Before we start, I have seen
this one before. And I remember it pretty well, as being really lousy
aside from the stupid parts that make one (well, me at least) say “Ha
ha I could do better,” though I should note a couple of things.
1 – I did do better, several years ago, 2 - This movie
is available on DVD, and 3 - the movie I made isn't available
So, let's start.
We get the credits and the names Kenneth Mader and Joseph Kurtz appear a lot. And, to the strains of an old digital synthesizer, we fade into an old dark house, lit by the “moonlight” to appear real spooky like. The moon light is very, very blue.
“It began in earnest, several years ago,” says a female voice, while the titles inform us this is “DeKalb County, Illinois.”
“A project of such scope, such unparalleled magnitude [September 15, 1989 says a title], it dwarfed everything that had come before.” [Ed's note: as we progress through the film, we'll see that, no, it doesn't dwarf anything. And its magnitude is anything but unparalleled.]
Over some more shots of this old dark house, she continues, “It was located inside a vacant old house, in rural DeKalb County, Illinois. The perfect cover for a classified government experiment...or so we thought.”
And we start getting some more credits. Bored yet?
“Outfitted with all the latest in motion-detection and surveillance equipment,” the voice goes on, as we see a badly-disguised hippy-guy-as-scientist descend the stairs, “the house was a virtual prison for Doctor Arden Westmore—the bio-engineer in charge of the project.” I am not sure if the soundtrack supports this name, but I ain't gonna go back. It sounds like Arden Westmore, and, if you doubt me...well, you just be getting along, down that road, and never mind, please never mind what that moon looks like to you. The moon, it smiles down on us, yes, but that smile means many things. Most of them blue.
“A brilliant scientist,” the female voice goes on to detail, “he was chosen not only for his impressive genetics experience, but also his ability to work alone, in an isolated environment.” Sure sounds like step one in a recipe for disaster to me.
“His methods, though somewhat radical,” the voice goes on while the credits tell us that Randy Craig plays Sheriff Marty Holt--
--thank goodness I know that now--
...proved quite effective. Perhaps...too...effective.” All the while, we hear the brilliant doctor muttering what are no doubt profound scientific truths too unbearably bright for our tiny minds. Since we can't hear a word of them, that must be it. Now, we see Dr. Westmore sliding his ID card into a slot in a brick fireplace, and a light appears as if a secret door was opening (pretty good use of resources, here).
“A United States Defense Department operation, the Carnivore Three project, fell under the jurisdiction of the Defense Intelligence Agency bioweapons division, a little known segment of our great bureaucracy,” our narrator informs us, and we see Dr. Westmore going down some secret brick corridors with various yellow warning strips and signs taped up everywhere. Now, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but this is NOT The Atomic Brain II; the narrator will eventually shut up and we'll hear folks talking, long before, oh, dinner time or so. Anyway, she continues, re: the referenced bureaucracy, “dedicated to finding bigger, better, and more heinous ways to kill people.” Dr. Westmore seems to be going through some plastic sheets, but he has the look about him of one who is being decontaminated or something.
“Westmore's creation, a hybrid species that would revolutionize the state of warfare as we know it, was his greatest achievement to date, raising more than a few eyebrows at the Pentagon.” And we're tracking over to a large chamber, labeled “Pressurized Area” and “Caution Biohazard.” And our title creature's hand slams against one of the glass windows. Dr. Westmore looks up at this.
“The carnivore, or Carnie, as it had come to be known--”
“Hey,” says Dr. Westmore at the Carnie.
“--exceeded all of our expectations,” the narrator continues, drowning out Dr. Westmore's admonition to the Carnie to stop tapping on the glass. “It understood language!” she goes on. “Had developed a mutating healing system that rivaled anything in nature, and, except for what we thought was a minor pheromone imbalance, it seemed quite controllable. That, however, was—all—about—to—change--” And we fade away from the Carnie in its swell indoor mobile home slash Little Tykes biohazard playpen, to some guy's black and white picture being used as a dartboard. Someone mutters how he hates the guy in the picture, and dart flies into the face. We see it's Dr. Westmore. “That'll teach you to keep me cooped up in this stinking house,” he mutters peevishly.
Noises are heard from the Carnie house. “What are you so feisty about tonight,” Dr. Westmore asks. His next lines are hard to make out. “You like that Lego Llama I got you? I'll get you some pencils next time.” Gosh, how nice of the Doctor! He notes those pesky high pheromones, and remarks, “You need to get laid, big time. It'll help you to distinguish between fear and arousal.” Well, we can but hope, Doc. Oh, and the Carnie has had a few POV shots, and of course, everything is slightly solarized.
“Hell, what am I talking about, I'm the one who needs to get laid,” the Doctor peevishly mutters. He prepares a syringe, and he then announces, “Okay, Carnie, got a shot for you,” suddenly developing a slight British accent. Hey, I bet this whole syringe bit doesn't turn out good for the doctor, who's with me on this?
He approaches the mobile home, and opens the door. He calls out to Carnie, bring me your arm, quit playing games, etc, and the solarization approaches him. Carnie sticks out his arm. And--
...well, Carnie (at least his arm) looks an awful lot like a Doctor Seuss creation. He has shiny, dark green skin, he has a tuft of hair at the wrist, and (apparently) another tuft further up from the elbow, toward the shoulder. And he has long fingernails. You wouldn't be at all surprised to hear him say, “I must stop this injection from coming, but how?”
Well, that Carnie was so sly and so slick, that he thought up a plan, and he thought it up quick. Just when the Doctor was moving the shot, Carnie withdrew his arm, nails, tufts and the lot!
Okay, I'll stop that. Dr. Westmore is not happy with this sort of game playing, and basically talks to Carnie the way I talk to my cats, ie, tired of no cooperation and not wanting to play this kind of game. The difference is, I don't expect my cats to cooperate; the Doctor apparently thinks Carnie ought to. Here's a hint, Doc: a laser pointer. Carnivores love to chase those, and you can use the beam to maneuver them wherever you want them to go.
Well, to sort of comical music, Carnie repeats the bait-and-switch ploy, but the Doc is getting steamed. Then Carnie tries something new. Specifically, a new hand. Instead of a human hand with green skin and large nails, this is a flat, flipper-like hand with only four fingers and no nails. It kind of looks inflatable.
Anyway, this brief glimpse of Carnie's new makeover is just a prelude to Carnie roaring at the Doc, grabbing the syringe, and injecting it into the Doc.
The comical music continues, however, with the Doc complaining about all the slime all over him, and not really noticing the syringe sticking in his chest, mmmmmaybe (if he's lucky) a half inch above his heart. Well, some people are born lucky. Others have luck thrust onto them. Others still have syringes thrust into them.
He finally notices the syringe. “Oh, Carnie, you've really done it now.” He continues to grouse and complain, until finally blood starts gushing out of his mouth. Wow, some pheromones, eh? He continues coughing up blood all over his face, then lies still. And of course, the door to Carnie's trailer home is still open.
Carnie uses his clawed hand to poke at the dead doc, with that kind of motion we all associate with “I didn't mean to break it” remorse. His POV then looks at the discarded syringe, then back at doc, then back to the syringe, back to doc...now, I'm certainly not the genius Dr. Westmore was, but I think Carnie is making the connection between the syringe and the doc's death, and thinking, Hey, he was going to inject that crap into me. Carnie, you only think that because you don't understand biochemistry.
Carnie looks up and just happens to notice that there's this big basement lab. So he jumps up and runs through the plastic sheets. We get a long pan of the lab (non POV) before the narrator realizes she missed her cue. “And so began what would become the worst day of my life.” We slowly zoom in on that black and white dartboard photo...uh, just cuz. “The creature had escaped. It was loose in the house. And while Dr. Westmore lay dead in the lab, it remained business as usual for those of us back in Washington.”
And we cut to a seal reading “Department of Defense, United States of America” while a title is superimposed, “United States Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC.”
One thing about this movie, between the narration and such, is that they sure don't assume you're picking up on all the subtle clues about what's happened and where things are and what's going on and stuff like that.
Well, we're with the Dart Board Guy, though he is, of course, in color and he's not a photograph, he's an amazing live bureaucrat. “The following morning,” a title tells us, before Dart Board goes on to say that he need not remind anyone about how this is all very secret and things. A group of nondescript subordinates absorbs this. He puts on his glasses and says, “Then, we'll start,” and he opens a notebook. And the meeting begins.
None of this is relevant at all, it seems to be a kind of weekly “let's catch up on all our secret projects” and since no one mentions Westmore or Carnie or Narrators, I'm going to skip any details. No, no, thank you.
There's a bit of arguing about...no, sorry, it isn't relevant, it just shows that this one general guy can't act above “pine tree” while Dart Board can go into Angry Ham mode. Though it must be noted that this Ham is very...flatly presented. It's as if Dart Board has to deliver his lines written on panes of invisible sheetrock; each one must be lifted with a single thrust, and then pushed forward until it rests against the previous line. This way, you get a stack of lines that are hard to move, but easy to stack against.
Well, Dart Board asks about the “CV3” project, and since I have plenty of brain space left over, I immediately calculated that this stood for “Carnivore Version Three” as mentioned before, so this might have some relevance to the plot! In fact, Dart Board asks a Blonde Lady about this project, and I'm betting this is the Narrator, who, as you'll recall in our last exciting chapter, was having “the worst day of [her] life.”
Anyway, Blonde Lady says that as of Dr. Westmore's “last” communication (ha ha), everything is on schedule, and “he is very close to communication with the beast. He also feels,” she goes on, nodding her head here and there like someone in a TV commercial selling something, “ that it could in fact be trained for whatever purpose the Defense Department deems necessary.”
“There still have been no breaches of security,” Dart Board says...rather ungrammatically, I think.
“No sir,” Blonde Lady answers, “the cover story of the house being vacant has held...in fact, some of the locals even think the place is haunted,” she all but titters.
The cover story of the house being vacant...wow, I had no idea our government was capable of such a depth of perfidy! Imagine...a house being vacant! “Say, any evil experiments in that house?” “That house? Heck no, stranger, that house is vacant.” “Oh. Darn. I was hoping for a story. Shucks.” Why, such a story would fool anyone! It's brilliant! Now I know why my last scheme failed, I mean, cough, gosh, a vacant house!
Anyway, on one of Blonde Lady's incredibly smug expression (“And you can see how the inside shelves are disposable”) we fade to a nice sunny day in “St. Charles, Illinois.” But, if we go there, don't we have to pay thirty dollars? And what if they have a hotel! Can't we go to Pacific Avenue instead? I own that one.
Anyway, we see this rather pretty landscape for some time, until a silver car with a loud radio in it drives up to a house and disgorges a Slacker Dude with a Baseball Hat (Worn the Right Way) and His Sundries. He takes his bags o' crap into the house (by the way, this neighborhood has the loudest birds ever, sounds like a tropical rainforest out there. Thank goodness Red Hat closes the door). His mom calls out of the aether to ask how his workout was, and he...removes his Red Hat! Damn it, what are we going to call him now? Oh, the travails of the film reviewer!
Well, he takes his bags o' crap up to his room, and turns on his stereo. What a lucky bastard! The stereo is playing the same song as in the car. Though, to be fair, it could be a radio station. He lies in bed, and gets the phone. He calls his pal Mark. As it turns out, Red Hat, his pal Mark, Mark's Girlfriend, and MG's Sister, are all going to go to the “old house” tonight. You fools, that is a vacant house! You might be killed! But too late, their plans are laid for the evening. (And if they have their way, plans are not the only thing, hardy har har, nudge nudge wink wink say no more.)
Cut to Blonde Lady, listening to her Zombie Assistant (you would not believe how toneless and flat this assistant woman reads her lines) tell about how they got the latest security tape from the house, and long story short, Westmore is dead, the creature is loose. Oh, and also Westmore is playing Darts with Dart Board's head. (She didn't moan this, but come on, it has to be on tape!)
Blonde Lady says she has to get some security people and go check this here Dead Doc-Loose Carnie stuff out. All during this, there is the sound of a helicopter landing somewhere. You know, helicopters...are used by the military, we're in the Pentagon, connect the dots man.
Back at the terrifying vacant house. Though, of course, we know it's not really vacant, there's a Carnie in there. And sure enough, the clawed hand reaches around the corner of the fireplace where Dr. Westmore used his ID card. I am guessing that means Carnie has figured out how those things work, which is quite a trick considering they don't work half the time and a lesser beast might get discouraged and, you know, eat the card or something. Of course, where'd he get this card? The Doc's wallet? What else did he get out of there? Better check eBay and see if someone's ordering lots of raw meat using Doc's credit card!
Oh, and by the way, we never get more than a very brief glimpse of Carnie's face, or anything other than the one arm. If you freeze frame when he peeks around the fireplace, he, um, looks less than awe-inspiring. He looks like an old man with a flat face and green skin. You might expect him to start talking about “the precioussss!” if you didn't know better than you do.
Now, here's a question. Why do these genetically engineered monsters have solarized vision? No, no, no, “because it looks cool” is not an acceptable answer. 'Sides, it doesn't. What kind of advantage would that give a creature?
You may turn your essays in over the weekend, as I shall be out of town.
Anyway, Carnie looks (for a loooong time) at a set of curtains over a window. He pulls them down, and light streams in, and he reacts as if he doesn't really like this light stuff everyone raves about. He covers his face and jumps and retreats.
Back somewhere in the Pentagon, some technicians discuss the security tape where Dr. Westmore bought it. We get to hear the late Doctor curse and, generally, speak less than scientifically.
Blonde Lady orders the tape stopped. “So...your opinion...” she says slowly, tossing her golden mane, “...is it still in the house?”
“My guess....” answers the lab tech, winning the impromptu I-Can-Talk-Slower-Than-You contest, “...would be...yeah.”
“If it went upstairs, and it can't handle sunlight,” he goes on, having won the contest he can speak normally now, “it's probably trying to get back into the lab. Back to a familiar environment.”
And we cut to Carnie trying to do just that, pounding two, count 'em two hair-tufted long-nailed fists against the fake fireplace facade. (Which, when you freeze frame, looks really fake.) So that starfish hand, from earlier, was...um. Shrug. Another quick close up of Carnie's face screaming in frustration, and we see that he looks rather like a Humanoid From The Deep, with a wig and no exposed brain.
Cut back to Blonde Lady and Lab Guy. Blonde Lady leaves the lab, and Lab Guy says (wait for it....) “Hey...good luck.”
And that wondrously plotted bit of scene done with, we cut to...another shot of Carnie being pretty ticked off about this whole “bright light” thing. Only this time...please check your heart rate! Instead of fists pounding, then face screaming, we get face screaming FIRST, THEN fists pounding! It's a cornucopia of cinematic delights. You know, I don't get paid for this. The film-makers have generously allowed a lot of footage of screaming and pounding, so we get a lot of look at Carnie, and...um. Well, my belief isn't really suspended. I'm sorry.
Next, we cut to some legs (male) walking along a hallway, to martial drum-type music. Turns out, it's Dart Board and Some Other Guy Who Was At The Meeting But Didn't Do Anything But Give Significant Looks So I Passed Over Describing Him, And Even Here He Just Peers Over Dart Board's Shoulder.
Uh...yeah. Well, Dart Board orders Lab Tech to put the carnivore tapes under “Delta Code” and Lab Tech says, “Delta Code, isn't that not to be used except--” and Dart Board yells, “Just do it, Mister! Do it NOW!”
And Other Guy Who Was At The Meeting But Didn't Do Anything But Give Significant Looks So I Passed Over Describing Him, And Even Here He Just Peers Over Dart Board's Shoulder doesn't say anything, but continues to peer. And the scene ends when Dart Board closes the door.
Lab Tech and His Flatly Intoning Assistant look at each other like, “Bosses! Who can understand them?”
Then we get a quick shot of Dart Board, and Other Guy Who Was At The Meeting But Didn't Do Anything But Give Significant Looks So I Passed Over Describing Him, And Even Here He Just Peers Over Dart Board's Shoulder discussing who “was assigned with Anderson.”
And Other Guy Who Was At The Meeting But Didn't Do Anything But Give Significant Looks So I Passed Over Describing Him, And Even Here He Just Peers Over Dart Board's Shoulder, says “Lydia North, sir,” and I sure hope this guy passes into movie history now. I mean, even though I'm using CTRL-V, it's a pain. Probably more so for you, though, huh? Ha ha, that is a funny joke. I must remember to tell that one.
And we cut to the interior of a car. We have two grey suited agents, a black guy and a white guy, and also Blonde Lady. She's asleep. They discuss whether or not to wake her up “before we get to the airbase.” Heck, why? Why wake any of us up at this point? Tell you what, wake me if Carnie does more pounding on the wall. That's way better than the pounding in my skull.
Anyway, these agents talk about how they don't like Blonde Lady. They also chat dully about how they're mad they have to use tranquilizer darts. The White Agent is clearly, clearly trying to do an impersonation of Bill Murray. He's not very good at it, but that's his name now. And I guess we might as well make the Black Agent Eddie Murphy. He doesn't look or sound like Eddie Murphy (thank goodness) but this way we have a whole hatful of Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
Well, Bill Murray picks up a toy machine gun and talks about how great it is, and how he made it even greater. He goes into some detail which is of interest to people who know guns (I don't) I suppose, though even they might nod-off at the sheer Bill Murrayness of it all.
Anyway, in a bit of comedy, it turns out Blonde Lady wasn't asleep after all! Ha ha ha, oh, that just slays me. The Agents are suitably embarrassed, but someone forgot the wha-wha-waaaa music.
Fade to later that night. We see a suburban neighborhood, and hear someone throwing rocks into a tub of sand...oh, wait, I guess that is meant to be footsteps on a driveway. Voices off-screen (its Red Hat and his friend Mark) debate who is going to knock on the door. Just to complicate my job, Red Hat has no hat, but he is wearing a pink shirt, while Mark is wearing a black cap! Thanks you idiots.
Anyway, the two ladies open the door. They're both blonde (damn), but one has her hair all poofed up like a dandelion, the other has it tied up so it poofs at the end like a poodle's tail. Dandelion goes right to Mark and hugs on him, then introduces her sister, Bobbi, to Red Hat. Bobbi is shy and stuff. (There has to be a shy, retiring gal in every old-dark-vacant-house movie.)
So, they all go to Red Hat's car, the guys won't say where they're going, but Bobbi says “It's not going to be any place scary is it cause I hate scary places,” in a flat, toneless drone. Dandelion wants to break out the beer while they're still in the driveway, but Bobbi says that Mom and Dad are probably watching. Man, I hope my Mom and Dad aren't watching this movie! Oh—oh. You mean, their Mom and Dad, watching them. Got it. Informed of this, Dandelion reluctantly agrees to hold off on the boozing til they're out of sight.
They all get into the car in a fairly awkward looking way (I suspect for camera blocking), Red Hat and Mark high five each other, and we cut to the old, spooky, vacant house. Oooh, the shivers! From inside, we zoom in on a window, then cut to the outside where we see Carnie's face peering out. Guys, look, I know you're proud of Carnie and all, but honestly, he's really better off kind of hidden more than he is. Quick shot of the full moon, then a jarring cut to our teenage foursome, cruising along and whooping it up, with the radio on loud.
There's a discussion about beer, Bobbi thinks it's a bad idea to drink and drive (she's right you know) while the others claim they do this “all the time” and generally make sport of her meekness. There's a great deal of teen-age sex joking and dumb-assedness, which I will not transcribe here (you're welcome) but the guys finally tell the gals where they are headed this night. And it's “the old Romero place.”
...okay, look, film-makers. I know it's fun and all to throw in in-jokes and stuff, because, let's face it, we all love good horror movies, and George Romero has made some of the best ones. But it's kind of a dumb idea to reference movies that you have very little chance of competing with. Just so you know, and all.
Back to our teens, they talk about the house, trying to scare Bobbi more than she already is, with tales of guardian ghosts and tortures and such, and “there's talk of a wild creature that lives in the place—and eats people!” Which is, you know, just so ironic, as there actually is such a creature! It's as if these kids were reading from a script or something, not just being normal teenagers!
Cut to the narrator talking, over martial drums, as we see an approaching pair of headlights. “We flew into Chicago on a government charter, then checked out a car for the remainder of the trip. Naturally, the plane was delayed; we were two hours behind schedule, and I hadn't peed since somewhere over Ohio.” Sorry folks, but that's what she said.
Just an interjection, though. A) none of what the narrator is saying is useful or interesting, B) they are approaching the house in the dead of night. Remember, Carnie doesn't like the light. Wouldn't it make better sense to go to the house in the daytime, when there was less chance of Carnie escaping into a favorable environment? Just asking.
Well, we cut to the interior of the car, where we get more discussion of Blonde Lady's Li'l Problem. The Agents (Bill Murray is now driving) refuses to pull over, and they both act all tight-lipped, and they...kind of...zzzzzz
Uh! Sorry. Anyway, she asks for a colostomy bag, then, and Eddie Murphy provides...something, not sure what, it has tubes and such, maybe it is a colostomy bag. She refuses this, and he offers a bed pan. These agents are sure well prepared for...something. She looks at the camera. Again, we don't get the expected wha-wha-waaaaa music.
Back to the Romero place (hey, you guys named it). Carnie is tugging on a door that has been boarded shut, and he rips it open. Back in DC, a computer monitor (with little web cam windows) shows “Intruder Alert” a DOS window pops up and says that the “Recommended Action: Police dispatch....” which means we'll get to meet Randy Quaid as Manny Coto or whoever that credit was millions of years ago. Oh, we also see the date: September 14, 1989. And it's 21:43:55 pm, too. The Witching Hour! (You might recall from way at the beginning, that the title said it was September 15th. And then after that, it was “The Next Morning”! Is this the film-makers saying, “Oh, heck, they'll never notice!”)
Back to our teens, they pull up in their car and park. They're going to walk the rest of the way. Bobbi complains about this, too, and Dandelion tells her to “come on!” They all pile out of the car (with this big cooler).
Bobbi says, “This...is weird, out here.”
And Mark says, “Yeah, you better watch out for all those clowns with machetes roamin' around.”
“Clowns...with machetes?” said in bemusement.
“Or the guys wearing...hockey masks,” Mark suggests, before being pulled out of frame by Red Hat.
Mark tosses Dandelion a sleeping bag. She likes this idea, Bobbi doesn't. You know, Carnie, if you'd broken that damn window and leapt out and run rampant through the countryside, you could have killed these four now, and I would gladly be a character witness at your trial in the third film of the trilogy.
There's a bit more discussion with some bad comedy, and Red Hat proves that he is sensitive to Bobbi's fears, and thus, he is kind of a nice guy. Mark and Dandelion can't keep their hands off each other, and we aren't even in the house yet! We're still at the car, by the side of the road.
To some muttering and mumbling which is hard to discern, they go into a path through the woods. And we're back at Carnie's place, and he's looking at the door he ripped open, but he's not sure what to do now. Finally, he reaches out and opens the door (this is the door that leads outside).
Just as he does, one of the beams from the teens' flashlights goes over his face, and he snarls in annoyance (doesn't like light, remember) and slams the door shut.
Bobbi (I'm thinking) asks “What the hell was that,” and one of the guys says (with less than complete certainty) that it was the wind, yeah, that's it, the wind.
They stand there and look at the house, slowly getting' creeped out. Mark asks if they're going to go in, or what. Red Hat says, sure, “you go first.”
“Okay, I will...after you!” Mark says, and Red Hat goes in first. Wow, you fell for that old trick, Red Hat!
Now, they're all inside finally, pushing open the door that Carnie had previously ripped open. And suddenly there's a damn bunch of fog inside! They talk about how messy it is, and there's a fireplace, and “this place sure could use a woman's touch,” followed by “I could use a woman's touch,” followed by Bobbi gettin' all parade-raining on that notion. Dandelion is losing patience with her and tells her to chill out.
There are some assorted teen antics, such as Mark reaching out and touching Dandelion, who yells at him while he laughs. Bobbi immediately does the same thing to her and says that payback is a bitch, isn't it. (It's the first non-stiff thing she's done, that's the only notable bit).
The teens set up the cooler and the sleeping bags in the living room. Dandelion finds a book, which from the brief glimpse we're allowed looks like a dictionary, and there's more dull talk about how someone must be living here, etc.
Then we cut to a police car. Inside, one cop is eating a hamburger, while the other complains about all the cholesterol in said burger. The first cop has no mustache, the second one does. Non-Must explodes about Musty's talk, “please knock it off, Mr. Jack LaLane!”
Musty mutters about how Non-Must should take care of himself and be in better shape because what if they had to chase someone. Non-Must goes off into another tirade about how Musty is just the driver. Then the radio crackles, and Non-Must answers it.
“This is Sheriff Holt,” he says sweetly.
Oh my God! You mean, this is the wonderful Randy Craig! Had I but known, I would have prepared a delightful confection in his honor! The skill with which he essays the role of “Sheriff Holt” is a wondrous thing to behold! That I should live in such an age as this, truly, we are in a world of magic!
...I'm sorry, but it is hard as hell to find some entertainment in this thing.
So, the radio (with special pinched-voice by the dispatcher, trying to sound like Gilda Radner) informs the Sheriff that there has been another trespassing at the Old Romero Place. Gosh, don't those kids know that house is vacant!?
There's more discussion about who keeps calling in these trespassing things, and the dispatcher says it's the same voice each time, but she still can't figure out who it might be. Wow...talk about your padding! Is this really necessary, guys? (One assumes it's some kind of automated voice, but one also doesn't much care.)
Anyway, Sheriff says, re: inability to figure out the caller's identity, “Me neither!” He then starts laughing, and repeats, “Me neither!” He then tells the dispatcher they'll go as soon as they're done eating.
Now, Musty takes objection to this, intoning rapidly and flatly that maybe they ought to check this out blah blah blah, it's hard to make out two thirds of what he says, but that's the gist.
The Sheriff is adamant about eating, though, and shares that this trespassing stuff happens about twice a month “like clockwork” so there's no real hurry. “If I had a dollar,” etc.
Musty points out an approaching car. Sheriff Holt says, “Good observation, Einstein! I might have thought it was a plane, or a UFO!”
“Maybe, speeding?” suggests Musty and he...he googles his eyes back and forth at something on the dashboard.
Sheriff Holt tells him to “go ahead. And turn on the radar.” He's pretty reluctant about all this. “Five bucks says he's doing the limit,” he concludes.
“He has to be doing at least 70!” insists Musty. So they aim the radar at the passing car, and it is going 40 MPH. Musty is downhearted.
The Sheriff laughs and says, “You kill me.” He laughs and laughs and insults Musty, and asks for his five dollars.
Back to the Government car. Blonde Lady asks how long til they arrive.
“ETA, seventy-two minutes, ma'am,” says Bill Murray.
“Damn,” mutters Blonde Lady.
“Excuse me ma'am?”
“Can't you drive any faster?”
Eddie Murphy points out, “Exceeding the posted speed limit might bring unwanted attention to this vehicle, ma'am. Code eleven security precaution.”
“Oh, brother,” says Blonde Lady. I sure hope this is making the thrill-packed world of Carnivore more real to you, and thus increasing the sheer number of words pounded out by yours truly. Hey, did I just type that? How useless of me!
Well, how about this: they're not going to exceed the posted speed limit. Which, if this was the car that passed the Sheriff and Musty a while ago, is 40MPH. (I'm not saying it is, mind you, but it might be.) This means that the Sheriff and Musty are also 72 minutes away from the Romero house. That's over an hour guys, maybe you should eat while you drive?
Secondly, if the Government car is going 40 MPH, that means they're about 60 miles away from the house as well. Is there a 40 MPH road anywhere that goes on for 60 miles? Usually such speeds are for the outskirts of towns and such. Or for dangerous mountain areas and before you ask, no, they are not in a dangerous mountain area. They're in Illinois, remember.
Back to the house, Mark is just finishing up the story of The Hook. (Do a Google search on Urban Legends, The Hook if you don't know it.) The girls believe it. All throughout this, there is this persistent low wind noise, which is kind of effective, but it is mixed way too loud with the rest of the sound. One has to strain to hear the teens talk, and if one is straining to hear talk, and it is just a re-hash of the Hook, one is not all that well disposed toward the film. Just for future reference, guys.
Mark has an idea: let's check this place out!
You mean they've gotten to the point where they're telling scary stories, and they haven't gotten out of the first room they came to? Sheesh, teens today. Or rather, teens in 1989. Just think, today in 2004 these teens would be mowing lawns and fixing mortgages since they're now old people...that is, if they survive this night!
Anyway, everyone except Bobbi (natch) feels this is a great idea. But she agrees to go anyway. And as they leave, some dust falls from the chimney into the fireplace, and Carnie sticks his hand out.
Yes, you read that right. Carnie, upon the approach of these teens and their flashlights which burn, burn I tell you, shot up the chimney rather than attack with his awesome carnivore powers. We get more solarization as Carnie pops out of the fireplace and watches the girls' butts wobble away. The sleeping bag seems to fascinate him. All the while the soundtrack is his heavy breathing and Bobbi's muffled complaints.
A word about the music, I suppose. That word is unmemorable.
Anyway, Carnie's solar vision approaches...a beer bottle. And to an actual (lame) comedy sting, he grabs it. Hey, nice of you to show up, comedy-sting-music-man. Where were you when Blonde Lady needed you?
Upstairs, the teens are passing some more boarded up doors. They're talking about something, but the ambient wind noise and the cough spooky music are pretty much drowning them out. I'm not sure whether to be ticked off or grateful, to be honest.
Bobbi pops up. “Were you guys just going to leave me down there?!”
Bobbi: “I can't--that is so rude, to just leave me down there, all by myself!”
Dandelion: “I can't believe that you will not shut up! One minute, Bobbi, just one minute without you whining, okay?” (Dandelion is racking up points with me here.)
And Bobbi immediately looks at her watch. Now, this is genuinely funny; however, it's played in the background as Mark starts his pie-hole yapping again, so unless you're looking for it, you won't see it. But then again, perhaps if Bobbi got her own close-up looking at her watch, with attendant wha-wha-waaaa music, it wouldn't be as amusing. Actually, I'm sure it wouldn't be. This way, it's the first genuine comedy bit.
Anyway, the teens all go into a room that has, to put it mildly, not been used for a long time. The dust is thick as cats in here. Mark and Dandelion think about coming up here later, if you catch my meaning, if you get my drift. Red Hat, however, points out that there is nothing but a bed in the room. “What did you expect, a Ferarri?” asks Mark. Red Hat points out that Mark is a “regular comedian” though I believe he is not being sincere. The others all giggle anyway as Red Hat leaves and closes the door behind him. “Well I thought it was funny,” says Bobbi and before you say “Penalty!” I should point out that she is not whining.
But Red Hat has a trick of his own in store! He sneaks behind the door jamb in the hallway. When the others come out, he jumps up and goes “Gahh!” and thus, his revenge is served cold.
After this terrifying moment, they all notice that the ceiling is all torn up, and the DP obligingly gives us a shot of this. Mark wonders “What's behind door number two.” Opening the door, it seems that this room leads up to the attic. Huh, well, how about that, etc. Carnie, isn't it about time for you to make your berserker attack? I mean, can something interesting happen, please.
The teens go upstairs. Someone sniffs and says, “Smells like rotting flesh” and another wag compares the odor to the fare at the high school cafeteria! Ha ha ha, wit, thy name is Carnivore.
The teens continue up, making small talk (very small) and as they open one door, something scraggly-haired moves out of sight. Carnie, you lovable rascal, how did you get upstairs, you you, you!
You know, watching the teens crouching down and moving along through the attic, it strikes me how much this resembles an episode of Scooby Doo. It also strikes me how much more entertaining that would be, than this. I bet they'd pull off Carnie's mask and it would be the Sheriff, who wants to protect his...um, gold, uh, smuggling operation...and the Government people would show up, and Red Hat would explain the whole scheme, and the government people would say “You did a good job. We'll take it from here, kids, and thanks!” and old Mr. Romero (who was tied up in the attic the whole time) would say, “Now that the Carnivore rumors are over, I can...um, use my inherited fortune...that, uh, the Sheriff wanted...to open the carnival I always wanted!” And Shaggy would say, “Oh boy, a carnival is better than a carnivore! Ha ha!” And he'd start listing all the fatty, greasy foods you can eat at a carnival...proving himself to be a carnivore after all! And the Sheriff would, of course, have to say, “And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling kids and your darn dog!”
Except there isn't a dog in Carnivore, meddling or otherwise.
Personally, I think a movie is in trouble if it makes me wish I was watching Scooby Doo. Because I never liked Scooby Doo, even when liking it was federally mandated.
Well...back to the show. As the teens move through the attic, the photography and direction aren't bad. It's blocked and paced well. (Despite what the back of the box says, this is NOT a “widescreen presentation.”) But the sound continues to be terrible. Now, I like the sound of wind as much as the next guy, but I suspect people would be kind of mad if I said, “Sorry, I wasn't listening to what you were saying, I was listening to this cool wind noise.” Especially if they were talking about carnivores and stuff. Which the teens aren't of course, they're, well, they're just muttering amongst themselves.
The basement is well decorated for a set, it looks nicely cluttered and there are plastic and tape wrapped structures here and there that jut from floor to ceiling. The floor, though, appears to be cement, and I don't think you'd find one of those in a ceiling.
Of course, right after I say that, Bobbi puts her foot through a hole between the boards, and a mirror scares her. And, that scene done, Mark finds a candelabra. He says it is “ancient” and “must be worth a fortune.” Ruh roh, Raggy! Mark concludes that they are in a “gold mine” of antiques. Movie...movie, you have not even resolved (or developed) this whole “monster” bit yet, are you sure you want to throw more plot elements into the mix?
Anyway, there's some discussion about whether stealing this stuff is morally right or not (Bobbi is the hold out here) and then everyone decides to go back downstairs.
And on that note, we cut to our Government folks, sitting in the car by the side of the road, with a shot of a flat tire. Blonde Lady decides to use the bushes as the facility, and she orders the agents to change the tire. They get out of the car, and stare at the flat tire for a long time, and then the Sheriff (lights flashing) pulls up alongside.
The Sheriff offers assistance, but the agents insist the situ is under control. (Though it is late at night, I should point out that the agents are still wearing the dark glasses they were wearing when they were first introduced to us, when it was daytime. It would not be kewl for them to take them off, would it?)
Sheriff and Musty discuss these two. One theory is that they are either drug dealers or government agents, while another opines that Halloween has arrived early. There's more attempted comedy, and finally the Sheriff tells the Agents that “moon-bathing” is prohibited after midnight, and he laughs and repeats the “joke” when the agents fail to respond. And then there's some more comedy. And I'm going to tattoo Randy Craig's film appearances on my eyelids so I will never see anything he has appeared in ever again. It's worth it.
Well, the cops leave the agents so they (the cops) can check on that whole trespassing thing they were alerted to, as you may recall. After they're gone, Blonde Lady pops up and asks why the tire hasn't been changed. Bill Murray responds that they have been trained in survival skills which pertain to “after” a vehicle has been destroyed, beyond that, they're useless. Utterly useless, I add.
Well, Blonde Lady is not happy with this, but it turns out she knows how to change a tire, and she'll direct them as they perform the operation. It's kind of like when Spock assisted in his own brain transplant on that one episode of Star Trek. By the way, if you hate that episode (many do) watch Carnivore, then watch the episode. You'll feel your hate melt away.
Now that we've essayed that vital scene, we're back at the house, and Dandelion and Mark are trying to get busy. Being a helpful sort, Mark is still holding the flashlight and making sure that the light shines on them both, so that cinematographer Kenneth Mader (also co-writer, co-director, co-editor and many, many other hats) can get the shot. Then, Bobbi and Red Hat show up, and Mark and Dandelion move off to other environs, and Bobbi complains that Red Hat is a creep (no real evidence of this, mind) then she apologizes to him for being “such a bitch, it's just that [Dandelion] really pisses me off sometimes.”
“You mean, all the time,” says Red Hat.
Bobbi agrees with this. And I could swear that Red Hat says, “Well, let's just take a walk around the set,” but I must be wrong, he wouldn't ruin the Movie Magic like that.
Anyway, they move off to, um, walk around the set, and Carnie breathes a bit and solar-visions them, and Red Hat wants to apologize to Bobbi for, um, well, being male I guess. But there is a clunking thudding noise, and Bobbi shushes him so she can concentrate on that.
But they conclude it is a practical joke. And they yell appropriate remarks. As they leave, Carnie breathes more rapidly and runs after the fleeing figures, but we...well, the electric piano noise starts up and we cut to Mark and Dandelion. Oh, and flute noise too! That is too much. Mark has his shirt off, but not his hat, and Dandelion is not naked, repeat, not naked. As the flutes are joined by a bass, she does pull down her top. Business continues. The music takes a slightly ominous turn, but nothing happens. Damn it.
Down below, Red Hat and Bobbi are sitting awkwardly together. She's looking away from him, and he turns to her a couple of times with an obvious idea, but then turns away before saying anything. Finally he asks her if she wants a beer. But the cooler is empty! Red Hat is mad that there is no more beer, then he picks up an empty bottle, and it is covered in slime. “Oh, gross!” he says. There's a lot of running time expended upon this slime (sounds like the movie itself, huh), and how gross it is, and it is not funny, and so on.
Back up to Mark and Dandelion. Mark takes off his tank top, and Carnie appears behind him. Dandelion screams, but Carnie grabs Mark, slashes his stomach, throws him down, and starts ripping his organs out and throwing them everywhere, making a big mess. Dandelion is pretty upset as you can imagine.
We are forty-five minutes in, folks. Carnie has made his first intentional kill.
Dandelion runs out of the room as Carnie rips out and tosses something significant at her (it gets its own closeup--the heart, maybe?). Downstairs, Bobbi and Red Hat hear the screaming finally and rush upstairs, and they see Dandelion in rather a state. Red Hat tells Bobbi to take her downstairs, and he will check on this whole Mark thing. He goes into the room and sees that Mark is little more than half a pretty face and a spinal column, and he yells for the girls to run away, and starts to run away himself. But Carnie is right there! He even attacks with his starfish hand from before. Red Hat ducks, though, and runs away, and is chased by Carnie.
But Dandelion and Bobbi dash for the front door, which opens to reveal the Sheriff and Musty and they scream just as much as the teens! You see, it's funny because, well, everything that Randy Craig does is the height of hilarity!
Dandelion and Bobbi yell about the monster, Sheriff is all dismissive and stuff, Musty suggests that Sheriff go upstairs and check it out, and he will stay with the girls.
“No, Romeo,” is Sheriff's snappy comeback, and he says that Musty will go and check it out. While Musty does so, the girls whine and cry about how they want to leave this vacant house, and Sheriff is unsympathetic and tells them to shut up and stuff, and is generally a meanie who I am hoping never made another movie after this one.
Back upstairs, Carnie is still chasing Red Hat through what must be several miles of house. But Red Hat has a wily trick up his sleeve: he goes into a room and closes the door! This seems to be pretty effective against Carnie. Except then he jumps through the previously mentioned holes in the ceiling, into the attic.
And we cut to Red Hat also going into the attic, and barring the door and stuff. He grabs a brick and settles down to wait.
And Musty goes into the slaughter room, and finds Mark, and calls the Sheriff on the radio. He tells Sheriff to get the teens, and himself, out of there, and call for backup. Of course, Randy Craig is not done with his comedy stylings, so we will wait him out.
Back in the attic, Carnie attacks Red Hat, who drops his brick but punches Carnie in the face, and he runs but falls and Carnie slashes his leg somewhat. But Red Hat grabs a board with nails in it, and smacks it into Carnie's forehead. Carnie finds this unpleasant, but remember, mutant healing power and all that. Red Hat gets away, and milk pours out of Carnie's head. Then two tentacles pop out of the wounds. Just go with it, okay?
Red Hat runs into Musty, and insists they must all leave now. But Carnie pops up, and it looks like Musty will become the law enforcement part of Carnie's complete breakfast.
At the police car, the Sheriff hears the gunshots and yells and tells the girls to stay in the car, and he runs back to the house. Get him, Carnie, get him!
Then the government car shows up (to some martial drums again).
“We finally arrived at the house to find my worst fear realized,” Blonde Lady narrates, “police on the scene. I should have called in sick this morning.”
--Ha ha ha ha, no wait, I'm not done holding my sides. Ha ha ha ha!
Back at the house, Musty is rather gruesomely dispatched. And, well, devoured and stuff. Red Hat panics and takes the opportunity to skedaddle. He runs into Sheriff, which creates more comedic gold, then he runs into Bill Murray. And Blonde Lady, and Eddie Murphy. Blonde Lady thanks the Sheriff for his help, but says they will take over from here. Oh, and she also uses her name for the first time in 53 minutes, but since that is 53 minutes, it qualifies as being 43 minutes too damn late. Blonde Lady you came into this film, and Blonde Lady you shall remain.
Sheriff Hambone tries to argue about double homicides and stuff, but Blonde Lady overrules him (“I don't have time to spar with you, Sheriff”) and Sheriff looks like someone really, really important just told him, you are not funny at all.
It's his best expression so far.
Well, some more stuff happens. Blonde Lady says the area is quarantined, Sheriff still has more comedy stylings, but Bill Murray shoves a gun in his face and tells him he is an idiot but does not shoot him. Damn you, Bill Murray!
It goes on for a while. A long, long, long while. Sheriff tries to get all his acting expressions (ignorant mad, ignorant redneck, ignorant concerned) all out in a few seconds and it...doesn't help. But he and Red Hat leave the area. Any of you who thought the teens would all die are 75% wrong!
As the two of them disappear, Blonde Lady and Bill Murray start arguing over “protocol” and such. She orders Eddie Murphy to patrol the perimeter while she and Bill Murray go inside. Eddie insists it is much too dangerous for a woman, and she has to pull rank, and I can't believe someone actually wrote down the dialogue in the last five minutes and someone else read it and both of them said, wow, this is great stuff!
Well, it was all pointless of course, as Blonde Lady gets her way and she and Bill Murray head inside (“tranquilizer shots only” she bitches at them). They poke around a while, and bicker a bit, and then they go into the lab. “Caution Hydrolics” reads a warning sign. They talk about Carnie's light sensitivity. “Anything above 3200 degrees on the Kelvin scale could blind him,” says Blonde Lady.
“Can we be more technical?” asks Bill Murray sarcastically.
“Like the sun, for instance?” she sarcasms back. She mentions how the computer keeps all the lights balanced with “di-chroic” sensors.
“Di what?” asks Bill Murray. Ha ha ha, see, he's a jerk because he doesn't know what “di-chronic” means. Of course, neither do I, but then I never hide my jerkness.
Blonde Lady asks him to check the area where Dr. Westmore is still lying dead. He gets to try to be more Bill Murray-y, and doesn't do very well. Despite the fact that Dr. Westmore has been dead for (at most) a day, Bill Murray coughs and complains about the smell. While Blonde Lady calls in the report, Bill Murray touches the slime on Dr. Westmore, and after wrinkling his nose, pronounces it “kind of cool” before wiping it back.
He insults Blonde Lady when she can't hear, then declares that the area is “clear” and asks how the creature was able to get out. Blonde Lady says that the floor was “pressure sensitive” which kept people from coming in, but didn't keep anything from going out. Well, I'm sure convinced. “I knew that,” Bill Murray Bill Murrays, once Blonde Lady is out of range.
The two of them go poking upstairs, and Bill Murray leaps and yells his way into the slaughter room. “Bit too much on the entrance?” he self-criticizes. Me, I just noticed that the entry way has a three-sided top, like this: /--\ only with the top line at the, well, top.
They go into the death room, and see dead Musty, still with his hat on. (And Mark still has his hat on! Perhaps—perhaps hats are the way to defeat this thing! It just might work!)
Blonde Lady says they should split up, Bill Murray is against the idea. Blonde Lady says they can cover a lot more area if they split up. Um, how the hell big is this house? You block all exits but one, right, then you can be, you know, cautious and stuff.
But despite the keening cries of common sense, she gets her way, and they split up. But of course Bill Murray throws his tranquilizer gun at Musty's useless corpse, and gets out the Uzi he described to us before in such detail. He intends to shoot Carnie, you know. Yes, yes, shocking, but I thought you...should know this. To be prepared.
Of course, Carnie is nearby, and he solar visions Bill Murray leaping into one of the other rooms. Bill Murray is still very much Bill Murray-ing, and seemingly cannot hear Carnie's quite bad nasal problems.
Now, the thing of it is, Bill Murray quite clearly looks right in Carnie's direction, and Carnie's solar vision shows no intervening solid objects between them, so Bill Murray should see Carnie right off, and shoot Carnie dead, and end the movie, and collect his payment and hand-minted award, but none of this happens.
Elsewhere, Blonde Lady pokes into a room and waves a gun around, but nothing else happens. Oh, Carnie solar visions here, but so what? He does that a lot. She hears a noise, but is a mobile (the kind over a child's crib), and she relaxes, and Carnie bursts a hand through where she was just looking, and she screams a lot.
And in another part of this vast, vacant house, Bill Murray makes a cell phone call. “Operation Boomerang is now in progress, three minutes to extermination.”
I'd just like to point out that it took quite a while to translate what he said.
We cut to some guy, also on a cell hone. “Good work, [Bill Murray], but remember, she must die by the creature's hands, no f**k ups, I'll want a full report when it's over.” And it turns out that this evil guy, is...oh, you guessed it too? Yes, it is Dart Board.
Back to Blonde Lady, it seems that Carnie has her in a death grip of some kind. He is...kind of talking. I'm re-running it, just for you, to see if I can determine what he is saying.
“Cover me,” is what the first phrase sounds like, then, he shakes her around a bit, and says “poison.” And he follows this up with his only clear word, “Kill!”
She says something unintelligible, and no, I'm not going back. But Carnie releases her.
“Dana,” he says, as the music goes kind of I'm-really-just-misunderstood. (I think “Dana” is Blonde Lady's name.)
“Yeah, yeah,” Blonde Lady says.
A quick cut to Bill Murray, walking determinedly to martial drum music, then we cut back to Blonde Lady and Carnie Sharing A Moment. He's kind of, you know, I didn't mean to kill, and she's kind of, gosh, you are a sentient being, and the music is kind of, we're all brothers under the skin (it even has an oboe if you doubt). And she moves closer to him, and Bill Murray appears in the doorway, and he is not happy that Blonde Lady is still alive, as you might remember, the creature was supposed to kill her, and clearly it has not.
Well, he makes the best of a bad situ and jumps in the doorway and shoots Carnie a lot with his customized rod. Shell casings pop everywhere, Blonde Lady yells something that is probably “Oh the humanity!” and Carnie dances in agony as the shells slice through his body. All in all, it is not badly done. We see Carnie collapsing by a crib. Er, come on folks, more subtle, more subtle!
When it is done, Blonde Lady berates Bill Murray, but then Carnie pops up for round two, and Bill Murray starts shooting again. Carnie collapses and starts bleeding milk a lot. And Blonde Lady starts beating on Bill Murray again.
As the synthetic oboe music starts again, she goes to Carnie, and Carnie moves his battered head to look at her, and she clasps his hand. She tells Carnie she's sorry.
And Carnie says something like, “You lady enemy,” or maybe “No lady enemy” or something along those lines. Yes, I have tried, several times.
Blonde Lady agrees with whatever it is, and says, “Who's your enemy?” (I think those are her words. And yes, I have gone above and beyond for this movie. So silence yerself! Ya yutz, go back to Yancy Street!)
And we have sad (synthetic) oboe, tympani and harp music as Carnie “dies” and Blonde Lady goes up to Bill Murray and says, “Don't you say a G-dd-mn word,” and he is all like, I would not tempt the wrath of a lady. So they both leave.
And we cut back to Carnie. You recall a paragraph ago, when I put “dies” in quotes? Well, here's why...Carnie's hand, in a pool of his milk-blood, suddenly twitches.
And back outside, Bill Murray and Blonde Lady meet Eddie Murphy, who wants to know about the shots fired. No one really answers that, but Blonde Lady tells Bill Murray how she is going to totally tell on him and make him sit in the corner and eat lunch by himself and stuff, kind of forgetting that Bill Murray has an Uzi and everything.
Bill Murray points out that the creature was a menace.
Blonde Lady asks, “Didn't you even read my report?” and says that the creature was no menace, it only killed when threatened. So...how did Mark threaten it? By being smoother with the fine ladies? And Musty didn't really threaten it either, oh sure, he may have pulled his gun on it, AFTER it showed up and growled unfriendily, and things...neither case would be threatening, methinks.
But...no matter, for this movie would have us all dance as puppets dance, as our strings are shak'n and tugged, for the amusement of those, unseen, who clamor for our antics; if blame's to be assigned, assign it out there, where it doth belong; assign it to those who call for our humiliation; those of us who merely dance, merely dance, let us instead rest our strings, relax our smiles, and lay down jointless behind the curtain.
...sorry, no idea what that was all about, forgive me, etc.
Anyway, my whole theory is blown away when Bill Murray asks about Mark's death, and Blonde Lady explains it away as “pheromones.” Which, really, doesn't explain anything, but I'll give the movie credit for at least acknowledging the question.
But then, the credit is immediately revoked by Bill Murray, who does that Bill Murray look, and says, “--huh?”
“I thought you said you were briefed?” says Blonde Lady in exasperation. She then goes on to give her lecture about pheromones. Those “excreted” by people who are sexually aroused, or fearful, are identical, and the creature hadn't yet been taught the difference between these two states.
Bill Murray tries being Bill Murray, but Blonde Lady compares his intelligence unfavorably to Carnie's and THAT is going into her REPORT. She then orders these two Saturday Night Live alumni to “begin the removal procedure.” Bill Murray objects that this is not his job, but Eddie Murphy intercedes and tempers flare a bit less. The two of them go inside (not really happily) and Blonde Lady returns to the...Government car, I guess, and she beats the roof in frustration and at canasta. And she gives a number of Significant Looks and stuff while fake oboe plays. Then she gets into this car, whatever it is.
Back at the old, vacant Romero place, Eddie Murphy and Bill Murray discuss how this is bad, cos they didn't kill Blonde Lady, but they're more like “I bet on the wrong football team,” than “I messed up and might be killed.” Come on, movie, end, please.
Well, the two of them go where Carnie was shot, and Eddie Murphy discerns (tympanis starts playing) that what we have here, is just an empty shell. The Carnie must have shed its skin and is, well, kind of at large here in this huuuuuuge, vacant house.
“We're dead,” Bill Murray tells Eddie Murphy, and he yells it louder with an obscene bit. We get a few more shots of various parts of the house (and some final shots of Musty—hi, Musty!) and then Blonde Lady starts narrating again.
“Though I'd seen [Bill Murray]'s rampage first-hand, and though I'd felt for my friend alfredo [sic] Carnivore, somehow, I knew it had survived, and this nightmare wasn't over...it would never be over.”
“Carol,” she says into a cell phone, “we've got a problem.”
And we hear Carnie's voice saying, “[Bill Murray]...enemy.”
And we roll the credits, at the one hour and thirteen and a half minute mark. “Assistant to Mr. Mader: HIS MOM.” Well, I hope you got your mom a nice Mother's day bouquet, then. Because if I was your mom, and I was credited in this thing, I'd be...very surprised.
In addition to multiple appearances of the names Kenneth Mader and Joseph Kurtz, Angelina Peneff also appears a lot. (She was Red Hat's off-screen Mom, too.) StevenW. Cromie played Bill Murray. Jill Adcock played Blonde Lady, and her first name WAS Dana. Officer Kyle Bryant, who I am assuming was Musty, was played by three people, yes folks, amaze your friends: Jon Schwarz, Ken Bernstein and Roy Ware. Carnie was played by Jay Cunningham, Marni Paulick and Phoebe Scott (voice). The narrator was Barb Anderson. And the featured stunt performers...were also the principle actors. Yes, even Randy Craig. And they were the drivers, too! And you won't get this from the box, but F. Joseph Kurtz was the makeup creator.
Of all the folks involved, though, Kenneth Mader seems to have done the most. Credit or blame? You decide. He did do the sound design, which was, well, bad. And Mark co-wrote a song, in addition to acting and doing some stunts and driving! Is there any limit to this man's talents? Well, yes. Yes there is.
Lots and lots of special thanks to...and the copyright is 2001. From 1989 to 2001...wow.
I do recall reading on a website somewhere that it took these guys ten years to make this movie. Ten years! And they didn't even make the whole movie. Why? Perhaps they ran out of money, and wanted to put together something to interest investors; perhaps the actors moved away; perhaps they ran out of enthusiasm and thought half a movie was better than none.
We may never know. But wait just a moment! Here on this DVD, it says there is Director Commentary and a “Making-Of” featurette! Perhaps they will contain the answers to these questions that burn, burn in the night, as the sun burns Carnie!
--well, they might, if they existed. I can't find them anywhere. Now, admittedly my doctorate in DVDology is not terribly recent, but I think I know my way around a remote pretty well. And if these features exist...well, I sure can't find them.
Which is a shame, because I probably would have liked to hear about the making of this movie. I'm sure they guys have some great stories and can share some low-budget tips with the rest of us. Because, and I really hate to be mean about something that took ten years of a person's life, the movie as it is, by itself, is pretty bad.
And that honestly makes me feel bad to say that. Ten years of someone's life, and they came up with...this. I can understand how the enthusiasm of actually making a movie carries you along, past the, uh, not-so-good aspects (see Tail Sting) but why did they take ten years to do this?
And why did they make this movie, of all the movies they could have made?
Mr. Mader and Mr. Kurtz, I am sorry. You put a lot into this, and I didn't like it. Don't know why I feel bad about that, but I do.
As for you, the viewer, well... You might have a laugh with this, but I really don't recommend it.
And now everyone's sad.
--October 22, 2004