Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011)
COMPANY: Full Moon Entertainment
RUNTIME: 70 mins
PLOT: The Gingerdead Man breaks out of Pastry Prison and travels back in time to 1976 to carry out an epic disco killing spree.
REVIEW: I loved the first movie in this series despite a few issues I had with it, but I really didn't care much for Gingerdead Man 2: The Passion of the Crust. So when Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver one was announced, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it. In the end though, I landed on 'excitement' because after all - it's about A KILLER COOKIE, and that alone will be enough to get my money – Every. Single. Time. Unfortunately Full Moon and Charles Band know that, and no longer bother to put much more effort into these then that basic premise. Much like with the second movie, all the right ingredients were present to make this a B-Movie Legend, but it was all mixed together incorrectly and what we ended up getting was just a sloppy mess of a movie and the weakest in the series thus far.
This one starts off interesting enough: We don't really get a backstory on this deadly cookie, but we can assume that much like his previous two 'brothers', he probably went on a rampage somewhere and got caught, because as the movie begins we get to see a hilarious Silence of the Lambs parody scene that reveals this Gingerdead Man is already locked away in a prison. But not just any prison – a prison for re-animated objects! Golden idea right there! Other 'criminals' in his cell block include a fowl-mouthed French baguette, a promiscuous raspberry pie, a stoned batch of Jamaican brownies, and a dirty-minded cream puff. So far so good, if you ask me.
Unfortunately, just like with the second movie and its Tiny Terrors characters, these new murderous baked goods are only in the movie for not even two minutes. Upon seeing them, I was really hoping that the creators learned from the second movie and would give these guys a decent-sized role – perhaps having them escape with the Gingerdead Man and make him be the ringleader of a gang of killer food – but nope. Once again, they have no impact on the movie whatsoever and are only on the screen for a minute or two, leading to another wasted opportunity. It's made even all the worse by the fact that those new characters actually looked really good design-wise, so it's clear they spent a good portion of the budget on them, and you would think that if they did that then they would have made it actually worth it and keep the characters around longer.
Because of that total misuse of the budget, the Gingerdead Man himself gets the short end of the budget stick and looks absolutely horrid. By far the worst that the puppet has looked in the entire series. Sure, the one in the second movie was a step down from the one in the first, but this one is like an entire ladder down from both of those. And not just in terms of how well it looks as it moves around and does its thing (made even worse still by the overuse of horrible CGI), but also in the basic design as well. At least the one in the second movie still resembled the design of the first, but this one doesn't even come close to looking like the other two. I know, I know my logic behind the different design that I used in my review for Gingerdead Man 2 could still be applied here – It is a different cookie after all, and thus, as a cookie, it was designed differently. But still, is it really that hard to duplicate the puppet prop used in the first movie? Or better yet – just use the exact same prop! To add insult to injury, they also used yet another voice actor for the character (this time the director of the movie lent his voice 'talents' for the character), and just like with the prop itself, he's the worst Gingerdead Man voice in the entire series, not even trying to sound like how the character sounded or talked in the previous two movies. As big of a step down as everything regarding the character of the Gingerdead Man was in the second movie from the first movie, this one is the same step down but from the second movie. Just pure unnecessary laziness led to the atrocity that is this movie's Gingerdead Man character.
One of the movie's few saving graces is its amazingly campy plot. I mentioned a Silence of the Lambs parody scene up above, and that comes into play when an FBI agent by the name of Clarissa Darling visits this Hannibal Lector-esque version of the Gingerdead Man, complete with an excellent Hannibal/Clarice dialog exchange. However, the Gingerdead Man ends up breaking free of his confines during a prison riot and gets lost, ending up in a science laboratory that's currently experimenting with time travel. Of course he ends up setting the machine off and getting sent back in time to 1976, right in the middle of a disco-on-rollerskates competition (“Of all the shithead decades to get stranded in!” he so hilariously notes).
The rest of the movie is made up of two main stories, just like the second movie was – On the one side, we have the Gingerdead Man going around and killing all sorts of sex-crazed drugged-out, disco-loving teens while uttering hilarious one-liners, and luckily this time he had a bit more of an impact on the overall movie then he did in the second movie (where it was largely unimportant to anything else going on). On the other side, we have the human story which thankfully is more interesting then the one from Gingerdead Man 2 as well. We have the owner of the arena trying to raise money in multiple different ways to keep the roller disco arena from getting shut down. Some of these ways include a bake sale, a beauty pageant, the previously-mentioned roller disco competition, as well as a car wash by young hot girls in tight bikinis (which is something all B-Movies should strive to find a way to include). She's not the main focus though; the main character of this movie is her shy socially-awkward teenage niece by the name of Cherry Wright, whom seems to be the only person in the building that even notices that there's a killer cookie running around (and of course nobody believes her). Silence of the Lambs isn't the only movie this one spoofs, seeing as how, just like in Stephen King's Carrie, after Cherry gets a make-over so that she can try to win the title of Roller Boogie Queen, the social teenage Bitch Queen devises a plan with the end result of – yes, you guessed it – dropping a bucket of pig's blood all over Cherry. And JUST LIKE in Carrie, it turns out Cherry also has strong telekinetic powers when she shows displays of strong emotion, which comes into play quite a few times – the best of which is during an entertaining show-down between her and the Gingerdead Man, which results in a mass electrocution death of almost everyone in the building.
This movie takes everything that the first two movies did, and then multiplies it all by about 10. You loved the cheesy one-liners? This movie has one being spurted out almost every 30-60 seconds. You like to embrace the campiness of the other movies? Well then, hold onto your hat because you haven’t seen anything yet. This one openly showers in the cheese like never before, which is made quite obvious with all the blatant movie spoofs throughout (I noticed Silence of the Lambs, Carrie, Candyman, Psycho, Hellraiser, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Porky's). While this worked to a degree, it did reach a point where it was just too much and too over the top. I never thought I'd ever think of the first Gingerdead Man movie as being subdued and low-key with the cheese, but after seeing this one that's the only way to think back on the first. Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver takes everything you love about the series and cranks it all up even higher, which works both for and against it, depending on the scene. I kid you not, this movie involves a scene where two little kids return from time-traveling throughout history to bring Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, Lizzy Borden, and Charles Manson to 1976 to team up with the heroes and fight the Gingerdead Man, and then have them dance and celebrate their victory with the heroes – WTF!? That ending doesn't even make any sense, nor does it even try to make sense other then to throw in yet another random and unnecessary movie spoof. Sadly, this entry felt quite like one of those horrid 'Insert Genre Title here' Movie spoof movies more often then not, and that's never a good thing seeing as how those are some of the worst movies to ever grace the entire history of our planet.
Even ignoring the maximum overload of camp and spoofing, the fun cheese and hilarious one-liners can't make up for all the other aspects that they just totally did wrong or botched. Alongside the previously-mentioned horrible Gingerdead Man prop and effects, and the lack of good use of the new pastry characters, this entry also has pretty bad acting. Not like the first movie had excellent actors, but the acting chops on display in both the previous entry and this one makes the first movie look like The Godfather in comparison. There's bad acting, and then there's distractingly bad acting.
Another distractingly-bad step down for this entry is the special effects. Not only is the Gingerdead Man himself of far lesser quality this time around, but so are the kills. This movie is overloaded with unneeded CGI, both in making the Gingerdead Man move around but also with almost every single kill. The previous two movies needed no CGI at all to get the job done, and they were better off for it. Here, it just ruins what would otherwise be some excellent kill scenes. There is some great stuff like a group of bikini-clad beauties being sprayed with acid and having their skin and bones melt into a pile of goo, a nailgun used like a tommy gun on three people in the middle of having a threesome, a head cleaved in two, plenty of headshots, and the previously-mentioned mass electrocution scene. But almost all of the awesome kills are completely ruined by the 25-cent paycheck that the computer animator must have received for his work on this.
The final nail in the coffin for me however, is the total misuse of Robin Sydney. Ever since the first movie, I've been hoping to see the original lead character, as played by Robin Sydney, make a return. The second movie never touched on her, but when I saw her name in the opening credits of this one, I got excited – especially when we find out about those kids traveling through time to collect people to fight the homicidal cookie, I figured 'Hey now, that's an excellent way to bring Robin Sydney back!' but unfortunately, that's not how she returns. Actually while the actress returns, her character does not. As it turns out, she only has a cameo that lasts just a few seconds, playing another completely different character – again, WTF!? Those two kids even go to the future to grab someone who has dealt with this pastry before...but not her; They get Clarissa Darling from the opening scene of this movie instead! Talk about yet another missed opportunity! They even had the actress on-set so I can't even fathom why they didn't use her as her previous character in that scene instead of the Clarissa Darling character! That payoff alone would have almost saved the movie for me.
In regards to some aspects, this one improved somewhat over the previous movie but unfortunately it does far more things wrong then it does right, resulting in a very frustratingly uneven movie that should have been, and could have been, the best in the trilogy. After two disappointing sequels, I really just want to throw in the towel and say that if they continue on with this series, then I'm done with it...
...Sadly, as it turns out I'm very easy to entertain, and the very idea of a killer cookie is all it takes to keep me coming back time after time, no matter how disappointing each continuing entry turns out, and so because of that, if Gingerdead Man 4 ever gets made then I'll be the first (and probably only) person at the video store that day to buy my copy.
3/10 rooms in the Psych Ward