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March 2010

The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto

voice cast: Tom Papa, Sheri Moon, Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, and Brian Poeshn

director: Rob Zombie

74 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Anchor Bay DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
review by J.C. Hartley

The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto

Best known for Halloween II (2009), and the cult horrors House Of 1000 Corpses, and The Devil's Rejects, Rob Zombie developed this animation from his own comicbook character, the ex-luchardo come-celebrity El Superbeasto.

The film opens with a perfectly charming monochrome introduction in which an MC in evening dress warns us about the entertainment we are about to witness. The opening credits are sinister, but subtle and restrained, and might be from an old Bela Lugosi or Val Lewton period horror. That's pretty much an end to subtlety.

We first see the titular hero (Tom Papa) casting for what turns out to be a porno-horror where, in deplorable ignorance of food hygiene regulations, the two waitresses he is introducing to the 'spicy meat-pole' on top of a food preparation surface, transform into monsters whom he summarily and gorily despatches.

Having seen something of the character of 'Beasto', we are introduced to his sister the super-heroine Suzi-X (Sheri Moon), stealing the preserved head of Adolf Hitler from hordes of Nazi zombies. Suzi, complete with Danger Mouse eye-patch, is aided by her robot Murray who, pneumatic but apparently naive Suzi keeps in a permanent state of arousal.

The film's villain Dr Satan (Paul Giamatti, Shoot 'Em Up), helped by his modified ape Otto, is searching for the bride who will help him achieve his apotheosis as the Great Beast itself, rather than the nerdish failure he currently is. When he spots the number 666 on the buttock of stripper Velvet von Black, a white woman inexplicably voiced as a foul-mouthed black woman by Rosario Dawson (Sin City), he kidnaps her but crosses El Superbeasto who intended to win her for himself.

Beasto recruits his sister Suzi-X who interrogates him euphemistically to ensure that his plans for Velvet didn't involve his obsession with sex. Too late, Dr Satan marries Velvet, but by switching his affections to his old college sweetheart Suzi, after the two women engage in a catfight with blue filter and a song pointing out that it's alright to masturbate over cartoons, he loses his new-found powers. El Superbeasto gets to perform his new single on a talk show and the naked Suzi-X gets to perform gymnastics on Murray's special attachment.

The action takes place in Monsterland, where everyone who isn't a hot chick with fantastic tits (I'm being ironic) is a refugee from Forrest J Ackerman's Famous Monsters Of Filmland. El Superbeasto disturbs the Creature from the Black Lagoon going down on the Bride of Frankenstein. There's a soundtrack by Hard 'n' Phirm which keeps you abreast of developments. The humour is hardcore Viz, with the occasional good joke, as when El Superbeasto mistakes the head of Hitler for Chaplin: "The Little Tramp. He's hilarious!"

There's loads of very gory violence, it's very sweary, and there's a lot of predominantly female nudity. It's a cartoon after all, so if you like cartoon sex and violence, this could be for you. This being Rob Zombie there's plenty of film references, the usual chest-buster from Alien, and Carrie, complete with song 'I can't believe they ripped-off Carrie; did they ask Stephen King if they could rip-off Carrie?' or something like that. Otto the ape reminded me of John Cleese in George Of The Jungle, sorry if that wasn't intentional. It's not that funny, sexy certainly, but not particularly erotic, perhaps the anticipation of imminent gory violence has a bromide effect. I didn't hate it but I hope the reference to a sequel was a joke; truly there's nowhere else for it to go.

DVD extras are a full-length animatic, alternative scenes and shots, deleted scenes, trailers, and a stills gallery.



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