GINGERDEAD MAN vs. EVIL BONG (2013)
Review by: Dave Wain
Stars: Robin Sydney, Sonny Carl Davis, John Patrick Jordan
Written by: Kent Roudebush, Charles Band (story)
Runtime: 83 minutes
Directed by: Charles Band
Duuuuuudes, as the legend, founder and CEO of Full Moon Pictures would say. Here we have something quite special indeed. When you sign up to be a Full Moon Fanatic, you tend to place all faith in the direction the company will go, and admittedly when Evil Bong was announced a few years back I was guilty of raising an eyebrow and a cursory sharp intake of breath. Was this really where the company that created such iconic films as Puppet Master, Subspecies and Trancers was heading?
Over-dramatic concerns aside, I ran with it and when the movie came to be released my fears were allayed as the Tommy Chong starring fruit loop of a picture proved its weight in sheer entertainment. Sequels followed (Evil Bong II: King Bong (2009), Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong (2011)) keeping the franchise cheesy yet entertaining, while in a separate universe a cookie shaped creation was racking up the sequels too. The Gingerdead Man I found instantly likeable, and with Gary Busey voicing the character for the first film it managed to achieve iconic status straight away. The sequels that began with The Gingerdead Man: Passion of the Crust (2008) kept the pastry fresh (sorry…) with a slew of cameos from people like Adam Green and Michelle Bauer, whilst The Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011) under the direction of William Butler brought some great impetus to a franchise that could easily have phoned it in at this point.
All this convoluted backstory brings us to the inevitable Gingerdead Man vs Evil Bong. Actually, I say inevitable but who actually saw this ahead of the announcement? In any case we open with the sight of Gingerdead Man relaxing on a beach surrounded by a bevy of topless young things. He’s bemoaning the fact that he’s unable to return to his human form of the fugitive Millard Findlemeyer and vows to wreak vengeance on the pastry wizard (Sarah Leigh) that turned him into his current form.
Meanwhile, over at Dick’s Head Shop we find Larnell (John Patrick Jordan), his girlfriend Velicity (Amy Paffrath) and employee String (The Don) reminiscing about the origins of the Evil Bong. This leads to a handy flashback to remind us of such trippy characters as King Bong, the Poontang tribe as well as Larnell’s grandfather who was bewitched by the alien Evil Bong into thinking he could take over the earths weed supply.
Events in the head shop are punctuated by a series of comical encounters with people from the Full Moon universe including Hambo (Chance A. Rearden), the seedy snout-nosed oddball from Zombies vs Strippers and Ooga Booga who calls by to flog some merchandise. Also on the hard sell is good old Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis) who has a case full of Evil Bong wares (*all currently available at fullmoondirect.com – seriously!), but whilst left alone in the store he manages to uncover the Evil Bong which Larnell has sneakily stashed in a safe in his office. Needless to say it’s not long before Rabbit manages to re-awaken good old Eebee with a heavy dose of premium weed, and before we know it our silky voiced ‘water pipe’ is back in business.
Larnell meanwhile is hot-tailing it to the Dough Rey Me bakery around the corner in the hope of setting up a cross merchandising partnership after sampling some of their baked goods. Herein lies a problem as our bakery queen is of course Gingerdead Man creating Sarah Leigh (Robin Sydney). However, Larnell’s girlfriend from the first Evil Bong was a character by the name of Luann (also Robin Sydney). This may provide a clash of interests in any other narrative than a Full Moon movie, but here it’s not only irrelevant but it leads to some cool self-aware dialogue as well as a crazy meeting of both ladies! So, with the eventual union of both universes it’s now time for our iconic characters to face off… sort of.
While not strictly true to its title, we do get some cool Gingerdead Man and Evil Bong action. Just the visual of seeing a talking bong conversing with a talking cookie makes this worth a watch. If you’ve seen the previous six incarnations that featured either of these creations you’ll know what to expect, if not though it’s an ideal jumping on point for newbies with each characters history detailed at length.
GM vs EB is a funny film. I think I laughed more while watching it than I did at the last big budget Hollywood comedy that I saw. There’s a great script here by Kent Roudebush, but what makes it is the delivery of lead actor John Patrick Jordan who returns for his 4th outing as Larnell and is a pivotal part of the success of the film. As with any Full Moon movie it will have a line of detractors ready to queue up and slate it, but it’s impossible to deny just how enjoyable these films are from Charles Band and his crew. Here’s to the inevitable Gingerdead Man vs Evil Bong vs Ooga Booga!
*Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong is currently only available through subscription to fullmoonstreaming.com at the price of $6.99 per month or approximately £4.35.
**Ganja version also available.