The Gingerdead Man (2005)
COMPANY: Full Moon Entertainment
RUNTIME: 70 mins
PLOT: An evil gingerbread man comes to life with the soul of a convicted killer, and this real-ife cookie monster wreaks havoc on the girl who originally sent him to the electric chair.
REVIEW: Full Moon is one of the more well-known low-budget production companies by horror movie fans, if for nothing more then their sheer lasting-power. They've been around since the 80's, and they're still around now. Granted, what they put out now doesn't even come close to the amazing stuff they put out back in the 80's and 90's (Puppet Master, Trancers, Subspecies, Prehysteria, Robot Wars to name just a small portion), but there's still a few gems that pop up from time to time, and it's because of the thrill of potentially coming across one of those occasional gems that I find myself checking out their titles as soon as a new one comes out, even if I'm left disappointed more often then not these days (Stay away from The Killer Eye and Killjoy - seriously).
One of those recent titles of theirs was 2005's The Gingerdead Man, a movie very much like a classic Chucky movie, but instead of a wise-cracking killer doll it's a wise-cracking killer cookie. Yes, you read that right: A wise-cracking killer cookie. And to top it off, this deadly pastry is voiced by none other then genuine crazy-man himself Gary Busey! Talk about perfect casting! I mean, just those two bits of information right there is enough to grab my interest and shoot the cheese-scale so high it breaks the meter! The sweet cherry on top of this sure-to-be cheese-fest is the main actress, Robin Sydney. Pretty much a no-name to most people, but B-Movie fans should recognize her as the hot-but-crazy girlfriend of one of the main characters from the Evil Bong trilogy (which is also from Full Moon). Luckily she has a much bigger role in this movie then she did throughout that entire series. And what a role-reversal as well: In the Evil Bong trilogy, she plays a self-centered slutty crazy chick, where-as here she plays the sweet and innocent, down-to-earth shy girl. She plays both parts so well, that when you watch one and then go watch the other it's hard to believe it's even the same actress. It's amazing that with her range, she's not in much else other then Full Moon flicks.
Also in a similar vein to the first Child's Play movie, The Gingerdead Man starts off with Gary Busey's psychotic character, Millard Findlemeyer, on the run from the cops (in this case after robbing a restaurant and murdering some people in there), which ultimately results in his capture and eventual execution. After the overly-long opening credits that Full Moon is known for at this point, we cut ahead some undisclosed amount of time and our sweet and lovable main female lead Sarah, as played by Robin Sydney, is the girl we saw briefly in the intro who had her brother and father murdered right in front of her by Millard Findlemeyer, and she is the one that testified against him in court, leading to his electric chair execution (in which his dying words were 'I'll get you for this'). She's now working as the Manager, Co-Owner, and Head Baker in a little independent family-operated bakery that was previously owned by her father before he was murdered, and she's still quite haunted by the death of her father and brother, and by the killer's final threatening words.
Working alongside her is a wrestling-loving dorky guy that's a fellow baker and seems to have feelings for her, a hot girl who works at the counter and likes to wear low-cut tank top shirts, and her barely-there alcoholic mother. The rest of this small cast consists of an asshole business tycoon that is moving a large bakery chain in across the street and wants her small family-owned independent bakery gone and will go to any lengths to get it gone (which mostly means dirty sleazy underhanded tricks). With him, is his spoiled brat of a daughter and her bad-boy-but-good-hearted boyfriend, who is overall kind of a nice guy and starts to fall for Sarah throughout the movie, drifting away from the spoiled brat of a bitch he currently has as a girlfriend and widening the rift between those two girls. That's pretty much it - not a large cast at all, and apart from Busey and Sydney none of these other actors are really worth talking about as they're pretty much nobodies and like most nobodies in these kinds of movies, their acting leaves a bit to be desired most of the time (but also leaves a nice thick trail of cheese in their wake!).
Shortly after the opening credits finish and we get introduced to our main cast, a mysterious tub of gingerbread seasoning shows up on the back steps of the little bakery, dropped off by a mysterious old lady that is never explained but we can only assume it's the mother of Gary Busey's Millard Findlemeyer. Since Sarah was actually in desperate need of some gingerbread seasoning, and assuming that it was her daily order that had just arrived, she brings it in to start making gingerbread cookies with. While mixing it all together, one of the other characters ends up cutting himself, and while Sarah looks the cut over, blood is dripping down into the cookie mixture. Now, instead of throwing out that batch like a normal and sanitary person would, she continues mixing it. And she's supposed to know better, being the Head Baker and all! Even if that wasn't some voodoo-tampered cursed seasoning, that would still not even be close to right or sanitary. But of course this isn't the Cooking Channel and that's not what people are watching for, so thanks to some voodoo by crazy mysterious old lady, the fact that she put the ashes of her son in with the mixture, plus the added bonus of some spilled blood, when the main big cookie gets baked, it comes to life, occupied by the soul of Millard Findlemeyer!
From there, the rest of the movie deals with all the above-mentioned people being stuck inside this little small bakery, with a one-liner-spewing wise-ass killer cookie offing them one by one until they inevitably find a way to defeat him once and for all (though not really, since there's two more of these movies). Although oddly enough, they're not really 'stuck' per sey as they just choose not to leave. There's even a scene where one of the characters goes out to his car to get his cell phone and brings it back inside so they can call for help. Um...what? Why not just all of them leave with him, and then drive off in the car? Even when the power goes out and they are literally a foot away from the door, and they know that there's a killer gingerbread man after them, instead of leaving through that door they turn and head deeper into the building in order to try to turn the power back on...WTF? There's quite a few glaring and laughable plot holes like that scattered throughout the movie.
Unfortunately, that's not the only problem with this movie. Due to the small cast, and the fact that more people survived then I expected, there's not really a large body count in this one. Even the few that do get killed are very generic un-inventive deaths that consist of mostly just regular stabbings, so to be honest there's not a whole lot to look forward to in the kills department.
The characters are decently-written though, with some pretty funny dialog between all of them, and you genuinely start to care for them so you enjoy spending time with them as the movie goes through its motions. Plus there are tons of cheesy lines that spew forth in Gary Busey's voice from the killer cookie, so despite the movie kind of dropping the ball with the death scenes, there's still plenty of other good stuff to keep you paying attention. And if it helps at all, when you remove the ending credits the movie is only 58 minutes long (even shorter then that when you remove the overly-long opening credits as well), so it's extremely short and it just zooms by thanks to the aforementioned cheesy dialog, plus the added bonus of quite a few humorous visual treats such as seeing a group of fully-grown humans running away from a tiny cookie instead of just turning around and stepping on it, an awesome cat-fight that leads into a hilarious food fight in the back of the bakery (think of a similar scene from Mega Python vs Gatoroid), a scene that includes a perfect laugh-out-loud delivery of 'Got Milk?', and the Gingerdead Man doing up a body to look like a giant cake, just to list a few gem scenes that this movie holds within.
Speaking of the tiny potty-mouthed killer cookie, I must say that I was quite impressed with the puppetry used to bring the Gingerdead Man to life. Sure, there were occasional shots where it looked like nothing more then decked-out hand puppet, but more often then not it actually looked pretty impressive, especially with the close-ups of it's face when it talked. Granted, it's not like it was jumping around and doing acrobatics, so it couldn't have been hard to make it look good, but I still appreciate it all the same. Even more-so when take into consideration other recent Full Moon movies have opted to take the lazy way out quite often, and be much less-impressive with their effects (I must direct you to the Evil Bong trilogy, where while they are fun cheesy movies that I enjoy, the mouth on the Evil Bongs in each movie don't even move when they talk).
I tend to see quite a lot of people complain online that the entire plan concocted by the mysterious old lady, of bringing her psycho son back to life as a killer cookie, was hinged on the fact that somehow the old lady knew that someone would cut themselves, bleed all over the gingerbread seasoning mix (which already had the ashes of Millard Findlemeyer mixed in), and then continue to use that batch to make cookies. However, the way I like to look at it is this – later on in the movie, one of the characters eats the Gingerdead Man in order to (hopefully) defeat him. However, when the little guy was eaten, the evil soul of Gary Busey's character transferred into the person's body and he possessed him. Much like with Charles Lee Ray in Child's Play, this guy just wants a normal human body again, and so the way I look at it is that the old lady planned on someone eating the cursed cookie (probably Sarah herself was the intended target) and so Gary Busey's character would be able to possess the person and return to life that way. But when someone bled on the cookie mix, it brought him back in that form instead, and thus he was never supposed to be a homicidal baked good. It's not so much an example of an outrageous plan going perfectly, like haters online like to point out, but rather of the plan totally failing miserably. Though as hinted at in the final scene, this may actually have worked out better for Millard Findlemeyer then returning to a human form could ever have been for him. But for more on that, you must seek out Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust and Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver!
When all is said and done with this first movie in the series, was this a perfect B-movie? Definitely not, seeing as how some things were never fully-explained, some other things leave gaping plot holes, and there's an annoyingly-noticeable lack of kills and an even bigger lack of inventive kills. But whatever shortcomings this movie has, it more then makes up for in pure unforgiving cheese, a quickly-paced immensely-short runtime, and the very unique idea of having a killer cookie.
8/10 rooms in the Psych Ward