Vanity Fear

A Pretentious A**hole's Guide to B-Movie Bullsh*t

It's definitely not to my credit that I'm such a slacker-ass that I still haven't finished posting the series I devised purely as a means to avoid creating new content while I worked to finish my book, even though I actually finished the book on Wednesday.  Bu then, reformating these suckers has proven to be far more time consuming that I ever would have thought.  You wouldn't think centering a few images and bits of text here and there would take so much work, but that's only because you haven't done it before.  Trust me, it takes an annoying amount of effort.  But before you assume that's where all the time went, scroll down to the bottom to check out the video clip I added specifically for this double dip.  I'm afraid it doesn't contain any nudity (which is amazing considering the amount there is in this movie) so it's entirely safe for work.  Now feel free to worship the genius that is The House of Glib's 4th Most Visited Post:
Of Carradine, Porn Stars
and One Lame- Ass Cartoon
The agonizing thing about being a buff of any sort is how painful it can be when you have to listen to people who clearly know little about the subject of your obsession as they make statement after statement that only serves to highlight the shocking depths of their ignorance.  Right now there’s a country music fan seething while he listens to an idiot talk about how they only listen to “good country music—y’know like Shania Twain, Garth Brooks and Toby Keith”; there’s an Edmonton hockey fan forced to watch morons screaming out his favorite team’s name and acting like drunken jackasses even though none of them paid attention to a single game before the play-offs began; there’s a devotee of modern art stopping himself from punching the guy who just suggested that his “...eight year-old could make better art than the stuff they put in those museums.”
For us devotees of bad movies, this form of irritation comes from the folks who think they can impress us because they once watched Tim Burton’s Ed Wood and therefore know all about the “worst movie director of all time.”  This is so incredibly annoying for several reasons.  The first is that—as great as the movie is—Ed Wood is (as all biopics should be, in my opinion) very loose with the details of Wood’s life and so most people who only know of him through the movie, essentially know nothing about him at all.  The second reason it’s so annoying is the fact that Wood was not—by any stretch of the imagination—“the worst director of all time.”  Oh, he sucked—he sucked hard—but there are many other films out there that are every bit as incompetently made as Plan 9 From Outer Space
And while I have no intention on being so bold as to suggest who the true worst director of all time is (I’m tempted to say Jim Jarmusch, because I know it’ll annoy Dan, but I won’t, because even I don’t believe it), but I would like to talk about a film made by a man who would definitely make the shortlist and who has made many films that are every bit as bad as those made by Wood.
Like all of the “worst directors of all time” Fred Olen Ray is a renaissance man.  For the past three decades he has written, directed, produced and acted in some of the worst movies ever to go directly to video.  He has made films in virtually every genre, including crappy horror movies, crappy kids movies, crappy action movies, crappy comedies, crappy erotic thrillers, crappy softcore sex movies and crappy science fiction movies.  Often he goes even further and combines elements from all of these different genres and manages to create a crappy movie that sucks on many different levels. 

No matter the genre, though, the “Fred Olen Ray Effect” always applies.  This cinematic principal clearly states that no matter what emotional response Ray attempts to get from his audience, the opposite response will occur.  So, if he is attempting to make you laugh, you will frown; if he attempts to frighten you, you will feel very relaxed; if he attempts to excite you, you will be bored, etc.  

As proof of this I present to you a BFILA he made in 1992 (or, at least, one that was released in 1992).  Like several other films he made during the late 80s and early 90s it features David Carradine in a role that could be played in one day and ensured that the actor wouldn’t miss one of his alimony payments.  It also features a former member of the cast of Rowan and Martins Laugh-In in a complete pointless role, because Ray knew that having any sort of celebrity in his movie (no matter how minor or has been-ery) would sell tapes1.  The film itself is one of those patented-Ray genrebusters I described earlier, combining elements from slasher films, kids films, softcore sex films and the kind of bad comedies that make you want to kill yourself.
Given these diverse elements, it should come as no surprise that out of the film’s five female cast members (if you include Michelle Bauer’s cameo, which I do) four had either at that point or would in the near future appear in XXX rated hardcore pornography.  What you have then is a film filled with the kind of acting you expect from a betamax porno tape, with none of the action that makes fast-forwarding through those performances worthwhile.
Of course, I’m taking about:

Our adventure begins with an eerie a static and over long shot of an atmospheric old mansion the cheapest house Ray could find in Los Angeles that vaguely looked like it predated the Regan administration.

It's hard for me to make fun of this considering how much it looks like the cover of a bunch of my books.

Having established that the house is eerie lame, we are then introduced to the film's star the guy famous enough to get lead billing even though his total onscreen time is less than five minutes (and two and a half of those are made up of completely unnecessary reaction shots).

Calm down David and repeat after me, "Kill Bill is just 12 years away.  Kill Bill is just 12 years away."

In his hands he is carrying a book that is not yet named, but which has clearly been designed as a nod to The Evil Dead's Necronomicon Ex Mortis:

Ray is such a maverick he breaks the first rule of bad movies: Don't remind people of good movies.

But unlike the book in Sam Raimi's much, much, much (emphasis here on the much) better film, this book-with-a-face can actually talk and proceeds to do so in the most unconvincing manner possible!  For reasons not explained (ever), Carradine's unnamed character decides that the only way to defeat the book (from, we are left to assume, doing something evil--the movie is kinda vague here) is to hang himself with a noose he conveniently finds in the garage behind the house,

Dude!  Don't do it!  I told you, in 12 years you'll be cool again!

His suicidal scheme apparently works, since the book then vanishes in the kind of cheap optical effect that Ray loves to pass off as high class production values.  But before it goes the book insists that it will back.  Since we still have no idea what the book actually does, it is kinda hard to take this threat seriously.

At this point, the credits begin to roll.  They are cheap and unremarkable, notable only because its credited screenwriter:

These etchings are actually more frightening than the film's monster.  That's not a joke.

Is actually a pseudonym for the director, who apparently was too modest to have his own name appear so many times in the credits (Hey, if Soderbergh can use that excuse, than there's no reason a much less-talented director can't as well).  Ray likes pseudonyms and has directed many of his movies under different names.  I'm guessing this has more to do with arcane union issues than anything else, but it does suggest the frightening idea that there are movies so bad, even Fred Olen Ray doesn't want his name attached to them.  Here's one more piece of trivia regarding our director du jour: he moonlights as a professional wrestler named Freddie Valentine (a name, one must assume, that he came up with by imagining what the offspring of "Classy" Freddie Blasse and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine would be like) and is the champion of his own promotion, AVW, which holds its matches in the back of not very upscale drinking establishments (aka dive bars).  Now you know.  Share this information with a stranger and you might make a friend!

Meanwhile, the plot starts to begin as we return to the house from the pre-credit sequence, only we know it's now the present day because the for sale sign is tagged with satanic grafitti.

Call Satan what?

Having clearly established that this is the setting of our tale, we see a white van drive up towards the house.  It stops and out comes Burt (popular character actor Dick Miller, who you will recognize even if you've only seen one movie or tv show in your entire life), who takes a--oddly long--moment to stop and stare at the house:

Dude, it's a house.  If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all.

Following his bizarre moment of reflection, he returns to the van and reveals his cargo: he's transporting our lead characters porn stars!

Can you spot the "Final Girl" in this picture?  I'll give you a hint: she's the shy "ugly" one.

Apparently these four young women have been hired by Burt to clean the ominous budgetarily-convenient house over the weekend before its new owners move in.  For their hard work the girls are getting paid $100 (each!), which doesn't sound like much, but given how little work they'll end up doing, it's actually pretty reasonable.  Burt tells them that the place doesn't have a phone, so if they need to contact him they'll have to talk to the next door neighbor, a fellow named Mr. Hinchlow, but seriously what are the chances of that happening? 

Burt then leaves and the girls enter the large mansion, armed only with their cleaning supplies and keen wits breast implants.

One of these characters is a virgin, the others are not.  Can you tell just by looking at them?

Here in order we have Jan (Stacey Nix), Terry (Suzanne Agar), Roxanne (Madison Stone) and Megan (Monique Gabrielle)2.  While the other three look around the house and see what work lies ahead of them, Megan goes back outside  to get the rest of their stuff, where she is surprised by a diminutive stranger:

"Henry Fucking Gibson gets to be in Nashville and I'm stuck playing the weird neighbor in this shit?
There is no justice in this world!"

It's Mr. Hinchlow, the next-door neighbor Burt mentioned earlier and he's played by that "wer-ry in-ter-esting..." dude!  I'm assuming Ruth Buzzi wasn't available.  Megan invites him inside to  meet the other girls, where he proceeds to behave like any normal middle-aged man would when confronted with a roomful of attractive student laborers porn stars.  Bored with his pervishness, Jan asks them if there is anything they can do for him to which he replies "No, I just came in to have a look at your faces, in case I have to identify them later."  When they question the need for this, he tells them that there have been several murders in this neighborhood and warns them to be on the lookout for anything that might be considered dangerous.  He then leaves and Terry, who is apparently the boss, decides that they should begin work by cleaning out the basement to which Roxanne complains "Why do these things always have to start with the four beautiful co-eds going into the basement?"3

In the next scene we learn that what they call a "basement" in California, would be called a garage in many other parts of the world, in so far as it is above ground and not connected to the house in any visible way.  Another sure sign of a Fred Olen Ray film is this kind of devotion to the script.  He knew that Roxanne's line quoted above would lack the same humorous jolt if she said garage instead of basement, so he has the characters continually refer to the structure as a basement even when it clearly isn't one.  As a writer I truly appreciate this dedication to the written text.

"Isn't it great to work on a movie where you don't have to spend hours waiting for your co-star to get a chubby?"

Once inside the basement garage the girls discover that it's far too messed up to clean before night time, so they decide to just move some stuff around instead.  Now that's a personal work ethic I can get behind!  Little do the girls know that this is the same basement garage where David Carradine hung himself before the opening credits and there is evil lurking within it.

As they work walk around in tight shorts, Terry comes across a wooden chest marked with writing in a strange language:

I believe this is Olde English in the Three Stooges  dialect.

Which Ray courteously interprets for us onscreen as:

Odd Horror Movie Cliche #234: The strange habit of people from the past leaving trunks
that should not be opened in places where people can find and open them.

The girls open the trunk and find that it contains a serpentine dagger and a sacred shroud ratty blanket.  Terry decides to hold onto them in case they are valuable and she can sell them later (which explains why she's willing to take a job that only pays $100 for three days worth of hard work), but I suspect that Ray has read his Chekov and knows that a dagger and blanket that have been shown to the audience in the first act, better be fired in the third (or something like that).

All this work random box moving around has done tuckered the girls out, so they return to the house to eat and settle down for the night.  As they enjoy themselves, lightening strikes from up above and a strange figure mysteriously appears in the house's backyard:

Death knows no dominion over a Carradine!  Except for maybe Robert.  He's lame.

It's David Carradine's nameless character from before!  What's he doing here?  Who the fuck knows?  What we do know is that he doesn't come alone:

Seriously, did you see Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise?  Death is definitely coming its way for Robert.

It's the Necronomicon Ex Mortis shitty talking book that also appeared before the opening credits!  Why is it reappearing in the hands of the man who killed himself to ensure that it disappeared from the Earth?  Do you actually ask these questions expecting them to be answered?

Back in the house, Roxanne--whose character has clearly been defined as "the slutty one"--asks her friends if they want to see "How [she] got [her] hooks into Biff Bullet, the football captain?"  "Again?" responds Terry, but sweet, shy, "ugly" Megan is intrigued by Roxanne's overt sexuality amazing skankitude and is eager to take in the display.  Roxanne is only too happy to oblige and proceeds to entertain her friends with an impromptu striptease performence.

This sort of thing happens all of the time when girls are alone together, right?  Right?  I don't care if you lie to me, just tell me I'm right!

During the course of Roxanne's exhibitionistic routine, our director supplies us with one of his trademarked auteur touches--namely adding "whacky" sound effects to her movements.  Even during scenes of completely nonsensical and gratuitous nudity, he attempts to tickle our funny bones!  Megan is so moved by Roxanne's dancing that she feels compelled to awkwardly join in.  Roxanne unbuttons her shirt and reveals a shocking surprise:

See I told you my censorship was too funny to do without!

Shy, smart, virginal, "ugly" Megan is rocking a killer bod!

Oh, okay this isn't much of a surprise, since anyone who is willingly sitting down and watching a Fred Olen Ray movie called Evil Toons has definitely seen Bachelor Party at least a dozen times in the course of their life.  And the reason they have sat down and watched this Tom Hanks classic so many times is almost entirely due to the scene where Monique Gabrielle (our very own Megan) exposes herself in front of the future two-time Oscar winner.  It is because of this that one might consider casting the actress in the role of the "homely" co-ed a bit insulting to our intelligence, were it not for a fact that said casting virtually guarantees a scene that is soon to come in the near future.

When Roxanne and the other two girls express amazement over the enormous charms of Megan's hithertoo unknown pulchritude, the shy "ugly" girl is embarassed and runs upstairs to be alone. 

Before they can go up and apologize, a knock comes from the front door:

I'm not usually someone who cares about the little details, but where the hell did he get the brown paper, twine and felt pen
rquired to wrap up the book?  Why didn't we get to see the scene where they suddenly appeared from out of nowhere?
Or did he run off to the post office while Roxanne was stripping?

It's that guy!  The one who--for lack of better name at this point--I shall henceforth refer to as Strangey McStranger.  He tells the girls that he has "a delivery" for them.  Terry attempts to get him to go away by explaining that they don't own the house, but he forces her to accept his (inexplicably wrapped) package.

Note the impeccable frightened-descending-trio staging that Ray employs in this sequence.

Without any further explanation, Mr. McStranger disappears and leaves the girls with the where-the-hell-did-he-get-the-materials-to-wrap-it package.  He then proceeds to do what he will continue to do until the final 5 minutes of the film:

No really, this will be how Carradine earns his paycheck for the rest of the film.

That's right.  For virtually the entire movie David Carradine's performance will consist of random inserts of him standing somewhere on the house's property looking extremely unconcerned as the shit goes down.  This is a very economical way to have your lead actor appear throughout the entire film, even though you only paid him for one day's worth of work.  Ed Wood would be proud.

Back at Porn Star Manor, the girls have taken the package into the living room where they follow its written instructions and open it up, revealing the shitty talking book from the beginning.  But at this point the book stays quiet as they thumb through its pages, revealing a drawing of our soon to be unleashed monster.

Amazingly this drawing is actually a much better rendering of the creature than we will--briefly--be exposed to later on in the proceedings.

As they look through the book, the action moves upstairs, where the scene I alluded to earlier is finally beginning.  Y'see with the character of Megan, Ray decided to get ambitious.  Instead of simply making her the movie's Final Girl (read Scary Movies or--better yet--Carol J. Clover's Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in Modern Horror Movies for a description of this important horror movie archetype), he also threatens to turn her into a Chrysalis character--a less frequently seen, but still very cliche character in the b-movie pantheon.  The Chrysalis character is a person of either gender who has kept their true self hidden from the world, but who will--as the film progresses--gradually transform into who they really are (it's also fair to refer to these characters as Ugly Duckling or Cinderella characters, but I like my phrase better).  While there are different rules for male versions of these characters, it is de rigeur for their female counterpoints to have a scene in their respective movies where they stare at themselves in a mirror, revealing to us the hidden selves they have yet to share with the world.  These moments are very popular in b-movies, because they allow us a chance to look at a naked actress in a meaningful and not at all purient way.  Here Ray does not disappoint:

The only mistake Ray makes in this scene is that he doesn't have Megan take off her glasses,
which in a moment like this is almost as important as seeing her yabbos.

Unfortunately Ray is only willing to go so far with this archetypal duality and essentially abandons the Chrysalis arc before it even has a chance to begin.  It's almost as if all he wanted was a shot of the actress' lovely bosom and nothing more.

Anyway, as Megan finishes taking in the gloriousity of her cans, she puts on a shapeless nightgown and Roxanne appears to tell her about the book, which is written in a language they hope Megan--with all her fancy shy "ugly" girl booklearnin'--can interpret.

Since this is a bad movie, it's a lock that Megan has taken all the right classes and recognizes the text as having been composed in ancient Latin.  She admits that her interpretation is "kinda rough," but that doesn't stop her from reading it aloud:

Note how in-the-moment Ms. Stone appears to be in this shot. 
I guess she was too busy learning how to fake stuff more important than interest during her other filmed roles.

"Demons of the mind...hear this summons...give of our energy to that...of the unliving...for that which lives not...may never die," reads the first part of the text.  "We the devoted slaves...give of our bodies...that thou may live...but a life and a death...we beg of you...answer our pleas," reads the rest.  Megan than admits that she can't read the rest since "Ancient demon incantations aren't covered until next semester," but that doesn't stop her from reading a footnote.  "In the name of God...if you value your immortal soul...never, ever, ever, ever, read the above incantation aloud...and I mean don't never."

Luckily this warning comes just as the girls--who have the attention spans of infant fruit flies--lose interest in the book and decide to head to bed.  Megan, Terry and Jan go upstairs where they have set up their sleeping blankets, while Roxanne stays downstairs, since she is expecting a visit from Biff, the football captain she mentioned earlier.

For reasons best left unconsidered, Jan and Terry proceed, once they have made it upstairs, to change out of their comfortable looking pajamas into far less comfortable looking lingerie:

Sheesh, these girls have only been in the place for a couple hours and they've already changed more than I do in a week.

Meanwhile, back downstairs Ms. Stone is about to give an epic comic tour de force performance in which she attempts to open a bottle of alcohol:

It's enough to make you wonder what Buster Keaton would have been like if he was a hot porn star
instead of an old dude in movies that didn't have sound in them. 
(Also note the important, yet also completely irrelevent, insert of Carradine staring into space)

Unfortunately for Roxanne, her many attempts to open the bottle serve to distract her from the horror incredible silliness that is happening in the living room.  Thanks to Megan having read aloud the shitty book's incantation, a frightening ludicrous monster emerges from its pages:

 Behold!  It's the Tasmanian Devil's lesser known cousin, Taffy!

Now I know what you're thinking--this movie is called Evil Toons, so it should contain more than one evil cartoon character.

And rich people should care about poor people. 

You folks are so naive.

Yes, this is the lone "toon" of Evil Toons and as cheap as he looks, he was apparently too expensive to appear in the film for longer than 80 seconds. 


Call me crazy, but I think the first rule of low budget filmmaking should be "Don't make a film whose concept depends on an animated monster, when you can only afford 80 seconds of cheap animation."  But Fred Olen Ray doesn't play by the rules and he finds a way to work around this seemingly insurmountable limitation.

Finally having gotten the bottle open, Roxanne enters the living room and is spied upon by the animated fiend barely competent doodle.

It would be a lie for me to say I could draw a better looking monster than this, but it wouldn't be a big lie.

Following the example set by Jan and Terry, Roxanne then proceeds to take off her perfectly sensible bedtime ensemble in favour of a much mor
e revealing skankolicious outfit:

Y'see it's funny because that's my head covering her naughty parts!

This gives the cartoon beast a chance to pull some of his best Tex Avery moves:

And this is where Tex Avery starts rolling in his grave.

Once Roxanne has gotten "dressed", Ray wastes precious seconds of his monster's screentime teasing us before the inevitable attack finally occurs:

I don't know why, but this is wronger than most wrong things.

Roxanne's screams echo through the house as she fights against the monster, waking her friends from their slumber.  But instead of assuming that she is being attacked, they mistake her cries for shouts of ecstacy, believing that she is at that moment enjoying sexual congress boom-chicka-chicka-wa-wa with Biff.

"Giggle.  Tee-Hee.  They're doing it!"

Even though Roxanne had just managed to get her bra on, the monster licks it off and she is once again topless.  This isn't enough to keep him entertained, so he goes in for the kill:

Her screaming sounds just like this still suggests it does.

For a moment Ray teases us with the suggestion that Strangey McStranger is about to become relevent to the plot when we see him inside the house watching Roxanne being killed:

"Sorry Ray, but you're only paying me enough for one expression."

He doesn't.

Upstairs Megan decides to investigate Roxanne's screaming, as she grows concerned that they sounded a little too frightened to be just plain old climaxes.

Anticipating this the monster makes his next move--the one that will save Ray a buttload of cash:

I do have to give it to Ray, his frequent use of nudity does make me want to forgive his failure to capture the same magic
Zemeckis was able to bottle with his Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

And thus for the rest of the movie, the part of the monster will be played by a porn star.  And you know what?  I don't mind a bit.  Truth be told I probably would have made an effort to see this movie a lot sooner than I did if it was called Evil Porn Star, which just goes to show that sometimes a lack of a good budget can lead a filmmaker to come up with even better ideas than the ones they started out with.

So instead of finding a cartoon monster, Megan finds her friend standing at the bottom of the stairs topless and covered in blood.  This causes Megan to ask all of the relevent questions, which Evil Roxanne answers by telling her that she cut herself opening a bottle of wine and had to take off her shirt before it got ruined. 

Now since the monster is evil and wants to kill everyone, you think it would take this opportunity to kill Megan, but you forget that the shy "ugly" girl with the centerfold chasis is the movie's Final Girl, which means she can't die.  So instead of killing her Evil Roxanne tells her to go back to bed, which she does, allowing the killer porn star to greet her next victim:

There's something about blond-haired men that just makes me incredibly sad.

Evil Roxanne makes quick work of the dimbulb football captain, showing him what big teeth she has:

Somehow I seriously doubt she could get away with this look in her other films.  You can guess why.
(Hint: it's because she gave blow jobs in them)

And once again Strangey McStranger watches it happen and does nothing:

"Give me ten bucks and I might consider cocking an eyebrow."

At this point, for the first and only time in the film, the action switches from the house to another location.  We're now in Burt's (remember Burt?  scroll up a long ways if you don't) appartment where he is watching--in another clever extremely annoying touch--a movie starring the actor playing his character:

As much as a mistake as it is to remind people of better movies in your film, it's downright suicidal to include an actual scene from one.

The movie, for all of you non-geeks, is Roger Corman's classic quickie A Bucket of Blood, in which a young Mr. Miller played the murderous wannabe-beatnik Walter Paisley.  Burt spends a loooooooonnnnnnggggggggggg time watching the clip (at one point wondering aloud why "...this guy never got an Oscar?"  Finally, the tedium of watching someone else watch television is interrupted when his phone rings.

A brief digression if you will.  One of my pet peeves are scenes where characters allow their telephone to ring for far longer than anyone would reasonably wait before they hung up, even though they are sitting right next to the phone.  Dude, your phone is ringing!  You don't have an answering machine or caller ID, so pick the motherfucker up!

When Burt finally answers his phone, he discovers that its Mr. Hinchlow calling to tell him that he's heard screams coming from the mansion and he is worried about the safety of the girls.  One may wonder why Hinchlow is calling Burt with this information, rather than the police, who might be better equipped to deal with it, but if you do you probably shouldn't be watching movies like this.  You have much better things to do with your amazing gifts of insight.

Reluctantly, Burt decides to leave his apartment to check on the girls, but before he can go he is stopped by his attractive young wife, who reminds him that it's Friday night and time to have sex get squelchy.  To properly punctuate her point, she exposes her breasts:

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile may recognize this actress as Michelle Bauer,
who made my list of my top 10 favourite b-movie actresses.  She's appeared in many of Ray's films, in both starring roles
and short cameos like this one.  And guess what?  She too meets the porn star criteria that was apparently
so important during Evil Toons casting sessions, having appeared in several blue movies early in her career under the pseudonym Pia Snow.

Much mirth is had in the fact that Burt is unimpressed with this gesture and laments the frequency of Friday nights.  Get it?  He's an old dude who doesn't want to have sex with his hot young wife!  Isn't that totally the opposite of what you would expect?  There, my friends, lies the heart of true comedy.

Able to resist his wife's amplitude, Burt leaves to check on the girls, while back at the house Megan has once again been awoken by the sound of screaming, this time from Biff.  She goes downstairs to investigate and is horrified by what she finds:

Ms. Gabrielle was clearly directed by Ray to break the fourth wall every time she screamed in the movie.
This is nowhere near as cute as he seems to think it is.

Megan's screams finally alert Terry and Jan to the reality that a-doings are transpirin' (to steal a favourite phrase from The Simpsons).  They arrive downstairs just in time to see Biff's dead body and hear a knock at the door.  It's Burt, who apparently lives very close by.  Not wanting to risk losing their jobs (and thus the $100 they've each been promised) they try to stall him at the door:

I'm going to take a guess and say that Megan represents Shemp, Jan represents Larry and Terry is obviously Moe.

Leaving Burt standing outside, the frightened trio work at hiding Biff's body.  But unbeknowst to them, Evil Roxanne has gone outside to meet him.  She tells him that the explanation for what's been happening in the house is in the basement garage out back.  He follows her there, pulls out a bottle of hootch and listens skeptically as she tells him about the discovery of the dagger and the shroud and how they caused all of the trouble that is happening at the house.  "Trouble?" he asks.  "What trouble?"  She answers him by going all porn star on a convenient chair and then asking "You looking for trouble?"

He is and he gets some.  He goes over to her, she pulls down his pants and then gets all teethy with it:

It's like vagina dentata only with the teeth being in the girl's mouth instead!  Wait...Let me rethink that for a sec

Back in the house, the girls have successfully hidden Biff's body.  Back in the living room they find Roxanne's bloody bra and the shitty book.  Megan notes that the page with the drawing of the cartoonish beast is now blank.  This almost seems like some kind of clue!  This spurs her to read some more of the book, where she learns that the only way to kill the monster she released by having previously read aloud from the book is by stabbing it with the dagger they discovered earlier.  Having read this, they then proceed to do what any trio of attractive young women would do in a movie like this: they leave the dagger on the living room table and go investigate the basement garage:

See, they're not as stupid as you think--they brought a flashlight with them.

At first they find nothing down in there, until Terry decides she simply has to sit down.  What do you think she sits on?  If you can't guess, don't worry because the blanket covering her chair immediately rolls down and reveals:

I wonder if Suzanne Agar acted all prissy on the set because she was the only "serious" actress in the cast.
I bet she did.

Luckily her friends are quick to point out her faux pas:

They do this for a long time while Terry just keeps going "What?"  Ray thinks this is funny.
Did I mention he was a very bad director?

In the chaos that follows they also find Roxanne's body before they adios it back to the house.  They run into the kitchen looking for potential weapons, but find only empty cupboards.  Megan, the smart "ugly" one, then remembers that they left the dagger on the coffee table in the living room, but before they can get it they are startled by an intruder:

"Thanks Artie, but I wasn't exactly interested in seeing your O-face."

Mr. Hinchlow tells them that he came in to check on them after seeing their boss's van in front of the house.  They tell him about the three murders and ask to use his phone.  He agrees to lead the way, asking them if they want to go outside in the rainy weather dressed only in their nighties.  "Buddy, we'd go out naked if we had to," Jan tells him, but--in an unusual show of restraint from the director--they don't.  They get the dagger and Megan shows him the shitty book.  "Well," he says as he holds it in his hands, "it's a wild guess, but I'd say that this is an ancient Kantarian warlock's demon spells book from late 17th centurty England, brought here by Gideon Fisk in the early 1930s and the source of all the problems in this house."  Before we can start to wonder how Hinchlow is able to make such a specific and accurate guess, we learn the truth when it turns out that this isn't Hinchlow at all--it's Evil Roxanne!

What's with the shirt?  Why the sudden modesty?

The girls are all too willing to accept Evil Roxanne's explanation that Mr. Hinchlow just went away and that she, Biff and Burt were just playing a practical joke on them.  Hungry for revenge, Terry decides to head to the place the Evil Roxanne is now refering to as the cellar, even though it's still a garage.  Once there they discover that Biff and Burt are still dead and that they have been set up for a trap and have left their only defense back on the coffee table in the living room.  The girls make a run for it, but Jan doesn't make it and pays the ultimate price:

"Hey if Artie can show me his O-face, then I can show you mine."

The last two survivors run back to the living room, but discover that the dagger is missing.  Megan attempts to find another way to kill the evil porn star in the shitty book, but is too scared to do any more translating.  Terry picks up a fire poker and decides that it will have to do instead.  She then goes upstairs, where the slutty monster is and is killed, leaving Megan the Final Girl her "ugliness" destined her to be.

In her attempt to escape from the killer, she falls down the stairs and injures her leg, leaving her unable to walk.  This gives the evil porn star all the time she needs to kill her talk about her future ambitions and the tools of her trade:

Fuck, I'm all captioned out.  You think of one to go here.

She picks up the sacred shroud ratty blanket and tells Megan that its a very old piece of material that, when placed over a dead body, sends that person's soul straight to Hell.  She then fills in one the film's bigger plot holes--why she's allowed Megan to live, despite having had ample opportunities to off her.  Turns out that she wants the buxom brainiac to keep reading the book's forbidden incantation over and over again until all of the demons pictured in the book are freed.  "And then," she intones in her trademarked evil porn star way, "I want to eat your soul." 

And then, finally, something amazing happens:

Let this image serve as proof that appearing in a Tarantino movie can redeem any actor's career.

Strangey McStranger does something!

Namely, he makes a dramatic entrance and confronts the evil porn star. 

During their uber-dramatic dialogue exchange, the evil porn star reveals that Strangey's real name is Gideon Fisk and he reveals that he has the dagger:

Makes you think, doesn't it?

After a brief struggle, he manages to plunge the dagger into the evil porn star, causing her to--very briefly--revert back to form of the evil toon:

Awwww, don't kill him.  He's so cute!

The evil toon attempts to grab the shitty book, but Megan--who can now miraculously walk again--grabs it before he does and--at Fisk's urging--throws it into the fire, where it bleeds white Alien robot blood out of its eyes:

Dude, you've already reminded us of a good movie with this book, do you really have to remind us of another one?

Wounded by the dagger and with the book destroyed, the evil toon vanishes back to Hell:

He looks so sad.  Hell must not be a fun place to live.

Fisk also throws the ratty blanket onto the fire and sits down on the couch so he can explain to Megan what the hell the movie was about.  I suppose his explanation makes sense if you think about it, but I have no interest in making that sort of effort.  Namely it comes down to this--he brought the book to the house thinking it held big time knowledge, but instead he got cursed by it and had to wait for someone like Megan to show up who could read the book and turn the demon into a living thing that could be killed and badda-boom, badda-bing that's the plot. 

And though Megan would be justified in calling him a mega-fuckwad for causing the trouble that killed her friends and made sure she wasn't even going to get paid for her troubles, she instead allows him to vanish in a cheap optical effect, presumably on his way to Heaven:

"You know you're really hot for a smart ugly virgin."

Megan, exhausted by her travails, falls asleep on the couch.  Morning comes.

Could it all have just been a dream?

No.  Even Ray wouldn't do something that lame (in this movie at least, I wouldn't doubt it if he pulled the worst of all possible endings in another one of his films), but he still manages to end the movie in the second lamest way possible.

First it turns out that her friends aren't really dead and we see them stagger back into the house, confused about how they ended up in the basement/cellar garage:

"I'm so totally dazed.  Are you dazed?  I am."

Mr. Hinchlow then arrives with a portable TV set and a thermos:

Wait for it....

The thermos has some nice hot coffee in it, but what is the TV set for?

(Imagine this line delivered with all the subtlety you would expect from the last line of a movie about a killer cartoon character starring a bunch of porn stars as it would be delivered by a comedian who wasn't all that funny when he was actually funny)

"Hell," he tells them, "it's Saturday morning.  Don't tell me you kids don't enjoy a GOOD CARTOON!"

But don't take my word for it, watch the ending for yourself:
So there you have it.  One of the better movies made by one of the worst directors of all time.

That said, just as it's true that even the best directors will make at least one or two bad films during the course of their careers, a bad director is just as likely to accidently make at least one good film before someone stops giving them money.   In Ray's case I would nominate his similar 1988 horror/comedy hybrid, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, which almost comes close to being a genuinely funny and entertaining movie, unlike Evil Toons. which is only entertaining to people as twisted and awful as I am.

Well, this has been a long one hasn't it?  Hey, I had fun, so that's something.

Next up I have a choice between writing about an Italian Star Wars rip-off featuring one of my favourite scream queens in a series of wonderful Barbarella-esque outfits or about the single lamest rock star movie to not star Jon Mikl Thor.  Either way, I'm looking forward to it.

1 Other actors who have been forced to pay their rent during long dry spells by appearing in a Fred Olen Ray movie include: Russ Tamblyn, Sybil Danning, Jeffery Combs, John Carradine, Cameron Mitchell, Lee Van Cleef, Mako, Charles Napier, Bo Svenson, Julie Newmar, Heather Thomas, Martin Landau, Troy Donohue, Huntz Hall, Britt Ekland, Eddie Deezen, Aldo Ray, Jan-Michael Vincent, P.J. Soles, Sid Haig, Morgan Fairlchild (curse you, Morgan Fairchild for once again being mentioned on this blog!), William Hickey, Stuart Whitman, Lyle Waggoner, Lawrence Tiereny, Erik Estrada, Karen Black, Priscilla Barnes, Telly Savalas, Richard Roundtree, David Warner, Margaux Hemingway, Tanya Roberts, Roddy McDowell, Stella Stevens, Tommy Kirk, Marc Singer, Joe Haggerty, Dee Wallace Stone, Gil Gerard, Alana Stewert, Terry Funk, Mary Woronov, Justin Berfield, Daniel Baldwin, Fred Williamson, Shannon Whirry, Andrew Stevens, Robert Carradine, Art Hindle and Ice-T.
2 Of these four Suzanne Agar was the only one never to appear in hardcore pornography.  Stacey Nix appeared in dozens of movies in the late 80s as Barbara Dare (Evil Toons would end up showcasing both her first mainstream acting role and last film appearance).  Madison Stone had, as Madison, appeared in a handful of xxx videos when the movie was made and would go on to appear in many more afterwards (where she earned a minor footnote in film history as one of the first public figures--in so far as a porn star can be considered a public figure--to have a tongue piercing, which for a very brief time were named Madisons in her honor).  By 1992 Monique Gabrielle had already had minor roles in films with stars like Tom Hanks and Michelle Pfeiffer, but her film career soon diminished in the period that followed her starring role in Evil Toons  and she ended up making a living selling homemade hardcore videos featuring herself and other b-movie actresses at her now-defunct website.

Ha!  Get it?  A full four years before Kevin Williamson wrote the postmodern horror classic Scream, Fred Olen Ray was pulling the same meta-textual stunts that those Wes Craven-directed films would make famous.  But, unfortunately just because a film recognizes and acknowledges its own cliches, is not enough to redeem its use of them.  The essential difference between Evil Toons and Scream is that the latter film used its postmodern touches to create a funny satiric horror film that was also frightening, while Ray's film fails in both its satirical and visceral intentions.