Monday, April 24, 2017

Full Moon Fever: Evil Bong 666

by Patrick Bromley
Nothing says 4/20 like a new Evil Bong movie.

As someone who could care less about smoking pot and who has never so much as taken a single hit off a joint, April 20th is just another day for me -- albeit one I've learned to stay off social media. In fact, I might not even notice the date on the calendar were it not for the release of a new Evil Bong movie from Full Moon Features, who have celebrated the date with a new entry in the franchise for the last three years running. And while it's never going to be my favorite of the studio's many ongoing series, I'll be goddamned if this latest effort isn't a surprising amount of fun and probably my favorite of the seven Evil Bong films (including the six in this run and a spin-off feature, Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong).
Attempting to keep up with the continuity of this franchise is pointless. I've described it before as the closest thing Full Moon has to a regular TV series, not just because of the scope and the production values but because of the serialized nature of the storytelling. Evil Bong 666 continues the ongoing story being told while at the same time tossing away a good deal of what's come before, clearing the way for a new group of characters who happened to be played by a bunch of series regulars. At least I think they're not playing the same characters? Those of you more well-versed in the Evil Bong mythos (which are words I just typed) will have to bear with me should I misstep here and there.

Mindy Robinson is back, this time playing the new owner of the head shop that has appeared in previous entries; she's Lucy Furr, a Goth chick who performs a blood sacrifice because she wants to open a portal to Hell. And open a portal she does! Once it's open, both the trash-talking bong EeBee and the Gingerdead Man escape back into our world to wreak havoc. Also joining in this time is Full Moon regular Robin Sydney, not reprising her role as Sarah Leigh from The Gingerdead Man but instead as Harley Quinn-esque Faux Batty Boop, the foxy clown last seen in Killjoy's Psycho Circus and teleported to the streets of Los Angeles as the movie opens. Sonny Carl Davis reprises his role as horny stoner Rabbit, while Jessica Morris joins the cast as the spiritual Misty. Somehow, all of these characters end up in Sexy Hell where they must compete in a bong-ripping competition with the Devil (here called "Beezlebud," because weed, and played by an actor credited only as "The Don"). Thankfully, Batty Boop and Misty have a secret weapon: The Gingerweed Man.
One thing that Evil Bong 666 has going for it is the cast, which is probably the strongest yet assembled for an Evil Bong movie. Mindy Robinson has appeared in several installments in the franchise but here is given her funniest character to play, which she does with good comic timing and no small amount of sex appeal. Speaking of sex appeal, Robin Sydney is such a force of nature that she makes even a nonsensical clown character come alive; I don't really understand her character or her motivations for most of the movie, but she has such energy and presence on screen that it doesn't matter. Her early scenes find her wandering the streets of what appears to be Venice Beach in shots that are clearly stolen, and it's fun to watch passers-by react to a hot clown looking freaked out. Some of them don't react, of course, which is telling about just how crazy shit can be on Venice Beach. The sequence carries the added bonus of opening the movie up a little. The recent crop of Full Moon movies consists of characters standing around in dark rooms talking in static shots, so it's nice to see a little bit of camera movement and some natural daylight in the latest Evil Bong.
The later exteriors are all done via bad green screen effects, which I would accuse of looking cheap if it hadn't become part of the charm of this series. Plus, there's something inherently funny about "Sexy Hell," which is the usual depiction of Hell but with a bunch of floating boobs and butts mixed in with the fire and brimstone. The Evil Bong movies have never shied away from their own childish stupidity, but the commitment to "Sexy Hell" takes the series' juvenility to the next level; it's a gag so dopey it circles back around to being funny. It gives the movie a sense of scope and ambition bigger than its predecessors, even if the sequence itself is overly long and doesn't have a huge payoff. The Don's (??) take on the Devil is kind of amusing for a few minutes, but because the scene keeps going and going, the character has nowhere to go -- it starts and ends as a voice and an affect. And, yet, because the four actors on screen are all colorful and fun and because the dialogue by screenwriter Kent Roudebush (who has scripted every Evil Bong movie since part 3) is sharper than usual, the sequence manages to not wear out its welcome. The entire movie accomplishes this feat, actually, as it clocks in at just a minute or two past an hour. Even at a similar length, past Evil Bong movies have taxed my patience. Evil Bong 666 picks up the pace, increases the humor and succeeds at being fun the whole time.
Then there are the puppet characters, who get less screen time here than in past entries. EeBee has a limited presence despite being the title character, and even though Michelle Mais is still doing the same profanely sassy voice she's done for the last five movies, something about the way she annoyedly curses this time around struck me as particularly funny. The Gingerdead Man, now a permanent part of the shared Evil Bong universe, has even less to do (even though the movie ends by teasing a new Gingerdead Man feature instead of a seventh Evil Bong follow-up). The big story this time out -- if we're willing to call it that -- is the creation of The Gingerweed Man, who is the love child of Gingerdead Man and EeBee (I think). While the cynic in me suspects he exists more to sell new toys and resin statues than because he contributes anything to the narrative, I'll admit that his Boris Karloff-like voice is amusing because it's so unexpected. His bong-off with Satan is dumb but funny for how over-the-top it is, and it inspires the movie's best line when Jessica Morris matter-of-factly asks "How do we know who wins this thing?"
Nearly thirty years and six Evil Bong movies into Full Moon Features, you have to know what you're getting into with Evil Bong 666. Yes, I once again have to point out that it's a step down from the company's salad days in the 1990s when video store revenues and a deal with Paramount could fund bigger, better B-movies. But it's also a step up from the last few Evil Bong movies, with more energy, ambition and consistency of talent in front of the camera. If this series is the equivalent of a yearly Full Moon TV show, 666 is a pretty good episode and maybe the first of all of them that's got me interested in what's going to happen next. And if the movie can work for someone stone cold sober like me, I have to imagine it's even more fun for someone who's cold stoned. I mean, maybe. I have no idea.

Got a movie you'd like to see covered in Full Moon Fever? Let us know in the comments below!


  1. Mr. Bromley, you continuously make me change my mind on movies, make me look at them in a different way (ex: clueless), or make me want to discover movies previously unknown to me. i watched my fare share of movie only based on your recommendations.

    but that one is the one exception that proves the rule. i will never see that thing. i just can't bring myself to watch it when i could watch something else, anything.

    that being said, keep it up, you're my favorite reviewer (with the other collaborators on this site being close second)

    p.s. have you ever seen Crawl Or Die? the best Alien move that's not an Alien movie

  2. In addition to being National Weed Day, the 20th of April is National Cheddar Fries Day, National Lima Bean Respect Day (I can't speak for the rest of you, but I've been lax in showing obeisance to this legume in the past. Lima beans are gross), National Look Alike Day, National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day (I trust all listeners to F This Movie! had a slice of this confection at least once during the 24-hour period in question; these commemorations are not a suggestion, they're international law. Subscribers to the podcast in the Antipodes may consume ordinary pineapple cake at this time as everything there is already upside down. Pineapples are part of the Bromeliaceae plant family, incidentally, a word which contains six of the seven letters of the surname of our inestimable host, so F-Heads have particular reason to take this day seriously), National High Five Day (observed in Great Britain as National Firm Handshake and Let's Not Have Any of These Vulgar Americanisms Day), and National Get to Know Your Customers Day.

    I, like Patrick (I do like Patrick), have never partaken of the plant that, to bastardise those famous words in William Cowper's 1785 book The Task, "inebriates, cheers and makes the consumer want to eat Kit Kats," nor do I approve of individuals who have. If 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine was good enough for my father, grandfather and great-grandfather, it's good enough for me.

    1. "National" and "international" are interchangeable, right? They're like "flammable" and "inflammable".

  3. I had a friend of a friend say the Gingerdead movies were the funniest thing since sliced ham. After some online reading I passed.

    Does anyone recommend them?

    1. ive watched all 3 ginger dead man movies , 1st one is not bad but they go down hill as they continue , if you like bad movies and drink beer you can watch them lol they are worth a laugh