Featuring: Leila “The Long Home” George , Emily “Adventures In the Sin Bin” Meade , Tori “Cthulhu” Spelling
Director: Melanie “Actors Anonymous” Aitkenhead
Writers: Amber Coney & James “Bukowski” Franco
In-Name-Only Remake of: Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? (1996)
Labor Day. Most people think Union bosses and picnics, but as an everyday appreciator of those baring a sexy pair of XX chromosomes, I think of screaming parasites being torn into the blood soaked agony of existence through unwilling vaginal portals. Instead of making this about the bite-sized monstrosities, I prefer to put the spotlight on the iron ladies who bear said abominations and made all of us possible. Yes, even you test tuber viewers, because you can’t grow a human horror from microscopic tadpoles alone…yet. Anyway, as such, I present to all you of-the-ovarian-sort a trio of flicks for ladies, by ladies (mostly), featuring ladies (FLBLFL). “Ladies Night!”, enrage! Errrr, engage!
Let me start with an apology, kids. I know many of you would probably prefer that the “Franco” in today’s credits was referring to Italian sleeze legend Jess Franco, but no such luck. I may have something from the deceased trash maestro a little further down the pipe (provided I get the gusto to snake the drain that is my motivation), but today you’ll have to settle for James instead. However, if you’re an enthusiast, don’t get too excited. And if you’re a detractor, don’t feel down. The screenplay’s only half his, as you can see by the credits he’s not the director (his character even has a line where he literally says “I did not direct that!”) and his on-screen role might as well come with one of those “for novelty purposes only” disclaimers they stamp on penis pump packaging.
Oh yeah, like you’ve never injured your dick and/or your partner’s dick with a prick thickener before. How’s the weather way up there on your golden pedestal, you high-horsing mothertrucker? That’s what I thought.
On the topic of today’s movie, did you know it’s been 20 years since the original Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? premiered? Neither did. Because I never watched it. Because I don’t tend to watch Lifetime. Being “Television for Women”, I’m not even entirely sure it’s legal for me to post this review! Not that I’m a stickler for following the law, but when you’re covered in jet black fur like I am, you don’t really want to tempt any antsy-pants patrol officers into using yours truly for target practice…
Edgy, socially relevant humor!
You know who did see the original Lifetime Original? My Evil Dead Bride! I’m now turning over the steering wheel to EDB, so She can share Her thoughts:
Ahh, Lifetime movies: an incredible exercise in estrogen drenched dramatics and progesterone chugging shenanigans. Scared yet? You should be. Ladies are frightening, especially when they’re busting cheating husbands and bravely trying to find love again while raising kids with no heads. Okay, the missing head part wasn’t real. That’d be hype as fuck if it was real though, right?
Anyway, Lifetime is “Television For Women”, in that it’s ludicrously written and hilariously overacted treacle often “based on true events” (yet somehow not as entertaining as “Law and Order”) involving Ovarians. In every genre of film, there are certain works that can be considered cornerstones. Lifetime dreck is no different. The first Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is certainly part of Lifetime’s bedrock, along with A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story and Her Final Fury: Betty Broderick, The Last Chapter (Seriously, watch the Betty Broderick movies, they’re incredible). It’s the typical “previously good teen rebels against overly involved parent and loves bad boy who is way worse for her than she realizes until it’s almost too late” affair, perfectly un-acted by Tori Spelling and Ivan Sergei (both of whom reappear in the remake for funsies for people like me who’ve spent too much time watching utter garbage like this). The writing is atrocious, yet oddly gratifying. Truly a hallmark in mammarian moviemaking if I’ve ever seen one, right along with that terrifying movie where John Stamos makes out with his dad at the end. That’s a real thing, by the way.
Lifetime isn’t for the faint of heart or those of weak constitution. Kinda like Tori Spelling’s “acting” and unsettling amount of facial fillers she’s rocking these days. (Seriously Tori, you’re starting to look like Robert Z’Dar: face like a catcher’s mitt. Quit while you’re only yards behind.) Lifetime movies are basically exploitation movies for suburban moms who drink box wine and proudly sport that baffling Kate Gosselin hairdo, sans over the top gore and gratuitous nudity. If this sounds appealing to you, question your life choices. I’ve done the introspective work, and am left with a calm that can only be achieved by allowing “Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?” to silence my constantly chattering mind with its myriad mysteries and deep existential inquiries. Perhaps this movie is actually a life altering koan delivered via poor 1990s television filmmaking, meant to teach me something I can simultaneously know and be ignorant of at the same time…
Hahaha. Nah. It’s just dumb pablum meant to pacify bored people like me with no taste. Enjoy it for what it is and isn’t. Don’t think too hard, cause that’ll give you little wrinkles on your forehead. Vaya con Dio Brando, fuckers.
See why I’m frequently bugging her to start up her own movie blog? If you agree, let us know! She has to bow to peer pressure eventually!
And now, Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?
Honey, maybe you should get to know Danger first, before jumping into bed with them. Perhaps by introducing yourself with a firm but genial handshake!
I considered going with a Carlos Danger or “Is Danger his first name or his middle name?” joke there, but I stand by my decision.
Leah Lewisohn (Leila George) is just your typical West Coast college girl. She lives at home with her “why does she wear high heels in the house?” mom (Tori Spelling), she speaks with a soft-yet-grating Valley Girl accent, she awkwardly pretends not to notice that her friend Bob (Nick Eversman) would like nothing more than to suffocate himself with her crunchy underpants, she’s pushing gender boundaries by being the first female lead in her drama class’s rendition of Macbeth (as directed by James Franco’s character), and her new significant other is hiding from her the potential relationship shattering knowledge that they’re a vampire. Oh, and said sucker-of-the-sanguine is a lesbian goth “photographer” named Pearl (Emily Meade), which probably won’t sit well with Mrs. Lewisohn’s conservative Christian outlook.
As if the teenage nosferatu thing wasn’t bad enough, Pearl’s being pressured to bring Leah into the pink & black mafia (the Hart Foundation?) by her fellow monsters. “Monsters” in that they’re also vampires, not college students who think overexposing photographs makes them artists. Calling photography students “monsters” would be giving them more credibility than most deserve, and if their parents never encouraged them while growing up, why should the rest of us? I don’t want a brood of my own. If I wanted a bunch of responsibilities, I’d learn Hebrew and animate some golems. At least they don’t leave DNA evidence at crime scenes…
And that’s pretty much it! In my usual effort to avoid the stink of mold by not spoiling the bread, I won’t elaborate on this grown up After School Special anymore beyond that. To be fair, though, there’s really not a LOT to the plot of MMISwD?, as it’s a very straight forward, simple little horror movie. First time feature maker Melanie Aitkenhead directs the whole affair with a ’90s teen horror flair and moderately intense girl-on-girl makeout montages. Clearly our lady was very much a fan of The Craft (which also came out in 1996, coincidentally enough). Retro. Or, if you’re me, it’s nostalgic of my better experiences in high school: masturbating to Fairuza Balk. Speaking of the ’90s, former smasher of pumpkins and perfecter of circles James Iha’s industrial-goth score suits the movie and sets the tone well for Young Adult soap opera horror. It can get repetitive now and then, but for a Lifetime Original it’s solid, more so given that Smashing Pumpkins are to my ears as Slim Whitman is to Martians’ whatever it is they perceive auditory stimulation with.
And yes, that last line’s analogy counts as SAT tutoring, so don’t forget to pick up your bill at the exit. You don’t want us to have to bring it to your house. Trust me.
Being a bloodsucker pic, the gore in Mother (♫ “tell your children not to hold my hand”♫) is kept mostly to bloody mouths (with oddly clean teeth…), with the most intense wetness kept to the Macbeth play in an oddly meta “story-within-a-story fake violence” angle that I can’t really put any clearer. Sometimes I don’t word good. Now, without any serious gripes beyond some not great acting (and a non-PC concern about Tori Spelling looking like a melted mess of Barbie plastic), what’s my dominant issue with the movie? Sometimes, it doesn’t give its audience enough credit.
Leah’s scholastic screen time outside of the Drama Department is spent in a class that explores the parallels between traditional horror stories and the historically phobic persecution of LGBTQ folk. This, of course, is the theme of this remake/revision/reimagining/rebranding/reskinning, likely in an effort to both let said LGBTQ know they’re not alone, and also get the ignorant of we heteros to empathize with people who have been unfairly demonized for centuries. Pardon me if this is projecting, but it gets too heavy handed (going so far as to juxtapose the professor’s words directly over a scene of the vamp squad on the hunt) in its efforts to make sure the message permeates even the densest of numbskulls. Meanwhile, to those with more open minds, it can come off as condescending. Not due to the message, but how many times we’re told that what’s happening to Leah (IN a horror movie, no less) has already been covered a thousand times before in books and poetry.
You could look at this bludgeoning of subtlety as a negation of any need for the movie to exist in the first place since it’s just the same old story. Or, you could look at it as a statement that the need for such stories sadly still exists today and will continue to until the dickards of the world get over whatever personal problem it is that causes them to try and ruin other peoples’ lives. Hint: it’s usually because they hate their own lives, but are too fucking lazy or helpless to fix it, so they just redirect their angry frustration into aggressive outward displays of hatred and attempted domination. You know, typical grade school bully shit, because some cunt waffles never evolve past a 6th grade level.
Given that you’re probably here because you want to know my opinion (secondary to the dick and fart jokes, of course) , let’s discuss where I stand in regards to MMISwD?‘s message – being neither LGBTQ person nor a homophobe, it doesn’t speak to me. Nor am I saying it should. Much like my feelings on The Babadook, the message is clear to me and doesn’t need to be repeated ad nauseum, rubbed all over my brain like a young intern’s balls across a Republican senator’s face. As a Lifetime Original, the presumed target audience for this flick is middle-aged women (and any channel surfers whose attention can be easily grabbed by TV-14 approved barely legal lesbos dry humping), so if any such ladies out there have seen this and would like to give their opinion, please reach out and touch-a touch-a touch-a me as I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the script’s hand holding really is overly aggressive, or if I’m just too into buttering my own nuts.
For me, it’s the same as a smoker being told repeatedly by their spouse that cigarettes are going to kill them. I know. I’m not stupid. I’m also not Leonard fucking Shelby. I can retain knowledge, and I do remember the other 500 times you told me about all the cancer I’m going to get from smoking!
…Where was I going with this? Oh, right, the exasperation of repetition. To quote Mr. Horse, “No, sir. I don’t like it.” Ignoring that, as stated prior, it’s an overall okay movie. Direction was fine, dialogue was fine, performances were fine for the most part (minus a little too much of leading lady Leila George’s grating accent). Better than what I expected from a TV movie, albeit a bit too predictable and all that “Bob Huge Hands wearing lead over mitts” heavy handedness. Given Franco’s involvement I was hoping for something a little more guano than the socially conscious made-for-TV remake of Embrace of the Vampire (sadly lacking the lusciousness of 1995 Alyssa Milano in a skirt) we got instead. That was also when I thought he was going to be directing it, though, so fuck me for having expectations scaled to false information. ‘Tis no one’s fault beyond mine own.
There are other heavy topics at work here, like domestic abuse (physical, emotional, and vampiric), peer pressure, date rape, generation gaps, gender politics, parental loss, gray morality, and how the first “Twilight” book was okay in theory but the sequels rolled downhill faster than Barbara Hale and Steve Brodie in The Giant Spider Invasion. Fuck you with a wooden stake, Stephanie What’s-Her-Name. Your hack novels have corrupted more young people than ISIS! You know, the terrorist organization, not actual Isis. She’s thinking of changing her name to “Brooke” now, just to avoid that whole messy “kill the non-believers!” thing. Anyway, one of the smaller, intimate themes I like about the movie fits in with the “being gay = movie monster” matter, but it’s a huge giveaway so I can’t even talk about it under
ape spoiler law! Tell you what though, you send me a message asking me to expand upon said story element, and I will spoil the shit out of it just for you, Sugar Tits.
Final complaint? The movie’s finale must’ve been raised in a barn, because it leaves the door for a sequel WIDE OPEN. And in doing so, lets all of the metaphorical heat out. It’s better left as a one off flick and the possibility of a follow-up thrills me as much as mere alcohol thrilled Sinatra – not at all. Lifetime could probably win me back if they give Franco the reins to reign over it, especially if he had a few lines of coke to “inspire” him through the creative process!
Unless and until, I’m just going to treat MMISwD?‘s canned cheese epilogue like another kind of “log” and flush it from my memory. My Evil Dead Bride offered up a legitimate position on how said ending could symbolize certain peoples’ stances about the corruption of…damn it, there goes that spoiler warning alarm in my explosive collar again! I reiterate: if you want me to ruin the movie for you, please submit a formal request. In triplicate. My lawyers’ assholes are puckered so tight that light can neither enter nor escape them.
Beyond being part deux of my “Ladies Night!” Cineménage à Trois trilogy, I won’t say what the subject of our next episode will be. All I can guarantee is that it won’t be anything from a certain knockbuster factory whose name rhymes with “ass xylem”. Afraid I may have been showing the early signs of Stockholm Syndrome with my Sinister Squad review, I’ve had myself voluntarily committed (get it?!) into an Asylum asylum program until at least the end of the year. For now, I gotta get back to work on my death ray, so this ends our broadcast day. Ladies? Keep it sleazy, make ’em queasy, and when you can, top it off with a bit of the ol’ squeezy squeezy. Good night everybody!
Someone using their phone to actually talk to someone? This must be a flashback!
When three hot women come up to you out of nowhere and ask if you want to “have some fun” with them, kindly decline. They’re either going to make a blackmail video of you, or use you for a human sacrifice.
“Welcome to ‘Introductory to Film Making’. I am your professor, Uwe Boll, and I would like to take this moment to inform you all that this class is NON-REFUNDABLE!”
“You know how you said you ‘love me like a brother’ yesterday? Did you ever, you know, fool around with your brother or give him, like, a pity handjob or anything when you were younger? I mean, you know, just asking.”
Damn it, Franco, stop looking at the camera! You’re worse than Jimmy Fallon was when he’d break character on SNL!
“Hey! It’s that Tom Green guy! I wonder what he’s doing on our campus? Wait, is he… oh sweet Jimmy Dean! Is he having sex with the school mascot?! That poor platypus!”
“Baby, what did I tell you about throwing away your gum before bed? Jeez, that’s really in there. Well, looks like I know somebody who’s getting a butch cut when we get home!”
Whenever Sally’s feeling down, she knows Alice’s “derp face” will always pick her back up.
Good news, bad movie lovers! Robert Z’Dar didn’t z’die, he just had a sex change! Maniac Cop IV: Meter Maid from Hell, here we come!
Ladies and gentlemen, the world’s sexiest (and worst) ventriloquism act – Madam Marilyn and Her Mischievous Marionettes!
“No babe, don’t freak out! It’s not really my penis, it’s just my thumb sticking out of my zipper! See?!”
Another successful production of “Evil Dead: the Musical” is in the books.
What’s with her costume? Wait. Let me guess. She’s going as a chandelier lamp from WalMart!
A promotional still from the CW’s newest attempt at a recycled franchise: “Eddie Munster: the College Years”
“What do you mean they made a ‘90210‘ reboot and I wasn’t a part of it?! Wait, I was on it?! Why don’t I remember ANY of this!?” (Don’t worry, Tori, NOBODY remembers anything about that show.)
She must use Listerine’s new “Blood Blocker” formula mouthwash, or Orbitz’s new “Gore-B-Gone” gum. All this image is missing is a hot British blond saying “FABULOUS!” while light gleams off of Pearl’s pearlies despite her menstrual beard.
Anubis will return next time in
“Monsters of the Runway”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: William “Star Trek” Shatner , George “The Case for Christmas” Buza , Zoe “Orphan Black” De Grand Maison
Directors: Grant “Ginger Snaps Back: the Beginning” Harvey , Brett “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed” Sullivan & Steve Hoban
Writers: Doug “Splice” Taylor , Pascal “Hellions” Trottier , James “Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman” Kee & Sarah Larsen
Also Known As: A Holiday Horror Story (name changed for the DVD sleeve only, so the movie could be sold in some Wal-Mart stores. No diggity.)
‘Twas the night before Cthulhumas and, alone in The Tomb,
Anubis was reviewing, despite having other shit to do.
I hate buying presents for people. Ra is being a real dickhead this year. Every time I ask him what he wants for Cthulhumas, the fuckstick just keeps telling me he wants a life-sized butter sculpture of Lou Ferrigno from the Golan-Globus Hercules movie. Do you know how hard it is to find a sculptor that works in the dairy medium this time of year!? If my situation were the line from a theoretical Weird Al Yankovic parody of a Pearl Jam song, I’d say I “can’t find a butter man”… and yes, I made all of this up just so I could say that. Lick me.
Go ahead! I used peppermint body wash this morning!
I mentioned in the last episode that Krampus is the 2015 holiday season’s monster-of-the-moment. As I may have also mentioned (the last week has been a whiskey nog haze), go see Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, in theaters now! Hurry before it gets bumped for the next “found footage” ghost movie in the “garbage I wouldn’t piss on were it aflame” queue. Speaking of Krampus, guess who’s featured in today’s anthological episode? If you said Krampus, you win! Get yourself a Gingerdead cookie and a shot of Milk Plus from Uncle Anubis’ padlocked mini-fridge (the key is behind the goat skull in the kitchen), then get back here, sit your ass in front of the fireplace (or in the fireplace, if you like), and let’s engage in another round of Yuletide tales.
As a disclaimer, despite what possibilities the title of this movie may invoke, it is neither an “American Horror Story” Christmas special, nor the blood & gore sequel to A Christmas Story directed by John Carl Buechler where Ralphie, dressed in his pink bunny pajamas, hunts down every adult who told him he’d shoot his eye out, then proceeds to gouge out their eyes with an ice cream scoop. I asked Annual Gift Giving Man for it last Non-Denominational Gift Exchange Day, and no dice. Not the first time I’ve been fucked by the big rubber dick of disappointment (also known as “the Festivus Pole” in some circles), and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
What is A Christmas Horror Story aboot? Well, hosers, this gift from our neighbors to the North stars noted starship Captain and Hollywood Hebrew, Billy “Rock-et MAN!” Shatner, as radio disc jockey Dangerous Dan. Not to be confused with ’80s WWF personality Dangerous Danny Davis, whose gimmick was that of a crooked referee who also wrestled. You know he was dangerous because he had the word “Dangerous” printed on the ass of his tights, and you can’t print something across the ass of your pants if it’s not true! Like those “Juicy” pants big ass girls wear. Much like juice, they’re best when freshly squeezed too. *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*
(Squeeze at your own risk.)
Double D does a Pontypool and spends his time on camera in the broadcaster’s booth for the extent of the feature. While he’s dead set on spreading holiday cheer amid the citizens of his town of Bailey Downs (his listeners and coworkers of which don’t seem all that receptive to his efforts), we the viewers are taken on a quartet of intermingling tales in the interim. Not “intermingling” by means of plot, though, but rather in that we fumble in and out of each story at the editor’s tyrannical whim. We are merely puppets and A Christmas Horror Story is the string by which he makes his marionettes dance. “PULL DA STRINK! PULL DA STRINK!”
Our first yarn follows a trio of high school kids: Dylan (Shannon Kook), Molly (Zoé De Grand Maison, whose name literally means “Zoe of the Big House” and who looks like a poor man’s Emma Stone), and Ben (Alex Ozerov). Attempting to catch the receding “found footage” wave before it goes back out to sea for another 5 or 6 year hiatus, the trio sneak into Bailey Downs High to do some hard boiled “Action News for Kids” investigating into a mysterious double homicide that took place in the building’s labyrinthine basement the year before. Having reviewed the leaked footage from the police investigation (because they don’t accidentally erase their evidence, CHICAGO PD!), they know something more than a simple dual murder took place in the darkened halls beneath their teenage prison, and they aim to find out what. As is the way in scare flicks they get locked in (possibly by the killer, returning to the scene?), discover the school’s morbid history, are confronted with the awful truth about the ritualistic murders, yadda yadda yadda. If you want to find out said awful truth yourself, feel free to watch the movie or “Read the Bantam book!”
Do they still novelize/bookify movies anymore? Given there are more platforms to watch stuff on nowadays than there are heads on a Hydra after you put it through an industrial blender, I can’t really see the rationalization behind sustaining such a market. It’s not like the old days when you had to wait two years for Dawn of the Dead to come out on Betamax, so you re-read your St. Martin’s copy cover-to-cover a few dozen times while you waited! By Rudolph’s radioactive nasal beacon, I had a screener copy of The Green Inferno a week before it left the local multiplex, and I ain’t talkin’ Transformers! Besides, that was Metroplex. Though I would enjoy the irony of Michael Bay making a Decepticon character that’s just a huge cinemaplex who crushes all of the moviegoers inside of it whenever it transforms. Then again, subtlety got a restraining order placed on Michael Bay years ago, so never mind. He’d just fuck it up like everything else and forcibly remove the joy from a few thousand more people. He’s Hollywood’s metaphorical on-par for Nazi stormtroopers dragging Jewish children away from their parents’ arms so their tiny hands could be put to use working in Hugo Boss’s sweatshops.
Story numero dos involves another trio: Scott (Adrian Holmes, who’s a dead ringer for Mike Yard and Taye Diggs’ love child), Kim (Oluniké Adeliyi), and Will (Orion John). Unlike our last amitié à trois, this trio keeps it in the family – Scott and Kim are Will’s parents. Despite being a cop, Scott takes his mini-brood Christmas tree hunting on private property,which reminds me fondly of my own illustrious annual “trail of tears” death march to commit our own act of ornamental herbicide. Will wanders off and goes missing, bur he’s found safe and sound one short and panicked search later. The family then heads home with their purloined pine, a little unsettled but none the worse for wear… except for Will, who starts acting really weird and creepy and shit. Scott gets sick of this crap quick, but his old-fashioned approach of parenting with his pants holder-upper doesn’t quite do the trick. “Big Earl” (Allen Peterson), the owner of the property from which the family misappropriated their O Tannenbaum may have an idea of what’s up with the lad, but Will could just be getting a head start on being a rebellious teenage dickhead. But that’s more a case for an episode of “Degrassi Junior High” than a horror movie, eh? As such, I wouldn’t bet my roasting chestnuts on it.
The third chapter in our movie’s table of contents finally gets things Kramp-ing! Upping the ante by a head, this story follows a quartet of characters: Caprice (Amy Forsyth, Kirsten Dunst’s non-union Canadian equivalent), Duncan (Percy Hynes-White), Diane (Michelle Noldan), and Taylor (Jeff Clarke). Diane and Taylor are the parents here, Caprice is their teenage daughter, and Duncan is just as much a junior a-hole as you’d expect a kid named “Duncan” to be. The four visit Taylor’s Aunt Edda (Corrine Conley) for some mandatory holiday tidings of comfort and joy (mostly to suck up to the wealthy old crone), and meet her grinchy German caretaker Gerhardt (perpetual “background weirdo #2”, Julian Richings). Krampus gets name dropped like he’s going out-of-style and Gerhardt warns them to be good, lest the bastard child of Lucifer and a Likitung come get them. Naturally, this is the perfect time for Dunc to intentionally break a decorative figurine of said yuletide disciplinarian because, again, kids named Duncan are ornery little shit bags.
Following the brat’s brazen act of dickery, Edda throws a fit and kicks the clan out. As they’re driving home, Dad swerves to avoid a yeti looking creature (maybe it’s a shaved Wampa) that runs across their path, and spins the car out into some deep snow. Unable to get anywhere (hence why I keep a shovel, extra floor mats, and full grown Saint Bernard in my trunk) the four are left to brave a winter wonderland in the middle of nowhere as they seek help…with a certain holiday hellraiser hot on their haunches. Much like his fellow film incarnations, don’t expect this version of the Saturnalian satyr to stop at some simple season’s beatings with a few well-deserved lashings across these douche bags’ backsides. No, he’s eyeing more permanent forms of punishment that utilize the type of excessive force that would give the ’90s LAPD envy boners. #BlackPeteLivesMatter
Our feature’s fourth fable follows the red man himself. No, not the racist mascot of Red Man chewing tobacco. I of course refer to Satan. Errr, Santa (George Buza). You know what I meant, Church Lady. Anyway, the bowl full of jelly is preparing for his solitary day of employment for the year, before having to spend the next eleven months getting shit from Mrs. Claus (Debra McCabe, playing a much younger Mrs. C than you’d expect, cuz Santa’s apparently an old perv) about how he needs to do something with his life beyond watching Mexican elf soap operas from his La-Z-Boy all day and adding to his collection of bed sores. While his vertically challenged minions go aboot their business, prepping toys for the big night, one of Klaus’s helpers, Shiny (Ken Hall) comes down with an odd and sudden illness that gives the little goober Tourette’s. “I said I don’t want a cookie, you reindeer fucking snow whore!”
Before you can say “28 Days Later at the North Pole”, the frost-bitten Oompa Loompas (who stole their uniforms from the “sandwich artists” at Subway) become infected and revolt against their portly oppressor in a mob of gnashing, gore splashed teeth. If this were traditional Santa Claus, as owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation, he’d be dead and clogging the minute cannibals’ arteries within moments. To help give He of the Merry Dimples and Twinkling Eyes an edge on the zombie mob, we get a bad-ass holiday icon who looks like he’d be more comfortable driving a Harley-Davidson than a sleigh, complete with Mrs. Claus riding the sissy bar wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts, leather boots, and nipple rings.
When the shit starts to go down in the jolly old elf’s castle (the interior of which looks remarkably like affordable office space…), Kringle theorizes that Krampus must be responsible for whatever bad juju is turning his sweatshoppers into heart stoppers, so for those wondering whether the promised clash of Yule pugilists portrayed on the movie’s poster actually comes to fruition, the answer is – sorta. As has become a common theme in some of the other movies I’ve recently reviewed, A Christmas Horror Story (just like the Six Million Dollar man’s replacement penis, fashioned from an old soft serve ice cream dispenser) comes with a twist. Unlike some of said others, this twist doesn’t inject acidic enzymes into the movie, break it down into a sumptuous primordial ooze, and consume it whole. No, this twist actually works well enough that I didn’t hate it. In fact, there’s very little I could say that I do hate about this movie in general!
The stories all take place on Christmas Eve Day and all connect with each other through shared characters. Mary mentions that she used to babysit Will, and Scott was one of the investigators on the high school murders. He went on leave afterward to deal with the resultant PTSD. Said trauma carries over to his own story as a point of contention for his relationship with his family. Caprice is a major catalyst in getting the first story going, as she brings her trio of friends the keys with which they break into the school. Even Santa’s tale comes back to the Bailey Downs city limits, but I can’t tell you how because it would spoil the surprise! No peeking!
My only major misgiving with the movie is its story structure. Unlike the traditional anthology one-at-a-time format, we instead jump back and forth between them chronologically as the day passes, while popping in on Dan occasionally to remind us that William Shatner stopped by to pick up a paycheck. Given that someone named Bev Feldman gets a credit as “teleprompter operator”, it doesn’t look like The Shat even bothered to learn what few lines he had.
Though I get the reasoning behind this mish-mash approach, the pace gets outright ravaged as a result. Just when you’re getting invested in any of the characters or their predicaments, you get thrown awkwardly back into another ensembles quandary. It’s a complicated dance that calls for precision, like Pulp Fiction. Instead we end up getting our toes stepped on every 10 minutes or so. I feel like I’d need ADHD to fully appreciate the flick as is.
The big gripe out of the way, my only minor misgivings with ACHS are a moment or two of unfortunately poor computer generated effects (thank Savini that almost all of the effects are practical) and the opening and ending credits theme of “Carol of the Bells” (thank you, public domain usage rights) as sung by what I can only presume to be a robot child. Fucking auto tune. Oh well, it’s still better than The Snots’ rendition of “Jingle Bells” that also plays at the end. Yep. The Snots.
Beyond those niggles though, I really liked this movie! The acting is all very solid with a few nice stand out moments of drama, especially from the ladies. The makeup, costumes and viscera are serviceable-to-admirable, and despite there being three different directors on the project, I wouldn’t have known the difference if I hadn’t read it ahead of time. Saying three directors’ styles are so generic that there’s little to distinguish them from each other may not sound like a compliment, but as the viewer it’s a good thing, because it lessens the turbulence of transitioning between plots. Krampus himself looks more like something out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “make your own mutant” fan contest than his traditional self, but the albino steroid man-goat look works for him. They even made use of his Gene Simmons shaming demonic lick muscle! Definitely better than the computer generated reject from an ’80s heavy metal album cover concept art that The Reckoning gave us, that’s for sure.
All in all, A Christmas Horror Story perverts holiday traditions with a blend of dark fables and personal horrors, mixing the mythological with the relatable. Stories aren’t long enough to outlive their welcome, but are just developed enough that you won’t be forgetting them a day after watching. Maybe I’m high on holly jolly and sugar plum fairy farts, or maybe after choking down the turd brisket that was Krampus: the Reckoning last time, even John Candy’s vintage ’94 back sweat (collected on the set of Wagons East) would taste like a candy cane martini in contrast! Either way, I declare this flick a fitting addition to anyone’s holiday horror rotation. Thanks, Canada! You’ll always be the greatest white North to me. May your days be merry and bright and may all your Cthulhumases be shiny with poutine and back bacon, from sea to shining sea!
Now come back tomorrow for a very special gift from me to you! It’s the bread box sized package under your tree that’s decorated in old newspapers and bio-hazard tape that you’ve been hearing a random *thump*ing sound from every night around midnight… No peeking!
What’s with all the buckles, Santa? You going for that outdated “Steampunk” look? Or is one hernia belt just not cutting it for you these days?
Captain Kirk reacts to the news of yet another green chick filing a paternity suit against him. So much for alien and human DNA not being compatible!
Luke Cage’s new “edgier” catchphrase, as adjusted for his upcoming NetFlix series following the precedent set by “Jessica Jones”.
Kids will do anything to get a few hundred thousand video hits online these days. Who would’ve thought that YouTube would be such a catalyst for “survival of the fittest” forced evolution.
“Thanks for stopping, mister! My friends told me I’d never get anyone out here and, truth be told, you’re my first customer in three weeks! So, you lookin’ for a pumper, a sucker, a humper, or a dumper?”
“Welcome to Bailey High Action News! Today’s top stories – Principal Dickers arrested for alleged inappropriate relationships with several members of the girls’ field hockey team! Also, are the cafeteria’s hash browns just yesterday’s tater tots? Find out here!”
Jack’s wife finally broke the news to him about Santa Claus’s lack of existence. Poor little guy.
“I’m no doctor, Sparkles, but I’d say this is way worse than ‘just a hangnail’…”
“Hahaha! This tree reminds me of my wife after she gave natural birth to our triplets!… god rest her soul.”
A figurine of lesser-known saint, Sister Mary “Only Prays When People Are Looking” Gallagher.
I’ve seen messy eaters before, but that kid’s spaghetti dinner looks like a school of jellyfish exploded on his plate!
“Dangerous Grandpa” being the moniker given to him by the Bailey Downs Tribune following his vehicular manslaughter of 12 people at the weekly farmers’ market.
By far the worst actor in the whole movie. Her performance was just so… wooden. (Please don’t hit me!)
Looks like we walked in on them while they were comparing sizes… awkward.
From here it looks like he’s relieving himself inside one of The Tall Man’s dimensional gateways! Well, any port in a piss storm, right?
Timmy was determined to make sure that Santa didn’t miss him this year. “I know you can see me now, you fat bastard! Get down here and make with the presents!”
Looks like Krampus just caught a whiff of himself. I tell him he needs a full body heat drying after every shower, but he always thinks he can shake off and he’ll be fine. And he wonders why none of the other anthropomorphic creatures of folklore want to date him!
He looks like the type of Santa that would have “If you can read this, the bitch fell off!” stitched onto the back of his leather vest.
Anubis will return next time in
“Toys In Babeland”
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Featuring: Anita “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” Briem , Belén “The Whore and the Whale” Blanco , Alistair Freeland
Director: Luis de la Madrid
Writers: Manu “[REC] 2” Díez , Jaume “[REC] 2” Balagueró
The penultimate production of the Fantastic Factory, Part 2 of my “Fantastic Four” reviews thing is, as you may have surmised, a dip in the Nunsploitation pool of sub-sub-genres. You’ll get the unintentional “pool” pun shortly. First, let’s provide some background to what we’re about to see here!
So, The Nun features no actors of prominence. Anita Briem’s done some things in the 10 years since, and continues to find work, but it’s mostly stuff I’m not interested in watching. Don’t expect to hear her name again until I get around to dedicating an episode to reviewing Dylan Dog, probably under the premise of a gimmick where I highlight movies that adapt independent comic books. Of which Faust would have been one, had I not already used it for this gimmick. On the other side of the camera, Brian Yuzna’s still around, but only as a “Creative Producer”, so whether this penguin sinks or swims (more aquatic references) has nothing to do with “The Yuze”. Director Luis de la Madrid is in a different dingy, bobbing in an ocean of obscurity with no other directing credits to his credit outside of a pair of short films I have no interest in pursuing either. His main body of work is actually as an editor! His contributions include chopping up and pasting together such flicks as: Faust, Diary of a Nymphomaniac, The Machinist, Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, and that Anna Paquin movie Darkness that Miramax apparently took a chainsaw to and butchered down to a PG-13 rating for the US release. Pretty sure Luis’ work was the original Spanish version. Call it a hunch.
Two year after The Nun, Jaume Balagueró would go on to write the only “found footage” movie I can openly admit to loving – [REC]. Two years after that, he would collaborate once more with fellow Nun scribe Manu Díez for [REC] 2, which wasn’t as good. In fact, it soured my milk just enough that I have yet to see either of the two additional [REC]-tal exams that followed it. As with Dylan Dog (and a few hundred other movies on my list), I’ll get to them eventually…
Our tale begins in the unconscious brain of Mary (Lola Marceli), where she dreams altered memories of her brief stay in a Spanish boarding school as a troublesome teenager. She and several other bad girls were the pet project of the school’s headmistress, an ultra strict nun by the nom de habit of Sister Ursula (Cristina Piaget). Ursula is just as evil as the other Ursula that moniker brings to mind too, as her first act on screen is to tell a handicapped girl in a leg brace that she deserves her predicament, because it’s a punishment from God. Ouch. This sextet of international no-goodniks were sent to the school because their parents had given up trying to raise them as morally sound ladies of the Catholic persuasion, instead opting to pay someone else to do it! The nightmare climaxes with Urs discovering a love letter that 17 year-old Mary (Katrine Romming) had tried to hide in her bible, tearing the confession of romantic intent up and commanding the rebellious youth to eat it! Before this can turn into a lesbian barely legal Dom/sub porno fantasy, Mary refuses and spits the paper out, so the black & white bully grabs her by the throat and pins her to a wall with almost supernatural (*wink*wink*) strength, shouting “ONLY PAIN CAN WASH AWAY OUR SINS!” before she starts having one of those kinetic horror movie ghost seizures and goes all monster face. Mary wakes up with a bloody nose (did she have an aneurysm?!) and the cosmic ballet goes on.
The single mother and her singular daughter live in Hoboken, New Jersey. A fact unabashedly forced into our faces by a subtle-as-spoiled-sauerkraut delayed shot of the
High School crest as we’re introduced to Eve (Anita Briem), who is at her high school prom. By proxy, we also shake hands with her bestest buddy Julia (Belén Blanco) and her boyfriend Joel (Alistair Freeland). Jules is an exchange student from Spain (played by an Argentinian), whose helmet hair and minute resemblance to Rosario Dawson put her on my cute-girl sonar. Her small stature and baby face make her barely legal status believable despite Blanco being almost 30 at the time of filming…you know, if IMDB is accurate. As for Joel, he’s your typical American high school d-bag (though the occasional escapes of his moderate British accent makes me think Freeland isn’t from the “Land Of The Free”, ironically enough) who carries around a handy-cam to shoot videos of EVERYTHING HE DOES. In terms of story, the camera only serves as a point of purpose for one brief and wholly unimportant scene later on, so it’s really nothing more than a “yep, he’s a douche” character trait for Joel. In hindsight though, it does make for a mildly amusing precursor for things to come, given Balagueró and Díez’s career paths after this.
J&J take time outs from drunkenly dry humping each other on the dance floor to talk about their impending trip to España. Julia tries to convince Eve to come with them, but the castaway from the Garden of Eden refuses because her mother’s already planning a trip to Spain. But mostly because she doesn’t want to risk crossing paths with her parent when she should be engaging in the kind of hedonistic white girl tourist-y activities that would make her the perfect victim for a torture porn. When Eve sneaks off to make some tongue time with her boyfriend in the locker room showers, J&J sneak up on them and pull a Candid Camera, turning the shower on and catching their startled reaction. A seemingly innocuous act that becomes a frustratingly integral plot point in the last 10 minutes of the movie, and is making me grind my teeth just typing about it. So before I hurl something fragile across the room, let’s go check back in with Mary!
Alone at home, Mary finds herself confronted with a plumbing problem better fixed with a call to The Ghostbusters than Roto-Rooter, as her kitchen sink floods, drains, re-floods, and spits in the eye of gravity as water cascades from it towards the ceiling. A window opens via a “not the wind” gust of wind (you can actually peek the stagehand’s arm in the reflection of the glass as they ease it open the first time) and the spectral form of a demonic-looking nun materializes to attack her. Eve returns home just in time to witness the phantom slitting mom’s throat with a butcher knife before it screams and escapes through the window. Eve calls the cops and insists that she knows what she saw, but the members of the constabulary are unable to find fingerprints for anyone else in the house. Julia doesn’t help her amiga’s story any by telling the investigator on scene that not only had they all been drinking earlier at the prom, but Eve also has some unresolved trauma due to Mary’s attempted suicide some years prior. Maybe Mary just realized that she’s a middle-aged single woman living in Hoboken and just couldn’t live with herself anymore. Fuckin’ New Jersey.
At Mary’s funeral (that was quick, especially for a crime scene death!), Julia convinces Eve join her in Spain so she’s not left alone with her grief (in Hoboken…*shudder*). The parentless teen is then approached by Mary’s friend and fellow Ursula victim, Cristy (Tete Delgado). Cris fills in some of the plot, telling our protagonista that mom’s trip to Spain wasn’t for “business”, but to reunite with her boarding school peers following the death of their friend Joanna in England. Eve confirms that Mary’s death is being labeled a suicide (less paperwork) and that no one believes her story about the homicidal ghost nun. Cris gives Eve her hotel room info and says she’d like to talk some more with her before her plane leaves the next day. After Eve leaves, Cris gets uncomfortable as a trio of nuns walk by…
The lighting guys must’ve had to up the wattage for the rigs while shooting, given all the foreshadowing in this movie! Wakka-wakka! *rimshot*
Whilst going through her mom’s things at home, Eve finds a box of letters and documents, including some of those sweet nothings (signed by a guy named Miguel) that Ursula thought made for better taste buds whets than panties wets. She also finds mom’s plane ticket and decides to Nancy Drew this mystery herself. Meanwhile, in her hotel room, Cris’ car key starts leaking water on her bed (something that Mary’s plane ticket did right before her own death) and her toilet goes bonkers, turning into the world’s angriest bidet! Water sprite Ursula forms from the crapper (I wonder if she materialized clockwise or counterclockwise?) and chases her prey into the hallway, where Cris escapes into an elevator. And what better time to take a commercial break!
Today’s episode is brought to us by Toilet Nun™! Just put Toilet Nun’s patented string of “rosary refresher beads” into your tank, say 3 Hail Marys and an Our Father before every flush, and you’ll be praising Our Lord for giving you the freshest bowl this side of the Vatican! Wash away your sins with Toilet Nun™! By Saints Johnson & Johnson.
Eve arrives at the hotel and waits for the elevator in the lobby, seeing the moist antagonist in plain view as Ursula strolls out the front door of the building! Before she can react, the elevator door dings open and Eve’s just in time to witness her second gruesome demise in as many days, as in the lift is a disarmed (well, de-armed) Cris! For a woman whose arms were just torn off in an elevator “accident” not twenty seconds prior, her stumps have already stopped bleeding. Maybe she had really high cholesterol and the panic of what happened pushed two massive clogs away from her heart and into her brachial arteries, thus plugging them up entirely? Or, the more likely scenario is that it’s just a shitty movie and I should stop trying to make logic out of someone else’s fuck-ups.
A quick jump cut to a passenger jet, where Julia is trying to convince Eve that she’s just stressed out of her mind from her mother’s death and that she needs to relax. If Mary and Cris’s deaths were more than just a suicide and an accident, the police wouldn’t have let her leave the country, right? Eve’s still determined to track down Mary’s friends though, so Jules agrees to follow along and to drag Joel (by the balls) with them. Eve then falls asleep while watching the in-flight movie Faust: Love of the Damned (even making sure to show the “a film by Brian Yuzna” opening credit, BLART!), awakens to the horrific image of Ursula on the wing of the plane (a cool tribute to “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”), then wakes up again from what turns out to have been a nightmare, finding herself setting down in Barcelona. Funny enough, as soon as the airplane scene started, I was curious as to how Ursula would no doubt follow the kids back to her home country to continue her killing spree, citing such possibilities as hiding in the plane’s toilet or just “swimming” across the Atlantic. Though I was sure that this wasn’t going to be addressed, I do like that this little nightmare sequence gives us a possible hypothesis. Though silly, again, it was a nice little tip of the hat to one of “The Twilight Zone”’s most loved episodes. Felicitaciones.
In searching for mom’s former associate Eulalia, Blondie makes a pit stop at a local library first to research this mysterious boarding school. Not exactly the sharpest machete in the shed, Eve doesn’t think to bring along Jules and is pretty well fucked when she realizes that, DUH, everything is in Español…and she doesn’t know a fucking LICK of Español! Clearly our heroine didn’t make valedictorian at Hoboken High. She lucks out though (cuz it’s a movie, natch) and bumps into a handsome local named Gabriel (Manu Fullola) at the Xerox machine who not only speaks fluent Engrish, but is such a Samaritan that he offers to help the wayward Yankee out. Like I said before: 100% torture porn bait.
They meet back up later at a local nightclub with J&J, where Gabe tells Eve that the school’s been closed since 1988, after Sister Ursula mysteriously disappeared. He also found Eulalia’s address, and drops the minor blockbuster that he’s in seminary school. No, he’s not studying semen, he’s in priest college! As for Eulalia, she’s still waiting for her friends to arrive. Naturally, those that are still alive won’t get there until it’s too late, because Eul’s going to take a bath. Guess who’s the next to die? Yep, after getting harassed by her plumbing and her dog red herrings us by getting sick (or whatever the hell happens as it’s not explained), Eulalia winds up crucified in her water closet…mere moments before Eve gets there…alone…because taking her friends along would make too much sense and completely ruin that stupid plot twist we’re still waiting on. They’re all of 12 seconds behind her though, so I’ll be sure to bring that up later too.
While at the apartment, Mystery Inc. overhear a message on the new victim’s answering machine that the remaining two ex-schoolgirls, Susan (Natalia Dicenta) and Zoe (Paulina Galvez), are in town and heading straight for the old alma mater. Desperate to find them and warn them about the bloodthirsty wraith penguin, the gang pile into a car (a rental, I guess?) and head out to the site. Frustrated that he’s being dragged on a wild goose chase in a foreign land in the pouring rain rather than getting his dick sucked on a beach while chugging Blood Marys, Joel takes control of the car from Eve, immediately crashing into a parked car that conveniently blocks the path to the school. Well, the story is that he crashed the car, but the reality is that their car is actually parked a foot or so away from the side of the obstacular vehicle, as you can see their headlights shining on the other car’s COMPLETELY UNMARRED BODY. If you can’t afford to wreck a few clunkers in your flick, TAKE THE FUCKING CAR CRASH SCENE OUT OF THE SCRIPT! FOLLANDO RETARDA!
With their car out of commission from all that crash damage (ARGH!), the quartet hoof it the rest of the way to the spook academy, following the presumed footprints of Suze and Zoe. Inside of the abandoned “oddly well lit for being the middle of the night during a rainstorm” structure, Joel uses his camera’s night-vision function to look around a pitch-black room. All he finds is a jump scare (courtesy of a wayward bat), and thus any excuse for making the handy-cam part of the story has passed. Blart.
Susan and Zoe aren’t dead (yet), and the quartet turns into a sextet as Eve finds them and updates them on the body count. Suze wants to call the cops, but Zoe refuses to because…they killed Ursula. Yep, one night the girls caught the hag scalding Mary’s nether parts with a detachable shower head in the basement’s communal bathing room, so they attacked the grizzled cunt and drowned her in a tub full of water. They then disposed of the body, dumping her in a pond on the school grounds. Two weeks prior to tonight, the town drained the pool and found nothing of the corpse, meaning that Ursula’s possessed the water that she didn’t die in (of course), but that her body got super pruny in for almost two decades. Meh.
Further exploring the school, Eve and Gabe come across Ursula’s old quarters and find a bible inside, inscribed to her by a “Father Miguel”. They almost do the horizontal hokey-pokey on the dead sister’s musty bed, but Eve forsakes her namesake and rejects the serpent. Gabe has some personal revelation that he’ll tell Eve (and hopefully the audience) about later, leaving the young lady alone to be confronted by the aqua spook, who emerges from her old bedspread! Urs only passes through Eve though, then leaves. The contact causes our heroine to relive a previously locked away memory of her mom giving her Hel for getting into her stash of love letters, then trying to kill herself in their bathtub. More on that in a minute. Elsewhere, Zoe and Suze are talking about seeing Eve with the young priest-to-be as “history repeating itself” and blaming Mary’s past for what’s sure to be their inevitable demises. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the aforementioned Father Miguel and the Miguel who signed Mary’s love letters are one and the same. When Ursula discovered the affair, and Mary’s subsequent impregnation with Mikey’s boner seed as a result, she tried to “wash the sin” out of the 17 year-old’s evil ham wallet. Hence the hot water abortion attempt that led to this whole I Know What You Did Last Summer rigamarole. But isn’t abortion a sin? Yeah, and so are murder and child molesting. But, when something’s done “in God’s name” by his faithful sheep, it doesn’t count as a sin anymore! Woohoo! So long as I shout “Praise Jesus!” next time I firebomb a car blasting that Reggaton shit, Johnny Law can’t judge me! Somebody get me a tank of gas and few hundred empty whiskey bottles!
Anyway, Gabe’s big revelation is that all of the killings to this point have been Biblical in nature: each of the women were killed in the fashion of the patron saints they share their names with. G-Unit’s theory is that Ursula’s killing them as such because through their pain and “sacrifices”, she can gain penance for their souls and hers, thus regaining God’s favor. And how did Saint Ursula die? Arrow through the heart. With this knowledge, Zoe decides to fight back and try spearing the spouted specter with Julia and Joel’s harpoon guns. Oh, I forgot to mention a previously established plot point from way back at the prom scene: they were going to do a lot of SCUBA diving on their vacation. Sorry about that. Though you’d half expect a movie like this to bring this up out of nowhere (or not at all) and just have the characters armed with harpoon guns for no real reason, but it was there the whole time.
Well, Susan’s had enough of suffering for the sins of others and won’t be victimized for Mary’s crimes any more! Before Eve’s priest defilement can get her in any further trouble, the panicked Suze locks herself in a room and refuses to let Eve anywhere near her. As expected, this only serves to fuck her over, as she’s trapped in there now for another performance of Sister Ursula’s Wild & Wacky Water Hijinks! After being pushed around by the aquatic abbess, she ends up decapitated by a pane of broken glass, dropped on her guillotine style. It invokes happy memories of the superior gymnastics program put on by David Warner’s (fake) head in The Omen. 10s across the board.
Eve tries to spear Ursula before she can disappear again, but when she does, no one else is able to see the Phantom of the Fire Hydrant, which explains why no one saw her strolling through the lobby back at the hotel after Cris’s dismemberment. As for why this is, Zoe theorizes it’s because Eve’s conception was the whole crux of this vengeful comeback so…I don’t know why that would explain why she hasn’t been killed yet, or why Zoe couldn’t see her either. Fuck it. Whatever the case, Zoe’s eponymous patron perished a la immolation, so as long as she stays clear of any open flames or giant ovens, she should be okay. Not hard since every inch of this movie is covered in H2O at this point! Speaking of the source of all life, Gabe theorizes that the only way to make Ursula into killable flesh and blood is to flood the school’s basement and have Eve kill her within the resultant pool of her power source. Which makes ZERO sense, since she already attempted to spear Urs when she was in her material state before and NOTHING HAPPENED! Fuck!
Despite bad shit happening and somebody else dying every time they do it, the group continues to split up as they try to flood the place. Naturally somebody else dies this time too. TWO for the price of one, to be exact! Gabriel is impaled on a broken piece of exposed pipe when he’s forced onto it by a broken water main, and Zoe winds up scorched inside of a giant, human-sized oven. Osiris’ beard, was this school’s kitchen built by Nazis, or was shit like that commonplace in old buildings like this before the genociders ruined it for everybody during World War: The Revenge?!
So, we’re down to the final three: Eve, Julia, and Joel. As our heroine awaits the final showdown in the school’s new in-ground pool, Joel pulls Julia aside and completely shits up the entire movie with the following preposterous postulate (not to be confused with a pustule): as a child, Eve overheard an argumentative phone exchange between her Father father and her mother that included hearing Mary tell Miguel that she had to kill Ursula because he couldn’t keep his plenary prick to himself. In the fallout of said call, Mary tried her Whitney Houston curtain call, the terror of which Joel believes caused Eve to dissociate the whole “my mom killed a nun” thing until now. And what does this amateur Pierre Janet theorize may have brought this mental bobbing back to the surface of Eve’s psyche? Startling her in the shower while she was making out with her boyfriend at the high school prom.
Having seen this scene twice and having just typed it all out and read it, I’m verging on face palming so hard that my entire pantheon will feel it. Bra-fucking-vo.
So yeah, in an effort to rip off the big twist ending to Fight Club, the solution to the movie is that there isn’t a killer ghost nun taking revenge on the girls who murdered her and gave her a totally non-Christian burial, it’s that Eve has a split personality, is “possessed” by Ursula and is really the one who killed Mary and everyone else. Except for Gabriel, whose death was entirely accidental. There are many, MANY reasons this explanation is bullshit, but I’m not willing to rack up another four pages of space just to chronicle all of them, so I’ll present you with the three most glaring.
EVERY one of the victims had interactions with haunted water prior to their deaths. Mary had the kitchen sink, Cris had the hotel room toilet, Euli had her bathtub, Sue and Zoe had run-ins with flying gushes of rushing water that pushed them to their deaths. Those last two could be explained away as being Eve simply pushing them around, but the other three were absolutely interactions with sentient water. There were also the multiple times when Ursula’s cursed fluids seeped out of various items. And don’t tell me those didn’t happen, because when Urs did it to Mary’s plane ticket, the water smeared the information on the Post-It affixed to it, which carried over to a later scene!
Though it’s true that Eve witnesses some of the deaths, and thus could very well have been the cause of them, this makes ZERO sense in cases where the deaths happened BEFORE she even came into the scene! Cris’s arms were cut off by the elevator, NOT directly by any human interaction, and she was there in the lobby with SEVERAL other witnesses when the doors opened and the body was first discovered. And had she been involved at all in driving Cris toward the elevator, are you telling me the hotel security cameras managed to miss the whole thing, hence why the police decided Eve wasn’t involved in any way, and thus allowed to leave the country?! Furthermore, Eulalia also died before Eve made it into her apartment, AND she was followed immediately by her friends who showed up not 20 seconds behind her!
And my biggest argument against this ending – Joanna. Joanna was killed prior to prom night. Two weeks prior, in fact. Right after the pool holding Ursula’s remains was drained. Hear that *thud* sound? It’s Joel’s theory dropping dead at his feet. Fuck. This. Movie.
The twist is a foofaraw. Totally needless and just ends up retroactively plot holing the shit out of what came before into an argle-bargley Swiss cheese clusterfuck. And if you’re really going to push this bullshit on us, why not justify the inclusion of of Joel’s fucking camera by using it here?! Have him set it down while he leaves the room to help someone else, then have Eve kill someone while in frame so there’s evidence to back up the big reveal! A bit hackneyed, sure, but at least it would’ve given some plausibility to the friggin’ bowl of boiling hot piss and pus they tried to force feed us instead!
Uggh. I need to get this over with before I pop an eyeball or some shit. Eve has her final sub-aquatic battle with her other half (grrrrrrrr), and after much struggling, puts a harpoon in the bitch’s gut (not her heart like she’s supposed to) killing her for good. But, when J&J come back, they find only Eve with a self-inflicted ‘poon impalement. Julia swims to her friend to check on her, and we’re jarred into the end credits, where some hilariously out-of-place Spanish nightclub music (see the end of this review to hear what I’m talking about!) serenades us into the final, deepest, darkest stages of utter madness. End.
We already know why I hate the story’s forced surprise ending (I never appreciate getting Shyamalan-ed up the ass) so let’s not hold our hands over that open flame any longer. Had we stuck with the simple “pissed off spirit out for vengeance” theme, I would’ve been fine. Hell, they could’ve copied and pasted the ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and just buried Ursula’s bones on consecrated grounds and I may have even ended things on a happy note! Instead, we got what we got. Sad too, since I was a big fan of the religious context behind the attacks, what with that “killed in the fashion of their saints” jazz. It’s one of the few things that pulled The Nun up to a one-star affair from an otherwise absolute zero. But no, what little bits of delicious sweetness we were given were overrun by bitter, bitter poison. Like having a bottle of Tenafly Viper poured directly onto our brains. Do you smell something, Sheriff?
The low-to-moderate budget computer effects for Ursula are actually not bad. Pretty solid, even. The direction is fairly straight forward, which is to be expected from an editor’s first/only time in the big boy chair. Transitions from one scene to the next could’ve been smoother for the most part, rather than the odd whiplashes we witness. Not something you’d really expect a professional editor to flub, unless he was trying to play into that lame “music video smash cut” stuff that just doesn’t fit the atmosphere of a movie like this. The acting is generally terrible, as you’ve got two American characters being played by a Brit (I think) and an Icelander who mostly suppress their accents, but still sound NOTHING like two kids from New Jersey. Briem acts like she’s zonked on tranquilizers the entire time too, which doesn’t help matters. Also, as a white American (when I’m not an ebony Egyptian Death God) I’m not 100% on this, but is having an Argentinian playing a Spanish girl anything like having a Chinese actor playing a Japanese character? Or having Sean Connery play a Russian submarine Captain? It sounds like something that’s gotta be offensive to somebody. Either or, this cast is only a rung or two above an Ed Wood feature. Maybe when you’re casting for a movie with an English script, you should try to find people to whom English is their native tongue and not just some Frankensteinian monster tongue they bought at an Organs ‘R’ Us going-out-of-business sale.
Lastly (and certainly leastly), I still have no fucking idea what this stupid “Lake Test” is that Joel kept alluding to! It’s supposed to be some dirty joke, that part I get, but I can’t tell if it’s about whether a girl puts out or practices proper hygiene or who the fuck knows, fuck nose. It’s brought up several times and when he finally explains it to Julia he’s still not being direct enough to actually explain anything! If you’re not going to stop tiptoeing around it like a 12 year-old giggling through a sex-ed video, just shut your gob. Dingus.
So, that’s The Nun. Despite the acting and numerous nitpicks, I was fully prepared to give it a 2-out-of-5 before that candiru fish level of twist ending malarkey swam up our collective urethras. Bollocks! We’re now halfway through this thematic mini-marathon, and this purported production facility of the fantastic has as of yet failed to live up to its name. Well, failure in terms of fantastic quality anyway, not so much fantastic subject matter. To be fair, a demonic anti-hero fighting the Devil and a vengeful nunnly water spirit who kills with methods relating to the deaths of Catholic saints are both refreshing alternates to “just another slasher in a mask stabbing naked teens”. Aaaaaanyway, let’s see if Brian Yuzna can’t up the ante a bit for the latter half of this trip through the b-horror side of Spain, shall we?
Damn. I can’t believe I went this entire review without making a single reference to “The Flying Nun”. Oh well. I’ll make a note for when I eventually review The Convent. And on that note, cue my new exit music. Fuck ya later, lip smackers!
The most awkward day of the month at boarding school: virginity inspections.
“So, if God can do anything and create anything, could He create a cigarette with so much nicotine that even He would become addicted to it? Like… wow. Right?”
You know what’s a real sin? Spelling a word with two capitalized letters and one lower-case, like “SiN”. It’s right below spelling words with letters replaced by numbers. Someone needs a penance spanking!
This is why you don’t watch Evil Dead 2 before bed!
(Click HERE if that one went over your head)
For anyone who wasn’t sure this was a horror movie, I give you Exhibit J.
“I don’t know if it’s just the Molly or what, by my shoulder smells AMAZING to me right now! Come over here and taste it…”
“Keith David and I beat the shit out of each other for 6 straight minutes and that bastard still refused to put on these damn sunglasses!”
(Alternate joke: “Come with me if you want to live.”)
A dispenser that holds TWO rolls of toilet paper?! My gods! Who’s the genius that came up with this?! THIS NEEDS TO BE IN EVERY BATHROOM EVERYWHERE EVER!
Rush Limbaugh’s crapper finally fights back. (Hey! The paper’s on the other side of the toilet now! Boooo!)
Twelve years of piano lessons down the drain.
Delta Airlines tries out its new “Poverty Seating” option. The ride’s a little rough, and there’s no food or drink service, but you can’t beat the rates!
This “love at first site” moment brought to you by Xerox™. When you’re making a generic romantic movie scene audiences have seen a hundred times before, what better product to center it around than one from a company whose sole purpose is to make cheap reproductions!
This just became Quentin Tarantino’s new favorite movie.
“I put in for my wake up call at five thirty! FIVE thirty! Not SEVEN thirty, you moron!”
“I know it’s cold, Julia, but this intense training will all be worth it when you and I win every wet t-shirt contest next year at Spring Break!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Haunt of Horror”
Featuring: Farid Kamil , Jehan Miskin , Peter Davis
Director & Writer: Mamat “Zombies from Banana Village” Khalid
Finally! After untold months (3 or 4?) in the desolate outback of, well, The Outback, I’ve made my way to the next leg of my World Tour – Malaysia! And so continues…
Before I get started, today’s episode is brought to you by Bon Jovan Musk™ – for when you want to smell like the silver medal of New Jersey rockers!
Apokalips X comes from the Pu Pu Platter of Asia – Malaysia. A melting pot of its fellow nations, Malaysia boasts a spicy cross section of native Malay, Chinese and Indian backgrounds. Filmed in the capitol city of Kuala Lumpur (or as Kent Brockman calls it, “France!”), Apokalips X is the Frankensteinian creation of Mamat Khalid, also the writer-director of Malaysia’s first zombie movie: Zombies from Banana Village. Beyond its “probably funnier to us that it is to them” title, I know nothing about ZfBV. Given my time with Apokalips X, I’m not entirely sure I want to go through the trouble of tracking it down for a review, either…
Our movie takes place in the semi-distant future. The year is 20… uhm… 20*mumble*mumble*. Some amount of time after the global nuclear holocaust that the Terminator franchise has been promising us for 30 years now. Instead of Linda Hamilton scorched alive while clinging to a chain link fence, we get a little Malaysian girl on a tricycle pancaked by a giant tire. I guess ground zero was a “Tires We R” warehouse? Denied the toe-eating Roombas and genocidal Alphie II‘s James Cameron promised us, it turns out that mankind didn’t need help killing itself off in this reality. In the aftermath of Smilin’ Joe Fission’s going away party, the world is the typical bombed out wasteland you’d expect it to be.
The remainder of Kuala Lumpur’s surviving citizenry have gathered into clans, living in the handful of bombed out buildings that still stand (all of which look EXACTLY the same). Each clan consists of high school age kids (with a couple of younger exceptions to appeal to the “kids are SO CUTE!” demographic), which is really weird because you wonder where all of the adults are. When they give you a minimal explanation of how the groups came to be later on, it makes almost as little sense as Adam & Eve birthing all of mankind, but with almost as much implied incest. And so begin the migraines this movie forces into my brain for the next 100 minutes.
The majority of the kids are decked out in variations of school uniforms (because
Japan Asia), though there are 3 outlying groups – the Sugi-Oh (Baseball Furies in hockey masks), the Pencak Silat (who dress like samurai on Casual Friday) and the Chi-Kanoz (yep, Asians dressed like Chicano gang-bangers whose dialogue consists almost entirely of shouting “LOCO!”. Blart). These three have almost no part in the overall story, as they don’t show up until the third act and spend the majority of their screen time as superfluous bodies in the finale rumble. There are extras, then there are extras.
The progenitor of this social structure is wise old sage Pendita (IMDB is of no help here) who, after watching the number of clans whittle each other down from 30 to 5, told everybody to stop their shit and shake hands. He declared a peace accord that everyone would squash their subsequent beefs and instead dedicate themselves to preserving life. Poppa Pendita put together a quorum of “Big Brothers” (and a “Big Sister”) to keep the remaining youth in check and to manage the city’s resources so no one group would have too much power. Though the movie makes NO EFFORT TO EXPLAIN WHO’S IN CHARGE OF WHAT, from casual observation I’ve pieced together that the 5 resources are oil/gasoline, vegetation (probably food, maybe weed), and…errr…party drugs, metal music and…club kid haircuts?! It’s not clear! There’s still electricity, but the power plant operates in the “Free Zone”, because no one should have control over such an important resource (except for Rubenesque slacker Pipit, the ONE guy who knows how to run it)… a resource so important that they use it to charge their handheld gaming devices and plug in their amps and power their cryogenic freezer unit that’s ALSO never explained…
This movie seriously makes me feel like Nigel Patrick’s a-hole role in the “Blind Alleys” segment of Tales From the Crypt: no idea where I’m going and every time I try to feel my way through this maze of darkness I get a handful of razor blades. Fuck.
The five leaders are also endowed with swords as a sign of their power, and are the only ones who carry weapons as the kids are left to fight mano-a-mano (“hand-to-hand” NOT “man-to-man”, pendejos!). Said sword-wielders are X (Farid Kamil), Kala (Jehan Miskin), Sri Gala (Peter Davis), Kulat (Zoie Tam), and Melur (you’re a crumb bum, IMDB). X is our de facto good guy, playing pacifist and lauding diplomacy over fisticuffery. He’s no angel though, as drug-induced (yep, he’s a snow bunny!) flashbacks hint at some life changing moment that ruined the dance of clashing steel phalli for him years earlier. Speaking of seraph, X also has some weird-ass “wings” that look like streams of gas vapor being blown out of his shoulders and allow him to float off of tall buildings, negating the need for elevators. If you’re waiting for an answer on what this is or why it’s happening? Yep, more fucking razor blades! GAH!
Sri Gala subscribes to the opposite philosophy of X’s “you can’t hug your kids with nuclear arms”, instead pushing that fighting/domination equals strength and only through that strength will they guarantee their survival. Kala is a violent lunatic who would also like to unite the tribes, but only under his bloody boot heels when he becomes king of everything. We meet him as he’s returning from a two year absence spent sleeping in a big freezer with tubes attached to his nipples. (Don’t ask unless you like headaches and bleeding hands.) Kulat (pronounced “culotte”) is the tough girl who will take no shit for her double ‘x’ chromosomes and runs the all-girl Klan Flora. Last (and certainly least) is Melur, who couldn’t settle on whether he wanted to emulate Jack Sparrow or The Love Guru, so he opted to be both…and constantly giggles like a dingleberry doing whippits. Pretty sure the only thing he uses his sword for is scraping the resin out of his comically large hookah.
Unsatisfied with just tackling the political ramifications of the scenario he’s put together, Khalid also gives us a cast of lesser tier characters to muddle things up and stretch the running time like a size queen in a sporting goods store. Most notable are Aman Chai (fuck you yet again, IMDB) and QiQi (Miera Layana), who are filling in the Romeo & Juliet roles that are mandatory whenever you have a movie about conflicting families/gangs/soft drink companies. Aman is X’s #2 who wants everybody to live together in peace and advance as an integrated society rather than fighting each other just to be kings of shit mountain. QiQi is Sri Gala’s daughter, which is kinda weird since the Big Brothers only seem to be maybe 10 years older than their wards…gross. Not only does Sri disapprove of the lass’s relationship with AC (Slater?), but Qi-Squared’s big brother Razor (Iqram Dinzly) fills the role of “over-protective douche-dick sibling” and keeps cunt-blocking the young would-be lovers during the communal dance parties the clans have. As The Matrix Step Up Revolution(s) taught us, you can destroy the world but dance parties will NEVER DIE!
Speaking of dancin’ and prancin’, some of the gangs like to do a little stomping wardance before their fights that make me think Apokalips X‘s marketing team could just slap “Step Up:” across the top of the box art, rent it out through RedBox kiosks and make a few million dollars worth of non-refundable rentals on it. Trust me, the majority of people who still haven’t figured out how to download movies for free are just ignorant enough that this would work!
The world outside of the city limits (Kim Cattrall?!) is a lawless badlands a la The Road Warrior and every pale (as a War Boy) imitation entry of the subgenre in the 20 years since. Emo Romeo (Romemo?) wants to run away with QiQi to this wasteland, because he’d rather chance death together than go on living this shitty shut-in life they have. There’s no force field or anything keeping the supposedly toxic air outside from coming in though, so is this just more lazy-ass writing, or is Khalid just stealing/”sampling” the plot of The Village times a hundred? I won’t spoil the answer, but I’ll tell you this much: ARGH! MORE RAZORBLADES!
Speaking of the world in which our teen combat drama unfolds, let’s have another nitpick! There are cars littering the cityscape, untouched and unmoved since the fire from the sky scorched their world so many years ago. So, I guess this mean nuclear bombs nullify combustion engines? But that can’t be the case, because X’s motorcycle, Malur’s bus and the outland bandits’ ATVs all run just fine…watch out for those plot holes, kids. One wrong step and you’re a pulped sack of now useless organs and calcium at the bottom of a friggin’ chasm.
There are some other ancillary characters to speak of too. You’ve got AC’s buddies, what’s-his-name and spazzoid (his Mercutio and Benvolio), the aforementioned Razor (Tybalt), a guy who just sings all the time and plays guitar (one of which he Honky Tonk Man’s a dude over the face with!), a precocious little girl who calls Kala a “worthless piece of shit”, some slimy dick puncher cosplaying as Rob Zombie from the cover of Hellbilly Deluxe who just goes around shanking people, along with his equally monikerless girlfriend (not worth going back to look up, really) whose entire selling point is that she wears an actual boa constrictor around her neck as a boa. Not that she ever does anything with it, but style over substance is what the kids like, right? Just ask Michael Bay.
There you have it, folks: your stage, your players, your motivations and your conflicts. Stuff happens. People fight and people die. More stuff happens. More fighting. X trains with Poppa Pendita to learn a new combat style and despite being the most feared warrior of the 5 clans, our hero looks like a little kid flailing around with a sword the entire sequence. More fighting. More dying. More stuff. The end! And what an end it is. Holy shit. Emphasis on the “holy”. And emphasis on the “shit”. What. The. Fuck. Forget grasping as those razor blades, because this finish just dumps a whole crate of the damn things all over you.
Hold onto your hats, junior cow pokers, cuz it’s time to wrap this stinker up and put a bow on it. Let’s get the positive stuff out of the way first, because there’s not a lot to speak of. The fight choreography is mostly solid, though a lot of the hits don’t carry the impact to make them believable. With the exception of that guitar shot from Joe Strummy! Damn! Jeff Jarrett could take lessons! Speaking of guitars, the generic metal music is also not terrible. I wasn’t reaching for the earplugs or the mute button, so it’s okey if not entirely dokey. Also, I dig the hell out of the opening line “That was the day the sun rose West and the stars fell from the sky” to describe the initial dropping of the nukes. Awesome.
And now the not goodness. Foremost, Mamat Khalid doesn’t come off with any specific style of his own in the two hours we spend with him. Much like the nation that birthed it, Apokalips X is a hodgepodge of influences. It’s like Highlander meets The Warriors meets West Side Story thrown into a bag full of anime elements and set in a dystopic landscape. Unfortunately, it still manages to not reach the lofty heights of mediocrity, let alone amazing. A serious barb in my armpits about it is that about halfway through the movie, things turn a corner and stuff they spent an hour establishing for a major plot point gets tossed under the proverbial bus in favor of going a different direction all together. It’s like your partner going down on you, but before you can climax they stop, turn on NetFlix, and tell you you’re going to watch “The A-Team” instead. Not necessarily terrible, but why tease me with the tongue job in the first place if you weren’t going to finish it!?
As if the story weren’t already so much recycled toilet paper (a concept that already makes my fur bristle), Khalid tries way too hard to give his movie the look of a 2 hour music video. With needless “jumpy” editing that makes it look like the actors are doing minor teleporting through some sequences, and the camera filming like it’s strapped to a big pendulum for others. And the fucking crooked shots. Ra’s sake. I haven’t seen this many tilted camera angles since Battlefield Earth. I shit you not.
Adding to the “love it or leave it”, Khalid takes a cue from plenty of other action movies anymore and uses comic book style illustrations for that “cover up our limited funds without cutting the script” trick that directors with eyes bigger than their budgets rely on. It’s supposed to be “stylish”, but all it really does is make us wonder how much cooler the sequences could’ve been had they actually filmed them with the actors instead. Unless this whole movie is based on a comic book, in which case I can excuse it. But the info available on it is so bloody scant that I couldn’t find anything about an Apokalips X publication, nor did I see a “based on” line in the end credits… not that I really looked for it anyway. Shaddup.
Maybe Malaysians eat this stuff up, but Malaysia also has the world’s largest population of cobras so… I have no idea where I was going with that. I was hoping to make the “they also eat Lassie” joke, but it turns out that’s not a thing they allow in Malaysia, let alone endorse. It’s actually straight up illegal so…yeah. Moving on!
Oh well. AX didn’t live up to its own hype and left me with more than a few head scratching (down to the bone) plot holes. It’s times like this that I like to make the most of my situation, so I played “Lost in Translation” during my mandatory second viewing. Nothing to do with that movie where we get to see Scarlett Johansson in her underwear (*slurp*), this similarly labeled distraction involves viewing the aforementioned feature while both the English dub and English subs are on. It makes for an interesting contrast at times, from something as simple as rearranged sentence structures to changed relationships between characters to full-on abusive fondling of entire plot points! In this case, it appears that the subtitles are more likely the faithful adaptation of the dialog, while the dub seems to be geared toward a more politically correct script arranged to make it a more palatable PG-13 affair for American audiences. Such evidence includes the following sub-to-dub adjustments: “donkey” and “dickhead” both become “asshole”, “faggot” becomes “monkey”, and “shit” becomes “stink”. Maybe it’s just cultural connotations, but I find it funny that something almost childishly offensive like “donkey” becomes something way worse like “asshole”. If it had been changed to “jackass”, it would’ve made more sense. Either way, changing “You’re a pile of shit!” to “You’re a pile of stink!” is almost too good to miss, but not enough to hunt down Aplopalips X just to see it.
Then again, I have no more need for my DVD copy, so I’ll sell it to ya for $2. Also willing to trade for bits of string and gently used paperclips.
And so it goes. Gotta say I’m a bit disappointed in you, Malaysia. You sold me on a promising premise only to feed me a plate of generica with a side of nonsensica. Not unlike a bad blind date, I spent two hours cataloging all the reasons I shouldn’t have shown up in my head while you yammered on about how everybody thinks you’re smart and cool and not a twat. Sorry Mamat Khalid, but I just remembered that I have an early morning public execution to attend tomorrow, and my cat needs to be fed. If I’m not home to feed Bast by 8, she starts clawing my Egyptian Cotton sheets and barfing her unused stomach enzymes all over my sarcophagus. Don’t call me, I’ll call you…if I ever need an alibi.
Uhm, hope you made the most of those 5 years, little girl. I have a feeling you’re about to get short changed on any future birthdays you were hoping for.
Taco Tuesdays at the clubhouse are always followed by Gas Mask Wednesdays.
Oh, so this movie actually takes place in modern Detroit. The whole “post-apocalyptic fallout wasteland” stuff is just a metaphor. Gotcha.
If you don’t think these girls look very scary, you’ve never seen Kill Bill Volume 1. Nor have you considered how one week out of each month, these girls could take down a battalion of Navy Seals with ease.
Not to concern you, sir, but it looks like you have some heavy leakage in your fuel tank! You might wanna jettison it immediately and wait for fire officials to arrive!
Forget glass, Kala looks so cold that his nips could probably cut concrete!
“Alright! This is the issue where Batman and Superman finally kiss!”
Hey! Zombie! Hellbilly Deluxe 2 SUCKED! And so did Halloween 2! Unless it’s The Devil’s Rejects, STOP DOING SEQUELS!
Ladies, if your boyfriend wears fingerless gloves put a ring on it. Speaking of rings, give him the key to your backdoor, because he’s THE ONE. He’s more “the one” than Jet Li in The One. Seriously.
Kala’s super pissed that some girl at the same party totally stole his eyeliner, lipstick, AND big stupid fashion scarf. Call him “director”, because he’s about to make a SCENE!
Malaysian Shelley Duvall stars as Malaysian Sadako (NOT Samara!) in Malaysian The Ring, tonight on The Malaysian CW.
“Hey bro? Since you’re the only one allowed to carry a blade, you think we could use your sword to cut up our pizza? I mean, you’re a pacifist, so what do you really need it for anyway?”
Anubis will return next time in
“Son of Satan”
Featuring: Temeura “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” Morrison , Nicola “The Man Who Lost His Head” Kawana , Kate “No One Can Hear You” Elliott
Director: Danny “Rage” Mulheron
Writers: Brad “RoboCop: Prime Directives” Abraham , Joseph “RoboCop: Prime Directives” O’Brien , Briar Grace “The Strength of Water” Smith
Origin: New Zealand
Today’s stop on the World Tour de Farce 2015 has the 3rd largest percentage of vehicular deaths in the world! 20% of their deaths are due to tobacco smoking, and this is actually DOWN by 1/3 from what it was in the ’90s! Their sheep population outnumbers their human population 7-to-1! If human and sheep DNA were compatible, they’d be a nation of Satyr-like hybrid creatures who could knit their own sweaters in the winter! Oh yeah, and for all you big nerd-os, they also have this thing:
Tolkienites, start your whacking, because that’s the Green Dragon Inn. Yes, you can travel to New Zealand and live out all of your Tolkien-based role play fantasies in this replica of Middle Earth’s most famous motor(less) lodge. All the furry footjobs, hobbit holing, androgynous elf orgies, and dwarf sex (with ACTUAL dwarves!) you could ever ask for. While you’re there, surprise your lady with a Stinger! It’s basically just a Shocker, but you paint your hand Day-Glo blue first, call her “Shelob”, and hum while you’re doing it.
So, yes. We’re in New Zealand. Kiwi country. The island nation’s only major contribution to my life has been Peter Jackson, who helped make my high school years a little more tolerable through his brilliantly bat guano creations Bad Taste, Meet the Feebles, and Braindead/Dead Alive. Speaking of those delightfully gore-soaked off-the-wall horror-comedies, today’s feature is in the same vein *wink*wink*.
Before we begin though, it’ll help to have a crash course on the Maori. Actually, we don’t even need a crash course, as a simple summary will do: they’re the NZ equivalent of the US’s Native Americans. They were there first, Europeans came and took over, they were persecuted and poisoned and had their land pillaged, and they’re now treated as second class citizens. I’ll never understand racism, but then I also have a fully functional set of chromosomes and just enough self-esteem and sense of responsibility that I don’t blame my problems and mistakes on others. I am forever denied the bliss of ignorance. Oh well.
Our story begins at the St. Agnes Boarding School for Young Maori Ladies. Like any school that caters strictly to those of the feminine persuasion in the sinema, St. Aggy’s is a lesbo factory, helping to keep the local population down by turning otherwise normal teenage girls into stark raving homosexuals bent on smoking jazz cigarettes and scissoring each other until their vile acts of heathenish self-indulgence summon forth the Morning Star, who will plunge the world into Armageddonous HELL ON EARTH!
Or, here’s a novel idea, it could just be that lesbians are most likely to embrace and explore their genetic disposition for loving the company of other ladies in a place where the hetero pressures of the outside world to be “normal” are minimized to be almost entirely nonexistent, and the likelihood of meeting others like themselves is increased a few hundred fold. It’s not a choice. But being a shit-ass who ruins other peoples’ lives with fear and hatred is. Now go practice not being a scumbag, otherwise I’ll turn your brain A Clockwork Orange and give you the “Full Alex” in front of an endless loop of clips from “Mister Rogers” and “Sesame Street”.
Rather than do a typical rundown of the drama to be had, I’ll be avoiding excessive spoilers by introducing you to the characters themselves first, then getting into whatever nitty and/or gritty and/or titty that remains after. Savvy? Spiffy.
Rina Crane (Hanna Tevita) – our beautiful, barely legal heroine. The opening credits give both her attitude and effort ratings of “Excellent”! She’s a sarcastic little smart-ass artist type student at St. Agnes. She also draws her own comic book characters, making her a Maori Darlene Conner and I’m a little in love with her because of it. Rina’s favorite color is pink (less like Barbie’s convertible and more like the inside of a rare steak); her favorite foods are clam, feline, carpet, and box; despite having never played a woodwind instrument she excels at fingering; and her favorite activity on the swim team is the muff dive. I’d say it’s something of a spoiler by being blunt and telling you she’s a lesbian, but LITERALLY within the first 90 seconds of the movie she’s having nekkid shower time with another girl! I’m talking bare ass and boobs faster than you can say “They have lesbians in New Zealand?”. It’s nothing exploitative either. It’s all soft touches and smiles and gentle lathering while a pleasant track of something you’d hear in Bikini Bottom plays in the background. It’s almost too adorable to masturbate to!
Rina hasn’t come out to her family and friends back home yet. For now she just drops subtle hints, like when dad asks her if she’s been keeping clear of the all-boys schools, she replies with “I’m not even interested in boys… I’m too busy!”. Ah, the words every father used to want to hear their daughter say… back in the ’40s. Speaking of dear old dad…
Hemi Crane (Temuera “Jango Fett!” Morrison) – crazy-looking (but well dressed) father to Rina. His field of study (in which the best he’s managed is an Associates Degree) is the history and traditions of their Maori ancestors and the attempt to keep them alive in the wake of the pale skins’ crushing gentrification of this, their native land. Hemi’s successfully authored 5 papers and 3 books on the subject!… all of which were self-published… and all of which were total boondoggles, selling less copies than those weird niche books you see at Dollar Fandango about the Economics of Crossfit and housewife-on-a-budget stuff where a guardian angel falls in love with the woman he’s assigned to watch over. Hem’s in a constant state of denial, but his pride won’t let him accept these failures, of which those around him are sure to point out. His obsession over their ancestors’ “savage” ways has progressed to the point of re-establishing the long dead Maori cult of the Solomonites, named for the last “pure” Maori – Tommy Solomon. Pretty sure the cult is a product of this movie only, and are named as such for the way you can almost make it sound like “sodomites”. Not unlike the quote that opens this review!
Margaret Crane (Nicola Kawana) – mother to Rina. She’s a celebrity chef with a successful TV show! Like her betrothed she’s also a published author. Unlike her betrothed she’s successful, with 15 cookbooks and an autobiography under her belt. I wouldn’t mind a trip under her belt myself *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*. Hubba hubba! Hem’s more than a little jealous of Marge’s success, and attempts to use her cooking show as a way to promote his failed writing ventures. Also, she may or may not have had a well-publicized affair with her publisher. Margie gets the unenviable task of telling Rina about the little dietary lifestyle change the family has undertaken in her academic absence as a result of their conversion to Solomanism – they’re cannibals now!
Glenn Crane (Kahn West, not to be confused with the Kanye of similar monicker) – brother to Rina. He’s still in high school, where he spends a lot of time playing cricket and… that’s about all there is to him, really. Glenn spends most of the movie in his yellow vest and pleated white pants, which has gotta be the wimpiest sports uniform you’ll ever see. He does get some of the better lines in the script though, so good for him.
Shaun Armstrong (Will Robertson) – childhood friend to Rina. Shaun’s the token white male friend who likes to say he’s “Maori at heart” and goes to excessive lengths to immerse himself in the natives’ ways in an effort to dismiss his genetic pallor and identify more with Rina’s ethnic background. He’s the Middle Earth version of a whigger. Shaun’s been holding a crush on Rina since puberty and has convinced himself that her return to the hometown will finally be the moment of their storied journey where she realizes she’s in love with him too and they live happily ever after. Awww, I remember what it was like being that naive. Medical books call it Ducky Syndrome. The years of self-delusion via wishful thinking almost make up for the crippling heartbreak when you realize that they’ll never be able to view you romantically, and that torch you spent half your life carrying finally catches your shirt sleeve on fire and turns your arm into a mangled mess of beef jerky. Though I can identify with the guy, even I would push him out of a second story window if given half the chance.
Ritchie Tan (Leand Macadaan) – life changing catalyst to Rina. Ritchie’s a big ol’ Pacific Islander lookin’ dude (everyone thinks he and his brother have “Made in China” stamped on their asses) who’s been sentenced to 12 years in prison for murder, kidnapping, and selling fruit without a license. See, I was going to make some kind of funny little comment in there about a whimsical crime he might have committed, just because it was the perfect place to slip in a finger, errrr, joke. Then that “selling fruit without a license” thing popped up and sandbagged me. Such is the problem when reviewing a horror-comedy: competing with the movie’s built-in jokes! It’s easier with common denominator garbage like A Haunted House, cuz that crap biscuit couldn’t make me laugh if it filled my pants with Cool Whip and cracked me in the funny bone with a clown hammer.
Before Mr. Tan can start his stretch in the iron bars hotel (or whatever the Klink’s called down there… and I don’t mean Colonel), his bumbling cohorts in criminal activities dynamite the delivery van tasked with hauling his ample ass to Kiwi Alcatraz. Said suicide squad consists of dipshit demolition man Johnny (Jack Sergent-Shadbolt… what the fuck is a “Shadbolt”?), Ritchie’s uzi-slinging shortfuse spazoid junior sibling Paulie (Ralph Hilaga), and ‘Chie’s shotgun happy femme-fatale girlfriend Gigi (Kate Elliot) who, as a former army cunt, has more balls in her left pocket than the 3 boys she runs with carry combined. They’re packing raisins in a hanky, and she’s wielding billiards in Lord Humungus’s studded leather jock. Fuck with her not ‘lest you’ve grown weary of respiration.
Now that we’ve met The Fresh Meat Players, on with our show!
The gang’s little pre-jailbreak hits a snafu when their getaway car breaks down, leading them to seek shelter in the Crane family’s open garage before they can be spotted by a search helicopter. And just like that, we’ve got a hostage situation…just moments after Rina has discovered a human hand marinating in the fridge…which Mum and Da do not try to pass off as a very realistic jell-o mold, the way you’d expect them to in a comedy. On the Sticky Situations Scale, this rates a “naked sorority girls wearing caramel bikinis wrestling in a bed of cotton candy, then reverse gangbanging the cycloptic tar monsters from that episode of ‘Scooby-Doo Where Are You?‘”.
Who’s gonna come out of this mess alive? Will ANYONE come out of it alive? With a house full of cannibals and killers, which side do you root for!?
Fresh Meat is an oddball of a movie to take in. It’s like a New Zealand comedy rendition of 1996’s Real Killers, without the “oh so ’90s” Dia de los Muertos harlequin skull face makeup jobs and with a lot more wacky cannibalism hijinks. If this movie had had a few dozen scenes of characters dissecting American pop culture, you could also mistake it for a Tarantino movie. Hell, the soundtrack’s even littered with beach party music and the epilogue is a big “we love horror movies too!” homage ending scene that you’re not sure you should enjoy for being just random and referential enough that it works, or give a wet razz to for jamming it’s tongue straight through your cheek and out the other side.
Jango Fett is the real stand out of the movie, as he chews scenery with almost as much aplomb as his character does human flesh. The rest do their thing with talent and competency, but I’m way too lazy right now to call out every individual performance. Sorry, folks. I’m sure you won’t need much therapy to resolve getting passed over by some unimportant Yankee in his review of your movie that will get 10 reads at best. The other few hundred page views will just be perverts who found this by Googling “Scooby-Doo reverse gangbang”, much to the disappointment of their psychologically abused libidos.
Whatever your feelings on the movie as a whole, it’s more than a little weird to watch as a left-leaning American Death God. If Fresh Meat were made in the US, the Cranes would be Native Americans and things would probably be shut down by the PC police before principal shooting started. I’d probably side with the Native Americans on this one too. I mean, Hemi’s got a line where he makes sure to point out, “We’re not Maori cannibals, we’re just cannibals who happen to be Maori!”, but even if, it still feels like kicking someone after years of already holding them down and taking everything they own, then excusing it by saying “I’m not doing this to you because you’re an Indian, you just happen to be an Indian I’m doing this to!”. Or maybe my heart’s just bleeding today and I should “get over it”. Speaking of which, kudos to Parker and Stone for their Redskins episode of “South Park”. Thank you.
Politics and liberal guilt aside, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about the movie itself. It may be a tad long in the runtime, but without ruining things for would-be viewers, I can’t really say much else. So, instead, I thought I’d ramble on for a few more paragraphs due to a lack of anything better to do. As such, let’s start with some fun firearm and human biology facts taught to us by today’s educational feature, Fresh Meat:
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
What’s a battle?
Did that boy just say “What’s a battle?”?
No. He said “What’s that rattle?”. It’s about the heating duct.
Hmm, it sounded like “battle”.
I’ve had a cold, so–
Oh so you would hear ‘r’s as ‘b’s?
And that ladies and germs, is why “Simpsons” exchanges aren’t nearly as funny when textualized.
Ending on a bit of random info, in case you ever land on a pink square while playing Trivial Pursuit: NZ Edition, director Danny Mulheron (who’d probably enjoy my labeling him as “Kiwi Tarantino”) was the man inside of Heidi the Hippo (take that as you will [she sure did! Wakka wakka!]) in Peter Jackson’s iconic muppet massacre of pre-mainstream depravity, Meet the Feebles! Not really much of a surprise that he’d worked for Jackson at some point, as everybody in New Zealand has at one time or another by now. Even more interesting is Mulheron’s turn as Blighty Tater in the 1989 TV series “Worzel Gummidge Down Under” which, to be honest (something my Evil Dead Bride would assure doesn’t happen often), I would have no fucking clue what a Worzel Gummidge even was if it weren’t for watching scads of OSW Review (>>>Splicey Splicey<<<) reruns. Whovians take note, though, because the titular straw golem of the series was played by none other than John Pertwee, AKA the Third Doctor, AKA the voice of Spottyman in one of my childhood favorite cartoonies – “SuperTed”! Holy shit, I gotta go see if there’s any “SuperTed” on YouTube after this…
Oh, and on a FINAL final note, before I leave this land of beauty and wonder to travel to my next stop in the Grand Prix of global movie mocking, whatever happened to Old Zealand?…
On a FINAL finally final final note: For anyone not privy to the inspiration for my alternate title on this episode, I yield the floor to Mr. Frederick Krueger circa his lauded line reading from The Bard’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Take it away, Pizza Face!
“Deputy Head Girl” sounds like a position better suited for a co-ed school… Also, her parents wanted the doctor to put “Aloha” as her middle name on the birth certificate, but he was Chinese. Ouch.
Was the all girls school he sent her to a Stewardess School by chance? Look at that uniform!
“Didn’t you used to sell bootleg DVDs outside of the downtown Dunkin’ Donuts? You got the new Adam Sandler movie?!”
Paulie finally hits his breaking point with people trying to sell him used panties, assuming he’s Japanese.
Am I too late to make a Gigli joke? Really? “At least 7 years”? Shit. Well… I got nothin’. Move along!
“Though I admire you for your bravery in sharing your story with the world, do you think it was wise to go with your bikini photo as the front cover graphic!?”
She looks like a 5 year-old girl dressed a Barbie doll with mismatched outfits, then gave her a shotgun from an older brother’s GI Joe figures. The judges would’ve also accepted “Detroit hooker”.
“No, they didn’t let me keep the Jango Fett costume after we wrapped Star Wars. Can we please keep the interview to questions about my new movie?!”
“You ever just hang your ass over the side and try to shit on somebody’s car? I’d be doing that, like, EVERY day if I were you!”
Uggh, you NEVER wanna be on your knees in front of a fat guy wearing sweatpants. I’ve seen it from both (don’t judge!) sides and just holding your breath isn’t gonna make what’s behind those waistband ties any easier to swallow… LITERALLY!
Maori bling just isn’t “blingy” enough. Now the Aztecs, they were light years ahead of the rest of the uncivilized world when it came to personal accessories!
Don’t get excited folks, that’s just milk. In my weekly support group, we call that a “Mookakke”.
“I don’t care if a bald man wearing a shower cap is like putting gas into a broken down car! Can we go back to the Jango Fett questions now?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Scum Yuppies Must Die!”
Featuring: Bill “Half Past Dead 2” Goldberg , Douglas “Stage Fright (2014)” Smith , Emilie “The Hills Have Eyes (2007)” de Ravin
Director & Writer: David Steiman
Also Known As: Very Bad Santa
Merciful Cthulhumas to you, my fellow cinemasochists! May Our Dark Lord from the hoary nether realm spare you and your loved ones for another year! Today (well, 3 days ago) is the day of the Gregorian calender we set aside to honor our eternally dark Lord Cthulhu by paying tribute to the important persons of our lives: generally through thoughtfully chosen presents, sacrifices of personal wealth, oaths of fealty…or gift cards to Red Lobster. This year, I continue my vow to sacrifice my sanity in the name of your entertainment by shutting myself into the iron maiden that is today’s holiday themed episode. You owe me.
David Steiman’s IMDB profile credits him with four production assistant jobs from 1999-2000, before becoming personal assistant to director Bret Ratner for three consecutive movies: starting with 2000’s The Family Man (I’ll have to excerebrate my gray matter with a nasal hook just to literally get Hall & Oates out of my head now), continuing through Rush Hour 2 and ending with Red Dragon in 2002. Three years later, Ratner himself would end up with a mysterious producer’s credit on this celebration of yuletide retardation: Santa’s Slay. Not only would SS (yep, that’s how I’m referring to it!) be the first-and-only writer-director credit for Mr. Steiman, but it’s also the last industry credit the guy can lay claim to of any kind for the decade since…
So, Bret Ratner produces his ex-assistant’s solo-project? Looks to me like Mr. Steiman really put the “ass” into “assistant” during his time working under The Rat, blackmailed Bret into lending his name and credibility (I use the term loosely… possibly sarcastically) to SS, then exiled himself into oblivion after being confronted with the product of his manipulations, having lost any future he may have held for himself after giving up said blackmail material to BR as part of their arrangement. Oh well, sometimes you gotta swallow a few loads to make your dreams cum true…Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, you, you, you, you! Fuck…the H&O earworm only grows fatter. Somebody get me 666 cc of “Super Charger Heaven”, stat!
Our movie cold opens on a Christmas gathering of the Mason family (no, not the Manson family) as they gather for dinner, bickering and implied adultery. They’re your typical horribly WASPy family of well-off shitholes to whom the concept of love died long ago, like a starving polio-ridden Great Depression-era orphan child in a snowstorm. They’re thankful to their god for not making them “poor or Samoan”. Just when the dad (James Caan) is about to stab the son-in-law (Chris Kattan) for fingering the mom (Fran Drescher) under the dinner table, a pissed off mountain of a man dressed like Santa (Bill Goldberg) explodes from their chimney and proceeds to brutally slaughter the whole useless clan till they’re Feliz NaviDEAD! Bludgeoning, immolation, impalement, drowning in egg nog, and finally, James Caan getting a turkey leg jammed down his throat pipe. (Death) God bless them, every one.
Who is this Herculean icon of holiday cheer-turned-brain smashing behemoth (this line to be spoken like the narrator from the Adam West “Batman”)? I’ll spare you the wait and express pass your ass to the head of the class. It’s almost a decade old at this point, so the grace period for plot spoiling is long gone! You know how Jesus Christ was supposedly the result of immaculate conception between an angel and his “virgin” mother Mary? Turns out there was another such birth some time ago, as Satan himself spawned his own offspring from another mortal woman (named Erica)’s baby maker. That child’s name? Santa. What, you though it was a coincidence their names are so similar? The SNL Church Lady knew the score!
Anyway, every year on his birthday Santa would go out and slaughter random people. These annual bouts of unsolved murders were dubbed “The Day of Slayings” (YesVirginia, we have a title), also known as Kerry King’s birthday. As Christianity spread like a plague over the Nordic lands, the people would gather every year for a Christ mass, where they’d beg their new god to save them from Santa’s traditional birthday bash(ing of their skulls). Sometime around the year 1000, Big G finally answered their whining by sending down an archangel to do a BTO job (i.e. take care of business). Disguising himself as just another jobber, the angel challenged the big bully to a winner-take-all round of curling. Curling?! Yep, this movie is definitely a product of Canada. Blart.
If Santa won his challenger would be condemned to an eternity in Hell, while a loss would result in Santa becoming a harbinger of charity and good cheer for the extent of the following millennium. The winged deceiver triumphed and the rest is history…until now: exactly 1000 years later (to the day, since this is a movie), when Santa’s personality inversion has expired! Now he and his reindeerish beast the Helldeer (it’s just a white buffalo…someone call Charles Bronson!) are on the hunt for the heavenly body that pulled the holy wool over his soulless black eyes and permanently scratching a few names off of his Naughty List along the way. Where’s this angel now? He resides in a little middle-of-nowhere hamlet in the wilds of Canada known as…Hell.
And yes, the township’s moniker is abused to full pun effect throughout the next 75 minutes, so gird your laughter loins (or your groan groin), lest ye suffer a pulled muscle from all of the agonizing efforts of fifth grade humor you’re in store for.
Also residing in Hell is a disgustingly mild mannered teen by the moniker of Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith looking like the son of Bud Bundy), whose possession of the Christmasiest sounding name since Santa’s Little Helper (or “Santos L. Halper” if you work in customer service) is guaranteed to get him involved in the coming blizzard of bloody battery. In fact, if I just outright told you now that the elusive angel is his grandpa (Robert Culp) and young Nick was oblivious of the fact until now as Santa Claus is comin’ to town, your shock level would register somewhere around a “minor static shock from touching a doorknob after crossing a carpet in socks” level, right? I thought as much.
Nick works at a Jewish owned deli (is there any other kind?) along with his friend/co-worker/scripted love interest Mary “Mac” MacKenzie (Emilie de Ravin). Mary’s obviously got a girl boner for the gawky weirdo, and if she has her way, she won’t be going the way of the Biblical Mary…by which I mean she’s looking to get her factory seal ruptured for Christmas…by which I mean she wants the Nick dick. As for deli owner Mr. Green (Saul Rubinek), I don’t know his intentions for “the Nick dick”, but I will say that he looks like the bastard love child of Elliott Gould and Adam Carolla. He winds up pinned to the back wall of his establishment by a menorah jammed through his windpipe later on, courtesy of Claus. Does this count as a hate crime? Shouldn’t Santa be down with the Chosen People given their mutual hatred of Jesus anyway? Also, if you say “hatred of Jesus” using the Spanish pronunciation, it rolls off the proverbial tongue nicely. Very lyrical.
Here’s the rundown on Nick’s grandpa (simply credited as “Grandpa”): in his current form, he’s considered the town nutso. He’s a bit of a recluse who refuses to celebrate Christmas, spends his time in his basement bunker watching his oddly extensive surveillance equipment and making weird inventions like a weaponized nutcracker that shoots exploding chesnuts out of its hideous grinning maw. Before all of this, back when he tricked Santa into a thousand years of slavery in the shackles of holiday cheer, the angel gave up his halo and wings to start a life with a mortal Norse woman (little to nothing of which is covered beyond “I fell in love with a human woman”) who we’re presumed to believe became Nick’s grandma. I guess giving up your angelic status doesn’t make you “mortal” though, because the old man’s still spry after ten centuries. That’s just the tip of the WTF iceberg, because there’s no mention of what happened to Nick’s parents, or just how shallow the roots are on his family tree. Did Gramps fall in love, spend a lifetime with the woman, then just kinda live and love for the next 900 years or so until he met Nick’s actual grandma before settling down and raising a family? Did he sire another family, or possibly multiple other families, before spawning the bloodline that would lead to young master Yuleson? It’s never addressed, let alone made clear, and just leaves gaping-like-a-size-queen plot holes big enough to fly a team of reindeer through. Thought I’d stuff your stockings with a little holiday twist to an old reviewer’s cliché.
While all of this is going on, we’re introduced to Hell’s resident representative of the Christian faith, Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas!). PT is your standard issue “Don’t be a sinner – give money to me! Errr, the church!” man of the cloth, and regularly holds mass…by which I mean the mass of the big fake titties hanging off of the pole jockettes sluttin’ it up at the town gentlemen’s club. Yep, the contents of the collection plate are destined for the g-strings of Hell’s single mothers and “working girls”. In no way surprising, but makes the Pastor’s statement in a prior scene telling his congregation to not donate loose change and keep it to bills incrimentally funnier in retrospect.
Juggernaut Claus runs (unstoppably so, “bitch”!) through the club and murders a handful of denizens while casually sexually harassing and/or assaulting several of the employees before just burning the STD hole to the ground via a flaming hot coal grenade that leaves the place looking like a Vietnamese orphanage after one of Uncle Sam’s anti-communism napalm showers. Timmons eludes paying the proverbial piper (only to be corpsed up while dressed as Santa later on, in the moments before the closing credits roll), but professional wrestling nerds should take note – infamous pro-wrestling writer cum onscreen character Vince “Vic Venom” Russo cameos as one of the victims of Santa’s rampage! Funny from a geek standpoint since many fans blame Russo for the murdering of former “sports entertainment” titan and builders of Bill Goldberg’s career World Championship Wrestling. The only true WCW, by the way, for all the those “woman crush Wednesdays” social media she-wankers. 😛
Eventually Santa gets around to hunting Nick and Grandpa so as to wipe their lineage from the face of the Earth in revenge for being reduced to “a bowl full of jelly” with “dimples so merry” for most of his existence. He managed to locate the duo thanks to a letter Nick sent to him years ago (where did you think those letters to Santa wound up?!), asking for an Easy Bake Oven. Mary tags along for the adventure (gotta have those “Don’t you realize yet that I want the Nick dick!?” moments) and Nick somehow comes to the conclusion that they’ll be okay so long as they can survive until 7PM their time, because that would make it midnight at the North Pole, thus Christmas would officially be over. I hate it when the protagonists just make up their own rules to shit like this! Not since Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives!, when Tommy randomly decides that the only way to stop super zombie Jason Vorhees is to chain a boulder around his neck and trap him in Crystal Lake amid a ring of fire just BECAUSE, have I screamed “Who gave you creative control of the script?!” at my TV screen. Horse. Shit.
Almost as annoying is Nick’s insistence on putting his dick in the fourth wall glory hole by reminding everybody several times about how absurd the whole scenario is. Christ’s nipple clamps! If you’re gonna have a character riff on how stupid your own movie is, just go all out with it. He comes within inches of just saying “It’s like we’re in some bad horror movie!” before looking straight into the camera and winking anyway, so take a fucking cue from Nike and JUST DO IT!
Santa follows Nick back to Grandpa’s, but while our teen heroes try to escape the brutal bearded beefcake, Grandpa gets run over by the Helldeer…and yes, they make the obvious joke, in case you were wondering. The rest of the movie is basically the Degrassi dropouts running away from Santa until they wind up at the local high school, where Santa pulls out a glowing green candy cane (like one of those throwaway glow sticks spelunkers use) to light up his face for dramatic effect…then immediately throws it down…because he only needed it for that one second…oy. He chases them onto the school hockey rink, but just as the homicidal holiday icon is about to run down the soory pair under a hungry Zamboni, he’s stopped by a glowing golden curling stone…
Yes, apparently when an angel gives up their angelic status to become a seemingly un-aging human (is this where Highlanders come from?), once they’re killed they’re allowed to get their old jobs back. If that’s the case, then why don’t ALL angels do this?! Shit, it’d be worth it just to experience the blowjobs and cheeseburger pizza alone! You get to just become an angel again when you die anyway!
Grandpa tries to trick the sadistic behemoth into another curling match, this time demanding Claus becomes a good guy forever (why wasn’t that the stipulation for the original face-off?!) if the golden geezer triumphs once more, once again offering himself up to eternal damnation in Hell if he loses… except that angels aren’t human and thus do not have souls to damn, so the bet’s already bullshit to begin with! Anyway, Santa agrees to the wager, but this time demands that Gramps shoots first. Star Wars geeks, please save your Han-Greedo arguments (and slash fiction) for the appropriate message boards and Facebook groups. Thank you.
Santa pulls a shitlord move (he is Beelzebub Jr. after all), and rather than taking his turn at slide ‘n sweep, just grabs Gramps and tosses him into a literal hell hole! Nick’s completely meritless deadline finally expires, to which Claus pleasingly tells Nick to go fuck himself with that bullshit. He’s Santa Claus. HE decides when Christmas is over! He then tries to blow up Nick and (There’s Something About) Mary with a Megalon napalm loogie (why did he even need the coal bomb at the strip club?!), but it’s deflected by Nick who uses the nutcracker weapon from earlier in one of the most gob smackingly dumb-fuck moments in a movie infested with dumb-fuck moments. Santa takes a chestful of chestnut shrapnel (yeah, they make THAT pun too) in the exchange and escapes into the night on his Zamboni while the kids help Grandpa, who’s been hanging onto the edge of the Hell portal for longer than an old man should be able to hold his own body weight. Grandpa can’t leave the boundaries of the hockey rink (huh?!), so Nick and Mary set off to finish the job on Santa on their own. Rather than find him and defeat him, they opt instead to get Mary’s family of Canadian rednecks to shoot down the Helldeer (with a rocket launcher, because Canada’s seemingly littered with live military armaments), blowing it into scattered meat and guts…until it’s shown again two minutes later as a complete carcass tied to the top of someone’s truck! I can only wish that I regenerate the brain cells killed from watching SS as fast.
The movie ends threatening us with the possibility of a sequel as Nick takes up Grandpa’s Santa grimoire (which I’ll call the Navidadicon) and bukkakes the screen with Velveeta as he declares “my saga’s just beginning”. BLAAAAART! Meanwhile, Santa winds up at an airport with a plane ticket to the North Pole…and that’s it. It’s over. Roll the really shitty end credits theme “Bye Bye Santa”, as done by a sad excuse for a Ramones cover band called Jim Diamond’s Pop Monsoon, a half-hearted hardcore version Deck the Halls, and some more JDPM shit called Christmas In Detroit…for this movie that was filmed entirely in Canada. May that threat of a sequel be an empty one, and let us thank Cthulhu that Dave Steiman’s resume has since been trapped in magical Christmas ice, from which we can only pray it is never thawed and is freezer burned beyond recognition.
I’ve been shitting on the writing enough by this point, so you already know how I feel about that. What I’d like to do now, is drop a few Cleveland Steamers on the friggin’ editing hack job. It wasn’t horrible for the most part, but during the last chunk of this hour and fifteen it read like a clusterfuck. It came off like someone with a meat cleaver and high on airplane glue was told to chop off 20 minutes or so of footage and this is what was left. Ever seen Evil Ed? That. The entire non-ending was awful, and any movie that sets itself up for a sequel doesn’t deserve one. Every movie should be made under the idea of “THIS IS OUR ONLY CHANCE TO MAKE SOMETHING, SO LET’S NOT DO IT HALF-ASSED! WE USE OUR WHOLE ASS, DAMN IT!” because you don’t wanna be a one-termer asshole like Carter or Bush Sr. who didn’t get to live up to their first term promises.
Creative now properly crucified, how about this cast? Douglas Smith? Simply put, he sucks. Remember how I said he had this next-gen David Faustino/Bud Bundy thing going on? I would’ve preferred a time traveling David Faustino circa 1992 playing Nick. Robert Culp’s okay, but his Nordic accent sometimes dips into “I didn’t know the Nords were from Ireland” territory. Emilie de Ravin is passable, but delivers lines at times that give me the impression she’d just put her retainer in between scenes. Take this how you will, but she also looks like a barely legal Patricia Arquette. If I were 10 years younger…I’d still feel like a dirty old man for wanting to see what she looks like with my balls on her chin and my pubes making time with her nose hairs. Shit. Onto a less damning statement, Dave Thomas (the Strange Brew guy, not the dead guy from the Wendy’s commercials) is… well…there. He showed up for work and read his lines. He wasn’t very funny, but the material wasn’t exactly Mel Brooks. Tommy “Tiny (but I’ll always know him as Zeus)” Lister gets a paycheck for a short cameo as a gas station attendant (AKA the only black guy in rural Canada) who’s moved to Hell to get away from all the violence in “the hood”…Canada has a “hood”?! I was really hoping Lister would reveal himself to be some kind of opposing force for Santa, but once Grandpa came back into the picture as a member of the haloed crowd, I knew my hopes were for naught and his appearance was just a nod to old school wrestling geeks like yours truly. Go watch No Holds Barred and weep at the smell of dookie.
The only worthwhile stand out from this movie is Goldberg, and that’s because Santa plays to his strengths: look like a big psychotic colossus, snarl and grin like a maniac a lot, and speak English clear enough that you can recite bad holiday themed one-liners. The one-liners themselves are crap, but Bill delivers them with enough aplomb to show that he was at least having some laughs behind his gigantic fake facial mane.
Everything started out great, with Santa handing out comically graphic violence to the jerk-off brood, followed by running a bitchy old lady off the road to her great reward (that’s what happens when you berate Jews for saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”!), but once the story started to form, the foundations for this gingerbread house immediately dried out and began crumbling. The whole thing starts to feel like a slapdash Hallmark Channel Christmas Original, only littered with foul language, crude humor, big naked fake-o boobs, and cartoony (albeit bloody) levels of murder. You could slap “Hallmark After Dark Presents” on the title card and I wouldn’t be surprised. On the plus side, if you’ve ever wanted to the see The Nanny’s head set ablaze, here’s your chance!
I say watch Santa’s Slay for the bloodshed and fast forward through the rest of this mire. And this is coming from someone who likes Jack Frost…no, not the Michael Keaton movie…and not the Russian one they watched on the Satellite of Love. All in all, I’ll use a quote from Nicholas and sum Santa’s Slay up as “File that next to brown colored toilet paper as a bad idea”. I thought SS would be gold, but it was bronze. Sorry, I wanted to get this movie out of my system so I marathoned “Snuff Box” last night and now I can’t get that damn theme song out of my skull.
Fun fact: Goldberg’s not the first professional meathead to don the red, white and beard! In 1996, man-shaped Ziploc bag full of gravy Hulk Hogan starred in Santa with Muscles, where he played a guy who did things, presumably dressed as Santa, that likely included performing wrestling moves on some less-than-noble types. It’s so shit streaked that it makes it almost impossible for me to masturbate to Mila Kunis, knowing that she was in it. Sadly, it’s outside of my realm of influence, as the be-hair curtained Real American’s entry into the pantheon of holiday “Why hasn’t this been done by RiffTrax yet?” cin-enemas was left behind in the wake of the last millenium with the rest of the Hulkster’s floppy dicked attempt at a movie career. If I could have my way though, I would Charles Band the crap out of these two bicep blasted incarnations of Ol’ Saint Nick and make them do Yuletide combat in Santas with Muscles: 2 Holly 2 Jolly 2 Slay.
In more positive news, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Street Fighter – the world’s first movie adaptation of a video game, that also had a video game adaptation of itself…dividing by zero before dividing by zero was a thing. It killed Raul Julia. To celebrate, here’s movie Blanka! Despite the rest of his body being violently deformed through experimental mutation, at least his dentist will be happy to see that it didn’t effect his teeth. Merciful Cthulhumas, everyone!
Nothing much changed, we’re just older
But if I see you again back in detox
Put my remains in my snuff box
“Got any roles I can audition for? I’ll do anything for a part! I sucked off and swallowed 14 studio execs in a sauna once for Corky Romano, and I knew that movie was going to be shit from first glance!”
James Caan’s just gone straight senile. Every time we invite him to our Tuesday night Knifey-Spoony games, he always shows up with a fucking fork…
It’s Kool-Aid Claus! “Ho-ho-hoooooh Yeah!”
“Where’s the (roast) beef!… oh wait. There it is.”
“Every time you come in here Mrs. Smith, I tell you I’m NOT Paul Reiser. Please stop asking for my autograph and telling me I should give Helen Hunt a call to see how she’s doing.”
That has to be the most name brand stocked fridge I’ve seen in a long time!
“And don’t ever try putting your dick in that thing, kid. There’s a reason they’re called NUTcrackers!”
Despite what this may look like, that guy’s just trying to give Santa a complimentary shave. The beard’s just getting too big to manage.
She’s either doing her impression of Frankenstein’s monster, trying to keep her “silent but deadly” silent, or showing us her “o face”.
Billy Baldwin, tired of waiting for the call to come, goes ahead and starts up his own homemade sequel to Sliver.
“Ho-ho-HOLY SHIT! Who slipped acid into my milk and cookies?! I am freakin’ out!”
“Today’s passing of the collection plate is to raise the funds needed to replace our tissue paper windows with actual stained glass. Please give what you can, then add $10 on top of that.”
“What are you punk-asses looking at?! Tell Hanukkah Harry I’ll be waiting for him at the Nativity Scene downtown whenever he’s ready to man up and settle this once and for all!”
“Look, after Ice Cube sold out and stopped making Friday sequels, I had to make money somehow! Not like No Holds Barred 2 is every gonna be a thing! Now, you gonna buy these Cheetos or what?!”
He was only supposed to bleed from the throat for a few hours, but he somehow bled for 8 nights. It was a new Hanukkah miracle!
Having taken a bunch of Ecstasy and eaten several snowballs packed with Viagra, Santa is ready to rave straight on into the New Year!
A still from the Canadian remake of Heaven Can Wait. This is what angels look like North of the border.
President of the Canadian expansion of the NRA. Not sure how rocket launchers classify as “Rifles”, but if you ask them why they’ll just threaten to murder your family for “trampling their rights”.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Wrestling Dead”
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
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.
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.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Faygo 500”