Archive for April, 2012


The Innkeepers: Clean Linens and Dead Ends

a Primal Root review

Okay Gang, I’m going to try REAL hard not to spoil anything about “The Innkeepers.” You have my word that spoilers will be kept to a minimum.

I remember hearing of Ti West’s “The House of the Devil” through the horror fan grapevine as a cinematic experience those who watched either loved or hated. I decided to give it a go and became a member of the former category. I loved “The House of the Devil” and felt it’s quirky, patient approach to building suspense and creating a genuine atmosphere of dread was so refreshing it almost felt totally new in a cinematic culture where most films are slashed to ribbons in the editing process and paced to the heart rate of a Starbucks junkie. Sure, this technique is nothing new and was perfected by the likes of Hitchcock and De Palma and Carpenter, but to see a young, fresh out the gates filmmaker like Ti West utilize a form of cinematic story telling that seemed all but forgotten instantly made the young man an artist I wanted to keep tabs on.

Enter, “The Innkeepers”, West’s most recent effort. The story of two slacker employees Claire (Sara Paxton from The Last House on the Left remake) and Luke (Pat Healy from Rescue Dawn) of the very soon to be shut down and demolished Yankee Pedlar Inn, a three story, turn of the century kind of place with awesome wallpaper, hard wood floors and the obligatory legend of a tragic death and enduring haunting therein. As the last two employees on staff at the Yankee Pedlar, Clair and Luke take the opportunity to down some cheap beer and launch a full scale investigation into the legendary haunting of deceased bride-to-be, Madeline O’Malley which Luke claims to have encountered on several occasions.

The duo busts out their recording equipment to try and capture some EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) and set the stage for the possibility of a ghostly encounter. And honestly, one gets the impression that these two are investigating more our of sheer boredom than any passionate interest. However, as some curious happenings begin to manifest around Clair and Luke they are advised by one of the only guests they have that weekend, Leanne (Kelly McGillis from Top Gun (!) ) who is a former TV actress turned psychic medium.  She comes to Claire as a friend and offers a possible guide to the spirit world while also offering some well timed significant New Age wisdom and a dark warning…

“The Innkeepers” is one scary mother fucking movie. It finally dawned on me that, really, if there’s one genre of horror sure to really get me rattled it’s the kind that involves hauntings and ghosts. Ghosts are a tricky subject in horror movies because they can be handled improperly like they were in the remake of “Paranormal Activity” (2009) or “Insidious” (2011) where everything is revealed, everything explained and everything is showcased in the light of day and leaves nothing to the imagination. I have always been of the opinion that scariest thing we will ever face is that which we don’t understand and what’s left up to us to imagine. Always, this will be far more frightening than anything a filmmaker and his effects crew could ever create and showcase.

For the majority of “The Innkeepers” we join Claire and Luke in their final, modest,  quest to seek any kind of proof of the supernatural at The Yankee Peddler. We see only what they see, hear what they hear and many times adopt their point of view as the camera track closely behind them keep the frame claustrophobic and tense as the viewer joins them in the investigation. Often there’s nothing but silence or the hum of static piping through headphones as they listen to what they’re recording. I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation being drawn in both wanting something to happen and being incredibly fucking nervous as to the when and what might be revealed or heard. It’s a film that realizes we’ve seen this sort of film before and that we are familiar with the beats. “The Innkeepers” defies our expectations and repeatedly scares the shit out of the viewer. They may be jump scares, but they are well earned and serve the purpose of the story at hand.

Not only are the scares and techniques used to deliver them excellent, but so is the cast at hand. Our star player, Sara Paxton gives a very genuine and game performance as the adorable, nerdy slacker, Claire. She finds herself in the center of the storm during the proceedings and manages to play up her distress well and also proves to be quite the comedian to boot. Paxton is imminently watchable and young actress I look forward to seeing more from. Pat Healy as Luke is a great foil to Claire and generates some great laughs with his deadpan, sarcastic performance. Like Paxton, Healy is called upon to both be very believably funny and terrified. The brother pulls it off in spades. Kelly McGillis is fantastic as the resident psychic, Leanne, a once famous TV star with a gift for communicating with the other side. As the films most prominent supporting player she proves believable and essential to the tale and really grounds the film in reality. “The Innkeepers” benefits greatly from her presence.

“The Innkeepers” brings to mind Kubrick’s “The Shining” by way of Kevin Smith’s “Clerks”. It’s the story of two intelligent but unmotivated young adults working a literal dead-end job and floating rudderless. When Clair is asked by Leanne what she does Claire can only respond with an awkward and unsure “I’m kind of between things.” as if she’s never given a single thought to what will be coming next for her.  Claire and Luke are very real and well developed characters that feel like people we know. Hell, what might be even stranger is that these characters might even be many of us, stuck in lame jobs and having resigned ourselves to them with no clue as to how we could ever better our situation.  These characters wonder the silent, ancient halls of The Yankee Peddler looking for the smallest evidence that there is something more there. Evidence that there could be any truth to legend of Madeline O’Malley. It may seem like a futile search to some, pointless even when faced with the crushing reality of oncoming unemployment, but the truth is that some of us might never find anything better than what we’ve got and grown accustomed to. Many find themselves in the exact same trap Claire and Luke find themselves in. Walking the halls of the place they can’t stand in a kind of purgatory.I can think of few things scarier than that.

Well, beside mother fucking ghosts…

The Innkeepers is an intelligent and brilliantly constructed horror film. One that doesn’t spoon feed it’s story or characters to the audience.  The Yankee Peddler itself feels like a character int he film, much in the same way The Overlook Hotel played the same sort of significance in the proceedings of The Shining. Every hall tells a story, every room has witnessed thousands of tales unfold. One can only imagine what frightening memories such a place might have. And this is the ultimate strength if “The Inkeepers”, we are given the ammunition necessary to fill in the blanks and imagine many of the films horrors. Some are blatant and in your face, but “The Innkeepers” is a smart enough film to allow room for mystery, ambiguity and interpretation.  The mark of truly good film is that it trust it’s audience and doesn’t talk down to it. “The Innkeepers” is just such a film.

It’s a slow burn that takes it’s time to build up the suspense and lay on the dread as thick as molasses while dropping in some well timed laughs and plenty of fun, snappy banter.  Ti West knocked it out of the park with this one, yes, “The Innkeepers” is well worth the visit.

Stay Trashy!



Uncle Grumpyfuk Remembers: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

written by Uncle Grumpyfuk

Welcome my fellow Gommorrahns to another episode of Uncle Grumpyfuk’s insightful and …uh, evinrude observations concerning …cinematic… intacies..intricies..intr..  …in-tri-ca-ci-ties… intricate stuff, whatever! FUCK! Sit d.. shove those poultry magazines and crusty tissues off the couch and throw that towel over the dark spot, NEVERMIND THE SMELL!!! ..sigh- and sit down. Shit, please stop my brain from spinning oh Crom.
I apologize folks, the tabs will be kicking in any minute and I’ll have some energy and get the peach fuzz off my brain- you know that Beatles (*) tune ;

Well she was just un-der-eight,
and it was tastin’ mighty great,
when I heard a knock,
a knock on my front door-or!
Yeah i-i-in came the cops and her pareeents! Ohhhh,
I was-still-holding-the-Mazola-

and she-was paaaassed-ooout aawwwn the-floor!

Well Uncle Grumpyfuk’s having one of those kinda mornings, I’m SURE you know what I mean.

(*) I’m sure you’ve recently heard of the lucky asswipe that hit an estate sale and found hand written lyrics by members of the Fab Four (**) amongst some old paperwork. He’s going to make some serious bank, lucky fucker – these are actually some of the alternate lyrics, released by (***)

(**) In actuality the lyrics presented herein were NOT written by the Beatles. Neither the cute one or the wussie one, nor the good one or the lucky one had anything to do whatsoever with these lyrics, it was me. Seriously, it was…what? You think the Beatles could write lyrics that good?!? You are fucking insane.

(***) Actually no such website exists that I know of,I didn’t really check or anything, if there is it was a lucky guess- as far as I’m concerned I made that up too. Yes I did indeed! I know- O Henry, Saki, Shatner, Dickens, yep I know – thanks!

Whew, hell I haven’t even told you what movie we’re doing..oh, well I guess you read the title. Ok fine Monsieur Smartass! Ahem, today I’ll be reviewing a movie dear to Uncle Grumpyfuk’s heart, directed by the master Ray Dennis Steckler,with a title that deserves an Oscar in itself;  “The Incredibly Strange Creatures That Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies” , top that Scorsayze.. Scoresasee…Scorsaysie…Coppola! You bitch!

It begins with the highest crane shot I’ve ever seen of a rollercoaster in an amusement park on Long Beach that no longer exists, because the human race sucks. Next we find ourselves down in the park amongst the crowd in front of Mme Estrella’s Gypsy Fortune Telling tent and the camera moves forward, while filming(!) such innovative technique from a young Steckler! Amazing. Then, we move through the curtain and are transported, as if by magic, inside the tent! Huh, ‘Avatar in 3’D’ – phttt,what hog-waste!
We meet our sultry clairvoyant trying to attract a pudgy boozehound with her crotch-sweat, he actually reviles her and suggests she engage in intimate physical relations with one of her fellow carnival workers who was afflicted from birth with horrific physical handicaps, indicating that their unfortunate disfigurement delegated them as something less than normal! Enraged at his stunning political incorrectness and aggrieved for the delicate emotions of the disgusting freaks she calls forth Ortega, her debonaire companion, who’s makeup job of cotton swabs and cigarette ashes would not be equaled until a full 3 decades later with ‘A Joan Rivers Christmas Extravaganza’. Ortega’s Clark Gable-esque features and manner cannot help but impress- oh Ortega you devil! ..and the way Steckler executes the scene, with Ortega entering from behind the curtains, as if he emerged from a portal to another dimension, once again,amazing.
Well, Ortega subdues the slobbering sot and holds him wallowing helplessly as our ravishing gypsy demonstrates what happens when you try the Chinese water torture with corrosive acid, fun stuff indeed! She then commands Ortega to put the ‘feelthy peeg’ in the back with the others and our hopes begin to soar.
The first act is over and as the credits begin there appears a nice semblance of our director’s face which, as the credits proceed, evolves, like magic into the hideous countenance of Eddie Van Halen! Utter, soul-wrenching fright ensues. What an innovative and chilling intro by Steckler. The phantom cry from very shade of DW Griffith himself, at the moment that scene was originally shot, could be heard across the unimaginable distances from limbo itself claiming, ” Heeeelp! Talulah Bankhead and Barbara Stanwick are after me, trying to lop of my testicles with a crosscut saw and Hilary Clinton isn’t getting any younger!” Higher praise one simply could not ask for.
The next scene begins abruptly with the discordant laughter of a mechanical carnival clown that looks like Ross Perot and another head, a pirate or a priest or something, that those two assholes on that antique pickers show would give 30 bucks for, for both ,then we’re outside a cafe/dinner theater like in Amsterdam except there aren’t 7 people and a goat fucking on stage while salad is being served. What a shame, that always gets my appetite going!
A couple I like to call ‘Pat and Pat’, a rather masculine female (Steckler’s actual wife at the time) that looks like Mary Ellen from the Waltons and a rather feminine male that looks like Brigitte Nielsen are doing a pretty cool dance number, (what the fuck do I know), they finish and Pat dashes back to her room (see what I did there? that’s called…some writing term, shit, I don’t know) to swill Witch Hazel when she spots a dark feline creature glaring balefully at her from atop a box of Whiskas, and a terrified shriek erupts from under her boobs – her familiar has found her once more and she shudders as she hears the Dark Lord’s crappy voice singing ‘Bim Bam Baby’. Soon she knows she must join Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack and endure Sammie’s Uncle Tom routine for all eternity, that there is no escape. At that moment however her manager bursts into the room, scoops up the hissing monster and tosses it out into the hall- slamming the door before enraged Sir Scruffalot could re-enter the room, problem solved!
 Now, finally we’re introduced to the main character, the true rebellious teen idol of the 1960s; Cash Flag, otherwise known as our beloved director Ray Dennis Steckler! Acting, direction,  production, what a talent! Yes my friends Cash Flag, three times as cool as James Dean and Steckler didn’t have to take it up the ass to attain his fame like that fucking toy-boy poser! Cash is tre-fucking-cool, we open at his pad where he and his hip Greek buddy Harold, (who is from Greece and has a voice like Ahnold before he screwed his housekeeper and himself in the rump) are kickin’ back talking about Cash’s old lady and her uptight but totally fuckable mom, when Harold suggests Cash possibly get some means of employment to improve his relationship and get in that milf’s ass! Cash, horrified at the thought of a job delivers one of his classic lines which says it all, “The world is here to be enjoyed, not to make you depressed, that’s what work does, it makes you feel depressed.” Yeah, fuckin’a right buddy, we should all live off of gummi bears and expresso and crap out the window, hell yeah! ..Anyway the ‘dynamic two guys’ head over to Cash’s squeeze’s pad where her mom is giving her shit for not putting out for the the ‘nice boy’, you’ve all heard it before girls, I know you have. They take off and hit the beach where they frolic,  see, when you’re cool like Cash you can do shit and not worry about it – you can frolic, ya know what I’m saying? Word.
         The trio go over to the amusement park and decide to ride on the roller coaster, Cash tries to persuade his bird to give him a bj for the ‘fun photo’ camera but no dice, so they hit the Gonad Lift and hock luggies into the baby cribs passing by below, good old fun like kids used to have the kind of fun that’s been taken away from them, just like lynchings! It’s terrible.
Meanwhile Pat is still swilling on her Witch Hazel, an oreo is on stage telling the worst jokes with the delivery of a third grader with autism, then Pat and Pat begin their act with Pat staggering around like Whitney Houston on meth..oh come on, screw you,  no one was surprised about that shit! ..and Pat ends up faceplanting on stage like Whit..oh fine, like your mother after a night out with the Cult of the Red Hat, yeah! Ha! However the crowd was entertained so all is well. She rushes backstage followed by her oppressive manager, and dives back into the bottle. He tells her to continue drinking- the audience loved it and it gave him sadistic pleasure at watching her humiliate herself  and Pat onstage, it is really funny when you think about it, and that if she quits, she’s fired.
Later that night they’re still riding the coaster, apparently the operator suffered a major stroke getting a hummer from a 10-year-old for a caramel apple and a coke razor necklace so they’re stuck up there for the moment! Haunted by her encounter with Sir Scruffalot, Pat seeks solace from Mme Estrella who tells her of two possibilities concerning her future, that she will die very soon or get knocked up by a spade with a huge choad sending her fleeing in terror, out of the tent and knocking Harold head-over-heels as the kids stand outside the tent. The intrigued youngsters enter the gypsy’s tent to see what the hubbub is about, however our hot-ass gypsy’s clairvoyant vision is clouded by the smell of Harold’s hair cream so she basically gives them the same old ‘one of you will die!’ spiel. This enrages Cash who swears bloody revenge on the smokin’ cougar, the Roma bitch stole Harold’s wallet though so she’s got it coming. Oh man that mole on her face does something down in the groinal region, you know? Sure you do! Fuck yeah! Groins!
The kids head back out into the park and they find some hootchie’s dancin’ on stage, led by Estrella’s sister, the exotic and mysterious Carmalita, with a look so alluring it would make oatmeal remain at room temperature! Cash is immediately hooked as if he’d received a particularly tasty dose of smack, or in Carmalita’s case, smuck. He ditches his friends like a pair of tranny hookers after your wad is blown and enters the tent.
Outside the tent the carnival barker asks one of the hotter dancing girls if she’d like to go out on a date, now check this out, at her house, cooking steak for him in her kitchen! That is some serious Fonz-like coolness there my friends, yes sirree! Since I heard that line 4 women have slapped the shit out of me and another told me to ‘get fucked’- 2 of them because I tried that line! I’ve got to work on that one, learn to make it work, yes sir!
Now comes the first musical/dance number with a bevy of super-hot dancing girls in slaughtered zebra flesh outfits (yum!), and a troupe leader with a set of gams that go up to her eyebrows, yow!  They do a cool number then Carol Kaye sings “It Only Hurts When He Doesn’t Use Lube”, a softer/slower song, she’s got a great voice, it’s a nice song. (See how nice I’m being? See, I like this film and Steckler! Understand? Otherwise…)
Then comes Carmalita’s ‘strip’-‘tease’, no pole – I know, can you believe it? Cash stares, riveted, as Carmalita proceeds to.. not really strip and.. not really dance… oh baby! As he watches, like some phantom from a haunted tobacco field, Ortega materializes in a puff of smoke behind Cash and hands him a note from Carmalita asking if he’s interested in a threesome with Estrella and herself? Cash can hardly contain his excitement, lucky fucker!
After ‘accidentally’ barging into the dancers’ dressing room, no bush or anything by the way, not even a nipple(!), Cash finds the gypsy strumpet in her dank and poorly lit dressing room. She bids him go behind some curtains and he excitedly envisions a rickety cot with stained sheets a-waiting, yet when the curtains part he’s confronted with the dreaded ‘hypnotic cheese wheel’, that, you know, hypnotizes you..with cheese..surrounded by Ortega and her sister. He falls helplessly under the irresistible spell of the cheese wheel, the smell of stilton is simply more than his weakened senses could take. Mme. Estrella succeeds in mesmerizing our helpless teen heartthrob as Ortega huffs on dried cow dung and Carmalita..just sorta stands there and one wonders, where can I find a hot gypsy outfit in a childs size 5?!? Estrella commands Cash to…do something, we’re not actually let in on it, you think we would be but ..oh, I see! Steckler is building suspense! How could I have doubted his genius? Shit. Then the camera spins round and around, real artistic-like, fuck it’s things like that that make the universe worth not destroying!
           Back at the music theater a really really white guy on bennys is droning on,wondering where your heart is so he can cut it out and devour it, then the oreo introduces Pat and Pat who begin their dance routine, then we are treated, nay, honored to behold the most awesome murder scene in the history of motion pictures, it’s just that damn great, man!!!

Pat and Pat begin their routine as usual, unfortunately Pat, having gone to see Mme. Estrella, had neglected to down her required dose of Witch Hazel so she’s actually dancing ok when she turns around to face Pat, and there, looming, like the silent-film Nosferatu rising from his coffin, his eyes transfixing your gaze as icy terror tugs at the shoe-strings of your crappy-ass Walmart Nike ripoff sneakers, like turning on the radio to be confronted with the life-stealing, banshee-like wail of Glee, and when you lunge at the control knob to change the station it breaks off in your trembling hand…wait,what the fuck was I talking about? …oh, right, cough… as Pat turns there in front of her looms Cash, our beloved Cash, Ray Dennis Steckler himself, standing,  raised blade in hand, with a look in his eyes that will haunt your mortal soul,( yeah that’s right, you ain’t going nowhere after you croak, suckers!), the intense helplessness, the visible inner struggle between the opposing forces of his two brains (wink!), the feral rage invoked by the vengeful gypsy..who’s still hot as shit, I don’t care I totally would, that crusty wart might feel good on the tip …sigh, anyway, all of this and probably less does Pat see in his frenzied stare as the knife flashes downward like the sword of Damocles itself into her.. cheekbone. ..( How is THAT for a run-on sentence my fellow miscreants? I coulda broken it up but fuck it, a new personal record! Yeah!) The wounded and stunned Pat hits the floor like soggy hamburger meat and Cash proceeds to stab her fallen body over and over, enjoying the delicious warmness of here life’s blood covering his hands,mmmm. Then he turns his basilisk gaze to Pat, who is standing there totally aroused and shitting himself, and again the blade slices down, in a downward direction, and Pat turns to show how a cheap bloody make-up job can look pretty darn cool. He hits the floor to join Pat and their running blood mingles together as the delighted audience howls for more! The zombie-like Cash, his mission accomplished, exits stage left and chaos ensues as the audience rushes forward to take photos and vids to post on youtube for a thousand bucks, and a couple of particularly savvy souls gather up the blood to sell on ebay – smart! Let that be a lesson to you all, don’t squander a perfectly good opportunity to profit off of the misfortunes of others! You snooze, you lose!
What a scene, you just want to hit the pause button, whip it out and go at it until a 2-ply sheet of Bounty simply ain’t enough, you know what I mean!?! ..and isn’t that what art is all about? Uncle Grumpyfuk says hell yes! You’re fuckin’a right it is! Groins! Woo!!!

Next our ingenious director and crew really strut their stuff and we see Cash thrashing about in his bead, haunted by the coolest dream sequence in all of film, I am fucking serious damn it! Super-imposed images flash across the screen, the dancing girls and Cash, played by Pat, with Darth Maul’s makeup, dancing and whirling around, smoke, fire, camel toes, Estella, Ortega’s dashing features, all choreographed and filmed by the future award-winning crew. It’s a haunting and totally addictive scene you just want to watch over and over, it’s like smack without the puking! Glorious.
The next morning Cash cruises over to his old lady’s house to see if she’s sorry for being such an uptight bitch, when, during the conversation she begins to spin an open umbrella which vaguely reminds us, and Cash, of the hypnotic cheese wheel. This pisses him off and he begins to throttle Angie Baby’ – she deserves some roughing up anyway for that crap attitude of hers. Gotta keep’em in line or before you know it they’ll want to start driving and voting and shit! Crazy times. He gleefully continues, enjoying the warm feel of her convulsing trachea in his cold hands when he sees the image of Pat’s face and squeezes Angie’s delicate neck all the harder, achieving a righteous boner in the process. Suddenly her brother Madison,who can’t wait any longer for his turn, throws Cash to the ground and as Angie stares with bemused curiosity at Cash, her brother takes over and finishes throttling her, living the dream.
Cash, meanwhile, flees the scene and wanders around the city, giving us some great camera shots of an LA lost in the past and eventually he makes his way back to the carnival for some serious payback for the playful gypsy duo. His mistake however was in not bringing along his one-man Greek posse for backup, and Cash is quickly hypnotized all over again and once more sent out to kill..someone, which turns out the be the dancer who was going to cook steak for the tre-cool barker. We arrive at her pad and she’s about to light up when she looks down her long poorly-lit hallway and spots Steckler, knife in hand, stalking down the hall towards her, knife again raised for action and dispatches her after a brief struggle. Then the barker knocks on the door, sees the light go out, smells that hot poon a-waiting’, or so he thinks as he enters,calling her name. WE see his silhouette and then Cash’s silhouette behind his, knife raised, end of scene. Spooky stuff folks – Hitchcock Shmitchcock, this is the shit right here!

Now we’re treated to the best of the dance/song numbers as Carol Kaye and the girls get ‘Shook out of Shape’! I fucking love this song so fucking much it’s almost criminal, and the addition of Carol in a hilarious but totally hot rooster tail outfit and the smoking hot dancing girls…whew, damn, settle down boy, settle down! Apparently the dancers had no rehearsal time for these numbers but those bare legs are a kicking and pumping, yea-howdy!!!

After dispatching the dancing girl at her house Cash mechanically heads back to the carnival to get his ‘reward’ from the gypsy couple, woo-hoo! However his reward,instead of a nice threesome turns out to be a bunch of acid in the face – I’d take the two gypsy bitches myself but to each his own! Our poor hero stand as the corrosive liquid dissolves his pristine features, though we don’t actually see anything, turning him into a ..mixed up zombie! somehow..or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Estrella and Ortega lead the helpless post-op teen to be put with the ‘others’,however as the cage door opens the mixed up zombies escape by..walking out of the door! I guess it takes mixed up zombies a while to figure things out, you know? They then attack Estrella and Ortega, can you believe it?!? After supplying the pathetic creatures with a filthy cage for a home, 2 bowls of gruel a day and hourly anal punishment this is the thanks they get? Talk about gratitude! Jeez! Outnumbered, the conniving couple quickly succumb to the zombies’ mixed up assault and we shed a tear; never again will we be dazzled by Ortega’s suave manner and good looks, or be turned on by Estrella’s mole,it’s almost too much to bear! Sniff.
Hearing the commotion Carmalita moves to investigate but is quickly dispatched by a zombie, then all hell breaks loose. The zombies wander into the cafe and then the last dance number, the now famous ‘Zombie Stomp’ begins. After the entertainment the cops burst in and start shooting everything that moves, followed by Harold, Angie Baby and Madison, who are searching for Cash to get their paychecks! Cash, seeing them enter, jumps out of the window and tries to take a powder, hoping to avoid paying any of the actors involved in the film now that the movies is ending, so the trio takes off after him, followed by the police, sounds familiar eh? Ha!
The chase moves to the ocean and when he gets a clear shot the cop raises his pistol. “Do it!” scream the actors, “The insurance company will pay us what he owed us!”,so he takes the shot. Poor Cash plummets onto the rocks below and into the ocean,but miraculously makes it back to shore, still hoping to escape- one tough motherfucker! Yet he finally collapses on the sandy ground and buys the farm, and a not terribly bright and rather lazy and cheap star has been extinguished, sniff, and the actors sue the insurance company and get their dough after 2 years of court appearances and Angie Baby blowing the judge. The End.

There you have it folks and just in the nick of time, Uncle Grumpyfuk just ran out! Time to go on the hunt if you know what I mean! (wink!wink!) So until next time my fellow ugnugs, this is your favorite little teddy bear all covered with mold and spunk reminding you, “There’s no such thing as too much lube or too small a hole!” Groins! Woo!!!

-Uncle Grumpyfuk


Guess the Garbage Vol. 2 (NSFW)

Hey Gang! It’s that time for another entry in our “Guess the Garbage” screen cap competition! If you think you know where an image is from,please, list the number and state your guess in the comments section! First to guess the correct movie will get the glory and bragging rights! Take a gander at the images below and get your mind in the dumpster! Good luck and Stay Trashy!





The Big Bird Cage identified by shortsbynathan!



Pieces identified by shortsbynathan!


The Prowler identified by ZombieFeast


Castle Freak: Inherit Madness

a Primal Root review

Inheriting a castle in Italy has to be pretty dang cool. Finding out you’re descended from royalty? That’s the icing on top of the hoity-toity cake to which so many aspire. Yeah, it all seems great on paper until you take your horrendously dysfunctional family there to assess the situation and sell that hunk of junk off to the highest bidder.  It’s drafty, dull, dusty and, making matters worse,  your wife hates your guts no matter where you take her and the one surviving kid is still blind and your single digit son is still pavement pizza due to your dumb, alcoholic ass driving the family mini…vehicle over a small hill and flipping the vehicle at 25 MPH.  Or 85 MPH in sped up film time…

And then, of course, there’s a horrifying, psychotic, mutilated freak chained up in the castle’s basement. Buyer beware.


Castle freak is, at it’s very core, the story of a family dealing with a heart crushingly tragic incident where the family patriarch and reformed alcoholic, John Riley (played pitch perfectly by Gordon collaborator Jeffery Combs) managed to get completely shit-faced before picking up his teenage daughter and 5 year old son during a torrential down pour and then swerving off road resulting in the death of the son and blinding daughter,  Rebecca (played by a very game and sympathetic Jessica Dollarhide).  Of course, there are some resentment issues between John and his gorgeous wife, Susan (always reliable Barbara Crampton) who apparently lives to torture and be spiteful towards John every second of every single day therefore turning his life into a Hell on Earth of guilt, regret, and shame.

As you can tell, the story is already pretty dreadful before there’s even a freak for the family to contend with.

The Reilly’s  move into their new castle after the old woman who was living there died in her bed from a heart attack after beating the chained up freak in the basement within and inch of it’s life which looked to have been a long standing supper time tradition and Casa de le Freak.  This poor creature has obviously never known affection, love or humanity living a life of agony chained up and naked down in the dank bowels of The Reilly castle. Much like John Reilly himself, who is living a life of pain due to his past mistakes and the fact his wife reminds him about it on a near minute by minute basis that he’s responsible for the death of their son.

Castle Freak is a far cry from the what we’ve come to expect from a Gordon, Combs, Crampton, collaboration. Typically fun,m over the top and colorful, Castle Freak is drastically different. Thee pacing takes it’s time, and the whole story is just gruelingly sad. This is not Re-Animator or From Beyond by a long shot. In fact, it’s a very dark and honest look at redemption, forgiveness and family as John must defend his family from what could be seen as his horrific doppelganger, his id or symbolizing the young Reilly boy whose memory they still cling to and is tearing the whole family apart.  There are no laughs to be found here and  no easy outs in Castle Freak.  This is straight ahead horror dealing with some pretty real issues. Only these real issues are set against the backdrop of an Italian castle with a freak looking to molest your cute little blind teenage daughter and frame you for the murder of a hooker and your housekeeper. For a freak, this guy is surprisingly crafty.

Castle Freak Foreplay: Not nearly as fun as you'd imagine.

One night, after Susan gives John a particularly vindictive verbal thrashing, John heads to a local watering hole where he quickly jumps off the wagon. And who can really blame the guy? He takes shot, after shot of some kind of counterfeit rot gut and ends up taking a whore back to his castle’s wine seller where he eagerly chows down on her bowl of “Down South” spaghetti.Again, you can totally understand his need to feel the touch and connection to another person.  Trouble is, he happens to be performing in front of a captive audience as the Castle Freak studies John’s moves like he’s preparing for the S.A.T.’s.  And you know castle freaks, they are more than happy to go after the sloppy seconds…

As our hooker goes to leave the castle, it’s resident freak abducts her, chains her up and has his way with her including a graphic nipple eating and a sickening reveal of the Freak’s genital region that’s sure to make your stomach churn. In fact, the film seems to focus quite liberally on the Freak’s disturbing genitals which, I suppose, does make some sense since that is kind of the Freak’s motivating factor. Looking for affection, someone to be close and have sex with.  Or, director Stuart Gordon could have simply just wanted to showcase a little something for the ladies. Soak it in, girls! Still, even though the Freak, in my estimation, is only looking for compassion, tenderness and a connection to another living creature, he can;t for the life of him understand how to give these things. Remember, this is a person whose entire life since birth has been spend locked away, abused and mutilated only ever understanding violence and pain.  How Freak goes about violently raping the hooker, yet mimicking what he witnessed John do to her, furthers this point. That violence begets violence.

Feel the Excitement!

But, I digress, at the threat of spoiling the whole sleazy, blood encrusted, drippy scrotum flopping affair, let’s just say Castle Freak is a one sad, violent, and effective story of redemption. The story of one man’s quest to find meaning and forgiveness in a world that refuses to see past his mistakes and misdeeds and see the man who is in need of compassion and just wants to feel human again. Now, am I talking about John or the Castle Freak of our title or both?

Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak pulls off an impressive feat in capturing some very deep, dark, human situations and maintaining a fairly well paced and interesting story. As a viewer you grow to like most of the characters, and even the unlikable few are at the very least, you can understand where they’re coming from.  And for a film made in a creepy castle with a miniscule budget, Castle Freak works thanks to some spot on performances, creative shot compositions, great make-up/gore effects and also gains a lot of atmosphere from the genuine Italian castle where the action is set. Which just happens to be owned by the president of Full Moon Pictures.

Castle Freak isn’t exactly a fun, crowd pleasing movie experience but is still a fine piece of trash cinema. One that will certainly speak to anyone who has ever made a grievous mistake and feels they are destined to pay for it the rest of their lives.  Even if we can;t directly relate viewers will empathize and come to understand that there really are a number of fates that can feel worse than death. Only through love, forgiveness and understanding can we ever truly regain what makes us human.

And a good bit of reconstructive surgery and upper plate dental work in the case of The Castle Freak…

Love may be blind but she can still smell you, Freak.

Stay Trashy!



“Bride of Chucky”: Une petite morte never killed anybody!

a Bootsie Kidd review

It seems too few flicks are able to juggle sheer playfulness, gore, heart, and raunch to give a film one helluva personality.  But with veteran deviants like Jennifer Tilly (Tiffany) and Brad Douriff (Charles ‘Chucky’ Lee Ray [I-IV]) directed by Ronny Yu (Freddy vs Jason), and the Child’s Play franchise’s head wordsman Don Mancini how could ‘Bride’ not have a style unlike any other.  Though Chucky still has as much of that acerbic charm as ever, ‘Bride’ differs from Child’s Play’s usual thrills that made you want to trade in your Cabbage Patch for a Skip-It.  Both hardcore fans and newcomers to the series may be skeptical of this installment’s ability to deliver, and while it’s true that ‘Bride’ brought Child’s Play into a new scope viewers would do well to remember that like our hero, himself, packaging rarely indicates punch.


Yu opens with harkening back to beloved James Whales’ atmospheric originals; a playfully spooky dark and stormy night with an expendable-looking cop nervously slinking through an evidence room.  We’re given just enough lightning flash to make out tagged items from other investigations.  Highlighted are cubbies containing a candid homage to horror legends, Michael, Jason, & Freddie (Jason face & Freddy fingers boxed in together… premonition much?).  All of which seems a not-so-subtle declaration of Chucky’s right to be counted amongst the greats.

Our lackey nabs a bulky black plastic bag and makes his way to the drop-off point, placing a call during which we hear one of Hollywood’s most familiar raspy coos.  Shortly after, owner of said coo makes our film’s first kill and it’s a gusher.  Tiffany slits Officer Crooked’s throat letting us know W.) just where a fair bribe & the moral high-ground can shove it and X.) she isn’t exactly the squeamish type.  Fun side note: he’d just lit a cig possibly making this the best anti-smoking ad ever.  Quothe the Tilly, eat your heart out, Truth.


And just who is this slaughtering pigs right out the gate?**  Enter the ultimate in 90’s sex appeal!  Blonde, boobs, and black leather is how Tiffany rolls, and, baby, it’s just fine by me.  She unwraps the loot and we get our first glimpse of our Chucky’s mug, well, 4/5 of a mug and looking like he’s seen better days.  Still, toy in hand Tiff and swaggers off to hostess one killer crafting montage complete with creepy doll appendages & eyeballs, brutally long hooks, thick black wormy string, and staple gun.  Compounded with Rob Zombie’s rough & dirty tunes, Tiff is like the warped, older sister May’s (2002) parents forbid her to be like.

She’s into crafting. No, really…

She’s into crafting. No, really…

     Next up: the ingénues and oppressive fatherly types.  Gordon Michael Woolvett, as David, reminds us we’re in the 90s with his strategically placed frosted tips and that being gay in this decade’s cinema meant you knew EVERYTING about orchids and were attending Princeton to study theatre arts on your figure skating scholarship.  A young-and-feeling-fresh Katherine Heigl, as sweetheart Jade, flexes her prissy-pants, pouty-face shmacting muscles and veteran John Ritter as Chief Warren Kincaid grunts, barks, and squints, firmly establishing himself as the meddling square that must later die in some satisfyingly creative way.


David is supposed to be Jade’s date for… prom? Yeah, that unnecessary plot-point thankfully fell to the wayside, but Oh, these wile kids!  We soon find Jade’s all googly-eyed for Tiger Beat hunk Jesse (Nick Stabile) who’s hiding in the backseat & reveals himself just long enough to shove his tongue down her throat.  This moment is the climax of their sexual/emotional chemistry throughout the movie.  However, these rascals are soon pulled over by Lt. “Needle Nose” Preston who, by virtue of his unrelenting grin, remains the absolute creepiest character of this film.

Unless you count Damien, (then Robert Arquette, now Alexis Arquette) one of Tiff’s puppies who she couldn’t take less seriously.  In her defense, it’s no easy task with a dude who looks like Marilyn Manson, acts like Brian Hugh Warner, and sounds like Keanu Reeves.  This pseudo-badass is more Creed than Cradle of Filth despite his best efforts to convince Tiffany that he’s the deranged sociopath of her dreams.   He weirdly crawls all over her bed mispronouncing “la petite morte”, the French idiom for an orgasm, but still manages a surprising sultry line, “Come on, Tiffany, let’s die a little”.  But minimal seductive powers are hardly enough to redeem this guy.  “HEYTIFFANY!” is the perfect introduction for Damien.  “Come on, I’ll catch my death out here!” to which she disinterestedly replies “Promises, promises”.  The contrast of her casual confidence against his pasty fragility makes this one of the best delivered lines of the flick & pretty much this sums up every relationship she’s waded through for 10 years since Chucky’s bizarre toy store demise.


Oh, right!  So just prior to Damien whimpering up Tiff’s tree, she successfully summons Chucky’s being back into his trashed little body.  Yu is wise in letting Chucky’s first move be to play on his strong suit, pitter-pattering around and appearing at the perfect moment to monumentally fuck with his prey’s head.  Being the perfect pair, Tiff also likes to play with her food.  She seductively cuffs Lamien to the bed, and though we know his demise is just around the river bend he sports a grin that looks like the unholy hybrid of Gary Busey & Julia Roberts’ mouths.   Upon revealing himself, Chucky tears out Dame’s crucifix labret weirdly rendering a veritable bloodbath, and covers his face with a pillow casually plopping down on it to sit and catch up with Tiff.  It has been 10 years, after all.

He had it coming for the sharpie tribal tatts.

Now, here comes a practical reason for my love of this movie.  Don Mancini, writer of the entire Child’s Play franchise, does a decent of job of getting personalities, chemistry, and history across in a pinch, managing to give you, dear viewer, the info you need while keeping you highly entertained and eager for more.   One of film’s weaknesses, however, is in giving their lackluster teen-vs-world subplot waaaaaay more attention than it merits and making moves like cutting away from Chuck & Tiff’s reunion to make time for dry toast characters.  The kids have to take a breathalyzer in the pouring rain, we get that Kincaid’s a weight-throwing douche bag constantly dogging on poor folk, Jade spouts off a couple awkwardly melodramatic lines, and we get the sense that they’re going to “get the hell outta dodge and nevah look back.”  Okay.  Are we done here?


Back to Tiff & Chuck.  Fellas, if your woman ever goes to the trouble of sewing up your tattered ragdoll of a body, holds séances in her (enviably cool Goth-chic) doublewide to call your spirit back from some nebulous limbo, AND cooks you Swedish meatballs… try not to laugh in her face and imply she’s “fuckin’ nuts” when she talks marriage and babies. It’ll just piss her off.  Hell hath no fury as we find when Tiff Masterlocks Chucky in what she’d hoped would be their child’s play pin leaving the casual viewer to wonder, “Was the lock-and-key baby digs really for their potential offspring?!”, already-parents to think, “Hey, now, there’s an idea…”, and Child’s Play aficionados noting, “Yeah, she’s going to need that, later…”


-'B-I-T-C-H’. That is incorrect. The correct spelling of woman is W-O-M”
-"Shows how much you know.”

How Chucky can launch the nanny out the window but he can’t break out of some dinky wooden box is beyond me.  But ironic ingenuity prevails when Chucky uses Tiff’s assumed engagement ring to file down the bars and gain freedom (see what they did there?).  In what is a visually spectacular scene, Chucky electrocutes Tiff by way of knocking the boob tube into her bubble bath while she’s watching Lanchester own it in Bride of Frankenstein (see? they did there it there, too).  He does the dirty deed with her dead body… transferring her being into the obnoxiously wholesome bride doll she bought to torture him.  Why?  Y) He’s a vindictive asshole, Z) to get her on board with the plan.  What’s the plan?  To retrieve an amulet buried with Chucky’s rotting corpse in Jersey and trick gullible dope Jesse and increasingly whiney Jade to hand over their bodies for inhabitation.  So now we have to road trip with these kids…  Are we there, yet?


Small price to pay, however, for the treat of seeing Tiff school Chucky on how to murder and murder good.  “Who the fuck is Martha Stewart”, Chucky’s inquires after Tiff’s inspiration for improvised “homicidal genius”.  She devises a booby trap (teeheegetit?causeshehasbigtits) that involves literally nailing Kincaid.  Tiffany’s critique of the go-to knife technique as 80s kitsch not only shows that Chucky’s in a new age, but that horror itself is always morphing into new form.  While horror filmmaker and fans seem fairly apt at respecting their roots, horror is a vehicle for reflecting the times and the times do change.  Just as monsters gave way to slashers, so slashers have taken somewhat of a back seat to the theme of ruthless ingenuity manifested through franchises such as Saw and given premonition by Tiff’s airbag nail launcher.  But such a creative genre isn’t given to choppy black and whites.  Chucky proves that that he’s still got it by later finishing off Kincaid with your tried-and-true maniacal multiple stabbing noting that “a true classic never goes out of style”, a move likely to leave true fans grinning and glowing with pride.                   


But still Chucky shows he can keep up with the time’s sense of inventive mayhem, with a make-shift car bomb making Needle Nose and his disturbing smile no more.  Ruthless Deviants: 3, Crooked Cops: 0.  Okay, look, Tiff and Chucky have some major bloodlust issues, but they’re not aimlessly drawn to killing.  It’s an enjoyable means to an end.  What’s that? How can you avoid certain death the next time you’re appearing in this movie?   It’s simple, really…


Survival Tips:

–  No looking in plastic bags – stay uncurious

–  No tampering with plots & rides

–  No happily allowing a self-professed murderer to cuff you up

–  No stumbling into highway traffic

–  No being an obnoxiously unnecessary character

–  Try your best not work in law enforcement or own a camper


Meanwhile, Jesse & Jade cope with their plans getting mucked up and being prime suspects for the past 4 murders by endlessly blaming each other.  So let’s see… now that we know what an irredeemably crappy couple those kids make and now they’re at the top of the FBI’s shit list what scene should we shoot for next?  Oo!  How bout a painfully awkward wedding?  At least it gives Tiff & Chuck the chance to have an actual heart-to-heart and us the chance to get in on some actual character chemistry.

Quick, they’re filming! Look like you’re into me!

Post-nuptials, Jesse & Jade are as supremely miserable as ever in their lavishly hokey honeymoon suite and are soon infiltrated by a couple who make you wonder which you loathe more: their painfully unfunny mayhem or that they resorted to goofy undies to try and trick you into finding them amusing (HAHAHAgetit?causethey’resilly).  They slight Chucky, steal Jesse’s dough, and freak out the kids with schmaltzy advances.  Feeling threatened by this woman’s ability to ruin a scene more effectively than she ever could, Jade kicks them out.

Tiff seeks revenge against the “thieving slut” shattering their ceiling mirror, the shards of which apparently fall at a velocity that impales the raunchy couple and their waterbed splashing tidal waves of bloody water all over the joint.  It’s all over for Chucky, he’s smitten.  He gets down on his knees, bites the ring off the newlydead’s severed finger, proposes in front of a roaring fire, and realizing “all the plumbing works” and “he’s feeling like Pinocchio over here” the saxophone & heavy panting begins.


Back on the road, a clusterfuck occurs in which the David’s obliterated by a semi, Chucky & Tiff reveal their alivedness (my review, my vocabulary) and their plans taking Jesse & Jade hostage at gunpoint, and kill a couple poor schmoes for their camper.  Soon after, the planets align and Jessie has the intelligent idea to pit Chucky & Tiff against each other.  Insults are thrown (“Take it from me, honey, plastic is no substitute for a nice hunk of wood!”) and chaos ensues!  Winnebago rolls & explodes, Tiff gets charbroiled, Chucky kidnaps Jade, Jesse kidnaps Tiff, amulet is retrieved, chicks are swapped, in a last second stroke of conscience Tiff dukes it out with Chucky, and a detective arrives just in time to see a possessed doll and clear Jesse & Jade’s names just before she blows him away (apparently high profile investigations are easily put to rest with one dude’s unfounded speculations).  WHEW!  Good thing they managed to magically roll our motor home a block away from the cemetery or this could’ve been complicated.


The ultimate Planned Parenthood ad.

Oh, and Tiff gives birth to an evil mutant abomination that eats the detective’s face off.  Completely ruining Jesse & Jade’s alibi this movie ends on what I would consider a bonafide high note!


In the end, ‘Bride’ is one of those raunchy rides providing a healthy dose of laughs, sex, and horror.  Although equipped with some righteously bloody moments, its aim is different than its two predecessors; it wants you to get to know your anti-heroes.  A strong part of Chucky’s appeal is that he thinks, talks, and acts like a person… a supremely disturbed person but a person, nonetheless.  He swears, cracks wickedly dirty puns, digs meatballs, gets horny, calls his gf ‘babe’ but has little patience for shmoopy romance, etc.  He’s a colorful dude.  Who wouldn’t want a little peek into his personal life?                                


And, my God!  Tiffany, alone, offers more than enough guts & heart to  get you hooked.  Even as her dolls self montages into her usual platinum bombshell- painting herself in magenta & black, donning a classically tough black pleather jacket, and lighting her cig with a zippo swiped from her 2nd to latest victim’s corpse- her wedding dress remains pristine beneath the flash. Underneath a playfully sadistic exterior Tiffany is tender-hearted to the core, wanting only to love and be loved.  Course, Tiff is a total Harvey Dent, so the flip side of that warped coin is in remembering that no matter how canned her dreams of marital bliss & baby-making may seem she is far from your brainwashed Stepford.


While prone to “female hysterics”, Tiff manages to put on her big girl panties, hatch the vast majority of their plans, and practically creams at the thought of getting her hands bloody.  She is bad, savvy, & devilishly resourceful.  Tiff seems like Mancini’s response to the new millennium woman’s identity crisis; wanting genuine intimate connection without having to sacrifice our hard-earned sense-of-self to acquire it.  She’ll go above and beyond to prove her love (i.e. 10 years bribing/killing cops to find her bf’s possessed plastic corpse, slave over that hot stove perfecting her Swedish meatballs, etc) but WOE to the man-doll who takes it for granted…  Sound familiar? By now, it’s a cinematic classic- the woman wielding her rolling pin in juggernaut resentment when she isn’t given her due. Domesticity’s alarming 180 from assured subservience to a yammering nag was film’s way of saying,”Wow, woman, your standards for respect are pretty obnoxious”.  Although Tiffany has her cliched lecture & dish throwing down pat, it’s easy to sympathize.  Maybe Barbie can eat her heart out, but Chucky’s a far fucking cry from Ken and a hijacked camper is the dreamiest house they’ll ever have.

The entire Child’s Play franchise seems to reflect a certain fear of role irregularities or reversals.  What was once a thing of comfort becomes the epitome of terror.  That the seemingly sweet, innocent youth could foster something dark and sinister is a trend possibly correlating with two monumentally impactful and sometimes oppositional American movements, women’s and children’s rights.  It’s no well-kept secret that hardcore classics such as Rosemary’s Baby & The Omen helped us deal with the controversies of Roe vs Wade, rewiring our cultural understading to actually consider the needs and wants of women (some would argue even to the detriment of a child’s right to life).  But the 80s and 90s brought on a new a strange blend of children’s rights and a crackdown on child criminal offenses.  Children were being seen less as saintly cherubs and more as actual people, capable of both kind and vicious deeds.

In Child’s Play, Andy & Chucky satisfy these extreme opposites, manifesting both the hopes and fears of parent and society. That little Andy is gradually introduced to the evils of the world through Chucky on such an extremely intimate level threatens these hopes of childlike purity. It addresses the increasing fear many had in those conservative times of children being exposed to too much of the world too quickly, how subversively evil can take form (the Good Guy with a Bad Boy streak), and how deeply that evil might take root in children (a plot to literally infiltrate Andy’s mind and body implying undertones of lewd & lascivious intent, yet ANOTHER sickening issue receiving big-time attention in the 80s and being addressed through other villains such as Freddy).

Christ, was there ANY large-scale issue Child’s Play didn’t cover?!  Well, we could always talk about its representation of single-parent homes, economic crisis, systemic discrimination against women in the workforce, shamelessly kid-focused consumerism, crooked cops (though we kind of covered that one), questioning the legitimacy of diagnosing psychosis… dude, we could go on for a while, right?  But these were and are all very real, very tense issues naturally needing one helluvan outlet.

And, baby, Chucky gave it to ’em.

Thanks for reading and stay trashy, kids!

**Bootsie lovingly respects & supports those in Uniform, even if the characters I love don’t.


Many thanks to Chuckyholics for providing killer images!


Dumpster Diving