The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto (2009)

Directed By: Rob Zombie
Written By: Joe Ekers
  Tom Papa
Starring: Tom Papa
  Rosario Dawson
  Paul Giamatti
  Sheri Moon Zombie
The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto

Rob Zombie is one of those directors. We all saw House Of 1000 Corpses, many of us loved it. Then he brought out The Devil’s Rejects and we just about went apeshit for that. He showed a whole tonne of promise with those first two movies, then pissed all over it, Halloween-style. The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto doesn’t suck like Zombie’s Halloween did. In fact, it doesn’t really suck at all.

Based on Zombie’s own comic book, this follows the story of a lecherous luchador/porn director/secret agent who exists in a world populated seemingly by nothing but references. Along with his sexy adopted sister, Suzi-X, he heads to the underworld to rescue a foul-mouthed stripper from the clutches of evil geek, Dr. Satan. Its pretty fun, and with it’s constant uzi-style one-homage-per-second mantra it certainly never gets boring. El Superbeasto contains some neat nods to pretty much every important horror flick ever made. Every major franchisee gets a cameo and there are a few genre pastiches too. Even Zombie’s own characters pop up, including the Devil’s Rejects themselves (minus Baby). Banjo And Sullivan make an appearance to serenade us as well.

Talking about serenading, this movie’s main source of enjoyment came, not from the animated nudie ladies but from the original music from Hard And Phirm. Dr. Satans smart ape, explaining his nefarious scheme through a jazzy funk interlude and the literal take on Suzi-X in the Nazi Zombie chase were the two best offerings, but all the songs were nicely rendered. Don’t expect Dragula or More Human Than Human though, this is a virtually metal free movie. Its not a boob free zone though, so if you like your ladies well endowed and immodest then hop on board. It does get a bit much though, for instance there is one scene where a voice wills you to masturbate (“its okay to jerk off to cartoons, the Japanese do it every day”), I’m pretty sure that even we genre fans have an animated boob limit. It also sticks its toe in the ‘Comedy Racism and Homphobia’ pond too, but El Superbeasto can’t get drag itself far enough away from sexism to really offend anyone else too much.

The voice acting is mostly over the top, and mostly good. Even though the bulk of the cast reads like a list of Zombie’s nearest and dearest, they do a pretty good job. Brian Posehn’s horny transform-a-bot, Giamatti’s Dr. Satan and Rosario Dawson’s expletive spewing, perma-nude Velvet Von Black all stand up admirably alongside the voice acting professionals.

For what it’s worth, El Superbeasto might as well not have Rob Zombie’s name anywhere near it, the animation looks like it was bought from the back of a Ren And Stimpy van (despite John K or Ralph Bakshi not being involved at all). Sure, a couple of themes and characters are indicative of Zombie but when have any of his films been this much fun? I wouldn’t be massively surprised to find out that he didn’t direct this on his own.

It’s puerile, it’s base, it’s smutty, and it is downright sexist but it is also one of the most fun-packed 70-odd minutes of recent memory. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but Ol’ Rob sure does know his market (horny boys and the sort of uber-fan that will pick up on obscure allusions to Jerry Lewis movies as much as sly winks at genre flicks). Zombie milks every last drop from the joke teat, meaning that, just as in Airplane or one of the Naked Guns, you will get more and more from this every time you watch it. Re-watchability is something that has been seriously lacking lately, and El Superbeasto just about makes up for it, I don’t believe it will ever get boring. Ignore the fact that it has a tendency to look like a flash cartoon, embrace the setting back of the women’s movement by God knows how long, prepare your ears for some creative language, and enjoy. You dig?

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

3 Comments on “The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto”

  1. Sarah Law says:

    ‘Tis a good review but I still can’t figure out whether I love or loathe Rob Zombie. His first two features were quite good but his bastardisation of the Halloween franchise made me foam-at-the-mouth angry.

    This sounds a little like a misogynists wet dream but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen it!

    • Jamie Carruthers says:

      Its very sexist, but I wouldn’t say it was misogynistic. Its like Russ Meyer movie: Sexist, but in the good way, the way which sort of says “Women are really sexy, lets look at that…”

      El Superbeasto is good solid fun, next time I watch it I am going to play Reference Bingo.

  2. Scullion says:

    Halloween 2 shit on my soul.

    I love The Devil’s Rejects, but even that now feels tarnished by the fucking God-awful Halloween films. Genuinely saddened by it.

    I will give this a go if it’ll make me like Rob Zombie again. 2 good films and 2 horrifically bad ones is not a good ratio…

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