Featuring: Olivia “‘Bates Motel’” Cooke , Sam “The Hunger Games” Claflin , Jared “‘Mad Men’” Harris
Director: John “Quarantine 2: the Terminal” Pogue
Writers: John “Ghost Ship” Pogue , Craig “The Uninvited” Rosenberg , Tom “The Hallow” de Ville , Oren “I’m Not There.” Moverman
For those wondering the cause of my latest absence, it all started last year when my court mandated hypnotherapist told me to explore the world and meet new people. I thought she said explode the world and eat new people and, well, let’s just say I had a very awkward several month stay in Germany… Further stymieing my return, the spray-tan-scrotum-golem-in-chief’s racist travel ban made it impossible for an Egyptian Death God/Dog to get back into the US by “conventional” means. Anyway, with all of that behind me, here we are! Did I miss anything while I was MIA? Never mind. I don’t care. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to reviewing I go!
The flick heralding my glorious return to cinema nitpicking is yet another from the ever-swelling sub-genre of “Inspired by actual events” movies. How inspired? As is often the case, only enough to establish a basic foundation for a house of lies.
The actual event in question is a little-known 1972 mental spelunking designated, “The Phillip Experiment”. Headed by a Canadian mathematician (because nobody knows horror like someone whose life revolves around numbers) named A.R.G. Owen (“ARGO”?), it attempted to prove Dr. “Uncle” Owen’s theory that supernatural phenomenon was the result of human psychology and that the supposed specters of the restless deceased (i.e. ghosts) are just a case of shared hallucinations between peers. In testing said population postulation, ARGO gathered a handful of educated associates and the group created a fictional character named Phillip (hence the title), complete with his own made-up background. Once Phil’s character sheet was filled out (I’m guessing he was a half-orc rogue with a Chaotic Neutral alignment), the group went about holding a “seance” to try and Witchboard the imaginary spirit into existence. When their first attempt flopped, they spookied up the second effort like a cheap Halloween spook house and sure enough: *BOOM!* so much spooky shit hit the fan that they needed to pressure wash the walls after.
Despite this supposed evidence to support ARGO’s hypothesis, why aren’t the results of the experiment globally acknowledged as the official debunking of every ghost story ever told? While the majority of the scientific community would rather point out the numerous flaws with the experiment’s execution, we all know that nightmare fuel sells, so consider it an assassination job by the horror industry and the collective con-men (and con-women) who make their livings off of “reuniting people with their dead family members” and making TV shows where nobody actors pretend to be “paranormal experts” yelling at “ghosts” in front of night vision cameras!
Well, that covers the educational portion of the review. Now that I’ve guaranteed a few more weeks of grant funding from The CHUD Group (taking “based on actual events” movies to task since 1984!), allow me to hang up my mortar board and don my rubber monster mask. It greatly obscures my vision and puts me at a heightened danger of asphyxia, but it gets me in the proper mindset for movie mockery…and it scares the shit out of the cats too! Mwa-ha-ha-ha.
Across the pond, in the merry old England of 1974, Oxford University professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris playing the missing link between Frasier Crane’s brother and Hellboy’s adopted father) fills in the role of “curmudgeonly old science type who will sacrifice as many underlings as need be in the desperate effort to prove his crackpot theories”. He gets things rolling by familiarizing his upper class rich kid students with an experiment he himself conducted, centered around curing a mentally disturbed subject known only as “David Q”, a barely pubescent lad with a penchant for making drawings, not unlike Mike Myers’ reoccurring “SNL” character Simon. Pretty normal, right? Except that his refrigerator disasterworks were of a spooky creepozoid he called “Mr. Gregor”, based on a character from one of his dear old dad’s bedtime stories. If you’re thinking of Peter Rabbit’s arch-nemesis, that’s Mr. McGregor, who is slightly less horrifying. Anyway, according to DQ, this Weight Watchers Uncle Fester is “the man that makes things happen”. Unlike Edward “A Man Who Makes Things Happen” Collins, Mr. G’s talents didn’t involve integral advances to the state of Texas’ infrastructure. His “things” were more in the realm of poltergeist-ian happenings around young David that had those close to him believing he was a better candidate for an exorcism than a session on a shrink’s leather couch.
One of Coupland’s mentees (not manatees…though that would make for an interesting twist) decries his work as blasphemous and abandons the class since “Revenant Remonstration” wasn’t listed in the syllabus. I wonder if “conflict with religious beliefs” is a refundable excuse when dropping a subject… Charley Church is pretty much alone in his condemnation though, so Professor Joey Joe Joe had little trouble already convincing two of his suck-up-iest students to help him further his hunt for a cure to a condition that 99% of whose victims only exist in cheap horror flicks still trying to cash in on the popularity of The Exorcist.
Krissi (Erin Richards) is an attention magnet female caricature of a character who gets off on men wanting to engage in sexual congress with her. In a modern setting, she’d be one of those “bi for the guys” types who makes out with other women in bars just so they’ll be in the center of the testosteronal spotlight. She initially tried to sign up for the project as the test subject because she’s “so crazy”, but having father abandonment issues and severe jealousy isn’t what Coupland was looking for, so Krissi tags along to assist and observe. On a related note, Graa-Muhr – the Sumerian god demon that lives in my Speak & Spell and spellchecks my words – has declared spelling that name with an ‘i’ as a heretical act. As such, I’ll be calling her “Kris” for the remainder of my bemused musings. Over and out.
Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne) is a pretty persona non interessante in his own right, there to experience what he thinks will be a milestone in all kinds of sciences without providing any real catalyst to the goings-on. He’s also Kris’ current partner in the synchronized mattress gymnastics routine, so expect standard “relationship complications” between the pair in a quarter-hearted effort to make them both seem less two-dimensional. As for the study’s star, she’s an afflicted/conflicted young woman named Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke). Miss Harper is a suicidal amnesiac with “off the charts” brain wave frequencies whose only known past consists of being an unwilling passenger of the British foster care system, hot potato-ed like a human dybukk box from home to home because of her tendency for paranormal “redecoration” in every home she was placed. Claiming she’s not responsible for the destruction left in her wake, the girl (well, woman, as she’s 24 according to my math) insists that another personality named Evey (pronounced like the Pokemon Evee, and not like “every” minus the ‘r’) is to blame. Professor Coupy hypothesizes that Evey is a delusion created by his little guinea pig and is determined to harvest her telekinetic havoc by “trapping” the imaginary friend inside of a doll, thus giving Evey her own physical form, thus making a name for himself in the annals of crackpot horror movie mad science history and likely dooming himself and his cohorts to be menaced and murdered Talking Tina style.
(Run, Bojack! Uhm, I mean, Kojak. Run, Kojak!)
To achieve his goal, Coupland (who’s not nearly as magical as Disneyland) keeps Calamity Jane locked up in an apartment where she’s mentally tormented around every little minute line of the proverbial clock. The theory is that depriving her of sleep and subjecting her to blaring renditions of Slade’s “Cum on Feel the Noize” will stress her to the point of a veritable breakdown, releasing the Dark Hadou within. Given what we’ve seen from shit like Firestarter, Scanners and Akira, this isn’t going to end well for anyone.
Now, until this movie, the only rendition of “Cum on Feel the Noize” (or “CoFtN” as true fans know it) I had been aware of was the version Quiet Riot would cover ten years later for their album Metal Health. So, if nothing else, The Quiet Ones will always be remembered for me as the movie that completely reconfigured the Rubix Cube that is my casual enjoyment of ’80s hair metal. Hell, maybe it’ll help you score a couple points and some free mozzarella planks next time you hit up trivia night at the pub! You’re welcome.
In need of someone to chronicle his self-professed history-in-the-making project, the morally malleable pedagogue employs an independent filmmaker (i.e. someone in the Oxford AV Department, so the Prof wouldn’t need to pay a deposit on the equipment) named Brian (Sam Claflin) to immortalize it all on film…or as “immortal” as a highly volatile medium like film can be, at least. Unlike Harry & Kris, Bri’s a member of the working class, born of society’s lower crust and only “attends” the prestigious palace of higher learning in as much as the people who scrub the toilets do. He’s the movie’s be-sideburned every-man that the general audience can relate to while the other three push the ambiguity of the audience’s presumptive precepts, thus digging their own graves.
In other words, Brian’s the good guy.
In a neat little bit of trivia, it turns out that some of the POV scenes were actually shot by Claflin to add a pinch of authenticity to them. Groovy.
This crew of would-be pioneers in brain science blatherskite don’t get very far into their sadism before being forced to leave the flat-turned-dungeon after one too many calls to the Bobbies by a buzzkill neighbor who just doesn’t appreciate incorrectly spelled songs about girls rocking their boys. Following said run-in with the law (cue Steve Sax and his misadventures in the Springfield softball scene), Dr. Smarty Pants’ funding gets cut off faster than a male Skywalker’s hand. With the coffers of higher learning no longer picking up the tab on their trauma loft and sadism fetish footage, the gang relocate to an old mansion in the countryside that’s straight out of the Oxfordshire Chainsaw Massacre.
“Pip pip, fish and chips. Dog will hunt and all that bother.”
Bry’s also forced to downgrade his film to a cheaper stock to accommodate their now out-of-pocket adventure, or so he says. This claim is inconsistent with the movie though, as the footage with this “cheaper stock” somehow becomes cleaner during the important footage, only to revert back to crappier quality during the group’s “behind the scenes” downtime footage. Not really something to condemn the movie to the gallows for, just a (thumbtack-in-the-)\footnote for our fellow pickers of nit out there in the world wide waste.
In between Jane’s “counseling sessions” (basically more harassment, but with festive novelty trance party lights), typical British ’70s sexpot Kris carries out makeout session with both Harry and Professor Jojo, because we didn’t have enough reasons to be revolted by dirty Dunkirk grandpa before this. While that unsettling game of Love Triangle Twister plays out, our simple hero Brian finds himself struggling with his own twenty-something loin boiling. Not one to take on anyone’s sludgy thirds, his attention ends up getting glued to the carpenter’s dream in the padded cell, who makes no secret about lusting for the handsome cameraman herself. Or are those impure thoughts the work of dirty-minded mental squatter Evey’s hidden valley? Either or, never underestimate the panty-dropping appeal of a tight set of sideburns, folks!
(Uncut folicular sex, right there.)
These new found feelings for (feeling) Jane lead to Brian contaminating the experiment when he disrupts one of the torture sessions, just as Coupland was on the verge of (or so he says) forcing Evey to finally manifest and relocated into Jane’s toy doll. Following the incident, Brier Rabbit starts to question the legitimacy of the experiments, convinced that he’s being played for a fool and this is all going to end up on an episode of Punk’d in 30 years. His search for corroborating proof results in, well, let’s call it “unfortunate evidence to the contrary” to spare too many details, and he realizes the happenings happening are very much real, much like the danger to his new love interest. Kris too voices her concerns for Jane’s welfare, but much more easily silenced than Brian, i.e. with the old man’s tongue down her throat. BLART! However, Special K starts getting jealous of all the attention Jane/Evey gets from the Prof and wants to end the experiment, meeting with consequences of her own. And Harry? Who cares. I don’t and neither should you.
Inhuman as it may seem though, are Dr. Shit Pickle’s edumacated presumptions of Jane’s condition accurate? Is he really the only person that can save her from herself? Is E-V really just a voice echoing in the woman’s head, or is Coupland’s self-proclaimed debunking of the supernatural doomed to its own debunkening? Will he redeem his appearance as a hideous excuse for a human being by bringing peace to her suffering soul and countless others’ (well, maybe a dozen across the globe) by curing whatever fucking pyrokinetic multiple personality disorder is going on here?! Naturally, shit gets out of hand, and the final 20 or so minutes amp up the manic panic with more twists that a contortionist possessed by Pazuzu! But, since this flick’s still underage in regards to my Rule of Five, I won’t spoil them here. I will tell you this much: the Talking Heads would approve of the experiment’s end result.
(My science fair project, “Shit: How to Tell If It’s Getting Out of Hand”)
The backstory behind The Quiet Ones extends beyond just its looser-than-lunchmeat interpretation of “true events”. For those out there who were unaware, it’s also one of the final movies produced by Hammer Films. Yes, that Hammer Films… no, not M.C. Hammer Films, which was never a thing, no matter how hard we got to pray just to make it today. Anyway, yeah, almost 30 years after the original studio shutdown in the wake of waning gains, a Dutchie by the name of John De Mol bought the rights to the UK house of horrors and its 300+ movie properties. His intention was to stir the smoldering ashes in hopes of finding a few hot coals with which to re-spark the company’s status as a bastion of unique scares for people seeking an alternative to the same old slashers and more-of-the-same monsters. Over the seven year period following their first release (a MySpace exclusive micro-series called Beyond the Rave), Hammer was responsible for putting out the English remake of Let the Right One In, The Resident, Wake Wood, a post-Potter Danny Radcliffe starring in The Woman in Black, and The Quiet Ones before presumably bowing out with 2014’s The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death.
I’m by no means a Hammer-Head. Of the bulging back catalog they boast, my exposure to said selection has been the occasional installment of Chris Lee’s Drac Race and random weirdness like X the Unknown. I don’t question their appeal, nor the tastes of their sizable fan base, I’m just not foaming at the mouth for old British renditions of public domain monster mashes. Now that I think about it though, I’d down a whole bowl of Egyptian style prairie oysters (think camels instead of cattle) if it meant getting a Terry Gilliam directed revamp of House of Dracula. Somebody jump start the Kickstarter machine, stat!
As I was saying before so rudely interrupting myself (with a fucking brilliant idea – you’re welcome), I am no Hammer die hard(er), thus I have no truly viable opinion on how The Quiet Ones stacks up to the previous studio’s legacy. Judging it on its own merits as a stand alone horror flick though, I licked it! Errr, liked it. Liked it!
Unlike Quarantine 2, John “probably doesn’t know Shane McGowen” Pogue’s interspersing of shaky “found footage” cam within the frame of a traditional point-and-shoot movie both fits the theme and manages to not feel nearly as shoe-horned up the audience’s collective colon. The “faux film filter” of the documentary footage is actually pretty well done, setting it apart from the crisp, vibrant look of the rest of the flick. It’s not a perfect replacement for the real thing, but in the wake of digital media, I’m pretty sure actual film is harder to wrangle these days than an Adam Sandler NetFlix release that doesn’t make me want to throw myself into a thresher while watching it. Despite advances in technology though, it’s too bad the CGI effects aren’t nearly as well done, even under the obscuring veil of said filters. Our eyes are metaphorically poked by a digitally rendered “teleplasma” tentacle that couldn’t rouse a twitch in the taint of even the most perverted hentai viewer if its programmer’s life depended on it. An odd scenario that I’m not even sure I could conjure up a feasible setup for, but I said it, like it or lump it. That said, any movie lover worth their weight in salt water taffy knows that you need to temper your expectations around a flick’s finances, so a lesser budget production like The Quiet Ones doesn’t take much of a hit for less-than-stellar visuals. Less a hit, in fact, and more of a tickle. To the armpits. Not long enough to break out into fisticuffs, though. Or lead to any awkward sexual tension…?
And by that I mean, uhm, how about that cast!
Jared Harris plays a perfectly good stodgy old British learn-ed type, giving Old Man Coupland apropos gravitas, charisma and sleaziness in even measure, gradually growing his drive for the experiment into
an uncomfortable obsession without going into full-on over-the-top James Bond super-villainy. Olivia Cooke also does an admirable job of taking Jane between a suffering child that’s a magnet for the audience’s empathy and an uncomfortably aggressive deviant desperate to have her hot pocket stuffed. It’s a performance that’s made all the more upsetting by Cooke’s jailbait appearance, not looking nearly all of the 24 years of Jane’s age thanks to her do-it-herself haircut, barely-there bust, and the fact that she was only NINETEEN at the time of filming. Sam Claflin’s Brian is good enough as the well-meaning hero burdened with doing the job he’s been hired for or doing what his moral compass (and groinal compass) tells him he should. It’s not a meaty role, really. “Brian” is not a part comparable to the thespian equivalent of a Triple Meat Lover’s Meats-a-Treats-a-Rotti Deluxe (Lumberjack style) from Meat Sweat Marco’s All Animals Great and Small Buffet. But, for what it is, Claflin earns his paycheck.
Richards and Fleck-Byrne, though a great name for a Vaudeville act, are just kinda there as Kris and Harry respectively. She’s attractive, he’s a doofus, they fit the parts, end of story. “No small parts”? Go butt-chug some arsenic, Stanislavski.
A quick glance at the official Hammer site (hammerfilms.com) tells me that they’re still working on various projects, despite their movie production slowing to an almost complete halt. They’re currently holding English style horror stage plays in London, curiously enough, but did mention that as of October of last year they’re working on a new movie-to-be called The Lodge. Despite its fairly poor critical reception and a few plot hole potholes (having FOUR writers will do that) that could’ve been filled-in to make the ride smoother, The Quiet Ones was enjoyable enough to this particular Death God Dog to put this new(ish) version of the old company into my vision cone. Whether I opt to review them or not, I’ve got an interest in tracking down the handful of Q1s‘s fellow Neo-Hammer creations now, so good on you, sirs and madams.
Now, if you’ll excuse me (and even if you won’t), I flushed something that looked like a brown version of the titular terrorizer of Chuck Band’s Parasite this morning and should probably inform the local Water & Sewer Department before it starts laying eggs and making indecent proposals to Demi Moore…
Cheerio and bugger off, ya blighters and bints!
“Hey, what are you… Damn it! STOP THAT! What is it with you Millenials and this fucking fascination with rimjobs!? Do you think that’s where Tide Pods come from?!”
If someone at Warner Bros. ever wanted to make a live-action “Wacky Races” movie, there’s your Penelope Pitstop.
A new documentary finally reveals just what is Behind the Green Door. And it’s… a green… room? Huh. Looks like someone’s getting their grant money revoked.
Wednesday Addams learns the terrifying truth of the world outside of the family fortune: studio apartments, minimum wage, and having your power shut off because you just HAD to buy that $200 pair of knee high goth boots from Torrid for the Marilyn Manson concert next week instead of paying the electric bill.
“Alright, I give up. I haven’t the slightest bloody clue how to play Croquet!”
Tolgate Transportation – when you need windowless vans to relocate your ethically questionable “human abuse in the name of science” projects, think Tolgate!
This promotional picture leaves me feeling really uncomfortable for the “new direction” Disney has planned for the next season of “Girl Meets World”. Maybe they shouldn’t have handed production over to the “True Detective” people.
Oh no. Is this one of those horrifying FLDS arranged child marriages situations?! I’d rather watch snuff footage of Andy Griffith killing, sodomizing, and eating Don Knotts whole than see underaged girls gifted to their fathers’ business partners and/or religious leaders. UGGH!
Here at the Spencer’s Gift Novelty Lights Testing Facility, we make sure all of our products are just what your next rave needs to achieve peak freak out!
“I know the nuns said that the Catholic school uniform dress code was strictly enforced, Father, but all this over a Hello Kitty hair clip?!”
“Whoa there, Debbie Harry, save some for the rest of us! That shit’s supposed to last us until Thursday.”
Napoleon Dynamite’s father, Cornelius T. Dynamite, seen here in the last known photo of him before “the accident”.
Before Toys For Tots initiated their “New Unopened Items ONLY” policy on donations, this was the scene for many a tear streaked face on Christmas morning. If I ever find the person that “donated” the limbless Hordak torso I ended up with in ’91, the aftermath will make Pol Pot’s ghost vomit.
“For the love of Harry Smith, THAT’S what my colon looks like?! Where do the polyps end and my pooper begins?! I think I’m going to be sick.”
Anubis will return next time in
“Adolf Hitler’s Muppet Babies”
Featuring: Kurt “Escape From New York” Russell , Rosario “Clerks II” Dawson , Zoë “Game of Death (2011)” Bell
Director & Writer: Quentin “Inglourious Basterds” Tarantino
Also Known As: Death Proof
I mean, “proof”… here’s Death Proof…
Quentin Tarantino comes in with the second feature of Grindhouse and, unlike Planet Terror‘s demolition derby of start-to-finish action and gore, Death Proof makes you earn that privilege by sitting through a lot of characterization and dialogue first. In other words, it’s a Tarantino movie. I’ve never had a problem with Quentin’s movies, I just hate the man himself because he’s a spazzy little pissant that should never be allowed to do interviews or step foot in the general public. But, if I was going to be slowly driven insane by listening to actors spew lines of vulgarity and pop culture references at each other until it pulled a Chinese Water Torture on my frontal lobe, I’d want it to be written by QT…or Kevin Smith.
Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is, well, a former stuntman, in case you didn’t catch that part of his name. Mike used to do a lot of “falling off horses” stand-in work in the old days of TV westerns before falling back on car crash stunts when he ran out of actors to look like. But, in this modern day of Hollywood penny pinching bullshit like computer graphics imaging, jobs are scarce for guys like Mike. With all this free time on his hands, Mike’s got plenty of opportunities to find new ways to keep himself entertained. Whereas most normal guys would simply work on their porn collection or take up a hobby like pyrography, Mike instead discovered his new fetish: killing women!
Mike’s technique of choice isn’t anything as simple as stabbing, shooting or strangulation, though. Instead, he likes to involve them in violent car wrecks the likes of which no one could ever possibly walk away from. This way, said meticulously plotted slaughters can never really be seen as anything more than one guy’s unfortunate string of car wrecks. Would-be accusations of stuff like “premeditated murder” are immediately followed by stuff like “no concrete evidence”, so Mike gets away with little more than a brief stint in a hospital room for a broken bone or two, which is all in a day’s work for a stuntman anyway. But how does SM pull off such a thing without getting himself an early ride to the grave in the process? Turns out that stuntmen can super reinforce a car in a way that guarantees the driver will not be killed should the car be otherwise destroyed. This method is called…wait for it… “death proofing”.
That’s right kids, we have ourselves a title.
So, we have our antagonist. Now, where will we find him some victims? Enter Abernathy (Rosario Dawson), Kim (Tracie Thoms), Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Zoe (real life stuntwoman Zoe Bell as herself!) – four friends looking for fun. Ab, Kim and Lee are all on break from their current jobs on the set of the latest Lindsey Lohan tripe, which gives them time to hang out with their pal Zoe who’s in town visiting from New Zealand. Seems that while she’s here, Zoe plans to live out a longtime goal of riding on the hood of a car (a game she calls “ship’s mast”) that’s the exact make and model of her panty-peeler fantasy ride from the cult classic carsploitation movie Vanishing Point – a white 1970 Dodge Challenger.
As luck would have it, such a car is being offered for sale by one of the yokels in the Tennessee area where the ladies are residing! After Ab sweet talks the car’s slack-jawed stereotype into letting the gals take a test drive (which includes a terrifying allusion to leaving Lee, cheerleader costume and all, behind so Billy-Bob can “get to know her”), the remaining trio of ladies take the Challenger out for a spin. Too bad for the babes that what starts off as a dream come true for Zoe turns into a car chase nightmare when who else but our homicidal hombre Mike, out of the hospital and behind the wheel of his newly proofed Chevy Nova, is back on the prowl to grind more fresh lady flesh under his Goodyears. What follows is one of the greatest car chase finales since The Road Warrior.
As mentioned before, the movie’s a bit talky. Since Grindhouse is over 3 hours long, people are going to be begging for any opportunity to hit the restroom and empty their Pampers. My best recommendation would be to drain the reservoirs during the first 20 minutes of so of Death Proof. If you love Tarantino’s writing you might want to ignore what I just said, but if you’re not the type who absolutely must see half an hour or so of characters being established only to have all of that effort flushed in the long run, heed my words. I could live with seeing everything before the first car accident scene trimmed down considerably, then leaving the last half of the movie as is, to be honest. But, like everything else on this website, that’s just my opinion. Despite the innately inessential opening act, the latter half of the flick makes sitting through the first half so worth the effort.
Kurt Russell looks like he had as much fun playing the weathered Stuntman Mike as Tarantino probably had directing the whole movie (despite its lack of his infamous inclusion of n-word carpet bombing the script). The man-who-was-Snake runs the range from funny to creepy to charming to pathetic and he does it all with a wink and a smile. His performance is nothing if not a blast to watch… sorry, “blast” was the best word I could come up with when typing this.
The cast of gals are all having a lot of fun here too and it shows. Zoe Bell should definitely mix in more actual acting roles with her stunt work (FYI: she was Uma Thurman’s double for the Kill Bill movies) and she looks like she’s genuinely having a pisser of a time riding that hood. Tracie Thoms is the definition of “crazy bitch” as she hoots, hollers and curses her way through the last 30 minutes of the movie and makes me wish I was cool enough to hang out with her. And Rosario Dawson? I’ve fallen in love with her all over again since the first time she made me do so in Clerks II. She’s cool, she’s sweet, she’s hot, she’s adorable, she’s a FUCKING COMIC GEEK and, when it gets down to it, she’s a hellacious bruiser! Her best moment? Wait till about two seconds after “The End” pops up on the screen and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
As with Planet Terror, everybody else on the credits scroll did their job and that’s about all I can say about that. Eli Roth (who directed the Thanksgiving trailer I’ll be mentioning later) and Tarantino himself have small roles too – Quentin as a friendly bartender and Roth as a patron at said bar trying to get his ovarian target for the night drunk enough to go home with her. Can’t say I blame him though, as I can only imagine the looks he gets when he tells chicks, “Yeah, I’m the guy who made Hostel! Wanna go back to my place and shit on my chest?”.
Aside from the two or three hundred movie references Tarantino drops throughout the dialogue (you’d think he was making a commission on DVD sales from these things…), I’m sorry to say that I’m not a follower of car chase flicks, so many of the tribute pieces were probably lost on me. For instance, if my mother-in-law hadn’t pointed out that the chrome duck hood ornament on Mike’s car was an homage to one used in the movie Convoy, I would’ve just seen a stupid chrome rubber duck. The one thing that I did pick up on (at least I think so…) was a scene where Stuntman Mike plows through a roadside movie marquee advertising a double feature for Scary Movie 4 and a Wolf Creek sequel. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m gonna say that this is a little tribute to Wes Craven’s now classic use of a torn Jaws poster in the original The Hills Have Eyes as a way to say that the latter was a superior scare flick in comparison to the former. Did Tarantino use this to say that the double feature in Grindhouse is superior to an imaginary double feature of these other non-existent movies, or am I just reading too much into it? More importantly, do you care? Me neither.
As far as the Grindhouse gimmick goes, Tarantino shies away from the liberal use of film scratches and superficial burns that Rodriguez leaned on for Planet Terror, opting instead for other loving faux faults like audio hiccups and a couple of frames missing from the reel that cause cars to suddenly disappear, small pieces of conversation to be left out and people to magically teleport from one place to another. He also does a great bit with the opening credits, in which the title card for the movie’s original fake original title of “Quentin Tarantino’s Thunder Bolt” is clipped out for a generic looking still of the alternate title (that of course being “Death Proof”) printed in white on a base black background. That was a definite favorite moment for me. This movie’s “Missing Reel” moment is a lap dance scene that I couldn’t care less about missing to be honest, so if this was never shot and doesn’t make it into the DVD, I won’t mind.
For you trivia hounds out there, Stuntman Mike got into the stuntman biz through his brother, Stuntman Bob. If that helps you win ‘Jeopardy’ someday, you owe me 20%!
All in all, I meant what I said and I said what I meant: I recommend Grindhouse 100%. And now, for the “coming attractions”…
I’m going to talk about two of Grindhouse’s fake trailers here and the other two in my review for Planet Terror, so if you haven’t checked that out yet, do so when you’re done here.
The first trailer (which is actually the third trailer shown throughout the length of the double feature) is Don’t. In a hilarious lampooning of the infamous “Don’t [Action to be Disparaged Goes Here]” movie titles US release companies gave European releases in the States during the sleazy ‘70s, Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright previews a fake movie for us about people trapped in a haunted house, including the director’s frequent collaborators Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Pushing the joke all the way, the trailer is entirely narration (by Will Arnett) with none of the actors getting off any actual lines, a trick used by said US releasing companies 30 years ago when they didn’t want potential audience members to know that the European movies being released under these new pseudonyms were cast with actors of heavy accents, worried it would turn people off. Much like Shaun of the Dead, this trailer’s literally brilliant and uses the underlying humor of its source material to full comedy effect. If I were the kind of guy who rated trailers, this would be a five star all the way!
Our final trailer is from Cabin Fever horror wunderkind Eli Roth, who brings us a parody of ‘70s and ‘80s holiday gimmick slasher movies called Thanksgiving that seems to be equal parts Halloween and My Bloody Valentine homage humor. The trailer goes for total shock factor, dick slapping everybody with graphically implied sex scenes and over-the-top gore. To put it in terms of audience reaction, everybody in the theater was laughing for Don’t, then groaning and gasping as loud and painfully as possible for Thanksgiving. Severed heads aplenty here, along with Cinemax level softcore scenes of chicks giving out blow jobs like they were Christian propaganda fliers, a disturbing scene of a topless cheerleader on a trampoline getting a very sharp alternative to a Tampax shoved up her birth canal, and a baffling final scene of someone cooked and stuff like a giant turkey before a very brief glimpse of what looks like Roth himself being sodomized at a dinner table…what the fuck?! Roth has shown he likes shock value over “artistic vision” and I’d definitely watch Thanksgiving as a feature, just to say I sat through it without blinking…because I’m a desensitized sociopath. Though I can appreciate some fairly done graphic violence and sex, the actual urge to see something like this isn’t as inspiring as I think the man was trying to do. 3 out of 5.
Xtro: Okay, for starters allow me to redact my pissing and moaning about Tarantino being a spaz, as it’s hypothesized that the mad genius of genre tropes and snappy dialogue may well have Asperger’s or at least fall somewhere on the autistic spectrum. I’m not saying he needs to be pitied as a result, I’m just over being annoyed by his manic mannerisms and “too much cocaine in his coffee” personality. Considering the mental demolition derby I’ve been involved in in recent years myself, that would also make me a bit of a hypocrite. And remember kids, it’s not hip to be a hypocrite… just ignore the difference in spelling there. My PSA is still viable, G.I. Jerkoff.
Unlike Planet Terror, Death Proof‘s special effects skew more traditional to the grindhouse theme, opting for what at least looks like 100% practical magic (housewife witchery not included) rather than dicking with digital deceptions. This ain’t no Fast and Furious fuckery, fanboys! This is a straight up traditional car-on-car bump n’ grind! And what did R. Kelly teach us before he was trapped in his closet and pissing on teenage girls? There ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little bump n’ grind. Or, if you too were raised on Mad Max movies (like moi) or those classic off-the-radar car flicks of the ’70s, the old way is the only way. It’s an art form that, depressingly, has fallen victim to technology and breaks my heart…well, except for Mad Max: Fury Road, because I pray George Miller my soul to keep.
Tarantino also made Death Proof with what you’d imagine to be an anorexic budget, as its 2 hour run time takes place in fewer locations than an agoraphobic’s weekly routine. So much of it happens in a honky-tonk bar or a diner or on back roads or just in the cars themselves that it has to be Quentin’s most minimalist shoot outside of Reservoir Dogs and The Hateful Eight. This doesn’t keep the man from shooting it all beautifully with his usual “100 different angles” style though, and even for someone who hasn’t spent so much as 5 minutes in a film class, it brings a tear to my eye and a jealousy to my heart. Speaking of jealousy, I imagine that most of the obscure movie posters and paraphernalia that decorates the sets belong to Tarantino himself, which no doubt saved a fair amount of pressure on the prop budget…unless he was smart and used said budget to buy a bunch of cool shit he himself didn’t already have, then just pocketed everything when the job was done.
The cast is fantastic, the direction and cinematography are beautiful (moreso if you’re a foot fetishist like QT, far less so if you’re a podophobic like my mother-in-law), if you’re a fan of Tarantino’s usual heavily scripted free-flowing dialogue by characters who would all kick your ass at Trivial Pursuit you’ll be happy to know it’s all there, the soundtrack is pitch perfect (because it’s gods damned Quentin Tarantino, so of fucking course it is), and the stunts are so eye blisteringly stellar that the team deserves a friggin’ constellation named after them! It’s almost a perfect movie. But…
The biggest problem I first had with DP (huh huh huh) was watching it directly after having sat through the 100+ minutes of Planet Terror. Even if I weren’t a lightweight when it comes to theatrical marathons (I’ve only watched two movies back-to-back in a theater twice), following up a zombie slaughtering action-comedy with a “talkie” that takes the better part of an hour before it sheds any blood? It’s a rough transition. I wouldn’t blame anyone who walked out, fell asleep in their seat, or passed on paying for a ticket altogether. Even as its own entity, I still have a major issue with the movie’s structure: it sandblasts my ass to introduce and flesh out a cast of characters just to kill them off halfway through the movie and introduce a second cast of would-be victims after. Why? Because the only person we follow throughout the flick is Stuntman Mike, but he’s less a main character than a catalyst! He’s the antagonist, fine, but we get no inclination of his motivation beyond that he’s a former fall guy who really hates women for… some… reason. Want to excuse this as part of the bad movie gimmick? No. If you’re giving us snappy dialogue delivered by talented actors but leaving out important background details about the only constant character in the movie, that’s flying like a lead zeppelin full of mud sharks.
My other gripe is the inconsistency of the grindhouse mimicry. The gimmick shit comes on heavy in the first few minutes with intentionally awkward cuts, audio skips, and that great title card change paving the way (pun intended). The grimy grainy motif carries on throughout the first half, but then the second half starts on an incredibly clean black & white scene (of which QT is keen) for reasons unseen. The colors come back on after the new apples of Mike’s evil eye are introduced, but the crisp look continues on until the finale. It’s an absolute orgasm for the oculars, especially now being able to see the grand 20 minute vroom vroom chase in 1080p, but why drop the titular shtick?! Punch my ticket and tickle my pickle.
And if you’re wondering if Tarantino’s penchant for excessively over-salting his scripts with a Lt. Col. Killgore level carpet-bombing of the n-word (and no, that’s not short for “napalm”), then yes. Not Samuel L. Jackson levels, granted, but Tracie Thoms does utter enough “niggas” to give Jeff Sessions a semi. So, if hearing said term churns your aural sensibilities, your ears will not be spared here.
While my reunion with Planet Terror reminded me just how much fun it is to watch, seeing Death Proof again bore me an all new respect for it. Despite my criticisms, I do appreciate the ass off of it! It’s not Quentin Tarantino’s best (in fact, he’s called it his worst), but it’s only one shelf below top shelf, and that makes it money in my book.
With that, kiddies, it’s time to say goodbye. Join us next episode when we get a visit from a certain team of super powered people who “guard” humanity from evil…
Moral of the Story: Bars offer all manner of pleasantries outside of booze. Alcohol is simply the lubricant for social interaction… unless you’re me, in which case alcohol is the legal anesthetic through which my body pisses off my brain by becoming completely unresponsive to any and all commands.
“I’m so glad I cut an emergency hole in all of my pants so I can plug up any unexpected leakage issues! Why doesn’t everybody do this?!”
“And then the monster was all like, ‘FIRE BAD!’ and shit. Hahahaha.”
“Bitch, does this look like an Appletini? If I wanted a margarita, I would’ve asked you to get me a margarita!”
Eli Roth wasn’t quite prepared for the vitriolic text he received from Keanu Reeves following the critical response to Knock Knock.
Cousin It spends yet another Saturday night dressed in drag and picking up strange men in bars, despite promising the rest of the Addams that it would never happen again after that weekend he spent locked up in Roman Polanski’s basement.
Special cameo by Eddie Izzard!
I wonder if he got that scar from eating pussy… or “pineapple” if we’re being censored.
In case you forgot you were watching a Quentin Tarantino movie. Oh well, it could be worse. At least his fetish isn’t school girls showing live eels up their butts or octogenarians shitting on Precious Moments Figurines!
If this were made in Japan, that would just be an indicator that she’s incredibly horny.
Beauford misread Jake’s comment and leaned in for a kiss that, sadly, would never come to pass. He and his broken heart resigned from the department shortly after to avoid the uncomfortable awkwardness between them that resulted, and spent the rest of his years married to Martha, dreaming of what could have been.
“Damn it, guys, I told you not to let Jenny have second and third helpings of chili for breakfast! I’m stuck back here with her for the next hour and it already smells like the ladies room at White Castle!”
A rare still from the long lost Michael Myers parody porn, “Hallowiener: Is That a Butcher Knife in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?”. The producers were advised not to distribute it as a Betamax exclusive, but they insisted it was the wave of the future. But, as this ad proves, sometimes it takes more than sex to sell.
We’ve all been the odd one out when it came to 3 people riding in a 2 seater and you weren’t fast enough to call “shotgun”.
Despite his wealth and fame, Kurt Russell refuses to pay drive-in prices, opting instead to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from his neighbor’s roof.
“Well, it looks like Boss Hogg didn’t take too kindly to those Duke Boys leaving an upper decker in his private moonshine still, so it was up to Roscoe to put Bo and Luke on ice. And all this just hours before the annual Hazzard County ‘Wings & Wangs’ barbecue and penis measuring festival!”
Hey ladies, are your pants registered with Airbnb by any chance? Because I’d like to live in ’em for a few days while I’m in town! *rimshot*
“And THIS is for Overboard! You ruined my trust in men for years with what you did to Goldie Hawn, you sick freak!”
Anubis will return next time in
“In Soviet Russia, Copyright Laws Infringe You!”
Featuring: Reggie “Phantasm” Bannister , A. Michael “Phantasm” Baldwin , Bill “Phantasm” Thornbury & Angus “Phantasm” Scrimm in his final role
Director: David “Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too” Hartman
Writers: Don “Phantasm” Coscarelli & David “Channel 101” Hartman
Sequel to: Phantasm ; Phantasm II ; Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead ; Phantasm: OblIVion
You know those moments when you get your hype up so high that you’re oozing pre-hype, only to have the source of your oozing not just deny you said hype, but hit you in your hype zone with a hammer? Well, join the club. Uggh. Ra5ager is another one of those “I wanted to post this for Halloween, but had to hold off until November (I’m sorry, “NoVember”) because it’s too big a turkey to pardon” movies, like the Rocky Horror re-branding. Unlike the aforementioned botched effort to appeal to Willennials (what with their “gettin’ jiggy” and “big Willie” style), this irredeemable tank of cinematic septic sludge doesn’t even get the excuse of being a network exec’s cash-in fantasy.
Phantasm. Wow. In 1979, writer-director Don Coscarelli unleashed a new flavor in the field of fear when he introduced us to an old man and his balls. Now, in an Adam Sandler movie, that last bit would ravage the mind with horrifying images of a grandpa getting his testicles caught in his zipper, but in the world of Phantasm it’s horrifying for a whole different reason. When Angus Scrimm debuted as the now iconic Tall Man, a generation of horror fans pissed their collective pants. Five years before Freddy was giving teens fear-for-their-lives insomnia, this mammoth mortician was stalking his victims’ nightmares when he wasn’t prowling his mortuary workshop. Unlike other fear mongers, who would inject their terror through masks, He of Above Average Height relied on his everyday “twisted old man” visage, piercing stare and growling, bowel loosening voice to paralyze his enemies. And once they were paralyzed? That’s when he’d whip out his balls.
Said bloodthirsty spheres of steel became some of the most recognized death dealing utensils in horror. Flying through the air, they would chase down their victims, cutting them with their blades, boring into their skulls with power drill extensions, exploding through them at terminal velocities and even scorching them with death rays in later instances. So cool were these airborne murder toys that Anchor Bay release a Region 2 special edition DVD set of the first four flicks, contained in a big plastic replica ball case. My Evil Dead Bride begifted this little pocket universe of fantastic to me. Not only does this make me better than you, but it makes Her better than your significant other. Weep.
In addition to his vile volley of chrome cohorts, this tall glass of terror water (or “Flynt refreshment” as such libation would be known now) had under his wingspan a small army of small monsters. This cadre of diminutive demons were basically zombies that had been shrunken down in a giant food dehydrator then dressed up in robes. Basically Jerky Jawas. Despite the obvious opportunity for endless dwarf tossing jokes, the little beasties were always a source of hideous scares.
Over the course of the previous quartet of movies, Tally antagonized brothers Mike (Baldwin) and Jody (Thornbury) along with their guitar playing ice cream man amigo Reggie (Bannister) until 1998’s OblIVion, which ended on… a weird, Möbius strip type of endless looping…thing.
Though putting the series to bed on that note could’ve been acceptable (though confusing), after 37 years since its initial release we’re finally given the finale to the Phantasm legacy.
If you want a more detailed rundown of the individual movies and the labyrinth that is their cumulative narratives, don't look at me. I'm not Edward James Olmos and this isn't Stand and Deliver. Get your ass to
Mars Google! When you get back, we’ll talk about RaVager, which lives up to its nomenclature by doing just that to its lineage. See ya in 2 and 2, Chuck Woolery!
…[Pause for station identification]…
Groovy? Groovy. Let’s get this over with.
Originally conceived in 2008 as a web-only gaiden (aka an internet side-series) that would follow the further adventures of hair-curtain hero Reggie, this concept (and footage) was integrated into Coscarelli’s pre-existing RaVager plot plans circa the turn of the millennium regarding a final battle between our heroes and their nemesis amid the post-Apocalyptic ruins of a disease ravaged (*nudge*nudge*) Earth in which The Tall Man reigned over the crumbling remnants of humanity. I remember Bruce Campbell being included in these original plans, and was sad to eventually learn that he was no longer connected with the project. He would go on to make some magic with Mr. C in Bubba-Ho-Tep, but that’s another tale for another episode.
I’m not 100% on the extent of Dadtasm’s involvement during the final countdown to his brain child’s demise, but I do know that he passed the creative torch on to David Hartman to finish what he himself had started. Why? Well, my hypothesis is thus: Coscarelli was unwinding one day, watching Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too , when the radiation from a passing meteor bestowed temporary sentience and telekinesis upon a frying pan in his kitchen, providing the cookware with the momentary ability to throw itself at the back of his head, exacting revenge upon its owner for the many times he washed the poor thing with unforgiving Brill-O pads rather then letting it soak in soapy water first, then applying a soft sponge to remove the now loosened debris. Following said cortex rattling collision, Coscarelli returned to consciousness to see Hartman’s name on his TV screen. Feeling this to be a sign, he immediately got in touch with the man, ceding the reins to his purebred metaphorical horse and carrying out the prophecy laid before him.
But I’ve always had an “active imagination”. My parole officer’s been saying that ever since I was 15!
Whatever the case, RaVager returns the washed-up vendor of frozen treats Reggie to us after his altercation with Tally (pronounced like “Tall-E”) at the finale of OblIVion. Emerging in the middle of a desert wasteland with his vaunted double-double barrel shotgun, he discovers his beloved phallic compensater (and series mainstay), the jet black Plymouth Barracuda, not where he left it. Beginning his long self-narrated march down a barren highway in search of the nearest civilization (preferably prior to his death by dehydration), what should he come across, but that very same hot rod, now driven by its new owner (as per the “Finders Keepers” law), an even dumpier and less attractive loser than himself! There’s no explanation as to why the humanoid lung oyster would return to the scene of the crime, how he managed to find the ‘Cuda in the first place, or why he’d stop to pick up a thumb jockey in the middle of nowhere (clearly he’s never seen The Hitcher or heard ANY urban legend EVER), but whatever the reasons, the exchange ends with Reggie recovering his beloved whip and fat boy ending up in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his European-cut man briefs and a big silver sphere drilling into his face. Yep, as the poster for Phantasm II so joyfully declared “The Ball is Back!”
I love that movie. Oh Phantasm V, why can’t you be more like Phantasm II? D’oh.
Where the movie goes from here is, well, the very definition of a clusterfuck. Reggie jumps back and forth between scenarios where he’s driving across country in the “Ooooooo, Barra-Barracuuuuuda!” and being pursued by the occasional ball attack, suffering from dementia in a nursing home where he shares a room with a certain white-haired old man while being visited by Mike and Jody, or battling TM and his army of re-animated soldiers in a bloody red tinted “post-Skynet” world where he joins a group of revolutionaries that includes Mike, a woman named Jane (Dawn Cody) that Reg knows as “Dawn” in one of the other planes, and a pint-sized action hero named Chunk (Stephen Jutras) who’s your typical “I may not be tall enough to get on most carnival rides, but I can single-handed murder a dozen people with a knife!” breed of elite fighting dwarf that movies give us to up their action figure sales.
Though some viewers determined that these reality jumps are just Reggie having bizarre nightmares, in one of their nursing home scenes Mike tells Reggie about Membrane Theory (a.k.a. “M-theory”). Or at least boils it down into a small enough serving to make it edible for both Reg and we laymen in the audience. It’s basically a unifying concept that melds variances of superstring theory together to put out the possibility that our universe is just one of potentially thousands, and these other realities/dimensions are all bundled on top of each other in such a way that energy can pass between the weakened spots where their borders intersect. How does this apply to the movie? It’s never spelled out in big letters for us, but the presumption is that Reggie’s mind or “soul” (or whatever you want to refer to his consciousness as) plays illegal alien and passes between several of these dimensions, inhabiting alternate reality versions of himself (NONE of which have hair and ALL of which saw their careers apex behind the wheel of an ice cream truck) that spend their time fighting the Tall Man, running from him, or just rotting away in a hospital bed.
That’s about the extent to which I’m going to get into the story. Rather than settle on a single plot and map out the trip from point A to point B, we got this multi-reality excuse shoehorned in so Hartman didn’t need to settle on a single story. Even with said safety net setup below him, Hartman still churns out one majorly confused and overly complicated rigmarole of a fable. It’s the proverbial octopus trying to fingerbang a wood block – too many scenarios and nowhere to put ’em. What do you mean you’ve never heard of that proverb? There will be no free rides, no excuses. You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do. “The octopus trying to fingerbang a wood block” is the great equalizer!
Best of luck figuring that one out. Here’s a hint: it’s a callback to earlier in the review. 😉
I’d tell writer Hartman not to quit his day job, but since director Hartman is his day job, I’m going to request he quit both and do something for the betterment of humanity. Like drownee in a charity carnival dunk tank or jizz mopper at the local glory hole.
And what of our cast? Well, Reggie’s still the star of the show. Though his action hero stuff will never be believable, he’s still the best actor of the group. It makes sense why he became the series’s everyman comic relief focal point. Meanwhile, Baldwin and Thornbury seem to have become blander as their parts have become smaller. As for Scrimm? Oh man. Poor Angus. The dearly deceased inter-dimensional undertaker was on his last legs during shooting of his scenes, and it’s impossible not to notice. His face is heavily caked in makeup, his scenes are all smeared with digital haze to try and obscure his raVaged visage, his eyes look tired and the demon of time had long since withered away the Tall Man’s soul searing gaze. He has a handful of scenes with Reggie, where he cryptically refers to their roles in this grand scheme of things, but the poor guy couldn’t muster even an ounce of the terror he gave us in ’98, let alone in ’79. This isn’t how I wanted to remember Angus Scrimm, just like RaVager isn’t how I wanted to remember Phantasm. Uggh. Life is an unending march through the avenues and alleyways of suffering. Such is what happens when you let Pinhead plan your parade route. That guy’s such a prick. *rimshot*
Now, how about the visual effects? Unlike those car wrecks that people are always saying they can’t look away from (morbid fucks), RaVager is a car wreck you should look away from. Not just because doing so is insensitive to the victims, but because one of the drivers is Medusa and the other is Cthulhu, and if you make eye contact with either one, you’re fucked. By that convoluted metaphor, I mean to say that this movie is a visual mess. The digital format it was shot in makes it look like a crap-ass direct-to-video flick you’d find on the “New Releases” wall at Blockbuster 15 years ago. Back before NetFlix and RedBox ruined the video store experience and made the 13 membership cards in my wallet into useless plastic rectangles. You know what else looks like it’s a relic from the ’90s? The CG effects! Holy Helheim. As if I wasn’t having a hard enough time getting through this unadulterated gauntlet of shin-high spanking machines, I finally came across the point where my mind splintered. Not in the way that it physically broke into shards, but more in the way that Mrs. Menard’s eyeball was splintered in Zombie.
The CG is so hard to look at, I’d rather watch a baby put through a punch press. I understand budgetary constraints, but the stuff we get shafted with here was ugly 10 years ago, let alone by 2016 standards. The awkward attempts to splice these outdated digital effects with stock footage of riots and helicopters and skyscraper demolitions are heartbreaking. And it doesn’t stop there. Driving the splinter further into my cerebral cortex? During the climactic final conflict between our heroes and The Tall Man in his hellish home dimension, (a battle so poorly executed that I wish I could go on a three page tirade about it, spoilers be damned!) Mr. Scrimm is replaced by spliced footage of his younger self, awkwardly mugging his eyebrows up for the camera while not moving his lips at all (old test footage, perhaps?), excusing the piss poor paste job by having Tally speak to his opponents WITH HIS MIND… Really?! As if that wasn’t cheesy enough, said footage makes the man monster look flat, while everyone else in the scene clearly has that all important third dimension the bad guy lacks. I’m not a whore for high-grade graphics, I get that nothing will ever look as flawless as Jurassic Park did, but this garbage came close to shoving me into the malicious arms of an anxiety attack.
For Fenris’ sake, you know what RaVager reminds me of, now that I think about it? The way everything is so amateurish? The pitiably developed story? The lazy camera work? The cheap gore? It looks and feels like a fucking FAN FILM! It should’ve been titled Fantasm and sold as bootleg-only DVDs at dirt mall comic stores and hotel horror conventions! It would’ve been the perfect way to excuse Coscarelli not directing it, and it would’ve given the movie a Tower of Pisa level of leniency! I might have actually enjoyed it somewhat if that were how it had been presented! Son of a three-headed bitch! Leave it to me to pan some sliver of gold from a gurgling septic tank.
Why, why, WHY couldn’t David Hartman have been the Hartman killed by his crazy wife in 1998 (the year I’d swear these in-no-way-special effects came from) instead of Phil Hartman!? Phil Hartman brought us all so much joy and inspiration! “Newsradio” was one of my favorite sitcoms! David Hartman brings me nothing but disappointment. A disappointment that I’m sure extends to his family. There’s a Phil Hartman shaped hole in my soul that can never be filled, but there’s a David Hartman shaped hole in a New Jersey landfill that should be!
Okay, that’s a bit much. I shouldn’t be calling for someone’s head just because they exhumed a series better left dead, pissed all over it, then buried it upside down out of disrespect and built a pet shop on top of it. Maybe we should just have Rawhead Rex baptize D-Hart and let that be it. Truth be told, I’m not even a major mark for the Phantasm series. My dad was always a way bigger follower of it than I was. But even as a slightly-more-than-casual observer of the Misadventures of Bomb Pop Reggie and the Brothers Pearson, RaVager is the worst instance of someone disgracing a franchise beloved by others since that video I sent my ex-girlfriend, in which I gave her The Lord of the Rings trilogy DVDs a Cleveland Steamer. That’s what happens when you kidnap one of my Re-Animator t-shirts, EDNA!
I’m just kidding!…partly. Which part? Only the court documents know for sure.
I didn’t cry when I’d heard Angus Scrimm had died, but I cried after RaVager. Wait, did I say I “cried”? I meant I “fell face first down a twenty-story spiral staircase of cinemasochism that left me questioning if there was anything good or decent left in the world”. This abomination should never have happened. I was overcome by the urge to induce vomiting in an effort to evacuate this poison from my system. Sadly, there is no such thing as mental ipecac, so can somebody PLEASE do me a solid and Eternal Sunshine the shit out of me on this one? It can be my Cthulhumas gift for the year!
And there you have it, Phan-boys and Phan-girls. Gobble gobble in agony, because you’re Glenn/Abraham, David Hartman is Negan, and RaVager is Lucille. *SPLAT* I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I think we would’ve received a better movie if Syfy had bought the rights to it and tossed it in The Asylum’s food dish. Uggh, despite standing behind my statement, I feel so dirty for having made it. Look what you made me do, David fucking Hartman!
I’m gonna buck my usual credo and give you a spoiler as far as how one of the alternate realities ends – Reggie dies of some manner of degenerative disease. It’s appropriate too, since this movie doesn’t allow the series to go out with a bang or even peacefully in its sleep. Instead, it rots away with franchise cancer. R.I.P.
And Hartman? As Jon Stewart (the comedian, not the Green Lantern) once said, “You will always be judged by your worst elements”. Consider this your judgment. Welcome to the enemies list.
After-school rush hours get real nasty real quick. That’s why I had to get out of the mobile frozen treats business!
Hey, it’s 1990s Tall Man! And he brought Member Berries with him! Member the old Phantasm movies? Yeah, I member.
“There’s only room for one lovable loser on this cast, and it’s the one holding the gun! Hit the bricks!”
Yeah, this is a pretty accurate representation of how fans feel once RaVager is over.
“So… why the FUCK are we doing this stupid movie again?! Oh, right, the paychecks. Got it.”
“Sorry, old man, but I’m the only female character in this series who doesn’t have some repressed urge to want to bang her grandpa, so keep it your pants.”
Geraldo Rivera reveals to the world, “The Secrets of Charlton Heston’s Trunk”!
(It’s pretty much exactly what you expected)
Hold on a minute! In a previous movie we were shown that the balls are each powered by a human brain. What the fuck is in THAT thing?! Are there several thousand brains all working as a colony, or did Tall Man harvest GODZILLA’s brain!? Stupid stupid movie!
“Good news Reggie! I pulled a few strings and, despite that whole sorted “killed a hooker” thing, I got you into Heaven! Welcome aboard!”
Wow! That little boy’s Negan costume is AMAZING! Way to go, kiddo.
Tally tried to make his global takeover more marketable with limited edition Christmas themed murder balls. ‘Tis the season!
Wow, it finally happened. There’s finally a movie that makes me wish I was watching The Matrix Revolutions. You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to Hell!
See kids, this is why Uncle Anubis always tells you to never look directly at a masturbating T-1000. “Save your eyes; don’t look between its thighs!”
Phantasm finally turned into that Vigilante 8 movie adaptation I always wanted!
“Hey folks. Remember me? I was Rocky in Phantasm III. I have no clue why I was brought back to shoot a single scene for this movie, but here I am. Well… bye!”
“Made in America”, eh? You know what else shares that distinction? The KKK, nuclear weapons, and 3 Doors Down! But congrats, RaVager, for proving to us that America is capable of creating something even WORSE than the 2016 election.
Anubis will return next time in
“Homey Don’t Play That”
Capsule review up now at our Facebook page!
>>>> facebook.com/thetombofanubis/ <<<<
Featuring: Harley Quinn “daughter of Kevin” Smith , Lily-Rose “daughter of Johnny” Depp , Johhny “Pirates of the Caribbean” Depp
Director & Writer: Kevin “Dogma” Smith
Sequel-of-sorts to: Tusk
You know what I hate? Besides everything? Everyone. Humanity as a whole. You know why I hate humanity? Go to a supermarket. Easier still, just go to a supermarket parking lot. I can show you 5 examples or more in less than a minute as to why the human plague should be wiped off the face of the Earth. From bumper stickers for political candidates that make me break out in a rash to those lazy pricks that leave their shopping carts in the lot instead of putting them in the fucking cart return to parking jobs that look like they were done by a blind person with an advanced case of Parkinson’s, the fact that I’ve somehow managed to avoid grabbing a tire iron and going on a fatal bludgeoning spree should count toward my fucking community service requirement!
On the topic of cars, does “KIA” stand for “Kick In Ass” by any chance? Every time I get stuck behind one on the road, it feels like their drivers are all doing so with their heads planted up their poop chute, so I just thought maybe a boot to the bum would help dislodge it. Right? No? Blart.
You know what sent me careening over the proverbial edge of Global Genocide Cliff? Being a clerk. If you’ve ever been a register jockey, you can relate. And if you can’t, you’re dead inside. So dead that even the inferno of customer service rage can’t reignite the spark of your being. You know who understands this agony? Kevin Smith. Between his two Clerks movies, hopefully he was able to hold a mirror up to at least some of the worst members of customer society and convince them to reconsider what a dick bag they are to the person behind the counter. But probably not. Well, if he didn’t get his point over the first two times, Smith is returning to the horrors of the customer service industry with Yoga Hosers. Think of it as Clerks: the Next Generation, only instead of rooftop hockey games or donkey sex shows we get strip mall spiritualism and miniature meat puppet monsters of the Third Reich.
Oh, and Canadian stuff. LOTS of Canadian stuff.
If Jersey Girl was Kevin Smith’s “I’m gonna be a daddy!” movie, Yoga Hosers is his “They grow up so fast!” follow up, as he gives daughter Harley a nepotastic starring role. Originally known only as “Clerk girl #1” and “Clerk girl #2” in previous Kevin Smith endeavor Tusk (which I’m in no rush to see), our returning titular Yoga Hosers are now known by the less obtuse monikers of Colleen McKenzie (Harley Smith) and Colleen Collete (Lily Depp). Yep, they’re both named Colleen, so prepare for a lot of references to that quaint tidbit by characters who all consider themselves wittier than they actual are… Why does that sound familiar?
Oh Craig. You're the only Ferguson I can think of anymore that doesn't depress me.
In the interest of clarity, I’ll be referring to the individual teeners by their last names. The pair continue to be defined by their part-time job as “clerk girls”, working for Collete’s dad Bob (Tony Hale) in his Great White North themed mini-mart, the “Eh-2-Zed”… To be fair, I warned you about the whole “LOTS of Canadian stuff” you’re in store for, so strap on your hockey mask and pick up your stick, because Smith is going to be slinging it at you harder and faster than a Wayne Gretzky puck pitcher set to “Maple Syrup Coke Binge”. Soory aboot that.
During extended breaks (where they put up signs in the store excusing these absences to menstrual shenanigans), the pair hold band practice in the Eh’s backroom with their 35 year-old drummer Ichabod (Adam Brody), who they frequently emasculate and whose name is probably only “Ichabod” because Smith wanted the take advantage of the puns that come with it. Given that he’s (thankfully) not campaigning to break either teen’s factory seal, you have to wonder why in the name of roman polanski this tattooed wank is with them. Will literally no one else hang out with him? Are there no dive bar cover bands he could join? Is he hoping they’ll pull some kind of Pussy Riot and get global recognition? Yeah, because you know that’s going to work out great for him when half the people on the internet are calling him a pedo after the fact. Which he’s not.
… Because if he were having sex with them, technically he’d be an ephebophile NOT a pedophile. But, trying to get dipshits on the worldwide wasteland to look up proper insults for a situation is like getting Sobek to go to the dentist – don’t waste your time. Life is precious. As are your fingers. Trust me on that.
As with most girls her age (except for her best friend, seemingly), McKenzie’s got a crush on an older boy from school. Said boy takes the form of Hunter Calloway (Austin Butler), a smooth talking skater from the senior class who has intentions on the young Miss McK, the details of which I’ll leave up to you to discover. Tagging along with Hunter as the Boner to his Mike Seaver, is his sidekick Gordon (Tyler Posey). Beyond his use of a “Just us league” nerd pun, Gordon is entirely unlikable. Plus, his name is Gordon. What’s not to hate?
Once the ladies’ lives as rebellious mall rat garage rocker clerks have been established, we’re able to get to the core conflict of our feature – Bratzis. “Bratzis”? Yep, Bratzis. What’s a “Bratzi”? It’s a bratwurst Nazi. “Bratwurst Nazi”?! Yes, a miniature Nazi made of bratwurst, filled with sauerkraut, and dressed like a mountie. And they inhabit the Eh-2-Zed. And they jam themselves up their victims’ assholes, then burrow up through their torso and out of their mouths… without a drop of blood? Gotta preserve that PG13 rating, after all. Fortunately, unlike Dario Argento, Kevin Smith isn’t into writing/filming a movie where his daughter’s character is sexually assaulted, so (*SPOILER ALERT!*) rest easy in the knowledge that neither of the Colleens are due for a brat in the butt. Especially since there faces are all modeled after Kevin’s… Uggh! Freudian Purgatory for sure.
From whence came these foot tall sausage golems? Well, as a conveniently timed tale from the kids’ History teacher (Vanessa Paradis, Lil’ Miss Depp’s mom) informs us, there was a Canadian Nazi by the nom de bigoterie of Adrien Arcand (Haley Joel Osment) who established the National Union Party of Canada in the 1930s with the intention of sinking boats full of Jews in the Hudson. Their genocidal intentions weren’t taken well by the Quebecers, who wiped out the goosestepping jackabooted fascists… with the exception of German immigrant Dr. Adronicus Arcane (Ralph Garman), who disappeared without a trace. Not even a tracer’s trace. Little callback gag for my fellow Smith geeks there. Anyway, the bigger concern here is why are the sophomore Colleens and their senior admirers in the same History class?!
Wait a second! A missing Nazi scientist who shares a last name with Swamp Thing’s arch-villain, eh? You think maybe he’s got something to do with the artery clogging bite-size homunculi terrorizing the anuses of every unfortunate male who crosses their path? I’d stake a bag of chocolate covered pretzels on it. Snootchie Bootchies.
Oh, and if the Bratzis weren’t weird enough, I’ve got two words for ya: Goalie Golem. Are these good words? Perhaps bad words? They’re words. Let’s just leave it at that.
So that’s as much as I’ll say about the story. Let’s move on to the cast, starting at the top. I can appreciate the potential in Harley Quinn and Lily-Rose. Just because I couldn’t stand their characters doesn’t mean I don’t think the pair have futures in comedy, if not other genres or mediums. The pair have apparently been best buds since kindergarten too, and it comes through in their on-screen chemistry. I can see long careers ahead for ’em. I wish them the best and call me a little curious to see what they can do under the direction of a less familial face. That reminds me, I should probably mention the elder Depp One’s role in this rigmarole.
The once and forever (as long as the money keeps flowing) Captain Jack Sparrow reprises his Tusk role as noted Canuck manhunter (and I’m guessing part time fur trader) Guy Lapointe. Guy was tracking his latest bounty in the area when said bounty wound up on the wrong end of a fatal Bratzi colon cleanse, so now his big rubber nosed self seeks the Colleens’ help investigating exactly what the fugitive’s cause of death came from. His French-Canadian accent is slow and grating, and the aforementioned bowel biology chats that he has with our protagonistas only confirms that this role is better left off Edward Scissorhands’ resume. Not quite another Mortdecai, but still.
Not to be confused with the “butt still” I’m hoping Hollywood includes in its inevitable remake of Redneck Zombies once they get around to it.
Given the recent allegations that have brought the possible domestic abuser side of Depp to public light (note from The Tomb’s legal department: *ALLEGEDLY*), the timing of the release for Yoga Hosers doesn’t do Smith any favors. Even if it were a better movie than it is, having Depp’s name attached probably didn’t do anyone any favors in the hopes of getting the hype train to leave the station. Depp is rumored to be reprising Guy yet again for Smith’s proposed Moose Jaws (the conclusion to his “True North Trilogy” Canuxploitation phase), so for the sake of both their successes, let’s hope Cry Baby isn’t the wife beater he’s accused of being.
Bonus points for Guy’s first line being “Children should not play with dead things”, though. Especially since I oddly cherish that amateur hour zombie flick, while my Evil Dead Bride would rather flush it down the crapper of lost memories than put it in front of her face ever again.
Beyond the dynamic duo and Daddy Depp, Justin Long too accompanies the titular teens (NOT reprising his role from Tusk) and plays the gals’ Canadian-Indian (I think?) yoga teacher who ALSO has a weird thing about openly discussing bowel movements with underage girls. Oh, and his name is Yogi Bayer. And yes, that fucking name becomes the topic of not one but TWO weak kneed scenes of him yelling at a copyright lawyer. What the fuck are you trying to do to us with this crap, Lunchbox!? BLAAAAART!
“Saturday Night Live”s disarmingly charming Sasheer Zamata gets a payday too, popping in for a single scene as the girls’ school authority figure (with the best name ever), Principal Invincible. Long time Smith collaborator and hetero life mate Jason Mewes cameos as a police officer who idolizes Lapointe as “the Canadian Batman”. Most entertaining though is the brief appearance by Smith’s female wife, Jennifer, who shows up for one of the movie’s better scenes to educate her daughter (both in movie and out) on the importance of protecting her “virtue” from the pussy grabbing hands of horny boys (or Donald Trump) To that effect, she loans her little girl her “date knife”, a switchblade known as “the Mohel”. YES! There’s also a lot of menstrual chat in said scene too, so for you weak-willed ones out there who can’t deal with women’s crimson tides (like Donald Trump), you can always grow the fuck up and accept the facts of life like an adult or, I guess put on your earmuffs.
Also, don't get confused by the Stan Lee cameo – Yoga Hosers is not based on a Marvel comic property. Before he became a constant Easter egg in any and every adaptation of a House of Ideas IP, Stanley Lieber’s original Tinsel Town adventure was an extended cameo in Smith’s sophomore movie Mallrats, dodging superhero sex queries from Jason Lee. Well, the old man’s back as a Canadian 911 operator and one of a dozen people to name drop the title by calling our same name leading ladies “god damned Yoga Hosers”. Oh yeah! On that note, the starlet of our last episode, miss Natasha Lyonne, also snags another slot on her IMDB filmography here playing Colleen Collette’s evil stepmom/manager Tabitha. Attracted as I’ve previously stated I am to her, watching her seduce Buster Bluth with her cleavage while promising him a ride in “the bouncy house” kills my boner harder than a tangerine man-scrotum who (*ALLEGEDLY*) has hidden cameras in his “piece of ass” daughter’s toilet.
I’ll give you a moment to re-digest your lunch following its exorcism from your gut factory just now…
And that's pretty much everybody I can mention without growing mold in your poutine. It's a fine cast, but so many of them are one-off cameos that this feels less like a movie and more like a TV series pilot proposal. Not helping matters is the “cutesy” little intro card effect EVERY friggin' character with at least one line of dialogue is given, each of whom receive the further “cutesy” effect of an accompanying 8-bit chip tune rendition of “O Canada”. Uggh. “Charming” things like this get their 'c' worn off after overuse and just become “harming”, eh? It felt like needles in my brain after the fifth instance, let alone the fifteenth. Speaking of the irritation of repetition, if I hear the terms “yoga hosers” or “so basic” again after seeing this movie, I may just fill my ears with white phosphorus. I’d rather listen to Gilbert Gottfried and Brian Posehn read erotic fiction about my family reunion. I can’t recall the last time I watched a flick that felt the needs to remind the viewers of its title SO. MANY. FUCKING. TIMES.
And in that acrid fucking caricature of a Canadian accent that EVERYBODY has! Is this insulting? Like, in a culturally insensitive way? I need input from legit Canucks, but this feels to me like the equivalent of a Great White North minstrel show. What’s the difference between what every actor here is portraying and when Fisher Stevens wore bronzer and talked like Apu while chasing a robot for two movies? Is the fine line of racial sensitivity really as thin as a layer of makeup? I mean, I loved Christian Bale as both Patrick Bateman and Bruce Wayne, but is it only acceptable for a Brit to play an American because he doesn’t need to shade his pigment? Think about it, won’t you? Then write a 4,000 word paper on your findings. Cite your sources too, you lazy snigglets. If I don’t see a bibliography page, you don’t see a diploma!
Oh, and to shove in a random note here (because I couldn’t really find any other place to put it), keep your ears peeled (that sounds painful) for audio sampling from the openings of both the Halloween and Shining themes, the latter of which happens twice. Were these just more *winks* to the dedicated nerds in the audience, like Colleen McKenzie’s declaration of “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”, or did somebody mix up the original intended tunes with tracks from their “Halloween Party” playlist? Inquiring minds want to know.
So, to summarize, how goes Kevin Smith’s first non-R outing? It’s… weird. Remember when he made “Clerks: the Animated Series” for ABC and had to scale back on the vulgar dick & fartery humor he’d established his notoriety with? He made up for it with batshit craziness. It feels like he took the same tack here, only the disenfranchised thirty-something slackers have been replaced with social media obsessed teen rocker girls. The result?
I’ve often wondered what would happen if Charles Band made a Disney Channel pilot (and you’re lying if you say you haven’t), and Yoga Hosers is pretty damn close to what you’d probably get. Well, minus Smith’s heavy abuse of the MPAA’s definition of what’s appropriate material for 13 year-olds. Utterances of the word “shit” are almost as frequent as “fuck” makes it into a Scorcese script, not to mention the whole “rapist meat men spelunking unwilling rectums” stuff. And watching Johnny Depp repeatedly discuss “poopers” and “buttholes” and bathroom habits with his teenage daughter is just really really REALLY awkward.
To sum it up (and in case you haven’t been paying attention), I’m not a big fan of Yoga Hosers. The exaggerated Canadian brogue and incessant reliance on the same old tired stereotype Canada jokes, the teen-centric dialogue that’s only made worse when littered with “aboot”s and “soory”s, the glut of barely relevant supporting cast (and those grating introductions that come with them), the predilection for trying to gross people out with butt stuff and menstrual gags, threadbare jokes about how teens don’t know shit about anything that happened before the 21st century, the almost entirely ineffective antagonists and the completely dry aftermath of the monsters burrowing through their victims, and Justin Long’s wretched yoga puns. There are so many turds in this punch bowl, that there’s barely room left for any punch. Not that you’d want to drink it anyway, cuz of the turds, but I stand by my comparison. To be fair, this movie was so clearly not aiming for me as its target audience, that I don’t blame Smith for missing my personal bulls-eye. I do blame the Belgians though. Those waffle munchers don’t get blamed enough these days and I think they’re due.
I’m left with a perverse curiosity regarding Tusk now, and I’ll probably see Moose Jaws if it happens, but I’ve seen Yoga Hosers twice now and it’s not a carnival ride I intend to revisit again. Ever. If I had a teenage kid who called me by my first name, maybe I’d use this as an attempt to bridge the generation gap. But I don’t. And I won’t. So I can’t. So I shan’t.
As always, take my opinion with the metaphorical salt grain, as your results may vary. If you’re a Kevin Smith fan, take it for a test drive. My favorite Smith movie is Mallrats after all, so keep that in mind. With that, this episode is a wrap. Keep your poopers secured against invaders, your Mohels sharp, and your middle fingers high, my children. Death be with you!
Anubis will return next time in
“Send In the Clowns”
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”