Tag Archives: Nick Roth

CAPSULE: HANKY PANKY (2023)

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DIRECTED BY: , Nick Roth

FEATURING: Jacob DeMonte-Finn, Christina Laskay, Ashley Holliday Tavares, Clare Grant, Lindsey Haun, voices of

PLOT: Sam is mistakenly invited to a remote weekend reunion and people begin dying off.

COMMENTS: Hanging out in the dark basement, with fan full blast, empty soda cans piling up, and a low light pulsing from the 17″ cathode-ray television, Cannibal! the Musical hangs out with “The Mighty Boosh“. Hanky Panky enters, and Boosh gives Musical the old, Oooh boy, it’s the new guy-look. “Hey, HP, it’s… uh, great to see you!” (End scene on awkward silence.)

For dirt-cheap, you can fill your awkward silence right now for 86 minutes of “Umm…”, “Heh, uh.”, and “Bwah! What the—?”, among other remarks elicited by this, er, horror-science-fiction thingy. Sam (an awkward, civil, moustachioed Jacob DeMonte-Finn) has been mistakenly invited to a remote cabin for the weekend by Rebecca, who for reasons revealed earlier has assembled her sisters and their hangers-on. But unbeknownst to Rebecca, Sam comes with a secret—and powerful—friend in the form of a talking handkerchief named “Woody” who loves lapping up liquids.

Those of you who have read this far and gone, “Oh-ho, really?,” be well advised herewith: returning to the “basement” symbolism, the foley, practical effects, and much else in Hanky Panky are bargain-basement level. But what bargains! What mystery! What fascinating chunks of offal! And where did this melange of unpleasant and sympathetic characters come from? The directors do us the favor of killing them off in order from most annoying to least (which helps a good deal), with the final victim performing with such eccentric, jerky hamminess that I can’t help but respect the actress in question for the sheer force of her chutzpah.

The script must have seemed good enough to rope in Seth Green—as villainous alien, Harry the Hat—but while that actor fills me with the warmest of indifference, Hanky Panky is, happily, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. I could Recommend(ed)! it, but my boss would fire me for journalistic malpractice; I could tag it Weirdest, but my fellow reviewers would punch me in the mouth for raising their hopes. This is a paean to DIY daftness—or to phrase it as Woody might prefer, it is a moronic, masterful mess.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…a stoner lo-fi sci-fi slasher comedy that starts off weird, gets a little off-putting, and then just blasts off into insanity from there.”–Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness (contemporaneous)