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Spooky Movie Spotlight!


Ax 'Em!
by:
Dr. Boogie

I wanted my first crappy horror movie review to be something special. A movie that seemed to just jump off of the shelf screaming, “please, for the love of God, don’t rent this movie! It’s so bad, it’s been classified as a carcinogen!” Well, I found such a movie mercifully gathering dust in the “new releases” section at the local Blockbuster. It tells the story of a group of young filmmakers that wanted desperately to make a horror movie, but instead wound up making the laughably bad film known as AX 'EM.

I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough cheesy shenanigans to write about when I saw that the movie was made in 2002. After all, you’re better off looking for crappy horror movies in the 80s. Thankfully (I think), my concerns were put to rest shortly after the movie began:

Oh no! Someone has murdered the English language!

Wow. Kids, stay in school. I’d expect poor English skills to be an issue when I’m doing a rom hack, but that sort of thing rarely comes up when you’re talking about movies. I guess it is part of the overall horror. Enough about syntax and proper word usage, though; let’s hear more about the mentally ill Harry and his quest to “revenge his family deaths."

ramble ramble ramble ramble

There’s our big half-witted killer now, about to sneak into a home and give its occupant some hatchet time. Specifically, this old guy is about to get it. Long before the old guy even comes onto the scene, you can hear him rambling. I couldn’t make out most of what he was saying, but he did pause in between his grumbling to say, “Who in the hell is that?” when he sees that the front door is open.

Like a ninja! :o

After he shuts it, he heads off without seeing Harry, who is about four steps behind him, and goes to get a gun. Again, I must point out that he is still babbling incoherently like a black Ozzy Osbourne. He may have been saying something about why he’s getting his gun, or he may have been talking about kids today and their rap music. It’s quite impossible to tell.

mumble mumble, uh oh... mumble mumble

While the old guy is loading his gun, babbling nonstop, Harry comes around the corner. The old guy stops babbling long enough to exclaim, “awwww, shit,” before Harry pushes him into the closet and gently lowers the axe onto him. That’s right, he doesn’t even swing it; he just raises it above his head and slowly lowers it as he pushes the old guy into the closet. Even weirder than that, this is the first and last time someone will be killed with an ax, despite the movie being called Ax ‘Em. I guess the title is just short for "Ax Him". That, or the producers thought that "Machete ‘Em" wouldn’t be as good of a title.

My, my... aren't we good at MS Paint!
Yes. This IS the actual title screen of the movie.

Now we finally get to see the title and the opening credits. You know your movie is in trouble when your title graphic looks like a bad piece of WordArt. Plus, a step-dancing scene is a pretty good indicator that your movie isn’t going to snag the award for Best Picture.

After the step-dancing routine is a dance number that features a little girl rubbing herself (If you need to be told why I didn’t include a picture of this to illustrate my point, use your imagination) followed by a brief “snaps” contest (That’s a “your momma” joke contest, for those of you honkies that don’t know any better). All this has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, and the credits end long before the scene does, but hey, if they had to do a scene like this at some point, I’m glad they did it before all the characters started getting hacked up in the woods.

No really, we're drunk. Seriously.

Fast forward through a few scenes of the characters deciding to spend the weekend at a friend’s house in the woods, and we come to these guys. They stumble onto the scene and start talking about seeing good old murderous Harry, all the while going over-the-top to convey the idea that they are both very drunk.

After that, you are treated to several minutes of pointless dialog that is lost because no one told the director where to put the boom mike. Then, everyone goes out, and Michael (the main character and, incidentally, the movie’s producer, writer, and director) tells them the story.

He must have put the silencer on.

Thankfully, though, there isn’t any dialog when a flashback that shows Mason killing his family, so nothing is lost there. Whenever he’d shoot one of them, though, their blood would always wind up on the ceiling (sometimes after a short delay) for some reason. Man, though, his kids must have narcolepsy because they slept right through each shotgun blast.

Let's see.  Ok, red light's on.  *bang*

Then, with the bloody deed done, Mason sits down, puts the shotgun in his mouth, makes a quick glance to make sure the camera is on, and shoots himself in the head. Well, he lifts his head away early and lies down on the bed shortly after the shotgun sound effect, but still…

Hey, a barbeque!

What happens next is something I just can’t explain: we see a young Mike walking with the babbling old guy from the beginning, then Mike bends down to pick something up, and when he looks up, he sees what I assume is a young Harry holding his dead brother. Well, Mike points at the pair, and then jogs off to the side where the old guy is waiting. Damn you, movie! Why didn’t anyone in editing complain about the dialog being inaudible? Why, dammit!? WHY!?

Don't my glasses turn you on, baby?

Anyway, post-flashback, we come in to find this young couple engaged in a serious discussion about the young man’s infidelity, and how the young lady is no longer willing to endure such behavior. Then, after she leaves, he gets on the phone and talks with another one of his bitches. Hey, you know what they say: Hate the movie, not the player. :(

And now, a brief interlude:

There wasn't enough in the movie budget for gas.

Uh oh, they’re out of gas! Whatever shall they do? Well, while the girl, Sarah waits with the car, the men, Brian and… Breakfast, go to look for someone who might let them use their phone.

And now, back to the guy with glasses:

Oh baby.  Oh baby.  Oh baby, my back!  Shit!

Our intrepid young lady-killer, Rock, has made amends with his girlfriend, Tonya, and they make out, slowly descending into the empty tub, and certain back injury.

And now back to the two guys, again:

Let's offer to rake their leaves.

The two guys from earlier finally happen upon a mansion. Brian wants to investigate, but Breakfast, the quick thinker and most important meal of the day, knows that white people “always got to fuckin’ investigate” strange noises and such. Plus, he believes in the notion that the black guy always gets killed in horror movies, despite that in this instance, all the characters are black except for a handful.

These are nice, but where's periwinkle?
"I just wanna use your damn phone!"

So Brian investigates, walking around and yelling every two seconds. Sure, the abandoned house with the open door is creepy, but come on. If I was walking around in a house, and I saw that each room was lit by a different light color, I’d be with Breakfast.

Operator? Get me my agent!

Though you can hardly see it in the blue room’s light, that is a rotary phone. The only reason I know it’s a phone is because at the time, it was being dialed (or rotated, I guess). And, since every horror movie should have at least one ironic death, Harry comes in and smashes Brian in the face with the phone. I’ll bet Harry was dialing “M,” for murder. Bwahahaha! Seriously, though, the director didn’t think the face smashing needed a sound effect, so all you hear is the sound of the phone lightly brushing against the actor’s face.

In Maryland, phones have snow tire chains.
No, I wanted to die in the yellow room!

Poor, poor, Brian. He just wanted to use the damn phone, and he even said so at least a dozen times so that the irony of his death wouldn’t escape anyone. He will be missed.

Run, Breakfast, run!
"Bet you won’t catch my black ass!"

Breakfast knows the score, though. He’s about a mile away by the time [white guy] dials out for good. Then, after a very brief examination of the moral dilemma created by leaving his friend behind, Breakfast decides to continue fleeing, uttering the phrase in the above caption. Yes, he really said that.

You left the other honky back there? :(

Later, he finally makes it back to the car, and explains to Sarah that the reason he left Brian at the house was "something said get the fuck out." He even takes his initiative a step further by declaring that he’ll run back to Baltimore rather than wait for Brian to come back. Thus, he escapes from the terrible movie. Godspeed, Breakfast, Godspeed.

Damnit. He ruined a good pee scene.

Meanwhile, back to the main plot, Tony excuses himself to use the bathroom and, after writer/director/producer Michael Mfume treats you to an unnecessarily long pissing session, Tony opens the window just in time to see Harry walk past. Well, he goes and tells Mike that he saw somebody, and they make a solemn vow to go "fuck ‘em up!"

Hey baby, you "fired up" yet?  Me neither.

While they’re busy doing that, Rock and Tonya sneak out to the barbeque pit. Once there, he proceeds to woo her with such romantic lines as "you so fine, I could kiss your daddy’s ass." She’s understandably swept off her feet, and the two of them wind up doing it behind the pit. Well, I suppose it’s an improvement over the bathtub.

I'll protect the Tetris high score!

Hours later, everyone is enjoying their dinner, when it suddenly dawns on them that Rock and Tonya are missing. They hear a scream, and everyone gets up to go investigate. Everyone except Kevin, that is, who instead remains at the table and starts playing his Gameboy for some reason. He is keeping his cool, I’ll give him that.

Lousy party crashers.

Luckily, Rock only receives a cut on the arm, despite having sex in the woods (which is a death sentence in most horror movies). Then suddenly, the door opens and our dead buddy Brian falls in.

Man, rotary phones were REALLY unsafe.
Man, what the hell was wrong with that phone that hit him!?
Did the owner decide to put tank treads on it!? Great effects work.

Good lord, he's draining the wiper fluid!

Anyway, after seeing his body and declaring "this motherfucker’s dead," everyone, even Kevin with his Gameboy, goes outside. Once outside, they see Harry stooped over doing some work on one of their cars. Rock, being the most observant of the group, yells "oh, shit" and runs back into the house. Then, he’s back outside, yelling, "oh, shit" and running back inside again. If only Mike Mfume had made himself the editor as well as the writer, director, and producer. It's obvious he didn't hire one for this script.

We're real actors!!!

So everyone races back inside screaming, and Tony, being the last one in, runs right up to the camera and starts yelling like he stepped on something sharp. This has to be one of the movie’s defining moments...

Float like a butterfly...
Like a serpentine, baby!

After a brief discussion about cars and feet being inserted into various orifices, Mike decides to go out and check to see if the deranged mechanic/murder has messed up his car as well. He even serpentines to try to avoid being killed. Now that’s thinking ahead. His car isn’t working, though, so he pops the hood and tries to fix it.

There's 80% of the special effects budget.

Harry gets the drop on him, but luckily, Mike punches him in the kidney and manages to get back into the house. As you can see, Harry was upset that his plan had been ruined so easily. By the way, Harry's zombie make-up is available for $1.99 at your local Party City store.

He cut... Somebody!

But that won’t stop him from busting in and chopping one of them in the arm. Ouch, that is a pretty deep cut! Ah, now Harry’s happy again. That last bit did wonders for his self-esteem. Go Harry.

They all escape from Harry there as well (somehow) and decide to split up. Splitting up in horror movies, now that's always a GREAT idea. I’d put a picture up, but you can’t see a thing in that scene. All you really need to know is that Tony does some foreshadowing by tripping over a car battery in the middle of the path. Hey, I wonder if this is important. Oh, right... who cares?

Will they survive, or will they all be killed by Halloween Harry?
Find out on page 2!


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