Starring John Patrick Jordan, Robin Sydney, Sonny Carl Davis, The Don, Michelle Mais, Bob Ramos, Victoria Levine, Ryan Curry, Amy Paffrath, Masuimi Max, Mindy Robinson, Chanell Heart, Tian Wang, Jinhee Joung, Chance A. Rearden, Joss Glennie-Smith, Orson Chaplin
Directed by Charles Band
Expectations: I don’t even know, honestly. On the low end, for sure.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Despite what that poster to the right might make you think, Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is not a movie for everyone. I’m inclined to go with the tired adage, “It’s for the fans,” but since I’m not the biggest fan of either series and I really enjoyed this one, I can’t say that it’s as exclusive as that. And liking this movie leaves me with a bit of a conundrum. I’ve lambasted some of Full Moon’s modern films for a few recurrent reasons: being excessively trashy, being questionably racist and for being shameless in their self-promotion of the company’s merch. The conundrum comes when Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is all three and yet I still liked it. I guess what it boils down to is that when it’s not being horrible, Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is a lot of stupid fun. I can’t fully explain it, but I definitely enjoyed Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong. Most of it, anyway.
As the fourth entry in both the Gingerdead Man and Evil Bong series, there’s definitely a bit of baggage going into this one. So thank God Full Moon decided to pair the heroes from the respective series with a new friend each, allowing them to regale their new acquaintances (and the audience) with stories of what happened in the previous films. But wait, this is a movie! Who wants to hear boring stories about what happened when you can just show a bunch of clips from said movies? Charles Band actually has the gumption to do this to summarize all three previous Evil Bong films, as well as the first Gingerdead Man movie. The other two Gingerdead films are apparently non-canon, which makes sense as they’re not about anything even remotely related to the tale of blood and dough told in the first film. Surprisingly though, I actually enjoyed the recaps as it had been a while since I’d seen the films so it got me back up to speed.
And while being at speed isn’t exactly necessary for a movie that has no intentions of making rational sense, it definitely helps (if for no other reason than to remind just how dumb these things can get). Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is essentially Evil Bong 4 with Gingerdead Man, so it make sense that this one shares a lot in terms of structure with Evil Bong 3. But unlike Evil Bong 3, the episodic nature of being mostly set in a head shop is enjoyable and entertaining here. It’s not so much a “Where are they now?” parade of old characters, it’s closer to a real movie. Key word: closer.
A lot of the scenes are still superfluous, but it doesn’t matter because they’re mostly fun. Especially seeing how they decided to bring the two franchises together. It’s so much more simple than I would have guessed, but they come together quite naturally. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that this was Full Moon’s plan all along. I suppose it makes sense that a possessed killer cookie and a possessed evil bong could exist in the same world, but I just never considered it.
Apparently, this shared universe is also home to Hambo, a new Full Moon character that originated in Zombies vs. Strippers and has appeared in some form in many Full Moon releases since. While I love the idea of a shared Full Moon universe that allows for all kinds of devious crossovers and neato team-ups, I just can’t stand Hambo. Sure, the dirty old man who hosts a kid’s show wearing a nasty pig nose is funny in and of itself, but his character is such a douche and he’s also the source of much of Full Moon’s recent questionable output. His scene here involves a quick plug for the racist, stereotyped “Badass Dolls” that Full Moon is selling, first overtly by showing the Ooga Booga doll and then covertly by having a scene around what can only be described as “the origin” of the doll named “The Gook.” Yes, that’s the actual title of the product.
Full Moon’s star has dwindled to the point that they can engage in such reprehensible bullshit and no one cares, because the only people aware of it are their small, dedicated fan base who have been following their work since the dawn of VHS. This isn’t the only plug for merch in the film either, as the Evil Bong character Rabbit is re-introduced as a traveling salesman looking to cash in on his evil bong experiences by selling branded marijuana paraphernalia door-to-door (all of which is available now from FullMoonDirect.com!). Shameless and ridiculous, but at least with Rabbit I got a few laughs out of the plug (which was admittedly pretty short and innocuous). But enough about how far Full Moon has fallen from the apple tree since the glory days.
One aspect that I greatly enjoyed was the new method of realizing Gingerdead Man’s mouth. In previous films, Gingerdead Man was a puppet with limited mobility, and his mouth would just sort of wiggle around to simulate talking. Now they’ve gone the “Conan O’Brien talks to Bill Clinton” way, AKA filming a dude’s mouth and compositing it onto Gingerdead Man’s face. And it looks fantastic! So good that when the Evil Bong shows up and her mouth is still the same old barely moving animatronic, I felt sorry for her, giving the character an unintended sympathetic side that enhances the film. Perhaps this was done on purpose to differentiate the two outlandish characters, especially considering that they were both the villains of their respective films while Gingerdead Man is clearly the bad guy here.
But what really set this one apart for me was the new human character, String. He’s played by an actor identified only as “The Don,” which definitely adds to the mystique. String replaces all the bro sidekicks from Evil Bong, allowing the one remaining bro, Larnell, someone new to bounce bro puns off of and interact with. String isn’t especially deep, but his character is fresh and different for the Evil Bong series and he adds a lot of crazy, WTF humor.
Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is not a film to bring home this Thanksgiving for your family get-together (or maybe it is!), but fans of modern Full Moon will definitely find a lot to like here. It’s not a great movie by any means, but it is rather entertaining and bodes well for future films from the company. I should also say that this dual sequel idea was infinitely better than producing solo, full-length sequels for each franchise. Bring on Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong 2: The Re-Match!
Next time on Full Moon Tuesday, I’ll be checking out Teen Knight (available now through Redbox as Medieval Park)! See ya then!