David’s Review of The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

14 Oct

I am totally at a loss as to how to write a review of The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.  I don’t even know what to say.  I was very excited about it.  We’re talking very high hopes.  I mean, come on.  Rob Zombie directs it.  It’s an animated movie for adults.  The story is set in the mythical world of “Monsterland”.  The voice actors include Tom Papa, Danny Trejo, Paul Giamatti, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Rosario Dawson.  The DVD case has zombie Nazis on it.  Everything about it sounds totally awesome.  You would think with that strong of a backbone the movie would be awesome.  I, at least, would think that.  I understand a lot of people do not share my tastes when it comes to zombie Nazis, Danny Trejo, and Rob Zombie.  But I thought it was going to be awesome.  It’s not awesome.  It’s not even good.  Most of it is not even enjoyable.

trailer_rob_zombie_presents_the_haunted_world_of_el_superbeasto

The story follows the adventures of a wrestler/celebrity/super-hero/lady’s man named El Superbeasto (Tom Papa).  El Superbeasto has the unfortunate luck to fall in love with stripper Velvet Von Black (Rosario Dawson) just as she is kidnapped by the pet gorilla of bad guy, Dr. Satan (Paul Giamatti).  Dr. Satan is planning on marrying Von Black because she has a birthmark that resembles “666” and this will somehow give him all the powers of Hell.  El Superbeasto calls in the help of his sister Susie X (Sherie Moon Zombie) when he gets in over his head.  There’s some more stuff involving zombie Nazis, King Kong’s corpse, and El Superbeasto’s questionable career, but we won’t go into that.

I don’t even really know what to think of this movie.  It’s obviously trying to be a comedy.  And there are some funny parts, most of them coming from Tom Papa’s dialogue.  But there’s not nearly enough witty dialogue to make up for all the other terribly unfunny jokes.  When Rob Zombie was promoting the film he was quoted at IGN as saying, “It’s like an R-rated adult/monster/sex comedy.  There’s nothing really like it that I can think of.  People always say like Ralph Bakshi’s stuff, but…it’s [more] like if Sponge Bob and Scooby-Doo were filthy.”  And that is exactly the problem.  As I said in our Cool World discussion last week, I love Ralph Bakshi.  That is a man that knew how to do an adult cartoon.  He could take adult humor, animate it, and make it work, but he didn’t try to make kid cartoons filthy.  You don’t see the filthiness he put in Heavy Traffic when you watch his family films like Lord of the Rings and Wizards.  That’s what Zombie needs to learn.  A lot of The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is G-rated humor with R-rated animation.  That just feels weird.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty R-rated humor too,  but for most of the movie it did feel like I was watching an extremely filthy Sponge Bob.  And Sponge Bob just doesn’t work with tons of dick jokes and more cartoon boobs than I ever planned on seeing.

Susie X fights some zombie Nazis

Susie X fights some zombie Nazis

Here’s the kicker, though, the fact that this comedy isn’t funny isn’t the end of its problems.  Let me share a few more with you:  One of the longest running jokes in the movie is Velvet Von Black using several curse words in every sentence.  This was only sort-of funny one time.  Then it quickly became one of the most annoying things I’ve ever experienced.  I was cringing every time Von Black was about to speak.  This is by far the worst thing Rosario Dawson has ever done, including Alexander.

The film’s music is another problem.  Maybe it was also supposed to be funny, but just like the “Sponge Bobness” of the whole thing feeling wrong, the idea of putting 1950’s style music into the mix just feels awkward.  Instead of coming off as a joke, it just feels like they made a mistake.

The one thing I really did like about this movie was the way everything looked.  It looked like an old school cartoon mixed with a horror movie.  If Rob Zombie was talking about the way things looked in the above quote, then I take back everything I said.  I’m pretty sure he was talking about the jokes though.  Anyway, I love the way the world of “Monsterland” looks.  The feel of a 1920’s Universal Pictures horror film somehow distilled into a 1960’s style animation is beautiful. I really wanted the opportunity to enjoy the world I caught some brief glimpses of.

Monsterland

Monsterland

I almost didn’t want to write this review.  I love Rob Zombie.  I don’t always agree with him, but I have to admit to totally being a fan of the man.  And that made it really, really hard to not only be honest with this, but to put it out there for the world to read.  So, basically, I am not recommending this movie.  I loved the way the animation looked.  I loved the references Zombie scattered throughout the entire film.  I did not like the movie.  You might.  Especially if you like tons of animated boobs, way too many dick jokes, and stories that go in too many directions at the same time (without actually going anywhere).

probably still going to want the action figures,

david

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