Featuring: Alexandra “Boy Meets Girl” Turshen , Keenan “First Person” Henson , Caitlin “‘Continuum’” Cromwell
Writer & Director: Bradley “Clearly wrote his own IMDB biography” Stryker
The Evil Dead Bride and your humble narrator were perusing the alcohol offerings at NileMart the other day when we discovered that, not long after the re-emergence (and re-disappearance) of Crystal Pepsi, fellow transparent ’90s punchline drink Zima is now also back on the market. My long standing theory that the latter is just a fermented form of the former? Confirmed.
Pop culture footnote beverage humor aside, after finally conquering the world’s Russia problem with my last review (The Guardians), it’s time to live up to my promises, play a game of ketchup (“catsup” if you’re nasty) and get the circus train back on its tracks. Well, not the whole circus. It’s more like I’m about to abandon an overbooked clown car on a railroad crossing, let the 7:06 bullet from Tarker’s Mill do the dirty work for me, then all I’ve gotta do is report on the aftermath.
In the interest of transparency, I admit that I’m taking some liberties when it comes to Land of Smiles being a killer clown flick, especially when it comes to the whole “painted horrors” technicality, but if the oozing cold sore on America’s dick can give ethics the tiny middle finger by appointing government positions to his defective offspring and filling his cabinet with the highest bidders, I can bend the rules of the Republic of Tombistan. Though the movie’s antagonists conceal their faces under the visage of sinister jesters, they do so with rubber masks, possibly purchased from the clearance bin of a Spirit Halloween pop-up store. It’s not like the world’s lacking in movies out in the nebulous “there” that center on actual grease-painted murderous mirth makers, I just thought I could use a little change of subgenre scenery. It’s not as if I signed any kind of contract (at least not one that falls under the jurisdiction of any mortal justice system) saying I can’t, so just make like a shed uterine lining and go with the flow, Joe!
The basis for Smiles is nothing new. It’s about backpacking Americans whose vacation to a beautiful country they’ve never been to before leads to the reveal of a seamy underbelly that threatens to swallow them whole in its gaping maw of stranger danger, inducing increased paranoia in any members of its audience who already didn’t need any more reasons to never take a vacation beyond pitching tents and making s’mores in their own backyard. See Wolf Creek, Turistas, A Perfect Getaway, Eli Roth’s Hostel flicks and, of course, The Hangover Part II. I would’ve included The Ruins on that list, but that’s supernatural horror and thus does not fall under the “people from other countries are the real monsters” xenophobia gimmick.
Our vulnerable young travelers begging to never be heard from again are lifelong friends and overly confident American college students Abby (Aleandra Turshen) and Penny (Krista Donargo). Having planned a trip to Thailand together for the longest time (oh, oh, oh, for the longest time), Abby earns her BFF of 19 years’ ire when she backs out of their girls only vacation to stay near her boyfriend Brad (Brandon Nagle), who more than likely didn’t like the idea of his girlfriend being half-way across the globe and possibly getting peanut sauce licked off her ass by some beefcake with jungle herpes.
In a moment that can only be scripted (and poorly at that), Ab’s sacrifice of Pen’s friendship blows up in her face almost instantaneously when her attempt to surprise Brad with a candlelit cupcake (birthday/anniversary?) leads to her walking in on Brad in the middle of a Skinemax bump n’ hump session with Lacy (Charisse Bellante) – a random blonde who comes off just as “trashy party girl who’s upset she never got to be in a Girls Gone Wild DVD” in her sex making as her name would suggest. To any Lacys out there who take offense to that, I’m sorry, but maybe your parents shouldn’t have named you after a style of lingerie trim.
Blinded by confusion and rage, Abby unleashes a few shots of Cowboy Mike’s Extra Bold Red Hot Ricochet Pepper Spray upon the ocular orbs of the indignant fornicators, apologizing at first before revoking said formality and storming out in justified rage. If you think pepper spray’s a little intense, these two are just lucky Abby’s probably too young to remember the whole Lorena Bobbitt episode. However, as is all too common the case, the cupcake is the true victim of the break up. Poor thing’s probably going to be swallowed up by the foster system like so many little lost souls before it. If you would, say a little prayer for the cupcake’s well being tonight while you’re taking your pre-bedtime dump, won’t you?
Of course Abby couldn't have made this discovery before Penny’s departure, so now she’ll play some ketchup of her own and do the first leg of their itinerary solo. No idea why she couldn’t have just traveled ahead and met Nickel immediately, but then we wouldn’t have a movie. Why? Because Dime gets kidnapped. Not ready to cancel your plane tickets to Thailand yet? Well, the people who take her are dressed in those aforementioned clown masks. Calling the airline now to see if you can get a refund? I thought so. Besides, why travel when you can spend summer break crashed on your couch in your underthings (or, if you’re like myself, au natural) with the AC cranked to “Absolute Zero” as you eat can after can of overstuffed ravioli and play your favorite video games? I’m currently working through Saint’s Row IV right now. Did you know you can dress up your character in a MechaGodzilla costume?! It’s true taint-tingling terrificness!
Anyway, Abby isn’t aware of her sister-from-another-mister’s peril, so she simply does the tourist thing for a bit as intended. Her only communications from Quarter involve random pics without any accompanying messages to explain them, which our heroine chalks up to her still having rump rash about the whole “I’d rather spend summer break with the boyfriend that you’ve repeatedly informed me is a heaping piece of pooper pie than go to on a tropical dream vacation with my oldest, dearest friend” drama. Along her travels, she meets a pair of fellow out-of-towners in Ben (Keenan Henson) and Jewel (Caitlyn Cromwell/Stryker, the writer-director’s wife), who approach her under the most suspicious of methods when Ben steals her backpack. He returns it to her right after though, calking it up to a lesson that she should keep on her toes lest she be destitute (given that she’s already Pennyless *rimshot*) and giving bareback Around the Worlds to American businessmen by Tuesday.
A bit douchey, but in that “big brother tough love” sorta way, Abby accepts the advice as well as the offer to tag along with the couple. Their reason for being in Thailand is so Brad can traverse the whole of Southern Asia, shooting a wanna-be VICE style vid about the things backpackers experience while trekking through third world countries. I think. I don’t really know what his point is, because it all just looks like a tourism video to sell Thai travel packages to college kids back in the states. They also fraternize with a fellow outsider named Dale (writer-director Brad Stryker), an Aussie guy there for the nightlife, the pretty scenery, and to bang as many random prostitutes dressed in “sexy (career here)” Halloween costumes as his down under can afford. I’d advise him to make sure the females he’s bedding are actual females, given that it’s Thailand and all, but somehow Dale seems like the type of guy that wouldn’t really care either way once his Foster’s and Cialis cocktail kicked in.
And for anyone protesting that Foster’s isn’t what actual Australians drink, it’s okay. Stryker was born in fucking Oregon, so he’s about as not an actual Australian as a white person can get. His put-on accent (as in “put-on like Kris Kross’ pants – incorrectly”) will support me on that.
When Abby does finally get the confirmation video that Half-Dollar has been Taken-ed, the young lady’s clown cloaked absconders have two simple demands – (1) Do NOT tell anyone about the crime and (2) continue on with the plans to rock n’ roll all night and party every day. If Abs can ignore the anxiety of her best friend’s peril and embrace the drunken American party girl stereotype inside her that she came to Thailand to rediscover in the first place, then they’ll release their abductee and the girls can be reunited. That’s…weird. Have I been lied to my entire life and the point of kidnappings isn’t to demand ransoms, but rather force people to live the Miller High Life?! Because as much as I love some of the people in my life, I wouldn’t be willing to drink excessively of such bottled piss swill for the return of some of them.
Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t so much the case. When Absinthe breaks the first rule of fight club and talks about fight club with B&J, Ben (last name “Dover”?) introduces her to the world of Southern Asia’s newest craze – staged abductions! Seems that there’s a whole subgenre of today’s Generation Meme culture dedicated to setting up false kidnappings for the sake of “reminding people how to have fun”, then posting the reaction videos online when the victim is told it was all for funsies. Just psychologically scarring, emotionally terrorizing, friendship shattering funsies. Fucking people and their fucking reaction videos. It was funny for about 5 minutes in the wake of the “2 Girls 1 Cup” epidemic, but I never wanna see another one of those stupid things again. Unless it involves the kind of reaction George Clooney had when he found Brad Pitt hiding in his closet. Now THAT’s a multi-million views moment!
(Today’s lesson: don’t come out of the closet to Worst Batman)
Additionally, what the frosted fucks does that ambiguous “reminding people how to have fun” description mean? In this case, “people” refers to adults and “have fun” refers to intoxicating ones self to the point of long term brain damage because your friends apparently only like you when you're making as asshole out of yourself in public, throwing up $60 in margaritas, and blacking out so you can put yourself at risk of being sexually assaulted by any horny festering pustule excuse for a human being that happens to be passing by. Given the length of that explanation, you can see the need for the “TL;DR” version provided.
And so we’re left with the mystery of whether this is a legitimate criminal situation by a Thai maniac clowning with their prey, or if it’s all just a really shitty scheme by Hay Penny to make Abby abandon the maturity of adulthood and “loosen up”. Which is just a dickhead way of Sixpence (who’s none the richer… *rimshot*) saying that she fundamentally intends to drag her friend down so she herself doesn’t need to be alone in her terror of growing up and assuming responsibilities that she’s not ready for. Could she have opted for a less vindictive, “Reverse Jigsaw” method? Maybe. But that would kill Stryker’s entire effort to make something he likely mistook as being “visionary”.
Not only does what could have been a decent little flick foil itself in the finish with a fumbled finale, but Stryker opted to be the seventy-thousandth indie movie director to think they’re the one who’s going to breathe unasked for life into the fetid, deflated lungs of the “found footage” movie, completely ignoring the Do Not Resuscitate notice the subgenre has hanging around its neck. And it’s not even some semi-reasonable bullshit like the Paranormal Activity security cam footage concept, it’s just yet another instance of the characters shooting their own videos of the proceedings, likely until they all die, never putting the camera down no matter how much immediate peril they’re put in. Once they’re dead, all of this “found footage” then gets spliced (I guess “merged” would be the modern digital version?) by some unknown editor who cobbles together a single project whose final cut just happens to be very movie-like, both in structure and length, and includes numerous clearly not found helicopter shots and professionally framed footage of the landscapes. Sounds like mister first-time feature couldn’t play it casual and stick with his own theme. I guess you can’t “make the environment a character” without pricey aerial establishing shots, eh?
Land of Smiles makes some attempt at explaining itself in the finish, but does about as well as a stoner trying to explain to their probation officer that their eyes are red because they “just have bad hay fever”. It even comes with a lazy, forced Shyamalanian pseudo-twist hanging off of its ass, metaphorically wrapping the whole thing up in a way that’s equivalent to actually wrapping a broken toaster with soiled newspapers, not unlike those I put around Bastet’s litter box so she won’t track her shit grit into my bed during one of her 2am “u up?” booty calls. I haven’t been this aggravated about such a fucking stupid, pointless, shoved-in-dry, “for the sake of getting one over on the audience” Chubby Checker conclusion since The Bone Collector (aka “That there Bone Crusher” to quote a private joke). It’s not even the whole ending, either! If you circumcised Styrker’s failed attempt at being cutesy with his end credits sequence, it would’ve been a perfectly fine ending to a mediocre thriller. As is, though, you may audibly boo it the same way I did. Try not to wake up your downstairs neighbor when you do so the same way I did, otherwise you too will have very awkward mailbox interactions for the next few days also…
All of that nonsense aside (if you can put the last minute alteration of the entirety of the movie’s story “aside”), Stryker’s other major effort goes into the “ugly behind the beauty” theme he seems to believe he himself created. In case the fact that you’re watching a HORROR movie titled Land of Smiles is too subtle for you, the guy includes numerous shots of beautiful locales populated by beautiful people having beautiful good times with beautiful beautiful party party yadda yadda blah blah inter-cut with moments of our protagonists freaking out (again and again and again) and vids of Penny maybe-or-maybe not being tortured. It’s juxtaposition overload! It’s the hallmark of a film school student who doesn’t respect their audience’s intelligence/awareness, so they spend too much time hitting us over the head with it to make sure we get the point. Though, as we all know, no one will ever truly get the deep introspective point of Mr. Stryker’s art because, well, he’s a creator while we the audience are simply refuse in his path to brilliance.
Except for those who leave 8+ star reviews on IMDB. Clearly they “get it”…
In case you require more evidence of my claim (like the police insisted on that time I accused my aforementioned downstairs neighbor of shitting on my doormat), observe the name of Stryker's self-production company as Exhibit D –
That’s not a ‘shop job, kids. He actually calls it “Stryke-Force Films”. A guy who wants us to take his very serious horror movie very seriously sticks a name like that onto the opening. For Francis Ford Fuckula’s sake, this is not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary tale. This is for real. He’s Tommy Wiseau without the charming Ed Wood-ian naivete. I can only hope that whichever family members he conned into putting up the money for this vacation-turned-movie are the “more money than brains” type, otherwise I fell sorry for them.
But, despite all of this fresh personal contempt I’ve discovered for one Bradley Stryker, Land of Smiles isn’t a terrible movie. It’s better-than-bad without quite reaching the lofty levels of “good” as established by Log (*from BLAMMO!™). It at least makes an effort to do something uncommon if not new (even going so far as name dropping The Game as the in-continuity inspiration for the fake kidnapping business), and the cast (excluding Stryker’s needlessly Australian Dale that is) does a well enough job conveying their fear to keep playing along while Ben urges the girls on. Whether his motivations are as altruistic for Penny as he claims them to be, or he just wants to finish his video project like the girls have growing suspicions of is never entirely clear, which works in the flick’s favor. Oh, and if you close your eyes, there are times you’d swear Keenan Henson’s lines were being delivered by a manic Vince Vaughn. It’s neither a pro nor a con, really, unless you’re Isla Fisher’s character from Wedding Crashers, in which case it’ll probably create a babbling brook down your thigh.
I have a titanium firm “no toilet sex” rule, but ever since that movie she gets an exclusive pass. Well, her and Barbara “Megan Halsey” Crampton, but she’s of an unlimited classification all her own. Don’t ask me the acts I would do for that woman, lest ye have a cast iron constitution or have long lost your soul to the dark horrors of the internet.
Oh, back on topic, as much as I hate The Blair Witch Project for its piss poor “let’s just say ‘fuck’ a lot because we can’t ad lib to save our thrice damned lives” improvised dialogue, it was at least more realistic than a lot of the supposedly “real footage” exchanges in Land of Smiles. Blame the actors for not being able to make it believable or blame Stryker for a clunky script, but either way it doesn’t help sell the lie that we’re meant to get lost in. In spite of my gripes about this, the crap ending, and a shooting style too schizo to settle on whether it’s trying to be a traditional movie or a vacation video, the movie is still oddly watchable! Weird, right?! I know! I’m as shocked to type it as you are to read it! So, yeah, there are way worse ways to wear out your eyeballs for an hour or two and if that’s enough of an endorsement for you to seek LoS out, have at it, friends.
Whether Brad (the director, not the cheating boyfriend…though Stryker could very well be the type who needs a woman to tell him he has a big dick to perform) can parlay his first feature into a career win in the long run or not, only time will tell. Whether the sparks of potential are enough to feed a flame of success, at least he can fall back on his extensive work as a bit part player in TV shows and direct-to-DVD movies. It may not make him a household name, but at least it pays the bills!… I presume.
My role as the grand marshal of this parade of fools continues next time (and four or so times again after that) with a movie that’s, well, less a movie than a digital version of a lost Hippolytus de Marsiliis torture method. While you look that name up, I’m gonna casually slip away via the escape hatch I had installed under my desk… CIAO!
“I never understood how these stupid horoscopes work. What does my having been born in the first week of November have to do with not being compatible with someone born in mid-June?! I call bullshit… So, what does mine say?
I understand that this guy’s probably doing the clown thing to work out some deeply depressing personal issues, but you may not want to do the “limp flower as a metaphor for my erectile dysfunction” bit around the ladies.
“Shit! That’s the fourth iPhone I’ve lost to the porcelain Sarlak pit this year! There goes the rest of my savings.”
Sarah and Elaine’s attempt to resurrect the “Girls Gone Wild” series with all of the drinking and partying minus the nudity and “lesbian stuff” proved grossly unsuccessful.
“Why do you need such a big backpack?”
“So I can sleep inside it at night while hanging it from a tree to avoid bears!”
“I keep telling ya, love, even if there were sharks this far inland, they wouldn’t come after ya! Just because you’re on your period doesn’t mean you’re ‘bikini chum’!”
“I don’t get it. I ask you what a ‘lemon party’ is and now you’re recording me watching a video? You’re so weird.”
“I hope you’re at least not being cheap and paid extra for a reach around, Greg.”
“Welcome to ‘Clowning Around’ with your host, Zippo VonLaughsalot. This week’s contestant is Janet, and she’ll be playing ‘What’s Crawling On My Leg?’ for her chance at a $25 Best Buy gift card!”
“I know it’s tradition to swallow the worm when drinking a bottle of Mezcal, but that thing last night… it had a face… a human face! I swear it looked at me and mouthed my name before… before… oh god, what have I done?!”
Oh jeez. I hooked up with her at last call a month ago and the bitch gave me crabs. Let’s just go before she… DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER! GAH! RUN!
It’s sad to know I will never be as happy as she is right now. Let’s not ruin it and tell her that every stray cat in the neighborhood makes that place their litter box.
Uh-oh! Looks like some tourists discovered their hotel’s hidden toilet cameras!
I’m not the most culturally educated man-jackal, but I can’t imagine it’s very sanitary of Thailand letting elephants just leave piles of number two in their human restrooms.
Laugh all you like, but lonely weirdos pay $200 a night just to watch her sleep on a webcam site!
“You know what I hate? Stupid assholes in goofy rubber clown masks that sneak up on people to try and scare them… Damn it, there’s one right behind me, isn’t there?”
“Wow! These Gushers fruit snacks really are bursting with fruit flavor!”
This is why I stopped going to the local beer garden during carnival season.
And this is why I started going to the local strip club during carnival season!
Anubis will return in
“The Inbred Clown Posse”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Georgia “Vampire Biker Babes” Chris , Joe “Experiment 7” Davison , Jack “Experiment 7” Amos
Director: Marcus “Rot” Koch
Writer: Joe “Experiment 7” Davison
You know what I hate? Ironing. You know what else I hate? Irony. Not all irony, just the kind that inconveniences me personally. Like when I’m taking bottles back to the store and their machine, which accepts brands sold exclusively by other stores, will NOT accept drink bottles of their own fucking in-house brands! Slanderman’s Amerika just started and already shit’s going to Hel in a knock-off Louis Vuitton. SAD.
I wish I could indulge in the blissful levels of cognitive dissonance that Cheeto Chiang Kai-shek’s supporters must live in to not only vote the fuck face into office, but continue to sing his praises after the litany of idiocy he continues to vomit from his ass day in and day out. Oh well, ignorance is bliss so I’ll forever be a pessimist. And pissed. And impossible to resist. But not a pacifist. Nor a partaker of the Eucharist. I prefer my flesh and blood consumption to be legitimate and not just some weak cheese metaphor for sipping wine and eating salt-free crackers. Speaking of flesh and blood, let’s review 100 Tears!
The heroes of our picture are Mark Webb (Joe Davidson) and Jen Stevenson (Georgia Chris). The duo are co-writers of made-up articles (you know, ones about “alternative facts”) for a grocery store checkout line tabloid rag called The Midnight Star. This may or may not be a reference to the newspaper Weird Al sang about in the track of the same name, but either way I’d like to clutch my heightened nerd awareness and continue with that line of thinking. It’s assuredly not to be confused with the band Midnight Star, who taught us all the dangers of parking on the dance floor. Thank you for your service, gentlemen. We salute you.
Unable to decide between the raising of the Titanic or the further adventures of Reptile Boy, the pair put their paying job on the back burner for a few days and turn their focus instead on trying to be real reporters by cracking the case of the infamous Teardrop Killer. According to the info provided to her by Jen’s sister in the FBI, Teardrop has iced in excess of 160 people up and down the East Coast over the course of the last 2 decades. Their only info about the monster? He leaves a bloody teardrop smeared at the scenes, hence the name… and that’s all they know?! A maniac violently dismembers people in the triple digits for TWENTY YEARS and all the fucking FBI have come up with is a sugar-free gum equivalent codename for him?! Herbert Hoover must be rolling in his muumuu and high heels!
As “only in the movies” luck would have it, that very night said slayer takes it upon himself to maul, maim and dismember an entire halfway house of fresh victims! What do we know that the FBI doesn’t? The killer is a big & tall guy dressed like a clown who wields a giant meat cleaver that he may have stumbled across in an abandoned slaughterhouse while looking for a place to get in out of the rain and slip in a quick gherkin jerkin’. After the facial devastation of an unfortunate gent in the basement, this Walter Paisley art expedition’s second project is a presumed ex-military dude (unless his dog tags are from Hot Topic and have pictures of Shrek on them) whose best haymakers don’t even faze the grease-painted assailant! Maybe G.I. Joey here got a dishonorable discharge because he throws punches like a Keebler elf? Gung-Ho he’s not.
(Bet you didn’t know the US Military subliminally advertised to gay children in the ’80s.)
The evisceration of a half-dozen people not withstanding, I have some quick thoughts about this killing spree. First, human anatomy. Did you know that you can kill a man instantly by jamming a meat clever into his taint? One whack and two seconds later you’ve got yourself a fresh carcass. It’s true! Speaking of truth, despite being told since childhood that seppuku resulted in literal hours of agony before the participant would finally give up the ghost (I had a good childhood), it turns out that was a lie. As one young female victim shows us, slicing someone’s stomach open also warrants an immediate need for a body bag. All the death without the wait! Additionally, despite what movies like American History X would lead us to believe, the human skull is not nearly as strong as you might think. As our killer clown demonstrates for us, a single stomp from a man’s foot (at least one encased in a comically oversized novelty shoe) causes an adult woman’s head to burst like a balloon full of crimson Karo syrup. No brains, no skull fragments, just a splatter of red goo. Slim Goodbody lied to us all! No wonder he always hid his head under that afro!
As for the halfway house itself, the kitchen seemingly double as a laundry room given the washing machines and coin-op detergent vendor stuffed in the corner. I can’t imagine that’s up to snuff per local health codes, given the risk of cross contamination between the food and shit like laundry soap and whatever microbial eldritch horrors might be living in the occupants’ bedsheets, towels and *dry heave* their skivvies… BLART! Additionally, what kind of halfway house has a big sign on its front door broadcasting that there’s an ATM on the premises? Aren’t those usually saved for corner shops and liquor stores? Unless of course it’s advertising the presence of a prostitute on the premises who offers ass-to-mouth. Yeah, that’s probably it.
Come morning, after Jen wakes up atop Mark (in their shared futon, because they’re also roommates and I guess they don’t have their own bedrooms?) and they have more wacky “fat guy and hot girl” sexual tension (including her offering to fuck him in the shower if he can do 100 sit-ups, followed by his farting in her face as he stands over her) before a hot tip about last night’s bloodbath prompts them to rush to the scene of the crime. They bribe a detective associate of theirs (Rod Grant) to let them take pics of the slaughter before the clean up crews come in to scrub the gore. Finding a terrified girl in hiding, our heroes rightly chastise the cops for not finding her themselves during their own sweep of the premises and learn from the lass that the killer in question was dressed like a clown. So, having been on the case of the Teardrop Killer for all of 15 hours, the pair have already learned more about the mofo than the FBI has in twenty years? Crow T. Robot.
J & M also learn from the attending pig that two other residents of the house are unaccounted for, prompting us to an as-yet-undetermined locale where Bloodthirsty Bozo is revealed to have nabbed the missing couple and taken them home to finish off like human doggy bags. But why? You’ve gotta imagine it’d be more effort than it’s worth to drag two live people across town just so you can kill them there shortly after. Why give yourself additional work to do disposing of them on top of getting them there rather than just adding them to the rest of the mutilated bodycount at the scene of the crime?! How has this putz successfully evaded the feds for this fucking long doing dipshit stuff like this?!
Following up on the clown gimmick, our intrepid off-brand Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson seek a lead at a nearby carnival, interviewing a foul-mouthed old bartender (whose shouting voice sounds oddly like Super Dave Osborne) named Ed (Jerry Allen) and a bite-size circus barker porn mag enthusiast named Draga (Norberto Santiago). Though both peg the pair as cops at first, once our protags ID themselves as tabloid writers hunting a lead the carnies are more than happy to accommodate. Right around here is when we focus our attention elsewhere in the neighborhood and are introduced to Christine (Raine Brown) – a thrift store Harley Quinn who professes an affinity for clowns and a violent dislike for those pesky “normies”, which is a term that Norm Petersen fanboys call themselves. Didn’t know such people existed? Sure they do! They converge for their own convention in Boston once a year, where they cosplay as the iconic alcoholic and occupy the stools of the local drinking establishments for a weekend long bar crawl, nursing beers and shouting “NORM!” every time one of them comes through the front door. No, seriously! Google it!
Oh, and since George Wendt almost never comes up in casual conversation, I’d like to take this chance to tell everyone that he played Dean Halsey in a production of Re-Animator: the Musical that The Evil Dead Bride and I attended some years ago when we still lived in the teeming, heaving mass of bodies and filth you call New York City. He was…okay. True story!
Christine will have a more important role in our tale later on, but for her first few scenes we just kinda watch her get dressed up, go to a bar, pick up some random perm-haired nerd who she convinces to go down on her in an alley (not even with an immunity to STDs and all of my taste buds burned off would I do such a thing to someone I’d just met in a bar) before slitting the chump’s throat and leaving him for a wino to stumble upon later while, she goes home to carve emo etchings on her abdomen for further jollies. Despite this portrayal, keep in mind that the majority of self-cutters aren’t interested in hurting others, just themselves. So if you should see someone with scars on their arms/legs/whatever, fear for them more so than for yourself. Anyway, yeah, now our movie has two killers. When they inevitably meet in the second or third act, do you think they’ll have a team-up or a face-off? Before we answer that…
While Mr. Webb and Miss Stevenson follow up on some other potential leads, Drags is confronted by the obese mirth murderer who threatens short legs’ tiny life until he trades Clowny his continued existence for a piece of paper containing the address of a woman named Tracy. When our would-be Woodward and Bernstein come back to check on half-pint, he spills the garbanzos on all the circustral shenanigans and gore-soaked goings-on. Roll that beautiful bean footage!
The clown’s name is Gurdy (not a great clown name…too close to “Turdy”) and he used to work with Draga at the same circus 20 or so years ago. At the time, two teenage girls named Roxie and Tracy ran away from home and joined said three ring mobile home as carnie groupies. Some ladies just love tiny hands and the overwhelming stench of month old boiled cabbage. I don’t get it either, but every relationship I’m in has to be inter-species, so I don’t judge what gets the blood flowing to your genitalia. Anyway, Roxie shacked up with sideshow strongman Ralphio, while Tracy indulged her fetish for balloon sex toys by sharing sheets with the Gurdler. Turned out that Roxie, despite getting the less nightmare inducing of the potential suitors, was still a cockblocking cunt that didn’t want Tracy being happy too. So, while Trace was getting her womb seltzered, Rox told ‘Phio that Gurds was actually raping her. You know what’s the only thing that makes the idea of being sexed by a clown worse? Being sexed by a clown against your will. The sound of his horn honking as it’s repeatedly mashed between your bodies…
Uggh, I just threw up. Not a little either. It looks like someone just dumped a gallon of Dollar Embargo vegetable soup and a sleeve of mashed up Saltines on my couch. Who wants to take bets on how long I can keep typing through the smell?
A social justice warrior for his time (not a bad thing, despite what tiny penised douche boys would tell you), Ralph didn’t take Roxie’s declaration well and laid a wall-to-wall walloping on Gurdy, stomping his ass like it was flaming bag of dogshit. And just like stomping said immolated brown paper IED, the strongman instantly regrets his actions, because Big Top Shakes responded by strangling Rox and jamming a tent stake through the back of big boy’s brain case. Citing the landmark case of Eye v. Eye, the rest of the circus folk “dealt with Gurdy for good” in a way whose specifics are never explained. Unless Gurds is a literal ghoul (which might explain why he doesn’t talk), I’m presuming “dealing with him” didn’t include killing him, as you might expect. Whatever the case, the painted madman has been cutting throats and gutting folks, following his old place of employment up and down the East Coast ever since. Draga says you could always “feel his presence” at the circus despite having never seen Gurdy in person since the incident. So, now big murderous old Gurdy has finally found Tracy, who he’s been searching for all this time…while slaughtering people for…no…real…reason.
I know it wasn’t easy to find caulrophiles back in the ’80s, but if someone had just shown Gurdy OkCupid or Craigslist or JuggaLove, he could’ve given up his desperate quest to find Tracy and a whole lot of nameless extras would still be alive today.
Speaking of dead extras, while all this has been playing out, Gurdles has been adding a whole lotta notches to the handle of his giant guillotine blade with a handle. His current crash pad is the basement of a local warehouse, and when the place’s realtor stops by with a pair of potential tenants, all three are turned into stew meat for a cannibal potluck. Not exactly smart given that the realtor’s secretary knows where the guy was when last he spoke to her, so when neither he nor the two other guys he took with him return, that’s an easy call to the police to send someone by to check the property out. She doesn’t and they don’t though, but a rent-a-cop instead finds the bloody remnants of the guy in his SUV later that night, which Gurdy just LEFT OUT IN FRONT OF THE WAREHOUSE. Again, HOW THE FUCK DID THIS GUY LEAVE THE FBI CHASING ITS OWN FUCKING TAIL FOR TWENTY YEARS?!
Gurdy’s decades long search for his lost love is all for naught though, as he finds her on the floor of her home with her throat slit! Who could’ve done such a thing? Yep, you guessed it, Christine is Tracy’s daughter and she just killed dear old mom. Rather than hanging the girl by her own intestinal tract for killing the woman he’s spent half a lifetime hunting, Gurd kidnaps Chris (seems she’s only good at killing people who don’t expect it), takes her back to his wretched basement apartment and reveals to her what we’ve all been expecting this whole time – she’s his daughter. Contrived as it is, it’s much better than the other possible outcome, which would’ve been Christine being his new groupie. Not only would that have likely resulted in an ipecac of a sex scene, but it also would’ve made zero fucking sense that a random civilian thrill killer would have known about Gurdy and been able to track him down when, again, the FBI (Fucking Bunch of Idiots) are all too busy giving themselves first-person colonoscopies.
Despite the initial horror of a big psycho clown materializing in her home mere moments after giving her own mom a botched second-chinectomy, Christine seems pretty nonplussed by her poppa’s sudden appearance. She also doesn’t seem all that confused as to why he’s a mute, nor does she question the validity of his claim, and instead just accepts the whole thing as legit. The pair have an instantaneous connection and waste no time getting to the daddy-daughter bonding stuff either, when a gaggle of convenient twenty-somethings out to rave the night away pick the absolute wrong seemingly abandoned warehouse to pass their tress…tress their pass? Whatever, Officer Leroy! (Sifl & Olly joke, so don’t feel bad if that one lost ya) Brandishing the massive slice n’ dicer and a sledgehammer between them, Gurds and Whey make quick work of the kids in their typical gory fashion. Naturally the prey are all too terrified to stop and realize they outnumber their attackers 5-to-1, or that Tweedledaughter shouldn’t be too hard to disarm while awkwardly wielding that big clumsy hammer around, but this world is generally populated by the kind of morons that always come to mind when you ponder just how the “so-and-so wouldn’t know the difference between their asshole and a hole in the ground” witticism gained so much traction.
In our flick’s big finale, Matt & Jen are clued in to the locale of our killers by FBI sister (based on the guard’s SUV discovery the night before) so they head out to investigate before the place is taken over by feds. On the way, they call in their local police squad pals (one of which just wants to bone Jen, not that I blame him) so they won’t be without some form of backup. Rather than wait for the 2 guys with the guns to show up (and it is just the two, since neither apparently thought it a good idea to call in the rest of the pig parade precinct to take down a SERIAL KILLER RESPONSIBLE FOR 200 OR SO MURDERS), our intrepid investigators search the basement of sins (that appears to be lit by some battery powered stick-up lights and a blacklight from Spencer’s Gifts) and end up face-to-painted face with Gurdy. A struggle ensues and Matt shows us that he’s never fired a gun in his life, shooting off a few rounds without so much as a scratch. All the sadder because Gurdy’s of sizable carriage. Have I mentioned that? That he’s fat? I did? How about old? Did I mention that he’s also old? I did. Okay. Just making sure.
Discount bin Crockett and Tubbs show up soon after, but in the interest of expediting these final 15 minutes, let’s leave it at this – the daddy-daughter duo are too much for the quartet. Despite the movie’s earlier exchange of the ex-military dude punching Evil Binky repeatedly in the face to no effect, Mike socks the lummox once in the mouth and fatty’s left reeling like friggin’ Glass Joe. His Tyson-like punches (less the boxer and more the frozen chicken products) notwithstanding, the illegitimate son of Louis C.K. ultimately takes a bullet in the mouth and sheds his mortal coil. The white cop gets his throat slit by Christine (who pretends to be poppa’s prisoner), the black cop (Kibwe Dorsey) gets his head lopped off by the novelty sized butchering implement, and Jen gets slashed up by Chris’ razor blade, has her spine tenderized twice via sledgehammer and finally has her face smashed into the floor multiple times before being left for dead…which she clearly isn’t, as her eyes are wide open and she’s still breathing and writhing around. Rookie mistake on daddy’s little monster’s part. Speaking of, Chris shoots her father in the head (cuz bitches be cray-cray, y’all!) before leaving the scene of the crime. She ends the flick Bill Bixbying down an empty backroad before bursting into 100 Tears‘ final splatter of hemoglobin when she’s street pizza-ed by…Jen. Do Greek women have adamantium skeletons by nature? I mean, even if she didn’t endure multiple concussions from having her face repeatedly bounced off of concrete, I’m pretty sure those SLEDGEHAMMER SHOTS DIRECTLY TO HER SPINE should’ve turned her into b-horror Ironside!
But, you know, movies. What are ya gonna do?
And that’s our movie. It’s truly an HG Lewis flick for the modern age (besides 2001 Maniacs, Blood Feast 2 and so forth). Not because it’s in any way revolutionary or controversial, just because its only real selling point is its graphic violence! It’s a gore whore’s goregasmic delight to behold. The red stuff and chunky inner bits are so prevalent that the movie was given an NC-17 rating for “extreme horror violence”. A badge of honor I’m sure those behind it are proud to display! As they should be. Said splatter showcase is one of the finest (if absurdest) bloodbaths to hit my screen since the last time I watched Evil Dead 2, which any fan of cinematic viscera will recognize as high praise. Give me practical effects for the win, Peter Marshall!
In contrast, 100 Tears‘ story is the whitest of white breads in terms of slasher fare. Think Wonder Bread dipped in a jar of Miracle Whip and fed to an albino polar bear. Whiter than the sheets the republican party wear on their weekend “retreats”. A man and a woman track down a serial killer with a gimmick? Meh. His gimmick is that he’s a clown? And he’s hunting down a figure from his past? Meh again. His murder weapon of choice is a massive meat cleaver? Okay, it’s not just another machete or power tool, so that’s fine. Sadly, making matters worse, this shoestring plot’s got more holes in it than the dozens of apple pies in Jason Biggs’ linen closet. When you’re telling us that the FBI have near-zero info on a serial killer responsible for the deaths of more than 160 people over a twenty year stretch, all of which just happened to be done along the coastal route of the same traveling circus every year over that period, it’s mentally comparable to getting a fucking sliver! It just sits there, stinging and infuriating me more and more as I gnaw at it unsuccessfully in impotent frustration.
Don’t read anything more into that last part, either! Those pills I ordered from Canada are for my liver and nothing else!
On top of that, we only ever get to see Gurdles either in full clown regalia or in the final stages of applying his makeup. Given as such, he must spend time without the greasepaint on if he has to paint himself up again. He has to have more duds in his wardrobe than just his work clothes too, otherwise that shit would’ve been reduced to tatters, cuffs and a collar after twenty years of constant usage! One would have to presume that Gurdy has a secret identity, right? A persona under which you would image he does odd jobs or something to contribute to his basic nutritional needs and travel budget? Or has he just been dumpster diving half-eaten corn dogs from the carnival’s midway trash cans, hence his constant “presence” since his disappearance that Draga refers to? And mayhaps he was just really good at hiding amid the trucks and trailers so no one ever caught him hitching a ride every time they pulled up stakes and moved on? If the devil is in the details, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this flick to any Satan worshipers…
Of which Satanists are not included, so stop being so egocentric with your ignorance to the workings of religions that aren’t your own.
The cast is every bit as amateurish as you’d expect from a homemade horror movie, with writer-star Joe Davison playing comedy relief and giving himself the best lines of the script. At least he delivers them better than I imagine most writers probably would. Georgia Chris and Raine Browne were okay. If nothing else, Raine wasn’t nearly as bad in her pseudo-Harley Quinn role as Margot Robbie was in her actual Harley Quinn role, so…there’s that. I guess. Santiago, sadly enough, seems to have been cast simply for his stature rather than his acting talent. The guy staggers over his lines as if he were a first timer, of which I’m relatively assured he was. If you told me he had even a week of acting classes, or Hel, even some high school drama club experience, I’d probably slap your mother for raising such a foul liar.
As for Amos’ portrayal of Gurdy? For starters, he didn’t have a single line to utter, so he’s off the hook there. His physical stuff was good though. His imposing size and massive cleaver did a lot of the work for him, but his use of the classic movie-killer head tilt was well done. On the downside, the way he’d fling Ol’ Chopper (my name for his cleaver) over his shoulder with a heavy cockiness to his mannerisms and a sneer on his lips just came off as silly bullshit. I’d ask for some leeway when it comes to the cast though, as I’m guessing that a number of these scenes were made under the Roger Corman “one and done” method, because if there were multiple takes and these were the best performances they opted to keep, that’s going to keep me up at night.
So goes today’s feature, 100 Tears. Come for the gory clown violence, stay for…more gory clown violence. If fake blood drenching the screen ain’t your thing, don’t bother tracking this one down, as that’s about all it has to offer. Can’t say a lot for Koch’s directing (especially the lack of fucking lighting in the last 15 minutes), but his special effects are worthy of a girthy upward pointing thumb! Good to see that’s where he’s spent most of his 20 year career.
Before we go, I’ve got one final bone to pick. During Draga’s first scene, things get jarringly goofy when Matt and Jen resort to chasing him on foot through a lightly wooded area. Fat guy awkwardly running after a midget? You betcha.
“Get in mah belly!”
It’s not the chase itself from which said bone protrudes however, but rather the accompanying music that gave me cause to pause. Why? Because it steals the opening to Gogol Bordello’s “I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again”, the 2nd track off of their 2005 album Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike! I only say “stolen” because there’s no credit accredited said band anywhere in the credits. In other words, well, it’s stolen. So here I am, making sure the lads from the Lower East Side get as much recognition for their work as, well, posting it here will give them.
You don’t wanna know where that finger’s been. Clowns are disgusting creatures by nature.
“You’re putting too much effort into the jokes actually being funny. We’re writing a sitcom about a fat guy (me) married to an attractive wife (you). Whether it’s funny or not, there’s no way one of the major networks won’t give us a 2 season deal!”
She thinks she’s on hold with the Suicide Prevention Hotline, but it’s actually one of those morning radio show prank calls.
“Heh heh. Just look at that bisection job! Damn, I’m good. Look out world, Gurdy’s coming for ya!”
If “The Truck Stop Massacre” isn’t already in production at Troma, I’ll be disappointed.
Portrait of a man who will never have sex with his hot female friend. Been there, done that, walked out of the sequel.
“Of course I’m a detective! Just look at my long coat, my taint-length tie and my dress shirt tucked into my high-waisted pants!”
Ladies, no matter how sexy it makes you feel, this is why you never go out in a skirt or dress without underwear. You never know when Aunt Flo is gonna make an unwanted visit.
“Alright, baby. Now I’m gonna show you how a real man… FUCK! YOU TOLD ME YOU’D ALREADY HAD THE SURGERY! GROSS!”
I hear they sold their original SCAT ride to a wealthy German Count.
I see somebody turned my worst Porta John experience into a logo. How fun.
“Sure, the internet may be filled with every kind of porn you can imagine, but you just can’t beat the feeling of a crinkled magazine between your fingers during ‘foreplay’. I guess I’m just a romantic!”
He’s the writer, the male lead AND he does his own stunts! Watch out Hollywood, because Joe Davison is a genuine triple threat!
“21 across – ’45th president of the United States’; 5 letters; begins with ‘P’. Any idea?”
And this, children, is why you never eat an entire package of Gushers fruit snacks at once.
“Try not to blow any of your lines on this take. We need to finish shooting this scene before the Olive Garden employees realize what we’re doing in here.”
On the drive home following Burning Man, Lisa realized that she had a lot of life choices to make that she just couldn’t put off anymore. She’d probably never be able to forget the things she saw that fateful weekend, but she preyed that somehow, somewhere down the line, she would one day be freed of those demons and learn to be human again.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Murderous Misadventures of the Crisco Kid”
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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.
Featuring: Mark “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” Holton , Charlie “‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’” Weber , Adam “Full Metal Jacket” Baldwin
Director: Clive “Love for $17.50” Saunders
Writers: Clive “Love for $17.50” Saunders & David “Elle” Birke
Also Known As: The Crawl Space
Hello, children. Sorry for the lack of content for the holiday season this year. I was helping Sobek file a defamation lawsuit against Geico on behalf of himself and other anthropomorphic members of the Crocodylia order over their “alligator arms” commercial. The litigation process has taken up a lot of my time and I have a bad feeling we’re not gonna win this one. Which especially sucks, because if we lose I don’t get paid, and if I don’t get paid, there are going to be some very disappointed shapeless horrors down in Cthuwhoville come Cthuyule morning. For anyone who hasn’t seen said discriminatory advertisement, here it is. Be warned though, if you’re of a delicate nature when it comes to vulgar specism, I don’t recommend watching it.
Disgusting. Speaking of disgusting, given my inability to provide any calendar apropos reviews about homicidal maniacs dressed up like Saint Nick, I thought I’d instead use this month’s Zodiac review to focus on another rotund man who dressed up in his own colorfully festive outfit and also enjoyed having young men in his lap!
Just a quick statement of random weirdness before we get started – I came up with the “Pogo’s Big Adventure” alternate title for this episode before discovering that Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure antagonist Francis (Mark Holton) plays the titular human horror show. Crazy, right? If my brain doesn’t time travel while I sleep, I’d be surprised. Especially since I keep buying pills from a blind woman behind Dollar Embargo that says they do just that…
Today’s movie calls itself “semi-biographical” and was produced in those glory days of the early aughts when it felt like a new direct-to-DVD movie about one real life serial killer or another was materializing on the New Releases shelf at Blockbuster every few months. Despite my enjoyment of the true monsters who make fictional fiends look like sugar plum fairies in comparison, the only of said movies I’d actually seen before this was Ed Gein. Not just because Eddie G’s my favorite maniac (because of the horror classics he inspired), but because it starred my favorite Charles Manson, Steve Railsback, as Wisconsin‘s favorite son! It also featured the always amusingly monikered Carrie Snodgrass. Heh heh, “Snodgrass”.
Speaking of people with names, here’s one of my patented Fun Facts for ya, Gacy co-writer David Birke also wrote the screenplay to Elle – a French revenge film that sees the head of a video game studio hunting down her rapist in one of those “games of cat and mouse” dealies. That tried and true term always brings to my fore-brain the thought of two people assaulting each other with frying pans and rolling pins a la Tom & Jerry. As of this review, Elle‘s actually a Golden Globe nominee for “Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language”, so Gacy could very well become retroactively artsy post-January 8th!
[Writer’s note: Elle did indeed win the little gold planetoid! Whether that ups Gacy‘s stock though has yet to be seen.]
Now, mothers and fathers, it’s time to gather the kids (but especially the boys) and teach them why shit like “stranger danger” may be the best life lesson for them to learn since “look both ways before crossing the streams”.
As soon as the opening credits start in, this lacking-in-funds line dance kicks off on the wrong foot. The background music is appropriately ominous and understated (not unlike our movie’s subject), but the credits themselves reek of “Lifetime Original” bullshit, transitioning in and out of focus as they enter and leave the screen. They’re too goofy not to groan at, which is never a good way to start off your movie about a murderous rapist of teen boys who spent his weekends dressing like a clown for kids’ parties! Oh, spoiler alert if you’ve never heard of John Wayne Gacy. Anyway, the power point presentation my friends and I put together for Civics class back in ’98 had a better credit roll than this tripe. And now, this free tripe!
(There was supposed to be a gif of this, but I kinda forgot to make it before sending the movie back to NetFlix, so… sorry.)
The follow-up disclaimer to these credits informally informs us that Gacy is inspired by events from the strangulating merrymaker’s life, but “Certain names, characters and events have been fictionalized”. In other words, don’t plan on citing it as a source when you write your “The Mass Murderer I Most Admire” report for 7th period History. I get the whole “the names have been changed to protect the innocent” thing, Sgt. Friday, but if you’re just making things up when it comes to the characters and the events, then what’s the fucking point?! The appeal of watching such a flick is supposed to be the true crime aspect, but you’re telling us ahead of time that two very important parts of a true crime story aren’t even true! You may as well have just made a completely fictionalized horror flick about Gacy stalking people as Pogo like all those great anti-biographical exploitation outings we’ve been given about Charles Manson over the decades! If you’re not going whole hog in either direction, you’re presenting would-be viewers with a product that sits in that weird Lifetime Original limbo between realities.
(or maybe it did?)
And given how terrible I am at limbo (my back’s not what it used to be…“back snot”?), it’s as likely as getting an instant STD collection from a bareback juggalo gangbang that this venture won’t end well for me. *rimshot*
Our tale of half-truths (and possible falsehoods) opens in a nameless area of Wisconsin circa 1953, a mere year after the inception of Tommy Bartlett’s famous water show (not to be confused with Billy Barty’s infamous water show…because it involved him R. Kellying on prostitutes dressed as nuns) and 20+ years before that whole giant invading space spiders misunderstanding. The land of cheese and honey (or just more cheese in this case) was home to a young Johnny Gacy (Scott Alan Henry and his 3 first names!) and his father, also named
Bort John (Adam Baldwin, who is not a Baldwin brother). The two take a father and son fishing excursion where John Sr. denotes his dislike for “dirty city air”, tells Junior that he needs to stop spending so much time “in that room of yours”, and intends to teach the awkward, chubby lad how to fish. But, as they’re cooking their catch over the ol’ campfire that night (and after dad’s had one too many of the ol’ brewskies), Senior expresses his disappointment in his boy’s inability to treat the time-honored tradition of the fishening with the respect that luring lower lifeforms into impaling their mouths on metal hooks deserves.
By the way, being the podunk punk that I am, I’m not knocking fishing. I’ve done it many times in my life and enjoyed the empowerment of acquiring my own dinner fresh from the cesspool. But respecting it? That’s another joke entirely. It’s a hobby, not a sacred ritual of adulthood like when Arborian boys have to stick their dick into a wood beast den to prove they’re worthy of buying their own cigarettes.
Dad’s disappointment transmogrifies into outright loathing in the blink of an eye when he gives Lil’ John the ol’ “Bing Crosby I Love You” right in the face! The left hook raises Chunk’s ire enough that he tackles his old man to the ground, laying in a few of the best haymakers his chubby fists can muster before an impromptu stoppage of whimpering. Dad calls him a jag-off who doesn’t have the guts to beat up his own father before sending the boy to bed with a literal kick in the ass. It’s all very reminiscent of that episode of ‘Leave It to Beaver’ where Ward did the same to Wally on their own camping trip before burning the kid with his pipe and telling him “Bitches get stitches”. Nothing like the ol’ ’50s father-son manly bonding!
Speaking of boy ass **cringe**, from this happy family moment we time jump ahead an indeterminate amount of chronological progression later (would a simple time period be too much to ask for, movie?!) when, having served a year-and-a-half sentence in an Iowa reformatory for sodomizing a boy, JWG was paroled and returned to his hometown of Chicago to “try to put his life back together”. Isn’t one of the rules of a parole that you’re not supposed to leave the state or even the county? When exactly was his parole and when did he leave for Chicago? Even when Gacy is sticking as close to the true story as it can, it’s way too obtuse with the details. (After-the-fact note: having gone back and read up on Gacy’s history between the initial conception of this review and its finish, it turns out that the move to Chicago was part of his parole agreement. Would that have been so hard to mention, movie?!) 6 minutes in and already I feel I’d be learning far more from reading the man’s Wikipedia page than I will watching this movie. Fuck, I’m confident that I’d find more info on the movie’s Wikipedia page than what the movie is gonna provide at this point! Where’s my non-FDA approved nerve tonic when I needs it?!
We stop time jumping and join the movie in 1976 where, at his home in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines (which is French for “The Plains”), we’re introduced to adult John Jr. and his family. There’s his mom (Edith Jefferson), his wife Kara (Joleen Lutz), and their two girls Tammy and April (Jessica and Grace Hanamoto respectively), both of whom I’m sure were relieved not to have been born with Y chromosomes once their dad’s after dark antics were exposed. Uggh. That’s a stomach churner of a thought. Uh-oh…here comes that nerve tonic!
After-the-fact note: Though not mentioned in the movie, this is actually John’s second marriage and the girls were from Kara’s prior marriage. His original wife (I don’t know her name, look it up) did birth him two brats, one of which was indeed a male, so it’s a good thing she divorced the portly psycho after that criminal sodomy business. She may have saved their son a lifetime of similar treatment. Small victories.
The first half-hour of the flick introduces us to the type of guy Gacy was when he wasn’t picking up underage male prostitutes and strangling them to death. A real schmoozer, he kept good relations with his community and built himself the reputation of a generous Democrat always looking out for his fellow human being…which he was of course masquerading as, since he was never human, just a sentient pile of sewage and congealed evil in a poorly maintained patchwork skin suit. I’m shocked the trumpublicucks don’t add that to their Abe Lincoln slogans. “We had Abe Lincoln! They had John Wayne Gacy!”. JWG also owned a small construction business staffed entirely by off-the-books teenage boys from around the neighborhood. If you think this is going to lead to terrible things, not unlike putting a dozen sea otters in a pool with a baby seal, then congrats because you just graduated magna cum laude from Nostradamus University.
If our movie is to be believed, the repugnant subhumanoid slime mold wasn’t just a serial killing sodomite, but also a HUGE deadbeat! This bites him in the ass in two instances (the second of which turns out to be complete horseshit for the sake of spicing up the finale), the first of which sees his disgruntled brat pack employee Stevie (Devon Sawa look-a-like Jeremy Lelliot) and a pair of “legitimate business associates” mugging John in a parking lot for overdue wages. During the fracas (and several other times in the movie), Gacy cites a heart condition and threatens his aggressors with murder charges if he croaks as a result of being terrorized into an attack. Despite my presumptions that this was a falsity Sluggy G used to try and guilt his creditors into cooling off, the real deal did have a legit heart condition since childhood. Though the trio made off with whatever paper Fatty had on him, JWG wasn’t about to let such a (deserved) slight stand. So, that night (I presume), he pulled a Copperfield and made Stevie disappear, leaving behind little more than a pile of clothes, a soiled mattress and a bad smell in his wake.
Did someone say “bad smells”? Yes! It was me. I just said it in the last paragraph. Anyway, one of the running themes of the movie is the horrible odor and mysterious scads of cockroaches and maggots coming from the crawlspace under the Gacy family’s charming 3 bedroom ranch home. Ominous for anyone who doesn’t know what’s coming, but it drags ass like a midget with a 40lb lead butt plug in their colon for the rest of us who already know the source of said verminous scourge. Then there’s people like me who are throwing empty bottles at the TV because the cockroaches on screen are just the harmless hissing breed that movieland uses because they’re bigger and thus more hideous to the casual viewer, while the so-called maggots are, in fact, mealworms. I don’t find the worms to be nearly as skin-crawling as actual maggots (fucking Phenomena *shivers*), but maggots also come with the added difficulty of the short maturation period effects folk are left to work with when it comes to genuine fly babies. Meanwhile, mealworms come with a longer shelf-life and are no doubt easier to shoot given their size and color.
Oh, and as today’s justification for The Tomb’s government sponsored education grant, I have a related lesson with which to give thine noggins a floggin’ – despite their name, mealworms are not worms! They are instead larva that will go pupa and finally turn beetle if you don’t just shove ’em down your pet iguana Tyrone’s throat. The name of this final evolution? The mealworm beetle. In other words, the larva is so more well known than its final form that the beetle is named after it! By Pokemon terms, that would be like calling a Beedrill a Weedle Beetle…which sounds like one of those names a preschool teacher would ask their students to use when referencing penises, because anatomical terminology is too egregiously upsetting for puritan pantywastes to handling hearing out of the mealy mouths of their otherwise angelic offspring.
And it’s this piss-poor empowering of “bad words” through their introduction as forbidden fruit that results in entire generations of adults like myself whose casual conversing comes off like a Tourette’s patient that learned English by watching Cheech & Chong movies and George Carlin’s HBO specials to make up for the 16 or so years of vocabulary policing by otherwise proud parents. Shit piss fuck cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits!
Gacy’s taste for ‘Tiger Beat’ meat was probably just due to him being a middle-aged, out-of-shape guy sexualizing the younger generation as a way to make himself feel younger or abuse both the power differential he held over them and their naivete in the ways of the adult world. The physical assaults and murder stuff were clearly contributed to his agonized upbringing, illustrated in the otherwise pointless opening. In case you missed that little lesson in Cinema Psychology 101, worry not as we’re reminded of it later when JWG hears his fist happy father’s insults in his head while our killer attempts to cave in his employee Dave (Kenneth Swartz)’s skull with a hammer! Sleazy (the worst Smurf) “snaps out of it” when the kid puts up enough of a fight to fend Fatso off, leaving John apologizing profusely while trying to excuse the attack as an “accident”. He helps bandage Davy’s ruptured dome as the boy whimpers like a injured animal (a genuinely well acted scene from Swartz, I must say) before warning him not to tell anyone about “them” because it’ll just end badly for both parties. “Them”? What do giant radioactive ants have to do with this? Whatever. Gacy also buys Dave’s silence before sending him home, having the nerve to call after him with “And don’t be late tomorrow”!? Holy Skipper double-dipper! I’m so flabbergasted by that that I just said “Holy Skipper double-dipper”.
While we know where this train wreck is destined to derail, Kara’s still in the suspicions phase when she finds several pairs of jeans far too small for John stuffed away in a dresser drawer (why would he keep their pants!?), then furthers said suspiciousnesses when she uncovers her hubby’s secret stash of fag mags (written for the rhyme, not out of malice) and handcuffs in the garage. She focuses her attention on the cuffs, no doubt subconsciously ignoring the MASTADONIC DILDO sitting adjacent to them in the drawer! At least now she knew why John never needed Ex-lax despite their constant ingestion of meat.
Sadly, a lot of gay men (Gacy only professed to being bisexual in real life) had to marry and procreate to beard over their true faces in the '70s, so this wasn't uncommon. Just look at Mike Brady. The poor guy married, had 3 boys, then had to remarry when his first wife died just to keep up the deception! Look it up!
As if her findings weren’t bad enough for an ignorant/in denial wife to unveil, Kara’s discovery just so happened to fall on Mothers Day, dumping a whole bag of salt on the seething, gaping, metaphorical wound now carved into her soul. Despite his declaration of “I’m not! You know I hate homos!”, rather than play along with it like Carol Brady and just accepting her spouse’s penchant for boy bumming, Kara takes the girls and moves out…but not before calling him a “jag-off”. Was that really an insult used in those days?! I thought it was an invention of the ’90s, not a popular phrase of the ’50s and ’70s. It feels so out of place, like an Amish buggy lined up at the Arby’s drive-thru.
Having revealed John’s secret a mere 36 minutes into the runtime, the movie makes no further efforts to hide what’s happening in the crawlspace and transitions from thriller to slasher faster than Flyboy got his blueface on in Dawn of the Dead. Hell, the very next scene following the girls’ exodus is just John dragging a young man’s bloodied body down there to dispose of! Can you imagine how much of a pain in the ass it must’ve been for Tubby to bury all of those bodies down there over the years? Shallow graves or not, digging holes in such cramped quarters had to be a bitch the size of Fenrir’s mom! I would’ve been relieved to have gotten caught just so I’d never have to dig another hole again for the rest of my inevitably short post-conviction life! Then again, knowing my luck I’d end up on a chain gang ironically digging ditches for whatever time I had left on death row. You could call me Sasha Grey, because one way or another I’d be getting fucked.
With spare space in his domicile now, John invites his handsome young employee Tom (Charlie Weber) to move in with him, given the boy’s troubles at home, constantly arguing with his parents as young adults are known to do. The fact that he wants to engage in premarital intercourse with his girlfriend Gretchen (Allison Lange) in a bed for once rather than his El Camino (which was a VW punch bug earlier…) also plays heavily into his decision, much to said gal’s chagrin given the rumors she’s heard about Creeper John. Not to be confused with Trapper John, who somehow mutated from Wayne Rogers into Parnell Roberts during his return flight home from Korea. War changes every man. Sometimes it even changes them into an entirely different man!
Were Tom smart, he’d just get himself a futon mattress for the back of that car-truck hybrid beast of his and drive his lady to Penetration Station in the Kmart parking lot under the stars every night! Chicks dig stars…or is that scars? Meh, let’s play it safe and say nothing gets the ovaries boiling (that’s what happens when women get horny, right?) like getting pounded in the back of an El Camino under the stars by a guy covered head-to-toe in a gnarled topographical map of scar tissue that makes Freddy Krueger look like an after photo from a Proactiv® commercial. Spanish. Fly.
With no one else around to hide his true nature from (Momma’s on a short trip to Arkansas), John briefly takes on another resident – prostiteen Roger (Joe Sikora), whose presence in the place isn’t voluntary. Whether Rog escapes or is let go is unclear, as we simply get a brief scene of him badly bruised, plumber’s crack in full effect, and violently coughing in a public park while JWG drives around with a menacing look on his mug. (After-the-fact note: the real life counterpart he’s based on was dropped off at a park by the actual Gacy, released for no clear reason. Maybe John just didn’t feel like having to dig another fucking hole for another of his fucking holes…blech.) Roger shows up again later looking for JWG, but unable to find him takes his frustrations out on the elderly mother, yelling at her about how her son’s a rapist animal. She tells him to fuck off, so Rog instead goes to the police to take his revenge nice and legal like.
There comes a point in everyone’s life where they look at themselves in the mirror and ask “Why didn’t I listen to my parents?”.
Mothers, your children are always capable of acts of horror the likes of which your misfiring biased brains will never conceive. When someone tells you your spawn is a sadistic sodomizer of unwilling abductees, do not brush it off as nonsense! Save yourself a possible accomplice accusation and get 911 on the fucking phone!
More on that later, though, because just when I was convinced that we’d never get an appearance by our subject’s coulrophobia triggering alter ego, right around the 50min mark I’m proven wrong! When a kid shows up to sell his car to the Nightmare of the Des Plaines (which is still French for “The Plains”) Boys’ Club, he interrupts the madman in full Pogo regalia! After the test drive, Gacy of course drowns the lad in his bathtub while Mother snores it up in her recliner. Things get even more grimly comical when John goes so far as to leave the kid’s corpse on their kitchen floor while going out to address other matters as mom continues to sleep through the entire scene! Did Adam Sandler produce this under a pseudonym?!
As much as you’d think going on a test drive around the local locale while dressed like a clown would be a poor idea when you plan on turning the kid you’re with into the local milk carton manufacturer’s newest star, such strange behavior is in accordance with the casual craziness Gacy has adopted since Kara’s exit. This reckless state of mind is only embiggened by the obese ogre’s 100% success rate in the field of snatch & stash! Even after he sells the now stolen car to one of his employees and said dumbass gets caught by the fuzz following a gas-and-dash incident, the dots continue to go unconnected! Crap like this must be why we never got a ‘CSI: Chicago’, because it’d take them 6 episodes to solve one case!
After-the-fact note: though much of the prior paragraph matches up to the truth, Gacy was never dressed as Pogo during any of his nightmarish acts. Also, the part about the stolen car being collected by the police is true, but the real cops were able to match the plates to those of the missing car, rather than the “two boats passing in the night” scene we get between the officers working the separate cases for the sake of audience tension.
JWG’s overconfidence continues when he sends a pair of his boys into the ‘space to dig trenches for laying down pipe. Not an innuendo, as they actually did do the digging despite disagreeing with the stomach churning unsanitary conditions, but said holes weren’t for plumbing purposes, rather they were to save John the effort of digging future graves himself. And he trusted these idiots to stay within the assigned parameters and not accidentally unearth some festering dude ho’s coagulating cadaver. Fuck’s sake. Possibly emboldened by his continued success at hiding his extracurricular hobby from the world at large, John plies Tom with bong loads and home movies in an effort to finally make his move. Not unlike my efforts to do the same with a waitress I worked with back in high school, Tom’s reaction is less than accommodating to John’s intentions. However, whereas Kristina simply rejected my efforts to give her my virginity before I even had the chance to awkwardly attempt to initiate, Tom freaks out when he realizes they’re watching gay porn and threatens to fuck his boss up in a wholesale manner not in line with what the grimy ol’ perv was hoping for. You can almost pinpoint the exact moment John’s heart breaks. So much for true love.
Instead of doing the sensible thing and getting the fuck outta Dodge after the incident, Tom continues to live in the manbomination's extra room. Hey, everybody's first apartment is gonna have some problems. You just suffer through them knowing that sometime in the future you'll be able to look back on it and laugh! Besides, it builds character. And good luck finding another place for that price that comes with access to a pool table and a room full of not-at-all-horrific clown paintings! Clearly not one to pass up a deal just because his landlord wants to forcibly insert objects into his asshole, Tom instead exercises caution and takes to sleeping with a cudgel. He also probably kept an eye on the Pennysaver to see if any of the local hardware stores were having a sale on chastity belts. Good luck, man. Those things only go on sale maybe twice a year!
John tries to pass off his pass making as a “test” to see if Tom was deserving of a promotion, which the hippie doesn’t buy but plays along with anyway until he can figure out how to proceed. You can’t just up and leave a job and break your lease without having contingencies lined up! As for Gacy, his deteriorating sanity contributes heavily to his inevitable downfall. Remember how he not only let Roger live but even dumped him off at a fucking public park in broad daylight? Well, Roger’s accusations don’t fall on deaf ears, because two plainclothes dicks establish a stakeout outside the fat man’s front door. The pair attempted to search the place, but without a warrant they’re shit outta luck, so constant surveillance verging on harassment in the hopes of catching him red-handed is the soup du jour! Whether the aforementioned “red” is blood or clown paint (or Manhattan clam chowder) isn’t clear.
Despite Starsky and Hutch car camping in his driveway, JWG’s severe psychosis STILL drives him to go out and sneak a mustache victim (in that it happens right under their noses) back into the house! His obsession with Tom and dodging the fuzz has been weighing heavy on the big lug’s mind though, so you can understand John’s mistake when he discovers there’s no more space in his ‘space for this latest notch on his DIY pillory. Always the improviser, he instead tosses the boy in his trunk, slips past the cops again and disposes of the corpse in the river under cover of a clear, sunny afternoon. Sweet chipotle cheese logs, this guy must’ve been born with a massive four-leaf clover shaped birthmark on his ass!
Unintentional Leprechaun reference/joke for those with geekcyclopedic knowledge.
Knowing that it’s only a matter of time until even his box of Lucky Charms goes stale, Gacy gives in to the crushing anxiety and, verging on a total breakdown, professes his laundry list of sins to his friend and fellow fried food aficionado Hal (played by professional Coleman Francis impersonator, Tom Waldman) and shares his plans to take an extended vacation to Belgium, where he will likely binge himself to death on Belgian Burgers…which is just a fist-sized lump of partially melted decadent chocolate between two square waffles…and is also something I just made up…but would now willingly trade one year of my lifespan for.
Hal doesn’t report any of this impromptu confessional to the police though, since the rabbit’s foot on Gacy’s keychain must have had a little juice left in it (rabbit juice? Nasty.), so John just heads home. There his ever increasingly lubricated (ewwww) grip on his own sanity leads to hearing voices and having flashbacks to the earlier days of his dirty deeds. When Tommy gives notice that he’s moving out to the west coast to “check things out”, John decides this is his last chance to take his romantic interest and would-be clowning sidekick to the bone zone against his will. He does so by betting the young lad $100 he can’t pull off Pogo’s “have your hands cuffed behind your back and Houdini out of them” trick. Tommy, who could always use another $100 for gas, grass and ass on his upcoming road trip, takes the challenge, discovering too late that the trick only works if you have the keys. Mwomp mwomp! Now, nobody deserves to be raped (well, except for rapists, dictators and Uwe Boll), but it’s also my mantra that stupidity should be punished, so…I’m not sure how to feel about this scenario.
Thomas must have a whole roll of lucky pennies in his pocket (or he’s just happy to see us) though, because he can thank his fortunate orifices (“orifi”?) that a guy named Ray (Rick Dean), to whom Gacy is indebted, chooses this of all moments to rampage onto the scene from nowhere like the proverbial t-rex teleported into a window warehouse (it’s an ancient Tibetan proverb that you’ve probably never heard of)! Interrupting Ray coldcocks (phrasing!) both John and Tommy without hesitation before emptying butterball’s wallet and leaving like an angry fart into the night.
After-the-fact note: If you think this timing reeks of being a little too convenient to be faithful to the actual events of our reality, then good for you because your bullshit detector is up to code. This is the “Hollywood” ending. The final nail in Gacy’s clown-painted penis was far less action packed god-in-the-machine chicanery and far more ‘Dateline’ procedural.
It turns out John can’t take a punch to save his life (literally in this case), while Tom and his sick denim jacket recover with a quickness and escape out the front door into the arms of the pork rinds awaiting outside. You can imagine where the story ends from there…but just in case you can’t, it involves lots of exhumed bodies and an overweight human horror show sitting in a jail cell demanding to see his lawyer. Just like the time I paid $60 to see a live performance of ‘God of Carnage’, only to discover that the title was a lie and the box office wouldn’t honor my demand for a refund!
According to the movie’s epilogue, the estimations of John Wayne Gacy’s gigolo fixation led to him “picking up” over 2000 men (most lured into his car with the flashing of a Chicago PD badge by his alias, “Detective Hanley”), making him the Wilt Chamberlain of teen boy rapist-murders. Only, you know, in this case the nickname of “The Stilt” would likely refer to an actual stilt JWC would’ve forced into his captives’ anuses. Oh Hel, here comes the rest of that tonic!
Not all of Gacy's conquests over the duration of his 6 year spree were killed, clearly, but 29 of those who were were exhumed from the now infamous crawlspace with an additional 4 fished out of the Des Plaines River, which is French for “The The Plains River”. On May 10th, 1994 (hey, just 5 days after my 13th birthday!) Gacy got the prick of death, with his last words reportedly being “Kiss my ass!”. As much of an irredeemable monster as he was, you gotta admit those are some pretty hardcore last words to go out on.
Say what you will about Gacy, he’s still not the worst human being to be attached to the name “John Wayne”! At least he never wore brown face to play Genghis Khan in a movie that resulted in the cancer deaths of over 40 cast and crew members, nor did he participate in a segment on WWF television wherein he saved an adulterer from phallic dismemberment by a gang of broad, evil, Japanese stereotypes! Then again, Gacy did rape and murder a lot of teenage boys, so…shit. Okay, okay, I guess he was the worst John Wayne. Definitely more deserving of getting his dangler hacked off by his wife, that’s for sure.
Though I'm still not a fan of the “some of it's real, some of it ain't” motif, what we get is understandably dramatized “movie of the week” style to help sell the flick to a broader audience. I actually did check out the insidious adventures of the Des Plaines butt plunderer after my first viewing of Gacy and, compared to the actual events, I can see why punching the story up a bit was preferable. It ignores certain important aspects of JWG’s upbringing, most notably his repeated molestation at the hands (literally) of a family friend and his unwillingness to tell his parents for fear that John Sr.’s abusive tendencies would direct the blame at him. This could have been left out intentionally so as not to risk the audience getting too sympathetic with our eponymous antagonist. There’s also zero mention of Gacy’s first marriage and children, nor the explanation that the daughters of his second marriage were actually stepdaughters from Kara’s prior nuptials, which I’m presuming to be for the sake of preserving more of the runtime for what the viewers really came for – murders!
Unfortunately, none of this excuses the oft times sloppy edits and incoherent moments that are never explained, many of which were covered in the review. If you are going to watch it for yourself (or you have already and have some of the same questions I did), you should look into the real story yourself, provided you’re inured enough to the horrors of reality to stomach it…which is the same warning I give to anyone who asks me if I can recommend a Dario Argento movie from the last 20 years.
There’s not a lot to talk about in terms of the movie’s style. Saunders didn’t seem to know if he was going for a suspenseful thriller or a cookie cutter slasher, and I’m genuinely surprised not to have seen a single thrown cat jump scare scene. Some moments come off as subtly unnerving, but others are just simple “okay, so he’s just gonna kill this guy next, right?” kill scenes, overly peppered with a lazy reliance on repeated shots of clown paraphernalia and writhing insects. The first half-hour held mild tension, but pulled a complete about-face for the remainder, spending the rest of the flick more worried about upping the body count than manipulating the viewers’ emotions. Not that there’s anything wrong with a sizable body count, mind you, but this just adds fuel to the “reality versus exaggeration” conflict that’s been the running theme for this entire episode!
Speaking of exaggeration, you can make a convincing argument that Gacy is an exploitation movie. Not in the traditional sense of swathes of sex and violence and vulgar acts strewn across the screen, but in that its DVD cover exploits would-be buyers. Despite the menacing Pogo image advertised, the single appearance by Gacy’s face painted alter-ego doesn’t jive with his lack of prominence in the feature itself! You know those pictures on the menus at fast food places that include the accompanying disclaimer of “picture may not represent actual food”? They need one of those disclaimers asterisked to the bottom of this DVD. Do your job, MPAA! At least HBO’s JWC movie, To Catch a Killer, gave us exactly what its VHS box promised – big ol’ Brian Dennehy! Well, with the exception of the Danish release, which seemingly promised us “Attack of the Fifty Foot B-Actor” Dennehy gazing somberly at Matthew Broderick’s silhouette from the Project X (1987) poster.
In conclusion, Gacy suffers from something of an identity crisis. I do have to admit that the cast helps make it an easier watch, as they’re all perfectly competent and deserving of whatever presumably minor paychecks they cashed for their work. Holton gets special mention for his work as the spiritual Ebola that is JWG, bouncing back and forth between a psychopath whose public face garners him the respect of his community and the trust of his victims, while his true face fosters fear and discomfort upon us in equal parts, until his mental breakdown almost plants a seed of minute pity for the guy. It’s an overlooked role that the guy deserves more credit for, but will never dig him out of his infamy as Chubby from the Teen Wolf movies or the fat jag-off who stole Pee Wee Herman’s bicycle.
You know who would make for a great Gacy, should he ever accept an offer to play the most hated clown not named “Pennywise”? John Goodman. The man’s got so much range and a physique that’s both comical and intimidating, he’d be perfect for the part! Well, he would have been, say 20 years ago. If I find an alternate dimension where this was a thing that happened, I’ll let everyone know.
As a final piece of FYI trivia, did you know that the beverage John Wayne Gacy chose as part of his last meal was a Diet Coke? Just another reason I’m a proud Pepsi drinker!
“Son, your mother and I have been having a lot of problems as of late, and we agree that it’s all your fault. So, rather than get divorced, I’ve brought you out here to kill you and bury you in a shallow grave. Look at it this way – at least now you won’t have to deal with things like school bullies or impotence!”
This is where the neighborhood parents hold their weekly Toddler Fight Club meetings. The first rule of Toddler Fight Club? Always bet on the one who’s clearly a midget pretending to be a child, but no one says anything because they don’t know what to call him without being called racists.
“Yeah, I may just be a Devon Sawa look-a-like, but you know what I’m not? The asshole who thought SLC Punk 2 was a thing the world needed!”
So this is what it’s like when world’s collide. (You know… cuz they’re both big and round… like planets… Well, it was this or a sumo wrestling joke that I couldn’t concoct a punchline for!)
“Oh come on, mister! When I said I could suck a dick for a Shasta right now, that doesn’t count as a verbal contract!”
Mr. and Mrs. Roeper star in The Thing with Two-Heads Part 2: Two’s Company!
Anubis ProTip #561: just because Mitchum claims to be “So effective you can skip a day.”, it doesn’t mean you should.
“Handcuffs?! I’ve been trying to get John to experiment with BDSM for 15 years and he always tells me it’s for perverts and weirdos!”
Someone needs to tell John that gasoline soaked rags are not a proper form of antiseptic.
“You and me are gonna have a real good… What the fuck? Do you have LICE!? Gross! Get the hell out of my rape room before you contaminate the whole house, you scumbag!”
Yeah, that was my reaction leaving the theater after I paid to see The Phantom Menace on opening night. All that time hunting limited edition Pepsi cans for nothing.
I used to dress like that to answer the door whenever the Witnesses came by hawking ”Watchtower”. It got to be too much effort though, so I switched to nothing but a hockey mask and a pair of tighty-whities with the Bat Signal Sharpied onto the front. That’s all I’m legally allowed to say about it, so let’s move on.
Some people take their apple bobbing training way too seriously!
Trapped in a closet? Where’s R. Kelly when you need him!? Oh… that’s right… eww.
If Michael Berryman and Paul Scheer had a baby… and kicked it down some stairs.
Gacy used to be one of those weirdos who wears multiple watches at once, but had to stop because he had *cue the music* too much time on his haaaands!
(That one was for you, Tommy Shaw.)
Gacy auditions to be the next in the long line of recent Colonel Sanders actors. His motivation for this scene? “Pretend you’re Marv Albert and the chicken wing is a succulent prostitute!”
Ever since he saw The Tooth Fairy, Tommy’s been unable to sleep without a baseball bat by his side.
I’m just really not enjoying The Asylum’s latest mockbuster, The Large Balooski. I mean, it’s been 20 years so… why?
Anubis will return next time in
“The West Wing: Japan”
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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.
Featuring: Johnny “’Palisades Justice‘” Diaz , Christina “The Treehouse” Licciardi , Nick “Laid to Rest” Principe
Director & Writer: Jeremy “Avengers Grimm” Inman
Sequel to: Avengers Grimm
The summer trudge through the bodily secretion trail of tears has still not let up, but I’ll spare you the trial of enduring a third diatribe where I bitch about the heat. I will say this though – you could bottle my underarm perspiration and weaponize it as an environmentally friendly alternative to mustard gas. That, or sell it as a Designer Impostors for Burger King onion rings. Speaking of heat, I’m convinced that my microwave is haunted by popcorn hating ghosts. Whether it’s Colonel’s Kernels, The Buck-an-Ear Buccaneer, or Maze of Maize, every time I try to nuke a bag of black lung inducing goodness the damn things come out scorched worse than Freddy Krueger at a Pyromaniacs For Snuffing Out Child Abuse fundraiser! Speaking of things that hate other things, I clearly hate myself more than Michael Bay hates ’80s pop culture, because here I am once again (by choice!) back within the padded walls of The Asylum. Those dickardly dingleberries who frequently infect the world with the worst knockbusters (knock-offs of blockbusters) this side of E.T. Eddie Torres the Extra-Testicle.
I could just be like everybody and their second cousin reviewing the first season of “Stranger Things” right now (It’s great, but I’m still disappointed that my theory on the Demogorgon becoming Slenderman at the end was wrong), but here I am bitching about The Asylum again like it’s the fucking running joke of my amateur movie griping career. Fuck it. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… or just saddles us with PTSD until we drive all of our friends away and eventually David Carradine ourselves in the closet of a La Quinta Inn suite. I’ll never forgive you La Quinta motherfuckers for turning my old site address into a redirect for your homepage! May you all die of fatal rectal trauma via forced bowling ball insertion.
Not to be confused with Monster Squad, SuperHero Squad, Gangster Squad, “Mod Squad”, “Odd Squad”, “God Squad”, the other God Squad (there’s an obscure one for you Marvel readers!), Squadron Sinister, nor a group of willennials who get together every Saturday night to live-tweet viewings of the Sinister movies and do so under the hashtag “SinisterSquad”, what today’s movie is is The Asylum’s answer to the summer super-villain team-up blockbuster release, Suicide Squad. The Asy’ crew screws the Poochie on this one, and rather than combining a patchwork posse of the pantheon of half-assed knock-off villains they’ve populated their stupid little cinematic universe with, go for the easy way out and just toss together a group of public property fairytale fuckers instead. If Suicide Squad and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen pulled a bareback train on a Wiki of fairy tales and fables, this would be the bastard end product. Well, it works for “Grimm”, “Once Upon a Time” and “Sleepy Hollow” on TV, and it worked for 150 issues of DC’s “Fables” series (plus all of the spin-off stuff I’m sure as shit NOT counting out for the sake of completion in a review that nobody’s going to read anyway!), so why not?
‘Less Than Zero’ isn’t just a Bret Easton Ellis book I couldn’t bring myself to read more than the first 30 pages of, it’s also the amount of introductory exposition we’re given before being dropped face first into the fray that is our feature. Fortunately, this isn’t just a lazy round of Figure It Out for Yourself™ (by Parker Brothers!) and we’re filled in on the backstory as the frontstory progresses, but for the sake of simplicity I’ll give you a spoiler-free(ish) chimpan-A to chimpan-Z adaptation. RE-RE-RE-REMIIIIIIIX!
It all began in the magical dimension from which all fairy tales and fables originated. Call it Neverland, call it Grimm World, call it Dimension F (for “Fables”), call it whatever puts plums in your Christmas pie, Horner. Known by his peers as one of those guys who can get anything for the right price, infamous imp Rumpelstiltskin was hired by Death (yes, that Death) to acquire “the magic mirror” (presumably the one belonging to Snow White’s murderously jealous stepmom, Queen Grimhilde), which would allow the Reaper the ability to instant transmission his bony backside from The Underworld (a third realm all its own) to Earth and fulfill his despotic ambition to overtake our dimension. Death is sold to us as a Faustian figure (with Kung-Fu GRIP!), offering up earthly delights to his marks in exchange for their immortal souls being added to the Underworld census, so we can make an “ass” out of “u” and “me” that his realm is basically Hell… though we’re never given a Heaven-like counter-dimension to provide context, so I guess Underworld is where everybody goes when they die, whatever their moral alignment… so why would Death need to barter for souls if everybody winds up there sooner or later anyway?! Come on, Inman. You couldn’t take 5 minutes to slip in a reference to some manner of Nirvana to make more sense of this? Blart.
For no real reason beyond being a major asshole (like, “prolapsed colon” major), Rumpledforeskin broke the arcane artifact so Death couldn’t have it, shattering the barrier between their world and ours in the process. Now an undetermined population of these imaginary heroes and villains and ancillary personas exist in the world that gave us atomic weapons, Johnny Mnemonic, and The Baconator Triple. Turns out Rumpels is the type of guy who will huff or drink anything if there’s the possibility of it getting him a buzz, because that’s the only reason I can come up with for why he would’ve discovered that consuming ground up pieces of the mirror gives him the ability to control others with his voice… I guess if you’re gonna build a bad guy around Jared Leto’s “trailer park meth head Joker”, he’s gotta snort/smoke/shoot up something weird, right? Sure. Rumpy’s doing the half-baked Joker thing, but even if he had the chops to be the tops, the cartoon sound effects that accompany him are obnoxious. To be honest, I’m biased, as there will only ever be one true Rumpy for this jackal god. And as much as I man crush for Robert Carlyle, he’s not it…
On the topic of people who have experience with transdimensional reflective surfaces, Wonderland's Alice (last name withheld unless you consider Tim Burton's version canon, in which case it's Kingsleigh) also ended up on Earth, and has cobbled together a small organization of fellow refugees under the intention of wrangling up trouble makers and shipping them back home before they fuck anything else up. On her payroll are Goldilocks (that home invading hussy), Piper (the vermin charming, mass abductor of children), Hatter (a harmless weirdo celebrating eternal tea time), and the Tweedle twins Dum and
Dummer Dee (goodhearted scaredy ‘tards). In this version, Goldie is a bad-ass bombshell with twin handguns (and pigtails so she’ll resemble cinematic Harley Quinn), Piper is “generic good looking, wise-cracking hero guy”, Hatter is a psychotropic dropping rave DJ, and the Tweedles are half-wits dressed in some type of off-brand steampunk Super Mario Bros outfits (battery operated mustaches not included). Not exactly the Avengers, it’s no wonder our knock-off Nick Fury turns knock-off Amanda Waller, deciding it would be a good idea to bolster her skeleton crew of do-gooders with a supplemental add-on of ne’er-do-wells.
Rumpy’s captured and enlisted under the threat of an exploding wristwatch Alice binds him with. That and he can only outsmart Death so long, so he’s better off making some allies. In turn, he’s tasked with convincing his ex-girlfriend Gelda (Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts, now a sexy black lady decked out like a speakeasy flapper girl) to also join the gang, and her job is to use her apparent power of man control to pacify the murderous Bluebeard (who likes feeding women to his magical knives) into helping out too. The Big Bad Wolf is also there, playing the “monster with a heart of gold” role, going along because he’s got a gnarly knot over Goldie. Yeah, he’s basically just Marv from Sin City with bad dental work, right down to the same-name romantic interest. If they weren’t just ripping off Bigbie from “Fable”, I’d say they should’ve made this character the Beast, as in “Beauty and the”. There isn’t enough money in the effects budget to go full beast mode when it comes time for his inevitable lupine fiasco, so just call him a man-beast and leave it, Butt Fuchs.
Last on Alice's enlistment checklist is Carabosse, a savage, cannibalistic witch. Now, this one I had to do a little research on. Who I first thought was meant to be the child-eating witch with the gingerbread house who was burned alive by a little German kid, instead turns out to be the pissed off fairy-godmother from a 1600s “Sleeping Beauty” knock-off called “The Princess Mayblossom”! Very cheeky of you, Mr. Inman, putting a knock-off character into your knock-off movie! I appreciate the wink wink AND you forced me to learn something new today. Bravo, sir.
However, Carrie turns out to be a really bad draft pick on Alice's part when it's revealed that the razor-toothed wicked witch has a waterslide between her thighs when it comes to the only guarantee in life that doesn't include filling out forms and paying protection money to the government. Yep, more than a mere admirer, the sorceress is a straight up acolyte for The Pale Rider and probably bones herself with a femur while watching Faces of Death before bed. The best part about Witchy-Poo’s infatuation? Every time she wants a word with her would-be squeeze, she kills one of his messengers so he’ll inhabit their body. This diminishing of the Dead One’s numbers doesn’t piss him off so much as it just really irritates him.
It comes as no surprise that Carabosse’s loyalty to the antagonist escalates the plot past the “gather the group” stage, as Grim’s goons (dressed in generic “urban ninja militants” motif) infiltrate Alice’s base, where we spend the rest of the flick watching the good guys and good-bad guys try to figure out the Reaper’s endgame and put a stop to it before he kills them all and takes over Earth. As with any quorum of villains and monsters though, the real enemy is themselves, so it’s not a question of WILL everything go to shit, but how long will it take. Betrayal is inevitable. Such is life.
Being saddled with the typical bargain basement budget of an Asylum showing, it’s no “Shocker” (a movie I love, by the way) that the entirety of Squad takes place in and around an abandoned factory/warehouse/hobo hotel. At least it’s better than crap like Rise of the Zombies, where we’re shown a shot of a famous landmark (like the Golden Gate Bridge) and are hoodwinked with sound stage green screen sewage that makes The Room‘s rooftop scenes look like Hollywood magic. Also lacking any surprise factor for our flick is the previously expounded upon uniformity of Death’s goons’ attire. The fact that their faces are covered with hoods and face scarves makes it really easy for the same 5 or 6 extras to be killed without having to cut any additional checks. Hell, I’d bet dollars to dental appliances (of which this movie has several) that some members of the main cast earned an extra $20 and/or free sandwich coupon for Subway by pulling double duty. Speaking of, let’s discuss who earned their five dollar footlong, and who should go back to Tinsel Town Terry’s Back Alley Acting Academy.
Christina Licciardi was probably my favorite on this one. She plays Alice with just enough strength mixed with panic mixed with insecurity mixed with determination to make the whole thing work. Alice does what she has to to get the job done, and shows she’s not averse to getting some red on her . Her time on the other side of the looking glass has brought her a long way from where she was when she first fell down that rabbit hole, but hasn’t lost herself completely, and Licciardi pulls that off. A surprisingly good get for an Asylum picture, and I commend whomever cast her. Here’s to hoping she doesn’t get swallowed up by the obscurity beast and spend the rest of her career in Monstro’s guts, roasting kelp with an old man and his creepy wooden sex homunculus.
Don’t gimme that “He was just a little wooden boy you disgusting pervert!” crap either. His fucking dick-shaped nose grew like a telescoping sex toy, so blame the Blue Fairy if you’re gonna get so offended about your beloved childhood figures being reduced to innuendos. Or just get out your Ouija and blame Corey Allen’s ghost.
Johnny Rey Diaz isn't horrible as Rumpy, but his dollar store rendition of Jared Leto’s juggalo Joker is less over-the-top fun and more off-of-a-cliff irritating, in that that’s where you want to push him when he spends too much time over-revving his annoyance engine directly in your face. This could be less Diaz’s fault and more Inman’s, a la Chris Nolan being to blame for Christian Bale’s “choked on a rock salt dildo” Batman voice, so I won’t point fingers. I will point a thumb though, straight up, as JRD’s act grew on me when he turned down the kooky capering and it came time to take the trickster into more serious territory. Rump Roast was downright enjoyable by the end! And I’m a bitter old man who openly wishes death upon children at the mall!
In the interest of time, let’s make the rest of these quick. Lindsay Sawyer plays tough girl Goldilocks well enough without degenerating into a one-dimensional “bad-ass grrrl power!” caricature, and she looks great while doing it. Talia Davis (Gelda) is good as the selfish, spoiled Queen of Hearts, and doesn’t go Hawn & Russell (little Overboard joke for ya) with it. The flapper girl look works wonder(land)s for her too and turns me into a fapper boy. In the words of Inspector Gadget, “Yowzers”! Trae Ireland (Bluebeard) makes good enough “sinister sex criminal, literal ladykiller” faces to get his rapey-stabby persona across, but really doesn’t have much to do beyond that. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing him play Bluebeard in a full-length feature, but unless Warner Bros gives Suicide Squad member Slipknot (the role Bluey’s filling in for here) his own movie, I don’t see The Asylum bothering. Onto Isaac Reyes, he’s nothing special. Maybe’s it’s a case of being shafted with a barely interesting role (loser never even breaks out his magic flute), but pretty boy Piper was the plain oatmeal packet in this Quaker Oats variety box.
Fiona Rene was great as Carabosse, getting crazy and evil enough without vomiting ham everywhere. Visually she’s obviously a bite off of Suicide Squad villainess Enchantress, while her romantic obsession with Death takes directly from Harley’s abusive relationship with Mr. J, and I’m not mad about either. I mean in the angry way, not the “Mad About You” way, a show which makes me angry in a whole other way. I appreciate Rene’s physical and verbal evocation of the gutter witch for the most part, more so given the mondo oral obstruction she had to deal with while doing it! Speaking of dental nightmares that could put an Orthodontist’s kids through college, Joseph Harris is built well enough for his rip-off of Bigbie Wolf, but I’ll be damned if I gleamed even an ounce of the dude’s acting prowess. He spends the whole flick mumbling and growling from behind a bulldog level of artificial under bite. Sure, Karloff could convey a butt ton of emotion from behind full Frankenstein regalia, but it’s hardly fair to compare. As such, I’ll give The Big Bad Wolf a pass.
Nick Principe has a couple of decent comedy line deliveries as Death, but playing up the Reaper as a poor man’s Andrew Dice Clay doesn’t do anyone any favors, whether that’s Principe’s fault or Inman’s. Two talons down and a “Blart” for good measure. Finally, Aaron Moses gets in a decent moment or two of sympathy for the “big on heart but short on brains” twins (of which he plays both), while Randall Yarbrough (Hatter) just has to stand around being oblivious for half his screen time and sit around being ‘shroomed off his ass for the other half. So, Beavis bless his little glitter beard, but without the accompanying “madness” that we all associate with the tea swilling weirdo, his involvement is a lost cause at best and a waste of time at worst. Please collect your $300 headphones and see yourself out. Auf Wiedersehen.
With that done, let’s talk about sex, baby. By which I mean, let’s talk about writer-director Jeremy Inman. Saying that anything associated with The Asylum “shines” feels wrong, unless you’re dropping the always endearing proverb about the difficulties of putting a sheen on shit. As such, rather than saying Inman shines with Sinister Squad, allow me instead to praise him for vaulting well above the lowered bar I set for him and earning himself a gold medal! Unfortunately, in the ToA Olympics a gold medal is only the equivalent of a 3-out-of-5 (in order, both platinum and molybdenum rank higher), but for a movie that I was scooping up a pile of Ammut’s excrement for in preparation of condemnation, it’s still high praise! As of this episode, I’ve reviewed six other Asylum mistakes, and this model of mediocrity stands well above the majority of them! Most casual movie viewers will downright dislike it, for which I don’t blame them, but I may just end up liking Sinister Squad better than Suicide Squad if the bad news reviews I’ve heard are any indication!
Though the movie gives us a peek or two too many at its endgame, and the finale wraps things up a little too loosely, I actually found myself entertained. Maybe the heat’s finally scrambled my noggin like a dozen sidewalk eggs, but yes, I enjoyed the ending to an Asylum movie! A masterpiece by no stretch of a Tie Dang Gong student’s pecker, but it’s still a fun little movie that’s miles ahead of most Asylum brand caboose juice. By Charles Manson’s forehead swastika, will wonders never cease!? What I didn’t appreciate was the needless name drop at the end, as the group is literally referred to as Alice’s own little “Sinister Squad” (not to be confused with The Sinister Six, Mister Sinister, or The Sinister Minister), but that’s a jab at Will Smith’s equally bad selling of the title to his own team-up movie, so it’s understandable despite being aural barb wire dragged across my ear drums.
Before bringing this episode to its happy ending, for those wondering, the majority of the soundtrack is as bad as you’d fear it to be (but not bad enough to be good, like Ankle Biters‘ “3 Feet Tall”). It’s made up mostly of nothing special hip-hop and EDM generica, with some oddly appropriate old-timey ’50s teeny bopper soda jerk stuff thrown in for charm.
And with that, we tap out on another installment of The Tomb. It wasn’t until the majority of the work had already been done that I’d made the connection between this and Jeremy Inman’s prior work, Avengers Grimm. It seems to have a similar premise (only, as you’d presume, ripping-off Marvel’s The Avengers instead) and includes the tale of how Rumps (played then by Casper Van Dien) got his hands on the mirror and wrecked it in the first place, despite not being listed on IMDB as having a canonical connection between the pair. I intend on reviewing it for a future feature (I’ve got the next dozen or so reviews already laid out ahead of me), so with any luck Mr. Inman will continue to keep his spot on my good side and give me more praise to belt on about like Julie Andrews in the Austrian Alps after skiing with Scarface.
Peace be with you, my peoples. See ya next time!
In movie geekinese, that translates to “Enter at Your Own Rick”. Who’s Rick? You don’t wanna know.
That face you make when a crackhead offers to suck your dick for a fiver and you consider it… you know, because $5 is a really good price and you could probably just close your eyes and imagine Selena Gomez or something…
Keifer Sutherland takes a hard look at his life choices after another Christmas party ends with tequila on his breath and an innocent conifer’s sap on his hands
This scene is from the director’s “blue” period.
*mumble*mumble*mumble*mumble* (“Anybody wanna see me do a magic trick? I’ll make a pencil disappear! You know, like that scene… in that movie… with… that gay cowboy guy… Anyone?”)
Her father was the Flukeman and her mother was a piranha. Her conception was enough to give Dagon nightmares! The ironic part? She can chew through even the toughest of steaks, but she can’t digest meat, so she’s a vegetarian. True story.
“How bad ass are these, right?! I’m an insomniac, so I purchase all of my home décor from those late night knife sale shows. These puppies were calling my Diner’s Club card like a sailor to the sirens!”
She’s modeling the keystone outfit of the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen spring collection.
“Please forgive me, tt was a one-night mistake! I was drunk and alone and confused! Those CHUDs meant nothing to me! I love YOU!”
“Is this really worth risking our necks over, Goldie?”
“Have you ever eaten bear porridge, Piper? Have you?! If you had, you wouldn’t be asking that question.”
“You think you’ve hit rock bottom? Come see me when you wake up from your latest blackout with your face covered in dried faerie jizz, then you can tell me about ‘rock bottom’, Jack.”
Special guest star Cesar Romero as The White Rabbit… bobblehead
Anubis will return next time in
“Return of the Return to the Blue Galoot”
Featuring: Julian “Warlock” Sands , Elsa “Fast Five” Pataky , John “The Machinist” Sharian
Director: Paco “[REC]” Plaza
Writers: Alberto “Extinction” Marini , Elena “Prime Time Serra , Alfredo Conde
Also Known As: Werewolf Hunter , Werewolf Hunter: The Legend of Romasanta , The Werewolf Manhunt , Romasanta: the Werewolf Hunt
I’d like to thank the gents of The Celluloid Zeroes for letting me horn in on their “Adult Onset Lycanthropy” roundtable. Be sure to check out the rest of the crew’s reviews, as linked at the bottom of this one!
I told you I’d get back to the Fantastic Factory sooner or later! Romasanta was originally supposed to be the cap-off for the “Fantastic Four” reviews thing, but when the AOL ‘table was announced, I thought it better to nudge it back a couple of episodes and put Arachnid in its place (in both contexts). And so here we are! And Julian Sands is here with us! Hooray! From the first time I saw Warlock, to his voice work as the villain in ‘The Jackie Chan Adventures‘ and all the smaller pay days in-between (like Naked Lunch and Tale of a Vampire), I’m always a sucker for a good Sands job. That sounded so much dirtier than intended. Bravo. *golf clap*
What we have here (aside from a failure to communicate) is one of those “based on a true story” flicks that neglects to put the word “loosely” at the beginning of that statement. Or, in cases of stuff like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, “almost not at all”. Romasanta actually keeps it pretty close to the truth, and could even be construed as keeping it absolutely 100 if you’re going by the claims of the eponymous real-life serial killer (Spain’s first, incidentally!) upon which the story is based. Now, who wants to relive one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of Spanish history with Uncle Anubis?!
No. You can’t sit in my lap anymore. Your parents think it’s inappropriate and I’m not dealing with wild accusations and angry villagers wielding torches because you’re not comfortable sitting on the floor. You don’t like it? Bring a pillow to these things, because I’m not buying a chair. It’s bad enough I let you use my bathroom and eat my Circus Peanuts.
Our tale takes place in the village of Galicia. The year is 1851. Queen Isabella II (Electric Boogaloo) rules the land while both fending off the Carlists who want her dethroned and trying her best to make her marriage with her gay cousin Francisco work (at least that’s what Wikipedia told me). Lacking televisions, the children are babysat/entertained by poorly done puppet shows. Everyone is generally pleased with life, despite the lack of indoor plumbing and constant threat of wolf attacks. Seems Galicia’s been having a lot of the latter lately, so much so that the disappearance of a local bailiff (you know, like Bull from “Night Court”) has been blamed on lupinous ill-intentions. When his body is recovered, ravaged with tooth and claw wounds, a bounty goes into effect for every wolf carcass collected. A plan to promote both populace safety and lower the general fear factor, since nothing motivates the frightened masses better than the clinking of coinage! They go so far as to trap the poor things in cages and shoot them dead in the middle of the market square so everyone can watch. Where’s Princess Mononoke when you need her?! Oh, right. Japan. Never mind.
We’re introduced to Barbara (Elsa Pataky), a lovely young Galician gal, as she goes out to the family barn to check on their animals one night. She finds their pig with its throat ripped out (Oh god! Not Orson!) along with the culprit (an almost jackal-esque wolf) still eating its newly acquired dinner not 10 feet away. The quadrupedal menace growls at her, threatening to make her the next course on the esophageal buffet. Fortunately for Babs, her brother-in-law Manuel (Julian Sands) appears from nowhere in the nick of time to stare down the sinister pooch and send it packing with its literal proverbial tail betwixt its legs. Was it intimidated by the stance of an alpha male, or did wolfy see what happened to Cloquet’s houseboy in Naked Lunch and just think “Yeah… fuck that. Adios!”.
(I was going to post a pic of what did happen to Cloquet’s houseboy, but this completely unrelated Naked Lunch still is funnier)
Manuel is a traveling salesman and transcriber for people who can’t write their own letters. Remember, this is the 19th century. “School House Rock” hasn’t been invented yet. He’s back from the road, much to the relief of wife Maria (Maru Valdivielso), mute daughter Teresa (Luna McGill), and aforementioned s-i-l Barbara, who will feel a lot more secure in the wake of the recent wolf ransacking now that there’s a man (and apparent wolf whisperer) in the house again. His stay won’t be long though, as he’s moving everybody to Santander – a fancier township where they can get a tutor to teach Teresa sign language. Also, though they probably still have wolves there, they’re probably just not so human hungry. Kinda like how Candy Apple Island still has apes, just not as big as the apes on Ape Island.
Everybody’s up for the move, but Maria’s one of those housewives who watches too much “Maury”. She thinks little sister has the skank eye for her Man(uel), so she insists on leaving Barb behind to fend for herself “until they can find a position for her” in their new zip code. When Babs insists on going with them and tries to talk to Manny about it, Mar pulls a knife on her and threatens to gut her if she doesn’t take her exile from the family like a good girl! This went from “Maury” to “Jerry Springer” faster than you can say “Keep it in the family”! Yikes.
Not wanting to see if she can live without her spleen, Barb acquiesces and stays behind, alone in the family farmhouse. Maria wonders if she’s done the right thing, but doesn’t have long to regret her decision, since Manny KILLS HER! Yep. On the way to their new home, the trio stops in the forest to make camp for the night. While Mar’s off bathing (don’t get excited, as “bathing” in this sense involves wearing full pantaloons AND her corset), Mr. Romasanta torments little Teresa by JAMMING TWIGS INTO HER PET BIRD’S EYES (so it flies around manically “like a butterfly”), then sending her off silently screaming into the woods to get caught in a wolf trap, where he finishes her off by JAMMING STICKS INTO HER EYES TOO! I’m a heartless monster, but even I can’t get behind child abuse like that. Jesus fuck biscuits! Anyway, Maria finds her, but has her mourning cut short when the camera lunges at her horrified visage before cutting to black. You know, that multipurpose Evil Dead technique that builds suspense by not showing you who/what is attacking her, while also saving a few Pesetas by not having to pony up for a monster suit that won’t look like a pile of shit and zippers when shot in daylight.
Galicia’s District Attorney, Luciano (Gary Piquer, looking kinda like Viggo Mortensen in a beard), is determined to get to the bottom of these killings. Apparently the D.A.s back then didn’t just do court stuff, they doubled as the Sheriff. To help him sniff out the true culprit(s) behind these killings and keep this wolf hunt from becoming a witch hunt, Lucy calls for outside help in the form of Algerian man-of-science Professor Philips (David Gant). Dr. Phil provides some classic insight into 19th century criminology, like how big headed sweaty guys are always guilty because they can’t control their natural affinity toward evil. In my case, that’s very true. He also believes that through physical and mental manipulation, these people need not be executed, but can be rehabilitated. When the town’s tribunal tasks him with proving the legitimacy of his science, Phil uses said lawmaker as an example and sticks a couple of needles into his brow line, causing him to sob uncontrollably. How this proves that the Moisty McPumpkinSkull they’ve pulled in as a suspect could be a serial killer, I have no clue, but I didn’t study at 19th Century Doctor College. I earned the Leeching Bachelor’s degree on my wall by watching The Giant Leeches.
Prof Philips is also well versed in the coronery arts, not to be confused with the “culinary arts” or “coronary arts”, so don’t. Through his autopsies of the victims (preserved in coffins filled with salt), he drops the unsettling knowledge that one of the bodies, a 14 year-old girl who kinda resembles the now deceased Teresa, was also the recipient of a postmortem custard pumping. This means that not only is our killer a hebephiliac, but also a necrophiliac…making him some kind of necrohebephiliphiliac. Queasy.
An expensive earring was also discovered on the body, meaning that she was from a well-to-do village elsewhere. Since wolves eat their prey where they find it (too stuck up for doggy bags), obviously they wouldn’t have dragged this girl all the way here from wherever she was killed. Even if, I’m pretty sure most wolves don’t rape their dinner after they’ve killed it either. Unless of course it was a Wall Street wolf, as they’re pretty abhorrent sexual deviants if the legends are to be true. *rimshot* No, necrophilia on a teenage girl seems more like the kind of nightmarish horror nature reserves for humans…or otters. Seriously, look up the dark acts those furry little motherfuckers get up to after dark. You’ll wanna round ’em up and throw ’em all into a giant blender after you do. As Lord Byron famously put it, “I shit you not”.
Philips also finds that the bodies have wounds consistent with not only teeth and claws, but also knife incisions! Curiously enough, they’ve also been relieved of all of their body fat. Though this sounds like the result of some radical fucking medieval liposuction, everybody who saw/read Fight Club gun jumped to the immediate conclusion I did: somebody’s making soap. Given that soap is still a luxury item at this time, who do we know that sells luxury items? That’s a bingo. Our killer has a name-o. And it’s the title of the movie. Which we already know by this point because we just got done watching Manuel Romasanta kill his wife and daughter. Such is the problem when we’re watching a murder mystery that already shows us who the killer is: there’s nothing for us to figure out and we just sit back and wait for Manny to start killing people like it’s just another slasher movie. Blart.
Speaking of Manfred, he returns to Galicia the following morning, bearing gifts for his dear s-i-l. Barbara wakes up to the tune of an ornate music box and the sight of an extravagant gold dress. After she puts the dress on and starts eyeball fucking herself in her mirror, Manny creeps up on her and gets all squeezey and strokey on her neck and clavicle, telling her how beautiful she is. In a classier way than when I woo a woman by whispering stuff like “You’re curing my ED.” or “I wish you weren’t married right now” into her ear on the subway. Barb asks the smooth talker just how many women he’s knocked the boots off of, to which he offers up the usual verbal evasive maneuvering every double-dipping Don Juan pulls out in times of interrogation, all the while seeing the faces of his presumed victims in the mirror. Barb catches sight of her sibling’s guilt-inducing visage in the looking glass though, and talks herself out of engaging in any of Manuel’s infidelity. If I had a dollar for every time some spook cockblocked me, I’d have enough to buy one of those PornHub twerking Terminator butts. I know what’s going on my Cthulhumas wish list!
Manny tells Barb that her sister and niece are fine and dandy in Santander, and that Maria’s even procured her a job! See, if we didn’t know that he’d already killed his wife and daughter, this would’ve worked much better. Instead of getting the big reveal at the end though, now we just watch him perv on the young object of his affections while wondering how far it goes before Barb insists on seeing her loved ones. Though milady’s hormones are haunted by the disapproving, cunt-punting, sister specter (no doubt just an embodiment of her guilty groin), it takes all of an hour or two for her to exorcise that loin phantom. During her morning bath, Manny creeps up on her again, this time giving her an erotic washing in the tub that leads to some submarinal stimulation of the clitoral variety. Even when he gives her the moral out and pulls his hand away, she gives him the “Oh, you are NOT fucking done yet, mister!” look and pulls his hand back between her thighs, putting the “sensual” in “consensual”. Manny must be a helluva marksman, cuz his fingerbang game hits the bullseye! Fingerbang! Bang bang bang!
Though the identity of our serial murderer is never in doubt, the exact origins of his situation are brought into question during a flashback sequence. We see Manny pick up an injured farmer along the road (back then they only had one road and it went to every town and it was uphill both ways in 6 feet of snow) and offer to take him to the next town to get treated for the sickle wound he’s suffered. Determined that the guy won’t make it, Romy (sans Michelle) offers to write up a goodbye letter for him and deliver it to his soon-to-be widow. Farmer Fred gives up the ghost mid-sentence, so our suavely sinister lead fills it in with some really schmaltzy shite about how her butt won’t quit and $5 chewy pretzels or something. He delivers the message and worms his way into filling the now gaping hole in her life…and any other holes that could use a good stiff tending to (said with a perverse “heh heh heh” and a liberal “humpin’ thrust” motion).
This brings to question exactly how it is that Manuel got involved with Maria. Was Teresa his biological daughter or his stepdaughter? The movie stays pretty obtuse on the topic, thought I’d like to think that it’s intentional. Whatever his true relation to Barb’s family, while Romasanta continues his seduction of his s-i-l, a goon with a scarred face trespasses on their property and attempts to shoot him in the back! No surprise, as said goon has a massive dome and looks like the type of person who’s constantly wiping his sweaty palms on his pants. Seeing the (hilariously computer generated) glint off the rifle first, Barb throws herself into the line of fire and takes one for her man. The mystery mongoloid slips away while Manuel takes her inside and extracts the slug of silver from her back, saving her life. He picks this as the most appropriate time to declare that his life belongs to her, but the most inappropriate time to gift her a lovely little necklace in thanks. A necklace that he lifted from Teresa’s neck right before he murdered her! Giving your new girlfriend a prized trinket stolen from her beloved relative is the only thing worse than giving her an engagement ring with your ex’s name still etched in the band, and this guy fucking does it! That’s a whole new level of dick move, and that’s coming from one of the King Dongs of dicks! For shame on you, Mr. ‘Santa. Hell, FIVE shame on you, you bastard.
Naturally Bar recognizes the bauble (taken from her only freaking niece!) so that night, while her new fuck buddy is copping some z’s, she goes snooping through his caravan. Under a loose floorboard, Nancy Drew finds a small chest of misappropriated valuables, along with some not exactly clear but very official looking documentation with Teresa and Maria’s names on them. I thought they were death certificates at first, but my Evil Dead Bride suggests that they may be the gals’ wills. But, would a child even have a will? Whatever the case, no sooner does Bar put everything back, then someone cartjacks her! Wait…so Manuel leaves his horses tied to the cart at night? What the fuck?! That’s the 19th century version of leaving the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked! His insurance company won’t be paying a dime on this claim…
During the kerfuffle, Babs is tossed around worse than someone trying to get to the toilet on a Greyhound. No diggity. Indiana Jones has an easier time crossing rope bridges. And trying to piss standing up while it’s doing 65 on the highway without getting it all over your shoes? It should be part of the initiation process to get into fucking Skull & Bones! Anyway, a dropped lantern turns the whole thing into a mobile inferno, with our de facto heroine (who’s not exactly a bastion of morality since she’s having an affair with her dead sister’s husband) managing a literal leap of faith that would make Zoe Bell pop a thumbs up. She’s immediately accosted by Lumpy Scarface, who rips off a piece of her dress, rubs it on his face saying “they’ll follow me”, and runs off into the woods to play decoy, shouting to attract the attention of the baying wolves echoing in the night.
The next morning, she wakes up to find the galoot has since returned, and he enlightens her as to his origin story. His name is Antonio, and he used to be a common thief. One day, while burgling a church, he was confronted by a wolf (I still say the wolves around here look more like jackals) that shrugged off a point-blank gunshot like it was the world’s mildest beer belch. In retaliation, it attacked this clearance rack Randy Couture and brought him into the brotherhood of the wolf (different movie). After engaging in a few co-murders with his new barking bro, Tony became so overwhelmed with guilt that he now hunts Romasanta to bring an end to the monster and maybe get his own curse lifted by scoring a few redemption points from Jehovah while he’s at it.
When Barb goes with him to the constables to corroborate his story about the WolfManuel (see what I did there?), they declare Tony as clearly insane and have him locked up. No doubt his big fat head and damp mitts gave him away. They practically caught him
red wet handed, wakka-wakka! Despite Antonio’s detaining, D.A. Lucy believes Babs enough to put out the 1850s equivalent of an APB on Romasanta before sending her home. While there, she finds a stash of Manny’s stuff, including letters he had transcribed for his many girlfriends to their families, but never delivered. It’s not explained whether he intended to deliver these later, was keeping them as mementos of his conquests (serial killers are weird like that), or just hadn’t gotten around to burning them yet, but they serve as the perfect plot twist excuse to turn Babs vigilante and put her on his trail. She takes off across the countryside, returning the letters to their original senders and asking around about any recent Romy sightings. As you can guess, it turns out this traveling salesman has a different alias in every town, and now that his new squeeze is ratting him out, it’s time to start cutting ties with all of these other girlfriends. Along with their throats, abdomens and whatever else he feels like severing.
Ladies, when a man is willing to murder all of his other girlfriends to be with you, it means you’re his Jet Li/Neo. You’re the One.
Back at the nuthouse, the doctors tell Tony that he’s not now, nor has he ever been a werewolf. He’s simply a delusional psychopath who was manipulated by Manuel into being his murder amigo. The Ottis Toole to his Henry Lee Lucas. The Tex Watson to his Charles Manson. The Ringo to his rest-of-The Beatles! With the second banana’s help, the man(uel)hunt gets a lead on where the killing spree could be heading next: a middle of nowhere town wherein the killer is cornered while doing day laborer work, reaping in a wheat field. For a scene where so many people are wielding scythes and sickles, there’s a disappointing lack of dismemberment to be had. Despite managing to evade the 5-0, Santa doesn’t run off like a smart fugitive would. Instead he takes the opportunity to confront his lady love (she fell behind the rest of the posse when her gunshot wound re-opened), who holds him at arm’s length with the tip of a sickle planted firmly in his neck. Whether her restraint is because she still loves him somewhere in her head, she wants to let the judicial system deal with him, or she just wants to know how her body rates next to the 30 or so other baked potatoes he was slinging his sour cream with (I’m presuming from experience, not sexist stereotypes), she keeps him there until the constabulary circle back around and take him into custody. The tension of this scene makes it a real “shut up and take notice!” moment. The intensity on Barb’s face sold me on Pataky as not just a likeable and lovely lady actor, but as someone who can act the living Hel out of such a scene with just her face. Between that and Plaza’s direction, it’s insta-boner stuff that puts movies with five times its production values to shame.
Manny’s taken back to Galicia and put on trial while a ravenous gang of villagers screams for his head outside the courthouse. They sadly lack the torches, pitchforks, and nooses you come to expect from angry Victorian Era mobs. Besides, why would there be multiple nooses? Did Steve, Randy and Carl ALL think it was their turn as “noose guy” in the rotation? Or is Randy known for using cheap rope when it’s his turn, so Steve and Carl just thought it prudent to bring back ups so as not to let Randy’s thrifty tendencies ruin another perfectly good lynching? “Damn it, Randy! You do this EVERY time!”
At trial, “the Werewolf of Allariz”’s defense is that he’s innocent and it’s Mother Nature who’s responsible for his crimes. Typical self-entitled cunt, always blaming his parents for his choice to be an asshole. Where he comes from (Allariz), it’s well known that the 9th born son of any family is touched by the Devil, and being his father’s 9th son that makes him inherently (or inheritedly in this case) evil. His transformation into the wolf is his malediction, and since a wolf’s natural instinct is to kill, it’s not his fault that he kills people when he’s furry and four-legged. He says he can be saved, and that his love for Barbara is the cure to the curse. Their relationship is the only thing that’s ever given him regret for his crimes and he didn’t feel the urge to kill a single person for the few days he spent romancing/fingerbanging her. To test this claim, the Professor (and Mary Ann?) puts him under hypnosis and he’s taken to the forest so the tribunal can witness his transformation into a bloodthirsty fleabag…or just watch a grown man play make believe. Santa recreates his actions during the murder of Maria and Teresa and guess what? No transformation. Not a physical one anyway. Sands’ portrayal of said recreation is either grand drama or pure scenery munchery. I’m not entirely sure which, but it’s definitely something worth watching!
Phillips diagnoses Romasanta with Adult Onset Lycanthropy (take a shot!), in that a strong emotional trigger turns him into a ravenous maniac. So, he becomes a metaphorical “wolf man”, rather than a literal one like more superstitious (i.e., dumb) people would believe. Thus, Phillips believes Manuel’s not only not responsible for the crimes he committed but can be rehabbed, thus Dr. P recommends to the judges that Romy be given over to the custody of the sanitarium. As with any cop, this puts Luciano on the express strain to FUCK YOU! Town, as his moral code of black & white (insert joke about racist cops here) says there’s no excuse for criminal acts and Roms needs to be imprisoned, followed by a nice public execution so justice can be served! I’m waiting for him to pull a Dirty Harry or a Frank Castle and just put a bullet between Manuel’s pretty blue eyes before this is over.
The court’s verdict? Manuel is to be remanded to the asylum’s custody pending further investigation. While there, he starts to pen his memoirs until he’s interrupted by Babs (wow, way to go security) who brings a silver knife to a love fight. She falters when Manny declares she can’t kill him because her heart won’t let her, but hopeless romantics tend to underestimate the overpowering lust for revenge. His lady love sheathes her pig sticker into her boyfriend’s pancreas, albeit with tears in her eyes. He falls to the floor, uttering his last words to her as some poetic b.s. about love and death before he says hello to Oblivion (“Hello, Oblivion!”) and fades to black. I’m as wrapped up in the words of wooing (not to be confused with Ric Flair’s words of “WOO!”ing) as the next tragic love story lead, but I’m pretty sure my final line to my girlfriend-turned-executioner would’ve been some variation of “AHHHH! FUCK! YOU FUCKING KILLED ME, YOU CUNT! I HOPE YOU DIE UGLY AND ALONE, YOU SELFISH BITCH!”. I can be a real prick when it comes to girlfriends gutting me though, literally and figuratively.
When the pork people discover him DOA, Lucy sees no need to investigate, likely chalking it up to a Willy Loman (*wink*wink*), but possibly going with the old “self defense” excuse after they put a gun in his hand and a bag of angel dust in his pocket. Like Bruce Hornsby put, that’s just the way it is, some things will never change. Funny how people who clamor for by-the-books justice are always the first to go rogue when said “justice” doesn’t fit their personal definition. I mean, this wasn’t even a case of a crooked judge or a slimy lawyer getting a serial rapist off the hook because the arresting officer wouldn’t let him wash his hands before cuffing them! The criminologist that he himself brought in to help with the investigation says that Romasanta’s insanity plea is legit, so Deputy Dog’s all “Fuck your science! Let’s get this guy dead as soon as possible!” and lets a vengeful citizen do the wet work for him while he covers for her! Justice? More like “just us”… best of luck explaining that one to yourself, because I’m foggier than The Fog on it, myself. Just random words!
The movie wraps with Barbara attending Manuel’s burial in the pouring rain (and wearing all black, so she’s clearly mourning her admissible retaliation), with the aftertext telling us that the real life Romasanta story played out much the same as what we just saw. The few exceptions being that his alleged accomplice Antonio was never found and Manuel was originally given a death sentence until Dr. Phillips petitioned the Queen to convert it to life in prison instead, due to his suffering from Lycanthropy. While he was awaiting a full pardon, though, Romasanta died in prison of “unknown causes”. The admirable dedication to the reality of the tale is no surprise, since script writer Alfredo Conde also wrote the fictional novel, The Uncertain Memoirs of a Galician Wolfman: Romasanta. Oh yeah, Conde’s also a descendant of one of the doctors involved in the original “Werewolf of Allariz” court case that took place in 1853/54 in Galicia, Spain! That’s some seriously cool pedigree to have for your “based on a true story” horror movie.
Before Romasanta, I thought Dagon was the only greatness to wade from the tar pit of bad-to-mediocre known as Fantastic Factory. But now? Holy shit. We’ve got a new #1 contender. As such, Dagon and Romasanta will be battling it out in a steel cage surrounded by jackals inside of a flaming steel cage surrounded by crocodiles for the Fantastic Factory Undisputed Championship Title! Or they can just share the awesome and serve as co-ambassadors for the non-existent campaign to bring the Factory back. Hell, Brian Yuzna’s been up to pretty much nothing since their doors closed, so we know he’s free! Now, where can we dig up a few millions dollars?
Aside from a plot hole here and there, an unanswered question or two, the story is good. I would’ve preferred more of a mystery with the whole thing, but the tale of Manuel and Barbara is a good one. It technically counts as a romance too, so next time your marital relations partner(s) want to watch something romantic, try and slip this into the rotation. It’s like a finger in the ass – you won’t know for sure until you try! However, if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t try it again. You might not get your finger (or DVD) back.
Paco Plaza’s direction is appropriately fantastic, no pun intended. As stated prior, PP (huh huh) makes this under the radar period piece look like something double its budget. There’s a single transformation scene (a flashback as told by Antonio) where we watch wolf Manuel turn back into his human form and it’s an excellent sequence. All practical effects, decidedly slimy “shedding your second skin” moment, cool “paws become hands” stuff, and a simple but effective beginning where the canine’s fur just washes off in chunks in the rain. My compliments to the chef(s)!
As far as the casting goes, I have no complaints about anyone involved, and nothing but praise for Miss Pataky. I was expecting Julian Sands to be the only standout in a cast of people I’d never heard of, but she was so likeable and intense and dramatic and DAMN was she good! To paraphrase Roger in Dawn of the Dead, she got this by the ASS! One of the review blurbs I read after watching referred to it as a “performance making role”, and I’m inclined to throw my thumbs up in agreement. She’s since become a reoccurring character in the last three Fast & Furious movies, so though I’ll never watch them, I’m happy to know that she’s making big fat Hollywood franchise money for her talents. Julian Sands definitely fits the title role because he’s handsome enough to be a ladykiller, but also has a nose that helps you believe this dude’s face elongates into a muzzle from time to time. He still pulls off the seductive thing in his advanced age too, so all the more reason he lives up to the part. His performance is pretty non-assuming for the most, but when it comes time for him to really get into the crazy, he definitely makes it a spectacle! Everyone else earns their paychecks and I had nothing to complain about. A backhanded praise to some, but believe me, a perfectly serviceable cast is a rare thing considering how bad some of the ensembles in prior Factory flicks turned out.
I’m REALLY happy I didn’t wait to do an episode on this one. It’s a slasher movie disguised as a werewolf flick done as a character study. Really well made, well acted, and if it weren’t for the disjointed story moments and sometimes inconsistent pacing, I’d say it was due for a golden feather. As is though, I’ll gladly give it a well-deserved 4 out of 5!
Next time I’ll be getting back on track with the World Tour de Farce. Where will I go and what will I see? The surprise is part of the fun! Until then, be sure to check out the other Adult Onset Lycanthropy reviews that the Celluloid Zeroes have in store for you! Keep those silver bullets warm and always carry some Wolfsbane in your socks, trucker fuckers! Don’t wanna get caught solajwf (shit outta luck and jolly well fucked). Ciao!
3B Theater: Micro-Brewed Reviews – Curse of the Black Widow
Checkpoint Telstar – The Bat People
Cinemasochist Apocalypse – Kibakichi
Las Peliculas de Terror – The Evil Within
Psychoplasmics – An American Werewolf in London
The Terrible Claw Reviews – Sssssss
Web of the Big Damn Spider – Summer School
“Please don’t tell me you’re the Publisher’s Clearing House people! I am NOT TV ready! Can you come back in an hour!?”
Surgeon General’s Warning: NEVER eat an entire box of Gushers Fruit Snacks on your own. There’s just too much fruit juicy flavor for one person.
Oh great, now that my cousin Scratch has had a cameo in a movie we’ll never hear the end of it at Cthulhumas. No surprise though, he always was the “looker” of the pack.
Looks like the local Chinese buffet is stocking up on “beef” for the weekend rush.
“Ladies! Ladies! Please stop fighting! There’s enough Mr. Ed for the both of you!”
“ARGH! DAMN IT, TERESA! I TOLD YOU NOT TO LEAVE YOUR LEGOS LAYING AROUND ON THE FLOOR ANYMORE!”
“…and so, gentlemen of this tribunal, in the case of “Who Smelt It v. Who Dealt It”, I give you your smeller AND dealer!”
“Your neck is so beautiful, so long, so… uggh! What is that, a skin tag?! Gross. You should have that burned off. It looks infected!”
“Why?! Why would you think I’d want to see nude photos of Carrot Top bathing in tapioca pudding?! I have a child here for God’s sake!”
He looks exactly how I feel after I’ve been touching raw chicken skin. Like one of King Kong’s loogies, or the guest of honor at a kaiju bukkake party. Uggh!
Ah, the all too familiar morning after moment of “What did I do last night?!” mixed with “I am NEVER doing Jägerbombs again!”.
“Look, I’m sorry I jumped to the conclusion that you’re only angry because you’re on your period, but… I mean… well… aren’t you on your period?!”
I know that look well. That’s the look my Evil Dead Bride gives me when we’ve had a fight, I make a really dumb joke, and she tries her best to stifle the laugh so she doesn’t lose the “angry upperhand”. She always laughs though… except that one time… I really miss my left testicle.
“With my new invention, the cranium re-sizerator, men and women need never worry about their hats being too small or too large again! Their skull will always be the perfect size!”
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Christian “Batman Begins” Bale , Willem “Spider-Man” Dafoe , Jared “Suicide Squad” Leto
Director: Mary “I Shot Andy Warhol” Harron
Writers: Mary “I Shot Andy Warhol” Harron , Guinevere “BloodRayne” Turner
Sequel: American Psycho 2
Oh my Elder Gods, this movie. Apologies for taking yet another detour from the World Tour de Farce, but this month marks the 15th anniversary of the release of American Psycho. I fucking love American Psycho. A decade-and-a-half ago, 4 months into a long distance relationship with this evil 17 year old from a far away land (I was only 18, so put down your torches), my Evil Dead Bride-to-Be and yours truly had been highly anticipating this amazing looking cerebral slasher flick summation of the infamous ‘80s materialism obsession. In those tormenting times when we could only see each other once a month (she was my period and her period was, well, her period), we had to plan rest breaks in our coital merrymaking, so going to the movies would help prevent us from injuring ourselves. This is the first such feature from that time that I can do a proper review for, so…here it is!
I didn’t read American Psycho until after seeing the movie, so I was in no way ahead of the curve on this one. The only inkling I’d even had of the subject was the 1997 Misfits album of the same name (fuck you Fallout Boy, you shunty ass-butts!), which was the first release sans Danzig and, thus, the last Misfits album I’d ever listen to. My Evil Dead Mother-In-Law had read the dark and twisted tale by Bret Easton Ellis, but couldn’t finish it after the infamous rat chapter…which meant I had to see what the fuss was aboot. I was nonplussed by the graphic descriptions of genital mutilation, but I’m inured to that kinda shit anyway. I have no soul. Unless you show me those videos of animals from different species playing around like friends. Those hit me in the joy buzzer. I thought Ellis’ writing was fantastic though! Not an opinion I deja vued when I tried to read Less Than Zero, but that might’ve just been due to a disdain for spoiled dickbag preppie college kids.
Hey! This isn’t a friggin’ stupid book club, damn it! This is a friggin’ stupid movie review site, damn it! Get on with it, damn it!
The time is 1987. The place is Wall Street. Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is obsessed with his job at the firm of Pierce & Pierce. Actually, no, he’s not. He doesn’t do a lick of “work” throughout the entire running time of this movie! Sure, he spends hours each day occupying his office space (“Somebody stole my stapler…”), but all he actually does is dress down his secretary, do the New York Times crossword (very poorly), and doodle in his date book. No, Patty’s true obsession is having the best clothes, the smoothest skin, the slightly-better-than-his-peer’s haircut, the deepest understanding of ‘80s pop music, eating at the upperest crust restaurants in New York City and wanting women to ask him what he does for a living so he has an excuse to brag. He’s the anthropomorphizing of the “gimme gimme” decade, and he’s climbing to the top of the high society food chain, populated by his fellow worshippers at the alter of the almighty dollar (AKA “the alighty ollar”). In the land of yuppie royalty, he’s Claudius, plotting his ascension through the disposal of those that stand in his way, dreaming of the day he’ll sit in his throne atop a pile of corpses in Armani suits, their blood smeared Rolexi glinting in the golden beams of his all consuming ego. How all-consuming? He’s the kind of guy who’ll go balls deep in a pair of $500/hr call girls, then just spend the whole time checking himself out in the mirror.
That wasn’t a joke.
When the sun goes does down, this wolf of Wall Street goes full lycanthrope (figuratively), as his world of mergers and acquisitions turns into a waking nightmare of murders and executions. Beneath his Gordon Gecko exterior lurks a bloodthirsty Norman Bates, man! Get it? “Bates, man”? Bateman? Well, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, don’t over grind those gears in your noggin. I wouldn’t want your ears to start throwin’ sparks and risk catching my collection of oily rags aflame. The smoke alarms are all dead because I never replaced the batteries after my last “let’s put 9 volts on our tongues!” party, and I’ve yet to flush the ichor out of the sprinklers following that vampire Ishtar-Easter rave I rented out The Tomb for a few weeks ago. I know, vampire raves are so ’99, but who am I to say no to a dance floor full of topless wanna-be Bathorys showered in gore? Exactly…and for no reason at all, now I can’t imagine the name “Bathory” without it being shouted in the manner of Metallica’s “Battery”.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Bath-o-ry. I mean, oh yeah, Bateman.
At his core, Patrick Bateman is a man that wants to fit in and be liked by his associates, so he gives up any sense of self-identity in his efforts to do so. He appreciates “Hip to Be Square” because of its message of the pleasures of conformity, further convincing himself that being a faceless clone is the way to go. We’ve all felt that need to be accepted by a group at one time or another. They used to make socially conscious scare films about it in the ’50s, warning kids not to join gangs and break windows just because they want to be popular, instead recommending they volunteer at the retirement home or get their heads blown off in the Army instead. For me, the need to fit in is past tense, because once I realized humanity is mostly refuse not worth the gasoline and frozen orange juice concentrate needed to napalm it into oblivion (“Hello, oblivion!”), my desire to fit in died faster than a fetus on a coat hanger. Unfortunately for Pat, he lives in a world of sociopaths. They’re all like mannequins: interchangeable nothing entities that are judged solely on the things they wear and the places they’re seen. Every sentence of his narration, Pat name-drops some highbrow product or exclusive restaurant because he has to constantly tell you (and himself) about how great the life he struggles to maintain is. That grappling to keep his mask of normalcy in place is worth not being who he really is…not that he’d probably know who that is at this point. Even his relationships with his girlfriend Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon) and his mistress Courtney (Samantha Mathis) are equally as hollow – socialite Ev is just there to up Pat’s status, while Courtney’s just a Xanax Xombie vessel for him to do a pump & dump into when he feels like it. As he himself tells us, he has no emotions but greed and disgust. Hell, following a scene where he can barely contain his impotent rage over how everyone else has a better business card than he does (we’re the only ones who realize they’re all the same), he stabs a homeless man (Reg “Marcus from Airheads!” Cathey) to death, then stomps the guy’s dog. It’s both horrific and pathetic.
There may be hope for Bater’s salvation in his previously alluded to secretary Jean (Chloe Sevigny), who seems to see something worthwhile in Patrick. Maybe she’s just naive, or maybe her innocence and her separation from the yuppie social life is what’s appealing about her. Whatever the case, Patrick can’t bring himself to kill her…though he comes realllllly close on a date before sending her home. Like, “nail gun to the back of her head for almost getting sorbet on his coffee table” close. Instead, our hero(?) opts to vent his urges on more deserving fare – his lady friend Elizabeth (Guinevere Turner – the screenplay’s co-writer!) and a hooker (Cara Seymour), both of whom can be excused. We all have friends we’d like to decapitate sooner or later, after all. As for the hooker, she had a sleepover with Patrick prior that ended with her going to an emergency room, in need of some reconstructive surgery (use your imagination) and fearing for her life. But when he comes back to her corner and flashes a wad of cash? She hops into the limo and goes home with him for round 2! You know how important money will be to you if you’re not alive to spend it? NOT AT ALL. It’s not fucking rocket surgery! Just another testament to how little some people value everything else in the face of their green paper god.
Speaking of, the absurdity of the 1% portrayed here is hilarious. Business cards (more later), cuisine that sounds like something people in an alternate dimension from a “Twilight Zone” episode would eat, those Zack Morris cells that make military field phones from ‘Nam look more convenient, and CD players from a time when only the five richest kings of Europe could afford them. Those last two have probably already been the subject of one of those dumbass videos where teenagers from today look at them like 4 year-olds given a particle accelerator. “Durrrrr! Old things are confusing! I have no cognizance of things existing prior to my birth!” BLART!
Throughout his blood soaked escapades, the only Bateman victim that anyone gives a fuck about is his high-profile rival at P&P, Paul Allen (Jared Leto). Infuriated that Paul’s able to get reservations at Dorsia (apparently it’s yuppie El Dorado), his constant mistaking of Patrick for fellow P&P cookie-cutter clone Marcus Halberstram and his business card being so much better than Pat’s to the point of emasculation (Bale’s performance here is scary good). He plots to take the guy out to a shithole restaurant (no risk of peer witnesses), get him drunk, then invite him back to his place to listen to some Huey Lewis, while our dapper death dealer expunges the finer points of The News and disposes of Paul’s need for, well, anything that involves a head. It’s here, and in some similar scenes later, where I start to think that Patrick missed his calling as a music critic…or he just spends way too much time on the shitter reading reviews in “Rolling Stone”. Either way, he butchers his associate with an axe while shouting, “Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now, you fucking stupid bastard!”.
Despite doing his best to cover up the casual slaughter (by taking measures to make it seem Paul had to make a last minute trip to London), Allen’s girlfriend Meredith still reports him missing. It’s not long before NYPD Detective Donald Kimball (Willem Dafoe) follows a trail of breadcrumbs to the office door of one Master Bateman (*wink*wink*).
Kimball is a great performance by Dafoe, not only because the guy’s a top notch thespian (insert cliched joke about how “thespian” sounds kinda like “lesbian” here), but because Mary Harron had him read his lines in 3 different contexts – Kimball thinking Bateman was innocent, thinking he might’ve done it, and thinking he was guilty as OJ. The three sets of takes were then chopped up and edited together as such that audiences couldn’t read which way he was leaning. The first time I saw this, I thought it might’ve just been unbalanced acting on Dafoe’s part, looking to pick up a paycheck and get home in time to watch “Wheel of Fortune” while he fucked a TV dinner. When I learned the truth, it made a lot more sense. It’s a great reflection of Patrick’s paranoid perception of their exchanges, as you see our titular psycho start to sweat and panic just shy of becoming that nervous guy in cartoons who pulls on his collar so hard that his neck turns an acute angle.
According to Kimball, several people in Bateman’s social circle commented on how they’d seen or spoken to Paul while he’s been in London. The first time I saw this, I thought that Patrick had just fantasized about all of the terrible things he’d done and there was never any actual bloodshed. Having seen it several times since, I’m convinced that the murders really did happen, only nobody noticed because they all live in a constant state of head-up-their-own-ass-ity. Paul Allen’s identity is actually questioned in several scenes, as Patrick’s companions mistake one person or another for Allen. Once again, an attestation to the sameness of every a-hole on the stretch between Broadway and South. There’s also the possibility that Patty himself may be the one suffering a case of mistaken identity, but if that were the case, Paul’s girlfriend probably wouldn’t have reported him missing.
Amidst all this, there are two great scenes that revolve around the bizarre business card obsession these maniacs have. The first is the previously mentioned exchange of Allen “winning” the dick measuring contest of who has the better card amid his fellow Piercers. The second involves Courtney’s fiance Luis (Matt Ross, looking like the bastard spawn of Lyle Lovett and Pippi Longstocking), as he tempts Bateman’s ire at lunch by nonchalantly showing everyone his new card, whose “perfection” pushes Pat over the edge faster than Thelma and Louise in a ’66 Thunderbird. When our lunatic tries to strangle Luis in the men’s room after, Luis thinks Patty’s just being aggressively flirtatious and responds by making passionate mouth foreplay with the murderer’s hand! The resulting confusion and revulsion from Bate-and-switch is hilarious, but rather than continue with what would be a hate crime by today’s standards (or “AIDS prevention” by the medieval logic of the Reagan era), Pat washes his gloves and leaves the restaurant in a huff, citing his usual excuse of needing to “return some videotapes”. Easy money says it’s porn or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, since that seems to be all he ever watches. Still my favorite way to say goodbye to people, even years after that sentence no longer means anything.
Eventually, Patrick finally just loses it and tosses his metaphorical mask of sanity into the nearest metaphorical toilet. He goes on a rampage, gunning random strangers down left and right. His body count includes an old lady, a doorman, a janitor and several policemen before he finally escapes. Despite evading capture, he picks up a phone and calls Howard, his lawyer, then leaves a confession on the ambulance chaser’s answering machine about all of the atrocities he’s committed (most of which didn’t make it onscreen)! The next morning, after flipping out on Jean from a payphone, Patrick meets his cohorts like he does every day, as if NOTHING HAPPENED. Here he runs into Howie, and their confrontation only results in a case of mistaken identity, where Patrick’s advocate confuses him for someone else entirely and thinks the whole phone message was a joke! He cites Bateman as being too spineless and dorky to ever pull off something like a killing spree! As Patrick says himself, “this confession has meant nothing”, and it’s then that our antagonistic protagonist realizes there’s no escape from the numb and pointless existence he’s tried so hard to be a part of. You’d almost feel sorry for the guy if he hadn’t tried to feed a stray cat to an ATM machine…
You know what, I’m just gonna post his entire ending monologue here because just saying “this confession has meant nothing” doesn’t do it a lick of justice… also, “Lick of Justice” sounds like an all oral fetish porn where everyone’s dressed in police uniforms and judges’ robes.
“There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this, there is no catharsis; my punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.”
Getting American Psycho made is your typical tale of a train derailment to Clusterfuck City. Harron left the project when Lions Gate insisted on having Leo DiCaprio star (Lions Gate? Leo DiCaprio? CONSPIRACY!) rather than her original pick of Bale, and they subsequently brought in Oliver Stone to replace her. Stone wanted James Woods to play Kimball, Cameron Diaz as Evelyn, and Elizabeth Berkley as Courtney. But, with Stone’s budget going gaga and Leo leaving to make The Beach instead, Harron and Bale were brought back to make the cheaper (and likely better) film. When it was originally optioned for the cinematic treatment WAY back in ’91, Ellis was actually set to adapt the screenplay himself, Johnny Depp was eyed to play Batey, and Tomb hero Stuart “Re-Animator” Gordon was set to direct! The man who gave life to celluloid Herbert West wanted to stick as closely to the book as possible (which would’ve popped the flick an ‘X’ rating) and planned to shoot the whole shebang in black & white. When that attempt died a painful death, David “Scanners” Cronenberg was pegged to man the camera for a second effort with none other than Brad Pitt lacing up Patrick’s Ferragamos! I wouldn’t ask for either of these as an alternative to Herron and Bale’s final product, but Set DAMN would I love to have both of those version as companion pieces! When CERN finally figures out how to tear open dimensional gateway vaginas into alternate realities, somebody bring me back the Gordon and Cronenberg versions of American Psycho! I’ll even cover the gas money, or boson money, or whatever you need me to pay you! It can be my birthday and Cthulhumas presents for the rest of my life! JUST MAKE THEM HAPPEN!
Anyway, the movie we did get is pretty fucking great! It doesn’t delve too deeply into the more graphic depictions of violence portrayed in the book, but selling an NC-17 movie is near impossible if you hope to make any kind of profit on it. That’s fine by me though, because I’d rather experience the beautiful monster we’re given if it has to be at the expense of not seeing a woman’s cunt torn up by a giant sewer rat who hollows out her pelvis to make a nest. Yes, that happens in the book…or something like it. I don’t know, it’s been 15 years. Fuck off. A friend of mine recently started reading it and complained that all she’s seen so far is some guy talking about designer clothing for 20 pages. I don’t want to spoil the nightmarish “Marquis de Sade on coke” stuff for her, but I may need to before she loses all interest. Now, about that movie…
Harron’s direction is superb. From the illusory pouring of raspberry sauce that the audience initially may mistake for blood, to Bateman’s opening monologue/morning routine going directly into a straight-out-of-an-’80s-movie shot of the NYC skyline serenaded by “Walking On Sunshine”, you know the next hour and a half are going to be damn weirder than your average slasher flick, and maybe, just maybe, more fucking magical than a unicorn & pegasi orgy. The orchestral music is great, and reminds the viewer of the classic stringed tunes of the Psycho soundtrack…or, to a much lesser extent, Richard Band’s mostly copyright-infringing Re-Animator score. Likely not an accident, I’m sure…the Psycho connection, I mean, not Richard Band being a rip-off artist like his brother Charles.
The visual composition of the scenes are so beautifully arranged too, and I’m not the type of digital movie griper to bring attention to artsy shit like that very often. Osiris, it’s all just so slick and pretty. That business card showdown! The sounds of unsheathing swords were used for the guys’ pulling their “weapons” from their holders, and it’s all shot so stuffed to the gills with tension that you’re just waiting for Patrick to start stabbing everyone in the eyes with a letter opener! The death of Christie the hooker is another one of the movie’s iconic highlights, as we’re given the nightmarish vision of a bloody and naked Bates, wearing nothing but sneakers and wielding a chainsaw almost as deadly as the look of complete insanity he’s got on his face. He chases the courtesan through a poorly lit hallway before planting the steely teeth of hungry death into her insides like someone drilling for oil. You know that part in the second episode of Netflix’s “Daredevil” with the bad guy on the stairwell and the fire extinguisher? All I could think of when watching that was Bateman + chainsaw + gravity = dead hooker.
The writing is also top-notch and packed with so much quotable goodness! From dark, insightful, self-actualizations of horrific (in)human nature, to trivia about pop stars and serial killers, to shit that’s just fun to shout at people, there’s something for everyone! Patrick’s running narration helps keep the rhythm of the book and is a constant reminder that this story is Patrick’s and no one else’s – just the way he’d want it. Bale puts on a career making performance. Literally. Despite being told by everyone that playing a scum-ass misogynist serial killer would be the premature burial of his future in Hollywood, he went on to be, well, Batman among other things! Speaking of, was it weird or straight up providence that Elizabeth calls Patrick “Batman” in the book, and the guy who would play Bates in the movie would go on to play fucking Batman in the Chris Nolan trilogy!? And further crazy dicks? Christian Bale’s character brutally murders Jared Leto’s character here. Leto is going to play the Caped Crusader’s jolly nemesis The Joker in the four-color feature, Suicide Squad next year. So, we get to watch Batman ax the Joker to death. Also, for no reason, Willem Dafoe played The Green Goblin in Spider-Man. For further no reason, Reg Cathey will be playing Sue and Johnny’s father, in this summer’s Fantastic Four re-boot… or, if you’re a shit lord in 20th Century Fox’s marketing department, Fant4stic. A testament to how comic books have become a legitimate movie genre over the last 15 years, or just proof that everybody needs to pay their bills and funnybook films are the way to go? Either way, fun facts for my fellow fanboys/girls.
So, yeah, Christian Bale brings Bateman to life. Like Vic Frankenstein with a lightning rod and open access to a cemetery. And after hearing about the other actors that could have played him, I can’t picture anyone other than Bale being Bateman. His line delivery. His facial expressions. The way he inserts violent threats into casual conversation. The way he fake fucks two women while winking at the camcorder and pointing at himself in the mirror. All of it. There were a pair of scenes that I was taken out of the magic by my nose hairs, though. I know PB’s confessions at the end are SUPPOSED to be broken and manic, but I feel Bale goes a little too far off the rails and develops a hankering for the distinct taste of scenery. Not nearly as off-putting as the infamous Batman “tonsils in a rock tumbler” voice (which Bale has made it a point to place the blame for squarely on Nolan), but it does verge on being goofy. Other than that, though, I’m gonna reach into my cliché cookie (like a fortune cookie, just stuffed with cliches) and pull out…“tour de force performance”. Sure. That works. Go with it.
Wanna know more about the Bateman family tree? Check out The Rules of Attraction. Dawson Van Der Beek plays Patrick’s little brother Sean. It’s not as good as American Psycho, but it’s still a solid flick. Also, there’s no serial killing, so its lack of horror/sci-fi/fantasy/action kinda disqualifies it from getting its own episode and thus I won’t be reviewing it. Sorry kids, sometimes you gotta watch movies yourselves.
I’m just a happy camper, rockin’ n’ rollin’, but I gotta return some videotapes. My copy of Full House of 1000 Corpses was due back at Blockbuster in 2007, so it’s time to flatline this episode! You live in fear for the day I finally review American Psycho 2, and we’ll meet back here next time for The Tomb 2.0’s big 50th episode celebration! Which movie will it be? You’ll have to wait and see. Until then, watch this video. If it had a sentient brain and a Social Security Number, I’d adopt it. Later, mutilators!
Gah! This guy looks like a Muppet! Not even a licensed Muppet! He looks like a Made In China Muppet! He’s a Murpitt!
The Hel? Is this The Lone Ranger training for a marathon? Did somebody switch reels/discs/.avis on me?!
See? I knew I wasn’t the only adult who still covers the hairless parts of their body in glue and tries to peel it off in the largest sections possible. I see Patrick’s mastered the “Elmer’s Death Mask”. Kudos to you, Sir.
“I’m sorry, Reese, but I just didn’t think Sweet Home Alabama was very good. No… you know what? It was GARBAGE! It was utter pandering TRASH and I HATE YOU!”
What’s with that hair?! Did he steal it from the set of Heartbeeps? Holy shit… I just made a Heartbeeps reference… I’ll see myself out before everybody starts awkwardly asking what the fuck that is. I was never here.
Ah, the ’80s. When porn wasn’t just parodies of popular TV shows or innuendo titles. When your movie’s called “Inside Lydia’s Ass”, you know what you’re getting.
I applaud Bateman’s patience. I’d probably lose it if the bastard son of Carrot Top and Pee Wee Herman started fondling my pocket square.
This! Showing someone THIS is enough to get your face split open with an ax! Wall Street was fucking Fury Road 30 years ago!
“I turned down every role that came my way because I wanted to keep my schedule open for Airheads 2, and without any work, I ended up here. Adam Sandler has been telling me since 1995 that he was gonna produce Airheads 2! HE PROMISED ME! He told me there’s a script and everything, they’re just tweaking it and I need to hold out a few more weeks! I’m starting to doubt him…”
“Why the slicker? Are you kidding?! When the ladies see this hi-fi setup, there’s going to be a *SPLOOSH* tsunami coming my way!”
“Sorry for my appearance, but you know what they say: a real man loves his woman every day of the month! Haha!”
Is he making reservations at a restaurant, or calling in an air strike?! I wish cell phones were still that big though. I guarantee I wouldn’t have to listen to every asshole at the supermarket shouting their personal conversations if they had to lug one of those monsters around.
Bateman was 25 years ahead of the curve with recording adorable cat antics. Unfortunately, he taped over all of them with snuff films before YouTube would be invented.
“Hey! Does that picture frame look crooked to you? You know what, never mind. I probably should’ve waited till later. Damn coke… but seriously, is it just me or is that fucking frame, like, REALLY crooked?! IT GETS MORE CROOKED THE LONGER I LOOK AT IT! Alright, I’m sorry, but I can’t finish this till I fix that damn frame!”
Did you know Patrick Bateman invented the FlowBee? His was called the BloodFlowBee though… also, it killed you… there were a LOT of lawsuits. It bankrupted him.
“So, can I rely on you to help me with my little spider infestation?”
“Of course, provided you can help me get the bats out of my belfry… permanently! Hahahahahahaha!…. We are talking about teaming-up to kill each others’ nemesi, right?”
“I know I said that whole ‘real men’ comment earlier, but COME ON! When you sneeze it’s like Evil Dead 2 in here! I can’t keep buying new Egyptian cotton sheets EVERY MONTH!”
In Miami, you learn not to look up. Every time you do, THAT is what’s staring back at you from EVERY fire escape. Fucking Florida.
“And THIS is for all the times you insisted on cornering me in the elevator and forced me to make small talk with you! I don’t CARE about your FUCKING grandchildren getting their FUCKING braces off!”
“No… please… please… PLEASE STOP! I just… I just want the internet service… THE INTERNET SERVICE!… NO!… I don’t want 3 free months of 15 different Showtime channels!… no…. no…… NO!….. NOOOOO!…. PLEASE STOP!…. please….. please…. just…. please…. just stop….” *heavy sobbing sounds*
Anubis will return next time in
Featuring: Glenn “See No Evil” Jacobs , Danielle “Halloween 4” Harris , Katharine “Ginger Snaps” Isabelle
Directors: Jen & Sylvia “American Mary” Soska
Writers: Nathan “Lockdown” Brookes , Bobby Lee “Lockdown” Darby
Sequel to: See No Evil (duh)
Oh look, 8 years after their maiden voyage WWE Films is still insistent upon making movies. And after sequelizing their generic action series The Marine 3 times too many, they finally got back around to that See No Evil 2 I’ve been writing half-hearted fan emails to them about this since 2006. Neither director Greg Dark nor writer Dan Madigan were allowed back to continue their tale though, as WWE instead opted to give the writer’s pen/keyboard over to a new pair (whose only other viable credit is another upcoming WWE Films release) filling the director’s chair with indie horror darlings “The Soska Sisters” (Jen and Sylvia). Their feature debut American Mary has been the subject of much praise around the underworld water cooler in recent years. Despite my feral lust for Katharine Isabelle, I have not seen said movie yet, much to the chagrin of my gore whore lady friends. But I promise it’s on my “to do” list…with about 70 or 80 other “must see” recommendations. A term that NBC made completely invalid with their Thursday night lineups over the last decade.
Last time on “The Tomb of Anubis”, we met big, filthy, sweaty, no doubt stanky (thank Osiris that Smell-O-Vision never caught on), The Hills Have Eyes reject (and possible bassist from a ’70s funk ensemble with a name like this) Jacob Goodnight. Which those who didn’t watch the closing credits never would’ve realized, because the sole utterance of his moniker within the movie proper was cut out by an editor who probably spent most of their childhood eating lead paint chips while standing in front of an active microwave directly under high tension wires!
Goodnight was (and still is) played by WWE professional wrestler Kane, as he was also credited previously. This time he’s not just “Kane” though, he’s Glenn “Kane” Jacobs. This break in kayfabe (wrestling industry term for the false reality in which their characters and stories exist) is probably due to some kinda snag, likely with the Screen Actors Guild. So, a “SAG snag”, if you please. Or if you don’t please. We are Siamese either way, chunder thunder. Anyway, in our previous “getting to know you” installment, we learned that Jake had a Norman Bates-ian upbringing at the hands of his tyrannical matriarch, who kept her baby boy locked in a cage and frequently abused him as punishment for having perfectly natural teenage hormonal urges. Almost as bad as the time my own mother got drunk at a party and outed me to a group of strangers over my masturbatory practices to the Marvel Comics Swimsuit Special. Forensics are still uncovering victims (or at least parts of them) to this day.
As with any movie slasher, Mr. Goodnight was disposed of by his would-be victims, and suffered one of the funniest ends in the history of the pantheon of lowest-common-denominator cinematic slaughterers. Though one of the most repugnant slasher film protagonists walked away from the ordeal in one piece (said piece being very much shit-shaped, as the guy was the epitome of asshole chowder), overall I thought the movie did its job better than most of its ilk and deserved a sequel. Well, here we are, 80% of a decade after-the-fact, and check out the latest aphoristic black cat to cross my metaphorical path under the proverbial ladder: See No Evil 2. Was it worth the wait? Find out now as we continue the surprising adventures of ME, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar!
Sorry, a recent friend of mine (was she?) turned me onto “Peep Show”, which led me to a Hulu marathoning of “That Mitchell and Webb Look” from which my brain refuses to rewire.
Following his head holing at the finale of the prior feature, Jake Goodnight’s been recovered by paramedics and rushed to the hospital in a desperate attempt to save yet another life not worth saving. He saves the taxpayers a bunch of loose change by flatlining on the way, and he’s instead dropped off at the loading entrance for the morgue. So already we’re starting off in that awkward spot as the audience where we know there was an 8 year gap between the movies, but we’re supposed to accept that the events of both are happening one after the other. Oh well. Still not nearly as awkward as those movies where scenes are shot out-of-sequence and over the span of several years, so characters’ facial features inexplicably do the time warp back and forth for the length of the run time…I’m looking at you, Equinox.
Working in the morgue are the “requisite cute girl that you know was an emo/goth kid in high school” Amy (Danielle Harris), her “opposite gender co-worker who’s in love with the protagonist but can’t bring it upon themselves to ask so-and-so on a date” Seth, and their “guy in a wheelchair who you just know is gonna end up being a Franklin Hardesty homage” boss Holden. Uggh. “Holden”. That’s the kind of name you give your character/child when you want people to cheer their graphic murder at the business end of something from the Black Friday Sale at Home Depot. “Holden”. It would be beholden of you to give yourself a real name, you fucking toerag!
It’s the night before Amy’s birthday, so she’s got plans to go out and party it up with her buddies at a bar. Adult birthdays really are shit, aren’t they? No bigger deal than any other Friday night, except for some party favors and another excuse to get blackout drunk because it’s a “special occasion”. Knobs. Amy has to cancel her plans though, because Jake and his 9 victims (sounds like a kids’ story about a serial killer) kinda take priority. Enter Seth and Holden (ARGH!), who call her friends and invite them to bring their party to the her!…in the basement full of dangerous chemicals and corpses. Okay. Probably the worst idea you’ve okay-ed since whatever it was that crippled your legs, Holden. The birthday girl’s big brother Will (Greyson Holt) comes along for the festivities and to play actual Big Brother (the police state, not the tv show) by supplementing Seth’s own self-cockblockery. Billy takes him aside and tells him not to get too attached to little sis, because she’s too good for him and doesn’t deserve to be stuck in a dead end (pun intended) job poking necrophiles’ dream dates for the rest of her life. In the words of the doctor who gave me my last physical, “What a dick!”.
Amidst the socializing and festivities, Amy’s freako fetishist friend Tamara (Katherine Isabelle) sneaks off with her hipster boy toy Carter (Lee Majdoub) to do some exploring. They’re the type of horror flick couple to which the term “exploring” implies “going in search of new locales and/or surfaces to do sex on”. Tamara’s squishy over the news that the body of the latest flavor-of-the-month serial killer happens to be in that very morgue and, being the sex maniac of the movie, seeks out the big galoot, as she’s very warm for his very cold form. Well, that explains Amy’s earlier comment about how she’s living TamTam’s “dream job”! The girl rubs her leather skirted, thigh-high socked self over Goodnight like a second coat of paint, until Carter gets grossed out enough to stop her and bang her himself. Note: if your partner spends their time eye-fucking a dead body while you’re inside them, it’s not a good sign. Then again, there shouldn’t be a dead body in the same room that you’re committing the meat market mambo in to begin with, so I guess you’ve got worse things to worry about than what name your hump buddy’s gonna mistakenly call you upon climax anyway. Carry on.
Through some manner of coital necromancy that’s hereto unexplained for the entirety of our tale, the slapping of the duo’s greased genitalia awakens our antagonist like the ancient utterances of some sort of sexy witch doctor. Maybe J’s got that Voorhees premarital sex murder slasher aura? Maybe it’s to such a degree that, when he’s in close enough proximity to people doin’ the ol’ pump ‘n grunt, even Death cannot stay his blood soaked hand from enforcing the only truly 100% effective form of birth control! Whatever the source of his resurrection, it’s apparently given Goodnight super speed too, because me manages to get off his examination table and slip out of sight during a brief moment that Tammy looks away from his body.
Given that his hook chain is no doubt sitting in an evidence locker elsewhere in the city, Goodnight has to make due with a veritable armory’s worth of bladed and/or gougey medical instruments. But first, he fashions a shiny new surgical grade hook chain. Because how else is he supposed to drag victims down a hallway in that “elevated horror of slowly being pulled to your inescapable doom” that audiences eat up? He only uses it the one time though. I guess he doesn’t wanna get typecast as “that hook chain guy”. Nobody else at Local Slashers’ Union 187 would take him seriously! But, at the same time, Jake’s given up his whole eyeball-plucking angle! That was his whole gimmick! Taking out Goodnight’s ocular dismemberment is like someone making a Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel where Leatherface doesn’t wear masks he made out of human flesh. Or, for wrestling fans, it’s like Kane giving up his masked, deranged, pyromaniacal burn victim persona and just putting on something from Men’s Wearhouse and walking around like some white collar shit heel! Which WWE totally did. They call him “Korporate Kane” and he looks…well… Remember how weird it was when the middle school gym teacher became the new high school principal and started combing his hair and shaving and wearing a suit? That.
Obviously wanting to be taken seriously amidst his peers in the slasher crowd, Jacob knows you need a signature look. Knowing this, Jake dons a black apron (very American Mary-ish… at least from the one poster I’ve seen) and one of those protective mask appliances for people who get their faces burned off in comical barbecuing mishaps or pissed off squirrel attacks. Properly geared, he marches on to maraud this new posse of gudgeons (thanks, thesaurus.com!) while he flashbacks to the previous movie AND the previous movie’s flashbacks (flashback within a flashback… flashbackception!). No worries though, kiddies: the Soskas don’t sacrifice half the runtime to recycled footage of the first movie. Did enough of you even see Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 for me to make a tribute joke here? I didn’t think so.
From here you can pretty much guess how the rest of the movie pans out. Dead person, running, screaming, dead person, dead person, running, screaming, hiding, running, dead person, screaming, dead person, running. That’s it. There’s an interesting little surprise about 15 minutes before the finish, albeit one that comes about through entirely illogical circumstances. But hey, it’s a slsher flick, not a Shyamalan movie! There’s also this lovely little gruesome scene at the end that gives me fuzzy memories of the Tall Man’s “death” in Phantasm II. However, the mandatory threequel threat ending comes off like the kid behind the counter at KFC sneezing into your bucket of Extra Crispy before handing it to you and telling you to have a nice day. And that’s the best way to sum this whole experience up.
Even keeping my hopes at a minimum, I was still disappointed. Now, when I say “minimum”, I don’t mean the bare minimum. I wasn’t going into SNE2 with the sense of “If it’s better than Rise of the Zombies, it’ll be worthwhile.” No, I came at it like you should any sequel: if it’s isn’t better or at the least on par with its predecessor, then you’ve wasted your time. I’m not a fan of having my time wasted. I may have such a surplus of free time that I could use it for toilet paper every time I shit and still be bored for the rest of my life, but that’s MY time to wipe MY ass with, not yours. See No Evil 2 just takes the opening sequence of Friday the 13th The Final Chapter, then stretches it out into an entire movie to save on the cost of shooting in two locations. Sure, it looks okay while it does it, but that only takes you so far. You could be the hottest piece of flesh on the planet, but if you don’t know how to work your partner’s pieces, you’re spending your nights alone. Which is a complete lie, as there are people out there shallow enough to get off having sex with someone just because they’re physically attractive, even if they just lay there like a corpse. Be careful they don’t get up and kill you after, though.
Speaking of looks, permit me to be shallow for a minute. Only for a few sentences, I promise. Danielle Harris looks fantastic. She’s actually old enough NOT to look like a little girl now, so I don’t need to feel deep shame and tormentous self-loathing while wanting to: take her out to a nice romantic dinner, where I ask her about her hopes and dreams before she sits on my face and calls me a pathetic, disgusting pervert who isn’t even worthy of being spit on by her. Shiiiiiit. Now I need to wash my robes before they stain. On the opposite end of the dirty old man spectrum: I was so sad to discover that Katharine Isabelle is not the same weirdly hot slice of life she was when last I looked upon her with glazed eyes and pitched tent. I’m no chauvinist, and it could very well be some poor makeup work on her here or that her character is intended to be portrayed as a disheveled drunk (which she is); but Miss Isabelle looks like she’s basically Lindsey Lohan-ed herself since I last saw her. Which was Freddy Vs. Jason. I realize she’s actually had steady work in those last 11 years, which is great for her because she definitely deserves it after her mini-breakout with Ginger Snaps, so maybe my shock is solely my fault for not keeping up with her as she aged like any human being. I’m not the boner-inducing spring chicken I once was myself, but I’ve got the benefit of a massive mandibular mane to cover up my personal passage down the chronal chasm. That said, I’d still give up both of my big toes to have been in Kane’s place while Miss Isabelle was rubbing herself all over his deceptively undeceased cadaver, if for no other reason than to have “Totally got groped on by Ginger” etched in gold upon the door of my crypt after I depart. She could have half her faced burned by acid and the other half chewed off by wolverines, but she’ll always be Ginger to me.
And so it goes. A sequel I’ve spent 1/3 of my life waiting on finally lands in my lap. Not as the most enchanting stripper you’ve ever seen, but as the gangrenous, shit encrusted, vomiting homeless person that even the C.H.U.D.s want nothing to do with!
Alright, I admit that was excessive hyperbole for the sake of churning the cookies of as many of you as possible before ending this episode. Now, before those technicolor yawn bombs go active, I bid you all adieu!
Not a title card, but an endorsement that you should see No Evil 2: Evilectric Boogaloo.
Their names are Isaac and Fig.
“We’re such a cute couple. Too bad one or both of us will probably not have a functioning circulatory system by the end of the night.”
That moment you realize the only reason a hot girl’s been flirting with you for the last few hours is because she thinks you’re Seth Rogen.
The sad sad image of a middle-aged man on the phone with Hot Topic customer service because the lip ring he ordered doesn’t make him look as young as he’d hoped.
Holden REALLY wishing he still had physical sensation from the waist down… and remembering that his name is “Holden”.
“Trent, I really liked it better when I thought you were just another hipster dressing like a Turkish refugee, not an actual Turkish refugee hipster. Your balls smell like Tabbouleh and Patchouli. It’s gross.”
The awkward moment at a party when you look into a girl’s eyes and see so much crazy behind them that you fear you may not make it home tonight with your genitals intact.
Good thing I’ve already got hairy palms and limited vision, or this screenshot could cause me a lot of problems…
Cue the cries of “ZOINKS!”, turn on the Monkees music, and prepare for the chase scene through a hallway of doors that inexplicably warp space behind them in 3, 2, 1…
Sorry to be the one to break this to ya, Jake, but you’re gonna need more than a Sammy Davis Special for that!
Looks like somebody bought out everything at Dr. Giggles’ yard sale.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the worst lit hospital since Halloween II.
It’s no hockey mask, but… well… as I just said, it’s no hockey mask!
Anubis will return next time in