Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gingerdead Man, The (2005)

Directed by:
Charles Band

Millard Findlemeyer (Gary Busey) robs Cadillac Jack's Diner and decides to shoot and stab all of the customers while he's there. Among the victims are bakery owner James Leigh (Newell Alexander) and his two grown children. The daughter - Sarah (Robin Sydney) - was lucky enough to survive her gunshot wound that fateful day, and it was her testimony that eventually ended up putting Millard away and onto death row. After his date with the electric chair, Millard's body is cremated and his ashes are sent back to his mother. Two days after the execution, Sarah is at work at her family's bakery when someone wearing a black cloak leaves a box of "Grandma's Gingerbread Seasoning" at the back door. Sarah's highly annoying, profession wrestling obsessed co-worker Brick (Jonathan Chase) accidentally cuts himself while opening the box and drizzles some blood into the seasoning. Never mind that, it's mixed in with some flour anyway to make cookie dough. With that level of quality control, it's no wonder the place on the verge of closing down.

Across the street, a chain restaurant is about to open that threatens to put the Leigh's bakery out of business. Sarah's mother Betty (Margaret Blye), who's taken to the bottle since the murders of her husband and son, attempts to shoot their banner down with a shotgun. Jimmy Dean (Larry Cedar), the loud-mouth, cowboy-hat-wearing owner of the rival eatery who has a bitchy, wanna-be model daughter named Lorna (Alexia Aleman), offers to buy Sarah out for 50,000 thousand dollars but she refuses. Lorna sneaks in with a rat in an attempt to get them closed down by the health department, the ladies get into a cat fight, Lorna's punk-with-a-heart-of-gold boyfriend Amos (Ryan Locke) pops in to break them up, the oven goes haywire and a large gingerbread cookie baking in the oven comes to life. Yes, a walking, talking, killing gingerbread cookie voiced by Gary Busey. If that doesn't scream "Camp!" I don't know what does. The cookie gets to cut off a finger, jump in a car and smash a guy against the wall and knock a girl out with a skillet and then make an ice cream sundae out of her (complete with strategically placed cherries). It also gets to make terrible jokes about ladyfingers, drunks and reminds us that it "sure ain't the Pillsbury Fucking Doughboy."

Because of Busey's presence (he has about five minutes of actual screen time and the rest is just him voicing the cookie) and the ridiculous, outlandish premise, this ended up making money on DVD. Unfortunately, it's all rather terrible... and not in a very good or enjoyable way either. This is one of those movies that tries to defy being called idiotic by being intentionally idiotic: it wants so desperately to be camp. Therein lies the big problem; this is far too forced and obvious to be even remotely amusing if you're above the age of about 8. The combination of terrible acting, awful dialogue, corny one-liners, murky, flat-looking photography, poor lighting and, perhaps most especially, a roster of extremely annoying, toilet mouthed, over-the-top characters sink this in no time. There's not enough material here to even push this to a proper feature run-time. If you exclude the very-slow-moving opening and closing credits, this actually runs less than one hour.

John Carl Buechler and Magical Media Industries created the creature effects, though there's not much in the way of gore and the body count is surprisingly low. It was co-written by Silvia St. Croix (probably a pseudonym for William Butler), who went on to direct GINGERDEAD MAN 2: PASSION OF THE CRUST (2008). There was also GINGERDEAD MAN 3: SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER (2011).

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