Feature 105 – Land of Smiles (2017)

or “We Turn Your Frowns Upside Down”

Featuring: Alexandra “Boy Meets Girl” Turshen , Keenan “First Person” Henson , Caitlin “‘Continuum’” Cromwell

Writer & Director: Bradley “Clearly wrote his own IMDB biography” Stryker

Origin: USA

Review_____

“Let’s get plastered and make some bad decisions! Why the hell else would we be on this beautiful island?!”

The Evil Dead Bride and your humble narrator were perusing the alcohol offerings at NileMart the other day when we discovered that, not long after the re-emergence (and re-disappearance) of Crystal Pepsi, fellow transparent ’90s punchline drink Zima is now also back on the market. My long standing theory that the latter is just a fermented form of the former? Confirmed.

Pop culture footnote beverage humor aside, after finally conquering the world’s Russia problem with my last review (The Guardians), it’s time to live up to my promises, play a game of ketchup (“catsup” if you’re nasty) and get the circus train back on its tracks. Well, not the whole circus. It’s more like I’m about to abandon an overbooked clown car on a railroad crossing, let the 7:06 bullet from Tarker’s Mill do the dirty work for me, then all I’ve gotta do is report on the aftermath.

In the interest of transparency, I admit that I’m taking some liberties when it comes to Land of Smiles being a killer clown flick, especially when it comes to the whole “painted horrors” technicality, but if the oozing cold sore on America’s dick can give ethics the tiny middle finger by appointing government positions to his defective offspring and filling his cabinet with the highest bidders, I can bend the rules of the Republic of Tombistan. Though the movie’s antagonists conceal their faces under the visage of sinister jesters, they do so with rubber masks, possibly purchased from the clearance bin of a Spirit Halloween pop-up store. It’s not like the world’s lacking in movies out in the nebulous “there” that center on actual grease-painted murderous mirth makers, I just thought I could use a little change of subgenre scenery. It’s not as if I signed any kind of contract (at least not one that falls under the jurisdiction of any mortal justice system) saying I can’t, so just make like a shed uterine lining and go with the flow, Joe!

The basis for Smiles is nothing new. It’s about backpacking Americans whose vacation to a beautiful country they’ve never been to before leads to the reveal of a seamy underbelly that threatens to swallow them whole in its gaping maw of stranger danger, inducing increased paranoia in any members of its audience who already didn’t need any more reasons to never take a vacation beyond pitching tents and making s’mores in their own backyard. See Wolf Creek, Turistas, A Perfect Getaway, Eli Roth’s Hostel flicks and, of course, The Hangover Part II. I would’ve included The Ruins on that list, but that’s supernatural horror and thus does not fall under the “people from other countries are the real monsters” xenophobia gimmick.

Our vulnerable young travelers begging to never be heard from again are lifelong friends and overly confident American college students Abby (Aleandra Turshen) and Penny (Krista Donargo). Having planned a trip to Thailand together for the longest time (oh, oh, oh, for the longest time), Abby earns her BFF of 19 years’ ire when she backs out of their girls only vacation to stay near her boyfriend Brad (Brandon Nagle), who more than likely didn’t like the idea of his girlfriend being half-way across the globe and possibly getting peanut sauce licked off her ass by some beefcake with jungle herpes.

In a moment that can only be scripted (and poorly at that), Ab’s sacrifice of Pen’s friendship blows up in her face almost instantaneously when her attempt to surprise Brad with a candlelit cupcake (birthday/anniversary?) leads to her walking in on Brad in the middle of a Skinemax bump n’ hump session with Lacy (Charisse Bellante) – a random blonde who comes off just as “trashy party girl who’s upset she never got to be in a Girls Gone Wild DVD” in her sex making as her name would suggest. To any Lacys out there who take offense to that, I’m sorry, but maybe your parents shouldn’t have named you after a style of lingerie trim.

Blinded by confusion and rage, Abby unleashes a few shots of Cowboy Mike’s Extra Bold Red Hot Ricochet Pepper Spray upon the ocular orbs of the indignant fornicators, apologizing at first before revoking said formality and storming out in justified rage. If you think pepper spray’s a little intense, these two are just lucky Abby’s probably too young to remember the whole Lorena Bobbitt episode. However, as is all too common the case, the cupcake is the true victim of the break up. Poor thing’s probably going to be swallowed up by the foster system like so many little lost souls before it. If you would, say a little prayer for the cupcake’s well being tonight while you’re taking your pre-bedtime dump, won’t you?

Of course Abby couldn't have made this discovery before Penny’s departure, so now she’ll play some ketchup of her own and do the first leg of their itinerary solo. No idea why she couldn’t have just traveled ahead and met Nickel immediately, but then we wouldn’t have a movie. Why? Because Dime gets kidnapped. Not ready to cancel your plane tickets to Thailand yet? Well, the people who take her are dressed in those aforementioned clown masks. Calling the airline now to see if you can get a refund? I thought so. Besides, why travel when you can spend summer break crashed on your couch in your underthings (or, if you’re like myself, au natural) with the AC cranked to “Absolute Zero” as you eat can after can of overstuffed ravioli and play your favorite video games? I’m currently working through Saint’s Row IV right now. Did you know you can dress up your character in a MechaGodzilla costume?! It’s true taint-tingling terrificness!

Anyway, Abby isn’t aware of her sister-from-another-mister’s peril, so she simply does the tourist thing for a bit as intended. Her only communications from Quarter involve random pics without any accompanying messages to explain them, which our heroine chalks up to her still having rump rash about the whole “I’d rather spend summer break with the boyfriend that you’ve repeatedly informed me is a heaping piece of pooper pie than go to on a tropical dream vacation with my oldest, dearest friend” drama. Along her travels, she meets a pair of fellow out-of-towners in Ben (Keenan Henson) and Jewel (Caitlyn Cromwell/Stryker, the writer-director’s wife), who approach her under the most suspicious of methods when Ben steals her backpack. He returns it to her right after though, calking it up to a lesson that she should keep on her toes lest she be destitute (given that she’s already Pennyless *rimshot*) and giving bareback Around the Worlds to American businessmen by Tuesday.

A bit douchey, but in that “big brother tough love” sorta way, Abby accepts the advice as well as the offer to tag along with the couple. Their reason for being in Thailand is so Brad can traverse the whole of Southern Asia, shooting a wanna-be VICE style vid about the things backpackers experience while trekking through third world countries. I think. I don’t really know what his point is, because it all just looks like a tourism video to sell Thai travel packages to college kids back in the states. They also fraternize with a fellow outsider named Dale (writer-director Brad Stryker), an Aussie guy there for the nightlife, the pretty scenery, and to bang as many random prostitutes dressed in “sexy (career here)” Halloween costumes as his down under can afford. I’d advise him to make sure the females he’s bedding are actual females, given that it’s Thailand and all, but somehow Dale seems like the type of guy that wouldn’t really care either way once his Foster’s and Cialis cocktail kicked in.

And for anyone protesting that Foster’s isn’t what actual Australians drink, it’s okay. Stryker was born in fucking Oregon, so he’s about as not an actual Australian as a white person can get. His put-on accent (as in “put-on like Kris Kross’ pants – incorrectly”) will support me on that.

When Abby does finally get the confirmation video that Half-Dollar has been Taken-ed, the young lady’s clown cloaked absconders have two simple demands – (1) Do NOT tell anyone about the crime and (2) continue on with the plans to rock n’ roll all night and party every day. If Abs can ignore the anxiety of her best friend’s peril and embrace the drunken American party girl stereotype inside her that she came to Thailand to rediscover in the first place, then they’ll release their abductee and the girls can be reunited. That’s…weird. Have I been lied to my entire life and the point of kidnappings isn’t to demand ransoms, but rather force people to live the Miller High Life?! Because as much as I love some of the people in my life, I wouldn’t be willing to drink excessively of such bottled piss swill for the return of some of them.

Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t so much the case. When Absinthe breaks the first rule of fight club and talks about fight club with B&J, Ben (last name “Dover”?) introduces her to the world of Southern Asia’s newest craze – staged abductions! Seems that there’s a whole subgenre of today’s Generation Meme culture dedicated to setting up false kidnappings for the sake of “reminding people how to have fun”, then posting the reaction videos online when the victim is told it was all for funsies. Just psychologically scarring, emotionally terrorizing, friendship shattering funsies. Fucking people and their fucking reaction videos. It was funny for about 5 minutes in the wake of the “2 Girls 1 Cup” epidemic, but I never wanna see another one of those stupid things again. Unless it involves the kind of reaction George Clooney had when he found Brad Pitt hiding in his closet. Now THAT’s a multi-million views moment!


(Today’s lesson: don’t come out of the closet to Worst Batman)

Additionally, what the frosted fucks does that ambiguous “reminding people how to have fun” description mean? In this case, “people” refers to adults and “have fun” refers to intoxicating ones self to the point of long term brain damage because your friends apparently only like you when you're making as asshole out of yourself in public, throwing up $60 in margaritas, and blacking out so you can put yourself at risk of being sexually assaulted by any horny festering pustule excuse for a human being that happens to be passing by. Given the length of that explanation, you can see the need for the “TL;DR” version provided.

And so we’re left with the mystery of whether this is a legitimate criminal situation by a Thai maniac clowning with their prey, or if it’s all just a really shitty scheme by Hay Penny to make Abby abandon the maturity of adulthood and “loosen up”. Which is just a dickhead way of Sixpence (who’s none the richer… *rimshot*) saying that she fundamentally intends to drag her friend down so she herself doesn’t need to be alone in her terror of growing up and assuming responsibilities that she’s not ready for. Could she have opted for a less vindictive, “Reverse Jigsaw” method? Maybe. But that would kill Stryker’s entire effort to make something he likely mistook as being “visionary”.

Not only does what could have been a decent little flick foil itself in the finish with a fumbled finale, but Stryker opted to be the seventy-thousandth indie movie director to think they’re the one who’s going to breathe unasked for life into the fetid, deflated lungs of the “found footage” movie, completely ignoring the Do Not Resuscitate notice the subgenre has hanging around its neck. And it’s not even some semi-reasonable bullshit like the Paranormal Activity security cam footage concept, it’s just yet another instance of the characters shooting their own videos of the proceedings, likely until they all die, never putting the camera down no matter how much immediate peril they’re put in. Once they’re dead, all of this “found footage” then gets spliced (I guess “merged” would be the modern digital version?) by some unknown editor who cobbles together a single project whose final cut just happens to be very movie-like, both in structure and length, and includes numerous clearly not found helicopter shots and professionally framed footage of the landscapes. Sounds like mister first-time feature couldn’t play it casual and stick with his own theme. I guess you can’t “make the environment a character” without pricey aerial establishing shots, eh?

Land of Smiles makes some attempt at explaining itself in the finish, but does about as well as a stoner trying to explain to their probation officer that their eyes are red because they “just have bad hay fever”. It even comes with a lazy, forced Shyamalanian pseudo-twist hanging off of its ass, metaphorically wrapping the whole thing up in a way that’s equivalent to actually wrapping a broken toaster with soiled newspapers, not unlike those I put around Bastet’s litter box so she won’t track her shit grit into my bed during one of her 2am “u up?” booty calls. I haven’t been this aggravated about such a fucking stupid, pointless, shoved-in-dry, “for the sake of getting one over on the audience” Chubby Checker conclusion since The Bone Collector (aka “That there Bone Crusher” to quote a private joke). It’s not even the whole ending, either! If you circumcised Styrker’s failed attempt at being cutesy with his end credits sequence, it would’ve been a perfectly fine ending to a mediocre thriller. As is, though, you may audibly boo it the same way I did. Try not to wake up your downstairs neighbor when you do so the same way I did, otherwise you too will have very awkward mailbox interactions for the next few days also…

All of that nonsense aside (if you can put the last minute alteration of the entirety of the movie’s story “aside”), Stryker’s other major effort goes into the “ugly behind the beauty” theme he seems to believe he himself created. In case the fact that you’re watching a HORROR movie titled Land of Smiles is too subtle for you, the guy includes numerous shots of beautiful locales populated by beautiful people having beautiful good times with beautiful beautiful party party yadda yadda blah blah inter-cut with moments of our protagonists freaking out (again and again and again) and vids of Penny maybe-or-maybe not being tortured. It’s juxtaposition overload! It’s the hallmark of a film school student who doesn’t respect their audience’s intelligence/awareness, so they spend too much time hitting us over the head with it to make sure we get the point. Though, as we all know, no one will ever truly get the deep introspective point of Mr. Stryker’s art because, well, he’s a creator while we the audience are simply refuse in his path to brilliance.

Except for those who leave 8+ star reviews on IMDB. Clearly they “get it”…

In case you require more evidence of my claim (like the police insisted on that time I accused my aforementioned downstairs neighbor of shitting on my doormat), observe the name of Stryker's self-production company as Exhibit D –

That’s not a ‘shop job, kids. He actually calls it “Stryke-Force Films”. A guy who wants us to take his very serious horror movie very seriously sticks a name like that onto the opening. For Francis Ford Fuckula’s sake, this is not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary tale. This is for real. He’s Tommy Wiseau without the charming Ed Wood-ian naivete. I can only hope that whichever family members he conned into putting up the money for this vacation-turned-movie are the “more money than brains” type, otherwise I fell sorry for them.

But, despite all of this fresh personal contempt I’ve discovered for one Bradley Stryker, Land of Smiles isn’t a terrible movie. It’s better-than-bad without quite reaching the lofty levels of “good” as established by Log (*from BLAMMO!™). It at least makes an effort to do something uncommon if not new (even going so far as name dropping The Game as the in-continuity inspiration for the fake kidnapping business), and the cast (excluding Stryker’s needlessly Australian Dale that is) does a well enough job conveying their fear to keep playing along while Ben urges the girls on. Whether his motivations are as altruistic for Penny as he claims them to be, or he just wants to finish his video project like the girls have growing suspicions of is never entirely clear, which works in the flick’s favor. Oh, and if you close your eyes, there are times you’d swear Keenan Henson’s lines were being delivered by a manic Vince Vaughn. It’s neither a pro nor a con, really, unless you’re Isla Fisher’s character from Wedding Crashers, in which case it’ll probably create a babbling brook down your thigh.

I have a titanium firm “no toilet sex” rule, but ever since that movie she gets an exclusive pass. Well, her and Barbara “Megan Halsey” Crampton, but she’s of an unlimited classification all her own. Don’t ask me the acts I would do for that woman, lest ye have a cast iron constitution or have long lost your soul to the dark horrors of the internet.

Oh, back on topic, as much as I hate The Blair Witch Project for its piss poor “let’s just say ‘fuck’ a lot because we can’t ad lib to save our thrice damned lives” improvised dialogue, it was at least more realistic than a lot of the supposedly “real footage” exchanges in Land of Smiles. Blame the actors for not being able to make it believable or blame Stryker for a clunky script, but either way it doesn’t help sell the lie that we’re meant to get lost in. In spite of my gripes about this, the crap ending, and a shooting style too schizo to settle on whether it’s trying to be a traditional movie or a vacation video, the movie is still oddly watchable! Weird, right?! I know! I’m as shocked to type it as you are to read it! So, yeah, there are way worse ways to wear out your eyeballs for an hour or two and if that’s enough of an endorsement for you to seek LoS out, have at it, friends.

Whether Brad (the director, not the cheating boyfriend…though Stryker could very well be the type who needs a woman to tell him he has a big dick to perform) can parlay his first feature into a career win in the long run or not, only time will tell. Whether the sparks of potential are enough to feed a flame of success, at least he can fall back on his extensive work as a bit part player in TV shows and direct-to-DVD movies. It may not make him a household name, but at least it pays the bills!… I presume.

My role as the grand marshal of this parade of fools continues next time (and four or so times again after that) with a movie that’s, well, less a movie than a digital version of a lost Hippolytus de Marsiliis torture method. While you look that name up, I’m gonna casually slip away via the escape hatch I had installed under my desk… CIAO!

Moral of the Story: A walk down “thunder road” with Dale is no kind of picnic… so, maybe don’t try to have a picnic there… or at least don’t invite Dale… who’s a monkey wrench sized tool anyway and would more than likely ruin the potato salad by putting his dick in it as a “joke”.

Screenshots_____

“I never understood how these stupid horoscopes work. What does my having been born in the first week of November have to do with not being compatible with someone born in mid-June?! I call bullshit… So, what does mine say?


I understand that this guy’s probably doing the clown thing to work out some deeply depressing personal issues, but you may not want to do the “limp flower as a metaphor for my erectile dysfunction” bit around the ladies.


“Shit! That’s the fourth iPhone I’ve lost to the porcelain Sarlak pit this year! There goes the rest of my savings.”


Sarah and Elaine’s attempt to resurrect the “Girls Gone Wild” series with all of the drinking and partying minus the nudity and “lesbian stuff” proved grossly unsuccessful.


“Why do you need such a big backpack?”
“So I can sleep inside it at night while hanging it from a tree to avoid bears!”


“I keep telling ya, love, even if there were sharks this far inland, they wouldn’t come after ya! Just because you’re on your period doesn’t mean you’re ‘bikini chum’!”


“I don’t get it. I ask you what a ‘lemon party’ is and now you’re recording me watching a video? You’re so weird.”


“I hope you’re at least not being cheap and paid extra for a reach around, Greg.”


“Welcome to ‘Clowning Around’ with your host, Zippo VonLaughsalot. This week’s contestant is Janet, and she’ll be playing ‘What’s Crawling On My Leg?’ for her chance at a $25 Best Buy gift card!”


“I know it’s tradition to swallow the worm when drinking a bottle of Mezcal, but that thing last night… it had a face… a human face! I swear it looked at me and mouthed my name before… before… oh god, what have I done?!”


Oh jeez. I hooked up with her at last call a month ago and the bitch gave me crabs. Let’s just go before she… DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER! GAH! RUN!


It’s sad to know I will never be as happy as she is right now. Let’s not ruin it and tell her that every stray cat in the neighborhood makes that place their litter box.


Uh-oh! Looks like some tourists discovered their hotel’s hidden toilet cameras!


I’m not the most culturally educated man-jackal, but I can’t imagine it’s very sanitary of Thailand letting elephants just leave piles of number two in their human restrooms.


Laugh all you like, but lonely weirdos pay $200 a night just to watch her sleep on a webcam site!


“You know what I hate? Stupid assholes in goofy rubber clown masks that sneak up on people to try and scare them… Damn it, there’s one right behind me, isn’t there?”


“Wow! These Gushers fruit snacks really are bursting with fruit flavor!”


This is why I stopped going to the local beer garden during carnival season.


And this is why I started going to the local strip club during carnival season!

———————————————————
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Anubis will return in
“The Inbred Clown Posse”

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

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Feature 97 – 100 Tears (2007)

or “How Gurdy Got His Groove Back”

Featuring: Georgia “Vampire Biker Babes” Chris , Joe “Experiment 7” Davison , Jack “Experiment 7” Amos

Director: Marcus “Rot” Koch

Writer: Joe “Experiment 7” Davison

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You crazy clown bastard! I just mopped these floors!”

You know what I hate? Ironing. You know what else I hate? Irony. Not all irony, just the kind that inconveniences me personally. Like when I’m taking bottles back to the store and their machine, which accepts brands sold exclusively by other stores, will NOT accept drink bottles of their own fucking in-house brands! Slanderman’s Amerika just started and already shit’s going to Hel in a knock-off Louis Vuitton. SAD.

I wish I could indulge in the blissful levels of cognitive dissonance that Cheeto Chiang Kai-shek’s supporters must live in to not only vote the fuck face into office, but continue to sing his praises after the litany of idiocy he continues to vomit from his ass day in and day out. Oh well, ignorance is bliss so I’ll forever be a pessimist. And pissed. And impossible to resist. But not a pacifist. Nor a partaker of the Eucharist. I prefer my flesh and blood consumption to be legitimate and not just some weak cheese metaphor for sipping wine and eating salt-free crackers. Speaking of flesh and blood, let’s review 100 Tears!

The heroes of our picture are Mark Webb (Joe Davidson) and Jen Stevenson (Georgia Chris). The duo are co-writers of made-up articles (you know, ones about “alternative facts”) for a grocery store checkout line tabloid rag called The Midnight Star. This may or may not be a reference to the newspaper Weird Al sang about in the track of the same name, but either way I’d like to clutch my heightened nerd awareness and continue with that line of thinking. It’s assuredly not to be confused with the band Midnight Star, who taught us all the dangers of parking on the dance floor. Thank you for your service, gentlemen. We salute you.


Unable to decide between the raising of the Titanic or the further adventures of Reptile Boy, the pair put their paying job on the back burner for a few days and turn their focus instead on trying to be real reporters by cracking the case of the infamous Teardrop Killer. According to the info provided to her by Jen’s sister in the FBI, Teardrop has iced in excess of 160 people up and down the East Coast over the course of the last 2 decades. Their only info about the monster? He leaves a bloody teardrop smeared at the scenes, hence the name… and that’s all they know?! A maniac violently dismembers people in the triple digits for TWENTY YEARS and all the fucking FBI have come up with is a sugar-free gum equivalent codename for him?! Herbert Hoover must be rolling in his muumuu and high heels!

As “only in the movies” luck would have it, that very night said slayer takes it upon himself to maul, maim and dismember an entire halfway house of fresh victims! What do we know that the FBI doesn’t? The killer is a big & tall guy dressed like a clown who wields a giant meat cleaver that he may have stumbled across in an abandoned slaughterhouse while looking for a place to get in out of the rain and slip in a quick gherkin jerkin’. After the facial devastation of an unfortunate gent in the basement, this Walter Paisley art expedition’s second project is a presumed ex-military dude (unless his dog tags are from Hot Topic and have pictures of Shrek on them) whose best haymakers don’t even faze the grease-painted assailant! Maybe G.I. Joey here got a dishonorable discharge because he throws punches like a Keebler elf? Gung-Ho he’s not.


(Bet you didn’t know the US Military subliminally advertised to gay children in the ’80s.)

The evisceration of a half-dozen people not withstanding, I have some quick thoughts about this killing spree. First, human anatomy. Did you know that you can kill a man instantly by jamming a meat clever into his taint? One whack and two seconds later you’ve got yourself a fresh carcass. It’s true! Speaking of truth, despite being told since childhood that seppuku resulted in literal hours of agony before the participant would finally give up the ghost (I had a good childhood), it turns out that was a lie. As one young female victim shows us, slicing someone’s stomach open also warrants an immediate need for a body bag. All the death without the wait! Additionally, despite what movies like American History X would lead us to believe, the human skull is not nearly as strong as you might think. As our killer clown demonstrates for us, a single stomp from a man’s foot (at least one encased in a comically oversized novelty shoe) causes an adult woman’s head to burst like a balloon full of crimson Karo syrup. No brains, no skull fragments, just a splatter of red goo. Slim Goodbody lied to us all! No wonder he always hid his head under that afro!

As for the halfway house itself, the kitchen seemingly double as a laundry room given the washing machines and coin-op detergent vendor stuffed in the corner. I can’t imagine that’s up to snuff per local health codes, given the risk of cross contamination between the food and shit like laundry soap and whatever microbial eldritch horrors might be living in the occupants’ bedsheets, towels and *dry heave* their skivvies… BLART! Additionally, what kind of halfway house has a big sign on its front door broadcasting that there’s an ATM on the premises? Aren’t those usually saved for corner shops and liquor stores? Unless of course it’s advertising the presence of a prostitute on the premises who offers ass-to-mouth. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Come morning, after Jen wakes up atop Mark (in their shared futon, because they’re also roommates and I guess they don’t have their own bedrooms?) and they have more wacky “fat guy and hot girl” sexual tension (including her offering to fuck him in the shower if he can do 100 sit-ups, followed by his farting in her face as he stands over her) before a hot tip about last night’s bloodbath prompts them to rush to the scene of the crime. They bribe a detective associate of theirs (Rod Grant) to let them take pics of the slaughter before the clean up crews come in to scrub the gore. Finding a terrified girl in hiding, our heroes rightly chastise the cops for not finding her themselves during their own sweep of the premises and learn from the lass that the killer in question was dressed like a clown. So, having been on the case of the Teardrop Killer for all of 15 hours, the pair have already learned more about the mofo than the FBI has in twenty years? Crow T. Robot.

J & M also learn from the attending pig that two other residents of the house are unaccounted for, prompting us to an as-yet-undetermined locale where Bloodthirsty Bozo is revealed to have nabbed the missing couple and taken them home to finish off like human doggy bags. But why? You’ve gotta imagine it’d be more effort than it’s worth to drag two live people across town just so you can kill them there shortly after. Why give yourself additional work to do disposing of them on top of getting them there rather than just adding them to the rest of the mutilated bodycount at the scene of the crime?! How has this putz successfully evaded the feds for this fucking long doing dipshit stuff like this?!

Following up on the clown gimmick, our intrepid off-brand Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson seek a lead at a nearby carnival, interviewing a foul-mouthed old bartender (whose shouting voice sounds oddly like Super Dave Osborne) named Ed (Jerry Allen) and a bite-size circus barker porn mag enthusiast named Draga (Norberto Santiago). Though both peg the pair as cops at first, once our protags ID themselves as tabloid writers hunting a lead the carnies are more than happy to accommodate. Right around here is when we focus our attention elsewhere in the neighborhood and are introduced to Christine (Raine Brown) – a thrift store Harley Quinn who professes an affinity for clowns and a violent dislike for those pesky “normies”, which is a term that Norm Petersen fanboys call themselves. Didn’t know such people existed? Sure they do! They converge for their own convention in Boston once a year, where they cosplay as the iconic alcoholic and occupy the stools of the local drinking establishments for a weekend long bar crawl, nursing beers and shouting “NORM!” every time one of them comes through the front door. No, seriously! Google it!

Oh, and since George Wendt almost never comes up in casual conversation, I’d like to take this chance to tell everyone that he played Dean Halsey in a production of Re-Animator: the Musical that The Evil Dead Bride and I attended some years ago when we still lived in the teeming, heaving mass of bodies and filth you call New York City. He was…okay. True story!

Christine will have a more important role in our tale later on, but for her first few scenes we just kinda watch her get dressed up, go to a bar, pick up some random perm-haired nerd who she convinces to go down on her in an alley (not even with an immunity to STDs and all of my taste buds burned off would I do such a thing to someone I’d just met in a bar) before slitting the chump’s throat and leaving him for a wino to stumble upon later while, she goes home to carve emo etchings on her abdomen for further jollies. Despite this portrayal, keep in mind that the majority of self-cutters aren’t interested in hurting others, just themselves. So if you should see someone with scars on their arms/legs/whatever, fear for them more so than for yourself. Anyway, yeah, now our movie has two killers. When they inevitably meet in the second or third act, do you think they’ll have a team-up or a face-off? Before we answer that…

While Mr. Webb and Miss Stevenson follow up on some other potential leads, Drags is confronted by the obese mirth murderer who threatens short legs’ tiny life until he trades Clowny his continued existence for a piece of paper containing the address of a woman named Tracy. When our would-be Woodward and Bernstein come back to check on half-pint, he spills the garbanzos on all the circustral shenanigans and gore-soaked goings-on. Roll that beautiful bean footage!

The clown’s name is Gurdy (not a great clown name…too close to “Turdy”) and he used to work with Draga at the same circus 20 or so years ago. At the time, two teenage girls named Roxie and Tracy ran away from home and joined said three ring mobile home as carnie groupies. Some ladies just love tiny hands and the overwhelming stench of month old boiled cabbage. I don’t get it either, but every relationship I’m in has to be inter-species, so I don’t judge what gets the blood flowing to your genitalia. Anyway, Roxie shacked up with sideshow strongman Ralphio, while Tracy indulged her fetish for balloon sex toys by sharing sheets with the Gurdler. Turned out that Roxie, despite getting the less nightmare inducing of the potential suitors, was still a cockblocking cunt that didn’t want Tracy being happy too. So, while Trace was getting her womb seltzered, Rox told ‘Phio that Gurds was actually raping her. You know what’s the only thing that makes the idea of being sexed by a clown worse? Being sexed by a clown against your will. The sound of his horn honking as it’s repeatedly mashed between your bodies…

Uggh, I just threw up. Not a little either. It looks like someone just dumped a gallon of Dollar Embargo vegetable soup and a sleeve of mashed up Saltines on my couch. Who wants to take bets on how long I can keep typing through the smell?

A social justice warrior for his time (not a bad thing, despite what tiny penised douche boys would tell you), Ralph didn’t take Roxie’s declaration well and laid a wall-to-wall walloping on Gurdy, stomping his ass like it was flaming bag of dogshit. And just like stomping said immolated brown paper IED, the strongman instantly regrets his actions, because Big Top Shakes responded by strangling Rox and jamming a tent stake through the back of big boy’s brain case. Citing the landmark case of Eye v. Eye, the rest of the circus folk “dealt with Gurdy for good” in a way whose specifics are never explained. Unless Gurds is a literal ghoul (which might explain why he doesn’t talk), I’m presuming “dealing with him” didn’t include killing him, as you might expect. Whatever the case, the painted madman has been cutting throats and gutting folks, following his old place of employment up and down the East Coast ever since. Draga says you could always “feel his presence” at the circus despite having never seen Gurdy in person since the incident. So, now big murderous old Gurdy has finally found Tracy, who he’s been searching for all this time…while slaughtering people for…no…real…reason.

I know it wasn’t easy to find caulrophiles back in the ’80s, but if someone had just shown Gurdy OkCupid or Craigslist or JuggaLove, he could’ve given up his desperate quest to find Tracy and a whole lot of nameless extras would still be alive today.

Speaking of dead extras, while all this has been playing out, Gurdles has been adding a whole lotta notches to the handle of his giant guillotine blade with a handle. His current crash pad is the basement of a local warehouse, and when the place’s realtor stops by with a pair of potential tenants, all three are turned into stew meat for a cannibal potluck. Not exactly smart given that the realtor’s secretary knows where the guy was when last he spoke to her, so when neither he nor the two other guys he took with him return, that’s an easy call to the police to send someone by to check the property out. She doesn’t and they don’t though, but a rent-a-cop instead finds the bloody remnants of the guy in his SUV later that night, which Gurdy just LEFT OUT IN FRONT OF THE WAREHOUSE. Again, HOW THE FUCK DID THIS GUY LEAVE THE FBI CHASING ITS OWN FUCKING TAIL FOR TWENTY YEARS?!

Gurdy’s decades long search for his lost love is all for naught though, as he finds her on the floor of her home with her throat slit! Who could’ve done such a thing? Yep, you guessed it, Christine is Tracy’s daughter and she just killed dear old mom. Rather than hanging the girl by her own intestinal tract for killing the woman he’s spent half a lifetime hunting, Gurd kidnaps Chris (seems she’s only good at killing people who don’t expect it), takes her back to his wretched basement apartment and reveals to her what we’ve all been expecting this whole time – she’s his daughter. Contrived as it is, it’s much better than the other possible outcome, which would’ve been Christine being his new groupie. Not only would that have likely resulted in an ipecac of a sex scene, but it also would’ve made zero fucking sense that a random civilian thrill killer would have known about Gurdy and been able to track him down when, again, the FBI (Fucking Bunch of Idiots) are all too busy giving themselves first-person colonoscopies.

Despite the initial horror of a big psycho clown materializing in her home mere moments after giving her own mom a botched second-chinectomy, Christine seems pretty nonplussed by her poppa’s sudden appearance. She also doesn’t seem all that confused as to why he’s a mute, nor does she question the validity of his claim, and instead just accepts the whole thing as legit. The pair have an instantaneous connection and waste no time getting to the daddy-daughter bonding stuff either, when a gaggle of convenient twenty-somethings out to rave the night away pick the absolute wrong seemingly abandoned warehouse to pass their tress…tress their pass? Whatever, Officer Leroy! (Sifl & Olly joke, so don’t feel bad if that one lost ya) Brandishing the massive slice n’ dicer and a sledgehammer between them, Gurds and Whey make quick work of the kids in their typical gory fashion. Naturally the prey are all too terrified to stop and realize they outnumber their attackers 5-to-1, or that Tweedledaughter shouldn’t be too hard to disarm while awkwardly wielding that big clumsy hammer around, but this world is generally populated by the kind of morons that always come to mind when you ponder just how the “so-and-so wouldn’t know the difference between their asshole and a hole in the ground” witticism gained so much traction.

In our flick’s big finale, Matt & Jen are clued in to the locale of our killers by FBI sister (based on the guard’s SUV discovery the night before) so they head out to investigate before the place is taken over by feds. On the way, they call in their local police squad pals (one of which just wants to bone Jen, not that I blame him) so they won’t be without some form of backup. Rather than wait for the 2 guys with the guns to show up (and it is just the two, since neither apparently thought it a good idea to call in the rest of the pig parade precinct to take down a SERIAL KILLER RESPONSIBLE FOR 200 OR SO MURDERS), our intrepid investigators search the basement of sins (that appears to be lit by some battery powered stick-up lights and a blacklight from Spencer’s Gifts) and end up face-to-painted face with Gurdy. A struggle ensues and Matt shows us that he’s never fired a gun in his life, shooting off a few rounds without so much as a scratch. All the sadder because Gurdy’s of sizable carriage. Have I mentioned that? That he’s fat? I did? How about old? Did I mention that he’s also old? I did. Okay. Just making sure.

Discount bin Crockett and Tubbs show up soon after, but in the interest of expediting these final 15 minutes, let’s leave it at this – the daddy-daughter duo are too much for the quartet. Despite the movie’s earlier exchange of the ex-military dude punching Evil Binky repeatedly in the face to no effect, Mike socks the lummox once in the mouth and fatty’s left reeling like friggin’ Glass Joe. His Tyson-like punches (less the boxer and more the frozen chicken products) notwithstanding, the illegitimate son of Louis C.K. ultimately takes a bullet in the mouth and sheds his mortal coil. The white cop gets his throat slit by Christine (who pretends to be poppa’s prisoner), the black cop (Kibwe Dorsey) gets his head lopped off by the novelty sized butchering implement, and Jen gets slashed up by Chris’ razor blade, has her spine tenderized twice via sledgehammer and finally has her face smashed into the floor multiple times before being left for dead…which she clearly isn’t, as her eyes are wide open and she’s still breathing and writhing around. Rookie mistake on daddy’s little monster’s part. Speaking of, Chris shoots her father in the head (cuz bitches be cray-cray, y’all!) before leaving the scene of the crime. She ends the flick Bill Bixbying down an empty backroad before bursting into 100 Tears‘ final splatter of hemoglobin when she’s street pizza-ed by…Jen. Do Greek women have adamantium skeletons by nature? I mean, even if she didn’t endure multiple concussions from having her face repeatedly bounced off of concrete, I’m pretty sure those SLEDGEHAMMER SHOTS DIRECTLY TO HER SPINE should’ve turned her into b-horror Ironside!

But, you know, movies. What are ya gonna do?

And that’s our movie. It’s truly an HG Lewis flick for the modern age (besides 2001 Maniacs, Blood Feast 2 and so forth). Not because it’s in any way revolutionary or controversial, just because its only real selling point is its graphic violence! It’s a gore whore’s goregasmic delight to behold. The red stuff and chunky inner bits are so prevalent that the movie was given an NC-17 rating for “extreme horror violence”. A badge of honor I’m sure those behind it are proud to display! As they should be. Said splatter showcase is one of the finest (if absurdest) bloodbaths to hit my screen since the last time I watched Evil Dead 2, which any fan of cinematic viscera will recognize as high praise. Give me practical effects for the win, Peter Marshall!

In contrast, 100 Tears‘ story is the whitest of white breads in terms of slasher fare. Think Wonder Bread dipped in a jar of Miracle Whip and fed to an albino polar bear. Whiter than the sheets the republican party wear on their weekend “retreats”. A man and a woman track down a serial killer with a gimmick? Meh. His gimmick is that he’s a clown? And he’s hunting down a figure from his past? Meh again. His murder weapon of choice is a massive meat cleaver? Okay, it’s not just another machete or power tool, so that’s fine. Sadly, making matters worse, this shoestring plot’s got more holes in it than the dozens of apple pies in Jason Biggs’ linen closet. When you’re telling us that the FBI have near-zero info on a serial killer responsible for the deaths of more than 160 people over a twenty year stretch, all of which just happened to be done along the coastal route of the same traveling circus every year over that period, it’s mentally comparable to getting a fucking sliver! It just sits there, stinging and infuriating me more and more as I gnaw at it unsuccessfully in impotent frustration.

Don’t read anything more into that last part, either! Those pills I ordered from Canada are for my liver and nothing else!

On top of that, we only ever get to see Gurdles either in full clown regalia or in the final stages of applying his makeup. Given as such, he must spend time without the greasepaint on if he has to paint himself up again. He has to have more duds in his wardrobe than just his work clothes too, otherwise that shit would’ve been reduced to tatters, cuffs and a collar after twenty years of constant usage! One would have to presume that Gurdy has a secret identity, right? A persona under which you would image he does odd jobs or something to contribute to his basic nutritional needs and travel budget? Or has he just been dumpster diving half-eaten corn dogs from the carnival’s midway trash cans, hence his constant “presence” since his disappearance that Draga refers to? And mayhaps he was just really good at hiding amid the trucks and trailers so no one ever caught him hitching a ride every time they pulled up stakes and moved on? If the devil is in the details, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this flick to any Satan worshipers…

Of which Satanists are not included, so stop being so egocentric with your ignorance to the workings of religions that aren’t your own.

The cast is every bit as amateurish as you’d expect from a homemade horror movie, with writer-star Joe Davison playing comedy relief and giving himself the best lines of the script. At least he delivers them better than I imagine most writers probably would. Georgia Chris and Raine Browne were okay. If nothing else, Raine wasn’t nearly as bad in her pseudo-Harley Quinn role as Margot Robbie was in her actual Harley Quinn role, so…there’s that. I guess. Santiago, sadly enough, seems to have been cast simply for his stature rather than his acting talent. The guy staggers over his lines as if he were a first timer, of which I’m relatively assured he was. If you told me he had even a week of acting classes, or Hel, even some high school drama club experience, I’d probably slap your mother for raising such a foul liar.

As for Amos’ portrayal of Gurdy? For starters, he didn’t have a single line to utter, so he’s off the hook there. His physical stuff was good though. His imposing size and massive cleaver did a lot of the work for him, but his use of the classic movie-killer head tilt was well done. On the downside, the way he’d fling Ol’ Chopper (my name for his cleaver) over his shoulder with a heavy cockiness to his mannerisms and a sneer on his lips just came off as silly bullshit. I’d ask for some leeway when it comes to the cast though, as I’m guessing that a number of these scenes were made under the Roger Corman “one and done” method, because if there were multiple takes and these were the best performances they opted to keep, that’s going to keep me up at night.

So goes today’s feature, 100 Tears. Come for the gory clown violence, stay for…more gory clown violence. If fake blood drenching the screen ain’t your thing, don’t bother tracking this one down, as that’s about all it has to offer. Can’t say a lot for Koch’s directing (especially the lack of fucking lighting in the last 15 minutes), but his special effects are worthy of a girthy upward pointing thumb! Good to see that’s where he’s spent most of his 20 year career.

Before we go, I’ve got one final bone to pick. During Draga’s first scene, things get jarringly goofy when Matt and Jen resort to chasing him on foot through a lightly wooded area. Fat guy awkwardly running after a midget? You betcha.


“Get in mah belly!”

It’s not the chase itself from which said bone protrudes however, but rather the accompanying music that gave me cause to pause. Why? Because it steals the opening to Gogol Bordello’s “I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again”, the 2nd track off of their 2005 album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike! I only say “stolen” because there’s no credit accredited said band anywhere in the credits. In other words, well, it’s stolen. So here I am, making sure the lads from the Lower East Side get as much recognition for their work as, well, posting it here will give them.

Moral of the Story: The dead don’t Cha-Cha. No, we’re more about the Electric Slide and the Butter Churn down here.

Screenshots_____

You don’t wanna know where that finger’s been. Clowns are disgusting creatures by nature.


“You’re putting too much effort into the jokes actually being funny. We’re writing a sitcom about a fat guy (me) married to an attractive wife (you). Whether it’s funny or not, there’s no way one of the major networks won’t give us a 2 season deal!”


She thinks she’s on hold with the Suicide Prevention Hotline, but it’s actually one of those morning radio show prank calls.


“Heh heh. Just look at that bisection job! Damn, I’m good. Look out world, Gurdy’s coming for ya!”


If “The Truck Stop Massacre” isn’t already in production at Troma, I’ll be disappointed.


Portrait of a man who will never have sex with his hot female friend. Been there, done that, walked out of the sequel.


“Of course I’m a detective! Just look at my long coat, my taint-length tie and my dress shirt tucked into my high-waisted pants!”


Ladies, no matter how sexy it makes you feel, this is why you never go out in a skirt or dress without underwear. You never know when Aunt Flo is gonna make an unwanted visit.


“Alright, baby. Now I’m gonna show you how a real man… FUCK! YOU TOLD ME YOU’D ALREADY HAD THE SURGERY! GROSS!”


I hear they sold their original SCAT ride to a wealthy German Count.


I see somebody turned my worst Porta John experience into a logo. How fun.


“Sure, the internet may be filled with every kind of porn you can imagine, but you just can’t beat the feeling of a crinkled magazine between your fingers during ‘foreplay’. I guess I’m just a romantic!”


He’s the writer, the male lead AND he does his own stunts! Watch out Hollywood, because Joe Davison is a genuine triple threat!


“21 across – ’45th president of the United States’; 5 letters; begins with ‘P’. Any idea?”


And this, children, is why you never eat an entire package of Gushers fruit snacks at once.


“Try not to blow any of your lines on this take. We need to finish shooting this scene before the Olive Garden employees realize what we’re doing in here.”


On the drive home following Burning Man, Lisa realized that she had a lot of life choices to make that she just couldn’t put off anymore. She’d probably never be able to forget the things she saw that fateful weekend, but she preyed that somehow, somewhere down the line, she would one day be freed of those demons and learn to be human again.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Murderous Misadventures of the Crisco Kid”

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

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

Feature 80 – Dead Rising: Endgame (2016)

or “Not Just Another Zombie Movie (Yes It Is)”

Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Jessica “iZombie” Harmon , Dennis “The Unit” Haysbert

Director: Pat “Degrassi: the Next Generation” Williams

Writers: Tim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” Carter & Michael “Catwoman” Ferris

Sequel to: Dead Rising: Watchtower

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You’re outta control Chase. Are you a journalist or a vigilante?”

Welcome back, boils and ghouls. ‘Tis I, your humble narrator, thriving on the mundane and bleeding mediocrity as always. The Master of Mating Magnetism himself… keeping in mind that magnets both attract and repel… props to the Sonic commercial I stole that punchline from. Anyway, if I sound a bit disappointed today, it’s because I fell for one of those click bait articles about “SHOCKING CELEBRITY SUICIDES!” that uses a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas in the link. I clicked through all 200 pages of that fucking site and JTT wasn’t among them! From now on, I’m checking IMDB before getting my hopes up about forgotten ’90s quasi-celebs murdering themselves. Speaking of shat upon expectations, there were two things I was very much looking forward to experiencing last week: Burger King’s newest lifespan eroder, the Mac & Cheetos, and Crackle’s new original zombie-a-go-go, Dead Rising: Endgame. Of the two, one was moderately satisfying and the other was monstrously disappointing. Here’s a hint about which is which: the following review is for the shit show. Spoilers.

In case you missed my review for last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower (Episode 47, as seen here), here’s a quick refresher for the sequel. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game series. Each installment of which centers around a different male main character stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to survive with an armory of do-it-yourself weapons that combine everyday objects like a sledgehammer and a fire ax, a broadsword and motor oil, a vacuum cleaner and buzz saw blades, and so on and so forth. Watchtower opted not to adapt any of these games, and instead introduced us to a new protagonist named Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is an investigative reporter (cuz reporters are always chasing stories… get it?… do you get it?… you get it.) for an online-only news outlet that covers all the stories the “lamestream media” won’t, due to the whims of their corporate overlords and being on the short leash of their Wall Street masters and blah blah occupy blah blah blah.

Chase uncovered a conspiracy (as reporters in movies are oft to do), killed some zombies, “Point A? Meet Point B.”, nothing was resolved (gotta set it up for the sequel after all!), roll the credits. If you didn’t watch it and are one of those spoiler-phobic types, you might wanna end your experience here and return the unused portion of this review for a full refund. Being a sequel, major plot points from the previous picture need to be touched upon, and like a doctor giving you a physical, I wanna make said touching as non-awkward for you as possible. Your body is a magical, disgusting pile of nerves that react to stimulation in an aroused fashion independent of your brain sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone… please stop masturbating.

Still here? Okay. Let’s continue with the Ballad of Chase Carter… not to be confused with “The Ballad of Chasey Lane”, which is a Bloodhound Gang song that has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with analingus.

When we last left our venturesome muckraker, he had made a deal with one of the big TV news outlets to provide them with an exclusive story about the behind-the-scenes of a recent undead outbreak, including how it may have actually been caused by Phenotrans – the pharmaceutical company that produces the zombieism sytmying drug Zombrex™ and NOT a Phoenix based social group for trans people with dyslexia. It had something to do with bitten people being implanted with microchips that would track their vitals and release Zombrex™ into their systems as needed to prevent them from turning. Sinister Army man General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) wanted to weaponize the chips (or something. I don’t remember a whole lot from the first movie, to be fair) and instead used a portion of them to turn their users into the living dead, taking advantage of the resultant panic to manipulate things to his favor somehow… maybe… I don’t know. The end result was the eponymous program “Watchtower”, which instituted mandatory chipping for millions of otherwise uninfected civilians.

As we join our journalistic joy-boy Chase, he has indeed parlayed himself a well paying gig as a World War Z correspondent for UBN (let’s say “Universal Broadcast News”?). While sticking his nose into every hole he can find (dirty dirty dirty) to try and uncover evidence of Lyons’ wrong doings, he’s also trying to track down his former producer Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) who went missing at the end of Watchtower. It’s been a pair of calendars since the big outbreak, and despite East Mission City being voted Zombie Digest‘s “Biggest Necropolis of 2016”, the streets aren’t exactly teeming with bite bags. Another unfortunate instance of a low-budget movie bragging about having a 10 inch pocket monster when all they’re packing is a 2 inch pelvic thumb. Denoting your shortcomings beforehand is better than trying to excuse your lies after the fact. Admission over apologizing, people.

Despite his efforts, Chase is story-blocked by his bosses, who don’t need the hassle of a Phenotrans lawsuit or a government sanctioned mass execution to bring down their executive cocaine lunch highs. To continue down his checklist of “movie reporter tropes”, Chase ignores the demands of those-in-charge and continues to meddle in the matters of General Lyons, the Scooby-Doo to his Old Man Withers. Monotoned Army guy’s big scheme continues to revolve around those damn Big Brother chips, only this time he plans to insta-kill a few million people instead of just turning them into ghouls. With just 24 hours to put the ki-bosh on this “Afterlife” contingency, Double C and his elite Channel 6 News Team strike out to bring down Iran Contra II before it turns into September 11th IV. Said crew includes such movie caricatures as “sassy computer hacker girlfriend who owes the hero her life” (Maria Avgeropoulos), “tough talking cool guy that supplies the group with guns, who we first meet playing the video game the movie’s based on before he answers the door in his underwear and a robe” (Patrick Sabongui), “experienced news person who uses their connections to try and take down the evil corporation with the Power of the Press” (Jessica Harmon), “corporate whisteblower who will either turn on the heroes to save their own ass or die proving their dedication to doing what’s right” (Ian Tracey) and “character from the hero’s past who shows up to save them in the nick of time”. You know, all those old “seen it before” chestnuts.

Endgame follows much the same path that Watchtower did in regards to its influence from the games, only this time around the Zombie-Go-Round the marauding rejects from a Mad Max movie are replaced with a scurrilous gang of heroin handling (which is never reasoned why) mercenaries, the wacky interview segments with Dead Rising hero Frank West are dropped in favor of a much less wacky deus ex machina cameo by Dead Rising 2 protagonist Chuck Greene (Victor Webster), the creative engineering of mash-up weapons (all of which look too silly for a serious toned tale) feels tacked on now rather than a fun nod to fans of the games, and the previous flick’s “boss battle” finale is dropped in favor of a pair of dramatic stand-offs – one about two guys waiting for lab test results and the other over a computer virus’ upload progression bar… As the constipated old man said to his Depends, “I shit you not”.

By the time it was over, my faith in Dead Rising as a movie series had expired. Were you here, you would’ve heard the last gasps of hope leave my body via an audible sigh. It was as if the ghost of my own enjoyment had been exorcised by an ordained priest from the Church of Mediocrity. Though some would praise Endgame‘s eschewing of its comedic roots in favor of a more dire tone, I say thee nay. If I wanted my made-for-TV ghoulocausts to be low-budget bowls of freezer-burnt vanilla ice cream, I wouldn’t have relieved myself all over Rise of the Zombies way back in episode 6! No, I want my Dead Rising ice cream to be filled with sprinkles and gummi worms and little chocolate zombies, damn it! I said it when Michael Bay prison sexed the Ninja Turtles and I’ll say it again – if you’re just going to ignore 90% of the source material and do your own “in name only” thing, spare the fans your lazy cash-in and just call it something else! Then again, when one of your writers was responsible for the crime against geek humanity that is Catwoman, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for, right? No. That’s victim blaming, you asshole. Fuck you.

On the good side of things, Billy Zane himself shows up for a payday as a not-quite-mad-but-definitely-morally-spotty scientist! Not-so-good? His role has him onscreen for all of 5-10 minutes and lacks the Zane zaniness of something like his turn in Demon Knight that I was hoping to get when I saw him mentioned in the opening creds. On a less lackluster positive note, though, I have to admit that what action pieces we get are generally better put together than what we got in Watchtower. Chief among them for me being a Chase chase (wakka wakka!) sequence where he tries to escape the dead menace amid a series of escalators and an interestingly shot fight between the hero and some zombos in an operating room that shoots for what I can only describe as “tethered filming”.

So, all said and done, Endgame isn’t all bad. Generic, sure, but not a totally wasted 90 minutes of wear and tear on the eyeballs. It doesn’t leave me looking forward to the purported TV series that Crackle has in the works, but as a stand alone zombie movie, I’ve seen worse. Far worse. Skin-peelingly bad “I’d rather jam toothpicks under my toe nails than watch another minute of this” worse. Toe suckingly terrible stuff, folks. Seriously.

As previously noted, the biggest problem with the movie is making it 100% serious while still keeping the “Dead Rising” moniker. It’s tantamount to taking a charismatic, over-the-top madman like Jesse Ventura and casting him as a cookie-cutter, potatoes-without-the-meat, bland as raw tofu, good guy. How do you make an intergalactic space cop played by one of professional wrestling’s greatest a-holes a walking, talking sleeping pill? Abraxas. How do you suck all of the fun out of Dead Rising‘s wholesale zombie murdering and DIY death dealers? Endgame.

Hey, I wonder why they named the first movie after Lyons’ plan (“Watchtower”), but didn’t do the same with the sequel? “Afterlife” would’ve made for a better title, especially given that this clearly isn’t the series’ “endgame”, what with the TV show planned. Just junk food for thought.

Since it’s a Crackle exclusive, if you want to check out Endgame (or Watchtower for that matter) you can do so for free on the Crackle app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or TV streaming device of choice. Of course, you’ll have to sit through a shitload of commercials for that privilege, but nothing is truly free… unless you download it from a torrent site. Technology, you sex us so good!

Oh, and despite not making Mac & Cheetos wretched fried tripe, BK isn’t off the hook! One time they sold me onion rings and didn’t give me the designated sauce that goes with it. Onion rings without onion ring sauce is as much a crime as a Dead Rising sequel without Rob Riggle’s Frank West. And I was told this was the land of liberty. Oh the unabashed verisimilitude. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

Moral of the Story: At least I still have Dead Rising 4 to look forward to this year! Yay video games!

Screenshots_____


Those sadists in the Jackass crew have run out of wacky ideas and are just straight up mutilating themselves now.


I see someone never figured out how to turn the on-screen display off on their camera…


“Damn, baby! You looked a hell of a lot better last night when I had my Jack Daniels goggles on!”


She’s Selena Gomez-ing.


Dennis Haysbert parodying the McConaughey Lincoln commercials? You’re a few years late to the party, Allstate.


Hey, movie. You’re not endearing me to you any more so by showing me what I could be playing instead of watching you. Stop it.


“You mind if we stop by my dealer’s place real quick on the way to the airport? I’ve been itching for a fucking hit since lunch and I just can’t drive straight when I’m, well, straight! Oh, and can you give me a 5 star rating on Uber? It hasn’t been a good week.”


“Thanks for meeting me in secret… here in this public place… out in the open… during the day… You’ve never done corporate espionage work before, have you?”


A human pinata! THAT’s what I want for my birthday next year!


“My custom weapons are NOT stupid looking and cumbersome! They’re friggin’ AWESOME! You’re gonna owe me so many Mac & Cheetos when you see how right I am and these save your dumb life!”


For those cold footed husband-to-be out there hoping the zombie apocalypse will be a good enough reason to cancel your marriage? She will find you. And eat you.


“What are you two doing?! Do you have a permit to film here?! Fuck off before I call the cops!”


“So you’re not going with a crazy, over-the-top tone with this one? You just want me to play my role straight? Okay… you have until my bank clears the check, then I’m out of here.”


Hey kids, remember Hackers? Remember how cool it is to watch a fucking progress bar for 10 minutes?! Have we got a movie for you!


“Chuck? I know your cameo is completely superfluous and all, but could you have at least worn your bright yellow motocross jacket so the gamers could have had some kind of fan service?!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“What Do You Call 8 Teens At Crystal Lake?”

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

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

Feature 79 – Deadpool (2016)

or “The Little Merc Made”

Featuring: Ryan “Green Lantern” Reynolds , Ed “The Transporter Refueled” Skrein , Morena “Serenity” Baccarin

Director: Tim Miller

Writers: Rhett “Zombieland” Reese & Paul “Zombieland” Wernick

Origin: USA

Followed By: Deadpool 2

Review_____

“Like a ‘Yakov Smirnoff opening for The Spin Doctors at The Iowa State Fair’ shit show.”

Hey kids. Didn’t see you come in. Welcome. Ignore all the broken glass. I was just working on the latest treatment for my body horror movie script, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Ed. It’s something of a passion project of mine. A modernized re-imagining of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic by way of Hot to Trot with a little twist of Beautician and the Beast thrown in for flavor. It’s magic in the making. If I can’t sell it as a feature, I’m thinking of taking it to NetFlix as a throwaway joke for the next season of “Bojack Horseman”. Get your wallets ready, NF, cuz this is a Cash4Gold scenario – I give you gold, you give me cash. Shpadoinkle!

You know who would fund Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Ed? Wade Wilson. Who’s Wade Wilson? Deadpool. Who’s Deadpool? Clearly you haven’t read a comic book or gone into a mall specific chain store in the last 10 years. On some days, I would envy you for that. But not today, because now you’ll have to read my yawn inspiring ramblings to find out. Oh well. You must not think these reviews are too terrible if you’re coming here to read them, right? Right. Okay ham pressers, let’s press ham!

While I was on hiatus (let’s say scouring every corner of the world to find Tilda Swinton in the hopes that she could repair my hands [mangled by too much “summoning the white worm”] so I’d be able to type reviews again) the long-awaited Deadpool movie finally brought peace and joy to the hearts of fanboys and fangirls the world over. For those not in the know, Deadpool is a Marvel Comics mutant mercenary-sometimes-hero(ish?) whose shades-of-gray morality, morbid sense of humor, taste for excessive violence, Spider-Manian wit and self-awareness of his status as a comic book character have charmed him many a fan in recent years.

Unfortunately, his status as a “mutant” means that his film and live-action television rights have been under the not-always-competent thumb of Fox Studios, hence why Marvel themselves never made a movie for him and why it took so long for one to finally come out now. Sure, he appeared in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine (also played then by Ryan Reynolds), but his character was so unrecognizable by the finale, fans feared their black and red clad friend was doomed to never see the light of day in a proper presentation. BUT, Ryan Reynolds loved the character so much that he spent whatever free time he had between shooting romantic comedies, forgettable action flicks, and other comic book movies he’d rather forget (which I’ll save for another day… unless my blackmail demands are met, Ryan) lobbying Fox execs to let him make the Deadpool solo movie he wanted and the fans deserved. After much poking, prodding, and “Can I make Deadpool now? Can I make Deadpool now? Can I make Deadpool NOW?!”, the merc with a mouth (don’t most mercenaries have mouths?) was finally birthed straight into the public eye (embryonic fluids, afterbirth and all) on Valentine’s Day 2016. Trivia time – This was exactly 25 years after the characters first comic book appearance in February 1991’s New Mutants #87. Remember that in case you’re ever on “Jeopardy” someday… or they bring back “Beat the Geeks”.

From the very outset of the flick we know we’re in for a show and that Reynolds very much got away with making things his way, as the Red and Black Attack and some unfortunate nameless goon fodder tumble through a slow-mo car wreck to the tune of Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” for our opening credits. Said credits don’t include any actual names though, instead replacing the actors’ monikers with brief descriptions of the characters themselves, like “God’s Perfect Idiot”, “A British Villain”, and “A CGI Character” all featured in “Some Douchebag’s Film”, “Produced by Asshats”, “Directed by An Overpaid Tool” and “Written by The Real Heroes Here”. Wait a mo. The “Real Heroes”? You mean those eyeball blisteringly bad promotional comics that Pizza Hut gave out in ’94?! Blartus Maximus!

I’m pretty sure no one told the SAG about this little credits gag, because knowing how much butthole napalm they sprayed over Frank Miller getting a co-director credit in Sin City, these credentials would’ve set their collective nose hairs ablaze. Yikes. Imagine that for a moment – beyond the stench of singed hairs and burnt boogers you’d be privy to, you’d have to suffer through the odor of your own scorched inner nostrils for probably weeks on end. Provided it didn’t sear your sinuses shut. Shit. Almost makes me not hungry for potted mystery meat. Almost.

Anyway, if you’re the type of audience member who likes their movies done in the traditional “Point A to Point B” style, don’t expect to put too much on your feedback card. Deadpool‘s tale is almost as random and disjointed as our protagonist’s train of thought. It jumps back and forth between ‘Pool’s modern day hunting down of an ass boil from his past named Ajax (Ed Skrein) and important moments of our heroish hired killer’s sordid origins. We meet Pool’s longtime pal/sidekick Weasel (TJ Miller), his off-brand Golden Girl roommate Blind Al (Leslie Uggams), and the complicated love-of-his-life Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), who teaches us the right way to celebrate International Womens’ Day. We learn how assassins in the four-color realm deal with fatal diseases (spoiler: it’s all superpower inducing science experiments) and show the world that, yes, men also suffer from the unreasonable physical expectations established by mainstream culture (fuck you both, Hollywood and Hornywood). We also witness (“WITNESS ME!”) Stan Lee’s greatest and most gratuitous cameo yet, we ride along for the romantic odyssey of Dopinder (Karan Soni – go watch “Other Space” if you haven’t already!) the cab driver, watch Wade try to shake the good intentions of a persistent Colossus (courtesy of computer generated effects and the voice of Stefan Kapicic, possibly stolen from him by a BBTW [Big Beautiful Tentacled Woman]) and his X-Person-in-training Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), until the whole thing comes together in the massive rain of bullets, brawling, ‘splosions, spectacle, thrills and spills that you expect from any good superhero blockbuster finale.

Oh, and DP gets his own theme song.

Given that Deadpool hasn’t even grown into the 6 month old size “Ask me about A Serbian Film!” onesie I bought for it on its release day, what you’ve read so far is as much as I’ll offer up in the way of plot and spoils. It wraps up with a credits stinger that pays homage to the original Ferris Bueller “robed Matthew Broderick tells everyone to go home” bit. As with any good stinger, we get a tease that the next movie will feature longtime ‘Pool associate Cable, whom our hero tells us will either be played by Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, or Keira Knightly. PLEASE, oh holy deities of the pictorial pantheon, let this mark the return of the original Frank Castle to Marvel’s movie scene, even if it has to be the b-league Fox universe.

If you couldn’t tell by the big golden feather at the top of this page, I love this movie. The comedy, the action (and extremely graphic violence), the romance (and extremely graphic-but-keeping-it-‘R’ sex). Seriously, if you’re not looking for a woman like Vanessa or a man like Wade, you’re looking for the wrong person and you’ll only have yourself to blame when you’re on your deathbed realizing that you wasted your life on someone/someones who suuuuuuucked. Find someone who not only won’t discount your special brand of bullshit, but who will mark up its value so high that the market will take notice, wonder what kind of insider-trading fuckery is going on, and go into utter chaos as the effects ripple through the global economy. Why do you think the Evil Dead Bride and I are on our way to the “half of our lives together” mile marker like we’re misfits frolicking down the Yellow Brick? Oh, and on the topic of the picture’s pairings, Ajax and Angel are my new favorite supervillain couple. She for her bad-ass bruiser lady “can kick the titanium shits out of Colossus’ ass” look and gimmick and he for, well, his ability to dual-wield a pair of fucking fire-axes! It’s far from being the most powerful of mutant powers, but damn does it look cool!

Given that Deadpool and Shoot ‘Em Up are my only two gold-feather standard flicks as of this episode, it looks like I have a definite type. I just fantasized about a Deadpool v. Mr. Smith team-up and am now sporting a raging semi (automatic). Anyway, not all of the jokes stick the landing, but like Kerri Strug with a broken ankle, they try their little hearts out. Not unexpected from the writers of Zombieland, but fairly unexpected from the writers of GI Joe: Retaliation. Freaking G.I. Joe. Frankenstein on a gas-powered pogo stick do I look forward to exorcising my thoughts on that two-backed beast of a double penetration feature.

Packing a quick wit, frequent pop culture references, explicit vulgarity, and not afraid to go homoerotic when the scenario calls for it, you’d almost expect Deadpool to be a Kevin Smith script. It’s offensive. Not “Michael Jackson’s private porn stash” offensive, but definitely not for those of a delicate constitution. I saw a woman leaving the theater with her two youngish daughters after the lights came up, and was moderately shocked to see that they’d stayed through the entire experience, but parents are weird these days. Sure, my aunt let my cousins and I watch shit like Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 and Pieces when we were young, but…well…the absorbency levels of my point are brought immediately into question now that I see that typed out. Well fuck. I watched some messed up movies as a pup. Never mind. Due to decades of wearing tiny Italian stereotype underwear and injecting Jolt Cola directly into my testicles, I’m sterile anyway, so my opinions on child rearing are irrelevant!

I never liked that term, “child rearing”. Especially with it finishing out a paragraph that references MJ’s recently uncovered disturbing fetish material. Too soon.

As much as I laud the writing, I gotta slip an appreciative hand to director Tim Miller too. Though he has an Oscar nom for Best Animated Short Film prior to this, and was behind the credit intros for Girl with the Dragon Tatoo and Thor: the Dark World, Deadpool is the man’s first feature. And not only did it turn out to be a proverbial barn burner as far as super happy party funtime flicks go, but also a bona fide Tetris (my new term for a “blockbuster”) in ticket sales. It made more than double its budgetary costs in the first weekend alone, and was still making money in small venues weeks after Batman Vs. Superman farted itself right out of theater-goers’ line-of-sight. If IMDB is to believed, final box office receipts say that the little merc made around $364 million domestically and has just opened in Japan at #1. Fox is predicting that the Yen made on Monster Island will bump the flick’s global take to over $800 million, making it, yes, THE HIGHEST GROSSING R-RATED MOVIE OF ALL TIME! Well, highest grossing worldwide. Here in the land of malk and vegan honey substitute it’s second highest after that theological snuff film The Passion of the Christ, which Drunken Hitler has announced will also be getting a sequel in the near future, so the race to the top of red band box office history should be getting very interesting over the course of the next few calendars!

Until the careless whisper that will be Deadpool II: Deadpooler, I’m your dirty old Uncle Anubis vowing that I’m never gonna dance again. Before I go, though, I recommend checking out the Highlander of Golden Girls herself, Betty White, as she gives her thoughts on the tactical spandex wearing masked mass murderer’s big screen adventure! Check it out at this link. See ya next time, Hoober-Bloobs!


#WhitePower

Moral of the Story: Sometimes, just sometimes, maximum effort yields maximum results. You definitely earned your exclamation point, sirs and madams. Bravo. Have a nice crisp high five.

Screenshots_____

In the realm of “heavy-handed insider jokes”, this one rates a Hellboy’s Right Hand.


I’ve yet to have a prostate exam in my life, but I’m pretty sure that’s not part of it…


Does Colossus live in fear that Gambit may have weaponized his Grape Nuts? I’m asking because it’s the only reason I could come up with for him being FULLY ARMORED WHILE EATING HIS BREAKFAST!


Speaking of Grape Nuts, looks like Deadpool needs to cut down on his fiber intake. When your first movement of the day comes out like birdshot, there’s a problem. On a sidenote, our hero should also avoid Tokyo until he gets that taken care of. Damn Kancho players would have a field day with him.


Trivia: Ryan Reynolds was so dedicated to being faithful to doing Deadpool right, that he literally paid $10,000 of his own money to Bea Arthur’s family to use her image on that shirt, because DP has a long standing love for the deceased “Maude” star.


“If you ever leave your disgusting fingerprint smudges on one of my ‘Gilmore Girls‘ DVDs again, I will carve up your face so bad that Kakihara will look like a GQ cover model in comparison!”


I think Morena Baccarin just gave me an ugly Christmas sweater fetish…


Back to the “heavy-handed insider jokes” scale, this one definitely rates a Fisto’s Right Hand. Maybe even two.


If Agent Smith and the backwards talking midget from the Black Lodge jerked off into a blender together and made a test tube baby with the resultant mixture, you’d get this guy.


I’d make a joke here, but in all honesty, nothing I could come up with would top what Reynolds and Miller rattle off in the scene’s exchange. Magic.


“Donald Trump? Is that you?”


If Darlene Connor were re-imagined as a modern mutant (and worked at Hot Topic), she would be her. Her power would be the ability to shift tectonic plates with her mind and her codename? Sarchasm.


“Are you ready to give up, X-Man?”
“Give up?! I usually have to pay extra for this at the massage parlor!”


Who doesn’t love a good “axes vs. swords” fight? It’s no “dueling chainsaws”, but it’s still plenty of fun to watch!


I know it’s a good time to be thrifty, but trust me when I tell you not to go to a dentist whose office is an old refrigerator box in an alley behind Starbucks. Well, at least his is wearing gloves.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Not Just Another Zombie Movie (Yes It Is)”

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

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

Feature 78 – Outcast: “A Darkness Surrounds Him” (2016)

or “The Love Below”

Featuring: Patrick “Wristcutters: a Love Story” Fugit , Wrenn “Boardwalk Empire” Schmidt , Philip “Life on Mars” Glenister

Director: Adam “Autoerotic” Wingard

Writer: Robert “’The Walking Dead‘”Kirkman

Origin: USA

Review_____

“Do you even remember solid poop?!”

For years the debate has raged over the state of acclaimed gangster rap performer Tupac Shakur. Most people accept his violent demise in a gang related drive-by shooting. Some opt for the conspiracy theorist route and insist that the man is in hiding somewhere, asexually budding new brain rhyme babies in a self-sustaining shelter deep below the Andes mountain range until his enemies have all been destroyed and he can safely return to the public eye to retake his throne in the second coming of rap Jesus. But few know the truth I’m going to share with you now: Tupac Shakur is being held in isolation at Area 51, examined and experimented on following a run-in with a mythical creature that left him… changed. No longer the Str8 Ballin’ perpetrator of the Ghetto Gospel and purveyor of California Love, he is now the nocturnal menacer of the innocent known as The Tupacabra!

Now that that Unsolved Mystery can be dragged and dropped into the “Solved Shit” folder, let’s all move on with our lives together, hand-in-hand, into the Great Unknown. First on the docket for the undocumented? “Outcast”.

Not to be confused with hip-hop duo Outkast (who gave us Alpha level earworms like “Hey Ya!” and “Ms. Jackson”), today’s topic of interest has a lot in common with “Preacher” (see last week’s review). They’re both cable TV shows based on mature reader comic books that center around Christian religious horror themes and they both premiered on the same weekend. Is it enough common ground that the two would hit it off during a round of speed dating and litter a motel room floor with their vestments mere hours after first contact? Fuck if I know. I don’t speed date. When I’m on the lookout for an inkwell in which to dip my dick-shaped quill, I just hit up DeitiesBone.com for theological trim. Use the code word “ANUBIS69” when you sign up and get a 3% discount on your Platinum or higher membership fee!

Whereas preacher Jesse Custer’s tale is more about over-the-top violence and what-the-fuck moments while accompanied by his oddball associates, “Outcast” keeps its themes more grounded in traditional religious horror. Namely demonic possession and the resultant evictions of said Satanic squatters. Our eponymous outcast is thirty-something Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), who we first meet inhabiting his childhood home in self-exile. Living as a hermitous hoarder, Kyle’s living off of his savings account, munching milkless bowls of dry cereal and presumably just hoping the place will burn down eventually and take him with it. His sister Megan (Wrenn Schmidt), however, refuses to let her brother rot in peace and forces him go out into public with her, baiting him with the promise of groceries and basically cuckolding her own sibling into eating less like a college freshman and more like a human being.

With the exception of the embarrassment that comes with being a grown ass man whose sister has just taken control of your basic life decisions, this isn’t exactly coming off like much of a supernatural horror show, is it? Well, I was just about to get to that part ya paranoid android, so just hold your hard drive!

When he was a young lad, Kyle was the target of some pretty savage Babadookian domestic abuse by his mom. Everybody in the neighborhood knew about it, but chalked it up to her being bipolar, or “single parent stressed” as people called it before brain science gave us the term that always makes you think about a bi-sexual polar bear every time you hear it. Don’t pretend like you don’t. Denial ain’t just the river Isis and Osiris used to take us anthropomorphic ankle biters on holiday.

So, much like other rampant instances of abuse in those days (the ’80s?), nobody said anything and everybody just pretended it wasn’t their responsibility. If this were the final episode of “Seinfeld”, the entire town would’ve gone to jail. But, said abuse actually wasn’t the fault of Kyle’s mom (who I hear is a super King Kamehameha bitch on Sundays), nor was it even the fault of her broken brain. Mrs. Barnes was possessed. Like Linda Blair, only with less head-twisting and “LET JESUS FUCK YOU!” stuff. Eventually she ended up catatonic in a long term care facility (I won’t spoil how), Kyle and Meg got married (not to each other, ya weirdo), and due to some complicated complications Kyle was forced to leave his wife and daughter, hence why he now lives alone in the seclusion of his inherited homestead.

While out resupplying with sis, our hero overhears some ladies gossiping about a local boy who seems to be suffering an unwanted Satanic tenant of his own. After some soul searching, Kyle inevitably decides to offer up his help to Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), the priest assigned to execute the evil spirit’s eviction notice. I won’t go any further with how the amateur exorcism plays out, but I will give you this much: it gives us our first explanation as to the title of the series and we learn from Anderson that said kid’s soul isn’t the only popular spot for demonic tourism in the area.

Unlike “Preacher”, I went into “Outcast” with my geek blinders on. Though I have the first 5 issues of the series locked away somewhere in my vault of four-color horrors, I’ve yet to read them. Much like the 2,000 or so movies I intend to review eventually but will likely never get through before my inevitable death at the hands of an enraged Charles Band. As such, I can’t verify or deny whether the show sticks to its source material or is veering from the creative path. Creator Robert Kirkman is not only along as an Executive Producer (much like he is with “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead”), but he’s also the show’s writer, so that’s hopefully a good sign for things to come as far as keeping the fans of the funnybooks happy.

The gore and violence are graphic enough to induce a few “what the fuck?!”s. The acting is fine. I haven’t seen anything amazing yet, but everyone plays their parts well enough. Fugit and Schmidt work well together as brother and sister, as do Fugit and Glenister as exorcist and sidekick. Fugit also does well in his portrayal as a shut-in. He’s proven that if he put a pillow under his shirt and grew out a huge beard and mullhawk (party down the middle and business on-the-sides!) he could play me in the adaptation of my award winning autobiography, Anubis: Browwed and Proud.

Oddly enough, my favorite part of the show was pint-sized actor Gabriel Bateman. “Oddly” due to my life mantra that child actors are the worst thing to happen to movies other than Uwe Boll. Young Master Bateman's (wakka wakka!) turn as the possessed little boy Joshua was great. Not so much for his vocal work (I was expecting something more demonic, to be honest), but because when we see him first possessed, the small things in his physical performance are very impressive. The subtle way he touches objects as someone experiencing them for the first time are perfect given that he's been taken over by a demonic presence that more than likely has never been subjected to our material world before. Kudos, kiddo.

Even though I gripe about how overplayed the possession/haunting theme is in current spookshow productions, I have to admit that I’m intrigued on the subject being shown in show form. You know, besides the two or three-hundred “ghost chasers” programs broadcast on cable channels that no one would watch otherwise, and whatever series that “Medium” or “Ghost Whisperer” may have beget, of which I have zero knowledge or interest. Season 2 was already confirmed before the premiere even aired, so there will be more adventures for our Outsider, Kyle Barnes (and whoever else survives these first 10 episodes). Speaking of, I’m curious enough to keep up with the show if for no other reason than to see if my theory about the origin of our hero’s eponymous moniker is what I think it is.

Coming from someone whose weekly television viewing habits are limited to watching 6 hours of professional wrestling, Comedy Central’s weeknightly 11pm to 12:30am block, and waiting for everything else to come to NetFlix/Hulu/Amazon in season-long chunks, it’s an interesting time for TV. Check out “A Darkness Surrounds Him” if you’re down with tortured characters battling inner demons and outer demons played straight and see if you like it. At worst, you lose an hour of your life you’ll never get back. At least it’s less time than you would’ve lost watching an Adam Sandler movie! You’re welcome.

Moral of the Story: Whether you opt to call the cops or the clergy, call SOMEBODY when you see signs of child/domestic abuse in your neighborhood! Whether the demons involved come from a bottle or a realm of eternal punishment, don’t be that shit who regrets not doing something when they had the chance to help someone who couldn’t help themselves.

Screenshots_____

Looks like Kayako got her hair stuck in a door. Again. Seriously, ghost girl, this happens every week! Just get the damn haircut already! You could donate it to Warlocks of Love! *rimshot*


“You’re my conscience? Like Jiminy Cricket?! Where’s your top hat and suit?”
“Look kid, could you stop worrying about my wardrobe and just kill your parents like I told you to?!”


I wonder if it took longer than a day to build that town.


Hey! Good to see Reg Cathey was able to still find work after FANT4STIC! Let’s hope Miles Teller isn’t so lucky.


Greyskull was here. (Google “Kilroy” if that one went over your head)


He kinda looks like Norman Reedus after an allergic reaction to shellfish.


Dear mothers of the world: please stop walking around pantsless in the presence of your sons. It can make for very confusing phases in their sexual development. It’s true. Do you wanna be responsible for the next Jeffrey Dahmer or Timothy McVeigh? I didn’t think so.


“That was my last cough drop! I need that soothing relief for my sore throat! Give it back you little monster!”


“You need not a brush, child! The power of Christ combs you! The power of Christ combs you!”


Well, at least somebody enjoys “Saturday Night Live” enough to advertise it through graffiti. Not the best spot though. And I have no clue as to which cast member that’s supposed to be. Maybe Bill Hader? But he left years ago.


I’m guessing that the real estate agent left out the part where Kyle would be neighbors with Jason Voorhees.


I know how you feel, kid. I react the same way when my Evil Dead Bride opens the blinds after my 3 day marathons every time a new Elder Scrolls game comes out.


When you said you had a problem with “a little mold”, I wasn’t expecting The Spanish Inquisition Shunned House! My advice? Burn the whole place down, have holy men from several religions perform exorcisms on the remains, then put up a temporary residence like a trailer to see if it comes back before making any long term plans. Or, you know, just move.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Little Merc Made”

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

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

Feature 77 – Preacher: “Pilot” (2016)

or “The Three People You Meet in Texas”

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

Origin: USA

Review_____

”Sounds like the first verse of the worst country song ever written.”

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.

Moral of the Story: Violence makes violence and Gods don’t hold grudges.

Screenshots_____

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.

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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.

Feature 76 – City Under Siege (2010)

or “Big Top Beatdown”

Featuring: Aaron “The Storm Riders” Kwok , Qi “Journey to the West” Shu, Collin “The Matrix Reloaded” Chou

Director: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan

Writers: Benny “Gen X Cops” Chan & Chi-Man “Invisible Target” Ling

Origin: Hong Kong

Review_____

“Life is like a flying dagger. As the flying dagger goes, it must hit the target.”

All my life I’ve been searching for something
Something never comes never leads to nothing
Nothing satisfies but I’m getting close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope…

The Tomb’s 3rd anniversary is October 1st. Three is the “novelty sneakers” anniversary. If someone doesn’t get me some of that groovy be-chinned footwear, all love is a lie and life is a pointless endeavor that goes on forever. Just so you know.

On to other matters, because of my many months away from The Tomb (let’s say due to a journey through alternate realities where I had to stop an evil version of myself from destroying all of existence by killing our other selves and absorbing their power to supplement his own) I’m taking a further break from the Tour de Farce so I can give higher priority to other movies that have crossed my desk since. And yes, it’s a literal desk, made of the finest polished femurs, spines, and rib bones of Rupert Murdock’s ancestors. Totally worth the hauntings.

To that end, I thought it prudent to finish this review (started in January) before putting the T de F back into its cryogenic freeze tube for a while longer. Today’s episode features the Hong Kong sing-a-long ring ding dong we call City Under Siege.

Expected a Dr. Dre reference? Nope. He’s banned from The Tomb for selling $300 headphones to stupid children with stupider parents. Anyway, before we get started, let’s mine the ancient secrets of the mystical island of Hong Kong!

On second thought, never mind. This review’s already 4 months late and my laptop is starting to give me third degree dick burns. I don’t have time to play tour guide. If you wanna know any esoteric facts about HK, its economy, its culture, its people, its impact on the rest of the world, or its dark history of horrendous crimes in the fields of drug trade and human trafficking (I’m presuming), pay your preferred search engine a visit. Let’s just get to the movie and cut to the chase…oh, I forgot to mention that a hefty portion of today’s movie revolves on an axis of knife throwing. That might have been pertinent info before making a pun like “cut”. My apologies.

Not to be confused with the Police Academy sequel (#6!) of the same name, City Under Siege is the tale of Li Fei (Aaron Kwok), whose peers call him Sunny… not really sure why, but let’s say it’s because of his sunny disposition. Or that time he stabbed a waitress to death with a fork for rupturing the yolks on his sunny-side-up eggs. Whatever pulls your lever. Anyway, when Sunshine’s parents died in a car accident (and sadly not during an armed mugging which always makes for a better origin), his uncle Tak (Wah Yuen) took him in and gave him a job as a clown in his traveling performance troupe, The Thunderbolt Circus. Though grateful not to have been cast off like the orphan he was, Sun was never happy as a colorful fool and instead wanted to live up to his dear departed daddy’s legacy as the knife throwing “King of Flying Daggers”, 26th descendant of the legendary marksman, Thousand Flying Daggers. Unfortunately for Sunny he’s more like the Prince of Flying Daggers, and even then the “Prince” part would be more an honorary family title than an earned one. This guy sucks more than a hospital custodian’s ShopVac in the middle of an ebola outbreak when it comes to the family cutlery slinging business. I wouldn’t trust him to butter my biscuits let alone let him hurl sharp lengths of steel at me while I’m strapped to a spinning wheel o’ death!

Despite his insistence that the talent in his genes will bear fruit if Uncle Tak (no word on an “Aunt Tik”) would just give him a chance to put innocent paying customers’ lives in danger, his cousin Zhang Chu (Collin Chou) refuses to give up his place in the spotlight as the show’s marquee marksman. In fact, he threatens to gut Suns if he doesn’t stop trying to horn in on his job, so don’t expect to see our hero headlining shows anytime soon. Unless maybe Chu gets a bout of the flu or leaves the circus to go on a crime spree as a psychotic hulking brute…

It feels like we’re supposed to pity our protagonist in this scenario, but when we’re introduced to him, Sunny literally (as said in Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger inflection) goes off script during a show in Malaysia and comes within seconds of committing manslaughter on an unknowing audience dupe before cool guy Chu has to step in and put “The Prince” back in his place! Sure, as with the majority of movie bad guys, ChuChu comes off as a douche knocker. BUT, he very likely saved a woman from PTSD at best and straight up VIOLENT DEATH at worst at the hands of selfish man-child Sunny, who was willing to endanger those around him for the sake of his own fucking ego! This guy is our hero!? Holy shit. Overcoming poor self-esteem and a limited natural skill set is fine for a budding hero-to-be like Spider-Man or Kick-Ass, but they only put themselves at risk with their amateur tomfoolery. Sunny is a fucking sociopath! No matter how far this flick may go in its efforts to redeem its do-gooder over the remainder of its runtime, it’s now going to be dragging The Stone of Shame for the extent of said stigmatic excursion. For shame!

As is cinematic law, Chu and the other “too cool for school” members of their little big top clique single Sunny out as the weakest member of the social herd, and as such exercise their dominance by treating him like a red-nosed reindeer. Whilst in Malaysia engaging in their post-show chicanery, the crew catch Sunny tagging along and opt to include him as their point man (i.e. stooge) whom they can just ditch/scapegoat/murder later as the situation requires. Their scheme? The bullies are investigating a local cave rumored to be home to a cache of buried treasure! BUT (yes, there’s always a but there… much like the case of my lap), as we the audience were presented in the picture’s prologue, this cave was the site of war crime experimentation by the Japanese military in the waning days of WW2: Axis Boogaloo. Check out the Men Behind the Sun movies for more on that kinda shit. In an effort to bring an end to their protracted campaign to extend the shadow of their empire over the entire East, these army scientists were dabbling in an immoral aerosol that would induce monsterism in their P.O.W.s, turning the captives into rampaging abominations! Basically Nature’s Goodness minus the pleasing taste.

Before the mutagenic mist could be perfected, the raiders from the Rising Sun’s workspace was bombed all to shit (in a scene I’ll antagonistically analyze later) by the Red Stars, leaving any remaining stashes of the unfinished super-beast spray buried. Can you see where this is going? If not, you might need to make an appointment with the figurative optometrist to get your foresight checked. Benny Chan isn’t just leading us with a trail of bread crumbs, he’s dropping full-on baguettes shaped like arrows! For those with mental glaucoma, here’s the malnourished rendition – the gang open the containers expecting precious metal (to be fair, the first one does have a stash of the shiny stuff) and get a chemical sauna instead a la Return of the Living Dead‘s Frank and Freddy. Our hero ends up passing out on a conveniently placed fishing boat nearby, one of the gang lays dead by broken neck when his attempt to kill Sun goes fatally wrong, and the remaining quartet of super steroid saturated nogoodniks are left vomiting vanilla pudding, no doubt destined to become evil Hong Kong off-brand Ninja Turtles. Not to be confused with Michael Bay’s actual bastardized half-shell bohemoths.

Anubis Note: In case you haven’t seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, “bohemoth” is how we spell that shit here. And yes, it’s pronounced “bo-he-muth” in case you were wondering.

It turns out the vessel our bumbler stumbled upon is a smuggling ship, and when his hosts find him unresponsive on board, they toss his sorry ass into the South China Sea! Lucky for him it seems the naturally occurring tides are coincidentally heading back to his homeland of Hong Kong, where he’s washed ashore after a few days afloat. Finally freed from his one-man coma cruise, Sunny awakens to find his body doing its best impression of Spongebob’s stage act: The Amazing Mr. Absorbancy! Sporting an XXXXL waistline and the incessant sensation of walking in wet sneakers, he tries to find his way back to the Thunderbolt Circus home office, discovering how hard it is to hitch a ride in the middle of the night when you look like a cast off from a Ju-On movie set on a cruise ship. Fortunately for him, a lovely lady named Angel Chang (played by Qi Shu, who we recently saw in Journey to the West!) stops, requesting help with her bamboozled back tire then offering her impromptu AAA lifeline a ride home in thanks. Along the way, Sunny recognizes Angel from the local newscast and marks out, declaring his fandom for her. Of all the people in HK who could’ve happened along looking for help, it just so happens that the minor celebrity our hero’s got the awkward stalker hots for is the one. Even for a movie that’s not just stretching it, that’s hyper-extending said “it” like the arm/leg of a generic bad guy in a Steve Seagal movie. Backwards elbows and knees, people. Cringe.

Returned home, Sun bids adieu to his love interest-to-be and plops into bed like the garbage bag full of tapioca he has become. Overnight, he secretes more liquid refreshment than the entirety of the background dancers did across all four volumes of Sweatin’ to the Oldies. While he’s soaking his sleeping space harder than a gang of 3rd grade bed-wetters at a sleepover, his fellow Thunderbolt performers make their turn to a life of crime official as they rob an armored truck to the tune of 5 million dollars! I’m guessing they’re Hong Kong dollars though, so it’s more like 20k American, give or take? Meh. That’ll barely afford them one of Gwyneth Paltry, errrr Paltrow‘s vibrators and a gallon jug of Japanese whale oil lubricant. Peasants.

Fuck sake. For $15k that thing better be a piece of StarkTech that turns into a suit of portable Iron Man armor!

The armored car is just one stop on the quartet’s crime spree tour though, as they’ve been busy knocking over jewelry stores and the like too. Enhanced with telekinetic powers, super strength, and bulletproof skin, it’s been the proverbial cakewalk for the villains. Unable to stop them with mere guns and police brutality, the Mu Shu porkies call in superhuman specialist agents Suen Ho (Jing Wu) and Ching Shau Wah (Jingchu Zhang). Partners in career and in life, the pair are accused of being an adorably low key professional law enforcement couple and could be sentenced to live happily ever after if convicted. I can say, with no certain certainty, that I’m certain these two are my favorite Asian movie couple since Wild Zero‘s Ace and Tobio.

The movie (or at least the English subtitle track I had to hunt down) tells us that Ho and Wah have arrested supernatural criminals before, but doesn’t give us any further allusions to just who these enhanced do-badders were. No idea if the pairing have appeared in prior Benny Chan productions, but in all honesty I really don’t care to look any further than I have already. My dick burns are getting burns on top of them! Just to be safe, I’m going to say that CUS takes place in a cinematic Hong Kong akin to Spider-Man 3 NYC – metahumans aren’t littering the place like Captain America: Civil War, but they’re also clearly not undiscovered yet like Meteor Man.

Speaking of, Meteor Man is part of the Marvel Universe continuity. I shit you not. It’s only a matter (or meteor) of time until we see Robert Townsend’s name show up on a cast listing for Avengers: Infinity War!… maybe “NetFlix’s The Defenders”?… maybe not?… probably not. Blart.


Exhibit A

The duo are due to exchange nuptials (or “swap nups” if you’re me, which you’re not, for which you should be praising Ra) in 30 days, so Hao vows to take the Frightful Four down in 20. Really? So he’s going to let them run roughshod on the Kowloon precious gems market for 3 weeks before he decides it’s time to put an end to their shenanigans?! Prick. Speaking of, Angel’s boss/boyfriend KK (Slider?) informers her that the higher ups at the news station are kicking her down the corporate ladder a few rungs so they can give her spot to a younger, hotter replacement named Yoyo. Yoyo? Yep yep. Not only is our lady losing her seat at the anchor desk, but it turns out she’s lost her seat in her boyfriend’s lap too, also replaced by her Duncanian rival. We learn that Angel herself got where she was by traveling the exact same path as Yoyo, but that’s different! Right? Cuz she’s a hero? Meh. Moving on. In an effort to save a shred of what remaining pride our heroine has left, Angel dumps a glass of water over K’s cranium, declares their relationship null and void, and officially hands in her verbal resignation. Whatever makes you feel less like a stepped-on piece of dog shit in the middle of the sidewalk, lady. Keep your head up and move on. Godspeed.

What’s a working gal to do in this modern age of HD media, where genetics are prized over journalistic ethics? Where looks trump integrity? Well, it just so happens that the same day old maid Angel finds herself destined for the unemployment line (or the glue factory… I’m not sure how they tackle this shit in China), her biggest fan awakens with abilities beyond those of mortal men. Indeed, just like Chu and, uhm, the other three circus performers (I’m not good with names or having to look them up), Sunny’s received his membership card to the Superhumans Society! On his way to the police station to explain his situation (and distance himself from his crime spreeing co-workers), his pathway is impeded by a hostage negotiation. Angel, having the Lois Lane-like super power to be in the right place at the right time, witnesses Sunny make the save, freeing the captive policewoman from her assailant with a combination of telescopic slow-mo “precision vision” and inhuman strength, accuracy and reflexes, with which he throws a single stick, shattering the abductor’s gun and piercing his arm from across the street! While everyone around him stares agape in awe and the press presence swarms him for a statement like ants on a Twinkie, ‘Gel whisks him away to a cab (I guess she’s just leaving her own car abandoned in the middle of traffic?!) for a “private interview”… which, despite the probable perversion with which you may have read that (ya gutter creeper), doesn’t mean they went home and swapped sweet and sour sauces. Amazing the places a pair of quotation marks can take the human mind.

With little imaginary hearts floating around his head (might wanna check your scalp for parasites, Flapjack), Sunny’s more than happy to give the newly freelance reporter her exclusive one-on-one with the Hong Kong Kal-El. Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Doom (in this instance, a lovely house in the middle of nowhere with an in-ground pool!), Chu and the others have kidnapped several biological engineers in hopes of reversing the grotesque monster mash side-effects of their genetic mutation. Despite being told there is no way of turning them from Fangoria cover models back into a Silver Ash cover band, they find hope when they see their old punchline Sunny on the evening news looking none the worse for toxic wear. A testament to the ancient healing powers of the South China Sea? Or just another use of the old science fiction deus ex machina of “some people are just genetically different and are immune to stuff!”? Either way, Chu and chums aim to find out.

Arriving at the Thunderbolt Circus locale faster than Bruce Wayne going back to Gotham after conquering The Pit (fucking Dark Knight Rises), the bad guys try to nab their errant clown mid-interview. Chu should change his name to SPF 69, cuz Angel just got Sun blocked! *rimshot* Awkwardly introducing himself to the minor celebrity while his hairline recedes and his increasingly lumpy face is painted up with Luna Vachon veins (see below), Chu confesses that he’s her number one die-hard fan and makes rapey face at her. How… flattering? You can practically hear Miss Chang’s ovaries shriveling on the vine the longer he talks to her. The expected altercation is instigated and the movie’s first real exchange of wire-fu is initiated!

No brawl-for-all by any stretch of the term, Sunny and Angel spend the time running and ducking their pursuers as best they can before finally being subdued. Chu threatens to bleed our hero in the search for the secret of his success, but his knife is halted by the timely intervention of the mutant hunting dynamic duo, Hao and Wah, sporting mirrored shades and martial arts! The battle ends when Sunny, seemingly turning into a cartoon character with his comically red “pressure cooker” face (that you expect to send steam shooting out of both ears), freaks the fuck out and throws two fistfuls of flying daggers at his prior impeder of career promotion. Chu responds in kind, deflecting the swarm of steel shards with a flurry of his own, sending razor sharp metal ricocheting all over the fucking place! Small appliances explode, glass shatters, structures collapse, one of the villains takes an errant dagger to the chest, and the rest of the antagonists beat feet while the heroes collect the unconscious Sunny and rush him to a hospital.

In intensive care, Sunny’s examined by scientists and it’s indeed determined that he bears the mythical movie MacGuffin of antibodies unique to his DNA. Yep, out of the billions of people who would have otherwise been malformed by exposure to the experimental discharge (like the other four people that were), one of the tiny group of FIVE just happened to be uniquely resistant. Not even to the formula in its entirety, mind you, but only the dangerous uglifying parts of it. Don’t think I enjoy telling movie logic to get off my lawn like this. My nitpickery is tantamount to acupuncture needles being slowly pushed between my vertebrae, or filling my codpiece (what, you don’t wear a codpiece?!) with hungry scarabs. It is my curse. Damn Tiki Gods. You put termites in their pillows one time and you spend the rest of eternity wanting to chew your fingers off at bullshit times like this!

While the white coats would rather keep Super Sun under indefinite lock and key for more in-depth observation (and likely dissection for sale to some Chinese super soldier program), the police don’t think the public would be too pleased with the smiling new face of mutant moderating being held in constabulary custody. Instead, Hao and Wah are assigned to be his bodyguards while Miss Chan picks up the role of talent agent to the city’s new cynosure for his upcoming avalanche of inevitable media overexposure. It happened when the Simpsons found that monkey’s paw, and it’ll happen to you too! Angel’s also fallen in love with the little goof already, because of course she has. Some would say she’s got hearts in her eyes, some would say they’re just dollar signs. I say it’s both. I may just be a foreigner, but fill my eyes with that double vision. No disguise, for that double vision.

The glamorous life of hocking Diarrhea Killer and prancing like a grinning idiot for publicity appearances goes straight to the hero’s head, ironically swelling it figuratively while his enemies’ domes are swelling literally. As for Hao, his plan to use the unwitting Sunny as bait to draw out the baddies has put a cramp into his marriage plans, postponing the date and drawing out Wah’s ire instead. She proposes that instead of the two of them tackling the remaining trio of mutants themselves, they train Sun to actually be a superhero rather than just play one, evening up the odds. Hao’s ego won’t let him risk someone else completing his job and taking his glory though, so sad to say, this is the exact moment you can start the countdown clock for Wah’s impending inclusion in the movie’s “in memorium” reel.

Cue the next fight, as Chu and the others make their next move, striking while Sunny D’s doing yet another photo shoot. The in-name-only slayer of sinners gets bodied hard by his nemesis, while Hao uses his uncanny acupuncturist prowess to beat Chu’s girlfriend with ease, promising to have her locked up and experimented on for the rest of whatever life she has left. She opts for what’s behind Door #2 instead, and self-immolates amid the pool of gasoline she was carelessly left incapacitated in. Back inside, Chu shows us his ignorance on human biology (specifically how antibodies work) by Dracula-ing off some of Sun’s vein V8, only to be massively disappointed when it doesn’t remedy away his uggo-itis. Before he can stomp the envy of his eye six feet under, the Heroic Duo drop in from off-screen to save the day. Rather than retreat, Hao’s determined to make good on his promise to marry his wifey-to-be on time, so he trades blows with the biggest baddie and leaves it up to Wah to keep their bait from being snatched off the hook by the last remaining member of the Chu Crew, uhm, mohawk guy.

Ill-prepared for the mutants’ continued evolution, Hao’s pride is his downfall, as his ambition to close the case distracts him from preventing his lady getting her internal organs pulverized by Mohawk. When he finally notices, it’s time for a late retreat as he escapes with Wah and Sunny in tow. But it’s too late. With tear streaked cheeks and a mouthful of blood, Wah tells her incredibly sweaty man to take care of himself, never lose himself, and never be afraid because she’ll always be watching over him. Then she dies…in the passenger seat of a stolen station wagon. Just like Han Solo… in my 2003 fan film re-visioning of Return of the Jedi.

As if this loss wasn’t enough of a shake up, the movie’s timeline gets a bit weird here. Hao sets up Sunny on a cot in a shack along a nearby river and sticks him full of needles to nurse the defeated hero back to health. When said hero comes to, he finds his savior nearby, torching his dearly departed in the flames of his makeshift pyre (i.e. he set the station wagon on fire)…in the same area she died…so…this all has to be taking place not too long after our previous scene…so whose house did they break into for their acupuncture session?! And since when can acupuncture fix broken organs and blood loss in what can’t have been more than a few hours!? OUCH! There goes another two scoops of scarabs.

And so, with both of our brotagonists having fallen hard from the height of hubris, now they must pick each other up like a pair of crane game claws. You know how much of a bitch those things can be. Forged by Loki himself, they are! Anyway, Hao vows to teach Sunny how to control his powers in his scorched fiancee’s honor, so let’s cue the montage!

With her boyfriend/client engaged in secret training for what could be weeks (or might just be a few days? The movie’s not 100% clear on it.), Angel’s left alone to mourn his perceived passing. As alone as you can get when you’re under 24 hour police protection, at least. The star-crossed lovers flashback to black & white renditions of their prior scenes together, denoting loss and longing as such scenes do. Having put the entire city under siege (we have a title!) alongside his last remaining cohort since Sunny’s disappearance, Chu (who stole Weird Al’s plastic Rambo muscle suit from UHF) uses his enemy’s pilfered cell phone to call Angel and tell her how he desperately needs her to deliver him from his personal Hell of emo teen sadness. Note to readers: listening to The Cure and other depressing music when you’re sad doesn’t make you less sad, it just reminds you why you’re sad in the first place, then piles on MORE SAD! Despite the saying, fighting fire with more fire only makes a BIGGER FIRE!

Feeling like she has nothing left to live for now (or maybe she’s just tired of needing a security detail every time she has to dump ass), Angel strikes a plan with the pigs to use her as a lure to entice Chu into a trap. She could just call him back and allow the military to triangulate his locale via the phone, but that wouldn’t put her life in immediate danger, so why bother?! Remember how well things went the last time an Asian movie in The Tomb tried to lure a monster into a trap? No? Go read my Garuda review. I’ll wait.

See? Yeah. Same thing happens here. Shit goes south faster than a racist Yankee after the Emancipation Proclamation. Just as Angel is about to see if her namesake(s) are real, guess who appears from nowhere to save her from being turned into street pizza? If you guessed anyone other than Sunny, you’re either too preoccupied to be reading this episode right now, or you’re just really really really shitty with names. Before the two heavies finally finish their feud in furious combat, Hao takes out both Mohawk and himself, using an urn filled with his beloved’s ashes to smash a light fixture and ignite a broken fuel line. An all too short-lived (no pun intended) exchange whose ultimate finale is predictable, sure, but I like Hao’s use of the urn…which probably contained more than a few leftovers from the station wagon’s ashtray mixed in with whatever he was able to salvage from Wah’s herself if you think about it.

Now for the big climax. Our final showdown is a fair mix of flashy martial arts punches and kicks, superhuman feats of tossed transportation (cars and trucks and such), both guys saving Angel from certain doom, a noble sacrifice or two, an effort to apply some last minute pathos to the villain, and a mandatory bit of the throwing knife dueling that started this whole rivalry, though not as much as you’d expect given all the hours/days/weeks of training Sunny pulled in the previous sequence. Speaking of, here’s a PSA for any fellow mutants out there: Don’t be like Chu. Take absolute care when it comes to protecting your lower back in any combat situation, as any perforation of the area has a high likelihood of causing your internal organs to violently detonate. I recommend investing in one of Lumpy Leroy’s Cast Iron Cummerbunds! Tell ’em Anubis sent you to get free shipping and $5 off your first order!

Good triumphs over evil, and just to make sure Benny Chan gets to tick off the final line of his “superhero movie tropes” checklist, Angel throws herself in front of one of Chu’s daggers to protect Sunny while he’s busy being a paragon of human decency and saving a family trapped in a flaming car. She survives though, and Sunny kills Chu, so the audience gets to go home on a high note. Such ends the ballad of Johnny Two Blades, errr, Twin-Dagger Sunny. Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?

I opted to review CUS based entirely on the promise of “a circus clown gains super powers and has to fight his co-workers who have become super villains”. Little did I know that Sunny’s screen time in greasepaint would be relegated to his 5 minute introduction, thus abandoning the novelty almost immediately. Boooo. Points lost out of the gate for the misleading synopsis. Things don’t get much better from then on either. It’s not that this is a bad superhero movie. The problem is that Benny Chan tries so hard bending over backwards to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster comic book flick formula that he falls on his head and knackers himself, leaving us with one of the most generic by-the-numbers super movies I’ve ever seen.

If you and your riffmates are looking for a feature to play Genre Bingo with, CUS fills all the boxes in its category. Hapless hero? Check. Hero’s parents dead? Check. The villain is an associate from the hero’s personal life? Check. The hero’s crush falls in love with him shortly after getting to know him? Check. Said romantic interest is injured/killed during the final battle? Check. The villain’s given moments of sympathy so we’re supposed to regret his forthcoming death? Check. The hero wins his first fight, loses his second, then comes back to win in the end? Check. Pride and/or ego lead to the hero’s momentary downfall? Check. The hero overcomes his fall from grace by embracing the wise words of a mentor/father figure? Check. Training montage?! BINGO! BINGO! BINGOOOOO!

Yep. That’s my biggest beef with this movie: I’ve seen it all before. Chan tries something a little atypical of the Asian fantasy epics, but over does it on the Americanization stuff. I’m all for tweaking with the General Tso recipe, but not with heaps of ketchup. The computer generated shit’s not the best, but I don’t expect it to be from any movie born of an outside-of-Tinseltown budget. Consider my expectations tempered in that regard. Also, despite my general dislike for Sunny’s goofball demeanor (and those stupid hand motions he makes every time he refers to himself as “Twin-Daggers”), finally seeing him buckle down and become the mature good guy in the final act, despite being hackneyed, made me hate him a bit less. He’s still a heaping tub of chodeslaw though for putting that audience member’s life at risk in the beginning. Psycho. Angel’s only a smidgen further north on the moral compass, because she didn’t almost kill somebody with her fuckery. She did start her relationship with Sunny under the animus of hitching herself to his rising star though, looking out for her own best interests while also getting to stick it to her former employer for letting her go. Because again, she was being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman, the same way she herself ascended to the position in the first place!

As noted prior, Hao and Wah are my favorite part of this titular besieged metropolis. They’re cute without being overly saccharine. They’re equal parts business and pleasure without going too far to either end. Hao’s conceit leads to his greatest loss, but he earns his redemption by becoming the hero’s teacher, then gets his peace in the end, fulfilling his duty and joining his beloved in oblivion. Aces. Sadly, when your supporting cast is more endearing than your main characters, you’re doing something wrong, Benny. Write better.

I’m going to end this episode on the movie’s groaniest groan-inducer before I take off. Remember when I said I’d get back to my ire over the destruction of the Japanese army’s Malaysian Frankenstein lab? Yep. Although the attack on the lab comes from outside, a series of precisely laid out explosions erupt inside of the cave in a designated order. I’m not the type to think that anything is impossible. Highly improbable, of course, but not necessarily impossible…except this. Could the Chinese forces have infiltrated the lair the night before, laid out a bunch of C4, and simply been waiting for the right time to blow their load of shock & awe all over the faces of their enemies? Sure. Maybe. No. Never. Stop. I’ve included a little visual aid to illustrate this particular blister on my butt.

Our next two episodes will be features in name but not in length, so they shouldn’t take four months to finish. Keep your eyes peeled like the delicious delicious grapes they are for the first such installment in the next few days, with the other coming out Sunday-ish. Until then, this is the end. The only end, my friend. Always live your life like a flying dagger!

Moral of the Story: Don’t take for granted the love you have today, because you could lose it tomorrow. Also, acupuncturists are some of the most dangerous people on the planet!

Screenshots_____


But… if it’s “Universal”, how can it be “Limited”?


“GAH! I’VE HAD THAT FUCKING ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ SONG BURIED IN MY BRAIN FOR FOUR YEARS! FOR THE LOVE OF CRONENBERG, SOMEONE HIT ME WITH A SHOVEL AND DISLODGE IT!”


“Gacy Good Times International – introducing underage boys to crawlspaces the world over!” (Coulrophobics? I’m sorry. Coulrophiliacs? You’re welcome.)


So other countries have their own Criss Angel to suffer through? Kinda nice to know we in the US aren’t alone in suffering madoucheians.


“Your milk money or your life!”


“I know you’re hungry, but we can stop and get you some fresh clam strips. Those have been sitting under my seat for at least a week.”


“This is James Chang. James came out of a 10 year coma last week and has never seen ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’. We’re going to broadcast his reaction live, tonight on ‘60 Minutes‘.”


Looks like the next Wolverine movie will be based entirely on a version of the character found in those Chinese dollar store action figure sets. Maybe this will be the first step toward finally getting that Super Man Big Alliance team-up movie we’ve been begging Marble and CD Comiks for!


Up next in the Chinatown Burt Reynolds Look-a-like Pageant: Charlie “The Gator” Zhang!


If Beavis and Butthead taught us nothing else, it’s that nothing stops a nosebleed better than a tampon.


“I want to thank you for electing me your King Dingus for the season! I will do my best to uphold the honor of the position at the sacrifice of what little dignity I have left!”


Nice shades. If they look into each others’ eyes, will it create some kind of reality collapsing infinity loop?!


Hey! He stole Meg Griffin’s power to grow her fingernails long! Plagiarist!


“Well, you know we’re gonna end up in this 3-way eventually, so we might as well get it over with so we can make our car payment on time. Paper, Rock, Scissors for position?”


“I killed my stylist for dressing me in this stupid hat. Then I formed his face skin into my corsage!”


As much as I love Elizabeth Banks, this is what the new Rita Repulsa should look like!


Excedrin headache number 245 – You’ve been exposed to an experimental toxin and turned into a raging mutant. Your brain feels like its going to explode out of your skull, and simple aspirin won’t do the trick. You need Excedrin!… or a hole drilled in your head to release the evil spirits that are haunting you. Either one works, really.


Ever cried so hard that tears came out of your whole face? If not, you’ve never known real love. Congratulations.


This is why you never try to cuddle your pet porcupine.


“So you decided to turn the car we stole into your fiancee’s funeral pyre?”
“Yes…”
“Okay. Did you happen to look it over first to make sure there wasn’t anything else in there? I only ask because I can’t find my wallet…”


Hao’s DIY car crematorium was such a success that he decided to really up his game and turn it into a career! He’s in such demand now that he’s burning entire skyscrapers full of bodies every day!


Yes! Someone finally answered the Craigslist contract I put out on Justin Beiber! Guess I better get that $120 together. Time to turn in my bottles and cans.


I told Nosferatu not to feed on those professional bodybuilders, but at least he’s seeing some sick gains! What vampire needs the use of their testicles anyway?


The ages old geek query of “What if Venus De Milo (from the live-action Ninja Turtles show) fucked Killer Croc?” is finally answered.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Three People You Meet in Texas”

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