Halloween Week Reviews #4: The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

superbeasto073009THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO had a long journey to DVD, reminding me a bit of the troubles Rob Zombie had with his first movie,HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES. That movie was rejected by its original studio, and almost did not make it to theaters. But eventually things worked out and the movie launched his directing career.

EL SUPERBEASTO is another Rob Zombie project that has been getting buzz for years, but never got released.  Now, finally, it’s out on DVD. Where I live, it got one midnight showing in a small theater before the DVD came out. Similar showings happened in other cities. That was the extent of its theatrical run.

So, after years of anticipation, we finally have a chance to see the finished product. Does it live up to the hype? Not really.

EL SUPERBEASTO isn’t completely horrible. It is what it is. A silly, “adult” cartoon in the spirit of movies like Ralph Baski’s classic FRITZ THE CAT. There are a lot of cartoon tits and plenty of dirty jokes. It’s entertaining enough, but nothing all that special, and definitely not the ground-breaking cartoon that a lot of people were hoping for.

Based on the comic book of the same name, EL SUPERBEASTO is the story of a world famous masked wrestler named El Superbeasto (voice by comedian Tom Papa), who has become a kind of multi-media mogul all by himself. He directs and stars in porno films, he does commercials, he’s supposedly loved by millions. He’s also a crime fighter, with his sidekick, the sexy Suzie X (Sherie Moon Zombie, who has the sex kitten persona down pat). The joke is that Suzie does all of the actual fighting, and El Superbeasto finds ways to avoid getting his hands dirty. Suzie also has a sidekick – her robot Murray (Brian Poesin), who is kind of a “transformer,” since he can turn into a car, a rocket, etc. He also has a mad crush on his creator.

The villain of the piece is the bitter Dr. Satan (Paul Giamatti), who grew up a nerd who had a crush on Suzie back when she was a high school cheerleader and El Superbeasto was her jock/bully stepbrother. Of course, El Superbeasto was the kid who gave Dr. Satan wedgies, so he became a super villain to get revenge. He has a gorilla sidekick who has a “smart screw” screwed into his head and gives him the vocabulary and manner of a high-class butler.

The plot, as it is, involves the mark of the beast (for those of you who forgot, that’s “666”) which, as a birthmark on the backside of one lucky lady, marks her as the future bride of Satan. Dr. Satan that is. If he finds this girl and marries her at the stroke of midnight on the day when all of the planets are aligned, he will become a gigantic demonic monster capable of destroying the world.

The mark happens to be on the butt of stripper Velvet Von Black, a trashy beeyotch who is nothing but trouble. Dr. Satan has Max kidnap her, and his plan goes into action. El Superbeasto and Suzie X have to stop him. There are also zombie Nazis complicating things (when we first see Suzie, she’s stealing the disembodied head of the Fuhrer and the zombies want it back).

There are some laugh-out loud moments, but for the most part, the jokes are just so-so. The characters are interesting enough, but this is by no means a great movie. If you’re a diehard Rob Z, it’s worth seeing, but it’s definitely a rental.

Comedian Tom Papa (who actually had a great, short-lived network sitcom a few years back that wasn’t given a proper chance) is a really funny guy, and does a good job as El Superbeasto. In fact, all of the voice actors are terrific. It’s the script that’s rather weak. I just wish it was even more wild and wooly than it was.

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