If you’re familiar with John Waters, you know the name Edith Massey. In This Filthy World, Waters talks about her thrift store, Edith’s Shopping Bag and how she’d wrap up random crap and basically make a “grab bag.” For a quarter, you could take something from the grab bag, but it may very well end up being trash–like a used up lighter or a cap from a pill bottle.
If someone (usually a kid) complained, she’d shake her finger at them and say, “Can’t be lucky every daaay!” You might be thinking, “To be sure, that is indeed an amusing bon mot old sport, but what exactly the fuck does it have to do with Full Moon Friday?”
Well to paraphrase Penn Jillette, “True in the thrift store, true in life.” Consider Ooga Booga one of those pill bottle caps from Miss Edie. I mean it’s Full Moon–you’re gonna expect a few things goin’ in: boobs, sex jokes, general bad taste, sick humor, less than Oscar-worthy acting.
But I, benevolent overlord of Castle Blogferatu, even I was woefully unprepared for the wince-inducing discomfort Ooga Booga would unleash. The festivities begin with the taping of a some fifth-rate children’s show, the main feature being Hambo The Clown– a guy in overalls, an orange and yellow wig, and a pig nose.
His co-host is Peggy Suey (get it? Hambo? pigs?) whose cleavage and high-heeled boots fairly well scream children’s entertainment of the Big Comfy Couch stripe. Anyway, Hambo is late because he’s drunk. Again. After he barfs on set, he gets fired.
Not to worry, Hambo has a plan: market some dolls he’s created, specifically some racist, sexist, homophobic dolls. I didn’t even wanna look up images for this movie while I was in public lest someone see them on my computer and get the wrong idea. Seriously these things are so vile and cringeworthy that I’m not gonna describe them much less post stills of them. See for yourself.
Hambo reveals this, uh, brilliant scheme to one of his only two friends, Devin, a young black man who has just passed his med school exams and is on his way to becoming a doctor. As a gift for his long-time support, Hambo gives Devin a prototype of one of his figures, an African warrior doll complete with a spear, loincloth, bone in his nose, and a joint in his mouth. Sigh, yes, it’s every bit as unfortunate as it sounds.
Still, Devin accepts this odd gift along with Hambo’s promise that when he makes it big with this, he’ll repay Devin’s loyalty. Sadly, our lad’s bright medical future is soon cut short by a corrupt, racist cop named, of course, White, ho ho. I can just hear the pitch meeting: “Subtlety? Oh nay nay, we don’t do that here.”
Anyhow, with the combination of blood and a short circuit from a drink machine, Devin’s soul gets transferred into the doll. Somehow I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ve run across that somewhere before. Oh well. From there hilarity ensues. I suppose the big irony here is that this super-racist figurine becomes the dispenser of justice against the bad guys, all of whom are white dudes.
Something else you can count on with Full Moon–some surprisingly effective (for their budget) special and practical effects. The electrical soul transfer looks fine as does the puppet work. Even the, I assume, CGI used for the doll’s eyes is nicely done (the eye gouging gore a bit less so).
Incidentally, Ooga Booga is itself a spinoff from Doll Graveyard, a Puppet Master-like movie in which our vengeful warrior doll first appeared mainly as an homage to the Zuni fetish doll from Trilogy Of Terror. Speaking of…let’s talk a bit about Karen Black.
I’m not sure how Charles Band got a hold of her, but sweet long-haired jeebers I’m glad he did. First off, her character’s name is Mrs. Allardyce. You no doubt recall that Mrs. Allardyce is the old woman Karen Black is supposed to be caring for in the criminally forgotten about Burnt Offerings.
It’s for anyone who’s seen Trilogy Of Terror, however, that Karen Black becomes the best part of the movie as she gnaws her way through her every scene she’s in, and nowhere more so than her very own set piece–another attack by another warrior doll. He even manages a little jab at E.T.
Band even recreates Trilogy’s final knife scene where Karen Black is crouched down, baring her pointy teeth, repeatedly sticking the point of a large knife into the floor as she waits for her mother to show up.
*Chef’s kiss* Mwah!
SKULLS- Sadly, the most I can go with is 3. Bloody vengeance is fine–I’m quite fond–but it’s still deeply troubling when a white director throws racial stereotypes around even if one of them becomes a means of meting out said vengeance. Hell even the movie’s title raises concerns
BODIES- 9 onscreen
Stream- Full Moon Channel, Tubi
Rent- Apple TV, Prime