FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Mar 27, 2009

The Manipu--

I know we're not supposed to judge books by their covers and all that...but then, if that's really true, why doesn't every form of media simply come in a plain brown package? Youfeelme? In a sense, it would make things easier and perhaps, my life less painful. I mean, when I see this cover...

...and I know it's supposed to be a horror movie and not, say, a heartwarming film about a kindly old man who makes marionettes to entertain retarded orphans or something, I have to admit, my first thought is going to be "This will be the greatest movie ever ever EVARR." That's just how I'm wired...and lemme tell you, it never turns out the way I'd like it to. Never. NEVARR!

Mickey Rooney enters a studio? Theatre? TGI Fridays?, some cobwebby place with lots of crazy crap everywhere. He's sporting longish hair, tinted glasses, black gloves, and a black trench coat. I immediately wonder why no one has ever thought to cast Paul Williams in a seems like a match made in heaven to me.

Anyhooze, it seems that this mysterious fellow is no longer a star, and that makes him CA-RAZY! He talks to himself, he talks to mannequins, he sees pasty naked old people wonders if this is the fate that awaits Tila Tequila.

By the way, if the pasty naked broad on the right was actually Edith Massey, The Manipulator probably would be the greatest movie ever ever EVARR. But it's not, and it isn't.

Mickey Rooney sweats, jibber-jabbers, gnashes his teeth, prances around...and I know that sounds awesome but it's really, really not. Like, it's so not that it exists in a dimension entirely different from what is awesome. I don't think that makes sense- I don't get science- but maybe you catch my drift.

It turns out that Mickey Rooney has kidnapped some woman to partake in his macabre games of madness! She sits in a wheelchair and yells "Mr Laaaaannnnnng! Mr Laaannnnnnnng!" over and over and over and overandoverandoverANDOVERANDOVER and so Mickey Rooney...err, Mr Laaaaannnnnng feeds her some applesauce to get her to shut up.

At this point, I'm 13 minutes into the movie and I want to set myself on fire. I knew I wasn't going to make it through The Manipulator...maybe my immune system isn't what it used to be, or maybe I'm starting to feel my mortality and, you know, 90 minutes is a decent chunk out of the finite time I've got left on this planet. The point is, I decided to give the movie until the 30-minute mark and if I was still feeling like self-immolation was a better option than watching it, I'd turn that shit off.

Then, at the 22-minute mark, this happened:

...yup, Mickey Rooney in a face full of makeup, looking like the stunt double for that broad on The Drew Carey Show (I love the word "broad", as if you can't tell by the way I've been running it into the ground lately, especially in this post). I thought I might be able to salvage something good from The Manipulator yet.

Alas, alack, it was not to be. When Mickey Rooney in makeup can't save the movie, you know the movie is bad...and trust me, "bad" doesn't begin to describe this excruciating pile of dook. I know the director really thought he was giving the audience a window into insane madness, but between the rambling monologues, weird "dream visions", fucking sped-up sequences featuring some sort of harpsichord bullshit, the real insane madness here was mine and mine alone.

Because I possess both rage and honor, not unlike my heroette Cynthia Rothrock, I was true to my word (that's the honor part) and kept The Manipulator in until the timer hit 0:30, when Rooney was parading around in some Cyrano De Bergerac getup. Then I hit stop and pulled the DVD out of the player in such a fury (that's the rage part) that it literally* caught on fire, ensuring that I can't possibly watch any of this dreadful movie ever again.

*the DVD did not catch fire at all


Verdant Earl said...

The picture of Mickey Rooney in makeup was worth the pain. And since it was your pain and not mine, it makes it doubly worthwhile!

Wings1295 said...

Hilarious post! I was laughing so hard.

Better you than us, I say.

Space Sheriff Gavan said...

Way back when you first showed the cover for this, I thought a better name would be "THE ROONEY"

Cynthia Rothrock - I like her on principle, but all her american films are so... umm (deleted by politeness) on the other hand there's this, the authentically called best-fight-scene-of-all-time:

I can't believe you said harpsichord, and the next word was a swear! *goes and listens to harpsichord music*

RJ Battles said...

In your review of "Silent Night, Deadly Night" you mentioned how, when the movie came out, Mickey Rooney wrote a letter of protest. So I thought it was funny when I saw a while back that he starred in one of the sequels, Part 4 or 5, I can't remember.

r.▵. m○n○-ϟy said...

Bad movie, but oh! Those screenshots!

...must resist.

Anonymous said...

Paul Williams in a Giallo...LMAO.

James said...

And to think, I almost ordered a copy, just for that insane cover I used to see in the video store and creeped the fuck out of me.

I might end up still getting it down the line. It's because I like to abuse myself, that's why.

Anonymous said...

As I'm reading about how terrible this movie was I hit the part where you say 'at this point, I'm 13 minutes into the movie...' and I nearly wet myself with laughter.

Who would think they could fit that much craptacular enjoyment into 13 minutes of film!

W.B. Kelso said...

If it's any consolation, the movie does not improve under it's alternate title "BJ Lang Presents." However, having made it to the end, don't ask me how, one can only shake one's head and mumble "What pretentious piece of poop."

The Igloo Keeper said...

I'm going to try and never watch this.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

i think luana anders is one of the most gorgeous birds of all time.

Chris Otto said...

I'm here leafing through Mickey Rooney's 1991 autobiography and there's no mention of "The Manipulator." That's all.

Thomas Duke said...

I'm the only one who loves this movie, but I admit that it's almost impossible to sit through. It's an experimental short that last 90 minutes.

However, I think if you did sit and watch in a theater from beginning to end, you WOULD go insane, in a good way, like an acid trip through the irrational.

Or, to put it another way, it's like if WILLY WONKA was just 90 minutes of the creepy ferry ride.