Thankskilling ~ 2009, Jordan Downey


“WARNING: BOOBS IN THE FIRST SECOND!” – RIGHT ON THE COVER OF THE DVD!!! Right on the freaking cover. Clearly, this is thought to be a selling point. Well, I timed it, and it’s not even true. There is some text that actually kicks off the movie, just some backstory nonsense that nobody cares about, and depending where the film actually “begins,” the boobs (boy oh boy!) are actually between 16 to 18 seconds in, a far cry from literally the first second. As if you could even withstand further mammary related let-downs in your short, miserable life, these initial breasts are also the only boobs in the entire movie, which, I feel, is not at all the implication made by hyping boobs on the cover of your damn DVD. Really, that’s a good lesson for us all to learn right off the bat, because Thankskilling is all about promises that it doesn’t keep. Get ready for let-down after let-down, folks.

THE PLOT~ When a mismatched group of small-town youths head into the woods for a camping trip, they find themselves at ground zero for the return of a weird, talking turkey monster, which was summoned by Native Americans as a form of revenge against white settlers. It’s effective, that thing ruined a full 90’s minutes of my life! As the turkey begins to kill our characters one by one, they must band together, traditional teen slasher style, to defeat the killer critter, before it’s too late.

Thankskilling is a comedy wrapped up in the trappings of a horror movie. Therefore, by order of priority, you would expect it to be funny first, and scary second. You’d expect wrong, Thankskilling is the furthest thing from scary, and it’s painfully unfunny to boot. Lame, one dimensional jokes are doled out in great abundance from the very first scene, and they will absolutely let you down. I went into this with genuine, foolish optimism, but after the first botched one liner I felt my heart sink, and I thought, “oh…. So, this movie sucks ass, then…”

Yes, it does.

The killer Turkey is our first problem. As the only asset this franchise possesses of even minor, passing value, he really needed to be great, but damn, he isn’t. Turkie, as he is known, is a typical one-liner oriented movie monster, but he has absolutely no charisma, and his one liners totally suck. Now, this is something that demands clarification; cheesy one liners are awesome. Please, do not misunderstand; I’m not saying I don’t like one liners, or even stupid one liners, but there is a way to do one-liners right, and a way to do them wrong. Here, let’s use the 2002 micro-budget movie Scarecrow as an example:

In Scarecrow, there’s a one liner where our murderous scarecrow guy backflips into frame, looks a character in the face (somebody’s dad), says “Heads up, daddy-o!” And then decapitates his screaming, probably confused victim, with a sickle. Awesome. Now, that is just wonderful. Excellent work, Scarecrow. I don’t want to have to break down why this is an actual one-liner and why that flies when Thankskilling’s jokes cannot, truthfully, this is just how one-liners work. What we have in Thankskilling are ineffective one-liners that do not work. Let’s take a look at an example:

…The very first one liner in the movie: Our topless pilgrim woman (topless for no reason at all) is confronted by our killer turkey. He says “Nice tits, bitch!” and then he kills her. That’s it.


That’s not really a one-liner… That’s just like… A statement… A vulgar, ugly statement… And it’s really, really lame. This is not an isolated thing, I kept track, Downey manages to pull off two one-liners this entire movie, and that’s two that worked and dozens that didn’t. In summation, Jordan Downey decided to make a one-liner movie, but he apparently doesn’t understand what a one-liner even is, and let’s face it, this shit ain’t rocket science. If you can’t match the wit of Arnold Schwarzenegger, then maybe comedy isn’t your thing.

In general, the jokes in Thankskilling are pretty clear examples of humor written by someone who isn’t funny, and who has confused humor with vulgarity. Now, vulgarity can be funny, but you still have to do it right. This is the sort of hasty, excited vulgarity you get from someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing, but retains an enthusiasm you would have to assume is rooted in ignorance. It’s kind of like a sixth grader who’s just starting to use profanity for the first time. Eyes bright like a kid on Christmas morning, face twisted into a joyful smile, F-bombs ploppin’ out of his pubescent maw with no articulation or purpose, that’s what the jokes in Thankskilling feel like. That’s the vibe, it really comes across. Tactless and witless, yet enthusiastically vulgar. “WEINER!” Giggle giggle. That kind of thing.

Oddly enough, the movie does start to pick up steam a little more towards the end, as if Downey wrote the first half at the age of eleven and picked it up again while in college. One or two of the jokes in the third act approach legitimate comedy, including the two successful one-liners I mentioned before. Here, we’ve been rough on this movie, let’s be nice and walk you through one of the film’s fully functioning one-liners. Seems only fair. My favorite one goes like this: When one of our human protagonists is bending over to look into a refrigerator, Turkie jumps up behind him and stabs his butt with a meat thermometer, at which point he quips “You’re done!” Good job Downey, you did it! That’s a real live one-liner! Did you get help from your parents?!

It’s still pretty much too little too late. Thankskilling managed to succeed financially because of how bonkers it was. After all, this is a movie where a murderous turkey says “Gobble gobble, mother fucker,” and kills people, it’s easy to see how people would want to enjoy that experience. I sure wanted to. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to not love a movie about a murderous turkey puppet ?! I tried, man!!

But try as I might, I couldn’t ignore how painfully mediocre Thankskilling really is. For a lot of people, the premise is still going to be enough, no matter how shitty the execution was. I really want to stress this, however; you don’t HAVE to watch Thankskilling if you want that “no budget/I can’t believe someone made this movie/holy shit” type experience. So, so many movies have already come and gone and done it better, and there’s no shortage of flicks I’d lump into this category that are ACTUALLY FUNNY. Don’t waste your time, I would recommend you instead check out The Taint, Blood Car, Yeti: A Gay Love Story, and Coons: Dark Night of the Bandits of the Night, as well as just about anything by Chris Seaver, most especially I Spit Chew on Your Grave, Ski-Wolf, Terror at Blood Fart Lake, and Sexsquatch. If you want a Thanksgiving themed horror movie, that’s a little harder to come by. You should just watch Thanksgiving, the faux trailer Eli Roth did in Grindhouse. Watch it fifteen times before you watch Thankskilling even once.

Thankskilling 3!

Thankskilling 3 ~ 2012, Jordan Downey


Thankskilling was a movie wherein a group of young people found themselves repeatedly menaced by a murderous, talking turkey, who would kill them one by one until finally being defeated by a lone survivor. It was not good. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was that Thankskilling was also a very real, very high stakes example of the phenomena outlined in cherished children’s book; If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. When people enthusiastically jumped at the chance to watch a turkey puppet swear and kill people, they unwittingly gave the go-ahead to director Jordan Downey to keep the bullshit coming. They gave him an inch, and he took a mile; welcome to Thankskilling 3.

THE PLOT~ Who the fuck knows?

Okay, so, I kind of know, but I feel angry having to explain it, due to how overwhelmed I am by its shittiness. Basically, Thankskilling 3 is an adventure comedy, not a horror comedy, in which several different types of “who gives a shit” become interwoven into a vast tapestry of raw, unprocessed nonsense. Firstly, we have Turkie, the killer Turkey from the first movie. He wants a copy of Thankskilling 2, which was apparently the worst movie ever made (in reality, it was never made. They skipped part two, aren’t they hilarious?). Copies are scarce, because the studio decided to destroy the film after seeing how horrible it was. If only they did that in real life. Opposite Turkie, we have two humans who are obsessed with colonial America, and a shit load of puppets. Yeah… Unless I missed somebody, there are only two actual human people in this movie, and the rest of the cast are all Z-Grade muppets, plus one animated cat, for some reason. This might almost sound cool on paper, but I beg of you; please, believe me when I say that it isn’t. One of these horrible, boring puppets is Yomi, a painfully unfunny character who eats up way too much screen time and who gives us nothing back.



Behold: Yomi; the worst character ever.

Her deal is that she’s “lost her mind,” and thinks that she can reclaim it through observance of the Thanksgiving holiday… Because she heard something about Thanksgiving providing “peace of mind.” Cute… See, this movie goes out of it’s way to provide explanations for the wrong stuff. They offer explanations only when those explanations kill jokes, other stuff that demands further clarification remains shrouded in vulgar, irritating mystery. It’s infuriating. But let’s get back to topic; Yomi. Yomi sucks so, so, bad, like damn Jar Jar, and is a real chore to tolerate. Basically; her felt ass shouldn’t be in the movie at all, and I can’t imagine why she was included. Wanna know what else shouldn’t be in the movie?! The movie. All of it. Every friggin’ frame. Thanksgiving 3 is unwelcome in this dimension, it should have remained stranded in the diseased imagination of Jordan Downey. Thanks, dude.

This thing is actually less funny that it’s predecessor! I counted three instances of successful comedy in the entire film- and I wasn’t laughing. I wasn’t even smiling, I could just tell that these three gags were actual jokes, rather than just boring, lame vulgarities and/or puns. The rest of the movie can’t actually give you what it advertises, which is nothing new from this trilogy. Can it be a trilogy if they half assed it to the point that there wasn’t even a part two? This is the first two movie trilogy in mankind’s regrettable history. Fuck, I hope it’s also the last.

What seems to have happened after the success of Thankskilling, motivated 100% by the sheer absurdity of the its premise rather than it’s execution, is that Downey became so enthused that he rapid fire spat out an unrefined, stream of consciousness style script, never once read over it, and then just put the movie out before he could even think about what he had done. Either that or his allergy medication left him deranged for the entire production cycle, and because the budget came from crowd-funding, there was no studio system in place to reign him in. This is an early example of how Kickstarter can screw the human race, we sometimes need a studio-head to step in and question the mad ravings of our writers and directors. This schizophrenic disaster is what can happen without these often detested, but apparently necessary safeguards, and none of these ideas should have made it even onto a rough draft of anything. And there are so, so many bad ideas in Thankskilling 3! Every concept is explained by introducing two additional and equally shitty concepts, and there is never any pay off. This movie is like a weird dream you wouldn’t even want to explain to your friends, because what would be the point?

I guess it does have a couple things going for it, though. The budget is clearly much higher than it’s poorhouse predecessor, and you feel that come across in the production value. The music feels especially professional, even if it does feature a lot more dub-step than any other DVD that I own. What you’re really going to appreciate in Thankskilling 3, howeveris the art department, who really did a fantastic job. The sets, and many of the puppets, look excellent this time around, and clearly, this is where most of that budget went… but it still doesn’t redeem the movie.

The film is just bad madness, plain and simple. I actually really enjoy madness, typically, but this in’t Jodorowsky or Lynch, this is more like Battlestar Galactica meets the first season of South Park as related to you by an eight year old. If you’re going to give us madness, it at least has to be compelling, or rewarding somehow. This movie is just a joyless descent into The strata beneath mediocrity. You know what Thanksgiving 3 is like? Here’s a good way to explain it: You know like, when you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, and you write it down because you’re convinced you’re a genius, but then in the morning you read it, and you’re like “Oh, damn. What was I thinking?” So then you just discard it, humiliated by the inadequacies of your sleep addled brain? It feels like Jordan Downey, woke up, wrote this script, and then instead of reading it and throwing it away the next morning, he just made the movie before he could even think about what was happening. And that’s terrible. Someone should have intervened, stepped up and said, “Hey, Jordan… I like you, and I want the best for you, but nothing in your movie makes any damn sense, and it all sucks. I think maybe you just need to put your script in the garbage… And then maybe let someone who isn’t high on cold medicine write a new one…”

Someone needs to stop this guy. I mean, seriously, YOMI!? Sober up, Downey, so you can feel the shame of what you’ve done. Honestly, give me a Jar Jar Binks solo film before you give me one more second with that nightmare.



ASWANG~ 1994, Wrye Martin and Barry Poltermann


The story of Aswang is a tale as old as time. A young woman, burdened with an unwanted pregnancy, is propositioned by a wealthy man who looks suspiciously like Shooter McGavin; “come out to my big mansion in the middle of no where and pretend to be my wife and then give me your baby, because my damn mom is dying and if I can’t produce an heir I don’t get any of them fat Aswang dollars.” Win win? No, never trust anyone who looks like Shooter McGavin. Our gal agrees, though, and travels to an isolated country home thinking this was your boiler plate, run of the mill baby sale, when in fact Shooter and his family are a bunch of shady aswangs looking to chow down on her unborn child. Record scratch!

But just what is an aswang? It’s some form of weird Filipino ghoul that, among other things, eats babies, while still en utero, via a long, gross tongue (Asia has the best monsters.) Clearly, the horror movie potential here is just through the roof, and there have actually been a few aswang movies, but at present this is the only one I’ve seen that was actually made for English speaking audiences. Obviously you’re looking for Aswang 101, and unless you speak Tagolog and have an all region DVD player, this is a good place to start.

Aswang, being a film about a unique kind of monster, vaults back and forth between creature feature and slasher when appropriate, but the entire time it maintains an interesting and creepy body horror type vibe, kind of like what you would have seen if David Cronenberg had directed a slasher concurrently with The Brood. It’s kinda creepy, kinda gross, kinda funny, there’s a little blood here and there, and the concept feels fresh and interesting to we Westerners who didn’t grow up under constant threat from nocturnal baby eaters our entire lives. Check your privilege, guys.

So, Aswang is a lot of fun, I like it quite a bit. It could be gorier, it could be more gross, or more scary, but it’s a very well done low budget horror picture with some interesting new ideas. More importantly, this is probably the greatest Shooter McGavin related horror movie available on home video right now, and that means something to me. I hope it means something to you, too.


Miami Connection!!!

Miami Connection ~ 1987, Woo-Sang Park


Miami Connection is the story of Dragon Sound; just your typical 1980’s rock/synth pop/power metal band made up exclusively of orphans who are all black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The five members of Dragon Sound all live together in one modest house, like the damn Muppets, so that that way they can pal around and enjoy each others company every minute of every day. When they aren’t performing songs about battling ninjas or the power of friendship, Dragon Sound can be seen goofing off at the beach, grabbing a bite to eat, or locked for all eternity in a constant and brutal street fight with increasingly dangerous martial arts gangs throughout Miami’s neon lit, smoke shrouded Urban areas. Dragon Sound wants to spread the message of Peace, unity, and happiness for all mankind, and also they kill people on the regular.



THE PLOT- Despite being made of model citizens with nothing but goodwill in their ethnically diverse hearts, Dragon Sound has found themselves at the nexus of some shady shit. Fate has it out for them, and they seem totally unable to avoid constant tae kwon do related conflicts with people they barely know. Firstly, the bass player thinks it’s okay for him to date a girl he met in class. What? Oh, no, think again bass player, her brother is some kind of coke dealing street commando, and he does not approve- Time for a Tae Kwon Do battle.


Coke Dealing Street Commando- How else would you describe this gentleman?

Hey, Dragon Sound, you guys are the new house band at a local night club! Exciting, right? Wrong! Guess what; the old band is angry that they got shit canned. They demand satisfaction- via Tae Kwon Do battle, of course. What’s that, keyboard player? You bought a new suit? Tae Kwon Do battle. Even the old man who owns the restaurant Dragon Sound likes to go to ends up in a Tae Kwon Do battle. In Miami Connection, Tae Kwon Do battles are just the natural resolution of any and all events, positive or negative. Then the movie ends with a caption about the pursuit of peace and the elimination of violence. Asshole, I work in an office, don’t talk to me about eliminating violence from the world, I just saw you Katana blade a stranger to death in an fucking swamp.


This man is known for his unrivaled commitment to peace.

So, not to imply that Miami Connection isn’t just top to bottom ridiculous, but the movie’s heartiest chuckles come from its deadbeat dad subplot. As mentioned above, all of the members of Dragon Sound are apparently orphans, which really opens the door to a bad ass prequel trilogy where they all meet in a tae kwon do/rock and roll orphanage, but as the rest of the band comes to learn, their keyboard player has a dad, and has actually been trying to hunt him down for years. Watching a grown man try to force tears over his absentee father in a Miami pop band flop house is a special experience. They really, really try to tug the shit out of your heart strings in these scenes, but no one is really a good enough actor to pull it off, so the whole thing feels uncomfortable and hilarious. Also, like, more than half of these guys are shirtless in this scene, so that is a contributing factor. Shirtless men crying is never NOT weird.

Miami Connection (Richard Park, 1987)

They just look strung out, and coming down.

So, there’s really not much to the movie, beyond that. The acting is what you’d expect, sometimes decent, sometimes horrible, and never great. Some of the choreography is actually pretty good, and the movie looks pretty nice for its budget, especially the extravagant 80’s nightclub scenes. Damn! Why did nightclubs in 80’s movies kick ass so hard?! Were real nightclubs anywhere in the world ever really like that? Or is this just a beautiful, beautiful lie that Purple Rain wants us to believe? I want to believe it, Purple Rain. If only I could.


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The Uninvited!!!!

The Uninvited ~ 1988, Greydon Clark


The Uninvited has got to have one of the most bizarre monsters I’ve ever seen. It’s not bizarre in a creative or interesting way, it’s bizarre in a “But why?” kind of way. Like, really- why? This is an unnecessary monster.

 Uninvited 3And there it is.

So, let’s talk about this monster a bit before we dive into The Uninvited; what we have here is a house cat, which has been biologically experimented upon. It is a fluffy, orange cat, it’s pretty cute, actually. Now, this cat, when it feels so inclined, opens up its mouth, and a small creature, vaguely catlike itself, crawls out. Upon leaving the mouth, this creature is suddenly the approximate size of the original cat, maybe bigger. It looks like a cat, but ugly, angry, and leathery, not so fluffy. And it kills people and is venomous. This weird creature then crawls back into the cats mouth, and people are none the wiser. The perfect crime. Purrr-fect crime? No, I won’t let this be that kind of blog…

El Pasajero No Invitado - Uninvited - Greydon Clark - 1988 - 012

So, is this creature “wearing” the cat, like that giant bug did with Vincent D’Onofrio in Men in Black? Or, is this a symbiotic relationship? None of that’s really touched upon, but what we have here is an elaborate attempt at making a cute little cat into a terrifying monster, and you should not be surprised to learn that this was not a success. Also, couldn’t you have just, like, Jekyll and Hyde’ed the cat into a monster? This whole “crawling in and out of the mouth” thing feels onerous and weird. It’s too late to have that conversation with writer/director Greydon Clark, though, because this damn movie is almost thirty years old at this point. These are sins we cannot erase. We have to live with them everyday.


THE PLOT~ Shady Wall Street tycoon and all out bad guy Walter Graham (Alex Cord) takes to sea aboard his luxury yacht, along with his aged and lovable, yet intimidating goons Mike (George Kennedy) and Albert (Clu Gulager), for a jaunty cruise down to some crooked island nation where he can duck the Feds, who totally know he’s up to some dark, immoral shit. Before taking to the sea, he recruits some fine honeys to add to his maritime bacchanal of decadent pleasures, and plus because that way he’s not just hanging out with two white guys in their sixties the whole time. Good idea, bro! (fist bump) The girls instantly spoil everything for Walter by inviting along three douche bags they met at the marina, as well as a murderous, biologically mutated nightmare cat, which would slowly kill the shit out of each and every one of them as they drift aimlessly through the ocean and begin to lose their very sanity. Spoiler alert? That’s what happens. They all get on the boat, the damn thing breaks down, cats killin’ people, people freak out, power struggle, Clu Gulager get’s drunk, whatever. Roll credits.

El Pasajero No Invitado - Uninvited - Greydon Clark - 1988 - 010

The movie ends with a pretty heavy-handed moral illustration. As the yacht begins to sink, our two survivors are aboard a lifeboat, along with three briefcases, each containing one million dollars in cash. As they try to get away from the capsizing vessel, the menacing, no longer fluffy murdercat hops into their boat again and again, and again. They keep tossing him out, but he just keeps jumping back in. They conclude that, because there are no other floating objects for this cat to climb onto, he will never grow tired of leaping out of the sea and into their small lifeboat. In a stroke of overt preachiness, our characters toss one of the briefcases out into the water, where lo and behold, it floats, and Murdercat climbs onto it, allowing them to row away to safety. Oh, gee, so, our insatiable desire for wealth leads us to a gruesome end, and only by letting go of this can we live prosperously. Trying to teach us a lesson, movie? Shut up, Greydon Clark, we’re all poor now. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a living wage in this country!? I’d keep every one of those briefcases and bite that damn Murdercat right back, right on his damn cat snout. “Forget it, Murdercat, I’m tired of retail!” Toss his ass into the ocean.

But I digress….There are a lot of laughs to be had at this movie’s expense. The production is on the shabby end of passable, and frequent fumbles, especially with the audio and the monster effects, stand out. They had like, four cat noises, and they just play them over, and over, and over, often when the cat doesn’t even seem to be around. Then, when we do see the cat, he is sometimes very visibly a puppet, in a big way. It’s kind of awesome.

If we were going to look at this as a real, live movie and NOT an overly long, hilarious cat video, it would be important to point out that a major problem with the film is that the only likable characters in it are the bad guys, far and away. Specifically, Clu Gulager and George Kennedy. These two are great, as always. On the other end of the spectrum, our six college aged characters are unlikable and without worth to us. There is no reason at all to root for their survival, and you won’t. Hell, the cat is more likeable, and it’s straight venomous. That’s a formula for a hilarious Murdercat comedy adventure, but not for a tense, horrific drama/morality tale on the open seas, so the value of The Uninvited as a piece of work is dependent upon which of these two things you want it to be. I think Gradyon Clark wanted it to be the latter, and Greydon, baby, I’m sorry to break it to you; it’s not.



Versus– 2000, Ryuhei Kitamura


At some point, someone in Japan said “Hey- I really liked The Matrix! Let’s do that! Only, we want zombies. And blood. And swords. And we only have 11 dollars. And we aren’t really very talented. Also, the zombies can do karate sometimes. Now go!”

And with that, Japan crapped out Versus. This formula apparently works for a lot of people, and the film does have a large following. I was misled into first viewing Versus after a blitz of positive buzz from some of its fans, who assured me that if I like sword films, Evil Dead, Dead Alive, or zombies in general, I would LOVE Versus! Think again, friend. This movie is live action anime, first and foremost. Just because something works as a cartoon does not mean it should be brought into reality. Did none of you see Cool World?! If not, don’t.

The biggest issue with Versus is that it lives in eternal pursuit of the cultural construct we call “The bad ass.” For many, being “a bad ass” is the single highest honor a fictional character can achieve. Idiots especially worship the Cult of Bad Ass, because to them, the bad ass is in direct contradiction of subtlety, which they despise and do not understand. To them, a Bad Ass can do anything cool that it wants to, and it completely ignores boring things like “motivation,” “depth,” or  “not having a learning disability.” Therefore, when a moron generates media (Paul W.S. Anderson), in this day and age it is overwhelming how often they will strive to create a “bad ass” for their piece. Since they don’t understand what actually makes someone a bad ass, this usually means taking a douche bag, tossing him in some wrap-around sunglasses, maybe a tank top, a trench coat, or both, and asking him to speak in a low, raspy voice and act like he can’t be bothered by explosions or impending death.

The characters in this movie want to be bad asses so, so hard. Everyone wears black exclusively. It’s like the costume designer showed up with dark blue once and the director punched them in the throat for insulting his mandatory and entirely monochromatic wardrobe demands. These black clad dopes spend a lot of time slowly and laboriously sleazing through shots, just basking so hard in how much of a bad ass they want to be, techno music doing it’s part to confirm that yes, in case you missed the wrap-arounds and black clothes, these guys are total bad asses, seriously, you guys.

Here’s an example of the sort of blatant, towering douchebag colossus you will see in Versus:

photoBehold! This is possibly the most flamboyant of Versus‘ childish, “bad ass” characters. As you’ll notice, he has a black belt in over-compensation, and the term “understated” ain’t in his dictionary. Every single aspect of his personage has to just tug on your sleeves and plead with you to believe that he is a bad ass. Let’s break it down;

  1. ponytail
  2. sunglasses
  3. no sleeves
  4. fingerless gloves
  5. leather pants
  6. a damn motorcycle

All of which are black. If douchebag/faux-badass spotting was birdwatching, this would be like spotting a bald eagle soaring above the Rocky Mountains with an American flag clenched in it’s talons.

Here’s another fun “bad ass” character- this magical flying Kung Fu zombie (I hate you so much, Versus…)


First off; if your hairstyle could be described as “The Ronald McDonald,” you are not a bad ass. EVER. PERIOD.

Secondly, look at this asshole’s face. Where does he get the gall? Look how cool he thinks he is. Let’s talk about this. That asshole went in to a salon and paid to get his hair dyed. This means he had to sit quietly in one of the little caps while it bleached, and then wait in the lobby wearing a little towel on his head, and then lean back in one of those sinks, ALL of that shit this guy did- OR he had to go to a store, buy a dye pack, and do it at home, probably with a friend to help him. Not very bad ass. It’s important for you to visualize anyone who will pass themselves off as unflappably cool primping their balls off on the regular like a high school sophomore to remind yourself that this guy did a lot of really, really, really not cool stuff to look this way, so you shouldn’t just take his word for it. Do you think he wore those sunglasses and kept his eyebrows cocked throughout his entire barber shop experience? Do you think he went to one of those trendy salons? And then he gelled it. Every morning. Think about that. Try to imagine anyone looking like a bad ass while they painstakingly primp their hair so that it looks just spiky enough. A bad ass doesn’t care if his hair is combed!!! Fuck you, Versus! Fuck you, these people are not cool! All your characters are total dorks!!!

THE PLOT- In a veritable “clash of the bad asses,” two bad ass escaped prisoners rendezvous with some yakuza bad assess for some reason. I’m not sure. However, this bad ass cocktail turns out to be a little too bad ass, and the deal goes south, leading to a massive yakuza bad ass karate throw down, which, according to movies, is  customary in Japan. Things are further complicated when we discover that, holy smokes, this is some kind of fancy zombie forest! You die here, and you get back up. Get ready for some techno.

So, the gangsters brought a woman with them, and apparently, the plan was to sacrifice her in some ritual. The yakuza boss, who arrives a little later in the film, is some sort of black magic practitioner bad ass who hopes to open some magic portal, which is hidden somewhere in the forest. This is the cliched, boring plot Versus has to offer, but it’s buried underneath a big, stupid heap of stylized violence, so you might have a hard time following it. Or giving a shit. Guys, I know that on some level this sounds awesome, but trust me, it sucks so hard.


Do you think this guy was thinking “yeah, I’m such a bad ass!” while he gelled his fucking hair and shaved his little goatee just right in his bathroom mirror that morning? It had to be perfect. He got up early to do it.

Almost no one in this movie has a name- details like that are deemed trivial by Versus. The identities of these characters are throwaway, all that matters is their actions and the role they play in this story. That’s really reflective of two tenets of Versus‘ theology; one; the rejection of anything too boring to hold the interest of today’s youth culture (Translation: “Uuhhhhh, who cares what his name is? Fred- No! Master Chief! Look, he’s a bad ass, okay?!”), and two; the notion that throughout history there are cyclical patterns caused by the reincarnation of key individuals, an idea central to Versus’ plot. The film takes place mostly in present day, but also features brief scenes set in Feudal era Japan, as well as the distant future; and in all three eras our character’s roles remain identical. These people are reincarnated again and again and forced to carry out the same battles throughout history, so their individual histories at any given point in the timeline are unimportant next to their roles in the grand scheme. I can recognize that this is a cool idea, but that’s really the only thing going on here that I respect. Beyond that, Versus is a vapid thing, and it’s saddled with stylistic choices that are childish and annoying. And stupid. They are. They really are.

Here, look, some stupid; these yakuza hop into a nifty little trio pose before blasting a zombie.

12345678910Isn’t that cute? While the man on the bottom, or “the power bottom,” as I believe they call him, holds in place, the two men on the outside edge of the screen run to the opposite sides of him, do little gun twirls and freeze into some choreographed yakuza power pose so they look extra bad ass while shooting. What the fuck?!? Is this a shoot out or a chorus line?!?? Attention; people who like Versus; THAT is in your movie. Who is going to argue with me over this?! Are you kidding me? I can’t believe the shittiness of this movie is disputed!!!

And don’t you dare pull that “you’re thinking about this too much” shit with me. When an artist does their job well, you will appreciate their work more and more once you start to analyze it. If spacing out and drooling happily to the noises and moving shapes is required to appreciate your art, then you suck and you’ve done a horrible job, and also you are an idiot and I hate you.


One legitimate boast for Versus; it’s gory. Lots of blood, lots of violence, and that’s going to win over a lot of people. However, it’s no Dead Alive. There’s also nothing to anchor the gore that isn’t stupid and totally void of substance, so unlike Dead Alive’s goofy RomComZomDram hero’s quest, Versus comes out feeling like a goofy snooze fest full of losers and dorks. On this one I must differ with popular consensus, Versus sucks, and it can fuck itself.

Fuck you, Versus.