Laraine NewmanClint HowardvampiresKen Foree
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
Medium: film
Year: 2009
Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie, Mike Bell, Joe Ekers, Tom Klein, Mr. Lawrence, Joe Orrantia, Tom Papa, Carey Yost
Keywords: Mexican wrestler, animation, boobs, zombies, mummies, werewolf, vampires
Country: USA
Actor: Joe Alaskey, Ken Foree, Tom Papa, April Winchell, Dee Wallace, Laraine Newman, Cassandra Peterson, Jess Harnell, Harland Williams, Rob Paulsen, Debra Wilson, Tom Klein, Clint Howard, Sheri Moon Zombie, Brian Posehn, Tom Kenny, Dee Bradley Baker, Paul Giamatti, Geoffrey Lewis, Rosario Dawson, John Di Maggio, Jeff Bennett, Danny Trejo, Carlos Alazraqui, Tura Satana, Bill Moseley, Rodger Bumpass, Sid Haig, Charles Adler, Kevin Michael Richardson, Daniel Roebuck, Karen Strassman
Format: 77 minutes
Website category: Other
Review date: 31 January 2012
It's deliberately trashy nonsense with a ton of violence and nudity. It's also a cartoon.
I like Rob Zombie. He clearly loves horror, strippers and pretty much every kind of cinema ever made. He made his name as a musician with his heavy metal band White Zombie, then branched out into scriptwriting and directing. His live-action movies include House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil's Rejects, the 2007 Halloween remake and its sequel, which I liked more than most people (i.e. at all). This animated movie was based on his comic strip of the same name from the comic-book anthology Rob Zombie's Spookshow International (2004). This man has energy. Whether or not you like what he does, you can't deny he's enthusiastic about it.
The story is barely worth mentioning, so of course I'll go into detail. El Superbeasto is a Mexican wrestler who occasionally saves the world when not pursuing his daytime TV career, appearing on chat shows, plugging his latest CD and/or having sex with supernaturally well-endowed girls. He's slime, actually. His thought processes when torn on whether or not to save a kidnapped woman go as follows. "Save the girl or wait for my order of hot wings to arrive from the bar? Great tits. Mmmm, food. Tits. Food." He's also a bully who'll beat people to a bloody smear and will interrupt a fight to answer his cellphone. "I'm an A-list celebrity!"
He also has a sister (with big tits) who drives around on a robot who likes her hands on his joystick. There's a bad guy called Dr Satan with a talking gorilla and a plan to make himself indestructible by marrying a girl with 666 on her backside (and big tits). There are Nazi zombies, Nazi werewolves and possibly even zombie werewolves. Almost every scene appears to involve girls taking their clothes off, unless of course they're naked to start with.
Okay, that's the plot. Is it good?
Sort of. Its shameless trashiness has its own charm and it did occasionally make me laugh. The elevator scenes are funny, as is the Nazi Curse and "Brixton 9000, preferred by yobs and hooligans worldwide". The bloody satanic apocalypse of carnage is accompanied by the Benny Hill theme tune. It's taking itself exactly as seriously as it deserves, which makes it refreshing. You wouldn't recommend it, but it's the kind of thing that's good for a giggle if you're drunk with friends and would probably laugh you into an early grave if you were stoned.
The soundtrack is probably the best thing in the movie. You'd expect Rob Zombie to be strong there, given his background, but even so I hadn't expected the kind of lyrics he uses. He encourages us to have a wank. "It's all right to jerk off to cartoons/The Japanese do it every day/'cos masturbation is good for your prostate/It lowers blood pressure and before you sleep." The scene where he rips off Carrie is accompanied by a song complaining about him ripping off Carrie. "Since the movie started/this part is the most retarded/Did you ask De Palma or Stephen King." So you've got all that meta-textuality, but at the same time the songs are decent songs in themselves. I enjoyed the rhymes in Dr Satan's song, for instance. In a film that's deliberately wallowing in everything it can, that was actually clever.
Then we have the movie homages, of which there are so many that it's as if we've entered cinema itself. These include Mexican wrestler movies (obviously), Nosferatu, The Fly, the first two Universal Frankenstein movies (the first with an animated Edward Van Sloan repeating his pre-movie "friendly warning" and the second with a cameo role for the Bride of Frankenstein), Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Tura Satana doing the voice for her own character), One Million Years B.C., Planet of the Apes, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, Halloween (El Superbeasto runs down Michael Myers), Saturday Night Fever, The Shining, Friday the 13th, Aliens, Edward Scissorhands and the Metaluna monster from This Island Earth. That's only the beginning, by the way. I didn't include the really obscure references in there, like The Phantom Creeps (a Bela Lugosi cliffhanger serial) or Curse of the Queerwolf. I haven't seen either of those (yet), but the latter apparently involves a werewolf being stabbed with a silver dildo.
There are recognisable cameos for iconic actors. All of this, surprisingly, I really liked. I dislike fanwank in Doctor Who books, but here I love the breadth of Rob Zombie's references (lots of old Universal movies!) and the fact that he's laying them on so thick that it becomes almost the point of the film. It's like a horror/sleaze attempt at doing Who Framed Roger Rabbit, except without any live-action elements. (The movie's title supports this reading, incidentally.)
The voice cast contains recognisable names if you're a horror geek, incidentally. Rob's wife Sheri Moon Zombie plays El Superbeasto's sister, Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) shows up and so on. Rob Zombie tends to do that.
Is this a good film? Um, pass. I think it succeeds at what it's trying to do, though. Insane levels of sleaze and bad behaviour, in a world where all the classic Universal monsters live side by side with the worst kind of pulp trash. Peter Lorre shows up, or at least it sounded like him. The entire film is almost the same gag as his Werewolf Women of the SS trailer for Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse and that made me laugh too, if that gives you any guide. El Superbeasto himself is an appalling person, but that's the point. Aimed at people who like big tits.