Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Darkman (1990)

The Doctor needs help

Laim Neeson demonstrates just how NASTY people can get when their plastic surgery doesn't work, in "Darkman"

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 8/31/90
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

I was a little late getting over to see "Darkman," the ultimate movie about botched plastic surgery, because last week, right in the middle of a barbecue chicken dinner, Wanda Bodine bashed Cherry Dilday's face in. She hit her right square on the bridge of the nose with a beaded purse in the shape of a kitty-cat, and Cherry spouted blood all over my TV dinner tray.
We'd seen this coming for about a week, ever since me and Wanda Bodine were watching the Home Shopping Channel one night, hoping the offer for 32 John Wayne videos for $14.95 would come on. Wanda claims they were selling em one night, but we watched for four hours and all they had were eight cartoons for $19.75. I bought all of em. I thought it was a ripoff when they were charging $19.75 just for "Superman," specially since those "Superman" cartoons from the forties stink, but when they offered "Popeye" and "Daffy Duck" and "Bugs Bunny," I went for it. Then, after I called in, they kept throwing new ones up there, so I'll also get "Foghorn Leghorn," "Porky Pig," "Casper the Ghost" and "Woody Woodpecker." I'll have to smash the last two into smithereens when they come in the mail, cause there are some things too disgusting to have in the house.
How'd I get off on that?
Oh yeah--we were watching Home Shopping Channel for four hours, and we'd already bought the following items:
* A handcrafted quilt that normally sells for $967, but we got it for $43.
* A "color computer," with software, "Nintendo-ready," that would normally cost $2500. Our price: $125.
* A Regency Classic Family Bible with "leather-look hard cover with gilt edges" and a picture of Jesus on the front looking up at God, with light shining through his hair. It normally costs eighty bucks, but we got one for $9.75. The announcer said "I almost feel sacrilegious selling it at such a low price."
* A one-of-a-kind Potpourri Steamer, "votive candle included," "beautiful blue color," a $37 value for only three bucks.
And all this time we were watching, they kept showing this seven-inch raised-link Marquis tennis bracelet made out of Beverly Hills Gold. And every time they would show it, Wanda would say, "What's Beverly Hills Gold?"
And finally I said, "I guess it's gold that's from Beverly Hills."
And she said, "I never thought of where gold came from."
And I said, "They don't dig it up in Beverly Hills. They dig it up in some place like Mexico, and they truck it to Beverly Hills."
And so, every time they came on to lower the price--they started up around $900 and came down to $113.50--Wanda would say something like "I don't even KNOW anybody who has any Beverly Hills Gold."
And so finally she bought the goldurn thing. I saw it coming. I knew there wasn't anything I could do to head it off. And so she called em up, gave out her Mastercard number. Done deal.
The next day at work, Wanda was talking about her new Beverly Hills Gold bracelet when Cherry Dilday walked in. It so happens that, about a week before, Cherry had bought her own solid simulated gold tennis bracelet, but hers was made out of "Black Hills Gold."
"What's Black Hills Gold?" Wanda asked her.
"It's gold that comes up out of the Black Hills," Cherry said.
"I've never heard of it. It can't be that good."
And this made Cherry a little hot, so she said, "So where's gold SUPPOSED to come from?"
And Wanda said, "I just ordered some BEVERLY HILLS gold."
And Cherry snickered. It wasn't a loud snicker. Just a little grunt really.
And Wanda said, "What do you mean by that?"
And Cherry said, "You don't dig up gold out in Beverly Hills."
"I know that! You dig it up in Louisiana! Or Mexico! I can't remember."
"Then why do they call it Beverly Hills Gold?"
"Because it's brought to Beverly Hills from Mexico."
"There ain't any such thing as Beverly Hills Gold. Gold is made in the Black Hills."
"Well, I've never even HEARD of the Black Hills."
"That's because they're in Canada. Or Montana. Someplace with a lot of forest rangers."
Neither one of em ever simmered down after that, and about a week later Wanda Bodine's Beverly Hills Gold tennis bracelet came in the mail, and I have to say, it looked a lot BIGGER on TV. They must have had a midget wearing it or something. We had to open up the box and add all the extra links to get it on Wanda's arm, and then it still kinda hung catty-wampus across her wrist and made a red mark on it. That would have been okay, except an hour or two later, while we were eating dinner, Cherry Dilday showed up at the door and said, "The mailman told me you got that fake bracelet in the mail today."
Wanda Bodine was so mad she just glared at her.
Cherry looked at her arm. "I guess it's the one that's covering up that big red WELT on your wrist," she said.
"Do you want anything?" Wanda asked her.
"I just wanted to show you my Black Hills Gold certificate of authenticity, signed by the governor of North Dakota. Maybe you can show me your certificate from the mayor of Beverly Hills."
There was another slight snicker at this point.
What can I say? I should have seen the kitty-cat purse by the sofa. Wanda cracked Cherry's face open quicker than Chuck Norris can kung-fu a Filipino extra.
It's not that bad, I don't think. They say Cherry will be out of the hospital sometime next week.
Wanda's wrist is starting to heal, too.
I keep trying to look this up in my Regency Classic Family Bible "subject concordance," but they don't have a listing under "Bimbo."


And speaking of missing grey matter, "Darkman" is now, officially, number one on the 1990 Drive-In Hit List. The director, Sam Raimi, has made three movies, and all three have gone straight to number one. First The Evil Dead, the zombie classic still banned in several countries. Next "The Evil Dead II," in which the zombies become even MORE vicious. And now, the story of a scientist who's working on the ultimate plastic surgery discovery--making skin in a test tube--but gets half his face blown off by some gangsters led by Benny the reetard from "L.A. Law." The actor's real name is Larry Drake, and he likes to collect human fingers in a box.

Unfortunately for Benny . . . er . . . Larry, though, the scientist wakes up with so many burns on his body that the doctors are forced to cut off all his nerves, so he can't feel diddly squat. This means that he has superhuman strength and that you shouldn't tick him off, because he can't control his emotions. But what he can do is make all the synthetic-skin faces you can handle. They're better than the ones on Mission: Impossible, but they work the same way. Just like Martin Landau, he can become anybody he wants to become--for 99 minutes, which is when the fake face starts turning into bubbling gooey pus and dripping on the pavement. That means everybody can see his real face, which looks like somebody fried some hash browns on it. Should he tell his girlfriend what happened? Should he blow Benny the reetard's head off? Or should he just have dates with his girlfriend that last exactly 99 minutes? Approximately one thousand stunts, special effects, car chases, and helicopter sequences later, we find out the answer--and, in the meantime, Darkman becomes a more likable guy, in my opinion, than Charles Laughton in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." You laugh? You scoff? The man is ugly, the man is evil, and the man is in love. This is gonna be an American classic.

No breasts.
Forty dead bodies.
Three motor vehicle chases.
The best helicopter stunt sequence ever filmed.
Hand on fire.
Fake-nose making.
Fingers roll.
Ear rolls.
Head splatters.
Multiple explosions.
Gratuitous waltzing.
Kung Fu.
Rivet-gun Fu.
Manhole-cover Fu.
Saran-wrap Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Frances McDormand, as Darkman's girlfriend, for saying "If you're not going to kill me, I have things to do";
Liam Neeson, as Darkman, for saying "What is it about the dark? What secret does it hold?" and for getting mad at his cat all the time;
Larry Drake, as the bad guy, for saying "Bring the Asian's fingers";
and, of course, Sam Raimi, the Michigan State Whiz Kid grown up into the big time, for making the ultimate homeless movie.
Four stars. Best of 1990. Joe Bob says check it out.


Communist Alert! The Crestview Drive-In in Lebanon, Kan., famous for being located at the exact geographic center of the country, has been turned into a parking lot for old farm machinery. Mark McDonald discovered this desecration, taking this historic site "from John Huston to John Deere, from Raymond Massey to Massey Ferguson." Remember, if it can happen in the CENTER of the United States, it can happen anywhere. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and his world-famous "We Are The Weird" newsletter, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax line is always open: 214-368-2310.

Dear J.B.B.,
Just got back from Germany and got the chance to watch some cable TV over there. Now, I know you're not a big cable fan, but I saw a show you would love. It's called "Tutti Frutti" on RTC (Radio-Television Luxembourg) late Sunday nights. Basically, it's a game show all about the upcoming 1992 E.C. Monetary Union. To help explain this, there are about two dozen girls who either strip or take off their tops! The game itself is pretty stupid, but the real high point is that the contestants have to strip as well. (There are two, a guy and a girl, each from a different E.C. country). This show is better than "Wall Street Week."
Al Pergande
Orlando, Fla.

Dear Al:
I could handle the Eyetalian girls, the Scandinavian girls (of course), and MAYBE even the German girls, except for the lesbo steroid monster Olympic shot-putters. But I'm gonna have to DRAW THE LINE at amateur Portuguese strippers. There are some things that should NOT be seen by small children.

Dear Joe Bob,
You really meant that we should kill all the lawyers that TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, didn't you?
Ron Perkinson
Staton, Perkinson, Doster, Post, Silverman & Adcock
Sanford, N.C.

Dear Ron:
What I really meant was that we should kill all the lawyers that use a firm name that's so long it won't fit on an envelope and nobody can remember what it is anyway.

Dear Joe Bob,
I heard a rumor Michelle Pfeiffer did an "adult" film before she become famous. Is this true and is it available on VHS?
Merrill G. Snyder
Rockville, Md.

Dear Merrill:
Like many great actresses, Michelle made drive-in movies before getting noticed in "Grease 2" (1982), then hitting the big time in "Scarface" (1983). She now makes indoor bullstuff exclusively.
Her drive-in career includes "B.A.D. Cats" (1980), "Falling in Love Again" (1980), "The Hollywood Knights" (1980), and "Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen" (1981).

Dear J.B.,
Some of your columns sound like comedienne Judy Tenuta in print! Do you write some of her stage or TV material? Or, perhaps, does she ghost-write your column? Hmmm?
Dave Phillips
Bakersfield, Calif.

Dear Dave:
Judy Tenuta makes me feel like a lesbian trapped in a man's body.

Joe Bob,
I recently read an article of yours discussing pet shelters and their overpopulation. I was shocked that you would write about something so "in", so "socially conscious". Unless you got paid for it, I'm quite impressed.
Jo Pledger
Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Dear Jo:
You ever had to shoot your dog?
You don't forget it.
I didn't realize this issue was "socially conscious" till I wrote it and started getting letters from weenies who own Bichon Freses.

© 1990 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob

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Click here to hear the Darkman themesong again, which sounds kinda like the Shadow themesong to me