Evil Bong (DVD)
Directed by Charles Band
Perhaps I'm not the best person to be reviewing a stoner horror comedy what with my being fairly straight edge (although I have had numerous people ask me what drugs I was on when I gave Charles Band's The Gingerdead Man a rave review). Nonetheless, I still decided to partake in Band's newest, Evil Bong, despite knowing that perhaps maybe, just maybe, I'm not the target audience. I'm pleased to report that despite a few unfortunate missteps, Evil Bong is an enjoyable little flick that truly harkens back to the early, glory days of Full Moon Pictures, although it definitely is more comedy than horror.
In need of room and board, nerdy Alistair, who majors in chemistry and minors in metaphysics, moves in with three college stoners (a rich kid, an ex-jock, & a total burnout) that only seem to care about getting high, getting laid, and playing video games, not necessarily in that order. How moronic are these three potheads? After the first one falls victim to the film's title, the other two will be more concerned with hiding the body and covering up the death because A) they don't want to cops finding out how much weed they have stashed in their place and B) they have some hot chicks coming over that evening and don't want to ruin the party by having to deal with a friend's sudden death. These three are quite possibly the greatest poster boys for how drug use can rot your brain since Ozzy Osbourne.
So one of them spots a classified ad in an issue of High Times for a "haunted bong" and orders it in hopes of achieving a wicked high. Little did any of them suspect that the cursed bong is indeed evil and that using it would have deadly consequences. The bong’s name is Eebee, her almost expressionless face begins to appear with every new victim, and she speaks with a voice reminiscent of the sassy waitress from the old "What's Happening?" sitcom. One puff is all she needs to draw you into her "Bong World" where you'll meet your doom and her power will grow.
A variation on the Nightmare on Elm Street "die in your dream and you die for real" concept but modified into "die in your pot-induced hallucination and you die for real" is a rather creative concept that Evil Bong doesn't take 100% advantage of. That's because "Bong World" is just a cheap strip club set inhabited with recognizable actors and puppet creations from the Full Moon movie universe and strippers that when not topless are sporting these Monsterbra things that Charles Band has been hocking for awhile now (a line of novelty bras with skulls, shark heads, lips, eyeballs, etc on the cups- real Spencer's Gifts' quality novelty items to be sure). When stars of previous Full Moon productions such as Tim Thomerson and Bill Mosely pop up very briefly to confusedly ask how they too ended up in this "Bong World", unless you instantly recognize them you'll probably also find yourself wondering what they were doing there and what the heck that brief encounter was all about. The same goes for appearances by the Ooga Booga doll from Doll Graveyard and the Gingerdead Man. The deaths involve the horny, stoned victim being approached by a stripper wearing one of those Monsterbras; the design on the bra will then come to life and kill the person. It's amusing the first time it happens but after that you begin to get the feeling that you're suddenly watching a Charles Band infomercial masquerading as a Charles Band movie.
That's kind of a shame too because the film does have some funny moments, whether it be declarations about the journalistic integrity of High Times magazine or the hateful insults from a wheelchair bound old man directed at his slacker grandson. A lot of the humor has a sitcom feel to it. That could also be because the majority of the film is set in the living room of this one apartment (much like a sitcom) and Band transitions between scenes using a funky marijuana leaf animation that brings to mind something you'd see on "That 70's Show".
Finally, about an hour in sees the arrival of the film's true star, Tommy Chong, as a brain-fried aging hippie obsessed with Hot Wheels cars and hellbent to put a stop to Eebee's reign of terror once and for all with Alistair's help. It's a shame that Chong doesn't arrive until two-thirds of the way in because he's such an old hat at this type of comedy and can milk laughs from just standing there looking and talking like someone who’s remaining brain cells are in desperate need of some fresh air.
Most of Band's recent movie efforts have only clocked in at around an hour to seventy-five minutes; Evil Bong, however, clocks in at around 85 minutes. I can't help but think it might have been better served had it lost about 10-15 minutes of fat. Evil Bong is the most well-paced movie Band has churned out in ages but even it hits a few lulls along the way due to the premise being too flimsy for both the running time and the film's limited budget.
The DVD also includes the film's trailer and a 20-minute long "behind the scenes" segment that's surprisingly entertaining in its own right, particularly the denials on the part of various cast and crew members as to what a bong is or how one would uses it. That is except for Tommy Chong who rattles off facts about the history of bongs and pot smoking in general like someone that could teach a college class on the subject. He probably could.
There's also another fun 30-minute extra showcasing those Full Moon Road Shows that Charles Band has been putting on around the country for the past year. It certainly does an excellent job making these shows look like a lot of fun.
While more amusing than laugh out loud funny, Evil Bong was still a nice change of pace from the seemingly never-ending line of no budget (and often no talent) shot-on-digital slasher, vampire, zombie movies that keeping taking up shelf space at the local video store. Heck, it was even shot on 35mm. Still, Evil Bong isn't especially memorable. In fact, I've actually been struggling a bit to remember the details in order to write this review. You watch it and you're entertained, but afterwards you have little or no lasting memory as to what went on. I've been told pot smoking can leave you feeling that way too.
2 1/2 out of 5
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