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Friday, October 9, 2015

New on Video: Great Big Gobs of Greasy Long-Pig Guts in Gravy

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM

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Comedy and horror are notoriously difficult to get right. That’s case when they’re separate genres, and moreso when they’re combined. For every Evil Dead 2, there’s a dozen Transylvania 6-5000s. (Okay, that ratio may be off a skosh, but you get the point.) And in spite of all-too-cleverly beginning with a character saying they’re from Haddonsfield, the town from John Carpenter’s Halloween, James Roday’s horror-comedy Gravy, which Shout! Factory just released on Blu-ray, gets it right.



The setup is simple enough: A group of psychopathic cannibals takes a disparate group of people hostage in a Mexican cantina on Halloween night. Their plan is to eat their hostages, and there is some long pig consumed through the film, but they also fuck with their victims first, including several rounds of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.


Speaking of long pig, one of the main scenes of it being nommed upon is set to a bouncy 1980s song that shouldn’t work in this context because the veneer of “ha ha we’re being ironic!” is so glaringly obvious. And yet, it kinda does.



True story: My library coworkers were a little distressed recently by the fact that I knew that human flesh intended for consumption is called “long pig,” and they were not reassured when I told them that it was mentioned by Charles Laughton in the 1932 film Island of Lost Souls.

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Though it does not reference Island of Lost Souls (or any other version of The Island of Dr. Moreau), Gravy is steeped in pop-culture references, almost to the extent of a Kevin Smith film, but not as annoyingly as that may sound. And unlike a Kevin Smith film, Gravy is buoyed by a very strong script, one which gives everyone in the cast plenty to do and actually delves quite a lot into the motivations of the characters.


Granted, the film starts with a title card which disabuses any notion of character motivation:

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Sometimes, a fried noodle — with a side of long pig, of course — is just what you want from your horror movies. And a few good jokes, too.


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Sherilyn Connelly

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