One thing I’ve learned from investigating Ginger Lynn Allen’s filmography is that she is, *ahem*, versatile. For example, she can do that thing where she…excuse me, just clearing my throat. So where was I? Oh yeah, Ginger is amazing at grabbing…uh…well, you know. I, uh…sorry folks, I’m blushing. Well, you know what I mean. Anyway, I think she tends to extend herself a bit too far at times. Take, for example, Evil Breed (2003), where Ginger plays an Irish farmer (so I’m assuming she farms either potatoes or bottles of whiskey). I know “stars” think they can play any role by just throwing on a wig and doing an accent, but maybe they shouldn’t. After all, there are plenty of great Irish actors that can pretend to farm by throwing a hoe around (stop it), and also plenty of great farmers that can do an Irish accent. Or, you can just go the Italian neo-realism route and cast an actual Irish farmer. However, I don’t know that Ginger Lynn Allen, for all of her wonderful attributes, would be my go-to actress for this type of role. Maybe the director is a fan, and wanted to provide her with a “respectable” role to boost her IMDB page. I guess that makes sense.
I couldn’t help of think of this example while watching Satan’s Storybook, another horror movie featuring Ginger in a pivotal role. Namely, she plays a ninja. Yes...a ninja. You probably think I'm a raving lunatic that is simply making this shit up, but no raving lunatic has a big enough imagination to be able to make that kinda shit up. Well, Ginger kidnaps the wife of Satan, but I didn’t actually catch why, although she mentions that they are sisters that were separated at birth. It’s a pretty cool coincidence that both sisters grew up to achieve great things, since being second in command of hell is a pretty big deal, and Ginger must have really gone through hoops in order to make it as a ninja, considering she’s a Caucasian female with big hair. Either way, they appear to be at odds with one another, and Satan is pretty pissed about his whore goddess being missing. Satan, by the way, looks exactly like Glenn Danzig wearing a goat head, which is probably the least shocking thing ever. My mind would’ve been blown if I had been sent to hell and that WASN’T the case. Anyway, Ginger loses the ninja costume and becomes an S&M heavy metal warrior of sorts, which is EXACTLY the kind of role Ginger should be playing.
tree ninja is one with nature
It’s important to note that this foolishness is apparently the wraparound story for a horror anthology. Normally, wraparounds introduce the stories and maybe provide context, clarity, and thematic support. It’s hard to say what these “linking” segments provide, apart from TOTAL FUCKING AWESOMENESS! I mean, just looks at these stills! Holy shit.
Oh yeah, there’s also a court jester. I guess Satan/Danzig needs to be entertained. Basically, this segment is like a mid-80’s shot on betacam satanic metal video with a ninja duel thrown in (ninjas were a big ass deal at the time). The problem is that I don’t know if an actual video exists that fits within these parameters (maybe our readers can help). Any “satanic” metal band at the time would not have bothered spending money to make a music video that MTV wouldn’t have played anyways, and by the time this situation might have turned around, dimestore satanism, hot chicks overdosed on hairspray, garish red lighting, fuzzy videography, and outlandish overuse of a fog machine (John Carpenter’s The Fog didn’t have this much fog, and that was a movie about fog) were all out of fashion. So, this footage would’ve made a GREAT Venom video. Maybe if I had a decent editing program and wasn’t lazy I could make that happen, but alas. Also, I don’t necessarily want Cronos showing up at my door screaming copyright infringement (although he screams everything it seems).
So, like I was saying, this is one of those horror anthology movies. The first story is pretty righteous, and it’s about an angry heavy metal burnout (wearing an Exodus shirt) who likes to kill people, randomly selecting victims by pointing his finger at a name in the phone book. Wanna know how angry this guy is (apart from him killing people for no reason)? He has a satanic star written on the back of his jean jacket in magic marker. That’s pretty fucking angry, and very metal*, of course, and his nickname is even MORE metal (“Demon of Death”). He also suspiciously acts like the metal burnout character Bobby from The Kids in the Hall, yet dresses like Bobby's ex-girlfriend Laura. Anyway, the name he picks out of the phone book is a 20-year-old girl named Jezebel, who happens to be a hot, Satan rocking, witchcraft brewing blonde chick with teased hair who lives with her parents (I knew she had to have SOMETHING going against her). You’d think the killer would see how awesomely hot and rockin’ this chick is and spare her life, but no, he show up, kills Jezebel’s parents while she is on the phone with 911 for like 10 minutes, pleading “he’s killing us!” to these worthless bureaucrats before finally giving up. Thankfully, she survives, and Mr. Demon of Death (or fake Bobby) gets the electric chair. There is a twist of course, but it’s not what you think, which is refreshing, I guess, but maybe I’ve just been defeated by life.
The next story is about an alcoholic clown that hangs himself because clowns suck (I think that’s what that Smokey Robinson song is about actually), and he is sent to a dressing room in hell, which looks the same as his earthly dressing room. The only difference is that another clown is there to annoy him (he’s sort of talkative, jackass-y version of Pennywise). The story ends and we are off to the next segment, which is about…wait a second, that’s it? TWO stories?!? Well, I guess that Ginger Lynn ninja vs. Satan stuff could be viewed as a third story that is just broken up, rather than a linking story, since it links exactly jack and shit, and jack skipped town at the ass crack of dawn.
So, you have two solid stories (maybe “story” is a strong word) padded out with fake news footage and other scenes and clown dialogue to hit an appropriate runtime. The movie on the whole is a bit of slog, but removing the clown story and the padding, you still have 40 odd minutes of SOV (that’s “shot-on-video”) gold that might possibly be the artistic pinnacle of the genre (I said “might”). In my review for Things, I mentioned that SOV movies work best when they realize that they are not “normal” movies, and instead go for their own fuzzy, foggy, garish aesthetic. In that sense, Satan’s Storybook nails the no-budget SOV 80’s satanic metal video vibe, and this helps it to transcend its limitations as a conventional horror anthology movie. Let me bring it back this way: have you ever been watching a heavy metal video where a big hair leather hooker battles a zombie with a mace, swathing through waves of fog, when suddenly a minotaur crashes through a mirror and shoots lasers out of its eyes to blow up a giant pumpkin, at which point you think to yourself “I wish these events were the subject of a full length movie so they could be developed and explained in proper context”? If so, half of this movie is for you. I know, I know, you want to thank me for the recommendation. You’re welcome.
P.S. This is review #4 in the 2nd annual Lazy Baker Halloween Horror Countdown. Here's another foggy metal video, this time for Helloween, performing their hit song "Halloween". I'll let you connect the dots on this one.
*Anyone who gets this reference gets a big thumbs up and several metaphoric gold stars and maybe a coupon for a free Frappucino (no promises).