GREGORY DARK WEEK: See No Evil (2006)

When Dan Madigan was a writer for WWE, he pitched a character that would have Jon Heidenreich become a thawed Nazi named Baron Von Bava, revived by the Jewish Paul Heyman, whose mother survived the Holocaust, complete with goosestepping and armband like a 1950s heel.

Somehow, he didn’t make it in wrestling. He did, however, write this movie.

Originally called Eye Scream Man, The Goodnight Man and Goodnight, this stars WWE wrestler — and current mayor of Knox City, TN — Kane as Jacob Goodnight. It also made $45 million on an $8 million dollar budget.

Years ago, Officer Frank Williams barely survived facing off with a killing machine in an abandoned house, losing his arm while his partner is killed and seven victims lose their eyes to a killer that somehow survived being shot in the head.

Now, he’s a social worker that’s part of the team that’s helping twentysomething teenagers work off their community service by cleaning up the abandoned Blackwell Hotel so that it can become a homeless shelter.

It’s all a trap as Jacob Goodnight is there to destroy anyone that intrudes on his turf, usually by using hooks and taking their eyeballs, unless they have religious tattoos. It’s a dark and dirty-looking 2000s slasher, but Dark’s talent as a director makes it better than it should be, which is the story of every movie he made.

Producer Vince McMahon supposedly had one suggestion: give Kane a three-foot cock.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

A prequel to 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this movie reminds me that when a franchise has run out of ideas, they always go backward. Back to the well or, in this instance, back in time for a prequel.

Back in 1939, a woman gave birth in a slaughterhouse and dies, at which point the manager throws her infant into a dumpster where its rescured by Luda Mae Hewitt, who raises the baby as her son Thomas.

Fast forward to 1969 and Thomas works in the same slaughterhouse for the same manager and when the plant gets shut down by the health department, he refuses to leave. So when the manager pushes him, he gets killed by a chainsaw and his adopted brother Charlie  (R. Lee Ermey) kills the arresting officer that comes to their home — Sheriff Hoyt — and takes on his identity.

Thomas eventually becomes Leatherface — are you surprised? — but not before wiping out an entirely different set of teens years before the original movie, including Jordana Brewster from The Fast and the Furious series.

This comes from the days when Platinum Dunes were the Blumhouse of the 2000s, reinventing horror film series like The Amityville HorrorThe Hitcher, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street to varying degrees of box office success. Director Jonathan Liebesman also was behind their reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

At this point, even a fan of the character like me — I dressed as Leatherface for more Halloweens than I can count on a severed hand — checked out.

Creepshow 3 (2006)

You know, I really try to be fair with sequels, but I can tell you that there’s no reason this movie should exist. Sure, Creepshow is too long, Stephen King is horrible in his segment and you could really not have so much in it, but it’s a blast and probably the last halfway decent thing George Romero would ever make. Creepshow 2 has snuck on me. If you asked me when I was younger, “Is it as good,” I’d qualify it by saying that it’s just missing something. Well, young me is a moron because those are three hard-hitting stories in there and the older I get, the more I sympathize with George Kennedy just trying to keep Old Chief Woodenhead painted.

But man. Creepshow 3 is the worst.

Directed by Ana Clavell and James Dudelson, who also made Day of the Dead 2: Contagium, this movie moves away from the EC Comics narrative element and is instead about a hot dog stand.

You read that right.

Man, it’s 3:13 AM and I should just go to bed, but let’s dish on this abysmal piece of fecund moviemaking.

The first story is about a girl named “Alice” and her family, who have found a remote control. If you think things like a remote turning a white family African-American is edgy, well, good for you. And at the end, a mad scientist turns her into a rabbit, which is the kind of ending kids in third grade do and their teachers give them a D.

“The Radio” has a radio that tells people what to do. “Call Girl” is about a vampire. “The Professor’s Wife” has a professor’s friends sure that his new wife is a robot until they tear her apart and he has to do voodoo to put her back together. And “Haunted Dog” literally lifts the last story from Creepshow 2 and had it be about hot dogs.

Did Clavell and Dudelson have a hot dog fetish?

Positive points: The Creep does show up at the end. And hey — America’s Sweetheart Bunny Gibson from American Bandstand plays a grandmother.

Otherwise, this movie made me question my life choices. I mean, how did I watch every Bruno Mattei and Joe D’Amato movie and not feel this way? That’s how bad this movie is.

The Eden Formula (2006)

Oh no, this is really Carnosaur 6.

Dr. Harrison Parker (Jeff Fahey) has created the Eden Formula, which can reproduce organisms and cure diseases. Instead of helping people, the other scientists in his company have decided to reanimate a dinosaur to impress stockholders, which really proves that this movie is realistic because I can totally see that happening. And then industrial espionage happens with James Radcliffe (Tony Todd) breaking in and setting a T. Rex — this movie was also called Tyrannosaurus Wrecks — loose in Los Angeles where it goes after Rhonda Shapton (Dee Wallace).

So yeah. A star-studded cast, the effects guy who worked on the first movies — John Carl Buechler — writing and directing, all with the same rubbery effects you made fun of in the last five Carnosaur movies. They haven’t gotten any better. In fact, they may have gotten worse.

You know, we should take out a fund and just pay Tony Todd for his service in these movies. He deserves so much better than to be dressed as fake Morpheus and battling off-screen lizards from a movie made thirteen years ago.

Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)

You may notice that so many of the sequels we’ve covered this week are past their expiration date. By that, I mean the time to make a sequel to Basic Instinct was a few years after that one came out in 1992, not in 2006.

You may also remember that so many of these movies are troubled production. Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction is no different. MGM had planned this movie to come out in 2002 — still late, but somewhat better — but then decided they had no interest in making the movie. That’s when lead actress Sharon Stone filed a lawsuit claiming she was guaranteed at least $14 million for her commitment to the sequel, even if the movie never got made and as much as 15% of gross receipts if the film were released.

By 2004, the lawsuit was settled and director Michael Caton-Jones (Doc HollywoodThe JackalMemphis Belle) got the job. He was broke and needed to make a movie, but called making this movie a “poisoned chalice” and said that “It was horrible. And I knew before I started that it wasn’t going to be a particularly good film. Which is a very, very painful thing.”

The movie starts in London with novelist and possible serial killer Catherine Tramell (Stone) using a passed out soccer player’s hand to get herself off while speeding through the streets, finally crashing into the Thames river. It was at this point that I began laughing uncontrollably as the athlete gazes upon Tramell like she’s some kind of vision and then drowns while she swims away.

It turns out that the soccer star was all pilled up and couldn’t even move, but Scotland Yard is unable to make any charges stick. But she has to report to court ordered sessions with Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), who she of courses beds and starts writing about for her new novel, a story in which real people all around them are being killed in both prose and real-life ways.

Unlike the original movie, which seems to only hint at the fact that Tramell is a killer or can manipulate any man or woman into doing what she wants, in this one it’s beyond obvious and there’s even a square up reel at the end showing all the murders and how she talked Glass into it.

I kind of love the reasons why no man was good enough for this movie. Michael Douglas? Too old. Robert Downey Jr.? Possession charges. Kurt Russell? Didn’t want to strip down. Pierce Brosnan? Didn’t like the sleaze. Bruce Greenwood? Potential actor strike. Rupert Everett? Calling a pervert who American audiences wouldn’t accept by the MGM CEO. And Benjamin Bratt? Sharon Stone didn’t think he was a good actor. Let that one set in.

Remember when Nigel Tufnel confusingly asked, “What’s wrong with being sexy?” I kept hearing that same question throughout this movie but it’s just a cavalcade of shocking scenes that by 2006 were no longer shocking. This is the kind of movie that demanded to be made by someone demented, someone willing to tell Sharon Stone that she’d have to dress like a cat and urinate in a litter box on camera or fart into jars and sell them to people if she wanted to shock someone. Instead, her scene of knowingly looking into another man’s eyes while engaging in an orgy is positively quaint. It’s like finding out your mom’s best friend is on Fetlife. You’re not all that surprised and you really don’t want to know the details or see any pictures, but you can be happy for her and wish her well.

Speaking of that, Stone wanted to make a third one and even offered to direct. Please make this happen.

Two Front Teeth (2006)

Gabe Snow writes for a tabloid with a very limited audience — The X-mas Times — which is all about holiday conspiracies. The latest is Flight 1225, which was brought down one foggy Christmas Eve by a flying creature with a glowing nose.

To keep this a secret, Clausferantu — a demonic vampire anti-Santa Claus — has unleashed zombie elves, demonic snowmen and an army of ninjas known as the Silent Nights.

It makes sense that this was directed written by one of the people who worked on the WNUF Halloween Special, Jamie Nash, who created this along with David Thomas Sckrabulis.

There are animated sections, Gremlins flashback stories to horrible holiday secrets, a karate fight with Santa coming back to battle his evil twin, an evil bunny, a horrifying story about pulling out teeth to get money and an SOV aesthetic that I absloutely loved.

This movie has jumped up on my list of favorite weird holiday horror and feels like a spiritual sequel to Elves, which is the highest praise I can give.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes (2006)

How to tell this movie was made in 2006:

  • It was made for SyFy.
  • It was shot in Bucharest, Romania.
  • It has two titles, Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes and Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud, but is not called Pumpkinhead IV.
  • It pretty much follows the original film and just subverts it slightly by having Lance Henriksen’s mummified body be the host for Pumpkinhead. For what it’s worth, Henriksen claims to have crawled out of the theater during the premiere, referred to this movie as “an alimony movie,” “just a nightmare, a nightmare of mediocrity” and “an absolute piece of shit.*”
  • Beyond Henriksen, Doug Bradley shows up. Those two must have had insane frequent flyer points, as it seems like they were flying to Eastern Europe for almost every role.

Bradley plays a mortician who has been selling organs and dumping bodies, leading to the town calling in the Pumpkinhead to kill him. He decides to kill everyone who summoned the demon. You can see a bunch of Lament Configuration boxes in Bradley’s office at one point.

Director Jake West also made the documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape and the movie Razor Blade Smile.

*Thanks to Letterboxd user FakeVorhees for this!

SLASHER MONTH: The Pumpkin Karver (2006)

You think you didn’t get along with your siblings? Jonathan and his sister Lynn have a major issue: he was pranked by her boyfriend Alex, who was dressed like a slasher and accidentally killed him. And not that Halloween is here, it. turns out that that man is back from the grave in a new and much more horrible way. I mean, the dude makes people walk backward into drills and pumpkin carves out their faces, so there’s that.

This movie was shot over two years and there wasn’t much time to get everything that was in the script shot. But director and co-writer Robert Mann (whose co-writer was Sheldon Silverstein, not The Giving Tree author but the producer of The Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe) did everything from voiceover work to making the props and parts of the Halloween costumes to get it done.

For metal dudes, this movie is worth watching because Nergal from Behemoth shows up. You can watch it on Tubi.

Evil Bong (2006)

Man, I can make it through some rough films but I really feel like this is the bottom of the barrel and then several levels below that. Like, this is somehow a sub-Troma movie that I’m mad at myself for watching, upset that I’m writing about it and even more disturbed that there are so many sequels.

The Evil Bong is a sentient malevolent hookah that takes its smokers to The Bong World, which has strippers and Full Moon characters like Ooga Booga, The Gingerdead Man, Ivan Burroughs from Decadent Evil, Jack Attack from Demonic Toys and Jack Deth, as well as Bill Mosely and Tommy Chong.

One of the bouncers within Bong World is Sylvester “The Predator” Terkay, a former pro wrestler and MMA competitor who finished second in the 1992 NCAA Division I Heavyweight tournament, losing to future Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle by points.

I know that sometime, somewhere, I will force myself to watch Evil Bong 2: King Bong, Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong, Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong, Evil Bong 420, Evil Bong High-5!, Evil Bong 666, Evil Bong 777 and Weedjies!: Halloweed Night.

I’m already upset.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Return to Halloweentown (2006)

This is the only film in the Halloweentown series not to feature Kimberly J. Brown as Marnie. Brown herself has claimed that not only was she available, but she wanted to finish out the series. Instead, series creator Sheri Singer would just state that Disney and Brown’s camp couldn’t come to terms and make a deal work. That said, Joey Zimmerman, Debbie Reynolds, Judith Hoag and Lucas Grabeel did all come back for the film. Sophie, who was played by Emily Roeske in the previous Halloweentown installments, is mentioned but does not appear. It was directed by David Jackson, who also made the Yasmine Bleeth-starring The Lake.

Marnie decides that instead of college that she’ll attend Witch University in Halloweentown on a full scholarship. But when she starts classes, she learns that all they do is study Shakespeare and the history of magic. She makes a new friend — Aneese the Genie — while reconnecting with Ethan and running afoul of the Sinister Sisters, the daughters of Silas Sinister.

The reason why magic is no longer taught? It’s all Marnie’s fault. Witch University was originally established exclusively for warlocks and witches to learn how to use magic. But Marnie destroyed the portal between the worlds, most of the magical children went to college in the mortal realm.

There’s also the matter of a locked box in the dungeon of the school that only Marnie can open, with a sinister group called the Dominion working to force her to break open its seal. Once open, it allows the Sinister Sisters to control Halloweentown. As you can imagine, everything works out — this is a Disney Channel movie, not the usual Filmirage gorefests we watch around here and even sets up future tales.

Due to the recasting, most fans of this series kind of wish this movie never existed.