Episode 98 – The Greasy Strangler (2016)

or “The Murderous Misadventures of the Crisco Kid”

Featuring: Michael “The Video Dead” St. Michaels , Sky “Don Verdean” Elobar , Elizabeth “‘Eastbound & Down’” De Razzo

Director: Jim “ABCs of Death” Hosking

Writers: Toby “ABCs of Death” Harvard & Jim “ABCs of Death” Hosking

Origin: USA

Review_____

“I don’t know what to think about anything right now.”

As I sit here, eating room temperature Dollar Embargo brand clam chowder hobo style (well, my spoon is plastic rather than metal, so “sub-hobo style” then), the looming presence of the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre reminds me of lost loves. In this case, my most recent (and likely final) failed foray into matters of the heart dropkicks her way to the forefront of my fractured psyche. We fell for each other hard and fast. After the first week she was deep into “I’ve never known anyone like you. I need you like oxygen” territory and we were exchanging ‘L’ words. Hers was “lederhosen” and mine was “lemon curry”. But, only five weeks after that vindictive little pervert Cupid nailed us with a heart-shaped nuke, we were overcome by the fallout. She broke up with me because her other boyfriend “accidentally” impregnated her, so she needed to focus on making an impromptu family with him and his other girlfriend, whom other boyfriend wanted her to “convince” that the best thing for them would be to join together as a trio. But we’ve all been there before, right? “Tale as old as time” and all that.

Anyway, rather than linger any longer on the “loved and lost” debate in the face of this Hallmark hollowday, I’ve instead paired up with my cinemasochist brother from the Hawkeye State (in that it’s the state with the lamest super power and nobody likes it?) to play a round of bad movie Russian roulette! From his secret list of six flicks (five farts and one favorite), random.org chose for me The Greasy Strangler.

Well, it could’ve been worse. I was one chamber away from the bullet of malaise known as Atlas Shrugged. Uggh. Ayn Rand is spending the rest of eternity getting her blood drained by razortooth leeches hanging on every inch of her body for writing that bullshit. Every inch. Anyway, let’s get greasy, disco people!

Oh, and if you’re anything like me (in which case, my sympathies) and were hoping this would be a US remake of The Oily Maniac, I fear that itch will have to remain unscratched…for now.

In keeping with the spirit of the holiday (or its symbolism if nothing else), today’s movie is about love. The love between a cheesy old cornball and a hootie tootie disco cutie. The love between a single parent and their child. The love between an aging disco historian and the music that shaped his life. The love between a pig-nosed weirdo and his rented shoes. The love between a man-beast and his penchant for strangling people…while drenched in grease. The Greasy Strangler is packed so tight with love, watching it will make you feel like you’re being crushed under a roomful of heart-shaped Whitman sampler boxes!

Damn. That was such a whopper of a metaphor. It was less a metaphor and more like a metaphive!

Shut up. You laughed. Liar.

Produced in part by hobbit-for-life Elijah Wood (who pulled similar duties on A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Cooties, in case you didn’t know), our tale takes place in Los Angeles. The City of Angels in the Outfield. The land of nasty redheads and bums on their knees that Randy Newman declared his passion for so, well, passionately. It’s here that tourists and everyday fans of walking tours can take part in Big Ronnie’s Disco Tour – a trudge through the down-trodden avenues and alleyways of abandoned buildings where the biggest names of the industry may or may not have done some things of interest. Just don’t inquire about the tour’s promise of free drinks, because you won’t like the result. Unless you tend to spend a lot of your lunch hours engaging in contradictory exchanges at the Argument Clinic, in which case inquire away!

The eponymous patriarch of the tour is geriatric retiree of the disco scene, Big Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels), who claims to have once had a backroom bang session with a pair of Korean twins and a certain celebrity whose name rhymes with Jichael Mackson. There was milky cum everywhere. And yes, before you ask in a distressed voice signifying your revulsion, that is an important detail I could not omit. Co-hosting the tour (in a matching uniform of pink shorts, pink sweater, gray knee-high socks and white sneakers) is Ronnie’s son Big Brayden (Sky Elobar), for whom the adjective “big” clearly wasn’t earned due to his personality. An awkward, balding, unkempt milksop of a human being, Brayden manages to catch the hungry eyes of an odd little lady named Janet (Elizabeth De Razzo) during one such tour. The pair fall fairly quickly for each other, testing the audiences’ gastrointestinal fortitude with a series of uncomfortable scenes of intimacy. You’ve been warned.

Ronnie doesn’t take the pairing well, frequently debasing his boy to others (mostly over Bray’s tendency to shit on seemingly everything) and inserting himself into the lovebirds’ interactions in an attempt to nip their budding romance in said bud. It’s never made clear if it’s because Ron sees Janet as a threat to the odd love-hate relationship he shares with Bray or if the old man’s just jealous that his hideous offspring is getting more action than his own hideous self has had since Bill Clinton was using Monica’s ham wallet as a humidor.

Note: I didn’t use the descriptive “ham” because of a thinly veiled referral to Miss Lewinsky having any perceive resemblance to a member of the porcine family. I used it because ham is both pink and greasy, much like a lady’s rude parts (as long as you’re doing it right, anyway), so please keep any and all aggressive projections of your personal assumptions of me to things that don’t wrongly accuse me of chauvinism. Even my less-than-friendly exes would laugh you out of the room over such accusations.

Speaking of pigs, the rest of this oddball ensemble is made up of Brayden’s pig-nosed (literally) pal Oinker (Joe David Walters, who looks like the result of a drunken night of genetic engineering between Jon Benjamin and Wallace Shawn), Ronnie’s longtime discotheque brother Big Paul (Gil Gex) who’s blind and runs an automated car wash, the wonderfully weird detective Jodie (who’s what I would expect Hunter S. Thompson to become after a few years in the Black Lodge) and a small selection of victims to serve as fodder for the titular wringer of necks. Speaking of, whom is this murderer with such a clear disregard for his own personal hygiene? From whence came this inhuman atrocity that stalks the streets while a coating of congealed Crisco conceals (not really) his visage from his victims? What evil lurks in the heart that beats beneath the monster’s slimy, sludgy, rancid raiments? Why does he take it upon himself to comedically maim and menace his victims in hyper-violent manners like a modern age Toxic Avenger? Shit! Now there’s a crossover I’d sacrifice a finger for! Anyway, as much as I’d like to address there queries for you, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch the movie for yourself!

But should you? Let’s discuss.

Greasy made me wonder if I’d blacked out at some point in my day and woke up during a very special episode of “Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories”. If Jared Hess directed a script co-authored by David Lynch and John Waters, this is a pretty solid approximation of what I imagine you’d get. There’s a hodgepodge of humor, humanity, horror and outright “What the fuck am I watching?!” we’re left to rifle through which will no doubt leave a lot of people put off or pissed off. Deep down in its bowels, it has a charm all its own for those who will enjoy it. However, at the same time it comes off as a deliberate endeavor to manufacture the next big midnight movie. The problem with such an undertaking is that movies aren’t made to be cult classics, they’re chosen. It’s comparable to issuing your own nickname or giving yourself a “World’s Greatest Tubthumper” mug: you just don’t do it!

Sound snobbish? Look at Plan 9 from Outer Space or The Room. Both are movies that were made with genuine efforts and affection, helmed by misguided gents who thought they were making masterpieces. These were movies that no one genuinely liked, they were only enjoyed ironically (something that used to be fun before hipsters ruined it for the rest of us) because they were so awful that they were amazing! If it’s something you and your amigos can vet by riffing the shit out of it like refugees from the Satellite of Love? If it’s the type of movie that qualifies for Deep 13 certification? That is how a cult movie is christened – with the waters of mockery. The Greasy Strangler? It’s unriffable. It’s a movie that wants you to make fun of it, but it’s too easy. There’s no challenge. It’s made to be bad, and that’s not good. It winks so much at the audience that you ask it 20 minutes in if it needs a hit off of your Visine®!

Making jokes at the expense of its visually jarring cast and their clothing that looks like it was fished from, not a Salvation Army, but the dumpster behind a Salvation Army, is tantamount to calling an obese person “fat” or an acne-riddled person “pizza face” or Hi-C Hitler “too mentally incapable to be trusted with chewing his own food, let alone being president”. It’s lazy. It’s the easy way out. It’s what the intended object of ridicule wants you to do so they can C.D. Bales your sorry ass in front of Daryl Hannah! It reminds of my least favorite RiffTrax – Birdemic; a movie so obviously made to be terrible that it’s barely worth making fun of. Lo and behold, the ‘Traxers themselves just released the writer-director-masochist’s latest repugnant rectal release through their own website! Maybe I’m just an asshole…no…I’m definitely an asshole. Nevertheless, count me out.

Where the hell was I driving this bus before taking a detour down Route “Ignore the Rambling Jackal-Headed Old Man”? Oh right, I was evaluating today’s feature. The direction and cinematography are unexpectedly…good. Going solely on its premise, I had prepared my peepers for a parade the likes of a herky-jerky Troma turkey. It happened to me when I first watched The Human Centipede and I was caught just as unawares here. Upon my mandatory second screening, I only enhanced my appreciation, so kudos to Mr. Hosking in that regard. The dialogue is heavily seasoned with quotable lines for fellow fiends to banter back and forth in verbal volleyball, most notably the running accusations between Ronnie and Brayden of each being a “bullshit artist”. I’d bet my collection of West Nile infected mosquitoes that those two words make up no less than 10% of the dialogue between them. I was okay with it (sometimes even entertained by it), but if you’re the type of person who’s not keen on scripts packed with premeditated quotables, prepare to be irked.

The premise of the movie loses steam right around the 50 minute mark (just about the point where the Strangler investigation picks up, strangely enough), but the introduction of the aforementioned Jodie to the proceedings was just the defibrillator that my dwindling interest needed to guide me the rest of the way to the credits and the end of the tunnel. One aspect that didn’t need a jolt in the jimmies for me was the soundtrack. We’re given a mish-mash of delightful tunes and noises that reminded me of the music you’d hear on off-brand NES cartridges half of the time, and just plain charming boondoggle tunes that you imagine a grown up Gene Belcher composing while ‘shrooming alone in his college dorm room on any given Friday night. My praise aside, I have no plans to pick up said soundtrack. I can’t enjoy it on its own, like I would with a Tarantino movie or TMNT II: the Secret of the Ooze. Greasy and its music exist in a symbiotic relationship from which neither can be removed, lest they both die on their own. If the Plover isn’t allowed to eat the crocodile’s scraps from its mouth, the Plover will starve and the crocodile will…get Gingivitis? I dunno. As Thoth once drunkenly slurred to me over a plate of seafood nachos at ChiChi’s, “Neither a zoologist nor a dentist be”.

As for the special effects, they’re solid. There are several instances of popped eyeballs that actually were quite impressive! My compliments to the digital effects team on that. Not so much for their “people being shot” bit, but even big money movies rarely manage to pull that one off without traditional squibs, so it’s not a big deal.

As much as I hate people using the term “revelation”, I’m going to endure some self-inflicted shame and say it now: Michael St. Michaels is a revelation. The best takeaway from The Greasy Strangler is Big Ronnie. Not just because of the lines he’s given, but the way this amazing man delivers them. His rantings remind me a bit of Raleigh Theodore Sakers’ soliloquies off of the Robbin’ the Hood album. Physically, MSM looks like a demented troll, which in and of itself contributes to the actor’s unique appeal, but the little vocal affects he applies to his words are fucking enchanting! He tells a dirty story with a silky growl of aplomb that puts a reading of Wordsworth’s Greatest Hits to shame. I don’t remember a damn thing about the man from his role in The Video Dead (which isn’t surprising since I remember almost nothing from it, having not seen it since high school), but by the bearded clam of Cleopatra did he make Big Ronnie his own. Sublime, you crazy old bastard. Sublime.

Oh yeah, speaking of genital manes, be prepared for a LOT of prosthetic peckers being prominently portrayed. And old man asses. Merkins too. Or, as I like to call them, “pubic zirconium”. So, if the sight of sagging white butt cheeks or weirdly shaped dicks ensconced in gnarled overgrowth gets your gross out gland activated, either skip this ride or bring your barf bag.

In closing, despite my apparent praise for the flick, I’m giving The Greasy Strangler a middling recommendation. A solitary viewing was enough for me, and the only real reason I would go back to it is to show it to others. Beyond that, I don’t really feel the need to sit through it again. Should you take this to heart and seek to experience the greasiness and strangling for yourself, allow this next piece of wisdom to guide you – as I told my Evil Dead Bride/Editor/Valentine while we watched it, don’t question anything in this movie because there are no answers. Trying to understand the gaping maw of chaos will only lead to an eternal void of madness for the mind.

With that, I bid you all adieu. Check out Ragnarok’s review for Oasis of the Dead by clicking this link right here (or the banner image up near the top), then be sure to get your cracks back here for our next episode. Till then, may all of your V-Days be endurable and your VDs be curable!

Moral of the Story: Everybody’s a bullshit artist and too much grease is bad for you.

Screenshots_____


Hey! It’s the same house where the Lubbocks were murdered by that family of cannibals in the series finale of ”Just the Ten of Us’!


“And this door – where does it lead? Is anyone behind it? Maybe someone famous? Sadly, we’ll never know, as I lost the keys sometime ago and locksmiths are bullshit artists. Any questions? Keep in mind we’ve already explained that our outfits and entirely medical in nature and we won’t explain the matter further.”


Looking for an affordable actor to play an old woman, a van driving child abductor, or the Herman Stiles in your much-needed ‘Evening Shade’ reboot? Here’s your man!


And that, boys and girls, is why you don’t eat an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids in one mouthful.


“Check it out – my sweater matches this little breadstick! Speaking of little breadsticks, before we go any further with this date, I was wondering what your opinion on ‘sounding’ is…”


Despite his insistence that no one’s better at “the economy” than he, donald drumpf’s stimulus plan of flooding the market with his new “Trump Buck$” ultimately lead to a global depression.


Go behind the scenes with legendary actor Paul Giamatti as he prepares to star and direct in his next Emmy Award Winner-to-be this Sunday on ‘HBO First Look: Animal Farm’.


Alternate universe Andy Warhol celebrates his 105th birthday by reflecting on his fall into obscurity and rather boring post-celebrity life tomorrow night in an interview with Peabody Award winning journalist Chevy Chase on ’60 Minutes’.


“I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone named ‘Prince Albert’, nor anyone of regal birthright for that matter. Goodbye.”


Aw, poor guy just got his rejection letter from Disney about his script for Tron 3: the Dark Coder. I felt the same way when they refused my own scripts for Condorman Begins and The Black Cauldron Part 2 – Gurgi and the Cursed City of Gold .


Uh-oh, looks like Fido didn’t take to his new “All Vegan Tapioca and Creamed Corn Feast” canned food.


“Do you happen to have a pair of nail-clippers I could use? I lost mine in ’98 and just can’t bring myself to buy another pair, knowing that my old ones will just magically show up the moment I do. I would feel like such an idiot.”


Curly Sue’s later years weren’t really much to talk about. She tried to get a reality show off the ground, but after 75 different stations turned down the pilot, she gave up. She works as a Time-Life operator in Branson Missouri now.


Upset that the government is too busy concerning themselves with the Mexico border to address the true source of dangerous illegal immigrants, the Sons of North Dakota militia group take it upon themselves to protect their border from nefarious northerners… of which they’ve seen none.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Man Who Laughs (and Kills)”

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

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

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Episode 31 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

or “Dog Will Hunt(ing)”

Featuring: Jessica “The Illusionist” Beil , Jonathan “The Ruins Tucker , R. Lee “Full Metal Jacket” Ermey , and Andrew “Street Fighter Bryniarski as Leatherface

Director: Marcus “Pathfinder” Nispel

Writer: Scott “The Machinist” Kosar

Origin: USA

Review_____

“I smell bullshit!”

Independence Day! 4th of July! Barbecue! Pyrotechnics! Flags bigger than most peoples’ homes bearing the stars and stripes while blocking out the sun in WalMart parking lots! Wacky inflatable arm-flailing tube men in Uncle Sam hats doing their illicit Lambada over used car lots! Beach-goers bearing their t&a/d&a barely restrained behind tiny Old Glory swimwear! Morons who preach “We must follow the ways of our forefathers!” while clutching their tiny Constitutional pocket guide in one hand and their bible in the other as big wads of money that smell like church collection plates pad their back pockets! Where am I going with all this?! What says “’Merica!” more than lazy movie remakes? Why, lazy movie remakes about TEXAS! The self-proclaimed prototype for “true Americans”! Guns! Racism! Misogyny! Jingoism! Corruption! John Wayne! George Bush! Big fat guts full of $40 steaks and piss beer! Baby Jesus! Truck Nuts! Exploitation of illegal immigrants! Unwarranted pride and proclamations of superiority based on nothing but “BECUZ TEXAS!”! Their so-called “America’s football team” that hasn’t had a Super Bowl appearance in almost TWENTY YEARS! Might wanna suck less, Dallas. After 2016 your fans are gonna run out of fingers and toes to count their shame on. They’re still better off than Rangers fans though, whose team has NEVER won a World Series…

Given how you’re one of those “SPORTS ARE ALL WE LIVE FOR!” states, you might wanna get some first aid cream for that sick burn, Texas. No, that’s A-1…actually, you know what, stick with the A-1. It fits the theme of tonight’s movie!

“Shake, Bake, & Remake” continues tonight with episode 3: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…yet ANOTHER production of the living intellectual black hole Michael Bay. Originally a cosmic entity who came to Earth to steal the collective intelligence of the world’s inhabitants, with which he would power the dreaded doomsday device he planned to destroy his home planet, Bay discovered the perverse joys of bilking we humans of our hard-earned wages using big budget Hollywood productions that corrupted the creations of others to serve his purposes. His evil is eternal, and as long as his victims continue to murder their minds at his hands, his reign will remain unchallenged and continue to spread its corrupting influence until the childhoods of ALL people have been irreversibly eradicated.

Bay’s actually the perfect knob to produce a movie like this, because much like Texas his stuff’s all loud noises and bluster without any actual substance. Hell, even the way his company Platinum Dunes has made its name bastardizing other peoples’ work fits because Texas’s greatest boogeyman, Leatherface, is just a “remake” of infamous ol’ Ed Gein, a native of Wisconsin! Ah, Wisconsin…whose virtues can all be found in the MST3K episode for The Giant Spider Invasion, as seen at >>THIS LINK<<. PUDDING!

Okay, I’ve been shitting on Texas and Michael Bay long enough (at least for this episode), so let us tarry (Gilliam?) no longer. Let’s sink our teeth deep into the steak sauce soaked heart of the Lone Star State and have a family reunion with the Sawyers. Wait, they’re the Hewitts now? Damn it. Well, at least they’re not the “Slaughter” family anymore. Stupid fucking “Next Generation” Zellweger/ McConaughey bullshit. Damn it Kim Henkel, if you hadn’t contributed to the original Hooper movie I’d gas up my time machine, go back to 1944, and burst your dad’s testicles with an air hammer.

Much like he did 30 years earlier, John Larroquette narrates us into the proceedings, starting almost word-for-word with his original TCM intro (which was so great I used to have it as a track on one of my mix cds) before going into further detail about the post-incident police investigation and spoiling the ending of the movie right away by telling us that the mystery was never solved. What seems like the setup for a sequel instead rewinds us back to 1973 and a Scooby-Doo style group of 5 twenty-somethings in their Scooby-Doo style ’70s VW van. The gang are on their way back from a trip to Mexico, smuggling 2lbs of Tijuana Mary Jane, as they make their way across the Texas outback to a Lynard Skynard concert in Dallas. For our younger readers, Lynard Skynard are those guys that Kid Rock wishes he was when’s not pretending he lives in a trailer park in Compton.

Gone are Sally Hardesty and her invalid brother Franklin, replaced instead by our heroine Erin (Jessica Bile errrrr Biel), her boyfriend Kemper (Eric Balfour), and their friends Pepper (Erica Leershen), Andy (Mike Vogel), and Morgan (Jonathan Tucker). Because chainsawing an obnoxious gimp in a wheelchair only brings bad press in this day and age (11 years ago), all of our cast are able-bodied victims-to-be. And because audiences don’t like innocent victims, they’re smuggling the weed to make them morally impure and thus acceptable saw fodder. Of course Erin is the exception though, since she needs to survive the whole ordeal, so she was unaware of the illicit substance transferal, proclaims herself against it when she does find out, and subsequently turns down a toke of the communal joint when it’s passed her way because she’s “nauseous”. If Vegas was taking bets on the mortality rates for this group, “Erin is the only one who makes it out alive” would be 1:10 odds – in other words, for every $10 you bet, you’d only get $1 back when, not “if” but “when”, you win. Doesn’t make sense? Let it sink in for a minute, then go call whatever member of your family has a gambling problem and ask them to explain it to you. Every family has at least one. And if you don’t know who it is? Spoiler: it’s you.

While motoring down a deserted country road (i.e. every road in Texas not found in a major city), our meddling kids almost run down a young woman walking aimlessly on the pavement. In an apparent state of shock (an obvious victim of some manner of brutal torment), they offer the dazed female a ride back to civilization, only to have her whimper something about how she “won’t go back there” and condemn everyone in the van to their doom. She then pulls a revolver from between her blood caked inner-thighs (I used to know a girl who did photo shoots like that…minus the blood, of course), puts it into her mouth like it were Ryan Gosling, and sends her brains on the next bullet train to Fort Worth! With a massive hole blown through their rear window and their interior now painted crimson with accents of “Skull Fragment” White and “Gray Matter” Gray, the gang pull over to have their individual freak outs and try to remember the Drivers’ Ed protocol for “What to do when a hitchhiker kills his or herself in your back seat”.

Since they’re a few thousand miles too far from the San Fernando Valley to drop by The Wolf’s place (and trapped in a far worse feature), they opt to take their new friend (or what’s left of her) with them to the nearest semblance of civilization so they can report the freak suicide to the authorities. But, because they’re snarky tourists who do nothing but bitch about the stupid podunk no-horse town they’re in, they wind up getting the runaround (starring Stiffler and The Rock!) and eventually take a vote to decide whether to keep trying to hunt down the local constabulary or just dump Suicidey and get the fuck outta Dodge before they miss opening act Molly Hatchet and their sweet live extended rendition of “Flirtin’ With Disaster”. The gents vote for the hasty retreat, but the girls invoke the Veto Right of Cock Block, so once again, everyone’s going to be disemboweled because the ladies have misplaced sentimentality for some stranger who opted to ventilate the back of her brain pan in their Mystery Machine. Oh, the dangers of estrogen.

The search for the Sheriff leads our crew to an old Scooby-Doo style abandoned mill, where they run into a little deformed boy named Jedidiah (David Dorfman), who looks like he wandered away from the set of a Deliverance remake three sound stages down. He directs Erin and Kemp to the Sheriff’s home nearby, which is an old Scooby-Doo style rundown plantation house. Though there’s STILL no Sheriff to be had, they meet a stump legged, molest-y handed geezer in a wheelchair named Monty (Terrence Evans) who offers to let Erin use his phone to call the Sheriff’s office, while Kemper is elsewhere being introduced to big Scooby-Doo style goon Thomas Hewitt (Andrew Bryniarski) wearing a very non Scooby-Doo style mask that’s less “rubber werewolf face” and more “patchwork human flesh”. Kemp gets a splitting headache via sledgehammer (and I don’t mean David Rasche) and dragged off to become tonight’s main course while Erin is told her boyfriend went back to the van, so she heads back herself. Speaking of the van, Sheriff Hoyt (Lee “please save this movie” Ermey!) finally arrives, takes the gun the dead girl shot herself with and pops it into his empty ankle holster (that’s not good…), then has the guys help him mummify her in Saran Wrap and dump her into the trunk of his cruiser before leaving. When Erin comes back to no Kemper, the gang does the Scooby-Doo style “let’s split up (so we’ll be easier to kill)” thing with Pep and Morgan staying with the vehicle while Erin and Andy go back to the shithole mansion to search for their errant amigo. Rut-roh, this can’t end well, Raggy…

Grandpa Gimp (“Gimpa”?) catches the snooping kids meddling around the house and summons up his juggernaut kin to dispose of them in the most violent manner possible, which includes bringing the titular power tool out for its big screen debut. Erin escapes, but while being chased through the world’s largest labyrinthine collection of clothesline dried sheets Andy gets his leg bisected by the hungry teeth of Bubba’s, I’m sorry, “Thomas’s” flesh-rending, gas-powered, death dealing chainsaw. If you had to use a chainsaw to cut open a pregnant woman and remove her child, would the baby be…………… “STIHL-born”?! Wakka-wakka!

No sooner does Erin-on-the-safe-side (BLART!) get back to the van and declare her intentions to hit the road harder than Ike hit Tina (Don’t boo me! Dig out your Ouija Board and boo Ike Turner!), then Hoyt returns, this time acting even less like genuine law enforcement and just straight up starts torturing the remaining trio: threatening them, interrogating them, and ultimately dragging Morgan off in the back of his squad car. The girls are left to deal with Leatherface (a name that’s never actually used, but I insist on using for the rest of the review), who runs into the scene showing off his newest acquisition: a mask made of Kemper’s face, which is actually pretty damn creepy! Pepper dies when she tries to ward off ‘Face’s spinning death blade with her bare hands, and the gruesome stuff is left off-screen, likely because Suicidey’s self brain blowing probably burned up all of the MPAA’s allotment for graphic violence portrayed against women within a 90min run time.

Erin escapes to a nearby trailer, but as you can imagine, EVERYBODY within a 3 mile radius of the place is a member of this family. Such is the case with the two creepy ladies our protagonista encounters. Before she realizes it though, they exposition us on ‘Face’s backstory (he was born with a weird skin disease so HE HAS NO NOSE…shock…horror) and drug her with Celestial Seasons’ new Sleepytime EXTREME!!!!® herbal tea. She wakes up back at the house and gets dumped into the Hewitts’ confusingly HUGE basement, which is flooded with water for no other reason than to get Jessica Biel into a wet white t-shirt with no bra. She finds Andy clinging to his last morsels of life while suspended on a meathook, and tries against his wishes to lift him off of it, only to get it jammed in even deeper. Ouch. Finally giving up, Erin plunges a filet knife between her buddy’s ribs as his one last behest (all I can think of is Glen Danzig singing those last three words in his Elvis horror voice) before moving on and finding what’s left of Morgan, pummeled to shit and handcuffed with a gunshot in his back, doing what I can only assume to be basting in a bathtub full of filthy water. Practically carrying his busted ass on her own, they manage to escape the reappearing Leatherface thanks to help from the little deformed boy, who I’m starting to think may be ‘Face’s son…or nephew…maybe brother? Whatever. He could be his grandpa for all I know! Keeping track of an incest family tree is harder than figuring out the Pullman-Paxton Principle.

The duo escape to a nearby cabin/barn (all these dilapidated buildings look the same to me), but the struggle to save Morgan is fundamentally for jack naught, as he just ends up another sacrifice on the altar of the saw gods…and as a cautionary tale reminding you to only have your vasectomies performed by trained professionals! Now, having failed to save any of her friends, and the only remaining ham yet to be hocked, Erin takes flight once more. This time their Scooby-Doo style chase sequence (sans Monkees music) takes them to a nearby abattoir, partially because her shirt has now dried and needs to be drenched again in the animal shower. Ironically enough, I feel this is the ONLY place within running (and screaming) distance of that house that isn’t under Hewitt control. Not because it’s full of cows rather than humans, but because it’s just so damn clean and well maintained compared to EVERY other structure this movie’s taken place in up till now. For the first time in the entire movie (except maybe for the earlier scenes where she hot wires the van and picks a padlock with the tip of a pocket knife) Erin proves herself a potently bad-ass female lead when she lures ‘Face into a small locker room too narrow for him to maneuver his huge overcompensating chainsaw, then hacks off his fucking arm at the elbow with a meat cleaver! You GO, grrrrrrl!

Someone please hit me with a brick now. *THUNK* Thank you.

All awesomeness from the preceding scene is immediately flushed out to sea like so much improperly disposed of toxic waste though, because Leatherface’s arm does NOT spray geysers of gore everywhere, despite having MAJOR ARTERIES HACKED THROUGH! None at all! He flails around screaming his animal noises and recoups his still running saw without dumping so much as a pint of blood, let alone the gallons of ichor that losing half your damn arm would result in! I thought we had a moment there, TCM. We looked into each other’s eyes, stood on the verge of a deep, nigh-kismetic exchange of our very souls…and you threw up on my ceremonial reviewing robes. Expect my dry cleaning bill. And please don’t attempt calling me for another date. I won’t be kind. In fact, I may burn down your house.

Finally, Erin makes her way back to the family (long story about a truck driver I prefer to truncate for the sake of not wanting to type anymore about this movie) amidst a pouring rainstorm (can’t let that t-shirt get dry or the little boys in the audience will stop watching!), kidnaps a baby (again, not interested in explaining), steals Sheriff Hoyt’s car, and ends the movie on a high note by running the twisted bastard over THREE times (if you’re gonna do a job, do it right!) before escaping into the night… and narrowly running over ‘Face, who’s not only barely phased by LOSING HIS ARM, but somehow acquired the Jason Voorhees teleportation engine to get that far ahead of her in the time since she left him back at the plant.

In an epilogue (that actually continues our opening narration), we learn that ‘Face is STILL ALIVE SOMEHOW, thus threatening a sequel (that would be dropped in favor of a prequel before Lionsgate bought the rights from New Line) where I was hoping we’d see our villainous psychopath pull an Ash and run around with his chainsaw now strapped to his stump. Denied. Oh well. The weirdest part is that this epilogue is delivered through footage of a police walk through of the Hewitt house after the events of the movie proper. ‘Face attacks and (presumably) kills the cops in question while the camera is rolling, but John Laroquette never says anything about how or when the footage was recovered… or how the cops got their asses handed to them by a big galoot with only one arm. Whatever. Fuck it. The END!

If nothing else, Texas Chainsaw Massacre continues/started the general disdain of horror movie fans for weak cheese, needless remakes. I tried to go into it with no expectations so I could keep my disinterest pure, but when I found out that the writer of The Machinist was in charge of the screenplay, it came with the hopeful implication that this might not be the slog through sewage that I feared it would be deep in the cosmic vortex where my heart should be. In the end? Well, it was still a slog, but the shit sludge was more chest deep than eyeballs, so at least I didn’t get any in my mouth. In addition to the half-competent writer, I was happy to at least see director Nispel knew to remake Hooper’s classic shots of the wide open Texas sky. And he does a solid knock-off “homage” to Hooper’s eerie tracking shots of the family’s rundown abode, made all the more effective by the Hewitts’ decrepit plantation home. Speaking of creative, Hooper and Henkel were on as co-producers, but as far as how much of a hand they actually had in this shit show is unknown. I want to say very little, but neither are exactly well known for being infallible bastions of cinematic greatness. I refer you to my previous statement regarding a time traveling air hammer and exploded balls.

Now, we know why TCM is slightly better than our previous two half-baked remakes, but let’s really tackle why it’s still a steaming Texas Chili Bowl of a movie…and yes, before you ask, a “Texas Chili Bowl” is a poop-sex thing. The biggest offense? It’s boring. I checked my watch several times wondering how much more I had to sit through, and that’s REALLY not good when your movie is only about an hour and a half long. I had no real problems with Leatherface himself…except that he’s not ONCE called Leatherface…and the mystery is ruined when we’re very clearly shown his face…and they try to make him sympathetic by turning him into a ridiculed man-child with a skin condition…and this skin condition assumingly made the blood in his arms stop flowing…and they took away the whole transvestite thing because it was probably too “sissy” for a “scary” horror movie villain…and I couldn’t get over the fact that he was played by the same dude who was Zangief in that Street Fighter movie that was so campy it could’ve been a Meatballs sequel. So, yeah, I guess I had plenty of problems with “Thomas Hewitt” after all.

The victims were pretty much all useless skin sacks, starting the trend of Platinum Dunes characters that we couldn’t care less about when they’re being hacked to bits, and that’s NOT just because I’m a sociopath. When Alfred E. Neuman images get more of a reaction out of me than any member of your actual cast, you’re doing something terribly wrong. Speaking of the cast, whose idea was it to expand the family to include so many ancillary members?! When it was Cook, Hitchhiker, and Leatherface, or Drayton, Chop Top, and Leatherface, the family was at its strongest because we only had three members to keep track of and they each had their chances to stand out! Not only do the Hewitts have five or six (or seven) members, but out of the only three whose names I remembered, Thomas was one of the least dimensional, Jedidiah was only around for two scenes, and despite being the clear focus of the group, Hoyt feels like he wasn’t taken far enough. He came off less like the sadistic animal that Chop Top and Hitchhiker were, and more like just another Texas asshole with a badge.

Final judgment? If the saw truly is family, then this family member deserves to be driven out into the desert and left to the coyotes. Though not the strike that Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street were, this installment of “Shake, Bake, & Remake” was definitely a hard foul and has made no case that remakes shouldn’t be allowed by penalty of death via air hammer between the legs, for males and females. Avoid this Scooby-Doo mystery if you can, ignore if you can’t, and kick it in the gonads while shouting “NO MEANS NO!” if it persists. Say no to cash-ins, kids. Zoinks. Good night, patriots!

Moral of the Story: Brains look kinda like lasagna…so John Arbuckle is the first/most fucked if a zombie outbreak hits the Sunday Comics.

Screenshots_____

When asked if his cameo in Texas Chainsaw Massacre caused him any concern for his safety, Mr. Neuman replied, “What? Me wo… you know what, *expletive* this. Interview over.” before giving his interviewer a crass gesture and walking away.


An alternate time line’s Courtney Love in a dimension where Nirvana went on to have a long and illustrious career.


“Hey, I never agreed to have my likeness appear in a Michael Bay production! Someone get my agent on the phone! RIGHT MOO!”


Hey Jessica, don’t look it as a filthy toilet bowl. Look at it as a crystal ball showing you the future of your career!


It’s the rare San Diego ComicCon exclusive “White Trash Legolas” collectible variant figure! Buy one to resell and another to pose on your shelf making out with the mail away “Rodeo Clown Aragorn” figure you got for sending in 300 Lucky Charms box tops!


“Does anyone else hear banjo music and the sound of a middle-aged man squealing like a pig?”


Keep feeling around old man. You could be back there all day and you still won’t find anything. You’ll have better luck finding a hymen in a strip club than you will an ass in those pants.


What a mansion! It’s like redneck Xanadu! It’s Texas’s Tarra!


Lee Ermey tried to turn this role into a Reynold’s Wrap spokesperson gig with limited (i.e. no) success.


I was gonna make a joke about how good it was to see somebody finally shut Harry Knowles up, but then I realized this is actually him and I just feel completely ripped off.


Did you know that the best way to preserve old photographs is inside of a mason jar full of urine? It’s true! Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion.


Special cameo by Michael Jackson! If he doesn’t have a nose, how does he smell? Awful. *rim shot*


Sweet mother Isis! That’s the most nightmarish thing I’ve seen since the unreleased Hulk Hogan/Bubba the Love Sponge sex tape! GAH!


Leatherface put a lot of effort into the mask for his Tony Stark Halloween costume, but everybody thought he was supposed to be James Franco and avoided him.


That reminds me, whatever happened to Calista Flockhart?


I think I’ll order a pizza tonight. I don’t know why, but I’m in the mood for sliced pepperoni.


Ahhhh, somebody saw Field of Dreams and thought it’d be a good idea to build a baseball field behind their house too.


“Blair Meat Co.”? A subtle hint that Platinum Dunes also plan on running The Blair Witch Project through the meat packing remake factory too? Probably not. They only ruin good movies.


“Wait’ll they get a load of me…”


“Now let’s get you home, little lady. Momma’s had a long night and she’s got a hankerin’ for veal!”

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Shape of Things to Come (Looks Kinda Like William Shatner)”

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