13 Days of Christmas 7: The Gingerdead Man series

Posted: December 15, 2011 by Jenny Dreadful in Film, Reviews

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… Seven Cookies Snarking, Six Trees-a-Slaying… FIVE GARBAGE DAYS!… Four Naked ElvesThree Death CarsTwo Curling Duels and a Hell Goat in a Pear Tree

(Our apologies for today’s delay. WordPress was being difficult.)

We found this series has little to do with Christmas (other than the threat of a sinister gingerbread cookie), but we suffered them all … yes, all 3… and there’s no turning back. No turning back. We have only ourselves to blame.

The Gingerdead Man

StayFrosty: If The Asylum and Troma mated and had a deformed child, it would be Full Moon productions.  If that child also happened to be a cookie that likes to make bad puns and murder you, then you have Charles Band‘s The Gingerdead Man (2005).

In a quiet, small-town diner a deranged patron, Millard Findlemeyer (Gary Busey), opens fire on the Leigh family, killing all but the daughter, Sarah Leigh (Robin Sydney). During the trial, Sara’s testimony sends Millard to the electric chair and his ashes are sent to his mother. In a vow of revenge, Millard’s mother mixes her son’s ashes with a secret gingerbread cookie mix, which makes its way into Sarah Leigh’s bakery. When one of the bakery employees, Brick Fields (Jonathan Chase) cuts his arm and accidentally bleeds into the mixture, an old curse spawns a deadly 12″ walking, talking, killing gingerbread cookie and wrecks havoc on anything standing in his way!

I had actually seen GDM a few years back, but without the awesome company of my FGSG compatriots.  So this time around, I had a lot more fun.  And really, fun is all you can expect from a movie about a criminal who becomes a killer cookie.  Played by Gary Busey.  There are so many things wrong (or is it right???) with this movie that it’s hard to know where to start, but let me go over a few points:

Awww . . . He's got Busey's eyes!

First, this bakery is the worst bakery ever – the Board of Health would have a field day with this place!  Aside from the fact that all of their stuff is in giant cardboard barrels labelled “Gingerbread Spicing” (because you’d keep all the spices together like that) and “Chocolate Chips”, when one of the employees cuts himself, they decide that the best place to check out the bloody wound is over the open barrel of Gingerbread spice!  And of course, some of it gets into the spice, along with the ashes of the dead Busey (those were brought to the bakery by a witch – seriously – and our heroine just dumps them all in the spice barrel, no questions asked), and makes the aforementioned cookie with a vengeance.

Second, while one shouldn’t expect any kind of quality acting from movies of this level, there is some extra special crap acting going on here.  I don’t really think this is the fault of the actors involved, but more terrible screenwriting and directing.  I mean, our heroes spend most of the movie ostensibly wandering around in the dark looking for the Gingerdead Man (how could they cut the power man? They’re animals!), which sounds fine, except for the fact that THE LIGHTS ARE CLEARLY ALL ON!  These poor people have to act scared of the dark and point flashlights at brightly lit areas and pretend they can’t see right in front of them.

Jenny Dreadful: This flick is fairly amusing for audiences seeking out bad cinema. This is mostly due to the fact that Gary Busey is voicing a terrible puppet. What’s not to love? I like to imagine him drunk, just out of frame, pretending to be a cookie; especially during a brief scene where the puppet is threatening to kick a rat’s ass. Please let that be a drunken ad-lib. Don’t tell me if it’s not. My heart can’t bear it.

Other than the magnificent Busey-factor, the film is fairly tame. There isn’t much gore to speak of, the pace is a bit slow and the scope of the picture is pretty small, but there is plenty of straight-up bad acting and direction to enjoy all the same. There is a room with an orange light in it and we’re supposed to believe it’s a giant oven. Oh no! Escape the orange room! Frosty already mentioned the brightly lit darkness. Spooky. Watch it inebriated and/or with a group of friends. Or … skip straight to the sequel…

Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust

Young Kelvin Cheatam has just inherited his father’s fledgling movie studio. After a string of unsuccessful box office bombs, the passionate young producer as been struggling to keep the place from closing down for good. Desperate for another hit movie, he quickly puts several outrageous genre films into production. Little does he know…that Cheatam Studios is about to get more action than he ever imagined as the deranged cookie murderer known as The Gingerbread Man is about to crash the studio lot and leave behind a trail of bloody murder and hilarious mayhem. Terror still has never tasted so good!

StayFrosty: Okay, I don’t even know where to start with this one.  Puppets crucify puppets.  There’s an obsession with asses.

Jenny Dreadful: Shhhhh… rest now. I’ve got this one, lady.

Unfortunately, we lose the inexplicable presence of the Busey in Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust (2008), but we also get a significantly better puppet and a film with no pretense that genuinely celebrates schlock. (A reference to the obscure Ed Wood title, Orgy of the Dead (1965) made me smile.) They love this stuff, they know it’s trash, and they’re not ashamed. Well, maybe a little ashamed… Directed by “Silvia St. Croix,” eh? Yeah, that’s a real name.

Unless missing out on Gary Busey’s dishonor is a deal-breaker (understandable), I’d say readers who must have their evil cookie fix should skip the first and head straight to the sequel. A full recap featuring rhymes and bad illustration will get you up to speed. It’s obviously a terrible film, but it’s gorier, funnier, and more clever overall than the first. It’s cute to see Full Moon lampoon themselves and their fans so openly and well… some of these things happen:

(Spoilers! Oh no!)

  1. A villainous cookie with red glowing eyes pilots a robot that shoots lasers.
  2. A cookie masturbates. Somehow.
  3. As the title SUBTLY implies, said cookie is crucified and burned by a number of weird puppets. (Including one that clearly resembles a wanger.) Puppets crucify puppets. The film (or at least a trip to Youtube) is worth your time for this scene alone.
  4. Adam Green makes a cameo appearance at the end.

Your reaction to this list of events probably tells you everything you need to know. My work here is done.

Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver

The ultimate mini-murderer, The Gingerdead Man, is back again—and this time he’s leaving it all out on the dance floor.

After escaping from jail, The Gingerdead Man finds himself in a time machine headed for 1976. He arrives in the middle of a roller-boogie contest…but the party is just getting started for the infamous cookie killer. After taking in the sights of the beautiful roller girls, Gingerdead gets back to his old murderous ways, causing more bloody mayhem than ever before.

Crowbait: I’m surprised at how much traction the filmmakers thought this series would have. For this third installment we descend immediately into parody of other films beginning with an FBI agent visiting the sanitarium for criminally insane baked goods for a Silence of the Lambs tribute/rip-off. The Gingerdead man escapes his cell and hops into the time machine being constructed in the next room. Ginger lands in 1976 at a roller disco with its roller queen pageant in full swing.

If you’re still on board after these leaps of logic don’t worry, the film will find even more ways to insult your intelligence as it progresses. We’re introduced to the human cast, a gang of ’70s disco stereotypes and a few oddballs like the dwarf disc jockey and the drag act manager and then we are introduced to Cherry, the owner’s niece. A shy girl who is forbidden from skating by her aunt who warns her over and over “they’re all gonna laugh at you!” Cherry of course has psychic powers and the jealous former roller queen sets up a bucket of pig’s blood, blah, blah, blah, Carrie parody.The Gingerdead man, an even less convincing puppet than he was in the previous film, now bolstered by cheap CGI, oggles the women, masturbates a few times and then remembers to randomly kill people. Schlocky CGI serves as the weapon of choice with very few practical effects and his one-liners are more tired this time around including some that seem to have been recorded in voiceover sessions as catch-all kill phrases to be inserted as needed. He swipes Cherry/Carrie’s glory, taking over the massacre for himself in her climactic storm of psychic power.

Well if disco isn't fully dead this picture should finish it off.

In the end, two children who found the time machine controller come to the rescue, bringing an assortment of pun-spewing mass murders from history along with the FBI agent to trap the Gingerdead man in a cookie jar. Then they ressurect all of the victims of the rampage because, hey, time travel.

Every actor and actress in this cavalcade of poor taste recognized immediately what a parody choked abomination it would be. They all turn in unfunny camp performances punctuated by odd line reads and inexplicable cuts to close-ups of the Gingerdead man so he can offer wry commentary and try to out-pun their puns. Despite the bouncing bosoms and loose sex, there is no nudity in the film. Surprising at first but from what we can see of the budget in sets and performances it’s unlikely they could afford to pay a stripper to take her top off.

There are one or two talented skaters on the rink but they get less than five minutes to show off in the entire film. Maybe padding it out with some actual performances would have been better than a painful slow-mo scene of the not-quite-hero trying to save the day. A scene in which he runs across the rink showing off all of the supposedly dead victims filling in as extras in the crowd.

Avoid. That friend you have who thinks this movie is hilarious is categorically wrong because if he wants you to see this movie, he also wants me to punch him in the throat. And no one wants that.

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