The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

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"This is always about P-U-S-S-Y "

Oct 13th, 2010

Throughout the opening 10 minutes of this animation I couldn't believe that Rob Zombie had once again delivered a substandard production. This car crash of a film continued along and I found myself unable to tear my gaze from the screen. At the film's end I actually wanted more and immediately watched it over again.

This is based on the comic written by Zombie, but I had no knowledge of it, I didn't know what to expect but what I got was extremely enjoyable. The best way to describe this is like an animated acid trip through the mind of a horror obsessive.

Riding along with El Superbeasto (a Mexican luchador voiced by Tom Papa) and his sister Suzie X, they take us on a bizarre tour of Monsterland and its inhabitants, while trying to stave off the evil of Dr. Satan.

Kicking off at a frantic pace it seems the crisp animation was modeled on older cartoon shorts. Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes immediately sprang to mind. This works at times but the use of retro sound effects started to grate on me slightly, I feel we moved on from this style for a reason, an homage is fine, just not a lifestyle.

The adult nature of the flick was the first thing that disappointed me here; it was like slipping back in time to early adult cartoon ventures like Fritz the Cat. In the modern age of computers and stuff we have long grown past the idea that animation is just for children. Shows like South Park and Family Guy are adult in tone in both storylines and content but feel like they have functions other than "look at the titties on that toon" and "he said the F-word". Zombie at first stumbles having the characters swearing for no reason followed by a gratuitous sex scene which left me feeling empty inside.

Continuing on from this stumble the film manages to find something a little more coherent in using multiple film references, mainly horror and the focus shifts slightly away from shock value but never too far. Every female character has rockin' tits and a disposition to get them out at any moment, at first I found this pathetic but adjusted to the breastitude (I might trademark that word, its cool) and cartoon tits became a normalcy. The film is overly self-referential to Zombie's career and includes references to the most obscure. When we meet Suzie X for the first time she lands straight into the faux trailer werewolf women of the SS that Zombie directed for the Grindhouse feature. These are fun to pick out and raised my enjoyment as a Zombie fan. Also of note, the film has appearances from the Firefly clan, the Rejects still live.

The music is fantastically catchy and stays with you more than the actual movie itself. Rob Zombie constantly proves himself the master of sound control adding a new slant to his already impressive catalogue of songs. Every piece here takes on a different style from mirroring TV theme tunes to old time radio – this makes a nice change of pace to the usual hard rock soundtrack.

Along with the musical score the voice acting is amazing, including many famous actors as well as regulars from Rob's live action films. I have to single out one person here as they are perfect casting in animated form. Sheri Moon Zombie has an amazing voice and she makes her already young sounding vocals slightly higher than usual. Over time I had had enough of her appearances in Zombie's flicks – much the same feeling I get every time it's announced that Johnny Depp will be starring in yet another of Tim Burton's adaptations. Here though she is great. Along with Paul Giamatti and Rosario Dawson they round out a perfect cast.

I don't know why I warmed to this so much but I can see this is one of those times where you will either love it or hate it, no in-between here. It amazes me that I just ripped on Lesbian Vampire Killers for being too sexually immature but love a film that is far more sexually charged and childish, I suppose tone and charm have a lot to do with it. I hope for a sequel or TV series as there is a lot of potential for continuing these tales, too bad though that this took Zombie multiple years to bring to the small screen (straight to DVD release here). Production started after Devil's Rejects so chances are it'll be a long time till El Superbeasto rides again. After this I will be hunting down the comic book series as my thirst for more has not been fulfilled. This DVD renewed my admiration for Rob after the terrible Halloween movies 8/10

Additional: This was a region 1 release only purchase. Ok if you have a multiregion DVD player. As of yet there is no release date for the film in the UK.

Best Kill
Michael Myers – no joke here

John DiMaggio who voices Burt the Spurt voices Bender in Futurama
Murray the Robot is based on the robot from The Phantom Creeps
Tom Papa (El Superbeasto) co-wrote this with Zombie

Director: Rob Zombie
Screenplay: Tom Papa, Rob Zombie
Released: 2009
Rating: R (about a 15 certificate in the UK)
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, Sheri Moon Zombie, Tom Papa

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