The Gingerdead Man
I wonder if he knows the Muffin Man
Sometimes you just need to see a bad movie. There's nothing wrong with purposely watching a bad movie, it's an indulgence, like eating a piece of chocolate or an entire White Castle Crave Case by yourself. You know it's bad for you, but it doesn't matter. You want to enjoy this bad thing for all it's worth. It's one of life's joys. There are plenty of terrible horror movies out there and some even have a cult following. Full Moon Features/Entertainment specializes in putting out ridiculously schlocky horror movies like Evil Bong, Demonic Toys, and Puppet Master. When you pick up a movie called “Evil Bong” you pretty much know what you're going to get. Despite making a whole lot of “so bad it's good” movies, they still managed to screw one up starring the human dynamo known as Gary Busey.
The Gingerdead Man is a 2005 horror movie starring Gary Busey (Under Siege, I'm With Busey) as crazed killer Millard Findlemayer. At a diner in Waco, Texas, Findlemayer goes on a shooting spree killing Jeremy and James Leigh. As the police are closing in, he fires at Sarah Leigh (Robin Sydney, Masters Of Horror: Right To Die, Evil Bong), but she manages to survive (or it misses her, it's not really clear). Some years pass, and Sarah is running a bakery on the verge of closing thanks to businessman Jimmy Dean (Larry Cedar, Deadwood, The Crazies) starting his cafe business across the street. We learn through a voice-over that Millard Findlemayer was executed and his ashes were given to his mother who happens to be a witch. Sarah receives a package of gingerbread spice left at the back door by a cloaked figure. While mixing ingredients, Brick Fields (Jonathan Chase, Gamer, The Mentalist) one of the store's bakers, accidentally cuts his hand, spilling blood in the mixture. The contaminated dough is then cut into the shape a large gingerbread man and placed in the oven. Jimmy's daughter Lorna (Alexia Aleman, Close Call, Mad Men) brings a rat into the bakery in order to get it closed down and a fight with Sarah ensues. Lorna's boyfriend Amos (Ryan Locke, American Gun, Supercross) breaks up the fight, but not before Lorna causes an electric surge to hit the oven and reanimate the gingerbread man with Millard's soul. The murderous Gingerdead Man, as he is dubbed, goes on a violent killing spree, murdering Jimmy, cutting off Sarah's mom's finger, and encasing one of the workers in frosting. With the doors booby-trapped and the Gingerdead Man seemingly impossible to kill, how will Sarah and Amos survive?
Pictured: Gary Busey in his natural state
I knew it was going to be bad. There was no “maybe” about it. When you pick up a movie about a killer gingerbread man voiced by Gary Busey, you know you're not watching the next Ben-Hur or Schindler's List. With movies of this caliber, you want lots of murders, ridiculous one-liners, and perhaps a little nudity. Instead, The Gingerdead Man feels the need to try and be a real movie. There are far too many scenes filled with boring dialogue and exposition and not enough insane, laughable violence. The movie starts off so promising as the very first scene of the movie involves Gary Busey, who may or may not have been acting) walking into the shot and firing a gun. No dialogue, no setup, just a disheveled Busey and a gun. That's magic right there. Unfortunately, that's all the live Busey we get as he voices The Gingerdead Man for the rest of the film. For whatever reason, we never see him arrested or executed, instead getting a 2 sentence voice-over explaining his death and his mother's witchy abilities. The movie is barely an hour long, they couldn't spare an extra minute to show some of this? It's not like the rest of the movie was crammed with action either.
When the movie finally gets around to the violence, it becomes immensely more entertaining. It's still not great because a movie like this needs to be ultra violent and ultra bloody. While it's funny to see an gingerbread man driving a car into Jimmy, it's not the most creative way they could have killed someone. With a bakery full of all sorts of tools and machines, don't you think they could have been a little more creative? As a former baker, I couldn't believe that a) they work without gloves and b) used a mix that someone bled into. Lorna didn't need to bring a rat into the bakery, it was already worthy of an “F” rating from the health inspector. The movie is strangely very dark making some scenes difficult to see. There are some laughs in the movie, mostly coming from Busey's foul-mouthed Gingerdead Man and goofball wrestling fan Brick. The actual gingerdead man puppet is kind of funny looking with a scrunched-up typically evil face. I think it would have been better if it switched back and forth between a normal, sweet-looking gingerbread man and the evil one. Kind of like the snowman in Jack Frost.
"Welcome to Wal-Mart!"
The Gingerdead Man is ridiculous and absurd, but for all the wrong reasons. Despite being only an hour long, the movie moves incredibly slow thanks to unnecessarily long dialogue scenes that go nowhere. We don't need or want dialogue with this type of movie. We want lots of over-the-top violence and lots of Gary Busey. When you have a loose cannon like Gary Busey (see here, here, and here for proof) in your movie, just let him go nuts and have him on screen as much as possible. We only get a little bit of him and it's incredibly disappointing. The violence is good, but should have been far more extreme. I almost feel bad for criticizing a movie about a killer gingerbread man. Almost, but not enough to stop me from doing it. The movie doesn't reach the “so bad it's good” level of C-list movies and tends to annoy more than entertain. And to make things worse, they made multiple sequels. If you're with a group of friends or have been drinking heavily, you may get a sarcastic laugh or two out of The Gingerdead Man. If not, do yourself a favor and avoid it and stick with donuts.
Be sure to check out another review of The Gingerdead Man by Josh Langland (@TheHorrorGuru) from Blood Splattered Cinema. It's far funnier than the actual movie. Buse-anity!