Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Jessica “iZombie” Harmon , Dennis “The Unit” Haysbert
Director: Pat “Degrassi: the Next Generation” Williams
Writers: Tim “Dead Rising: Watchtower” Carter & Michael “Catwoman” Ferris
Sequel to: Dead Rising: Watchtower
Welcome back, boils and ghouls. ‘Tis I, your humble narrator, thriving on the mundane and bleeding mediocrity as always. The Master of Mating Magnetism himself… keeping in mind that magnets both attract and repel… props to the Sonic commercial I stole that punchline from. Anyway, if I sound a bit disappointed today, it’s because I fell for one of those click bait articles about “SHOCKING CELEBRITY SUICIDES!” that uses a picture of Johnathan Taylor Thomas in the link. I clicked through all 200 pages of that fucking site and JTT wasn’t among them! From now on, I’m checking IMDB before getting my hopes up about forgotten ’90s quasi-celebs murdering themselves. Speaking of shat upon expectations, there were two things I was very much looking forward to experiencing last week: Burger King’s newest lifespan eroder, the Mac & Cheetos, and Crackle’s new original zombie-a-go-go, Dead Rising: Endgame. Of the two, one was moderately satisfying and the other was monstrously disappointing. Here’s a hint about which is which: the following review is for the shit show. Spoilers.
In case you missed my review for last year’s Dead Rising: Watchtower (Episode 47, as seen here), here’s a quick refresher for the sequel. It’s based on the Dead Rising video game series. Each installment of which centers around a different male main character stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to survive with an armory of do-it-yourself weapons that combine everyday objects like a sledgehammer and a fire ax, a broadsword and motor oil, a vacuum cleaner and buzz saw blades, and so on and so forth. Watchtower opted not to adapt any of these games, and instead introduced us to a new protagonist named Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is an investigative reporter (cuz reporters are always chasing stories… get it?… do you get it?… you get it.) for an online-only news outlet that covers all the stories the “lamestream media” won’t, due to the whims of their corporate overlords and being on the short leash of their Wall Street masters and blah blah occupy blah blah blah.
Chase uncovered a conspiracy (as reporters in movies are oft to do), killed some zombies, “Point A? Meet Point B.”, nothing was resolved (gotta set it up for the sequel after all!), roll the credits. If you didn’t watch it and are one of those spoiler-phobic types, you might wanna end your experience here and return the unused portion of this review for a full refund. Being a sequel, major plot points from the previous picture need to be touched upon, and like a doctor giving you a physical, I wanna make said touching as non-awkward for you as possible. Your body is a magical, disgusting pile of nerves that react to stimulation in an aroused fashion independent of your brain sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone… please stop masturbating.
Still here? Okay. Let’s continue with the Ballad of Chase Carter… not to be confused with “The Ballad of Chasey Lane”, which is a Bloodhound Gang song that has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with analingus.
When we last left our venturesome muckraker, he had made a deal with one of the big TV news outlets to provide them with an exclusive story about the behind-the-scenes of a recent undead outbreak, including how it may have actually been caused by Phenotrans – the pharmaceutical company that produces the zombieism sytmying drug Zombrex™ and NOT a Phoenix based social group for trans people with dyslexia. It had something to do with bitten people being implanted with microchips that would track their vitals and release Zombrex™ into their systems as needed to prevent them from turning. Sinister Army man General Lyons (Dennis Haysbert) wanted to weaponize the chips (or something. I don’t remember a whole lot from the first movie, to be fair) and instead used a portion of them to turn their users into the living dead, taking advantage of the resultant panic to manipulate things to his favor somehow… maybe… I don’t know. The end result was the eponymous program “Watchtower”, which instituted mandatory chipping for millions of otherwise uninfected civilians.
As we join our journalistic joy-boy Chase, he has indeed parlayed himself a well paying gig as a World War Z correspondent for UBN (let’s say “Universal Broadcast News”?). While sticking his nose into every hole he can find (dirty dirty dirty) to try and uncover evidence of Lyons’ wrong doings, he’s also trying to track down his former producer Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) who went missing at the end of Watchtower. It’s been a pair of calendars since the big outbreak, and despite East Mission City being voted Zombie Digest‘s “Biggest Necropolis of 2016”, the streets aren’t exactly teeming with bite bags. Another unfortunate instance of a low-budget movie bragging about having a 10 inch pocket monster when all they’re packing is a 2 inch pelvic thumb. Denoting your shortcomings beforehand is better than trying to excuse your lies after the fact. Admission over apologizing, people.
Despite his efforts, Chase is story-blocked by his bosses, who don’t need the hassle of a Phenotrans lawsuit or a government sanctioned mass execution to bring down their executive cocaine lunch highs. To continue down his checklist of “movie reporter tropes”, Chase ignores the demands of those-in-charge and continues to meddle in the matters of General Lyons, the Scooby-Doo to his Old Man Withers. Monotoned Army guy’s big scheme continues to revolve around those damn Big Brother chips, only this time he plans to insta-kill a few million people instead of just turning them into ghouls. With just 24 hours to put the ki-bosh on this “Afterlife” contingency, Double C and his elite Channel 6 News Team strike out to bring down Iran Contra II before it turns into September 11th IV. Said crew includes such movie caricatures as “sassy computer hacker girlfriend who owes the hero her life” (Maria Avgeropoulos), “tough talking cool guy that supplies the group with guns, who we first meet playing the video game the movie’s based on before he answers the door in his underwear and a robe” (Patrick Sabongui), “experienced news person who uses their connections to try and take down the evil corporation with the Power of the Press” (Jessica Harmon), “corporate whisteblower who will either turn on the heroes to save their own ass or die proving their dedication to doing what’s right” (Ian Tracey) and “character from the hero’s past who shows up to save them in the nick of time”. You know, all those old “seen it before” chestnuts.
Endgame follows much the same path that Watchtower did in regards to its influence from the games, only this time around the Zombie-Go-Round the marauding rejects from a Mad Max movie are replaced with a scurrilous gang of heroin handling (which is never reasoned why) mercenaries, the wacky interview segments with Dead Rising hero Frank West are dropped in favor of a much less wacky deus ex machina cameo by Dead Rising 2 protagonist Chuck Greene (Victor Webster), the creative engineering of mash-up weapons (all of which look too silly for a serious toned tale) feels tacked on now rather than a fun nod to fans of the games, and the previous flick’s “boss battle” finale is dropped in favor of a pair of dramatic stand-offs – one about two guys waiting for lab test results and the other over a computer virus’ upload progression bar… As the constipated old man said to his Depends, “I shit you not”.
By the time it was over, my faith in Dead Rising as a movie series had expired. Were you here, you would’ve heard the last gasps of hope leave my body via an audible sigh. It was as if the ghost of my own enjoyment had been exorcised by an ordained priest from the Church of Mediocrity. Though some would praise Endgame‘s eschewing of its comedic roots in favor of a more dire tone, I say thee nay. If I wanted my made-for-TV ghoulocausts to be low-budget bowls of freezer-burnt vanilla ice cream, I wouldn’t have relieved myself all over Rise of the Zombies way back in episode 6! No, I want my Dead Rising ice cream to be filled with sprinkles and gummi worms and little chocolate zombies, damn it! I said it when Michael Bay prison sexed the Ninja Turtles and I’ll say it again – if you’re just going to ignore 90% of the source material and do your own “in name only” thing, spare the fans your lazy cash-in and just call it something else! Then again, when one of your writers was responsible for the crime against geek humanity that is Catwoman, I should’ve known what I was setting myself up for, right? No. That’s victim blaming, you asshole. Fuck you.
On the good side of things, Billy Zane himself shows up for a payday as a not-quite-mad-but-definitely-morally-spotty scientist! Not-so-good? His role has him onscreen for all of 5-10 minutes and lacks the Zane zaniness of something like his turn in Demon Knight that I was hoping to get when I saw him mentioned in the opening creds. On a less lackluster positive note, though, I have to admit that what action pieces we get are generally better put together than what we got in Watchtower. Chief among them for me being a Chase chase (wakka wakka!) sequence where he tries to escape the dead menace amid a series of escalators and an interestingly shot fight between the hero and some zombos in an operating room that shoots for what I can only describe as “tethered filming”.
So, all said and done, Endgame isn’t all bad. Generic, sure, but not a totally wasted 90 minutes of wear and tear on the eyeballs. It doesn’t leave me looking forward to the purported TV series that Crackle has in the works, but as a stand alone zombie movie, I’ve seen worse. Far worse. Skin-peelingly bad “I’d rather jam toothpicks under my toe nails than watch another minute of this” worse. Toe suckingly terrible stuff, folks. Seriously.
As previously noted, the biggest problem with the movie is making it 100% serious while still keeping the “Dead Rising” moniker. It’s tantamount to taking a charismatic, over-the-top madman like Jesse Ventura and casting him as a cookie-cutter, potatoes-without-the-meat, bland as raw tofu, good guy. How do you make an intergalactic space cop played by one of professional wrestling’s greatest a-holes a walking, talking sleeping pill? Abraxas. How do you suck all of the fun out of Dead Rising‘s wholesale zombie murdering and DIY death dealers? Endgame.
Hey, I wonder why they named the first movie after Lyons’ plan (“Watchtower”), but didn’t do the same with the sequel? “Afterlife” would’ve made for a better title, especially given that this clearly isn’t the series’ “endgame”, what with the TV show planned. Just junk food for thought.
Since it’s a Crackle exclusive, if you want to check out Endgame (or Watchtower for that matter) you can do so for free on the Crackle app for your phone, tablet, gaming console, or TV streaming device of choice. Of course, you’ll have to sit through a shitload of commercials for that privilege, but nothing is truly free… unless you download it from a torrent site. Technology, you sex us so good!
Oh, and despite not making Mac & Cheetos wretched fried tripe, BK isn’t off the hook! One time they sold me onion rings and didn’t give me the designated sauce that goes with it. Onion rings without onion ring sauce is as much a crime as a Dead Rising sequel without Rob Riggle’s Frank West. And I was told this was the land of liberty. Oh the unabashed verisimilitude. Not cool, guys. Not cool.
Those sadists in the Jackass crew have run out of wacky ideas and are just straight up mutilating themselves now.
I see someone never figured out how to turn the on-screen display off on their camera…
“Damn, baby! You looked a hell of a lot better last night when I had my Jack Daniels goggles on!”
She’s Selena Gomez-ing.
Dennis Haysbert parodying the McConaughey Lincoln commercials? You’re a few years late to the party, Allstate.
Hey, movie. You’re not endearing me to you any more so by showing me what I could be playing instead of watching you. Stop it.
“You mind if we stop by my dealer’s place real quick on the way to the airport? I’ve been itching for a fucking hit since lunch and I just can’t drive straight when I’m, well, straight! Oh, and can you give me a 5 star rating on Uber? It hasn’t been a good week.”
“Thanks for meeting me in secret… here in this public place… out in the open… during the day… You’ve never done corporate espionage work before, have you?”
A human pinata! THAT’s what I want for my birthday next year!
“My custom weapons are NOT stupid looking and cumbersome! They’re friggin’ AWESOME! You’re gonna owe me so many Mac & Cheetos when you see how right I am and these save your dumb life!”
For those cold footed husband-to-be out there hoping the zombie apocalypse will be a good enough reason to cancel your marriage? She will find you. And eat you.
“What are you two doing?! Do you have a permit to film here?! Fuck off before I call the cops!”
“So you’re not going with a crazy, over-the-top tone with this one? You just want me to play my role straight? Okay… you have until my bank clears the check, then I’m out of here.”
Hey kids, remember Hackers? Remember how cool it is to watch a fucking progress bar for 10 minutes?! Have we got a movie for you!
“Chuck? I know your cameo is completely superfluous and all, but could you have at least worn your bright yellow motocross jacket so the gamers could have had some kind of fan service?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“What Do You Call 8 Teens At Crystal Lake?”
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.
Featuring: William “Star Trek” Shatner , George “The Case for Christmas” Buza , Zoe “Orphan Black” De Grand Maison
Directors: Grant “Ginger Snaps Back: the Beginning” Harvey , Brett “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed” Sullivan & Steve Hoban
Writers: Doug “Splice” Taylor , Pascal “Hellions” Trottier , James “Roxy Hunter and the Secret of the Shaman” Kee & Sarah Larsen
Also Known As: A Holiday Horror Story (name changed for the DVD sleeve only, so the movie could be sold in some Wal-Mart stores. No diggity.)
‘Twas the night before Cthulhumas and, alone in The Tomb,
Anubis was reviewing, despite having other shit to do.
I hate buying presents for people. Ra is being a real dickhead this year. Every time I ask him what he wants for Cthulhumas, the fuckstick just keeps telling me he wants a life-sized butter sculpture of Lou Ferrigno from the Golan-Globus Hercules movie. Do you know how hard it is to find a sculptor that works in the dairy medium this time of year!? If my situation were the line from a theoretical Weird Al Yankovic parody of a Pearl Jam song, I’d say I “can’t find a butter man”… and yes, I made all of this up just so I could say that. Lick me.
Go ahead! I used peppermint body wash this morning!
I mentioned in the last episode that Krampus is the 2015 holiday season’s monster-of-the-moment. As I may have also mentioned (the last week has been a whiskey nog haze), go see Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, in theaters now! Hurry before it gets bumped for the next “found footage” ghost movie in the “garbage I wouldn’t piss on were it aflame” queue. Speaking of Krampus, guess who’s featured in today’s anthological episode? If you said Krampus, you win! Get yourself a Gingerdead cookie and a shot of Milk Plus from Uncle Anubis’ padlocked mini-fridge (the key is behind the goat skull in the kitchen), then get back here, sit your ass in front of the fireplace (or in the fireplace, if you like), and let’s engage in another round of Yuletide tales.
As a disclaimer, despite what possibilities the title of this movie may invoke, it is neither an “American Horror Story” Christmas special, nor the blood & gore sequel to A Christmas Story directed by John Carl Buechler where Ralphie, dressed in his pink bunny pajamas, hunts down every adult who told him he’d shoot his eye out, then proceeds to gouge out their eyes with an ice cream scoop. I asked Annual Gift Giving Man for it last Non-Denominational Gift Exchange Day, and no dice. Not the first time I’ve been fucked by the big rubber dick of disappointment (also known as “the Festivus Pole” in some circles), and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
What is A Christmas Horror Story aboot? Well, hosers, this gift from our neighbors to the North stars noted starship Captain and Hollywood Hebrew, Billy “Rock-et MAN!” Shatner, as radio disc jockey Dangerous Dan. Not to be confused with ’80s WWF personality Dangerous Danny Davis, whose gimmick was that of a crooked referee who also wrestled. You know he was dangerous because he had the word “Dangerous” printed on the ass of his tights, and you can’t print something across the ass of your pants if it’s not true! Like those “Juicy” pants big ass girls wear. Much like juice, they’re best when freshly squeezed too. *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*
(Squeeze at your own risk.)
Double D does a Pontypool and spends his time on camera in the broadcaster’s booth for the extent of the feature. While he’s dead set on spreading holiday cheer amid the citizens of his town of Bailey Downs (his listeners and coworkers of which don’t seem all that receptive to his efforts), we the viewers are taken on a quartet of intermingling tales in the interim. Not “intermingling” by means of plot, though, but rather in that we fumble in and out of each story at the editor’s tyrannical whim. We are merely puppets and A Christmas Horror Story is the string by which he makes his marionettes dance. “PULL DA STRINK! PULL DA STRINK!”
Our first yarn follows a trio of high school kids: Dylan (Shannon Kook), Molly (Zoé De Grand Maison, whose name literally means “Zoe of the Big House” and who looks like a poor man’s Emma Stone), and Ben (Alex Ozerov). Attempting to catch the receding “found footage” wave before it goes back out to sea for another 5 or 6 year hiatus, the trio sneak into Bailey Downs High to do some hard boiled “Action News for Kids” investigating into a mysterious double homicide that took place in the building’s labyrinthine basement the year before. Having reviewed the leaked footage from the police investigation (because they don’t accidentally erase their evidence, CHICAGO PD!), they know something more than a simple dual murder took place in the darkened halls beneath their teenage prison, and they aim to find out what. As is the way in scare flicks they get locked in (possibly by the killer, returning to the scene?), discover the school’s morbid history, are confronted with the awful truth about the ritualistic murders, yadda yadda yadda. If you want to find out said awful truth yourself, feel free to watch the movie or “Read the Bantam book!”
Do they still novelize/bookify movies anymore? Given there are more platforms to watch stuff on nowadays than there are heads on a Hydra after you put it through an industrial blender, I can’t really see the rationalization behind sustaining such a market. It’s not like the old days when you had to wait two years for Dawn of the Dead to come out on Betamax, so you re-read your St. Martin’s copy cover-to-cover a few dozen times while you waited! By Rudolph’s radioactive nasal beacon, I had a screener copy of The Green Inferno a week before it left the local multiplex, and I ain’t talkin’ Transformers! Besides, that was Metroplex. Though I would enjoy the irony of Michael Bay making a Decepticon character that’s just a huge cinemaplex who crushes all of the moviegoers inside of it whenever it transforms. Then again, subtlety got a restraining order placed on Michael Bay years ago, so never mind. He’d just fuck it up like everything else and forcibly remove the joy from a few thousand more people. He’s Hollywood’s metaphorical on-par for Nazi stormtroopers dragging Jewish children away from their parents’ arms so their tiny hands could be put to use working in Hugo Boss’s sweatshops.
Story numero dos involves another trio: Scott (Adrian Holmes, who’s a dead ringer for Mike Yard and Taye Diggs’ love child), Kim (Oluniké Adeliyi), and Will (Orion John). Unlike our last amitié à trois, this trio keeps it in the family – Scott and Kim are Will’s parents. Despite being a cop, Scott takes his mini-brood Christmas tree hunting on private property,which reminds me fondly of my own illustrious annual “trail of tears” death march to commit our own act of ornamental herbicide. Will wanders off and goes missing, bur he’s found safe and sound one short and panicked search later. The family then heads home with their purloined pine, a little unsettled but none the worse for wear… except for Will, who starts acting really weird and creepy and shit. Scott gets sick of this crap quick, but his old-fashioned approach of parenting with his pants holder-upper doesn’t quite do the trick. “Big Earl” (Allen Peterson), the owner of the property from which the family misappropriated their O Tannenbaum may have an idea of what’s up with the lad, but Will could just be getting a head start on being a rebellious teenage dickhead. But that’s more a case for an episode of “Degrassi Junior High” than a horror movie, eh? As such, I wouldn’t bet my roasting chestnuts on it.
The third chapter in our movie’s table of contents finally gets things Kramp-ing! Upping the ante by a head, this story follows a quartet of characters: Caprice (Amy Forsyth, Kirsten Dunst’s non-union Canadian equivalent), Duncan (Percy Hynes-White), Diane (Michelle Noldan), and Taylor (Jeff Clarke). Diane and Taylor are the parents here, Caprice is their teenage daughter, and Duncan is just as much a junior a-hole as you’d expect a kid named “Duncan” to be. The four visit Taylor’s Aunt Edda (Corrine Conley) for some mandatory holiday tidings of comfort and joy (mostly to suck up to the wealthy old crone), and meet her grinchy German caretaker Gerhardt (perpetual “background weirdo #2”, Julian Richings). Krampus gets name dropped like he’s going out-of-style and Gerhardt warns them to be good, lest the bastard child of Lucifer and a Likitung come get them. Naturally, this is the perfect time for Dunc to intentionally break a decorative figurine of said yuletide disciplinarian because, again, kids named Duncan are ornery little shit bags.
Following the brat’s brazen act of dickery, Edda throws a fit and kicks the clan out. As they’re driving home, Dad swerves to avoid a yeti looking creature (maybe it’s a shaved Wampa) that runs across their path, and spins the car out into some deep snow. Unable to get anywhere (hence why I keep a shovel, extra floor mats, and full grown Saint Bernard in my trunk) the four are left to brave a winter wonderland in the middle of nowhere as they seek help…with a certain holiday hellraiser hot on their haunches. Much like his fellow film incarnations, don’t expect this version of the Saturnalian satyr to stop at some simple season’s beatings with a few well-deserved lashings across these douche bags’ backsides. No, he’s eyeing more permanent forms of punishment that utilize the type of excessive force that would give the ’90s LAPD envy boners. #BlackPeteLivesMatter
Our feature’s fourth fable follows the red man himself. No, not the racist mascot of Red Man chewing tobacco. I of course refer to Satan. Errr, Santa (George Buza). You know what I meant, Church Lady. Anyway, the bowl full of jelly is preparing for his solitary day of employment for the year, before having to spend the next eleven months getting shit from Mrs. Claus (Debra McCabe, playing a much younger Mrs. C than you’d expect, cuz Santa’s apparently an old perv) about how he needs to do something with his life beyond watching Mexican elf soap operas from his La-Z-Boy all day and adding to his collection of bed sores. While his vertically challenged minions go aboot their business, prepping toys for the big night, one of Klaus’s helpers, Shiny (Ken Hall) comes down with an odd and sudden illness that gives the little goober Tourette’s. “I said I don’t want a cookie, you reindeer fucking snow whore!”
Before you can say “28 Days Later at the North Pole”, the frost-bitten Oompa Loompas (who stole their uniforms from the “sandwich artists” at Subway) become infected and revolt against their portly oppressor in a mob of gnashing, gore splashed teeth. If this were traditional Santa Claus, as owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation, he’d be dead and clogging the minute cannibals’ arteries within moments. To help give He of the Merry Dimples and Twinkling Eyes an edge on the zombie mob, we get a bad-ass holiday icon who looks like he’d be more comfortable driving a Harley-Davidson than a sleigh, complete with Mrs. Claus riding the sissy bar wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts, leather boots, and nipple rings.
When the shit starts to go down in the jolly old elf’s castle (the interior of which looks remarkably like affordable office space…), Kringle theorizes that Krampus must be responsible for whatever bad juju is turning his sweatshoppers into heart stoppers, so for those wondering whether the promised clash of Yule pugilists portrayed on the movie’s poster actually comes to fruition, the answer is – sorta. As has become a common theme in some of the other movies I’ve recently reviewed, A Christmas Horror Story (just like the Six Million Dollar man’s replacement penis, fashioned from an old soft serve ice cream dispenser) comes with a twist. Unlike some of said others, this twist doesn’t inject acidic enzymes into the movie, break it down into a sumptuous primordial ooze, and consume it whole. No, this twist actually works well enough that I didn’t hate it. In fact, there’s very little I could say that I do hate about this movie in general!
The stories all take place on Christmas Eve Day and all connect with each other through shared characters. Mary mentions that she used to babysit Will, and Scott was one of the investigators on the high school murders. He went on leave afterward to deal with the resultant PTSD. Said trauma carries over to his own story as a point of contention for his relationship with his family. Caprice is a major catalyst in getting the first story going, as she brings her trio of friends the keys with which they break into the school. Even Santa’s tale comes back to the Bailey Downs city limits, but I can’t tell you how because it would spoil the surprise! No peeking!
My only major misgiving with the movie is its story structure. Unlike the traditional anthology one-at-a-time format, we instead jump back and forth between them chronologically as the day passes, while popping in on Dan occasionally to remind us that William Shatner stopped by to pick up a paycheck. Given that someone named Bev Feldman gets a credit as “teleprompter operator”, it doesn’t look like The Shat even bothered to learn what few lines he had.
Though I get the reasoning behind this mish-mash approach, the pace gets outright ravaged as a result. Just when you’re getting invested in any of the characters or their predicaments, you get thrown awkwardly back into another ensembles quandary. It’s a complicated dance that calls for precision, like Pulp Fiction. Instead we end up getting our toes stepped on every 10 minutes or so. I feel like I’d need ADHD to fully appreciate the flick as is.
The big gripe out of the way, my only minor misgivings with ACHS are a moment or two of unfortunately poor computer generated effects (thank Savini that almost all of the effects are practical) and the opening and ending credits theme of “Carol of the Bells” (thank you, public domain usage rights) as sung by what I can only presume to be a robot child. Fucking auto tune. Oh well, it’s still better than The Snots’ rendition of “Jingle Bells” that also plays at the end. Yep. The Snots.
Beyond those niggles though, I really liked this movie! The acting is all very solid with a few nice stand out moments of drama, especially from the ladies. The makeup, costumes and viscera are serviceable-to-admirable, and despite there being three different directors on the project, I wouldn’t have known the difference if I hadn’t read it ahead of time. Saying three directors’ styles are so generic that there’s little to distinguish them from each other may not sound like a compliment, but as the viewer it’s a good thing, because it lessens the turbulence of transitioning between plots. Krampus himself looks more like something out of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “make your own mutant” fan contest than his traditional self, but the albino steroid man-goat look works for him. They even made use of his Gene Simmons shaming demonic lick muscle! Definitely better than the computer generated reject from an ’80s heavy metal album cover concept art that The Reckoning gave us, that’s for sure.
All in all, A Christmas Horror Story perverts holiday traditions with a blend of dark fables and personal horrors, mixing the mythological with the relatable. Stories aren’t long enough to outlive their welcome, but are just developed enough that you won’t be forgetting them a day after watching. Maybe I’m high on holly jolly and sugar plum fairy farts, or maybe after choking down the turd brisket that was Krampus: the Reckoning last time, even John Candy’s vintage ’94 back sweat (collected on the set of Wagons East) would taste like a candy cane martini in contrast! Either way, I declare this flick a fitting addition to anyone’s holiday horror rotation. Thanks, Canada! You’ll always be the greatest white North to me. May your days be merry and bright and may all your Cthulhumases be shiny with poutine and back bacon, from sea to shining sea!
Now come back tomorrow for a very special gift from me to you! It’s the bread box sized package under your tree that’s decorated in old newspapers and bio-hazard tape that you’ve been hearing a random *thump*ing sound from every night around midnight… No peeking!
What’s with all the buckles, Santa? You going for that outdated “Steampunk” look? Or is one hernia belt just not cutting it for you these days?
Captain Kirk reacts to the news of yet another green chick filing a paternity suit against him. So much for alien and human DNA not being compatible!
Luke Cage’s new “edgier” catchphrase, as adjusted for his upcoming NetFlix series following the precedent set by “Jessica Jones”.
Kids will do anything to get a few hundred thousand video hits online these days. Who would’ve thought that YouTube would be such a catalyst for “survival of the fittest” forced evolution.
“Thanks for stopping, mister! My friends told me I’d never get anyone out here and, truth be told, you’re my first customer in three weeks! So, you lookin’ for a pumper, a sucker, a humper, or a dumper?”
“Welcome to Bailey High Action News! Today’s top stories – Principal Dickers arrested for alleged inappropriate relationships with several members of the girls’ field hockey team! Also, are the cafeteria’s hash browns just yesterday’s tater tots? Find out here!”
Jack’s wife finally broke the news to him about Santa Claus’s lack of existence. Poor little guy.
“I’m no doctor, Sparkles, but I’d say this is way worse than ‘just a hangnail’…”
“Hahaha! This tree reminds me of my wife after she gave natural birth to our triplets!… god rest her soul.”
A figurine of lesser-known saint, Sister Mary “Only Prays When People Are Looking” Gallagher.
I’ve seen messy eaters before, but that kid’s spaghetti dinner looks like a school of jellyfish exploded on his plate!
“Dangerous Grandpa” being the moniker given to him by the Bailey Downs Tribune following his vehicular manslaughter of 12 people at the weekly farmers’ market.
By far the worst actor in the whole movie. Her performance was just so… wooden. (Please don’t hit me!)
Looks like we walked in on them while they were comparing sizes… awkward.
From here it looks like he’s relieving himself inside one of The Tall Man’s dimensional gateways! Well, any port in a piss storm, right?
Timmy was determined to make sure that Santa didn’t miss him this year. “I know you can see me now, you fat bastard! Get down here and make with the presents!”
Looks like Krampus just caught a whiff of himself. I tell him he needs a full body heat drying after every shower, but he always thinks he can shake off and he’ll be fine. And he wonders why none of the other anthropomorphic creatures of folklore want to date him!
He looks like the type of Santa that would have “If you can read this, the bitch fell off!” stitched onto the back of his leather vest.
Anubis will return next time in
“Toys In Babeland”
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.
Featuring: Jesse “John Tucker Must Die” Metcalfe , Meghan “Once Upon a Time” Ory , Rob “The Daily Show with John Stewart” Riggle
Director: Zach “Leprechaun: Origins” Lipovsky
Writer: Tim “Sleeping Dogs” Carter
Sequel: Dead Rising: Endgame
“Funny ass review!! Bonzo loves it! BOINK!!”
Every day I get a new message of concern from my loyal fanbase (Hi, mom!) asking where I am, what I’m doing, which terrorist organization is holding me hostage, and which bodily opening they’ve inserted electrodes into. At this point, which opening haven’t they inserted an electrode into is the better question! Oy.
Anyway, the answer to those questions and every question is: your mother and I will tell you when you’re older. Now go to your room, play with your Mega Bloks, and if you hear any screaming, just ignore it. And don’t call me “Dad”. Or talk to me directly after this. Go.
What’s important is that I’m here now, and in celebration of the Resurrection (of Horus, not that shyster wanna-be) I brought Dead Rising: Watchtower with me! For those uninitiated, Dead Rising is a moderately popular video game series spawned in the year of our Lord Cthulhu, 2006. The game followed intrepid photojournalist Frank West, as he strove for the truth and struggled for survival in a mega mall overrun by a zombie infestation caused by a vast corporate-military conspiracy. This was the kind of game I’d spent a large part of my life foaming at the mouth in anticipation of. Well, I was hoping for something on a larger scale, along the lines of a “Grand Theft Auto Meets Dawn of the Dead” (which would mostly happen years later in the form of State of Decay and Day Z), but Dead Rising was still amazing enough to sell me on an Xbox 360. Yes, I bought an Xbox 360 just to play it. In the gamer circles, that’s called a “system seller”. Give me the opportunity to slaughter the living dead in hilarious ways with improvised mash-up weapons like a kayak paddle with chainsaws at both ends or a motorized wheelchair with mounted machine guns or a dildo cannon, and I’ll play your game all day long. Let me do it while dressed like an overgrown man-child, decked out in a Leatherface costume, or while wearing a Borat cock sling, and I’ll play it all night too!
There was a Japanese movie based loosely around the games called Zombrex: Dead Rising Sun half-a-decade ago, created to coincide with the release of the appropriately (and uninspiringly) named Dead Rising 2. I had fully intended to get around to reviewing it here maybe someday eventually down the line when I got the chance to consider doing so…honestly. Despite the game being a product of legendary Japanese game developer Capcom (birthplace of Mega Man, Street Fighter, and a few dozen other awesome gaming franchises), it’s populated almost exclusively with North and South American characters, so a Japanese movie with Japanese actors just never felt like a “must see” scenario for me. The fact that its story had little-to-no connection with the games it was based on only lessened my interest until it just wafted off of my priorities list like a fart lost on the night air. Watchtower, however, is a product of movie and TV streaming service Crackle (not just a Rice Krispies mascot anymore!), who have decided to take a page from the business plans of competing services like NetFlix and Hulu to produce original programming of their own! Teaming with Legendary Pictures’ “Digital” department, Crackle promised that their Dead Rising would be far more involved with the continuity established in the games that it’s based on, so my hopes for this not sucking are not entirely entombed. Hey, it can’t be any worse than the fourth season of “Arrested Development”, right?
A collaborative cocktail mixed by the writer of Sleeping Dogs (that’s good!) and the director of Leprechaun: Origins (that’s bad), DRW doesn’t adapt the exploits of prior franchise protagonists Frank West, Chuck Greene, nor Nick Ramos. Instead, we’re introduced to our new Player One: Chase Carter (Jesse Metcalfe). Chase is a dickhead “ace reporter” for online news group Hit Point Digital (named so cuz, you know, video game jokes!) who are meant to be a “free of the mainstream bias” investigative show like “Vice”. Hero type guy’s only real concern is upping his YouTube view numbers, so he prefers to cover only the most Action Newsy of news stories. If I were to rank the man on the International Douche Bag Scale, he’d come in somewhere between a year’s supply of Massengill and a Convent-Sized bottle of Summer’s Eve.
His current assignment has him in the imaginary city of East Mission, Oregon to cover an outbreak of the living dead. Accompanied by his camera woman Jordan (Keegan Tracy), Dan Rather-Be-Reporting-Wholesale-Slaughter is unimpressed with reporting on quarantine inoculation tents when he could be where the action is, broadcasting the next Dawn of the Dead. While trying to dig up click bait, he zeroes his a-hole-vision in on attractive tough girl Crystal (Meghan Ory), who was bitten in a previous run-in with the walking deceased in “Fortune City” (thus connecting her to the events of Dead Rising 2). She manages to avoid the metamorphosis into a flesh-eater thanks to Zombrex: the only treatment to prevent a bite victim from checking off the “Undead” box on their next census form. ‘Brex is the product of sinister pharmaceutical group Phenotrans, as chronicled in the games and portrayed through whimsical animated commercials about little girls not wanting to become rotten cadaver beasts. So, yes, Dead Rising is just a big fat allegory about consumerism and corporate corruption…AGAIN. Look what you started, George Romero!
Speaking of sinister pharmaceuticals, despite the crowd being pumped full of Zombrex, otherwise normally normal norms start turning into flesh addicts left and right! Frenzy kicks in, everybody goes from zero-to-panicked before you can say “When there’s no more room in Hell”, and the whole things turns into your basic undead epidemic survival flick. A (small) population of extras in festerface declare that John Tucker must die (*wink*), so it’s up to our would-be-celebrity to pull his own butt bacon out of the proverbial fire with a little help from Crystal and Jordan. With a dash of mystery, a spoonful of conspiracy, a few rolls of duct tape, a grieving mother (Virginia Madsen), some military interference (as led by Dennis Haysbert!) and a heaping helping of motorcycle riding marauders led by a Mad Max refugee named Logan (Aleks Paunovic, looking kinda like a beefed out Jon Hamm in face paint), a zombie movie based on a video game based on zombie movies (and isn’t a Resident Evil sequel) is brought into the world. The meaning behind the title is explained in the finale (which I called about 5 minutes before the very same words escape the expository character’s lips) and since I don’t do spoilers on new movies, here’s a hint: it’s got nothing to do with Jimmie Hendrix, Jehovah’s Witnesses or a literal watchtower!
How does this gratis gorefest measure up to the yardstick established by the living dead cinema that came before? Does it go the full six feet deep, or does it deserve little better than a shallow grave from whence the scavengers can pick its bones? As much as I feel it should be offered special consideration for being a fee free affair, Crackle makes it a point to pelt us with frequent commercial breaks to shill the same 3 or 4 advertisements, so no free passes here. Shit, given the overwhelming deluge of corporate propaganda shoveled into my eyes, I’m tempted to shave a few points off! But, let’s do like Fox News promotes and keep things fair and balanced rather than doing like Fox News practices and making contradictory shit up for the sake of bias and bribery.
First things first, the whole shebang is shot on digital (remember, “Legendary Digital”) and looks like a TV show more so than a movie. Not great, but it’s cost effective. The gore is predominantly digital too, so again, not great but ya gotta pinch those pennies. On the plus side, the movie does hit all the Dead Rising boxes that were on my checklist: Serv Bot heads (albeit only in the form of a t-shirt and a prop rather than as a weapon); bloodthirsty marauders (or “psychopaths” as they were referred to in the games) to show us that humans will always be violent shit lords at the first sign of societal collapse; overarching conspiracy subplot; easter egg nods to the video games (including one of the zed words wearing Chuck’s jacket from DR2 and another getting a traffic cone jammed over its head); and the most important thing – DIY death dealers made by duct taping things to other things, then jamming them into the unliving masses! Former series good guy Frank West (Rob Riggle) also makes it into the showcase as a talking head on a news broadcast during the outbreak who pops in to make inappropriate comments, drop some survivalist tips (some taken straight from the Dead Rising game tutorial!), hit on his interviewer, and just generally bring the comedy tone that his character’s always been known for. He’s covered wars, you know!
I understand Frank being used as an ancillary character rather than straight up adapting his story for the screen. We already did that in DR. My only issue with him is Rob Riggle. Don’t mistake me, cuz I think Riggle’s great, but he seems to play all of his roles exactly the same. You never mistake who you’re seeing as actually being Frank West. You’re always very aware that the guy you’re watching is just Rob Riggle pretending to be Frank West as played by Rob Riggle. On the subject of the cast, everybody was pretty much serviceable. Though Meghan Ory was okay, her delivery of the line “Only an IDIOT wants to see a zombie!” is just silly enough to be memorable for the wrong reasons. I thought Carrie Genzel was a nice surprise as Susan, Frank’s exasperated interviewer who plays off of his antics with comical annoyance I can appreciate. Whether written for them or improvised, their rapport echoes my Evil Dead Bride and I, and lets them steal some of the best scenes in the movie.
As for Metcalfe, he actually surprised me. Not in the “Ow! I stepped on a thumbtack!” way, but in the “Oooo! I stepped on a thumbtack!” way that a masochist would experience it. Though Chase started off as a Frankensteinian amalgamation of human and douchebag, he becomes more man than bag as the story marches on. It’s not unexpected, as you presume most heroes who start off as a-holes to pull a face turn before the final act, but Watchtower goes about it in a way that feels less forced down your throat and more a natural, gradual way that eases itself courteously and comfortably past your tongue and down your gullet. Instead of dialog and poor characterization bludgeoning the point across, there are scenes here and there where Metcalfe shows vulnerability and empathy in Chase with simple facial expressions that get the job done and get it done well. Nothing award winning (unless you count the SpikeTV Scream Awards or Fangoria Chainsaw Awards), but I was shocked that someone who looks like a cross between Carson Daily and Taylor Lautner could impress me like that! Golf clap for you, Mr. Metcalfe. You’re not as big a shit-ass as you appear. Fun bit of trivia: Jesse Metcalfe plays a character named Chase here, and was also in the 2010 TV series “Chase”. Additionally, though he has no relation to “Roseanne” actress Laurie Metcalf (they’re forever separated by that “e”… and, you know, lineage), the two were both in “Desperate Housewives”… and now that I’ve wasted your time and attention span on shit that nobody gives a greasy fuck about, where were we?!
The music definitely could’ve been a bit punchier in places. For a fairly light-hearted affair, there are moments of living dead re-deadening that should’ve had something jumpier instead of the “sounds like Danny Elfman wrote it while on the toilet” generic instrumental blandness we’re given. Some scenes do it right, some don’t. It’s about half-and-half. The story is okay. It’s the same formulaic zomb-o-rama road map from Point A to Point B, while the reason for the outbreak is just absurd and sinister enough to fit the tone of the games. There are moments of frustration though, especially a scene where Chase, who wants to be the next Frank West (the Red Green of butchery), is told by Crystal that it’s time to turn a pawn shop full of everyday items into an armory of skull collapsing corpse shredders. Rather than living by the WWFD (What Would Frank Do) mantra, he just stands around with his thumb up his ass going “A weapon? What weapons?! This place is full of junk!”. I guess he just idolizes people based on a rudimentary grasp of their work, instead of knowing ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THEM. Like conservative christian republicans who emulate Ayn Rand without bothering to find out that she was an atheist who lived on welfare. Der to the fucking ERP. As for the movie’s direction… yikes.
There’s a LOT of shaky cam shit. Friends and longtime readers know the searing intestinal pain I suffer in the presence of shaky cam. Especially BAD shaky cam like this. Shaky cam that comes off so OBVIOUS that it’s directed and nothing like the intended “make the audience feel like they’re IN THE MOVIE!” bend it’s supposed to supply. Wanna see it done right? Watch Quarantine. Here it’s too structured. It never feels like the cameras are handheld. All I can see in my head during these shots is the operator holding it on a mounted base and jostling it around while director Zach Lipovsky, decked with a big shit-eating grin and a sideways Leprechaun: Origin crew hat, pats them on the back and sweats an over ambitious excitement belying the lines he snorted in an on-set Port-a-John between takes.
The only thing worse than the shaky-cam is the “inanimate object PoV shot” visual nonsense. Imagine Sam Raimi’s revolutionary “smash cam” technique, only instead of putting a camera on a pole and ramming it through stuff or into people’s faces for affordable-yet-intense movie magic, they just strapped the thing to a broken piece of traffic barricade and dropped it on the ground. If this was meant as a joke on the aforementioned Raimi technique, then kudos to you, Lipovksy. But you should’ve kept it to one or two shots, NOT the overkill extents to which you go. If you were doing it as a way to make the weapons a “character” in the movie (given their integral emphasis in the games), you’re reaching a little beyond your abilities and you fucked it up. And if you just thought it’d be cool to look at, well, you’re a dipshit. Movies can be all about style over substance (Michael Bay’s made a career of it!), but when your style is pairing plaids with polka dots and wearing a big pink Easter bonnet on your dick, you’re in the wrong business.
Now, as with anything, there’s always an exception. We live in a contrary world, and there’s a reason that “a broken clock is right twice a day” is such a popular cliché. There’s one excellent scene where the music fits and the camera work is even better. Chase, who needs to cross a street well populated with the hungry rotted jaws of the de-deceased, fights his way through a small crowd of z-bags. No one ever told him that the shortest way between two points was a straight line, so his jaywalking journey turns into an extended sequence of maiming and escaping while the camera pans around him, follows him onto an (almost) abandoned school bus, through an emergency door onto a car, then OVER the bus to another parked car before he finally slips away. It’s easily my favorite scene in the movie. It either deserves to be in a better flick or just makes the rest of the run time look flaccid in comparison. Except for the brief respite where Virginia Madsen confronts a zombie in a wheelchair, which “stands” great on its own. Not to be that person, but if ground zero for the zombie outbreak is at the Special Olympics or a VA hospital, we’re safe. Idris Elba would just walk in, push ’em all down, shout “THE ZOMPOCALYPSE IS CANCELLED!”, and burn the place to the ground. The world’s shortest horror show.
Please don’t send me messages about how I’m now going to Hell for making a joke about zombified handicapped people and disfigured living dead veterans. I live in the fucking Underworld. If you really wanted to scare me, condemn me to roadie-ing a Backstreet Boys reunion tour or to a reoccurring role on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.
As a video game movie, I give Dead Rising: Watchtower four joysticks out of five. As a movie movie, meh, I give it three. It’s a LOT better than most would expect it to be, but as someone who loved the games, I can’t say for sure what casual horror movie viewers will think, and die-hards will probably dismiss it as just another zomedy. To be honest, watching it really got me into a mood to go back and partake in some ghoul mauling merrymaking of my own more than anything, so as a two hour commercial (beset with tons of other commercials, ironically enough), it works! Too bad there isn’t a new game to promote alongside its release. But, it just goes to remind me that I have more fun playing video games than watching video games.
Before I disappear into the Eldritch ether that surrounds my Tomb again, last week was Wrestlemania! And the best news to come out of the entire rigmarole? WWE has formed an unholy alliance with none other than Gene “the Tongue” Simmons to create Erebus Pictures: a production studio dedicated to making “elevated” horror flicks, whatever the fuck type of marketing speak that means. For those (like myself) who were hoping their first collaboration would be KISS Meets the Phantom of the Arena, in which the band’s wrestling avatar The Demon (click here to arm yourselves with knowledge!) would battle the angry specter of Chris Benoit using the power of ROCK!, I’m sorry to say that’s not the case. Their actual first release will be the languidly titled Temple, about a special forces unit trapped inside of a military compound whose previous occupants all died under the always obtuse prospect of “mysterious circumstances”. I’m going to be very sad if all three of their releases ended up being “same old shit” plumbing pluggers not even worth the gold found in literal feces. But, even if they are, they’ll still likely to provide plenty of fools’ nuggets for me to mine!
Oh, and on a final final note, my thanks to the mighty El Santo of 1000 Misspent Hours for name dropping the Tomb in a recent review! If there’s one thing I love having my name associated with, it’s movies with names like Sexsquatch: the Legend of Bloody Stool Creek. Had I a hat, Sir, I would tip it to you verily. Fight the good fight every moment. Every minute. Every day. Fight the good fight every moment. It’s your only way.
Zombrex is actually short for “Zombrections”, the first erectile dysfunction drug for the living dead. Because even stiffs need help getting stiff sometimes!
Starting off strong with something for all my Coulrophobics and Kinemortophobics in the house!
Jesse Metcalfe has high hopes for his “Constantine” audition. Spoiler: he doesn’t get the part.
If “God” hates zombies so much, how do you explain Lazarus and Jesus!?
“No, Susan, I will not be replacing John Stewart as host of ‘The Daily Show‘. Also, for the third time, I’m not Jason Jones! Next question, please!”
Zach Lipovsky, FINALLY giving people the inanimate objects’ view of events!
They’re not reacting in horror to the zombies. The TV they’re watching just showed the Paul Blart 2 commercial.
A pair of guys atop a wall pointing assault rifles at otherwise harmless non-white people? It’s the republicans’ wet dreams for what to do with our borders, come to life!
That plastic head seems to be REALLY pumped about the store’s “Low Down Payments” policy, or their selection of tapes and/or neon signs promoting said selection.
That peanut butter sandwich is painted up like a WHORE!… and it’s making my pants tight.
With “Mad Men” now ending, Jon Hamm prepares himself for a role in the next Mad Max movie! … Oh wait, this is just a picture of him from his recent stint in rehab. Honest mistake.
“Well, if I can’t convince you to enroll in the US Army, can I at least tell you about Allstate’s Accident Forgiveness policy?!”
Anubis will return next time in
“How Sweet” (For real this time!)
Featuring: Stephen “Shoot ‘Em Up” McHattie , Lisa “Ejecta” Houle , Georgina “Eddie: the Sleepwalking Cannibal” Reilly
Director: Bruce “Roadkill” McDonald
Writer: Tony “Septic Man” Burgess
Welcome to the first installment of my 25 part (give or take) series, “World Tour de Farce 2015”! Every episode will basically involve my ignorant American self (Egyptian godhood aside) traversing international bad cinema in an effort to make myself a more cultured Death God… and maybe expand my brand on a global scale into heretofore untapped markets, exploiting my core competencies with an eye towards productivity and connectivity. Sorry, I hired a business consultant to try and turn the Tomb into a profit and he just kept barfing stuff like that into my ears until I had to staple his tongue to the roof of his mouth. Anyway, stop #1 on this round trip is the maple syrup dripping, lumberjack spawning, hockey rocking, very polite Great White North known as Canada! And the landmark shown in our “Where in the World is Anubis Von Mojo?” teaser image? That’s the UFO Landing Pad in the town of St. Paul, Alberta! Yep, Canada’s got its own UFO landing site. Apparently Mars Attacks was never released in the land of the Doug & Bob McKenzie. You can read more about Alberta’s extraterrestrial airport at this link. Arm yourself with knowledge, kiddos!
I know I just reviewed a Canadian film a few weeks ago (Santa’s Slay) and a zombie movie last episode (Pro Wrestlers Vs. Zombies), but I’ve been itching to give Pontypool a viewing for a couple of years now, so fuck it. Here comes what’s guaranteed to be some of the most accommodating living dead (except they’re not) this side of Mormon Heaven! And if you don’t like it? Soory, hosers. I’ve got a thing for girls who say “aboot”. Let’s split a sixer of Moosehead, fry up some back bacon, enjoy the free health care and take in some Canucksploitation until we leave for our next destination!
People (well, 2 of them) have been preaching the benefits of Ponty to me since its release. The best I could offer them was the promise that it would have a place on my “I’ll get to it when I get to it” list. Well, I got to it. And sweet succulent jalapeno poppers dropped from the Virgin Mary’s hair pie do I feel like a better human being having done so. Let’s run the recap and afterward I’ll take a cue from Ben Murphy if you’ll “Permit me to explain wah.”
For starters, this is NOT to be mistaken for the documentary Pontius Pool, which followed Jackass member Chris Pontius through the summer of 2013 as he attempted to fill a swimming pool with his friends’ bodily fluids, while living within said gathering of secretions. It lead him on a downward spiral of madness and near-fatal body toxicity that won him 3 Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe, and 4 CableACE Awards… despite the CableACEs having been discontinued in 1997. No, this is Pontypool, based on the novel “Pontypool Changes Everything”, as written by Tony Burgess. Why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah, it’s because his name’s up above in the “Writer” credit! Yep, he’s the same Tony Burgess who adapted the screenplay. I’ve never read the book because, as I told my high school English teachers, I’m illiterate. That said, given that the author of the book was also the author of the movie, I really hope this turned out to be a faithful adaptation. Especially since I’m actually going to break my illiteracy rule and READ the damn book now!
From the opening, I get a hint that there’s something interesting in store for my next 90 minutes as we’re greeted with an oscillator scope illustrating our opening narration from talk radio host Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie). Despite being played by a native Canadian, I’m presuming that Grant’s a transplant from the U.S. of A. given his unfamiliarity with the surrounding area and very American “cowboy” manner of wardrobe selection. “Presuming” rather than “assuming”, as I make it a point never to leave myself verbally vulnerable for the same “assuming makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘Ming’” retort that I prefer to inflict on others. And you never want to make an ass out of Ming. He’ll put his bejeweled boot a Mongo mile up your Flash Gordon.
The Mazzster’s a Don Imus-y type of “Fuck politically correct, I don’t care if people think I’m a racist asshole, you’re gonna listen to my opinion!” personality who takes his morning coffee 50/50 with whiskey. His radio perfect voice carries the morning show on CLSY Radio 660 (“the Beacon!”) in the small town of Pontypool in the province of Ontario. On the way into his shift one dark and snowy Valentine’s Day morning (it is Canada, after all), and after firing his agent over his cell, Grant’s stopped in the parking lot by an oddly acting woman who bangs on his car window while uttering something incoherent over and over again, only to slowly back away into the darkness when Grant addresses her. He calls out to her, only to be answered by his own echoes…though I’m not entirely sure they’re all his (he said, knowingly).
Joined by his no-nonsense producer Sydney (Lisa Houle) and starry-eyed tech engineer Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly, pulling off that “girl next door/looking good while not looking like she’s trying to look good” appeal so well), Grant goes about his morning business battling back his winter blues to give the hosers something to listen to on their way to cut down trees and wrestle beavers and play hockey and whatever else it is Canucks do for work. They’re your typical talk radio trio: Grant causes trouble, Syd tries to rein him in, and LA sides with the old man because she admires him and may or may not want to fuck him. That’s not just me being an old man saying that young girls are attracted to we fossils, through “daddy issues” or some misguided sense of “age = maturity = sexy”, either. My Evil Dead Bride actually said it as soon as we see their first morning exchange, so if that sounded sexist, blame her!
Editor’s Note: She was TOTALLY eye-fucking Mazzy. This is NOT UP FOR DEBATE.
After a morning of what I’m presuming to be their typical “office family” squabbles, news of a hostage situation comes in over the radio band with a pair of gunmen holding a van of people against their will… you know, hence the term “hostage situation”. Thanks to LA “accidentally” feeding it into the booth to him against Syd’s wishes, Mazzola (the Indians call him “Maize”) reports on it prior to any police approval, while also implying that everybody involved is probably drunk, including the alcoholic local constabulary. Following, the station is called to drop the story as it’s officially been “resolved”, leading to a nice little exchange between Mazz and Syd where she politely tells him that their listeners are small time folk who prefer their shared small town ignorance, as the cops are actually alcoholics and, while we’re peeking behind the curtain, CLSY’s reporter/weatherman/traffic guy Ken Loney’s “chopper” is just a Dodge Dart he parks on top of the tallest hill. Everybody knows it, but they just like to pretend his sound effects are the real thing. A town just oozing blissful ignorance. Mazz in turn opens up to Syd, confessing that he’s got serious depression issues and every winter wonders if he’ll be able to hold out long enough to see the Spring again. Cue the canned audience noise where everybody goes “Awwwwwww”, but in an awkward way where they’re all worried that Grant will lose it and hang himself from the only bridge in town.
Immediately following their little moment, another newsflash comes in about a big mob of people swarming around the office of John Mendez: a local doctor who’s had recent controversy with writing questionable prescriptions. “Chopper” man Ken (voiced by Rick Roberts) calls in with a play-by-play of the pure chaos on the scene, including “an explosion of people”, bodies all over the place, and military trucks and helicopters (real ones) coming in from out of nowhere. Mazztermind wants to cover the story, but Syd would rather keep the airwaves free of potential public panicking turmoil while she tries to dig up something official that they can report. Mazzter Blaster is forced to go ahead with the planned show, including a performance by their special guests: local a cappella group Lawrence and the Arabians! Fun fact: the guy playing the group’s titular leader is none other than writer Tony Burgess. Hold onto that one next time you and your friends are playing DIY horror movie Trivial Pursuit.
As you can imagine, this performance doesn’t sit well with our self-professed bastion of truthy journalism…until shit gets interesting when Maureen/Farraj, one of the “Arabians” (I see Canadians don’t have the hang-ups with wearing black face that we do down here in North America’s ever-expanding waistband), starts speaking gibberish and eventually just breaks down into repeatedly shouting “PRA!”. Hannah Fleming, who plays the girl, actually does pretty well with her brief smattering of dialogue and that’s saying something coming from the guy who’d rather watch the child actors of the world thrown onto one massive tire fire than have to watch them “act”. Good for you, Hannah. Maybe when you’re older I’ll get to see you in a role with a few more lines and a lot less racial insensitive minstrel show shit smeared on your face!
As more reports make their way into the station, we learn that the people from the Mendez incident have formed into a “herd” of maniacs, swarming like bugs over people trapped in their cars, and collectively making weird sounds (like windshield wipers) or speaking utterances and phrases in unison as if they’re all connected with a hive mind. While trying to sift through the deluge of updates, suddenly the BBC is contacting CLSY in an effort to verify reports that the rest of the world is getting – news about military quarantining of the entire town and a possible terrorist insurgency/mass political uprising in progress! Not much later, an emergency message broadcast breaks into the station’s signal, relaying in French about how everyone within earshot should avoid loved ones, using terms of endearment, and speaking English…and how they also shouldn’t translate this message into English… which Mazzy and friends do…over the air…oops. Keep fucking that chicken, Grant.
Ken escapes the mob, holds up in a grain silo somewhere in town, and calls in to report further. We listen to a man whose face we’ll never even see as he sobs on the brink of total collapse about things he’s seen today “that are going to ruin the rest of his natural life”. Don’t worry Ken, I’m pretty sure your natural life won’t be haunting you much longer. Over the air, Ken relates how everyone is acting less than human and more like wild-eyed like dogs, cannibalizing anyone in their path, and tearing people apart with their bare teeth. Listening to Ken narrate everything to us is somehow far more intense than if we were watching it ourselves. Seeing the three in the studio hanging on each panicked word just as desperately only adds to it. When he records the twisted baby-like screams escaping an infected victim’s throat before it dies, followed by Grant descending into his own auditory hallucinations inside the sound booth? Fuck. That’s some stomach churning Silent Hill levels of terror tension. The games, not those dumbass movies.
When the horror movie paranoia and isolation kick into full swing, Mazzter & Commander and Syd argue right out the front door and into the awaiting blizzard (like I said, Canada)…where a horde of mindless psychos nearby catch wind of their exchange and start screaming “DON’T YOU WALK OUT ON ME, GRANT!” together, mimicking Sydney. Director Bruce McDonald refers to the infected as “conversationalists” rather than zombies, given that they’re not dead and they’re continuously listening while repeating words in a twisted form of symptomatic conversation with their victims. A great concept, but a twist in the vas deferens for someone like myself who doesn’t want to type “conversationalists” twenty or thirty times over the course of a few dozen paragraphs. As such, since they’re all basically brain dead on a conscious level, I’m sticking with “zombies”. If you don’t like it, then in the words of the epic poet Homer (Simpson), go to Russia!…like I will be in a future World Tour installment! Hope they’ve got enough vodka stocked away. Not for me, for them. I’m a whiskey kinda guy.
Barricading themselves in the studio and attempting to maintain their sanity by going on with the show (starting with a surreal obituaries segment), Laurel-Ann joins the ranks of the zombies almost immediately after, standing in place and mimicking the whistle of a tea kettle as she stares off into nothing. This is when Doc Mendez (and his German accent?), the guy whose practice went up in an explosion of bodies and flames earlier, crawls in through a window! He hurries Syd into the sound booth with Snazzy Mazzy and starts telling us what he’s learned by studying the outbreak’s victims. Meanwhile, LA spirals into her own zombiehood as her co-workers watch in saddened horror. To make matters worse, Ken calls back in finally…only to start losing his own mind as we listen to him jibber-jabber away the closing incoherent lines of his life story. Mister T would not like this virus.
Syd drops a shocking little revelation about Ken after his “passing” that fits in with her previous theme of small town not-so-secrets secrets that folks would rather ignore than confront. The twisted look of surprise and disgust on Grant’s face during this is priceless and mirrors what the audience is probably feeling at hearing the same news. Anyway, according to Mendez (whose accent I can’t hear without picturing Dr. Scott in Rocky Horror), the victims of the virus degrade into little more than a “crude radio signal” that’s just seeking something to bounce off of. His theory is that the it’s some kind of “god bug” that spontaneously came into being and is spreading, unpredictably and possibly boundless, infecting people at random and reproducing at epidemic proportions. And how is this bug being passed? Through the blood? Through the air? No. It’s being spread through the mind. Specifically, through the English language. Somehow words are becoming “infected”, and when these infected words reach into a victim’s brain and are understood, it turns the victim into a mindless animal. It then forces them to “hunt” for more words. And when they find someone speaking said words? They rip out their victim’s throat. And if they can’t find a victim? They die. Violently. And Vomity. The only motivator for one animal to murder the fuck out of another animal: self preservation.
In an effort to stem the virus from infecting them too, Syd and Grant stick to communicating in French and through written notes, while Mendez rambles in what may or may not be unsubtitled German. Sooner than later, the mob make their way into the building, but are lured away by a recording of All That Mazz saying “Sydney Briar is alive” played over the outside loudspeaker. Because things can’t be that easy (remember, we’re in an outbreak movie!), a random blip in the power causes everything to reset, defaulting to a playing of the Canadian National Anthem inside the building that lures the mob back in, all shouting “OH CANADA!”. Mendez runs off into the blizzard shouting “Sydney Briar is alive!”, presumably to perish as he leads the maniacs away to give Mazz and Syd a chance for safety. So much for my theory that Mendez was part of some Nazi think tank whose experiment to destroy the world through a 70 year old genocide project got away from them, what with the zombos’ rambling about Hitler and U-Boats. Oh well.
Trapped together in a supply room, Syd works on drinking herself into a numb oblivion and writing stuff on the walls in Sharpie like a teenager, while Grant tries to figure out how to cure the virus. His theory? The reason people are repeating the words over and over again is to say them so much that the words lose meaning, thus losing their contaminating power. It’s a defense mechanism by their immune systems attempting to purge the invading taint. The Mazzter Baiter’s idea for a cure? Don’t just repeat the words until they’re meaningless, but reteach the infected a new meaning to the words. Example? When Syd starts to lose it, her trigger word is “kill”. Instead, Grant keeps repeating “kill is kiss” to her until her brain replaces the meaning of the word “kill” with the meaning of “kiss”, thus curing the trigger! It’s weird, it’s a bit heady for a movie most people will probably expect to be a basic zombie schmoz coming into it, but it’s different. It works though, with Syd whispering “kill me” after, leading to the resolution of that “just fuck already!” workplace sexual tension between the two as they trade spit. It’s like some kind of emo romance thing.
Grant makes one last broadcast in an effort to fix the problem, but it’s like putting a band-aid on a severed leg. Too little, too late. The only people who know the cure take it to their bomb obliterated graves with them as Pontypool becomes a victim of the Return of the Living Dead Protocol. But, to his credit, Grant Mazzy’s last words are spent shitting all over the heavy handed government who responds to something they don’t understand by murdering an entire town of people in fire and thunder. It’s a brilliant tirade, and I don’t use that word casually either, because this diatribe is fucking brilliant to behold. Stick around after the credits though, because there’s a fun, entirely nonsensical stinger at the end that gives our heroes a fucking insane Tarantino-ish happy (I think?!) ending send-off. I hope to see you on the other side, Johnny Deadeyes and Lisa the Killer!
Before I get into the technicals, I’d just like to make mention that the term “OPP” dances through the dialogue time and again. OPP stands for “Ontario Provincial Police”, hence its frequent usage in a Canadian quarantine flick. All I could think of every time I heard “OPP” though, is that Naughty By Nature’s message of what they were “down with” had a whole different meaning up North. In Canada, they must’ve come off as the most law abiding, Kilted Yaksmen supporting rappers ever!
Pontypool. Holy. Shit. Holiest of shits. My faith in movies as a means to grab me by the nose hairs and make me feel things has been restored. Freddie Mercury meme goes here. I have not felt this sense of dread and suspense licking my neck with its barbed tongue since [REC]. While that movie managed it by utilizing the “found footage” method to perfection, Pontypool does it on pure pacing. Oh, and Stephen McHattie (who looks a LOT like Lance Henriksen from the right angle). Stephen McHattie’s like…fuck. His performance is uncannily good here! It’s almost inhuman. Like my Evil Dead Bride said, he was like Dennis Hopper levels of grand with his perfect transition of casual into intensity into stoic into in-fucking-sanity and back into “fuck you” stoic. Mazzy keeps his shit together, but not without faltering here and there so we can be impressed with how quickly he regains his shit just when you think he’s gonna lose it down his pant leg. McHattie acts his ass raw. Down to the bone. I hear he had to sit on a hemorrhoid doughnut for a month after they wrapped filming before they could find a compatible donor for seat meat implants. So much more than I expected from the evil NRA guy from Shoot ‘Em Up. Odd coincidence how he’s the connecting element between the Tomb’s first two 5 star features… and weird as John Merrick’s balls how McHattie looks like Jon Astin on the DVD cover art.
The minimal approach is just so fucking potent! It’s full-on tension. I said it before, but it bears repeating: it’s a thousand times more effective than anything they could actually show us. There’s very little in the way of graphic violence (really, there’s just zom Laurel-Ann bashing her face off of a window and hyper barfing all over the place), but it’s the way that we’re relayed the violence verbally that haunts us. The voice acting by Rick Roberts as Ken as he tells us all of the horrors he’s seeing is fantastic. It’s intense, borderline heartbreaking stuff to hear. The characterization of our tiny group is excellent. Pardon me for finding myself unable to stop sucking it’s metaphorical dick, but this has to be one of the best slow builds I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a fast paced splatter-palooza, this is not the movie you want. They’re great in their own right (one of my favorite sub-sub-genres, really), but Pontypool is all about the drama and gradual slide into deep horror. To keep you on your toes, there are also these weird, brain poking moments where reality seems to hiccup. As if the movie is a nightmare coming apart in places as the threads unravel. They’re not as blatant as the “PANCAKES!” scene in Cabin Fever, but they’ll get your attention.
Beyond that, there’s not really a whole lot left for me to say on why I love the maple syrup out of this motherfucker! Let’s bathe in a bit of the afterglow before we go.
There are/were two sequels to Pontypool that were actually planned before this initial installment. They’re supposed to provide more exposition, according to Burgess and McDonald, but given the nature of most sequels, this knowledge fills me with more apprehension than anticipation. When something unique really works for a movie like this (i.e. the isolation and the very slow-but-satisfying expositional foreplay), it doesn’t usually carry over to the follow-up. Remember how The Blair Witch Project and Quarantine both went from “found footage” benchmarks directly into paint-by-numbers horror movie sequels? I have this stabbing dread in my liver that Ponty 2: Electric Booga-Pool Harder would just try to be a low budget World War Z… or that could just be a serious infection from that uncooked meat I ate yesterday. Hey, I just can’t say no to ChiChi’s Baby Tartare Enchiladas! And yes, ChiChi’s does still exist, but only in China, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Indonesia and here in the Underworld.
Given that it’s been 7 years since the first sequel was announced at the 2009 Cannes, and director McDonald and writer Burgess have had a dozen or so other movie and TV projects between their respective schedules since with NO sign of any actual progress on the proposed Pontypool Changes (not as good as my title, to be honest), I’m going to officially call it a Natalie Wood – dead in the water. Natalie Wood: the only kind of wood that doesn’t float! Or, if you’re going for a more “upturned proboscis” approach, you can call it a Virginia Woolf. Pinkies up, fuckers!
Oh well. As douche-snob shithead as this might sound, I prefer my PP pure… call me a hipster and I’ll feed you your mother’s insides colon end first. Just focus on the part where I “peepee” and let’s move on.
Pontypool was also done as an hour long radio play that was broadcast on the BBC’s website, which I was legit excited to hear of, considering the H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” vibe I was feeling throughout the length of the feature. Sadly, all attempts on my part to find a playable version of it met with dead ends. The best I could drudge up was a YouTube video someone put together of Mazzy’s radio material as taken from the flick. Speaking of the spoken word, if IMDB is to be believed, Burgess’s original concept for the movie was going to be the “The Outer Limits” style oscillator image (seen in the movie’s opening) as the singular visual, bouncing along to Burgess’s voice as he simply read the script for an hour and a half… Might’ve been okay as some kind of performance piece, but as a movie you’re asking people to pay money to see? Outta your fucking mind. Besides, we would’ve been robbed of McHattie’s brilliant visual performance that came along with the verbal. A performance that probably gave Sir Alec Guinness’s ghost an erect lightsaber as he watched from Jedi Heaven. What does that even mean? I don’t know! I may have just become infected… TIME TO GO! GO! GO! GO? GO! GO! GO!
Seriously mine peeples, why wouldst thou be breeders of sinners? Get thee to a Netflixery and submerge thy selves in the Pontypool, lest I pity thee as fools, eh?
With the finale of our episode, so ends our time in France’s North American piece-on-the-side. The Canadian Chuck Norris, Zap Rowsdower, welcomes you to get the fuck out. See you next time in [REDACTED]! To the airport!
Typoo – what it’s called when your spelling and grammar mistakes are so far from correct, they’re just straight up unrepentant shit.
That’s a few too many man rings there, Grant. Just buy a pair of brass knuckles and be done with it.
The only movie where you can watch Joey Ramone sexually propositioning a fish. In real life he was more a marsupial type of guy.
This reminds me of Monkey Shines… but Pontypool is still a great movie in spite of that. Fuck you, Monkey Shines.
“Wait till she finds out that I replaced the morning weather report with a track of nothing but fart sounds! And that I replaced her coffee creamer with Ex-Lax! And that I replaced her birth control pills with rat poison! … What the fuck is wrong with me!?”
“‘Best part of waking up’ my ass. This stuff tastes like it was poured out of a ranch hand’s boot at the end of a long day.”
Ever since Laurel-Ann made the joke about how microphones are robot penises, Grant doesn’t like having his nearly as close to his face as before.
Ladies and gentlemen, the look of an actress who just realized her current role should probably be left off of any future audition reels.
“Why so serious?!”
That moment when you’re in the middle of introducing your morning interview guest and regret having a breakfast of nothing but coffee and bran muffins.
Grant gets a little too wrapped up in his latest promo read for Crazy Larry’s Discount Used Cars. “WE’RE NOT JUST CRAZY AT CRAZY LARRY’S! WE’RE FUCKING INSAAAAAAANE!”
“All work and no play makes Syd a dull girl. All work and no play makes Syd a dull girl. All work and no play makes Syd a dull girl. All work…”
Anubis will return next time in
or “Un-Living Color”
Featuring: Marlon “A Haunted House” Wayans , Jaime “DOA: Dead or Alive” Pressly , Ashley “Behaving Badly” Rickards
Director: Michael “A Haunted House” Tiddes
Writers: Marlon “A Haunted House” Wayans , Michael “A Haunted House” Tiddes
Sequel to: A Haunted House
“It’s spicy going in, but it’s twice as spicy going out!”
Well, last week was Thanksgiving, and though I was considering jumping right into ThanksKilling 3 for this review, I may need another killer turkey movie for next year’s Feast of Gluttonsaurus. Besides, I’ve got all these leftovers to get rid of before they go bad (or worse), including today’s helping of dark meat that nobody asked for: A Haunted House 2. NON-racist pun intended! I’m one of those people who thinks the NAACP should really reconsider replacing that ‘C’ with something a bit more post-Jim Crow repeals. You know, without going full-on Nas at the same time. Now that I’ve made everything awkward, let’s move on!
In the prior installment of this ersatz Scary Movie franchise, Marlon Wayans moved into a fancy new house with his girlfriend, his dog got ran over, he sexually assaulted some stuffed animals, his white cuckold neighbor (played by the high school principal from “Eastbound & Down”) tried to get him to join the wife’s Mandingo Party, and Nick Swardson kept trying to have sex with him. For like, almost the entire movie. Remember how the first Scary Movie installments were kinda funny about a decade and a half ago? Yeah, the littlest Wayans brother has apparently been in cryogenic stasis since then, cuz he just resurrected the same jokes after the rest of us said our goodbyes and moved on with our lives. Amidst all of the inanity and “same old shit” jokes, there was something about a ghost haunting the house (the epitome of “keep it simple, stupid” movie titling). Cedric the Entertainer (I’m assuming he’s a hipster and that name is some big ironic *wink* thing) showed up dressed like a ghetto preacher to threaten the specter, stuff happened, the end. All caught up? Great. Now, for the sequel that every skid mark who paid money to see White Girls and Little Man begged and pleaded for: A Haunted House 2.
When we last left Malcolm Johnson (Marlon Wayans), he and his girlfriend Kisha may or may not have survived the poltergeisting of their home by a malicious presence. It was a cliffhanger. I preferred to imagine that Malcolm had just been vertically torn in half from taint to cranium and leave it at that, but my dreams of imagined dismemberment are yet again dashed amidst the jagged rocks of reality. We start off our sequel with Malc trying to restrain his Exorcist reject lady love Kish (Essense Atkins) in the back of his semi-hard thug-lifer cuzin Ray Ray (Affion Crockett)’s car. On their way to the hospital, Double R wrecks his ride, and he and Malc escape relatively unscathed on foot, leaving the presumably deceased Deadite dream date in the backseat while they flee the scene. Given the possibility of having to explain the situation to a cop (who are mostly racist white guys, after all), they probably made the right choice. If I had a dollar for every crime scene I had to leave an expired significant other at, I could afford that new Clive Barker director’s cut of Nightbreed on blu-ray (the Limited Edition) and a machine to play it on. What can I say, I’m not a great boyfriend! Don’t judge me.
Given that the opening sequence is shot in a more traditional cinematic style, you’d start off thinking that Wayans and Tiddes chose to drop the “found footage” format of the first. The mild feeling of relief you may have from reading that is quickly amended as we jump ahead 1 Year/12 Months/52 weeks/365 days/8766 hours/525960 minutes later (give or take), as Malcolm’s moving into a new home and recording everything on a network of home security cameras and hand-cams, cell phone cams and stuffed animal nanny cams. And if you thought they weren’t going to make the joke about also installing a toilet cam, for better or worse you’d be wrong. I’ll leave which one up to you. Not one for the bachelor lifestyle, Malcolm’s moving into said domicile with his new white girlfriend Megan (Jamie Pressly) and her two kids: slutty jail bait daughter Becky (Ashley Rickards) and wienery son Wyatt (Steele Stebbins), who has an “invisible friend” named Tony that acts like an extra from the “Gin & Juice” video. The new place gives Malc the heebies, no doubt soon to be followed by the jeebies, otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie and I wouldn’t have anything to complain about. Save for everything else in the world, naturally.
Before you can say “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell!”, the house is discovered to be just chock full of parodic possession pieces, including an ominous box inscribed with Hebrew text (a la The Possession) Becks finds in the basement, a projector Malcolm finds along with old film reels of a demonic entity (huh huh “titty”) attempting (and failing) to murder the previous tenants (a la Sinister), and an uggo old doll found in a wardrobe named Abigail (a la the titular toy of Annabelle) that reeks of eau de thiscantbegood. Speaking of, if you thought Marlon Wayans fluff backing stuffed animals was entertainment in A Haunted House, wait until you see the acts he commits on a doll modeled after a little girl. Then turns one grotesque joke into an entire storyline. Oh yes. Permit me to Captain Willard as I say, “The comedy… the comedy… the horror…”.
HH2 is the living, breathing definition of “more of the same” in comparison to its predecessor. Rather than dealing with the cuckold couple, this time we’ve got a pair of “paranormal investigators” (Hayes MacArthur and Missi Pyle) to joke on The Conjuring. We’ve gotta deal with Gabriel Iglesia, because black jokes need to be supplemented with Mexican jokes since they don’t have Nick Swardson around for more gay gags. Cedric’s drugged up ex-con preacher is back to give us more of his bullshtick (this movie deserves a pun that bad). Woo-fuckin-hoo. Mandingo Parties return, despite the lack of bored suburban white people, only this time with a big slab of “Sexual Chocolate” Mark Henry. Weird, given the WWE’s “placate families first” policy from the last 10 years, which you’d think would prevent one of their wrestlers appearing in a gangbang scene. Meh. C’est la stuff.
Beyond his own rehashed material, HH2 reminds that Marlon Wayans is still the Sean Combs of comedy. When he’s not running his old jokes through the Xerox, this forty-two year old man’s still “sampling” his other bits from Loony Tunes. You know that “living balloon” thing in old cartoons where one character uses a bicycle pump to inflate another character, and the inflated character then flies around the scene while he/she/it deflates? Yep. It happens. Just like shit happens. Coincidence? No. Conspiracy.
And so it goes. We were just dumped upon by a direct doppleganger of the last movie. Given that the sequel employs the same writers, director, and star, I got what I expected. If you hated the first as I did, prepare for flashbacks. If you inexplicably loved the first (due to some kind of inbreeding, head trauma or being a suburban white/Asian kid), you’ve found something else to keep you away from society for another 90 minutes, of which I’m sure society is appreciative. Speaking of, sitting through the entire movie was such a chore that I swear on my dybbuk that I checked the runtime four times in the last half hour of this movie, desperate for it to finish. Much like every woman I’ve ever had sex with has done the same to me while in the act of “sweatin’ ‘n gruntin’”. I tried willing it to go faster with my mind, but just popped a blood vessel.
Sorry if anybody feels short changed by this episode, as there are only so many ways I can say “IT’S THE SAME FUCKING MOVIE!” before I might as well just copy and paste it a few hundred times like a lazy Jack Torrence. Call me David Carradine if you’ve gotta, but I’m ending this early. On a final note, I feel like our creative geniuses (term used loosely… like looser than a prolapsed colon) originally wanted to be witty about their half-assed approach to a follow-up and call it A Haunted House Too, but honestly couldn’t figure out which proper usage of the word to/too/two/tu to use, so they played it safe and just went numerical. This is a thing I choose to believe, and I will continue to believe so for my benefit. Just like I’m going to lie to myself about this series dying at 2 and never besmirching my view screen ever again. Don’t shatter my illusion. It’s all I have to keep me sane until UPS delivers my Tiffany Shepis love doll from Taiwan.
Moral of the Story: Sometimes it pays to keep half a dozen bug zappers on hand.
“Did I remember to put the dog outside when I left?”
“Oh shit! I didn’t put the dog outside when I left!”
“Wait… do I even have a dog?!”
“I told you not to keep the Preparation H right next to the toothpaste. We’re both going to be tasting this for the rest of the day.”
“It’s me, everybody! Expect me to recycle all of the same stereotype jokes Cheech Marin’s been doing for years, only without the talent! Arriba!”
I see London, I see France, now I need a change of pants.
Yep. That’s comedy. Ha. Ha. You know what would make this REALLY funny? If he was trying to jam his dick into Leech Woman from Puppet Master.
That most awkward of moments when your girlfriend catches you jackin’ it to her grandma’s bathing suit pics from last year’s trip to Myrtle Beach.
Proof to women that men do know the pride and joy that comes with the miracle of giving birth. Some of us even take pictures to proudly share with our friends.
Marlon Wayans goes past the point of redemption by becoming that most loathsome of subhuman creatures: a hipster.
While pouring over outtake reels for “The Wayans Bros.” DVD box set’s special features disc, Marlon is baffled by the alarming lack of footage featuring him baring his ass or sexually assaulting children’s playthings. Everything is deemed useless and Wayans retires to his bedroom to shove his dick into a Teddy Ruxpin.
Jaime Pressly, after being told by her agent that she still has two sequels left on her Dead or Alive contract. (Don’t worry folks, they’ll never be made.)
When your parents are visiting you for the weekend, never leave them alone in your house. You’re just asking to come home to them committing the marriage act on your kitchen table.
When this movie promised I’d see Marlon Wayans with a cock on his lips, I expected something far worse. What a relief!
“Come on, white boy. I’m heading to the shower and need you to scrub my back. And don’t you try taking advantage of me while we’re in there. I told you last time that just because we’re in prison doesn’t mean we have to have sex with each other!”
Marlon when he received notice that his services wouldn’t be needed for the GI Joe sequel once the ink on The Rock’s contract dried.
Hey. It’s like that scene in Knocked Up, and since no black people saw Knocked Up, the target audience will think this is hilarious. You know what I’d rather be watching right now? Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back… Why, what did you think I was going to say?
A screenshot from Godfrey Ho’s next project Mexican Terminator: Vampire Ninja Kids Return. Expect several completely unrelated scenes of hopping vampires and neon garbed ninjas to be spliced into it somehow.
Anubis will return next time in
“Tony Starkner’s TechWar”
Featuring: Adam “The Walking Dead” Minarovich , William “Louie the Moon” Palko , Matthew “Buy, Sell, Kill: a Flea Market Story” Pierce
Director: Adam “Ankle Biters” Minarovich
Writer: Adam “Ankle Biters” Minarovich
Hopefully by rerunning this review, I can do some good in the world and dissuade any potentially curious parties from making a scrotum-tearing decision they could very well regret for their entire lives…or at least the hour or two after it’s over. Those are precious hours that could be better spent sleeping, drinking, sleep-drinking or drink-sleeping. Meh, let’s just get this over with.
When Rob over at The KO Picture Show was taking volunteers for a “Vs.” roundtable, I had no choice but to throw my hand up (having eaten it the night before *rimshot*) and toss my hat into the ring. At first, all that came to me were the always reliable Godzilla flicks, since 90% of them have “Vs.” in the title. I put a little thought into the process though, and since Rob had already planted his flag into King Kong Vs. Godzilla big ape-lizard ass, I thought it would be more interesting to seek my opponent elsewhere. I was going to go for the Mexican Dracula Vs. Frankenstein, or any of the numerous Santo flicks, but then found myself struck by inspiration. During my daily voodoo ritual in which I attempt to put the whammy on Adam Minarovich, I remembered Mr. Minor-Ass-Itch had befouled the world with a home movie abortion of his own that fit the criteria perfectly: Wiseguys Vs. Zombies. In that it had the word “versus” in the title, anyway.
I’d been looking for another chance to lay a steel toe into the back of the head of the guy who makes Ed Wood look like Albert Hitchcock for reasons that, well, this review should explain. As if that weren’t bad enough, last week I complained in my review of Karate, the Hand of Death that directors should never be allowed to star in their own movies, followed by a similar comment earlier this week in my Freaky Farley review that writers should be subjected to similar cinematic law. Well, guess what kids, today’s star happens to be both the writer and the director! Minaroviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich! Somebody get me a fresh needle and a hit of mountain lion testosterone (stolen from Ted Nugent’s medicine cabinet of course), cuz I’m fixin’ to get ornery!
Last time Minor-Ass-Itch attacked us, it was with a litter box amalgamation of Blade and Terror of Tiny Town. This time he duct tapes copies of Pulp Fiction and Return of the Living Dead together and tries to lodge them into our rectums with no consideration as to whether or not any of us actually wants movies planted amidst our un-expelled fertilizer. The stinkweeds that result go down as such: a government experiment (given the uninspired named of “Project: Lazarus”) to reanimate dead soldiers is deemed a failure and all remnants of this waste of taxpayer money is destroyed. Most of it anyway, with the exception of (wait for it, cuz here comes the part we could all see coming as soon as the words “government experiment” clacked out of my keyboard) a single barrel of the chemical that them high-fallootin’ army types managed to lose. The missing stash was snagged by a low-level gambling addict soldier at the base who stole it to use for barter with his loan shark, hoping the silly little man (who sounds like he’s fresh out of the trailer park) will take it and sell it in exchange for the $6000 the G.I. Joke owes. The shark even ends their conversation with “Have a good day, sir.”.No doubt ad-libbed because he probably finished his shift at KFC before coming out to shoot the movie and was still in customer service mode. Naturally, Sharky forces G.I. Joke to sample the shit first before he’ll accept the exchange, so immediately after Sharky leaves, Joke of course starts to get the vapors (is he turning Japanese?) before his head turns into a blood fountain
It hasn’t even been five minutes and already I’ve sat through poorly shot scenes of the camera trying its best to focus on a Hummer with a homemade military “Pimp My Ride” job, and way too much camera time spent staring at Sharky’s gun instead of the characters. We just started and the movie’s wasted no time going down faster than Bill O’Reilly in the men’s room at the Republican National Convention. I can feel that mountain lion testosterone starting to kick in…
In Miami, a dime store Tony Montana (who can’t even keep his shitty fake accent in check) is upset that he’s yet to receive his latest shipment of street candy from his supplier. He calls a friend in New York to address the matter for him, hence how we meet Freddy Six Times (William Palko) and Gus (Minaroviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiich!) who are both sent out to collect Mony Tontana’s goods. Which will be the sole use of the label “good” in any way, shape, or form for the remainder of this review/curb stomp. Though I’m not positive, I’m at least 87% sure that the four different rooms used to shoot the scenes involving each of these four characters interacting were all shot in the same house. From here on out, Gus will be referred to as “Assy” (because of the whole “Minor-Ass-Itch” joke I’m running into the ground) and Freddy will carry the moniker of “Douchey”. I would’ve called Gus “Douchey” instead due to who’s playing him, and because of the half-wit shit-for-brains Travis Bickle impersonation he pulls in front of a bathroom mirror as part of his Stuart Smalley daily affirmation exercises, but we’ll stick with “Assy”. If Robert of Niro ever gets out of his Craftmatic®
adjustable bed, puts on his arch-support Dr. Scholl’s grandpa loafers, and kicks Minor-Ass-Itch’s teeth down his throat, Assy would be a lucky man.
The fucker sweats like Bill Clinton watching a “Mama” Cass Elliot performance too.
Assy and Douchey’s journey starts with an interrogation scene, where Assy spends 5 minutes telling the guy (who I remember (painfully enough) from Ankle Biters) how much he’s going to hurt him, then spends 5 more minutes standing with his back blocking the camera as he pretends to pummel the guy. This is followed by another “beating” scene, as Assy throttles another redneck incest case in what looks like my grandma’s bedroom, only with a handful of Chopper movie posters strung up in an effort to balance out the flowery bedspread and dresser. Maybe Eric Bana can sue somebody over this for, like, retroactive defamation? Somebody get one of those TV lawyers with nicknames like “The Hammer” or “Thunder Dick” on the phone!
After packing a handful of dead hillbillies into their trunk and commandeering Mony Tontana’s “drugs” (the army zombie fruit punch), Assy, his extra sweat gland and Douchey stop over to start trouble in South Carolina. They clash with the local Sheriff at a Greasy Spoon, their ride gets impounded and before you can say “Wait, is this a Redneck Zombies sequel?!”, the dead rise from Assy’s trunk and we finally get some of the titular zombies…45 minutes into this exercise in cruel and unusual punishment. This is turning into the spiritual successor to Zombie ’90 and I am officially in my own personal b-movie Hell. There’s no other explanation for what I’m going through! And there’s still an hour left to it! ARGH!
When Assy and Douche start up with all this bullshit about the living dead, both their fake-Cuban and fake-Italian bosses decide the two duo are on drugs themselves and both send some more men into South Carolina to find ’em. Meanwhile, Assy continues to run around making stupid sound effects and trying his damnedest to be a toned down Robin Williams. The blast sound effects of his shotgun sound like an actual shotgun half of the time and somebody breaking a rack of billiard balls the other half, while one of the zombies sounds like Chewbacca passing a kidney stone. Not in that berserker freak out way, but in that, “This is what it sounds like when wookies cry” way. And you can’t even call him a pussy for it, because Chewbacca or not, passing a stone will make skinned knee little girls out of the most biggest balled of the he-est of he-men.
Oh, and to prove that Ankle Biters wasn’t the end of his Blade ripping offing, Minor-Ass-Itch makes it a point to include a scene where Assy has to kill his older, father-figure type partner after Douchey is bitten by a zombie. Remind you of something? Yeah, he did the same fucking scene in Ankle Biters, only his partner was a midget. To further show off his Blade theft, Assy starts killing the zombies by injecting them with more of the military grade Hi-C Zombie Cooler, thus overloading them into oblivion. To put his own hillbilly spin on it though, he makes sure that each ghoul’s death is succeeded with a voiding of their bowels. I guess that was one of the requirements to warrant the movie’s DVD distribution through Troma.
In an effort to win back the audience that he never had in the first place, Minor-Ass-Itch attempts enticing us with some zombie chainsaw violence. Unlike Zombie ’90, which at least got the chainsaw gore kinda right, Assy manages to fuck this up too! We’re slapped in the eyeballs with close up shots of himself getting fake blood tossed onto his face while all of the actual chainsaw shit happens off camera! Either the guy’s an egomaniac for stuffing close-ups of his big dumb face into EVERY scene, or he realizes the special effects are just that damn shitty and showing them on screen would be cinematic suicide. Well, a more painful cinematic suicide anyway. Like opting for a bullet to the brain instead of slicing open his stomach in a den of starving hyenas.
As a quick aside for all of the wrestling fans out there, if you close your eyes while watching this movie (something I did many times), you’d swear that Minor-Ass-Itch sounds exactly like Jim Cornette when he’s talking. From the accent to the way he yells and talks down to people, it conjures up images in the mind of Big Jimmy C running around in his glasses goofy jacket, face swollen and manic as he’s whacking the undead upside the head with his trusty old tennis racket. Does he even carry the tennis racket around these days?
Every scene lasts twice as long as it should, and that’s taking into consideration whether anything from this fucking movie deserved to be shot in the first place. The dialogue seems like it’s made up entirely on the spot by a cast of people who have never done improv acting in their life. When Minor-Ass-Itch put himself down for a writing credit, I’m guessing it was because he wrote the general plot down on a square of toiler paper while pitching his morning loaf, because I don’t think any of these lines were so much “written”. The cast was apparently given the gist of what they were supposed to convey in each scene right before shooting and allowed to mumble their way to the finish line. Speaking of shooting, is it too much to ask for a Brandon Lee moment or two here? Couldn’t Minor-Ass-Itch just get shot in the face, die and leave the collection of dingleberries that he calls a filmography as it is? You don’t need a big budget and high class actors to make a fun zombie flick, butWiseguys Vs. Zombies is definitely ten times more irritating than it is entertaining. What the fuck is Mr. Director’s fascination with frequently shooting ceiling fans? Were the profits from Ankle Biters so good to him that he can finally afford ceiling fans in his house and he wants to show them off to everybody to prove that he’s “made it”?! Even the references to Assy’s scratchy nut sack and a radio song about licking testicles (the closest things to partially funny running gags we can come up with) lose their humor half-life almost instantly from overuse. And what’s with the fucking yappy dog whining off-camera for half of the outdoors scenes?! Were they all shot in somebody’s backyard and nobody had the balls to tell the neighbors to put their fucking mutt inside for 20 minutes?! Osiris damn it do I have a raging hard-on to napalm South Carolina right now!
Xtro: Every time I read one of these old reviews, I feel they’re going to be used as evidence in a murder trial against me in the (near) future. They’re so angry and violent and disjointed. If I tried to print them out, I’m pretty sure they’d come out looking like a kidnapping note made of letters cut from magazines. I wonder if I’ve become less of a psycho in the years since, or just a more refined lunatic. Does it really matter?
By the many arms of Vishnu, Wiseguys Vs. Zombies is without a doubt one of the shittiest movies I’ve ever been tied to a chair and forced to sit though. This is the Casino Royale torture scene of zombie flicks. I tried begging my tormenters to just shove rusty barbed wire under my toenails and stuff sandpaper under my eyelids, only to realize I’d strapped myself to the chair in the first place and there was nobody else there to turn the TV off, no matter how much I screamed and pleaded. My only hope was that, if I shed enough tears from my impotent rage, I’d lose consciousness from dehydration.
The cinematography is abysmal. It looks like the movie was shot on Minarovich’s off-brand cell phone camera by Shannen Doherty’s even more ocularly lopsided brother who keeps accidentally hitting the fucking zoom function! The editing drills holes in your brain too, as most scenes are just haphazardly Frankensteined mash cuts of amateur hour ad-libbing (the dialog of which sounds like it was recorded via microphones clenched in the actors’ buttcracks), and then it’s all overladen with generic rock music performed by the cheapest band of middle-aged never-weres the local dive bar could drum up on a Tuesday night. It’s a concentration camp of bad movie making – all of it’s terrible and everyone suffers.
The only one who looks like he’s having any fun in Ass-Itch himself, but that’s probably because he’s the guy in charge and got to say/do whatever inane garbage he wanted to. His improvised performance makes even the worst scenes of The Blair Witch Project look like an alumni reunion of The Upright Citizens Brigade. The aplomb with which Assy jumps around shouting and frolicking like a little kid on Pixy Stix is almost admirable. But when you realize he’s also the one heading the production, the entire feature feel like it was just a few more bad decisions away from becoming a Manson Family murder scene.
I don’t even know if that was a valid point. I’m on the verge of drooling into a cup the longer I have to think about this swirling cauldron of pig vomit. My brain cells are all writing out their suicide notes as I type this. I need to wrap this up before they get into their tiny nooses and kick their tiny chairs out from under their tiny selves. Fuck your crabs-infested balls, Ass-Itch.
Moral of the Story: It doesn’t matter where you live or what your race is, everybody on the East Coast has a stupid hillbilly-ass Southern accent.
A movie whose budget was so low, they couldn’t even afford punctuation for their back story cards.
That name puts the “moron” in “oxymoron”.
Look at those clouds! Even Thor, the god of thunder, didn’t want this movie made!
They burned their only copy of the script for this shot. Well, at least that explains all of the lines sounding off-hand!
“I’m tellin’ ya Curly, I can shoot this zit off your ear you won’t even feel a thing! Your ears might not work for a few days, but other than that you’ll be fine!”
By which they mean, “Some backwater bumblefuck in South Carolina”.
You can Lady Macbeth it all you want, Minarovich. You’ll never wash the stain of this shit from your hands.
When their tripod broke, what was Mr. Director’s MacGyverian answer? “Just lean it against that dog turd on the sidewalk. It’ll look ‘edgy’!”
Sunday, Monday, Happy Days! Tuesday, Wednesday…. what? I know it’s not the Fonz. I fell asleep watching Nick at Nite (in 1997) and now I’ve just got that damn theme song stuck in my head.
I can’t tell if this is supposed to be one of those Evil Dead – The Hills Have Eyes – Jaws movie poster gags, or if they’re just using the Chopper poster to cover up the giant hole somebody punched in the wall when they saw their girlfriend Debbie reveal she was a man on a rerun of Jerry Springer… from 10 years ago.
That’s funny, because the last time I was there I was chased out by a bunch of guys wearing bedsheets and carrying torches.
The Big Boss Man!
Clorox – just because you’re a zombie doesn’t mean you can’t get your whites their whitest!… I’m sure there’s another Klan joke in there somewhere too.
Someone probably should’ve told Roy that the term “shit eating grin” isn’t meant to be taken literally.
“Listen to Zombie Bob and the Blart during ‘The Morning Monkey House’, here on WROG 102.9 FM! Turn it up and tear the knob off! Then, shove the knob up your ass and jump into a burning building! Faaaaaaaaart Soooooouuuuuunds!”
Anubis will return next time in
“Kill Kill Bang Bang”
Featuring: Jeffrey “From Beyond” Combs , Jason “MirrorMask” Barry , Elsa “Skate or Die” Pataky
Director: Brian “Society” Yuzna
Writers: Xavier “Working Class” Berraondo , Jose “Working Class” Gomez , Miguel “Revenge of the Nerds” Tejada-Flores
Sequel to: Re-Animator / Bride of Re-Animator
“The soul is an invention of primitive witch doctors.”
25 episodes! Woohoo! My chronic general disinterest in life and unwillingness to stay committed to projects has given me enough leeway to make it to the silver review! Sure, four of said reviews were reruns, but they did require re-viewings of the subject materials, massive re-editing of the original material (if you think my current rantings are bad, my shit was WAY shittier 7 or 8 years ago), writing the intros and xtros (still get a smirk out of that every time I type it), along with entirely new screenshots and captions. As such, they’re really not so much reruns as they are remasters. I just didn’t want to sound like some uppity dickshit by actually calling them that. Anyway, for the big two-five, I wanted to break out something a little special to mark the occasion. Re-Animator is the movie that really showed me what horror movies could accomplish beyond killer dolls and masked slashers, so it’d be the perfect subject for a milestone like this. However, since my self-imposed “nothing before 2000” rule prevents me from reviewing the original Re-Animator (or even the not-as-good-but-still-pretty-good follow up Bride of), well…some Herbert West is better than no Herbert West, so…here’s Beyond!
For starters, Jeffrey Combs is the only original Re-Animator cast member returning this time. The gorgeous Barbara Crampton (my throwback boner factory in high school) hasn’t been a piece of this puzzle since the original, Bruce Abbott bowed out after Bride (good riddance), and David Gale cashed in his 401Korpse in 1991 after playing Fulton Balcus in the live-action Guyver (no, not MacGuyver, ya knob) movie, so his final parlay into the mythology will have to be remembered as Gale with bat wings grafted to the sides of his head. Behind the camera is director/writer/producer Brian Yuzna is back from Bride, and since he was also a producer on Re-Animator, that makes him the only person other than Combs to be a part of all three movies. Special effects man Screaming Mad George also returns from Bride to contribute to the gore and oddities for Beyond, so expect less in the way of traditional living dead, and more in the way of “how is that even a thing?!” mutants. No one else I’d trust to put together a silhouette fight between a mouse and a penis though…don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon enough!
When we last saw Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), he and he his
friend assistant Dan Cain (not to be confused with Dean Cain, praise Isis) were pulling a Bride of Frankenstein on Dan’s dead ex-girlfriend Megan…whose death somehow made her transmogrify into someone who wasn’t Barbara Crampton. And to paraphrase Officer Barbrady, “If you’re not Barbara Crampton, I don’t give a rat’s ass!” As with anything West gets his hypodermics into, the whole affair went tits up and the mad doctor was thought lost in a cave-in, the victim of his own affronts to nature. Aside from re-animating the dead, West’s made a name for himself by escaping certain death before, and if he can survive full-body strangulation by a pissed off intestinal python, having a crypt dropped on his head isn’t exactly a guarantee of expiration.
Beyond picks up with one of West’s errant creations seeking out a refreshing drink of milk at a house near the cemetery where the doctor set up his chop shop, but the jawless freak collapses the skull of a teenage girl in the process. Never stand between a re-animated corpse and his moo juice. The local pigs show up and nab West, leading to a lengthy incarceration in Arkham Prison. Now, it’s not made clear if this is immediately following the finish of Bride and the cops were there following up on the ruckus resulting from said movie, hence why they were on the scene so quickly. It’s possible Herb escaped the crypt collapse only to be grabbed by the black & white, or it could be that the police dug him out of the rubble and tossed him straight into the back of a cruiser rather than an ambulance. I’m assuming this mishap is completely unrelated to Bride though, since the graves our spitters in the face of mother nature were robbing previously were from, I believe, Arkham Cemetery, while the boneyard from which West is removed in cuffs here is ChristChurch Cemetery; which sounds to me like a place you’d find in Spain. (This feature was made under the banner of Brian Yuzna’s Fantastic Factory movie production company out of Barcelona.) Which also explains the HUGE amount of people in Arkham, Massachusetts with Spanish accents and Latin features. As for the immediate police response? Well, after two previous such massacres in the area, you gotta figure the Arkham PD put together an Emergency Anti-Zombie Task Force who spent every shift until now just sitting by their special phone line awaiting just this call to come in! Makes sense to me.
Semantics aside…wait…I just realized that “semantics” would be a great way to describe people who find semen romantic. Anyway, my diminutive attention span notwithstanding, West somehow survives 13 years of incarceration (after Dan seemingly turned state’s evidence according to West himself), continuing his experimentation with whatever bits and bobs he can scrounge up and using rats as his test subjects. Out of the blue, he gets notice of his assignment to a new work detail: assisting the prison’s new head physician, Dr. Howard Phillips (Jason Barry playing an allusion to Lovecraft that’s about as subtle as a stick of dynamite going off in a priest’s ass in the middle of mass). Howie’s requested placement in the prison position (that just sounds dirty) is in no way due to his supposed interest in “institutional medicine”, but because he sought out Dr. West and this is the culmination of his 13 year plan to pursue our titular madman. See, Howie’s sister Emily (whom he had a creepily physical relationship with [see screenshots below]) is the girl whose murder-by-monstrosity led to the West arrest in the first place. The nerd’s not here to take his revenge though, he’s here because he recovered a hypodermic of reagent at the crime scene (yep, the cops managed to overlook the BIG GLOWING GREEN NEEDLE sitting next to their car) and held onto it so he could apprentice under the unstable doctor in the science of Dead Raising 101.
In an “only in the movies” moment of convenience, one of the prison’s residents (a cannibal named Moses, played by Michael Berryman understudy Nico Baixas) dies of a heart attack not 5 minutes after West and Phillips are introduced. Before you can say “Dan Cain’s coif”, Howie’s returning the recovered stash of reagent to Dr. Opposite-of-East, and our intrepid would-be Victor Frakenstein wastes no time jamming it into Moses’s neck. Yeah, given his shitty luck with rampaging experiments in the past, you’d think West wouldn’t be so quick to shoot up a CANNIBAL with a concoction that turns EVERYBODY it’s injected into into MURDEROUS ZOMBIE BERSERKERS! My love for you is raging ghoul, BERSERKER! Would you kindly stroke my tool, BERSERKER!
Of course, this poor judgement results in a small rampage that leaves a guard with a large big bloody hole where part of his arm used to be, drawing the ire and suspicion of the prison boss, Warden Brando (Simón Andreu). He’s a textbook case of Lord Acton’s summation about how power corrupts and all that. Speaking of Brando, he’s not in the mood for any of that psycho zombie bullshit, because he’d much rather focus his attentions on trying to seduce sexy blonde local reporter Laura Olney (Elsa Pataky). She’s visiting the big house to do a story on their institutionalized education program. Being an attractive dame, Laura has a less-than-8% chance of escaping to the end credits without being turned into a topless zombie drenched in someone else’s gore and offal. Actually, given that Howard’s assisting nurse Vanessa (Raquel Gribler) is a busty Latina whose topless factor is somewhere around “Absolute Certainty” (“It’s over 9000!”), Laura’s mammaries may go unexposed. The rest of that previous estimate though? Put a ten spot on it and let it ride!
Because the downfalls of Herbert West are always somehow the blame of a woman (or at least his partners’ weaknesses for them), Phillips and Laura hit it off at first sight and are staining sheets together within mere hours of meeting because, again, movie reasons. Laura starts investigating West’s sordid backstory, abusing her womanly wiles to try and exhume the truth of what the two doctors are really up to in the basement the hoosegow. Speaking of, West’s new twist for this movie’s experiments is Nano-Plasmic Energy. He’s discovered that when the human body dies, it loses a spark of energy that can be captured and maintained. Religious people would call this a “soul”, but West sees it as the way to restore full brain function to his test subjects post-reanimation! By infusing his “patients” with a zap of NPE, their bodies achieve their natural balance, stop decaying, and learn how to repair cellular degeneration. Naturally, the problem with NPE is finding “donors”, since you’re stealing their life force, thereby killing them. West believes NPE to be an entirely neutral energy, so you don’t necessarily need a human spark to jump start the re-animated as, say, a rat “soul” would fill in the blanks of this medical mad lib just as well! Yeeeeeeeah…there’s NO way this could possibly become yet another fustercluck in this man’s history of similarly clucked fusters. Remember kids, book smarts do not equal common sense, but they can absolutely lead to big greasy stains on the record of humankind.
Dr. Howard (“Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard.”) goes along with West’s plan to implant rat NPE into Moses to see if he regains his senses. Before they can get the chance, Laura’s already bribed her way into some face time with the adult version of Bat Boy for her investigation, which predictably turns into a life threatening situation. Brando walks in on the proceedings though, gets his ear bitten off by the maniac, then beats Moses to “death” with his big dumb Larry Talbot cane before trying to force Laura to give him a trouser friendly good night kiss (or good morning kiss if you’re from the Southern Hemisphere)… after making her get on all fours and bark like a dog. Hey, Barry Simms, do you think Laura wears crotchless panties?
The preceding joke was meant only for viewers of Halloween: the Curse of Michael Myers, starring a young Paul Rudd. If you didn’t get the joke, please send a self-addressed, postage paid envelope to “Halloween 666” and frankly, if you don’t get your mail returned to you for just putting “Halloween 666” as the mailing address, your mail person probably just threw it down the nearest storm drain. Don’t expect a response.
When she refuses to get her tonsils whitewashed, Laura’s also beaten to death by Brando and his aforementioned ornate walking stick. The warden plays it off as Moses beating Laura to death, then attacking him too before he was forced to beat off the lunatic (perfect title for a punk song) in self-defense. As if by clockwork, Laura ends up on the business end of a re-animating (toldja!) and when the warden finds out, he ends up on the business end of Herb’s infamous problems with authority and gets brained, strapped to a table, and milked of his nano-plasm. Howie refuses to let West put rat NPE into Laura, for fear of it turning her into Splinter or something, but he okays her infusion with Warden Brando’s essence since he was human. Well, on a biological level anyway. Despite West’s theory that NPE is neutral, Laura ends up going split personality with the skeezoid using her body as a timeshare like Lily Tomlin hosting Steve Martin’s ghost in All of Me. Wow, I just alienated everyone under 25 reading this right now.
Right around this time the prisoners incite an on-the-fly riot and the whole places breaks out in fires and violence. In the mayhem, Laurden runs off, get cornered by some would-be rapists, and dismembers the whole lot of them like frogs in a blender, because being fused with the soul of a sadistic dickhead turns her into Wolverine somehow?! While she’s making chop suey out of society’s hemorrhoids, Dr. Phil (hyuk hyuk) is running around trying to find her amidst the mayhem. As for Herbicide, he takes the chance to zombitize Brando and see what happens when rat NPE is plugged into a human nervous system. Despite some buck teeth and a tendency to crawl around on his hands and feets, Brando’s basically the same asshole he was before, which makes you wonder how much of someone’s personality is stored in their brain and how much comes from their nano-plasm. West intends to escape with a medical bag packed with syringes full of reagent (am I the only one who thinks it might be a better idea to carry that shit around in bottles or vials?), but Ratso beats his ass and runs off with the grave rave glow sticks to go add to the cacophony of craziness already falling down around everybody’s heads.
After re-animating his most mentally deficient guard (which results in NOTHING but a limp sight gag at the end of the movie), Ratty captures Laurden and informs her of his new plan to use the reagent to make his prisoners unkillable, allowing him to execute them repeatedly and prolong their punishments indefinitely! And she’s going to be his first victim. But first, he wants another shot and getting that blowjob. Now, since half of him now inhabits half of her, would killing her count as suicide? Would raping her count as masturbation? Now there’s some weird shit philosophy to ponder under your meditation tree!
The suck job turns into a castration when Laurden pulls an Efrey Guzman and bites off the rat man’s dangle meat, spitting it out for a re-animated rat to roll away with for the previously promised end credits fisticuffs later on. Back to West, he’s running around trying to find his bag of juice, and crosses paths with a pissed off torso (who he dispatches by lassoing with a noose and swinging around like some zombie wrangling rodeo cowboy) and a junkie named Speedball who shoots up on reagent and winds up painting the walls of his cell Viscera Red when his guts ‘splode out (a la Dr. Hill’s when West did the overload experiment at the end of the first movie). As for Moses, he’s off somewhere tormenting Vanessa the nurse. She fulfills her mandatory titty committee commitment (again, toldja) and the cwazy cannibal pulls a Burial Ground, biting off a mouthful of chest beef for himself. From here, the whole cheap muddled mess just continues to swirl down the crapper as Laurden attacks Howard, begging him to kill her while she tries to eviscerate him, as West turns Roadhouse on us and fights off both Ratso and the wayward torso man in a bigger physical display than Combs has portrayed in all of his other movies roles combined! Well, except Felony. Watching Jeffrey Combs do anything that requires stunt work is weeeeeeird.
Herbie manages to escape into the smoky Arkham evening using the chaos and Howie’s credentials to pass by the arriving cops, leaving Dr. Phillips in the prison to be found by the police who take him away while Laurden’s severed head laughs at him maniacally. As for the rat and the severed penis? During the end credits, the rat and dick get into a knock down, drag out, brawl for it all! By which I mean the shadow of a rat puppet and the shadow of a rubber dick are slapped against each for a few seconds for the sole purpose of having a rat fight a dick. Were you expecting more? Did I get your hopes up? Were you disappointed? Well, welcome to my fucking world, because those were my EXACT feelings following Beyond Re-Animator!
Remember that part in Zeram, where the titular bad-ass space horror tries to spawn a clone minion, and just winds up with a deformed imperfect retard clone of Uncle Fester that Zeram stomps to death out of frustration? That’s how I feel about Beyond Re-Animator: it’s an imperfect attempt at cloning the original Re-Animator that I’d rather stomp to death than keep around reminding me of how it’ll never be as good as the material it was born of. Oh, you don’t know what the fuck Zeram is?! Well, check >>this link<< to the exact scene I’m metaphoring on about. As I was saying, you’ve got West taking on an assistant who doesn’t want to sacrifice his morality in the name of science; you’ve got the assistant’s girlfriend getting in the way, then getting killed and shot full of reagent; you’ve got a re-animated animal attacking its former owner (in this case a rat rather than a cat); you’ve got a manipulative and corrupt superior figure who pervs on the assistant’s pretty blond girlfriend AND intends to steal West’s serum for his own purposes; you’ve got West killing said superior, experimenting on him which results in West getting his ass kicked and his reagent stolen; you’ve got an institution becoming the site of a zombie riot finale; you’ve got incomplete zombie oral sex (only this time reversed); you’ve got a human using the reagent as a stimulant (though that bit wound up getting cut from the original); and you’ve even got guts exploding out of somebody’s torso because of an overdose of reagent! West puts it best: “She’s not getting any fresher.”
And the elements that aren’t basically just re-hashed from the original? Crap. For starters, the writing isn’t great. The dialogue isn’t just poorly delivered, it’s poorly written. The comedy bits aren’t nuanced like they were in the original. They’re incredibly blunt and feel forced. Excessively forced. Like they’re being beaten into us with the warden’s cane after we’ve already been restrained with a straightjacket. The writers Mosesed us, is what I’m saying. Also, the audio’s bad, because despite the whole thing being shot in English, several of the actors had to be dubbed; likely to cover up their heavy-to-the-point-of-unintelligible accents. Half of the audio’s okay, but the re-recorded shit sounds like you’re listening to it with water in your ears. It throws off the whole thing. To add insult to injury, we don’t even get the original Richard Band classic “Psycho rip-off” theme music. We get something way less memorable that just starts us off on the wrong foot. An opening fumble from which the movie never really recovers.
The only real props I can give to Beyond are the heavy use of traditional physical gore in an age where the digital stuff refuses to stop spitting acid into my eyes, and the oddly well paced direction. It made a 95 minute movie feel more like an hour, so it doesn’t feel like it’s overstaying its welcome. Though things do get WAY too busy with fifty different stories leapfrogging all over each other at once, it doesn’t really give you a chance to get bored. Also, though I tend to hate most movies that shoot entirely in a single enclosed location as a money saving tactic, when your movie’s sole setting is a prison (barring the opening and the short trips to Laura’s apartment), it’s an appropriate sense of isolation. Beyond that though (no pun intended), there’s really not much for me to enjoy here. I’m generally too insulted by the lazy photocopy approach of re-using most of the first movie to have a good time.
As a painful bit of irony, for the first time in the series, we actually end on a set up for a sequel, and for the first time in the series, WE WON’T BE GETTING ONE! We were supposed to get a whole new trilogy of Re-Animation back in 2006, starting with the proposed House of Re-Animator. This return-to-awesome would reunite the core of the original, including stars Combs (YAY!) and Abbot (boo!), and the creative force of writer/director Stuart Gordon and his frequent collaborator and co-writer, Dennis Paoli! The script revolved around Dr. West being brought into the White House to work his glowing green juice magic when the President of the USA croaks. A riff on then-Presidente Bush Jr.’s regime, Gordon’s said that they had trouble nailing down financing because investors were uncomfortable with the idea of pissing off the sin-eaters on Capitol Hill. Too bad they’re apparently not still down with the idea of making House, given that Bush’s been flushed down the toilet of history and the time for such a movie’s passed. Which is bullshit, because the government is always ripe for a punch in the neck. Too bad they don’t seem too keen on doing any of the other planned installments of the trilogy, otherwise you’d think they’d be all over Kickstarter getting some fan backing. Shit, legit actor William H. Macy was on board to play the president for House, so don’t tell me his name doesn’t carry some kind of financial influence! Damn it, I blame the failure to make House of Re-Animator happen for Jeffrey Combs being reduced to doing movies like Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation to keep the lights on. Son of a bitch!
Maybe if we, the collective fan community, got together and came up with the budget ourselves, the cast and creative would be willing to shoot it? I’ve never been good at getting people to donate money to anything myself. In my house, when it came time to sell candy bars to pad the school budget, I only made about $15 off of my immediate family and wouldn’t set foot outside of the house to try to unload the rest. I am good at ideas though, so how about this: “Samuel L. Quackson” – a cartoon done in the style of those Disney duck adventures from the ’90s starring an anthropomorphic Anseriformes that wears a leather tranchcoat and eyepatch and goes on adventures. Sam Jackson is probably way too busy to do the actual voice acting, but maybe we can get the guy who voiced Nick Fury in LEGO Marvel Superheroes to fill in. We’ll shop a pilot around, and if it sells, we use the money made from this venture to fund House of Re-Animator!
…or we can just face facts and let the series die at three. Instead of mourning its passing though, let’s celebrate the good times these movies gave us (and my birthday, while we’re at it). Drink a bottle of something that glows in the dark, shoot your veins full of something green (I find old boxes of Ecto-Cooler refreshing), and Re-Animate Your Feet!
Moral of the Story: This. THIS is the only truly memorable thing to crawl from the fallout of Beyond Re-Animator.
This shot courtesy of the camera hidden in the trees by the creepy neighbor who was required by law to introduce himself to everyone when he moved in.
If I was ever between my sister’s legs like that… I’m sorry, I can’t complete this caption. I’m too busy vomiting uncontrollably all over my keyboard.
Well, he has the “got milk?” part down, now he just needs to figure out the “got jaw?” thing.
I’d ask him if he has any Grey Poupon… but he looks like he might stab me in the eyes with his keys if I do.
Jeffrey Combs shows us his derp face.
Rusty Griswold (well, one of them) finally grew up.
And so did Bat Boy!
“Damn it, these don’t look ANYTHING like the sea monkeys in the ad from the comic book!”
Some would say he’s being a professional by not looking up her skirt right now. The truth? He’s got a worse foot fetish than Quentin Tarantino.
“No, the movies are NOT considered canon! Peter Cushing is NOT an actual Doctor! What do you not understand about this!?”
If this were a ’60s biker movie, that guy would be the turncoat who sells out the leader of the hero biker gang for a bag of drugs from the evil biker gang.
Somewhere in the world at this very moment, there’s a guy jerking himself into a chaffed fury over this picture while you read this.
A never-before-seen private photo of Courtney Love during her first drug overdose, as seen in her autobiography “What Did I Snort Last Night?!“.
And this picture’s from her 7th overdose.
Man, Edward James Olmos has just stopped caring at this point.
Yes, to satisfy your curiosity, there ARE horror groupies who will have sex with Michael Berryman.
Visine: because THIS could happen to you if you try to save a few dollars by buying generic eye drops!
Warning: Taco Bell is not responsible for side effects that may result from customers who eat one of every item from our new breakfast menu in one sitting.
From that day forward, Howard learned to always keep track of his wife’s monthly cycle before initiating oral sex.
Raoul’s obsession with beating the world pull-up record has reached dangerous new levels.
The Kama Sutra always seems like a fun kinky thing for married couples to try out when the want to reignite the cooled flames of their passion, but actually putting the positions into practice is a whole other story…
Sometimes, all you can do is step back, take a look at your life, and laugh… just… just laugh…
Anubis will return next time in
“Everybody’s a Critic”