Tag Archives: Seth Green

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)

LIST CANDIDATE: THE ATTIC EXPEDITIONS (2001)

This post was originally lost in the Great Server Crash of 2010; the article was partially recovered from Google cache, and the rest of the text was recreated. Sorry, original comments were irretrievably lost in cyberspace.

DIRECTED BY: Jeremy Kasten

FEATURING: Andras Jones, , Jeffrey Combs, Beth Bates, Ted Raimi

PLOT: Awakening from a dream to find himself on an operating table, an amnesiac is informed that he is a schizophrenic murderer who has been committed to a private institution and is now being sent to a halfway home—nicknamed “the House of Love”—to be rehabilitated.

Scene from The Attic Expeditions (2001)

WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: The Attic Expeditions sounds echoes of some (better) weird movies: Jacob’s Ladder (in the way that the script offers different possible explanations for the protagonist’s hallucinations, and jerks the viewer back and forth between those theories) and Donnie Darko (in that it seems the director intended to tell a fantastical story that “made sense” on a literal level, but lost control of the story when he took it one paradox too far). An interesting, confusing, out-of-control picture, it’s as fascinating for its misses as for its hits. It falls just short of a general recommendation, but it is recommended to anyone interested in psychological, mindbending horror seasoned with heaping doses of confusion and who isn’t a stickler for great acting. This is the kind of curious, singular picture that could wind up filling one of the final slots in the List.

COMMENTS: Trevor Blackburn may be a schizophrenic murderer, or he may be an amnesiac sorcerer, or he may be the victim of an unethical psychological experiment; or he may be all three. It’s impossible to tell, especially since The Attic Expeditions is full of contradictions and contains segments where the timeline suddenly resets and the action repeats itself with slight variations. The mystery promiscuously throws out clues, but every possible explanation for Trevor’s woes seems chained to its own refutation. Trevor is an unreliable narrator in triplicate: he’s a definite amnesiac, a possible schizophrenic, and, to top it all off, his state-appointed guardian appears to be deliberately playing with his loose grip on reality. Psychiatrist Dr. Ek (played by Jefferey Combs as a variation on Herbert West as a pot-smoking, skin-popping headshrinker) uses Trevor as a case study for an experiment in Continue reading LIST CANDIDATE: THE ATTIC EXPEDITIONS (2001)