Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Havoc: EVIL HEAD (2012)

Believe it or not, I’m old enough to remember when people didn’t give a damn about Sam Raimi’s THE EVIL DEAD (1981).  Sure, it was a cult classic back in the early 80s, but you could search the globe back then and not find a single person with an EVIL DEAD tattoo. Two sequels (EVIL DEAD II and ARMY OF DARKNESS) and what seems like a hundred Anchor Bay DVD releases later, the EVIL DEAD series has virtually possessed horror fans through comics, toys, video games and more.  Go to any horror convention and you’ll find EVIL DEAD slapped on everything from t-shirts to shot glasses to – I’m not kidding – baby apparel.  And finding an EVIL DEAD tattoo nowadays is easier than locating a cursing redneck in a Rob Zombie film.  Hell, the world even now has EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL!   And a slick looking EVIL DEAD remake is coming out in 2013 that cost almost as much as the entire original films combined ($14 million for the remake versus $17 million for the trilogy).  As the old Virginia Slims ad campaign said, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Rising concurrently with the popularity of the EVIL DEAD franchise has been the mainstream acceptance of the alternative look (mostly regarding women) in the pornography industry. Believe it or not, there used to be a time when finding a lady covered in tattoos in a nudie mag was as rare as an original idea from Eli Roth.  Those ink-heavy ladies were secreted away in magazines like Outlaw Biker and the like (Tom knows, trust me).  Thankfully, conventions have changed over the years and fans no longer have to accept the silicone-enhanced Barbie-esque pushed by the industry.  Helping pave the way for this movement has been Burning Angel, an alternative-focused porn company founded by Joanna Angel in 2002.  With the alternative and horror scene intrinsically mixed, it was only a matter of time before these two copulated.  Burning Angel got their toes wet in the horror film parody scene with a pair of XXX shockers from director Doug Sakmann – RE-PENETRATOR in 2005 and THE XXXORCIST in 2006.  Plans were made to tackle the now hugely popular EVIL DEAD series around that time and a funny teaser appeared in 2010.  Then silence.  Luckily, the spoof finally got made this year and unleashed on DVD just in time for Halloween.

The film opens with a quartet of vacationers – Ash (Tommy Pistol), Linda (Joanna Angel), Scotty (Danny Wylde) and Shelly (Kleio) – arriving at that familiar isolated cabin in the woods (or soundstage in this case).  “I heard about it from my friend Sam,” says Ash referentially of the cabin.  As the group settles in, Ash bestows Linda with a locket that has pictures of them screwing inside.  “You sure know the way to woman’s heart,” she coos. “Yeah, through her vagina,” he hoots in his best Bruce Campbell impersonation. Okay, this is going to be fun.  No sooner are they settled do they find an old tape recorder and the Necronomicon.  They play the tape and hear the voice of the Professor (sad personal moment – I recognized it as Troma head Lloyd Kaufman’s voice before the end credits revealed it; yup, I’m good at porn minutia) who recites the “klaatu barada nikto” incantation that brings the unseen demonic evil alive.  Of course, we can’t have things jump off just yet as Ash, Linda and Scotty have a threesome where Linda proves to be more than open in their relationship.  Post-coitus, Shelly discovers them and this causes here to run out of the cabin and into the foggy woods. Here we a XXX recreation of the infamous tree rape scene from the original EVIL DEAD.  This is actually a bit disturbing as Shelly is possessed by literally being gangbanged by some tree branches in every place you can imagine.  It is something I’ve never seen before and I’m sure some Japanese businessman is giddy at the thought.

Anyway, Shelley returns to the cabin completely nude and her possessed side quickly emerges.  She knocks Ash unconscious and stabs Linda with a piece of bark she pulls out of her vagina (!), infecting her as well.  As she centers in on Scotty, we get a play on one of the most famous lines from the series.

Shelly: “I’ll swallow your soul.”
Scotty: “Really? Well, if you put it like that 
maybe I can make an exception.”

Sex scene #3 then gets underway as Scotty and Shelly go at it on the fireplace…and on the rocking chair…and on the living room floor (man, that sounds like a game of Clue). Again, another first as I’ve never seen a soulless demon get pounded hard like this (Ann Coulter in a debate on facts with Bill Maher comes close though).


After their spirited session, Shelly wants more (“Fuck us!”) but Scotty is spent.  He pays with his life as she takes a bite out of his neck and then leaves him a bloody mess on the floor.

Springing into action, Ash throws Shelly down in the fruit cellar and goes to comfort Linda.  She is possessed and gives him the classic “Hello lover!” line before deciding to do some girl-on-girl action with Shelly on the couch (how she got out of the cellar is never explained). Now here is where the film delivers perhaps its most clever moment.  Ash sits back watching this sapphotic action and decides to get in on the action.  He sneaks up behind Shelly and begins to finger her from behind only to have his hand get possessed.  That, my friends, is freakin’ funny and a feisty and well-informed way to work in the hand possession angle.

After taking a pounding at literally his own hand (naturally it grabs his balls), Ash is forced to part ways with his appendage via some chainsaw surgery.  He then grabs Shelly and sits her on the chainsaw before revving the thing up. Chalk that one up to another thing I’ve never seen before (and I’m shocked a German gore movie hasn’t done it yet).

Ash comforts the now human Linda and she is a bit pissed because during the melee she found an identical locket under the couch featuring him getting it on with another girl.  He delivers the “pillow talk” line from ARMY OF DARKNESS before using the classic “give me some sugar baby” quip in order to segue into the film’s next sex scene as Ash and Linda use the couch to get it on.  So for all you EVIL DEAD fans hoping to see a handless Ash slap a girl’s ass, your dreams have come true. Following their 20 minute plus session, Linda reverts to her demon form and Ash has only one option and decapitates her with the chainsaw.  He takes her out into the woods to bury her, but has to endure some threats from Linda’s severed head while digging.  His response is to ejaculate on her severed head (again, a porn first I believe and done for laughs, not shocks).  Making it back to the cabin, Ash goes delirious as everything in the room starts to laugh at him (I love that they got one of those singing deer heads).  He then looks outside and sees that not only Linda, but some of his other crazy ex-girlfriends (Dana DeArmond and Veruca James) have risen from their graves.  In a scene sure to excite Jorg Buttgereit, Ash heads out to the makeshift graveyard and gets it on with all three living dead girls.  When they finish, he says, “Now is that some evil head or what?” before giving them the ol’ chainsaw breakup.  The end.

It is no secret that the porn parody business is booming. However, the more of them I watch, the more I realize how the effectiveness of subgenre is kind of like a Peter North cumshot – it is all over the place (yeah, you laughed).  The bad ones end up being nothing more than glorified cosplay with iconic characters fucking, while the good ones actually make the effort to infuse their work with clever nods toward the source material. Thankfully, EVIL HEAD falls closer to the latter.  It is obvious that Sakmann is a horror fan and has an affinity for the original series.  Hell, in the behind-the-scenes featurette he shows off the Necronomicon tattooed on his arm (see, I told you it was easy to find those EVIL DEAD tattoos). He co-wrote the script with Joanna Angela (who also confesses her love of the series in the BTS) and it is infused with so many acknowledgements and tributes to the original films. Mostly the film is parodying EVIL DEAD 1 & 2, but they make sure to work in some of the iconic lines from ARMY OF DARKNESS.  Sakmann even managed to build a set that properly recreates the original location (in a high school theater production kind of way) and spent money on some effective demon FX.  As a director he even tries to visually recreate some of Raimi’s more iconic shots.  Don’t get too excited as we’re still working on video here, but it is the thought that counts.

Echoing Sakmann’s enthusiasm is a capable cast.  Without a doubt the star of the show is Tommy Pistol.  As the battered and bruised hero, he does an incredible job at bringing to life Bruce Campbell with a boner.  He obviously studied the role and has some of Campbell’s cadence and facial expressions down perfectly. The sequence where he is attacked by his own hand rivals the physicality displayed by his inspiration in EVIL DEAD II.  Special mention should also go to co-star Kleio.  She also appears to have also studied the source material as she has the twitchy mannerisms of a demonic Deadite down. Not to mention she also got molested by some trees and, according to the BTS doc, did her sex scenes almost completely blind thanks to her contact lenses.  Helen Keller would be proud (admit it, you laughed again).

Of course, there are a few things that will disappoint folks.  Personally, I was initially excited to hear of the casting of Dana DeArmond, one of porn’s funniest actresses, in the flick and kept assuming she was going to show up as the Professor’s daughter. Sadly, she just shows up as a horny zombie in the film’s final sex scene.  Yeah, you read that right – I’m the dude hoping a porn actress gets more dialogue in a film.  It is definitely a missed opportunity in my opinion.  Also, I felt the production passed on some other great opportunities.  I’m talking severed hand fingering action (did I just write that?). The aforementioned teaser that Burning Angel released in 2010 had a great bit where Linda’s severed head chomps on Ash’s crotch.  In a film filled with never-before-seen sexual situations, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t recreate this in the actual production.  After all, the world demands a severed head blowjob scene. Did I say world?  I meant that previously mentioned Japanese businessman pervert over in Tokyo.

Alas, those are minor quibbles on my end because I think the film did enough clever stuff to satisfy even the most die hard Deadite.  So instead of shelling out $20 for that limited collector’s edition EVIL DEAD lunchbox, send your money to Burning Angel as they did this one right.  Not only did they properly deliver a porn parody, but they did it with an infectious enthusiasm that could only come from real fans.  Now, where the hell did I put my tattoo gun?

Best game of Twister EVER!

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