Featuring: Patrick “Wristcutters: a Love Story” Fugit , Wrenn “Boardwalk Empire” Schmidt , Philip “Life on Mars” Glenister
Director: Adam “Autoerotic” Wingard
Writer: Robert “’The Walking Dead‘”Kirkman
For years the debate has raged over the state of acclaimed gangster rap performer Tupac Shakur. Most people accept his violent demise in a gang related drive-by shooting. Some opt for the conspiracy theorist route and insist that the man is in hiding somewhere, asexually budding new brain rhyme babies in a self-sustaining shelter deep below the Andes mountain range until his enemies have all been destroyed and he can safely return to the public eye to retake his throne in the second coming of rap Jesus. But few know the truth I’m going to share with you now: Tupac Shakur is being held in isolation at Area 51, examined and experimented on following a run-in with a mythical creature that left him… changed. No longer the Str8 Ballin’ perpetrator of the Ghetto Gospel and purveyor of California Love, he is now the nocturnal menacer of the innocent known as The Tupacabra!
Now that that Unsolved Mystery can be dragged and dropped into the “Solved Shit” folder, let’s all move on with our lives together, hand-in-hand, into the Great Unknown. First on the docket for the undocumented? “Outcast”.
Not to be confused with hip-hop duo Outkast (who gave us Alpha level earworms like “Hey Ya!” and “Ms. Jackson”), today’s topic of interest has a lot in common with “Preacher” (see last week’s review). They’re both cable TV shows based on mature reader comic books that center around Christian religious horror themes and they both premiered on the same weekend. Is it enough common ground that the two would hit it off during a round of speed dating and litter a motel room floor with their vestments mere hours after first contact? Fuck if I know. I don’t speed date. When I’m on the lookout for an inkwell in which to dip my dick-shaped quill, I just hit up DeitiesBone.com for theological trim. Use the code word “ANUBIS69” when you sign up and get a 3% discount on your Platinum or higher membership fee!
Whereas preacher Jesse Custer’s tale is more about over-the-top violence and what-the-fuck moments while accompanied by his oddball associates, “Outcast” keeps its themes more grounded in traditional religious horror. Namely demonic possession and the resultant evictions of said Satanic squatters. Our eponymous outcast is thirty-something Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), who we first meet inhabiting his childhood home in self-exile. Living as a hermitous hoarder, Kyle’s living off of his savings account, munching milkless bowls of dry cereal and presumably just hoping the place will burn down eventually and take him with it. His sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), however, refuses to let her brother rot in peace and forces him go out into public with her, baiting him with the promise of groceries and basically cuckolding her own sibling into eating less like a college freshman and more like a human being.
With the exception of the embarrassment that comes with being a grown ass man whose sister has just taken control of your basic life decisions, this isn’t exactly coming off like much of a supernatural horror show, is it? Well, I was just about to get to that part ya paranoid android, so just hold your hard drive!
When he was a young lad, Kyle was the target of some pretty savage Babadookian domestic abuse by his mom. Everybody in the neighborhood knew about it, but chalked it up to her being bipolar, or “single parent stressed” as people called it before brain science gave us the term that always makes you think about a bi-sexual polar bear every time you hear it. Don’t pretend like you don’t. Denial ain’t just the river Isis and Osiris used to take us anthropomorphic ankle biters on holiday.
So, much like other rampant instances of abuse in those days (the ’80s?), nobody said anything and everybody just pretended it wasn’t their responsibility. If this were the final episode of “Seinfeld”, the entire town would’ve gone to jail. But, said abuse actually wasn’t the fault of Kyle’s mom (who I hear is a super King Kamehameha bitch on Sundays), nor was it even the fault of her broken brain. Mrs. Barnes was possessed. Like Linda Blair, only with less head-twisting and “LET JESUS FUCK YOU!” stuff. Eventually she ended up catatonic in a long term care facility (I won’t spoil how), Kyle and Meg got married (not to each other, ya weirdo), and due to some complicated complications Kyle was forced to leave his wife and daughter, hence why he now lives alone in the seclusion of his inherited homestead.
While out resupplying with sis, our hero overhears some ladies gossiping about a local boy who seems to be suffering an unwanted Satanic tenant of his own. After some soul searching, Kyle inevitably decides to offer up his help to Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), the priest assigned to execute the evil spirit’s eviction notice. I won’t go any further with how the amateur exorcism plays out, but I will give you this much: it gives us our first explanation as to the title of the series and we learn from Anderson that said kid’s soul isn’t the only popular spot for demonic tourism in the area.
Unlike “Preacher”, I went into “Outcast” with my geek blinders on. Though I have the first 5 issues of the series locked away somewhere in my vault of four-color horrors, I’ve yet to read them. Much like the 2,000 or so movies I intend to review eventually but will likely never get through before my inevitable death at the hands of an enraged Charles Band. As such, I can’t verify or deny whether the show sticks to its source material or is veering from the creative path. Creator Robert Kirkman is not only along as an Executive Producer (much like he is with “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead”), but he’s also the show’s writer, so that’s hopefully a good sign for things to come as far as keeping the fans of the funnybooks happy.
The gore and violence are graphic enough to induce a few “what the fuck?!”s. The acting is fine. I haven’t seen anything amazing yet, but everyone plays their parts well enough. Fugit and Schmidt work well together as brother and sister, as do Fugit and Glenister as exorcist and sidekick. Fugit also does well in his portrayal as a shut-in. He’s proven that if he put a pillow under his shirt and grew out a huge beard and mullhawk (party down the middle and business on-the-sides!) he could play me in the adaptation of my award winning autobiography, Anubis: Browwed and Proud.
Oddly enough, my favorite part of the show was pint-sized actor Gabriel Bateman. “Oddly” due to my life mantra that child actors are the worst thing to happen to movies other than Uwe Boll. Young Master Bateman's (wakka wakka!) turn as the possessed little boy Joshua was great. Not so much for his vocal work (I was expecting something more demonic, to be honest), but because when we see him first possessed, the small things in his physical performance are very impressive. The subtle way he touches objects as someone experiencing them for the first time are perfect given that he's been taken over by a demonic presence that more than likely has never been subjected to our material world before. Kudos, kiddo.
Even though I gripe about how overplayed the possession/haunting theme is in current spookshow productions, I have to admit that I’m intrigued on the subject being shown in show form. You know, besides the two or three-hundred “ghost chasers” programs broadcast on cable channels that no one would watch otherwise, and whatever series that “Medium” or “Ghost Whisperer” may have beget, of which I have zero knowledge or interest. Season 2 was already confirmed before the premiere even aired, so there will be more adventures for our Outsider, Kyle Barnes (and whoever else survives these first 10 episodes). Speaking of, I’m curious enough to keep up with the show if for no other reason than to see if my theory about the origin of our hero’s eponymous moniker is what I think it is.
Coming from someone whose weekly television viewing habits are limited to watching 6 hours of professional wrestling, Comedy Central’s weeknightly 11pm to 12:30am block, and waiting for everything else to come to NetFlix/Hulu/Amazon in season-long chunks, it’s an interesting time for TV. Check out “A Darkness Surrounds Him” if you’re down with tortured characters battling inner demons and outer demons played straight and see if you like it. At worst, you lose an hour of your life you’ll never get back. At least it’s less time than you would’ve lost watching an Adam Sandler movie! You’re welcome.
Looks like Kayako got her hair stuck in a door. Again. Seriously, ghost girl, this happens every week! Just get the damn haircut already! You could donate it to Warlocks of Love! *rimshot*
“You’re my conscience? Like Jiminy Cricket?! Where’s your top hat and suit?”
“Look kid, could you stop worrying about my wardrobe and just kill your parents like I told you to?!”
I wonder if it took longer than a day to build that town.
Hey! Good to see Reg Cathey was able to still find work after FANT4STIC! Let’s hope Miles Teller isn’t so lucky.
Greyskull was here. (Google “Kilroy” if that one went over your head)
He kinda looks like Norman Reedus after an allergic reaction to shellfish.
Dear mothers of the world: please stop walking around pantsless in the presence of your sons. It can make for very confusing phases in their sexual development. It’s true. Do you wanna be responsible for the next Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh? I didn’t think so.
“That was my last cough drop! I need that soothing relief for my sore throat! Give it back you little monster!”
“You need not a brush, child! The power of Christ combs you! The power of Christ combs you!”
Well, at least somebody enjoys “Saturday Night Live” enough to advertise it through graffiti. Not the best spot though. And I have no clue as to which cast member that’s supposed to be. Maybe Bill Hader? But he left years ago.
I’m guessing that the real estate agent left out the part where Kyle would be neighbors with Jason Voorhees.
I know how you feel, kid. I react the same way when my Evil Dead Bride opens the blinds after my 3 day marathons every time a new Elder Scrolls game comes out.
When you said you had a problem with “a little mold”, I wasn’t expecting The
Spanish Inquisition Shunned House! My advice? Burn the whole place down, have holy men from several religions perform exorcisms on the remains, then put up a temporary residence like a trailer to see if it comes back before making any long term plans. Or, you know, just move.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Little Merc Made”
Featuring: William “Star Trek” Shatner , George “The Case for Christmas” Buza , Zoe “Orphan Black” De Grand Maison
Directors: Grant “Ginger Snaps Back: the Beginning” Harvey , Brett “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed” Sullivan & Steve Hoban
Writers: Doug “Splice” Taylor , Pascal “Hellions” Trottier , James “Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman” Kee & Sarah Larsen
Also Known As: A Holiday Horror Story (name changed for the DVD sleeve only, so the movie could be sold in some Wal-Mart stores. No diggity.)
‘Twas the night before Cthulhumas and, alone in The Tomb,
Anubis was reviewing, despite having other shit to do.
I hate buying presents for people. Ra is being a real dickhead this year. Every time I ask him what he wants for Cthulhumas, the fuckstick just keeps telling me he wants a life-sized butter sculpture of Lou Ferrigno from the Golan-Globus Hercules movie. Do you know how hard it is to find a sculptor that works in the dairy medium this time of year!? If my situation were the line from a theoretical Weird Al Yankovic parody of a Pearl Jam song, I’d say I “can’t find a butter man”… and yes, I made all of this up just so I could say that. Lick me.
Go ahead! I used peppermint body wash this morning!
I mentioned in the last episode that Krampus is the 2015 holiday season’s monster-of-the-moment. As I may have also mentioned (the last week has been a whiskey nog haze), go see Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, in theaters now! Hurry before it gets bumped for the next “found footage” ghost movie in the “garbage I wouldn’t piss on were it aflame” queue. Speaking of Krampus, guess who’s featured in today’s anthological episode? If you said Krampus, you win! Get yourself a Gingerdead cookie and a shot of Milk Plus from Uncle Anubis’ padlocked mini-fridge (the key is behind the goat skull in the kitchen), then get back here, sit your ass in front of the fireplace (or in the fireplace, if you like), and let’s engage in another round of Yuletide tales.
As a disclaimer, despite what possibilities the title of this movie may invoke, it is neither an “American Horror Story” Christmas special, nor the blood & gore sequel to A Christmas Story directed by John Carl Buechler where Ralphie, dressed in his pink bunny pajamas, hunts down every adult who told him he’d shoot his eye out, then proceeds to gouge out their eyes with an ice cream scoop. I asked Annual Gift Giving Man for it last Non-Denominational Gift Exchange Day, and no dice. Not the first time I’ve been fucked by the big rubber dick of disappointment (also known as “the Festivus Pole” in some circles), and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
What is A Christmas Horror Story aboot? Well, hosers, this gift from our neighbors to the North stars noted starship Captain and Hollywood Hebrew, Billy “Rock-et MAN!” Shatner, as radio disc jockey Dangerous Dan. Not to be confused with ’80s WWF personality Dangerous Danny Davis, whose gimmick was that of a crooked referee who also wrestled. You know he was dangerous because he had the word “Dangerous” printed on the ass of his tights, and you can’t print something across the ass of your pants if it’s not true! Like those “Juicy” pants big ass girls wear. Much like juice, they’re best when freshly squeezed too. *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*
(Squeeze at your own risk.)
Double D does a Pontypool and spends his time on camera in the broadcaster’s booth for the extent of the feature. While he’s dead set on spreading holiday cheer amid the citizens of his town of Bailey Downs (his listeners and coworkers of which don’t seem all that receptive to his efforts), we the viewers are taken on a quartet of intermingling tales in the interim. Not “intermingling” by means of plot, though, but rather in that we fumble in and out of each story at the editor’s tyrannical whim. We are merely puppets and A Christmas Horror Story is the string by which he makes his marionettes dance. “PULL DA STRINK! PULL DA STRINK!”
Our first yarn follows a trio of high school kids: Dylan (Shannon Kook), Molly (Zoé De Grand Maison, whose name literally means “Zoe of the Big House” and who looks like a poor man’s Emma Stone), and Ben (Alex Ozerov). Attempting to catch the receding “found footage” wave before it goes back out to sea for another 5 or 6 year hiatus, the trio sneak into Bailey Downs High to do some hard boiled “Action News for Kids” investigating into a mysterious double homicide that took place in the building’s labyrinthine basement the year before. Having reviewed the leaked footage from the police investigation (because they don’t accidentally erase their evidence, CHICAGO PD!), they know something more than a simple dual murder took place in the darkened halls beneath their teenage prison, and they aim to find out what. As is the way in scare flicks they get locked in (possibly by the killer, returning to the scene?), discover the school’s morbid history, are confronted with the awful truth about the ritualistic murders, yadda yadda yadda. If you want to find out said awful truth yourself, feel free to watch the movie or “Read the Bantam book!”
Do they still novelize/bookify movies anymore? Given there are more platforms to watch stuff on nowadays than there are heads on a Hydra after you put it through an industrial blender, I can’t really see the rationalization behind sustaining such a market. It’s not like the old days when you had to wait two years for Dawn of the Dead to come out on Betamax, so you re-read your St. Martin’s copy cover-to-cover a few dozen times while you waited! By Rudolph’s radioactive nasal beacon, I had a screener copy of The Green Inferno a week before it left the local multiplex, and I ain’t talkin’ Transformers! Besides, that was Metroplex. Though I would enjoy the irony of Michael Bay making a Decepticon character that’s just a huge cinemaplex who crushes all of the moviegoers inside of it whenever it transforms. Then again, subtlety got a restraining order placed on Michael Bay years ago, so never mind. He’d just fuck it up like everything else and forcibly remove the joy from a few thousand more people. He’s Hollywood’s metaphorical on-par for Nazi stormtroopers dragging Jewish children away from their parents’ arms so their tiny hands could be put to use working in Hugo Boss’s sweatshops.
Story numero dos involves another trio: Scott (Adrian Holmes, who’s a dead ringer for Mike Yard and Taye Diggs’ love child), Kim (Oluniké Adeliyi), and Will (Orion John). Unlike our last amitié à trois, this trio keeps it in the family – Scott and Kim are Will’s parents. Despite being a cop, Scott takes his mini-brood Christmas tree hunting on private property,which reminds me fondly of my own illustrious annual “trail of tears” death march to commit our own act of ornamental herbicide. Will wanders off and goes missing, bur he’s found safe and sound one short and panicked search later. The family then heads home with their purloined pine, a little unsettled but none the worse for wear… except for Will, who starts acting really weird and creepy and shit. Scott gets sick of this crap quick, but his old-fashioned approach of parenting with his pants holder-upper doesn’t quite do the trick. “Big Earl” (Allen Peterson), the owner of the property from which the family misappropriated their O Tannenbaum may have an idea of what’s up with the lad, but Will could just be getting a head start on being a rebellious teenage dickhead. But that’s more a case for an episode of “Degrassi Junior High” than a horror movie, eh? As such, I wouldn’t bet my roasting chestnuts on it.
The third chapter in our movie’s table of contents finally gets things Kramp-ing! Upping the ante by a head, this story follows a quartet of characters: Caprice (Amy Forsyth, Kirsten Dunst’s non-union Canadian equivalent), Duncan (Percy Hynes-White), Diane (Michelle Noldan), and Taylor (Jeff Clarke). Diane and Taylor are the parents here, Caprice is their teenage daughter, and Duncan is just as much a junior a-hole as you’d expect a kid named “Duncan” to be. The four visit Taylor’s Aunt Edda (Corrine Conley) for some mandatory holiday tidings of comfort and joy (mostly to suck up to the wealthy old crone), and meet her grinchy German caretaker Gerhardt (perpetual “background weirdo #2”, Julian Richings). Krampus gets name dropped like he’s going out-of-style and Gerhardt warns them to be good, lest the bastard child of Lucifer and a Likitung come get them. Naturally, this is the perfect time for Dunc to intentionally break a decorative figurine of said yuletide disciplinarian because, again, kids named Duncan are ornery little shit bags.
Following the brat’s brazen act of dickery, Edda throws a fit and kicks the clan out. As they’re driving home, Dad swerves to avoid a yeti looking creature (maybe it’s a shaved Wampa) that runs across their path, and spins the car out into some deep snow. Unable to get anywhere (hence why I keep a shovel, extra floor mats, and full grown Saint Bernard in my trunk) the four are left to brave a winter wonderland in the middle of nowhere as they seek help…with a certain holiday hellraiser hot on their haunches. Much like his fellow film incarnations, don’t expect this version of the Saturnalian satyr to stop at some simple season’s beatings with a few well-deserved lashings across these douche bags’ backsides. No, he’s eyeing more permanent forms of punishment that utilize the type of excessive force that would give the ’90s LAPD envy boners. #BlackPeteLivesMatter
Our feature’s fourth fable follows the red man himself. No, not the racist mascot of Red Man chewing tobacco. I of course refer to Satan. Errr, Santa (George Buza). You know what I meant, Church Lady. Anyway, the bowl full of jelly is preparing for his solitary day of employment for the year, before having to spend the next eleven months getting shit from Mrs. Claus (Debra McCabe, playing a much younger Mrs. C than you’d expect, cuz Santa’s apparently an old perv) about how he needs to do something with his life beyond watching Mexican elf soap operas from his La-Z-Boy all day and adding to his collection of bed sores. While his vertically challenged minions go aboot their business, prepping toys for the big night, one of Klaus’s helpers, Shiny (Ken Hall) comes down with an odd and sudden illness that gives the little goober Tourette’s. “I said I don’t want a cookie, you reindeer fucking snow whore!”
Before you can say “28 Days Later at the North Pole”, the frost-bitten Oompa Loompas (who stole their uniforms from the “sandwich artists” at Subway) become infected and revolt against their portly oppressor in a mob of gnashing, gore splashed teeth. If this were traditional Santa Claus, as owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation, he’d be dead and clogging the minute cannibals’ arteries within moments. To help give He of the Merry Dimples and Twinkling Eyes an edge on the zombie mob, we get a bad-ass holiday icon who looks like he’d be more comfortable driving a Harley-Davidson than a sleigh, complete with Mrs. Claus riding the sissy bar wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts, leather boots, and nipple rings.
When the shit starts to go down in the jolly old elf’s castle (the interior of which looks remarkably like affordable office space…), Kringle theorizes that Krampus must be responsible for whatever bad juju is turning his sweatshoppers into heart stoppers, so for those wondering whether the promised clash of Yule pugilists portrayed on the movie’s poster actually comes to fruition, the answer is – sorta. As has become a common theme in some of the other movies I’ve recently reviewed, A Christmas Horror Story (just like the Six Million Dollar man’s replacement penis, fashioned from an old soft serve ice cream dispenser) comes with a twist. Unlike some of said others, this twist doesn’t inject acidic enzymes into the movie, break it down into a sumptuous primordial ooze, and consume it whole. No, this twist actually works well enough that I didn’t hate it. In fact, there’s very little I could say that I do hate about this movie in general!
The stories all take place on Christmas Eve Day and all connect with each other through shared characters. Mary mentions that she used to babysit Will, and Scott was one of the investigators on the high school murders. He went on leave afterward to deal with the resultant PTSD. Said trauma carries over to his own story as a point of contention for his relationship with his family. Caprice is a major catalyst in getting the first story going, as she brings her trio of friends the keys with which they break into the school. Even Santa’s tale comes back to the Bailey Downs city limits, but I can’t tell you how because it would spoil the surprise! No peeking!
My only major misgiving with the movie is its story structure. Unlike the traditional anthology one-at-a-time format, we instead jump back and forth between them chronologically as the day passes, while popping in on Dan occasionally to remind us that William Shatner stopped by to pick up a paycheck. Given that someone named Bev Feldman gets a credit as “teleprompter operator”, it doesn’t look like The Shat even bothered to learn what few lines he had.
Though I get the reasoning behind this mish-mash approach, the pace gets outright ravaged as a result. Just when you’re getting invested in any of the characters or their predicaments, you get thrown awkwardly back into another ensembles quandary. It’s a complicated dance that calls for precision, like Pulp Fiction. Instead we end up getting our toes stepped on every 10 minutes or so. I feel like I’d need ADHD to fully appreciate the flick as is.
The big gripe out of the way, my only minor misgivings with ACHS are a moment or two of unfortunately poor computer generated effects (thank Savini that almost all of the effects are practical) and the opening and ending credits theme of “Carol of the Bells” (thank you, public domain usage rights) as sung by what I can only presume to be a robot child. Fucking auto tune. Oh well, it’s still better than The Snots’ rendition of “Jingle Bells” that also plays at the end. Yep. The Snots.
Beyond those niggles though, I really liked this movie! The acting is all very solid with a few nice stand out moments of drama, especially from the ladies. The makeup, costumes and viscera are serviceable-to-admirable, and despite there being three different directors on the project, I wouldn’t have known the difference if I hadn’t read it ahead of time. Saying three directors’ styles are so generic that there’s little to distinguish them from each other may not sound like a compliment, but as the viewer it’s a good thing, because it lessens the turbulence of transitioning between plots. Krampus himself looks more like something out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “make your own mutant” fan contest than his traditional self, but the albino steroid man-goat look works for him. They even made use of his Gene Simmons shaming demonic lick muscle! Definitely better than the computer generated reject from an ’80s heavy metal album cover concept art that The Reckoning gave us, that’s for sure.
All in all, A Christmas Horror Story perverts holiday traditions with a blend of dark fables and personal horrors, mixing the mythological with the relatable. Stories aren’t long enough to outlive their welcome, but are just developed enough that you won’t be forgetting them a day after watching. Maybe I’m high on holly jolly and sugar plum fairy farts, or maybe after choking down the turd brisket that was Krampus: the Reckoning last time, even John Candy’s vintage ’94 back sweat (collected on the set of Wagons East) would taste like a candy cane martini in contrast! Either way, I declare this flick a fitting addition to anyone’s holiday horror rotation. Thanks, Canada! You’ll always be the greatest white North to me. May your days be merry and bright and may all your Cthulhumases be shiny with poutine and back bacon, from sea to shining sea!
Now come back tomorrow for a very special gift from me to you! It’s the bread box sized package under your tree that’s decorated in old newspapers and bio-hazard tape that you’ve been hearing a random *thump*ing sound from every night around midnight… No peeking!
What’s with all the buckles, Santa? You going for that outdated “Steampunk” look? Or is one hernia belt just not cutting it for you these days?
Captain Kirk reacts to the news of yet another green chick filing a paternity suit against him. So much for alien and human DNA not being compatible!
Luke Cage’s new “edgier” catchphrase, as adjusted for his upcoming NetFlix series following the precedent set by “Jessica Jones”.
Kids will do anything to get a few hundred thousand video hits online these days. Who would’ve thought that YouTube would be such a catalyst for “survival of the fittest” forced evolution.
“Thanks for stopping, mister! My friends told me I’d never get anyone out here and, truth be told, you’re my first customer in three weeks! So, you lookin’ for a pumper, a sucker, a humper, or a dumper?”
“Welcome to Bailey High Action News! Today’s top stories – Principal Dickers arrested for alleged inappropriate relationships with several members of the girls’ field hockey team! Also, are the cafeteria’s hash browns just yesterday’s tater tots? Find out here!”
Jack’s wife finally broke the news to him about Santa Claus’s lack of existence. Poor little guy.
“I’m no doctor, Sparkles, but I’d say this is way worse than ‘just a hangnail’…”
“Hahaha! This tree reminds me of my wife after she gave natural birth to our triplets!… god rest her soul.”
A figurine of lesser-known saint, Sister Mary “Only Prays When People Are Looking” Gallagher.
I’ve seen messy eaters before, but that kid’s spaghetti dinner looks like a school of jellyfish exploded on his plate!
“Dangerous Grandpa” being the moniker given to him by the Bailey Downs Tribune following his vehicular manslaughter of 12 people at the weekly farmers’ market.
By far the worst actor in the whole movie. Her performance was just so… wooden. (Please don’t hit me!)
Looks like we walked in on them while they were comparing sizes… awkward.
From here it looks like he’s relieving himself inside one of The Tall Man’s dimensional gateways! Well, any port in a piss storm, right?
Timmy was determined to make sure that Santa didn’t miss him this year. “I know you can see me now, you fat bastard! Get down here and make with the presents!”
Looks like Krampus just caught a whiff of himself. I tell him he needs a full body heat drying after every shower, but he always thinks he can shake off and he’ll be fine. And he wonders why none of the other anthropomorphic creatures of folklore want to date him!
He looks like the type of Santa that would have “If you can read this, the bitch fell off!” stitched onto the back of his leather vest.
Anubis will return next time in
“Toys In Babeland”
Featuring: Ashok “Soodhu Kavvum” Selvan , Sanchita “Soodhu Kavvum” Shetty , Nasser “Fair Game”
Writer & Director: Deepan Chakravarthy
Also Known As: The Villa
Sequel to: Pizza
Welcome back, boils and ghouls! I hope all of my fellow ugly Americans had a horrible Thanksgiving holiday and have my talons crossed that more than a few of you were unceremoniously trampled to death amid the fervor and fever of the following Black Friday Madness. I kid, of course, because if you’re reading this review, that means you’re hopefully the type of person I’d get along with, in which case I’m a well-wisher, in that I don’t wish you any specific harm. Where the Hel was I going with this? Meh. Fuck it. Moving on.
Rather than hitting our next stop on the World Tour, I opted for yet another side trip on the scenic route. I liked India’s Pizza enough that I wanted to see what its sequel had to offer. Besides, what better bread to use in a review sandwich where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (see previous episode) is the meat than a pair of Pizzas? Yeah, there are more levels to my methods than there are floors in Elevator Action…or not. I honestly can’t recall how many floors there were in Elevator Action, so my boastful statement could very well be incorrect. I never should have said it in the first place. I’m sorry.
In something of a throwback to the glory days of ’80s bad movies like The Curse, P2 is a sequel that has no direct connection with its predecessor. Thematically, you could call it a spiritual successor (pun most assuredly intended) given the common subject of “Indian haunted house movie” and the inclusion of another (albeit less grandiose) Shyamalan-ed finale. But by Tom Turkey’s gizzard bag, there isn’t the slightest mention of pizza anywhere in the damn movie! Why even call it a Pizza sequel?! Oh wait, I know why: to cash in on name recognition. Well, congratulations Thirukumaran Entertainment. If nothing else, you managed to convince a middle-aged Beardo-American incarnation of the Egyptian Death God to watch your movie for free on YouTube. Thumbs up.
Technicalities aside, it’s business time! Let’s kick back, straw fuck a couple of those little boxes of Ecto Cooler you’ve been saving since 1993 (it’s comin’ back, ya know!), and take a tour of The Villa! Cue the music.
A brand new movie calls for a brand new cast. As such, our brand new hero is Jebin (Ashok Selvan). Jeb (not to be confused with Jeb! Bush – note the lack of an exclamation point) is a struggling writer locked in mortal combat with book publishers who don’t want to print his novel. He’s all about high brow drama and suspense and challenging his readers, while they just want Twilight rip-offs. In other words, rip-offs of a rip-off of Laurel K. Hamilton’s stuff, written by a bored Mormon housewife with latent necrophiliac tendencies. Did I say “latent”? I meant “blatant”. BLATANT NECROPHILIAC TENDENCIES. It’s only Stephanie Meyers’ interest in beastiality that’s latent, otherwise all the little girls and their moist mommies would’ve watched Kristin Stewart getting mounted on the big screen by the derp-faced werewolf instead of the derp-faced corpse.
“BLATANT NECROPHILIAC TENDENCIES”? Looks like someone just found a name for their free form jazz-oompah band!
To add to Jeb’s problems, his father Marshall (Nasser) died recently during a 6 month coma. Though he was a painter and a musician, pops never approved of his son’s aspiration to be a successful novelist, and scolded the poor guy for having dreams of choosing a creative career path for his life. Weird. Maybe Marshall’s mom left his dad for a copy of The Kama Sutra when he was a kid, so he spent the rest of his life blaming books for his dad’s resultant rampant alcoholism? Either way, Marshall’s dead now, so his lifelong literary nightmare is no more. As for Jeb, it turns out that his disapproving daddy bequeathed him a here-to-unknown piece of property upon which sets one spiffy-as-fuck mansion of a house (our titular abode). Not sure why he was never told about the place before now (smart money’s on bad juju), but this is a fortuitous bit of news for our lead, given that Marshall’s home has been repossessed to cover unpaid debts accrued by Jeb during a failed business venture. Note to self: next time I’m on the verge of being evicted, find out if any of my relatives have me on their will, then start poisoning said relative’s Cocoa Puffs until they do the Mortal Coil (Un)Shuffle.
Jeb intends to sell the villa and use the windfall to self-publish his novel. I hope he planned on taking a business course or doing some kind of test audience research first! Dreamers are always the ones hardest hit when they finally wake up in the real world with the rest of us. Anyway, his fiancee (and our new female lead) Aarthi (Sanchita Shetty) convinces Jeb to at least look the place over first and consider taking up residence in the estate while he continues the hunt for a publisher rather than taking the money and doing the proverbial run. After checking out the spacious pad, decorated with his father’s painting and housing his father’s beloved piano, Jeb opts to go along with Arth and move in instead. It doesn’t hurt that the lady tempts him with the idea of having their wedding in the place, with said matrimonial bliss portrayed via impromptu music video. Well, I guess that’s something else the two Pizzas share: a romantic musical interlude. Anyway, it’s too bad for the real estate agent Jeb asked about finding buyers, who’s peskily persistent about bringing said potential payers by anyway and trying to convince our hero to reconsider. Fuckin’ real estate agents. They’d resell peoples’ graves if churches hadn’t already monopolized the market.
Can churches really do that? Puck if I know. Look it up. You might be surprised. Or maybe you won’t be. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not. It definitely sounds like something churches would do. Hell, Mormons convert corpses posthumously, so there’s not a lot that organized religion can do that would surprise me anymore! I really miss the Old Kingdom days…
(Do you know how much Alpha Flight porn I came across while looking for this pic? More than zero. That’s too much!)
No sooner does Jpeg make the house his home, then strange happenings start up. Some good (a publisher buys his book and contracts him to write another!), some gruesome (a rotting dog carcass appears in his yard, seemingly from nowhere), and some Encyclopedia Brown (NOT a racist joke!) level shit too. Namely, a mysterious key, a Transformers painting (not literally, just in that it’s “more than meets the eye”), and a hidden room concealing a dark legacy that Marshall (and the house’s previous owners) left behind. The movie’s only a year old, so as usual we’re in the No Spoiler Zone (I hope you choke to death on your own scrotum, Bill O’Reilly) here and I won’t delve further into the plot past this period. You want to know the rest of the story? This ain’t “Reading Rainbow”, fuck-o! Go watch it yourself on YouTube or just ruin it yourself by reading the complete play-by-play on Wikipedia. I did that for Knock Knock and you know what? I don’t regret it. Especially since Eli Roth replied to my requests for a post-Green Inferno apology letter with a restraining order signed by his lawyer. Dick weasel.
And there you have it: Pizza 2. You know what? It’s good. Real good. Given that it’s the freshman effort for writer-director Chakravarthy, I’d go so far as to call it damn good! His setup and progression of the story is smoother and plenty suspenseful exactly where it’s most called for. The scene wherein Jeb finds the secret room is impressive, as his discovery is lit entirely by the ever passing beam of a nearby lighthouse and backed up with some appropriately foreboding music. You know, the kind of stuff that Satan puts on his hi-fi before impregnating hypnotized baby mamas-to-be. Speaking of, all of the music is perfectly good background stuff that fits the scenes nicely. Good on composer Santhosh Narayanan.
The cast is all good too. At least I think they are. I don’t speak Tamil, but everyone’s physical game was on form, from faces to body language to that weird head bob that Indian people do. Not to get too Seinfeld over it, but what is the deal with that head bob thing, anyway? Pardon me if the next part sounds like a “head up my own hole” art critic type of statement, but the villa itself is the real main character. Its interior breathes an atmosphere of something old, ornate, and ominous. The place has the feel of a warm antiquity with a heart of darkness. Something beautiful used to create some really fucked up, evil shit. Just like Dyanne Thorne!
If it’s so great though, why doesn’t it get the golden feather seal of approval? Sadly, there’s a really goofy Rube Goldberg sequence that makes the ones in the Final Destination movies look simpler than instant oatmeal. For an otherwise tense and dramatic flick, said scene of tumbling tables and acrobatic armoires is an out-of-place, unintentional laugh that was only put in to give the studio an excuse to charge audiences extra rupees for the 3D treatment. Coupled with the needless twist that hinders the final act more than helps it, and we get a pair of unfortunate potholes in an otherwise smooth road.
Villa isn’t perfect, but I think I like it better than its forerunner. Not that I didn’t like Pizza as a whole, but the last 4 minutes of it were the movie viewing equivalent of Jabba the Hutt sneezing on the last slice of a Chicago deep dish. Villa‘s finale, on the other hand, finishes out on a higher note. A twist ending was expected, so I went into it with zero surprise or fanfare, but at least this one doesn’t shit the bed. It’s a tad more predictable than the last one, but in that way where you feel smarter for having sussed it out yourself ahead of time rather than in that “Tales From the Crypt” bullshit “because karma” way.
There don’t seem to be any plans in place to extend this double feature out into a trilogy. At least not from what I was able to find on the worldwide wasteland. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that I’d like to see what kind of resumes either Chekravarthy or Karthik Subbaraj (writer-director of the original) establish for themselves following their forays into cinematic spook houses. I’d slaughter a goat in their honor, but that’s some pretty medieval cruelty by today’s standards. Instead, I’ll kill a few corned beef sliders from Arby’s. Yes! I discovered there are things on their menu that don’t make dumpster sludge look like a viable alternative for your mid-afternoon munchies! Not to be confused with Munchies, which is not a viable alternative to Gremlins, despite what Roger Corman would have you believe. That would be Critters. Or Ghoulies.
Well, that’s pretty much it for this episode! EDB will be happy, at least, being my editor and all. There are some things where women prefer less length on, folks. Happy 16th anniversary, dear! 😀
“Well? Are you just going to stand there watching me all night, or are you going to turn this tuning fork solo into a duet?!”
From the look on the other guy’s face, I’d say Jeb picked a pretty poor time to denounce his religion and all of its followers…
“We’re looking more for books about young women who let wealthy older men degrade them and put things in their butt for sexual fulfillment. Do you write anything like that, perhaps?”
“Seriously Diane? Why do all of your paintings have to be of famous people as centaurs? There’s something wrong with you.”
“For the last time, it’s a mole, NOT an M&M! Stop trying to pick at it!”
Jeez Greg, what did you do, get into a fist fight with your lunch?! You look like you got tea bagged by a Sloppy Joe! Go wash your face and get back to work!
“What duh ya mean ‘am I drunk’?! Thish ish MYYYYY wedding day! Not yoursh! MINE! If I wanna have shomeshing to drrrrink to settle MY nervesh on MYYYY wedding, I WILL! I’m an adult! Who are you, my dad!? No, I really *hiccup* don’t recognize you. Are you my dad?!”
If this were a SyFy Original movie, a giant computer generated platypus-sea urchin hybrid would come out of the water to eat these two before going off to fight Sharktopus.
That is easily the worst prop dog corpse I’ve seen since that episode of “The People’s Court” where the special effects guy sued the producer of a low budget movie because he wouldn’t pay him for the shitty prop dog corpse he made. It looks like an emaciated Pillow Pet!
“Oh mighty Lord Dagon! I ask you to rise from the depths and take my father’s life as sacrifice to the greatness of the Deep Ones!”
“Billy, why can’t you just throw a temper tantrum when I refuse to buy you ice cream, like a normal kid?”
Oh look! There IS a pizza in this movie! And they’re eating in a PitStop restaurant, like the one seen in the original Pizza! Specious justification of title successful!
“I’m sorry, Sir, but as the ad stated, the price for my son is 15,000 and not a rupee less!”
It’s the ghost of Santa Chewbacca!
“I call this piece, ‘Slender Man Takes a Bride’. It’s from my ‘Creepypasta Period’. The bidding starts at 15. Bitcoins only!”
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Bruce “My Name is Bruce” Campbell , Lucy “Xena: Warrior Princess” Lawless , Jill Marie “Girlfriends” Jones
Director: Sam “Drag Me to Hell” Raimi
Writers: Sam “Darkman” Raimi , Ivan “Darkman” Raimi , Tom “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose” Spezialy
Feliz Día de los Muertos Malvados, folladoras de perros! For those of you that flunked out of high school Spanish, that means “Happy Day of the Evil Dead, dog fuckers!”
Ash. Is. Back. Alright! (Not to be confused with the Backstreet Boys, who didn’t make their fans wait nearly as long for their reunion tour).
Yes, after nearly a quarter of a century, the Deadite defeating dumbass with more bravado than brains has returned to pick up where he left off! Having been harassed by B-movie geeks about when we’d see Evil Dead IV: Army of Darkness Part 2 – Deadite By Dusk (in 3-D), the brains of Sam and Ivan Raimi and the chin of Bruce Campbell have combined their powers to bring the Stihl-handed hero of legend back for a Starz pilot series that may or may not lead to additional seasons once it’s complete (Update: it was approved for a second season before the first episode even debuted!).
Though there have been numerous comic books, video games, and even an Evil Dead remake in the time since we last saw Bruce himself don the scars of The Chosen One, the closest we’ve had to seeing Ashley J. Williams on our screens in the flesh again was the tongue-in-cheek My Name is Bruce. Entertained by it as I was (went to two showings of it on opening day!), it still felt like a 90 minute tease. Like paying for a night with the prostitute of your dreams only to find out they have a bad yeast infection, so the most you’ll get is a handjob. Sure, you came, but you could’ve stayed home and gotten yourself off for free.
By the way, I did my best to make that comparison as inclusive as possible for everyone. However, if you feel left out because you’re asexual or lack the equipment to reach climax via manual stimulation, my apologies. I tried.
Now come on, space truckers! Let’s get space truckin’!
When we last left our hero…well…it’s not made explicitly clear. The when the show’s timeline is picking up from isn’t specific beyond Ash telling everyone that it’s been “30 years” since he last dealt with Deadites. Given that there’s a scene in the episode where he fills in his co-worker Pablo on his unpleasant past with the Necronomicon and it only uses clips of the first two Evil Dead movies, I’m taking a stab that this series is a direct sequel to Evil Dead II. In 1987 (“30 year ago”?), ED Dos re-wrote the events of the original, making the first Evil Dead redundant. AVED (not to be confused with “Community“‘s affable Asperger’s nerd Abed) also leaves out any mention of Ash having traveled through time, so maybe it’s based on ED2‘s storyline (what with the severed hand) while sticking with ED‘s ending where Ash survived the night and there was no Army of Darkness time vortex thing. On top of that, Ash’s absurdly high-tech Dark Ages cyborg hand from AoD is nowhere to be seen either. It’s been replaced instead with a prosthetic mitt carved from rosewood that makes for a great ass paddler when you’re plumping the ol’ Ballpark Frank in the hot dog warmer of an unclaimed dreg you sweet talked at last call!
But I’m putting the funeral cart before the skeletal horse here. It’s been a long time, so let’s see what Ash has been up to for the last three decades! For starters, he lives in a trailer (just like in My Name is Bruce) and instead of working at S-Mart, our hero works at a dirt mall department store called ValueStop. I’d like to think there’s some “fall from grace” tale at work here where Ash lost his lofty S-Mart position (too many sexual harassment complaints to HR?) and is now forced to work at VS, but my guess would be that it really just ties into the whole “we don’t own the rights to Army of Darkness” complication. Confounded studio politics nonsense.
He’s sporting the aforementioned artificial extremity, and using it as a story prop to pick up soused lasses at the local dive bar just waiting to go down on the next guy who says he lost a hand while saving an endangered child. And what of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis? That Book of the Dead we all know and love, with its dust cover of human flesh and its ink of human blood? Ash kept it. Such is how he gets himself knee deep in the dead(ites) again, as you may have guessed. Thanks to a misguided attempt at male posturing nudged on by a few puffs of “green remorse”, Mr. Williams is about to unleash a whole new world (“a new, fantastic point of view!”) of trouble on his backwoods Michigan burg.
However, Ash won’t be alone in cleaning up his mess. He’s joined by his co-worker and biggest fan Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Pablo’s friend-slash-unrequited crush Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). Pablo gives our man the moniker of “El Jefe” (we have a title!) and worships the ground he walks on (despite smarmy dickhole Ash blatantly violating the “bros before holes” edict), having unwavering faith that his hetero man-fatuation will be the hero this town needs. As for Kelly, Ash tries his “smooth talking grandpa” schtick on her, and let’s just say she’s well inoculated against our protagonist’s verbal Spanish Fly.
If you’re worried about there being too much talk and not enough action in this establishing episode, then belay your trepidation you tiny fool, because El Jefe and the Ashketeers throw down with a few demonically possessed podunks before all is said and done! I’ll spare you the details for your own viewing, but I will give you this much – it’s just as splatstick wacky sauce as you’d expect from a Sam Raimi fight scene!
This story’s not just about Ashley and his pals, though. The non-such sections introduce us to another newcomer: Michigan State Trooper Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), who has her own run-in with the soul swallowing Kandarian pests that leaves her very confused, very disturbed, and having an all too brief crossing of paths with one Miss Ruby Knowby (Lucy Lawless), who’s no doubt going to be playing a much larger role herself further into the series. Know how I know(by)? Look at her last name. Don’t get it? Brush up on your Evil Dead lore, you plebeian!
As someone who’s been playing mediocre Evil Dead video games and reading lackluster Army of Darkness comics (written by fanboys whose scribing skills don’t stretch beyond slight variations of Ash’s jerkoff dialogue from the last movie) to fill my Ash hole (wait a minute…) for the last 20 years, “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” is the long awaited return to form I’d become so sure was never going to happen. As someone who’d lost all hope and become quite cynical about the whole scenario, I wasn’t on the “The cup’s half full” side of the line so much as amidst the “The cup’s fucking broken and sitting in a landfill somewhere” group. But I’m so happy that “AVED” doesn’t suck that I almost feel some modicum of restored hope for humanity! Quite a feat since I’d given up on the species as a whole shortly after turning seven.. Or was that after watching Se7en?
The cast show some big promise already. Campbell is just as snide and sleazy in Ash's shoes as you remember, Santiago makes a good sidekick fanboy without being too cloying (though he’s really skirting the line, so I hope he doesn’t cross said line in future episodes), DeLorenzo does the tough girl thing fine (but is no scream queen, so I hope they keep her wails to a minimum), while Jones makes for a great contrasting straight character so far! I’m almost as invested in where her story goes as I am Ash’s! Lawless Lucy hasn’t done anything yet though, so I can’t establish an opinion based on a handful of lines and 20 seconds of screen time.
The more mature tone of the show is odd at first blush. Watching Ash getting jiggy with it (“it” being a bar fly’s backside) in the confines of a ladies’ toilet den and saying “FUCK!” remind you that this ain’t happening on basic cable. Starz is PREMIUM, baby! That’s not to say it isn’t immature at the same time, but this is the first ED sex scene that didn’t involve a rapist tree, so you get what I’m saying.
One of Raimi’s caveats when it came to bringing this fan bait to life was the use of as many practical effects as the budget could stomach. I appreciate his love for traditional effects and I would shake his hand for doing so. Unfortunately, the computer effects that we get stuck with the rest of the time aren’t the best. Nor are they helped any by happening alongside the practicals, which have the benefit of looking real because they’re as close as you can legally get to real gore and mutilation without making a snuff film. I do have to say that I’m pleased at how far digital arm stump technology has come in the last 20+ years, though! You’d think Bruce Campbell really did lob off his own hand for the sake of realism! Incredible what a green spandex glove can do…
All in all, “El Jefe” does what a premiere episode should: it caught my attention and makes sure I want to see more. I plan on coming back and reviewing the first season as a whole once it’s finished its run. I was just so twitchy and anticipatory to finally see Campbell don his chainsaw hand again and cut some chucklefucks in half that I had to share my feels on the premiere with everybody ASAP! I’m looking forward to what Lucy Lawless and Jill Jones’ characters bring to this b-movie A-Team, and not just because Double L showed us in Spartacus (boy did she ever) that she’s not afraid to bring out her 36Cs! Probably won’t happen, but at least the specter of her nudity will be hanging pleasantly over the proceeds.
On a final fun note of “can’t unsee” to leave you all on, if you shorten the title of the series a little it becomes “Ash Vs. ED“, as in “Erectile Dysfunction”. Think about it: we’re watching a man in his mid-50s (in a series written by equally aged gentlemen) struggling against an unseen force that haunts everything he does, making it impossible to live a normal life without stressing over the phantasmal monkey on his back. Hell, it ruins all of his romantic relationships and even literally interferes with his sex life! Gives the series a whole new metaphorical “age vs. virility” perspective, don’t it?
Oh well, at least Ash doesn’t have to deal with his dick looking like a melted tube of lipstick. Trust me, it’s a real hard sell to get over with the gals. Pun intended.
Bruce Campbell stars in What Women Want 2: Get Medieval.
I know the copyright stuff probably wouldn’t allow it, but I’m saddened that isn’t a box of Ecto Cooler.
“Jeez, baby, you ever think of waxing your crack? Looks like you’ve got Macy Gracy in a head scissors back here!” (Reviewer Note: from where I’m sitting, at least her breath is minty fresh!)
It’s Leatherface’s dream journal!
This week on “CSI”, the crew are called in to find out what really happened at Justin Beiber’s Sweet Sixteen party.
“I’ve seen BLUUUUE SKIIIIES, through the teeeeears in my eyes. And I realize… I’m going home.”
That is some savage glaucoma! It’s gonna take more than a spleef to clear that up. Grandma’s gonna need a bottle of hash oil!
For some reason, Pablo wasn’t prepared for Ash to make fun of his new haircut. When the bliss of your denial is shattered.
If you put pictures of the 3 female cast members of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” through one of those photo mash-up programs, you’d get Dana DeLorenzo.
Just as it’s finally about to happen, Kelly reconsiders her Kingpin roleplaying fantasy.
“Hi. Is It my turn to be in the show yet? No? Okay. I’ll just keep waiting here then.”
“Damn it, Kyle, THIS is why I always ask you to chew your Gushers with your mouth shut! Get me a washcloth!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Snake’s On a Game (of Death)”
Featuring: Tedd “Paper Moon (not that one)” Chan , Henley “Kepong Gangster” Hii , Mark “‘Police & Thief‘” Lee
Writer & Director: Gilbert “Ghost Child” Chan
Singapore! Not just Super Mario’s response to why he never pursued a career in opera (“I sing-a poor!”), Singapore’s also a major global city-state and the southern-most point of continental Asia. AKA “The Lion City”, “The Garden City”, “The Red Dot” (“Where ever the red dot goes, ya bang!“), and the World Bank’s “Easiest Place to Do Business” 9 years running. An original founding member of Malaysia, Singapore was punted from the team after just two years over “ideological differences”, i.e. race riots. They’re currently celebrating their 50th anniversary as an independent nation, so happy golden anniversary, Singapore! Sadly, the only gold I can offer you as a gift is my golden sense of humor… or a golden shower if that’s what you’re into. I mean, I’m not into it myself, but if it’ll get you off, I’m cool with it. It is your birthday after all.
Singapore also has one of the lowest unemployment rates amidst developed nations the world over, as well as some of the lowest rates of violent crime and homicide. Possibly due to it also having one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita. Angers up the blood! The population is over 40% foreigners and the Economist Intelligence Unit (sounds like a Wall Street thought police group) ranked Singapore 6th in the world for qualify of life and 1st in Asia! Damn. Kinda getting the urge to move here. But what Singapore isn’t is a plateful of bacon, so enough buttering it up. Singapore’s dark side is pretty infamous for gangs, prostitution, and gambling. Plus there’s apparently still a lot of racism issues that haven’t been worked out in the last 5 decades too. If they’d just import a bunch of American Republicans though, racism would stop being a thing simply because they’d say so! Ignorance is bliss. Oh, there’s also dangerous insects to be had in the ‘Pore, but nothing a little insect repellant won’t fix. When you’re in the deep jungle, you can’t beat Off!
Fuck you. I find jungles and forests to be very erotic and I’ll beat off anywhere I damn well please! *rimshot*
In case you’re not savvy on the concept of the 24 hour time cycle adopted by the global military as a whole (you know, that “oh eight-hundred hours” type stuff), the title of today’s feature is a reference to 11:59 PM. Sadly, it’s not a cinematic sequel to Iron Maiden’s song “2 Minutes to Midnight”, which would have then been followed by a multimedia project consisting of a VCR flashing “12:00” while accompanied by a Muzaked rendition of Powerslave to finish out a proposed trilogy. No, really. I proposed it to Bruce Dickinson’s cousin’s stepdaughter’s legal representation and they said they were “really excited at the prospect” before having me escorted from the building by security personnel! “REALLY excited”!
As I was saying, what 23:59 is instead is an Asian ghost story. Yep, yet another one. Just like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity made every American filmmaker-to-be think they could lure a lightning bolt into their empty Zima bottle too via a $500 “found footage” video of their own, the entirety of the continent of Asia have their chopsticks crossed that they’re on the verge of the next Ring or Grudge that’ll earn them big American party dollars on the 1-in-300,000 shot that Hollywood comes knocking on their door for the remake rights. Ghidorah H. Christ.
Let’s grab hold of the duct tape and see if we can’t pull this off quick with only minimal pain, and without having our righteous Magnum PI mustache torn out by the roots in the process! As always, since this movie comes in under the 5-year age of spoiler consent for this site, I will NOT be posting any major twists or revelations. So, should you feel it’s worth the trouble of tracking down and sitting through, fear not, as there be no spoilers here.
Our introductory pre-credits sequence finds us back in the bygone days of 1983. The Men at Work emerged from a land down under to introduce themselves to the world! Jason Vorhees acquired his now iconic hockey mask in Friday the 13th Part 3-D! “M*A*S*H” ended and “Fraggle Rock” began! In a Singapore boot camp, a young soldier named Tan (Tedd Chan) is asleep in the barracks when a ghostly child (along with its presumably spectral matriarch) interrupts the lad’s R.E.M. (the state of sleep, not the folks who gave us “Shiny Happy People”), scaring him shitless, courtesy of a face that resembles a giant prolapsed colon. Sound gross? Now imagine two people with faces like said inside-out buttholes, but they also have long, slimy tongues and they start licking each others facial rims. Hope you liked the last meal you ate, because you’re probably gonna be tasting it again real soon if you haven’t already! 😀
This leads us into some decidedly poor opening credits, ran over what looks to be storyboard material. I appreciate that ‘boards are just to structure the shots of a flick and not meant to be works of art or anything, but if yours look like they came from a comic book an 8th grade school kid would draw in their spare time, you might not want to open your movie with it. Upon first viewing, I worried that said illustrations were spoiling what looked to be some decidedly decent moments from the oncoming 90 minutes. The only thing worse than laying your scares out for your audience WAY ahead of time, though? Nothing interesting from them actually comes to fruition! Yep! On the arbitrary thermometer graphic of “Things You Shouldn’t Do to Your Audience”, I’m pretty sure “Telegraph your best moments in the opening credits” ranks lower than “Tease them, only to give them ZERO payoff”.
I couldn’t find confirmation to support the previous assumption, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that said storyboard art was from scenes that had to be cut from the movie for budgetary concerns or technical limitations. They feel like Gilbert Chan’s way of saying, “I’m not bland! I have fun, scary ideas too! See what I wanted to have?! THEY wouldn’t give me the money! If you don’t like this movie, it’s not my fault!”. These probably should’ve been saved for the end credits though, rather than the openers. Maybe Chan just did the same backwards thing Asians do with their printed material and edited the movie right-to-left, so what would have been the end credits sequence wound up at the start-up instead? Honest mistake.
Back to the barracks, we catch up with Tan and some of his fellow freedom fighters, who are sitting around listening to ghost stories told by resident jerk-off Dragon (Lawrence Koh). They’re pretty much the Singapore branch of the Midnight Society. Despite being the most superstitious member of the group, Drags stink faces everybody else for getting the terror sweats at his tales. He sets the running theme for us when he tells us that midnight is the apex of evil, and the soul of anyone who dies at 23:59 (and we have a character saying the title of the movie! And less than 10 minutes in, too!) will be forced to remain on Earth, wandering for eternity…for some weird reason that nobody can explain beyond random, made up superstition. Hey, if being terrified of the unproven is good enough to establish religions on, it’s good enough for generic ghost stories!
One of said stories is 100% true and involves a former recruit named Lye. Three years prior, in that VERY bunk, on a night VERY much like this, Lye punched his own ticket, hanging himself while everyone else slept. Why do the Hangman Tango? Turns out he was bullied and harassed by some of his bunk-mates for being “effeminate” and apparently threatening their own masculinity (i.e. they didn’t like that they were so attracted to him, obviously). Fuck that. If I were ever tormented to the point of taking my own life, you know damn well I’d be taking every asshole along with me! Then I’d leave a note detailing the trauma I’d been subjected to before taking myself out David Carradine style! And I’m not talking about Uma Thurman giving me the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique, either.
The bard of the barracks continues his tales of terror, telling us about the Kuntilanak (sounds like a Conan villain) – the particularly vicious and violent spirit that results from a suicided pregnant woman. Coincidence that its name starts with “Kunt”? It’s not clear (like a lot of this movie), but I think one of these Kunts was summoned by a trio of nameless recruits (the credits are full of ’em) using a makeshift Chinese knock-off Ouija/Witchboard in one of Drag’s stories. When they asked her to leave, spooky lady indicated “All Signs Point to ‘No'”, then terrified them by leaving wet footprints across their floor (and wet spots in their shorts). The horror of the creeping moisture! Now, imagine that last line in Vincent Price’s voice. You’re welcome.
Though this ends the shirtless punk’s story hour for the night, he does break out another scareative later on about a local ghost whisperer whose impregnated womb became haunted by a Kuntilanak (so she had a Kunt in her cunt!) during a seance. Immediately after which she gave birth to a mutant baby who would grow up looking like the daughter of the Toxic Avenger and is said to still lurk the island. So Asian people used to think birth defects were the result of angry ghosts possessing mother-to-be? Maybe stop smoking, drinking, and sitting on active microwaves while you’re gestating and you wouldn’t get so many flipper babies! Anyway, the Rule 63 Quasimodo’s name is Yi Gu, which my geek brain interpreted as “YuGi”, then responded to by shouting “It’s time to D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-DUEL!” before realizing I’d activated my own trap card… almost no one over the age of 25 is going to get that joke, but if any younger type card slingers do get it, well, I don’t pander to you often so you can have that one.
Each of these stories is accompanied by their own filmed segment, and given how they’re presented I feel like Chan originally meant this to be an anthology that wound up being paired down into a straight feature with a Frankensteined script instead. Makes all the more sense when you consider the unused storyboards, right? By the time you get to the finish line, so much of what’s established makes so little sense otherwise, so that’s the theory I’m sticking with.
Unlike Lye, Tan (by name, not by skin pigment) only has a sole tormentor in Dragon. He doesn’t show signs of taking his own life. Plus, several of the guys in the group do stick up for Tan, including their platoon leader. I bet a good old fashioned “soap in a sock” party would get Dragon to turn his dickhead dial down to ‘1’. Tan’s childhood buddy-slash-bodyguard Jeremy (Henley Hii) looks out for him too, but instead of fistally re-educating the bully, he opts to victim blame his buddy, telling him that he’s gotta stop being a pussy and man up. Tan’s problem isn’t that he’s a wimp though, he’s just got PTSD – Phantasmal Traumatic Stress Disorder. That close encounter of the ghostly kind in the opening has left him with a yellow streak. Uhm, that wasn’t a racist thing because he’s Asian! Scout (Taylor-Compton)’s honor!
Later that night, Dragon and four accomplices tie up and gag the sleeping Tan, stuffing him into a locker to torment him further. Naturally he’s visited by the ghostly hand of the Kunt, who leaves deep scratches on his neck by the time Jeremy (spoke in class today) wakes up and lets him out. Jer blows off Tan’s neck wounds, excusing them as being caused by a tussle with a wire hanger during his panicked spaz out. Sticking up for his little buddy, Jer get physical (physical!) with Draggy and the pair fight. Well, by “fight” I mean they shove each other, then Jeremy holds the scrawny little shit down and gives him some really weak punches. After those love taps, I wonder if maybe Tan’s not the bunker sissy of this group. Jer would’ve done more damage giving the prick an Indian Burn! Then again, they might not know what those are over there. On that side of the globe, “Indian Burn” is probably the rectal fallout of a really spicy curry dinner.
The group’s commanding officer, Sergeant Kuah (Mark Lee), arrives and breaks the tussle up. He reminds them that they have an incredibly important 24km road march in the morning, so they better stop with all the Grab-Ass and get some sleep. But coach, the Grab-Ass Championship Games are in two weeks and we gotta train! While we’re on the subject of Kuah, we learn that he’s a superstitious lot (and cowardly too, right Batman?) and asks that his own higher up, Captain Hong (Benjamin Lim), postpone the road march until a less unlucky date. Seems the moons of Jupiter are in the house of the seventh planet or some malarkey and that’s bad voodoo for the boys. Hong looks at him like he has three heads, gives him the workplace appropriate equivalent of a double middle finger, and declares that the march will go on as planned. To which, Kuah calls his c.o. a “fake caucasian” behind his back. Well, he’s Asian, so at least that makes him half Caucasian, right? Yeah, I deserve a smack for that one.
Tan has a bad feeling in his gut about going on the march, but Jeremy again denounces him for being a wimp. Tough Guy says he doesn’t believe in the supernatural because his father was a charlatan medium who used to use him to con marks out of their Singapore Dollars (yep, not unlike M. Bison in Street Fighter, they just tack “dollars” onto the ass of their name to name their currency!) with a Jon Edwards-style “chat up the dead” scheme. It left one bereaved old man heart attacked into the afterlife himself though, and that incident left the father and son pairing forever estranged. Also as a result, Junior is Singapore’s biggest skeptic, i.e. the most reasonable person in the nation. In fact, when Kuah insists on giving his men good luck talismans (that look oddly like dry cleaner tickets) to ward off evil spirits and bad juju during the trek, Jer not only refuses one, but denies one for Tan too. “Tan too”? I feel there’s a joke I should be making right now, but the heat from my laptop is making my Ballpark Frank plump and it’s too distracting. You win this time, phallus perspiration!
The marchers are beset by an inopportune thunderstorm and our main cast (Tan, Jer, Dragon, and porcine comedy relief character Lim) fall behind the rest of the group. Without spoiling anything specific, I’ll tell you this much – we’re only half way down the hasenpfeffer hole at this point. The events of the march that night change the dynamics of the group greatly, as Tan isn’t the only one being haunted once it’s over. Can they ever be rid of the Class IV Anchored Remnant (bone up on your Tobin’s, nerds) on their backs, or are they destined to just become another sinister anecdote in the book of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Barracks”? Are the ghosts even real, or did Gilbert Chan opt to make an ode to Jacob’s Ladder and what we’re actually watching is, in reality, just a shellshock allegory? What does this all have to do with a fellow recruit named Chester? And why is his name Chester?! What kind of Asian name is “Chester”?! Or “Jeremy” for that matter!?
Though I won’t be going any further into the story beyond this point, I will say this much – the finale involves what will either be a very touching, very depressing, very cheesy (or very arousing…depends on your brain chemistry) moment that features one of our characters crying profusely. Unfortunately, the intended emotional impact of the scene collapses in on itself as I was incredibly distracted during the whole thing. What by? Not only do the character’s eyes leak the whole time, but their nose flushes like they just ran a Neti Pot through it. We all know that the locks are blown open on the Panama snot canals when a heavy bawling front rolls in, but wipe your damn nose, character whose name I will not divulge!… Huh huh, “but wipe”.
Though not entirely bad, 23:59 feels like a movie that could’ve been better than it is. I know that almost any movie could be “better than it is”, technically, but this is the statement that stands out the largest in my mental word cloud, having watched it twice now. My biggest problem is the story’s structure. It’s shoddy and unstable. If it were a building, it’d be condemned by code enforcement. Even the junkies would reconsider squatting in it. As stated prior, the whole thing feels as if it was intended as an anthology, but was converted into a basic “Point A to Point B” feature without wanting to throw out the leftovers. Like they put up the house over the Indian burial ground, but didn’t feel like removing the grave markers and just built around them instead. Or if a storefront that was originally a beauty parlor was turned into a Carvel© store and they chose to keep the big hair dryer chairs to soften the ice cream; except they left them right in the middle of the damn floor, inconveniencing the customers who just want a spot to sit and eat their damn Fudgie in peace!
I don’t watch a lot of Singaporese movies, so forgive my ignorance if this next annoyance is a common practice, but the dialog was littered with some kind of bastard ManderEnglish for some reason! Is this how their movies are usually done?! The cadets would slip in an English word here or there, which was fine because I get that there are some words we Yanks have that they don’t. Instead of making up their own, they figure “Fuck it, I guess we know slightly more English now!”. However, when the Sergeant and Captain were in the picture, everyone was speaking better English than half the kids in your average American graduating class! It was jarring. This does explain why every original audio copy of the movie I tried to download was labeled “English dub” though.
The Americanising of the feature is furthered by the inclusion of US movie posters on the walls of the bunkhouse, including ’80s classics The Terminator, Platoon, and Blade Runner. Is this a military training facility or an AV Club?! Funny enough, of the three flicks, only Blade Runner (’82) was actually released prior to 1983, the year this movie takes place. Terminator was ’84 and Platoon was ’86, so a hearty dick kick to the prick in charge of continuity for not doing his damn job.
In the end (also Sean Connery’s answer to “Where does Alex Trebek’s mom take it?”), what could’ve been something good (or at least not as bad) just peters out into something completely unsatisfying, thus making 23:59 Singapore’s cinematic parallel of Adam Sandler’s career. Or, every episode of my sexual congress as told from my partners’ points-of-view. There’s some decent tension building, but it’s bogged down by too many attempted jump scares, some acceptable-to-terrible makeup effects, a congested story structure, and the disappointment of the opening credits promising more graphic imagery than the movie itself puts out. An unfortunate let down from the country that brought us the pure chewing satisfaction of the Michael Fay caning. Oh well.
For our next World Tour stop, I’ll be spoiling the crap out of an early 2000s monster movie that’s been collecting dust on my “To Do Pile” for over a decade! Drain the last of your Dirty Banana and join us, won’t you?
Bonus Moral: If someone dies at training camp in the Singapore army, recruits are given a half-day to cope. The turn around for mourning over there is stricter than their anti-chewing gum laws!
That’s exactly how my head feels every time a Linkin Park song comes on the radio.
Well, at least that would be convenient for people with shoulder problems who have no one else to brush their hair.
“The camp talent show is in 3 days and you still haven’t figured out how to make the puppet talk while you’re drinking the glass of water!”
“Because I will Frank Castle your asses in the blink of an eye!”
“Sure he’s got a Cheetos™ dust addiction, but everybody knows he’s a stand up cat otherwise!”
When grandpa asked to play a card game during their visit to the retirement home, they had no idea he meant Strip Poker. Worst. Visit. Ever.
Wait. Did this movie suddenly turn into a tampon commercial?
Yup. It’s definitely a tampon commercial.
Maybe you should stop squinting your eyes then, dipshit. We in the audience can see everything just fine thanks to ALL OF THE PRODUCTION LIGHTS!
“Oh my god… did I remember to turn the oven off before I left for boot camp!? This could be VERY bad.”
“She sounds hot. Is she seeing anyone?”
Sadly, he’s right. I’ve been trying to do that with those fucking Kardashians for years and they’ve yet to fade from existence.
We used to put completely black contacts on the first guy that fell asleep back during high school b-movie weekend parties. It’s hilarious watching them run around screaming “I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND!” while falling all over everything. Ah the memories.
And I thought the Asian takeout places in the U.S were aggressive with their doorknob menus. Yikes!
“Well, I don’t know her personally, but I’m a high ranking official in her fan club! I’m sure Mrs. Arquette would be happy to help us!”
Yeah, I’ve had ghost pepper sauce thrown in my oculars too (true story!). Trust me, just clench your eyes as hard as you can and pray for death until it stops hurting. Should be about an hour or two.
Hence why his friends gave him the nickname “Arby’s”.
Oh man, he’s having one of those “dislocate your shoulder trying to reach it” level itches on his back.
Just another one of the ProActiv™ horror stories they never tell you about in the commercials.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Unexpected Vishnu of Ignorance”
Featuring: Anita “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” Briem , Belén “The Whore and the Whale” Blanco , Alistair Freeland
Director: Luis de la Madrid
Writers: Manu “[REC] 2” Díez , Jaume “[REC] 2” Balagueró
The penultimate production of the Fantastic Factory, Part 2 of my “Fantastic Four” reviews thing is, as you may have surmised, a dip in the Nunsploitation pool of sub-sub-genres. You’ll get the unintentional “pool” pun shortly. First, let’s provide some background to what we’re about to see here!
So, The Nun features no actors of prominence. Anita Briem’s done some things in the 10 years since, and continues to find work, but it’s mostly stuff I’m not interested in watching. Don’t expect to hear her name again until I get around to dedicating an episode to reviewing Dylan Dog, probably under the premise of a gimmick where I highlight movies that adapt independent comic books. Of which Faust would have been one, had I not already used it for this gimmick. On the other side of the camera, Brian Yuzna’s still around, but only as a “Creative Producer”, so whether this penguin sinks or swims (more aquatic references) has nothing to do with “The Yuze”. Director Luis de la Madrid is in a different dingy, bobbing in an ocean of obscurity with no other directing credits to his credit outside of a pair of short films I have no interest in pursuing either. His main body of work is actually as an editor! His contributions include chopping up and pasting together such flicks as: Faust, Diary of a Nymphomaniac, The Machinist, Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, and that Anna Paquin movie Darkness that Miramax apparently took a chainsaw to and butchered down to a PG-13 rating for the US release. Pretty sure Luis’ work was the original Spanish version. Call it a hunch.
Two year after The Nun, Jaume Balagueró would go on to write the only “found footage” movie I can openly admit to loving – [REC]. Two years after that, he would collaborate once more with fellow Nun scribe Manu Díez for [REC] 2, which wasn’t as good. In fact, it soured my milk just enough that I have yet to see either of the two additional [REC]-tal exams that followed it. As with Dylan Dog (and a few hundred other movies on my list), I’ll get to them eventually…
Our tale begins in the unconscious brain of Mary (Lola Marceli), where she dreams altered memories of her brief stay in a Spanish boarding school as a troublesome teenager. She and several other bad girls were the pet project of the school’s headmistress, an ultra strict nun by the nom de habit of Sister Ursula (Cristina Piaget). Ursula is just as evil as the other Ursula that moniker brings to mind too, as her first act on screen is to tell a handicapped girl in a leg brace that she deserves her predicament, because it’s a punishment from God. Ouch. This sextet of international no-goodniks were sent to the school because their parents had given up trying to raise them as morally sound ladies of the Catholic persuasion, instead opting to pay someone else to do it! The nightmare climaxes with Urs discovering a love letter that 17 year-old Mary (Katrine Romming) had tried to hide in her bible, tearing the confession of romantic intent up and commanding the rebellious youth to eat it! Before this can turn into a lesbian barely legal Dom/sub porno fantasy, Mary refuses and spits the paper out, so the black & white bully grabs her by the throat and pins her to a wall with almost supernatural (*wink*wink*) strength, shouting “ONLY PAIN CAN WASH AWAY OUR SINS!” before she starts having one of those kinetic horror movie ghost seizures and goes all monster face. Mary wakes up with a bloody nose (did she have an aneurysm?!) and the cosmic ballet goes on.
The single mother and her singular daughter live in Hoboken, New Jersey. A fact unabashedly forced into our faces by a subtle-as-spoiled-sauerkraut delayed shot of the
High School crest as we’re introduced to Eve (Anita Briem), who is at her high school prom. By proxy, we also shake hands with her bestest buddy Julia (Belén Blanco) and her boyfriend Joel (Alistair Freeland). Jules is an exchange student from Spain (played by an Argentinian), whose helmet hair and minute resemblance to Rosario Dawson put her on my cute-girl sonar. Her small stature and baby face make her barely legal status believable despite Blanco being almost 30 at the time of filming…you know, if IMDB is accurate. As for Joel, he’s your typical American high school d-bag (though the occasional escapes of his moderate British accent makes me think Freeland isn’t from the “Land Of The Free”, ironically enough) who carries around a handy-cam to shoot videos of EVERYTHING HE DOES. In terms of story, the camera only serves as a point of purpose for one brief and wholly unimportant scene later on, so it’s really nothing more than a “yep, he’s a douche” character trait for Joel. In hindsight though, it does make for a mildly amusing precursor for things to come, given Balagueró and Díez’s career paths after this.
J&J take time outs from drunkenly dry humping each other on the dance floor to talk about their impending trip to España. Julia tries to convince Eve to come with them, but the castaway from the Garden of Eden refuses because her mother’s already planning a trip to Spain. But mostly because she doesn’t want to risk crossing paths with her parent when she should be engaging in the kind of hedonistic white girl tourist-y activities that would make her the perfect victim for a torture porn. When Eve sneaks off to make some tongue time with her boyfriend in the locker room showers, J&J sneak up on them and pull a Candid Camera, turning the shower on and catching their startled reaction. A seemingly innocuous act that becomes a frustratingly integral plot point in the last 10 minutes of the movie, and is making me grind my teeth just typing about it. So before I hurl something fragile across the room, let’s go check back in with Mary!
Alone at home, Mary finds herself confronted with a plumbing problem better fixed with a call to The Ghostbusters than Roto-Rooter, as her kitchen sink floods, drains, re-floods, and spits in the eye of gravity as water cascades from it towards the ceiling. A window opens via a “not the wind” gust of wind (you can actually peek the stagehand’s arm in the reflection of the glass as they ease it open the first time) and the spectral form of a demonic-looking nun materializes to attack her. Eve returns home just in time to witness the phantom slitting mom’s throat with a butcher knife before it screams and escapes through the window. Eve calls the cops and insists that she knows what she saw, but the members of the constabulary are unable to find fingerprints for anyone else in the house. Julia doesn’t help her amiga’s story any by telling the investigator on scene that not only had they all been drinking earlier at the prom, but Eve also has some unresolved trauma due to Mary’s attempted suicide some years prior. Maybe Mary just realized that she’s a middle-aged single woman living in Hoboken and just couldn’t live with herself anymore. Fuckin’ New Jersey.
At Mary’s funeral (that was quick, especially for a crime scene death!), Julia convinces Eve join her in Spain so she’s not left alone with her grief (in Hoboken…*shudder*). The parentless teen is then approached by Mary’s friend and fellow Ursula victim, Cristy (Tete Delgado). Cris fills in some of the plot, telling our protagonista that mom’s trip to Spain wasn’t for “business”, but to reunite with her boarding school peers following the death of their friend Joanna in England. Eve confirms that Mary’s death is being labeled a suicide (less paperwork) and that no one believes her story about the homicidal ghost nun. Cris gives Eve her hotel room info and says she’d like to talk some more with her before her plane leaves the next day. After Eve leaves, Cris gets uncomfortable as a trio of nuns walk by…
The lighting guys must’ve had to up the wattage for the rigs while shooting, given all the foreshadowing in this movie! Wakka-wakka! *rimshot*
Whilst going through her mom’s things at home, Eve finds a box of letters and documents, including some of those sweet nothings (signed by a guy named Miguel) that Ursula thought made for better taste buds whets than panties wets. She also finds mom’s plane ticket and decides to Nancy Drew this mystery herself. Meanwhile, in her hotel room, Cris’ car key starts leaking water on her bed (something that Mary’s plane ticket did right before her own death) and her toilet goes bonkers, turning into the world’s angriest bidet! Water sprite Ursula forms from the crapper (I wonder if she materialized clockwise or counterclockwise?) and chases her prey into the hallway, where Cris escapes into an elevator. And what better time to take a commercial break!
Today’s episode is brought to us by Toilet Nun™! Just put Toilet Nun’s patented string of “rosary refresher beads” into your tank, say 3 Hail Marys and an Our Father before every flush, and you’ll be praising Our Lord for giving you the freshest bowl this side of the Vatican! Wash away your sins with Toilet Nun™! By Saints Johnson & Johnson.
Eve arrives at the hotel and waits for the elevator in the lobby, seeing the moist antagonist in plain view as Ursula strolls out the front door of the building! Before she can react, the elevator door dings open and Eve’s just in time to witness her second gruesome demise in as many days, as in the lift is a disarmed (well, de-armed) Cris! For a woman whose arms were just torn off in an elevator “accident” not twenty seconds prior, her stumps have already stopped bleeding. Maybe she had really high cholesterol and the panic of what happened pushed two massive clogs away from her heart and into her brachial arteries, thus plugging them up entirely? Or, the more likely scenario is that it’s just a shitty movie and I should stop trying to make logic out of someone else’s fuck-ups.
A quick jump cut to a passenger jet, where Julia is trying to convince Eve that she’s just stressed out of her mind from her mother’s death and that she needs to relax. If Mary and Cris’s deaths were more than just a suicide and an accident, the police wouldn’t have let her leave the country, right? Eve’s still determined to track down Mary’s friends though, so Jules agrees to follow along and to drag Joel (by the balls) with them. Eve then falls asleep while watching the in-flight movie Faust: Love of the Damned (even making sure to show the “a film by Brian Yuzna” opening credit, BLART!), awakens to the horrific image of Ursula on the wing of the plane (a cool tribute to “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”), then wakes up again from what turns out to have been a nightmare, finding herself setting down in Barcelona. Funny enough, as soon as the airplane scene started, I was curious as to how Ursula would no doubt follow the kids back to her home country to continue her killing spree, citing such possibilities as hiding in the plane’s toilet or just “swimming” across the Atlantic. Though I was sure that this wasn’t going to be addressed, I do like that this little nightmare sequence gives us a possible hypothesis. Though silly, again, it was a nice little tip of the hat to one of “The Twilight Zone”’s most loved episodes. Felicitaciones.
In searching for mom’s former associate Eulalia, Blondie makes a pit stop at a local library first to research this mysterious boarding school. Not exactly the sharpest machete in the shed, Eve doesn’t think to bring along Jules and is pretty well fucked when she realizes that, DUH, everything is in Español…and she doesn’t know a fucking LICK of Español! Clearly our heroine didn’t make valedictorian at Hoboken High. She lucks out though (cuz it’s a movie, natch) and bumps into a handsome local named Gabriel (Manu Fullola) at the Xerox machine who not only speaks fluent Engrish, but is such a Samaritan that he offers to help the wayward Yankee out. Like I said before: 100% torture porn bait.
They meet back up later at a local nightclub with J&J, where Gabe tells Eve that the school’s been closed since 1988, after Sister Ursula mysteriously disappeared. He also found Eulalia’s address, and drops the minor blockbuster that he’s in seminary school. No, he’s not studying semen, he’s in priest college! As for Eulalia, she’s still waiting for her friends to arrive. Naturally, those that are still alive won’t get there until it’s too late, because Eul’s going to take a bath. Guess who’s the next to die? Yep, after getting harassed by her plumbing and her dog red herrings us by getting sick (or whatever the hell happens as it’s not explained), Eulalia winds up crucified in her water closet…mere moments before Eve gets there…alone…because taking her friends along would make too much sense and completely ruin that stupid plot twist we’re still waiting on. They’re all of 12 seconds behind her though, so I’ll be sure to bring that up later too.
While at the apartment, Mystery Inc. overhear a message on the new victim’s answering machine that the remaining two ex-schoolgirls, Susan (Natalia Dicenta) and Zoe (Paulina Galvez), are in town and heading straight for the old alma mater. Desperate to find them and warn them about the bloodthirsty wraith penguin, the gang pile into a car (a rental, I guess?) and head out to the site. Frustrated that he’s being dragged on a wild goose chase in a foreign land in the pouring rain rather than getting his dick sucked on a beach while chugging Blood Marys, Joel takes control of the car from Eve, immediately crashing into a parked car that conveniently blocks the path to the school. Well, the story is that he crashed the car, but the reality is that their car is actually parked a foot or so away from the side of the obstacular vehicle, as you can see their headlights shining on the other car’s COMPLETELY UNMARRED BODY. If you can’t afford to wreck a few clunkers in your flick, TAKE THE FUCKING CAR CRASH SCENE OUT OF THE SCRIPT! FOLLANDO RETARDA!
With their car out of commission from all that crash damage (ARGH!), the quartet hoof it the rest of the way to the spook academy, following the presumed footprints of Suze and Zoe. Inside of the abandoned “oddly well lit for being the middle of the night during a rainstorm” structure, Joel uses his camera’s night-vision function to look around a pitch-black room. All he finds is a jump scare (courtesy of a wayward bat), and thus any excuse for making the handy-cam part of the story has passed. Blart.
Susan and Zoe aren’t dead (yet), and the quartet turns into a sextet as Eve finds them and updates them on the body count. Suze wants to call the cops, but Zoe refuses to because…they killed Ursula. Yep, one night the girls caught the hag scalding Mary’s nether parts with a detachable shower head in the basement’s communal bathing room, so they attacked the grizzled cunt and drowned her in a tub full of water. They then disposed of the body, dumping her in a pond on the school grounds. Two weeks prior to tonight, the town drained the pool and found nothing of the corpse, meaning that Ursula’s possessed the water that she didn’t die in (of course), but that her body got super pruny in for almost two decades. Meh.
Further exploring the school, Eve and Gabe come across Ursula’s old quarters and find a bible inside, inscribed to her by a “Father Miguel”. They almost do the horizontal hokey-pokey on the dead sister’s musty bed, but Eve forsakes her namesake and rejects the serpent. Gabe has some personal revelation that he’ll tell Eve (and hopefully the audience) about later, leaving the young lady alone to be confronted by the aqua spook, who emerges from her old bedspread! Urs only passes through Eve though, then leaves. The contact causes our heroine to relive a previously locked away memory of her mom giving her Hel for getting into her stash of love letters, then trying to kill herself in their bathtub. More on that in a minute. Elsewhere, Zoe and Suze are talking about seeing Eve with the young priest-to-be as “history repeating itself” and blaming Mary’s past for what’s sure to be their inevitable demises. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the aforementioned Father Miguel and the Miguel who signed Mary’s love letters are one and the same. When Ursula discovered the affair, and Mary’s subsequent impregnation with Mikey’s boner seed as a result, she tried to “wash the sin” out of the 17 year-old’s evil ham wallet. Hence the hot water abortion attempt that led to this whole I Know What You Did Last Summer rigamarole. But isn’t abortion a sin? Yeah, and so are murder and child molesting. But, when something’s done “in God’s name” by his faithful sheep, it doesn’t count as a sin anymore! Woohoo! So long as I shout “Praise Jesus!” next time I firebomb a car blasting that Reggaton shit, Johnny Law can’t judge me! Somebody get me a tank of gas and few hundred empty whiskey bottles!
Anyway, Gabe’s big revelation is that all of the killings to this point have been Biblical in nature: each of the women were killed in the fashion of the patron saints they share their names with. G-Unit’s theory is that Ursula’s killing them as such because through their pain and “sacrifices”, she can gain penance for their souls and hers, thus regaining God’s favor. And how did Saint Ursula die? Arrow through the heart. With this knowledge, Zoe decides to fight back and try spearing the spouted specter with Julia and Joel’s harpoon guns. Oh, I forgot to mention a previously established plot point from way back at the prom scene: they were going to do a lot of SCUBA diving on their vacation. Sorry about that. Though you’d half expect a movie like this to bring this up out of nowhere (or not at all) and just have the characters armed with harpoon guns for no real reason, but it was there the whole time.
Well, Susan’s had enough of suffering for the sins of others and won’t be victimized for Mary’s crimes any more! Before Eve’s priest defilement can get her in any further trouble, the panicked Suze locks herself in a room and refuses to let Eve anywhere near her. As expected, this only serves to fuck her over, as she’s trapped in there now for another performance of Sister Ursula’s Wild & Wacky Water Hijinks! After being pushed around by the aquatic abbess, she ends up decapitated by a pane of broken glass, dropped on her guillotine style. It invokes happy memories of the superior gymnastics program put on by David Warner’s (fake) head in The Omen. 10s across the board.
Eve tries to spear Ursula before she can disappear again, but when she does, no one else is able to see the Phantom of the Fire Hydrant, which explains why no one saw her strolling through the lobby back at the hotel after Cris’s dismemberment. As for why this is, Zoe theorizes it’s because Eve’s conception was the whole crux of this vengeful comeback so…I don’t know why that would explain why she hasn’t been killed yet, or why Zoe couldn’t see her either. Fuck it. Whatever the case, Zoe’s eponymous patron perished a la immolation, so as long as she stays clear of any open flames or giant ovens, she should be okay. Not hard since every inch of this movie is covered in H2O at this point! Speaking of the source of all life, Gabe theorizes that the only way to make Ursula into killable flesh and blood is to flood the school’s basement and have Eve kill her within the resultant pool of her power source. Which makes ZERO sense, since she already attempted to spear Urs when she was in her material state before and NOTHING HAPPENED! Fuck!
Despite bad shit happening and somebody else dying every time they do it, the group continues to split up as they try to flood the place. Naturally somebody else dies this time too. TWO for the price of one, to be exact! Gabriel is impaled on a broken piece of exposed pipe when he’s forced onto it by a broken water main, and Zoe winds up scorched inside of a giant, human-sized oven. Osiris’ beard, was this school’s kitchen built by Nazis, or was shit like that commonplace in old buildings like this before the genociders ruined it for everybody during World War: The Revenge?!
So, we’re down to the final three: Eve, Julia, and Joel. As our heroine awaits the final showdown in the school’s new in-ground pool, Joel pulls Julia aside and completely shits up the entire movie with the following preposterous postulate (not to be confused with a pustule): as a child, Eve overheard an argumentative phone exchange between her Father father and her mother that included hearing Mary tell Miguel that she had to kill Ursula because he couldn’t keep his plenary prick to himself. In the fallout of said call, Mary tried her Whitney Houston curtain call, the terror of which Joel believes caused Eve to dissociate the whole “my mom killed a nun” thing until now. And what does this amateur Pierre Janet theorize may have brought this mental bobbing back to the surface of Eve’s psyche? Startling her in the shower while she was making out with her boyfriend at the high school prom.
Having seen this scene twice and having just typed it all out and read it, I’m verging on face palming so hard that my entire pantheon will feel it. Bra-fucking-vo.
So yeah, in an effort to rip off the big twist ending to Fight Club, the solution to the movie is that there isn’t a killer ghost nun taking revenge on the girls who murdered her and gave her a totally non-Christian burial, it’s that Eve has a split personality, is “possessed” by Ursula and is really the one who killed Mary and everyone else. Except for Gabriel, whose death was entirely accidental. There are many, MANY reasons this explanation is bullshit, but I’m not willing to rack up another four pages of space just to chronicle all of them, so I’ll present you with the three most glaring.
EVERY one of the victims had interactions with haunted water prior to their deaths. Mary had the kitchen sink, Cris had the hotel room toilet, Euli had her bathtub, Sue and Zoe had run-ins with flying gushes of rushing water that pushed them to their deaths. Those last two could be explained away as being Eve simply pushing them around, but the other three were absolutely interactions with sentient water. There were also the multiple times when Ursula’s cursed fluids seeped out of various items. And don’t tell me those didn’t happen, because when Urs did it to Mary’s plane ticket, the water smeared the information on the Post-It affixed to it, which carried over to a later scene!
Though it’s true that Eve witnesses some of the deaths, and thus could very well have been the cause of them, this makes ZERO sense in cases where the deaths happened BEFORE she even came into the scene! Cris’s arms were cut off by the elevator, NOT directly by any human interaction, and she was there in the lobby with SEVERAL other witnesses when the doors opened and the body was first discovered. And had she been involved at all in driving Cris toward the elevator, are you telling me the hotel security cameras managed to miss the whole thing, hence why the police decided Eve wasn’t involved in any way, and thus allowed to leave the country?! Furthermore, Eulalia also died before Eve made it into her apartment, AND she was followed immediately by her friends who showed up not 20 seconds behind her!
And my biggest argument against this ending – Joanna. Joanna was killed prior to prom night. Two weeks prior, in fact. Right after the pool holding Ursula’s remains was drained. Hear that *thud* sound? It’s Joel’s theory dropping dead at his feet. Fuck. This. Movie.
The twist is a foofaraw. Totally needless and just ends up retroactively plot holing the shit out of what came before into an argle-bargley Swiss cheese clusterfuck. And if you’re really going to push this bullshit on us, why not justify the inclusion of of Joel’s fucking camera by using it here?! Have him set it down while he leaves the room to help someone else, then have Eve kill someone while in frame so there’s evidence to back up the big reveal! A bit hackneyed, sure, but at least it would’ve given some plausibility to the friggin’ bowl of boiling hot piss and pus they tried to force feed us instead!
Uggh. I need to get this over with before I pop an eyeball or some shit. Eve has her final sub-aquatic battle with her other half (grrrrrrrr), and after much struggling, puts a harpoon in the bitch’s gut (not her heart like she’s supposed to) killing her for good. But, when J&J come back, they find only Eve with a self-inflicted ‘poon impalement. Julia swims to her friend to check on her, and we’re jarred into the end credits, where some hilariously out-of-place Spanish nightclub music (see the end of this review to hear what I’m talking about!) serenades us into the final, deepest, darkest stages of utter madness. End.
We already know why I hate the story’s forced surprise ending (I never appreciate getting Shyamalan-ed up the ass) so let’s not hold our hands over that open flame any longer. Had we stuck with the simple “pissed off spirit out for vengeance” theme, I would’ve been fine. Hell, they could’ve copied and pasted the ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and just buried Ursula’s bones on consecrated grounds and I may have even ended things on a happy note! Instead, we got what we got. Sad too, since I was a big fan of the religious context behind the attacks, what with that “killed in the fashion of their saints” jazz. It’s one of the few things that pulled The Nun up to a one-star affair from an otherwise absolute zero. But no, what little bits of delicious sweetness we were given were overrun by bitter, bitter poison. Like having a bottle of Tenafly Viper poured directly onto our brains. Do you smell something, Sheriff?
The low-to-moderate budget computer effects for Ursula are actually not bad. Pretty solid, even. The direction is fairly straight forward, which is to be expected from an editor’s first/only time in the big boy chair. Transitions from one scene to the next could’ve been smoother for the most part, rather than the odd whiplashes we witness. Not something you’d really expect a professional editor to flub, unless he was trying to play into that lame “music video smash cut” stuff that just doesn’t fit the atmosphere of a movie like this. The acting is generally terrible, as you’ve got two American characters being played by a Brit (I think) and an Icelander who mostly suppress their accents, but still sound NOTHING like two kids from New Jersey. Briem acts like she’s zonked on tranquilizers the entire time too, which doesn’t help matters. Also, as a white American (when I’m not an ebony Egyptian Death God) I’m not 100% on this, but is having an Argentinian playing a Spanish girl anything like having a Chinese actor playing a Japanese character? Or having Sean Connery play a Russian submarine Captain? It sounds like something that’s gotta be offensive to somebody. Either or, this cast is only a rung or two above an Ed Wood feature. Maybe when you’re casting for a movie with an English script, you should try to find people to whom English is their native tongue and not just some Frankensteinian monster tongue they bought at an Organs ‘R’ Us going-out-of-business sale.
Lastly (and certainly leastly), I still have no fucking idea what this stupid “Lake Test” is that Joel kept alluding to! It’s supposed to be some dirty joke, that part I get, but I can’t tell if it’s about whether a girl puts out or practices proper hygiene or who the fuck knows, fuck nose. It’s brought up several times and when he finally explains it to Julia he’s still not being direct enough to actually explain anything! If you’re not going to stop tiptoeing around it like a 12 year-old giggling through a sex-ed video, just shut your gob. Dingus.
So, that’s The Nun. Despite the acting and numerous nitpicks, I was fully prepared to give it a 2-out-of-5 before that candiru fish level of twist ending malarkey swam up our collective urethras. Bollocks! We’re now halfway through this thematic mini-marathon, and this purported production facility of the fantastic has as of yet failed to live up to its name. Well, failure in terms of fantastic quality anyway, not so much fantastic subject matter. To be fair, a demonic anti-hero fighting the Devil and a vengeful nunnly water spirit who kills with methods relating to the deaths of Catholic saints are both refreshing alternates to “just another slasher in a mask stabbing naked teens”. Aaaaaanyway, let’s see if Brian Yuzna can’t up the ante a bit for the latter half of this trip through the b-horror side of Spain, shall we?
Damn. I can’t believe I went this entire review without making a single reference to “The Flying Nun”. Oh well. I’ll make a note for when I eventually review The Convent. And on that note, cue my new exit music. Fuck ya later, lip smackers!
The most awkward day of the month at boarding school: virginity inspections.
“So, if God can do anything and create anything, could He create a cigarette with so much nicotine that even He would become addicted to it? Like… wow. Right?”
You know what’s a real sin? Spelling a word with two capitalized letters and one lower-case, like “SiN”. It’s right below spelling words with letters replaced by numbers. Someone needs a penance spanking!
This is why you don’t watch Evil Dead 2 before bed!
(Click HERE if that one went over your head)
For anyone who wasn’t sure this was a horror movie, I give you Exhibit J.
“I don’t know if it’s just the Molly or what, by my shoulder smells AMAZING to me right now! Come over here and taste it…”
“Keith David and I beat the shit out of each other for 6 straight minutes and that bastard still refused to put on these damn sunglasses!”
(Alternate joke: “Come with me if you want to live.”)
A dispenser that holds TWO rolls of toilet paper?! My gods! Who’s the genius that came up with this?! THIS NEEDS TO BE IN EVERY BATHROOM EVERYWHERE EVER!
Rush Limbaugh’s crapper finally fights back. (Hey! The paper’s on the other side of the toilet now! Boooo!)
Twelve years of piano lessons down the drain.
Delta Airlines tries out its new “Poverty Seating” option. The ride’s a little rough, and there’s no food or drink service, but you can’t beat the rates!
This “love at first site” moment brought to you by Xerox™. When you’re making a generic romantic movie scene audiences have seen a hundred times before, what better product to center it around than one from a company whose sole purpose is to make cheap reproductions!
This just became Quentin Tarantino’s new favorite movie.
“I put in for my wake up call at five thirty! FIVE thirty! Not SEVEN thirty, you moron!”
“I know it’s cold, Julia, but this intense training will all be worth it when you and I win every wet t-shirt contest next year at Spring Break!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Haunt of Horror”
Featuring: Jeffrey “From Beyond” Combs , Jason “MirrorMask” Barry , Elsa “Skate or Die” Pataky
Director: Brian “Society” Yuzna
Writers: Xavier “Working Class” Berraondo , Jose “Working Class” Gomez , Miguel “Revenge of the Nerds” Tejada-Flores
Sequel to: Re-Animator / Bride of Re-Animator
“The soul is an invention of primitive witch doctors.”
25 episodes! Woohoo! My chronic general disinterest in life and unwillingness to stay committed to projects has given me enough leeway to make it to the silver review! Sure, four of said reviews were reruns, but they did require re-viewings of the subject materials, massive re-editing of the original material (if you think my current rantings are bad, my shit was WAY shittier 7 or 8 years ago), writing the intros and xtros (still get a smirk out of that every time I type it), along with entirely new screenshots and captions. As such, they’re really not so much reruns as they are remasters. I just didn’t want to sound like some uppity dickshit by actually calling them that. Anyway, for the big two-five, I wanted to break out something a little special to mark the occasion. Re-Animator is the movie that really showed me what horror movies could accomplish beyond killer dolls and masked slashers, so it’d be the perfect subject for a milestone like this. However, since my self-imposed “nothing before 2000” rule prevents me from reviewing the original Re-Animator (or even the not-as-good-but-still-pretty-good follow up Bride of), well…some Herbert West is better than no Herbert West, so…here’s Beyond!
For starters, Jeffrey Combs is the only original Re-Animator cast member returning this time. The gorgeous Barbara Crampton (my throwback boner factory in high school) hasn’t been a piece of this puzzle since the original, Bruce Abbott bowed out after Bride (good riddance), and David Gale cashed in his 401Korpse in 1991 after playing Fulton Balcus in the live-action Guyver (no, not MacGuyver, ya knob) movie, so his final parlay into the mythology will have to be remembered as Gale with bat wings grafted to the sides of his head. Behind the camera is director/writer/producer Brian Yuzna is back from Bride, and since he was also a producer on Re-Animator, that makes him the only person other than Combs to be a part of all three movies. Special effects man Screaming Mad George also returns from Bride to contribute to the gore and oddities for Beyond, so expect less in the way of traditional living dead, and more in the way of “how is that even a thing?!” mutants. No one else I’d trust to put together a silhouette fight between a mouse and a penis though…don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon enough!
When we last saw Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), he and he his
friend assistant Dan Cain (not to be confused with Dean Cain, praise Isis) were pulling a Bride of Frankenstein on Dan’s dead ex-girlfriend Megan…whose death somehow made her transmogrify into someone who wasn’t Barbara Crampton. And to paraphrase Officer Barbrady, “If you’re not Barbara Crampton, I don’t give a rat’s ass!” As with anything West gets his hypodermics into, the whole affair went tits up and the mad doctor was thought lost in a cave-in, the victim of his own affronts to nature. Aside from re-animating the dead, West’s made a name for himself by escaping certain death before, and if he can survive full-body strangulation by a pissed off intestinal python, having a crypt dropped on his head isn’t exactly a guarantee of expiration.
Beyond picks up with one of West’s errant creations seeking out a refreshing drink of milk at a house near the cemetery where the doctor set up his chop shop, but the jawless freak collapses the skull of a teenage girl in the process. Never stand between a re-animated corpse and his moo juice. The local pigs show up and nab West, leading to a lengthy incarceration in Arkham Prison. Now, it’s not made clear if this is immediately following the finish of Bride and the cops were there following up on the ruckus resulting from said movie, hence why they were on the scene so quickly. It’s possible Herb escaped the crypt collapse only to be grabbed by the black & white, or it could be that the police dug him out of the rubble and tossed him straight into the back of a cruiser rather than an ambulance. I’m assuming this mishap is completely unrelated to Bride though, since the graves our spitters in the face of mother nature were robbing previously were from, I believe, Arkham Cemetery, while the boneyard from which West is removed in cuffs here is ChristChurch Cemetery; which sounds to me like a place you’d find in Spain. (This feature was made under the banner of Brian Yuzna’s Fantastic Factory movie production company out of Barcelona.) Which also explains the HUGE amount of people in Arkham, Massachusetts with Spanish accents and Latin features. As for the immediate police response? Well, after two previous such massacres in the area, you gotta figure the Arkham PD put together an Emergency Anti-Zombie Task Force who spent every shift until now just sitting by their special phone line awaiting just this call to come in! Makes sense to me.
Semantics aside…wait…I just realized that “semantics” would be a great way to describe people who find semen romantic. Anyway, my diminutive attention span notwithstanding, West somehow survives 13 years of incarceration (after Dan seemingly turned state’s evidence according to West himself), continuing his experimentation with whatever bits and bobs he can scrounge up and using rats as his test subjects. Out of the blue, he gets notice of his assignment to a new work detail: assisting the prison’s new head physician, Dr. Howard Phillips (Jason Barry playing an allusion to Lovecraft that’s about as subtle as a stick of dynamite going off in a priest’s ass in the middle of mass). Howie’s requested placement in the prison position (that just sounds dirty) is in no way due to his supposed interest in “institutional medicine”, but because he sought out Dr. West and this is the culmination of his 13 year plan to pursue our titular madman. See, Howie’s sister Emily (whom he had a creepily physical relationship with [see screenshots below]) is the girl whose murder-by-monstrosity led to the West arrest in the first place. The nerd’s not here to take his revenge though, he’s here because he recovered a hypodermic of reagent at the crime scene (yep, the cops managed to overlook the BIG GLOWING GREEN NEEDLE sitting next to their car) and held onto it so he could apprentice under the unstable doctor in the science of Dead Raising 101.
In an “only in the movies” moment of convenience, one of the prison’s residents (a cannibal named Moses, played by Michael Berryman understudy Nico Baixas) dies of a heart attack not 5 minutes after West and Phillips are introduced. Before you can say “Dan Cain’s coif”, Howie’s returning the recovered stash of reagent to Dr. Opposite-of-East, and our intrepid would-be Victor Frakenstein wastes no time jamming it into Moses’s neck. Yeah, given his shitty luck with rampaging experiments in the past, you’d think West wouldn’t be so quick to shoot up a CANNIBAL with a concoction that turns EVERYBODY it’s injected into into MURDEROUS ZOMBIE BERSERKERS! My love for you is raging ghoul, BERSERKER! Would you kindly stroke my tool, BERSERKER!
Of course, this poor judgement results in a small rampage that leaves a guard with a large big bloody hole where part of his arm used to be, drawing the ire and suspicion of the prison boss, Warden Brando (Simón Andreu). He’s a textbook case of Lord Acton’s summation about how power corrupts and all that. Speaking of Brando, he’s not in the mood for any of that psycho zombie bullshit, because he’d much rather focus his attentions on trying to seduce sexy blonde local reporter Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky). She’s visiting the big house to do a story on their institutionalized education program. Being an attractive dame, Laura has a less-than-8% chance of escaping to the end credits without being turned into a topless zombie drenched in someone else’s gore and offal. Actually, given that Howard’s assisting nurse Vanessa (Raquel Gribler) is a busty Latina whose topless factor is somewhere around “Absolute Certainty” (“It’s over 9000!”), Laura’s mammaries may go unexposed. The rest of that previous estimate though? Put a ten spot on it and let it ride!
Because the downfalls of Herbert West are always somehow the blame of a woman (or at least his partners’ weaknesses for them), Phillips and Laura hit it off at first sight and are staining sheets together within mere hours of meeting because, again, movie reasons. Laura starts investigating West’s sordid backstory, abusing her womanly wiles to try and exhume the truth of what the two doctors are really up to in the basement the hoosegow. Speaking of, West’s new twist for this movie’s experiments is Nano-Plasmic Energy. He’s discovered that when the human body dies, it loses a spark of energy that can be captured and maintained. Religious people would call this a “soul”, but West sees it as the way to restore full brain function to his test subjects post-reanimation! By infusing his “patients” with a zap of NPE, their bodies achieve their natural balance, stop decaying, and learn how to repair cellular degeneration. Naturally, the problem with NPE is finding “donors”, since you’re stealing their life force, thereby killing them. West believes NPE to be an entirely neutral energy, so you don’t necessarily need a human spark to jump start the re-animated as, say, a rat “soul” would fill in the blanks of this medical mad lib just as well! Yeeeeeeeah…there’s NO way this could possibly become yet another fustercluck in this man’s history of similarly clucked fusters. Remember kids, book smarts do not equal common sense, but they can absolutely lead to big greasy stains on the record of humankind.
Dr. Howard (“Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.”) goes along with West’s plan to implant rat NPE into Moses to see if he regains his senses. Before they can get the chance, Laura’s already bribed her way into some face time with the adult version of Bat Boy for her investigation, which predictably turns into a life threatening situation. Brando walks in on the proceedings though, gets his ear bitten off by the maniac, then beats Moses to “death” with his big dumb Larry Talbot cane before trying to force Laura to give him a trouser friendly good night kiss (or good morning kiss if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere)… after making her get on all fours and bark like a dog. Hey, Barry Simms, do you think Laura wears crotchless panties?
The preceding joke was meant only for viewers of Halloween: the Curse of Michael Myers, starring a young Paul Rudd. If you didn’t get the joke, please send a self-addressed, postage paid envelope to “Halloween 666” and frankly, if you don’t get your mail returned to you for just putting “Halloween 666” as the mailing address, your mail person probably just threw it down the nearest storm drain. Don’t expect a response.
When she refuses to get her tonsils whitewashed, Laura’s also beaten to death by Brando and his aforementioned ornate walking stick. The warden plays it off as Moses beating Laura to death, then attacking him too before he was forced to beat off the lunatic (perfect title for a punk song) in self-defense. As if by clockwork, Laura ends up on the business end of a re-animating (toldja!) and when the warden finds out, he ends up on the business end of Herb’s infamous problems with authority and gets brained, strapped to a table, and milked of his nano-plasm. Howie refuses to let West put rat NPE into Laura, for fear of it turning her into Splinter or something, but he okays her infusion with Warden Brando’s essence since he was human. Well, on a biological level anyway. Despite West’s theory that NPE is neutral, Laura ends up going split personality with the skeezoid using her body as a timeshare like Lily Tomlin hosting Steve Martin’s ghost in All of Me. Wow, I just alienated everyone under 25 reading this right now.
Right around this time the prisoners incite an on-the-fly riot and the whole places breaks out in fires and violence. In the mayhem, Laurden runs off, get cornered by some would-be rapists, and dismembers the whole lot of them like frogs in a blender, because being fused with the soul of a sadistic dickhead turns her into Wolverine somehow?! While she’s making chop suey out of society’s hemorrhoids, Dr. Phil (hyuk hyuk) is running around trying to find her amidst the mayhem. As for Herbicide, he takes the chance to zombitize Brando and see what happens when rat NPE is plugged into a human nervous system. Despite some buck teeth and a tendency to crawl around on his hands and feets, Brando’s basically the same asshole he was before, which makes you wonder how much of someone’s personality is stored in their brain and how much comes from their nano-plasm. West intends to escape with a medical bag packed with syringes full of reagent (am I the only one who thinks it might be a better idea to carry that shit around in bottles or vials?), but Ratso beats his ass and runs off with the grave rave glow sticks to go add to the cacophony of craziness already falling down around everybody’s heads.
After re-animating his most mentally deficient guard (which results in NOTHING but a limp sight gag at the end of the movie), Ratty captures Laurden and informs her of his new plan to use the reagent to make his prisoners unkillable, allowing him to execute them repeatedly and prolong their punishments indefinitely! And she’s going to be his first victim. But first, he wants another shot and getting that blowjob. Now, since half of him now inhabits half of her, would killing her count as suicide? Would raping her count as masturbation? Now there’s some weird shit philosophy to ponder under your meditation tree!
The suck job turns into a castration when Laurden pulls an Efrey Guzman and bites off the rat man’s dangle meat, spitting it out for a re-animated rat to roll away with for the previously promised end credits fisticuffs later on. Back to West, he’s running around trying to find his bag of juice, and crosses paths with a pissed off torso (who he dispatches by lassoing with a noose and swinging around like some zombie wrangling rodeo cowboy) and a junkie named Speedball who shoots up on reagent and winds up painting the walls of his cell Viscera Red when his guts ‘splode out (a la Dr. Hill’s when West did the overload experiment at the end of the first movie). As for Moses, he’s off somewhere tormenting Vanessa the nurse. She fulfills her mandatory titty committee commitment (again, toldja) and the cwazy cannibal pulls a Burial Ground, biting off a mouthful of chest beef for himself. From here, the whole cheap muddled mess just continues to swirl down the crapper as Laurden attacks Howard, begging him to kill her while she tries to eviscerate him, as West turns Roadhouse on us and fights off both Ratso and the wayward torso man in a bigger physical display than Combs has portrayed in all of his other movies roles combined! Well, except Felony. Watching Jeffrey Combs do anything that requires stunt work is weeeeeeird.
Herbie manages to escape into the smoky Arkham evening using the chaos and Howie’s credentials to pass by the arriving cops, leaving Dr. Phillips in the prison to be found by the police who take him away while Laurden’s severed head laughs at him maniacally. As for the rat and the severed penis? During the end credits, the rat and dick get into a knock down, drag out, brawl for it all! By which I mean the shadow of a rat puppet and the shadow of a rubber dick are slapped against each for a few seconds for the sole purpose of having a rat fight a dick. Were you expecting more? Did I get your hopes up? Were you disappointed? Well, welcome to my fucking world, because those were my EXACT feelings following Beyond Re-Animator!
Remember that part in Zeram, where the titular bad-ass space horror tries to spawn a clone minion, and just winds up with a deformed imperfect retard clone of Uncle Fester that Zeram stomps to death out of frustration? That’s how I feel about Beyond Re-Animator: it’s an imperfect attempt at cloning the original Re-Animator that I’d rather stomp to death than keep around reminding me of how it’ll never be as good as the material it was born of. Oh, you don’t know what the fuck Zeram is?! Well, check >>this link<< to the exact scene I’m metaphoring on about. As I was saying, you’ve got West taking on an assistant who doesn’t want to sacrifice his morality in the name of science; you’ve got the assistant’s girlfriend getting in the way, then getting killed and shot full of reagent; you’ve got a re-animated animal attacking its former owner (in this case a rat rather than a cat); you’ve got a manipulative and corrupt superior figure who pervs on the assistant’s pretty blond girlfriend AND intends to steal West’s serum for his own purposes; you’ve got West killing said superior, experimenting on him which results in West getting his ass kicked and his reagent stolen; you’ve got an institution becoming the site of a zombie riot finale; you’ve got incomplete zombie oral sex (only this time reversed); you’ve got a human using the reagent as a stimulant (though that bit wound up getting cut from the original); and you’ve even got guts exploding out of somebody’s torso because of an overdose of reagent! West puts it best: “She’s not getting any fresher.”
And the elements that aren’t basically just re-hashed from the original? Crap. For starters, the writing isn’t great. The dialogue isn’t just poorly delivered, it’s poorly written. The comedy bits aren’t nuanced like they were in the original. They’re incredibly blunt and feel forced. Excessively forced. Like they’re being beaten into us with the warden’s cane after we’ve already been restrained with a straightjacket. The writers Mosesed us, is what I’m saying. Also, the audio’s bad, because despite the whole thing being shot in English, several of the actors had to be dubbed; likely to cover up their heavy-to-the-point-of-unintelligible accents. Half of the audio’s okay, but the re-recorded shit sounds like you’re listening to it with water in your ears. It throws off the whole thing. To add insult to injury, we don’t even get the original Richard Band classic “Psycho rip-off” theme music. We get something way less memorable that just starts us off on the wrong foot. An opening fumble from which the movie never really recovers.
The only real props I can give to Beyond are the heavy use of traditional physical gore in an age where the digital stuff refuses to stop spitting acid into my eyes, and the oddly well paced direction. It made a 95 minute movie feel more like an hour, so it doesn’t feel like it’s overstaying its welcome. Though things do get WAY too busy with fifty different stories leapfrogging all over each other at once, it doesn’t really give you a chance to get bored. Also, though I tend to hate most movies that shoot entirely in a single enclosed location as a money saving tactic, when your movie’s sole setting is a prison (barring the opening and the short trips to Laura’s apartment), it’s an appropriate sense of isolation. Beyond that though (no pun intended), there’s really not much for me to enjoy here. I’m generally too insulted by the lazy photocopy approach of re-using most of the first movie to have a good time.
As a painful bit of irony, for the first time in the series, we actually end on a set up for a sequel, and for the first time in the series, WE WON’T BE GETTING ONE! We were supposed to get a whole new trilogy of Re-Animation back in 2006, starting with the proposed House of Re-Animator. This return-to-awesome would reunite the core of the original, including stars Combs (YAY!) and Abbot (boo!), and the creative force of writer/director Stuart Gordon and his frequent collaborator and co-writer, Dennis Paoli! The script revolved around Dr. West being brought into the White House to work his glowing green juice magic when the President of the USA croaks. A riff on then-Presidente Bush Jr.’s regime, Gordon’s said that they had trouble nailing down financing because investors were uncomfortable with the idea of pissing off the sin-eaters on Capitol Hill. Too bad they’re apparently not still down with the idea of making House, given that Bush’s been flushed down the toilet of history and the time for such a movie’s passed. Which is bullshit, because the government is always ripe for a punch in the neck. Too bad they don’t seem too keen on doing any of the other planned installments of the trilogy, otherwise you’d think they’d be all over Kickstarter getting some fan backing. Shit, legit actor William H. Macy was on board to play the president for House, so don’t tell me his name doesn’t carry some kind of financial influence! Damn it, I blame the failure to make House of Re-Animator happen for Jeffrey Combs being reduced to doing movies like Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation to keep the lights on. Son of a bitch!
Maybe if we, the collective fan community, got together and came up with the budget ourselves, the cast and creative would be willing to shoot it? I’ve never been good at getting people to donate money to anything myself. In my house, when it came time to sell candy bars to pad the school budget, I only made about $15 off of my immediate family and wouldn’t set foot outside of the house to try to unload the rest. I am good at ideas though, so how about this: “Samuel L. Quackson” – a cartoon done in the style of those Disney duck adventures from the ’90s starring an anthropomorphic Anseriformes that wears a leather tranchcoat and eyepatch and goes on adventures. Sam Jackson is probably way too busy to do the actual voice acting, but maybe we can get the guy who voiced Nick Fury in LEGO Marvel Superheroes to fill in. We’ll shop a pilot around, and if it sells, we use the money made from this venture to fund House of Re-Animator!
…or we can just face facts and let the series die at three. Instead of mourning its passing though, let’s celebrate the good times these movies gave us (and my birthday, while we’re at it). Drink a bottle of something that glows in the dark, shoot your veins full of something green (I find old boxes of Ecto-Cooler refreshing), and Re-Animate Your Feet!
Moral of the Story: This. THIS is the only truly memorable thing to crawl from the fallout of Beyond Re-Animator.
This shot courtesy of the camera hidden in the trees by the creepy neighbor who was required by law to introduce himself to everyone when he moved in.
If I was ever between my sister’s legs like that… I’m sorry, I can’t complete this caption. I’m too busy vomiting uncontrollably all over my keyboard.
Well, he has the “got milk?” part down, now he just needs to figure out the “got jaw?” thing.
I’d ask him if he has any Grey Poupon… but he looks like he might stab me in the eyes with his keys if I do.
Jeffrey Combs shows us his derp face.
Rusty Griswold (well, one of them) finally grew up.
And so did Bat Boy!
“Damn it, these don’t look ANYTHING like the sea monkeys in the ad from the comic book!”
Some would say he’s being a professional by not looking up her skirt right now. The truth? He’s got a worse foot fetish than Quentin Tarantino.
“No, the movies are NOT considered canon! Peter Cushing is NOT an actual Doctor! What do you not understand about this!?”
If this were a ’60s biker movie, that guy would be the turncoat who sells out the leader of the hero biker gang for a bag of drugs from the evil biker gang.
Somewhere in the world at this very moment, there’s a guy jerking himself into a chaffed fury over this picture while you read this.
A never-before-seen private photo of Courtney Love during her first drug overdose, as seen in her autobiography “What Did I Snort Last Night?!“.
And this picture’s from her 7th overdose.
Man, Edward James Olmos has just stopped caring at this point.
Yes, to satisfy your curiosity, there ARE horror groupies who will have sex with Michael Berryman.
Visine: because THIS could happen to you if you try to save a few dollars by buying generic eye drops!
Warning: Taco Bell is not responsible for side effects that may result from customers who eat one of every item from our new breakfast menu in one sitting.
From that day forward, Howard learned to always keep track of his wife’s monthly cycle before initiating oral sex.
Raoul’s obsession with beating the world pull-up record has reached dangerous new levels.
The Kama Sutra always seems like a fun kinky thing for married couples to try out when the want to reignite the cooled flames of their passion, but actually putting the positions into practice is a whole other story…
Sometimes, all you can do is step back, take a look at your life, and laugh… just… just laugh…
Anubis will return next time in
“Everybody’s a Critic”