Feature 101 – Would You Rather (2012)

or “Guess Who’s Dying at Dinner”

Featuring: Brittany “Pitch Perfect” Snow , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs , Sasha “Swallow My Children” Grey

Director: David “A Love Affair of Sorts” Guy Levy

Writer: Steffen “Primal” Schlachtenhaufen

Origin: USA

Review_____

“It’s just like life, isn’t it? There are no do-overs.”

Hello, kids! Your humble narrator here, once again. My apologies for my absence these last few weeks. I wasn’t intentionally being enticingly elusive, I just lost all of my fingers after a “business agreement” with Robert Durant kinda fell through, and have been awaiting their regeneration. They’re still not 100%, but I’ve got enough stubbage to bang out a few words for today’s overdue review!

Also, no matter how hard you try, you’re now unable to read this without imagining my creepy little malformed digits clacking away at my keyboard. Take it, you slut. Take it all! Take it to your GRAVE!

Now then, back when “The New Adventures of Old Anubis” here started up, it got off on the right foot (the left one, if you’re Christy Brown) with The Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation, a repugnantly poor zombie sequel with an upsettingly long title starring personal favorites Andrew Divoff and, the reason The Tomb exists in the first place, Jeffrey Combs! Unfortunate to say, it was a decidedly drab performance by the career Herbert West, which may have had some small part in why I’ve only reviewed one other Combs movie since – Beyond Re-Animator. Though the lesser of the beloved trilogy, BRA was a better-than-average entry in the SIP (Scientists In Prison) sub-subgenre and an exponentially better outing for Combs than what we wound up with for TNotLD3DR. Then again, you can transplant the blame for that one to whomever cast such a master of scenery chewing for a barely-better-than-background-character role, should you feel so inclined to.

Today’s movie is a return to form for Mr. Combs, so I’m happy to start off our next 100 episodes with a heavy dosage of Jeff Monster Dos (Jeff Monster Uno being Jeff Goldblum) in the dinner party game to end all dinner party games! Or we could just get a pizza, order The Bye Bye Man on pay-per-view and stay in tonight. Would you rather? Too bad, cuz this review’s happening with you or without you.

Still here? Cool. Embrace your life of servitude. Our protagonista Iris (Brittany Snow) is one of those unfortunate “had so much potential and was going to college to do great things, but was forced to drop out and return home to take care of a sick family member by getting a low paying job she’s tragically overqualified for” dramatic heroines that we all root for out of a deep sense of pity or, worse, sympathy. The ailed family member in Iris’ case is her younger brother Raleigh (Logan Miller) whose leukemia is a total buzzkiller, man! I’m talkin’ Bring Down City, dudes, population Iris! Totally bogus, she-brosef! When their parents died in a car crash, she literally became her brother’s keeper. While Iris may accept her burden like a leading character would, Rals is less than happy about being a big dumb cancer-riddled shackle around big sister’s ankle, so he sits around all day feeling sorry for her while mocking her inability to speak with a French accent. Given that she pronounces “monsieur” as “man-sewer” like she’s one of the wild and wonderful Whites of West Virginia, I have to question the legitimacy of the movie’s claim that she was on the road to any kind of “greatness” beyond assistant manager of an under-performing Cracker Barrel. C’est la cinéma.

With medical bills mounting and the government dominated by elephant worshiping mutants genetically predisposed to refusing affordable healthcare for people in need, Raleigh’s grave illness is looking more and more deserving of that descriptor as time ticks away. Fortunately for the siblings, this is a movie! And since it’s a movie, the highly unlikely prospect of finding a bone marrow donor for Raleigh and covering the cost of the transplant operation is offered to Iris by the lad’s oncologist, Dr. Barden (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.)! Well, not Dr. B exactly, but he does introduce her to an incredibly wealthy philanthropist type guy named Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) who offers her the self-same salvation.

Hold up. Shepard Lambrick? Shepherd? Lamb? What the fuck is that about?! I hate whimsical naming tropes. Blart.

Shep invites our gal to a dinner party he’s hosting and promises to solve all of Raleigh’s problems if she participates in and wins a no doubt left intentionally ambiguous “party game” with his other guests. Barden vouches for the eccentric, evil emanating gent’s offer, revealing that the mustachioed mystery man’s charitable foundation opened the very same drive thru window of McOpportunity for him some years back when he too was in dire need of help. That might explain why Doc doesn’t seem to give a shit that Sheppy Warbucks has been building a mountain of discarded peanut shells on the fainting couch in his office for the extent of this exchange. Had Ed McMahon ever come through with that giant check he was always promising me, I’d have let him sit naked on my couch during the hottest day of the year and shuck all the legumes he wanted wherever he wanted!

Not entirely sure that she isn’t being set up to play one of the titular tuchi in an “ass to ass” show for a roomful of guys in business suits a la Requiem for a Dream (still a less disturbing scene than watching Marlon Wayans rape stuffed animals in A Haunted House), Iris needs some time to think about the offer. When she goes home and gets the GTFOut callback from TGIFridays about the hostess job she was hoping to land, she’s left with little option but to toss her metaphorical hat into Mr. Lambrick’s dinner party ring. She tells Ral that she’s going out for the night to blow off some stream with her friends, rather than doing the smart thing and explaining the situation to him.

Any time you’re invited to an affluent stranger’s dinner party (the closest to which I’ll ever experience being GJ Echternkamp inviting me to lunch after reading my review for Death Race 2050), you should leave behind every piece of information you can with as many people as you can, as your first presumption should be that said affluent stranger intends to either kill and eat you (not necessarily in that order) or, best case scenario, that their friends are going to hunt you across a private island like some sort of game. A dangerous game, if you will. Perhaps, dare I say, the most dangerous game?

Our embattled heroine is chauffeured to the event, which she's told is not held in the Lambs’ personal home, but in a mansion the family uses solely for this special annual dining event… Sorry to keep harping on the inevitable danger we can all see waiting for Iris like Shin Godzilla on the horizon, but sometimes my mind takes its cue from my Jethro Tull “Thick as a Brick” cassette – it has 1 track. Ready for a 100cc injection of irony? The 8-track version of “Thick as a Brick” too only has said singular track. Think about it.

At the party, Iris (and the viewer, vicariously) is introduced to the other 7 attendees. We don’t learn much about each, so I’ll just give you the quick role call. We have Lucas (Enver Gjokaj), Cal (Eddie “CRABMAN!” Steeples, who still has the same rebellious mane he did in ‘My Name is Earl’), Peter (Rob Wells), Linda (June Squibb… no relation to the man who invented the squib), Travis (Charlie Hofheimer), Amy (Sasha Grey), and Conway (John Heard… what? What has John heard?). Each was recruited for tonight from one corner of the country or another, with Iris as the only local talent. Given that Doc was a past winner though, maybe that’s good luck? You know how competitive people are about their superstitions, after all. Still, that does come off as convenient…

Once their meal gets underway, the reason for the dinner (and our title) becomes immediately obvious when Iris declares herself a vegetarian and apologizes for having to decline the flesh heavy entree. Shep in turn offers her $10k to bypass her dietary morals and choke down her steak and foie gras in front of everyone. Naturally (and literally), she bites and earns herself a handy five figures to stomach rich people food that doesn’t consist of live snails or monkey brains! Nice. Next on ‘Deal or Ordeal’, recovering alcoholic Conway cashes in his 16 year chip for a decanter of “the finest Scotch money can buy” and a $50k payday of his own. Shit, I’d down a gallon of Tenafly Viper and a chaser of Shaq’s sweaty sneaker full of horse piss for $50k! I also have zero shame.

So, as far as asshole rich people in movies go, our antagonist has established himself as the Ted DiBiase type: offering the less fortunate what he considers a pittance to shit away their dignity for his amusement. Ladies and gents, welcome to the game that’s a sadist’s paradise – Would You Rather.

With the pre-show over and everyone sufficiently intrigued/terrified, the guests are offered an out before things go any further. Looks like they all assume that they’re just going to be paid to eat and drink things they normally wouldn’t be into though, so no one takes the Get Out of Guantanamo Free card. When Shep’s hired goon Bevans (Jonny Coyne) rolls in a DIY shock therapy machine, the now imbibed Conway indignantly tries to take his $50k and run, only to be met with a bullet in the face from the former MI5 spook-turned-Caucasian Random Task (hopefully without all that “Christmas Eve gang rape and torture” nastiness)! Yes, kids, when someone who’s clearly a sadist says you’re allowed to leave the situation before things get “serious”, you run for that glowing red EXIT sign as fast as your feet will carry you before Million Dollar Man Jigsaw changes his mind!

In addition to Bev, Lambrick also introduces his son Donald Jr., I mean Julius (Robin Lord Taylor) to the group. As you’d anticipate, Jules is your typical fucking rich kid snot rag who clearly carries daddy’s mean streak in his DNA, minus the false face of eminence and empathy that pops portrays to the plebians. The wormy shit’s last name would be better pronounced “Lame-prick”, and if you didn’t wanna punch the young Oswald Cobblepot in the face with a bedpan bad enough before seeing this movie, you’ll wanna shove Domon Kasshu’s burning finger through his face by the end of it.

Round 1 (FIGHT!) involves the guests zapping each other with the “enhanced interrogation” electroshocker, as two players per turn get their heads wired. Each person is offered the opportunity to rattle their own fillings or give the person to their right a taste of the Carrie Fisher Treatment. It’s like the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray at the liquor store, only with a higher risk of heart attack and self-defecation. Though most of the remaining 7 play nice and opt to take Ben Franklin’s Kite Ride themselves, Amy keeps it 100 and buzzes old lady Linda’s wig faster than Electro on uppers. Clearly someone’s grandma was a bit heavy handed with the wooden spoon while she was growing up and now has a case of Grandmasogyny. You can’t watch this part of the game without thinking about the family therapy episode of ‘The Simpsons’

With no fatalities (aside from Conway getting a case of .45 caliber gray matter splatter in the pre-show), the Surviving Seven all go on to Round 2. Then again, Round 1 clearly wasn’t meant to eliminate anyone, so much as it was just a way to prod (No pun intended? No, pun intended!) everyone into disclosing who the Samaritans are and who the Jeff Varners/human skidmarks are (*whisper* it’s Amy). During their between-rounds timeout, the gang try to work out an escape plan. While they ponder how best to jump Bevans and his back-up lackeys, they make sure to let Amy know that her bitch-ass is on her own. Much as I echo the sentiment, that’s the kind of thing someone who’s shown themselves to be self-centered to a violent extent is just going to use later to further smother their conscience and fuel their “fuck the rest of you” mentality. Good luck with that.

Round 2 ramps shit up a few levels, graduating to “Would you rather stab so-and-so in the leg with an icepick or cane the ever loving nougat out of Travis”, who made the mistake of talking back to Orange Julius during his intermission “mock the poor people” pep talk. Trav offers himself up as the sacrificial lamb so no one has to risk taking a poke in the femoral artery and bleed to death. Some people opt to look their personal gift horse in the mouth and, rather than just let Travis die, take a chance with stabbing their neighbor instead. Not unlike the way I stab myself in the thigh with the old steak knife I keep next to my keyboard whenever I start zoning out while typing reviews.

Without going into too many specifics, the round ends with 2 victims, which is way more than any of the Stalkers in The Running Man were able to rack up. The remaining players attempt their coup (oddly devoid of background music) before Round 3, only to fail. One contestant tries some saber rattling with an actual saber, but his revenge is cut short by the gun that Shepard keeps on himself for just such as occasion. While the others are forced to return to the table, Iris escapes into the house’s basement, only to be snatched mere inches from freedom by none other than Julius Seize-Her *rimshot*. The living embodiment of a garbage bag full of used tissues attempts to rape our heroine, only to get a first hand taste of girl power as Iris beats the fluid out of the little douche bag and leaves him lying. Doc Barden (whose guilty conscience forces him to try and rescue Iris) appears intending to assist in her liberation, but his best efforts just make him the modern day Dick Halloran when his big ol’ PHD brain proves no match for Bevans’ peacemaker, mere seconds later. You can’t help but hear Groundskeeper Willy uttering “Ach, I’m bad at this!” from the ether.

Bev retrieves our leading lady, with Summer’s Eve being the one who gets punished for his uncouth behaviors. Nothing in a cool “gets his dick shot off” manner, though. The rat faced Pat Bateman wanna-be is just sent to his room and basically grounded from watching the rest of the game. Boo hoo.

Would You Rather Round 3 kicks off with the extant contestants not too happy that Iris gets to return to the game despite her near-successful dash for freedom. To be fair, running away is akin to a forfeit, but since she’s the Atlas upon whose shoulders our tale is told, their host turns a blind-eye to any repercussions. Then again, if you consider it, maybe adding Iris back into the game is her comeuppance? Whatever your opinion, the clash’s 3rd quarter is, as Shep calls it, “the known vs. the unknown”. Its gimmick revolves around a series of “punishment cards” issued randomly to each player via nondescript envelopes. Before opening their individual fates, they’re given a choice between gambling on what torment the card holds for them or spending 2 minutes held face down in a cask of H2O by Bevans. Given their host’s upper crustiness, I would imagine it’s VOSS or Volvic or at least Evian in there. Whatever its origin, as you may remember from grade school science, water is not a substance that humans can breathe.

Again, to avoid ruining the outcome of the scene for you I’m just going to tell you what the anonymous tortures consist of. One card entitles its holder to one free FULL dental extraction. Another requires its recipient to hold a lit quarter stick in their hand to completion. A third card forces its owner to slit open one of their eyeballs with a razor blade (at least they get to choose which one, so… that’s fair… right?). The final card, well… I’ll get to that. Now, though we may have shed our gills millions of years ago in the evolutionary march to now, scienticians have told us for ages that the average human can hold their breath for 2-3 minutes with relative ease. So, provided you don’t have a stroke, why wouldn’t anyone opt for the barrel instead of the card? Unless they’ve got “kid on christmas” syndrome and not knowing what’s in the envelope will make them go into seizures. Or you’re horrified of water because someone or someones very near and dear to you drown… which happened to one of the final four. Said player clearly doesn’t want that, so they opt for their card – FOUR minutes of face time with the supposed source of all life (and its fair share of death). Given such a “coincidence”, I have to wonder how true Lambrick’s claim was that these cards were issued completely at random. Hell, given the entire barrel concept I’d say its a safe bet that this entire round was targeting that self same player. Hmmm.

With two more eliminations courtesy of round 3, the game goes into its 4th and final showdown between our last two survivors. A coin toss to decide who goes first sees Iris win (like you didn't know she'd make it to the end) and she's presented with the following scenario: she and her opponent are both allowed to leave, pockets none the richer but both allowed to live, or she has one shot with a dueling pistol to kill the person across the table from her, in which case she stands the victor atop the bodies of her enemies and Raleigh gets an expansion on the figurative ranch house that is his life.

Now, here’s the fun part. If you’re adequately intrigued by this premise and want to keep your brain virginal so as to experience its finale for yourself sans spoilage, you have two choices to continue your adventure – allow me to pop your cherry and continue reading, or close this window immediately and read no further until you’ve watched Would You Rather, returning later instead. Make your choice now before reading further!

Iris' opposition offers up the sob story that brought them here in a last ditch effort to make us care about them, but Iris is even less interested than we are and puts them down before their guilt trip gambit can get past “I have 3 sisters”. Arrangements are made for Ral's operation, a donor was already found beforehand so the transplanted marrow will be on a plane to the US in less than a day, and on top of all that, Iris will be given enough money to take care of things for both of them while also getting the chance to go back and finish her education. She mutters out a mandatory “thank you” to her captor/savior and is taken home. Hooray! The Day is won! At a terrible cost of her humanity and likely any semblance of non-PTSD ravaged sleep for the rest of her life, granted, but at least it all worked out in the end!

…Until she gets home and discovers that Ralo pilled himself straight into deceasedhood while she was out.

There are only two real ways WYR should have ended for me. I would’ve accepted a happy ending (which I always do, ladies) had the final scene been a montage of Raleigh going through the surgery while Iris sat alone in a hospital waiting room until he comes out in the clear and the pair share a brother and sister moment of triumph, only to have a Psycho-ish final shot where the camera pans slowly in to Iris’ face, freezing on her eye, finally saturating into a grainy black & white while a sound byte of her screaming from earlier plays over it. Or, the ending we got, despite my telegraphing it as soon as we got the shot of little bro feeling guilty over his sister having to make special plans to have something as simple as dinner with her friends while probably worrying about him being home alone the whole time. My suspicions were proven as soon as the last few minutes of the movie focused on Iris checking on her “sleeping” brother before showering and getting some manner of rest only to discover Ral’s state when she goes to wake him the following morning. Hey, sometimes being right about the surprise awaiting you is even more satisfying than getting something out of left field just for the sake of an audience swerve.

I also thrive on “sad” finishes. When The Mist wrapped up, I laughed and cheered, clapping as Tom Jane crumbled into a heap of overwhelming, impotent horror. I love downer endings! The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite Star War. Not just because I find the standard issue “Hollywood ending” impractical for as many times as we’ve seen any and every conflict, no matter the scale, wrapped up with a last minute feel good resolution just in time for the end credits, but because I’m a callous prick who likes to see imaginary people suffer horrible losses. And sometimes real people… when the situation calls for it… or I’m just feeling sadistic… or when I can’t sleep… or when I sleep too much…

As a general statement, I’m not a big fan of what the faux-conservative types have long since labeled the “torture porn” subgenre. Clearly not due to some bullshit ethical quandary, given half the tirades I’ve thrown out here over the years. I didn’t mind Hostel, and I’m not against people enjoying movies whose main selling point is graphic violence. Hell, vulgar displays of blood and guts and meat and bones are always welcome in The Tomb! As sad as it may be to say, though, I’ve been doing this (i.e. criticizing “bad movies”) for almost 20 years. With extended gaps in between and having lost 90% of my material from before 2013, sure, but that’s still a LONG time in which I’ve seen a LOT of movies. Mutilating people for fun should be but a single bloodsoaked piece of your plot, not the whole thing. This is where Would You Rather becomes torture porn done right! It’s not just a group of masked sadists causing physical violence on wayward vacationers for kicks, it’s subjecting the characters and audience to psychological torments too. The fact that it doesn’t go to comical excesses the way something like a Troma movie would, and treats even potentially goofy things with a serious tone that makes it way more effective.

I do have a qualm or two with Shep’s excuse that he does all of this under the auspice that it’s for his guests’ “own good” to unveil each player’s “true character”. Just like Jigsaw always said his games were about “making the victims struggle to appreciate their lives and earn the right to keep living”, it’s all bullshit. Both guys are clearly just getting off on making people torture themselves and each other, so don’t pretend it’s some kind of higher level existential crap. They’re violent psychos with too much time and too many resources on their hands that could be making the world a better place, but instead choose to be self-indulgent assholes who can get away with murder, so they do. Repeatedly. Deal with it.

The setup for Shep’s game feels more than a little absurd, even beyond the whole “Iris just happens to live in the same general area, while everyone else was flown in from around the country”. And if you’re asking yourself “Why wouldn’t someone who survived the game have told the cops about all this?!”, that’s an easy one – since the winner is the only one to survive, and their entire motivation for going through with it was to live the rest of their life on the Lambrick Foundation’s tab, why would they go to the authorities? “But why didn’t the doctor just go to the cops when he decided to help Iris?!” you say? Why? So, provided he survives long enough to make it to trial, he can then spend a chunk of his life in prison for being an accessory (and get shower shivved by someone on the inside on Shepard’s behalf) while Lambrick’s money and standing within society gets him off? Sure, he was killed anyway, but chalk it up to the illusion that too many gun owners buy into the fantasy that they’re invincible… until someone else with a gun kills them… or someone without a gun just takes their gun from them and kills them.

I think my biggest logic fart with today’s flick is covering up all of the “unsuccessful” contestants. There’s no mention of how long the Lambs have been shepherding unknowing victims for their slaughter, but it’s been at least twice. Now, if the previous game included the same number of players, that’s 7 victims from each dinner, for a total of 14 people. Among those 14 people, you have to imagine than no less than, let’s say 4 of them must’ve told someone where they were going and what they were doing. Especially given that they were flown in from sea to shining sea. How has the game gone on this long, even if it’s only the second time, without any major red flags being raised over at least 14 missing people?! Given that those 14 people were brought to the house all expenses paid, there must be some kind of figurative paper trail to lead the authorities back to the fucking Lambrick Foundation! I enjoy your your concept in a style befitting of that one kid from Prince of Space (in other words, “Very much!”), and the story plays out entertainingly enough (especially that nod to The Shining with Doc), but the devil’s in the details Steffen Schlachtenhaufen (gesundheit!), so maybe fill in some of those plot holes next time for a smoother ride.

And this isn’t ‘MST3K’, so don’t tell me I should “really just relax” either!

Finally, the cast. Brittany Snow is a serviceable leading lady, at least in a movie where the focus is spread throughout a dozen or so people sitting around a table for most of the runtime. Not sure if she could have carried a more centrally focused flick, but that’s nothing to do with Would You Rather. On the opposite end of the lady spectrum, Sasha Grey makes a GREAT high-riding bitch! Then again, if you’d seen her dominating other women in as much of her, uhm, “other roles” as I have, you wouldn’t be surprised. On the other side of the chromosomal line, Robin “Lord” Taylor is as good a loathsome shit shucker as Grey is a massive cunt. The duo would’ve made a great couple, simply because seeing someone as attractive as her on his arm would’ve just made the audience want to feed him to an industrial lawnmower all the more!

I was a little disappointed that John Heard wasn’t around longer, especially since his character would’ve been drunk for the extent of the proceedings. Oh well, despite his short screen time, it was still better here than what he gave us in Sharknado. Speaking of letdowns, Eddie Steeples. Man, I had hopes to see something special out of the guy. He’s a solid comedy guy, so I was hoping to see how far he could stretch his legs with a dramatic role. Then again, the role didn’t exactly give him much to run with, so go piss up a rope with all that “no small parts” crap, Stanislavski! Everybody else in the movie? Fine. With the exception of Rob Wells’ slight resemblance to Danny McBride (who’s in Alien: Covenant – what the fuck?!), I doubt I’d recognize any one them in another movie ever again. There is always the possibility one of them could be involved in some crazy shit like that Ryan Jenkins “stuffed his dead wife’s naked body into a suitcase he then left in a dumpster” stuff, but I’d imagine not.

As for Combs? The reason we’re all here today? I thought he was amazing. The star of the show. He brought his overacting gloves to the set and a big appetite for that aforementioned scenery! He makes what could have been a throwaway evil rich guy into a memorable bastard who treats the entire game as an amusing but perfectly normal get together. He has a weird respect for the game and seems personally invested in the others’ actions, studying them and eager for the next surprise. He takes joy in it, but keeps a moderate air of dignity for the most part, keeping a firm hold on the reins as he leads the confused, frightened, angry guests through the challenges. He full on loses his cool during one scene and Combs’ voice cracks, but it adds a smidge of realism to the moment, much the same way that Veronica Carwright’s legit delivery during Alien‘s chestburster reveal helps lend it credence. I’m not recommending that JC’s act is going to wow everyone, but for my tastes, I really enjoyed it.

Much as I’d like to see a continuation of the Lambricks’ lethal luncheons, after 5 years I’m pretty sure we’re not getting a sequel. Then again, it was 41 years between Two-Thousand Maniacs and 2001 Maniacs, so as improbable as it is, nothing is impossible! Except that live-action Attack of the Super Monsters movie I keep bugging Senor Spielbergo to direct. That’s pretty impossible. Your lawyers can only protect you from my script for so long, Steven!

If a Would You Rather follow-up isn’t on the table, you know what should be? A board game and/or card game! See what I did there? Because of the table and the games that are played on tables? Yep. Anyway, if nothing else, WYR is screaming for a Kickstarter project to make such a thing happen!… wait, those may be the screams from my basement where I… left the TV on? Never mind!

That’s the tale of “When Anubis Watched Would You Rather”. It’s a nice solid step to start our journey through the next 100 episodes, which is sure to bring us sights, sounds, and stupid shit the likes of, well, what you generally expect from movies around here. You should give it a watch if you like seeing people suffer, you’re a fan of Pitch PerfectHome Alone crossover fanfic, or you’re like me and worship at the alter of a JC whose hands you can really put your faith in. Combs be with you, brothers and sisters and everyone in-between.

Finally today, despite all of that Kylie Jenner commercial retardation, my stance as a proud Pepsi drinker was only reinforced recently, as it was revealed that President Nacho Cheez Dick Sneeze has a button in the oval office specifically for calling a butler to serve him his favorite beverage: Coca-Cola. Yep. Just imagine he and the rest of white trash Mount Rushmore (palin, nugent, and… uhm… “rock”) in a helicopter gunning down the hibernating Coca-Pola’ Bears this christmas. I think I just gave Hallmark their top-selling holiday offering in the southern and midwestern US markets for 2017!

Moral of the Story: You’ll never know if your dynamite’s a dud if you don’t light the fuse.

Screenshots_____


IFC Films – Buying back the indie cred our channel lost by putting out movies that no one in your family has ever heard of!


“I don’t care what the commercial said, just because pizza’s on a bagel does NOT mean you can eat pizza anytime!”


Maybe Jason Chaffetz was right. Maybe if Raleigh hadn’t spent all of his allowance on that PSP, he could’ve afforded to pay for an anti-Leukemia health plan! You know, cuz all it takes to prevent Cancer is $100 in GameStop trade-in credit…


“That’s just Norman. Don’t mind him, he’s just feeding peanuts to his imaginary baby elephant again. He doesn’t bite. The elephant I’m not so sure of.”


Brittany Snow is disappointed to discover that plans for the ‘Nurse Jackie’ prequel series she’d audition for have been scrapped.


Looks like he just asked her out for a drink sometime and she replied with “I don’t date… uhm… jazz people.”


Spoiler for Trainspotting 2 – Spud and Sick Boy one made a co-donation at the local sperm bank, and their grown up son comes looking for his two dads!


Disappointed that her blind date isn’t as interested in her as he is in their waitress, Iris begins playing footsie with herself.


“Come on, Fluffy! Do your trick! Show everyone your talent! He eats his steak with a knife and fork. It’s so cute. Usually he does it, but he might be too excited with everyone else here. Fluffy! DO THE TRICK!”


“So then Bill Bixby says, ‘You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’ and starts hulking out like this as he turns into Lou Ferrigno! Grrrr!”


Someone implied the group should say Grace before dinner, not realizing that Shepard is a militant atheist. Shortly after this he started throwing mashed potatoes at them, screaming “Where’s your god now?!” and everyone agreed that Thanksgiving was ruined yet again.


Peter McCallister is briefly concerned that he left son Kevin home alone again, only to remember that Kevin was beaten to death by the Wet Bandits and disposed of in a river 10 years ago.


Ever since discovering Primer, Terrance has been trying to create his own time machine. Just tell him how good it looks and how smart he is, then walk away.


That’s what happens when you’re sitting across from Sasha Grey at a table and ask her if she was “any good” during her adult film days. Like two golf balls being sucked through a garden hose…


When your host tells you they run their home under “Singapore Rules”, DON’T leave your gum under the dinner table!


My grandma gives me the same look every time I try to explain how to access the on-screen guide via her cable remote. Hopefully no one tells her about DVR or I may just push her down her basement stairs.


People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes,something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.


You know you had a hellish night out when you shower the morning after, look down, start seeing red randomly circling the drain and have no idea where it’s coming from.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Dicks Don’t Get Wet”

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

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

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Feature 55 – The Nun (2005)

or “Spirit of Vengeance”

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

Origin: Spain

Review_____

“Are you trying to tell me this is some sort of ‘I Know What You Did 18 Summers Ago’ or something?!”

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!

Moral of the Story: Sometimes the simplest route is the best route. Take the road less traveled just to emulate someone else, and you could wind up up to your eyeballs in quicksand with venomous centipedes using your ear canals for their nesting grounds.

Screenshots_____

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!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“Haunt of Horror”

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Feature 25 – Beyond Re-Animator (2003)

or “The Doctor is In(carcerated)”

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

Origin: Spain

Sequel to: Re-Animator / Bride of Re-Animator

Review_____

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.

Screenshots_____

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.


“Hail Hydra.”


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”

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

Feature 23 – Cthulhu (2007)

or “Even Death May Die”

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

Director:  Dan Gildark

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

Origin:  USA

Review_____

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Screenshots_____

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


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


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


“Shaun, you’ve got red on you.”


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Anubis will return next time in
“Criminalize It”

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Feature 01 – Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (2012)

or “Jeffrey Combs Dies at the End”

Starring: Andrew “Wishmaster” Divoff , Jeffrey “Re-Animator” Combs , Sarah “Super Shark” Lieving

Director & Writer: Jeff “Dr. Rage” Broadstreet

Origin: USA

Sequel to: Night of the Living Dead 3D

Review_____

“Never a god damn zombie around when you need one!”

In choosing a movie to review for the inevitable return of this great white dope, this one made the most sense. Hell, it made so much sense; it literally jumped off of my NetFlix “Shit You’ve Subjected Yourself To” category and headbutted me. Fucking technology is getting out of hand… Anyway, though a steaming shit heap of no remorse, if you end up liking this website, you can thank NotLD3DRA (jeezus, even the acronym is a John Holmes sized mouthful) because the idea of reviewing it was the last push over my retirement cliff to send me headlong into the crashing waves of the Reviewin’ Fiords. The reason? Well my new/returned friends, they are countless several:

• It’s a Night of the Living Dead movie… well, it has “Night of the Living Dead” in the title. Let’s not shame George Romero and Dan O’Bannon’s collective legacy by pretending this is an ACTUAL NotLD movie. Anyway, what better sub-genre than a zombie flick to start off a resurrected bad movie review site?!

• It stars Jeffrey Combs. My hero. The man whose turn as Herbert West in the first Re-Animator was a big green syringe in my ass that put me on the path to “holy shit, horror flicks are awesome!” appreciation, which quickly introduced me to the realm of putting my opinions out into the world wide wasteland.

• Andrew Divoff. He’s cool too. Remember that part in Wishmaster 2 where he made that guy fuck himself? Yeah. Don’t fuck with Divoff.

• It’s bad. Dear fucking Ra is it BAD. Bad movies are the most fun to review. There’s a reason they didn’t riff good movies on the Satellite of Love. Shit like NotLD3DRA are my vice.

Describing the events of this movie are what I would imagine a rape victim goes through when they have to relive the horrors of their victimization as they tell the police officer the moment-by-moment violation of their own sense of self and security. But, at the same time, I have to relay my nightmare to you, the audience, in a way that’s entertaining. How to do so… how to do so… hmmmm… it’s been a few years, but how about this: Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation invokes the same “just had my guts torn out through my belly button” feeling of pain and emptiness I went through when I saw Miley Cyrus maltreating herself in front of millions with a foam finger, with her body spasming and her face contorting like a mentally retarded 6 year-old who discovered her vagina for the first time. The veil of innocence and goodness the world had once been draped with, had been snatched away, leaving only the festering, depressing truth, contoured by legions of writhing maggots, squirming and seething with the sounds of my very soul oozing away into a mire from which it would never be clean or pure again… It was like some eldritch horror of pure sadness worming its tentacles up my nose and into my brain, where it laid eggs. Those eggs hatched, and the terrors they bore burrowed through my ocular orbs (i.e. eyeballs), saw what I was watching, and immediately died…

Okay, I’m going overboard and overblown. I’m just getting back into the proverbial swing of this stuff and haven’t quite re-established my balance. The tightrope over the hyperbole hole takes a lot of practice to navigate and I’m holding on by my last talon here. Seriously though, I’ve bowed down and bared my soft underbelly in supplication to malicious unforgiving hell beasts like Demonicus and Jack-O and Ankle Biters. If I can scale those mountains of madness, I can find my way through this shit-shrubbery maze with my head held high and my dick firmly in my hand, damn it! Eye of the tiger, mouth of a teamster! Eye of the tiger, mouth of a teamster! FUCK YOU JEFF BROADSTREET! If my metaphorical poop chute can survive the sphinctoral sufferings beset upon him by the likes of Charles Band and Adam Minarovich, then it’s gonna bite your desiccated little meat stump of a movie RIGHT THE FUCK OFF!

And so, with 4 or 5 nonsensical preliminary paragraphs of introduction out of the way, let’s dispense with the pleasantries and ride this rampaging turd rocket right into the toilet of forgotten cinematic history where it belongs! SALLY FORTH!

Before we get started (this is about the movie, I promise), did you know there was a Night of the Living Dead remake? And no, I’m NOT talking about the Tom Savini one, which looks like the Romero original in comparison to that 30th anniversary re-edit abomination that Anchor Bay should’ve aborted the moment the idea was conceived, which looks like the Savini remake in comparison to what is known as Night of the Living Dead 3-D… which, in turn, looks like a rabid mandrill raping a puppy to death in comparison to even the shittiest of the later Dead entries… starring Sid Haig (who will be playing the part of Jeff Broadstreet) as the mandrill!… and the zombie genre as the puppy. Awwww, poor puppy. 😦

NotLD3D was, as everyone pretty much expected, a crap orgy. Poop and shame everywhere. But, Sid Haig probably needed the money, and sometimes you gotta rape some puppies to pay the rent… or buy groceries… or buy a bottle of Tenafly Viper so you can melt to death in a toilet like a common hobo and retain a modicum of whatever dignity you have left… sorry Sid. Tough love.


(Sid Haig invests the paycheck from his latest role)

I’m sorry folks, but I think I’m subconsciously trying to avoid getting to the review. I’m now hypnotizing myself to overwhelm that damn “fight or flight” response and will proceed with the movie in 3…. 2…….. 1….. SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! I mean, REVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!

Gerald (Divoff) and Harold (Combs) Tovar are brothers. Brothers with stupid rhymy names. Brothers who aren’t the best of friends (probably because their parents saddled them with stupid fucking rhymy names), but put up with each other out of that weird “family obligations” thing that I never understood. Their dad, Gerald Sr., was the proprietor of the Tovar & Son Mortuary until his untimely passing. Gerald Jr. inherited the family biz and discovered that dear ol’ dad had been disposing of chemical waste and “failed biological experiments” for big kickbacks since the ‘60s. Though Gerry Jr. immediately put a stop to the family’s side income, he did so AFTER being stuck with a few body bags full of Uncle Sam’s science snafus. Turns out Gerry’s also a pyrophobic, so he can’t bring himself to operate the cremation furnace, which means he’s been piling bodies up in the mortuary basement since taking the place over! A mortician who can’t cremate bodies?! It’s a recipe for WACKINESS! Hyuk hyuk! Woot woot wooooooooo! BLART!

Naturally, adding bags of zombie ooze to a basement that’s starting to look like it was owned by Pol Pot can only lead to disaster (a few dozen rotting corpses isn’t disaster enough?!), but before we get to the inevitable ghoul-a-go-go showdown, there’s a bunch of other shit we need to wade through first. Harry went off to make his own fortune elsewhere, and has only now returned to try and get his share of the family business, or a financial equivalent thereof. He reveals his scheme later on (I’ll leave that to you to find out, in case you get a self-abuse urge), but the majority of his time through the first 70min of the movie is spent dialoging it up with his big brother. Gerry tells Harry about the zombies, Harry calls bullshit, and then goes along with it because he’s a Tea Partier and is ready to believe any fairy tale as long as it has some kind of government conspiracy super glued to its ass. Broadstreet decides these conversations would be a great time to show off his geek cred by slapping us in the face with a wet red snapper (“Verrrrrrry tasty!”)’s worth of nods to the Romero original trilogy. First by having Harry BLATANTLY refer to the movie’s titular shamblers as “Romero zombies!” (*BLART!*), then much more subtly by having him read off the years and locations of said movies (including the Savini remake and Return of the Living Dead) as being incidents during which these failed government gropings of Mother Nature are rumored to have occurred…

Wait. Hold up a second. So, in this world, George Romero’s movies not only exist, but the release years of said movies ALSO happen to coincide with government zombie outbreaks?! FUCK YOUR KIDNEYS TILL YOU PISS BLOOD, JEFF BROADSTREET!

While Gerry Jr. descends further into madness and tries to keep the family legacy (which I noticed is oddly lacking in female components…) from going down the one way road to Crap Town (by killing the occasional zombies as they rise and somehow managing to keep the stench of a basement FULL of festering cadavers from catching the nasal attention of the staff or the local townsfolk), and Harry works on a way to exploit said madness to pay off what I’m assuming is a scratch-off lottery ticket addiction, the mortuary’s other employees… do stuff. There’s Aunt Louise, who just sits around watching Fix’d News (har har); Hot Topic cast-off and corpse fucker DyeAnn (sadly, none of that previous statement is a typo); Russell the irresponsible slacker handyman-ish type; and Cristie (Sarah Lieving) the fresh faced new girl, who picked the WRONG day to start her new job! Recipe! Wackiness! DINGLE-DOOP!

These supporting characters do pretty much nothing. Eventually they serve as corpse chow, they say and contribute nothing of importance, and they have one awful scene straight out of a ‘50s “educational” film where they smoke weed and do ecstasy and have completely unwarranted hallucinations (Evil Bong flashback! EVIL BONG FLASHBACK!) where a nekkid cadaver gets off their embalming table and sparks up a doobie with them before Dye humps his rigor mortisized junk pile… with her underwear on… Fuck. You. Jeff. Broad. Fucking. Street.

Due to Harry’s Tea Party leanings, naturally the movie has to have a Sarah Palin parody character called Sister Sara… because I guess there was still some sinew and meat hanging from that dead horse and Jeff Broadstreet thought it’d be fun to try and beat it off… the meat, not the horse… the meat on the horse, NOT the horse’s “meat”… I’m all up for the maiming and mutilation of the real thing, but Tina Fay perfected the Palin caricature. It was the only worthwhile thing she’s ever done. It never needs to be done by anyone else ever again! Anyway, SS too ends up at the funeral home at the worst possible time thanks to a broken down car, and she too becomes a mindless zombie… and I think there’s a joke in there somewhere about brain eating… cuz she doesn’t have one… or she’s already a zombie… cuz she’s a tea bagger… maybe? I stopped caring and I suggest you do the same.

It all comes to a sputtering, awkward, poorly acted, “we ran out of budget”, naked hedgehog (i.e. pointless) finale that just serves as the rat dropping sprinkles on this turd frosted crapcake. Gerry has a final stand off against the remaining re-animated that consists of Divoff standing in front of a green screen and pretending to fire a shotgun a few dozen times before finishing with one of the most needless and contrived endings I’ve seen in YEARS. The end. My time would’ve been better spent letting Anne Coulter funnel fire ants into my rectum (DAMN NEAR KILLED ‘EM!) while Louie Anderson carpet-bombed my face with boiled egg farts.

Actually, scratch that. The one redeeming factor of this movie, the solitary thing that keeps it from being labeled as unsafe for human consumption and being banned by the FDA, is Andrew Divoff. Whereas Jeffrey Combs is practically a non-factor, and plays his part with a “you have to at least show up and read the lines to get paid” ambition that saddens me as a long time fan of the Combs Monster, Divoff puts forward way more talent than the paycheck deserves. He plays Gerald with an odd balance of Southern Gentlemantality with a borderline Vincent Price-ian creep charm, all backed by just enough intensity and “man watching his entire life slip away into madness” pathos to earn him (and by default, the movie) one whole heart rating. If he weren’t onscreen as much as he was (not that any of that time would’ve been used to actually DEVELOP any of the ancillary characters anyway), this could’ve been another Demonicus. Instead, it just ends up being “Why Andrew Divoff Should Have a Better Career than He Does: the Movie”.

Getting Andrew Divoff in your movie doesn’t excuse you by a long shot, Jeff Broadstreet! Get your ass over here for chewing out. Being a zombie nerd who’s seen a few movies does NOT qualify you to make one, let alone two, let alone BOTH of which carry the moniker “Night of the Living Dead” in their titles! If you were half the zombie fan you make yourself out to be with your scripts, you’d release your bowel movements under their own titles and cut out the heresy. All your little call backs to better movies (especially the Return of the Living Dead story and character elements, and using “Re-Animation” in your title as a *wink*wink* that you have the star of Re-Animator) only serve to remind us that we should be watching those movies instead. Also, your zombies and gore sucked. Most of the makeup was passable (except for that PATHETIC “broken jaw” zombie thing you were attempting to pull off at the end), but the extras playing the zombies were a joke. And not a funny joke, but the sad kind. Like, “Why did the shoe salesman lose his job? Cuz he lost his legs in a horrible car accident… along with his wife… and now has to raise their 3 young children alone… *rimshot*”. THAT kind of joke.

Rather than invoking menace, your big zombie jamboree finale invoked boredom as the ghouls aimlessly mill around like some endless game of Living Dead Musical Chairs that didn’t have any fucking chairs! Also, if you have a special effects budget that you need to delegate to either squibs and rubber limbs, or community college levels of computer generated gore, if you opt for the latter, just stop trying to make movies immediately. Go home, take a long shower, and reconsider the choices you’ve made in life. Then, wash down a box of rat poison with a bottle of Clorox, because the only people you’ll ever be of any use to are the fucking community college drop outs making these not-so-special effects on their laptops that YOU’RE providing with work.

Thanks for the wake-up call, Jeff Broadstreet. If I’d known you were soiling the world with your own special brand of digital brain cancer, I might never have given up movie reviewing in the first place. But also, fuck you Jeff Broadstreet. I hope Dan O’Bannon comes back from Hell just to piss ghost acid into your mouth while you’re gargling, every morning for the rest of your life. Movie cameras are meant to be magical machines that bring creativity and talent to life, not colostomy bags to fill with your SHIT. Damn it, my first review back and I’ve already made another mortal enemy. Seriously though, fuck you Jeff Broadstreet. Again. Repeatedly. If you don’t die ravaged and hollowed out by Ebola and acid ghost piss, then the concept of “justice” is the sickest hoax ever played upon the world.

The Moral of the Story: Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. Stuff like this movie happen maybe, just maybe, because I’ve been sitting on my ass the last 3 ½ years rather than using it to rain down brown napalm on those who deserve it.

Screenshots_____

Gossip icon Perez Hilton died today… nobody cared.


He’s the test tube child of Vincent Price and John Waters!


That moment Jeffrey Combs realizes he probably
should’ve said ‘yes’ to House of Re-Animator


“Have you ever fantasized… about being KILLED?”


NOW it’s a horror movie!


“If that Broadstreet a-hole ever approaches me with another
contract, one of us isn’t gonna see the next sunrise.”


Jeff Broadstreet just comes straight out and
shows the audience how he feels about them.


“I don’t need a coroner to tell me that
this guy obviously died while rocking.”


The answer to “Whatever happened to
Mimi from ‘The Drew Carey Show‘?”.


Man! Gushers really ARE bursting with fruit flavor!

Click the Box Art for an Easter Egg ;)

Anubis will return next time in
“Business is my business, and business is good… BUSINESS!”

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