosk near you. Well, whether you’re picking up off-brand cheese curls and Old Milwaukee at the supermarket or just getting your Valtrex refilled at the drug store, the omens were true – Krampus: the Reckoning lives. For those seeking The Asylum’s cursed brand upon this imperfect clone though, you’ll be disappointed/relieved to find your search fruitless. Could they not find a few days between Sharktopus and Sharknado sequels to throw something together? Especially for the all important “holiday horror fiends” sub-sub-(sub)-market? Whatever the case, nature has some longstanding personal vendetta against vacuums (no doubt due to one of those puberty specific “Bissell mishaps” we all had), so somebody had to fill the void. Enter FunHouse Features and the Conway Brothers. Well, don’t “enter” them. I’m neither attracted to men nor am I into putting my pecker in strange holes (no matter the moisture) as a general rule, so that’s just out of the question.
I have zero experience with the Conways or their presumed production company (they don’t even have their own webpage!), which means I’ve got nadda to say about them or their movies, anecdotal or opinional. I considered coming up with an outlandish origin opus for the siblings a la the Adam Minarovich tirade from my Ankle Biters review, but I ran out of powdered caffeine for my Kool-Aid, so that’s not happening today. I’m guessing they’re barely functional mouth-breathers given what they’ve shown me here, so let’s leave it at that.
For those still in the dark about who the Big K is, here’s a flashlight: Krampus is the Satanic satyr of Saturnalia, with the legs of a goat, the face of a demon, and a tongue that gives Gene Simmons envy boners. He is Santa’s red right hand. The vessel through which Saint Nick exacts his punishment upon wicked children (hence the alternate title for today’s episode). He’s the Eastern European embodiment of coal in your stocking, if coal were to kidnap you in the middle of the night, lock you in a cage, and whip you mercilessly before baptizing you in frothy goat piss and sending you home with no shoes. If you’re lucky.
With that said, let’s see what this “Reckoning” thing is all about, shall we? No? Well, suck my sugar plums, because I’m doing this fucking review!
Zoe (Amelia Haberman) is one of those smarter-than-average, cynical girls that everybody thinks is weird. She reminds me of a friend of mine at that age, both in look and attitude. If I weren’t allergic to children, I’d want a daughter like her. Speaking of parents, Zoe’s a foster kid. In horror movies, foster relationships work out less than 0.45% of the time. Either the kids are Satan’s bastard offspring or the parents are the shittiest castoffs of the human race imaginable. Nobody wins. In this case, the Weavers are drunken coke heads who lock her in her bedroom at night, and Zoe has the couple burned alive by her skull-faced subservient fire demon (who, nicking a cue from Marvel’s Man-Thing *snicker*, burns them with his touch), so it looks like Krampus: the Reckoning is having a Buy One Get One sale.
Granted, the duo were selfish assholes who no doubt took advantage of the foster care system to feed their cravings for sinus snow, but there weren’t any signs of physical or sexual abuse at work here. Zoe was reprimanded for changing the channel during mom’s soaps and later locked in her room after she was caught peeping on the pair while they were summoning the beast with two backs (“You mean fucking?”). Not exactly the kind of reprehensible parenting that deserves to be punished by flame-broiling the two like Whoppers at Burger King. Then again, most kids lack empathy and the ability to comprehend the long term scope of their actions, so good luck getting them to understand why setting people on fire just for annoying you is rarely the best course to take. Believe me, my mother used to work at a daycare. If any of those mini-jerkoffs had turned Firestarter, that place would’ve looked like one of Hitler’s Easy-Bake Ovens by afternoon nap time.
Having blackened her fos’rents like Cajun catfish, Zoe is sent to a children’s hospital while the police investigate. Child psychologist Dr. Rachel Stewart (Monica Engesser) is assigned to her in the hope that she’ll be able to talk some info out of the little girl that the police couldn’t. Zoe-Zo-Zo agrees to answer Dr. S’s queries, but only if she brings the pint-sized terrorist her box of yarn and dolls from the house first. The doc does just that, violating the crime scene with the approval of her friend-on-the-force, Detective Miles O’Connor (James Ray). What’s so important about these dolls? Well, it turns out the brothers Conway have a 3rd grader understanding of voodoo, because Zoe has a doll that resembles Krampus (actual Krampus, not ghetto Ghost Rider here), whose tiny adorable slave shackles she removes when she wants her computer generated ghoul to enact her little kid hissy fit vengeance upon evil adults (represented by little yarn dolls she makes) who don’t let her interrupt their TV viewing and won’t let her underage eyes gawk with voyeuristic intention at them while they’re doing the ol’ pump ‘n grunt mambo. Trust me kids, there are some curiosities you shouldn’t be allowed to pursue outside of PornHub and awkward experimentation with your friend that one summer that you both promised never to tell anyone about.
During their back-and-forth, Z-Dawg asks R-Dogg about a gnarly burn scar on her arm that the lady’s clearly not comfortable talking about. She redirects the conversation faster than Marky Mark when someone brings up The Happening or the whereabouts of the Funky Bunch. Dr. Rachel tries to connect to Zoe over their shared history as foster kids and her own adoption, Lamar (Sean Anderson), while Zoe tells her that impostor Krampus was responsible for leaving the Weavers on the stove too long. Rachel looks into the mythological kiddie disciplinarian while also delving into Zoe’s own inconsistent background, balancing being a good mom to Lamar, and exploring a budding, complicated, “more than business” relationship with Detective O’Connor. Or, as Lamar refers to him, “Some drunk cop at the door”. Meanwhile, having reacquired her not in any way magical voodoo yarn, Zoe sends her Purgatory Pet (from the company that brought you Tickle Me Mephistopheles and Cabbage Patch Creeps!) out to flambe a few more ancillary sinners, including a beardo that bears a striking resemblance to a guy I used to work with. I should’ve liked him more (my co-worker, not this character) given our common interests, but he was way too faux-cheerful for me not to push out that window…I mean, not to want to push out of a window.
During the final act, this pooch contracts a surprise case of Shyamalaphobia (“twist-ending rabies” for my fellow laymen and laywomen) and just bashes its skull against a wall until its swollen, feverish brain turns to figgy pudding and oozes all over its own cloven hooves. It has to be one of the most fuck awful “ignores the entire movie up to that point!” finishes I’ve ever made the mistake of irradiating my corneas with. The whole thing throws itself down the metaphorical staircase, crashing battered and broken at the bottom, where we finally get the merciful abortion finale and our end credits eulogy. In short, it stinks. Amen.
In fact, the finish breaks the movie so badly that I’m actually going to contravene my vow of spoiler silence and explain why it’s such a seizure-inducing brain hemorrhage! First, though, I’ll be sticking needles in the feature’s many other shortcomings, so if you’d like to keep me from ruining the experience of letting Krampus: the Redemption floss your central sulcus with thistles itself, feel free to continue reading until you get to the big “SPOILING AHEAD!” warning below. Right now, it’s time for everybody’s favorite part of the procedure – the rundown! In which Anubis tumbles through a downward spiral of bitching, moaning, and cursing about what’s wrong with this direct-to-DVD trail of tears.
Actually, scratch that and reverse it. First, we’ll get the good news over with and let the bad news bat clean up on this one. Though a muddled and plodding mess (it’s a clusterfuck on Quaaludes), the movie’s not bottom of the barrel sludge…until that fucking ending. The direction actually isn’t terrible. It’s competently shot, so I’ll give Bobby Conway a scoop of credit on that one. To quote Dr. Stewart, I’d call it “Nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to brag about.” The cg beastie is Krampusy in as much as he has horns, a furry body, and goat legs, but that’s the extent. The graphics work itself is acceptable for the presumably limited capitol on hand, so I can let it slide. I would’ve preferred something in the realm of a tall person in a Chinese Chewbacca costume wearing a hoodie, but given how affordable halfway decent digital imaging work is in this high-tech era, it was probably more budget friendly to do it as is. It’s better than most of the eyeball cancer The Asylum pelted us with in their early days, at least.
These less-than-agonizing elements were going to be enough for me to originally let the movie squeak by on a solitary heart rating. Then the ending happened…but that loaf of moldy monkey bread known as the story will have to wait a little longer. Before that, the under-card bitching and moaning first.
The acting. Uggh. This isn’t one of those “so bad, it’s funny” instances, either. This isn’t the campy equivalent of 12 cheese nachos. No, the performances on display here are instead bland as a Slush Puppie without the syrup. Our female lead, Monica Engesser, was blessed with all the personality of a popsicle stick. And not one of those sticks with the jokes that have the pun-punchlines so bad that even a hyena on nitrous wouldn’t waste a laugh on them. The woman’s lines dribble out of her mouth as if she was doing hits of novocaine between scenes. James Ray isn’t much better. For starters, he looks like George Eads from “C.S.I.” after a bad stretch of life choices, including shaving his head to cover up the fact that he’s going bald, but not being diligent enough about it to convincingly cover it up. He attempts to deliver his lines like Clint Eastwood, but instead sounds like he’s struggling with a sore throat and is trying not to exacerbate it. Or like he’s whispering his lines so as not to disturb director Conway, who was constantly sleeping off hangovers just off screen. As for Amelia Haberman, well, I feel bad shitting on a child this time of year (mostly because fecal transference is a gray area in the realm of sexual assault laws, all the more so in cases where kids are involved…don’t ask why I know that). The good thing is that she has plenty of time to get some coaching and improve herself, so should she choose to pursue a career, there’s still hope. Good luck, Amelia. Merry Cthulhumas
The music is basically bullshit. Ironic given that one of the tunes, “Modern Metal Theme Zombie”, is composed by someone(s) calling themselves Studio BS! Other notable tracks include the lawsuit skimming “Jingle Bells Christmas Rock”, “Hip Hop Love Beat” by someone who actually chose the moniker Happy M, and a selection by the multi-untalented Conway brother Owen titled “Kick”. The performers for these tunes? They are “Means 2 an End”, who likely didn’t opt to use the number 2 for their name in an effort to be cool, but because they couldn’t figure out which iteration of to/too/two was applicable and didn’t want to look like idiots. Congratulations, M2anE, you failed.
My final pre-spoils gripe? Christmas. Not the holiday itself, as I have no beef against Xeroxed Yule (just the assholes who claim there’s a “war” against it and the willfully ignorant who refuse to acknowledge its origins). No, my venom here is being projected at the holiday’s inclusion in this movie. Krampus: the Reckoning has nothing in it that hinges on the inclusion of the holiday nor the titular terror upon which it’s named. Christmas is only utilized through decorations, references to gift-giving, Santa, and the easy case of “explain away” for the beast’s backstory. I hated Krampus the Christmas Devil, but at least it stuck closer to the mythology of Krampus (or at least his role in Santa Claus’s bullshit) instead of warping it so much that the makers may as well have just invented their own monster and spared those of us expecting something more tangential to the toddler terrorizer’s tale. I wanted something actually Krampy, but just like Highway Patrolman Harland Williams in Dumb & Dumber, I wound up with a mouthful of piss instead.
Cum one, cum all (hope you’ve all got socks handy), cuz it’s SPOILERS time! For the benefit of those with flash photography get your cameras ready, because much like a certain Canadian duo’s vaunted “5 Second Pose” gimmick, this is a one-time event, never to be seen again! Because of the potential shitstorm such an occurrence could possibly result in, I’m going to ask YOU, the reader, to take full responsibility for your part in this. To wit: I will be posting the text of the next few paragraphs in black to camouflage it from unprepared eyes. Those wishing to peek behind the protective curtain of this gruesome Grand Guignol can do so (at their own discretion!) by highlighting said paragraphs to make them visible. Apologies to my EDB editor for the long-winded intro, but my inner-pitchman needed some air! (Editor’s Note: your apology is not accepted. In fact, back to Solitary with you!)
The wrap-up act of Reckoning sees Zoe declaring that it’s finally Rachel’s turn to suffer the vengeful touch of Krampus. But why? What could Dr. Stewart have done to deserve the broken toaster treatment? Earlier in the movie, Doc dropped the blunt foreshadowing that sufferers of childhood trauma often repress memories that may not come out for years, if ever. Though she was referring to Zoe’s experience following the death of the Weavers, when Rachel later reveals to Miles that the mysterious burns on her arm are the result of a childhood fire that claimed the lives of her parents, it’s clear that the aforementioned medical analysis was just setting us up for the rough and raw Shyamalaning we were in-store for. Sure enough, we find out that Rachel was her family’s killer, causing the fire herself by being a mean little cunt and summoning Krampus to kill them, thanks to a book that her grandmother had for some reason (a moment alluded to frequently through Rachel’s reoccurring nightmares). The demon proceeded to scorch Mr. & Mrs. Stewart and Rachel’s sister, whom Rachel had forgotten even having, due to the memory being locked in the darkest recesses of the doctor’s mind because of all that trauma…even though she conjured the demon with the full understanding (and presumed intention) that it would kill her family! I mean, she had to make the little dolls, so I don’t quite get why she’d be traumatized by a situation she willingly caused?! Fuck you, Conways!
One guess as to who Rachel’s little sister was. If you said Zoe, give yourself sixty-four silver dollars! Yep, Zoe was a ghost this whole time. That’s the testi-twister reveal. Sounds stupid, right? We haven’t even gotten to all the reasons this is bullshit. Get ready for the aneurysm part, kiddies, cuz here it comes.
Up to this point, the movie had been establishing that Zoe had been in several foster homes in her time with the first instance being 20 years ago. When Rachel visits the family’s home, she learns from the household’s shotgun wielding son that the matriarch has been a mental vegetable since Zoe’s time there, during which time she had told people that the little girl was evil. Pa went missing during said time, only to be found later, a crispy critter. What dad did to deserve his comeuppance is never explained, but I’m guess he wouldn’t buy Zoe a My Little Pony or made her go to bed without ice cream because she refused to eat her peas. The info about this case was actually in the local government’s foster kid database (hence how Rachel found out about it), but the file was mysteriously wiped from the system the next day, meaning that ghost Zoe must have some kind of supernatural “ghost in the machine” hacker powers in addition to never aging and having Krampo at her beck and call. Kids from those days these days.
Now, when Zoe finally confronts Rachel, she informs her (and us) that she did indeed perish in the fire caused by big sister’s amateur demonology (as did their grandma, who’s seen in the opening scene). Where do I begin in trying to untangle this motherfucking Gordian Knot that the Conways have put before me?! I can’t just pull a sword out of my ass like Alexander the Great, but let’s see what I can spelunk outta there. For starters, if Rachel’s the one that summoned Krampus in the first place, WHY does Zoe control him?! Did her ghost take form and redo the ceremony herself, or can ghosts just control demons through physical dolls at whim?! Speaking of ghosts, despite being one, everyone can see Zoe. So she’s a phantom that can take physical form. Fine. Whatever. If that’s true though, why would she get involved with the other families in the first place?! She was in the foster care system, so she had to have been entered into it by a social worker who paired her with the families she destroyed. Also, she interacts with several other kids in the start of the flick, so not only can she take a solid form, but she’s willing to live the life of an actual foster kid for a while and put up with other asshole kids while working out which people to murder?!
WHY EVEN GO THROUGH THE WHOLE PROCESS OF A CONTRIVED PLOT, KILLING PEOPLE AND GOING THROUGH THE SYSTEM FOR TWENTY YEARS JUST TO GET TO RACHEL?! WHY DRAW OUT THE ENTIRE FUCKING MOVIE IF SHE COULD’VE JUST TAKEN HER REVENGE ON BIG SIS AT ANYTIME IN THE 20 YEARS SINCE ACQUIRING KRAMPUS’S SERVICE ANYWAY?!!?!?!?!? IT’S THE WORST KIND OF ENDING, BECAUSE IT NEGATES EVERYTHING THAT THE MOVIE SPENT 80 MINUTES ESTABLISHING, MAKING THE WHOLE DAMN MESS RETROACTIVELY NONSENSICAL!!!! FUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU, ROBERT AND OWEN CONWAY!!!!!
This movie just slingshots spherical, disgruntled, colorful birds at the structure of my brain and laughs while it crumbles, killing the little green pigs that represent what’s left of my sanity. The first time I saw that ending, my mind had to shut down and reboot. Fortunately, my gray matter autosaved everything up to that point, so I was able to free up additional memory to handle the load the second time around. I was also properly prepared to fast forward through the sex and shower scenes featuring nude people nobody asked to see nude. Don’t worry, I just had to erase some useless files from my childhood. Of what I haven’t a clue. Like I said, they’ve been erased. Pay attention.
It’s not worth the time, money, or effort, but if the last 20 minutes were re-written, any association with Krampus altered, and the actors given some classes ahead of time, this could’ve been a not-the-worst-thing-I’ve-ever-seen monster movie. As it exists in its current state, this flick would be better suited for the moniker “Kramped-Ass: the Rectuming”. Yes, that was a horrible joke, but it’s pretty much all this movie deserves. Much like the actual Krampus (I know him, he’s a rather affable gent unless you’re an a-hole kid), The Reckoning should be used as a punishment for misbehaving children and full grown douche sacks. It’s not so much for cinemasochists to watch as it is for cinesadists to inflict.
With that, this exercise in tedium has come to its close. Despite the Conways spiking my nog with Nyquil and giving my holidaze cheer a severe case of Hepatitis X(mas), it’s nothing a trip to the local cinema for another viewing of the good Krampus can’t cure!
Our next ep will continue the seasonal scheming of the slightly-to-completely irredeeming with a very special quasi-celebrity guest to this holiday mess! Put on your red shirts and reindeer antlers and get your ass back here for homemade milk and cookies, motherfuckers! For now, I gotta go out and pick up our Cthulhumas tree, then figure out what the Hel I’m getting Set for Secret Satan this year. Oh look! Here’s a copy of Krampus: the Reckoning! Problem solved. Until next time, may your egg nog always be spiked and have a holly jolly go fuck yourself.
“Yes, I can see the picture just fine, dearie. Now get your hand out of my face or you’ll be pulling back a stump. Got it?!”
“I can’t believe Male Character A would cheat on Female Character A with Female Character C! This is the most devastating season of ‘Generic High School Drama Show‘ yet!”
For all you parents with tight purse strings who can’t afford Monster High dolls for your kid this year, try the Dollar Embargo knock-off “Creature Secondary School”! Millie Mummy (pictured here) will be their new favorite affordable friend while you’re waiting for the results of your latest frivolous lawsuit against McDonald’s!
Yikes! Don’t stare at those too long or you’ll go wall-eyed! I hear that’s what happened to Marty Feldman.
Wait till you see the part where Krampus makes her sing while he drinks a glass of water. Amazing!
No matter how hard they all tried, the cast always regretted the day’s efforts when it came time to review the dailies. Ouch.
Milhouse Van Houten – age 35.
Damn it! Clearly this proves that the Conways knew what Krampus was supposed to look like! They were just fucking with us the whole time!
“Merry Christmas, sir! We’re the ho-ho-hoes you ordered from Big Poppa Claus! We brought festive, peppermint flavored condoms in case you’re out! Where should we start?”
Scott Summers’ first pair of glasses before switching to ruby quartz lenses.
It’s the Ghost of Rob Riggle Yet to Come!
“I told you not to come around here no more! We don’t wanna be in your shitty Krampus movie, and you can’t use our house or yard to shoot scenes in!”
Uggh. Some people just shouldn’t be shot in HD. He looks like he washed his face with old pizza grease!
Your Freddy Krueger cosplay’s coming along nicely, Sheryl! Keep at it, kiddo.
Huh. Well, evolution clearly didn’t plan for Krampus to procreate…
Speaking of procreation, my wife will be happy to hear that this scene just made me sterile. Next time anyone asks me if I’m positive I’m not gay, I’ll pull up this screenshot and throw up all over them.
“YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?! YOU’RE IN THE JUNGLE, BABY! YOU’RE GONNA DIIIIIIIIIIIE!”
“Roger, you know I joined the Sherman Oaks Bald Men Society because I believe in your vision. But… I don’t think anyone’s coming to our Christmas mixer. It’s been four hours… I think we should call it a night.”
Anubis will return next time in
“Tales From the Cryptsmas”
Featuring: Megan “Jennifer’s Body” Fox , William “’Prison Break‘” Fitchner , Will “The Brothers Solomon” Forte
Director: Jonathan “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Beginning” Liebesman
Writers: Josh “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Applebaum , Andre “Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol” Nemec , Evan “Snow White and the Huntsman” Daugherty
Once again it’s that time to give thanks, at least here in the US of A (not to be confused with the US of ‘Eh’ – Canada), as we Tetris our guts so full of food that they make Cambodian mass graves look roomy! It also means it’s time again for the ToA to carry on the classic “MST3K” Turkey Day tradition… though the whole concept’s kinda been made redundant since Joel Hodgson’s resurrected the actual Turkey Day marathonal celebration thing online, coincidentally enough on the SAME year I started my homage… thanks, Joel… lovable, fan appreciating, son of a Mad! Last year’s Thankskilling took the “Turkey” theme literally, but this year I’m taking the Day back to its intended “shitty movie” definition. You know what shares its first three letters with “turkey”? Turtles. You know what else starts with t-u-r? Turd. It’s kismet.
Last year I was walking to the chainsaw store and noticed a bird fly out of a tree. I was directly beneath the feathered fucker’s flight path, and had the nigh-psychic inclination of “I think this bird’s going to shit on me”. Sure enough, a discharge of sphincter napalm caught the light of the waning sun as I watched. Rather than step aside, I remained in that spot and watched that rectal blockbuster for the full extent of its descent until it finally ended up on my “I (CHUD face) NY” shirt. The moral of this story? I’m not the type of guy who steps aside when the Crap Express comes barreling towards me. I knew Michael Bay’s latest molestation of ’80s pop culture would knock on my door sooner or later. Rather than turn off the lights and pretend I wasn’t home, I downed a double shot of Rot Gut, snorted a scoop of Country Time Lemonade, and opened that door with my eyes open, my ears back, and my fists clenched. Now, the hunter becomes the hunted. Make peace with your gods and give thanks for the ass-kicking thou art about to receive! Booker T, take it!
Ape Tomb Law, not only am I not allowed to spoil major story moments, but I’m also required to watch every movie I review at least twice. I had to watch the RiffTrax version to stomach said second sit-through without resorting to smashing my hands with a hammer so I’d have an excuse not to type this. Also, on a final pre-show note, I have a very rare form of Tourette’s that only activates when I’m subjected to conservative republicans or any movie associated with Michael Bay. So, you know, be ready for me to degenerate into random bouts of bad word Pu Pu Platter the likes of which would give everyone around the dinner table a Turkey Day coronary.
The big controversies leading up to the release of this Steamin’ Mimi had TMNT fans (like myself) in an uproar. For appetizers, it’s a product of Michael Bay’s diseased digestive system, Platinum Dunes. For soup/salad, they cast Megan “all the range of a wax statue” Fox as April O’Neil. For the entree, the cold-blooded brothers are ‘roided up goliaths whose gargantuan frames aren’t exactly well suited for the stealthiness of Ninjutsu. And for dessert? Bay made the mistake of saying something to the tune of the titular terrapins being aliens now instead of mutants, which immediately turned into a terminal case of butthurt for nearly the entire pre-installed fanbase that these shit twizzling fuck blanket dick tits probably should’ve been at least trying to appeal to!
After the fallout from his comments though, BMMB (Bowel Movement Michael Bay) backtracked to clarify that he never said the half-shelled heroes would be aliens, just that their origins would be alien in nature, meaning they were either going to be the product of alien experimentation (like Marvel’s Eternals) or the method of their mutation was going to be extraterrestrial (i.e. mutagen is E.T. Jizz). Bay’s misremembrance of history’s not entirely true though, as one of the early drafts of the script reportedly did have the turtles as aliens who escape from a Dimension X prison, but was changed following the shitstorm backlash when fans got wind of it. The same thing happened when the movie’s title was originally announced as just “Ninja Turtles”, but was changed to include the entire moniker when, again, fans drowned the production in geek rage. You can tell by the lazy way “Teenage Mutant” is squeezed in above “NINJA TURTLES” in the title logo that someone was being passive-aggressive about acquiescing.
The aliens fuck up was enough that plenty of people to this day still believe that the turtles ended up being HGH fed Spaced Invaders and thus refuse to sit through this movie. Lucky them. As much as I loathe this worst kind of schlock, I make it a note to point out the truth to these misinformed people when I can. If this crapscapade flick’s going to be shit on and/or avoided, it shouldn’t be due to misconceptions, but because of how legitimately terrible it is. I’m a vindictive asshole of a human being, but a fair and balanced jackal-headed God of Death.
The movie opens with an extreme Fruit Ninja montage, as various items ranging from fruits to cinder blocks to VHS tapes are smashed and slashed out of the air by four very familiar ninja weapons. Who’s swinging them isn’t made bluntly apparent (though you might wanna check yourself against the DSM-4 and make sure you haven’t crossed over the Retard Town city limits), but said destruction of otherwise innocent inanimate objects is narrated by Tony Shalhoub, who most will remember of “Monk” fame, but whom I prefer to remember from “Wings”. Fuck you, I liked “Wings”. At least until Michael Bay remade it as Pearl Harbor. You didn’t know? Would I lie to you? Probably. Doesn’t make my statement any less true though.
Anyway, we’ll get back to Shalhoub-job later. Our story begins with April O’Neil (Megan “Not nearly as smart as a” Fox). She’s a news reporter for New York City’s Channel 6 (apparently the only channel in NYC without a broadcast affiliate or call letters) who laments that her 4 years in journalism college resulted in her covering morning news bullshit stories like how to do old person jumping jacks on a trampoline (don’t get excited, kids, this isn’t “The Man Show”) as taught by a guy who says that there’s no such thing as fat birds. Look up “fat birds” in the search engine of your choice and you’ll see this man clearly enjoys shoving his head up his own ass like some freakish M.C. Escher ostrich.
All she’s given are fluff pieces. Fluffy on the kind of level where you’d have to put a Himilayan-Persian in an industrial sized dryer for an hour to get something of similar fluffiness… though actually doing that would result in something far gruesomer, but you get the intended idea. Since her boss Bernadette (Whoopi “cushion” Goldberg) won’t give her a chance to prove herself as a hard boiled investigative reporter, April goes in search of trouble herself, determined to get to the bottom of the recent theft of some rare chemicals from a shipping dock at the piers. In doing so, she witnesses another burgling at the same pier by shadowy militant figures known as The Foot Clan, led by an Asian woman (Minae Noji). Their deeds of misappropriation are broken up this time by a shadowier figure who batters the baddies into retreat using the giant shipping containers (is this guy The Hulk?!) before Batmaning away into the night, leaving a Japanese kanji graffitoed onto one of the shipping containers. Miss O’Neil nabs a pic of the hero’s calling card as her solitary piece of proof, and is laughed out of the office when she goes into work the next day with the story.
If Whoopi ever gave me back sass for anything, I’d just return fire with “Sit down, Theodore Rex!” and watch her curl up into a ball on the floor. Little known fact – that’s one of her Manchurian Candidate trigger words. You don’t wanna know what she does when you say “Jumping Jack Flash”.
And the wind whispered “Boooyaaaaaaaaaaaaaah”.
Tagging along with April is her cameraman sidekick Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett), who tries to get the headstrong lass to be more like Eric Idle and always look on the bright side of life. He’s happy just following her around with his camera and awkwardly trying to flirt with her while she desperately struggles to convey emotion and interest as her job requires. For those familiar with the name, Vern Classic was a staple of the original animated series, but as a professional rival for the original be-jumpsuited April, always trying to sabotage her and steal her big stories for himself. Speaking of that banana suit, see the pic below for those ’90s TMNT fans who always wanted their animated dreams made flesh. Shwing! Anyway, I love Will Arnett like a wacky uncle (not the one who always wanted to “tickle” you as a kid…), but I think he would’ve been perfect as antagonist Vernon more so than the chummy optimist he is here. Ever seen Hot Rod? No? Watch it. That is the Will Arnett character I wanted to see as one Mr. Fenwick. Besides, it would’ve worked way better for the “older creep hitting on the younger woman” dynamic. Then again, making the older guy perv on Megan Fox was probably another one of Bay’s ideas. Art imitating life and all that.
(Porn actress April O’Neil cosplaying as her namesake!)
Pissed by the shadowed avenger’s intrusion into their scheme, the Feet are ordered by their master (a bald Japanese man whose face is covered in scars) to lay a trap for their antagonistic nightcrawler with innocent civilians as bait. Taking a group of hostages in a subway station (including April, whose nose butting inning may cost her this time… though I betcha it won’t), the heavily armed ninja commando squad hold everyone at gunpoint, line the walls with explosives, and call out to their foe, who Karai (the Asian lady ninja from before) knows is “out there”. First, how exactly does she know they’re “out there” playing audience to this random act of terrorism? Second, if “Heavily Armed Ninja Commando Squad” isn’t already the name of something related to G.I. Joe, I’d be very shocked. Cobra Shock Trooper shocked, even.
Naturally, before Kar-Bear can put a bullet through Miss O’Neil’s wooden face for taking pics with her cell phone, four hulking humanoid martial arts kappa (not nearly as catchy a name) swing in courtesy of a conveniently passing express train. These amphibian vigilantes (amphibilantes?) dismantle the trained assassins with so much ease that I’m at a loss for a word to describes something easier than “ease”. Then, just as quickly as they appeared, the midgetine Gameras escape through a similarly convenient construction tube thingy as the dozen or so eyewitnesses who eyewitnessed them try to figure out what the fuck they just saw, rather than running above ground to call 911. Not April though. She hoofs it up a fire escape to the roof of the building the yellow tube is connected to and finds the quartet of so-called ninjas LOUDLY SHOUTING about their accomplishment during a mutual back patting party. “Like shadows in the night” my hairy ebony ass.
They snag the she-peeper and try to intimidate her into forgetting about them, which is hard to do when one of them keeps saying creepy inter-species Jersey Shore scumbag stuff like “She’s so hot I can feel my shell tightening”. Holy shit eating fuck chunder cunt blister cock monkey whore cheese! I’m a skeez, and that shit made me gag! April faints (not a good thing to do around a guy who keeps talking about how much he wants to excavate your womb with his salmonella stick), then comes to with the four hovering over her like aliens prepping an abductee for a poop chute probing. They introduce themselves together as ninja mutant turtle teenagers (“who can still have adult conversations”… VOMIT! BARF! SPEW!), and individually as Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville… because when you think “I need a hero!”, the first person that comes to mind to provide their voice box is the lead of Jackass), Donatello (vb Jeremy Howard), Raphael (vb Alan Ritchson), and the group’s sexual predator, Michelangelo (vb Noel Fisher). They all have their traditional personalities – Leo is the responsible big brother, Raph is the rebellious a-hole with a chip on his shoulder, Donnie is the DIY tech savant, and Mikey, is it true that you’re the funny one? “Yes. Yes it is… Now somebody watch me while masturbate or I won’t be able to cum!”
Remember those racist stereotype Transformers that got Bay into a boiling cauldron of shit during one of the sequels? Turns out Michaelangelo was originally supposed to wear a big gold chain and be played up as a more “urban” (i.e. what white Hollywood calls the black inner city stereotype) character before outrage over said racial insensitivity forced yet another revamp of the script, giving the doofus back his traditional “Cowabunga, dudes!” gnarly surfer-dude persona. So, due to the outrage of the fans (and people who just don’t like racist schtick!), my spirit turtle went from hip-hop back to flip-flops. Bravo.
When April catches their monikers, it’s like someone finally turned the lights on in the vacant office that is her brain. From here, you’re better left to just turn the friggin’ thing off and walk away. Save yourself the needless loss of brain cells for something more fulfilling, like drinking paint thinner. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Without spoiling too much of the 3ft deep pool of turtle turds we’re led through, I’ll give you the “childproof safety cap” version. You’re welcome.
This version of the Turtles’ origin reads like so: the four reptiles and their furry Mr. Miyagi were all guinea pigs in a science lab seeking to utilize a green mutagenic liquid purported to have been from outer space. Titled “Project: Renaissance”, the shelled ones were named after noted artists of the Italian Renaissance period. The rat was named Splinter… for no fucking reason either. Probably because the script monkeys wrote themselves into a corner and figured “Fuck it. Nobody’s gonna care that his name makes no sense, so just go with it”. Prior to its destruction from a mysterious fire, the lab was run by a guy named Eric “nut” Sacks (William Fichtner). In the years since, Sacky has become the head of the self-titled Sacks Industries and a darling son of NYC, meaning he’s in good with the NYPD, the mayor, and probably hunts homeless illegal immigrants with Donald Trump at a private upstate lodge on alternate weekends. Given his high social status and engorged bank account, naturally he’s going to be the Lex Luthor of the movie. Or at least a four-color Gordon Gekko. There’s no spoiler in that, because if you didn’t already figure that part out then you’re either a 4 year-old or you’re a member of the GOP who’s too preoccupied with being sad that Sacks isn’t a real person whose member you could massage with your uvula in exchange for a new Super PAC.
Amidst the blaze, the quintet were saved from their tank and ended up in the sewers. There, the mutagen in their system caused them to gradually grow into their current humanoid bohemoth forms. Splinter knew that the misfit siblings would be ridiculed by society for their appearance (and their rancid sewage b.o. doesn’t help that), so he sought to teach them how to defend themselves physically, hopefully also instilling them with the emotional confidence to execute the “sticks and stones” defense. To this end, Splints discovered a martial arts training manual amid the refuse of their surroundings, and taught himself the ways of armed and unarmed combat before passing that knowledge and skill on to his “sons”… and making them wear masks just because.
It was the blind leading the blind, and all it took was a shit smeared book to become good enough to defeat an army of killers personally trained by the deadliest assassin in the world (Shredder) and wielding the deadliest in military grade munitions?! Fuck you. Though, to be fair, the Foot here are little more than masked guys who probably answered a wanted ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune, but still. Anyway, despite their huge lumbering frames, the Turts can flip through the air like Tony Jaa… and although he learned his own fighting prowess at about the same pace as he in turn taught them, Splinter is still somehow miles ahead of them… Maybe it’s his tail? That thing doesn’t operate like an actual rat’s tail with bones and cartilage, but instead like a squid’s tentacle (one long muscle) that can grasp things and bend like a contortionist in a Russian circus act. Given that classic mutagen was always explained as transforming any living thing it touched into an amalgamation of said living thing and the last other-species thing it came in contact with, maybe somebody in the lab fed Splinter their leftover calamari from lunch the same day of his last injections? Shhhyeah! And maybe the Wicked Witch of the West’s winged monkey bellhops will fly out of my butt! *BLART*
In case you missed this amid the rest of this toxic waste spill of a story, allow me to bring another important notion to your attention: Splinter is just a lab rat. Not the pet of Shredder’s rival, Hamato Yoshi. Not Hamato Yoshi himself. Just a lab rat. Thus he has ZERO connection with the main villain. What he does have though, as our writers expect us to swallow like we’re virgins on prom night, is an extensive knowledge of Shredhead, including his dealings as the most dangerous and powerful criminal in the Far East, and his unmatched lethality when it comes to combat… FOR. NO. REASON.
I want to punch a hole in my screen just typing that! Seriously, if somebody doesn’t “split the uprights” of whomever okayed this all-you-can-eat dookie buffet with a pair of steel-toed boots with knives duct taped to the end of them, I will have lost faith in karma as a universal force for justice. I will piss in the cosmic cereal bowl.
The rest of the run time is spent on your basic good guys vs. bad guys stuff. Shredder has a plan to murder all of New York with a poisonous gas, the Turtles fight him (and his hugely retarded, errr “developmentally challenged” made-from-Decepticon-remains cyber battle juggernaut armor) until they lose, they fight him again until they win, lone-wolf Raph learns the meaning of
Christmas family, the day is saved, and every law of physics is brutalized beyond repair along the way. You know, paint-by-numbers stuff, only the numbers are a Chinese alphabet soup taken from a dozen different dialects and the paint is just an assortment of fluids drawn from the body pit that opens Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Shit cunt twat snot ball sweat taint sucking hairy asshole slut farm discharge.
Michael Bay. I know he didn’t direct it, since you can actually SEE what’s going on during action sequences (at least there’s that, so thank you Jon Liebsman). Nor did he write it, because I doubt he would’ve bothered to put in all of the little fan service winks we did get (at least there’s also that, so thank you, 3 guys whose names I don’t want to re-type). Alas, as the increasingly punch worthy face of Platinum Dunes, I personally hold every man-made pox they introduce into the populace over his head. Between this, what he’s done to the Transformers franchise, and all of the merit-less horror remakes sifted from the Dunes like so much cat shit from a litter box in the last 15 years, I’m declaring Michael Bay the new Uwe Boll.
Cue The Who – “Meet the new Boll, same as the old Boll. Circling the toilet bowl, fans want him cornholed.”
My thanks to the Evil Dead Bride for influencing the second half of that little musical interlude. Boom goes the dynamite.
Rather than make his own movies with his own ideas (Intergalactic prison break movie? I’d watch that. Guardians of the Galaxy and all.), Bay instead gets the rights to make movies based on pre-existing franchises, then helicopters his lily white pecker in the faces of the fans of those franchises by projecting his own ideas onto said established properties. He’s the grand champion of fixing what ain’t broken. And he does it simply because he’s a petty cunt who wants to ruin the things that other people love. The ’80s must’ve been some of his darkest years too, since the victims of his cinematic rap sheet are some to the few bright spots of the Reaganomics era.
Bay’s more dangerous than Boll though, because he’s got enough financial backing to hire entire teams to gangbang these beloved properties for him, and because he can afford to buy the rights to ANY franchise he wants… that isn’t already owned by Disney or Warner Bros.
As I’m always open to others’ opinions, when I mentioned which movie I was reviewing for Turkey Day, this was the unprompted response by my friend, Ashley –
“There are a lot of things that the phrase, ‘Well, you gotta just accept it for what it is’ that I’m more than happy to accept for what they are. If you make a TMNT movie and don’t stay true to the story, I MIGHT be able to accept that. HOWEVER, if you do so then make the characters, their personalities, and their voices SO LAME, and then don’t at LEAST put in Ken Watanabe (that’s right, I know him, without Google) as the voice for a JAPANESE character, and you use a JEWISH MAN, I’ll spit on it and call it shit cuz you’re kidding yourself, buddy.”
A valid point (except for the part about Tony Shaloub being Jewish, which he’s not) from a fellow fan who’s also been there from the days of “Hot Rodding Teenagers from Dimension X” and “The Case of the Killer Pizzas”. For fuck’s sake this movie is the worst incarnation of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s source material I’ve ever seen, and that includes “The Next Mutation”! I’m not saying that things should have stayed 100% faithful to the material, because you’ll never be able to pander to all of the fans, be they of the original comic books, the current comic books, the original cartoon, the movies, etc. Trying to please everyone is a peril best evaded. The number one rule of comedy is to use humor you think is funny, not what you think others will laugh at… hence why no one else reads these reviews. But that’s comedy. When you’re making an adaptation of someone else’s creation, that you’re exploiting for its name alone and you decide to use your own junior high fanfic for the script? No. You’re a tit face dick snot apple cunt soft serve shit twister!
Though Eastman and Laird did ask fans not to pop a squat all over the whole “now they’re extraterrestrial expatriates” garbage and reserve their judgment until seeing the movie for themselves. Not something that the internet does, but at least the two said something. Then again, if Platinum Dunes threw a bunch of money at me to make The Tomb of Anubis into a feature, I’d sell out faster than a heartbeat, tell the fans to get the fuck over themselves, then just live the rest of my life in hiding so no one could track me down and verbally dick punch me. Not that I have fans anyway, but never let facts get in the way of a good story. Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to stab a family member and the only thing that saved them from total evisceration was their big belt buckle?
Watching this blue waffle (Google it, I dare ya!) of a flick for me had to be an experience tantamount to what Neil Degrass Tyson would suffer through while watching Space Mutiny or Star Odyssey. Wouldn’t be surprised to get a CAT scan after this and find out I had at least one moderate stroke from watching it twice. The prospect of ever having to do so again makes me want to slam my dick in a car door instead, in the most lopsided round of “Would You Rather” I think I’ve ever been presented with. Damn it, I could’ve watched Sexual Parasite instead of this movie. Shit, I could be getting a sexual parasite right now instead of typing this review!
Given all of the other “reworking” of the characters and their origins, it would also make sense to rework the initials from TMNT to HIV while we’re at it, because watching this garbage made me feel sick. Very very very sick. Like I’ve got some of that Charlie Sheen “tiger blood”… which it turns out is just HIV. It’s fitting that this is the 69th episode of the Neo-Tomb run though, because watching this shit cASSerole ruined TMNT for me the same way that deviant art of Raphael and Leonardo “making the Sign of Cancer” (i.e. mouth-fucking each other) stabbed my inner child in the spine with a sharpened broom handle.
The really obnoxious part about TMNT is that despite all of the fan demands that Bay and his co-conspirators gave into, the end result still came out a loaded diaper of poo stew! Once it was all over, I was left perversely wishing once more for that alternate dimension I’m always referencing where the various “what if…” versions of movies were actually made. In this case, my dream version of TeenBay MutBay NinjBay TurtBays consists of telling the loyal franchise followers to fuck themselves furiously by sticking with the initial script! I want every stupid idea laid bare so the budgetary blockbuster blumpkin pies itself so bad that their world’s Platinum Dunes is crippled beyond the point of recovery. Mayhem breaks out in the streets, the world is consumed in the flames and fallout of fan rage, and their George Carlin (who’s gifted with Nick Fury’s Inifinty Formula) just sits back on his observation deck high atop the Carlin Helicarrier and gets high off of the chaos.
And what better mental image to part company on after enduring this ball gobble-gobbler. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!
A rarely seen 1991 commercial promoting LaserDiscs as a superior entertainment format. The same advertising firm was hired to create ads for HD-DVD, much to the same success…
See? Told you this scene wasn’t as fun as it sounded.
An unfortunately perfect screen shot that makes the case against female actors deserving equal pay.
Megan Fox poses for her celebrity Real Doll. I prefer the Sasha Grey model, myself. It’s just as hot but lets you do a lot more to her for a tenth of the cost!
This is why you don’t shave your head with a straight razor after 17 cans of Four Loko.
And there she is! Just like the can says!
Robert Downey Jr.’s character from Tropic Thunder went full retard and kidnapped Not Sasha Grey!
Did I miss the part in ancient Japanese history where ninjas wore old bamboo window blinds on their chests?
Shit. Father Time’s been a motherfucker to poor Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq-Fu can’t save you from the ravages of age, Sir.
You know what makes this image all the more horrifying? Michelangelo’s dick is probably rubbing against the back of the head of whomever is underneath him. Think about it. No, really, think about it. Don’t stop thinking about it. See it in your nightmares. SHARE MY PAIN!
Awwww! This movie is now the greatest film ever made! Look at baby Gamera! Eeeeeeee!
Whoopi Goldberg reacts to Ted Danson’s proposal to reunite for Made in America 2.
“Pizza Rat ain’t got shit on ME! That’s right! That’s right!”
If you think this looks absurd, the salesman tried to upgrade him to the DELUXE model. That includes an air conditioner, microwave, power sun roof, can opener, and two massive cork screws that pop out of the elbows.
“Oh no you don’t, you reject from a Food of the Gods sequel! You know that ‘better mousetrap’ everyone’s always trying to build? That’s me.”
April found the last functional payphone in New York City! Clear out your desk, Lara Croft, cuz we just found our new Tomb Raider!
And here we have unused concept art for one of Michael Bay’s “lost” Decepticons, Crappatron.
“God damn it, Bay! I told you I wanted BLUE Slush Puppies in my dressing room, not this green swill! Read my fucking contract!”
After proving his point that turtle farts are indeed highly flammable, Vernon never doubted Donatello again.
Anubis will return next time in
“Another ‘Slice of (After)Life’ Story”
Featuring: Sandi “Saint Francis” Gardiner , Callard “’Sons of Anarchy‘” Harris , Nick “Albino Farm” Richey
Writer & Director: Jonathan “The Punisher (2004)” Hensleigh
Also Known As: Cannibals
Intro: Hey everybody! This week’s episode is gonna be a rerun, since I had mental-dental surgery and need a lighter workload while I recuperate. The twin that I partially absorbed in the womb has been keeping me up at night grinding his teeth, so I had them removed. Next week’s review will be the whole big “very special episode” whatchamacallit, so until then, just read this!
Oh hey! The Green Inferno FINALLY made it into a theatrical release this weekend! Hooray! For those who aren’t aware, Inferno is the bastard spawn of cannibals (namely Holocaust and Ferox) as birthed from the creative test tube of Eli Roth’s brain.
Seeing as how a review for The Green Inferno is probably a few months off, and since I needed a break to digest all of the fucking Fantastic Factory I crammed into my mental mouth hole at the Spanish bad movie buffet, I figured I’d stick my hand into the rerun cooler and fish out my first can of do-over in over a year. Taking a cue from the week’s new release, I’m revisiting another found-footage romp through undiscovered man-eater country! To that extent, Welcome to the Jungle, won’t you?
Original Review: There are only three reasons that a movie should be titled “Welcome to the Jungle”: (1) It’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Guns ‘N’ Roses (2) It’s a SyFy Original starring Axl Rose and/or Slash (3) It’s a cannibalism movie about people from the “civilized” world going into a jungle and the title was changed because some slime licking studio exec decided the original title of “Cannibals” wasn’t flashy enough to sell the flick. If you’re a sweet child of the ’80s and you’re hoping for doors one or two, well you’re soljwf (dig out your Witchboard and ask George Carlin’s ghost what that means) because we’re giving you what’s behind the curtain. Oh, and look, it’s George Kennedy sodomizing a donkey while chickens peck kernels of corn from his naked ass. ZONK!
In 1961, Michael Rockafeller (“Rockafeller”? I don’t even wanna touch a feller, let alone rock one! *rimshot*) [editor’s note: Rockefeller is actually spelled with an E, not an A. I didn’t want to ruin Anubis’ joke or hurt his feelings, so I left it as written.] went missing in New Guinea while doing some follow-up research on a tribe called the Asmat. A boat that Mikey and his travel partner René Wassing were on was overturned and the two stayed with the boat while their guides swam off to get help. Tired of waiting, Rockefeller decided to swim off himself to get help, but was never heard from again. Wassing was saved the following day, proving that good things come to those who wait… except for Return of the Living Dead 4, because that was just a flaming Hefty bag full of hobo shit.
Son to then Vice-President-to-be Nelson Rockefeller, the search for Michael went on for three years before he was finally declared dead in ’64, though his body was never found. Insert ominous *DUN-DUN-DUN!* here. Well, 40+ years later, in Fiji, college girly Aussie surfer friends Bijou (Veronica Sywak) and Mandi (Sandi Gardiner) get together for a little reunion vacation. Turns out they had one of those “all girls are lesbians at some point in college” relationships, and Mandi’s still carrying a torch in hopes that their reunification will include re-insertion of lady protrusions into each other’s south mouths. Her hopes are dashed before you can say “Lilith Fair” though, when Bij gets introduced to Mand’s boyfriend of two whole weeks, Colby (Callard Harris). Ouch. If you slow the movie down, you can pinpoint the exact moment the poor girl’s heart breaks.
Just so the trip won’t be a total loss of drunken physical stimulation (via the aforementioned insertions), Bij is set up with Colby’s equally American buddy Mikey (Nick Richey). While Colby’s more the “privileged white kid with well-to-do parents” stereotype, Mikey comes from the “pig-headed drunken frat boy” side of the tracks. They’re like the Odd Couple, only I hate them!
The lads heard from a helicopter pilot friend that a 70 year-old white guy who may or may not be the missing Rocker (Marty Jannetty?) was spotted in the nearby jungle of New Guinea. As there’s a standing one-million dollar bounty from the Rockefeller estate for any information as to the lost heir’s whereabouts, the crew decides to go on an amateur jungle hunt (my favorite Atari 2600 game) to investigate the sightings of said geezer. If he turns out to be the legit article, they plan to do an interview with the old man and claim the million bucks so they can buy solid gold sports cars, a lifetime supply of Jack Daniels and all the lesbians Bijou can eat!
A doubly effective joke, since she’s into girls AND we’re watching a cannibal movie! *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* Say no more!
After engaging in the popular New Guinea “x-treme sport” of evading getting carjacked (tourism tip: never stop for children sitting in the road of a third world country – ALWAYS RUN THEM OVER AND KEEP GOING!), the quartet find the local guide who claimed to the helicopter pilot to have seen Grandpa Rockefeller. As proof, the guide pulls out an old timey Zippo lighter with the letters “MCR” monogrammed on it, which the crew trades a bag of tobacco in exchange for. Bijou thinks that the natives could be smarter than they’re giving them credit for and they may very well just be fucking with the stupid white tourists. Meanwhile, Micheal’s frat boy “tough guy” attitude amps up with every scene and really starts to piss me off right around this time, as he picks a fight with some Indonesian border guards (and gets the shit rightly kicked out of them when he calls one of them “zipperhead”, not thinking they know English). This comes after having earlier started shit with some local dudes who almost took his head off for being a posturing prick. He also shows us that he brought a gun with him, because for a brief moment he thought he’d go all Dirty Harry on those border guards before they bitch slapped him around and made him piss himself. Fucking frat boys.
While out in the jungle, the quarter runs into a missionary couple (in that they’re religious recruiters, and not just enthusiasts of that particular sexual position) for an awkward and seemingly pointless scene. If those two don’t wind up impaled on stakes and castrated later on, I’m going to be very disappointed. Speaking of which, if Mikey and Bijou do get eaten, the natives are gonna get so wasted off their whiskey soaked meat. And if they don’t get eaten after making me hate their stupid pathetic alcoholic shit-for-brains asses, this movie immediately gets 1/2 star no matter what happens for the rest of the flick. Seriously, we’re halfway through the movie and if Colb and Mand don’t just leave these two a-holes out in the middle of fucking nowhere to be eaten alive, I’m seriously considering shutting this shit off. On the plus side though, this movie has given me the great idea that, should I ever decide to kill the two most irritating fuckers I’ve ever met, I’ll invite them out into the middle of an uncharted jungle where local cannibals will dispose of the bodies…
Eventually, after many days of wearing thin on each others nerves, Mister and Missus Drunkerton make a raft and break off on their own down river, stealing the group’s only map, all of the money, and probably they keys to their rental van. Sadly, since they also stole one of the two cameras that have been journalizing the journey, we still have the fuckhead couple shoved in our face for a while longer. Oh well, all the better and more satisfying when they finally run into pissed off natives (unhappy with shitweed Mike’s desecration of one of their sacred burial mounds prior) and suffer violent, torturous deaths. By that point though, my lethal exposure to the toxic twins had long killed any and all redemption that might’ve been brought on by said deaths. They’re like a cancer: even though the chemo might get rid of them, you’re still emotionally and mentally ravaged by the experience. Once they’re gone though, it’s back to Colby and Mandi with the second camera as we follow their whiny search for their brain dead cohorts. On the plus side, the whiny stuff isn’t nearly as long or as insanely infuriating as the drunken posturing and mouthing off.
Will Mandy and Colby find Michael Rockefeller, let alone make it out of the jungle alive? Or, will there be some kind of epilogue tacked onto the end to explain how the “footage” made it back to civilization when they didn’t? And even if they do make it out alive, what other shit will the writers put in there to fill out the rest of the running time? Truth be told, I’m not even 100% sure of what the fuck I saw right before the credits rolled. By that point, all I really cared about was that the credits were finally rolling, so fuck it, it’s an ending and that’s all that matters.
Shot in pseudo-documentary style a la The Blair Witch Project (only in digital, because it’s cheaper and makes more sense), it’s hard to tell whether Welcome to the Jungle is supposed to be an homage to Cannibal Holocaust or just an attempt to make a mainstream cash-in on a flick that most “normal” people have never heard of. Obviously Dimension wasn’t too impressed with it, considering the flick went straight to DVD as part of their “Dimension Extreme” label. In this case, “extreme” meant “not good enough for a theatrical release”. To be fair though, Dimension Extreme also brought us the halfway decent Black Sheep, so they’re not all bollocks and ball socks. Whatever the fuck a “ball sock” is.
Considering the lack of explicit gore, vulgar rape sequences, National Geographic style native junk and disturbingly haunting and almost surreal score, I’m assuming it’s just a standard “buy low, sell high” cash-in effort by writer-director Jon Hensleigh. He’s written a bit of everything genre-wise, from Jumanji to Die Hard With A Vengeance. He also took up both writer and directorial chores for the 2004 version of The Punisher.
There are a couple of moments where the graphic special effects are actually done pretty damn well, but the inane dialogue and my general hatred for half the cast (compared to my “moderately steeped dislike” of the other half) just served as a black hole, sucking in any enjoyment I might’ve taken from the rest of the flick. If Cannibal Holocaust is too much for you to handle, but you’re still interested in the “raw footage” motif of a cannibal hunting movie and you can get past nerve baring characters, you might be up for a viewing of Welcome to the Jungle. As for me, well, I’d say it’s pretty friggin’ obvious how I feel about the whole craptacular debacle. Adieu!
Xtro: Damn! I don’t know if I was just way more bitter 8 years ago (“Bit him too!”), or if I just had a vendetta against any and every “found footage” flick between Blair Witch and [REC], but my original 1 star rating for this one is way off! Having re-viewed it for this rerun re-reviewing, I appreciate it a hell of a lot more now than I did upon my initial criticizing! Well, maybe not a hell of a lot more, but let’s say at least a moderately sized purgatory more. Not that we have to actually say that, because as every woman who’s ever gone down on Ron Jeremy has said, “that’s a mouthful”.
For starters, let me put it out there that I have in no way lightened my stance on Mikey: that stance being me with my size 13 boot firmly planted on his neck, making him denounce Adam Sandler movies if he ever wants the canned piss that is Old Milwaukee to cross his lips again. I know he’s meant to be the brain-splittingly obnoxious frat boy stereotype “TO THE EXTREME!!!1!” (especially given that his death is the most satisfyingly drawn out later on), but I also stand by my original statement that he’s so overly annoying that he’s what I call a “human onion”: even well after he’s gone, we’re still trying to get the rancid aftertaste of him out of our mouths. His specter lingers so long that I forget anything else about the “meal” and spend the next few hours wishing I’d asked the waiter for no Mikey.
Though Bijou isn’t much better, and the duo’s “party every night!” attitude gives me oozing pustules on my soul, this time around I actually find myself relating to her. Not because I’m a cunty drunk, but because I know the crushing disappointment of looking forward to reuniting with someone you still carry a torch for, only to have them douse it right out of the gate by introducing you to their new Kama Sutra co-pilot. It’s not the other person’s fault for moving on, but it doesn’t make it any easier to find out you’re the only one still living in the past. So, whether it’s because they’re both soulless partily-heartily types or Bij just wants a rebound fuck to get over the disappointment and/or resentment of having her hype for the clam buffet busted into a million little pieces (or she’s just trying to make Mandi “jealous”), she and Mikey actually hit it off and it makes sense. Depressing, annoying, understandable sense.
Oh yeah, speaking of the boozers, here’s one of the biggest hemorrhoids this movie planted in my crack: How much fucking alcohol did they weigh their packs down with to fuel such a party bus to Drunken Regrets Town?! By Jupiter! B & M (huh huh, “BM”) get shitfaced EVERY NIGHT, and they’re wandering out there for something like a week or more! You’re four people going into the fucking jungle for an extended period of time, yet you waste precious food & water space for rum!? Unless those two are the world’s lightest lightweights and have been getting blitzed on a couple of shots a day, up yours movie! Fuckin’ “Blart of the Day” award winner.
Whether you side with Couple A as people with a goal who want to get things done, or Couple B as people who want to make it party time all the time because life’s too short to be a fuddy-duddy, you’re more than likely going to end up taking a side while watching them pick at each other and come close to blows several times. Did you agree with Bij & Mike when they gave Mand & Colb the double “single digit salute” and ran off with the party’s map and valuables? Or, did you get a little more joy than you thought you would when the rebel pairing start turning on each other because they’re both self-centered knobs (who can’t get along without getting their faces idiomatically shitted first) and deserve the pain and horror they’re in store for? Even if your investment is simply, “I can’t wait to watch (insert names here) DIE!”, it’s still an investment!
I also made notice of something else that helps flesh out the four a bit more in character terms upon this viewing. There’s a short “five questions” segment the group records prior to their expedition, where each answers a handful of queries like “Do you believe in god?” and “What’s your relationship with your parents?”. A quick and dirty way to add a little more depth to them without shoehorning the same shit into forced “this was clearly scripted” conversations later or leaving it out entirely.
Even without a lot of cannibal screen time, the movie still pulls from its action hat (also today’s sponsor: Action Hat!™) to keep tension engaged via conflicts between our Wonder Bread quartet and foreign antagonists in the shape of angry locals, would-be hijackers, and border guards who don’t take kindly to racial slurs shouted by an entitled honkey frat boy whom we can all enjoy knowing will never grow up to be a frat man, constantly telling his wife and kids about how lucky every other guy around him is that he doesn’t “beat their asses”. If only we could’ve watched him raped to death by CHUDs.
And there we have it: Welcome to the Jungle is a lot better than I remembered it. It’s typical found-footage failures (like “Why would you keep filming this when you should be running for your life?!” moments) and movie logic flops (Why would they bring so much alcohol!?) work against it, but it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel of festering fish paste that I tossed it into with my original opinionation. Not a big fan of the “surprise” ending where a fat old guy we’re supposed to suspect is the lost feller rocker wanders in front of the video camera, nor of the little detail the movie left out about how this found-footage was supposed to have been found, but that still doesn’t make it a horrid waste of 90 minutes. Overall, it’s a Log™ flick – it’s better than bad, it’s good! But not great.
Before I go, I’d like to say that my newly discovered non-hate for Welcome in no way absolves Jon Hensleigh for his fucking “the blond guy from Deep Blue Sea vs. Vinnie Barbarino” Punisher movie. An elaborate scheme involving parking tickets and diamond earrings just to make a mobster kill his own wife out of suspicion?! Having him slowly pulled behind a car to his inevitable death amidst a exploding parking lot?! Fuck you. Frank Castle would’ve just shot the whole family in their collective faces and burned their mansion down to get any of the survivors. In an otherwise overwhelmingly “okay” movie, those segments brought it down to Dyson Ball Vacuum levels. It didn’t just suck, it sucked so hard that if it were to engage in fellatio, it would implode its partner’s testicles, creating a scrotal black hole! In a more Punisher-centric comparable scenario, that movie sucks so hard that I’m convinced it took detailed notes on how to suck by watching Angela make love to the 2nd Amendment in that Night of the Demons 3 scene! In case your bad movie education didn’t include the NotD trilogy, let me bring you up to speed:
Anyway, tune in this Sunday for that “very special episode” I mentioned! Mark your calenders! Set an alert on your myfacespacebook page! As for me, I’m gonna order my Green Inferno tickets and listen to this inappropriately upbeat song. Keep it sleazy, kiddos!
“As this photo shows, Rockefeller was also apparently the proto-hipster from which all other hipsters devolved!”
When not being used for their intended function of providing milk for a nursing infant, the breasts of the human female have evolved to also serve as pillows! Evolution in action.
That’s either a decorative desk lamp or the world’s second largest martini.
The term is actually “caught behind the 8 ball”, but whatever. Oddly enough, this comes in right around the 13 minute mark…
Looks like we got another cracker who thinks his white privilege includes casual usage of the n-word!
“More of the you fucking white people and your reality shows?! By the nine tribes! How about you leave me alone until you bring The Price Is Right Live! tour with you!”
“Did you guys pull the short stick for your missionary group too? Oh well. At least if we die out here we’ll finally find out if all this Jesus stuff was worth it, right? Haha… ha….. ha.”
I’m all for leaving up the holiday decorations a few weeks past due, but somebody needs to tell these Asmat guys that Halloween was over six months ago!
Look, a big empty bonehead… and he’s holding a skull! *rimshot*
When bulimics go too far, things can get very messy.
“Hey! Get out of that river, you damn kids! That’s our drinking water!”
“Fiiiiiigarooooo! Figaro! Figaro! Figaro! Fiiiiiigaaaaarooooooo!”
“Don’t tase me bro! I’m unarmed!”
“Where the hell did the random old white guy come from?!”
“Oh, don’t mind him. That’s just our neighbor, Mr. Warner. He’s got dementia and wanders around the neighborhood sometimes. He won’t bother us. Let’s get back to our blood ritual!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Werewolves. Mayhem. Soap.”
Featuring: Michael “’Doctors‘” McKell , Raquel “Dagon” Meroño , Charlotte “’The Tudors‘” Salt
Director: Brian “Bride of Re-Animator” Yuzna
Writers: Mike “Asmodexia” Hostench & Ángel Sala
Also Known As: Evil Lake ; Lake of the Dead
Summertime and the livin’s easy. The days of fun in the sun are over and for me that means a glorious return to weather where I don’t have to worry about my taint turning into the Okefenokee. Labor Day is here, and before we give the season its official “go fuck yourself”, be sure to share an ice cold bottle of the Coke product of your choice with the ones you love.
Two down and two to go: today’s episode is the third installment of our “Fantastic Four” reviews thing (semi-)event. After two less-than-stellar flicks in Faust and The Nun, can Beneath Still Waters pick us up, dust us off, and give us at least some regret that Yuzna’s short-lived production company is no more? Or, will the final film of their line further push the possibility that the Fantastic Factory’s failure was a mercy killing? Bailiff, bring in the jury and let’s get deliberatin’!
Not to be confused with the 2000 Harrison Ford & Michelle Pfeiffer supernatural murder mystery What Lies Beneath, our subject shares its name with the novel upon which it’s based. I know nothing about said novel though, as I’m illiterate (let that sink in for a moment or three), so at no point will I be citing comparisons between the two or critiquing the faithfulness of said adaptation. As you may expect though, I will be critiquing the crap out of the movie itself. With that said…
There’s a disturbing “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” practice across the world in which growing populations will damn up rivers in valleys to create artificial aquatic bodies that provide said populaces with necessary water to continue their social expansions. Though not disturbing in and of itself (unless mankind mutilating entire ecosystems for their own convenience makes you queasy), sometimes this process involves the sacrifice of entire villages that made the mistake of setting themselves up in prime territory. Yep, the people are relocated, whatever they can’t carry is left behind, and the buildings are swallowed up, all because the bigger town needed to flush more toilets. “If it yellow, leave it mellow”? Up yours. That’s gross. Click >>HERE (http://weburbanist.com/2014/03/10/drowned-towns-10-underwater-ghost-cities-buildings/)<< to find out more!
Our movie centers around one such human sized aquarium. In 1964, the small Spanish town of Marienbad was sunken for the sake of its neighboring village of Desbaria. After an opening credits sequence that resembles first person drunk-o-vision dizzily staring at a mural WAY too closely (as a fog machine occasionally barfs out smoke nearby), we’re introduced to two boys from The Des’ – Teo (Santiago Pasaglia) and Luis (Omar Muñoz). Twenty years too early to get into video games and deprived of the outlet to show random strangers their genitalia via Snapchat, the lads (whose accents sound more French than Spanish) decide to play Goonies and explore the abandoned buildings early on in the process, before the place goes under. And maybe fit in a little window breaking vandalism fun while they’re at it. Inside one of the structures they find walls covered with ritualistic symbols and writings, along with demonic statues and a painting of a creepy looking old dude. In the basement, they also find a small group of people chained up around a flaming inverted pentagram altar in the floor. It’s basically Satan’s barbecue pit.
As the incarcerated beg for their release, a well-dressed figure with a black bag over his head calmly instructs the boys to ignore the others and come set him free instead. Obediently, Teo comes over and cuts the man’s hands free, despite the desperate pleas of his compadre Luis. Taking off his hood, the guy (Patrick Gordon) is revealed to be the menacing geezer from the painting. If Phantasm‘s Tall Man and The Final Sacrifice‘s Satoris both ejaculated into a cloning machine set to “British”, this guy would be what comes out. Hell, he dresses like he goes to the same tailor too! As a reward for being a good junior human and doing what he’s told, Unsweetened T gets his head torn open at the mouth like a meat Pez dispenser, while his horrified buddy beats feet right the fuck outta town. Literally.
Two score years (and some time lapse) later, the damn dam’s anniversary is on the horizon and shit’s about to get freaky. Desbaria native Clara Borgia (Charlotte Salt) has a weird daydream/vision about her grandpa Roberto (Antonio Portillo) emerging from the lake and warning her of a shadowy, sharp dressed man in a luxury car lurking nearby. But I thought every girl was crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man? Has everything we’ve learned from ZZ Top been a lie?! Are their sunglasses truly cheap?! Does the eponymous “she” even know how to use her legs!? I don’t know what to believe anymore!
When Gramps’ face melts away and his screaming skull falls off, Clar wakes up horrified on the beach of the body of water in question, but is affirmed by her friend Susana (Pilar Soto) that everything’s groovy. They have a brief conversation about death (Clar thinks death is just a straight up ending, while Suze is more the afterlife type) before opting to forget their cares with a swim! With Susana’s bikini in place, I approve this plan. Their friend Antonio (Damia Plensa) pops up for a fake scare and to show us his uncanny ability to apparently breathe underwater (seriously, how long was he under there?!), while I get flashbacks of Zombie Lake what with all these sub-aquatic camera angles of young women in their bathing suit attire. It’s not as bad here because it doesn’t go on for ten aimless minutes, but it’s also not as good because the ladies aren’t flashing exploitative levels of gratuitous boobs & bush. Yes, I know there are 8 trillion hours of free pornography I can access on the internet with 2 minutes and a free hand, but extraneous titillation of the lady flesh variety gives me pleasant memories of my high school days. Make like a KitKat and gimme a break, Debbie Downer.
Antonio’s antics antagonize the ladies at first, but Clar gives in and agrees to go with the d-bag for a ride on his jet ski. Not a euphemism, mind you, as his hydro-craft is parked nearby. He also strikes me as the type of dudebro who wouldn’t know what the fuck a “euphemism” is to begin with. When Suze is seized by seemingly sentient seaweed, her BFF saves her butt and brings her to shore. The aggressive algae leaves behind some bruising (both emotional and physical), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a few puffs from Susana’s emergency cigarette, which she lights up immediately after. At least she doesn’t end up like Tony Toni Toné, who gets maimed by something else from the murky depths. The goober spills blood like an Exxon tanker before being dragged to his apparent deceasement. Good riddance to the movie’s big rubber dick.
Elsewhere, British (maybe?) investigative reporter Dan Quarry (Michael McKell) has come to town to do some diving and try to rake a bit of muck on the real reason that Marienbad was turned into a reservoir. I’d like to think that his name was originally intended to be Dan Query, given his occupation, but Matt Costello (the book’s author) chose to change it when he realized it would’ve been a bit too on-the-nose. Probably not, but oh well. Anway, while parusing the dam, our hero-to-be wanders into the personal space of local news reporter Teresa (Raquel Meroño), who also happens to be Clara’s madre. Ter’s shooting b-roll footage for their coverage of the preparations for the dam’s 40th anni cele. Sorry, trying a bit of the shorthand like the kids these days are so into. I feel I should cut my fingertips off now in penance.
The inevitable love interests introduce themselves while Dan preps for his first dive into the down below, until Ter gets a call from Clar about the Antonio emergency. She takes her camera crew with her in case there’s a story to be had, and Dan suits up so he can get to work. The movie’s underwater scenes are actually pretty well shot for a small budget affair, and earn the movie a fair bump in quality. Kudos to Yuzna and his crew for pulling them off. So far not bad for BSW!
While exploring, Dan finds the evil house of the evil people, including the evil painting of the evil old man, which is in evilly good shape for having been submerged in evil water for four evil decades. But, when he tries to delve into the building’s basement, a sinister swathe of seaweed gets tangled in his respirator! Clearing the intrusive plantlife from his breather, he sallies forth, completely missing the part where an entire human arm falls to the lake floor and brushes his shoulder in passing! Since the guy’s not getting the hint, the lake stops being subtle and flat out attacks Diver Dan with a black cloud of (poorly) computer generated goo. He was like a fresh faced barely legal letting a pervy old squid jizz on his face for heroin money. Sounds like the basis for some pornographic Snork fanfic. Nasty.
Back at the beach, a police rescue team searches for Tony’s leftovers while Teresa consoles her daughter in the wake of the tragedy. Their bonding time is cut short when mom opts to put career over family and bum rush Desbaria’s mayor Luca (Richard Borràs) for a statement. Luca took over the office after Teresa’s father passed away. He takes all of his political advice from Jaws‘s Mayor Vaughn, as every line out of his mouth is about covering up or excusing any and all incidents related to the lake’s devious deeds so as not to disrupt the big dam-iversary shindig. As he says, right before faux comforting Tony’s parents in a photo op, “The show must go on!”.
If he lives to the end credits, it will be both a miracle and a shame.
Dan surfaces amidst the combing, relieving us that he wasn’t taken by the inky digital cloud. The town’s hard-ass Police Captain, Keller (Carlos Castañón), wastes no time trying to arrest our protagonist as a suspect in Tony’s drowning. Teresa steps forward as his alibi, telling Keller that she was with Dan when Clara called her about the incident, so there’s no way he could’ve been involved. Being a spiteful fucker who was hoping to wrap this case up with little-to-no effort by imprisoning an outsider, Keller confiscates Danny’s video camera, only offering to return it once Mr. Quarry can provide proof of his diving permits. I’d make a joke here about what would’ve happened had Dan been black or Latino and Keller had been an American cop, but you can only make that joke so many times before it’s just too depressing to say anymore. I’m leaving those up to Larry Willmore. Now I’m going to have to go watch an “MST3K” episode just to get the figurative flavor of misery out of my mental taste buds. Blah.
[Two house later] Ah, that’s better! Nothing puts you in the spirit to ignore reality and piss on movies like Pumaman! Back to business! 😀
At the dam, the caretaker slash professional “George Eastman in Anthropophagus” lookalike Julio (Josep Maria Pou) has discovered a sizable crack in the structure that requires immediate attention. When he calls his supervisor though, a ghostly (and silly) voice on the phone claiming to be his dead wife Rosa convinces him to keep his trap shut, as he’s likely to lose his job and his pension if his drunken neglect is blamed for allowing such damage to get as bad as it is. I’m sad that there wasn’t a scene of Julio trying to patch the leak with bubblegum a la Chevy Chase in Vegas Vacation, but you can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need. When our intrepid truth seekers stop by for a visit and a look around, Julio chats with Dan about the suspiciously sped up circumstances revolving around the town’s burial. Teresa gets defensive about their conspiracy speak, since her father was the one in charge of the whole thing. As he shows them everything but the huge crack (Niki Minaj butt joke goes here), a moderate tremor shakes the place up. Ter says they’re on top of a fault line, so this is normal and happens every few years. Me? I’m hoping for Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward to show up to fight Graboids for the rest of the movie. As per always, my hopes will be inevitably dashed upon the jagged rocks of reality.
The following morning, Clara has another vision about her melty faced grandpa. This time he approaches her in her kitchen, pushing some manner of grimoire on her and saying a Latin phrase that translates to “That which created you hold the seeds to your destruction” before she snaps out of it. An allusion to how the villain will be defeated in the final act, or a warning that her mother will be her own downfall? Maybe both? You could jump to the end of the review and find out, but I’d stick around. There are some pretty poor attempts at humor in the remaining paragraphs you won’t want to miss!
A short scene at Grandpa Roberto’s grave shows us that the malevolant man from the opening is already in the picture (no word on how, though), as he monologues his intentions to take everything Borgia created – his town, his people, his family, his social security checks, his speed boat, his vintage collection of “Black Tail” magazines…you get the idea. Back at the scene of Antonio’s death, Suze posits the “What do you think happens to you when you die?” query to Clar again, only to get the same “Nothing. You just don’t exist.” reply. Deeply disturbed by her friend’s atheistic answer, the blonde throws a fit, accuses Clar of not caring, then leaves. An upset Clara then confronts her mom for not being around that morning, accuses her of not caring, then leaves to go to her babysitting job. So she’s a babysitter, eh? That means she’ll either prove to be the movie’s true heroine, or end up running away from the villain. Or, she could WWLSD (What Would Laurie Strode Do) it and manage both!
Meanwhile, back at the
ranch dam, Jules (who presumably lives in the massive structure since he’s seemingly never left) fishes his breakfast bottle of hooch from the keepin-it-cold lake water, only to be accosted by some hideous, loincloth clad monstrosity! Revisiting my earlier cloning machine comparison, this thing would be the subhumanoid offspring of a 3-way mating dance between Castle Freak, a C.H.U.D., and the alpha ghoul from [REC]. Coming out of the water, it makes the bathtub hag from The Shining look like Charlize Theron in Reindeer Games or Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That sentence is making my penis all kinds of confused right now! Gah!
The beast refers to Julio by name, and he calls her Rosa, so I’m presuming this is a manifestation of the aforementioned dead wife, likely as the self-esteem robbing, soul crushing, emasculating bitch she was portrayed as during their prior “Twilight Zone – Night Call” telephone exchange. I’m hoping it’s not what his wife actually looked like when she died, though that would explain why Julio became a rancid alcoholic. Whatever the case, the cretinous creation corners Julio then drags him to his watery grave. Meh, it was quicker and less painful than the liver failure he was likely headed towards in the near future, so I consider it a mercy killing.
At the lake proper, Dan helps a pair of police divers search the hoary depths for Antonio’s remains. They find the evil house and are attacked by the same sinister squid squeezings that waylayed Daniel previously. Driven back to the surface, they bring with them the oddly decomposed severed head of Julio! The portlier of the pair catches a glimpse of some golden light effect across the water’s surface and it compels him to dive right back in, only to have his dismembered (and similarly oddly decomposed) bits and pieces float back to the surface shortly after. After all the pieces have been collected, the forensics officer on scene postulates that the mutilation could’ve been an animal attack or a bad date with the boat’s propeller. The latter being the most believable of the two (especially since an animal in the lake would just scare people away), the Mayor says that’s the story they’ll go with, and they’ll wait until after the celebration to file the report. Are we sure it’s the poor man’s Angus Scrimm that’s the villain of this flick!?
The pissed off Police Captain (now sporting a nasty looking and unexplained foreshadow wound across his right jaw!) blames Dan for this too, and threatens to throw him jail if he sees him in town again. Dan waves it off, saying he won’t be coming back once he gets his camera back. Being a massive prick, Keller returns said equipment, but proceeds to throw the recovered film into the lake as a big “FUCK YOU!”. Rather than letting Dan skip town like he intends, Teresa appeals to his investigative side and gets him to stay on the story (and on her, I’m sure) by following a possible lead: Luis, the boy who survived the opening scene, lives just outside of town and may be worth a look-up.
Elsewhere, Clara’s on the clock looking after a brother and sister pair – David (Alejandro de Nova) and Samantha (Gara Muñoz). Of course, the brat I share my human name with has to be a whiny little fit-throwing skidmark who hates popcorn. As if it weren’t already hard enough sharing my name with dick sneezes like David Duke and David Lee Roth. Also, my sole sibling’s name is Samantha, making this all the weirder for me. Naturally, snot bag David sneaks off to the lake while Clar’s nose deep in a book, but she realizes he’s gone just in time to save him from “playing” with a vision of the Rosa monster and presumably drowning himself. Why it couldn’t just pull him under like it did with Julio isn’t explained, but whatever. Also, the lake’s gotten oddly foggy in the two minutes since Dan and Ter were standing next to it…
On their drive to interview Luis (in adult form portrayed by Manuel Manquina), Dan describes the feeling of being in the black cloud as “the total absence of life”. He goes on to compare it to the same feeling he had when his young son fell through some ice and drowned. He attempted to save the kid, but gave in to instinct and went up for air, despite knowing that you have 30 seconds before your body starts to shut down under such conditions. So not only did Dan lose his sole heir, but he blames himself for not saving him when his logical mind knew he could have. Since Dan’s an experienced diver, his failure and subsequent loss is made all the more tragic. He also casually drops that his marriage ended shortly thereafter, subtly giving Teresa the go ahead to get jiggy with his banger and mash, should the urge take her. *wink*wink*
Upset over the near death-by-negligence of David, Clar calls mom for moral support. Ter agrees to meet her shortly. But when Dan offers to hold off on checking out Luis so she can go to her daughter’s side immediately, mom opts to widen the rift with her offspring in favor of sticking with her new beau-to-be. She none-too-subtley drops her own hints of intention, telling Dan that she regrets that she could never give Clara a “proper family”, and that her own mother’s death left her feeling alone and scared. Cue the first kiss as the two make out in front of Luis’s Fred Sanford lookin’ junk pile hoard of a front yard. Luis introduces himself by interrupting their tongue wrestling to spout Crazy Ralph style portents of the dam bursting and flushing the whole town to Hell. If I had a dollar for every time I was cockblocked by a crazy guy spouting veiled threats at me, I’d have a dollar. Shit you not, it happened to me once while I was making out with a lady friend on the subway platform. A drunk old white guy shouted something racist about how god would bury us in a landfill for our mixed-breed mouth play. It was too fucking weird to even get angry about. We just thanked him for the warning and went back to it. In my head, his story ended when he was pushed in front of the D train by Black Dynamite.
Luis confirms that Grandpa Borgia and his associates were indeed responsible for flooding Marienbad, and they did indeed use less0than-legal methods in both purchasing the land out from under the township and in pushing the project through as fast as possible. However, it wasn’t just a real estate scam, as Dan surmises. Borgia knew that there was evil going on in the town. Evil that he had spent his life fighting, and evil that Luis posits he’s still fighting “from beyond the grave” (i.e., via the visions that Clara’s been having). This includes her latest, in which Grandpa, on his deathbed, tells her “When I die, he’ll come for you. Clara, don’t submit. You have the power to resist”, before she’s started back into consciousness by the sight of Tall Man Light (Great taste, less killing!)
Luis further fills in the backstory, telling Dan and Teresa about one Mordecai Salas. Bingo, our antagonist has a name-o. Mord was in cahoots with a disciple of noted English occultist Aleister Crowley, who was NOT a Satanist as most people think, but the founder of Thelema. Thelema is a philosophy very much like actual modern Satanism which has nothing to do with Christianity, but simply revolves around the Brad Goodman “Be like the boy/Do as you feel” credo; and promotes aligning yourself with your personal “True Will” through the practice of sorcery. Anyway, Salas learned dark magic from this unnamed disciple until said lackey mysteriously croaked it during one of the rituals. After that, Mordy came back to Marienbad with the grimoire from Clara’s hallucinations, upon whose pages he wrote his spells in blood. No word on if the book was also bound in human flesh, but I would imagine so, as it was the style at the time.
Through his newfound who-doo magicks, the creep summoned an insidious campfire powered by the Devil’s own farts that gave he and his followers great power and prosperity. Much like Dagon would teach us a few years previously, unholy prosperity comes with unholy punishment: drought, infection, deformed babies and the corrupting black sludge spread across the town. Citizens dropped out of church to instead relish in the sadistic sex parties and gore-soaked blood orgies of Mordecai’s fruity little club. Cannibalism, torture, child murder…they had it all! Then, of course, Borgia and his buddies party-pooped all over it. They chained the cultists up in the basement of their sin shack and buried Salas’ Encyclopedia Satanica within the sanctified grounds of the town church to weaken him so he couldn’t escape the oncoming flood.
Back to the rest of our cast. Susana confronts Clara for a third time about Antonio, asking her: “What do you do when you never got the chance to say ‘I love you’?”. Clara yet again replies with something less than comforting, which (yet again) incites Suze to denounce her as cold and callous, before kissing her on the cheek and giving her one of those “I’m going to kill myself now” goodbyes. More irritated than concerned, Clar says nothing and goes back to babysitting. That night, when the kids’ mom returns home, David’s disappeared again while Clara was sleeping. I don’t see her getting a good reference out of this job! Mrs. Martin goes off to look for him in a panic, ending up getting romanced Evil Dead style on the forest floor by some persistent fauna consisting of a Cronenbergian flesh pod (that sprays her in the face with an aerosol Rohypnol) and some eye-peelingly poor computer generated seaweed vines that cocoon around her. Meanwhile, David pops up at home, asking Clara what happened. Maybe before running off into the forest, someone should’ve checked to see if the kid was just on the crapper?!
Nearby, Susana’s having a one-woman pity party on the beach, getting drunk and screaming “ANTONIO!” while throwing beers into the lake in case the dead guy gets thirsty. In a fit of inebriated post-tragedy horniness, she takes off her clothes (revealing surgically mutilated fake breasts) so they can have “one last swim together”. As she’s getting in, demonic one-armed zombie Antonio (looking impressively horrific) rises from the depths! Unlike Julio, who tried to escape his mutant wife monster, Suze doesn’t have a single fuck to spare and just lays down spread eagle in the sand, ready for some of that sweet rotten corpse dick (barnacled for her pleasure!). Instead, she gets a mouthful of her neck torn out, which seems like the scenario most people would prefer when considering what she wanted to happen. Such is the power of love and cheap beer, I suppose.
When Dan and Teresa write Luis off as a nutcase, he takes her hostage with a metal cross/shortsword to her throat and demands Dan drive them to the dam. Just as they’re about to make their escape from the loony toon, Mordecai appears in the middle of the road while Dan does the stupid thing and STOPS! When you’re in a horror movie and something appears from nowhere directly in the path of your car, you RUN IT OVER and keep on driving! I don’t endorse doing that in real life though, so don’t try to pin your vehicular manslaughter charges on me. I’m looking at YOU, Chad. Anyway, the trio’s confrontation with dime store Lurch doesn’t go well for Luis, as the baddie uses his Satanic Force powers to pull the poor man through a car window, forces him to slit his own Achilles tendons, lifts him into the air, spins him around playfully, then bends both his arms backwards at the elbows like a bad guy in a Steven Seagal movie and explodes his torso! Devil Man adds insult to injury by dropping what’s left of Luis to the ground and doing that weird jaw rip he gave Teo. Not unlike the maiming a disguised MechaGodzilla gave to Godzilla cronie/homie Anguirus in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla. As a final gross-out insult, Mord also rips Luis’ tongue out with and eats it! By Ra’s balls, it’s one of the most brutal death scenes I’ve seen in a good long while! I have to add an extra 2/3 of a rating point just for that.
Gambling his fortunes needlessly, Mord chooses to let Dan and Teresa go, making fun of them for Dan’s dead son and Teresa’s shitty parenting rather than turning them inside out. He pulls the Bond villain move of declaring his intentions to take Clara as his own, then walks back to his car and leaves. Proving the ghoul’s point, Teresa hesistates going to protect Clara as she’s more concerned with Dan’s well being and wants to go with him. He tells her he’s got a plan and sends her to go find her daughter, which she begrudgingly concedes to. As for the rest of town, while the crack in the dam embiggens, the revelers at the dam-iversary are elevating from “drunken merrymaking” to full-on “seven deadly sins”. The bacchanal sees people writhe nekkidly together whilst whipping each other, a woman squishes her tits into the celebratory cake (that looks like someone picked up for $5 at the sketchy old grocery store in the poor section of town), a priest gets ready to fuck (or be fucked by) a black goat, a chicken squawks frighteningly at what’s likely going to happen to it, and so forth. What of those not socializing with Satan? They’re turning into violent, laughing maniacs who are mutilating themselves and killing each other, which is one of my favorite scenarios! It reminds me of the phenomenally unsettling PlayStation 3 game Siren: Blood Curse. If you don’t know what this is, I prescribe the following video and wish you best of luck with the resultant night terrors it’s likely to give you.
The possessed Police Captain herds Clara and the kids toward the waiting Mordecai in one of those fun “people running with flashlights” chase scenes (It’s the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie!), while Teresa is at the Martin house acquiring a gun from some fat cop she finds sawing off his own limbs. Mord threatens to show Clar and the children just what comes after death for realsies if she doesn’t submit to him and become his Bride of Boogedy. Not wanting to die herself, she goes with the gaunt gentleman as he walks her across the lake’s surface toward their unholy honeymoon, offering her immortality and a world of lust and violence once the dam breaks and Marienbad rises from its tomb. Ter shows up just in time to beg Mord to take her instead, then tells Clar to move while she tries to get a clear shot on the bad guy. Like any teen, Clara defies her mother and chooses to go through with the “marriage” to the creepy old creep instead. Reason number 452 as to why I’ll never reproduce.
Down below them, Dan’s plan is to do another night dive into the remains of Marienbad, search the church for Mord’s tome and return it to the eternal infernal flame from whence it came. As soon as he removes it from its resting place, the evil trapped below is freed. A weird dimensional bubble forms around the evil basement apartment/ritual room that not only gives life to the deformed corpses still chained there, but also creates a breathable dry area in which Dan can go about his deed without need of his breathing mask. Though I’d probably keep it on were it me, as I can’t imagine desiccated mutant re-animates would smell too good after soaking in filthy lake water for 40 years. Dan’s dead son comes from nowhere (obviously an illusion) and pleads with dear old dad not to toss the book into the fire. Realizing that this is all bullshit, Dan spurns the mop-headed turd and makes Fredric Wertham proud by tossing the evil book into the evil fire. This, of course, makes Salas vulnerable, which is the perfect time for Teresa to show off her crack shot skills, putting a slug right between his eyes. She actually fires of several rounds, only one of which hits him. Clara is miraculously unscathed. Mord could teach Darth Anakin a few things about shouting “NOOOOOO!”, as the lake smokes around him and he sinks into the dark water to his end.
Clara goes down with him, but Dan gets to redeem himself for his failure to save his son as he grabs his future stepdaughter on his ascent and saves her. She’s laid out on the beach and manages to barf up a bunch of ingested water, bringing herself back to consciousness. Good thing too, since NOBODY attempted to give her CPR! Teresa gets my vote for Shittiest Mom of the Year. Back at the anniversary celebration, everyone passes out, only to wake up feeling strange and with massive hangovers. They’re left wondering why everyone’s naked, covered in food, blood, and welts, and who impregnated all of the livestock. I’d be curious to see what kind of Village of the Damned type follow up this party would have led to, if only we’d been given a sequel.
Just when you think everything’s wrapped up in a nice little package, it turns out nobody paid the Thai masseuse for a happy ending! David lowers his head, flashes a “you’re fucked now” look like Damian, mutters “I hate them.”, then his eyes light up with fire and the dam explodes anyway! It’s not entirely out of left field though, as upon my second viewing I noticed that Mordecai and Dave have a brief moment while the ne’er-do-well is dying where their eyes lock. Weird that he’d choose to inhabit the body of a kid, though that could just be because kids don’t have strong enough wills to resist him. Then again, being a whiny, selfish little dickhead, you’d think his will might be a little too strong. Whatever. I appreciate endings where the villain triumphs, but this came off a little too deus ex machina for my taste buds.
Of the Fantastic Factory flicks I’ve featured so far, Beneath Still Waters is the top of the group. I love the concept of a drowned ghost town full of closet skeletons and evil cultists. Though if I’m being honest, were I Grandpa Borgia, I think I would’ve burned the joint down in a “mysterious fire”, as opposed to going through the drawn out process of submerging it. This would’ve killed the novelty of the story though, so fuck me. I also enjoy the knock off Tall Man, especially given that we haven’t had nearly enough of the genuine article for years, so a stand-in can be appreciated. It’s not unlike cheating on a spouse during the decade they’ve been in outer space. We horror fans have needs that require addressing and Mordecai Salas does that for me. That being said, I do have a nitpick or two to put forward on the man. For starters, where the Hel was the guy for the last 40 years?! Also, if he had the Midichlorian/Midi-chlorian count to be able to slaughter Luis the way he did, why wouldn’t he just wreck everybody the same way?! I get that he kept Teresa alive so she could watch him corrupt Clara all for his petty vendetta to fill the Borgia family tree with gypsy moths and termites, but why bother leaving Dan intact? You’d think Mordy would’ve been smart enough to consider that the solitary person capable of stopping him would be the only skilled diver left in the entire fucking township!
Patrick Gordon’s voice is exceedingly British. It sounds exactly like the Michael Caine-ish actor playing Homer in the video Mr. Burns uses to convince Bart that his family no longer loves him in the “Burns’ Heir” episode of “The Simpsons”. I keep waiting for him to say “I mean, what the hell am I doing here?!”. Gordon and McKell (whose IMDB bio says was a “prolific singer and songwriter in the ‘80s)’s line readings were the only ones I really cared for, because just like every other FF movie, half the cast is dubbed and the other half speak poor English through heavy inflections. I’d rather they made the movies in Spanish and subtitled the dam things (see what I did there?) instead. After these last few weeks, I’d be happy to never have to listen to another Spanish person speaking English again. No diggity. I’ve overkilled my ear canals with the aural labor of listening to these bad line readers and even worse dubbings. By the time this gimmick’s run its course, not even Satanico Pandemonium herself will be able to charm my trouser snake with that accent. On the plus side though, we always get at least one amazing overdramatic reading that you can’t help but laugh at every time. Today’s line comes courtesy of Clara, and is posted at the top of the review. Hilarious.
The music tends to not be great in these flicks either. Most of the soundtrack here is not too awful, while some of it’s just uncut bricks of terrible and wholly out of place. It sounds like it was lifted from a ’90s Full Moon horror-comedy, with too much “farty trombone” for a seriously toned tale such as this. You know what wasn’t a letdown though? The practical makeup effects! The CG stuff will sear your corneas off if you stare directly at it for too long, but the monster makeup is REALLY good! Many thanks to Pedro de Diego (also worked on Beyond Re-Animator and The Machinist), Pedro Rodriguez, and David Ambit (also worked on all four [REC] movies!), who all received top billing in the end credits! And rightfully so! The severed heads weren’t the greatest, but by the many tantacles of Nyarlathotep, the Rosa monster, zombie Antonio, decayed zombie cultists, and maimed Luis designs are something to drool over! The general gore was well done too, so A+ to these gents.
On a completely pointless note, I’d like to bring it to your attention that one of the writers’ names is Hostench. Whatever the proper pronunciation, I read it as “ho stench”. Uggh. I just threw up in my mouth. Wait, maybe his name’s pronounced something like “Raymond Luxury Yacht” or “Throat Warbler Man Grove”. Those wouldn’t be so bad. Unlike this joke, which is no doubt dying for everyone reading it, aside from the two or three who get the Monty Python reference. Oh well. And now for something completely different.
Incidentally, whilst doing the basest of base research on Fantastic Factory’s origin nation, I discovered that Spain’s motto is “Further Beyond”. If Brian Yuzna (or someone who has his ear) should happen to be reading this, “Further Beyond” is an amazing name for a From Beyond sequel. Take the hint!
Before I go, here’s my pair of pennies on the passing of horror icon Wes Craven. The guy gave us The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. For these I thank him. Hell, I’ll even give him a postmortem high five for Shocker. Unfortunately, he also threw shit like Hills Have Eyes Part II, New Nightmare, Vampire in Brooklyn, and all four fucking Scream movies into our faces. Don’t start me on the fucking door that Scream opened, allowing scads of Hollywood shit show teeny-bopper slasher garbage to ruin the ’90s. I blame Craven for all of those. Of his 40-year career, he spent the last 30 burying the successes of the first 10 with a legacy of mediocrity.
If you read any of The ToA’s original site, my frustration with Craven is well documented. Okay, was well documented before I let it all disappear into the digital ether and La Quinta Hotels bought my domain name out from under me. I’d like to think that the man’s unfortunate passing after a painful feud with brain cancer (that I may or may not have wished upon him back in college, I honestly don’t remember) will bring an end to every horror movie critic publicly sucking his cock, but I’m sure it won’t. Hell, that fucking “Scream” TV show will continue assaulting the proverbial expired equine, so Craven’s influence will continue to be a barb wire chastity cage on me for years to come. Blart.
So, my condolences to his friends and family. But, as far as I’m concerned (which doesn’t matter outside of the context of this website), it’s not really a “loss”. Probably not a popular opinion, but if I cared about people liking me, I would’ve ended this site two months after starting it!
And so, with the sound of a dozen or so “unlikes” now echoing through the internets, I take my leave. Tune in next time (or don’t) when this Fantastic Four reviews thing is also put to rest. Until then, have a drink on me, shoot to thrill, give the dog a bone, shake a leg, and let me put my love into you. Hasta luego, folladoras!
Call me crazy, but I feel his menace is undercut a bit by his bow tie.
“Holy cow! Is that the Ark of the Covenant they’re opening over there?!”
“Yep. That’s definitely the Ark of the Covenant…”
Give her a Mohawk and a big viking beard and that’s the exact same face I give old Italian women when they try to pass religious pamphlets to me at the thrift store on Sundays.
“I don’t know, Zadok. Maybe catching nothing but human-mutant fish babies for the last few days is a good sign we need to start fishing a different lake.”
Looks like somebody accidentally put Smilex in her coffee this morning!
“Suicide hotline? Yes, it’s me again. Huh? What do you mean ‘just kill yourself already’?!”
“Who wants to give grandma some sugar!?”
“Captain! The other officers are making fun of my diving suit! Make them stop!”
Yikes! Shit like that is why you’re only supposed to use disposable razors ONCE!
“Dear diary, you’ll never guess who I ran into at the Stop ‘N Gulp today – Diane from pottery class!”
Mold can creep up on you when you least expect it! Keep your bathroom safe with Mold Away™!
“I came back from the dead for you, baby, because I love y… wait… you’ve got fake tits?! Fuck. I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
I know it’s easy to get “too into the mood”, but trust me folks: always use a condom! Because even if you think they look clean, you can never know for sure.
“I called dibs on the last brownie, you bastard! Give it back! GIVE IT BACK!”
“You guys gotta have some of these ribs before I eat ’em all! There’s plates and napkins over there. Beers are in the fridge. Help yourself!”
Parents, this is the face of a kid who gets a PlayStation 4 box full of socks and underwear for Christmas. It’s not funny, and if you want to live to see New Year’s, I would definitely recommend against doing so. Fair warning.
Anubis will return next time in
“Where Monsters Dwell”