Feature 32 – Halloween (2007)

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

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

Director: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie

Writer: Rob “The Devil’s Rejects” Zombie

Origin: USA

Review_____

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots_____

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


“Ahhhh, still smells like Mother.”


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


Shit. And I thought my allergies were bad!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


They must be enrolled at Horror High.


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


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


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


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

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Faygo 500”

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

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

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Feature 29 – Friday the 13th (2009)

or “Mommy’s Little Monster”

Featuring: Jared “Supernatural” Padalecki , Danielle “Piranha 3DD” Panabaker , Amanda “The Mentalist” Righetti , with Derek Mears as Jason

Director: Marcus “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)” Nispel

Writers: Damian “Freddy vs. Jason” Shannon , Mark “Freddy vs. Jason” Swift , Mark “The Messengers” Wheaton

Origin: USA

Review_____

“You’re fucking lucky there, Stretch. Came that close to hitting the ‘start’ button on the whoop-ass machine, boy!”

Writer’s Note: Yet again I’m a minor hinder (i.e. a little behind) with this episode. I was hoping to have it plastered on the page come Friday the 13th for obvious reasons, but failed to match my deadline after the 2 week stumble marathon that was my prior production. Also, I received my order of powdered rhino horn from that mysterious Chinese sorcerer who contacted me through the page’s feedback function, so I was UP ALL WEEKEND with my editor/wife. Ohhhhh yeeeeaaaah, macho man!

Editor’s Note: None of that last part happened. He paid $200 for a cheap plastic elephant bottle filled with Country Time Lemonade drink-mix powder.

Writer’s Note: Damn it…

This is the first of a four part series I’m calling “Shake, Bake, & Remake”, focusing on remakes (duh) of otherwise infamous flicks that I can’t actually review here in the New Tomb, thanks to my self-imposed “Current Millennium Movies Only” edict. I’m not saying I’ve got it as hard as those religious kooks who put themselves through self-flagellation to prove their piousness, but I’m not not saying I’ve got it that hard either… and yes, I just said “I’ve got it that hard” ladies, in case you’re feeling frisky.

There have been a LOT of these remakes in the last 15 or so years, so it was only a matter of time before I could stop ignoring the epidemic and had to spread awareness though my only available portal to the masses. “The more you know” and all that. Anyway, it seems that every 365 days the Hollywood Xerox machine is sputtering out new half-assed paper jam abortions to try and cash-in on recycled ideas, much to the chagrin of long time movie lovers. The kingpin of this human centipede-inal process of turning food into shit into somebody else’s food is Michael Bay. He’s not just a boogeyman that creative thinkers use to scare their children into brushing their teeth and washing their ears before bed, lest he steal their imagination, either. Depending on who you ask, Bay’s career is either one big punchline (with an explosion at the end) or a new holocaust that will be marked as one of the darkest times in human history. I personally would like him to hang himself with his own intestines, but I write the same thing whenever I get one of those damn customer service surveys on my receipts. That’s just the kinda Death God I am.

In honor of the holiday (What? I always take Friday the 13th off from work. You don’t?!), I’m kicking things off with a figurative kick in the balls: 2009’s Friday the 13th. Now, since it’s officially hit its 5 year expiration date, this movie’s now ripe for spoilage. If you haven’t already seen it, and you’re expecting anything beyond “a guy in a hockey mask kills a bunch of horny teens”, you may want to close this window now and go on with your blissful ignorance until you can see it for yourself. For those of you who have seen it, or could care less about watching paper-thin plots put through the proverbial shredder, I’ll do what I can to make your stay a pleasant one. Now, onward to violence!

Not a true remake of the original (because 95% of casual slasher movie fans don’t even know who the fuck Pamela Voorhees is), this F13 takes the broad-minded clusterfuck approach of jamming an un-lubed speculum into a 106 minute running time and trying to stuff four movies worth of dongs into it. Sure, most people would say, “Dude, they’re just slasher movies. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all, so what’s the big deal of cutting four down into one?”. Jane, you ignorant slut. You know not of the things you speak, so I’ll forgive your lack of awareness long enough to let you get out the front door and leave this place, never to return again. Seriously though, you’d be surprised how much more there is to the story of Jason Voorhees than “kills naked thirty-somethings pretending to be teenage camp counselors”. But, I’d probably have better luck trying to teach a cat how to evolve into a squid. Either you get it or you don’t. I’d rather eat razor blades than watch Twilight, so different strokes get off different folks…unless you get off to “Diff’rent Strokes”, in which case there’s help for your sickness – at the bottom of a well. Go find it. Headfirst. The world thanks you.

The original movie gets put through the Cuisinart worst of the four originals, being hacked into little more than a black & white flashback played during the opening credits (yes, the opening credits) of Pam voiding her hat-of-the-month membership thanks to the final would-be victim of her Camp Crystal Lake murder revenge tour. The story’s still the same – she blames the counselors for the drowning death of her special needs son Jason, having been too preoccupied with cavorting of the pants-less kind to watch the little mutant while he was swimming. As any parent would like to do, Momma hacked ’em up like a butcher on bath salts. But, her death by self-defense decapitation was viewed by her still-living little boy. Taking up the very machete used for the aforementioned decap attack, Jason would go on a lifelong crusade of surviving on his own and serial killing anybody unfortunate enough to set foot on the campgrounds of Crystal Lake. The time it took you to read that is about 3 times longer than the movie actually spends setting things up.

There are a number of barbs this movie maliciously drops down the back of our pants, but there are two in particular that gave me the greatest trouble sitting down after experiencing them. I’m now going to address the first – of all the things the writers could’ve done to tweak the tale of Jason Voorhees, the one most in need of adjustment are his years between seeing his mother die and starting his successful career as a killer of the people that Mountain Dew and Miley Cyrus are marketed to. It never sat well with me that we were expected to believe that a deformed retard child not only survived his drowning (The police never recovered his body from the lake?! Are you fucking kidding me?!), and not only chose to live in the wilderness rather than seek help from anyone in the community, but he actually MANAGED to live off of small animals and berries and raccoon shit for two decades, then just happened to witness his mother’s death, which sent him a killing spree for the next 20 years?! All of this is stupid! So, perfect chance for the reboot writers to retcon it the fuck out and make something more sensible, right? Like, maybe Jason survived the swimming incident and Pam’s killing spree wasn’t due to his death, but still due to the negligence of the counselors? She obviously wasn’t the sanest kumquat on the fruit cart, right? So it would make sense, especially if she brought Jason along with her to witness how much she loves him by striking wrathful vengeance in his name. It would definitely go a long way in explaining his own use of violence in avenging her death for the rest of his life. As far as the whole “living off the land for twenty years licking moss” bullshit, just put him into foster care following mom’s rampage, have him murder his caretakers at some point in his teens, then let him make the trek back to Crystal Lake to set up shop and we’re on our way! But no, let’s not do that. Instead, these dipshit fuck bags decide to fart in the face of effort and just stick with the whole Mowgli thing – Jason’s raised by squirrels or some nonsense and he’s just there and he’s always been there and when everybody who goes out there is never heard from again NOBODY WILL NOTICE OR DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! GRARRGHGRRRRRAAAAARRRRRRRRGH!

Pardon my embolism. Uggh. So, yeah. New Jason is an adult now who may or may not have his own marijuana crop out in the woods around Crystal Lake. He lives in the abandoned remains of the camp (abandoned following the mass murder incident), probably drinking his own urine or just coating his intestines with parasites from chugging the lake water. There’s probably a whole hive of squirmy things in his guts. He probably doesn’t even poop anymore because the colony of colon worms just eat all his feces for him then re-poop it back into his blood stream, gradually turning him into an unstoppable dung golem. Where was I? Oh yeah, Jason’s pot field. For something like 10 minutes we’re introduced to a small group of friends who have come to Crystal Lake to sleep (and pork) under the stars. Two of the guys (one of which is a poor man’s Seth Rogen that looks so much like Ragnarok from Cinemasochist Apocalypse that I had to rub my eyes in one of those slapstick comedy double takes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it) are secretly there to steal weed from this legendary crop the one guy’s dealer told him about, the third guy is there to snoop around the campgrounds with his “girl next door” lady love, and the remaining female is there to show off her nauseating botched ’80s boob job and have silhouette doggystyle with one of the weed guys in their tent. They’re solely here as Jason fodder, hence all the marijuana and sex and trespassing. Jason himself is wearing a sack on his head a la F13 2, but it looks more like a pillowcase wrapped around his face than the traditional potato sack. Back to the delinquents. Imperfect Ragnarok Clone gets hacked up, his New Wave Holdover pot hunting partner gets macheted in the face like Leonard Lies, Gross Tit Job gets torched alive in her sleeping bag, Unthreatening Trespasser Boyfriend gets dragged through a floor and presumably slaughtered off-screen, and Appropriate Acting Trespasser Girlfriend is presumed also macheted. Until later on, when it’s revealed that Jason just takes her captive because she looks kinda like this picture of his mom that he keeps in a locket.

Hey, I told you I was gonna be spoiling this nonsense like 6 month old milk! If you stuck around to drink it, you’ve only got yourself to blame, Jermaine. Hope you like sour and chunky, cuz I’ve got plenty more to pour down your gullet. NO WASTE!

After ALL of this, we finally get our title card, some 25 minutes in. Somebody cal Guinness, because that’s gotta be the longest pre-title prologue sequence ever witnessed. From here we fast forward to “6 Weeks Later”, where a second group of irresponsible twenty-somethings are also making an ill-advised trip to corpse country. Since this is supposed to be the part where the Friday the 13th Part 3-D “homage” initiates, this rainbow coalition (well, it’s 5 white people and their token black and Asian friends) is assembling at the family summer house of their leader Trent (Travis Van Winkle) who, if you couldn’t already tell by his name, is such a massive douche bag that he might as well be played a gallon milk jug filled with vinegar that has “Summer’s Eve” stamped on the side. The only real elements of note from this group are that goofy blond pretty boy slacker Nolan is played by Ryan Hansen of “Party Down” (a criminally under-appreciated comedy from Starz that NOBODY watched), and token black guy Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) who, despite the *wink*wink* moment of not wanting to be stereotyped as one of those black guys, doesn’t even come off as an n-word, he comes off like a whigger because he tries too damn hard to be one of said black guys! I’m pretty sure he graduated Valedictorian of the Black Acting School’s Class of 2008… Hollywood Shuffle? Nothing? Really!? Isis help me…

Transitioning into the Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter section of our movie, lone wolf heartthrob-on-a-motorcycle Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is also in the area, not just to play the forbidden love interest to our female lead – King Douche’s set-upon good girl girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) – but to find his sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti), who went missing in the area 6 weeks earlier. Yep, Locket Girl. Speaking of, she’s spent the last month and a half captive in Jason’s underground cave lair (which is way more “influenced” by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 than anything F13), and looks WAY too clean for someone shackled in her own filth for 40 days and nights. Here’s a sticking point that Michael Bay’s welcome to stick in his boom boom hole: despite Camp Crystal Lake being long abandoned, it’s still wired for electricity, which Jason turns on with one of those big mad scientist switches that just don’t carry the same panache without the “It’s alive! ALIVE!” schtick accompanying it.

Clay’s search for sis isn’t helped by the incompetent local podunk police force (an F13 series staple), especially Officer Brackle (Richard Burgi, who looks like the bastard spawn of Patrick Warburton and Huey Lewis) who recommends that Clay go looking elsewhere because Whitney and her friends probably just ran away somewhere else to disappear without a trace…having NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER TO OTHER STORIES OF ERRANT CITIZENS THAT HAVE REMAINED UNSOLVED IN THE CRYSTAL LAKE AREA ALL THESE YEARS ……… and there goes another embolism. Though there’s no Crazy Ralph proper in this movie, there is an unnamed old demented lady (Roseanne Knower) who does the job, filling in Clay on the whole sordid history of Crystal Lake being a Bermuda Triangle for missing credit card applicably aged delinquents.

And beyond that? Not a whole lot to report. Jason kills everybody. In fact, he starts with a local yokel white trash stoner (who my Evil Dead Bride perfectly described as “exactly the kind of guy who would lick the pages in Hustler”) who I can’t help but feel is playing a part that was originally written for Jason “Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame” Mewes. Whether you agree with me at first glimpse or not, once he starts sexually harassing a decrepit mannequin, I think you’ll come to my side of the opinion pond. Beyond licking porno mags (bet they taste salty) and groping inanimate objects, this guy’s reason for being isn’t just to be killed, but so Jason can find a certain iconic piece of sporting equipment in the dumbass’ smoke & stroke shack. Having taken up his sword (machete) and donned his magic helmet (hockey mask), the mighty masked mauler can go about his destined destruction of these purveyors of moderate debauchery. Using more skillful hunting techniques rather than simple smashery & slashery for the most part, the result is the same – everybody ceases to be and joins the choir invisible. I’m fine with that, except for Jason’s more agile feats, like climbing onto a roof with relative ease (ninja fart style: silent but deadly), then leaping down afterward to stab someone through the eye. I prefer my mute murdering juggernauts to be more the lumbering colossi type, but maybe I’m just old fashioned.

By the last reel, it all comes down to the final four: Jason, Clay, Jenna, and the recovered Whitney. In somewhat of a shock, Jenna ends up the victim of implement impalement while trying to escape Jason’s silly underground lair. Which he probably fixed up at the cost of *dramatic pause* one BILLLLLLLION dollars! Man, nothing says you’ve got your bloody talons on the pulse of humor like a 12 year old Austin Powers joke. Blart. The chase eventually ends with a chain around Jason’s neck and our mongoloid mangler being dragged headfirst into the business end of an industrial wood chipper (which I would’ve expected to immediately screech to a halt once the first few feet of chain got wrapped up inside the blades, but hey, movies and stuff) which shuts down after leaving the top of Jay’s dome looking like he just tried on a toupee made of piranhas. I could have done without the Velveeta that Whitney vomits on us in triumph over her captor (“Jason! Say hi to Mommy…IN HELL!”), but as far as endings go, I’ll allow it. No yellow card.

Sorry. The Tomb’s marketing department told me to try and pander to the World Cup crowd. I wouldn’t review Shaolin Soccer, so this was the best I could do to get them to stop poking me with their stupid marketing pitchforks…still don’t know how those slipped by me during the annual budget review…

Immediately following the figurative disposal of the villain is the literal disposal of the villain, and this is where the movie’s second GIANT ass barb falls squarely betwixt my seat cushions. Okay, if you were in Clay and/or Whitney’s shoes, and you’d just stopped a crazed serial killer in a mask who slaughtered a dozen or so people around you… What would you do? Yes, you’d call the police and have them rush out to you immediately while keeping a sentinel-like watch over said murderer’s body, probably while wielding a large, sharp, weaponized gardening tool. And if you’ve seen slasher movies at any time in your life, you’d go the extra mile and chop off his hands and feet, crush his head with a cinder block, and/or park a tractor on top of his corpse as added insurance. What do the siblings do? Dump his body into the lake. What do you think happens when the cops show up, find a whole bunch of bodies, and a brother and sister say “It wasn’t us! It was this big redneck in a hockey mask that we managed to kill in self-defense, then dumped his body in the lake! No, really, we dumped him in the lake! Why!? Uhm… hey, Clay? Why did we dispose of the biggest piece of evidence corroborating our story again? Shit. We’re going to prison, aren’t we?”. But no, none of that matters, because the whole lake dumping thing is done solely for the goofy last-minute movie jump scare attempt when Jason leaps out of the water to finish off our heroes before the end credits roll. This is what happens when you get a friggin’ music video director to helm your slasher flick.

I know movie criticism has a long history of people saying, “That sucked! I could’ve done a better job and I don’t even make movies!”, but in this case I have to agree. As of this review, I’m happy to report that we can at least find solace in knowing that none of F13‘s trio of writers has done anything of note in the half-decade since, possibly crushed by the torrent of hate mail from the Friday Faithful following this fart-in-the-wind remake. As for director Nispel, he seems to have ignored the bloody writing on his bathroom walls and chosen to soldier on with pissing off children of the ’80s, because his next credit was that Conan the Barbarian remake. As least the “slick kinetic Hollywood production” look fits something like a swords & sandals monster mash better than a slasher production, because aside from the hockey mask and all of the stuff lifted directly from the previous F13 installments, this is in no way a Friday the 13th movie. Just like other Michael Bay productions like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in no way represent their source material in any means other than the duplicitous “name only”. Jason looks like he’s been sticking to a strict routine on a BowFlex he found in one of the abandoned cabins, and has apparently mastered electrical engineering with one of those “earn your degree through the mail” programs. I blame the deaths of these people squarely on YOUR shoulder pads, quasi-celebrity Sally Struthers!

Final judgment time: Friday the 13th has some decent violence, but any idiot with a blunt instrument can commit violence. A butcher can turn meat into a meal with skill. An artist can turn violence into entertainment with creativity. In the hands of these people, it’s just “stab stab kill kill”. An uninteresting story with even less interesting characters. A lazy for-profit attempt on a storied slasher franchise (just go with it) disguised as an homage to a legend when it’s really just an excuse to reuse someone else’s leftovers and try to call it your own fine cuisine creation. I’d rather watch Jason Takes Manhattan for a weekend straight than bother with this “re-visioning” by people blinded with dollar signs made of diarrhea. When you try to legitimize an illegitimate genre like cheesy ’80s slashers, you miss the point entirely. They put so much effort into being tongue-in-cheek that the whole affair ends up being way too on-the-nose, which eventually turns it into some kind of awful tongue-in-nose thing that’s just nauseating. And that’s all the time I’m willing to put into this review. Join us next time to see who the next slasher icon is to be put through Tinseltown’s imperfect cloning machine in “Shake, Bake, & Remake Part 2”! But for now, as Uncle Gunter would say, “Leb wohl mein kleines Schnitzel-Abgründe!”

Moral of the Story: You know those parents of handicapped children who say that one day their special needs child could grow up to be the President of the USA or some other really huge achievement as such? Jason Voorhees just makes me want to go down to the Special Olympics and smother every last potential serial killer in the lot before they can come to maturity and take their hatred for the world out on me. I am the comic relief for any slasher movie, so there’s no way I make it long enough to hear the awful nu-metal shit they’re gonna shove into the end credits!

Screenshots_____

“Damn it Steve, if you forgot to pack the tweezers my brow line is going to look like a Pakistani during No Shave November! We have to go home and get them NOW!”


See what I mean?! Switch out the Star Wars shirt for something Godzilla and this guy’s the movie version of Brother Ragnarok!… and clicking that link will result in no support for my argument, because Raggy doesn’t have a pic of himself on his profile… blart.


Jason is terrifying enough on his own. These two just walked in on him jacking his jerky to bathing suit photos of his mom. They’re scarred for life. But, on the plus side, at least their lives won’t last much longer!


If you thought termites were hard to get rid of, once you’ve got a Voorhees in your floor boards you might as well just burn the place down and start over… on another continent.


“Excedrin Headache #13: the camping trip”


Wearing a pillow case on his head and standing next to a burning effigy?! I know he’s a vicious serial killer, but I never realized Jason was a white supremacist too! Things are gonna be very awkward with Candyman at this year’s MurderCon.


No, I haven’t. I don’t really like Whitney Cummings, and I’ve heard that show was unwatchable anyway. It was also canceled a year ago, so… no, poster, I haven’t seen ‘Whitney.


“Are you on drugs, young man? Because, to be honest, I want a new drug. One that won’t make me sick. One that won’t make me crash my car, or make me feel 3 feet thick.”


That moment you realize that the secret ingredient in your buddy’s “special brownies” wasn’t marijuana…


No, before you say anything, I didn’t boot up the Maniac remake by mistake. Believe me, I really wish that was the case, but no such luck.


The Invisible Man? The Mummy? Darkman?! Nobody knew who Jason was supposed to be at last year’s Halloween party, and every time someone asked he stabbed them in the eyes with candy corn!
FYI – he was dressed as Hush. JV’s a big Batman fan.


All she’s missing is a naked Richard Branson clutched on her back like a baby lemur.


Kids, never go drinking with William Tell. That guy doesn’t just carry a chip on his shoulder, he’s got the whole stack of Pringles. After a few Pink Squirrels it always comes back to that stupid apple and, well, this happens.


Michael Bay’s veiled threat to ruin the Puppet Master franchise next… oh wait, Charles Band’s been doing that since 1993. Never mind.


This is why you’re supposed to take your contacts out at night, folks. The warnings on the box are there for a reason!


“Hail Hydra.” (I’m not 3 months late, I’m just moving up the timetable for bringing it back.)


There you go, ladies. Don’t say I never gave you anything… well, other than the creeps… and hepatitis.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Pizza Puss Reborn”

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

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

Feature 17 [Rerun] – The Condemned (2007)

or “Stone Cold Killers”

Featuring:  Steve “The Expendables” Austin , Vinnie “Snatch” Jones , Robert “Man-Thing” Mammone

Director:  Scott “The Marine 3: Homefront” Wiper

Writers:  Scott “The Marine 3: Homefront” Wiper , Rob “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” Hedden , Andy “Simon & Simon: In Trouble Again” Hedden

Origin: USA

Review_____

This is not war Breck, this is television. It’s much more complicated!”

 Intro: I may not have made it clear enough in my Tag Team review, but I’m a huge nerd when it comes to wrestling. None of that legit shit though, I’m talking the really stupid stuff with grown men in tights with gimmicks who pretend to fight each other amidst bizarre pageantry that shames those creepy mini-prostitution contests that mutated the ‘L’ in TLC from “Learning” to “Lascivious”. And not in the good way! As much as I thought WWE Studios (they changed the name from WWE Films shortly after this “film” underwhelmed both monetarily and critically) would’ve gone the way of the XFL years ago, there must be some solid home movie market keeping it alive, because their theatrical saturation is badly dehydrated… heh, moisture humor. Even the screens they do end up shown on make shit for box office. They did wise up as far as not making their wrestlers the front and center of every movie, relegating most of them to much deeper territory on the movie credits totem poles and casting legit actors for the starring roles. They had an oddly successful production last year with their Halle Berry vehicle The Call, which debuted at #2 in the country and pulled in about as much domestic dollah dollah as the studio’s 10 prior poopers combined!

Anyway, here’s my rerun for The Condemned. It’s basically The Hunger Games for adults… so it’s basically Battle Royale with convicted criminals instead of high school students… so it’s basically a “serious” modernization of The Running Man. It’s not unlike the way Death Race 2000 beget Death Race, only without having to pay Stephen King for the “Running Man” name. Have at it, kids.

Original Review:

“They shot my fucking Arab?!”

Tired of everybody else making money off of their trained monkeys, Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly the World Wrestling Federation until the World Wildlife Fund decided to throw a judicial fit over the use of the initials “WWF”) started up their own movie division in the hopes of getting a big chunk of the paycheck from the next wrestler to make the successful crossover from squared circle to action movie notoriety, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Of course Lionsgate picked up the distribution for all of WWE Films productions because, well, Lionsgate are whores looking for the next underdog success story, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, only with less fellatio… I hope.

WWE Films’s (and I hope they’re using the term “films” in an ironic sense…) first release was the slasher flick See No Evil, which was a combination knock-off of Friday the 13th Part 2-D, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Embarassment Generation, and Four Rooms, only the killer didn’t wear a mask… because you can’t try to whore out your employees to Hollywood if nobody can see their face. See No Evil bombed like Al-Queda at an Easter Egg Hunt. Their second flick was the generic action hero revenge movie The Marine, which saw Robert Patrick sink to a new low when he kidnaps the girlfriend of, you guessed it, an ex-Marine. The titular protagonist was played by John Cena, the so-called star WWE has been trying to force down our throats outside of the ring as hard as they’ve been forcing him down our throats inside of the ring for the last 10 or so years. Explosions and adrenaline fueled hijinks ensued to mild financial success. Yay. For this third effort, WWE expanded their plagiarism sights to the far east, ripping off Japan’s Battle Royale franchise. To make it more palatable to American consumers though, the bizarre twist of desperate school kids dragged out of the comfort of their safe little lives is replaced with the basic stand-by of convicted criminals with nothing to lose fighting for their freedom (*cough*TheRunningMan*cough*) in an effort to appeal to the US audience’s taste for testosterone… which probably tastes like chicken… or armpit sweat… or chicken wingpit sweat… Obviously this falling back on traditional tropes wasn’t enough to convince people to crack open their wallets at the box office, cuz I seem to remember The Condemned doing the lowest box office numbers of the three WWE celluloid bricks pinched to this point.

Defamed Hollywood producer and raving racist ratings rapist (say that ten times fast, I dare ya!) Ian “Breck” Breckel (Robert Mammone), along with his semi-likeable a-hole technician Goldman (Rick Hoffman as a cross between Jeremy Piven, Joe Rogan, and a dozen donuts), is ready to make a fortune on the project that will put him atop the world: a globally broadcast internet Pay-Per-View event that will pit 10 death row killers from all corners of the planet (a term no doubt coined when people didn’t realize that Earth is a sphere and HAS no corners) against each other to the death on an otherwise deserted island for a 30 hour murder marathon with the winner getting freedom! Some call it a live snuff film, some call it extreme sports combat at it’s finest, some call it a rip-off of Battle Royale, but either way it should be an interesting train wreck to watch. Each of the ten “competitors” is fixed with a high-tech tracking ankle bracelet that, you guessed it, will detonate if its pull tab is yanked. It’s the deadliest game of flag football you’ll ever play! Also, if they’re still sporting the weaponized jewelry when the 30 hour time limit expires, well, so do they!

As for who these guys and gals trying to kill each other are, here’s what we’ve got:

  • Jack Conrad (former WWE figurehead turned action movie maven “Stone Cold” Steve Austin) – the American hero with the mysterious past who’s just so darned tough that he won’t even accept the keys to his manacles when he’s dropped on the island!… but mostly stands around and does pretty much nothing until properly “motivated” into defending himself. Obviously his jail term was one of those “miscarriages of justice”, likely due to killing someone in defense of himself or a loved one. Jack’s picked from an El Salvador prison when he shit beats an Islamic fundamentalist behemoth Breck (not to confused with “Brak”) is scouting. Though this denies him his Arab contestant he was hoping to use to appeal to Middle Eastern audiences, Jack will bring in the Anti-American crowds! He hails from FuckYourMomma, Alaska (I hear the fishing there is amazing) but Breck bills him as a redneck Good Ol’ Boy extremist from the South to help sell the image.
  • Ewan McStarly (bad ass soccer hooligan turned cinematic cockney thug Vinnie Jones) – the downright evil and remorseless misogynist bastard Brit with special ops military training who gets “condemned” to having the stupidest name of the cast. The sinister heavy of the flick and Jack’s inevitable antagonist.
  • Petr (failed former WWE wrestler turned generic action movie shaved gorilla Nathan Jones… no relation to Vinnie) – the Herculean Man-Sasquatch (or “Mansquatch”) of the group, who we’re introduced to while killing three men in some unnamed zoo of a prison. He’s also mute because, well, Nathan Jones shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Trust me. He makes Schwarzenegger’s early work look like Brando.
  • Saiga – the prerequisite crazy little Japanese guy who prerequisitely knows martial arts and has a weird thing for sunglasses.
  • Kreston Mackie – the angry black American… or, if you’d ask a Republican to describe him (without using a slur), the black American.
  • Yasantwa – the angry black African who might get it on with the angry black American… oh, and she’s a woman. Sorry to anyone who was coming into a testosterone dripper and hoping for sword fights of the fleshy kind. The homo-eroticism is only implied here.
  • Paco (Manu “30 Days of Night” Bennett) and Rosa Pacheco – modern day Mexican Bonny & Clyde. So, I guess they’d be Boné y… Clyde? I don’t know. I took Spanish for 3 years in high school and didn’t retain mierda.
  • Helmut – the grumpy old German guy who’s just there so the Germans have some representation. He’s not a Nazi war criminal, nor does he go into battle dressed in the traditional Lederhosen combat garb of his people, so there’s really not a lot to care about in Helmut.
  • Dominic – the Italian guy whose sole purpose is to talk a lot of shit, threaten to gut everybody, and then get dropped onto a wooden spike by accident for comedy relief before the show even starts. In the wrestling biz, he’s what’s known as a “jobber”.

No offense to the cast members whose real names I didn’t list, but when you do something worth talking about, I’ll gladly make a note of it… Is it just me, or do I come off as King Asshole sometimes? Or am I thinking of King Vitamin? Either or.

In a lame effort to try and make this more of a “legit” movie with some actual plot and less of a simple down and dirty bloodsport flick, there’s all manner of side shit going on involving the FBI trying to track down the secret secluded island locale of Breckel’s broadcast, dramatic morality conflicts between Breck’s production crew, and an uncovering of Jack’s background that includes following his waitress ex-girlfriend around and some government cover-up conspiracy that got our hero El Salvadored in the first place. That’s not what we’re here for though, so anyone interested in the counts for this Super Bowl of carnage, here we go: 1 spike impalement; 1 neck stabbing (via wood splint) followed up by numerous “testi exploder” kicks to the jimmies; one guy beaten mercilessly for several minutes with multiple bones broken before he’s shot through the stomach with an arrow and SET ON FIRE!; 1 arrow in the back; 2 knives in the guts; 2 slashed throats; 9 people gunned down; 1 very harsh scene of McStarly beating and slashing one of the female contestants with an implied extended rape afterward; and 7 folks turned to fine particulates by ankle bombs! Add to all of that the inmate who gets his neck broken by Petr before the show even starts and you get a bodycount of 23! Overall, a pretty fair bit of bodies and bloodshed for a movie that makes no illusions about not being Shakespeare… though, much like Hamlet, pretty much everybody’s dead by the end credits, so maybe it is trying to be Shakespeare?

For a movie whose action is all supposed to be being broadcast on stationary cameras, it’s irritating as Hell to have to sit through shaky cam during some of the fisticuffery. Thankfully the shaky doesn’t come into play too much, with the exception of the the Conrad vs. Petr fight. Then again, the five or six wrestling fans who remember Nate Jones’s short stint in the WWE probably remember he wasn’t exactly one of the better guys at making fake fights look real, so that might explain why it looks like the cameraman’s having seizures for this scene.

When it’s over, The Condemned tries to be a morality tale about America’s unsettling love for violence and depravity while simultaneously giving us the same. You can call that art or you can call it bullshit, I don’t really care. As a Direct-to-DVD feature it would be great, but as a theatrical release it’s a basic low-level action production. It’s hard watching the “making of” stuff on the DVD for The Condemned because you see the cast, the filming crew and the stunt people setting up and shooting this nightmare and physically beating the hell out of each other in hideous conditions on gruesome terrain and you almost get this Ed Wood pity for the thing. I’ve also got a personal bias as a guy who likes Vinnie Jones, Steve Austin (though he should keep his acting to a wrestling ring and cutting promos), and any version I can get of that “Old Black Betty” song, so if you want the “real” rating for this flick, you might want to drop a good point or so before you run out and rent it based on this review… not that I imagine anybody making their rental choices based on my reviews, to be honest.

Xtro: Since this was originally a Shorty (i.e. capsule review), having watched it again there’s a few things I’d like to add to my thoughts on The Condemned.

For starters, Rick Hoffman is probably the best non-killing part of the movie. I liked him when I originally reviewed the movie, but this time around I appreciate him even more. As the beset upon “Goldy” (coincidentally enough, a nickname often used for WWE wrestler Goldust), he’s the manic Jewish comedy relief. Thanks to Breck’s cost cutting measures (i.e. cheap-assiness) the laborers on the show employ nothing but local work-for-Pepsi-and-bits-of-string natives. Naturally this region doesn’t speak much English, so Goldy’s trying to put together and maintain a production that’s, as he puts it, “bigger than Farm Aid meets We Are the World and I’m supposed to do it with sign language?!” Goldy’s humor gets cut off once everything turns into a conflict of dollar signs vs. being able to sleep at night though, so his best contribution to the flick farts out about 2/3 of the way through the running time.

Funny enough, Helmut (or “The German” as he’s referred to in the credits) is played by actor Andy McPhee, who hails from Australia…Germans – so universally distrusted that Hollywood won’t even hire them to play German characters! Trivia note: McPhee went on to some notoriety as Keith McGee in “Sons of Anarchy”… possibly… I don’t know. I still haven’t watched it. What? Shut up. Continuing on with the cast, Steve Austin was bland as bleached flour here. I’ve seen him do a helluva lot better, but maybe it’s the writers’ fault. He probably wasn’t allowed to do anything other than read his lines, cuz in this case the actor has way more to offer than the role. He can be a leading man, but much like his wrestling promos, Austin needs the barest of direction so he can be allowed to direct his magic to wherever he wants to take it.

On the plus side, this is the kind of movie that relies more on a compelling villain than a hero, and we actually get two decent baddies. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Breck’s obsession with his goal pushes him beyond humanity until he’s as much a monster, if not more so, than the actual monsters he’s created. Also, just like Victor (or Victor Von if you’re going by Hammer mythology), Breck and everything he’s created are ultimately destroyed by his creations. Speaking of, Vinnie Jones is detestable as McStarly. I feel nastier in my guts from watching the impression of the shit he’s done and had done to him than anything I saw in anything the Saw or Hostel movies had to offer. It’s because the worst stuff isn’t shown for MPAA purposes, but it has a Texas Chainsaw Massacre mental brutality to it for that reason. Jones’ monstrous portrayal makes McStarly irredeemable, and even though you can’t help but want him to die, he pulls this last minute sympathy turn at the end about his hideous military past and what he suffered through for his loyalty to make him what he is. He’s a rabid dog – there’s no helping him and it’s better off for everyone with him dead, but for that brief instant you can’t believe you actually pity the creature…

Enough of this nancy pants “emotions” crap! I don’t know what the Hel I was thinking when I first wrote this review and said that the shaky cam stuff only ruined ONE fight scene. I hate shaky cam. Maybe whatever makes me able to see the pathos underneath an otherwise generic torture porn action flick also made my already heavy intolerance for shaky cam flat out toxic, because every time somebody started throwing fists, I had to pop another Dramamine!

As for writer/director Scott Wiper, he would go on to do nothing. Well, not nothing, since WWE Studios did bring him in to work his “magic” with their threequel The Marine 3: Homefront, but he did NOTHING ELSE for the 6 years in between. Being a financial flop, The Condemned didn’t exactly lead to an illustrious post-flick career for “The Wiper”, as he was pretty much wiped from the collective consciousness of audiences before even getting in there in the first place. You might say he’s condemned to languish in obscurity… good thing they don’t make those exploding anklets set to detonate when amateur movie reviewers use shitty puns based on movie titles, or I wouldn’t be here typing this follow-up line describing the idea… in which case the device wouldn’t have come into existence anyway… I think I just created a time paradox. If I just ended all reality, I apologize.

Oh, and one massive urethral parasite to finish up with – the movie ends on a Nickelback song… if that’s a good thing for you, please go slam your head in a car door until you’ve learned your lesson. And on that note, this rerun is OVER!

 Moral of the Story: When filming a gang of the world’s deadliest criminals on an island killing each other, make sure your productions facilities are on a different island. You think Jeff Probst stay on the island while they shoot “Survivor”?! No. The further away from the “talent” the better.

Screenshots_____

“Shaun? Why don’t we ever make love with the lights on anymore? Be honest.”


It’s Sweet Dee’s doppleganger!


“Jeezus. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to cultivate one zit on top of ANOTHER zit, but there it is!”


Steve Austin stars in the re-remake of Willard.


Call me old fashioned, but no prison guard should EVER have as well practiced a rape face as that EVER! Fuck! I’m gonna have nightmares about this guy now!


“I was promised prune juice and Werther’s Originals! WHERE’S MY DAMN PRUNE JUICE AND WERTHER’S ORIGINALS!?”


“Damn it Pedro, why can’t I QUIT you!?”


I know Antonio Banderas hasn’t been doing as many movies in recent years, but the man’s REALLY letting himself go!


No, Vinnie. No Maverick-ing. Stop it. Just stop it now.


“Hello? What? Uhm… I don’t know. What’s ‘Prince Albert in a can’?!”


“What do you mean what’s ‘Prince Albert in a can’?! It’s a brand of tobacco that comes in a can! What do you mean you don’t use tobacco?!”


“I’M SORRY! I DON’T SMOKE TOBACCO AND I DON’T KNOW WHO THIS PRINCE ALBERT PERSON IS! PLEASE STOP YELLING AT ME! WHAT?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘IS MY REFRIGERATOR RUNNING?!’ I’M HANGING UP NOW AND I’M CALLING THE COPS!”


Swamp Thing takes his voyeurism to a new creepier and incriminating level. He’s got a tree stump full of these tapes back at his place.


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a cigar is a cigarillo. And sometimes a guy smoking a big thick cigar is a sign that he likes other big thick things in his mouth. So, I guess smoking a cigarillo means that Vinnie Jones likes Vienna Sausages. Flawless logic wins again.


These leaked production photos prove it: the next Jurassic Park will center on a gang of motorcycle riding raptors! Called it. Clever girls indeed.


Reaction shot of Steve Austin using the toilet after the Undertaker – a mistake he never made again.


“I’ve got your bloody ‘Hunger Games’ right here, you little twats!”


“Somebody’s gonna explain why my cable bill was so high last month, and they’re gonna fix it right fucking now!”


Steve Austin battles government surveillance devices this summer in his next Direct-to-DVD epic, Drone Hunter!


“This was on the floor while I was vacuuming today. I think it goes to one of your He-Man dolls?”
“They’re not ‘dolls’, they’re ‘action figures’… and yes, that’s mine… Thank you.”

Anubis will return next time in
“African American Explosive Device!”

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