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|Written by Frederick Hidell|
|Monday, 26 October 2009 00:00|
Musician Rob Zombie broke onto the cinema scene with his 2003 director debut House of a 1000 Corpses. It was just the sort of surreal neon horror pastiche one might have expected from the lead singer of 90s rock band White Zombie. His follow-up, The Devil's Rejects, a gritty throwback 70s retro piece, was less well received by critics, and his third outing, a remake of the John Carpenter horror classic Halloween, garnered even fewer positive reviews.
Despite the fact that his critical standing seems to decline further which each film released, by this point, the average viewer tends to fall into one of two easily identifiable groups: either you love Rob Zombie films or you don't. Either way, you couldn't give a damn what the critics think. The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, Zombie's newly released straight to DVD feature length animated film, isn't likely to change that dichotomy much.
Trading in grit and gore for humour and sexy sleaze, El Superbeasto serves as the next instalment in Zombie's oeuvre of hillbilly horror. Set in Monster Land (think the Beetlejuice animated series... with boobs), and featuring the adventures of ex-Mexican masked wrestler Superbeasto and his eye patch sporting step-sister Suzy X, the film delivers Ren and Stimpy style gross-outs and guest appearances from virtually every famous movie monster (from Halloween's Mike Myers, to The Shining's Jack Torrance, to the alien mutant from This Island Earth). It is the sort of post-modern, self-referential, ironic, animated action comedy that has already drawn so many viewers to shows like Venture Bros.Trading in grit and gore for humour and sexy sleaze.
Hollywood stars Rosario Dawson (doing her best hip-hop black girl accent: "Oh, no you dit-ten," as Velvet Von Black, a stripper with the ability to beat people up with her gigantic jugs) and Paul Giamatti (playing the villainous Dr. Satan) put in solid performances, but it is the writer/director's wife Sheri Moon Zombie who steals the show with her voice work as sexy superheroine Suzy X. Other recognizable voice talents put in appearances, including John Di Maggio (Futurama's Bender) and Danny Trejo (Grindhouse's Machete), as do Zombie regulars Sid Haig, Dee Wallace, and Bill Moseley.
While the film's jokes don't always hit their mark, I defy anyone to sit through Suzy X's theme song without laughing at least once! In fact, it is the multiple hilarious musical numbers performed in a variety of musical genres that are El Superbeasto's funniest and most enjoyable moments. When the film cuts to an anime-style cat fight in which Suzy X and Velvet rip off each other's clothes, for example, the accompanying crooning musical track assures viewers, "It's okay to jerk-off to cartoons / The Japanese do it every day." A comforting thought.
If you are into the sort of cowboy-trash-meets-Hammer-horror culture that Zombie revels in, you're sure to love The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. If animated strippers, killer Nazi zombies carrying Hitler's head, horny robots with joystick dicks, and rampant cursing isn't exactly what you are looking for in an animated film, there's probably a copy of Johnny Neutron still available at the local video store you can pick up instead.
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto was released on September 22 and is available on DVD stores across Canada and the U.S.
Tags: animated, boobs, danny trejo, el superbeasto, futurama, horror, horror week, john di maggio, monsters, music, paul giamatti, review, rob zombie, robots, rosario dawson, sheri moon zombie, venture bros., zombies