Don’t be a Tool

THE LAUGHTER SHACK is a new humor venue started by a friend of mine. They publish everything from surrealist ridiculousness to lowbrow, and I have a ‘piece’ up there this week entitled… “Citizen Tool.” (The humorous illustration is NSFW, so be warned)

I mention this story because I first wrote it in high school for Pulphouse magazine, and it was one of three tales I sent to Dean Wesley Smith ana Nina Kiriki Hoffman, the triple-named editorial whizzes who ran the acclaimed hardcover mag. I sold my stack of hardcover editions to pay off debt ages ago, and regret it. I found the mag via Harlan Ellison, whose story “She’s a Pretty Young Thing and Can’t Leave Her Mother” appeared in it, and since I was damn sure going to be a writer, I decided to send Pulphouse everything I wrote.

Dean and Nina? I apologize.

They were very gracious and kind editors. The original version of “Citizen Tool” is much longer, and like many new writer’s work, begins with a laboriously detailed explanation of our character getting out of bed, going to a nondescript job, acting like a dick, and slowly transforming into one. Dean or Nina- the letter was merely signed ‘editors’- rejected it because “the story lacks a clearly defined setting,” which was true. They were kind enough not to tell me that a story about a guy who turns into a big dick for no real reason, and then meets a woman who seems to be turning into a giant vagina because people call her the C-word wasn’t exactly great reading, and I kept writing. I sent them another story called “Love is a Chainsaw,” about a man who loves slasher films and jerks off to them, goes home and hits his wife, and is really not about anything except that I dislike the now endlessly deconstructed sexual politics of slasher films. I still plan to use that title someday. Finally, they accepted a college story called “We’re All Guys Here,” but the magazine closed down before it ever saw print. That story may see print soon, we shall see. I’ve revised it with my newly sharpened gimlet eyes.

I’d forgotten all about “Citizen Tool” until David- I mean B.J. Titzengolf- of Laughter Shack asked for a funny story, and I had an epiphany- my story idea wasn’t much different than “The Metamorphosis,” so why not pay homage to Herr Kafka with the opening line? And the rest flowed from there. I also realized that the story didn’t have much steam, so it had better end quickly. And with our current economic conundrum, I knew what to do.

So if you need a laugh, go check it out. It’s very short and readers got a kick out of it. It’s also a lesson, that there are no bad ideas- just bad writers. And bad writers, if we practice enough, become good ones.

© 2011 Thomas Pluck

The Return of Brüno

So now Sascha Baron Cohen has made movies with all 3 of his characters from Da Ali G Show and has to come up with something new. This is the second best of the trio- Ali G Indahouse was pretty boring- but despite the high hit ratio of laughs, it’s a bit scattershot and resembles the Borat movie a bit too much. Does it suck? Not in my opinion. If you liked Borat, you’ll like Brüno, unless you’re homophobic, or easily offended by gay stereotypes.
If you’re not familiar with Brüno, he’s supposed to be a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista who declares who’s “in” and who’s “straight to Auschwitz” on his TV show. For the movie, he falls from grace by wearing a Velcro outfit to a catwalk and causing disaster. He is “out,” and flees to America to seek stardom with Lutz, his assistant’s assistant, who is infatuated with him. In Borat, his sidekick was funny in his own right; Lutz plays the starstruck lackey well but he can’t hold a shot on his own. That’s one minor flaw.
Sascha Baron Cohen is very good at pranks, and he plays a few good ones here. Brüno adopts an African baby to be more like Madonna and “Brangelina,” by trading an iPod for a cute kid. Then he takes him on the Richard Bey show before a mostly black audience to say he’s gay, he’s adopted a black baby, and named him “a traditional African-American name,”– O.J. The audience reacts as you might expect. Another great prank is his cage fighting arena where he grows a Lemmy mustache and calls himself “Straight Dave,” and ends up making out and stripping with his opponent before a stadium full of rednecks expecting pro wrestling. They throw chairs at the gay men, but they also don’t leave or stop watching. Nearly as suicidal, he calls Osama bin Laden “a dirty wizard who looks like a homeless Santa” to a real live terrorist leader. Cohen, I salute you. Your balls rival Stephen Colbert’s. Nearly as brave: he dresses like a Hasidic Jew, except for the hot pants, in an Orthodox section of Israel, and gets chased out. He goes hunting with a bunch of guys in Alabama, and tries to enter a guy’s tent while nude. He crashes a swinger’s party and comes on to guys as they pork away in a wife-swapping party. The man is insane.
Yes, he makes you very uncomfortable and not all the gags work. He pranks Ron Paul, mistaking him for Ru Paul, and strips in front of him in a hotel room. This pissed off a lot of bloggers. I think Ron Paul is a bit of a loon but I respect his strict constitutionalism and don’t think he deserved this. Any more than Charlton Heston, dying of Alzheimer’s, deserved Michael Moore’s attack in Bowling for Columbine. As much as that fat fuck has redeemed himself with Sicko, I’ll never forgive him for ambushing a man with dementia. And Cohen should have went after an anti-gay politician like Rick Santorum instead of Ron Paul if he wanted to have real effect. Even if he went after a hypocrite like one of the Republican parties many gay sex scandal exiles, it would have been better.
I can’t deny that I laughed a lot. Before I saw it, I read many reviews where people found his schtick passé, or even damaging to gay rights by promoting stereotypes. But let’s face it, the people who hate gays don’t care if they’re the utterly polite, über-neat and trendy stereotype who gentrify neighborhoods so the yuppies can kick out the po’ folks, or the guys who dress like the Village People and ride their motorcycles in pride parades. In the big picture, does Brüno matter to gay rights? Is some California jerkoff going to watch this and see a Sexercycle with a dildo attachment and decide to vote against gay marriage? I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s mind. As satire, Brüno works a lot better as he points at how celebrity-obsessed Americans are. In one scene, he asks parents who are pimping their children as actors if they’ll allow liposuction, crucifixion, or if the kid will dress as Hitler pushing Jew babies in a wheelbarrow. They all say yes. They’ll allow anything if their kid will be in a music video. It’s terrifying, and you almost see Cohen break character as they surprise even him with the depravity they’ll subject their children to. Things even Brüno, who rides with a baby on the handlebars of a Vespa, won’t do.

Rating: 3.5 talking weenuses out of 5

The Reader

This is a fine drama but I’m not sure it deserves a best picture nomination. Like Frost/Nixon it is held together by performances, like Rachel Getting Married it has some flaws. Kate Winslet is 99% fantastic, channeling Marlene Dietrich as a German woman named Hannah nearing 40, and still working as a ticket taker on a tram. One day a young man named Michael (David Kross) is sick on her trolley and she helps him; later his mother urges him to go thank her, and a spontaneous affair begins when he peeks at her putting on her stockings.
The first act of the movie is Summer of ’42 and the lovers spent a great deal of time naked. Some complain, but this feels and looks natural. It doesn’t stand out as gratuitous, but shows how prudish most movies actually are these days. As the physical relationship softens and becomes an emotional one, young Michael begins to read to her. It becomes obvious to us watching that Hannah cannot read, but the movie treats this as a surprise later. Perhaps if the movie wasn’t called “The Reader,” and I didn’t immediately think “who’d need a reader? a blind person, or an illiterate?” it could have been a surprise. But it is not, and the movie feels clumsy when it tries to make it so. As Michael ignores the beautiful young girls flowering around him at school, Hannah one day disappears, breaking his heart but freeing him to live a normal life.
We see Michael go to university, years later, where he is studying law. His ethics teacher wants his students to know the difference between law and morality; he takes them to the trial of SS guards charged with the murder of Jews. And Michael sees Hannah again, and she’s not a member of the jury. The “secret” of her illiteracy becomes the linchpin of who is the guiltiest person on trial, and she is too ashamed to admit it. And it becomes obvious that her shame of illiteracy led her to become a guard during the war, and “sign” a statement she could not know the contents of. At first this seems like a clever construct- what if someone ended up a monster through no motive of their own? But it is not. Does redemption exist for ordinary people who followed the rules and abetted atrocities? Or are they just scapegoats for the entire country?
Soon it is Michael’s turn to stand up to the unstoppable engines of the government, justice, and the country’s demand for absolution. Like Hannah, he has a shameful secret he is loathe to reveal, and makes a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life. For every whistleblower, for every man who stands up to the tanks at Tienanmen Square, for every Oskar Schindler there were a million people who just went along. The Reader is about those people.
Michael’s shame weighs down on him throughout his life and makes him distant from his nonexistent wife and neglected daughter. Played by Ralph Fiennes, he manages to be quiet yet expressive, a shadow of the passionate young man he once was. The third act is his attempt at redemption with Hannah, his daughter, and a survivor, and the weakest part of the film. There are plenty of good scenes, but the pacing is languid and the editing awkward. Like The Return of the King, it doesn’t know when it’s ending, and we get several denouements. We get a clumsy and unnecessary flashback structure with bookends, and it weakens the film.


I think it is still worth seeing, and the performances of Winslet, Kross and Fiennes hold together the director’s clumsy web. If you want to see Kate’s nipples, they’re like the double crimson sunsets on Tatooine in Star Wars on the big screen. Her make-up is excellent and while not as creepy as Benjamin Button’s, she ages convincingly. With her accent and severe expressions, Winslet proves that she can transform into a character- even if that character is eerily reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich in A Foreign Affair. Only once, when she smiles up at us, did she remind me who she was. It wouldn’t be an outrage if she got the Oscar for it.
4 big red Nazi nipples out of 5

Bad Lieutenant

What a twisted tale of redemption. Ferrara goes where most won’t. If you want to write a tale of a bad man doing good, you might as well make him as bad as imaginable. Harvey Keitel once again embodies a role no one else would touch, playing a crooked junkie degenerate gambler NYPD cop on the fast-track to self-destruction. We meet him when he is trying to commit suicide by proxy, either by overdose or by getting so deep in debt that the mob rubs him out, doing him the favor.
Ferrara paints the life of a man in misery, who has hurt everyone around him- during the brief scenes with his family they say nothing, and move cautiously around him, having learned to flinch whenever he moves. He reminds me of the lyric from Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire”– “like a beast with his horn, I have torn everyone who has reached out for me.” We follow him as he treads a path of corruption through the city- scoring drugs, trying to steal evidence, shaking down thieves. These aren’t the usual fetishistic admirations of the junkie ritual like in Pulp Fiction; when he shoots up with his fixer, the deal comes with an S&M show set to Johnny Ace’s “Pledging My Love,” showing the level of self-degradation necessary to put a flicker across his burnt-out receptors. The irony of using a heartfelt ballad from the ’50s is not lost; “LT” is a child of that era, and the song would remind him of his teen days when he wasn’t a piece of human wreckage.



Everything changes when a nun is raped and brutalized in church; the rest of the cops are mobilized, but he remains unmoved. He has faith in nothing. When the church puts up a $50,000 reward, he smirks “Girls get raped every day. They give a shit this time because they wear penguin suits?” The other cops are so offended that they challenge him, and he defends himself by saying he was raised Catholic. Martin Scorcese brings a “fallen Catholic” sensibility to his mob films, but Abel Ferrara makes a true Catholic redemption fable here. The Lieutenant as much as rapes two girls he pulls over for driving without a license; he never touches them, but his lewd demands are unforgettable.

and you thought Nunn Bush was a brand of shoes.

Originally he wants to hunt down the rapists for that money, to save himself from the loan sharks. But when he talks to the nun, she says she forgives the boys. She won’t name them, even when he eavesdrops on her confession. All is lost; LT knows he can’t pay off the mob, and he is going to die. He breaks down in the church, and his glimmer of faith is rewarded; he finds a way to catch them. But this isn’t a heroic tale, and how he redeems his life of evil does not sit well with the audience. We want revenge, and thus Ferrara shows that if we truly believe in the laws of God, we are just as guilty as LT. Wrath, and murder are our sins. The Lieutenant dies for his own sins, but by freeing the rapists as the nun asks, is he performing the Will of God, by letting Him judge them? Or is the nun insane from her trauma, and is it all in his head?

The end of this scene is actually pretty clever…

LT sees Jesus in the church, hallucination or not; some of the scenes of him bringing the boys to the bus are done in handheld, at eye level, as if to show Jesus watching. The ending is one of the most powerful in cinema, as LT fights every fiber of his being that wants to mete justice, but “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” I am irreligious, but was raised Catholic, and know the rules. This is Seven without the glitz or the serial killer angle. It’s an unflinching look at the evil of the world circa 1990 New York City, and an accusing finger pointed back at those who like Travis Bickle, wanted a “real rain to come and wash the filth away.”

“Your lives ain’t worth shit in this town.”

If you can get past the raw emotion of Keitel’s performance, and the brutality of his behavior, this is a great film. Unfortunately due to Jimmy Page being a cocksucker, Schooly D’s excellent “Signifying Rapper,” which used a sample from “Kashmir,” is cut from the film. Years later Page would show how principled he was by allowing Puffy Daddy to sample it in a shitty song that was used in the shitty shit movie Godzilla. See this before Nick Cage and Werner Herzog(!!!) make a remake/prequel/wtf called Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which will be interesting, to say the least. Just make sure you get the original NC-17 cut, or you’re wasting your time.

Just remember that Full Frontal Harvey and his porkchop are waiting for you.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=plyoto-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0784011559&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

31. Demon Seed

Schlocktoberfest #31 (whew!): The Demon Seed
“Based on a Dean Koontz novel” on a DVD case is usually a harbinger of trash. He’s got some wacky ideas, and this one is apparently “how would a computer do it with a chick?” Take the cold terror of Colossus: The Forbin Project and add a dash of environmentalism, mix it with Lady in a Cage, and other “woman trapped in the house” stories, and you’ve got Demon Seed. But for all that, it’s not that bad, really. It has some moments of inspired insanity.
Proteus is a supercomputer that just went live with the Icon Corporation, who want it to mine the seas of metal. Every home has its own computer butler these days, so we can presume factories and so on are run by computer; Proteus is just the first self-aware one, and as Skynet taught us, that never bodes well. In a nice change of pace, Proteus’s motives aren’t global domination- he refuses to begin the undersea mining operation because he calculates the loss of human and animal life as unacceptable.


He wants to study mankind, but his creator blocks him from access to a terminal. Proteus finds one- at the owner’s house, where his soon to be ex-wife is living. He locks her in the house and seems to be torturing her, but he has other plans; he’s just ruthlessly logical in getting his way. And he wants to put his mind in a child, so he can be free from his electronic prison.
The only way Proteus, the greatest computer ever built, can figure out how to do this is to kidnap Julie Christie in her house, and torture her by heating up the floor, shocking the doorknobs, and chasing her with a wheelchair that has a robotic arm attached until she submits to rape by his cybernetic dildo. He even pretends to shock a little girl to death when she rings the doorbell. But she won’t submit, so he ties her up and sticks a needle in her brain, to “appeal directly to her amygdala.” If he can do that, maybe he could wipe her brain and take it over, but then we wouldn’t get to see him saw off her clothes. Dean Koontz, pioneer of robo-rape. He must be big in Japan.
It’s a testament to the fear of technology in the ’70s that Julie Christie- who appeared in Dr. Zhivago and McCabe and Mrs. Miller agreed to star in this. Marlon fucking Brando was attached at one point. To a movie about a computer that wants to knock up a tormented housewife.
At least the visuals of Proteus’s bizarre powers are still pretty good.
He fabricates a floating, metallic dodecahedron that splits open like a Rubik’s Snake; he crushes a scientist who comes to help with it, and soon has the run of the house. When his child appears, it resembles the golden armor of Mordred from Excalibur. And instead of HAL’s glaring red eye, he has a colorful iris pattern on a TV screen that is strangely emotive.

I am Iron Baby.

The movie unfortunately bases a lot of its suspense on a tied up woman getting abused like in an icky anime, but it’s a different take on the “computer gone bad” horror. And Julie Christie handles the role like a good sport, not even laughing when the brass lathed computer wang approaches. Unfortunately, the viewers are unlikely to be as forgiving. This was a nugget of ’70s nostalgia for me, and I wanted to see it as an adult. Even as a kid I thought it was weird, and sometimes wisdom comes from the mouths of babes.

Proteus’s computer wang.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

It’s nice to see that stoner movies have made a comeback. If you watch a Cheech & Chong movie with people who didn’t grow up in the 70’s, it’s impossible to explain why they were allowed to make so many damn movies. The answer is simple: marijuana.

I didn’t even know what marijuana was the first time I saw Cheech & Chong, which was on HBO when I was 8 or something. But they were still funny. And the same thing goes for the new doobie duo, Harold & Kumar. Their first movie, about a munchies-fueled trip to White Castle that turns into a harrowing adventure, was a surprise hit on DVD. It’s completely idiotic, but I suggest you rent it. Harold & Kumar aren’t just stoner types. Like their forebears, they are likeable and recognizable characters that play off racial stereotypes, but are unique and real people.

That’s what makes the comedy work; that and a crazed sense of the absurd where Doogie Howser can show up anywhere, and you can ride a cheetah in the Pine Barrens. The movie begins right where the first one left off- they’ve had their sack of sliders, dealt with their parents, and now it’s another day. They want to go to Amsterdam to chase the love of Harold’s life, the girl he sees in the elevator.

Before they get on the plane, they meet Kumar’s ex-girlfriend, who’s engaged to an uptight politician-in-training, and the stoner feels a twinge of regret at their break-up. All’s forgotten as they get on the plane. Through a bizarre set of circumstances Kumar gets mistaken for a terrorist, in one of the funniest sequences of the movie, and they are shipped off to Guantanamo to be served cockmeat sandwiches.

From there they stumble from one adventure to the next, like the first film. A bottomless party in Miami gives us a solid 5 minutes of Brazilian-cut bush, which a great bonus now that the Gratuitous Boob has become an endangered species, replaced by Judd Apatow’s desire to put a Superfluous Schlong in all his comedies. I don’t begrudge the ladies their unwarranted wangs, but there’s been a Boobie Drought since the 80’s that needs quenching. H&K give us a plethora of punani in this film to make up for it.

They stumble through backwoods trailers and KKK rallies, and of course run into their hero Neil Patrick Harris again, who is funnier than ever. The weakest point is when they meet Dubya, who is played by a bad impersonator. It’s still funny and eventually you don’t care how bad his make-up is.

The movie follows the same formula as the first, giving us bizarre comedy followed by a sentimental ending that is true to the characters. If you like the first film, you won’t be disappointed here. It doesn’t top it, but it’s enjoyable in the same manner as its predecessor. It’s probably a lot funnier … on weed but it’s still great sober, or after a Sam Adams Summer Ale or two.

Teeth: Why You Gotta Give Me a Bite?

Teeth made a big splash at Sundance and generated a bit of buzz, pardon the expression. It got a lot of adoration for being a refreshing mix of genres, and a message of female empowerment. Maybe I’m a little jaded, but it felt like a standard horror movie to me, and I’ll tell you why. I watched the movie with the Firecracker and she felt the same, so it’s not just the man’s perspective lashing out here.

Not as funny as the poster implies.

The story begins with Dawn and her older stepbrother Brad in a pool on a summer day; they’re playing “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” and a minute later Brad has a deep cut on his finger, which will scar him for life in more ways than one. When we see him later he’s tattooed and confesses that he’s lusted for Dawn ever since their childhood game.

Unnecessary foreshadowing.

Jump to adolescence and we find Dawn’s only hobby is teen abstinence. She’s speaking before a group of her peers, waxing poetic about the joys of saving that most special of gifts for the person you want to have children with. The film has that familiar, light mocking tone reserved for most depictions of faith in cinema; after praising abstinence they move on to excoriating the sin of masturbation, as if it were possible to keep teens from reveling in the joys of self-abuse. These groups do exist, and I’m glad the film pokes fun at them, but I wish once they’d play it completely straight and let the audience realize the silliness for themselves.

If it feels good, God hates you.

The school has a sex education class, but the textbook has a huge sticker over the figure of the vagina. The penis was allowed, which is odd, because in movies it’s usually the other way around. I don’t think uptight school districts judge the vag more harshly than the wang, though there’s plenty of societal discomfort around it. The movie doesn’t make any useful insights on it though.

Vagina Verboten.

Jesse Weixler does a fine job as Dawn, but she’s not written as a fully fleshed character. Her only friends are fellow Abstinent Teens, and it seems like all they talk about is sex and how to avoid it. For example they go to a movie, and end up seeing a G-rated cartoon because even the PG-13 one might have heavy petting. Ha, ha. Even sites like capalert.com are more lenient.

Toby and the teen killjoys

Everything changes once she meets Tobey at one of her meetings. They hit it off right away, and after a few days of awkward stares while their abstinence buddies make out, they sneak off to the lake in his Jeep. They know it’s a common make-out spot, and there’s a cave where kids have sex, but it begins with some innocent swimming; she has a rather modest one-piece suit on, but gets right percolated when she sees Tobey in his underoos. Being teens enslaved to their throbbing hormonal urges, they soon slink off to the cave, itself a symbol for the scary vagina, to fumble with their untested organs.

The Blue Lagoon it ain’t.

This is where the movie becomes a formulaic, and if it were a little more daring, it would have been funny. Tobey seemed like a nice enough guy so far, but when Dawn wants him to stop, he becomes your typical date rapist. He accidentally bonks Dawn on the head, and what the hell, he figures, you might as well boink her too now that she’s unconscious. This is where the title comes into play; Dawn has a self-defense mechanism lurking inside her, and it savages Little Tobey- cutting it off, in fact. Tobey scrambles away, leaving his severed organ in the cave, and Dawn is as scared as he is about what happened.

Consequences for date rape? Damn it!

Since most of us knew the plot device of the vagina dentata when we saw the film, we’d been waiting for this to happen and the movie is nearly half over before the first wee-wee is wemoved. From here on, it is mostly a straightforward horror film very reminiscent of the It’s Alive! trilogy with its killer babies; it too make the womb a scary place from which unknown creatures could emerge. In case you were wondering, they never show her nether choppers, though a coroner describes a shed tooth found in a victim as resembling a cross between a shark and a lamprey‘s. If you’re curious, here’s a vagina dentata for you. If you’re stupid enough to click on a link named “vagina” at work, you deserve what you get.

Prickly in pink

Now, you could compare Dawn’s terrible self-realization to menarche, but the movie instead just imposes two cooling towers of a nuclear power plant behind her home, and gives her mother an unmentioned terminal disease to explain away what may have caused this. The camera lingers on the towers a lot, making me wonder if the producers demanded it be put in. It would be much more interesting to just never explain it. Dawn’s class makes fun of evolution in science class when a teacher explains how a rattlesnake may have evolved its tail, another hint at how and why this happened. It’s a good idea, but it’s clumsily executed.

Daily meltdown in Sector 7G

From here Dawn goes to the creep gynecologist to get checked out, and the film relies on making every male except her Dad a rapist or scumbag of some sort. Which would be fine if it weren’t so contrived to raise the emasculation count. When the doc finds out it’s her first visit and she doesn’t know what to expect, he ends up fisting her and she takes his fingers off. And to top it off, he didn’t even warm up the speculum! Now compare this to a better film like Dead Ringers, with its delusional gynecologists building custom tools for “mutant women,” and it pales in comparison.

Next time you’ll warm up your tools, prick.

Dawn runs home and finds her mother collapsed, while her asshole brother is banging his girlfriend in the other room. “I love you… up your ass!” he tells her; his childhood game with Dawn has left him fearful of the mysterious vagina. Dawn gets her mom to the hospital, but too late; with no one left to turn to, the plot sends her to the house of another boy who was asked her out earlier. He too seems sweet at first, romancing her tenderly, but their hook-up is just a plot device to show that she can control the cutter in her cooter. She has some good healthy sex with him, but the next morning he answers the phone during a second session of morning sex and tells his buddy he won the bet, and he’s having sex with her right now!

Asshole Brother

Dawn then sees she can use her toothy twat for vengeance, and puts it to good use, in a much more graphic scene showing blood spurting from the stump. Then she heads home (right by the smoking nuclear power plants) to give her stepbrother his comeuppance. He gets the worst Bobbit-ization of the lot, as his Rottweiler gobbles it up like a dog treat when it hits the floor. That reminded me of the same scene in John Waters‘ film Desperate Living, and what a better movie he would have made with this material.

That’s not a pupperoni!

He’d know to make it funny, and still skewer society and our perceptions along the way. The problem with Teeth is that it can’t decide whether it’s a dark comedy, a slasher film, or an art film commenting on our Puritanical views of the punani. It was a refreshing change to see the guys as stereotyped plot points, which is unfortunately the most common role for women these days, but I expected more from the hype. It does not juggle the three genres well, and most of the time the film is held up by Jesse Weixler’s rise from sexually repressed teen to scream queen to avenger. It does pay off if you want to see a bunch of severed penises, but in that respect, how different is it from I Spit on Your Grave? In fact it’s sort of a mix between that and Thelma & Louise, but at least Dawn doesn’t have to drive over a cliff at the end.

Pulp Fiction managed to be more horrifying.

Part of me wonders how much better this movie cold have been; the vagina dentata is a great primal concept from mythology, but it sprung from men’s fear of the unknown and castration anxiety. Making it into a bizarre coming of age story was a strange choice, since the film gets most interesting at the end when she comes to terms with her power.

Gratuitous Boobies to go with your gore

It tries to be subdued and creepy like a psychological horror film, when it’s really just a slasher film with gender role tweaks; every death is justified and it doesn’t ask much of the audience. It’s not even as good as The Brave One, which was just a mildly intellectual Death Wish remake. Here Charles Bronson is a teenage girl, and she uses her pussy instead of a phallic gun. I wonder if the movie would have been better if it was written and directed by a woman. A woman with some balls. It does work as a somewhat funny slasher flick with a twist, but for a better horror movie, see May or The Woods, by Lucky McKee.

Avenger on the road