The Gingerdead Man II

He knows the Puffin Man

Sometimes it’s best just to get things out of the way, like getting away from my computer and getting the holiday packages ready and dropped of at the post office.  It needs to be done but I don’t want to put on pants and go outside.  It’s cold and I don’t like wearing pants.  In an effort to keep from getting anything constructive done, I’m going to review the second in the epic Gingerdead Man franchise: The Gingerdead Man II: Passion of the Crust.  Yeah, I’m really trying to avoid leaving my cozy little home office.

The Gingerdead Man, the first in the series, was largely an evil cookie of a movie held together with egginess of Gary Busey and his maniacal personality.  Busey, who probably felt that he had taken the Gingerdead Man character as far as it could go, chose to sit this one out, which probably put Charles Band in a state. How could you make a Gingerdead Man without the key ingredient?  Band’s writers on this project, headed up by William Butler came up with an innovative solution: make the movie about something else and have the Gingerdead Man as a subplot.  What could you make the movie about that would fit with the Gingerdead Man flavor and still carry the film?  Let’s make The Gingerdead Man II a comedy about Charles Band and Full Moon.  Brilliant!  We”ll even squeeze in some killer puppets too!  And that’s about how the cookie crumbles.  Ha!

The Gingerdead Man (voiced by John Vulich) turns up in a box of stale baked goods sent by the sister of former scream queen and botched boob job victim, Polly Bunderhoof (Michelle Bauer), who is the craft services caterer for the down on its luck Cheatum Studios.  Escaping from the box of stale donuts and buns, the Gingerdead Man roams around the studio, eventually finding a book of black magic that is one of the props on the set of Tiny Terrors 9: Purgatory of the Petite.  The book has a spell that will allow Millard Findlemeyer to escape his gingerbread body and pop his soul into the body of his chosen human victim.  All he needs is blood from five victims to place at the points of an evil pentagram, a sixth victim and a virgin to make the spell work. The  Gingerdead Man roams around the studio gathering his grisly ingredients.

Between the Gingerdead Man’s kills, we follow Kelvin Cheatum (K-von), an ever smiling hustler, who is struggling to save his movie studio  from oblivion.   Kelvin is a parody of Charles Band, the smiling hustler who heads up Full Moon, the company responsible for The Gingerdead Man II: Passion of the Crust as well as a slew of evil puppet and possessed doll movies.   Cheatum Studios is hedging its bets on a number of low budget productions, renting studio space to adult film production companies to shoot their pick-up shots and waiting on a wire from mysterious investors from Russia.  Kevin scurries around the studio trying to put out fires and keep everything moving, with a smile on his face and terror in his eyes.  If Kelvin didn’t have enough to worry about with all the wheels falling off his various productions, exploding evil doll props, and the star of Tiny Terrors refusing to come out of his trailer, he’s playing host to a terminally ill young man (Joseph Porter), whose dying request is a tour of fabulous Cheatum Studios.  He is escorted by Heather, his lovely caretaker (Kelsey Sanders), who immediately grabs Kelvin’s attention, further complicating things.

K-von, the actor playing Kelvin Cheatum, is more or less the star of The Gingerdead Man II: Passion of the Crust.  I’d never heard of him.  In fact, as I was watching the movie, I thought to myself, “This guy seems like he’d be good at a stand-up comedy.”  I went and looked him up on IMDB and that is what he does.  Can I call them or what?  Just for the record, the name K-von is stupid, so for the rest of the review I’m going to call him Steve Gutenberg Jr.  Steve Gutenberg Jr. does a good job capturing essence of Kelvin Cheatum, in fact, he is sufficiently entertaining that I was more interested in the story about the wacky goings on at the studio than in the murderous mayhem of the Gingerdead Man.  Most of the rest of the cast is made up of people who normally work behind the camera: Greg Nicotero, Adam Green, Michael Deak, Viorel Sergovici, John Carl Buechler, Kenneth J. Hall, and David DeCoteau, who gets a very funny bit.   Most of the rest of the cast are new actors just starting out.

The Gingerdead Man II: Passion of the Crust has number of things going for it.  The special effects and sets are all practical effects and real sets instead of the wretched CGI that everyone is using nowadays.  Don’t you even roll your eyes at me. I like rubber suit monsters, corn syrup gore and stop motion dinosaurs.  That Full Moon still does their effects the right way pleases me.

The self-deprecating humor and biting jabs at modern fandom on display here work well enough, but I think that the humor in the script could have been punched up a bit more.  For example, in one scene Steve Gutenberg Jr talking about Tiny Terrors 9: Purgatory of the Petite with one his disgruntled employees makes the challenge “I defy you to forget a title like that.”  I did forget that title.  I have to go back and watch the movie again, making notes.  To really throw down that joke, you need a title that’s more outrageous like Satan’s Toybox 9: Terror for Tots or maybe Slaughter Dolls 9: Barbie’s Hellhouse.

IMDB lists the director of The Gingerdead Man II as Sylvia St. Croix, a name that screams “I’m a porn star!” rather than a horror film director.  The writers are Muffy Bolding and William Butler.  Bolding doesn’t have any prior credits except for Costume Party Capers: The Incredibles and Butler is the guy responsible for Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave and the first Gingerdead Man film.   Butler is an interesting guy.  He’s directed, acted, written and does special effects and make-up.  He was Tom in the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, he directed a few Power Rangers episodes, he did make-up effects for Army of Darkness.

The Gingerdead Man II: Passion of the Crust
is a movie for the fans,  especially for fans of Full Moon’s films; it’s filled with genre in-jokes that will largely end up lost on viewers who are not part of the horror community or alternately aren’t totally stoned.

Like the first Gingerdead Man, this one also fails to use the obvious Christmas tie-in.  There is going to be a third Gingerdead Man movie coming out next year (2011) and maybe it’ll have a Christmas theme.  Gingerdead Man 3-D: Saturday Night Cleaver will feature Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson as characters, so there is no way I’m going to miss that.

Steve Gutenberg Jr
John Vulich
Michelle Bauer
Kelsey Sanders
Joseph Porter

Silvia St. Croix

Muffy Bolding
William Butler
Two and a half Vincents

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