Featuring: Harley Quinn “daughter of Kevin” Smith , Lily-Rose “daughter of Johnny” Depp , Johhny “Pirates of the Caribbean” Depp
Director & Writer: Kevin “Dogma” Smith
Sequel-of-sorts to: Tusk
You know what I hate? Besides everything? Everyone. Humanity as a whole. You know why I hate humanity? Go to a supermarket. Easier still, just go to a supermarket parking lot. I can show you 5 examples or more in less than a minute as to why the human plague should be wiped off the face of the Earth. From bumper stickers for political candidates that make me break out in a rash to those lazy pricks that leave their shopping carts in the lot instead of putting them in the fucking cart return to parking jobs that look like they were done by a blind person with an advanced case of Parkinson’s, the fact that I’ve somehow managed to avoid grabbing a tire iron and going on a fatal bludgeoning spree should count toward my fucking community service requirement!
On the topic of cars, does “KIA” stand for “Kick In Ass” by any chance? Every time I get stuck behind one on the road, it feels like their drivers are all doing so with their heads planted up their poop chute, so I just thought maybe a boot to the bum would help dislodge it. Right? No? Blart.
You know what sent me careening over the proverbial edge of Global Genocide Cliff? Being a clerk. If you’ve ever been a register jockey, you can relate. And if you can’t, you’re dead inside. So dead that even the inferno of customer service rage can’t reignite the spark of your being. You know who understands this agony? Kevin Smith. Between his two Clerks movies, hopefully he was able to hold a mirror up to at least some of the worst members of customer society and convince them to reconsider what a dick bag they are to the person behind the counter. But probably not. Well, if he didn’t get his point over the first two times, Smith is returning to the horrors of the customer service industry with Yoga Hosers. Think of it as Clerks: the Next Generation, only instead of rooftop hockey games or donkey sex shows we get strip mall spiritualism and miniature meat puppet monsters of the Third Reich.
Oh, and Canadian stuff. LOTS of Canadian stuff.
If Jersey Girl was Kevin Smith’s “I’m gonna be a daddy!” movie, Yoga Hosers is his “They grow up so fast!” follow up, as he gives daughter Harley a nepotastic starring role. Originally known only as “Clerk girl #1” and “Clerk girl #2” in previous Kevin Smith endeavor Tusk (which I’m in no rush to see), our returning titular Yoga Hosers are now known by the less obtuse monikers of Colleen McKenzie (Harley Smith) and Colleen Collete (Lily Depp). Yep, they’re both named Colleen, so prepare for a lot of references to that quaint tidbit by characters who all consider themselves wittier than they actual are… Why does that sound familiar?
Oh Craig. You're the only Ferguson I can think of anymore that doesn't depress me.
In the interest of clarity, I’ll be referring to the individual teeners by their last names. The pair continue to be defined by their part-time job as “clerk girls”, working for Collete’s dad Bob (Tony Hale) in his Great White North themed mini-mart, the “Eh-2-Zed”… To be fair, I warned you about the whole “LOTS of Canadian stuff” you’re in store for, so strap on your hockey mask and pick up your stick, because Smith is going to be slinging it at you harder and faster than a Wayne Gretzky puck pitcher set to “Maple Syrup Coke Binge”. Soory aboot that.
During extended breaks (where they put up signs in the store excusing these absences to menstrual shenanigans), the pair hold band practice in the Eh’s backroom with their 35 year-old drummer Ichabod (Adam Brody), who they frequently emasculate and whose name is probably only “Ichabod” because Smith wanted the take advantage of the puns that come with it. Given that he’s (thankfully) not campaigning to break either teen’s factory seal, you have to wonder why in the name of roman polanski this tattooed wank is with them. Will literally no one else hang out with him? Are there no dive bar cover bands he could join? Is he hoping they’ll pull some kind of Pussy Riot and get global recognition? Yeah, because you know that’s going to work out great for him when half the people on the internet are calling him a pedo after the fact. Which he’s not.
… Because if he were having sex with them, technically he’d be an ephebophile NOT a pedophile. But, trying to get dipshits on the worldwide wasteland to look up proper insults for a situation is like getting Sobek to go to the dentist – don’t waste your time. Life is precious. As are your fingers. Trust me on that.
As with most girls her age (except for her best friend, seemingly), McKenzie’s got a crush on an older boy from school. Said boy takes the form of Hunter Calloway (Austin Butler), a smooth talking skater from the senior class who has intentions on the young Miss McK, the details of which I’ll leave up to you to discover. Tagging along with Hunter as the Boner to his Mike Seaver, is his sidekick Gordon (Tyler Posey). Beyond his use of a “Just us league” nerd pun, Gordon is entirely unlikable. Plus, his name is Gordon. What’s not to hate?
Once the ladies’ lives as rebellious mall rat garage rocker clerks have been established, we’re able to get to the core conflict of our feature – Bratzis. “Bratzis”? Yep, Bratzis. What’s a “Bratzi”? It’s a bratwurst Nazi. “Bratwurst Nazi”?! Yes, a miniature Nazi made of bratwurst, filled with sauerkraut, and dressed like a mountie. And they inhabit the Eh-2-Zed. And they jam themselves up their victims’ assholes, then burrow up through their torso and out of their mouths… without a drop of blood? Gotta preserve that PG13 rating, after all. Fortunately, unlike Dario Argento, Kevin Smith isn’t into writing/filming a movie where his daughter’s character is sexually assaulted, so (*SPOILER ALERT!*) rest easy in the knowledge that neither of the Colleens are due for a brat in the butt. Especially since there faces are all modeled after Kevin’s… Uggh! Freudian Purgatory for sure.
From whence came these foot tall sausage golems? Well, as a conveniently timed tale from the kids’ History teacher (Vanessa Paradis, Lil’ Miss Depp’s mom) informs us, there was a Canadian Nazi by the nom de bigoterie of Adrien Arcand (Haley Joel Osment) who established the National Union Party of Canada in the 1930s with the intention of sinking boats full of Jews in the Hudson. Their genocidal intentions weren’t taken well by the Quebecers, who wiped out the goosestepping jackabooted fascists… with the exception of German immigrant Dr. Adronicus Arcane (Ralph Garman), who disappeared without a trace. Not even a tracer’s trace. Little callback gag for my fellow Smith geeks there. Anyway, the bigger concern here is why are the sophomore Colleens and their senior admirers in the same History class?!
Wait a second! A missing Nazi scientist who shares a last name with Swamp Thing’s arch-villain, eh? You think maybe he’s got something to do with the artery clogging bite-size homunculi terrorizing the anuses of every unfortunate male who crosses their path? I’d stake a bag of chocolate covered pretzels on it. Snootchie Bootchies.
Oh, and if the Bratzis weren’t weird enough, I’ve got two words for ya: Goalie Golem. Are these good words? Perhaps bad words? They’re words. Let’s just leave it at that.
So that’s as much as I’ll say about the story. Let’s move on to the cast, starting at the top. I can appreciate the potential in Harley Quinn and Lily-Rose. Just because I couldn’t stand their characters doesn’t mean I don’t think the pair have futures in comedy, if not other genres or mediums. The pair have apparently been best buds since kindergarten too, and it comes through in their on-screen chemistry. I can see long careers ahead for ’em. I wish them the best and call me a little curious to see what they can do under the direction of a less familial face. That reminds me, I should probably mention the elder Depp One’s role in this rigmarole.
The once and forever (as long as the money keeps flowing) Captain Jack Sparrow reprises his Tusk role as noted Canuck manhunter (and I’m guessing part time fur trader) Guy Lapointe. Guy was tracking his latest bounty in the area when said bounty wound up on the wrong end of a fatal Bratzi colon cleanse, so now his big rubber nosed self seeks the Colleens’ help investigating exactly what the fugitive’s cause of death came from. His French-Canadian accent is slow and grating, and the aforementioned bowel biology chats that he has with our protagonistas only confirms that this role is better left off Edward Scissorhands’ resume. Not quite another Mortdecai, but still.
Not to be confused with the “butt still” I’m hoping Hollywood includes in its inevitable remake of Redneck Zombies once they get around to it.
Given the recent allegations that have brought the possible domestic abuser side of Depp to public light (note from The Tomb’s legal department: *ALLEGEDLY*), the timing of the release for Yoga Hosers doesn’t do Smith any favors. Even if it were a better movie than it is, having Depp’s name attached probably didn’t do anyone any favors in the hopes of getting the hype train to leave the station. Depp is rumored to be reprising Guy yet again for Smith’s proposed Moose Jaws (the conclusion to his “True North Trilogy” Canuxploitation phase), so for the sake of both their successes, let’s hope Cry Baby isn’t the wife beater he’s accused of being.
Bonus points for Guy’s first line being “Children should not play with dead things”, though. Especially since I oddly cherish that amateur hour zombie flick, while my Evil Dead Bride would rather flush it down the crapper of lost memories than put it in front of her face ever again.
Beyond the dynamic duo and Daddy Depp, Justin Long too accompanies the titular teens (NOT reprising his role from Tusk) and plays the gals’ Canadian-Indian (I think?) yoga teacher who ALSO has a weird thing about openly discussing bowel movements with underage girls. Oh, and his name is Yogi Bayer. And yes, that fucking name becomes the topic of not one but TWO weak kneed scenes of him yelling at a copyright lawyer. What the fuck are you trying to do to us with this crap, Lunchbox!? BLAAAAART!
“Saturday Night Live”s disarmingly charming Sasheer Zamata gets a payday too, popping in for a single scene as the girls’ school authority figure (with the best name ever), Principal Invincible. Long time Smith collaborator and hetero life mate Jason Mewes cameos as a police officer who idolizes Lapointe as “the Canadian Batman”. Most entertaining though is the brief appearance by Smith’s female wife, Jennifer, who shows up for one of the movie’s better scenes to educate her daughter (both in movie and out) on the importance of protecting her “virtue” from the pussy grabbing hands of horny boys (or Donald Trump) To that effect, she loans her little girl her “date knife”, a switchblade known as “the Mohel”. YES! There’s also a lot of menstrual chat in said scene too, so for you weak-willed ones out there who can’t deal with women’s crimson tides (like Donald Trump), you can always grow the fuck up and accept the facts of life like an adult or, I guess put on your earmuffs.
Also, don't get confused by the Stan Lee cameo – Yoga Hosers is not based on a Marvel comic property. Before he became a constant Easter egg in any and every adaptation of a House of Ideas IP, Stanley Lieber’s original Tinsel Town adventure was an extended cameo in Smith’s sophomore movie Mallrats, dodging superhero sex queries from Jason Lee. Well, the old man’s back as a Canadian 911 operator and one of a dozen people to name drop the title by calling our same name leading ladies “god damned Yoga Hosers”. Oh yeah! On that note, the starlet of our last episode, miss Natasha Lyonne, also snags another slot on her IMDB filmography here playing Colleen Collette’s evil stepmom/manager Tabitha. Attracted as I’ve previously stated I am to her, watching her seduce Buster Bluth with her cleavage while promising him a ride in “the bouncy house” kills my boner harder than a tangerine man-scrotum who (*ALLEGEDLY*) has hidden cameras in his “piece of ass” daughter’s toilet.
I’ll give you a moment to re-digest your lunch following its exorcism from your gut factory just now…
And that's pretty much everybody I can mention without growing mold in your poutine. It's a fine cast, but so many of them are one-off cameos that this feels less like a movie and more like a TV series pilot proposal. Not helping matters is the “cutesy” little intro card effect EVERY friggin' character with at least one line of dialogue is given, each of whom receive the further “cutesy” effect of an accompanying 8-bit chip tune rendition of “O Canada”. Uggh. “Charming” things like this get their 'c' worn off after overuse and just become “harming”, eh? It felt like needles in my brain after the fifth instance, let alone the fifteenth. Speaking of the irritation of repetition, if I hear the terms “yoga hosers” or “so basic” again after seeing this movie, I may just fill my ears with white phosphorus. I’d rather listen to Gilbert Gottfried and Brian Posehn read erotic fiction about my family reunion. I can’t recall the last time I watched a flick that felt the needs to remind the viewers of its title SO. MANY. FUCKING. TIMES.
And in that acrid fucking caricature of a Canadian accent that EVERYBODY has! Is this insulting? Like, in a culturally insensitive way? I need input from legit Canucks, but this feels to me like the equivalent of a Great White North minstrel show. What’s the difference between what every actor here is portraying and when Fisher Stevens wore bronzer and talked like Apu while chasing a robot for two movies? Is the fine line of racial sensitivity really as thin as a layer of makeup? I mean, I loved Christian Bale as both Patrick Bateman and Bruce Wayne, but is it only acceptable for a Brit to play an American because he doesn’t need to shade his pigment? Think about it, won’t you? Then write a 4,000 word paper on your findings. Cite your sources too, you lazy snigglets. If I don’t see a bibliography page, you don’t see a diploma!
Oh, and to shove in a random note here (because I couldn’t really find any other place to put it), keep your ears peeled (that sounds painful) for audio sampling from the openings of both the Halloween and Shining themes, the latter of which happens twice. Were these just more *winks* to the dedicated nerds in the audience, like Colleen McKenzie’s declaration of “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”, or did somebody mix up the original intended tunes with tracks from their “Halloween Party” playlist? Inquiring minds want to know.
So, to summarize, how goes Kevin Smith’s first non-R outing? It’s… weird. Remember when he made “Clerks: the Animated Series” for ABC and had to scale back on the vulgar dick & fartery humor he’d established his notoriety with? He made up for it with batshit craziness. It feels like he took the same tack here, only the disenfranchised thirty-something slackers have been replaced with social media obsessed teen rocker girls. The result?
I’ve often wondered what would happen if Charles Band made a Disney Channel pilot (and you’re lying if you say you haven’t), and Yoga Hosers is pretty damn close to what you’d probably get. Well, minus Smith’s heavy abuse of the MPAA’s definition of what’s appropriate material for 13 year-olds. Utterances of the word “shit” are almost as frequent as “fuck” makes it into a Scorcese script, not to mention the whole “rapist meat men spelunking unwilling rectums” stuff. And watching Johnny Depp repeatedly discuss “poopers” and “buttholes” and bathroom habits with his teenage daughter is just really really REALLY awkward.
To sum it up (and in case you haven’t been paying attention), I’m not a big fan of Yoga Hosers. The exaggerated Canadian brogue and incessant reliance on the same old tired stereotype Canada jokes, the teen-centric dialogue that’s only made worse when littered with “aboot”s and “soory”s, the glut of barely relevant supporting cast (and those grating introductions that come with them), the predilection for trying to gross people out with butt stuff and menstrual gags, threadbare jokes about how teens don’t know shit about anything that happened before the 21st century, the almost entirely ineffective antagonists and the completely dry aftermath of the monsters burrowing through their victims, and Justin Long’s wretched yoga puns. There are so many turds in this punch bowl, that there’s barely room left for any punch. Not that you’d want to drink it anyway, cuz of the turds, but I stand by my comparison. To be fair, this movie was so clearly not aiming for me as its target audience, that I don’t blame Smith for missing my personal bulls-eye. I do blame the Belgians though. Those waffle munchers don’t get blamed enough these days and I think they’re due.
I’m left with a perverse curiosity regarding Tusk now, and I’ll probably see Moose Jaws if it happens, but I’ve seen Yoga Hosers twice now and it’s not a carnival ride I intend to revisit again. Ever. If I had a teenage kid who called me by my first name, maybe I’d use this as an attempt to bridge the generation gap. But I don’t. And I won’t. So I can’t. So I shan’t.
As always, take my opinion with the metaphorical salt grain, as your results may vary. If you’re a Kevin Smith fan, take it for a test drive. My favorite Smith movie is Mallrats after all, so keep that in mind. With that, this episode is a wrap. Keep your poopers secured against invaders, your Mohels sharp, and your middle fingers high, my children. Death be with you!
Anubis will return next time in
“Send In the Clowns”
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Featuring: Elle “Maleficent” Fanning , Jena “Sucker Punch Malone , Keanu “The Matrix” Reeves
Director: Nicolas “Bronson” Winding Refn
Writers: Nicolas “Bronsons Winding Refn , Mary “‘Preacher’” Laws & Polly “Eleanor” Stenham
When I was a horny young pup just looking for a wet spot to stick my prick into, my criteria for what I desired in a sheet staining partner was a very simple three point plan – looks, looks, and looks. Physical attraction was all that mattered to me, as it is for most impressionable post-pubescent types looking to make an “impression” of their own into/onto someone. Much like tickets to a Don Johnson concert, my virginity was something I had an impossible time giving away. The few young ladies I shared the halls of academia with in high school that I had any interest in were either already dedicated to other lads, or had turned down my romantic advances faster than a stepdad turns down the thermostat when somebody puts it over 60. After reaching the ripe old age of legality known as 18, I would eventually find myself a finely figured female who was more than happy to commence with my deflowering (or, in my case, my weeding), and she and I are well on our way to the 17th annual celebration of our first date come the next Krampusnacht Eve. Happy pre-anniversary, dear!
As I’ve aged (and unholy Hel have I!), my taste in women has evolved well past favorite shapes of flesh and into a Twilight Zone-ian preference for dimensions not just of sight and sound, but of mind. Not strictly book smarts neither, but ladies with more esoteric tastes that match mine own. Namely, bad horror movies, sketch comedy shows, and morbid humor peppered liberally with sarcasm and contempt for humanity. Attempts at such relations haven’t always worked out for the best, but whatever doesn’t kill us gives us fun stories to tell our court appointed lawyers, right!? What does this have to do with today’s “Ladies Night!” installment, The Neon Demon? Not a shit ton. Much the opposite, in fact. Today’s feature is actually about physical beauty, and the obsession some have with not only getting it, but retaining it in the face of the unconquerable hellbeast known as Age-zilla.
Given that my looks have been known to make gargoyles cry tears of gasoline (I swear that’s how that church fire started!), I’d know nothing about that. Instead of relating to our tale, I’m just gonna let my eyeballs go gonzo over all the wonky visuals and my ears get made sweet love to by the supersexy swingin’ sounds of its synthy score!
Today’s movie is sadly not the sequel to Neon Maniacs we’ve been waiting 30 years for. It is, however, brought to us by Nicholas Winding Refn (director of Drive), Amazon Studios, and the letter ‘Q’. Despite my recent review for the Amazon Pilot Season episode of “The Tick”, I swear on Horus’ right eye that I’m not being paid to promote their productions! Those dickards won’t even give me a free trial month of Prime at this point, let alone actual capital compensation to type up piss & moan articles. Sorry to say, folks, but the mildly amusing musings of a Death God ain’t worth two farts to the mighty Reaper of Brick & Mortar Stores. Fuck it. As Chris Pratt said, “It’s important to make your big mistakes in relative obscurity” anyway. If this site were popular enough to grab anyone’s attention, it would ruin all the fun of the chase for a lot of bail bondsmen (and bail bondswomen) out there!
The Neon Demon stars Dakota Fanning’s younger sister Elle, who continues her efforts in making a name for herself with a role that’s meatier than just playing a younger version of one of Big D’s parts. Since the movie’s plot is little more than your basic tale of glamorous industries seducing innocent youth just to use them, abuse them, suck them dry, and throw them away like used condoms once they can no longer pull off the “jailbait couture” look, said movie also requires your basic “small town, big dreams” victim to consume the soul of before metaphysically defecating into the empty space left behind. As such, Elle plays Jesse – the latest fresh face the City of Angels cannot wait to R. Kelly upon. Hell, within the first 10 minutes of the movie we discover she’s “not from around here”, lives alone in a sleazy motel room, and has no family of which to speak! To paraphrase Pinhead, “Norma Jeans are such easy prey.”
Speaking of, a makeup artist radiating a strong sexual predator vibe and calling herself Ruby (Jena Malone) comments on our subject’s beautifully smooth skin and immediately attaches herself to Jesse after working together on one of those “gore + glamour = art” photo shoots that the kids these days apparently think are so “edgy”. You know, like that “Girls and Corpses” magazine that people keep gifting me subscriptions to for some reason despite my frequent comments of “If it’s not Linnea Quigley stripping in a graveyard or a severed head going down on Barbara Crampton, don’t waste my time”.
Not five minutes into their new friendship, Ruby invites (i.e. insistently drags) Jesse to a party to introduce the young lady to her new peers in the industry, specifically her pals Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote). Gigs is the faux friendly type whose smile is as artificial as the lips and teeth that make it up, while Sarah is colder and blunter than the sledgehammer I keep in my meat locker. As with any newbie to a social group, our protagonista is circled by the other members of the pack and has her mettle tested in judgment. In this case it’s the usual ladies’ room emotional hazing of woman-on-woman mockery about how the fresh-faced bumpkin isn’t fit to be one of them. Gigi and Sarah might as well both be named Heather, but that’d be too on-Gigi’s-surgically-manipulated-nose.
Despite the pair’s “never evolved past high school” treatment of Jesse, Ruby sticks by the girl and takes her under her big sister wing to help guide her through the labyrinth of the modeling world and not get trampled to death by the metaphorical Minotaur. I’d be more inclined to believe the legitimacy of the cosmetologist’s intentions for the Georgia Peach if only she’d stop throwing Jesse the Big Bad Wolf leer every 10 minutes! Instead I’m anchored with the unshakable presumption that the would-be mentor’s so obviously going to be the one holding the knife that goes into our gal’s back come Jesse’s inevitable nosedive from grace.
Speaking of, much like a modern fairy tale, our Cinderellian peasant destined for princessery is picked up by an esteemed modeling agent (Christina Hendricks) and immediately paired with a highly regarded camera jockey named Jack (Desmond Harrington) who looks more like the type of guy who shoots amateur gangbang porn in the backyard of his stepdad's mansion than he does a sought after fashion photog. You know what really takes the audience out of the fantasy, though? No self-respecting (or self ego-inflating) “artist” in any industry would call himself “Jack”.
As if the modeling industry’s ominous presence as our heroine’s personal chainsaw of Damocles weren’t enough of a threat, Jesse’s also endangered by the sadism of Hank (Keanu Reeves), the manager of the motor lodge in which she’s living. Henry probably got his Hotel Management diploma from the ICS home education courses that Sally Struthers used to shill for…while he was doing a stretch in prison for sexually assaulting a troop of girl scouts. Seriously, the guy would whip out his 3” killer to a single mom at a bus stop and insist she swallow his tadpoles while her preschooler and a nearby nun looked on. He reveals himself as the kind of human garbage that makes even my cast iron stomach churn harder than an industrial washing machine on the “Wipe Clean the Stains of a Life Lived in Filth” setting. His assistant/apprentice Mikey seems generally harmless, but he looks like Iggy Pop Junior (somebody’s gene pool needs a lifeguard!) and works for Hank, so that’s probably enough to land him at least somewhere near the latter rungs of Dante’s ladder.
As much as the deck is clearly stacked against her, Jesse’s not alone in her story. How’d she get to the spiritual wasteland in the first place, anyway? Enter Dean (Karl Glusman)…well, I guess you can enter him if he’s okay with it. I’ll take a pass, myself. Back on topic, Dean is an aspiring photographer who came across Jesse on the internet and convinced her to come to the left coast so they could make art together. I met my Evil Dead Bride in a fucking AOL horror chat room and even I think this pairing sounds sketchier than MC Esher’s high school notebooks! Despite his efforts to woo her while still being respectful and protective of her, Jesse is very reluctant to refer to him as any kind of boyfriend figure in conversation with others. He’s a surprisingly decent dude who never tanks his decency by pulling the bullshit “you owe me sex!” card on Jesse, which you totally expect to happen given how he too leers at Miss Jesse like fucking Jack the Ripper in the movie’s opening scene!
No friggin’ diggity, Jesse gets eye fucked from people so often in this flick, you’d think she farts Spanish Fly. It’s unnerving.
Predictably enough, as Jesse’s successes compile, so does her ego. She mutates from innocent southern teen into Family Guy rendition of Julia Roberts (“ME! ME! MEEEEE!”), talking about herself as if she were the second coming of Cindy Crawford. Such a path couldn’t lead to our heroine’s downfall harder if it were a literal street named “Downfall Avenue”. I’m presuming this transformation is what the title’s referencing, given that (spoiler alert) there isn’t a single giant neon devil sign brought to life to kaiju the downtown Los Angeles area. Will Jesse find love and safety in the arms of her unavoidable love interest Dean, or will the D-Man discover he’s better off with an inflatable girlfriend? Don’t knock it. The only rubber you need to use with her comes in her repair kit! Will Jesse instead be a “grrrl”, pull her life out of her tailspin on her own and conquer her enemies to become the new White Queen of the fashion industry? Will our neon demon predictably wind up eaten alive by the green-eyed monsters that she so naively trusts with her well being? Will this modern fable end triumphantly for Jesse like Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or tragically like Hans Christen Andersen’s The Little Mermaid? That’s for me to know and for you to find out…I mean, if you feel like it. You don’t even have to watch the movie if you don’t want to to find out. The internet will just tell you how it ends, if you prefer to do it that way. Doesn’t effect my day either way. Que sera sera.
And so our story goes. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, beauty and the beast. It’s nothing to write home about, really, unless your family gets excited over loose threads. Plot threads, that is. Story elements that drop off the map, never to be seen again and character threads that drop right off with them. If it’s so bad, though, then why the quartet of disembodied blood pumpers at the top of the review? Because NeoDemo is a classic case of style over substance being a good thing. Oddly appropriate given the theme of the movie, dontcha think? You can almost believe it was poorly written intentionally…
The performances are all fine, almost in spite of the roles being generic. It doesn’t help your story’s endgame seem less obvious by having your actors play their characters so blatantly. I do give Elle Fanning credit for not taking Jesse overboard in personality even though her lines still take the character there. It’s a well done balancing act and I hope the young lady earns herself a reputable career. Glusman’s Dean is a good dude done well, with the exception of his almost Captain Howdy levels of “creepy, shadow monster face” in the opening. Everyone else is just as shallow and one-dimensional as their roles are intended to be (at least that’s my guess), so that’s fine. Now, story and cast outta the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this Neon Demon.
Hold onto your bippies, kids, because I’m about to slap you in the faces with a big cold salmon of shock . Surprise you it may well, but this is my first date with Mr. Winding Refn. I’ve never seen Drive. I’ve heard great things, but universally renowned projects are a breed of poultry that rarely cross my proverbial path. You know what else I’ve yet to see? The Force Awakens. Yep. Let that one soak into your corpuscles for a few. Back to Nicky WR, his presentation style fills me with the similar fondness I have for Dario Argento and Stanley Kubrick’s stuff. His heavy accentuation on the use of colors and shadows and mirrors and trippy imagery combined with jarring/haunting music are tres Argubrick. He also throws lots of different patterns straight into our eyeballs, from wallpapers to curtains to bed sheets to carpets to clothing, and they all bleed into this visual clusterfuck that borders on overwhelming without going full-on brain barf. The aforementioned music is very dream-like, and makes the whole movie feel very surreal. It’s a psyche smothering safari for the senses.
Of the biggest complaints I came across while poking around the worldwide wasteland for details were people who called out Winding Refn, some for perpetuating mainstream misogyny (all women are jealous, petty cunts to each other and will do anything to get ahead) and others for ripping off Argento’s style. Regarding the former, I can’t really weigh in, given that my gonads reside on the outside. As for the Argento complaint, it depends on whether you want to call it a rip-off or an homage. Potato, potato. However you wanna pronounce it, I’m all for it. Kubrick’s long croaked and nobody’s really doing the Argento thing anymore. Christ at a Cracker Barrel, at this point even its namesake hasn’t properly Argentoed for a good twenty years! I’d rather watch someone doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well instead of trying to force the old Italian to go back to his roots. So, for those who disagree with my positive take on the matter, I’ll let Academy Award winner Tommy Lee (the actor, not the drummer with the horse dong) answer for me.
Given the mostly cold shoulder reception The Neon Demon was given (50%ish scores on aggregated criticism sites), I’m sure there are plenty of people who would accuse me of “falling for the sales pitch”, but you could fill a thimble with all the shits I give and still have plenty of room left to fit your fingertip so you can deposit it straight into your orifice of choice. If “artsy fartsy” stuff bothers you, bypass this flick because that’s its big selling point. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth a watch if you’re down for something different and you’re not up for taking Suspiria off your shelf for the 164th time. Keep in mind that, despite ND‘s categorization as a “horror” movie, it’s really more psychological wrapped up in an air of dread. The one traditional horror movie element kicks in in the flick’s final stretch… then it goes on for another 15 minutes. These last minutes have very little dialogue. Like almost zero. Makes you wonder if the actors were getting paid by the line and the budget ran out. What is there is still technically part of the movie, but exists less out of necessity to the story than it does to drop some more visual weirdery and fuck with the audience one last time. It reminds me a lot of what Rob Zombie did with the last act of Lords of Salem, come to think about it. Leaves us with more questions than answers, really.
Still, it looks fucking cool.
Coming up will be the next and last installment of our “Ladies Night!” cineménage à trois, so any misogynists like the one who messaged me last week telling me this kind of “pandering pussy shit” isn’t what they want to see? You can rest easy, cuz it’s almost over. Or, you can just get the fuck out. You don’t like woman-centric movies? Guess what…
Now I gotta head over to the local halal eatery and get a pile of Samosas for lunch. Those taste bud tantalizing s.o.b.s get my salivary glands more excited than Gorunk the Baby Eating Gibbon gets around babies! Yum!
Dean looks like he’s plotting to take revenge on someone by cooking their family into a pot of chili and feeding it to them… possibly after he’s had sex with it.
Eli Roth’s homage to the 20th anniversary of Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” music video is, well, pretty much what you expected it to be.
“Don’t worry, I was an intern on Evil Dead II. I know how to get karo syrup and red dye out of ANYTHING.”
If Dario Argento directed Mean Girls.
“I don’t care how many penises you have, Mr. Sinclair, this isn’t a casting call for Marilyn Manson’s adults only traveling freakshow! That’s down the hall in Suite 31.”
Was this room decorated by a blind person or somebody on acid? Either way, if I have to look at it much longer I’m gonna lose my Fritos!
“Look, I know SLC Punk 2 was garbage and if you wanna throw yourself off a cliff over it, I totally understand. But I gotta get to my shift at Big Kahuna Burger in 20 minutes, so either shit or get off the pot!”
Could this mean Nicolas Winding Refn’s next project will be that rumored Smokey and the Bandit remake we’ve been hearing about for years?! I’d bet my White Lightning / Gator double-feature LaserDisc on it!
Keanu Reeves finally takes measures to have Alex Winter forcefully removed from his guest house. After 25 years of his “I’m almost done with the script for Bill & Ted 3!” excuses, Keanu has had enough.
Hey, they’ve finally started casting for the She-Ra live-action movie! I really hope they opt to cast a real Pegacorn for Swift Wind instead of cheaping out and ruining her with some stupid cgi crap.
At the Sears catalog model tryouts, dozens of moderately attractive women compete for the chance to be thousands of young American boys’ first effort hording wank material. At least until they can convince their older cousin to buy them an issue of “Hustler”. Well, that’s how it was before the internet, anyway. Kids today have it way too easy…
Only true industry insiders know about the sacred Triforce of Fashion! It’s made up of the Triforce of Beauty, the Triforce of Design, and the Triforce of Film, each of which is held by one of three legendary heroes. The sacred texts say that, one day, the three will be brought together to create the GREATEST fall collection in all of fashion!
“Screw the picture. I’m gonna make her look like Large Marge just to see the family’s reaction when they open up the casket!”
“This is why I tell you not to eat candy in bed. You’ve got a whole Sugar Daddy tangled up back here! Uggh!”
“Is THIS your card?… Ah, shit! Let me try that again.”
I know how she feels. I feel the same way when I have a third Most American Thickburger too. Brutal.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Psychedelic Conception of LSDizzle”
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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.
Featuring: Corey “The Lost Boys” Feldman , Vanessa “Kingpin” Angel , Danielle “Darkening Skies” Keaton
Director: Ted “Subspecies” Nicolaou
Writer: Courtney “Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge” Joyner
[Note from Anubis: This review was originally planned for posting on December 25th. Unfortunately, due to technical problems (I couldn’t find my DVD and the only person on the entire internet who still seeded the torrent was offline for a few days) I was not able to make said deadline. Boo-fucking-hoo. The opinions presented here aren’t olive loaf – they’re just as good (or bad) post-expiration! Now, please to enjoy our episode. Won’t you?]
Intro: So The Force Awakens opened last week to staggering box office numbers, bringing love and empathy to all mankind and blah blah blah. The Evil Dead Bride and yours truly have yet to partake in the hoopla just yet, because we’re waiting for the crowds to die down a little first. We both hate people as a general statement, so being surrounded by the squirming masses in cramped seating arrangements always brings with it the very real threat that said crowds will just have to die, period. Besides, there will never be a scene from a galaxy far far away better than when we got to watch Hayden Christensen burned alive, so what’s the rush? Oh, and Merry Cthulhumas!
I needed a bit of yuletide “inspiration” to get my “creative juices” flowing for this one, so I’ve been drinking nothing but eggnog spiked with Captain Morgan for the last 24 hours. It’s how we do a “cleanse” in my family. I better be careful or I’ll burn through my allotted “air quotes” for the review before we even get this donkey show out of the opening act!
For the first time in almost 40 years, there was a Full Moon on Cthulhumas (or “Cthuyule” if you’re a traditionalist). It’s the last such holiday lunar alignment for another 20 years. Since I imagine myself joining the choir invisible before that happens, what more reason did I need to do a review for a seasonally thematic Full Moon movie!?… except that this isn’t a Full Moon release.
In the “unspoken of times” where Full Moon was inactive and Charles Band was operating under his “Shadow Entertainment” banner (probably while he was dodging extradition to Romania to answer for unpaid castle rental contracts), and when SyFy was still known as The Sci-Fi Channel, someone had the bright idea to lease the rights to the Puppets and the Toys for the crossover that bad movie lovers had been clamoring for since the ’90s. Band was given an honorary “Executive Producer” credit, but he makes it a point to tell anyone who will listen that he had zero to do with the movie itself. Having watched it again for the first time in years, I don’t blame him! He’s subjected us to some truly heinous b-movie anus in his extensive time as a cinesadist, but when even Charles Band won’t take any credit offered him for a flick, you know that’s not a worm in the bottom of the proverbial tequila bottle, it’s a fucking Ceti eel. Khhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannn!
(Uh-oh. That’s not good.)
Without further ado, take it away, Ghost of Anubis Past!
Original Review: Man, I’ve been waiting for this moment for… hmmm… let me think… carry the two… adjust for leap years… uhm… shit, it’s been at least 7 or 8 years! Moreover, the concept for this beast has been around since it was originally going to be Puppet Master IV, which was released in 1993!… you know, before it became yet another “not really the last movie of the series, but we’ll call it the ‘Final Chapter’ anyway” flicks and turned into, in the words of John Cleese, “something completely different”.
(Oh what could have been…)
In fact, it took so much effort to get this bitch into heat that the birth father of both floundering franchises (i.e. Full Moon Pictures) wasn’t even responsible for the movie’s release! Nope, those ever-lovin’ bad movie bastards at the Sci-Fi Channel and Anchor Bay released it instead after its debut as a “Saturday Night Sci-Fi Channel Originals” movie, whose victims already include Bruce Campbell, Jeffrey Combs and the Return of the Living Dead flicks. So, though this stands as an evil omen from the darkest depths of the Cinemasochist Inferno, at least the Puppet Master and Demonic Toys titles have both been promoted to a level apart from stuff like Gingerdead ManThough I’m sure it’s going to be more of a horizontal relocation rather than some kind of glorious, money-out-the-butt-in-the-religious-sense ascension for Andre Toulon and his brood of handmade killers.
But let’s not drown too deep in the fret just yet, friends. The flick is directed by Ted “Subspecies” Nicolaou (what, was David DeCoteau too busy making more shitty vampire frat movies?!), so let us instead embrace the potential and see what kind of epic shit-eating tortures these last 13 years have wasted time and resources creating!
The sad part is that I’m actually so excited for this moment that I’m watching this at 2 a.m. on my laptop, which tends to emit a loud and terrible hum when I play DVDs on it. I had a long and painful day of failures and physical labor and up until an hour ago I was welcoming sleep like Tom Hanks welcoming an AIDS infected pecker in his pooper a la Philadelphia. But now I’m all eyes, ears and fingers for this nightmarish little play-by-play. Come on people, it’s a brand new DVD and it only cost me $8!? I haven’t been this excited since I found out there was a sequel to Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare!
Andre Toulon is no longer an elderly puppeteer with designs of vengeance toward the servants of Adolf “Captain Moustache” Hitler and the Third Reich. Gone are the days when Guy Rolfe would send wooden toys imbued with the essence of his dead friends to hack, slash, mutilate and smash those whose turn-ons include goose-stepping, long marches on the beach and the smell of freshly baked Hasidics. No longer does a young prodigy set his miniature do-gooder toys to do battle with foot tall totem demons and giant muppets with scrotum for mouths. No, instead we now have Robert Toulon, great grand-nephew of Andre, who’s bitter because the capitalist swine at Sharpe Toys have rejected him and his screwball ideas for “living” toys.
Well, that or he’s just pissy because he’s Corey Feldman, who is therefore a complete and utter joke in the footnotes of b-Hollywood to whom very few people would tag the prefix of “great” or “grand” with any level of serious admiration.
Bob’s your typical kooky inventor type: harmless for the most part, with little more than some smoke and bad smells to show for his work. If he didn’t hiss and grimace so much, you’d half expect him to shrink down some neighborhood kids and spend 2 hours trying to fix ’em while many a wacky hijink ensued. Then he’d come back for a couple of fuck-awful sequels and endanger the lives of several more kids before being burned alive in a boiler by the unhappy members of the PTA. Speaking of kids, this guy Robert somehow has custody of his daughter Alexandra (Danielle Keaton), with whom he re-enacts the life giving experiments of Great Uncle Andre thanks to a journal (that was no doubt illustrated by an eight-year-old…missing several fingers…that probably resulted in him/her drawing some fucked up looking turkeys at Thanksgiving) and several familiar looking tiny killers discovered in a flea market.
Speaking of the father-daughter relationship, it’s kinda creepy the whole time I’m watching this because Corey Feldman, no matter how many gray streaks he puts in his hair or how much beard scruff he tries to grow, will always look like he’s 16. The idea of him having a teenage daughter just looks unsettling. Let’s just hope “The Feld” is lucky enough to look this young when he’s pissing in a bag and eating food in a primordial ooze state.
Meanwhile, Sharpe Toys presidente Erica Sharpe (Vanessa Angel, who’s showing every day of age since Kingpin last played a multiplex, made all the worse since her lips look like an inflamed anus now) spies on Bobbie’s work via hidden ladybug spy camera while she sips sparkling cider with her “is she fucking that guy, or is he gay?” assistant Julian. Who may or may not be played by one of those hitmen with the ear-raping accents from Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave. (Note: after checking IMDB it turns out I was wrong on that assumption, though he has had small parts in shit like Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, and other non-shark related crap Sci-Fi Channel projects).
Sure enough, not only do Bob and Al do in five minutes what the Nazis and Kandarian demons couldn’t do over the course of 8 movies, but they get it right on the first try, as the puppets are resurrected on a diet of Kool-Aid™ infused with Toulon blood. :::Anubis proceeds to smash through a wall, wielding a pitcher of dyed sugar water laced with LSD::: OH YEAH!
No sooner are Jester, Pinhead, Blade and Six-Shooter back to working order than my Kool-Aid™ smile takes a NesTea™ plunge down the proverbial shit pipe…only in this case it’s literal. The puppet models being used here are by far the worst to date. Much like the rationale used on Pamela Vorhees’ baby (freak monkey murderer) boy for Freddy Vs. Jason, you can tell the diseased minds behind PMvDT wanted to make the Puppets the heroes of the flick, so they changed their appearances to try and invoke a better comfort level with the audience (or lack thereof). The result? Jester and Six-Shooter no longer look like a child molesting clown and drunken rapist cowboy respectively, but instead like “empathetic harlequin” and “child friendly old west kids show host” types that make me ill. Additionally, Pinhead looks like he’s been sucked into the Hollywood scene since his last movie appearance, slimming down immensely to a sickly, heroined out, Olsen Twins-esque look! He’s the fucking Kate Moss of the animated death toy crowd and it’s pathetic! He doesn’t even have that squinty-eyes Popeye quality to his face anymore. Instead, he looks like an anorexic old queen in a shitty brown sweater he knitted for himself! Seriously, I think Feldman would’ve been better complimented if he was acting opposite 90 minutes of badly edited stock footage than what these half-assed action figures are going to give us.
Anyway, it’s Christmas time and Sharpe Toys needs that one thing to put their manufactured plastic crap above everyone else’s manufactured plastic crap, so Erica sends her henchman and some hired goons to Bob’s “Puppet Hospital” (I shit you not) to do a little corporate raiding and acquire her some hot, wet puppet action. In standard fashion, the puppets defend themselves, a ruckus breaks out, Bob gets socked in the shnoz by an FDA approved goober with a fucking dollar sign tattooed on the back of his hand (see now, if Gene Simmons had achieved his lifelong dream of trademarking the dollar sign, he would’ve made $0.03 off of this purchase!), Six-Shooter accidentally sets the place on fire and he and his compadres get their stupid new plastic faces melted off. To which the puppets react as if there was somebody holding them by the leg and simply flailing them around…wonder why that is.
And with that, it’s time to introduce the other half of the titular equation as, back at the Sharpe offices, Ms. Sharpe introduces (i.e. sacrifices the cleavage of) her virginal Christian Youth receptionist (I swear this chick waited on me at Uno’s last night) to her “Board of Directors”, better known to followers of the Church of Chuck (Band) as Baby Oopsy Daisy, Grizzly Teddy, and Jack Attack (a.k.a. Jack-Out-of-the-Box. Which is a “pulling out” innuendo if I’ve ever heard one). Once again, I have to state-the-hate on these new character models. For the most part Teddy doesn’t seem all that different, and well, I think I actually like this new Baby Oopsy better. But as far as Jack goes, he looks like shit! I don’t know if they were aiming for some kind of Pennywise take on the fanged box occupier, but whatever the reason it’s COMPLETELY WRONG. The original Jack’s design was the star of the Demonic Toys movies and unless the Killer Klowns people were threatening legal action, there was NO reason not to have stuck with it. Blegh.
Back to our story (I guess that’s what you’d call it, right?), it looks like Erica has made a pact with the demon Bael (who forgot to take off his “orc mercenary” costume following his earlier Everquest™ cos-play meeting) to bring Hell to Earth by distributing 9 million Sharpe toys to homes around the world, all of which are to be brought to murderous life on Christmas Day following the shedding of the final drops of Toulon blood. It’s almost Christmas Eve and ‘Ric’s done her part, spreading the viral Cabbage Patch Creatures™ across the country. Will the greed demon be able to put the little beasts into blood-letting action, or will Bob and Al save the day with their new line of “burn unit victim” Puppet Master action figures? It’s a rhetorical question kids, we all know how this is going to end. And yes, I know that’s not what rhetorical means, I was just waiting to see if you caught on or not.
While Bob and Al prepare for their miniature war with the unholy playthings, a female cop gets involved because Corey Feldman needs someone to stumble over and sweat in front of. The puppets get “cyber upgrades” that include a plastic knife and hook for Blade, pillow
biting smashing thunder ball fists for Queenie Pinhead, a can crushing mace arm for Jester, and an array of plastic gun arms for Six-Shooter that somehow shoot lasers, because plastics are apparently well known for their abilities to generate intense beams of light and heat.
The good guys get caught “unawares” (to be more specific, while Bob’s christening the S.S. Porcelain Bowl), leaving them and the puppets at the mercy of the upstanding staff at Sharpe Corporation. Vanessa Angel puts on an outfit that would’ve looked a lot better on those legs when she had legs to speak of, and Al’s to be used as the blood sacrifice for Bael’s big global conquest thing. Finally, after over an hour of waiting for it, the title bout (literally) goes into effect and the heroes break free. As the norms around them shoot at each other (and Bael cavorts around in a Santa outfit while the countdown to Judgment Day continues), the puppets and toys trade blows. Blade (along with his very obvious plastic knife and hook) hacks the stuffing out of Teddy and liberates his huggable head, Pinhead squishes Oopsy’s head into a geyser of goo (following one-too-many Oopsy ass blaster joke attacks), while Jester and Six-Shooter make short work of Jack. This all happens in less time than it takes to cook minute rice. The goodies save the day, no Toulon blood is spilled, the great Christmas Holocaust is prevented, Bael takes Erica back to Hell with him as part of their agreement, and Al and Bob have holiday feastings with Bob’s new would-be cop girlfriend.
Whoop-di-shit. I waited over a decade for that?! Fuck! I didn’t have a whole lot of faith that this was going to go anywhere, but I didn’t think these guys would forget the whole point of the movie! You take a movie called Puppet Master Vs. Demonic Toys and you spend 80 minutes pitting the two sides against disposable human fodder while the two C and D-list actors you get for the lead roles hog the screen time, only to climax with a limp-dicked, one-sided conflict of Custer’s Last Stand proportions?! Maybe if I were into anal intrusions I’d love this movie, but as it stands I’m against getting dicked around, especially in a 90 minute marathon of it! At least Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys lived up to its name. And even then managed to fit in all it had to in just a little over an hour! Unlike this fucking waste of time.
As far as the acting I concerned, was Corey Feldman intentionally performing so over-the-top as a sign that he wasn’t taking the role seriously, or is he really so misguided in the thespian arts as to think he wasn’t making a total ass-hat out of himself? I’m sure it’s the latter, but I’m hoping it’s the former for the Feld’s sake. Vanessa Angel’s never been a good actress and the fact that she’s lost 70% of her sex appeal only throws this fact into our movie watching faces all the harder. Everyone else was pretty much by the books (those of course being the “How to Act But Not Get Noticed for Doing So” series) with the glaring exception of Sylvia Suvadova. Sylvia played the part of the Feld’s law enforcing would-be girlfriend, with the major difference being that of ALL OF HER LINES WERE RE-DUBBED. Does she have a horrible, ear drum grinder of an accent that the producers felt needed to be “redacted” from the film? Or, could it be that her actual acting is so bad that it couldn’t even work with the rest of this bowel obstruction? Inquiring minds want to know! Well, my slightly interested minor curiosity is kinda interested in a short and simple answer.
As you can tell from the numerous bitches and complaints dropped elsewhere as my recipe for hate called for them, the special effects ingredients involved were a good use for a dollar store budget, but otherwise a slap in the face to the series, especially following the otherwise groovy efforts of the first three films. Granted, they didn’t go for the cheap fuck like other recent entries by relying on the same stop-action stock footage born of Toulon’s Revenge, but I’m starting to think I’d rather watch those for a 12th time as opposed to the high school jerk around we got instead.
While I’m ‘picking here, the title graphic is terrible too. Look at it! Why has the classic Puppet Master logo been replaced by toy alphabet blocks?! Though I understand the use of the flaming logo for the latter half of this “Rumble in the Toy Box” title, I always liked the alphabet blocks look for the original Demonic Toys logo design (Note from 2015 Anubis: that wasn’t Demonic Toys, it was Dolly Dearest you dipshit), considering they’re toys and alphabet blocks are toys and… fuck it, nobody’s even listening at this point. The movie’s shite and every fiber of my being is nagging at me to go get my eight bucks back. Guess I should go do that now before all this talking to myself gets me another run at Arkham…
Disengaging Complaint Drive Warp Engine™… now!
Xtro: Uggh. That hurt. Like 50 lashes with a wet string of icicle lights. I forgot how genuinely wretched this movie is. For my original review, I gave PMvDT (huh huh, “VD”) 2 ½ stars. Not out of 10, but out of 5. FIVE! What the fucking fuck was I on!? This is a 90 minute shave with a razor made of broken glass covered in salt and ghost pepper sauce! I feel my anger and disgust have been blunted over the years too, so I must’ve been suffering some kind of horrendous personal agony in my life at the time to have crawled through this level of effluvial grime with a “meh” numeric attitude rather than the revulsion I got from watching it this week. Hey, Past Self? Don’t worry. Whatever Hel you were being dragged through by your armpit hairs back then, you get beyond it and realize just how incompetently assembled this Chinese unicycle truly is.
To add some extra torque to this self-inflicted yuletide titty-twister, it turns out that the only copy of the movie I was able to acquire on such notice also happens to be dubbed over in Russian…as spoken by a single, monotone guy. Yep, all of the lines, including those by female actors, are read by a bland-as-non-fermented potato water dude who may or may not have been very tired while doing so. I listened as well as I could for any instances of yawning, but found none. Anyway, the original English track was just audible enough that I could still follow along with the movie, but in all honesty, the cast’s performances are so “just paying my electric bill” quality that they’re barely worth the effort anyway. Watching Feldman run from Oopsy in one scene is hilarious though. His little jog is silly and not at all a pace I’d be comfortable at limiting myself to were I trying to outrun a homicidal doll that really wets itself! Feld’s raspy “fake old man voice” isn’t funny though, it’s distracting. And not in a good way that it would actually distract us from the thrift store production values of this moving picture calamity.
Everything is cheap in this movie. Everything. Even compared to the lesser Puppet Master movies. Even by TV movie standards. The sets are small and populated with props that even Ed Wood would look at and say “I think we can do better”. Roger Corman, Hal Needham, and Burt I. Gordon would watch this withered little pickle of a flick to boost their confidence in their own productions. Seriously, where did the reported $2.5million budget go for this fucking movie? To cover some Sci-Fi Channel exec’s mob debts!? The cheap plastic and foam rubber used to make these WOODEN puppets are an ipecac for my eyeballs. Pinhead looks like he Face/Off‘ed with Bea Arthur at some point, then was stricken with savagely aggressive puppet cancer! Blade’s supposedly deadly sharp appendages look about as metal as the toy army knives you get from Dollar Embargo, and only about half as dangerous too. Same goes for Jester’s “spiked mace hand” and Six-Shooter’s laser gun arms and “cyber” facial appliance (all of which I’m almost positive were made using salvaged pieces from an off-market Transformers lot picked up on eBay). The Demonic Toys aren’t as cheap and ugly, put I’m still put off by Jack’s facial redesign, and I don’t know what Past Anubis was thinking, but I definitely prefer Baby Oopsy’s original cold black shark eyes to what his peepers appear like here. Oh well, at least none of the Toys had goofy Terminator shit glued to ’em, so they’re automatically the better looking of the titular playthings by a Mongo mile.
But even the lowest of budgets can be overcome by a talented cast and a gripping story, right?! Since we already established that the “talented cast” part isn’t happening, how about that gripping story? Drop one of those ‘p’s, because there’s a piss and moan storm on the horizon. Since Courtney Joyner brought us Puppet Master III, the pinnacle of the PM legacy (not to be confused with the literal Puppet Master Legacy, which roams the sewers of the series like a C.H.U.D. with a crayon lodged in its frontal lobe), I had some hope for this movie. Not a lot, but enough that it wouldn’t give my Full Moon fanboyism anal leakage. Clearly, I should’ve downed a brick of cheddar with an Imodium chaser before watching. I guess I’ll never learn.
This is the kind of story that makes me want to swat Mr. Joyner with my ring hand and practice my acupuncture on the backs of his knees with splintered chopsticks. Andre Toulon’s great-grandnephew couldn’t have received his family’s infamous legacy via some kind of inheritance? Instead he finds them by chance through a flea market. A fucking flea market?! Fuck your flea market. And why does Erica Sharpe’s modern toy factory have a medieval dungeon in its basement?! Does demonic summoning magic (as done with a high-tech modernized version of an iron maiden) require stone block walls and big rusty chains around to perform? Was the factory built over the remains of a castle and they optioned to just use the original basement for the foundation?! Fuck your foundation. While we’re on it, Sharpe’s cadre of minions have a big evil sigil to identify each other by. Erica and her sidekick wear theirs in the form of pendants adorning their necks, which is fine, but her hired muscle bear theirs as big ol’ tattoos prominently displayed across the back of their hands! Shouldn’t you keep the calling sign of your secret cult, I don’t know, somewhere more secret?! Fuck your tatoos.
I’ve got a few dozen chunks of fruitcake fighting their way through my digestive tract like space marines through a nest of Xenomorphs, so just a couple more points of contention to contend before I (s)hit the bricks. Near the end of the movie, as Alex is trapped in Erica’s needlessly elaborate iron maiden (whose only purpose is to puncture victims and collect their blood in a plodding, gore hiding fashion), she does that doofy thing where a character narrates what’s happening to them, since shooting it would seemingly flatline this already anemic budget. Her half-hearted screams of “Dad! The spikes are starting to move!”, “Dad, the spikes are getting closer! You have to save me!”, and “Ow! Dad! The spikes are poking me!” are equal portions unintentional hilarity and teeth-gritting aggravation.
My last (and by no means least) gripe comes down to the eponymous exchange itself. The offensively cheap DVD box art promises us a “rumble”, and what we get instead is toenails in our chili that are most assuredly not hard-shelled peppercorns (http://www.videodetective.com/movies/texas-chainsaw-massacre-2-scene-family-recipe/472419)! On one side, we’ve got four killer puppets with silly albeit dangerous weapon upgrades, including one who wields six functional LASER GUN ARMS. Meanwhile, on the opposing side we’ve got a teddy bear with sharp teeth, a screaming jack-in-the-box also with sharp teeth, and a baby whose sole offensive abilities are propulsive farts and a douchey demeanor. The Toys are trying to ride a seesaw with the McGuire Twins on the other end, and their short-lived losing effort proves it. As if this weren’t already some of the most disappointing metaphorical build-up sex I’ve ever had with a movie I was looking forward to, the 80 minutes of clumsy foreplay leads to 4 minutes of uncomfortable intercourse, premature ejaculation, and 5 minutes of post-coital crying and apologizing before the viewer takes the walk of shame and wonders why they have such little self-esteem that they keep hooking up with such obvious losers. Happy fuckin’ New Year.
Speaking of embarrassing myself, before I go I’d like to take a moment to apologize to everyone for Past Anubis’ unacceptable mistreatment of Vanessa Angel over her looks during my original review. Reading that was like watching The Monster Squad and seeing kids throw around the term “faggot”. It’s not right. I’d call myself a fuck-o to my face if I had a time slide right now, but I’m no Time Angel, so that’s not an option. (Editor’s Note: Anubis is a fuck-o sometimes. I’ve informed him of this, now we can all move on. Bully to him for admitting his fuck-o-ness, apologizing for it and trying to be better moving forward.)
Here’s to wishing you all the best (of the Best) in these final days of 2015. Mine clearly ended face down in a puddle of pig vomit, but here’s to hoping that 2016 (and the continuation of the World Tour de Farce) brings us all something worth smiling about and a little less worth hanging ourselves naked in a sleazy motel closet about. Peace on Earth and Boyz II Men.
“You have been convicted of high crimes against our glorious magistrate! For that, you shall all be crucified until dead! Pray to your plastic gods now, for they will be the last words you ever speak!”
“Damn it mom, stop swindling the neighbors! Damn it Rose, stop being such a stupid bumpkin! Damn it Blanche, stop being such a slut! DOROTHY SMASH!”
“But how do I know this is the actual syringe Barry Bonds juiced with before his record breaking homerun? Do you have a certificate of authenticity or a picture of him using it?”
Free advice: if you’re in an elevator with two people wearing the same type of evil looking pendant and one/both of them are clutching theirs while grinning sinisterly, you’re about 10 minutes away from being the subject of a secret society’s human sacrifice.
That’s why no one ever tried to come between Corey Haim and his nose candy.
“And who’s she supposed to be?! Between that dress pattern and the weird collar she looks like some kinda fairy queen of Christmas presents! I’ll be here all week! Remember to tip your waiter!”
We have top men working on Corey Feldman right now. Top… men.
This summer, he’s back in the slammer and back undercover! Marlon Wayans brings us the long-awaited mash-up sequel to two of his greatest film epics in Little White Chick Man!
“We told you SyFy bastards what would happen if we caught you shooting another one of your shitty movies down here!”
“I’m telling you you’ve got the wrong guy! I’m not Charlie Sheen!”
Though it never made it past pre-production, a handful of prototype action figures were made for the ill-fated Blazing Saddles 2099 reboot.
“Well… I guess I’ll just have to learn to masturbate with my left hand now.”
Well, I wanted Joanna Angel for Xmas, but I’ll settle for Vanessa Angel. Don’t wanna seem ungrateful, right?
This is why you never have your office Christmas parties anywhere within walking distance of a tattoo parlor. You don’t wanna see where their assistant manager got his.
“LIKE A RAINBOW IN THE DAAAAAAAAAAAAARK!”
He died doing what he loved: attending King Diamond concerts in a business suit and corpse paint. God speed, executive metalhead.
“NO! I don’t care what the contract says! You can’t make me do another Lost Boys sequel! IT’S INHUMAN!”
That’s an oddly specific time stamp for a movie…
Damn it, Bael! If you’re not gonna wear the Santa beard properly, don’t wear it at all! Fucking hack!
Pinhead is disturbingly serious about taking his Kanchō game to the next level. I didn’t realize he was made in Japan.
Johnson & Johnson had to scrap their proposed new No More Tears Green Apple Baby Shampoo dispenser when several mothers in the focus group fainted and one had to be institutionalized.
“Don’t think I didn’t know it was you stealing the crunchy boxers out of my underwear hamper, Jester! We all know the weird shit you’re into! Give ’em back!”
Anubis will return next time in
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”
Featuring: Jared “Supernatural” Padalecki , Danielle “Piranha 3DD” Panabaker , Amanda “The Mentalist” Righetti , with Derek Mears as Jason
Director: Marcus “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)” Nispel
Writers: Damian “Freddy vs. Jason” Shannon , Mark “Freddy vs. Jason” Swift , Mark “The Messengers” Wheaton
Editor’s Note: None of that last part happened. He paid $200 for a cheap plastic elephant bottle filled with Country Time Lemonade drink-mix powder.
Writer’s Note: Damn it…
This is the first of a four part series I’m calling “Shake, Bake, & Remake”, focusing on remakes (duh) of otherwise infamous flicks that I can’t actually review here in the New Tomb, thanks to my self-imposed “Current Millennium Movies Only” edict. I’m not saying I’ve got it as hard as those religious kooks who put themselves through self-flagellation to prove their piousness, but I’m not not saying I’ve got it that hard either… and yes, I just said “I’ve got it that hard” ladies, in case you’re feeling frisky.
There have been a LOT of these remakes in the last 15 or so years, so it was only a matter of time before I could stop ignoring the epidemic and had to spread awareness though my only available portal to the masses. “The more you know” and all that. Anyway, it seems that every 365 days the Hollywood Xerox machine is sputtering out new half-assed paper jam abortions to try and cash-in on recycled ideas, much to the chagrin of long time movie lovers. The kingpin of this human centipede-inal process of turning food into shit into somebody else’s food is Michael Bay. He’s not just a boogeyman that creative thinkers use to scare their children into brushing their teeth and washing their ears before bed, lest he steal their imagination, either. Depending on who you ask, Bay’s career is either one big punchline (with an explosion at the end) or a new holocaust that will be marked as one of the darkest times in human history. I personally would like him to hang himself with his own intestines, but I write the same thing whenever I get one of those damn customer service surveys on my receipts. That’s just the kinda Death God I am.
In honor of the holiday (What? I always take Friday the 13th off from work. You don’t?!), I’m kicking things off with a figurative kick in the balls: 2009’s Friday the 13th. Now, since it’s officially hit its 5 year expiration date, this movie’s now ripe for spoilage. If you haven’t already seen it, and you’re expecting anything beyond “a guy in a hockey mask kills a bunch of horny teens”, you may want to close this window now and go on with your blissful ignorance until you can see it for yourself. For those of you who have seen it, or could care less about watching paper-thin plots put through the proverbial shredder, I’ll do what I can to make your stay a pleasant one. Now, onward to violence!
Not a true remake of the original (because 95% of casual slasher movie fans don’t even know who the fuck Pamela Voorhees is), this F13 takes the broad-minded clusterfuck approach of jamming an un-lubed speculum into a 106 minute running time and trying to stuff four movies worth of dongs into it. Sure, most people would say, “Dude, they’re just slasher movies. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all, so what’s the big deal of cutting four down into one?”. Jane, you ignorant slut. You know not of the things you speak, so I’ll forgive your lack of awareness long enough to let you get out the front door and leave this place, never to return again. Seriously though, you’d be surprised how much more there is to the story of Jason Voorhees than “kills naked thirty-somethings pretending to be teenage camp counselors”. But, I’d probably have better luck trying to teach a cat how to evolve into a squid. Either you get it or you don’t. I’d rather eat razor blades than watch Twilight, so different strokes get off different folks…unless you get off to “Diff’rent Strokes”, in which case there’s help for your sickness – at the bottom of a well. Go find it. Headfirst. The world thanks you.
The original movie gets put through the Cuisinart worst of the four originals, being hacked into little more than a black & white flashback played during the opening credits (yes, the opening credits) of Pam voiding her hat-of-the-month membership thanks to the final would-be victim of her Camp Crystal Lake murder revenge tour. The story’s still the same – she blames the counselors for the drowning death of her special needs son Jason, having been too preoccupied with cavorting of the pants-less kind to watch the little mutant while he was swimming. As any parent would like to do, Momma hacked ’em up like a butcher on bath salts. But, her death by self-defense decapitation was viewed by her still-living little boy. Taking up the very machete used for the aforementioned decap attack, Jason would go on a lifelong crusade of surviving on his own and serial killing anybody unfortunate enough to set foot on the campgrounds of Crystal Lake. The time it took you to read that is about 3 times longer than the movie actually spends setting things up.
There are a number of barbs this movie maliciously drops down the back of our pants, but there are two in particular that gave me the greatest trouble sitting down after experiencing them. I’m now going to address the first – of all the things the writers could’ve done to tweak the tale of Jason Voorhees, the one most in need of adjustment are his years between seeing his mother die and starting his successful career as a killer of the people that Mountain Dew and Miley Cyrus are marketed to. It never sat well with me that we were expected to believe that a deformed retard child not only survived his drowning (The police never recovered his body from the lake?! Are you fucking kidding me?!), and not only chose to live in the wilderness rather than seek help from anyone in the community, but he actually MANAGED to live off of small animals and berries and raccoon shit for two decades, then just happened to witness his mother’s death, which sent him a killing spree for the next 20 years?! All of this is stupid! So, perfect chance for the reboot writers to retcon it the fuck out and make something more sensible, right? Like, maybe Jason survived the swimming incident and Pam’s killing spree wasn’t due to his death, but still due to the negligence of the counselors? She obviously wasn’t the sanest kumquat on the fruit cart, right? So it would make sense, especially if she brought Jason along with her to witness how much she loves him by striking wrathful vengeance in his name. It would definitely go a long way in explaining his own use of violence in avenging her death for the rest of his life. As far as the whole “living off the land for twenty years licking moss” bullshit, just put him into foster care following mom’s rampage, have him murder his caretakers at some point in his teens, then let him make the trek back to Crystal Lake to set up shop and we’re on our way! But no, let’s not do that. Instead, these dipshit fuck bags decide to fart in the face of effort and just stick with the whole Mowgli thing – Jason’s raised by squirrels or some nonsense and he’s just there and he’s always been there and when everybody who goes out there is never heard from again NOBODY WILL NOTICE OR DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! GRARRGHGRRRRRAAAAARRRRRRRRGH!
Pardon my embolism. Uggh. So, yeah. New Jason is an adult now who may or may not have his own marijuana crop out in the woods around Crystal Lake. He lives in the abandoned remains of the camp (abandoned following the mass murder incident), probably drinking his own urine or just coating his intestines with parasites from chugging the lake water. There’s probably a whole hive of squirmy things in his guts. He probably doesn’t even poop anymore because the colony of colon worms just eat all his feces for him then re-poop it back into his blood stream, gradually turning him into an unstoppable dung golem. Where was I? Oh yeah, Jason’s pot field. For something like 10 minutes we’re introduced to a small group of friends who have come to Crystal Lake to sleep (and pork) under the stars. Two of the guys (one of which is a poor man’s Seth Rogen that looks so much like Ragnarok from Cinemasochist Apocalypse that I had to rub my eyes in one of those slapstick comedy double takes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it) are secretly there to steal weed from this legendary crop the one guy’s dealer told him about, the third guy is there to snoop around the campgrounds with his “girl next door” lady love, and the remaining female is there to show off her nauseating botched ’80s boob job and have silhouette doggystyle with one of the weed guys in their tent. They’re solely here as Jason fodder, hence all the marijuana and sex and trespassing. Jason himself is wearing a sack on his head a la F13 2, but it looks more like a pillowcase wrapped around his face than the traditional potato sack. Back to the delinquents. Imperfect Ragnarok Clone gets hacked up, his New Wave Holdover pot hunting partner gets macheted in the face like Leonard Lies, Gross Tit Job gets torched alive in her sleeping bag, Unthreatening Trespasser Boyfriend gets dragged through a floor and presumably slaughtered off-screen, and Appropriate Acting Trespasser Girlfriend is presumed also macheted. Until later on, when it’s revealed that Jason just takes her captive because she looks kinda like this picture of his mom that he keeps in a locket.
Hey, I told you I was gonna be spoiling this nonsense like 6 month old milk! If you stuck around to drink it, you’ve only got yourself to blame, Jermaine. Hope you like sour and chunky, cuz I’ve got plenty more to pour down your gullet. NO WASTE!
After ALL of this, we finally get our title card, some 25 minutes in. Somebody cal Guinness, because that’s gotta be the longest pre-title prologue sequence ever witnessed. From here we fast forward to “6 Weeks Later”, where a second group of irresponsible twenty-somethings are also making an ill-advised trip to corpse country. Since this is supposed to be the part where the Friday the 13th Part 3-D “homage” initiates, this rainbow coalition (well, it’s 5 white people and their token black and Asian friends) is assembling at the family summer house of their leader Trent (Travis Van Winkle) who, if you couldn’t already tell by his name, is such a massive douche bag that he might as well be played a gallon milk jug filled with vinegar that has “Summer’s Eve” stamped on the side. The only real elements of note from this group are that goofy blond pretty boy slacker Nolan is played by Ryan Hansen of “Party Down” (a criminally under-appreciated comedy from Starz that NOBODY watched), and token black guy Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) who, despite the *wink*wink* moment of not wanting to be stereotyped as one of those black guys, doesn’t even come off as an n-word, he comes off like a whigger because he tries too damn hard to be one of said black guys! I’m pretty sure he graduated Valedictorian of the Black Acting School’s Class of 2008… Hollywood Shuffle? Nothing? Really!? Isis help me…
Transitioning into the Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter section of our movie, lone wolf heartthrob-on-a-motorcycle Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) is also in the area, not just to play the forbidden love interest to our female lead – King Douche’s set-upon good girl girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) – but to find his sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti), who went missing in the area 6 weeks earlier. Yep, Locket Girl. Speaking of, she’s spent the last month and a half captive in Jason’s underground cave lair (which is way more “influenced” by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 than anything F13), and looks WAY too clean for someone shackled in her own filth for 40 days and nights. Here’s a sticking point that Michael Bay’s welcome to stick in his boom boom hole: despite Camp Crystal Lake being long abandoned, it’s still wired for electricity, which Jason turns on with one of those big mad scientist switches that just don’t carry the same panache without the “It’s alive! ALIVE!” schtick accompanying it.
Clay’s search for sis isn’t helped by the incompetent local podunk police force (an F13 series staple), especially Officer Brackle (Richard Burgi, who looks like the bastard spawn of Patrick Warburton and Huey Lewis) who recommends that Clay go looking elsewhere because Whitney and her friends probably just ran away somewhere else to disappear without a trace…having NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER TO OTHER STORIES OF ERRANT CITIZENS THAT HAVE REMAINED UNSOLVED IN THE CRYSTAL LAKE AREA ALL THESE YEARS ……… and there goes another embolism. Though there’s no Crazy Ralph proper in this movie, there is an unnamed old demented lady (Roseanne Knower) who does the job, filling in Clay on the whole sordid history of Crystal Lake being a Bermuda Triangle for missing credit card applicably aged delinquents.
And beyond that? Not a whole lot to report. Jason kills everybody. In fact, he starts with a local yokel white trash stoner (who my Evil Dead Bride perfectly described as “exactly the kind of guy who would lick the pages in Hustler”) who I can’t help but feel is playing a part that was originally written for Jason “Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame” Mewes. Whether you agree with me at first glimpse or not, once he starts sexually harassing a decrepit mannequin, I think you’ll come to my side of the opinion pond. Beyond licking porno mags (bet they taste salty) and groping inanimate objects, this guy’s reason for being isn’t just to be killed, but so Jason can find a certain iconic piece of sporting equipment in the dumbass’ smoke & stroke shack. Having taken up his sword (machete) and donned his magic helmet (hockey mask), the mighty masked mauler can go about his destined destruction of these purveyors of moderate debauchery. Using more skillful hunting techniques rather than simple smashery & slashery for the most part, the result is the same – everybody ceases to be and joins the choir invisible. I’m fine with that, except for Jason’s more agile feats, like climbing onto a roof with relative ease (ninja fart style: silent but deadly), then leaping down afterward to stab someone through the eye. I prefer my mute murdering juggernauts to be more the lumbering colossi type, but maybe I’m just old fashioned.
By the last reel, it all comes down to the final four: Jason, Clay, Jenna, and the recovered Whitney. In somewhat of a shock, Jenna ends up the victim of implement impalement while trying to escape Jason’s silly underground lair. Which he probably fixed up at the cost of *dramatic pause* one BILLLLLLLION dollars! Man, nothing says you’ve got your bloody talons on the pulse of humor like a 12 year old Austin Powers joke. Blart. The chase eventually ends with a chain around Jason’s neck and our mongoloid mangler being dragged headfirst into the business end of an industrial wood chipper (which I would’ve expected to immediately screech to a halt once the first few feet of chain got wrapped up inside the blades, but hey, movies and stuff) which shuts down after leaving the top of Jay’s dome looking like he just tried on a toupee made of piranhas. I could have done without the Velveeta that Whitney vomits on us in triumph over her captor (“Jason! Say hi to Mommy…IN HELL!”), but as far as endings go, I’ll allow it. No yellow card.
Sorry. The Tomb’s marketing department told me to try and pander to the World Cup crowd. I wouldn’t review Shaolin Soccer, so this was the best I could do to get them to stop poking me with their stupid marketing pitchforks…still don’t know how those slipped by me during the annual budget review…
Immediately following the figurative disposal of the villain is the literal disposal of the villain, and this is where the movie’s second GIANT ass barb falls squarely betwixt my seat cushions. Okay, if you were in Clay and/or Whitney’s shoes, and you’d just stopped a crazed serial killer in a mask who slaughtered a dozen or so people around you… What would you do? Yes, you’d call the police and have them rush out to you immediately while keeping a sentinel-like watch over said murderer’s body, probably while wielding a large, sharp, weaponized gardening tool. And if you’ve seen slasher movies at any time in your life, you’d go the extra mile and chop off his hands and feet, crush his head with a cinder block, and/or park a tractor on top of his corpse as added insurance. What do the siblings do? Dump his body into the lake. What do you think happens when the cops show up, find a whole bunch of bodies, and a brother and sister say “It wasn’t us! It was this big redneck in a hockey mask that we managed to kill in self-defense, then dumped his body in the lake! No, really, we dumped him in the lake! Why!? Uhm… hey, Clay? Why did we dispose of the biggest piece of evidence corroborating our story again? Shit. We’re going to prison, aren’t we?”. But no, none of that matters, because the whole lake dumping thing is done solely for the goofy last-minute movie jump scare attempt when Jason leaps out of the water to finish off our heroes before the end credits roll. This is what happens when you get a friggin’ music video director to helm your slasher flick.
I know movie criticism has a long history of people saying, “That sucked! I could’ve done a better job and I don’t even make movies!”, but in this case I have to agree. As of this review, I’m happy to report that we can at least find solace in knowing that none of F13‘s trio of writers has done anything of note in the half-decade since, possibly crushed by the torrent of hate mail from the Friday Faithful following this fart-in-the-wind remake. As for director Nispel, he seems to have ignored the bloody writing on his bathroom walls and chosen to soldier on with pissing off children of the ’80s, because his next credit was that Conan the Barbarian remake. As least the “slick kinetic Hollywood production” look fits something like a swords & sandals monster mash better than a slasher production, because aside from the hockey mask and all of the stuff lifted directly from the previous F13 installments, this is in no way a Friday the 13th movie. Just like other Michael Bay productions like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in no way represent their source material in any means other than the duplicitous “name only”. Jason looks like he’s been sticking to a strict routine on a BowFlex he found in one of the abandoned cabins, and has apparently mastered electrical engineering with one of those “earn your degree through the mail” programs. I blame the deaths of these people squarely on YOUR shoulder pads, quasi-celebrity Sally Struthers!
Final judgment time: Friday the 13th has some decent violence, but any idiot with a blunt instrument can commit violence. A butcher can turn meat into a meal with skill. An artist can turn violence into entertainment with creativity. In the hands of these people, it’s just “stab stab kill kill”. An uninteresting story with even less interesting characters. A lazy for-profit attempt on a storied slasher franchise (just go with it) disguised as an homage to a legend when it’s really just an excuse to reuse someone else’s leftovers and try to call it your own fine cuisine creation. I’d rather watch Jason Takes Manhattan for a weekend straight than bother with this “re-visioning” by people blinded with dollar signs made of diarrhea. When you try to legitimize an illegitimate genre like cheesy ’80s slashers, you miss the point entirely. They put so much effort into being tongue-in-cheek that the whole affair ends up being way too on-the-nose, which eventually turns it into some kind of awful tongue-in-nose thing that’s just nauseating. And that’s all the time I’m willing to put into this review. Join us next time to see who the next slasher icon is to be put through Tinseltown’s imperfect cloning machine in “Shake, Bake, & Remake Part 2”! But for now, as Uncle Gunter would say, “Leb wohl mein kleines Schnitzel-Abgründe!”
Moral of the Story: You know those parents of handicapped children who say that one day their special needs child could grow up to be the President of the USA or some other really huge achievement as such? Jason Voorhees just makes me want to go down to the Special Olympics and smother every last potential serial killer in the lot before they can come to maturity and take their hatred for the world out on me. I am the comic relief for any slasher movie, so there’s no way I make it long enough to hear the awful nu-metal shit they’re gonna shove into the end credits!
“Damn it Steve, if you forgot to pack the tweezers my brow line is going to look like a Pakistani during No Shave November! We have to go home and get them NOW!”
See what I mean?! Switch out the Star Wars shirt for something Godzilla and this guy’s the movie version of Brother Ragnarok!… and clicking that link will result in no support for my argument, because Raggy doesn’t have a pic of himself on his profile… blart.
Jason is terrifying enough on his own. These two just walked in on him jacking his jerky to bathing suit photos of his mom. They’re scarred for life. But, on the plus side, at least their lives won’t last much longer!
If you thought termites were hard to get rid of, once you’ve got a Voorhees in your floor boards you might as well just burn the place down and start over… on another continent.
“Excedrin Headache #13: the camping trip”
Wearing a pillow case on his head and standing next to a burning effigy?! I know he’s a vicious serial killer, but I never realized Jason was a white supremacist too! Things are gonna be very awkward with Candyman at this year’s MurderCon.
No, I haven’t. I don’t really like Whitney Cummings, and I’ve heard that show was unwatchable anyway. It was also canceled a year ago, so… no, poster, I haven’t seen ‘Whitney.
“Are you on drugs, young man? Because, to be honest, I want a new drug. One that won’t make me sick. One that won’t make me crash my car, or make me feel 3 feet thick.”
That moment you realize that the secret ingredient in your buddy’s “special brownies” wasn’t marijuana…
No, before you say anything, I didn’t boot up the Maniac remake by mistake. Believe me, I really wish that was the case, but no such luck.
The Invisible Man? The Mummy? Darkman?! Nobody knew who Jason was supposed to be at last year’s Halloween party, and every time someone asked he stabbed them in the eyes with candy corn!
FYI – he was dressed as Hush. JV’s a big Batman fan.
All she’s missing is a naked Richard Branson clutched on her back like a baby lemur.
Kids, never go drinking with William Tell. That guy doesn’t just carry a chip on his shoulder, he’s got the whole stack of Pringles. After a few Pink Squirrels it always comes back to that stupid apple and, well, this happens.
Michael Bay’s veiled threat to ruin the Puppet Master franchise next… oh wait, Charles Band’s been doing that since 1993. Never mind.
This is why you’re supposed to take your contacts out at night, folks. The warnings on the box are there for a reason!
“Hail Hydra.” (I’m not 3 months late, I’m just moving up the timetable for bringing it back.)
There you go, ladies. Don’t say I never gave you anything… well, other than the creeps… and hepatitis.
Anubis will return next time in
“Pizza Puss Reborn”