November 30, 2005

DVD Review: The GingerDead Man

When was the last time you saw a movie that featured a killer cookie? A cookie voiced by none other than Gary Busey himself! Never? You're kidding, right? Well then, have I got a movie for you!

It has been quite some time since I dipped a wary toe into the treacherous waters of low budget horror films. But my interest has been piqued. Recently I attended the Charles Band Horror Road Show, and that has definitely gotten my horror itch active again. For those of you who don't know, Charles Band is the founder of Full Moon Entertainment and is personally responsible for the veritable horde of killer puppets and dolls which haunted your nightmares as a child. Some of the films that have his name attached to them are Puppet Master, Doll Man vs. Demonic Toys, Subspecies, and Trancers. Recently, he returned to the director's chair to deliver some of his trademarked brand of mayhem. During the Road Show, he treated audiences to clips and Busey sized tales from the set of his latest release, and the subject of this review, The GingerDead Man.

The thing I have learned about these films, is that what you know about the story doesn't really hurt going in. Of course, I don't want to know how it ends, but you can almost guess what is coming next. That is not a bad thing. These are low budget features which generally fall into formulas, the ingenuity lies in bringing the tale to the screen in an interesting manner despite having minuscule budgets. I have to say that for as cheesy this one can be at times, I found myself enjoying the heck out of it.

The film opens with Gary Busey, as Millard, terrorizing the patrons of a small diner. He is brandishing a gun and babbling in the way only Busey can. He is killing everyone he sees, until his eyes fall on Sarah, our heroine, cowering in the corner. He doesn't want to kill her, but he has to "honor his Momma" and finish what he started. He shoots with this comical expression of pained anguish. Then the credits role.

We fast forward two years to discover Sarah is working at her family's bakery. A bakery that is under attack from the chain shop opening across the street. Baked warfare anybody? Anyway, that sets up a conflict between Sarah and Lorna, the daughter of the chain shop owner. But before we even get to that, we learn that Millard was executed and his body cremated and sent to his mother at a neighboring town.

A mysterious figure leaves a box of Gingerbread Seasoning at the back door. Sarah goes ahead and mixes the seasoning in with the dough, this is where the crispy terror starts. It seems, Millard's mother has mixed in some of the ashes with this evil seasoning. The label should have read "Just Add Blood." No sooner is some blood dropped into the mix, the evil cookie takes shape (Shhh, don't tell the board of health!).

By now, Sarah is fighting with Lorna. Lorna's boyfriend is trying to keep them separated, and Sarah's lush mother is searching for her shotgun. The Busey cookie is busy plotting a way to finish what he started. Think about that for a minute, a cookie with the voice of Gary Busey, setting traps, wielding a knife, and later firing a six shooter (that never runs out of ammo).

The teens are your typical horror fodder, although not as many die as I thought there would be. The fight each other, but manage to pull together for the greater good, death to the cookie! The finale features, uh uh, not going to tell you, but I am sure if you think about you already have a good idea of where this going.

The acting is on the poor side, as are the effects, and most of the non-Busey dialog. Still, this movie excels at the low budget enthusiasm that is infectious. You will find yourself laughing at the sheer absurdity going on.

If you only see one killer cookie movie this year....

Video. The film is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1 and it looks pretty good. It is not at the same level as a Hollywood blockbuster, but for a DTV low budget horror film, it looks pretty darn good.

Audio. The soundtrack is Dolby Digitial 2.0. The film is dialog-centric, and the centered nature of the dialog works fine. No complaints.

Extras. The disk has a few extras.
-Message from Charles Band. This is an introduction from the director, speaking of how much fun he had making the movie, and some of his other projects, including the Road Show.
-Behind the Scenes. This runs about 18 minutes and is pretty entertaining. It shows the making of the cookie, including an early CG version. There are segments with the performers on the set. This is a pretty good watch.
-Bloopers. We get about 5 minutes of bloopers. It is the usual assortment of flubbed lines.
-Trailers. There is the trailer for the feature as well as for Doll Graveryard, Decadent Evil, Petrified, Monsters Gone Wild, When Puppets and Dolls Attack and Cinemaker (a DVD set on making low budget films)

Bottomline. This may not be the best entry in Band's vast catalog, yet it does have a certain charm. It may also interest you enough in perusing more Band films. I know I liked it, but would have liked a little more gore. Oh yeah, there is a rather humorous human cookie in the movie too.



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