Feature 85 – Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (2016)

or “Would You Offer Your Throat to the Vampire with the Camera?”

Featuring: Leila “The Long Home” George , Emily “Adventures In the Sin Bin” Meade , Tori “Cthulhu” Spelling

Director: Melanie “Actors Anonymous” Aitkenhead

Writers: Amber Coney & James “Bukowski” Franco

Origin: USA

In-Name-Only Remake of: Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (1996)

Review_____

“Well, she’s bad news Miss Lewisohn. Part of a bad crowd.”

Labor Day. Most people think Union bosses and picnics, but as an everyday appreciator of those baring a sexy pair of XX chromosomes, I think of screaming parasites being torn into the blood soaked agony of existence through unwilling vaginal portals. Instead of making this about the bite-sized monstrosities, I prefer to put the spotlight on the iron ladies who bear said abominations and made all of us possible. Yes, even you test tuber viewers, because you can’t grow a human horror from microscopic tadpoles alone…yet. Anyway, as such, I present to all you of-the-ovarian-sort a trio of flicks for ladies, by ladies (mostly), featuring ladies (FLBLFL). “Ladies Night!”, enrage! Errrr, engage!

Let me start with an apology, kids. I know many of you would probably prefer that the “Franco” in today’s credits was referring to Italian sleeze legend Jess Franco, but no such luck. I may have something from the deceased trash maestro a little further down the pipe (provided I get the gusto to snake the drain that is my motivation), but today you’ll have to settle for James instead. However, if you’re an enthusiast, don’t get too excited. And if you’re a detractor, don’t feel down. The screenplay’s only half his, as you can see by the credits he’s not the director (his character even has a line where he literally says “I did not direct that!”) and his on-screen role might as well come with one of those “for novelty purposes only” disclaimers they stamp on penis pump packaging.

Oh yeah, like you’ve never injured your dick and/or your partner’s dick with a prick thickener before. How’s the weather way up there on your golden pedestal, you high-horsing mothertrucker? That’s what I thought.

On the topic of today’s movie, did you know it’s been 20 years since the original Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? premiered? Neither did. Because I never watched it. Because I don’t tend to watch Lifetime. Being “Television for Women”, I’m not even entirely sure it’s legal for me to post this review! Not that I’m a stickler for following the law, but when you’re covered in jet black fur like I am, you don’t really want to tempt any antsy-pants patrol officers into using yours truly for target practice…

Edgy, socially relevant humor!

You know who did see the original Lifetime Original? My Evil Dead Bride! I’m now turning over the steering wheel to EDB, so She can share Her thoughts:

Ahh, Lifetime movies: an incredible exercise in estrogen drenched dramatics and progesterone chugging shenanigans. Scared yet? You should be. Ladies are frightening, especially when they’re busting cheating husbands and bravely trying to find love again while raising kids with no heads. Okay, the missing head part wasn’t real. That’d be hype as fuck if it was real though, right?

Anyway, Lifetime is “Television For Women”, in that it’s ludicrously written and hilariously overacted treacle often “based on true events” (yet somehow not as entertaining as “Law and Order”) involving Ovarians. In every genre of film, there are certain works that can be considered cornerstones. Lifetime dreck is no different. The first Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is certainly part of Lifetime’s bedrock, along with A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story and Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter (Seriously, watch the Betty Broderick movies, they’re incredible). It’s the typical “previously good teen rebels against overly involved parent and loves bad boy who is way worse for her than she realizes until it’s almost too late” affair, perfectly un-acted by Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei (both of whom reappear in the remake for funsies for people like me who’ve spent too much time watching utter garbage like this). The writing is atrocious, yet oddly gratifying. Truly a hallmark in mammarian moviemaking if I’ve ever seen one, right along with that terrifying movie where John Stamos makes out with his dad at the end. That’s a real thing, by the way.

Lifetime isn’t for the faint of heart or those of weak constitution. Kinda like Tori Spelling’s “acting” and unsettling amount of facial fillers she’s rocking these days. (Seriously Tori, you’re starting to look like Robert Z’Dar: face like a catcher’s mitt. Quit while you’re only yards behind.) Lifetime movies are basically exploitation movies for suburban moms who drink box wine and proudly sport that baffling Kate Gosselin hairdo, sans over the top gore and gratuitous nudity. If this sounds appealing to you, question your life choices. I’ve done the introspective work, and am left with a calm that can only be achieved by allowing “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” to silence my constantly chattering mind with its myriad mysteries and deep existential inquiries. Perhaps this movie is actually a life altering koan delivered via poor 1990s television filmmaking, meant to teach me something I can simultaneously know and be ignorant of at the same time…

Hahaha. Nah. It’s just dumb pablum meant to pacify bored people like me with no taste. Enjoy it for what it is and isn’t. Don’t think too hard, cause that’ll give you little wrinkles on your forehead. Vaya con Dio Brando, fuckers. >:D

See why I’m frequently bugging her to start up her own movie blog? If you agree, let us know! She has to bow to peer pressure eventually!

And now, Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?

Honey, maybe you should get to know Danger first, before jumping into bed with them. Perhaps by introducing yourself with a firm but genial handshake!

I considered going with a Carlos Danger or “Is Danger his first name or his middle name?” joke there, but I stand by my decision.

Leah Lewisohn (Leila George) is just your typical West Coast college girl. She lives at home with her “why does she wear high heels in the house?” mom (Tori Spelling), she speaks with a soft-yet-grating Valley Girl accent, she awkwardly pretends not to notice that her friend Bob (Nick Eversman) would like nothing more than to suffocate himself with her crunchy underpants, she’s pushing gender boundaries by being the first female lead in her drama class’s rendition of Macbeth (as directed by James Franco’s character), and her new significant other is hiding from her the potential relationship shattering knowledge that they’re a vampire. Oh, and said sucker-of-the-sanguine is a lesbian goth “photographer” named Pearl (Emily Meade), which probably won’t sit well with Mrs. Lewisohn’s conservative Christian outlook.

As if the teenage nosferatu thing wasn’t bad enough, Pearl’s being pressured to bring Leah into the pink & black mafia (the Hart Foundation?) by her fellow monsters. “Monsters” in that they’re also vampires, not college students who think overexposing photographs makes them artists. Calling photography students “monsters” would be giving them more credibility than most deserve, and if their parents never encouraged them while growing up, why should the rest of us? I don’t want a brood of my own. If I wanted a bunch of responsibilities, I’d learn Hebrew and animate some golems. At least they don’t leave DNA evidence at crime scenes…

And that’s pretty much it! In my usual effort to avoid the stink of mold by not spoiling the bread, I won’t elaborate on this grown up After School Special anymore beyond that. To be fair, though, there’s really not a LOT to the plot of MMISwD?, as it’s a very straight forward, simple little horror movie. First time feature maker Melanie Aitkenhead directs the whole affair with a ’90s teen horror flair and moderately intense girl-on-girl makeout montages. Clearly our lady was very much a fan of The Craft (which also came out in 1996, coincidentally enough). Retro. Or, if you’re me, it’s nostalgic of my better experiences in high school: masturbating to Fairuza Balk. Speaking of the ’90s, former smasher of pumpkins and perfecter of circles James Iha’s industrial-goth score suits the movie and sets the tone well for Young Adult soap opera horror. It can get repetitive now and then, but for a Lifetime Original it’s solid, more so given that Smashing Pumpkins are to my ears as Slim Whitman is to Martians’ whatever it is they perceive auditory stimulation with.

And yes, that last line’s analogy counts as SAT tutoring, so don’t forget to pick up your bill at the exit. You don’t want us to have to bring it to your house. Trust me.

Being a bloodsucker pic, the gore in Mother (♫ “tell your children not to hold my hand”♫) is kept mostly to bloody mouths (with oddly clean teeth…), with the most intense wetness kept to the Macbeth play in an oddly meta “story-within-a-story fake violence” angle that I can’t really put any clearer. Sometimes I don’t word good. Now, without any serious gripes beyond some not great acting (and a non-PC concern about Tori Spelling looking like a melted mess of Barbie plastic), what’s my dominant issue with the movie? Sometimes, it doesn’t give its audience enough credit.

Leah’s scholastic screen time outside of the Drama Department is spent in a class that explores the parallels between traditional horror stories and the historically phobic persecution of LGBTQ folk. This, of course, is the theme of this remake/revision/reimagining/rebranding/reskinning, likely in an effort to both let said LGBTQ know they’re not alone, and also get the ignorant of we heteros to empathize with people who have been unfairly demonized for centuries. Pardon me if this is projecting, but it gets too heavy handed (going so far as to juxtapose the professor’s words directly over a scene of the vamp squad on the hunt) in its efforts to make sure the message permeates even the densest of numbskulls. Meanwhile, to those with more open minds, it can come off as condescending. Not due to the message, but how many times we’re told that what’s happening to Leah (IN a horror movie, no less) has already been covered a thousand times before in books and poetry.

You could look at this bludgeoning of subtlety as a negation of any need for the movie to exist in the first place since it’s just the same old story. Or, you could look at it as a statement that the need for such stories sadly still exists today and will continue to until the dickards of the world get over whatever personal problem it is that causes them to try and ruin other peoples’ lives. Hint: it’s usually because they hate their own lives, but are too fucking lazy or helpless to fix it, so they just redirect their angry frustration into aggressive outward displays of hatred and attempted domination. You know, typical grade school bully shit, because some cunt waffles never evolve past a 6th grade level.

Given that you’re probably here because you want to know my opinion (secondary to the dick and fart jokes, of course) , let’s discuss where I stand in regards to MMISwD?‘s message – being neither LGBTQ person nor a homophobe, it doesn’t speak to me. Nor am I saying it should. Much like my feelings on The Babadook, the message is clear to me and doesn’t need to be repeated ad nauseum, rubbed all over my brain like a young intern’s balls across a Republican senator’s face. As a Lifetime Original, the presumed target audience for this flick is middle-aged women (and any channel surfers whose attention can be easily grabbed by TV-14 approved barely legal lesbos dry humping), so if any such ladies out there have seen this and would like to give their opinion, please reach out and touch-a touch-a touch-a me as I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the script’s hand holding really is overly aggressive, or if I’m just too into buttering my own nuts.

For me, it’s the same as a smoker being told repeatedly by their spouse that cigarettes are going to kill them. I know. I’m not stupid. I’m also not Leonard fucking Shelby. I can retain knowledge, and I do remember the other 500 times you told me about all the cancer I’m going to get from smoking!

…Where was I going with this? Oh, right, the exasperation of repetition. To quote Mr. Horse, “No, sir. I don’t like it.” Ignoring that, as stated prior, it’s an overall okay movie. Direction was fine, dialogue was fine, performances were fine for the most part (minus a little too much of leading lady Leila George’s grating accent). Better than what I expected from a TV movie, albeit a bit too predictable and all that “Bob Huge Hands wearing lead over mitts” heavy handedness. Given Franco’s involvement I was hoping for something a little more guano than the socially conscious made-for-TV remake of Embrace of the Vampire (sadly lacking the lusciousness of 1995 Alyssa Milano in a skirt) we got instead. That was also when I thought he was going to be directing it, though, so fuck me for having expectations scaled to false information. ‘Tis no one’s fault beyond mine own.

There are other heavy topics at work here, like domestic abuse (physical, emotional, and vampiric), peer pressure, date rape, generation gaps, gender politics, parental loss, gray morality, and how the first “Twilight” book was okay in theory but the sequels rolled downhill faster than Barbara Hale and Steve Brodie in The Giant Spider Invasion. Fuck you with a wooden stake, Stephanie What’s-Her-Name. Your hack novels have corrupted more young people than ISIS! You know, the terrorist organization, not actual Isis. She’s thinking of changing her name to “Brooke” now, just to avoid that whole messy “kill the non-believers!” thing. Anyway, one of the smaller, intimate themes I like about the movie fits in with the “being gay = movie monster” matter, but it’s a huge giveaway so I can’t even talk about it under ape spoiler law! Tell you what though, you send me a message asking me to expand upon said story element, and I will spoil the shit out of it just for you, Sugar Tits.

Final complaint? The movie’s finale must’ve been raised in a barn, because it leaves the door for a sequel WIDE OPEN. And in doing so, lets all of the metaphorical heat out. It’s better left as a one off flick and the possibility of a follow-up thrills me as much as mere alcohol thrilled Sinatra – not at all. Lifetime could probably win me back if they give Franco the reins to reign over it, especially if he had a few lines of coke to “inspire” him through the creative process!

Unless and until, I’m just going to treat MMISwD?‘s canned cheese epilogue like another kind of “log” and flush it from my memory. My Evil Dead Bride offered up a legitimate position on how said ending could symbolize certain peoples’ stances about the corruption of…damn it, there goes that spoiler warning alarm in my explosive collar again! I reiterate: if you want me to ruin the movie for you, please submit a formal request. In triplicate. My lawyers’ assholes are puckered so tight that light can neither enter nor escape them.

Beyond being part deux of my “Ladies Night!” Cineménage à Trois trilogy, I won’t say what the subject of our next episode will be. All I can guarantee is that it won’t be anything from a certain knockbuster factory whose name rhymes with “ass xylem”. Afraid I may have been showing the early signs of Stockholm Syndrome with my Sinister Squad review, I’ve had myself voluntarily committed (get it?!) into an Asylum asylum program until at least the end of the year. For now, I gotta get back to work on my death ray, so this ends our broadcast day. Ladies? Keep it sleazy, make ’em queasy, and when you can, top it off with a bit of the ol’ squeezy squeezy. Good night everybody!

Moral of the Story: If you’re a sexually malleable college girl who finds herself being courted by a Photography major, try to make sure your first date includes a quick pass by a mirror store and a garlic plantation before going back to their place. Vampirism is like any STD – a little prevention can save you an eternity of regret (and genital inflammation)!

Screenshots_____


Someone using their phone to actually talk to someone? This must be a flashback!


When three hot women come up to you out of nowhere and ask if you want to “have some fun” with them, kindly decline. They’re either going to make a blackmail video of you, or use you for a human sacrifice.


“Welcome to ‘Introductory to Film Making’. I am your professor, Uwe Boll, and I would like to take this moment to inform you all that this class is NON-REFUNDABLE!”


“You know how you said you ‘love me like a brother’ yesterday? Did you ever, you know, fool around with your brother or give him, like, a pity handjob or anything when you were younger? I mean, you know, just asking.”


Damn it, Franco, stop looking at the camera! You’re worse than Jimmy Fallon was when he’d break character on SNL!


“Hey! It’s that Tom Green guy! I wonder what he’s doing on our campus? Wait, is he… oh sweet Jimmy Dean! Is he having sex with the school mascot?! That poor platypus!”


“Baby, what did I tell you about throwing away your gum before bed? Jeez, that’s really in there. Well, looks like I know somebody who’s getting a butch cut when we get home!”


Whenever Sally’s feeling down, she knows Alice’s “derp face” will always pick her back up.


Good news, bad movie lovers! Robert Z’Dar didn’t z’die, he just had a sex change! Maniac Cop IV: Meter Maid from Hell, here we come!


Ladies and gentlemen, the world’s sexiest (and worst) ventriloquism act – Madam Marilyn and Her Mischievous Marionettes!


“No babe, don’t freak out! It’s not really my penis, it’s just my thumb sticking out of my zipper! See?!”


Another successful production of “Evil Dead: the Musical” is in the books.


What’s with her costume? Wait. Let me guess. She’s going as a chandelier lamp from WalMart!


A promotional still from the CW’s newest attempt at a recycled franchise: “Eddie Munster: the College Years


“What do you mean they made a ‘90210‘ reboot and I wasn’t a part of it?! Wait, I was on it?! Why don’t I remember ANY of this!?” (Don’t worry, Tori, NOBODY remembers anything about that show.)


She must use Listerine’s new “Blood Blocker” formula mouthwash, or Orbitz’s new “Gore-B-Gone” gum. All this image is missing is a hot British blond saying “FABULOUS!” while light gleams off of Pearl’s pearlies despite her menstrual beard.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Monsters of the Runway”

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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 68 – Pizza (2012)

or “Life of Pi(e)”

Featuring: Vijay “Sundara” Sethupathi , Namya “Chocolate” Nambeeshan , Aadukalam “Moogamudi” Naren

Writer & Director: Karthik “Jigarthanda” Subbaraj

Origin: India

Sequel: Pizza II: Villa

Review_____

“The most dangerous ghosts in the world are still alive.”

Maybe it’s just the casual racist in me (“casual” as opposed to “malicious”, so it’s okay), but I wouldn’t have expected a movie from India to be called “Pizza”. If anything, I would’ve thought something like “Curry” or “Vindaloo” or “Tikka Masala” to be more apropos. Oh well. So goes my Western ignorance. Speaking of India…

We all know about the rampant sacred cows strolling the streets carefree and careless, or the infamous “people piss and shit anywhere and everywhere” stuff, but did you know India is the largest democracy in the world? Well, it is. Did you know it exists in its own time zone? Well, it does. Did you know it’s the second most populous country in the world, but only the seventh largest? Yeah, if you thought Mexican stereotypes were the champions of “clown car apartment housing”, then you’ve clearly never been to India… not that I have either, but, shut up. In 2001, a Hindu religious festival called the Kumbh Mela (“Grand Pitcher Festival”) had 60 million attendees, breaking the world record for “largest gathering”! You could see the massive get-together FROM SPACE.

India is also the birthplace of chess (or “nerd checkers” if you’re the type whose respiration is an entirely oral process…and you didn’t understand what the Fuddruckers I just said there), spun and woven cotton, the decimal system, use of zero as a number, plastic surgery, Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi, and the following religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It’s also the largest producer of dried beans, bananas, milk, and tea. The Himalaya Mountains (which are growing 2.5 centimeters a year!) and the Taj Mahal call the country home, as do the temples of Khajuraho. A major tourism magnet, said temples are (in)famous for their explicit erotic sculptures that portray a litany of sexual acts, including some that portray beastiality. Though I’ve never been, as a half-man half-dog god, I know where I’m going on my next honeymoon!

Now for some *dramatic pause* tales statistics from the dark side (cue the “Tales From the Darkside” theme). India has the world’s largest murder rate, at over 40,000 per year. Sounds scary, but when you’re the second largest population in the world, 40k is a drop in the bucket (of blood). As for how all those bodies are disposed of, in order to avoid polluting the air, ground, and water, a common practice is to leave bodies in buildings called “Towers of Silence”, where vultures feed on the decaying remains. The bones left behind are then swept into deep wells at the center of the structures. Somebody needs to make a fucking slasher movie set in one of these corpse campaniles toot damn sweet!

In 2012, there were as many as 7 million abortions performed in India. That number doesn’t disturb me, as I whole-heartedly advocate for abortions. Not just because of the whole “pro-choice” thing, but because I’ve been all in on the “pro-death” kick since high school! I endorse free rides on the coat hanger express for every baby-to-be! Sure, you could be snuffing out the person who unites the world under a banner of peace, but you could also be saving the world from the instigator of a global holocaust. Think about it. Where was I? Oh yeah, it’s not the 7 million abortions that I don’t like, it’s the “one woman every two hours” death statistic that comes with 65% of these being done in unauthorized, unsanitary facilities that bums me out. That and India’s unfortunately high rate of female fetus abortions at that. Silver lining? Maybe after a few generations of “gendercide” they’ll make a dent in their overpopulation. We see how that’s working out for China.

Okay. Okay. Enough killing the mood. I won’t even get into the “Delhi Belly” epidemic (hint: it’s a mudslide of a topic). Let’s just scrounge the couch cushions for loose change and see if we can’t afford to order some Pizza!

For anyone wondering if this is a musical, given its birth nation, it is not. Musicals are Bollywood stuff. Pizza was an independent movie, so no singing and dancing to be had here. It was a massive success for its meager origins too, and in the 3 short years since its release, it’s spawned an immediate follow-up and several remakes, including (reportedly) an American knock-off on the horizon! More on that later though. For now, let’s have a tale of life, love, tragedy, torment, and Chicken Supreme pizzas.

Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and Anu (Namy Nambeeshan) are a young, carefree couple who haven’t yet been together long enough to want to kill each other every minute they’re in the same room. Instead, they just nag and pick at each other. Ah, young love. Living in a small apartment, she works on writing a ghost novel and watches horror movies all day (my kinda lady!) while he’s a delivery boy at a pizza place called PitStop. I say “boy”, but not in the literal sense (or the racist sense…nor the Tall Man sense), as this dude’s got a headstart on some serious facial mane. The pair’s comfortable little existence living off of Anu’s passed parents’ insurance pitance is plunging toward its own inevitable demise, because she just found out she’s hosting a parasite. Or “pregnant”, as such an infection is more commonly referred to by those less infanticidal than myself. After those abortions stats I listed earlier, you can understand why she’s so upset by the prospect when she breaks the news to her husband. That’s a piping hot bowl of scary curry for any unprepared pair to be presented with, let alone a pair already desperately clinging to the poverty line.

‘Nu insists on nurturing the uterine leech, despite her own misgivings about their being able to handle the responsibility. Rather than throw her down some stairs (I think it’s a few months early for that anyway) or spend the rest of his life on the run from the child support police, Mike makes Spike Lee proud and does the right thing – he stays. Not only does he stay, but they agree that they need to be married before this hell-beast is torn screaming from her spawn hole. Since they’re light on rupees, the two decide to just have an at-home ceremony alone sans friends or any sort of officiate, where they exchange rings and half-assed vows (does that count for a legally binding union in India?!), agreeing to save up their money for a nice party later on. Their DIY nuptials are followed by a romantic montage of sitcom-esque “couple moments” they share. Cue the canned audience “awwwww” sound.

After telling everyone at work the big news, Mike’s sent to his boss Shanmugam’s (Aadukalam Naren) house to deliver some paperwork to Mrs. Boss. When he rings the bell though, their daughter Periya answers the door…while screaming and flailing and generally freaking the fuck out! Several people take her away while Mrs. Boss tells Mikey to go fetch her mustachioed mate toot sweet. Per may be feral, or she may just have mistaken our brotagonist for a Jehovah’s Witness or a political advocate. You can only take those bung weasels banging on your door so much before your switch flips to “I’m going to beat your head in with a claw hammer!” Turns out it’s none of this though, because the maniacal teen is actually possessed by a spirit calling itself “Nithya”! Yep, she’s doin’ the Regan MacNeil Bop. Actually, given the setting, I guess it’d be more on point to call it the Regan MacNeil Kuchipudi…not to be confused with the Regan MacNeil cooch, which is where Linda Blair went to 3rd base with her lord and savior.

Boss’s spiritual guru Raghavan (Karunakaran – that’s it, just one name on this guy) takes over and Mikey hangs around to watch the freakshow until Periya gives him a death stare and spooks his balls off. Raggy insists that the squatter spirit is doing this out of revenge for some unknown slight that Shan must’ve committed against the ghost in life, but boss man denies any wrong doing…except that he keeps getting this look on his face like he’s clearly lying and probably ran this Nithya girl over with his car or never paid her for some Girl Scout cookies he ordered. He sends Michael home, asking that he not tell anyone about what he’s just seen. Naturally, he runs home and tells Anu all about it. Great. Don’t ever give this guy incriminating evidence of any kind, cuz his lips are looser than a hypertrophic labia!

Google it. Or don’t, if you’re a pussy. Or are afraid of pussy. Pussy.

Anu doesn’t exactly feel bad for her mate, though. Not because she lacks sympathy, but because chicks dig irony and she just told his skeptic ass that he was going to have his face-to-face with the supernatural someday. Thus, she spends the next few days “BOO!”ing the tar out of the guy at every opportunity as a torturous “I told you so”. You know your spouse really cares about you when they mock your trauma by abusing your PTSD. Of all the times to hate it when your partner’s right, this is probably one of the worst. Right up there with “I don’t think you should have given that person your social security number.” and “You shouldn’t go up on the roof to mess with the satellite dish, because you’ll probably break your neck.” People, learn to listen to your significant other. Especially if you have a blighted track record of personal decision making on par with the father of an animated sitcom family.

One night, before he’s sent out on a delivery, Shanny requests that Mike stop by Chateu le Boss again, this time to drop off a box of candy. Despite his not-as-reassuring-as-he-intended-it-to-be promise of “My daughter will not kill you!”, our protagonist is hesitant to go and I can’t really blame him. Alas, it’s one of those boss requests that comes with the not-so-under undercurrent of “Do this or I will punish you severely as my employee.”, so he reluctantly gives in and undertakes the undertaking. FF>> to later that night, as Shanmugam shows up at PitStop to the sight of his trio of employees bloodied and battered (as in beaten up, not fried in batter)! According to Heckle and Jeckle (I forget their actual names), their ass thumping was the work of Michael, who sits inside the store in a panicked daze. When Boss demands an explanation, the haunted hero relates his scary story to tell in the dark.

When he delivered the pizza, the lady of the bungalow invited him in while she rifled through her purse for the money (note to all readers: don’t be a shithead – have your payment and tip prepared before your delivery person arrives!), only to find out that Mikey didn’t bring enough change for the large denomination note she attempted to pay with. She excused herself upstairs to find a smaller bill and, well, if our hero thought this life was turning into a “Tales From the Crypt” episode before, it looks like Ganesh had put in a full season order for him!

I won’t open my jacket and expose all of the goodies, but Michael ended up trapped in what turned out to be a spook shack. The walls were covered with weird etchings of terrified people’s faces close-up, specifically their big creepy eyes. Mike was menaced for an extended period of time by forces beyond his comprehension, narrowly escaping with his life. And no bitching about how that last bit’s a spoiler, because he obviously escaped if he made it back to the shop to tell the tale! The experience leaves him a disturbed man hanging on to the barest threads of sanity and that’s only the beginning of his downward spiral…technically it’s the first 75% of the movie and not just the beginning, given that there’s still half an hour left after, but you get my (Tokyo) drift.

The rest of the movie is… hmm…it’s really hard to refer to it without…GAH! Alright, I’ll tell you this much – Karthik Subbaraj pulls a better M. Night Shayamalan than his fellow countryman has managed to pull off himself since Unbreakable. It’s great. It took me by surprise. It was unexpected and well explained. But then he takes it too far and ruins it. If Karthik were an Olympic gymnast, Pizza would be his gold medal floor routine that ends, sadly, with him landing on his foot sideways, rolling his ankle and getting the silver instead. If he were a concert pianist, Pizza would be his opus at Carnegie Hall that wraps with him letting out the loudest, wettest shart as he’s taking his bow for applause.

In case I’m being too subtle, allow me to Big Cass for a moment and “SPELL IT OUT FOR YA!” – I do not like the ending of this movie. To be more specific, the last 3 minutes. I suggest getting yourself a copy and seeing it for yourself, as it’s a decent piece of Indian indie filmmaking. If you’re overwhelmed by curiosity but don’t have the will to hunt it down, just read the Wikipedia entry that unbags the proverbial cat instead. That whole site is spoiler central. Did you know that the Nazis lost World War II?! Not cool, Wikipedia.

As mentioned before, Pizza was such a success that two remakes have already been released with additional ones being prepped for delivery down the line. One of them, 2014’s Pizza in 3D, made its way onto my hard drive and was actually the first of these features that I watched! I wasn’t aware that it wasn’t the original movie, and thought the release year was a typo, while the completely different character names from the IMDB listing I was referencing were personally chalked up to a bad set of amateur subtitles. Fortunately, I realized my mistake before publishing the review and managed to not betray just how much of a dumbass I am to all of you. Hooray.

Since I won’t be doing an episode for Pizza in 3D, as they’re too similar to warrant stretching a full review for the remake, let’s see how said reproduction compares to the autochthonous article. Though they follow the same base plot (while changing the characters’ names), there are moderate changes that generally improve upon the recipe. Some of the fat is trimmed down (especially from Michael/Kunal’s time trapped in the house), both improving the flow and giving us a more manageable 107min runtime down from the clunkier 124min. The marriage theme is ousted since our young lovers are already bonded in holy matrimony from the start, and the focus is shifted more to the pregnancy. In fact, the overarching theme of the remake is pregnancy, as the possessed character is no longer the boss’s daughter, but a pregnant Mrs. Boss! On top of that, when our hero makes his delivery to the haunted bungalow, the woman there is also pregnant, making the moral of the story for that version, “People in India have apparently never heard of ‘pulling out’!”

The structure of the narrative gets a few slight but very important changes as well, but you’d have to know the ending to understand why so I won’t spill the beans further. Anu/Nikki’s role in things post-haunted house is changed slightly, but it’s in such a way that it makes for some radical remodeling of the second half of the flick. Remake turned up the horror show element too, using more gruesome imagery and makeup to make the supernatural stuff less realistic and more fantastic. Speaking of “fantastic”, on the topic of remake’s lead actor Akshay Oberoi? No homo, but he’s got some damn pretty eyes…okay, maybe a little homo? But damn it, dude looks like he got poked in the oculars by King Midas! Dreamy bastard. ANYWAY!

The last modification I’m gonna shine a light on is the music. Though the 2012 soundtrack is good to great, 2014 wins hands down solely based on its title theme alone! It’s enjoyably silly, opening on the appropriately punny line “All we are saying is give pizza a chance”. Brilliant. The entire front credits sequence is something not to be missed, either! A “not terrible but not great” 3D computer animated sequence that follows a ghostbusting delivery boy as he action heros through traffic, dodges monsters, and exorcises spooks with spring loaded pies. Clearly not the hero the song credits him as being though, otherwise he would’ve gotten said pizzas to the fucking customers rather than launching them at specters! The whole thing’s cheesier than a party-size triple stacked twelve-cheese heart-exploder deluxe from Benito Mussacheesy’s Pizza Regime at the corner of Taft Street and DeLuise Avenue. I ate an entire slice once on a dare! Almost choked to death getting it down and I was still shitting string cheese two weeks later.

Okay, maybe my comparison was a tad over spiced with hyperbole, but my eyeballs still felt a little constipated after watching that opening. At least it was fun though.

In the end, Pizza is the Evil Dead to Pizza in 3D‘s Evil Dead 2. Though 3D wasn’t made by Subbaraj, it feels like the product of a scenario where Subbs wanted to go back and make changes to his original product and had more money to fund it. Again, that’s NOT what happened, but it still feels like it could have. If there was some way to combine the two into one great movie, well, it’d still be stuck with that nasal nugget of a finale, but would’ve at least pulled an aggregate score of 4 hearts. Separately though? Three will cover it.

By the way, if you didn’t finish reading this review in 30 minutes or less, it’s free. We strive for customer satisfaction here at TheTombOfAnubis.com, mainly because I’d rather lose a couple bucks on free reviews than have to put up with your bullshit. “But aren’t all these reviews free to read anyway?” you ask? To which I say, take this crust and stuff it!

See you kids at Thanksgiving for my annual Turkey Day review! After whiles, crocodiles.

Moral of the Story: For everyone there will come a moment in life that makes the unbelievable, believable. Your moment is coming. Mine? It’ll be the day we get a new “Captain N: the Game Master” cartoon…

Screenshots_____

“Damn it! You better not have dragged me into a gods damned found footage horror movie, you dick!”


“The doctor told me to get plenty of Vitamin C. You know what has Vitamin C? Orange juice. You know what has orange juice? Mimosas. Now shut up and go buy more champagne!”


“Come on Raheed, we told you on your second day here that the hairnet requirement was just a joke. It’s been THREE YEARS! Take it off!”


“I love you dear, but if you don’t do something about your halitosis, I’m going to have to take care of it myself.”


“I told you what would happen if you didn’t fix your bad breath! Now open your mouth! LET THE REFRESHING MINT FLAVOR MURDER YOUR DISGUSTING MOUTH BACTERIA!”
(This is called “Scope boarding”)


I see Tom Savini decided to grow a sick Stalin mustache. Looks good on him.


I know how she feels. That’s how my review notes always end up looking after I watch an Asylum movie.


“I’m serious, my throat REALLY hurts! Would you just look in and see if it’s red and spotty? It could be Strep!”


This one’s called “No Child Left Behind?” from the artist’s “Republican in the White House” series.


Ketchup on pizza?! This is a horror movie!


Uh-oh. Looks like the camera guy came to work drunk again. He’s been having a hard time of it lately, but you can only do so many re-shoots before ya gotta shit can him.


Uhm… is this racist? I mean, in America this would definitely be cause for pause, but is it okay in India? I don’t have a clue, so let’s just move on!


Nasty. I bet she’s got “Made in Germany” stamped on the bottom of one of her feet. I wonder if she comes with a tube of that stuff or if you have to supply your own.


“Are you the one who wrote ‘Death to Pigs’ on the walls?! What did you use to write that, blood?! I ask because my wife and I want to re-paint and I think that color would look really nice for the walls of our bathroom!”


“Man, those Pizza Hut guys came at us out of nowhere! But we whipped ’em, didn’t we? Didn’t we… didn’t we whip ’em? WE WHIPPED ‘EM AND WE GOT IT ALL!”


Why is there a cardboard cut out of Hitler in a bowler hat yawning in their store?! What niche demographic are they marketing to, narcoleptic hipster anti-Semites!? That’s a great name for a punk band, by the way.”


Boss getting his rocks off to his favorite types of internet porn – restaurant supply store liquidation sales.


For the love of Isis’s nipple rings, why is this little making the blow job face?! GAH! HAVE I STILL BEEN IN THAILAND THIS WHOLE TIME?! GET ME OFF THIS CONTINENT!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Shittin’ On the Schlock of the Bay”

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 43 – Tales of the Black Freighter (2009)

or “It’s an Open Sore On a Putrid Shore”

Featuring the Voices of: Gerard “300” Butler , Siobahn “Feardotcom” Ellen , Jared “I Shot Andy Warhol” Harris

Directors: Daniel “Other” DelPurgatorio , Mike “1001 Nights” Smith

Writers: Zack “Sucker Punch” Snyder , Alex “Watchmen” Tse

Origin: USA

Also Known As: Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter

Review_____

“I knew again the stench of powder and men’s brains and war.”

What’s behind my advent calender of eldritch horror today? A cruise across the seas of blackest nightmares aboard the boat of blackest love. No, it’s not a vacation on the Black Sea aboard Disney Cruises’ new Mandingo Party Boat (sorry, still scrubbing the residue of Haunted House 2 off of my hands) in the middle of a black hole. Welcome to Tales of the Black Freighter.

Given that my prior episode was for a Marvel superhero feature, I thought I’d give longtime rivals DC a fair chance in the spotlight. Rather than double down on the tights & capes crowd, I opted for something a bit more unique and adult from the house that The World’s Finest built. And since Preacher isn’t a thing (yet), We3 never happened, Swamp Thing will probably never recover from those fucking live-action movies, and “Constantine”’s not animated, this is the adventure I choose. The Black Knight runs you through with his sword. The last thing you see is your internal organs spilling out of you as you try desperately to hold onto ’em like that guy in the meme who can’t hold all those limes. You died. Return to page 37.

Zack Snyder couldn’t find a spot for Gerard Butler on his Watchmen cast, so rather than leave his good friend (and then meal ticket) the Butt Butler alone and hungry in the cold, Snyd finagled him the lead voice job in Tales of the Black Freighter. The part doesn’t require him to oil up and jump around with other guys homoerotically grunting and screaming in manties, so already Butts is out of his element and spitting into the wind.

Originally a comic book-within-a-comic book (meta before meta was a thing), TotBF appeared in Alan Moore’s spectacular 1986 Watchmen maxi-series as a barely-subtle mirroring to the events in the Watchmen story proper about how some heroes are really just villains who think they’re the good guys. Everybody’s the hero of their own tale.

Oh yeah, spoilers. Check the expiration date though, kiddies: Black Freighter came out in 2009, so this milk is officially past the 5 year “Sell by” date. As such, curdle ahoy!

The tale takes place in the mis-romanticized age of pirates. I mean real pirates. The guys with the eye patches and the peg legs and the treasure maps and the scurvy, not the skinny Somalian guys on motorboats wearing track suits and wielding rusty uzis. Butler’s clunky reading skills give voice to a nameless ship captain (we’ll call him Skipper) with the grave misfortune of having his craft targeted by an infamous and unholy hell barge known the seven seas over as the Black Freighter. Not your everyday pirate schooner, the BF is a hulking ark from Satan’s own armada. Massive in its size and colossal in its evilness, it looms like a reaper’s shadow over all who encounter it. Forged of a mountain of bones and skulls, it’s painted in a blackness darker than a tar pit filled with coal mined from the deepest pits of Earth by the souls of history’s worst sinners during a total eclipse of the sun (and heart). We’re talking Wesley Snipes shades of black and “Jeffrey Dahmer having phone sex with Charles Manson” shades of darkness.

When we meet Skip, his boat’s been left in splinters and his crew litters the tide like a New Orleans cemetery post-Katrina. He washes up on the shores of a deserted island along with the remnants of both his ship and his men with the single-minded focus of what horrors the Black Freighter’s twisted monstrous occupants will unleash upon his beloved wife and daughters once it casts its cloak of pitch upon the harbor of their home, Jonestown. Skipper is determined to reach said docks ahead of the flagitious frigate in the hopes of saving his friends and loved ones from the looming doom. How will he accomplish this daunting odyssey? Therein lies the element that cements Black Freighter‘s place in the history of horrifying shit…

With nothing to saw down any of the trees on the isle, Skippy tries to assemble what he can of his former craft’s remains into a viable raft. Unable to cobble more than a ramshackle skeleton together, our wayward Robinson Crusoe takes this time to notice that the bodies of his former crew are starting to bloat, making them exceedingly buoyant…yep, he’s going to make a cadaver catamaran with his deceased mates as posthumous pontoons. He lashes them together with the scraps of their clothes, severing limbs and breaking bones to form them to his needs. It’s gloriously retch-inducing.

Setting out as the most death draped gondolier since Charon had to break out his ferry to take the citizens of Pompeii across the Styx, Skip struggles to stay alive as his brain bakes in the sun, drinking minimal amounts of salt water to stay hydrated and trying to eat raw seagulls he catches while they peck at his makeshift transport. It’s a gruesome cruise, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until 2013 when the Carnival Triumph became stranded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the nightmarish conditions that would earn it the title of “The Skat Boat” a.k.a. “The Poop Cruise” a.k.a. “The Shit Ship” a.k.a “Bush/Cheney 2013”.

Amidst his rapidly deteriorating mental state (including casual chats with his former first mate Ridley [Jared Harris]’s corpse), Skip’s trip is interrupted by a shiver of sharks. The gang of great whites go all feeding frenzy on our hero’s raft, tearing body after body away as he tries to fend them off without getting eaten himself. One of the monsters gets caught up in his ropes and Skippy manages to kill it (like Olga Karlatos in Zombie), using it as his new ride for the remainder of the cruise home, bringing Ridley’s severed head with him. Comedy comes from tragedy, so at its heart, Tales of the Black Freighter is really a buddy comedy in disguise!

Arriving at the shores of his hometown, Skip notes the complete lack of turmoil and carnage he expected to be met with upon his return. Convinced that there’s no fucking way he could’ve gotten there ahead of the BF, he figures that the village had already been taken and his only concern now is to find out the fate of his family. He comes across a man and his date on their way to hump town alongside the road and presumes the guy must’ve turned traitor to save his own miserable ass from the bloodthirsty buccaneers. Skip grabs a rock and bashes the guy’s brains into paste before strangling the hussy, who deserves no less lethal a fate for letting such a miserable privateer into her private parts. Slipping into the suspiciously silent streets of the town, Skip finds his way to his home and finds his daughters asleep in their bed. Before he can rejoice about the revelation, a shadowed figure comes into the room. Sure that this must be a marauder, our hero leaps into action and dispatches the fiend permanently, violently beating his head into the floorboards. Cue the look of horror on his girls’ faces, followed by the agonizing realization of Skipper’s own visage when he discovers that the fiend he’s just murdered in cold blood (it could just be gazpacho…) is in fact…shit, if you couldn’t guess it by now, I’m gonna shove thumbtacks between your fingers and toes until you figure it out for yourself.

Shocked and appalled by what he’s done, Skippy escapes into the night, followed behind by a contingent of his non-ravaged neighbors who have since discovered the bodies he left along the road and are now wielding torches in search of mob justice. He finds his way to the docks and back into the aquatic purgatory from which he’d just freed himself, only to see the Black Freighter lurking nearby. Rather than warn his very angry peers, he instead swims to the ship, where a rope is lowered for him. He takes hold, climbs the side of the ship, and gives himself over to the horde of twisted atrocities that surround him. And now it all makes sense: ultimately, man is his own antagonist. As Nietzsche said in his second most quoted-to-the-point-of-cliche philosophical statement, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

When I originally read Watchmen, I remember skipping over some of the Black Freighter segments. For me, they broke the pacing of the main story and felt unnecessary. I didn’t need a story within a story explaining the theme of the first story to me. As such, when Watchmen delved into the dimension of sight AND sound, I wasn’t bothered by its being trimmed from the movie. I do appreciate Warner Bros going all out and giving it its own animated format and release though. I’m also happy that they kept it to a trim 30 minutes, because as a 90 minute feature (or even a 60 minute demi-feature), I fear it could’ve ended up a little unbalanced to the tune of more-filler-than-killer. As it stands? Fantastic. Well, aside from Butler’s line reading. Maybe he should’ve taken a couple of muscle relaxers (or skipped the Viagra) before recording, because his delivery was a little too stiff to ignore. Wakka-wakka.

The animation has that twisted, rough look to it like a cleaner version of an “Aeon Flux” episode without everyone looking quite so elongated. The writing is just fucking incredible and Butler’s got the perfect voice for it. Again, it’s just sad that he can’t read about 20% of the words without making them sound stiff and awkward. Alan Moore’s words resonate in the dark corners of your brain, and if you’ve never read any of the man’s work, get thee to a library. And if they don’t have any Alan Moore stuff? Burn it to its foundations, then shit in the basement. Don’t just ask them to order it, make a statement about how you shouldn’t have to!

Overall, TotBF invokes the same feelings in me as the segments of the original Heavy Metal did as this dark, very adult, well animated (but not too well animated), self-contained story. It really is a brilliant piece. And that closing song. Holy shit. “Pirate Jenny” by Nina Simone? The end credits for an animated zombie pirate gore story doesn’t seem like a great place for a blues song (beyond the obvious thematic connections, since the original rendition of PJ from ”The Threepenny Opera” was Alan Moore’s inspiration for the comic-within-a-comic to begin with), but when I think about the track later on, independent of the movie itself, it sends literal chills up my neck and gives me phantom goosebumps. I’ve never been haunted by a song before, but this one might as well be a pasty white Japanese girl in heavy goth eyeliner with long raggedy hair crawling on top of me while I sleep. If I say “Black Freighter” five times in the bathroom mirror with the lights off, Nina Simone will come out and go all Candyman on my hairy canis-sapien butthole.

Great, now I’ve gotta go smash my mirror and clear a few million bees out of my toilet before they fuck up the pipes and I have to spend my Cthulhumas bonus on hiring a plumber. Fuck. I’ll be back next time with…something. Until then, keep your taints clean, your streets mean, and always tip your cleaning staff or you might wind up with your fucking head on a stake!

Moral of the Story: “Whoever we are, wherever we reside, we exist on the whim of murderers.”

Screenshots_____

I see yet another person who doesn’t understand that the answer to “Is black-face okay?” is always “NOOOOOO”.


Lindsey Lohan earned her boating license and held a booze cruise in honor of the accomplishment. There were no survivors.


Guys, I know sometimes we do extreme things during times of severe sexual frustration, but trust me when I tell you this isn’t the answer. It’s just not worth the dick splinters. Nothing is.


In case you forgot this story was originally a part of Watchmen, here’s Skipper’s Rorshach sail… you’ll be seeing it many many times again to assure that, like 9/11, you never forgot.


Beachhead. Because there’s a head. And it’s on a beach. It’s a beach head on a beachhead. Because even in times of plague and horror, no one is safe from visual puns!


Shark attack! Quick, somebody get Lance Guest and Mario Van Peebles here so we can impale it on their schooner!


When your friends tell you you need to “get some head”, this isn’t what they mean, Skip.


That’s exactly what I look like every time I have to plunge my toilet.


The most metal fucking raft EVER! If Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson, and Rob Halford went on a fishing trip, they’d do so on THAT!


Yeah, I remember the first time I had sex with a woman on her period too. They tell you it’ll be alright… you’ll never be the same again.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Murder on 34th Street”

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 36 [Rerun] – Shoot ‘Em Up (2006)

or “Kill Kill Bang Bang”

Featuring: Clive “Sin City” Owen , Paul “The Illusionist” Giamatti , Monica “Brotherhood of the Wolf” Bellucci

Director: Michael “Monster Man” Davis

Writer: Michael “Monster Man” Davis

Origin: USA

Review_____

“It gets hotter the more times it’s fired.”

Intro: “You know what I hate?” Yes, Mr. Smith, having seen Shoot ‘Em Up, I know a lot of the things you hate. You know what I hate? Really shitty movies. Boy, did I pick the wrong hobby. Anyway, after suffering through reruns these last few weeks for the unrepentant stink burgers Dead Man’s Hand and Wiseguys Vs. Zombies, I felt I deserved to re-view a rerun I actually enjoyed. While digging through the debris strewn remains of the original Tomb, I found what was left of this original “Shortie” review. For those not in-the-know aboot my old page, “Shorties” were my categorization for what other sites call “capsule” reviews: small dosage, short-term criticisms in an easy-to-swallow format that make less work for the reviewer and provide a “quick fix” for visitors to enjoy on a cigarette break, at a stop light, or while waiting for their John to reinforce his status as a “two pump chump”.

Due to the miniaturized makeup of this particle of an article, my Xtro tonight will be more of a “all the shit I forgot to touch on” rundown for the movie, which the original review sorely neglected to note. I was pleased to see that my current self seems to be pretty well in-tune with my 8 years junior self about just how “kicking your face in with its awesomeness” the movie really is. So, let’s snap into our Slim Jims (or in this case, carrots), pop in a fresh magazine and fire a few rounds of high-caliber hype at Shoot ‘Em Up!

Original Review:
Michael Davis. What the fuck, man?! For years you’ve been wallowing in anonymity, playing it low and quiet by making everybody think you were just another throwaway crap writer, working on shit like Charles Band kiddie productions and that colon blocking Double Dragon movie. Then you go and do something like Shoot ‘Em Up?! Forget that I’d actually heard some halfway decent praise for Monster Man before, but after seeing this shining opus of Looney Tunes run & gun parody I’m actually tempted to bump your “redneck monster truck serial killer” movie up on my viewing list! Wow, I guess Shoot ‘Em Up just goes to prove that today’s $10/hour b-movie writer very well can become tomorrow’s next cult action movie fan favorite! It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on a path to making much more money, but at least Mikey “Dynamite” Davis earned some legitimate names to star in his flick and got it pushed into a national theatrical release! It’s more than most names from the direct-to-video shelves ever manage.

The art of film parody is a tight rope act: you can either choose to go all out and make a movie that’s straightforward slapstick comedy (a la Airplane or The Naked Gun), or you can go for a more subtle parody by making a movie that less-than-insightful audiences may mistake for being just another spawn of the genre you’re elbowing in the ribs. Fortunately, the more cerebral viewers amongst us will understand the underlying winkwinknudgenudge humor beneath all of the muzzle flashes and piling bodies, so there’s always hope. The goofy option is not as easy to pull off as most people would think (Epic Movie and Date Movie, go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done), but the latter is five times harder. And Davis moonwalks across that tightrope with what appears to be ease, but no doubt required years of practice to achieve. Somehow, Beanstalk and 100 Girls was the training he needed. It’s just like Mr. Miyagi making Daniel-san wax his car and catch flies with chopsticks – it doesn’t make sense at the time, but it all comes together when somebody has to kick William Zabka in the FACE!

Originally written right around the time that the self-proclaimed “Trenchcoat Mafia” decided to gun their pimply faced teen angst into the history books, Shoot ‘Em Up was, ironically enough, shot down by all of Hollywood. Fortunately, all the Columbine hubbub eventually cooled off enough that writer-director Davis was able to impress just enough people with his ideas that he could get his feature made. Lucky for us, he did so before fatal mass shootings became something school cafeterias could schedule their lunch calendars around. Any longer on the Tinseltown back burner and Shoot ‘Em Up would’ve become just another pile of wasted ingredients doomed to a future as primordial ooze alongside some Steak & Hepatitis Quesadillas at the bottom of a Chi-Chi’s dumpster.

Shoot ‘Em Up starts off as a simple enough tale: our hero is the mysterious, carrot-chomping (good for the eyesight, better for jamming through bad guys’ faces), pet peeve riddled Fellini of firearms known only as Mr. Smith (Clive Owen at his most cool and collected state of bad-assedness). Oh, and If you’re over 40 and wear a ponytail, stay the fuck away from this guy. He finds you neither hip or young, and certainly not cool. Smith’s just waiting for a bus one night when he falls into one of those “only in the movies” wrong-place-at-the-right-time scenarios as a preggo woman on the run just happens to find herself being chased down by her pursuers within (fire)arm’s reach of our hero. Smith intervenes in protagonistic fashion, and while fending off the small army of henchgoons (he literally kills eleven guys in the movie’s first 5 minutes), our gunstar hero delivers the baby (shooting through the umbilical cord) and escapes with the rugrat intact after momma gets a bullet in her forebrain. The villain for which said goons were henching is a depraved former FBI Profiler troll (I’m sorry, “Forensic Behavior Consultant” troll) named Hertz, played sickeningly perfect by Paul Giamatti with deranged delight. Though we never get to hear his first name, I like to think it’s Richard, because “Dick Hertz” is a name that never gets not-funny.

Fortunately, the good guy has a fetish friend named D.Q. (Monica Bellucci) who works out of a whorehouse set up in an abandoned church. She lets guys nurse on her mommy juice for a price, so Smithy hands the kid over to her to keep the rugrat fed and happy. Also, pacifiers be damned, as the only thing that keeps this baby from crying is heavy metal music, making him already more metal than any baby any of you will ever have. Babysitter hired, our mangy hero sets out to uncover just what it is that Hertz has up his sleeze-sleave, why the manhunt for a seemingly harmless mother-to-be, and what it all has to do with [deep breath] an up and coming presidential candidate, gun control laws, Smith’s mysterious “tragic hero” past, a big time firearms manufacturer, stem cell experimentation, a baby harvesting operation, AND [*wheeeeze, gasp, deep breath*] a secret service agent who loves his gun in unnatural ways usually only reserved for the NRA’s “Lifetime & Beyond” membership levels! Whew.

Some people might expect the movie to wind up crushed under the weight of its own clusterfuck, but if you find you can’t handle the plot twists and story elements, just switch off your logic chip (or tear the damn thing out) and play “Count the Bodies” (patent pending) instead!

When I initially rented Crank, I realized that I’d missed what could’ve been a pisser of a theatrical experience. When I first saw the trailers for Shoot ‘Em Up, I did not wish to let my past mistake repeat itself and knew I’d instead be adding another ticket stub to the collection. Oh please, like you don’t have a drawer full of stubs for every movie you’ve gone to since the 5th grade! Between this and Children of Men, I’ve become an increasingly bigger fan of Clive Owen over the last year. I actually considered going to see Elizabeth: the Golden Age because he’s in it! I didn’t, mind you, but I considered it, and that’s saying something in and of itzelf. Yeah, there’s a ‘z’ there. You read right. I found a case of Zimas walled up in my office by the house’z previouz owner. Zo what?

Anyway, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, and to a lesser extent, (for you guys just looking for a piece of ass to stare at) Monica Bellucci all play up their parts in parodic performances. Owen’s action hero one-liners can get annoying around the movie’s mid-section, Bellucci’s overdone accent tends to do the same and Giamatti gets to the point where he’s just too gross to look at. But that’s what they’re SUPPOSED TO DO. Even if you can’t get past the acting-to-extremes, all of the absurd over-the-top action, the movie’s unexpectedly positive message about gun control amidst the inclusion of every ’80s NRA boner flick cliche, the killer soundtrack, cringe worthy gestapo-like torture moments, a phe-fucking-nomenal car chase scene, a Home Aloneian shooting orgy in an armory, the coolest damn aerial action sequence since Crank, and the general enjoyment that comes from your stomach muscles hurting because you’ve been laughing at the fact that a man was just killed with a carrot, all make the trip from worthwhile. Besides, when a movie can actually make me sit through an entire playing of “Kick Start My Heart” without feeling bad that I’m listening to a Motley Crue song, that’s just magic.

Xtro: Having re-watched SEU for the first time in years to do this rerun, I forgot just how much fucking fun it is to behold! So much fun, it’s the only movie out of the 36 reviews I’ve done since the reopening of the site to actually attain GOLD FEATHER status! The absurdity is just pure, uncut, Colombian enjoyment candy. You know how so many movies anymore are the product of music video directors trying to fudge an aesthetic that works best in small bits into a 90min marathon, and they just end up winded, wheezing, and clutching their burning chests in career agony while their nipples bleed, shit runs down the backs of their legs, and they blackout into obscurity? Shoot ‘Em Up? This is the type of movie where that shit (rather than the aforementioned poo-poo pudding) works!

Smith is the definition of the cool guy hero: he spews painfully stupid one-liners and witty retorts with confidence, he’s the balance of macho and sensitive that make men want to be him and women want to be on top of him and he can split a horsefly’s butthole from a hundred yards from 100 yards. I mean, the guy’s the Jackie Chan of gun-fu! The Annie Oakley of ass kicking! Motherfucker makes Hawkeye look like Mr. Magoo! Just having the deadest of deadeyes isn’t enough to make widows of an entire goon army’s wives though, so naturally Smith has the action hero trait known as the “GI Joe Gene”, thus making him immune to actually being shot. He’s so untouchable, his first name’s probably Unus!… little geek humor for my nipples deep X-Men fan boys and girls out there in the world wide wasteland.

In an interesting twist on the bang bang movie tropes, Hertz isn’t just another scumbag boss who won’t get his hands dirty. He’s always in the thick of the action, and makes sure to tell everyone about it in case the audience didn’t notice. Because he’s not allowed to die prior to the big finale showdown, Hertz too has the Joe Gene (well, the Cobra strain), allowing him to avoid even the slightest scratch in spite of the myriad corpses piling around his ankles from Smith’s bullet barrage. Worry not though, as our hero eventually finds a technicality in the script’s “bad guy can’t be killed by guns” rule by taking the term “firearm” to new literal heights that could change the way the Supreme Court looks at enforcing gun laws.

Since we’re well past the shelf date for spoilers on this can of kill soup, if you thought Honey Bunny and Ringo picked the wrong day to rob a diner, that’s nothing compared to the last scene of Shoot ‘Em Up.

Sadly, this rerun doubles as an epitaph for a career that ended too soon, because it looks like Shoot ‘Em Up may have been the nail in the coffin for Michael Davis’ time as a movie maker. The gent has not had a worthwhile film credit in the 8 years since. This saddens me. Anubis no like. Bad medicine. I’m sorry Mr. Davis, but your vision was too beautiful for this world. May you find the renown you deserve when Hollywood inevitably remakes Shoot ‘Em Up in 2037 and you’re wheeled to the to premiere as a living head in a jar…like a candle in the wind.

Moral of the Story: What’s worse than a bullet in your ass? Two.

Screenshots_____

“Ain’t I a stinker?” Well, you look like you haven’t showered in a week, so I’m gonna say… yes.


Paul Giamatti responds to critics of Fred Claus.


“I don’t know Mr. Giamatti. I mean, I actually liked Lady in the Water… well, kinda. I thought you were pretty good, at least.”


Don’t want a gun in your face and your life under threat of immediate termination? DON’T CASUALLY FART IN THE FACES OF PEOPLE BEHIND YOU ON THE ESCALATOR!


What the fuck is with the human wall?! Did someone switch out reels with a Hellraiser movie on me?!


Exactly why I don’t pop a zit right before going out with someone. I keep eyeball stickers on hand for concealing such emergencies.


Okay, I know enlistment rates are down, but I think the US Army’s going a little far with their recruitment tactics these days.


Clive Owen auditions for the part of The Rat King in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel.


“Wait… you’re Marilyn Manson, aren’t you?! I love your work! I have all your albums!”


“Wait… you’re Cher, aren’t you?! I love your work! I have all your albums!”


“Well Junior, you’re almost 4 hours old. You’ve sucked your first hooker tit and I think you’re ready for your first concealed weapon!”


Someone misunderstands the concept of having “protected sex”. This is what happens when your sex ed class is taught by the head of your local NRA chapter.


Gas-X had mixed results from their new “sexier” ad campaign.


Okay, these fucking Terminator sequels are just getting silly.


Robert Patrick’s uncle, ladies and gentlemen. Paul Giamatti is not amused.


One of the most metal deaths you can have? Torn to pieces by helicopter blades! One of the least metal faces you can make before your big death? This guy’s.


That’s pretty much how I feel about Shoot ‘Em Up. *SPLOOSH!*

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Anubis will return next time in
“Night of the Living Ludgate”

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