Feature 51 – The Babadook (2014)

or “Scary Stories to Tell in the Outback”

Featuring: Essie “The Matrix: Reloaded” Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel “Fell” Henshall

Director & Writer: Jennifer “Monster (2005)” Kent

Origin: Australia

Review_____

“I am the parent and you are the child, so take the pill.”

Hey strangers! Long time no see! It’s been a rough couple of months. But, not unlike a boomerang, this man-dingo (not to be confused with Mandingo) comes back sooner or (in this case) later! Despite being forged of mithril, it turns out my otherwise invincible laptop wasn’t waterproof OR whiskeyproof. Since I lost all of the original graphics and write-ups I’d made for the World Tour reviews, today’s episode will be the debut of my new, lazier format! No teasers about the next stop, no comedically morbid trivia about the origin nations, and no customized images. Instead, here’s my immensely slothy banner. Now get reading!

Charlie, Charlie, were the people who “summoned” you (before you were revealed to be a viral marketing ploy for yet another shitty “found footage” ghost movie) just gullible dip shits who would better serve the world as a new Taco Bell menu item called “the Soylent Grande”?
Yes.

Charlie, Charlie, would this gag have gone over better if I’d published this episode two months ago, when I originally started writing it?
Yes.

Charlie, Charlie, did you see the trailer for The Babadook and think you were on the cusp of Australian cinema’s “next big thing”?
Yes.

Charlie, Charlie, were you as disappointed by The Babadook as I was?
Yes.

Unlike when I’m masturbating on the toilet in the dark after waking up from that Barbara Crampton sex dream I’m always having, right now it’s nice to know I’m not alone…

The writer-director of today’s feature is Jennifer Kent. Jenn’s other credits mostly consist of minor acting roles, so my biggest fear was that The Babadook is the result of yet another person in front of the camera getting sick of being told how to utilize the trauma of their childhood dog being hit by a car to force tears, and vowing to prove to everyone that she can do “their job” better than “they” can. The initial trailer promised me something a little more conventional in the game of supernatural hauntings, which I was more than happy to welcome into my home given the scads of pathetic “found footage” spook-show garbage that’s run rampant through the genre for the last however many years it’s been since the first Paranormal Craptivity planted its hooks into theaters and laid eggs from its oozing, inflamed orifice.

If you haven’t scanned the trailer for yourself, pop in yo’ peepers and get to jeeper creeperin’:

At first glance, we’re promised what looks to be a traditional tale of childhood torment, as a boy and his mother become the hosts for a phantasm released from a children’s fable book. Right? Kinda yes, kinda no.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother. Not an uncommon thing. I know several single mothers. This isn’t even a setup for one of those “I support single mothers” t-shirts with the image of a stripper on a pole. I legit know a few single mothers. Hell, my own sister/mom Isis had to do the single mom thing after poppa Osiris ended up six feet under the Fertile Crescent. Amelia’s got it harder than most mono-matriarchs though, not only because her qualification for MILF dating sites is due to her husband’s untimely demise, but because her boy Samuel (Noah Wiseman) is a problem child. Well, I guess the politically correct term for it these days would be bi-polar or “dissociative personality disorder” or whatever the poor kid’s got rattling around in his junior skull bucket. Speaking of, the Junior Skull Bucket™ at KFC now comes with sugar-frosted coleslaw and one of twelve moderately racist toys based on the hit film A Haunted House 2, for a limited time only! Get your glow-in-the-dark “Shawn Wayans fucking the doll from The Conjuring” plaything with no-slip kung-fu grip TODAY!

As I was saying, Sammy’s the kind of kid that Hank Hill would redneck psychology diagnose as “that boy ain’t right”. As a result of his issues, he has recurring night terrors about being stalked by a monster. Like any kid, he’s convinced that said monster is fer realsies and will one day pop out of his closet like Howie Mandell in Little Monsters (you know, the movie that Pixar ripped the fuck off to make Monsters Inc.), only instead of taking Sam on a wild adventure through an ’80s punk-pop dreamscape and teaching him lessons about friendship and being yourself, it’ll just wear the boy’s dismembered face as formal dinner attire while it goes on to eat his mom’s head…what, you’ve never had that dream? Pffft. Liar.

To prepare for said imagined assault, Sammy proves himself quite the Kevin McCallister-in-training, assembling a dart firing crossbow, a back-mounted personal catapult, and all manner of DIY ballistic devices in their basement using nothing but pieces of scrap wood and the kind of basic doodads you find in those $5 “Made in China” toolbox sets. On top of that he’s also an aspiring Copperfield, but practicing his magic tricks (George Bluth Jr.: “Illusions!” ) for mom only garner the slightest of parental recognition. The kid’s got the potential to be a damn genius, but rather than encouragement he gets scolded by Amelia for always fucking stuff up, causing trouble at school and generally being annoying. Even when he reaches out and hugs mom in a much needed embracive moment of bonding, she violently pushes the lad away and yells at him for lingering slightly too long beyond her comfort zone. Women react like that to me all the time, but it’s usually because they catch me trying to undo their bra or drifting slightly too south of the Equator. That’s our Anubis! [canned audience laughter]

Amelia defends Sammy’s eccentricities to his detractors and insists they see him as an innocent child instead of just some pint-sized pain-in-the-ass. Though your first reaction (like mine was) may be that she’s just trying to save face in front of people so they don’t label her another shitty mom who should’ve just swallowed, Amelia does seem to do her best to show the kid as much love as she’s capable of. Not just out of guilt, but because her own emotional problems don’t allow for anything more. It can be hard to understand for those lacking in empathy, but I view depression like rape – if you blame the victim, you’re a piece of shit and I will personally split your uprights with a fire-ax if you bring any of that Faux News bullshit around my tomb.

While Sam’s in school during the day, Amelia works at a retirement home/geezer palace/grandparent dumping ground, and surrounding herself with cranky old farts doesn’t help her tightrope walk of sanity over the gaping maw of madness that is her life. Her co-worker Robbie (Daniel Henshall) is a nice enough guy and is clearly interested in turning their working relationship into, well, a working relationship. He covers for her at work and cheers her up when she needs it, but never expects anything in return. He’s either the sweet would-be boyfriend our lady deserves or total Friend Zone material, depending on your perspective. Though she could use a visit from Dr. Tube Steak (the Double A’s in her battery-operated boyfriend would agree), Amelia prefers to either be ashamed of her situation or play martyr by not wanting to drag anyone into the personal hell she’s built for herself. Good for her there’s always Convent-sized 200 packs of Energizers on sale at G’Day-Mart!

One evening, when Am’s ready to read Sam his nightly pre-bedtime story, the lad brings her a tome from their bookshelf that she’s never seen before. It’s a strange adolescent grimoire of the pop-up variety called “Mister Babadook” – a dark fairytale similar to something out of the old school Brothers Grimm collections. A lot less like Disney and a lot more like Tim Burton and Clive Barker’s nightmares making a litter of Eraserhead babies. She refuses to finish the tale, which infuriates Sammy and sends him into a fit. In the days that follow, the kid starts ranting about Mr. B (naturally *wink*wink*) haunting them, which only makes everybody else wish the kid would fall down a flight of stairs more so. Mom’s attempts to hide and destroy the book prove futile, as that ominous red cover continues to find its way into their home. Every time it returns, with new chapters serving as sinister portents of horrors-to-come…

As far as movies go, The Babadook is certainly well made. The visuals are clean where they should be clean, dark when they should be dark and a wide awake nightmare when they should be a wide awake nightmare. The eponymous specter himself is done is this weird “static shadow” animation style that’s unnerving without going so over-the-top that it’s goofy. Mr. Dookie resembles a silent film era Slenderman. He looks like something that escaped from Dr. Caligari’s wardrobe, a unique homage to villains of the oldest of old schools of animation. With his ominous top hat, demented face and long black trenchcoat of a body, Dooker’s a perfect candidate for stalking Betty Boop from the inky shadows of an ominous alleyway. Bad guys were all very predatory in that rapey sort of way back then.

I give props to the cast, too. Essie Davis does the besieged mom thing like she’s had personal experience, while Noah Wiseman’s just creepy enough looking that when he goes into his screaming freak out panic attacks, he looks suitably disturbed/disturbing. If he were my kid, I’d put him in a cage and lock him in his room until he calmed down, but I guess that only serves as an abutment to my decision to raise pets rather than rugrats! Everyone else in the cast is serviceable in being selfish cunts to help the audience sympathize (or empathize in the case of we childless viewers) with Am’s plight, while the one or two supportive people around her help keep it from turning into a complete “all against one” pity party.

Unfortunately, my biggest problem comes from the production company’s sales pitch on this one. Whereas the trailer promised me a more traditional supernatural horror experience, Babadook‘s dark fantasization of Amelia’s personal anxiety and the emotionally painful relationship with her son skew it much heavier into the “movie with a message” category. That message is bludgeoned over our collective skulls like a gas-powered shillelagh for an hour and a half until the final parting scene. It’s a heart punching manifestation of severe parental depression to be sure, but as someone just looking for something to watch and NOT a suffering parent looking for an understanding perspective, it just makes me shout “YES! WE GET IT! SHE’S SAD AND THE MONSTER IS A METAPHOR FOR DEPRESSION! MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN OR GET TO THE FUCKING CREDITS!”. It makes an otherwise well done movie feel like you’re Daniel Craig tied to a chair with a hole cut out of the seat and Jennifer Kent’s going all Mads Mikkelsen on your undercarriage. Or, as they call it at Guantanamo, a “Cheney Handshake”.

All that being said, if you’re the kind of person The Babadook strives to give a voice to, give it a viewing. If you’re the kind of person that has a metaphorical titanium plate in your head that helps prevent such heavy handed allegory abuse from turning your patience into applesauce and can just enjoy the flick as sensory stimulus, by all means, jump on Netflix and have a ball. If you’re me? Well, you’re not, so anything I say about that is irrelevant. Be happy about it.

Charlie, Charlie, we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well through the course of this review, and I feel comfortable enough now that I think I can ask this without offending you.
Yes?

Charlie, Charlie, if you’re supposed to be a Mexican ghost, shouldn’t your name be Carlos?
…White kids – what are you gonna do?

Until Children of Men happens? Nothing, Charlie. Nothing. Blart.

See you next episode, boils and ghouls!

Moral of the Story: I’m never having kids. Ever. This may have been the last push I needed to finally get that vasectomy!

Screenshots_____

“Mommy, is it true what all the kids at school say? Was my father really an albino goblin?”


The cast from A Bug’s Life looks a lot creepier when you watch it in HD.


Kid, I believe you when you say there’s nothing up your sleeves. Believe me when I tell you that if you’re still doing that shit in ten years, you won’t have anyone in your bed either.


“I don’t know, Sammy. I still don’t think it’s normal for a boy to want his mother to read him schematics for homemade explosive devices before bed every night.”


Children, if something that looks like that is trying to be your friend, run out the back door of your house and don’t stop running until you’re at the police station.


I haven’t felt so awkward reading subtitles since I watched that closed captioned copy of Last Tango in Paris… you know which part I’m talking about… yep, the scene with Marlon Brando’s Amish Astroglide™.


“Every day Mr. Harris asks me to pull his finger and every day I fall for it! Damn it!” (a little callback for any “Roseanne” fans who might be reading this)


Hence why Donald Trump pulls such high polling numbers.


Look kids, it’s footage of Jared Leto’s Joker from the latest “leaked” Suicide Squad trailer. Whoop-dee-fuck.


I see no one ever taught the Aussies how to bathe properly. It’s the 21st century and they’re still doing it like the French during the Golden Age of Ballooning. (a little callback for any “Flying Circus” fans)


She sleeps with that violin every night. Rednex fiddler Ace Ratclaw signed it for her at a 2012 show in Budapest! (a little callback for anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia to look up the members of Rednex)


A bad night for most women, sure, but a GOOD night for one of Charlie Sheen’s girlfriends! (a little callback for people who still think Charlie Sheen’s cool and domestic violence is hilarious [also, go fuck yourself with a bayonet])

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Anubis will return next time in
“Glorious Bastards”

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

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

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Feature 32 – Halloween (2007)

or “The Shape of Things to Come (Looks Kinda Like William Shatner)”

Featuring: Scout “The Runaways” Taylor-Compton , Malcolm “A Clockwork Orange” McDowall , Sherri “The Devil’s Rejects” Moon Zombie , and Tyler “X-Men” Mane as Michael Myers

Director: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie

Writer: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie

Origin: USA

Review_____

“I’ll be a shitstorm in your worst nightmare, motherfucker!”

And here we are, the final volley of “Shake, Bake, & Remake: Series 1”. This is the end, my friend. My only friend. The end. I probably saved Halloween for last because, if you couldn’t tell by the rating I gave it, it’s the best movie of the group by a large margin. A large-and-in-charge margin. A “’large’ like Large Marge” margin. Ze margin? She is large. It’s way better than any of the crusty turds I found when sifting through the cinematic cat box that is Platinum Dunes, for certain. Now, I already did a short review for this movie back on the old site, but it was a short subject and thus ineligible for re-editing as a “Rerun” review. Instead, I will be recycling much of what worked in said bite-size criticism for use in this article. Appropriate given the theme of the last month’s work!

Let me get this little statement out of the way before we get underway: I’m not Hindu, so no cow is sacred to me. I just clogged my arteries with the greasy seared flesh and blood of a big double-cheeseburger before I started typing this up. As such, I don’t care what topic it is or how many people love it; if you put anything in front of me I’ll be perfectly happy to dissect it, roll it through breading, fry it up and eat that sucker for dinner. Some people aren’t so quick to agree with this lifestyle though. A number of those people see John Carpenter’s original Halloween, then immediately drop to their knees and start tossing flowers in front of its path in prayer for its safe journey. Fuck that. However, at the same time, don’t confuse me as being anti-Halloween ’78 because I think it’s “cool” to piss on popular movies. I’d rather shiv a hipster and jump rope with his entrails than deride something just because it’s popularly bandied around as a classic. Don’t jump to conclusions. If there’s one thing I hate (of the few thousand things I would rather see awash in napalm than have to accept the existence of) it’s dickheads and she-dickheads that jump to conclusions. I am anti-Halloween ’78, but because I just don’t like it as a movie.

Just because his initials are J.C. doesn’t mean John Carpenter should be getting his ego stroked like he’s the bastard spawn of Jehovah. If Carpenter himself had came up to me with his movie about a random masked killer stabbing teens and lugging around headstones for no apparent reason while tacking 200+lb men up to rickety little pantry doors with nothing more than a butcher knife, I’d just look at him and ask why I should bother. “But it’s just oozing with suspense, sir! It’s an amazing assault on the senses and my very minimalist piano-synthesizer score is icing on the cake!” No, dick brain (may I call you “dick brain”?), it’s really not. Who keeps telling you this is a good thing? It seems more to me like lazy storytelling and a simplistic slasher flick that people are just trying to sell as this astonishing allegory of cinematic greatness packed with more edge-of-your-seat suspense than the best of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. I’d like to say it’s just because slasher movies were a new thing back then (and yes, I acknowledge Black Christmas, so shut it) and people were easier to impress, but I’ve been dumbstruck by people younger than I (usually jerking each other off in the back of Hot Topic) that think, for whatever reason, Halloween is something special. That it’s better than every gimmick slasher movie franchise that’s come since its release, despite its string of dick cheese (dick string cheese?) sequels. Though Season of the Witch is a fantastic movie (again, shut it). In the 20 years (and dozen or so other Carpenter movies) since I first watched it, I still don’t understand the nerd lust. If I were a more egocentric death deity, I’d say the people on Carpenter’s dick are all stupid and useless. But, everyone’s entitled to an opinion. Keep that in mind while you’re thinking of how to word the hate mail some of you send me when I your babies to the dingos like this.

Anyway, here’s what it comes down to: I like my killers with a background. I like understanding my monsters instead of just being satisfied watching them gut people for no apparent reason. It’s a weirdly acceptable trope for most generic ’80s slasher movies about the nerd/janitor/retard/hobo who gets burned with fire/acid by a group of teens/campers/bullies and comes back horribly scarred for a murder revenge tour of dollar store blood and butcher shop entrails. But it’s acceptable because most of those movies are never seen by casual viewers’ eyes, or completely forgotten by most of those who have. When your slasher is hailed as a high water/slaughter mark for the genre, I expect a bit more than “he was an evil boy and now he’s an evil man”. This is where Rob Zombie’s remake takes a different fork in the proverbial road and makes itself something more than just a copy and paste work up with a high-def coat of paint and modernized boob jobs.

Speaking of modernized shit, Zombie isn’t exactly clear about the time period this flick takes place in. When we first set our feet into the writer-director’s rendition of Haddonfield, Illinois, everything feels very ’70s. The music, the clothing, the hair, the cars. Everything. But that’s apparently just because Rob Zombie’s entire life exists in a ’70s sleaze culture aesthetic dimension, because this is actually October 31st, 1992. Anyway, let’s meet the Myers family! Haddonfield citizens that are so white trash, they could only have been born from a team-up of Tennessee Williams, John Waters, and a gallon of Wild Turkey. Matriarch Debbie (Sheri Zombie) works the strip club stage at night while trying her best to be a good mom during the day. Stepfather Ronnie White (William Forsythe, Daniel Day Lewis-ing the shit out of the “scumbag stepparent” role! ) is a crippled drunk who treats his step kids pretty much like every stepfather did in the ’70s. Eldest child Judy dresses like jailbait and has a rep at school as a receptacle for her male classmates’ surplus protein supplies. Baby Boo (played by more babies than Michelle freakin’ Tanner) is…a baby. And lastly, we have middle child Michael (Daeg Faerch, whose family apparently named him after a random handful of tiles drawn from a Scrabble bag). Mikey’s the kind of kid who’s always getting into trouble at school, has an unhealthy interest in dissecting animals (while they’re still alive) and likes to casually wear a cheap plastic clown mask in his spare time, because kids are weird no matter what decade they’re from.

The school principal (Richard Lynch in all his evil old man glory) calls in mommy to tell her about the uncovered evidence of little Mikey’s butchering of the poor, innocent, furry things and suggests that she hand him over to hot shot psychologist Dr. Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), who’s got that groovy “Donald Sutherland in Animal House” liberal college professor vibe going on. When he overhears the conversation, our boy Mikey storms off and eats a whole bowl of Life cereal. Not really. He actually runs off and beats the school bully to death with a tree branch that must’ve been partially petrified given the number of times he lays into the jerk off. The scene’s equal parts, “Yeah! Fuck that shithead up!” for those of us who were ever picked on growing up, and “Okay, that’s a little uncomfortable…” when the beating goes on for a while and the kid’s left with a bloody face crying and begging for mercy. I mean, I wouldn’t have stopped smashing his face in either, but having been a victim twice (and only twice…*menacing pause*) I’m all for bludgeoning bullies to death. Anyway, this is the point of no return for Mikey. Once you’ve graduated from killing four-legged furry critters to killing bipedal hairless (mostly) ones, the law kinda steps in and school counseling isn’t really an option anymore. So, before the cops discover his victim’s body (and have to identify him with dental records), our hero(?) heads home, goes out trick-or-treating, eats some candy, then goes about killing everybody in the house. Ronnie’s respiratory proficiency is greatly increased by the second mouth carved into his throat with a butcher knife, Judy’s boyfriend’s brains paint the kitchen floor courtesy of an aluminum bat (this is why you never call a kid “squirt”), and Judy herself gets a creepy incesty post-coitus leg tickle (barf) from her little brother (now wearing the series traditional William Shatner mask, introduced earlier by the aforementioned boyfriend) before Mikey installs a buncha new blood spigots in her with his stabbing utensil. Afterward, the junior psycho gathers up his baby sis and heads out to the front stoop to await Momma’s return from work. Nothing tops off a night of being leered at by perverts like coming home to find that your son has just violently murdered three people, leaving you the one that constantly needs their diaper changed and spends most of their time screaming and clawing at your tits… no, not Ronnie. I meant the baby.

The media shitstorm that follows would call the middle schooler’s killing spree “Manson-like in its viciousness”. When all was said and done with the most expensive trial in Haddonfield’s judicial history, young Michael would end up at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium (a word that you can’t not hear in James Hetfield’s voice) some 100 or so miles away, under the care of… yep, Sammy Loomis. During their earliest session, Mikey tells Fruit of the Loomis that he doesn’t remember anything about murdering half his family, then claims he had nothing to do with the carnage. He even goes so far as to ask his mom if everyone at home’s okay, meaning the kid’s either be a huge liar or a brain fried maniac. Aside from Samwise Loomgee, the closest person Mike could call a friend at The Grove is kindly old Mexican janitor Ismael (Danny Trejo). Having spent some time behind concrete walls (and bars) himself, Ish recommends that Mikey lose himself in his imagination rather than let his surroundings drive him further down the tracks to Crazyville Junction. This advice only feeds the kid’s already unhealthy interest in masks (to hide his “ugly face”, which I have to admit, isn’t exactly Flinstone Kids spokeschild material), and his “room” (i.e. cell) eventually becomes a goddamn arts & crafts fair of handmade masks. Hell, if he keeps it up another 20 years Etsy will become a thing and he could make a fortune!

Despite mom making weekly visits and Loomis acting almost as much the compassionate father figure as he does the kid’s therapist, Mike sinks further into the quagmire (giggidy) of his own insanity. When he’s not brooding in silence behind his false faces, he’s having screaming rage fits. Loomis deems him “A ghost. A mere shape of a human being.” While this downward spiral continues, the good doctor documents his progress (or lack thereof) in a series of clinically sterile films that give an entirely opposite impression of the more nurturing facade he shows the lad in their sessions. Makes you wonder if Samuel Illoomisnati is more concerned with actually trying to understand Michael to help him, or just so he can be a big dick amidst his peers in the head shrinking community.

After one of mom’s visits, the little wide awake nightmare’s left alone with a nurse (Cybil Danning!) in the cafeteria while Sammy walks Deb to her car. Seeing a picture of Mikey holding Boo, the nurse makes the moviedom kiss of death by remarking that Boo is too cute to be his sister and turning her back to him. If you’re stupid enough to call a pint-sized multi-murderer “ugly” and turn your back to him while he’s within arms reach of a fork, you deserve the repeated stabbings to the neck that you’re guaranteed to receive. And she does. And that’s the straw that break’s Debbie’s brain. She goes home, watches family movies of happier times, cries the tears of a mother whose little boy turned out to be a serial killer, then gives her old friend Smith N. Wesson a Cobain Blowjob (also know as “Sucking Off the Saturday Night Special”).

15 years later, Micheal (who’s become Tyler Mane) has spent the majority of his life in lock-up and taken a straight up vow of silence since mom’s suicide. He’s also grown large and wide somehow, but it’s never explained whether he took up weightlifting as a secondary hobby in between mask crafting sessions, if he’s just a freak-of-nature man colossus, or if the local water supply is in the direct path of the waste run-off from the local bovine growth hormone factory. As for Loomis, he retires from the hospital so he can publish a book (and go on a national speaking tour) based around his time studying Myers that labels the mute galoot the purest definition of a psychopath ever to walk his bloody footprints across the face of the Earth. While mister big shot psychoanalyst’s off signing autographs and sleeping with a new psych school groupie every night, things go all to shit back at Smith’s Grove. In a drunken rape stupor, one of the scum suck late night janitors calls in his equally scum suck cousin so they can “break in” one of the new female incarcerees like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. Here’s where the dingleberries earn themselves a Darwin Award – they decide to do the deed in Micheal’s room, on Micheal’s bed, while wearing some of Micheal’s masks, as Micheal is sitting within arm’s reach, all while yelling at Michael and calling him a faggot. In the history of stupid fucking redneck ideas, this one ranks right up there with putting toxic waste in your moonshine and “Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular”.

To say these good ol’ boys get what they deserve (both from a moral standpoint and an evolutionary one) would be an understatement, as Michael kills the duo with his bare hands. No longer confined to his quarters, Myers makes the term “graveyard shift” a literal reality (or “litereality”) and murders the sanitarium’s entire late night skeleton crew (another term he makes truth). To prove to the audience that Loomis is correct in diagnosing Micheal a remorseless killing machine (maybe a lawnmower with a chainsaw bolted to the top of it with a face drawn on the front?), Zombie makes us watch as the homicidal goon even kills poor ol’ Ishmael in a drawn out segment of assault and water-boarding, topped off with crushing his skull under a tv set. Yes, Robby Zombo, we get the point: he’s a murder tank with a mustang engine when it comes to taking lives. Even those who have only ever tried to help him. Just leave Danny Trejo alone!

Finally, after 45 minutes of fleshing out our killer’s background, the beefy behemoth (or “bohemoth” as he’d be referred to later, in the sequel) is set loose on the unsuspecting public. His next victim is knife-wielding truck jiver Joe Grizzly (Ken Foree in full force ’70s throwback mutton chops), whom Myers gets the drop on in the middle of Joe butt wrestling a taco supreme in the men’s room of a truck wash on the way to Haddonfield. Our blaxploitation heavy puts up a struggle, but ultimately loses his life (and raggedy overalls that probably stink like the darkest recesses of Ammut’s colon) to the Shape of kills to come. The following day (which just happens to be Halloween!), after presumably walking the 100 miles between Smith’s Grove and his hometown, Miguel returns to the rundown remnants of the Myers digs and tears up the floorboards of Judy’s old room to recover the only-minorly-decayed Shatner death mask from where we’re guessing he stashed it that fateful night a decade-and-a-half prior before giving himself up. Now, we can’t have a slasher movie where the killer is our solo focal point, so let’s go meet the tender young flesh of our heroine, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-”Straight Outta”-Compton)!

Hey. Remember the original Halloween II? Yeah, the movie where Jamie Lee Curtis dragged herself around a poorly lit and understaffed hospital trying not to get killed (again) for the entire thing, while Donald Pleasance fleshed out Myers Gen1’s backstory? Remember how Laurie turned out to be Micheal’s little sister? Well, same goes here. They won’t get to the big reveal for a long time yet, but I’m getting it out of the way now so we don’t need to sit on our thumbs waiting for the voice of Chucky to get around to the whole “I dropped the Myers baby off at a hospital two towns over after their mom redecorated the family room with her head guts” revelation. Besides, everybody in the audience knew from the moment the waifish teenager comes on screen and starts clutching her own tits and speaking dirty whorish teenager things to her own mother that she had to be the genetic spillage of some white trash titty bar dancer. Nature vs. nurture, folks.

So, Baby Boo Myers. Raised as “Laurie” by Cynthia (Dee Wallace!) and Mason (Pat [GilliganVoice] “Skipperrrrr!” [/GilliganVoice]) Strode. She’s a high school girl with high school girl friends doing all the high school girl things that reinforce my hatred of high school girls. At least it steels my resolve to stay out of jail by assuring I won’t be one of those chodes Wooderson-ing the jailbait at local cheerleader tryouts or field hockey practice. No, if anything, I’m more likely going to be the only masked slasher who interrupts the underage coitus before it gets started and demands the girl put a sweater on before I yank her lungs out through her gullet. Speaking of graphic purveyors of violent acts, Mikey finds little sister almost immediately upon getting back into town, as if she has a big electromagnet in her head tuned especially for butcher knives and other cleaving implements.

One of the less revolting high school girl stereotypes Laurie fills out is the “babysitting the neighbor kid on the weekends” role. Her particular source of income is young Tommy Doyle (Skyler Gisondo), who hangs on the young lady like a smart mouth barnacle while simultaneously decrying her gross girl cooties. Laurie will be spending her All Hallows Eve tending to Tommy and his would-be girlfriend Lindsey Wallace (Jenny Gregg Stewart), the second barnacle of whom Laurie picks up so her friend and fellow sitter Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) can plump her boyfriend’s Oscar Mayer wiener in her cooter oven. I have to say, Micheal Myer’s little niece grew up nicely since Halloween 5…and it’s okay for me to say that, because she was THIRTY while pretending to be an 18 year old here, so fuck you.

We’re gonna break out the Cliff’s Notes for the rest of the feature, because none of it’s really that important. Loomis comes to town, shouldering the personal guilt that he couldn’t fix Myers and adds a tool to his psychiatric repertoire that may just do the trick: a .357 Magnum. Brains are like TV sets – if they’re broken and you have no luck rewiring them, take a page from Elvis Presley’s book, pretend they’ve got Robert Goulet’s face, and put a big fat bullet through ’em! Local constabulary Sheriff Brackett (Brad Douriff), thinks Dr. L’s threats of a holiday holocaust are unfounded, so Sammy spends much of the remainder of the flick trying to convince the pig otherwise. Meanwhile, Myers just goes about killing Laurie’s family and friends. If you were a fan of the original’s unnecessary “headstone” death mock-up, or that infuriatingly stupid scene where Myers pins a 200+ pound man to a pantry door with the tip of a butcher knife, then congratulations because Zombie redoes them here. If you hated both of those scenes as I did, then wear a mouth guard so you don’t bite off your lip or tongue while trying to hold back your rage. It’s been 7 years and I still can’t pronounce my ‘s’es properly.

With the prelims out of the way, Michael spends the final 20 minutes of the movie chasing little sis around. He drags her kicking and screaming (until she… faints?) across town to their ancestral abode while the doctor and the sheriff (coming to The Hallmark Channel this Fall!) pursue one step behind. In the basement of the house, our speechless specter tries to make his sibling understand their connection, going so far as to remove his mask and drop to his knees to show her he’s no threat to her. Their bonding doesn’t go like he’d hoped though, as Laurie jams his own knife into his neck/chestal area before fleeing outside. Having no luck with getting this family reunion to work, Mike re-dons his Captain Kirk warpaint and heads out to carve little sister out of the Myers will. Just as he’s cornered Laurie and you think there’s no way she can escape, in comes the AARP cavalry with guns a-blazin’ as Loomis fills his former patient full of lead in the empty pool in the backyard. Whoa, hold your shit for one second. So the the poor white trash family struggling desperately to make ends meet had a fucking in-ground pool!? What the Night of the Living Fuck?! I call bullshit. Immersion ruined. Up yours, Robert Zomberson. Movie over.

Refusing to fall victim to the Second Amendment, Michael rises and drags Laurie from the supposed safety of the Loomis Mobile while the good doctor gives the greatest delivery of “WHAT THE HELL!?” I’ve seen in any medium. Don’t know how Malcolm McDowell was robbed of the Oscar for that one, but it’s a crime against good taste whatever the case. King Drama Club follows Michael back into the house and offers himself as a sacrifice to Myers’ wrath in apology for failing to cure him of his mania. The big guy grabs Sam’s skull and crushes/massages his…sinuses? It’s not clear. Looms looks dead, but manages to grab Mike’s ankle later to no real effect (except to establish that he’s still alive for the impending sequel?), to which our killer responds by…walking away from him. Huh. Not a very good killer, is he? Laurie grabs the doc’s hand canon, gets chased around the remnants of the house in a needlessly long chase sequence that could’ve been twice as effective at half the length. Something my penis and I know plenty about. Wakka wakka!

Their merry chase concludes with big brother shoulder tackling the petite teen through a second story window. When they awaken on the front lawn, Laurie’s face is all busted up, but that doesn’t stop her from grabbing the Magnum, straddling her sibling (ewww) and playing one-way Russian Roulette with his dumb rubber face until he finally grabs her hand (to steady her aim, methinks) and she unloads a big lead slug of “thicker than water” justice through his face. She spends her final moments on screen in a fit of Marilyn Burnsian “I BROKE MY BRAIN!” screams before we head into the end credits, interlaced with Myers family films of little Michael smashing a plastic bouncy horse with a stick in a chilling precursor of destroyed playthings to come. FIN.

Coming in at a beefy two hour run time, Halloween is a bit overstuffed. Rob Zombie’s that “get your money’s worth” cook who isn’t happy just serving up a burger at the barbecue. He slaps two ½ lb patties on a bun, then tops ’em off with lettuce and fried onions and tomatoes and pickles and hot peppers and chipotle ketchup and mayo. When you take that first bite, everything just falls out the back and sides and you get a mouthwatering avalanche all over your favorite fucking Blood Feast t-shirt. The movie’s just too long for its own good. Perfect example: too much time is spent hitting us over the head with how Myers is an irredeemable murder maven. Loomis gives us the skinny during a cut from his speaking tour and that does the job. We don’t need to watch the doc explain it to other characters again and again later. We got it the first time!

Speaking of time, I’m split on whether the way Zombie dedicates the first half of the movie to Michael and the second half to Laurie is a good thing or not. I know the movie is about Myers and not so much Laurie this time, but inherently this comes with another slippery slope to climb: centering your movie on a character that forfeits all vocal abilities and hides his face for the majority of the last half of the flick. This shift from making Michael the main character over to putting all the attention on Laurie (who spent her first half of the flick in a high chair and drooling all over her sippy cup) hurts the cohesiveness of the movie for me. How could this have been fixed? Maybe some of the time spent on chronicling Mikey’s stint in the loony bin could’ve been spent showing us exactly what’s been happening to Laurie all this time, so we could start to give a shit about her too instead of just dropping her in our lap later (and making most of us hate her from Scout Taylor-Compton’s first few lines). But no, Laurie’s history is all covered in some dialogue later between Loomis and Sheriff Brackett. Thus, the mild sense of audience vertigo remains. On the one hand, I’m glad that we get a slasher where the killer gets the spotlight and we see what made him the evil bastard he would become. But on the other hand, a true slasher is only as good as his victims, so you can’t NOT give your lead protagonist their time to make us give a fuck about whether they live or die. From a necessity point-of-view it works to fit both roles, but it still feels off to spend the first half of the movie getting to know one guy, then sticking him into the background as the boogeyman while we have to watch obnoxious girls being obnoxious. So, yeah. Time management and editing. Zombie could use a little more practice on both.

As far as the “tribute scenes”? If they were done in legit tribute of how “great they were”, then fuck it. I hated them. Could they have been done in a *wink*wink* or mockery? If so, they were played a little too straightforward for it to be believable. All the bullshit with the tombstone, the “guy stuck to a wall with a butcher knife” crap and the “Myers dressed like a ghost wearing glasses” scene are all accounted for. They all still put groans into my guts and my hand smacked squarely against my forehead.

Zombie knows what he’s doing with the violence though, ya gotta give him that. Rather than go full tilt with dismemberment and insides-on-the-outside, he has a knack for the simple-yet-brutal effect of a bloodied face. Whether it’s the school bully getting his karmaic comeuppance or Laurie after being used as a tackle dummy by big brother, both horror faces made me pay attention and gave me mildly nauseated squirms in that visceral oh-so-good way that few things do. Seemingly simplistic, but so effective when done right. As for the rest of his direction, Zombie puts more of an action flair into his stuff. If you’re the type who oozed your shorts over Carpenter’s thriller atmosphere in the original, this more energetic aesthetic isn’t likely what you were looking for in a remake. Then again, the damn thing’s been out for so long that if you haven’t seen it already, this review probably isn’t going to put this on your “must see” list.

In regards to the cameos: I don’t care if it was just Zombie giving his friends and horror movie idols a paycheck, or if he was trying to appeal to the horror movie geeks who like to point at the screen and name as many of the actors as possible. Either way, I still get that little kick out of being able to do the latter while everyone else around me is generally clueless. Granted, their lives are probably filled with more endearing and humanity benefiting pastimes than what I do on my days off, but being able to say, “Oh shit! That’s Clint Howard!” puts a smile on these lips in the morning.

As far the acting goes: meh. Everybody seemed to be into it, but there weren’t a lot of tour de force performances going on here. Possibly the fault of the dialogue on that one, though. I think Daeg Faerch was the surprising stand-out of the group, as his portrayal of young Michael gave me the legitimate creeps. He manages to play a disturbed-but-still-sympathetic lunatic child without tripping over the “obnoxious little shithead you just wanna smack upside the head” pitfall that other child actors in horror flicks seem inclined to do. William Forsythe was probably one of the best assholes I’ve seen in years outside of a Tarantino movie, but his role was short-lived as it was. Though I could’ve cared less if Laurie lived or died (preferably the latter, if we’re being honest), Miss Compton does one HELL of a scream queen act in her final moments that made for forget just how little I cared for the her up until then! She puts out such believable insanity in that moment that you’d think she just looked into the gaping maw of Cthulhu and saw a dimension of nothing but Carrot Top movies. As for Sherri, she makes a believable “broken down mom just trying to keep her family together”, but just because her last name is “Zombie” doesn’t mean she should let herself decay to the point of looking like a reanimated corpse. Her emaciated body nauseates me as her ribs try to poke out my eyes during her “worn out stripper” routine. Somebody order that woman a corned-beef on rye before she slips into a coma! Is she under the impression that trying to look like Keira Knightley will get her those fat Disney paychecks like Miss Pirates of the Caribbean? Not so, my dear. Please put something into your body other than cocaine and Scotch, okay?

Final judgment? The Halloween remake is a lot like the original with enough new material tacked on to set it apart from its source, and justify its existence. I liked it. I’m good with Michael Myers being an actual guy with a solid history. It’s far from perfect, but I wasn’t demanding my money back at the end. I think the movie actually improves on the life and times of one of horror’s flagship mask-wearers, unlike the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake that threw in Leatherface’s new origin as an abused child as little more than an afterthought. Or the Friday the 13th and Elm Street remakes that just straight up recycled the tales of their originals. Oh wait, that’s because Michael Bay was rubbing his grimy sweaty swampy balls all over all three of those. I almost forgot. Well, I tried to forget.

In closing, though I always welcome frank discussion and debate with our readers, if you’re a biased member of the Loyal Order of John Carpenter Fellatio Enthusiasts and you’re just going to write unintelligible rhetoric to me about how much of an ignorant “traitor” I am to the horror genre because I’ll take Zombie’s movie over Old Man Carpenter’s movie if given the option, keep two things in mind: (1) Carpenter gave Zombie the okay to do whatever he wanted with the movie (so it’s his inbox you should be packing) and (2) please at least do me the favor of spell checking your shit first. If your email looks like the transcript from an episode of “Maury“, you won’t get a response. I let somebody borrow my copy of “How to Communicate with Grammarless Dickweeds” and would have no idea how to respond…

Moral of the Story: Just because someone’s crippled doesn’t mean they can’t still crawl over there and skull fuck the shit out of you.

Screenshots_____

Little Johnny Gacey’s parents used to wake up to THAT every morning.


“Ahhhh, still smells like Mother.”


“Okay, which one of you jazzy hepcats called for a Groove-meister? Cuz he is here!”


Shit. And I thought my allergies were bad!


You know what happens to the first one to fall asleep at a party. He’ll wake up with penises drawn all over his face, no eyebrows, a Hitler mustache, his underwear in the freezer, both hands in bowls of warm water, and sitting in a very big wet spot.


Alright, who recorded over my horror movie with a Korn video?


Coming directly to video cassette (in 1992): Ted Danson is Dracula.


still a better Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake than Michael Bay’s.


I’m a deranged pervert and even I wouldn’t take a date back to that bedroom.


The end to Robert Rodriguez’s epic faux-sploitation series: Machete Killed.


A tip to black men in slasher movies: stay off the toilet. Remember Miguel Nunez in Friday the 13th Part V? Exactly.


Nothing tugs the heart strings like the look on a girl’s face when she audibly farts on a first date. Memories.


I don’t mean to tell a professional how to do his business, Mike, but successful stalkers don’t usually just stand around in the open in broad daylight. I can see you. You’re RIGHT THERE. Just trying to help.


Dr. Frankenstein or the Ice Cream Man: which would you rather trust your hysterectomy to, ladies?


It only took him 20 years, but Charlie Brown’s second happiest moment came one Halloween when he finally got his ghost costume (mostly) right! His happiest? When he strangled Lucy later that same night.


They must be enrolled at Horror High.


“You can’t kill me! PLEASE! I had NOTHING to do with Holwing II: Your Sister is a Werewolf! I hated it too! Ahhhhhh!”


That awkward moment when you discover the parents of the kid you’re babysitting left their homemade porno tape in the VCR.


Michael Myers takes the series back to its roots as he stars in Walking Tall 4: the Resurrection of Buford Pusser. Meh. At least he’s not Kevin Sorbo.


Sure, they’ll turn away homosexuals, but I see eHarmony didn’t hesitate to approve Chris Brown’s membership.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Faygo 500”

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

Feature 28 – Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 (2013)

or “Alma Mind Over Alma Mater”

Featuring: Asta Paredes , Catherine Corcoran , Vito Trigo… you’ve never heard of either of them and you may never hear of them again… until Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 2 anyway.

Director: Lloyd “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” Kaufman

Writers: Travis “Mr. Bricks: A Heavy Metal Murder Musical” Campbell , Lloyd “Class of Nuke ‘Em High” Kaufman , Derek “Johnny Test” Dressler , Casey Clapp , Aaron Hamel

Origin: USA

Sequel to: Class of Nuke ‘Em High / Class of Nuke Em High Part II: Subhumanoid Meltdown / Class of Nuke Em High 3: the Good, the Bad, and the Subhumanoid

Sequel: Return to Nuke Em High Volume 2

Review_____

“Fuck me with your fish dick, Gill!”

Sorry about taking so long to get this review together, faithful readers. Suffered a bout of creative constipation in recent weeks, and given the shit that did finally come out, it all hardly seems worth the antici………… pation. Right? Oh well, fuck it. I’m here, you’re here, the bed covered in condoms and lube is here, so let’s just get down to the dirty horseplay!

What’s up with Troma these days? The last big production I remember them having was Poultrygeist, and though I really enjoyed it in fine traditional Tromatic fashion, that was way back in 2006! When I was in junior high and started watching these perverse, violent, cornball, cheap-o, safe sex, anti-pollution, feature length public service announcements, it seemed like they were churning out new movies every other year! Then again, I started late in my anthropological studies of the historic civilization of Tromaville, New Jersey’s bastion of bacchanalia, so maybe my being able to indulge in so much catching up via my local Video Pharaoh rental store just made it seem like an endless smorgasbord of sluts, guts, and butts. Either way, at this time of year, when students the nation over are chomping at the bit to dive head first into summer break like it’s a swimming pool full of beer and ecstasy, what better time to head back to the infamous campus of Tromaville High School?

Originally established as the second keystone of the radioactive waste dump house that Toxie built, the first Class of Nuke ‘Em High was very much a classic handcrafted creation of the underground, punk rock, anti-establishment, yuppie smashing, movie terrorists of the ’80s. It had tits and violence and mutants and marauding street thugs and immature dick & fart humor in perfect excess, all brought together by honor roll graduate of the Roger Corman School of Guerilla B-Movie Making, Lloyd “Turn Your Head and” Kaufman! Nuke Em High sang a song my teenage hormones could not resist. The sequels were…bad. Not in the fun way, though. ’90s Troma just wasn’t the same as ’80s Troma. They were definitely Troma productions, but aside from Tromeo & Juliet and Terror Firmer, it really wasn’t a great decade.

Much like Poultrygeist, Return to Nuke ‘Em High embraces the condemnation of the modern additives-centric food industry rather than the classic Troma trope of spraying diarrhea over the environment ravaging nuclear power estate. Now, I know you’re asking, “But Uncle Anubis, if it’s not about giving the ol’ fuck-you-finger to dangerous atomic power barons, then how in the name of Set’s nipples is it a Nuke ‘Em High movie?!”. Well, if you’d shut your shit vacuum and gimme a minute, I’d caress your cheek with my plot hand and whisper sweet expository nothings (not to be confused with suppository somethings) into your crusty ear canal like the dumb movie Don Juan that I am. So, yooooou juuuuust reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally waaaaaaaaaaaanna knoooooooooow what’s going on… at Nuke ‘Em High? Here goes – It’s been almost 20 years since the Tromaville Nuclear Power Plant had its second catastrophic destruction (at the fuzzy feet and nuts of a giant radioactive squirrel monster), taking with it the Tromaville Technical Institute it had built as penance for destroying Tromaville High School in its maiden meltdown during the climax of the original movie. Rather than tempt fate a third time by building another set of those big billowing concrete cooling towers, New Jersey’s very own Three Mile Island (to be honest, the whole state’s pretty much a Chernobylian disaster even without Tromaville) instead becomes the site of Tromorganic Foodstuffs Inc., while the old school grounds are the site of a wholly rebuilt Tromaville High! All of this is laid out for us in the film’s opening by none other than the deification of fanboy culture, Stan “the Man” Lee! Genuine geeks known Stan as the architect of Marvel Comics, and four-color know-nothings will just recognize him as “That old Jew who shows up in all those comic book movies!”. Stan gives the Nuke ‘Em flicks his own special brand of loquacious recap…well, the first movie. His treatments of Episodes 2 and 3 are less recaps and more summations of how we all felt about them. Also, Stan likes boobs. Dirty old man.

Oh, and don’t be alarmed if Tromaville looks a lot like Buffalo, NY. Apparently New Jersey would rather have its image ruined to the rest of the world with the true life horrors of Jersey Shore and Chris Christie rather than risk potential tourists mistaking salacious sociopolitical satire as a documentary. Trust me, Tromaville’s New Jersey is Candyland compared to the real thing. At least their Molasses Swamp isn’t full of bodies and their Princess Lolly isn’t a walking, slurring breeding ground for pubic lice and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Back on task, our new Nuke ‘Em High alumni-on-the-verge-of-having-incredibly-horrible-lives consists of our orphaned lesbian activist heroine Chrissy (Asta Paredes), the well-to-do duck owner and new-to-school Lauren (Catherine Corcoran), Chrissy’s blue-balled borderline psychotic boyfriend beard Eugene (Clay von Carlowitz), token black guy Slater (Stefan Dezil), Slater’s girlfriend whose name I didn’t bother to learn, and their fat, whiny, Prince Albert-ed geek stereotype friend whose name I actively pushed out of my brain because he’s just way too annoying to waste any of the already limited storage space of my gray matter hard drive on remembering it. By his own definition, the guy’s a “jelly roll, jizz dwarf, snatch badger, ass troll” who loves Batman & Robin, so that’s all you really need to know about him. There are also some random victims, a sex ed teacher who doesn’t come to a very happy ending (Get it? Sex ed? Come? Happy ending?), the school priest/football coach Father Sandusky (because child molestation jokes), gym teacher Coach Kotter (Debbie Rochon, stopping by quick to remind my penis she still exists), the disgustingly sloppy Rush Limbaugh parody Principal Westly (Babette Bombshell, who takes the prize for weirdest name on their SAG card… and is a credit that I’m not entirely sure is correct), and the Poofs – Tromaville High’s glee club, who are an unsublte parody of the cast of “Glee”, and are destined to go the way of the original Nuke ‘Em High‘s very same extracurricular group… which, if you’ve never seen the original, then (1.) you’ll have no idea what I’m talking aboot, and (B.) shame on you. Either way, we’ll get to that part momentarily, so just keep your boots on, Flesh Gordon.

Back to Tromorganic, having been built on the power plant grounds they’ve found a sizable stockpile of that Troma Green (my favorite Crayola color) toxic slime to use as filler for their so-called organic health food. Well, everybody’s always pushing the whole “go green” agenda, and you don’t get much greener than Troma Brand Nuke Sludge! Besides, feed some to your pet terrapin and you’ll have your own posse of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before you can say “Eat a bag of dicks, Michael Bay!”. No longer able to sell their products to American fast food chains due to a few lost-then-found human bits (or, as I call them, the special toy surprise in every bite), Tromorganics company head Warren Herzgauf (Lloyd Kaufman, having a hell of a time not spilling milk all over himself) has pulled some strings with political associates (including President of the USA – Lemmy!) to get their not-so-organic delights deemed the official cafeteria garbage of schools all across New Jersey!

See? The “Nuke ‘Em High” moniker still fits. There’s no risk of nuclear detonation, but there’s still going to be plenty of teens being exposed to radioactive elements. Meanwhile, Lloyd Kaufman gets to give the Cleveland How’s-Your-Mom to the pink slime “meat” production industry, the fast food industry that tries to get their products into schools, AND the politicians whose pockets are packed with both aforementioned industries’ jizz and coke encrusted hundred dollar bills. Lloyd Kaufman – still striking out at industrialized evil with bad little dark comedies that are only watched by the same few thousand audience members that have been watching them for years.

While she’s not trying to take down Tromorganic with the hard-hitting junior journalism of her personal blog (that has even fewer readers than I do!), Chrissy’s attentions are focused on avoiding the sexual advances of her boyfriend (who has no idea the clam buffet he’s trying to get a seat at is reserved for members of the pink mafia only) and bullying new girl Laura. Said bullying isn’t really about Chrissy working out the emotional trauma of being an orphan, or even about hating Laura’s money. It’s obvious from the first exchange of glances that our anti-heroine is doing the “playground flirt” and pushing the girl she’s got a crush on into a pile of dog poo. Will this homo squish mission end in true love for Miss Chris? Or will it result in unrequited failure to launch because Laura’s female socket only takes male plugs? All I’ll tell you is that a giant mutant wedding tackle comes between the two before it’s all said and done.

Come Taco Tuesday at Tromaville High, the student body fill their student bodies with all the tainted imitation meat they can stomach thanks to the generous donation of Tromorganics. However, the Poofs get special treatment, and are fed chemically contaminated guacamole (despite being specifically told it was NON-chemically contaminated!). While the shock guac turns the school’s biggest nerd into a one-man meltdown (on which Principal Westly blames the boy being diabetic) a la the drinking fountain casualty of Nuke ‘Em 1, the Poofs are mutated into the Cretins – a gang of hyped up ultra-violent outland mutant rejects from Mad Max… well, more like Warrior of the Lost World than Mad Max, but you get my gist. They’re basically the embodiment of how every tenant at your nearest nursing home describes “teens today”, while still thinking it’s 1983. However you want to describe them to the police sketch artist, just don’t call them Juggalos or you’ll end up airborne and immolated in the KabukiCar.

For those who don’t know what the KabukiCar is, it’s become Lloyd Kaufman’s version of Sam Raimi’s Oldsmobile. If you don’t know what Sam Raimi’s Oldsmobile is, get thee to a Googlery! In other words, just Google it. Bad enough this review’s a few weeks late without having to hold a bad movie seminar on Easter Eggs! Speaking of, the KabukiCar originated in Troma’s Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD (hence the name) and is a clip of a big deal car stunt where a blue sedan is sent flipping 30ft into the air before crashing to the ground and exploding. It’s probably the most expensive scene in Troma history, hence why Lloyd gets as much mileage out of it as he can by inserting it into every Troma production since. It’s a big *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* for Troma fans, like the frequent Toxie and Kabukiman cameos, and the Troma movie posters that every character in the Tromaverse decorate their walls with.

The rest of Return is basically watching the Cretins commit acts of mayhem and Chrissy trying to pickpocket Laura’s ham wallet until the inevitable cock block ending that makes us wait until the next movie before resolving anything. What? You didn’t think a movie with “Volume 1” in the title wasn’t going to make you pay more money to see its conclusion, did you?! Yep, just like Tarantino divided Kill Bill into two “Volumes”, Kaufman has done the same here. As an homage? As a cash grab? As a joke that’s about a decade past its “sell by” date? Only Lloyd knows for sure.

Wondering if this latest iteration lives up to the lofty standards set by previous Tromatic entries (the kinds of entries with snapping jaws and corrosive fluids that the Surgeon General suggests keeping your penisy parts away from) in regards to graphic violence, barely legal nudity, and dick & fart humor delivered by comically ugly and/or overweight people? Allow me to put your nerves at ease: in the opening scene, a young couple engage in explicit sexual activity in the school janitor’s office/apartment, until they’re accosted by a monster shaped like a big mutant cock, the guy gets his dong torn off, and the girl’s flesh melts off before the comically rotund janitor returns to show complete disinterest in something that he’s probably seen a few dozen times before. I’m sorry to say that I know exactly how he feels, too, because I’ve now seen Return to Nuke ‘Em High.

Just like that janitor’s seen it all before, his reaction is the setup for the big joke that Return really is. Despite Stan Lee’s opening narration laying the groundwork for this being a sequel, it’s actually a remake. The title itself is a big meta joke – we’re not just returning to the locale of the titular high school, we’re straight up returning to the original source material of the first movie. So many scenes are directly lifted from the original, you could tell me that 90% of the script was just Xeroxed copies from the Class of Nuke ‘Em High script with big red editor’s notes scribbled in and I wouldn’t doubt you. They didn’t even change the name of the female lead! I know I made the Tarantino comparison two short paragraphs ago, but Kaufman also feels like he’s aping Peter Jackson, because much like Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Return to Nuke ‘Em High feels like it’s artificially hyper-extending the story it’s supposed to be adapting. Again, it’s probably all meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but for the people paying to be an audience to it, that may be a tongue covered with oozing green pustules that they don’t want anywhere near their cheeks, front or back.

I haven’t had this much controversy about the way something was cut since the argument I had with that hooker who wanted to charge me extra for oral because I’m uncircumcised! Wakka-wakka! *rimshot*

Alrighty, enough with that stuff. Let’s get to the meat substitute and DDT-free potatoes of today’s feature. For better or worse, it’s your basic Troma blueprint: intentionally cheesy in EVERY respect, liberal on the liberal social editorializing, pokes Hollywood right in the eyes, heavy on graphic oozing displays of gore, more than enough scenes of young people getting nekkid on each other, and feels overall like it was put together with model airplane glue by a bunch of movie school dropouts in need of Ritalin between sessions of huffing said glue. That’s by no means a condemnation, just a preparation for what you are about to receive, should you opt for this belly buster off the value menu. If you’ve seen Troma, you know what your eyeballs’ taste buds are in for. If you haven’t, here’s a free pro-tip: the secret sauce is just mayonnaise left out in the sun. This quote from the movie sums it up better than I ever could, “It’s cheaper than monkey shit and these kids can’t get enough of it in their gullet!”

Now, what did I like, specifically? Aside from having an inner child who will never stop enjoying gore and naked women, my more mature adult self enjoys the social commentary, while my bad movie geek persona enjoys picking out the fan nods and synching up which scenes are direct re-hashes. The dialogue is pushed more for gags and stacked with quotables, but if you’re expecting high drama from these guys, you need to go watch a few episodes of “Troma’s Edge TV” and temper your expectations. The music’s a definite plus for me. That classic Nuke ‘Em High theme still lays eggs in my ears every time I hear it. After watching this, I had trouble sleeping for a few days because every time I’d lay down and close my eyes I’d hear “IIIIIIIII…. juuuuuuuuuuust… reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally waaaaaaaannaaaaa knoooooooooow!” between my ears, making it impossible to shut my brain up long enough to embrace unconsciousness! Fortunately, a handful of sleeping pills and a hot water bottle full of blood from a narcoleptic baby finally put me down, so there’s no need for anger. The rest of the tunes are pretty catchy as well, so this is another Troma soundtrack that I think I’ll be seeking for the collection. Not as good as Tromeo & Juliet or Terror Firmer, but worth a spot on the shelf. That’s right, this old man-jackal still has physical media. Bite me.

As far as the “played for shocks” stuff goes, I might as well be wearing a rubber gimp suit because I’m pretty impervious to shock at this point in my desensitized life. Example: there’s a part in the movie that the easiest descriptor of which would be the “duck rape” scene. If you thought the tree rape scene from Evil Dead was disturbing, well…yeah, it’s still pretty disturbing. Especially if the first time you saw it was with your parents, much like I experienced on Halloween night when I was 14. Lots of weird looks and questions of, “David, why did you pick this movie to watch with your family?”. It’s way more disturbing than the duck rape scene. The duck rape scene’s not nearly as traumatizing as your own mind might have already made it out to be. I run the risk of sounding like pure sleaze by saying this, but I really expected more from Troma when they promised me duck rape. I think I was more upset that I had to look at Judah Friedlander in his brief cameo than I was by the duck rape. I think I’m more upset that I keep typing “duck rape” than I am by the actual scene of duck rape! Blart. It’s like you’re barely trying anymore, guys.

Speaking of Friedlander (and his stupid trucker hat schtick), I don’t know if there were a lot of other notable cameos I missed beyond that and Lemmy’s quick minute as the President. The store owners from “Oddities” also get about 3 seconds of screen time (oddly enough, also during the duck rape scene), but I would’ve been far more hyped if it were the Maxx and the Head from MTV’s animated ’90s series “Oddities” instead of SyFy’s “weird shit curio shop” show. I’ve been to that store, by the way. Looks like Michael Jackson’s basement…not that I would have any reason to have been in Michael Jackson’s basement…uhm…moving on!

Speaking of cameos, long time Troma faithful will be happy to see a cameo by the Toxic Avenger’s long-time semi-nemesis Cigar Face (Dan Snow)! Be warned, he may give you six new assholes after he tells you the origin of his name.That one was for the HUGE fellow nerds reading this. For the rest of you? Pecker snot. Why? I didn’t want you to feel left out.

Last call – though entertaining in its own right, Return to Nuke ‘Em High is less than the sum of its parts. If it weren’t just a bloated re-packaging of the original and gave us something new instead, I probably would’ve liked it more. For those hoping for a new revolution from the little bad movies studio that could, Troma’s just giving us Malibu Stacey with a new hat, while I’m content to just keep playing with Malibu Stacy Classic. Now, pardon my sudden departure as I go off to have a Cigar Face t-shirt made up. Later, spectators!

Moral of the Story: Propagation is health, being gay is worse than being black, and duck rape is life affirming. But, you can stop waiting for MySpace to come back, because the crack of doom is coming soon.

Screenshots_____

Proof that if you sell people 40 different versions of Army of Darkness on DVD, you’ve make enough money to finance your own movie releases!


Stan’s finally absorbed enough radiation from his microwave to prove Comic Guy wrong – he CAN turn into the Hulk!… or at least Bill Bixby.


This is what happens when someone gives you “the Shocker” during your period. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, “the Toxic Shocker”.


How Santa spends the other 364 days of his year.


Because President Lemmy doesn’t NEED a last name!


A tale as old as time, destined to end in tragedy (i.e. duck rape): beauty and the fowl.


Lloyd Kaufman’s doing the next Fantastic Four movie! Couldn’t be worse than Roger Corman’s… or the Fox ones, now that I think about it.


“Listen up, my conservative soldiers! This is your brave leader Rush, reminding you that explaining your position is never an option! ALWAYS DEFLECT, DEFLECT, DEFLECT! Just shout “OBAMA IS A SECRET COMMUNIST KENYAN MUSLIM NAZI!” as loud as you can and you’ll never lose an argument!… and if my ‘doctor’ is listening, I need a ‘prescription refill’. Gracias.”


It’s sad how the biggest shitheads always have the coolest t-shirts… and yes, I own a LOT of cool t-shirts.


A little something for the ladies! Incidentally, that’s exactly what’s printed on the front of my boxers.


…THE CAST OF CITY LIMITS!


Stephen Hawking: the college years.


Surfboards adorned with swastikas?! Surf Nazis Must Die 2: Fourth Reich Boogaloo confirmed!


The answer to “Whatever happened to Michael Hayes?”… that one was strictly for my wrestling nerds.

Anubis will return next time in
“Mommy’s Little Monster”

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