Rob Zombie Presents: The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto (2009)

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Movies

Musician turned film director Rob Zombie has polarized horror fans like few before him, crafting two original tales (‘House of 1000 Corpses’ and ‘The Devils Rejects’) that were greeted with mixed reactions, and two horror remakes (‘Halloween’ and ‘Halloween II’) that have made most classic horror fans cry foul. Zombie’s only other direction was the mock ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’ trailer found in the original ‘Grindhouse’ double feature, a theme briefly hinted at in the next Zombie feature, a take on the classic underground comic/cartoon scene in ‘The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.’

El Superbeasto (voiced by Tom Papa) is the opposite of a no-nonsense former wrestler turned action/porn star. He’s all nonsense. Easily distracted by a large pitcher of beer or equally large pair of breasts, even if they belong to his sister Suzi X (Sheri Moon Zombie), the overgrown luchador has a penchant for selfish actions unbecoming of a hero. When the evil Dr. Satan (Paul Giamatti) conspires to acquire all the sudsy powers of hell through an unholy marriage to stripper Velvet Von Black (Rosario Dawson), El Superbeast and Suzi X must save the world by fending off a Nazi zombie army and countless vile monsters.

Have you ever sat down to a ‘Fritz the Cat’ animated feature? What about Robert Crumb, ever read any of his comics? If you have, you know exactly what you’re getting into. With this movie, more modern audiences, particularly young Zombie fans, will probably be introduced to this borderline pornographic and excessively exploitative form of comedy for the first time.

As a ‘Fritz’ fan, and a reader of the underground comic scene, I can’t praise ‘The Haunted World of El Superbeasto’ enough. Every sort of disgusting, crude, rude, grotesque, and utterly vile joke under the sun is housed in about 77 minutes worth of screen time, including (but not limited to): hints of an incestuous relationship, inter-species erotica, theme songs that describe every bit of action on screen, sexual robots, constant masturbatory references, extreme violence including arterial sprays, and a barrage of twisted pop culture references, including characters from Zombie’s filmography (Otis Driftwood, Captain Spaulding, and a certain masked murderer).

In other words, this isn’t for the faint of heart, easily offended, or those of strong moral fabric. Nearly every line uttered by Dawson’s Von Black has an obscenity or three rolled in, while Suzi X and her robotic companion Murray (Brian Posehn) are constantly unleashing scenes with graphic nudity and sexual reference. Suzi X also has a way with words, much like Von Black, rolling off barrages of synonyms for vagina, complete with subtitles for each slang term for emphasis. Her life revolves around her body and her sexuality, on top of her ability to kick serious ass, much like a nymphomaniac Wonder Woman.

The jokes run at at a rapid pace, from opening to close, from a quick jab at USA outsourcing, to a more adult, chain smoking take on Hansel and Gretel, and a fun juxtaposition of sensibilities between woman and ape. I’m all for Superbeasto’s idea of romance, with the idea of flowers and a beer hat being a proper way to seduce a lady. I can’t argue with his choice in killing SS Werewolves, by means of sex toys in the form of a crucifix, or Suzi’s homage to Dwight of ‘Sin City’ in the dispatching of Hitler’s preserved head.

For all the love I am giving ‘The Haunted World of El Superbeasto’ and its sensibilities of old, I obviously cannot recommend this film for everyone. Zombie fans will get a kick out of the dark, dark humor, and the references and hints to his previous films, and counterculture fans will eat the images and themes up like a box of Twinkies, comedy fans in general may find this film to be a one and done bit of shock-sploitation, humor that is funny due to how random it is on first viewing, that may grow incredibly stale on repeat viewings.

Wrap your twisted little minds around this gem – you’ll be glad you did.


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