Featuring: Dominic “Agent Carter” Cooper , Joseph “Misfits” Gilgun , Ruth “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Negga
Directors: Evan “This Is the End” Goldberg , Seth “This Is the End” Rogen
Writers: Seth “The Green Hornet” Rogen , Evan “The Green Hornet” Goldberg , Sam “Breaking Bad” Catlin
I’m paranoid. In a good way. When I lay cheeks upon the porcelain seat, I check beforehand to make sure there’s more than two squares left on the tube and I peek the bowl to make sure no baby alligators or grinning ghoulies are waiting to make an appetizer out of my rump roast. I don’t wanna end up like that guy in Thailand whose excursion to the crapper resulted in a python trying to suck face with his trouser snake. For such occasions, always keep a machete in your magazine rack or just do what I’ve done and duct tape a meat cleaver to the handle of your plunger. Whether I need to waylay a wayward water moccasin or break-up a brown boa constrictor, I do not enter my wild kingdom unarmed. I am the T’Challa of the toilet room. Or, as we call it in The Tomb, the Elimination Chamber.
One thing my paranoia assures is that I go into any and every comic book movie or show with a gallon jug of trepidation. I have seen some of the greatest works of my generation reduced to smoldering ashes of regret and agony at the rape happy hands of studio executives that spun lengths of niche gold into panderous piles of mainstream straw that even the most starving of would-be consumer camels wouldn't give a second sniff, let alone ingest. Witnesses for the prosecution: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine, and Fant4stic are the easiest targets off the top of my pointy ears, though I’m sure any fanboys/fangirls worth their weight in first appearances can rattle off another easy dozen within a blink of Scott Summers’ eyes. Such is the approach I’ve chosen to take with AMC’s second stab at four color fortune (following “The Walking Dead” of course), an adaptation Vertigo Comics’ (R-rated DC) long defunct series Preacher.
Running for 66 issues (not counting the side stories) over a 5 year stretch, the series was my introduction to Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, and Glen Fabry – a triumvirate of chaos aligned to create a perfect tapestry of entertainment. Ennis was the writer, Dillon was the illustrator, and Fabry painted the covers. Holy shit did he paint the ever lovin’ fuck outta those covers. By Ra’s balls. I wanted every one of those masterpieces on a poster or a t-shirt or painted on my car in high school. Here’s a taste.
I'm not going to delve into the finer points of the comic book or its many infamous tales of sexual debauchery, graphic violence, and hilarious heresy, so as to avoid ruining the reveal of whatever surprises the show might have in store for us. I'm also not going to butt vomit a whole buncha spoilers here since the fucking thing just aired less than two weeks ago! As with the “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” pilot, I also won’t be reviewing “Preacher” episode-by-episode. I’m just going to give my thoughts on the premiere, then maybe possibly think about giving consideration to the conceivably perchance reviewing of the first series as a whole, via this ass-a-hole. Got it? No? Good. Sally forth!
After 20 years of it being passed around as a potential feature film, a tv show turned out to be the easy answer to an adaptation. Garth Ennis himself thought it a better option than clown carring all of the comics’ major moments into a restrictive 2-3 hour runtime. There was a treatment by one John August (who wrote the Charlie’s Angels duece-ology and a lot of Timmy Burton’s movies since the turn of the century) being passed around Tinseltown that seemingly managed to do such a feat admirably, but to quote Ennis, “It taught me the lesson that it’s far too easy to overload this. If you do a straight adaptation, you are simply going to overload the story with grotesque characters and over-the-top bloodbath fight scenes. You’re going to create a whirling maelstrom that will simply bewilder a mainstream audience.” (From this interview)
The version we get is courtesy of longtime friends, creative collaborators, and self-professed super fans of the funnybooks, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, teaming up with writer Sam Catlin who made such magic for AMC with “Breaking Bad”. Ennis and Dillon gave their okays on the show and get producer creds too, so a modicum of my fears were allayed right off the bat. All aboard!
Annville is a small town in the big, big, morbidly obese state of Texas. How small? If you’ve heard the term “one horse town” to define the smallness of a small town before, consider this a half-horse town. Not in the way that a centaur is half horse, but in the way that a horse’s body might get caught in the glue grinder at an Elmer’s plant, leaving the unprocessed half to just *shlup* out onto the floor. Like that. Anyway, this small ass smallest of small town towns has a very small church that provides the locals with their weekly dose of religious guilt and condescension. This modest house of worship dedicated to the words of the Six-Packed Savior (a.k.a. Christ the Cruncher, a.k.a. The Saint of Sit-Ups, a.k.a. The Abvocate) is run by town preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). In case you’re curious (or just need confirmation that you’ve connected the dots properly), yes, Uncle Jesse is the man after which the series is named. Like most multimedia bearers of the cloth he’s grown weary of both his position (theological sex jokes here) and his congregation, and spends much of this hour long pilot (no commercials for me!) contemplating giving his invisible cloud boss his resignation. Will Jesse rediscover his lost light and earn back his wavering flock, or stroll into his next sermon with his middle fingers held high and his head adorned with a “Take this job and shove it!” trucker hat?
Father Custer picks up a pair of hitchhikers on the journey to his answer in the form of his wild and crazy
guy ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and an extremely Irish passer-by named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). The individual tales of how these two wind up crossing the Preacher’s path are both bat-shit crazy, hyper-violent, and perfectly appropriate for the dark humor the series is establishing. Without burying the leads, I’ll let you in on this much: Tulip’s a student of The Anarchist’s Cookbook and fights dirtier than Mike Tyson (that ain’t shawarma!), while Cassidy’s intro involves an umbrella, a cow, and more ultra-violence in 10 minutes than a gang of droogs could get up to in an entire month of Saturday nights!
Oh, and in case what I've told you so far hasn't been enough to sink a few cenobite hooks into your interest gland, there's also a mysterious screaming force from outer space that spends the majority of this introductory episode causing globetrotting savagery as it detonates various religious figures (including the greatest “in name only” cameo reference to a certain celebrity “spiritualist”ever) like human-sized carnage balloons! If that doesn't cinch in the aforementioned barbs, then I apologize for whatever devastating trauma you were subjected to that left you the soulless husk you are today…
FUCKING CARNAGE BALLOONS!
Roge and ‘Berg do far more justice to this project than they did with the flaming bag of Fido feces that was Green Hornet movie. So, though I appreciate anyone going into the show themselves with the proverbial pinch of sodium like myself, don’t get your blood pressure all Systolic Super Saiyan (“It’s over 9000!”) fretting. Sure, if you were hoping for a straight up adaptation, you’re shit outta luck. But, after watching the pilot, I feel the show’s in good hands. Good, perverse, sadistic, happy ending giving hands. And I’m going along with it. Much like “The Walking Dead”, I have an inkling of what’s in store, but my intrigue is piqued by knowing that the only thing that’s sure about “Preacher” is that nothing is for sure.
In a fun bit of “Connect the Dots” Trivia, our three main cast are interestingly linked to each other via prior roles. Cooper plays Tony Stark’s absentee poppa Howard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Negga (what up, my Negga?) was a big part of “Agents of SHIELD” as Raina, a reoccurring villainess-turned-inhuman Shuna Sassi knock-off. The pair are also in the Warcraft movie, whose lore I know little-to-nothing aboot, so pardon my hairy ebon ass if my hype levels for said release are anemic as a vampire in a world where SkyNet wins… I think I just gave mental birth to a future Syfy Original. I should’ve terminated the pregnancy. Apologies.
Though Cooper doesn’t share a prior geek link with Gilgun, the exceedingly Irish sir’s resume does overlap in a career Venn diagram with Miss Negga, as they played Rudy Wade and Nikki respectively in the BBC X-Men-ish (or “Strangers-ish” if you’re Ultraverse nasty) tv series about super powered juvenile delinquents “Misfits”. The duo were never part of the show during the same series though, so this is their first time sharing the screen.
Speaking of the cast, are they any good? Yes. I like everybody. The main cast is great. I wasn’t sure about Cooper’s Custer, as the production stills didn’t thrill me on him looking the part, but I’m okay with it now. Same with Tulip being changed from a blonde white woman into the lovely Ethiopian equivalent of a grown up Clementine from Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure games. A pleasant surprise. And Gilgun as Cassidy? Magic. Dark magic. Dark magic the likes of which would give John Constantine a toothache. Character-wise, I’m not big on the remodeling job done with Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) so far, as I liked him better as the stereotypical Texan hard-ass jerk-off of the books. I do like the inclusion of new character Emily (Lucy Griffiths), although her feelings for Jesse are irritatingly obvious despite her best efforts to hide them. I hope she’s meant for more than just to be the jealous would-be girlfriend now that Tulip’s back in town, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll come back sometime after the first season to do a wrap-up of the whole she-bang, but right now I definitely recommend giving this show a shot. If you’re into supernatural, gritty-grimy-gory twisted dramedy type shit, “Preacher” should be square in your entertainment crosshairs. Bang bang.
Including your ear holes. Jesus is big into the aural sex. Don’t worry about the ass thing though. You’re only expected to give butt stuff to him on Christmas.
“Did you ever notice that my name backwards is ‘god’?! Damn. That’s so weeeeeeeird. Pass the Funyuns, bro?”
If Jason Sudekis and Taylor Lautner (Remember him? Me neither. I had to look up his name for this joke.) had a baby, then abandoned it at the doorstep of a Protestant orphanage.
“It’s a new age of scholastic sports! In the Texas of the future, all high school athletics conflicts are settled by one-on-one battles between team representatives. This is the world of Charles Band’s Mascot Jox!”
Don’t chug your Triaminic like Cassidy, kids, or you’re just asking for a mess. There’s a reason the bottles come with that little plastic shot glass. Use as directed.
They’re writing out “SUCK IT, ALIEN QUEERS!”. Despite their ignorance and intolerance for extraterrestrial races, at least their spelling is accurate.
In an effort to bring in fans of the highly lauded and incredibly popular Walking Dead adventure games, AMC has added series star Clementine to the TV show’s next season.
“Could God Himself commit a sin so grave that even God won’t forgive?” That’s the exact face a pastor made when I asked him the same question. He then invited me back to his place to discuss it further over some sacramental wine and crackers that smelled strongly of chloroform. Did I go? Yes. Were his remains ever found? No.
Donald Trump has found his running mate – the Mayor of Texas!
Once again I need to remind our viewers that are chronic masturbators: if you can’t take a day off every week, then at least use some manner of fire retardant lubricant.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Love Below”
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.
Featuring: Randy “12 Rounds 2” Orton , Eric “The Pope of Greenwich Village” Roberts , Steven Michael “Breaking Bad” Quezada
Director: Roel “The Man with the Iron Fists 2” Reiné
Writer: Alan “Halloween 4: the Return of Michael Myers” McElroy
Sequel to: The Condemned
Surprise! You thought you were going to get some more international flavor this week with a new “World Tour de Farce” review, but instead you’re getting yet another “professional wrestler thinks he’s an action movie leading man” flick in The Condemned 2! Again, we see there is nothing you possess that I cannot take away. Especially when I’m the one giving you said thing, and the actual transferal of possession has not yet been enacted! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha *cough*cough*cough* HAAAA! *cough*
World Wrestling Entertainment gave us the original Condemned in 2007. It was like a grown-up, paramilitary, pirate internet version of Battle Royale. Or, a Running Man minus all the neon lights, gimmicked killers, and Richard Dawson. Being a WWE Films production, they cast one of their own as its star – former wrestling icon “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, not to be confused with “The Six-Million Dollar Man” Steve Austin (who, in turn, isn’t to be mistaken for “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase). Though it was a massive financial boondoggle to the company (their biggest cinematic money pit to date), most wrestling fans consider it to be one of, if not the best of the company’s movie offerings, so it makes sense that they’d eventually sequelize it.
Now, having made The Marine 4, Behind Enemy Lines 3, 12 Rounds 3, and See No Evil 2, The Condemned was the last guy in the power plant not to receive “Employee of the Month”. As WWE doesn’t employ inanimate carbon rods (they’re very careful about their hiring practices these days, since you never know when Linda McMahon might run for Senate again), it’s The Condemned‘s time to shine!…with Randy Orton as the lead. By the racist fucking skullet of Hulk Hogan, what did I do to deserve this?!
Randy Orton. Randy “STUPID!” Orton. Randy “Just do enough to get by” Orton. Randy “Shitbag who shits in bags” Orton. As he’s known in our household, Blandy Bore-ton. As the chaps at Old School Wrestling Review once described him, “oozing with banality”. In the wrestling world, he is the alpha and omega of douchebags. He’s a legacy (his grandpa and dad were both wrestlers), he’s a crony (he’s best friends with Paul “Triple H” Levesque, one of the heads of the company), he has a history of drug abuse (cocaine [Randy Snortin’], steroids and painkillers), had a dishonorable discharge from the US Marines for going AWOL (a fact that came up when veterans protested his casting as the title hero in The Marine 3) and he’s an outright asshole (including defecating in female wrestlers’ luggage and breaking character just to berate other wrestlers during matches). He also goes by the nickname of “The Viper” (hence this episode’s alternate title) and has a stupid tribal tattoo on his arm that he tried to cover up with another of a pile of skulls, but is fooling no one as the original is still prominent. What a fuckin’ knob. Enough of the miserable reality, let’s get to the miserable fantasy.
Will Tanner (Orton) is a bounty hunter. He leads a posse of similarly minded individuals in the pursuit of wayward criminals for fun and profit. The latest target of these roughneck rednecks is one sinister son of a cunt named Cyrus (Wes Studi – a.k.a. Sagat in the Street Fighter live-action movie!) who runs an underground gambling operation where sick fucks bet on disturbing shit like which homeless guy hooked up to a Kevorkian Express will shed their unwashed mortal coil first. In a fit of movie irony, Will tells his boys to keep it non-lethal (this a “Wanted: Dead or Alive minus the ‘Dead’ part” contract), only to manslaughter the crap outta Cyrus when the villain is impaled on one of his own death machines. Hmmmm, a double scoop of irony? I really shouldn’t. I’m on a diet.
This fight shows us right off the bat that our protagonist probably only won the leadership role because he picked the longest straw, as it clearly wasn’t for his intelligence or tactical wits. When he has Cy dead-to-rights and lined up in his sights, Willie makes the incredibly stupid move of getting within the bad man’s reach. From there it’s elementary for Cyrus to disarm the doofus and prompt the ensuing struggle. Guns are made to kill and/or maim from a distance. From. A. DISTANCE. Why in the names of Horace Fucking Smith and Daniel Fucking Wesson (weird how they both had the middle name “Fucking”) would you flush the entire advantage of having a firearm down the metaphorical shitter by getting so close to your still very upright target that you can smell whether or not he had onions on his Whopper for lunch?! And Tanner’s supposed to be a trained bounty hunter!? If anyone reading this happens to know Alan McElroy or Roel Reiné, would you please punch them in the dick for me? Hell, even if you know neither but still know someone else cursed with either of those names, kindly do the same. But don’t mention my name. I’ve got enough “conspiracy to commit bodily harm” charges pending as it is.
Due to his epic botch, six months later Tanner ends up on trial for manslaughter. Though the judge presiding over the case makes her disdain for bounty hunters known (if ya wanna chase bad guys, become a cop), she gives him a suspended sentence and probation. Remorseful for his actions (though you wouldn’t know it by Orton’s expressionless “acting”), Billy goes home to his dad Frank (Eric Roberts) to tell him that he’s quitting the family business. Ah, so Will only got the manager position for the posse through nepotism. That makes sense. Having spent the last 30 years building the Tanner brand as the number one name in independent ne’er-do-well nabbing contractors in ALL of lower mid-western New Mexico, Frank’s not happy about the fruit of his loin turning his back on the bond jumper biz over one little unintentional murder.
Their resulting argument is almost like that scene in Varsity Blues where James Van Der Beek shouts “I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE!” at his dad, except the actors are twice as old and all of the passion and defiance is instead replaced with lazy, even toned sarcasm while a mood of “When do we get our paychecks, again?” hangs heavy in the atmosphere. Riveting stuff to watch…in that I’d rather have rivets fired directly into the sides of my skull than have to wade through another minute of this cinematic landfill.
By the way, for anyone wondering why I’d use such a classy arrangement of letters as “cinematic” in this review, it’s in no way because I find anything professional or artistic about The Condemned 2. I’m using it in the “having qualities characteristic of motion pictures” manner. Inasmuch as this movie has moving images and is thus, technically, a “motion picture”. Carry on.
Without the big bucks of the manhunting industry to keep him in Wrangler jeans and Ford trucks, Billy Bob takes on a new job as a tow truck driver to make ends meet. One of his first calls is a pair of young women in Daisy Dukes and crop tops (likely local models, friends of the cast/crew, or just hopefuls fresh off the casting couch) who giggle and whisper things to each other while he changes their tire. There’s no real implication of what it is they’re saying to each other, but I entertain myself on the possibility that they’re talking about how the guy changing their tire looks like he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together, and they’re formulating a plan where in he’ll give them all of his money before he leaves or straight up Knock Knock him. Oh but to dream my dreamy dreams, with their creamy dreamy filling. Mmmmm, filling.
Our hero’s next service call changes his life forever, as it’s from his old bounty hunting pal…uhm… honestly, I didn’t bother to write down any of their names. They’re mas macho types who call each other by their last names (being on a first name basis is apparently too intimate for tough guys), and as such I remember the sniper’s (Dylan Kenin) name is Travis [like singer Randy] and another (Morse Bicknell) goes by “Michaels” [like Shawn]…uhm, the retired pro-wrestler, not the one-man Mandingo party porn actor. That’s Sean Michaels. In case you were wondering. Okay then.
Anyway, when Willie fixes said former co-hunter’s car (his battery connector just came undone…hint hint), the guy awkwardly invites him out for a beer in thanks. Unless this was just this dude’s way of trying to get Will out on a man-date with him to lube his inhibitions up with a few brews before confessing his long held secret romantic intentions for our leading man (only if he’s “leading” us straight to Nap Town), his nervous demeanor betrays that there’s some ulterior motive to this social exchange. Given that there’s also a camera equipped drone following the pair around, this is clearly our entry point (front door or back?) into the figurative Thunderdome that is to be The Condemned 2: the Search for Randy’s Personality.
Each member of the Tanner bounty party has been assigned to assassinate their erstwhile chieftain Will, lest their failure to comply be taken out in the form of ultra-violence against them and/or their loved ones. Meanwhile, a speakeasy of high rollers have gathered to watch the spectacle as they gamble on which of the contestants will be the one to finally finish off their deadpan prey. The troublemaker organizing this Laff-A-Lympics of death is Cyrus’s surviving sidekick-turned-avenger Raul (Steven Michael Quezada), who’s vowed a blood vendetta against his ex-boss’s bored looking butcher-by-circumstance. The rest of the movie is pretty much what you’d expect: Tanner runs around shooting guns at people, trying to save his neck while getting to the bottom of Raul’s game and doing his best to keep collateral fatalities to a minimum, as a good guy does. That’s pretty much it. Now you don’t need to see it for yourself, unless your medicine cabinet is pulling a “Mother Hubbard’s cupboard” and is barren of the sleep aid of your choice, in which case 20 minutes of The Condemned 2 will put you out in a pinch!
That wasn’t a joke. I’m serious. This movie put me to sleep during my first attempted viewthrough. Granted, that may have been my fault for starting it at 1AM after a long day of soul reaping and Underworld political crap (we had to fight management hard to get that break room back!) without any type of artificial ambition boosting my brain, but even sitting through the last twenty minutes the next morning were like going 5 rounds of bare-knuckle with Morpheus! For fuck’s sake, just writing this review right now is tantamount to drinking a tall glass of warm milk prepared by Bill Cosby. I have to keep deleting the *yawns* I’m unconsciously typing out in every paragraph!
Randy Orton speaks with such an eyelid burdening monotone. Terminators have more emotional resonance than this guy! As a former drug addict, maybe he’s on mood stabilizers or something and his complete charisma coma is medically induced? Wherever the true blame lies, the reality is still right there, dropping steaming dumplings in our figurative luggage: this man should NOT be starring in even the directest of direct-to-video action flicks. He’d be more relatable as the leading role in his own autopsy video than what he’s giving us here, and I’m not exaggerating. Was he contractually obligated to be in this movie by WWE and just did his best impression of a cardboard cutout so they’d never bother him about being in any more movies!? Z’Dar’s CHIN (my version of “Zeus’s BEARD!”), the man is the Typhoid Mary of digitally transmitted Narcolepsy! I have never, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER (thank you, Chris Jericho) watched a movie with Eric Roberts in a supporting role and thought, “Wow, if he were the star, this movie would be so much better!”. If nothing else, The Condemned 2 has proven to me that anything is possible.
I’ve never seen any of Orton’s other movies, so I have no clue if this is how he tackles all of his roles. I do know that Quezada was never one to chew the scenery in “Breaking Bad” though, so maybe all of the blame should go on Mr. Reiné’s back? It could be another The Dark Knight situation where Chris Nolan made Chris Bale do the gravelly voice until all of Batman’s scenes were just a big joke and almost completely unwatchable. Either way, Orton should stay away from all future movie sets and just keep his shtick in the squared circle. Be happy with your athletic prowess and leave the acting to the actors. Or Eric Roberts.
The rest of the movie is just as sterile as its star’s performance. The camera work is fumbly (I think it’s supposed to be shaky cam, but as directed by a 10 year old), the overall direction feels like a slog through plain oatmeal from Point A to Point B with zero spices or fruit thrown in. The rest of the cast’s acting ranges from “good enough” to “please just shut up already”, the fight choreography is slow and sloppy (great for a blowjob, not for a fight scene) despite the attempts to cover it up by jostling the camera around while they’re happening. The music has to be some of the most generic background crap I’ve ever heard. This entire feature was just a poorly planned shit show from opening credits to end credits. It’s not even bad from a fun-to-mock standpoint. The moderate production values keep it from being a full blown skid mark, but that’s as good as it gets. Forgettable and regrettable.
There’s one unintentional running joke I’d like to end this on though, to make the writing of this review and your reading of it at least somewhat worthwhile. As mentioned prior, like any copy-and-paste paramilitary group, Tanner’s team-turned-tormentors has one member who’s a skilled sniper. In case you forgot already (and I don’t blame you), his name is Travis. Well, Travis is supposed to be a skilled sniper, but he’s not. The credo of the sniper is “one shot, one kill”, denoting that their job is to kill with surgical precision, needing only one bullet to put down their intended target. Throughout his time stalking Tanner, Travis fires 30+ rounds from his rifle (not including the 60 or more fired from his uzi) and manages to kill…well, let’s just say the spoiler free version of his murder math is something far far FAR (like “a galaxy far far away” far!) less accurate than the gold standard. If I gave my 80 year old grandmother a single-shot rifle with 30 rounds of ammunition, put her inside Dorothy Gale’s house while it was caught in the twister that carried it to Oz, took away her glasses and tasked her with shooting half a dozen Munchkins also thrown into the cyclone, I guarantee you her fatalities-to-rounds fired ratio would put this Travis guy into a shame spiral so deep that he’d need a grappling hook and half a mile of rope to pull himself out of it!
Whew! I’m winded just reading that last sentence. I need to lay down and catch my breath after this. By the beers of Billy Carter, I’m too Murtaugh for this shit.
Even when he’s pulling a “spray and pray” with his uzi, Travis still manages to miss his targets! He has no problem perfectly strafing his shots in an almost impossibly narrow line along the top of a fruit and veggie stand (sending fragments of splattered produce into the air), but hitting the trio of full grown adults scuttling in an orderly fashion directly behind said stand is just impossible for this fucking career marksman to hit. My rage over this, combined with my need to count the amount of ammo this guy burned through to such minimal effect, are pretty much all I had to keep me from giving out on my second viewing. When you’re on the Titanic, the best you can do is grab whatever flotation device you can and hope you get back to shore before the bitter death grip of Mother Nature can drag you down into her frigid black oblivion. I think my metaphor got a little out of hand there, but the initial message is still in there somewhere. I’ll leave it up to you to exhume it.
Okay, that’s enough of that. Bottom line: the truly condemned in The Condemned 2 are the people who pay for this movie. As for me? I’m going to see if I can discover a way to distill its essence and market it as a cure for insomnia! Provided I can withstand extended exposure to its background radiation….long enough…to……….stay…awake………… *zzzzzzzzzzzzzz*
That thing should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning.
Elderly people hooked up to suicide machines against their will while non-white criminals gamble on which dies first? I’m not sure if this was taken from the movie or a 2013 Faux News report about ObamaCare.
This profile leaves out the “Zach Galifianakis impersonator available for private parties on weekends” part of Mr. Cooper’s resume.
This photo was taken of Mr. Merrick after the sandwich shop regretfully informed him that they were all out of jalapeno cream cheese for his cheddar bagel. Sorry Cyrus, early bird gets the jalapenos!
“I have you, a man armed with a knife, at a great disadvantage due to my possession of a firearm! Though I should be forcing you to the ground so one of my partners can restrain you, allow me to approach you until I’m well within range of your knife, giving you ample opportunity to disarm me and put my life in immediate danger!”
Don’t get your hopes up, like I did. This isn’t the moment where the whole movie turns into a surprise sequel to Maximum Overdrive and we see Randy Orton run over by a pissed off truck. “When you wish upon a star” my hairy ebon ass!
“You just sit back and watch how a real actor carries a low budget action movie, Junior.”
“You think if we flirt with the tow truck driver he won’t charge us?”
“Duh! Why else would we dress like this!?”
This is what happens when people don’t respect the “my quarter on the table means I get next game” rule!
“I was a supporting character in one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time! Don’t you dare mock me for chewing scenery in one crappy movie! I’ve earned a pass on this one!”
Ever since “Breaking Bad”, wanna-be meth cooks have caused staggering rate increases in the “mobile home explosion” insurance industry over the last few years.
Awww, it’s so cute when rednecks watch car movies and try to emulate them. I see somebody finally rented Fury Road from the Red Box kiosk at their nearest WalMart!
Hanukkah casino parties are becoming a popular trend for the kids at the synagogues these days. Let that gelt ride, bubbale!
Anubis will return next time in
“Life of Pi(e)”
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.
Featuring: Bill “Half Past Dead 2” Goldberg , Douglas “Stage Fright (2014)” Smith , Emilie “The Hills Have Eyes (2007)” de Ravin
Director & Writer: David Steiman
Also Known As: Very Bad Santa
Merciful Cthulhumas to you, my fellow cinemasochists! May Our Dark Lord from the hoary nether realm spare you and your loved ones for another year! Today (well, 3 days ago) is the day of the Gregorian calender we set aside to honor our eternally dark Lord Cthulhu by paying tribute to the important persons of our lives: generally through thoughtfully chosen presents, sacrifices of personal wealth, oaths of fealty…or gift cards to Red Lobster. This year, I continue my vow to sacrifice my sanity in the name of your entertainment by shutting myself into the iron maiden that is today’s holiday themed episode. You owe me.
David Steiman’s IMDB profile credits him with four production assistant jobs from 1999-2000, before becoming personal assistant to director Bret Ratner for three consecutive movies: starting with 2000’s The Family Man (I’ll have to excerebrate my gray matter with a nasal hook just to literally get Hall & Oates out of my head now), continuing through Rush Hour 2 and ending with Red Dragon in 2002. Three years later, Ratner himself would end up with a mysterious producer’s credit on this celebration of yuletide retardation: Santa’s Slay. Not only would SS (yep, that’s how I’m referring to it!) be the first-and-only writer-director credit for Mr. Steiman, but it’s also the last industry credit the guy can lay claim to of any kind for the decade since…
So, Bret Ratner produces his ex-assistant’s solo-project? Looks to me like Mr. Steiman really put the “ass” into “assistant” during his time working under The Rat, blackmailed Bret into lending his name and credibility (I use the term loosely… possibly sarcastically) to SS, then exiled himself into oblivion after being confronted with the product of his manipulations, having lost any future he may have held for himself after giving up said blackmail material to BR as part of their arrangement. Oh well, sometimes you gotta swallow a few loads to make your dreams cum true…Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you, you, you, you! Fuck…the H&O earworm only grows fatter. Somebody get me 666 cc of “Super Charger Heaven”, stat!
Our movie cold opens on a Christmas gathering of the Mason family (no, not the Manson family) as they gather for dinner, bickering and implied adultery. They’re your typical horribly WASPy family of well-off shitholes to whom the concept of love died long ago, like a starving polio-ridden Great Depression-era orphan child in a snowstorm. They’re thankful to their god for not making them “poor or Samoan”. Just when the dad (James Caan) is about to stab the son-in-law (Chris Kattan) for fingering the mom (Fran Drescher) under the dinner table, a pissed off mountain of a man dressed like Santa (Bill Goldberg) explodes from their chimney and proceeds to brutally slaughter the whole useless clan till they’re Feliz NaviDEAD! Bludgeoning, immolation, impalement, drowning in egg nog, and finally, James Caan getting a turkey leg jammed down his throat pipe. (Death) God bless them, every one.
Who is this Herculean icon of holiday cheer-turned-brain smashing behemoth (this line to be spoken like the narrator from the Adam West “Batman”)? I’ll spare you the wait and express pass your ass to the head of the class. It’s almost a decade old at this point, so the grace period for plot spoiling is long gone! You know how Jesus Christ was supposedly the result of immaculate conception between an angel and his “virgin” mother Mary? Turns out there was another such birth some time ago, as Satan himself spawned his own offspring from another mortal woman (named Erica)’s baby maker. That child’s name? Santa. What, you though it was a coincidence their names are so similar? The SNL Church Lady knew the score!
Anyway, every year on his birthday Santa would go out and slaughter random people. These annual bouts of unsolved murders were dubbed “The Day of Slayings” (YesVirginia, we have a title), also known as Kerry King’s birthday. As Christianity spread like a plague over the Nordic lands, the people would gather every year for a Christ mass, where they’d beg their new god to save them from Santa’s traditional birthday bash(ing of their skulls). Sometime around the year 1000, Big G finally answered their whining by sending down an archangel to do a BTO job (i.e. take care of business). Disguising himself as just another jobber, the angel challenged the big bully to a winner-take-all round of curling. Curling?! Yep, this movie is definitely a product of Canada. Blart.
If Santa won his challenger would be condemned to an eternity in Hell, while a loss would result in Santa becoming a harbinger of charity and good cheer for the extent of the following millennium. The winged deceiver triumphed and the rest is history…until now: exactly 1000 years later (to the day, since this is a movie), when Santa’s personality inversion has expired! Now he and his reindeerish beast the Helldeer (it’s just a white buffalo…someone call Charles Bronson!) are on the hunt for the heavenly body that pulled the holy wool over his soulless black eyes and permanently scratching a few names off of his Naughty List along the way. Where’s this angel now? He resides in a little middle-of-nowhere hamlet in the wilds of Canada known as…Hell.
And yes, the township’s moniker is abused to full pun effect throughout the next 75 minutes, so gird your laughter loins (or your groan groin), lest ye suffer a pulled muscle from all of the agonizing efforts of fifth grade humor you’re in store for.
Also residing in Hell is a disgustingly mild mannered teen by the moniker of Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith looking like the son of Bud Bundy), whose possession of the Christmasiest sounding name since Santa’s Little Helper (or “Santos L. Halper” if you work in customer service) is guaranteed to get him involved in the coming blizzard of bloody battery. In fact, if I just outright told you now that the elusive angel is his grandpa (Robert Culp) and young Nick was oblivious of the fact until now as Santa Claus is comin’ to town, your shock level would register somewhere around a “minor static shock from touching a doorknob after crossing a carpet in socks” level, right? I thought as much.
Nick works at a Jewish owned deli (is there any other kind?) along with his friend/co-worker/scripted love interest Mary “Mac” MacKenzie (Emilie de Ravin). Mary’s obviously got a girl boner for the gawky weirdo, and if she has her way, she won’t be going the way of the Biblical Mary…by which I mean she’s looking to get her factory seal ruptured for Christmas…by which I mean she wants the Nick dick. As for deli owner Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek), I don’t know his intentions for “the Nick dick”, but I will say that he looks like the bastard love child of Elliott Gould and Adam Carolla. He winds up pinned to the back wall of his establishment by a menorah jammed through his windpipe later on, courtesy of Claus. Does this count as a hate crime? Shouldn’t Santa be down with the Chosen People given their mutual hatred of Jesus anyway? Also, if you say “hatred of Jesus” using the Spanish pronunciation, it rolls off the proverbial tongue nicely. Very lyrical.
Here’s the rundown on Nick’s grandpa (simply credited as “Grandpa”): in his current form, he’s considered the town nutso. He’s a bit of a recluse who refuses to celebrate Christmas, spends his time in his basement bunker watching his oddly extensive surveillance equipment and making weird inventions like a weaponized nutcracker that shoots exploding chesnuts out of its hideous grinning maw. Before all of this, back when he tricked Santa into a thousand years of slavery in the shackles of holiday cheer, the angel gave up his halo and wings to start a life with a mortal Norse woman (little to nothing of which is covered beyond “I fell in love with a human woman”) who we’re presumed to believe became Nick’s grandma. I guess giving up your angelic status doesn’t make you “mortal” though, because the old man’s still spry after ten centuries. That’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg, because there’s no mention of what happened to Nick’s parents, or just how shallow the roots are on his family tree. Did Gramps fall in love, spend a lifetime with the woman, then just kinda live and love for the next 900 years or so until he met Nick’s actual grandma before settling down and raising a family? Did he sire another family, or possibly multiple other families, before spawning the bloodline that would lead to young master Yuleson? It’s never addressed, let alone made clear, and just leaves gaping-like-a-size-queen plot holes big enough to fly a team of reindeer through. Thought I’d stuff your stockings with a little holiday twist to an old reviewer’s cliché.
While all of this is going on, we’re introduced to Hell’s resident representative of the Christian faith, Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas!). PT is your standard issue “Don’t be a sinner – give money to me! Errr, the church!” man of the cloth, and regularly holds mass…by which I mean the mass of the big fake titties hanging off of the pole jockettes sluttin’ it up at the town gentlemen’s club. Yep, the contents of the collection plate are destined for the g-strings of Hell’s single mothers and “working girls”. In no way surprising, but makes the Pastor’s statement in a prior scene telling his congregation to not donate loose change and keep it to bills incrimentally funnier in retrospect.
Juggernaut Claus runs (unstoppably so, “bitch”!) through the club and murders a handful of denizens while casually sexually harassing and/or assaulting several of the employees before just burning the STD hole to the ground via a flaming hot coal grenade that leaves the place looking like a Vietnamese orphanage after one of Uncle Sam’s anti-communism napalm showers. Timmons eludes paying the proverbial piper (only to be corpsed up while dressed as Santa later on, in the moments before the closing credits roll), but professional wrestling nerds should take note – infamous pro-wrestling writer cum onscreen character Vince “Vic Venom” Russo cameos as one of the victims of Santa’s rampage! Funny from a geek standpoint since many fans blame Russo for the murdering of former “sports entertainment” titan and builders of Bill Goldberg’s career World Championship Wrestling. The only true WCW, by the way, for all the those “woman crush Wednesdays” social media she-wankers. 😛
Eventually Santa gets around to hunting Nick and Grandpa so as to wipe their lineage from the face of the Earth in revenge for being reduced to “a bowl full of jelly” with “dimples so merry” for most of his existence. He managed to locate the duo thanks to a letter Nick sent to him years ago (where did you think those letters to Santa wound up?!), asking for an Easy Bake Oven. Mary tags along for the adventure (gotta have those “Don’t you realize yet that I want the Nick dick!?” moments) and Nick somehow comes to the conclusion that they’ll be okay so long as they can survive until 7PM their time, because that would make it midnight at the North Pole, thus Christmas would officially be over. I hate it when the protagonists just make up their own rules to shit like this! Not since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!, when Tommy randomly decides that the only way to stop super zombie Jason Vorhees is to chain a boulder around his neck and trap him in Crystal Lake amid a ring of fire just BECAUSE, have I screamed “Who gave you creative control of the script?!” at my TV screen. Horse. Shit.
Almost as annoying is Nick’s insistence on putting his dick in the fourth wall glory hole by reminding everybody several times about how absurd the whole scenario is. Christ’s nipple clamps! If you’re gonna have a character riff on how stupid your own movie is, just go all out with it. He comes within inches of just saying “It’s like we’re in some bad horror movie!” before looking straight into the camera and winking anyway, so take a fucking cue from Nike and JUST DO IT!
Santa follows Nick back to Grandpa’s, but while our teen heroes try to escape the brutal bearded beefcake, Grandpa gets run over by the Helldeer…and yes, they make the obvious joke, in case you were wondering. The rest of the movie is basically the Degrassi dropouts running away from Santa until they wind up at the local high school, where Santa pulls out a glowing green candy cane (like one of those throwaway glow sticks spelunkers use) to light up his face for dramatic effect…then immediately throws it down…because he only needed it for that one second…oy. He chases them onto the school hockey rink, but just as the homicidal holiday icon is about to run down the soory pair under a hungry Zamboni, he’s stopped by a glowing golden curling stone…
Yes, apparently when an angel gives up their angelic status to become a seemingly un-aging human (is this where Highlanders come from?), once they’re killed they’re allowed to get their old jobs back. If that’s the case, then why don’t ALL angels do this?! Shit, it’d be worth it just to experience the blowjobs and cheeseburger pizza alone! You get to just become an angel again when you die anyway!
Grandpa tries to trick the sadistic behemoth into another curling match, this time demanding Claus becomes a good guy forever (why wasn’t that the stipulation for the original face-off?!) if the golden geezer triumphs once more, once again offering himself up to eternal damnation in Hell if he loses… except that angels aren’t human and thus do not have souls to damn, so the bet’s already bullshit to begin with! Anyway, Santa agrees to the wager, but this time demands that Gramps shoots first. Star Wars geeks, please save your Han-Greedo arguments (and slash fiction) for the appropriate message boards and Facebook groups. Thank you.
Santa pulls a shitlord move (he is Beelzebub Jr. after all), and rather than taking his turn at slide ‘n sweep, just grabs Gramps and tosses him into a literal hell hole! Nick’s completely meritless deadline finally expires, to which Claus pleasingly tells Nick to go fuck himself with that bullshit. He’s Santa Claus. HE decides when Christmas is over! He then tries to blow up Nick and (There’s Something About) Mary with a Megalon napalm loogie (why did he even need the coal bomb at the strip club?!), but it’s deflected by Nick who uses the nutcracker weapon from earlier in one of the most gob smackingly dumb-fuck moments in a movie infested with dumb-fuck moments. Santa takes a chestful of chestnut shrapnel (yeah, they make THAT pun too) in the exchange and escapes into the night on his Zamboni while the kids help Grandpa, who’s been hanging onto the edge of the Hell portal for longer than an old man should be able to hold his own body weight. Grandpa can’t leave the boundaries of the hockey rink (huh?!), so Nick and Mary set off to finish the job on Santa on their own. Rather than find him and defeat him, they opt instead to get Mary’s family of Canadian rednecks to shoot down the Helldeer (with a rocket launcher, because Canada’s seemingly littered with live military armaments), blowing it into scattered meat and guts…until it’s shown again two minutes later as a complete carcass tied to the top of someone’s truck! I can only wish that I regenerate the brain cells killed from watching SS as fast.
The movie ends threatening us with the possibility of a sequel as Nick takes up Grandpa’s Santa grimoire (which I’ll call the Navidadicon) and bukkakes the screen with Velveeta as he declares “my saga’s just beginning”. BLAAAAART! Meanwhile, Santa winds up at an airport with a plane ticket to the North Pole…and that’s it. It’s over. Roll the really shitty end credits theme “Bye Bye Santa”, as done by a sad excuse for a Ramones cover band called Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon, a half-hearted hardcore version Deck the Halls, and some more JDPM shit called Christmas In Detroit…for this movie that was filmed entirely in Canada. May that threat of a sequel be an empty one, and let us thank Cthulhu that Dave Steiman’s resume has since been trapped in magical Christmas ice, from which we can only pray it is never thawed and is freezer burned beyond recognition.
I’ve been shitting on the writing enough by this point, so you already know how I feel about that. What I’d like to do now, is drop a few Cleveland Steamers on the friggin’ editing hack job. It wasn’t horrible for the most part, but during the last chunk of this hour and fifteen it read like a clusterfuck. It came off like someone with a meat cleaver and high on airplane glue was told to chop off 20 minutes or so of footage and this is what was left. Ever seen Evil Ed? That. The entire non-ending was awful, and any movie that sets itself up for a sequel doesn’t deserve one. Every movie should be made under the idea of “THIS IS OUR ONLY CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING, SO LET’S NOT DO IT HALF-ASSED! WE USE OUR WHOLE ASS, DAMN IT!” because you don’t wanna be a one-termer asshole like Carter or Bush Sr. who didn’t get to live up to their first term promises.
Creative now properly crucified, how about this cast? Douglas Smith? Simply put, he sucks. Remember how I said he had this next-gen David Faustino/Bud Bundy thing going on? I would’ve preferred a time traveling David Faustino circa 1992 playing Nick. Robert Culp’s okay, but his Nordic accent sometimes dips into “I didn’t know the Nords were from Ireland” territory. Emilie de Ravin is passable, but delivers lines at times that give me the impression she’d just put her retainer in between scenes. Take this how you will, but she also looks like a barely legal Patricia Arquette. If I were 10 years younger…I’d still feel like a dirty old man for wanting to see what she looks like with my balls on her chin and my pubes making time with her nose hairs. Shit. Onto a less damning statement, Dave Thomas (the Strange Brew guy, not the dead guy from the Wendy’s commercials) is… well…there. He showed up for work and read his lines. He wasn’t very funny, but the material wasn’t exactly Mel Brooks. Tommy “Tiny (but I’ll always know him as Zeus)” Lister gets a paycheck for a short cameo as a gas station attendant (AKA the only black guy in rural Canada) who’s moved to Hell to get away from all the violence in “the hood”…Canada has a “hood”?! I was really hoping Lister would reveal himself to be some kind of opposing force for Santa, but once Grandpa came back into the picture as a member of the haloed crowd, I knew my hopes were for naught and his appearance was just a nod to old school wrestling geeks like yours truly. Go watch No Holds Barred and weep at the smell of dookie.
The only worthwhile stand out from this movie is Goldberg, and that’s because Santa plays to his strengths: look like a big psychotic colossus, snarl and grin like a maniac a lot, and speak English clear enough that you can recite bad holiday themed one-liners. The one-liners themselves are crap, but Bill delivers them with enough aplomb to show that he was at least having some laughs behind his gigantic fake facial mane.
Everything started out great, with Santa handing out comically graphic violence to the jerk-off brood, followed by running a bitchy old lady off the road to her great reward (that’s what happens when you berate Jews for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”!), but once the story started to form, the foundations for this gingerbread house immediately dried out and began crumbling. The whole thing starts to feel like a slapdash Hallmark Channel Christmas Original, only littered with foul language, crude humor, big naked fake-o boobs, and cartoony (albeit bloody) levels of murder. You could slap “Hallmark After Dark Presents” on the title card and I wouldn’t be surprised. On the plus side, if you’ve ever wanted to the see The Nanny’s head set ablaze, here’s your chance!
I say watch Santa’s Slay for the bloodshed and fast forward through the rest of this mire. And this is coming from someone who likes Jack Frost…no, not the Michael Keaton movie…and not the Russian one they watched on the Satellite of Love. All in all, I’ll use a quote from Nicholas and sum Santa’s Slay up as “File that next to brown colored toilet paper as a bad idea”. I thought SS would be gold, but it was bronze. Sorry, I wanted to get this movie out of my system so I marathoned “Snuff Box” last night and now I can’t get that damn theme song out of my skull.
Fun fact: Goldberg’s not the first professional meathead to don the red, white and beard! In 1996, man-shaped Ziploc bag full of gravy Hulk Hogan starred in Santa with Muscles, where he played a guy who did things, presumably dressed as Santa, that likely included performing wrestling moves on some less-than-noble types. It’s so shit streaked that it makes it almost impossible for me to masturbate to Mila Kunis, knowing that she was in it. Sadly, it’s outside of my realm of influence, as the be-hair curtained Real American’s entry into the pantheon of holiday “Why hasn’t this been done by RiffTrax yet?” cin-enemas was left behind in the wake of the last millenium with the rest of the Hulkster’s floppy dicked attempt at a movie career. If I could have my way though, I would Charles Band the crap out of these two bicep blasted incarnations of Ol’ Saint Nick and make them do Yuletide combat in Santas with Muscles: 2 Holly 2 Jolly 2 Slay.
In more positive news, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Street Fighter – the world’s first movie adaptation of a video game, that also had a video game adaptation of itself…dividing by zero before dividing by zero was a thing. It killed Raul Julia. To celebrate, here’s movie Blanka! Despite the rest of his body being violently deformed through experimental mutation, at least his dentist will be happy to see that it didn’t effect his teeth. Merciful Cthulhumas, everyone!
Nothing much changed, we’re just older
But if I see you again back in detox
Put my remains in my snuff box
“Got any roles I can audition for? I’ll do anything for a part! I sucked off and swallowed 14 studio execs in a sauna once for Corky Romano, and I knew that movie was going to be shit from first glance!”
James Caan’s just gone straight senile. Every time we invite him to our Tuesday night Knifey-Spoony games, he always shows up with a fucking fork…
It’s Kool-Aid Claus! “Ho-ho-hoooooh Yeah!”
“Where’s the (roast) beef!… oh wait. There it is.”
“Every time you come in here Mrs. Smith, I tell you I’m NOT Paul Reiser. Please stop asking for my autograph and telling me I should give Helen Hunt a call to see how she’s doing.”
That has to be the most name brand stocked fridge I’ve seen in a long time!
“And don’t ever try putting your dick in that thing, kid. There’s a reason they’re called NUTcrackers!”
Despite what this may look like, that guy’s just trying to give Santa a complimentary shave. The beard’s just getting too big to manage.
She’s either doing her impression of Frankenstein’s monster, trying to keep her “silent but deadly” silent, or showing us her “o face”.
Billy Baldwin, tired of waiting for the call to come, goes ahead and starts up his own homemade sequel to Sliver.
“Ho-ho-HOLY SHIT! Who slipped acid into my milk and cookies?! I am freakin’ out!”
“Today’s passing of the collection plate is to raise the funds needed to replace our tissue paper windows with actual stained glass. Please give what you can, then add $10 on top of that.”
“What are you punk-asses looking at?! Tell Hanukkah Harry I’ll be waiting for him at the Nativity Scene downtown whenever he’s ready to man up and settle this once and for all!”
“Look, after Ice Cube sold out and stopped making Friday sequels, I had to make money somehow! Not like No Holds Barred 2 is every gonna be a thing! Now, you gonna buy these Cheetos or what?!”
He was only supposed to bleed from the throat for a few hours, but he somehow bled for 8 nights. It was a new Hanukkah miracle!
Having taken a bunch of Ecstasy and eaten several snowballs packed with Viagra, Santa is ready to rave straight on into the New Year!
A still from the Canadian remake of Heaven Can Wait. This is what angels look like North of the border.
President of the Canadian expansion of the NRA. Not sure how rocket launchers classify as “Rifles”, but if you ask them why they’ll just threaten to murder your family for “trampling their rights”.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Wrestling Dead”
Featuring: Jessica “The Illusionist” Beil , Jonathan “The Ruins Tucker , R. Lee “Full Metal Jacket” Ermey , and Andrew “Street Fighter Bryniarski as Leatherface
Director: Marcus “Pathfinder” Nispel
Writer: Scott “The Machinist” Kosar
Given how you’re one of those “SPORTS ARE ALL WE LIVE FOR!” states, you might wanna get some first aid cream for that sick burn, Texas. No, that’s A-1…actually, you know what, stick with the A-1. It fits the theme of tonight’s movie!
“Shake, Bake, & Remake” continues tonight with episode 3: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…yet ANOTHER production of the living intellectual black hole Michael Bay. Originally a cosmic entity who came to Earth to steal the collective intelligence of the world’s inhabitants, with which he would power the dreaded doomsday device he planned to destroy his home planet, Bay discovered the perverse joys of bilking we humans of our hard-earned wages using big budget Hollywood productions that corrupted the creations of others to serve his purposes. His evil is eternal, and as long as his victims continue to murder their minds at his hands, his reign will remain unchallenged and continue to spread its corrupting influence until the childhoods of ALL people have been irreversibly eradicated.
Bay’s actually the perfect knob to produce a movie like this, because much like Texas his stuff’s all loud noises and bluster without any actual substance. Hell, even the way his company Platinum Dunes has made its name bastardizing other peoples’ work fits because Texas’s greatest boogeyman, Leatherface, is just a “remake” of infamous ol’ Ed Gein, a native of Wisconsin! Ah, Wisconsin…whose virtues can all be found in the MST3K episode for The Giant Spider Invasion, as seen at >>THIS LINK<<. PUDDING!
Okay, I’ve been shitting on Texas and Michael Bay long enough (at least for this episode), so let us tarry (Gilliam?) no longer. Let’s sink our teeth deep into the steak sauce soaked heart of the Lone Star State and have a family reunion with the Sawyers. Wait, they’re the Hewitts now? Damn it. Well, at least they’re not the “Slaughter” family anymore. Stupid fucking “Next Generation” Zellweger/ McConaughey bullshit. Damn it Kim Henkel, if you hadn’t contributed to the original Hooper movie I’d gas up my time machine, go back to 1944, and burst your dad’s testicles with an air hammer.
Much like he did 30 years earlier, John Larroquette narrates us into the proceedings, starting almost word-for-word with his original TCM intro (which was so great I used to have it as a track on one of my mix cds) before going into further detail about the post-incident police investigation and spoiling the ending of the movie right away by telling us that the mystery was never solved. What seems like the setup for a sequel instead rewinds us back to 1973 and a Scooby-Doo style group of 5 twenty-somethings in their Scooby-Doo style ’70s VW van. The gang are on their way back from a trip to Mexico, smuggling 2lbs of Tijuana Mary Jane, as they make their way across the Texas outback to a Lynard Skynard concert in Dallas. For our younger readers, Lynard Skynard are those guys that Kid Rock wishes he was when’s not pretending he lives in a trailer park in Compton.
Gone are Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Franklin, replaced instead by our heroine Erin (Jessica Bile errrrr Biel), her boyfriend Kemper (Eric Balfour), and their friends Pepper (Erica Leershen), Andy (Mike Vogel), and Morgan (Jonathan Tucker). Because chainsawing an obnoxious gimp in a wheelchair only brings bad press in this day and age (11 years ago), all of our cast are able-bodied victims-to-be. And because audiences don’t like innocent victims, they’re smuggling the weed to make them morally impure and thus acceptable saw fodder. Of course Erin is the exception though, since she needs to survive the whole ordeal, so she was unaware of the illicit substance transferal, proclaims herself against it when she does find out, and subsequently turns down a toke of the communal joint when it’s passed her way because she’s “nauseous”. If Vegas was taking bets on the mortality rates for this group, “Erin is the only one who makes it out alive” would be 1:10 odds – in other words, for every $10 you bet, you’d only get $1 back when, not “if” but “when”, you win. Doesn’t make sense? Let it sink in for a minute, then go call whatever member of your family has a gambling problem and ask them to explain it to you. Every family has at least one. And if you don’t know who it is? Spoiler: it’s you.
While motoring down a deserted country road (i.e. every road in Texas not found in a major city), our meddling kids almost run down a young woman walking aimlessly on the pavement. In an apparent state of shock (an obvious victim of some manner of brutal torment), they offer the dazed female a ride back to civilization, only to have her whimper something about how she “won’t go back there” and condemn everyone in the van to their doom. She then pulls a revolver from between her blood caked inner-thighs (I used to know a girl who did photo shoots like that…minus the blood, of course), puts it into her mouth like it were Ryan Gosling, and sends her brains on the next bullet train to Fort Worth! With a massive hole blown through their rear window and their interior now painted crimson with accents of “Skull Fragment” White and “Gray Matter” Gray, the gang pull over to have their individual freak outs and try to remember the Drivers’ Ed protocol for “What to do when a hitchhiker kills his or herself in your back seat”.
Since they’re a few thousand miles too far from the San Fernando Valley to drop by The Wolf’s place (and trapped in a far worse feature), they opt to take their new friend (or what’s left of her) with them to the nearest semblance of civilization so they can report the freak suicide to the authorities. But, because they’re snarky tourists who do nothing but bitch about the stupid podunk no-horse town they’re in, they wind up getting the runaround (starring Stiffler and The Rock!) and eventually take a vote to decide whether to keep trying to hunt down the local constabulary or just dump Suicidey and get the fuck outta Dodge before they miss opening act Molly Hatchet and their sweet live extended rendition of “Flirtin’ With Disaster”. The gents vote for the hasty retreat, but the girls invoke the Veto Right of Cock Block, so once again, everyone’s going to be disemboweled because the ladies have misplaced sentimentality for some stranger who opted to ventilate the back of her brain pan in their Mystery Machine. Oh, the dangers of estrogen.
The search for the Sheriff leads our crew to an old Scooby-Doo style abandoned mill, where they run into a little deformed boy named Jedidiah (David Dorfman), who looks like he wandered away from the set of a Deliverance remake three sound stages down. He directs Erin and Kemp to the Sheriff’s home nearby, which is an old Scooby-Doo style rundown plantation house. Though there’s STILL no Sheriff to be had, they meet a stump legged, molest-y handed geezer in a wheelchair named Monty (Terrence Evans) who offers to let Erin use his phone to call the Sheriff’s office, while Kemper is elsewhere being introduced to big Scooby-Doo style goon Thomas Hewitt (Andrew Bryniarski) wearing a very non Scooby-Doo style mask that’s less “rubber werewolf face” and more “patchwork human flesh”. Kemp gets a splitting headache via sledgehammer (and I don’t mean David Rasche) and dragged off to become tonight’s main course while Erin is told her boyfriend went back to the van, so she heads back herself. Speaking of the van, Sheriff Hoyt (Lee “please save this movie” Ermey!) finally arrives, takes the gun the dead girl shot herself with and pops it into his empty ankle holster (that’s not good…), then has the guys help him mummify her in Saran Wrap and dump her into the trunk of his cruiser before leaving. When Erin comes back to no Kemper, the gang does the Scooby-Doo style “let’s split up (so we’ll be easier to kill)” thing with Pep and Morgan staying with the vehicle while Erin and Andy go back to the shithole mansion to search for their errant amigo. Rut-roh, this can’t end well, Raggy…
Grandpa Gimp (“Gimpa”?) catches the snooping kids meddling around the house and summons up his juggernaut kin to dispose of them in the most violent manner possible, which includes bringing the titular power tool out for its big screen debut. Erin escapes, but while being chased through the world’s largest labyrinthine collection of clothesline dried sheets Andy gets his leg bisected by the hungry teeth of Bubba’s, I’m sorry, “Thomas’s” flesh-rending, gas-powered, death dealing chainsaw. If you had to use a chainsaw to cut open a pregnant woman and remove her child, would the baby be…………… “STIHL-born”?! Wakka-wakka!
No sooner does Erin-on-the-safe-side (BLART!) get back to the van and declare her intentions to hit the road harder than Ike hit Tina (Don’t boo me! Dig out your Ouija Board and boo Ike Turner!), then Hoyt returns, this time acting even less like genuine law enforcement and just straight up starts torturing the remaining trio: threatening them, interrogating them, and ultimately dragging Morgan off in the back of his squad car. The girls are left to deal with Leatherface (a name that’s never actually used, but I insist on using for the rest of the review), who runs into the scene showing off his newest acquisition: a mask made of Kemper’s face, which is actually pretty damn creepy! Pepper dies when she tries to ward off ‘Face’s spinning death blade with her bare hands, and the gruesome stuff is left off-screen, likely because Suicidey’s self brain blowing probably burned up all of the MPAA’s allotment for graphic violence portrayed against women within a 90min run time.
Erin escapes to a nearby trailer, but as you can imagine, EVERYBODY within a 3 mile radius of the place is a member of this family. Such is the case with the two creepy ladies our protagonista encounters. Before she realizes it though, they exposition us on ‘Face’s backstory (he was born with a weird skin disease so HE HAS NO NOSE…shock…horror) and drug her with Celestial Seasons’ new Sleepytime EXTREME!!!!® herbal tea. She wakes up back at the house and gets dumped into the Hewitts’ confusingly HUGE basement, which is flooded with water for no other reason than to get Jessica Biel into a wet white t-shirt with no bra. She finds Andy clinging to his last morsels of life while suspended on a meathook, and tries against his wishes to lift him off of it, only to get it jammed in even deeper. Ouch. Finally giving up, Erin plunges a filet knife between her buddy’s ribs as his one last behest (all I can think of is Glen Danzig singing those last three words in his Elvis horror voice) before moving on and finding what’s left of Morgan, pummeled to shit and handcuffed with a gunshot in his back, doing what I can only assume to be basting in a bathtub full of filthy water. Practically carrying his busted ass on her own, they manage to escape the reappearing Leatherface thanks to help from the little deformed boy, who I’m starting to think may be ‘Face’s son…or nephew…maybe brother? Whatever. He could be his grandpa for all I know! Keeping track of an incest family tree is harder than figuring out the Pullman-Paxton Principle.
The duo escape to a nearby cabin/barn (all these dilapidated buildings look the same to me), but the struggle to save Morgan is fundamentally for jack naught, as he just ends up another sacrifice on the altar of the saw gods…and as a cautionary tale reminding you to only have your vasectomies performed by trained professionals! Now, having failed to save any of her friends, and the only remaining ham yet to be hocked, Erin takes flight once more. This time their Scooby-Doo style chase sequence (sans Monkees music) takes them to a nearby abattoir, partially because her shirt has now dried and needs to be drenched again in the animal shower. Ironically enough, I feel this is the ONLY place within running (and screaming) distance of that house that isn’t under Hewitt control. Not because it’s full of cows rather than humans, but because it’s just so damn clean and well maintained compared to EVERY other structure this movie’s taken place in up till now. For the first time in the entire movie (except maybe for the earlier scenes where she hot wires the van and picks a padlock with the tip of a pocket knife) Erin proves herself a potently bad-ass female lead when she lures ‘Face into a small locker room too narrow for him to maneuver his huge overcompensating chainsaw, then hacks off his fucking arm at the elbow with a meat cleaver! You GO, grrrrrrl!
Someone please hit me with a brick now. *THUNK* Thank you.
All awesomeness from the preceding scene is immediately flushed out to sea like so much improperly disposed of toxic waste though, because Leatherface’s arm does NOT spray geysers of gore everywhere, despite having MAJOR ARTERIES HACKED THROUGH! None at all! He flails around screaming his animal noises and recoups his still running saw without dumping so much as a pint of blood, let alone the gallons of ichor that losing half your damn arm would result in! I thought we had a moment there, TCM. We looked into each other’s eyes, stood on the verge of a deep, nigh-kismetic exchange of our very souls…and you threw up on my ceremonial reviewing robes. Expect my dry cleaning bill. And please don’t attempt calling me for another date. I won’t be kind. In fact, I may burn down your house.
Finally, Erin makes her way back to the family (long story about a truck driver I prefer to truncate for the sake of not wanting to type anymore about this movie) amidst a pouring rainstorm (can’t let that t-shirt get dry or the little boys in the audience will stop watching!), kidnaps a baby (again, not interested in explaining), steals Sheriff Hoyt’s car, and ends the movie on a high note by running the twisted bastard over THREE times (if you’re gonna do a job, do it right!) before escaping into the night… and narrowly running over ‘Face, who’s not only barely phased by LOSING HIS ARM, but somehow acquired the Jason Voorhees teleportation engine to get that far ahead of her in the time since she left him back at the plant.
In an epilogue (that actually continues our opening narration), we learn that ‘Face is STILL ALIVE SOMEHOW, thus threatening a sequel (that would be dropped in favor of a prequel before Lionsgate bought the rights from New Line) where I was hoping we’d see our villainous psychopath pull an Ash and run around with his chainsaw now strapped to his stump. Denied. Oh well. The weirdest part is that this epilogue is delivered through footage of a police walk through of the Hewitt house after the events of the movie proper. ‘Face attacks and (presumably) kills the cops in question while the camera is rolling, but John Laroquette never says anything about how or when the footage was recovered… or how the cops got their asses handed to them by a big galoot with only one arm. Whatever. Fuck it. The END!
If nothing else, Texas Chainsaw Massacre continues/started the general disdain of horror movie fans for weak cheese, needless remakes. I tried to go into it with no expectations so I could keep my disinterest pure, but when I found out that the writer of The Machinist was in charge of the screenplay, it came with the hopeful implication that this might not be the slog through sewage that I feared it would be deep in the cosmic vortex where my heart should be. In the end? Well, it was still a slog, but the shit sludge was more chest deep than eyeballs, so at least I didn’t get any in my mouth. In addition to the half-competent writer, I was happy to at least see director Nispel knew to remake Hooper’s classic shots of the wide open Texas sky. And he does a solid knock-off “homage” to Hooper’s eerie tracking shots of the family’s rundown abode, made all the more effective by the Hewitts’ decrepit plantation home. Speaking of creative, Hooper and Henkel were on as co-producers, but as far as how much of a hand they actually had in this shit show is unknown. I want to say very little, but neither are exactly well known for being infallible bastions of cinematic greatness. I refer you to my previous statement regarding a time traveling air hammer and exploded balls.
Now, we know why TCM is slightly better than our previous two half-baked remakes, but let’s really tackle why it’s still a steaming Texas Chili Bowl of a movie…and yes, before you ask, a “Texas Chili Bowl” is a poop-sex thing. The biggest offense? It’s boring. I checked my watch several times wondering how much more I had to sit through, and that’s REALLY not good when your movie is only about an hour and a half long. I had no real problems with Leatherface himself…except that he’s not ONCE called Leatherface…and the mystery is ruined when we’re very clearly shown his face…and they try to make him sympathetic by turning him into a ridiculed man-child with a skin condition…and this skin condition assumingly made the blood in his arms stop flowing…and they took away the whole transvestite thing because it was probably too “sissy” for a “scary” horror movie villain…and I couldn’t get over the fact that he was played by the same dude who was Zangief in that Street Fighter movie that was so campy it could’ve been a Meatballs sequel. So, yeah, I guess I had plenty of problems with “Thomas Hewitt” after all.
The victims were pretty much all useless skin sacks, starting the trend of Platinum Dunes characters that we couldn’t care less about when they’re being hacked to bits, and that’s NOT just because I’m a sociopath. When Alfred E. Neuman images get more of a reaction out of me than any member of your actual cast, you’re doing something terribly wrong. Speaking of the cast, whose idea was it to expand the family to include so many ancillary members?! When it was Cook, Hitchhiker, and Leatherface, or Drayton, Chop Top, and Leatherface, the family was at its strongest because we only had three members to keep track of and they each had their chances to stand out! Not only do the Hewitts have five or six (or seven) members, but out of the only three whose names I remembered, Thomas was one of the least dimensional, Jedidiah was only around for two scenes, and despite being the clear focus of the group, Hoyt feels like he wasn’t taken far enough. He came off less like the sadistic animal that Chop Top and Hitchhiker were, and more like just another Texas asshole with a badge.
Final judgment? If the saw truly is family, then this family member deserves to be driven out into the desert and left to the coyotes. Though not the strike that Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street were, this installment of “Shake, Bake, & Remake” was definitely a hard foul and has made no case that remakes shouldn’t be allowed by penalty of death via air hammer between the legs, for males and females. Avoid this Scooby-Doo mystery if you can, ignore if you can’t, and kick it in the gonads while shouting “NO MEANS NO!” if it persists. Say no to cash-ins, kids. Zoinks. Good night, patriots!
Moral of the Story: Brains look kinda like lasagna…so John Arbuckle is the first/most fucked if a zombie outbreak hits the Sunday Comics.
When asked if his cameo in Texas Chainsaw Massacre caused him any concern for his safety, Mr. Neuman replied, “What? Me wo… you know what, *expletive* this. Interview over.” before giving his interviewer a crass gesture and walking away.
An alternate time line’s Courtney Love in a dimension where Nirvana went on to have a long and illustrious career.
“Hey, I never agreed to have my likeness appear in a Michael Bay production! Someone get my agent on the phone! RIGHT MOO!”
Hey Jessica, don’t look it as a filthy toilet bowl. Look at it as a crystal ball showing you the future of your career!
It’s the rare San Diego ComicCon exclusive “White Trash Legolas” collectible variant figure! Buy one to resell and another to pose on your shelf making out with the mail away “Rodeo Clown Aragorn” figure you got for sending in 300 Lucky Charms box tops!
“Does anyone else hear banjo music and the sound of a middle-aged man squealing like a pig?”
Keep feeling around old man. You could be back there all day and you still won’t find anything. You’ll have better luck finding a hymen in a strip club than you will an ass in those pants.
What a mansion! It’s like redneck Xanadu! It’s Texas’s Tarra!
Lee Ermey tried to turn this role into a Reynold’s Wrap spokesperson gig with limited (i.e. no) success.
I was gonna make a joke about how good it was to see somebody finally shut Harry Knowles up, but then I realized this is actually him and I just feel completely ripped off.
Did you know that the best way to preserve old photographs is inside of a mason jar full of urine? It’s true! Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion.
Special cameo by Michael Jackson! If he doesn’t have a nose, how does he smell? Awful. *rim shot*
Sweet mother Isis! That’s the most nightmarish thing I’ve seen since the unreleased Hulk Hogan/Bubba the Love Sponge sex tape! GAH!
Leatherface put a lot of effort into the mask for his Tony Stark Halloween costume, but everybody thought he was supposed to be James Franco and avoided him.
That reminds me, whatever happened to Calista Flockhart?
I think I’ll order a pizza tonight. I don’t know why, but I’m in the mood for sliced pepperoni.
Ahhhh, somebody saw Field of Dreams and thought it’d be a good idea to build a baseball field behind their house too.
“Blair Meat Co.”? A subtle hint that Platinum Dunes also plan on running The Blair Witch Project through the meat packing remake factory too? Probably not. They only ruin good movies.
“Now let’s get you home, little lady. Momma’s had a long night and she’s got a hankerin’ for veal!”
Anubis will return next time in
“The Shape of Things to Come (Looks Kinda Like William Shatner)”
Featuring: Bill “Krampus the Christmas Devil” Oberst Jr. , Jason “Gut” Vail , Baby “Just Go 4 It” Norman
Director: Richard “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” Schenkman
Writers: Karl “Karl’s In a Coma” Hirsch , J. Lauren Proctor , Richard “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” Schenkman
“A man divided against himself cannot stand.”
“Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time.” We all remember that brilliant line from Tommy Boy, delivered by the late and (sometimes) great Chris Farley. Well, if The Asylum were ever in the market for a fitting motto, there it is. Change the “me” to “us”, the “I”s to “we”s, and you’ve got a pretty apt description of their mission statement. If anybody reading this happens to work at the Sticky’s All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Hole and Waste Management Facility where the Asylum big wigs hold their board meetings, float that out there like a morning turd in the toilet bowl. I promise that at least one of them will offer you a job in their marketing division!
When I announced to my friends that I’d be reviewing today’s guaranteed dump (originally intended to be reviews for President’s Day until, well, I didn’t), everyone who knew what I was talking about replied that they’d turned it off at varying points in the running time. Not only did NO ONE make it to the end credits (fun bit of irony for a horror movie), but the general consensus of tolerance levels were in the 20-30 minute range. Was there a particular “ground zero” moment that drove these viewers in droves to hit the Stop button and walk away, or was it a steady poisoning of their systems and 20-30 minutes of such contamination was the point of saturation? This isn’t just a movie review now…this is science!
This bucket of bowel movements is Asylum’s rip-off of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Rather than being based on a book though, ALvZ is based on a crumpled napkin an Asylum writer found sitting in the alley behind his basement apartment. Encrusted with the remnants of cheap margaritas and even cheaper tacos, it no doubt fell out of the dumpster belonging to the Tex-Mex restaurant under which he lived. Amidst the multi-colored stains, some scribblings that may or may not have stated “steal both” baffled the alleged scribe, until he looked to his coffee table. Seeing a copy of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” he’d borrowed from a friend sitting next to a DVD of Curse of the Cannibal Confederates given to him by his parents as a high school graduation present, a new Asylum feature was born. In a bit of personal experimentation, rather than have a shred of hope that ALvZ is going to be anything but the standard issue Asylum carnival of stupid, I went into this viewing with my expectations squarely in the john. Then I remembered that, again, this is a fucking Asylum movie, so I took my expectations out of the nice porcelain pot they were bobbing in, and instead tossed them into the infamous crapper from the pub in Trainspotting. Perfect. Now, as Dr. Clayton Forrester would say, let the experiment…BEGIN!
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, united the states, taught himself to read with a shovel (or something), and wrestled bears…though as more is uncovered about the secret life of our 16th president, those “bears” may be more in line with the gay community’s definition than Wild America’s. One of the things not covered in his illustrious upbringing is the apparent 1818 boyhood trauma of his mother’s transformation…into a zombie(!)…after she was attacked by them in the forest(!)…because…reasons!? Whatever brought this about, Abe’s dad couldn’t muster the gumption to kill his zombie wife, so he put a bullet in his own brain instead (great parenting, asshole, leaving your kids alone with a ghoul for a mom), tasking young Abe with the duty of decapitating dear mother Nancy himself. He did so with a scythe, which just supports my lifelong plan to live near farm country, providing me plenty of tool sheds and shotguns to pilfer when the zombiegeddon finally gets its lazy ass in gear.
We jump ahead to the summer of 1863. The year James Plimpton patented the four-wheeled roller skate, the first underground train opened in London, and Thomas Crapper invents the one-piece pedestal flushing toilet. Spoiler alert: that last one is an incredibly appropriate piece of info for what’s about to happen here. Meanwhile, The American Civil War rages on as Southerners fight for the right to continue claiming black people as tax-exempt property. Abe’s all grown up and Presidential, in charge of keeping the nation in one piece. He’s also become Bill Oberst, who’s locked in perpetual Lloyd Bridges mode for the extent of the movie. An important lynchpin to winning the war of gray vs. blue is capturing and maintaining the strategic point of Fort Polaski and controlling the Mississippi River. But, after sending a regiment to take Polaski under the banner of “Operation Big Shanty”, only one soldier returned alive…and his skin’s looking grayer than Robert E. Lee’s Sunday best. No sooner does he report to President Lincoln that Big Shanty went FUBAR due to a contingency of flesh eating maniacs residing in the fort, he then turns into one of the man munching monsters himself. Having had experience with the not-so-demised before (Mommy Mommy, choppy choppy), Lincoln fends off the zombie until a lackey can retrieve his trusty folding scythe from his carriage…that he just happens to carry with him…despite having never seen another zombie in the 45 years since relieving his mother’s use for bonnets…okay.
The president’s new “secret service” team is assembled to clear out and reclaim Polaski to both swing the Civil War in the Union’s favor and wipe out the living dead scourge before it can spread like so much shit water from the clogged toilet in a Taco Bell bathroom. They really need to put limits on the amount of food one customer can order. Unless they’re getting it “to go”, in which case they can put their own crapper in jeopardy. Let’s just say I’ve heard horror stories and will never be able to look at a Taco Bell Party Pack again without igniting my gag reflex. Blart. Anyway, when the Major assigned to lead the group is killed by the ghoul, Abe appoints himself the new leader of the task force, citing his “prior experience” with the disease as his leading asset…because just telling a new leader that the disease is spread through bites, and that the only way to kill them is decapitation or burning them would waste valuable time…and because I guess he figured Andrew Johnson was gonna replace him eventually anyway!
Proving that he practiced what he preached, Lincoln’s Suicide Squad (or “Task Force X” if you’re nerd enough) includes one black agent, who could only be given a position on a top secret operation due to the potential political controversy if the public knew their government employed a black man. Hence the term “black op” was born, and the rest is made-up history that you school-aged readers probably shouldn’t reference for any history reports. Also, the black dude’s there so he can bring the term “zombie” into the mix later on, given the term’s Haitian origin, and lay out the irony of enslaved people owning slaves themselves, albeit dead ones. The Abe Brigade also includes an interesting member that eventually leads to one of the solitary good kernels of corn in this shit log of a crap-ass cash-in effort, so I won’t spoil who it is. All I’ll say is that it adds an interesting re-visioning to the President’s ill-fated future as an unsuccessful theater critic. If you want to find out the mystery prize in this box of Cocoa Poops though, you’ll have to earn it yourself and bury your hands in up to the elbows. Whether it’s worth the challenge to your tolerance levels will vary from person to person, but let me remind you–-I’m the only person I know who actually saw this cinematic skid mark through to its dingle-berry bedazzled end.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself here, when I’d much rather be getting myself head. Wakka wakka! Lincoln leads his logs (not an actual joke, just a needless pun) to Polaski, and with the exception of a few fodder agents who end up as bite victims, the good guys do well at clearing out the shuffling maggot manufactories, mostly thanks to Mr. Lincoln and his newly revealed deadly arts of leap-‘n’-slash-fu. I really need to commission Osiris for one of those short-arm folding blade scythes. It’d shave much needed hours off of my reaping schedule and leave me with a lot more time to review… Asylum… movies… fuuuuuuuuuuck. Never mind. Securing the fort (which was mostly secure already, until Lincoln’s men attracted zombies into the place with their gunfire), the Secret Service finds a small group of Rebels holed up in the basement, led by famed southern military strategist General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Not to be confused with county music man Stonewall Jackson, who sang “Waterloo” and “BJ the DJ” (not about what its title implies), though that was the musicians real name and he did claim to be a descendant of the original. Everyone immediately thinks I’m related to David Bowie despite how we spell and pronounce our last names differently. I do like to sometimes claim that Tandy Bowen (Dagger of “Cloak & Dagger”) is my cousin though, despite the fact that she’s a completely fictional character… plus I’d feel really gross for doing the knuckle shuffle to someone who’s actually my cousin… and don’t bring up the irony of how the Egyptian mythological pantheon was full of incest anyway. That was a different time, and I’m not about to take the “racist grandparents” excuse and chalk it up to being “from a different time”. Cork it.
Stonewall (and his HUGE, super fake, glued-on beard) surrenders himself and his remaining men to Lincoln’s Logs (just let me have this!), but refuses to agree with the president that the soldiers and civilians he just got done beheading were necessary casualties. Stoney PlayStation 4 (okay, that one was just to boost search engine hits, I’ll cop) is convinced that the recently diseased/deceased are just in need of medical treatment, and Honest Abe’s just a murder happy maniac looking to take out his “reverse racism” hate on the slavery lovin’ southerners. This from a time period where a shot-off toe resulted in a full leg amputation for fear of the spread of gangrene, yet this knob thinks that a ravenous full-body cannibal infection can somehow be fixed with snake oil and coal water. Must be all that inbreeding. Sorry to offend any southern readers, but stop breeding with your kin. If we deities can help ourselves, so can you, damn it. You just have to want to. If nothing else, do it for the sideshow of tormented offspring you would’ve conceived that would one day grow up to turn on you and burn you all alive in your trailer to wipe the blight of your broken genetic legacy from the face of the Earth. Long-term investments, Cletus.
Fun fact: the name Cletus/Cleatus is of Greek origins, and means “illustrious”. Meanwhile, the modernized definition would be “slack jawed yokel” or “football playing robot that murdered the Burger King”.
Locking the uncooperative grays up, the blues secure the fort in typical zombie movie DIY style. In the basement they find and are overrun by a gaggle of hungry corpses. While escaping into an already boarded up section of the fort, they find another small group of survivors. Shit, this has to be one of the biggest speaking casts for an Asylum movie EVER…which would explain why they all act about as well as a real movie’s background extras. Anyway, this new group is led, conveniently enough, by Abe’s prostitute ex-girlfriend Mary Owens (played by the unfortunately named Baby Norman), and includes a young boy from New York who was separated from his family and ended up there during the outbreak. I won’t spoil who the boy is, but let’s just say that Abe encourages him to avoid attracting the zombies by speaking in a soft tone, and defend himself from them with the use of a sizable length of timber. And yes, if you have a basic knowledge of American political history (or you too watched that Bugs Bunny cartoon where he ran for office opposite Yosemite Sam), your brain probably just vomited acid all over itself in a desperate bid for oblivion too.
Okay, so we’ve got the zombie movie staples all in play – a group of survivors with conflicting viewpoints, both moral and political, some of whom share a rocky personal past, all of which are trapped together in a confined space while a seemingly endless mob of extras in halfway decent Halloween costumes shamble around outside, waiting to pick off the slow, impatient, and unlucky over the next 45 minutes or so. It’s like some big metaphor for the war itself, or humanity itself, or the 1600 or so living dead movies that came before it themselves. Will Abe be able to bring these opposing factions of uninfected together before their so-called “moralities” lead them all to losing their own heads, figuratively at first, then literally afterward? Will you care enough to find out? If nothing else, I suggest firing it up on Netflix and fast-forwarding to the last 10 minutes. That way you can get the whimsical ending and avoid all of the stupid shit the self-proclaimed “writers” culled from a junior high American History textbook to denigrate into goofy characters and bastardized action movie one-liners.
Being an Asylum secretion, watching ALvZ is like juggling a half-dozen water balloons full of diarrhea: you know you’re gonna get shit all over you, and the best you can hope for is that none of it’s infected with anything more dangerous than a level 6 gross-out contamination, and that you lose nothing more than a ruined outfit and a bit of self-esteem. The shit balloon bursts all over us with computer generated blood, dismemberment, explosions, and gun flashes (because squibs and blanks aren’t “cost effective”). We also get splattered with a bleached out visual filter to either push the impression that the movie takes place in olden times, or just helps cover up the sloppy CG gore. (Not to be confused with AD Gore, proprietor of satans-sideshow.com, who supplied much of my wardrobe in high school.) Also running down our faces and pooling in our pockets are Asylum’s staples: bad acting (no surprise), bad script (also no surprise), bad audio (I had to watch it with subtitles on so I wouldn’t have to wear out the volume buttons on my remote), bad lighting (to further cover up the bad CG effects), and bad dance-fight choreography of Lincoln jumping around like the world’s oldest action hero (minus Schwarzenegger and Stallone, who’re both older than the secret sex dungeon under the Appomattox courthouse). It’s all silly. Not a fun silly, but a hemorrhoid silly…because it’s uncomfortable… and itchy…and I don’t fucking know! You try writing something even remotely witty while some F-grade movie hacks’ weekend of work farts in your face!
Aside from the ending, the only thing that saves this movie from total damnation in Ammut’s cornhole is Oberst’s oddly decent portrayal of Lincoln. Sure, the goofy scythe-fu stuff can cause aneurisms if viewed for too long without proper protection, and the painful out-of-context historical quotes turned one-liners could lacerate kidneys, and if you close your eyes you’d swear Admiral Benson was about to tell you about how he lost his eyes to a bazooka round at Little Big Horn (or was it Okinawa?), but when Oberst actually gets to make inspirational speeches like the Great Emancipator was known for, he’s pretty damn effective. Not exactly Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day, or Raymond Burr’s ending soliloquy from Godzilla 1985, but if Billy O can bring even a sliver of credence to a shit cauldron like Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, then the dude deserves his Daytime Emmy Award…though that’s like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics, so don’t put too much credence in my use of the word “credence”.
By the way, if the amount of fecal and/or toilet allusions in this review seem like a bit much to you, you should really stop expecting better of me. When dealing with an Asylum production, a reviewer becomes the sewage treatment plant worker of the movie criticism field – knee deep in waste matter for the length of the effort. It’s a minor miracle if we can keep from killing ourselves after the first few times on the job, let alone just swearing off them for life. Reviewers of Asylum movies are like Ed Norton (the character, not the actor), except our best friends aren’t spousal abusers (hopefully) and we lack the televised medium to benefit from slapstickery and goofy voices, so we’re stuck relying on whatever creative writing we can muster. Forgive me if the majority of creative metaphors I can come up with are shit related, but once you’ve got an Asylum feature’s stench saturating your every pore and follicle, it’s hard to think of much else. I need a heavy dose of anti-venom (viewings of Re-Animator or Return of the Living Dead usually do the trick) just to keep me out of a coma.
That said (with about 50 more words than needed), it’s all the more upsetting that our next episode will be ANOTHER Asylum feature! Has my cinemasochism reached new, dangerous heights from which no sane man or man-dog deity can possibly return unscathed?! Gird your loins and girdle your lions (if you have any) and tune in for what’s bound to be another 5 pages of furious/flaccid shit slinging! Same Anubis time, same Anubis channel! *ONOMATOPOEIA!*
Moral of the Story: The Confederate flag is no longer the most offensive hold over from the American Civil War.
I see the guy responsible for the title graphics hasn’t figured how “stroke” or “highlight” works on text layers. At least make the blood a lighter tone than the damn words!
Kids, if your father looks like this every time he tries to shave, do NOT let him teach you how when you hit puberty.
You know The Asylum’s hit big money time when they can afford enough Miller High Life to pay that many Civil War reenactment actors.
“You might wanna pull it back a little on the buttons, soldier. You’re not Steve Harvey.”
“I’m sorry Mr. President. I understand that you want to bring an end to this war, but I’m Santa Claus! I can’t withhold presents from the good Confederate children on Christmas just because you think it will stop the bloodshed!”
“Hey Jackson, what do you call a thousand coloreds at the bottom of the ocean?”
“If you finish that statement, I will kill you now and seduce your wife at your funeral.”
“… Sorry. I didn’t know you were so ‘politically correct’.”
Lincoln’s got his “serious business” stovepipe on. If this were a Robert Rodriguez movie, that thing would be full of pistols and dynamite.
Dear Isis, no! They killed Chris Elliot! Now we’ll never get another season of “Eagleheart“! You bastards!
The Asylum’s poor spending of the lighting budget to buy more zombie makeup ends up working in our favor by obscuring EVERYTHING. If only all of their movies could be shot by lantern light!
“You may be a high ranking General, but I’m the fucking president! NO ONE gets to have a bigger beard than mine, damn it! Shave it off, or I’ll rip it from your god damned jaw myself!”
Is he doing his Edward G. Robinson impression, or is he trying to eat an entire sandwich in one mouthful? History may never know.
“I’m no doctor, ladies, but I think the best thing to stop my bleeding wound would be to plug it with your ample boobs. Boob fat is very malleable and would mold to the shape of the wound. But… you know… if you want me to just bleed to death on your floor, I guess you don’t have to.”
“And what’s the deal with this Mason-Dixon Line anyway? I mean, who are these people?! Am I right?! Thank you, you’ve been a terrible audience. Remember to tip your waitress.”
They’re trying not to look at his dollar store mustache, otherwise they’ll laugh and the producers will make them pay for the re-shoot.
I’m no lumberjack, Beard-O, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how you hold a hatchet…
Michael Cera’s creepy dad scrapes a booger from a sleeping woman’s face.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Sixty Dollar Man”
Bill “Krampus the Christmas Devil” Oberst Jr. , Jason “Gut” Vail , Baby “Just Go 4 It” Norman