The Gingerdead Man (2005)

Directed By: Charles Band
Written By: William Butler
  August White
Starring: Gary Busey
  Robin Sydney
  Ryan Locke
  Larry Cedar
The Gingerdead Man

The Gingerdead Man boasts not only the acting powerhouse that is Gary Busey amongst its cast members, in a fantastic turn as maniacal and absurdly named Millard Findlemeyer, it also has to be one of the shortest movies I’ve seen in recent memory. At around only 70 minutes long, one has to wonder whether that was a conscious choice or whether so much of the raw material was unusable that it died a tragic death on the cutting room floor.

Those of you familiar with Charles Band‘s earlier work will know exactly what to expect. His fascination with miniature serial killers (puppets, gingerbread men, dolls…) is both strange and terrifying, although probably not for the reasons he’d hoped. There are many people on the internet who are quite vocal about the fact that they think he should pack up and stop making films altogether but there is still a small demographic that lap this stuff up. I’m in the centre of the debate, not quite caring enough about him to take either side.

The story takes place in a small ‘Mom & Pop’ style bakery. When majorly unhinged murderer and all-round criminal Findlemeyer frequents the place one day, he kills a bunch of people and then gets shot and killed himself. Years later, while the owners are in the midst of a feud with the bigger, better, brighter establishment that has recently opened up across the street, a shadowy figure drops off some gingerbread seasoning which just so happens to contain Findlemeyers ashes and gets used in what is possibly the biggest gingerbread man anyone has ever seen. Said gingerbread man then comes to life and starts fucking shit up. Oh, and apparently he’s the re-incarnation of Findlemeyer and talks like Gary Busey. Some people die, some people survive, you know the drill.

Busey is the only notable member of the cast, the others are relative unknowns whose acting talent rivals only porn stars and bit parters on the soap opera circuit. He more than makes up for everyone elses lacklustre performance though, taking on the role of a murderous cookie and giving it his all as only he can!
I had some major beef with the continuity in this flick. For example, at one point the pint-sized maniac fires approximately 20 or so (I may or may not be exaggerating) consecutive rounds from an, apparently magical, six shooter. I guess in a film of this calibre though, you have to turn a blind eye to things like basic math and physics and whatnot and just pretend that they take place in their own little distorted reality.

There is little in the way of gore, much of it happens off screen and we are left only with the aftermath which I imagine was down to the meagre budget. The financial constraints are obvious at every turn but there are some fairly imaginative scenarios and the Gingerdead Man has some fantastically silly one-liners. I’m not quite sure whether we are ever supposed to be afraid of the titular character or whether, given the ridiculous premise, we are supposed to be laughing our way through the film. Admittedly, it raised a few laughs from me and my friends and I were quoting it for days afterward. Also, much of my enjoyment was derived from watching the ‘behind the scenes’ feature included on the DVD. It was obvious that the cast and crew had a blast making this flick and that kind of enthusiasm is always contagious.

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone rushed out and bought this film but if there are few other options and you want to be mildly entertained, or if you’re as big a Busey fan as me, then there are worse ways to spend an hour and ten minutes. A word of warning though; if you’re particularly suggestible then it might be safe to keep your distance for fear of forever personifying baked goods. It made me think twice about having any biscuits with my cup of tea anyway……..

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

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