I have this habit. When I’m stressed out, or worried, or sad, or having insomnia, I bake. I bake late into the night, making things that I’ll usually give away to other people, because even though I’m fat I don’t want to get any fatter. I’ve achieved optimal fat, it seems, by maintaining a cheese-and-beer based diet, and while I love to make tiny apple pies, or cupcakes that look like howling wolves, or peanut butter cup cookies, I also love to barely fit into my current favorite jeans instead of having to spend money on new jeans when there is so much cheese and beer left in this world to buy. So, yes, baking is something I really enjoy doing. And I’m marginally good at it, as some of my coworkers and friends will attest. In fact, I have always fantasized about owning my own bakery, because in my head I would like getting up at 4 a.m. every morning, baking for hours and then dealing with grouchy people all morning, despite the fact that I am a) not a morning person at all and b) not particularly tolerant of others’ poor attitudes. That’s why when I saw there was a Full Moon series based on a murderous gingerbread cookie -- because the Full Moon catalog is filled with movies about tiny, deadly things inflicting tiny, deadly injuries on full-size, dumb people -- and that the first one starred Gary Busey, well, I was cooked.
THE GINGERDEAD MAN
Without any reason whatsoever, we open on Gary Busey, wearing an outfit from Gary Busey’s Closet, murdering a bunch of people in a diner because his mama told him to always finish what he started. So he kills a bunch of people, including the father and brother of what will be our female lead, Sarah, who he maims instead of murders, because Gary Busey is a gentleman.
Here’s where it gets spicy: Busey is caught and convicted, sentenced to death -- because of Sarah’s testimony -- and once he is killed, his ashes are sent to the aforementioned Finish-What-You-Start Mother, who turns out to be a witch sort who mixes her son’s ashes with what this movie calls “gingerbread seasoning,” and what I like to call, simply, “spices.” She sends this seasoning to the family bakery, called The Bakery, run by Sarah and her shotgun-toting raging alcoholic mother. This execution happens right at the same time that Sarah’s brother would have turned 21, a day that Sarah remembers sadly. (“Today was Jeremy’s birthday. He wanted to spend it at the titty bar.”) So Sarah is feeling gloomy that her brother can’t go to the ladies lounge for the evening. So she stress bakes a single, giant gingerbread cookie, which, when heated to 375 degrees for 25 minutes, returns Gary Busey to life and allows him to begins injuring and murdering people. The Gingerdead Man proceeds to remove fingers, drive cars with the aid of a rolling pin, stab someone in the brain and maneuver a hammer before he is finally cornered and defeated ... by consumption.
Yes, that’s right. The Gingerdead Man is destroyed because one of the characters gets the bright idea to just, you know, eat him. As someone who has been eating her problems for the majority of her 33 years, I was not surprised by what happened next -- the spirit o’ the Gingerdead Man comes back to life in the kid who ate him, and he has to be shoved into the giant walk-in oven at The Bakery.This is a life lesson, guys. At the end of the day, our problems will always come bubbling back up, like the cheese eeking out of a calzone, like the fizzes in a nice ginger ale, like the hot tomato sauce on grandma’s baked ziti. We cannot be slaves to food, because, if so, food will destroy us as it will grow opposable thumbs and sound like Gary Busey and give us high cholesterol and also stab us to death with tiny knives. It’s better not to wish for the sweet things in life, you see, but simply eat to live, and subsist on leafy greens, because there’s never been anyone to die at the hands of the Kale Killer, has there?
FILM-TO-BAKED GOOD-EQUIVALENT: Devil’s Food Cake made lovingly by your slightly senile grandmother, who used four-week-old eggs in the recipe, assuring you they’re fine because “they’ve been cold the whole time.”
THE GINGERDEAD MAN 2: PASSION OF THE CRUST
So there’s this guy named Kelvin, named so because he’s hot y’all (he’s not, that’s a temperature-kelvin-science joke that you just didn’t laugh at) and he’s running his dad’s film company, Cheatum Studios. He’s doing a piss-poor job of said running, meaning it’s running south, mostly by way of this latest incantation of their famous killer puppet franchise -- It’s so meta, you guys, think about it -- which appears to be a train wreck, as one of said puppets is a demonic dildo and a secret internet troll has been trying to get folks to boycott all Cheatum films.
So Kelvin and his merry band of angry-dildo puppets are having a really bad day when they meet Tommy, who is 35 and portraying a 17-year-old with a deadly disease. Tommy is part of a Make A Wish sort of thing, and his dying wish is to see the studio, so Like A Make A Wish employee Heather wheels him smack dab into the chaos. Heather and Kelvin immediately heat up the screen (that’s another temperature joke, guys) while a Cheatum employee tries to calm the employees by offering a box of baked goods from a little bakery called The Bakery. Guess who is in that box? No, not Helena. The Gingerdead Man!
The Gingerdead Man is hungry for death and finds he can fill up on it at the film studio. He does some pretty delicious murderings with his wee little body, including one involving coitus deadus, and then, Kelvin and Heather head off to fight The Gingerdead Man, which involves more chaos and also gives the soon-to-be-dead Tommy a chance to reveal he is actually the secret internet troll! At this point we have two bad guys, and as it always happens when you get two shitheads in a room together, they compete for dominance and Tommy loses. However, in the process of killing Tommy, The Gingerdead Man accidentally activates a Pagan ritual (did not see that coming, did you?) which gives life to the toys from the aforementioned Cheatum film series, and it turns out the Demon Dildo and his friends have hearts of goodness, which they use to destroy The Gingerdead Man by way of baked good crucifixion, which is why this film is titled “Passion of the Crust,” and also why I will probably not get invited to Heaven when I die. Hmmmph.
FILM-TO-BAKED GOOD-EQUIVALENT: Scones. What the fuck are those anyway? Cookies? Biscuits? Stale muffins? Whatever they are, they have a weird texture and I always walk away from them feeling like I should’ve gotten more out of the experience.
THE GINGERDEAD MAN 3: SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER
Do you ever feel like you may be doing it all wrong? Like, life in general? This is something that I often wrestle with, because I am 33 and really, I don’t know what the fuck I am doing, guys. I had this expectation of adulthood, and it involved being taller and fitter and just generally having my shit together. Speaking of shit, let’s talk about the final Gingerdead Man film, shall we? It begins at the reasonably-titled Scientific Research Institute for the Study of Homicidal Baked Goods, where a woman (in a Clarice Starling wig and suit jacket) interviews The Gingerdead Man (in a Hannibal Lecter mask) until the cookie prison is overtaken by cookie activists and releases our antagonist, who promptly runs amok in the institute and finds a time-travel room, which he enters.
And that is the story of how The Gingerdead Man goes back to a roller rink in the ‘70s and begins killing girls with feathered hair and old-school skates. He actually does it in some fairly satisfying ways -- including hydrochloric acid. I could go into more details here about this one, but I’ll be honest -- this whole horror-comedy subgenre can really kind of suck it. It’s hard to be interested in this stuff if you’re relatively sober, which I was. So let me just say there’s a Porky’s reference, a weirdo threesome which also ends up involving a nail gun and concerns that the roller rink may close because its owner (who, by the way, inadvertently caused Pearl Harbor) has substantial debt in the form of back taxes.
Shit devolves from here. Because of time travel, a whole bunch of historical assholes get involved in The Gingerdead Man’s reign of terror and I just don’t care anymore. To make matters worse, at this point in the film, I talked to my dad and we got into a really ridiculous argument because he is highly unreasonable and I am always reasonable, so while I was trying to think of clever quips to use in this paragraph, I was also trying not to scream at my dad that he is no longer the boss of me and that I am an adult and also how can cookies kill so much when they have brought so much joy to the world?
The lesson I have learned from this foray into subgenre is, well, don’t. I can’t wait to go watch something normal, where an alienated guy goes on a murderous rampage and kills all the women who spurned him, only to be burned in a house, only to survive and come back fifteen years later to be shot fifteen times, only to survive and come back fifteen years later to finally, finally die from Ebola or that respiratory virus that’s going around now, only to come back as a zombie and eat a bunch of babies. Is that a movie series yet? If not, it really should be. In fact, if you used what I just wrote as the entire script for four movies, then you would still have something better than The Gingerdead Man series. I swear it.
FILM-TO-BAKED GOOD-EQUIVALENT: Receiving a freshly baked shepherd’s pie and finding out the meat in it is sausage ground from your aforementioned slightly-senile grandmother’s hastily amputated hands ... after you’ve eaten it and fed it to your two-year-old son, thus making you and the younger generation both cannibals, causing you to lose your mind and decide to just go with the whole eating-people-thing, thereby causing you and your family to become a real-life Donner Party, but without any scones.