The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 8.26.13 Issue #271: Gallowwalkers (2012)
Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz on 08.26.2013
Thoughts on the Wesley Snipes flick Gallowwalkers plus two TV Quick Hits, two new batches of Things to Watch Out For This Week, a new B-Movie Babe is named, a new Douchebag of the Week is crowned, and more!
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #271: Gallowwalkers (2012)
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that thinks ice cream sandwiches are pretty cool, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and seventy-one, I take a look at the long on the shelf sort of horror western fantasy flick Gallowwalkers starring the great Wesley Snipes.
Gallowwalkers, directed and co-written by Andrew Goth, is a movie that I thought I would never see. Filmed back in 2006, Gallowwalkers (it was called Gallowwalker back then) didn't get a release until this year because, I assume, Wesley Snipes went to prison for tax issues and the people behind the movie didn't want to release it with Snipes not around to promote it (it is kind of hard to promote a movie when you're in prison for several years). Of course, there's a chance that the movie's seriously delayed release had absolutely nothing to do with Snipes' tax problems and was just one of those things that happens sometimes in the movie business. As far as I know, no one intimately involved with the movie has said why it's taken six plus years for Gallowwalkers to see the light of day. It can't be because it's a bad movie; far from it. Gallowwalkers isn't necessarily a good movie, but within the world of low budget horror hybrid movies, everyone has seen far worse (I know I have). Gallowwalkers is an interesting failure, a movie chock full of ideas and imagery that, with more money and a better story, could be the kind of movie genre movie nerds could rally around.
Snipes stars as Aman, a lone gunman who rides around the desolate western landscape (the movie was filmed in Namibia) looking for a group of bad guys he has to kill again. See, before Aman became this badass gunslinger, he was just a young man with a troubled past and a bright future. He was all set to start a family with the love of his life (Sueno, as played by the beautiful Alyssa Pridham) when she was attacked and raped by Kansa (Kevin Howarth) and his band of psychopaths. Out for justifiable revenge, Aman tracked Kansa and his gang to a local prison, infiltrated the prison, and shot all of them (heck, he even shot people not even all that involved in the attack, like Kansa's prostitute at the time Kisscut, as played by Simona Brhlikova). For whatever reason, all of the people Aman killed came back to life and started killing again. And by "killing again" I mean capturing people, hanging them, and stealing their skin. And by "stealing their skin" I mean actually taking their skin and somehow putting it on their own bodies (Kansa and Kisscut take great pleasure in this process).
Now, when we first meet Aman he's dispatching Hool (Hector Hank), one of Kansa's gang. This dispatching is a little different than past dispatchings as Aman has finally figured out how to kill these bad guys (he has to rip off their heads). It should be a triumphant moment for Aman, but he's worried that Kansa and the others are too well hidden to find. Kansa should have been with Hool but he wasn't. Why? While all of that is going on, a group of prisoners is being transported to a desolate prison out in the middle of nowhere so they can be sacrificed as part of some weird religious ritual. This cult, led by Marshall Gaza (Patrick Bergin), enjoys hanging people so they can meet God and go to heaven (or something like that). One of the prisoners, a young guy named Fabulos (Riley Smith), is rescued by Aman so he can become Aman's sort of sidekick. Everyone else on the prison wagon is stuck going to the gallows. And while all of that is going on, Kansa and his gang of now sort of demonic, blonde haired albino psychopaths are looking for more victims of their own, not to mention a suitable skin donor for Kansa's long dead, rotting son (Kansa's gang carries around Kansa's son's dried out dead body on a large cross).
It's at this point I'm going to stop describing the plot because I'm not sure I understand all of it. All of the story threads, I guess, do come together in the end, but I'm not sure how or why any of the stuff that does happen happens. I'm still unclear as to why Kansa's gang of albino psychopath zombies is essentially unkillable, too. Is it because they were all killed as part of Aman's revenge? Why is that a bad thing?
And then there's the whole Fabulos thing. Why does Aman want him to become his sidekick? Why does Aman need a sidekick? It's not like Aman is getting out of the zombie killing business at the end of the movie and needs someone else to take over. What the hell is going on there? Snipes and Smith do have good chemistry together, so why not feature them as more of a buddy cop type grouping?
And why does the movie feel more like an art movie as opposed to a zombie western shoot 'em up? Is that deliberate on director Goth's part, or is this the movie he had to sort of make out of the footage and performances he had? The Namibian landscapes are goddamn beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen a desert landscape look so gorgeous and so scary at the same time (you get lost out there you're done), especially in a low budget movie like this. But where is the story? Why is the movie so freaking complicated that it's a chore to simply think about?
Snipes does a good job as Aman. He has the badass, troubled gunslinger down pat, and you can easily see him playing this character in another movie (one with a better story, that is). He doesn't do much in the way of martial arts, but he does get to stand there, stoically, ready to kill whatever gets in his way. Kevin Howarth is great as the villain Kansa. His look, his scary voice, and his mannerisms all make you sit up and take notice. The way he interacts with his gang and with the people he captures and skins is terrifying, at least for a little while (some of Kansa's scenes go on way too long).
Simona Brhlikova is hilarious as Kisscut, Kansa's lead female henchperson. When she smiles you just know that she's pure evil (it's probably why Kansa was interested in her in the first place). The super hot Tanit Phoenix shows up as Angel, a prostitute/prisoner that sort of figures into the end of the movie. She should have had more to do. And Jenny Gago is excellent as the Mistress, Aman's sort of minder/mentor/adopted mother who runs a slaughterhouse out in the desert. She, too, should have had more to do, but her scenes are one of the movie's highlights.
And then there's Diamond Dallas Page as Skullbucket, the weird as hell Kansa henchperson who wears a big metal helmet, has a major skin problem, and likes to kill people. Why the hell isn't he featured more prominently in the movie? It just makes no sense.
Now, what does the term "gallowwalker" mean? Essentially, it refers to Kansa's gang of killers. They didn't die by the gallow, but for some reason they're legendary (in a bad way) in the desert. At least I think that's what it all means.
I'm glad that Gallowwalkers finally got a release and is finally out there for movie nerds to see. It's a cool idea, and the movie looks beautiful. But, in the end, it just isn't satisfying as a movie. It needs a better story, a better plot. Wesley Snipes did a good job.
It isn't great, but you should check out Gallowwalkers anyway. It's worth it, just to say that you saw it. It needs to be remade, though. I'd settle for a cool sequel, too.
See Gallowwalkers. See it, see it, see it.
So what do we have here?
Dead bodies: 10+.
Explosions: None. The movie could have used one, though.
Nudity?: A little. It isn't bad.
Doobage: A vast desert, buckets of blood, gore, a weird axe, a decapitated dead body, a rape flashback, crows picking at a dead body in a tree, a pump platform, a guy with his mouth sewn shut, a severed head hanging from a tree, yellow eyes, a graphic decapitation by hand, a bunch of people are killed for some reason, an outdoor prison, a mass hanging, double knife to the gut, a guy with no skin, hidden water, a trap door exercise, training zombies, blood spitting, more flashbacks, knife to the head, cow decapitation, cow skinning, lots of people drinking water from buckets, a rock throwing contest, a rattlesnake, face rubbing, dead body skinning, dead body dragging, a severed head with the spine still flailing around, a dust storm, multiple exploding heads, whip attack, hammer to the head, some kung fu, more flashbacks, a rock avalanche, an underground lair filled with ancient writings, attempted knife throwing, multiple bullets to the head, more decapitations, and a bizarre ending.
Kim Richards?: None. There should have been, though.
Gratuitous: Wesley Snipes, Wesley Snipes doing a voice over, Wesley Snipes playing a badass cowboy, multiple decapitations, multiple yellow eyes, Diamond Dallas Page, a hot whore, multiple flashbacks, and a bizarre ending.
Best lines: "What's wrong with you? Be a man!," "Do you remember me?," "Where is he? He did not come," "What piece of you can I buy for a dollar?," "You ever heard of the Gallowwalkers?," "What does a girl got to do to get rescued around here?," "Can't go wrong with white," "All right, stranger, I'm going to have to see your face," "Shut the hell up, bitch!," "Good texture. Tough and soft," "One dollar and we never talk of this day again," "Boss, if I do a good job can I have her lips?," "Forgive me, father, for I have skinned," "You never forget the man that kills you for the first time," "Who are you looking for? The one that didn't come," "Kisscut! Are you my whore or what?," "I thought you wanted me dead? Well, dead ain't what it used to be," and "All this over one petty piece of pussy?"
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!
Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There's not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey. And it would be cool if you "liked" it, too.
- Dark Angel/I Come in Peace: Finally, I Come in Peace is hitting DVD. The fine folks at Shout! Factory are releasing it, and it looks like the Blu-ray disc will feature some sort of special feature (some kind of interview featurette). Hopefully, sales of this disc will force Shout! Factory to double dip and create a full on special edition with commentaries, behind the scenes hooey, etc. I think the movie deserves it.
- The Walking Dead: Season 3: The third season of The Walking Dead was both badass and depressing, considering what happened. And with the start of the fourth season just a few short weeks away (it's almost October, people!), what better way to get caught up on what happened last season than with this DVD set?
- Sons of Anarchy: Season 5: The fifth season of the FX biker gang show Sons of Anarchy ended with a bit of a whimper, but the season as a whole was pretty good. I'm hoping that Donal Logue's character, who shows up briefly at the end of season five, shows up at the start of season six and kicks SAMCRO ass. I think it's needed.
- Pain & Gain: I missed this Michael Bay movie when it was in theatres, but I've heard good things about it so it's worth a rental of some sort. The Rock, Mark Wahlberg, and Mr. Monk. What a great cast. Ha.
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week
TV Quick Hits
- A Rambo TV show?: Sylvester Stallone has hinted at a possible fifth Rambo movie for several years now, and there was some talk of Stallone doing a The Expendables TV show, so it's kind of weird that, as he's making The Expendables 3, there's talk of doing a Rambo TV show.
A Rambo TV show? How is that possible? And what the heck is it going to be about? Is the show going to be a sort of reboot of the movie franchise in TV form, with the novel that started it all, First Blood by David Morrell, as the basis for an AMC style cable drama? Or will the show be a kind of continuation of the movies, with John Rambo now at home dealing with stuff or back in Southeast Asia riding around in a boat and killing bad guys? I have a feeling that the show is just going to be a First Blood reboot, with a greater emphasis on the conflict between Rambo and the small town sheriff Teasle. Of course, what is that conflict going to be about? In the novel it was all about the difference in values between a Vietnam War veteran (Rambo) and a Korean War veteran (Teasle). Will the story still be about that, or will it all be about a conflict between a veteran of the first Gulf war and a veteran of the second? I guess the show could go all retro on us and take place in the 1980's and still deal with Vietnam and its aftermath.
But what if the fine folks at Entertainment One and Nu Image don't want a "serious drama about the aftermath of war" and all that and instead want a badass action show similar to Cinemax's Strike Back? Is the Rambo character more valuable as the commodity we already know or as something else/something new? And since Stallone has said that he won't be playing Rambo on the show, will the audience even accept someone else as the character? Much in the same way Robert Englund is Freddy Krueger eventhough Jackie Earle Haley portrayed Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, Stallone is Rambo (he's also Rocky Balboa. Ha. Ahnold Schwarzenegger has the same duality going on, as he's both the Terminator and Conan the Barbarian). Can someone else really slap on the knife, the headband, get all scarred up and go kick ass?
So let's say this Rambo TV show actually happens. Who should play John Rambo? Should it be an established character actor or some new guy? And, this could turn into a big deal, should Rambo be played by an American? If you look at Strike Back, an American plays a British Special Forces guy, and an Australian plays an American Special Forces guy, and no one seems to care. But then Strike Back is a relatively new TV show based on a novel by an ex-British Special Forces guy; it isn't Rambo.
It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out. A Rambo TV show could go a million different ways. Hopefully, in the end, whatever Entertainment One, Nu Image, and Stallone (I'm going to assume that he'll be involved in some capacity, as a producer or "creative consultant") do Rambo the TV show is a worthwhile endeavor. No one wants to see a substandard Rambo property. No one.
- Ed Schultz is back to 5 days a week on MSNBC!: I guess the weekends only experiment didn't work out, or was just too successful to be weekends only, but either way the great Ed Schultz is coming back to weekdays on MSNBC. Ed's show will air at 5pm Monday through Friday, replacing Hardball (Hardball will now air only once at 7pm instead of at 5 and 7). It'll be good to see two sharp and tough badass liberals on one after the other in the afternoon (Martin Bashir is still on at 4pm and is the other half of that badass liberal tag team).
So what happens to Ed's old timeslot on the weekends? I don't think MSNBC has announced who or what will replace Ed's show at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. As far as I know Karen Finney is still going to have her show at 4pm. Will Ezra Klein finally get a weekend gig?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Tanit Phoenix
Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2
- Super Buddies: The latest installment of the Buddies talking puppy dog franchise released by Disney apparently has the cute puppy Buddies of the title running around with various super powers. I, for one, can't wait to see what the little guys get themselves into.
And, no, I am not ashamed to admit that I like this Disney franchise. How can you hate a movie starring talking dogs? It's impossible.
- The Barbarians/The Norseman Double Feature: The fine folks at Shout! Factory once again are set to release a very cool double feature DVD of movies that haven't been seen by anyone in ages. The immortal Barbarian brothers star in The Barbarians, a movie that used to be on The Movie Channel just about every weekend in the middle 1990's, and The Norseman, a weird as hell Viking movie starring Lee Majors that was a fixture at most old school video stores back in the 1980's. It doesn't look like we're getting any special features for either movie on this disc, but that's okay. Just having these movies on some kind of disc is good enough.
- A Resurrection: This looks like some sort of weird beard low budget "paranormal event" type deal. The presence of the now late, always great Michael Clarke Duncan makes the movie worth at least a rental. The DVD cover is pretty creepy, isn't it?
- Captain Battle: Legacy War: This mega low budget Captain America "homage" (rip off is too strong a word) looks ridiculous, sure, but it also looks fun. If the actual movie has a quarter of the earnestness on display in the trailer it'll be worth checking out. Has anyone out there seen this? Anyone at all?
The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week
This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the ultra right wing media machine, for going ballistic over President Obama's lack of a statement regarding the recent murder of an Australian baseball player in Oklahoma. According to the URWMM, because the alleged killers are three black kids and the victim is white it's a hate crime because, well, the "liberal media" said that George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin was a hate crime. Or something like that. It doesn't make any sense but then it doesn't have to. The URWMM wants you to believe that the President and his minions in the "liberal media" hate white people and want to "encourage" minorities to "seek revenge" on white people for being racists. Or something like that (again, it doesn't really make any sense).
At the moment, the alleged killers haven't said they killed the baseball player, Christopher Lane, because he was white. They have apparently said they killed him because "they were bored" and, in essence, Lane was in the wrong place at the wrong time (they picked him out at random). So where is the hate crime?
And then there's the WWE, for its ridiculous ongoing partnership with the Be A Star anti-bullying campaign. I know, like just about everyone else in the world, that the WWE is "just entertainment" and staged and "fake" and whatnot, but I still find it hilarious that the WWE can run a commercial during Monday Night Raw for the Be-A-Star Anti-Bullying Campaign with testimonials from various WWE performers and then, in the next live segment, feature people being bullied by WWE performers. Ryback and his ongoing thing where he intimidates backstage people simply because he can; the whole thing with HHH and Daniel Bryan (like last week's final segment, where HHH taunted Bryan as he tried to enter the ring); and pretty much anything involving the Bella Twins. Am I the only one who thinks this partnership is a bad idea and makes Be A Star look bad?
And finally there's the guy who decided to shit on top of the toilet at my crappy paying job the other day. And by "on top of the toilet" I mean on top of the back of the toilet, on the front part of the back of the toilet, and on the entire toilet seat. The guy, and I am not making this up, didn't get any shit in the actual toilet. How the fuck do you do that? And why the fuck would you do it? I mean, I can understand if you're in the middle of some explosive diarrhea episode and, while just getting to the toilet and pulling your pants down some shit shoots out of your ass and smacks the back of the toilet, but a normal person sits down as soon as possible. He doesn't fucking stand there, ass out, waiting for the shit spray to stop. A normal person also finds an employee and tells him or her what's happened. A normal person doesn't sneak away like nothing has happened (I don't think the guy washed his hands. There were no soiled paper towels in the trash and there was no light brown liquid residue in the sink).
Jesus Christ, there are some sick, nasty fucking people in the world. Again, who the fuck shits on top of a toilet?
NASCAR and Indycar thoughts
The NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol, the "Night Race," was pretty dang exciting from start to finish. The track was kind of greasy at times, but it seemed like the cars that were hooked up could go anywhere on the track. Matt Kenseth won the race, holding off a hard charging Kasey Kahne for his fifth victory of the season. Juan Pablo Montoya finished third (he probably should have won the race, but, as seems to happen quite often, NASCAR claimed Montoya was speeding on pit road and had to go through a penalty. Montoya engaged in some strategy and, after a yellow, found himself up front again and was a threat to win with about twenty laps to go before he faded to third).
I was shocked that Kahne didn't accidentally slam into Kenseth on the back stretch. Kahne doesn't appear to be the kind of driver that would deliberately spin a guy out to win a race, but with the way both he and Kenseth were sliding in the corners I really though that Kahne was going to nail him.
There weren't as many big wrecks as I thought there would be. Bobby Labonte was involved in quite the melee towards the end, and there were several weird spins, but I thought there would have been at least one massive pile up with someone going upside down. Everyone was bumping and banging and not giving an inch, I'm amazed that there weren't more yellows. Look at what happened to Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, and Kevin Harvick. That could have happened several times.
Kyle Busch, who won the Camping World Truck Series race on Wednesday and the Nationwide race on Friday, had to start last and managed to get towards the front several times before settling for eleventh. Amazing race for him. His brother Kurt, who could be driving a fourth entry for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, had a good start to the race, but then suffered some kind of mechanical failure and ended way in the back. Are Kurt's Chase chances over now?
Joey Logano, in a damaged car, managed to finish in the top 10. How the heck did he do it? And where the heck did Brian Vickers, in the Michael Waltrip Racing #55, come from to finish 4th? Jeff Gordon had an okay day, actually finishing the race and contending for the win (he ended up seventh). Gordon's Chase prospects don't look good at the moment. He's going to need to win at both Atlanta and Richmond if he's going to get in. I don't see that happening.
The Nationwide race on Friday night was a bit of a bore. Kyle Busch dominated the race, picking up his 60th career Nationwide victory (I believe that's the most of anyone). Who the heck is going to stop Busch when he decides to race? Can anyone really beat him?
I missed the Truck race on Wednesday, but I did see the NASCAR Modified race that was run before the Truck race. Mike Stefanik did a great job outlasting everyone for the win. Donny Lia dominated the first half of the race, but then something happened and he was done. How does Ryan Newman find so much speed? How can he pass people at will? Is it his experience at Bristol or is there something else at work there? I love the modifieds at Bristol. Great stuff.
Atlanta is up next for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. The Trucks return this Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Ontario, Canada. When was the last time the Trucks raced on a road course?
Over in Indycar, the series was back in action after a long three week break with a race at the Sonoma road course in California. It was a caution filled event that saw major controversy in the pits between Will Power's Verizon team and Scott Dixon's Target #9. During the last pit stop sequence Dixon accidentally hit one of Power's tire men, who for some reason was holding his used tire out from his body, allowing Dixon to clip him and send him to the ground. A pass through penalty was issued by Indycar Series officials for Dixon, and that pretty much ended any chance of him winning the race (Dixon had one of the best cars in the race and looked like he was on his way to his fourth win of the season). Power eventually went on to win, his first victory of the season (that seems weird to say). Dixon claimed after the race that Power's tire guy "walked into him deliberately." I find that hard to believe. Why would a crew guy do that? I know that the announcers in the NBC Sports booth seemed to agree with Dixon, but, man, that just sounds like bullshit.
The race as a whole was kind of lackluster, mostly because there were so many cautions and not enough wheel-to-wheel action. The restarts were exciting, and it was kind of fun watching Marco Andretti and Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud try to cut through the field on those restarts. But other than that, it seemed like everyone was just going really fast with nowhere to go. Roger Penske's freak out on Marco Andretti after the race was pretty cool, though.
What was the deal with the crowd in the grandstands? Did anyone actually show up for this race?
In other Indycar news, it sounds like the series really wants to stage a road course event at Indianapolis. A multi-car test is expected to happen soon. Derrick Walker, president of competition for the series, said before the race at Sonoma that he believes the current road course configuration at Indianapolis will probably need major improvements/alterations for a proper race. If it's going to cost a ton of money to alter the current road course at Indy, find somewhere else to race. What's the point of pouring money into an endeavor that's sure to fail (Indycars race at Indy on the oval. That's where they belong)? Someone from Indycar really needs to explain why the series wants this race to happen.
Baltimore is next for the Indycar Series. The street race is scheduled for this Sunday afternoon at 2pm. NBC Sports Network will carry the race live.
Oh, and it looks like the Indycar people that used to work for the now former Speed Channel are now doing their Indycar thing over on Racer Magazine's website. You just can't keep Robin Miller unemployed.
Well, I think that'll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.
If there's anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I'm always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.
And don't forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.
Wesley Snipes- Aman Kevin Howarth- Kansa Riley Smith- Fabulos Tanit Phoenix- Angel Simona Brhlikova- Kisscut Patrick Bergin- Marshall Gaza Hector Hank- Hool Alyssa Pridham- Sueno Diamond Dallas Page- Skullbucket Jenny Gago- Mistress
Directed by Andrew Goth Screenplay by Andrew Goth and Joanne Reay
Distributed by Lionsgate
Rated R for bloody violence, grisly images, some language and brief nudity Runtime- 90 minutes