Feature 90 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again (2016)

or “Even Smiling Makes My Face Ache”

Featuring: Laverne “‘Orange is the New Black’” Cox , Ryan “‘Liv and Maddie’” McCartan , Victoria “‘Victorious’” Justice

Director: Kenny “Hocus Pocus” Ortega

Based on the screenplay by: Richard “I’m not involved with this remake in any way” O’Brien & Jim “No comment I could find online, but I’m pretty sure he’s also distanced himself from it” Sharman

Origin: USA

Remake/Rebranding of: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Review_____

“Lost in time and lost in space… and meaning.”

It’s that time of year again, you turkeys! Let’s Do the Time Warp Again was meant to be an October review, but when I saw just how horrible it was, I thought it more appropriate to not denigrate the sacred month of 8 and instead lump it in with Turkey Day Month 2016. Read on and I’ll think you’ll agree. Won’t you?

This was originally supposed to be a capsule review for The Tomb’s Facebook page, but I had so much bitching to do by the midpoint of this abominable TV ghost of cult movies past that I felt it needed the full episode treatment. Also, I’m almost completely sure that there’s no way for me to jam pics and gifs into Facebook reviews, and they really needed to be a part of this to help properly illustrate my loathing. As such, let’s check out The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again, shall we?

Also, the doors are all locked and their knobs have been replaced with used dildos amassed from the dumpster behind the local retirement home, so just sit the fuck down and share my suffering.

When I heard about Fox’s intentions to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Richard O’Brien’s golden child with this made-for-TV remake, I got the typical “Pavlov’s dog” response to remakes that most of us over the age of 30 are stabbed in the kidneys with at least three times a year anymore. Unlike the original brainwashed canine, though, we don’t drool uncontrollably. Instead, we vomit vitriol and disappointment out of both ends, taking breaks to ingest large reserves of blue PowerAde into our systems to stem dangerous dehydration. We ultimately end up with acid burned throats and burning red sphincters glowing from magmatic agony while some cunts in Hollywood dream of rubbing stacks of stupid peoples’ money on their genitals. All of the online petitions, cries of protest and message board threats of sexual assault result in nothing changing, and we all just end up dying a little inside knowing that something we love has been weighed down with an anchor of garbage, then tossed into the murky depths of the “Nobody Cares! Get Over It!” sea.

But sometimes, if you keep the faith, say your prayers, and sacrifice just enough of your personal stockpile of pessimism, you will be rewarded. The whore mongers you accused of raping your inner child turn out to be fellow followers of your familiar fandom, and do right by your shared affection – not tarnishing its name, but instead adding to its legacy! Whole new generations learn to respect and revere these franchises, lifting them to new heights, sharing them with the world, spreading their gospel! Yes, sometimes you corporate mainstream meddlers in your ivory towers can cast off the scarred branding of “defilers”, bring pride to your executive producer credits…

…Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah, and then the drugs wore off! Sure, there’s the occasional worthwhile redo out there (The Hills Have Eyes and Evil Dead, anyone?), but the turds tend to outweigh the treasures by 100 to 1. Guess which side of said ratio Fox’s Rocky Horror remake stakes its claim? Here’s a hint: much like a thrice expired jar of Ortega salsa once tormented me with the drizzling shits, so now has Kenny Ortega done to an entire television viewing audience. All we wanted was NOT to have another beloved movie ruined with a remake.

“But Anubis, Kenny Ortega also gave us Hocus Pocus and Newsies! How could his version of Rocky Horror be that bad!?” First of all, didn’t I fit you with a ball gag when you came in!? Secondly, allow me to send up a surface-to-air missile to bring your Happy Hands down in flames – Kenny Ortega’s also the guy behind the High School Musical trilogy. The higher your hopes get, the harder I will make them fall…at least until the point of terminal velocity. Once they hit that, I mean, that’s as hard as they can fall, whatever the height. Either way, FUCK YOUR HOPES! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Anyway, by now we should be intimately familiar with the misadventures of Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, so let’s not dawdle with the details. And if you don’t know the story already, a hearty Conan the Schwarzenegger “To HEL wit’choo!”. Seriously though, for you neophytes out there (or those of you in need of a refresher), you can pop out your peepers and observe Episode 64 for my review of last year’s “Rocky Horror Show Live!” BBC special to get caught up. The rest of you? In the interest of keeping it short like Tyrian Lannister after a trip through The Tall Man’s midgetizing tanks, let’s try something new and make this a simple pass/fail review! Onward and upward, you sons and daughters of Oblivion!

► For starters, showing your RHPS remake at 8PM? Weak. Its cult status is that of a midnight movie, so shoehorning it into a prime time slot? You’re already starting off on the wrong foot with the fans, Fox. FAIL.

► The “Science Fiction/Double Feature” intro is now sung by a generic “white girl with a deep voice” usherette cast away from Hot Topic, played by Ivy Levan. I know nothing of her work or if anyone else even knows who she is, but she feels very much like a poor man’s Christina Aguilera/Lady Gaga/Adele/Amy Winehouse. I dislike her “try to make it ‘soulful’ like an ‘American Idol’ contestant singing the National Anthem” cover. FAIL. And I’m not saying this to be mean, Ivy, but I’ve got two words for ya: Crest Whitestrips.

► The entire segment in general? When compared to the original “Patricia Quinn’s disembodied mouth lip syncing Richard O’Brien’s singing” opening credits? No. And allow me to get this out of the way now for anyone who’s gonna try to call me out about how this remake is supposed to be different: if you don’t want comparisons to the original, DON’T DO A FUCKING REMAKE! FAIL.

► On its own merits though, this beginning makes for a fair music video style intro to the show, so I’ll also throw it a PASS. And don’t say I can’t do that. You don’t come into my house (or tomb, in this case) and start diddling my thermostat. At least not if you want to keep your fingers on your hands and not poking out of Ammut’s litter box.

► Presenting your made-for-TV remake as if it were being shown at an RHPS midnight theatrical show, complete with audience participation? The more you remind me of how much I’d rather be watching the original is not going to work in your favor, Fox. Pretending your version is cool because it’s framed with meta humor is lame. And not “so lame it’s cool”, Marge, so don’t even start. No, it’s lame like Christy Brown without all the artistic talent. Stop it. FAIL.

► Wait, so the actors are all emulating the original’s cast through hammy acting and overzealous mannerisms? Oh boy. I can’t imagine this sitting well with the teenagers this is being aimed at, who probably don’t know it’s supposed to be campy. Kinda torn on this one, since I hate camp for camp’s sake, but it’s sticking faithful to the tone so… Fuck it. PASS.

► Well, Ryan McCartan’s Brad is definitely the ideal of all-American young male doofiness. Meanwhile, Victoria Justice’s Janet has the “starry-eyed girl next door” thing down, though I do miss Susan Sarandon’s adorable bug-eyes. PASS.

► The Hapschatts’ marriage mobile’s “Wait ‘Til Tonite, She Got Hers Now He’ll Get His” shaving cream graffiti replaced by “She Said I Do, Now I’m Doing” instead. “Now I’m Doing”?! Is that even English? No. Whomsoever is responsible for that, get “doing” with a live light socket. FAIL.

► Post stroke Tim Curry putting in a cameo as The Criminologist? Smells like a poor attempt at Fox trying to convince the fanbase that this was a good idea. FAIL.

► Sadly, it’s not like Curry’s getting roles thrown at him today what with his current state, so at least he got a paycheck out of this. That part gets a pity PASS.

► Janet’s joke of “The owner of that phone might be a beautiful woman and you may never come back again.” is too on the nose now, given Frank’s re-casting/re-assignment. FAIL.

► Reeve Carney, you put way too much spirit into your Riff-Raff. He’s supposed to be menacing and broken, not starring in a production of “Rock of Ages”. I’d tell you to go back to playing Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”, but, well, we all know what happened with that… Also, where’s your bald cap!? And your hunch?! And your accent sucks. And your twangy country western lite rendition of “The Time Warp” makes me want to fill my ears with flesh-eating scarabs. Cease and desist. FAIL.

► Same goes for your Magenta, Christina Milian. You’re supposed to be depraved and imposing, not just some prancing tart in a sparkling maid outfit and hot pink fright wig. Your accent also sucks. A lot. Homosexual rest stop vampire Count Gaylord would take a break from his Saturday night slurp circle to tell you its suckitude is “a little much”. FAIL.

► One of the things Fox has been raked over the coals for on RHPSLDtTWA! is neutering it by turning the risque level down to a ‘3’. Despite this, the singers during the “Time Warp” scene are performing from between the wooden cut-out of a pair of 10′ tall legs positioned to look like they’re a woman on her back. So for all intents and purposes, this trio is supposed to appear to be singing while ankles deep in a giantess’s lapple pie…I don’t even…what…the fuck…am I looking at?! Either way, the dancers in this “toned down” version are all dry humping the shit out of each other for 10 minutes, so I guess it was just the “gay stuff” that Fox felt the need to back off on? FAIL.

► The Transylvanians all get their own unique costumes?! They’re supposed to be background fodder, not an attention grabbing orgy of extras in gaudy silver crotch-hugger outfits hopped up on Spanish Fly grinding against each other in a desperate display of “Look at me! I’m important too! Look at me!”. This smells like the meddling of a bunch of bit parters’ agents…who are probably also their parents. Fucking show biz parents. FAIL.

► Annaleigh Ashford’s Columbia is just heyday Cyndi Lauper with “I sucked off Papa Smurf” blue raspberry Blow Pop tongue? Riff Raff plays an electric guitar with a neon blue light-up neck? Fuck’s sake, Ortega, did your Wayback Machine run out of batteries when you re-imagined this!? RHPS was from nineteen SEVENTY-five, not nineteen EIGHTY-five! GAH! I feel like there should’ve been a part to go with this half-assed ’80s vibe where Brad refers to something as being “Bradical!”, because if you’re going to fuck the audience, you might as well go balls deep. FAIL.

► P.S. – Ashford’s “non-acting acting” is nails on a gods damned chalkboard. I’ll take Little Nell’s proto-Harley Quinn with the cracking, squeaky voice 10 times out of 10 over this deadpan Darlene Connor knock-off bullshtick. My heart (and my legs) are always open to sarcastic doom-and-gloom nihilist types, but not Columbia, damn it! FAIL.

► Rather than meeting Frank as our protagonists originally did, coming down in his little elevator to the anticipatory build of both the heroes and the audience, the modern incarnation instead sees her descending onto the set aboard a massive camera crane in some weird Mayan showgirl outfit. Though I can appreciate the spectacle, that’s all it is – a spectacle. The headdress is appealingly garish, but also more sizzle than steak. One of the story’s biggest moments burned to the ground. If gravitas were gravity, this version of the host’s introduction would be taking place on the moon. All-in-all, a big floating FAIL.

► It’s sad too, because Laverne Cox (what an ironic name…) puts on a fairly fair Frank impression. Unfortunately, as I’ve been griping about to my fellow Frankie Fans, this casting puts a silver bullet through the heart of the entire show. Put your PC sticks away too, because I have zero issue with a black person playing Frank and zero issue with a transgender person playing Frank. As long as they can play the role justice, it would be mathematically impossible for me to care less about skin color or background. And if you wanted to hire a transitioned male person to play Frank, that would be great too! But no, Frank being played by a woman ruins the point of his seduction of Brad and his attempts at forcing a hetero man-child of his own creation to be gay rather than Rocky instead dipping his hot dog in Janet’s mustard. And don’t give me the “Well, Laverne used to be a man!” argument either, because it holds water as well as Joel Robinson’s Wiffle cup. Who Laverne was has no bearing on who she is while playing the role in this movie. Championing her as a former man is like carting her around as a sideshow attraction. She’s a woman now, and a woman playing Frank goes against the point of Frank. FAIL.

► But, again, Cox plays the role pretty well compared to how much the rest of the cast fail their parts. Too bad she couldn’t have taken the role prior to transitioning. Despite my dislike of the casting, and her not putting enough of a bite into some of her delivery (her flaccid read of “I didn’t make him FOR YOU!” is especially disappointing), her performance gets a PASS.

► Damn it, Ortega! You fucked up the close-up shots during “Sweet Transvestite”! How fucking hard is it to do a couple of quick cuts rather than just setting the camera behind B & J and hitting “REC” while you take a piss break? FAIL.

► Staz Nair looks the part of Rocky as far as physiques go (though his frosted tips will give people Backstreet flashbacks), but turning his gold bodybuilder briefs into golden basketball shorts (that look like they’re made of a spray-painted elephant scrotum) just furthers Fox’s flaccid homophobic approach to this remake. Have I mentioned that it’s an abomination? If I haven’t, make a note of it. FAIL.

► Adam Lambert’s Eddie comes Evel Knieveling through a window (rather than out of Frank’s meat locker…not to be confused with her meat curtains…though that would’ve been an interesting twist), looking like some kind of lupine biker that shames anything in Werewolves on Wheels. He’s Eddie by way of Wolverine after a rough night in a leather bar. It works. PASS.

► But his singing voice lacks the macho boom of a rotund rocker like Meatloaf. A savage disappointment to hear a guy that looks so bruiserly have such a, well, Adam “Glambert” Lambert voice. When he’s mugging for camera during his song, it looks like he’s struggling not to scratch at a bad case of jock itch. FAIL.

► Rather than being pick-axed more times than a gold mine in the 1840s, Eddie ends up stabbed and falls out of a window. Fear not, as the dinner scene still happens later as planned, but this version of Edward’s demise is no prize. Frank’s subtle efforts at shiving the big lug in the guts is no match for psychotic Swiss cheesing given to the original article. FAIL.

► Given the gender swap, Frank’s seduction of the young couple doesn’t have the same impact, especially with how many “bi for the guys” college age girls have saturated pop culture in the last decade plus. Shooting said moments like regular scenes rather than from behind the veil of smutty silhouettes also kills the voyeuristic tone carried by the originals, losing both the style AND the substance in this instance. Blart. It’s a bad miss. FAIL.

► Watching a former Nickelodeon child star in her underwear fooling around with another woman is…not really having an effect on me, since I never watched whatever show it is she was the star of. Besides, after everything we’ve seen out of Miley Cyrus, former child stars doing adult stuff in little-to-no clothing will never carry the same taboo. Not a pass/fail scenario, I just thought I’d point that out.

► Ben Vereen sounds more like Morgan Freeman than Dr. Scott. With this change in character also comes the unfortunate negation of Scottie’s former role as a defected Nazi scientist. Now he’s just “elderly wheelchair man with Einstein hair”. FAIL.

► The dinner scene slips in a new *wink*wink* line for long-termers, as Columbia complains “I hope it’s not meatloaf again.” in regards to the meal’s main course. Cute. I’ll take it. PASS

.

► Additionally, though I hated “too cool to play along” slacker Columbia, as her tragic losses mount, she’s falling into place as the broken girl on the brink of losing what sanity she has left. Good. PASS.

► Kudos to McCartan, whose turn in the floor show as “broken man-baby in ladies lingerie” Brad denotes a man of courage. It’s also probably the moment in the whole movie most loyal to the tone of the original. He gets a PASS.

► Speaking of the floor show, all of the Transylvanians are present in this version. It kills the intimate focus on the main characters having an entire audience. Furthermore, you’ve not got two dozen people in the theater, but nobody does anything to stop Riff when he comes in with his neon guitar laser? They all just disappear during “I’m Going Home”? FAIL.

► The siblings’ new silver outer space glam rock heavy metal outfits are fun at least. PASS.

► While trying to escape with Frank’s corpse, there’s no RKO tower prop for Rocky to scale, so an iconic moment ends up as just another FAIL.

► On the plus side, when Rock dies near Frank, he does so reaching out to her a la Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” painting, notably featured in the original RHPS‘s “Don’t Dream It, Be It” swimming pool scene. PASS.

► Brad, Janet and Dr. S sell the finale of their nocturnal excursion like they’re stumbling through a nuclear fallout, then just roll up their arm length gloves (well, Brad does) and walk off stage right like everything’s suddenly fine, no selling the fact that an entire castle is launching into the stratosphere not 10 feet to their left. Cool guys don’t look at explosions? FAIL.

For those keeping score, that makes for 11 “PASS”es and 23 “FAIL”s. According to my math (meaning no one can verify it but me, so don’t correct me), in Tomb terms, Let’s Do the Time Warp Again should get a 1.666 out of 5 rating. Traditionally, that would mean it rounds up to a 2, but there’s no way I can award a 2 to this movie. Instead, I’ll add a little personal bias to the data and round down to a 1. After all, reviews are all about the writer’s opinion, and bias is a part of opinion so, again, don’t correct me. Checkmate.When all is said and done (and “doing”?), this is just another remake for the “that didn’t need to happen” pile. It’s a befuddling muddle fuck that tries to be faithful to the original while doing new things, a tightrope it fails to cross and thus falls into the pool of starved crocodiles below. Everybody involved should’ve ignored the movie’s motto of “Don’t dream it, be it.” and just kept their desires for this production in their own nightmares and dreamscapes. For a production that tries in every way to be more over-the-top colorful than its predecessor, the performances are decaf as fuck for the most part. It feels…sterile. Whether it’s Ortega’s head we hang the shame hat on for wanting his cast to act the way they do, or we need to put in an order for a dozen more shame hats to cover the heads of the cast members themselves, somebody has to take responsibility. And when the ambition didn’t feel like it was under the floorboards, it was coming on too strong from actors whose characters are supposed to be restrained!

Have I been changed in any way by my viewing of this remake? Not really. Though I had no idea who Kenny Ortega was (aside from a guy whose name sounds an awful lot like New Japan wrestler Kenny Omega) before, now he’s got a spot on my enemies list. So…there’s that.

For those who enjoyed RHPSLDtTWA (it’s nice to know I’ll never have to type out that acronym again), good for you. I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. However, if you use the following trains of thought to defend said stance, assume crash positions, because you’re about to be derailed.

► “But shadow casts happen every week all around the world and plenty of them include female Franks! Do you complain about those?!” No. Female Franks are usually done with shadow casts that don’t have enough guys to fill all of the male roles, or by groups where no guy is brave enough to dance around in women’s underwear in front of a crowd. Besides, this is a nationally broadcast remake, not some midnight screening at the Podunk Village Actors Guild Hall.

► “But ‘why did you hate this iteration so much, but not ‘Rocky Horror Live‘?! You just hate young people and things not aimed as you!” False equivalency. That was a live show, based on the musical, not the movie based on the musical, thus it wasn’t supposed to be faithful to the movie. Additionally, it was a production overseen by Richard O’Brien, so when the creator of the entire fucking phenomenon decides he wants to tinker with the formula, he’s more than welcome to! Also, had you actually read my review for the show in question, you’d remember that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with it either.

► “But Frank is an alien! Maybe he/she didn’t have an Earthly sex and you’re just projecting your archaic gender roles! Open your eyes, you Nazi sheep!”. Shut your fucking face, uncle fucker. Did you forget the numerous times Frank was referred to as “him” and “he” by the rest of the cast in the original RHPS? Just in case you did, remake Frank’s referred to numerous times as “her” and “she”, so again, cram it down your suck hole.

And that’s as much as I’m interested in talking about Let’s Do the Time Warp Again. Now that I’ve done my duty, it’s time for me to be doing. What? No fucking clue. Hope you enjoyed your Halloweening indulgences, kids. I also hope you had your younger siblings “test bite” your candy first for safety’s sake. You don’t wanna show up to Thanksgiving with a razor blade smile!

Moral of the Story: If you’re going to do a remake, stick to the source material. If you’re going to do a “re-visioning”, go all the way…and prepare for a hardcore backlash, especially if you fuck it up.

Screenshots_____

There are enough in the bullet-points above. See ya next time, ladles and germs!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Balls of Fury”

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 45 – Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies (2014)

or “The Wrestling Dead”

Featuring: Roddy “Hell Comes to Frogtown” Piper , Shane “Divided Loyalties” Douglas , Kurt “Sharknado 2: The Second One” Angle

Director & Writer: Cody “Lucifer’s Unholy Desire” Knotts

Origin: USA

This Episode Personally Approved By: Cody Knotts (Director/Writer)!
“While I wish you would have enjoyed it…I loved reading your review…I laughed and laughed. You have a talent for writing funny reviews (though I would focus less on references to feces..you have a real talent for whit).
Anyways, thanks for the review, even though it wasn’t good.”

Review_____

“Jobbers die, NOT main eventers!”

Did you know that gods have gods? Yep. You know that old adage “Respect your elders”? Same applies to us, hence the term “Elder Gods”. The elderest of gods, Cthulhu, recently blessed me for my Cthulhumas sacrifices by gifting me with the second highest item on my tribute want list: Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies. The highest? Same as it always is: 1985 Barbara Crampton. But, like the little girl who asks for a pony every year (looking at you, Demeter), I’m destined to never get the one gift I really want. Oh well, time to get the disappointment out of my system by kicking the tar out of my silver medal!

By the way, as a lifelong pro wrestling geek, I had a few dozen wrestling related jokes to make through this episode. However, I didn’t want to alienate 90% of my audience, so I’ll be making an effort to stick to the general garbage movie defecation commentary you normally get out of me. Consider it your New Years endowment from moi.

Battling Billy (Michael H. Richmond, whose missing credit I actually had to submit to the IMDB cast listing!) is a professional wrestler. Well, given that performing in high school gymnasiums in front of 15-20 people at a time can’t possibly provided him enough money to survive on, “professional” probably isn’t the right word. Let’s just say Billy’s a wrestler. Period. Semantics aside (not to be confused with “semen ticks inside”, which makes my ebony fur stand on end just typing the words), Billy’s ring name is a big fat blumpkin in the realm of grappler monikers. Given that this was written by an obvious wrestling fan, “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a much better alias. Not just because “Battling Billy” sounds like some kid’s submission to a Masters of the Universe create-a-character contest, but because “Bruiser Billy” would’ve been a decent call back to Bruiser Brody, whose murder is one of wrestling’s most infamous instances. It’s serious “Diagnosis Murder” type shit. Check out the following link to get the story from wrestling industry mainstay “Dirty” Dutch Mantell, who currently goes by the Tea Party conservative parody persona Zeb Colter in WWE.

Brody’s murder aside, wrestlers like to claim that they’re a brotherhood in the locker room, but they’re really just like any other boys’ club: at each other’s throats the minute money or pussy comes into the picture. Such is the case when Billy crosses washed up (actual) professional wrestler Shane “the Franchise” Douglas (playing himself) by dipping his pen in Dougie’s ink…by which I mean Mr. Battling is tossing his hot dog down Shane’s hallway. Well, not his hallway. I mean the upstart’s fucking the old man’s girlfriend, Taya (playing herself)!

Anyway, catching Tay wrapped around the younger man’s waist like a cheap replica championship belt, Shane doesn’t take too well to the scene. Rather than breaking up with her like an adult though, he instead breaks Billy’s neck during their match with a “botched” tombstone piledriver move. Yep, he kills him with a move called a “tombstone”. No room in the budget for subtlety, I’m afraid.

An indeterminate amount of time later (I guess screen subtitling ended up next to subtlety on the budgetary kill floor), Billy’s brother Angus (Ashton Amhurst) hires promoter Cody Knotts (yep, it’s the director playing himself) and his Extreme Rising wrestling promotion to set up an indie show at an abandoned penitentiary. Anus, errr Angus, insists that Douglas and Taya headline the event, then lets Dog Knotts fill in (yeah, as a man-dog I hear dog knots are pretty filling…) the rest of the card with other has-been grapplers like Roddy Piper and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, still active (just barely) guys like Matt Hardy and Kurt Angle, and some never-weres like what’s-his-name, who’s-it, and you know, that guy. Always wore a shirt? Yeah, him. All of which are self-players as well.

Quick time out. Angus’s ear raping Scottish accent would make Scrooge McDuck and Haggis McHaggis weep with disgust. Someone named Scott Miller gets credit for doing said voice, so Amherst didn’t even do his own lines?! What is this, Horror of Party Beach!? Scratch that. Party Beach‘s monsters were more realistic than the zombies we end up with here. They look like they were made up by a buncha brats during “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” at the Savini School. Blart. Anyway, as we were.

Shane’s given a scene with his extended family shortly after, where he indoctrinates his nephew to be a total Franchise mark. It’s supposed to somehow humanize a bloated sack of shit who we already know is responsible for MURDERING another man just because they became Eskimo brothers (look it up). All this interlude managed to do was make me want to slap the Fruit Loops out of the kid’s mouth, but the urge to backhand kids in movies is normal for me. Annoying turds. Once this is over, Shane and Roddy Piper have a scene where we learn that the two are apparently long term buddies, which is fine. My problem with the scene is the mob of children crowded around Piper begging for autographs. It’s not the kids themselves where my problem lies, it’s that nobody under the age of 25 even knows who the fuck Roddy Piper is! Maybe they mistook him for one of the creatures on “Yo Gabba Gabba!”? Sure, slap a kilt on him and replace his head with a bagpipe with huge googly eyes glued to it and I could see this being a thing.

Reunited for the show, Dougie Fresh and Skanky Not-So-Fresh hook up just like old times…which may very well have been anywhere from a few days ago to a few years. Again, it’s not clear how long it’s been since Billy got broke. Meanwhile, Piper makes friendly with a woman named Sarah (Adrienne Fischer), who’s just been hired as the new Extreme Rising head of marketing. Her whole hook for getting hired is that she promises Snotts (who spends their entire meeting feeling her up like he was that creepy uncle that isn’t invited to family gatherings) that she can make their little wrestling organization the biggest in the world…no. In a movie about zombies fighting men in tights, THAT statement is the most unrealistic thing in these entire 90 minutes. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but that’s the kind of crap that requires utter expulsion of your disbelief into the vacuum of deep space. I’ll let the Iron Sheik express my thoughts further on this one:


Thanks, Adnan!

In a weird bit of idiocy, when the wrestlers’ bus arrives at the prison (nobody can afford their own cars, it seems), they’re randomly offered a chance to “challenge the gods” and “achieve their destiny” by doing combat “in the arena”. Are they performing in an abandoned prison or at Medieval Times?! Before they’re allowed off the bus though, they’re ordered to hand over their cell phones. Horror movie much? Well, that addresses why no one will be able to call for help later when they’re chin deep in living dead. Stupidly addresses, but addresses none the less. No sooner do our faces (wrestling terminology for good guys) get inside, then they’re confronted by Angus’s personal horde of necromanced undead heels (wrestling’s bad guys) and the movie finally lives up to its title. Well, it only took half an hour to get there, so my “finally” may have been a tad unnecessary. Wait a sec. Now that the zombie rampage has already started, what the fuck are they gonna spend the next hour on?! Uh-oh…

Yep, that’s it. The final 2/3 of the movie is really just a series of sequences wherein hordes of zombified extras chase the wrestlers and other cast members, killing them one-by-one, then moving onto the next. Do I look like a shitter? Because I shit you not. The script has to be about 10 pages long. Well, at least they give what they advertise, so that’s something, right? It’s like going into a place called “Ruptured Balls” and not expecting to get your testicles destroyed. They never said it was going to be enjoyable, they just advertised ruptured balls. Just like nobody advertised an enjoyable movie, just one where pro wrestlers go up against zombies. Hey, at least I can admit when my suffering is my own fault!

Sure, at one point Tying Knotts tries to write in that touching zombie movie staple where one of the survivors has to kill his best friend-turned-living dead a la Pete and Rog in Dawn of the Dead. The Romero one, you animals! But given how little time the movie actually dedicates to trying to make us give a shit about any of the cast on a personal level, NO time was spent showing us ANY connection between the two characters in question! Come on, guys. You invite us over to your place for a party, tell us it was a ruse to get us to help you move out of your 5th floor walk-up when we get there, then expect us to do all of the heavy lifting?! Fuck your couch. This is me throwing it through your big stupid picture window. Good luck getting your security deposit back!…and explaining to the cops how your couch ended up smashing your neighbor’s Lexus. I’m out!

Okay, I’m not out. I’ve still got pissing to piss, moaning to moan and bitching to bitch. While I’m on the topic of failed attempts to connect with the audience on a deeper level, there are a few more that shit the bed just as bad. Think Spud’s big brown breakfast in Trainspotting. These emotional moments resonate about as well as farts muffled by a pillow. Even the “will they die or won’t they?” scenes of manufactured tension end up as botched spots (wrestling lingo for failed moves). You know who’s gonna see the end credits and who’s just gonna wind up as the “meat” in an Arby’s pulled pork. Best example? At one point, Sarah’s overcome by a mob of grabby handed ghouls and struggles on the ground for several minutes as they paw at her. She eventually manages to escape without a scratch though because, surprise surprise, she’s scripted to have a future that doesn’t involve being fast food. Oh yeah, spoiler. Oops. Meh, you’ll get over it.

Speaking of pulled pork, whatever the effects guys spent on their “severed legs and torso” prop, they definitely got their money’s worth. Not based on the quality, mind you, just the number of scenes they use the stupid thing in. Remember that amazing scene where the asshole militant guy in Day of the Dead is torn in half while screaming “CHOKE ON IT!”? It was one of the movie’s greatest moments between his defiant death screams, the graphic realistic violence of the effects work and the fact that PEOPLE WEREN’T BEING TORN IN HALF EVERY 10 MINUTES. Sadly, the blood and gore is what you’d expect from a movie whose budget went to hiring out-of-work ex-wrestlers as its stars. It’s a whole bunch of red kero syrup and the occasional prop internal organs. Real effects zombie makeup and gore are an art. As stated prior, here it’s a shart. Multiple sharts, actually. Unrelenting, left and right, up and down, sharts. If it were to be named after a wrestling company, it’d be TNA: Total Nonstop Assblasters. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhharts!

SHARTS

Speaking of pulled pork…I mean, speaking of sharts, how about that soundtrack?! The music is generic half-assed metal that brings to mind a garage band trying to emulate Monster Magnet. Then there’s the ear bleeding bagpipe thrash shit. Holy Lucky Charms in a Guinness, Dropkick Murphys it ain’t. On top of that, of all the covers I’ve heard of “Amazing Grace” in my eons, this movie’s end credits easily has the worst. Worse even than when Mike Tyson did it on that clip from the Arsenio Hall Show that never aired. While my ears are still bleeding, let me call out the audio mixing here too, because it’s TERRIBLE! A lot of the lines sound like they were re-dubbed in post, while the music just explodes in your ears at random at a few decibels higher than the dialog. I shouldn’t have to have my stereo remote within talon’s reach when I’m watching a movie to keep the old lady in the tomb downstairs from banging on the ceiling with her broom.

Despite the few exceptions, there’s a general rule in the wrestling business that actors shouldn’t cut wrestling promos and wrestlers shouldn’t act. PWVZ reminds us why that is. Even if this dialogue weren’t…damn it. It’s hard to come up with a dozen different synonyms for feces. It’s just bad, okay? I don’t know how much of it is written and how much, if any, is ad-libbed by the performers, but it’s awful. Anyway, the acting. Mercifully, at least most of the wrestlers only have a few short lines before they’re killed off. The majority of the work comes from Piper and Douglas. At least Douglas lives up to his infamously self-serving real-life personality by fucking everybody else over left and right, letting other people take the fall for his bullshit, and trying to set himself up as the big hero. Not sure if the guy was acting or just being followed with a camera. Very convincing. Fuck you “Dean”.

Then there’s Piper. It’s so depressing to think that Roddy went from They Live to this. Or hell, from Hell Comes to Frogtown to this! The cantankerous Canadian who made his career pretending to be a scandalous Scot (didja enjoy the mind blowing I just put on your brain?) has been through a lot in recent years, beating cancer (as did Hacksaw!) and making appearances on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, but the guy’s lost a few steps. It’s a little too hard to believe someone who can barely walk (damn hip surgery…and age) fending off waves of the ravenous dead just because he’s the best actor on the call sheet. Then again, he does have the uncanny and possibly mystical ability to pull a crowbar out of thin air to plant into a ghoul’s head when the need arrives for one scene, so maybe that’s reason enough he would be able to survive. Wish I could pull that trick right now and put it through my computer screen!

Before I finish off this episode and wipe its residual remnants off of me with a moist towelette, I wanted to point out that Piper calls Angus a “red-headed stepchild Danny Bonaduche fuckin’ throwback red-headed Carrot Top fuck him reason for legal fuckin’ abortions”. It might be amazing, it might be awful, but whatever it is, there it is. He also declares that Angus is just an “All-American bully”, then proclaims his intentions to thrash him for being as such, despite Piper establishing his entire career on being a bully bad guy character who kicked Cyndi Lauper across a wrestling ring and smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s face before whipping him with a belt. Such is the inherent hypocrisy of the face turn (what it’s called when a bad guy becomes a good guy).

So Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies, a movie I anticipated for the better part of a year. It sucked on toes worse than even I had feared it would. Yet Troma still picked it up for distribution, when it couldn’t hang with Troma originals on their worst days. Hell, Troma’s trailer is better than the movie just by tacking Toxie’s face onto it and making a title card that DOESN’T feel like the Great Muta spewed green mist into my eyes while looking at it. For your perusal:

In closing, I’d like to play a round of The Dozens, strictly for my fellow industry nerds on the wrestling memes boards. The rest of you can skip ahead to the screen cap-caps (captures and captions).

And…go! This movie’s so bad, Kevin Nash tore his quad while watching it! It’s so bad, if it had double d titties, even Dean Ambrose wouldn’t wanna master ’em! It’s so bad, it made Rob Van Dam stop smoking weed and made CM Punk start! It’s so bad, it made Shawn Michaels an atheist! It’s so bad, it doesn’t even need Triple H to bury it, cuz it buries ITSELF! It’s so bad, it must’ve been written by Vince Russo and directed by Eric Bischoff! It’s so bad, it botches more in 90 minutes than Sin Cara did in all of 2013! It’s so bad, it made Terry Funk retire FOR GOOD! It’s so bad, it made Jake Roberts AND Scott (Scotch) Hall relapse! It’s so bad, even Dolph Ziggler won’t sell for it! It’s so bad, it makes The Dead Hate the Living look strong!.. but does nothing for Roman Reigns. Fuck you, Reigns. Your new outfit looks like some shitty Tron cosplay that you couldn’t get to light up. Your “Superman Punch” is a twat move.

Moral of the Story: Pittsburghers know how to kill the undead…though “Pittsburghers” sounds like a burger franchise mascoted by a filthy diner cook with pit cheese (complete with pet flies) who squishes the meat into patty form under his arms…pardon me, I need to pay a visit to Thunderbucket now.

Screenshots_____

Unless you’re a celebrity, a politician, or just rich. Then you can kill people wherever you want.


Looks like somebody just discovered Photoshop’s font options.


Grown men (well, adult men) dangerously throwing each other around for the entertainment of a dozen or so strangers in a gymnasium. Living the dream.


Tea bagging an unconscious guy while flipping everybody in the audience the bird? I see Sammy Hagar’s finished “quality testing” his latest batch of Cabo Wabo.


Your writer-director, ladies and gentlemen of the audience. Just as shabbily thrown together as his movie.


“Taz Jaguar”? Is that your father’s name, or did you take your mother’s maiden name after the divorce?


Black Mass Ceremonial Parkas (white only): just $4.99 this week, only at KMart!


“Forget it, kid. You might as well call me Hulk Hogan because I don’t put ANYBODY over!”


Extreme Rising corporate headquarters. Except on weekends, when it’s the gift shop for the historical reenactment village they rent the space from.


“Come on, Roddy. This guy says he wants to Kickstart a Frogtown reboot and he wants us to star! This could be my big break! I mean, OUR big break!”


To hell with expensive CGI effects. Just paint him green and Kurt Angle could star in the next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!


Bet Dennis Rodman wishes he would’ve stay in North Korea.


Apparently these zombies don’t crave brains. They just want to sink their teeth into man asses packed into shiny gold trunks like big ol’ Hershey Kisses.


“Stronger Than Death”? Fuck you, Matt Hardy. We’ll see who’s stronger this Sunday in our steel cage showdown!


“With a name like Smuckers, our zombies HAVE to be good!”


“God damn it, Shane! You are NOT going to die owning me fifty bucks! Gimme my damn money, you asshole!”


Roddy Piper reflects on his movie career decisions and wonders if maybe he’s finally fallen to the point that he should’ve just let the cancer take him.


“You don’t need to spend ten grand on a facelift, baby. I’ll just pull back your face like this, slap on a little rubber cement, and you’ll look ten years younger!”


“Shhhh! Don’t let any of the other guys here you say wrestling’s fake or they’ll piledrive your head into your lungs! It’s a very sensitive subject!”


Looks like somebody wandered away from the Nightmare City set.


And this guy used to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.


Bet Roddy REALLY wishes he’d left the house in his kilt today, rather than suffer the undead wedgie of doom!

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Anubis will return next time in
“Radio Ga Ga, Eh?”

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 37 – Life After Beth (2014)

or “Night of the Living Ludgate”

Featuring: Aubrey “The To Do List” Plaza , Dane “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” DeHaan , John C. “Step Brothers” Reilly

Director & Writer: Jeff “I ❤ Huckabees” Baena

Origin: USA

Review_____

“I’m not dead, I’m alive. I can’t be both!”

Hey kids. Long time no see. Sorry about pulling the old “I’m going to the Chug ‘N Plug for cigarettes” routine on ya. I didn’t plan on leaving you guys and gals in the lurch with no Death God-spun reviews and ridicules for the last two months. Unfortunately, your Uncle Anubis is a Quixotic Casanova, and this hopeless romantic was out falling in love with a fling that ended up being just another windmill. But, bruised heart aside, it was one of those relationships that just wasn’t meant to be. “Love” is what you call it when two peoples’ mental illnesses synch up…until they don’t…then it’s called…ah, who the fuck knows, fuck nose. Enough with the heartache, Lord Byron, we came here for a movie review!

On today’s docket is Life After Beth, a zombie-centric tale about love post postmortem and dealing with the regrets and realities of break ups…shit…what an awkward time to do a movie like this…that I fully intended to review two months ago. I guess my Evil Dead Bride is right: I’m a self-fulfilling prophecy! Maybe if I keep telling myself that I’ll become Aubrey Plaza’s canine-humanoid object of eternal lust, I’ll actually become a prophecy I WANT to fulfill! Propheting for fun and profit! Meh. Enough with the life coaching, Tony Robbins, get to the damn review!

Aubrey Plaza stole my heart as the foulmouthed Julie Powers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, and has since kept a stranglehold on said life pump as April Ludgate, the modern day Darlene Conner in “Parks & Recreation”. Her quick wit and paralyzing sarcasm are like 500cc’s of liquid Viagra right into my happiness parts. Because you can’t pronounce “happiness” without “penis”. I wrote a haiku about it in sixth grade English. True story.

Ms. Plaza plays our titular “Beth” – a barely legal gal who lives with her parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon) in their well-to-do, whitewashed paradise in the Los Angeles suburbs. Life’s not all sunshine and sugar-free gum for young Miss Slocum though (whose last name is one letter away from the first girl I feel in love with, and thus makes this review all the more awkward than it already was…THANKS, MOVIE!). Recently she broke up with her beloved skinny, emo walking corpse of a boyfriend Zach Orfman (Dane DeHaan) for reasons of, I don’t know, “teen stuff”. Possibly because he’s so creepy looking. Did you see Harry Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man 2 after he was exposed to the Green Goblin gas? That’s Dane DeHaan without makeup! It’s true! Imagine that on top of you, humping away, making all those horrible sex faces… Yeah… Blart.

While out on a little hike through the 1% of unmolested LA countryside, our adorable antagonist runs afoul of an unfriendly serpent (not to be confused with my very affectionate trouser snake I’d like to introduce her to) who penetrates her alabaster legs with its venomous love tap, killing our angel-with-resting-bitch-face before we even get to the opening credits.

Would I still? Oh, I would. You know what I mean. It’s not necrophilia if it’s done out of love, it’s necroamory. Just because I can’t legally marry Aubrey Plaza’s bloated, discolored corpse doesn’t make our love any less real than what you have, you fucking Nazis! Ah, who am I kidding. Corpsey Plaza would probably just break my onyx-encrusted jackal heart too.

After Beth’s unexpected expiration, Zach bonds with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum in their shared grief, playing late night games of chess and sparking up jazz cigarette doobies full of the marijuanas together. Zach also starts wearing one of Beth’s old winter scarves (During summer in California? Fucking hipster.), to which he forms a bond that…I’ll leave up to you to view. Just keep a barf bucket handy for your eyeballs. Anyway, their little three-person support group is cut short when the object of said grief suddenly returns! Was Beth brought back by the Slocums’ minority housemaid a la Zombie Nightmare? Was she possibly bombarded by cosmic radiation from a crashed satellite? Was the ground she was buried in saturated with a failed experimental marijuana defoliant created by the US government? Did her parents have her buried in the Pet Sematary by accident?! Whatever the case, their Life After Beth has just become…uhm…life with Beth? Re-life with Beth? Life with re-Beth? Bah. Enough with the shitty re-titling jokes, Rex Reed, get to the rest of the review!

All weirdness and mystery around Beth’s resurrection (not to be confused the with res-erection she gives me) aside, mom and dad are just pleased as (spiked) punch to have their little girl returned to them by the grace of “God”. But, they’re also well aware of the potential shitstorm it would cause if anyone else ever found out about this miraculous event, so they opt to keep Beth in the house and away from the outside world. Attempts to keep Zach away were unsuccessful though, and his snoopery ended up getting him in on the big secret. He immediately wants to take her out and use this second chance at shared happiness to experience the world with her, bucking the adults’ better judgment as teens are oft to do. To paraphrase a Texas propane salesman though, that Beth ain’t right. She has no recollection of dying, now insists on living in the attic, keeps talking about how she has some test she needs to study for and goes through violent mood swings while displaying signs of superhuman strength. She also has an odd aphrodisian proclivity for smooth jazz and she doesn’t remember breaking up with Zach, thus she’s still madly in love with him…a bit more madly than prior to her death. Weird, right? Nah. I’d still let her put a gimp mask on me and lead me around on a leash. Enough with the sadomasochism, Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, is the movie any good or not?!

As a dark comedy, Life After Beth works. The movie delves into pretty dark territory more than once. Not Under Siege 2: Dark Territory either, but actual dark territory. Like, “that’s some upsetting shit” type dark territory, not terrorists-on-a-train type dark territory. Just wanted to make sure that was clear. Sadly, the bite of some of said darkness is blunted later on like a crocodile with corked teeth, but there’s still some sad to be had that throws off the comedic ballast of this boat trip just a bit. But hey, any comedian will tell you that comedy comes from suffering, and the whole movie’s all a big metaphor for getting over a bad breakup. Heartbreak is the worst pain of all, right? Just don’t tell that to people with cluster headaches. No, seriously, that shit’s supposed to be worse than giving birth. I read it on a “Top 10 Most Painful Medical Conditions” website…GO LOOK IT UP! Enough with the snap diagnosis, WedMD, let’s get this over with!

As a zombie flick, LAB‘s makeup work is pretty damn slick, while the gore is pleasantly graphic and gets abundant later on. It’s no Braindead, but it is a bit of a shock at how much of the red stuff comes out once they open the floodgates. It’s like a suicide bomber going to Heaven and finding out that ALL 72 of his promised virgins get their period on the same cycle. Speaking of misery, the stages of Beth’s zombie transition and Zach’s handling of it are a horror movie embodiment of the five stages of grief, and I appreciate the metaphor. It doesn’t come off as too “punch you in the face” with the approach and actually made me feel a little better about my own recently deceased bout of romantic human interaction.

Personal therapeutic biases aside, overall I thought it was an okay movie. Not bad for the guy who wrote I Fart Fuckabees. Nothing to set the world on fire, and I think I’m a little too old for romantic teen zomedies at my advanced state of chronological decay, but it’s a charming little flick to share with the horror lover in your life. Or, just watch it by yourself while crying into a pillow after said horror lover leaves you for any of the myriad of reasons you’ll be spending the rest of your miserable life alone eating microwaved mac & cheese while jerking off into that sock they lost under your bed the last time they were over.

Amusingly enough, in addition to dear Aubrey, someone else I first found out about by viewing Scott Pilgrim also appears within these scenes. Anna Kendrick (who played Scott’s caffeine slinging sister Stacey) shows up as Zach’s school peer Erica, who becomes Mopey McGaunt’s potential new girly girl while he’s on the rebound and down. As you might guess, things go all 90210 when our titular living dead girl, in her heightened state of bestial ferality, discovers said rival for her hunk of man meat…well, maybe “thinly sliced scraps of off-brand boy meat substitute” would be more fitting.

I hate looking at Dane DeHaan so much. Just look at him. Take a good long look.

Feel that mass trapped in your throat? That’s not the hamster you swallowed last night (you weirdo), it’s a chunky cocktail of rage and vomit. The guy’s like the Rage virus spliced with Ebola and stabbed directly into your eyes and ears with foot-long hypodermic needles.

And that’s that. Sorry it took me TWO MONTHS to write so little about the movie itself. It’s a new release, so I didn’t wanna spew too much and ruin it for viewers-to-be who just wanted to find out if it was worth a watch, or just came for some laughs without a buttload of spoilers. Thanks for joining me here for magical Episode 37. Or, as Kevin Smith afic(ionados) would call it “The ‘Sucked Dicks’ Episode”….hmmm, really should’ve thought this through and reviewed Dogma instead…fuck it. I’m sure this review wasn’t worth the wait, and may very well have fellated proverbial phalli in the process, but it’s over. Now, much like Zach (and yours truly), we can all get beyond this Thunderdome known as love and move on to greener pastures…especially if said landscape is the verde dyed pubic hair of some no-strings-attached punk rock rebound fuck.

By Osiris’s Prince Albert, I am one romantic son of a jackal bitch.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m really nervous for the test tomorrow and my Evil Dead Bride and I are going hiking. Sjáumst!

Moral of the Story: In the land of the dead, Kenny G is king.

Screenshots_____

Miss Plaza, seen here dialing the police after the last bout of drunken texts I sent her… I think the bestiality pics I sent may have been a little much… I STILL WANNA MAKE A LITTER OF PUPS WITH YOU, BABY! PLEASE CANCEL THE RESTRAINING ORDER!


The vent cover watches its prey, waiting for the moment to pounce and claim the car as its victim. The circle of life continues.


“That’s checkmate AGAIN Mr. Slocum! Off with the pants!”


“Filthy, nasty hobbitses! They have stolen it! My Precious!”


“You fucking poser! You call yourself a Whovian?! That looks NOTHING like the 4th Doctor’s scarf! Take it off before I go all Dalek on your ass!”


If some studio tries to pull the Twilight bullshit on the Frankenstein mythos, here’s your YA Monster. “Girl hottie… too hottie… FIRE BAD!”


He looks like she just told him the pee strip turned blue… THOSE ARE MY PUPPIES, YOU SON OF A BITCH!


Molly Shannon’s great, but she’s got one of those frighteningly over-gummy smiles that looks like her dentures are falling out…


A young Matt Frewer after a fortune teller’s crystal ball shows him what the future holds for his hairline. Poor kid.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Grand Kill-the-Rest Hotel”

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 33 – Death Racers (2008)

or “The Faygo 500”

Featuring: Violent “Big Money Hustlas” J , Shaggy “Big Money Rustlas” 2 Dope , Scott “Sleeper” Levy

Director: Roy “Demons at the Door” Knyrim

Writers: Andrew “A Halloween Puppy” Helm , Patrick “Demons at the Door” Tantalo , Roy “Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher” Knyrim

Origin: USA

Review_____

Part of

“That’s the problem with Cali, man: can’t nobody drive.”

When Ragnarok proposed the idea of a Rip-Offs Roundtable, the only word that filled my brain was “ASYLUM”. It was printed in the biggest fucking typeface you could imagine, to the point that it was just a massive wall of Vantablack letters absorbing any and all mental light around it, thus snuffing out all other possibilities. I didn’t want to review another Asylum defecation. For one, it just feels too “easy” to use for the theme of purloined property, since EVERYTHING they stamp their name on is a rip-off. For another, I’ve already reviewed THREE Asylum movies this year and it’s only July, for the love of Antoine Q. Fuck! They’re like farmed tuna: the FDA suggests not having too many servings in too short a period of time for risk of Mercury poisoning. They’re like car exhaust: you’re better without it, a little of it won’t kill you, but too much and you turn into China – eating cigarette butts for sustenance and giving birth to six-eyed Lovecraftian lung horrors. Speaking of which, that makes me think of digging out The Abomination for a viewing. And that is the true definition of how shit awful Asylum productions are: just considering the possibility of watching one sets off a mental safety default in your brain telling you to watch The Abomination! Hell, here it is if you’d rather spare yourself the rest of the review!

So here we are. Death Racers. I came across this speed bump in the autobahn of my self-preservation some months past while researching the list of “bordering on plagiarism so as to confuse ignorant DVD consumers” titles/hate crimes the Asylum’s amassed since its inception. By simply adding “rs”, they somehow managed to Gymkata dodge any legal action by Universal and the creators of Death Race, which itself was just a “re-imagining” of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000. In other words, today’s roundtable trial by fire (the flames of which are just lit meth farts from a ring of drunken Juggalos) isn’t just a rip-off: it’s a rip-off of a remake of a Roger Corman movie starring the Insane Clown Posse and a professional wrestler who once went by the moniker of Johnny Polo.


To quote a character from the movie, “When, in a million fucking rim job years, was that thought to be a good idea?!”.

Now, the involvement of ICP isn’t an automatic garbage indicator for me. They don’t overload my Detectron (MST3K: The Incredible Melting Man” joke). I’d rather fill my ear holes with flesh eating Star Trek parasites (“KAHHHHHHHN!”) than listen to any of their music. I’d like to slap them in the face with a grade school science textbook for not knowing how fucking magnets work. But when it comes to their own cinematic side projects, I find them entertaining. Starting with their StrangleMania wrestling tapes in the ’90s and up through their stupid joke movies Big Money Hustlas/Rustlas, if they’d just drop their “nails on chalkboard” horror-rap, or whatever the fuck you wanna call it, I’d have little problem with them! But those are their own productions. For the next 90 minutes, they’re in an Asylum movie. My penis is in love with ’80s Barbara Crampton, but if she was submerged for an hour and a half in a pool full of piss culled from the men’s room troth in the No Holds Barred redneck bar, Lil’ Anubis would turn into Quentin Tarantino’s dick in Planet Terror. Her touch would be like getting a blowjob from the Arc of the Covenant. And I don’t even like ICP, let alone have Crampton love for ’em.

I had to swallow a hand towel before typing that piss pool scenario just to roadblock the column of vomit that I knew would be born from imagining it. Review…saved? Fuck biscuits. I just used my last wish on the monkey’s paw for immortality and get a life sentence in an Arizona prison.

From the opening narration, things literally dosn’t add up. The movie tells us that “3 years from now” (which would’ve been 2011 based on the 2008 release year), a big ol’ war breaks out. Not the usual global conflict between nations, but a war in the US between social and/or fiscal classes. The president declares martial law to bring an end to the chaos and designates a chunk of the western US to serve as a mass penal (huh huh) colony known as The Red Zone (Cuba?), which becomes active in 2033. I can deal with the ambiguity of the “3 years from now” opening. As far back as Mad Max (at least from my own decaying memories), dystopic cinema has made use of the “some imprecise point years from the time you’re watching this” pretense to keep the movie from being badly dated. Many sci-fi movies from the black & white days of low low budgets made bold claims of daily commuter rocket ships to the moon and personal jet packs by the year 1999 that just left most people laughing and others crushingly disappointed on their death beds because b-movies from the ’50s gave them impossible dreams. What cuts massive holes in your “unclear future setting” safety net is when you date a specific event in the same opening narrative as taking place in 2033! Even worse is when you later have a character drop, during a moment of dialogue, the year 2017 being the beginning of said massive conflict! Hey Sisyphus, let’s try rolling this mathelogical boulder up that hill with the 80 degree incline!

Ironically enough, watching this movie in 2014 would make the whole 2017 class war chronology line up perfectly. What botches my brain functions is that this class war supposedly went on for SIXTEEN YEARS before the president declared martial law. Given that martial law wasn’t declared until much later, that would mean that FOUR presidential elections would have taken place amidst the anarchy, since a president can’t stay in office past their term limit unless a state of martial law is indeed in effect. Weird how any president would allow a civil war to take place in the US for such a long period of time without enacting military intervention, or how the opposing factions wouldn’t just overthrow the government altogether in that period of time. Even if we ignore all of that timeline retardation, I’ve got another one for you that we’ll cover a little later. This tangent’s already gone on long enough and I don’t wanna risk losing everybody’s interest before I get to complain about the other few hundred jellyfish stingers, broken glass bottles, and discarded hypodermic needles awaiting us during this walk on the beach.

Let’s take a tour of the vacation hot spot of 2033 vagrant population: the Red Zone. It’s home to a million or so convicted criminals, bloodthirsty maniacs, and the kind of people who would listen fondly to the ICP soundtrack the rest of us are saddled with for the next hour and a half. Being the “stars” of this feature, did you really expect your ears not to be insulted/assaulted by the duo for the extent of your “viewing pleasure”? Your naivete is cute, but it won’t spare you the barbs of reality. Amidst the booming (often literally) population of ne’er-do-wells, the most nefarious is Dinsdale Piranha. At least he was, until Spiny Norman came through looking for him. Dinsdale hasn’t been heard from since. In his place, a super terrorist known only as “The Reaper” (Scott Levy, a.k.a. Raven, a.k.a. Johnny Polo) has ascended the Iron Throne of this evil kingdom. Feared by all in the RZ (though entirely unknown by some residents, as we’ll learn later), Reaps has learned that whoever mapped out the prison completely ignored that there’s a water treatment plant inside that had access to a water shelf through which he can poison the entire country’s H2O supply! Good thing he doesn’t have mass quantities of poisonous chemicals with which to do such a thing…oh, he has a vast and inexplicable supply of Sarin with which to achieve his goal? Well, shit. The government probably should’ve made sure there weren’t barrels and barrels of lethal Sarin in the area too, especially not within such close range to A FUCKING WATER TREATMENT PLANT. Oh government! What are you gonna do, huh? Am I right?! *Blart*

When California governor Reagan Black learns of Reaper’s evil scheme, the best option he can come up with is to hold a Savage Run! No, wait, Savage Runs carry the negative social stigmas of being brutal and barbaric. Instead, he announces the carnival of carnage as “Death Race”! Actually, I’m sorry. In keeping with the movie’s theme, every instance of the term “death race” for the remainder of this episode (with the exception of referring to the title itself) will have to be stated in all caps and accompanied by no less than three exclamation points, like so – DEATH RACE!!! That’s better. The rules of this DEATH RACE!!! are as follows: four groups of two (driver and navigator) are tasked with going to the water treatment plant and dealing with Reaper. If they “deal” with him in the permanent sense, the team will be rewarded 200 points. If he’s “dealt with” in the “bring him back alive” sense, they’ll score a whopping 400 points! But, between the starting line and their target stand hundreds of Reaper’s ravenous Red Zone reprobates. For each of them that these duos deadifies, they’ll rack up 10 points. The team with the most points at the end of the DEATH RACE!!! wins…can you guess? That’s right, their freedom. I see you’ve watched at least one of the 700 other similarly themed “fight for your freedom” movies made in the 80+ years since The Most Dangerous Game. Good for you. You’ll find an extra cookie in your Oreo pie tonight.

To prevent the competitors from killing each other before Reaper can be reaped, there are no points for offing the other teams. But, at the same time, there’s no penalty for doing so, so why not just kill each other anyway? Oh yeah, the explosive planted in each of their necks might be a good motivation to play nice. Indeed, just like contestants in EVERY murder game movie, they’ve been Plisskened. Or rather, Plissken’d. Well played, Governor Black…though there’s never an explanation as to HOW these explosives end up in our racers’ neck meat, of course! Then again, the devil’s in the details and this is obviously a wholesome Christian made movie full of family values and praise for (y)our Lord, and thus there is no room for such infernal information. I CAST THEE OUT, SPECIFICS! Speaking of casts, let’s meet ours:

  • Danny Satanico (Koco Limbevski) and Fred the Hammer (Jason Ellefson) – members of the infamous Mexican cartel SHG (Severed Head Gang… cuz they drive around with a fake severed head impaled on the front of their car… cuz they’re scary.). Stereotypical southern Cali latino street thugs played by goofy white guys. Danny ends up domeless when he’s used as Black’s example for what happens when you don’t play by the rules. Fred spends the movie trying to hook up with a lesbian, killing guys with a big scythe that he keeps in his trunk, drinking a fat guy’s piss and then getting beaten to death by the lesbian’s girlfriend.
  • Colonel Bob Casonetti (Paolo Carascon) and Rudy Jackson (Rick Benedetto) – team Homeland Security. They get “blown up” with an IED (not to be confused by an IUD) planted by Reaper’s goons shortly into the DEATH RACE!!!, but come back later to reveal that they’ve been working for Black all along. Which really only serves as a poorly managed story twist, considering ALL of the teams are technically working for Black, thus making the whole “faked death” bullshit more useless than a human appendix. Both are blown up in the finale showdown (along with everybody else for 50 miles around them), but for reals this time.
  • Queen B (Therese Corcoran) and Double Dee Destruction (Jennifer Keith) – team Vaginamyte!… the exclamation point being part of the team’s name and not meant to denote any actual excitement from yours truly. The name is meant as either an allusion to their explosive lady parts or a callback to Jimmie Walker’s “Dyno-mite!” catchphrase from “Good Times” (or maybe both), but all it makes me think of is a food paste from the makers of Vegemite aimed at horny cannibals. Being the only women in the DEATH RACE!!!, they’re exactly what you’d expect from these writers – lesbian man-eaters who shake their t&a to distract horny men before castrating them with a machete. I call this a “Eunuch’s Surprise” or the “Lagash Handshake”. Depends on the region, really. B gets shot in the back by Fred (before he dies from the merciless beating she lays on him), while Dee gets a hatchet in her neck, only to pop up right before the end credits, sole survivor of the massive explosion.
  • Violent J (himself) and Shaggy 2 Dope (himself) – the Insane Clown Posse as…the Insane Clown Posse. Playing themselves, for once, rather than just playing with themselves. Which brings up that other baffle-math problem I eluded to prior. Being 2033, ICP would have to be in their 60s at this point…riiiiiiight. The biggest problem with playing YOURSELVES in a movie set in the FAR FUTURE. Oy. Anyway, 2 and J are billed as “the Charles Mansons of their time” and have been sent to the RZ for their shitty music and for being the cult-like leaders of the global bastion of debauchery known as the Juggalos. Especially poignant today, since the duo just recently told a Court of Law that their Juggers aren’t a gang despite the FBI labeling them as such. No, they’re a family…like the Mansons. I would like to see the FBI classify Parrotheads and Beliebers as gangs now too though. It’s only fair, and being a fan of Jimmy Buffet or Justin Bieber should be considered a crime. Punishable by death, if I had any say. Anyway, despite being the protagonists of the shebang, both boys end up bleedin’ demised by the end credits roll, heads popped like pimples pumped full of Red Bull by those neck bombs THAT ARE NEVER EXPLAINED.
  • I ruined everything during the team intros to save time, as I’ll be rapping the entirety of the movie’s remainder in the following two paragraphs. Before you ponder, yes, there is a LOT of pink slime filler in this ground beef, boys and girls. And probably more than the Health Department’s acceptable levels of carcinogens and rat/insect feces. We’re going to be diving headfirst into the Shatlantic Ocean (or the Poocific depending on which coastest you’re closest) from the moment the race starts, so just bite the pillow and accept it and it’ll be over before you know it.

    All scenes of “racing” consist of slowly driven cars in sped up footage killing seemingly dozens of extras who run directly in the path of/throw themselves again said crawling automobiles, despite driving barely within range of said extras. These nameless goons wear bandanas bandit style so as to hide their faces in the hopes that you won’t realize they’re re-killed again and again throughout later scenes. An Asylum method that would be unironically recycled years later for the waves of nameless thug fodder murderized in Android Cop. Computer generated rockets and cheap muzzle fire animations lead to Karo Syrup gore splatter. You basically get more realistic scenes of automotive brutality in a round of Mario Kart than you’ll take away from this smorgasbord of so-damn-bad that we’re served here. When they’re not puttering along behind the wheel at 6mph, our combatants leave their cars to engage in extensive scenes of hand-to-(severed)hand and gun-to-head combat with more of the same masked goons. You’d think they wouldn’t want to leave their cars considering it’s a race and they need to get to Reaper by sundown (forgot to mention that part), but as I warned, we’re talking a LOT of time killing in this movie. Someone call the fuzz, cuz’s it’s a full-on chronocide up in here. Wee-woo. Wee-woo.

    And, here’s how the last hour of the movie goes – extras get run over; everybody drives; everybody stops to kill the extras again; everybody fixes their cars; everybody drives; love triangle; more killing of extras; the mystery of Governor Black having “insides guys” is introduced; still more driving; “Hey! Let’s go check out that giant circus tent full of (three) whores that wanna castrate us!”; fight Reaper’s killer rape cyborg (we’ll call him RoboCock); back to driving; finally catch up to Reaper and…does it really matter? Spoiler: nope. I pretty much told you everything before. Everybody dies, the west coast is engulfed in flames, the motherfuckin’ END.

    It somehow took THREE people to write that…and they already ripped off the entire premise from another movie!

    And now, on to the gripes. There’s a lot of ’em people, so you might want to go grab a cup of coffee and a slice of pie before we get started. Hit the bathroom too. I don’t want anybody getting up in the middle of this thing and interrupting me. Ready? Good.

    Okay, let’s start with the eyeball burning visual “music video effects” bullshit. Holy creeping terror does this shit get old after the first time we have to watch the movie “rewind” then play the same moment sped up! This is the fucking garbage that a fifteen year-old puts on YouTube when they downloads a pirated copy of Movie Maker for the first time! Crap like this is why MTV doesn’t show music videos anymore! In the sage-like words of the bard Kim Pines, if these shit tier visual “tricks” had a face, I would punch it. Not just punch it, I would punch THROUGH it, with the fist of an angry god. I would punch it so hard that every fragment of solid matter above their neck would simply become a red mist raining upon their shoulders like a crimson version of those dandruff snowstorms you see in the Head & Shoulders commercials. And the Red Zone? For a wasteland of remorseless psychos with no regard for property, much of the place seems to be rather well kept and even peaceful! Honestly, it looks not unlike a small, quiet neighborhood that would be very cheap to film a movie in… The rest of the RZ is just horribly put together images of digitally matte painted industrial shitholes with poorly crafted pixel flames randomly placed to “heighten” the illusion. BLART AGAIN!

    Speaking of poorly crafted, Reaper makes for a not great villain. He’s pretty damn one-dimensional, mainly because he’s not really given anything to do but bully and threaten his hench-nerd with varying degrees of bodily harm and death, while simultaneously diminishing the guy’s timetable on getting the whole “poison the water basin” scheme complete. I’d like to blame the writers for Reaper’s faults, but at least half of the problem comes from Levy, who just reinforces the old Tinseltown stereotype of “wrestlers can’t act and actors can’t cut wrestling promos”. Roddy Piper, Jesse Ventura and The Rock notwithstanding. Also, the DVD cover heralds Scott Levy as “WWE’s Raven”, even though Levy had had NOTHING TO DO WITH WWE SINCE 2003! Actually no, that’s not true. At the time Death Racers was made, he was involved with World Wrestling Entertainment…IN A LAWSUIT! Yep, Levy and several other ex-WWE performers were suing their former employer for medical bills and other shit they figured they deserved. In case you were wondering (and I doubt you were), the case was dropped due to some statute of limitations issue. Plus, one of the other wrestlers killed himself. Wrestle In Peace, Kris Canyon. Anway, the Asylum’s entire business model is movies that rip-off the titles of big budget movies in the hopes of getting sales based on name confusion alone, so I think I would’ve been more shocked if they hadn’t name dropped the world’s biggest wrestling company right across the top of their box art. Knobs.

    Before we move on from the characters, everybody else is just kinda “kill and get killed” throwaway casting, so they’re no big deal. I DO have a Faygo Jazzin’ Blues Berry 3 Liter sized problem with ICP as characters though. They’re supposed to be fighting for their freedom, but they know NOTHING about the Red Zone! They don’t know that people don’t get to see movies there, they don’t know anything about where they’re going, and despite being a terrifying tyrant who’s supposed to rule the entire Zone and all of its captives, ICP have NO idea who Reaper is! And I’m supposed to believe these two are trying to escape a place that they’ve seemingly never spent any time in?! If I weren’t down to my last keyboard, I’d be smashing my head into mine right now. FUUUUUUUCK!

    The movie’s a tribulation of aggravations to be sure. And, as one of the announcers says, it goes “from zero to suck-my-dick in 4.1 seconds”. However, Death Racers is a few curly short hairs shy of being suffocation by a mouthful of pubes. It’s saved from the eternal damnation of Ammut’s digestive tract by the following –

  • Racers embraces the original Death Race 2000 structure of a rally style “Point A to Point B” competition with the “kill random civilians for points” format included. Thus, in actuality, this is a more faithful remake of the original movie than Universal’s Jason Statham vehicle (pun intended). Makes sense that I’ve seen it listed under the title Death Race 3000 in some foreign promotional materials.
  • Watching a white guy (Jason Ellefson) pretending to be a Mexican stereotype is strangely hilarious, especially when he says something so blindly stupid as “Are there any taco trucks around here?”. I generally hate dumb shit like that, but Hel, even a dollar store hotdog looks edible when it’s the only other option at a buffet that otherwise serves only week old haggis.
  • Everything, no matter what it may be, is always better when followed up with a guy shouting “DEATH RACE!”. After the Pledge of Allegiance? “DEATH RACE!”. Post-coitus declaration? “DEATH RACE!”. Swearing in at your best friend’s murder trial? “DEATH RACE!”. Make it so, mofos.
  • And that’s pretty much it. These three small things don’t excuse the movie from still being terrible in every calculable way, but I didn’t get food poisoning symptoms while watching (not fun, I don’t recommend ’em), so it could’ve been worse. Any accident you can walk away from, right? I mean, sure, it’s the kind of accident where all of the flesh on my arms was torn off…and my face was rearranged… and all of my ribs were broken…and I punctured a kidney…and my genitals are completely unrecognizable…but…at least I’m walking away, right?

    If your taste for purloined features has not been sated, belly up to the bar and down a few more helpings of things that aren’t good for you! Check our fellow contributors for this roundtable of regrets:

    3B Theater: Micro-Brew ReviewsCyberjack
    Checkpoint TelstarBattle Beyond the Stars
    Cinematic ApocalypseInseminoid
    The Terrible Claw ReviewsCarnosaur 2

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, my teleprompter has gone dead…“DEATH RACE!” *blip*

    Moral of the Story: Sometimes life licks across your anus with a sandpaper tongue. Good news for all you weirdos out there who have ever put peanut butter on your butthole and had your cat lick it off, I suppose.

    Screenshots_____

    Most kids walk in on their parents having sex and run away in horror. Then there are kids like this, who run to grab the camcorder. I think I just became impotent thinking about that one.


    This is why I don’t trust machines with my health. If I have a heart attack, keep your damn defibrillators away from me!


    They say that he who smelt it dealt it, but he who grins like an idiot had broccoli and black coffee for breakfast.


    I see somebody’s trying to bring back “Two Girls, One Cup” reaction videos.


    I see there was at least one Hot Topic inside the Red Zone when the walls were put up.


    He thinks his tats mean something prolific and deep, but they actually say “Eat at the Wanton Won Ton – Daily Lunch Specials! Mention this tattoo and get 10% off your next eat-in order!”.


    “Damn it! I can’t get ‘Hip to Be Square’ out of my head!”


    “Ahhhhhh! That’s better!”


    That’s where the part of my brain that burned with white hot rage every time I saw Jay Leno used to be before I had it removed. Sure, I lost 20% of my memories. Sure, Jay Leno’s finally off of TV (for now). I still stand by my decision, though.


    I don’t know. He looks pretty white to me.


    “I’ve got that urine sample you asked for, doc. Tell me the truth – how much blood in my urine is too much blood?”


    [insert penis innuendo here]


    “You ever wonder about how things work, sometimes? Like fucking magnets. How do they…”
    “SHUT UP ABOUT THE FUCKING MAGNETS ALREADY, YOU SHIT-FOR-BRAINS CHILDREN’S PARTY REJECT!”


    “We live in total squalor and you’re still wasting my money to dye your god damn hair?!”


    *whisper* “Keep buying this eye shadow though. I really like it. It smells like apples.” *whisper*


    Hipster farmer insists on reaping his own wheat for his whole grain organic artisanal ‘o’ shaped breakfast cereal.


    How every boy sees their mother after their circumcision.


    She just happens to have a Pagliacci fetish and in Detroit, he’s the best she can do.


    Before the creation of batteries, vibrating strap-ons had to be gas powered monsters like that. Given the user fatality rates, they were rarely worth the effort.


    “Before you ask, I don’t know how all of those Japanese fart fetish sites ended up in my browser history. Would just please get rid of all the viruses and pop-up windows? I’m watching an eBay auction for a Cheeto that looks like Larry Hagman that ends at 9!”


    Most people have the “devil & angel” personifications of morality that materialize on their shoulders. She just has two militants in white pants who tell her to shoot everyone.

    ———————————————————
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    Anubis will return next time in
    “Viva Spook Vegas”

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