Title: Necromentia (2009)
Tagline: Hell awaits the foolish
Summary: Inspired by the work of Clive Barker, Necromentia tells the story of what happens when you meddle with superstition and try to cross into another dimension using the powers of a Ouija board.
Hagen has a dead wife and believes he can bring her back to life. Travis is a man who lost his brother and wants to join him in the afterlife, and Morbius has been betrayed by those he loves and wants to come back from the dead to take revenge. A strange man only known as Mr Skinny protects the secrets of the powerful Ouija board, as all cross the gateways of hell to fulfil their own purpose, facing the hideous monstrosities that reside there as they go.
The above was copy typed from the back of the DVD box. It’s pretty much accurate. It’s also nothing like what happens in the movie. It’s odd that it’s exactly right but so misleading.
Trigger Warnings: Murder, suicide, self-harm, torture, necrophilia, flashing lights, terrible dialogue. [JC: Not making light of trigger warnings, but I’m greatly amused by “terrible dialogue” being right up there with “necrophilia.”]
Notes: I love this movie. I’m not even sorry. I was talking to JC, of Oh God Why?! Nostalgia, and we were talking about our favourite terrible movies. I asked her if she’d like to comment on my recap, because it would be great to see the reaction of someone who’s never seen this movie before (which, as far as I can tell, is anyone who is not me, or did not act in this movie). She said yes. I told her I’d return the favour, so who knows how she’ll feel about this movie and what I’ll end up watching as my penance. [JC: I watched this on YouTube with a watermark in the upper corner and Spanish subtitles at the bottom. So, if nothing else, I at least brushed up on some conversational torture-related Spanish, although I don’t foresee using it much. Except maybe “Hey, I’m not the one fucking a corpse.” I can see that one coming in handy.]
This movie is fucking weird.
Final note: I recapped this in vague detail back in 2011 for my own personal site. The recap has since gone offline, but if you think you’ve read any part of this recap before, don’t worry, I’m only plagiarising myself. Also, thank you, one person, for reading it. That site really didn’t get much traffic.
The opening is pretty standard for the time: mellow but ominous music, stretch blood thing, and a very white girl with black hair acting like Samara, intercut with shots of the narrowest boiler room in the history of the universe. Also, a Ouija board, which is, I can’t help noticing, done in the Lucida Calligraphy font. I know that, because in 1998 when I bought my first internet-ready computer, I accidentally screwed with the Internet Explorer settings and had that as my default font (for everything) until I figured out how to reset it.
The overall vibe is that Hellraiser had a threesome with Silent Hill and The Ring and this is their baby. Ordinarily I’d say “love child”, but I’m pretty sure those franchises only know how to hate-fuck. [JC: I was going with Hellraiser, Saw, and the first season of American Horror Story.] [Dove: Good call, especially American Horror Story, with that weird stretchy blood thing.]
Once the credits have finished rolling, we get a shot of what I am going to call the “Big Zipper Monster”, a big lunk of a monster with chains on its back, but the low lighting makes it look like zippers. Big Zip is dragging something on chains down a long hallway, with a gravel floor and pipes on each wall. We are the something—or at least, that’s what the POV is telling us. Zip drags us into the dark, and then we get yet more intercut scenes from later in the movie, screaming, naked white chick, blood, Ouija, etc.
We finally stop the jump-cut nonsense (which I thoughtfully warned JC about, because, let’s face it, she is going to hate me after this movie, I have to do what I can), and the movie beings properly. A guy lands face-down in the hallway. He’s your average, run-of-the-mill, white dude. With a Ouija board tattooed on his back. [JC: Frankly, I was anticipating more Ouija-related shenanigans. Don’t tease me with Ouija imagery if this is all I get, movie. Damn.]
A female voice whispers, “I’m here. Elizabeth. Don’t leave me here.” The voice calls him Hagen and asks him to stay, they can be together. He mutters her name, and we see something being dragged into the darkness, but too quickly to see what it was. Having seen this movie multiple times, I’m pretty sure that scene was there for no reason at all.
Out of the darkness walks a grey humanoid in a gas mask. It speaks with a child’s voice and a deep threatening voice layered together. It welcomes Hagen to his destiny, saying he was given a choice. He could either move on and live life in peace, but he chose hell.
Hagen asks for clarification. The demon expands that Elizabeth is dead and rotting in hell for all of eternity for the pain she’s caused. Hagen could have moved on, but he came here to find her, and for that he “must be punished.“
And we cut to a scene that I’m going to breeze through as quickly as possible. Hagen is bathing his wife, Elizabeth, talking to her sweetly about how everything is normal and she shouldn’t worry, and it’s all very sweet and reassuring except she’s dead. He seems to be under the impression that her soul has just nipped out for a pint of milk and she’ll be back very soon. (And also that she might have a stomach ache when she returns because of the bacteria in her intestines. That’s perfectly normal.)
Let’s just think about the scene before now though. The demon told Hagen he had to go to hell because he wouldn’t move on. Well, I’m not going to say for a second that keeping the corpse of your dead wife is healthy, but given the decomposition (or lack thereof) you’d assume it’s not been long, so he’s still in the grieving stage. And you might think the demons are somewhat lacking in compassion. Stay with me.
Hagen comments to Elizabeth in an off-hand way, “I know you’re not going to let this death become too much of an obstacle.” Ok, maybe the demons were right, Hagen’s choices are a little off-the-wall here.
He talks to her as if they’ve been in love and married for decades, talking about how they’ve always loved each other, but that raises an eyebrow once we get to the end of the movie. He says he remembers when she died, and she promised she’d come back to him, but the body’s decomposing, and jesus fucking Christ, Elizabeth, how fucking long does it take?
He then tells her it’s time for her “maintenance”. Use your imaginations. I’m suddenly very aware that I recommended this movie to JC. We haven’t known each other all that long. I feel like this is a make-or-break thing I’ve put her through. I had forgotten that I always fast-forward through this scene when I watch.
Let’s move on. (Are you still with me, JC?) [JC: Yup, still here. I may have done a full-body cringe when Hagen decided to emulate Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers and bring out his weird-ass homemade gynecological tools for the “maintenance,” but I’m still solidly here. Also, from maybe this scene alone, Dead Ringers added some of its DNA to the hate-fuck baby mix. Fuckin’ Cronenberg, man.]
We cut to Hagen at work, sweeping up the hair at a barber shop. Two guys walk in the unlocked door, and Hagen tells them that they’re closed and the barber’s gone home. Hagen assumes they’re trying to rob the place.
The two dudes are Travis (facial hair, long brown hair with grey streaks) and Silent Bob (tall dude who doesn’t talk or have a name, but he is wearing a shirt that reads “FUBAR”, which becomes hilarious in hindsight). I have a minor crush on Travis, by the way, but only when he’s got long hair. [JC: Not gonna lie, ogling him got me through at least part of this.] [Dove: It might be a contributing factor of my fondness for this movie.]
Silent Bob manhandles Travis into a chair, and Travis sets about lathering Hagen up for a shave. Travis says they’re not stupid, they’ve been watching him, they know everything he’s done with her. Hagen says he doesn’t have any money, and Travis is as irritated as I am by Hagen’s stupidity here, and says, “Fuck the money!” and clarifies he means Elizabeth, with the bathing and the necrophilia.
Hagen claims his wife is on vacation. Travis nods agreeably and says, “So you’re cheating on your wife with a corpse?” He then starts to shave Hagen, because Travis is good at being cheery/sinister. He then goes on to add that Elizabeth is very very dead. But Travis isn’t opposed to Hagen’s behaviour. He understands, he lost his little brother. He was too late, they’d already cremated Thomas before Travis could act. Let’s put a pin in that observation, ‘k?
Travis: If only I’d known then… But now, now, I know. I have a way of bringing them back from the dead.
Hagen: What are you talking about, “bringing”? Are you saying that you can bring people back from the dead?
Travis, just kill this muppet. He cannot even parse your sentences, he’s not going to be any use to keep around. [JC: . . . out of that entire sentence, “bringing” is the bit of it you choose to focus on, Hagen? Really? I have no words to offer, only frustrated sputtering.]
Seriously, I love the look of this movie, but boy did their script need an editor. This isn’t even the most stupid chunk of dialogue.
Travis explains that death is the separation of soul and body. He knows how to join them up again. Hagen’s hopeful for a moment, then decides they’re both “crazy”. Travis sassily replies, “We’re not the one that’s fucking a corpse.” [JC: ¡Nosotros no somos los que se follan a un cadáver!] [Dove: Very handy.] Then he adds that maybe it is all bullshit, and but soon Elizabeth will be gone forever, and wouldn’t he kick himself if he didn’t just try? [JC: Pet Sematary, is that you?]
Also, given that Hagen’s convinced that Elizabeth will be back as soon as she’s run her deathly errands, surely this would be a great way to hurry her up.
Travis doesn’t wait for an ok, he just tells Hagen to get his shit together, they’re going.
They head to an apartment, and there’s a pointless jumpscare of a humanoid shadow running across the hall. I’ve seen this whole film multiple times and I have no idea who/what that was or what was the point other than, “Jump scares. Horror movies have them, right? I’d better add a few.”
At Travis’ apartment, he rolls a map out on the table. Hagen, being the clueless buffoon he is, immediately sets down a bag of—groceries?—on top of it. [JC: Why does he have groceries? Is there a missing “Hagen and Travis go to Kroger” scene?] Travis gives him the side-eye until he moves the bag. Actually, it’s not actually a map… well, it might be. It’s part map, part Ouija board, part “occult” scribble, all on a beige canvas.
Hagen says that the tall dude is quiet. “He’s mute. Don’t be stupid.” Travis, admittedly, has awesome lines when faced with Hagen. Hagen is massively punchable. Travis starts measuring Hagen’s back, when asked what he’s doing, Travis tells him not to worry. S’all good, man.
Then he explains that the map shows the location of every gate to hell, so called because “Does anyone really deserve to go to heaven?” Mormons, Travis. Mormons do. They’re the correct religion according to South Park. [JC: Eh, I guess I’ll give up heaven for the privilege of still getting to drink caffeine.] [Dove: I can’t function without tea. Wing has watched me fall apart each time I’ve visited the USA, because I cannot get my usual cup of tea in the morning. The last time I went, I brought my own tea bags.]
While Travis continues to measure Hagen, Silent Bob grabs what I assume is a knife and maybe a needle? Not sure. Travis explains that the dead travel through the gates. Hagen continues to ask questions and not bother to listen to the answer:
Hagen: Have you ever found one?
Travis: Found one, never seen one.
Hagen: So what do they look like?
[JC: He literally just said he’s never seen one, you fuckwit. Travis has a hell of a lot more patience with this asshat than I do. I guess because he still needs him for the moment, but even so. Does he need him unmaimed?]
I really hate people like this. I know people like this. Hell, I’ve had to run training sessions with people like this. After less than five minutes, you’re left with a strong urge to stab them in the eye with a biro, and the only reason you don’t is because you’re going to have to explain sixteen times why they can’t find their biro any more.
That said, Travis then explains that they look like nothing, darkness or black holes. Which, I guess, technically, is three different descriptions of something.
Ok, hang on to your behinds, readers, this is where the dialogue gets really clunky: Travis explains that he’s found a gate, but doesn’t have the key, he doesn’t know where it goes, or what’s on the other side, he doesn’t know where it opens or where it closes.
That’s just scribble. How does a gate close in a different place to where it opens? If you know where it is, then surely that’s where it opens. [JC: I’ve never actually played Portal, but I’ve seen Let’s Play videos of it. I’m imagining something like that? Enter a portal in one wall and exit out the other wall? Let’s face it; demons love their Portal guns.] [Dove: … that could explain it. But I think you’re giving the writer more credit than they deserve.]
But since he grabs Hagen, pins him down throws him facedown on—is that an operating table?—and Silent Bob jabs him with a syringe, maybe it was just babble to distract the moron before they started the torture. Travis explains that Hagen is the key.
tl;dr: this is why you don’t go home with strangers. Even if you’re a necrophiliac, you still might not be the scariest person in the room.
Hagen cries that Travis is a liar, he said they could bring back Elizabeth. Travis clarifies that he never lied, Hagen has the opportunity to go into hell and grab her. Hagen calls him a coward, and Travis owns it. He has no idea what’s on the other side, which is why he’s sending in Hagen first.
As the drug hits Hagen’s system, he starts to fade out as Travis explains that they’re going to monitor his vital stats the whole time. Also, “Say hello to Morbius for me.” [JC: Foreshadowing!]
We get a montage of Travis smoking and cutting into Hagen’s back (that can’t be hygienic) set to angelic music. Y’know, for the juxtaposition. It’s like deep and shit. Also, the angelic music is undercut with the cries of a baby. Y’know, because that’s also scary. Just ask anyone who’s seen Something Evil (Now there’s a cutting edge horror reference.) [JC: For some reason I was under the impression this was going to be a tattooing thing rather than a carving thing. I think I read a misleading synopsis somewhere along the way.] [Dove: That’s how I felt after I watched this for the first time. It’s why I quoted the DVD summary. It’s accurate, but still nothing like what happens.]
Hagen see’s Elizabeth’s hand clawing its way to him (sans fingernails), and there’s some J-horror rip-off moments as a white girl with black hair moves backwards through the same hallway from earlier, intercut with blood and Ouija boards, and all that shit from the opening credits.
And now we’re back to the opening scene, of Hagen in the hallway with the demon in the gas mask. Hagen says he’s here for Elizabeth, if the demon takes him to her, he’ll leave in peace.
Hagen is a pudgy, gormless, moron. He might have a weight advantage over a demon, but it’s a fucking demon. I don’t really think he’s in any position to be using threats. [JC: No, no. Hagen has the power of annoyance and stupidity at his disposal. Give him five minutes alone with the demon, and ol’ Gas Mask will be begging Hagen to just go back to the mortal realm already.] [Dove: Absolutely true.]
The demon says how dare he talk about peace when Hagen knows how much suffering he has caused the demon. He heard him cry, he knew his suffering, and he did fuck all. So, now the gas mask demon will introduce Hagen to his suffering.
Behind Hagen rises up the Big Zipper demon. He looks a bit like the chatterer from Hellraiser, although I’ve seen some comments that it looks like a rip-off of a game monster, but I can’t remember which. Big Zip knocks Hagen down and beats him to death. He sticks some hooks in him and the gas mask demon watches impassively.
We cut to 11 months ago, when Travis had shit hair, and kind of looks like Morgan from Chuck. [JC: Shit Hair Travis reminded me of someone this whole movie and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I think Morgan might just be it! Also, I am skeptical of his hair growing out that much in 11 months. Did Hagen give him the hair extensions he was promising Dead Elizabeth at the beginning of the movie?]
He’s in a lawyer’s office. Probably the worst lawyer in the world. The office is an absolute mess, with papers and files stacked everywhere. I’m not saying all messy lawyers are bad, but I’ve worked for two, one got demoted from equity partner (having a financial stake in the company) to regular solicitor, and the other is in the process of being struck off for fraud, so it’s never a good sign. Also, both of these lawyers were probate lawyers, which is the discipline of the lawyer Travis is talking to. In the venn diagram of “not good”, there’s a certain overlap between probate lawyers, working in a mess, and generally being shit at your job.
Travis explains that he understands that his parents left more money than this weekly/monthly (it’s never clear) stipend, and the conditions they are living in are terrible.
Laywer: The clause in your parents’ will after they died specifically said the money goes to your brother. $300 a month.
Travis: I’m sure that when they were alive and they signed that will, $300 a week was a lot. It’s not shit any more.
The discontinuity here is breathtaking. [JC: Oh, thank god. I thought I imagined this. At first I was like, 300 a month barely buys food for two people; then Travis said “a week” and I thought, did I mishear the lawyer say month? Also, this in no way looks like an office. Also also, I would like to donate some spare lightbulbs I have around the house to this movie, which clearly needs them more than I do.]
The lawyer says the will is iron-clad and can’t be changed.
Ok, let’s talk about this legally. If the money is going to Thomas (Travis’ brother), then that means it’s in a trust. Someone, presumably the lawyer, is the trustee, and they have the discretion to understand that exceptions can be made. If necessary, the entire trust could be challenged. In fact, why stop there? Challenge the lawyers who drew up a trust that didn’t move with the times.
Unless lawyers are scumbags (see above re probate lawyer who committed fraud), the goal is to create a document that changes with the times. For example, even though Raven and I had not set a date to get married, my will was drawn up stating my intention to marry Raven, and that marrying him would not break the provisions in it (your will becomes obsolete if you get married. But not if you get divorced, so if you have an acrimonious break-up, get thyself to a lawyer—or do one of those online wills). [Note: This does not constitute actual legal advice. For the love of Christ, do not base your legal decisions on a recap of Necromentia.]
I don’t know how things work in the USA, but in the UK, it could probably be proved that the intention of the will was to provide for Thomas to ensure that his quality of life was high, and changing the wording would not actually change their intended outcome. It’s not like Travis is asking for the money to go to him, merely that the amount to look after Thomas be increased. And if they’re genuinely concerned about Travis abusing the money, send out a neutral third party to appraise the current situation and make recommendations. Jesus fucking Christ, this is not rocket science. [JC: As with most things we recap, you’re giving it more thought than the actual writer did.]
Ok, back to the recap.
Travis storms out in frustration when it becomes clear that the lawyer, who I can only assume is being paid for being a trustee, is unwilling to help him at all. He’s an arse. Hey, Trav, there is no law preventing you from going to another lawyer to dispute that. Don’t let them bully you.
Travis washes his face in a sink filled with pots and pans, then looks wistfully at a polaroid of a turbo wheelchair. This is a serious off-road wheelchair with tank-like wheels. It’s fucking badass. Then he looks over at his brother in a regular wheelchair.
Their house looks like it’d be right at home in the dark world of Silent Hill. Everywhere you look things are dirty, dusty, rusted and sharp. The walls are made out of corrugated iron. I think they’re cooking on some kind of rig made out of candles and coathanger wire. It’s probably exactly what their dead parents had in mind for that $300 a week (or month). Also, I’m using headphones for the first time ever on this watch, and there’s a bubbling sound, like either bubbling water or a fish tank, but no sign of either. Mysterious.
It’s not clear what ailment(s) Thomas has, but he’s in a wheelchair, he has a drip and an air tank (the latter is attached to the chair, but not Thomas), he’s largely non-verbal and avoids direct eye-contact. [JC: At first I thought maybe cerebral palsy, but honestly I have no idea. In Movieland, all disabilities are some amalgamation of wheelchair, non-verbal, and shitty motor function, right?] [Dove: It does feel a bit like a “greatest hits” of various disabilities.]
Travis tries to put a bib on him for dinner, and he physically shies away. Travis loses his temper, and then pulls himself together. He apologises and explains that things are difficult and he’s trying to do what’s best.
After dinner, Travis parks Thomas in front of the TV, which is half nightmare fuel and half cheerful whimsy. There’s a weird pink pig (I think) surround to the TV, and cheery little fairy lights and funfair ornaments above. The TV is only picking up static, so Travis turns it off, but Thomas reacts badly. He turns it on, but mutters they could really save the electricity if it was off. Travis kisses him goodbye and says he’ll be home as soon as he can.
And now we get to the moment where JC refuses to ever work with me ever again. This is the iconic moment that all six people who’ve seen this movie remembers.
It’s a sing-a-long extolling the virtues of suicide. Sung by an S&M pig. To an electronic version of Ode to Joy.
If that doesn’t fully explain the sheer WTF-ery of this scene, some brilliant person has put it on YouTube.
Ordinarily, this would be kind of offensive—as you can see from the clip, we see that this isn’t really happening, which implies that it’s Thomas’ fantasy. However, literally everyone in this movie has a cataclysmically unhealthy outlook on life/death, it’s not saying the kid’s suicidal because he’s disabled. The message is that he’s suicidal because who isn’t? Which is depressing, but at least it’s not ablest. I will concede that nobody else has an S&M pig singing to them about the joys of killing oneself, so that is a step further than the rest of the cast. But honestly, this movie, dude. Everyone’s just fucked. right. up. [JC: Oh my god, Dove, why would you inflict this scene on people to look at with their very own eyes? Okay, my impression wasn’t so much that it’s Thomas’s fantasy exactly (although I was busy pissing myself in horror, rather like I expected Thomas to be instead of clapping delightedly) as much as an actual demon performing for him and tempting him into suicide through cheerily inappropriate karaoke. Later on, Morbius tells Travis he’s going to be kinder to him than Mr. Skinny will to Thomas, so I took that to mean that this bit is happening, even though it’s in his head it’s not actually coming from Thomas himself. If that makes sense.] [Dove: You’re right, I wasn’t being clear. Mr Skinny was there, when I said it was Thomas’ fantasy, I meant that only he could see him, but the demon was real, and really enticing him, though playing on Thomas’ feelings and thoughts. I used my words badly, and said something completely different to what I meant.]
Then we cut to the Red Room. A girl is tied up and being tortured by a masked figure to The Claw by Encephalon, which is a great track. I tend to just listen to the song here, since torture porn isn’t my jam. While I’m busy ignoring the torture, Rise 2.0 is another great track by Encephalon.
After a certain point, the masked man announces that the session is over, and gently advises the girl how to take out the gag in her mouth. She tries to pay by cheque, but he says it must be cash, no exception for regulars. He also asks for “the other stuff”, which turns out to be ketamine, which he is using to get off heroin. She says it’s a disassociative drug, he won’t feel the pain, it’s like a portal to another world. He says it’s not about the high, just about kicking the junk habit. He adds that if it works, her next two sessions will be free.
Obviously, when he takes off his mask, it’s Travis.
Accompanied by some wistful piano music, Travis looks very sad, before deciding to shoot up with the ketamine. Which he injects into his neck via a gun-style needle. [JC: Quick question – does this movie take place in the 17th century? Literally nothing looks modern at ALL.] [Dove: This is why a second pair of eyes helps. JC’s absolutely right, but I’ve seen it so often, that I’m used to lack of modern conveniences. The only electricity we see is the Red Room neon sign, and the lightbulbs hanging from chains over Travis’ work table.] Travis collapses to the floor, blinks several times, and then bolts upright in a chair in a room that is even more Silent Hill than his home, filled with atmospheric smoke, and lit only in green, all the while an air-raid siren blares. He is tied down by barbed wire. I tried to get a cap, but the jump-cuts put in there to heighten the tension make it impossible.
Every single warp effect in the Windows Media Studio catalogue is utilised here: skewing the camera; wiggles at the edges; jump cuts, flashing lights… you name it, it’s in here. I’m pretty sure it would set off Wing’s vertigo.
Through all of the special effects, we see a glimpse of a grey male humanoid with black eyes—so, thanks to Supernatural, we know it’s a demon. He says that he needs Travis’ help. Travis says it must be a dream. The demon strangles him and asks him if it hurts.
Travis awakes on the floor of the Red Room, clutching his neck, so maybe?
Back at home, the S&M pig, who is called Mr Skinny—uh, does that mean demons are into fat-shaming?—is dancing around and telling Thomas that he hates Travis, and, in other news, “something is vibrating up my rectum.” We always used to have an issue with SweetValley.Online being blacklisted from facebook, and I always assumed it was because of Raven’s elaborate swearing. [JC: I assumed it was Mr. Nydick’s fault.] Now Nostalgic Bookshelf will have the same problem, thanks to this movie.
Thomas is delighted by Mr Skinny’s appearance, he’s all big smiles and delighted eye contact. He’s not even put off by the pig expanding that he thinks there might be an egg up his ass. Or a marble. Or the goddamn Easter Bunny. [JC: That’s not chocolate, folks! I . . . I’ll see myself out.]
Mr Skinny asks if Thomas will kill himself for him. Thomas nods eagerly, and the TV shows blurry static-filled images of what is allegedly Travis cutting himself, but it could be anyone doing anything. Mr Skinny adds that if Thomas loves his brother, he should cut himself, Travis cuts people and he’d be so proud of Thomas.
Travis gets home to find his brother grinning at a knife and dives for it in slow motion.
Cut to him in the lawyer’s office again, telling him flat out that “$300 is not going to cut it anymore!” Still no word on if that’s per week or month. Travis explains someone needs to watch Thomas while he’s at work, because otherwise he’ll kill himself. Finally the lawyer says he’ll see what he can do. So much for that “iron-clad” part. Could it be laziness, and not precise wording of the will, that caused his earlier inaction? I’m thinking it was laziness.
Cut to Travis at a payphone outside the Red Room talking to what appears to be a complete stranger, who has no experience in babysitting, who is either watching Thomas right now or is about to. And then because he’s a fuck-up, he shoots up ketamine in the payphone booth. [JC: Did you notice the phone looked like a rotary dial but was actually touch tone? I was more distracted by this phone than I probably should have been.] [Dove: Actually, kind of. I eyeballed it thinking something was off, but didn’t figure out what.]
And he’s back in that green room with the grey demon, tied to a chair again—although this time it’s just regular wire (or even string) tying him in place, not barbed wire. I believe the demon is wearing a towel around his waist. Perhaps he’s back from the spa? The demon says now that we’ve established he’s not a dream—have we though? Or have we just shown Travis “dream” he was being strangled and wake up clutching his throat? I’ve done that before, and that was a regular non-demonic, non-ketamine-fuelled dream—the demon needs him. It has to be him, he’s weak, he’s self-loathing and he has no will to live, which makes him weak to demons.
Travis says no, and the demon leans over to grab his jaw. And it is a towel, and it slips down to reveal black jeans. I feel that’s probably not what they want demons to wear, hence hiding them with a towel. Me? I wouldn’t have thought it was weird, until they tried to hide his jeans with a towel. Now I’m questioning all wardrobe choices.
The demon says that Thomas is in danger, and the man in the television won’t be as kind as he is. Then he strangles Travis again. Now, I think I prefer the dude in the towel-and-jeans combo, but objectively, Thomas is fucking delighted to see Mr Skinny, who talks to him in a very friendly tone, whereas Towel Demon talks too slow, is boring, and keeps throttling Travis. So I wouldn’t actually go so far to say that Towel Demon is any kinder than Mr Skinny. [JC: I dunno. It’s a toss-up, but I think I prefer being choked to watching an S&M pig-man pull things out of his ass.]
Travis wakes up back in the real world again and staggers into the Red Room.
Cut to home, and Thomas is asleep in bed (in the main living area) and Travis is sitting beside him. He hears someone walk in and has a go at them for not knocking. I’d be the same. Rudeness is not something that sits well with me.
The guy is the same mute guy (Silent Bob) from the opening story, who helps Travis shave Hagen. Except he talks. Travis has to get his attention several times because he keeps flicking back to a magazine titled “Abasiophilia” (basically a sexual attraction to people with mobility issues, particularly those requiring braces, etc.), which I didn’t notice on a first read, but it was in the trivia at imdb.
Travis has to eventually snatch the magazine to get the Not-Silent Bob’s attention. He says tell him firmly, “If anything happens to him, I’ll kill you.” [JC: Oh, um, maybe not the guy to leave your disabled brother alone with, threats notwithstanding there, Trav. What the fuck.]
At work, Travis gets out his knives and lies down on his torture table – which I sincerely doubt would pass a Health & Safety inspection. It’s absolutely covered in blood. There are about a million different ways you could conceivably catch diseases in that place.
At home, Thomas wakes up to Mr Skinny playing their piano and laughing. Not-Silent Bob is asleep, and I’ve just noticed that he’s wearing the same colour shirt as the opening scenes, but it’s missing the word “FUBAR”. If that’s deliberate, I like it.
The scenes intercut between Travis cutting himself and the S&M pig enticing Thomas to commit suicide. The pig stands behind Thomas as he stabs Not-Silent Bob. The pig is jiggling around, and I know he has to help Thomas stand, but the implications are still there.
They rip out Not-Silent Bob’s intestines and then Mr Skinny hangs Thomas with them. As I’m recapping this, I’m wondering, why do I like this film so much? There is so much gore in here, and I’m not a gore fan. I think it’s the aesthetic and the score that work for me. [JC: Oh, whoops. See, this is where multiple viewings must come in handy. I for some reason completely missed that they were stabbing Not-Silent Bob. I thought Thomas was stabbing himself in the stomach and Mr. Skinny was hanging him with his own intestines. It made a weird sort of sense juxtaposed with the scenes of Travis giving himself an autopsy Y-incision. Also, folks, there are things you should always hire professionals for rather than going the DIY route – plumbing problems, carpentry, autopsies . . . ]
Travis passes out, and appears in the demon dimension again. This time he’s tied up with barbed wire again. The demon chastises him and tells him to clean himself up and go home.
Travis wakes up at the Red Room, covered in blood. He gets home and sees Not-Silent Bob is dead on the couch with his guts hanging out, but there is no sign of Thomas. He calls his name repeatedly, then collapses to the ground in tears.
He then appears in the demon dimension again, and for once he doesn’t bother with the whole “it’s a dream” routine, and immediately asks Towel Demon where Thomas is, what did he do with him. Towel Demon says that Thomas is “not dead, only moved.” Travis offers to help Towel Demon, as long as he helps him find Thomas and the one who did this to him.
Towel Demon agrees to this. He gives a small speech about demons, and I think the problem with this scene is that the actor, Layton Matthews, knows his voice is going to be treated and made deeper, and he seems to be acting for the final voice, and the whole thing comes across as very unnatural – and not in an “ooh, demons” way, but more in a “this is distracting me from the movie” way. Or maybe it’s more simple than that, maybe it was looped and the audio is unsynched. Although back when imdb had message boards, he was happy to reply on the Necromentia boards. Someone complained that the audio was terrible on this movie and he commented that they shot on sound stages and needed very little post work to loop lost lines. In my opinion, the audio is great on this movie, everything’s at the right level, it doesn’t have quiet dialogue and loud action, everything is good. I’m guessing that complainer had a badly ripped copy. [JC: . . . I watched it on YouTube, so I understand that’s not top quality or anything, but I also had trouble hearing quite a lot of the dialogue. It made me wish I spoke better Spanish so I could have just read those subtitles. Unfortunately, there was very little asking after anyone’s families or talking about trips to the library.]
Back to the story, Towel Demon says that there are rules. He’s put a claim on Travis, which means nobody else should interfere, although some demons do. (So… they’re more like guidelines than rules?) The camera pans down and shows that Towel Demon is cutting up Mr Skinny, and he adds he knows where Thomas is.
Travis asks what Towel Demon wants from him. He replies that Travis cuts people for money, but he could do so much more. He will be taught necromancy, and will bring him back from the dead. Travis says that’s crazy, and then agrees in the same breath. I guess when something makes no sense, there’s no harm in agreeing to be part of it. Insert your own political joke here.
Towel Demon says that once they are back in the land of the living, they will visit a man, give him a message, and then Travis will be delivered to his brother.
Travis wakes up on the floor of his home, with a black book. He reads it and we get a montage of him doing various cutting/sewing things to Dead-Silent Bob’s body in an attempt to fill it with Morbius. Which is pretty much the opposite of “If anything happens to [my brother], I’ll kill you”. Afterwards, he falls asleep leaning against a wall.
He wakes up not in the room with the barbed wire chair, but in the hallway from earlier. I’ve gotta say, Hell is a lot smaller and less impressive than I’d thought. Even Freddy’s boiler room is bigger than Hell. [JC: Clearly they only had the budget to give us hell’s boiler room rather than hell proper. What does it say about me that Freddy’s boiler room was the first place my mind jumped, too?] Travis appreciates the change of location, muttering that at least he’s not tied up.
Towel Demon is there, and says that Travis is doing well. The man they seek is Hagen, and once they find him, they’re going to tell him they can reunite him with his lover. Towel Demon’s face curls into a particularly hateful sneer on that last word. Towel Demon says once they find him, they will find “his” Elizabeth. Travis asks how long it will take, what if they never find him. Towel Demon goes for that old favourite, and throttles Travis for a third time in four meetings. That’s a 75% strangulation rate. That’s actually higher than Chucky’s strangulation rate, and he’s called “The Lakeshore Strangler”. (Hey, JC, I tied our recaps together? I’m so proud.) [JC: A+ ]
Towel Demon says that Hagen has kept Elizabeth’s soul away from him, and he needs his revenge. He says that if Travis ever wants to see Thomas again, he. Will. Obey. He has waited for years. [JC: Years? How the fuck long has Hagen been “maintaining” Elizabeth’s corpse?] Together they will bring Hagen to this realm, and revenge will be his at last. Then he walks into a powerfully glowing light, like he’s S&M Jesus or something.
Travis wakes up at home, stares down at Dead Silent Bob’s body and decides he’s crazy. The moment lingers before Bob immediately sits up and grabs him. The screen fades to black, and a human voice tells him he did a good job, and it’s time to find Hagen.
Then we have flashbacks set to the angelic choir again, reminding us how that turned out for Hagen.
With an additional scene of Travis kneeling over Hagen while he’s face-down and passed out in the Hell hallway – a Hellway, if you like. He looks so much better with long hair, even if it’s not the greatest wig. I say that about a lot of guys.
Travis gets to his feet and calls for Morbius. He says he’s brought Hagen and wants to see Thomas. A grey demon in a wheelchair – this one is wearing a gas mask – is rolled forward (on a chair that absolutely hates the gravel terrain of the Hellway), and says they are pleased with his work, and now they can have revenge. They will take him to Thomas, however, he has entered their realm without his debt being paid (how? What the fuck? He had to go to Hagen and deliver a message. Hagen is now in the Hellway. How the fuck did Travis miss a step there?) and they are going to fuck his shit up.
Travis reasonably points out he had a deal with Morbius (Towel Demon, for those who haven’t seen it a billion times), and he demands to see his brother.
The gas mask demon says he cannot see his brother now, they live in two different realms. What? The demon says he’ll have to give up his life and soul to see Thomas. Travis says that wasn’t the deal. And he’s right. Morbius/Towel Demon, said Thomas wasn’t dead, just moved. The gas mask demon says they make the rules here, so fuck reason and logic, and he must obey. [JC: Every time I see that gas mask, it reminds me of the Doctor Who episode, The Empty Child. “Are you my mummy?”]
Travis says no. There are shots of Big Zip approaching. Travis gets out his knives, ready to kill some demons, and that’s when Big Zip chucks a hook at him from behind. Big Zip drags him off into the darkness. I was sure that it was Hagen he was dragging. In fact, I was sure that Travis was turned into Big Zip. It’s really been a long time since I saw this.
We cut to Morbius, only he’s not grey and he’s not a demon. He’s another self-harmer, and he’s into candles, goth décor, and lengthy monologues about his pain. He’s so dark even the goth kids at South Park would be impressed. Actually, he’s probably an emo. They hate emos.
Morbius cuts himself and decants the blood into a little jar.
While we’re on the topic of both Morbius and South Park, I can’t help but think Morbius would be happier if he just take some of Butters’ advice. (I’m not making light of depression, but man, this dude revels in it.)
The next morning he wakes up and goes to kiss his girlfriend, Elizabeth, who is sitting at a table absolutely filled to the hilt with pots and jugs and jars and candles. Also on the window ledge behind her are a row of candles. This place is a fire hazard. [JC: Give them a break. It’s the 17th century. They haven’t invented lightbulbs yet.]
She shies away from him and he moves to stove. Elizabeth comments in a bitchy tone that she didn’t know what to make, breakfast or dinner. Split the difference, love, make lunch. Morbius moves over to her and signs that he can’t hear her. Elizabeth makes no move to make her mouth easy to see, and comments that he should get a job at a decent hour.
So, let’s just get this right, the man is deaf, and he has a job – in a world where a lot of people without disabilities (which are often seen by employers as reasons not to hire people) find it hard to find work, and a lot of them are college graduates unable to get a job in the arena they want, and are “making do” with retail/entry level jobs, etc. So that puts Morbius at a disadvantage. And you’re bitching about the hours that are set for him?
And doing it behind his back because he can’t hear you?
FUCK YOU, ELIZABETH.
Fuck you with bells on, you spoilt, entitled little brat.
Morbius thinks to himself, how can he and Elizabeth talk, when she won’t even look at him.
We cut to a bar, where Morbius is working. I guess reading lips in a loud bar would actually be a positive way to use a skill you had to learn. [JC: I was confused as to whether he was deaf or just mute. I was thinking he could hear, but not talk for whatever reason. When he’s in Silent Bob’s body, Travis tells Hagen that he’s mute, not deaf. Then again, who the fuck can tell what the rules are here regarding what the dead can do in the realm of the living.] [Dove: … that’s actually a good point. It’s not confirmed in the movie that he is deaf, but he does internally comment that Elizabeth won’t look at him, so he can’t talk to her, and he doesn’t notice Travis talking to him when he was looking away.] We see a drunken Travis, though he doesn’t do much, other than blearily call for another shot, and blather about how Thomas doesn’t deserve all this. Unfortunately, Morbius is facing away, and has no idea Travis is talking to him.
An older man with a bushy moustache [JC: That is a fabulous mustache!] says that drink is truth serum, and his words fade out as Travis notices a pretty brunette sitting between two guys, and paying more attention to one of them. The guy getting less attention slams his hand on the bar and she says she’s leaving. He says no and grabs her arm. She slaps him with her free hand, and leaves with the other dude.
I know Morbius is feeling on the outs with his harpy of a girlfriend, but damn, do not empathise with the angry guy. He has no right to her attention. Even if he bought her drinks all night (which there is no indication either way of). She still doesn’t owe you.
Morbius gives the angry guy a free shot on the house (he’s now looking depressed) and internally wonders if knowing that someone has the same problems as you, are you less alone? Dude, that guy does not have the same problem as you. You have a girlfriend who isn’t interested in you because your relationship has failed. You are angry because she won’t look at you, which means you cannot communicate because you literally cannot hear her. She is actively and spitefully blocking your attempts to communicate. He is angry because a cute girl at a bar left with someone else and he wanted her and felt entitled to her. These things are not the same.
Travis staggers out of the bar, and creepily sniffs a girl’s hair on the way out. She is suitably freaked by this. He gives her a smile. Jeez, everyone’s an asshole in this story. Except Thomas, I guess. [JC: Last night I rewatched Thelma and Louise for the first time in a very long time and came to realize that every man in that movie exists on a spectrum of suck. I propose we apply the Spectrum of Suck to characters in all movies. So, Thomas would be on the low end, and who’s the top of the Suck Spectrum? Hagen? Angry Dude at the bar?] [Dove: It’s funny, I nearly made some kind of graphic to represent everyone’s suckitude (without using that term), but then I panicked about the landmines I’d set off if I forgot something important and implied a bad guy was good (or at least better) than someone else.]
Back at Morbius’ home, Elizabeth is in bed with Hagen, and she says she loves him. Looks-wise, she is out of his league. Don’t judge me for that, I have a follow-up. Hagen, in all previous scenes, came across as creepy and stupid, he has a dad-bod, and a resting “bwuh?” face. She is younger, slimmer, hotter, and a toxic bitch, who cheats on her boyfriend. Even that out, and they’re perfect for each other. Be shallow about it, and he’s got the better deal. [Note from the future: for some reason, my caps for this bit didn’t take. I only have one more, and I can’t be bothered to re-watch.]
Hagen says he loves her too. Elizabeth wonders if the baby gets motion sickness when they’re screwing. [JC: Is this like Hugh Grant in 9 Months worried that he’s going to concuss the fetus with his penis? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not how any of this works.] Hagen reassures her that the baby is fine. Out of nowhere (or because the plot requires it), she asks what he would do if she was gone. Hagen says he’d probably kill himself. Elizabeth says she’ll come back if she dies. Or maybe she’s just been tainted by Morbius’ writings about death.
Hagen asks why she’s still with him. Elizabeth gives him no answer. I can answer it. Elizabeth is a horrible person who has never had a true friend/lover, and therefore needs a safety net. She doesn’t care that she’s making herself and Morbius miserable, because she needs insurance. She actually loves Hagen (why???), but that would be a risk, so it’s much better to destroy all three of their lives than chance being alone.
Elizabeth says she would rather see him dead than living without her. She asks Hagen if he would kill Morbius for her. After a few minutes, he says he’ll do anything for her.
Morbius leaves work the next morning – or maybe it’s the same night, it’s hard to tell because it’s lit in yellow, which I take to mean morning, but maybe it’s symbolic of… something. Maybe they all like butter. [JC: Maybe it’s comparing this movie to warm piss?] He sees Travis passed out in a doorway and someone is robbing him. Morbius checks Travis is not dead, but can’t wake him. When putting his now-emptied wallet back in Travis pocket, he finds a vial of blood, just like the ones he keeps of his own blood, and feels bonded. [JC: Is that what it was? I thought it was the ketamine.] [Dove: I went back to check. The ketamine was clear, this was a dark liquid.]
I have no idea if this is a thing cutters may do, whether a subset are into this, and to be honest, it’s not something I want to google, but it feels less like a comment on depression and self-harm, and more of a fetishisation of it. But again, I know nothing about this.
At home, Elizabeth comes through the door, and Hagen tries to snuggle. She pushes him away, saying they have work to do. She hands him a bottle of weed killer and says it’s for Morbius. It cuts between her conversation with Hagen and Morbius getting home and picking up a goblet (they have goblets! Their mattress is on breeze blocks, but they have goblets!) and pouring a luminous green ooze from a jug into it without a hint of hesitation.
Do you know what I’d do if I came home to find a jug of luminous green ooze on our dining table? I’d assume Raven had been painting miniatures, and had decided to use our gravy jug instead of his paint pots. (And I’d be cross. I have rules about which jugs get used for what.) I wouldn’t cheerfully pour myself a glass.
Morbius downs the lot and lights a candle, while Hagen and Elizabeth argue about it. For fuck’s sake, what’s wrong with looking Morbius in the eye and saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to be with you.” Hell, do the spiteful thing and move out while he’s at work and leave a note. Or don’t leave a note. He’ll figure it out.
As Morbius collapses over the table, gagging, off screen we hear Elizabeth say that the baby is Hagen’s, and she wants it to grow up with its real father. Hagen asks her to marry him. She says of course, but they have to kill Morbius. Hagen says he’ll do anything for her, mentioning specifically that he’ll go to hell and back for her. (Well, half of that is true.)
Elizabeth and Hagen get home to find Morbius collapsed on the floor. Elizabeth says they have to get rid of the body. Or you could call the emergency services, since you have an alibi, and he clearly drank the poison of his own volition. Hell, once they see the cutting marks and his dark writings about death, everyone will agree it was suicide. Note: I’m not saying self-harm is the same as a suicide attempt, I’m saying that a lot of dimwits think it is, and because of this, Elizabeth could get away with murder.
Hagen grabs Morbius, and then he wakes up. Elizabeth tries to shove more weed killer down his throat and tells him the baby is Hagen’s. He struggles out of Hagen’s hold and lunges at Elizabeth, where he strangles her brutally (damn, he is really into that). She tries to call for Hagen, but he’s passed out for a few seconds, and slow to move when he comes back.
He grabs a metal folding chair, the kind favoured by pro-wrestlers, so shit’s about to get real. I’m sure there’s a Hulk Hagen joke to be made here. Hagen goes wild, and this is also kind of brutal. He clocks him across the head with it, then smashes a fallen Morbius with it, ranting that Elizabeth is his and so is the baby, until Morbius’ skull is missing most of the front of it, and Morbius’ soul lands in the Hellway. [JC: When backyard wrestling goes wrong, it goes really fucking wrong.]
In the Hellway, Morbius groans, then looks surprised. He reacts to sounds around him, and realises that if he can talk, he’s dead. A demon voice (girl or child voice mixed with a deep male voice) answers “very much so”, as if dead has degrees. He turns to see a grey demon in a gas mask rummaging around inside of a burned (?) corpse. The demon says isn’t this what he always wanted?
I’m thinking no. I’m thinking he wanted a nice girlfriend and a nice life and not to be so depressed that cutting intricate symbols on his chest was the only way to get through it. But what do I know? Morbius realises that he killed Elizabeth and he’s in hell. The demon asks if he’s disappointed there’s no fire or brimstone. For me personally, I’m disappointed hell is merely a skinny hallway. [JC: I’m disappointed hell isn’t better lit. Seriously, I’ll throw them like 20 bucks to buy some lightbulbs. This shit is ridonkulous.]
The demon basically tells him he did the right thing. Morbius asks where Elizabeth is, and is told “food for the dead”. It says that children don’t care who spawned them, only who takes care of them. The demon will call him daddy, and he will be Morbius’ son. They will create a hell for those that have wronged them. I… uh… what? [JC: Sooooo . . . demons have daddy issues, or this is Elizabeth’s Dead Fetus as a demon that’s somehow been born and grown a bit? Because fuck anything making sense, ever.]
Morbius decides he doesn’t belong here and tries to run off for all of two steps before a light goes out at the far end of the hall and he gives up. He says he has studied their realm his entire life – dude, you were a creepy kid then – and he offers to serve the gas mask demon forever if he can have his revenge. The gas mask demon says to forget the world above. Again, what? Didn’t it just pitch hell as the place they create for their revenge? How can you be vengeful if your only focus is on hell? It’s a fucking corridor. What is Morbius supposed to do? Create a personal and spiteful hell for one of the pipes on the wall? This is just scribble. These words were written in the script because someone thought they would sound good in a monologue. They are not here because they make sense.
Gas Mask Demon says that Elizabeth suffers in hell, and he should “feast with your son” (presumably join the Gas Mask Demon in rummaging around in that corpse? The darkness of vengeance will consume him and he will become a monster, but Morbius is set, he needs revenge. Gas Mask Demon agrees. Morbius can bring Hagen to this realm, but after that, he belongs to Gas Mask Demon.
Morbius then transforms into the grey Towel Demon. It looks kinda painful.
And then… I think he transforms into Big Zip. You don’t actually see that transformation, you see him go from Morbius to grey-skin/black-eyes Morbius, then it fades to black, and Big Zip gets to his feet. Big Zip walks down the hall.
… and it ends.
I remember the first time I saw this, I turned to my friend, Tiny, and we both said, “Wait… is that it?” It felt like there ought to be something else. Something that ties things together. I know everything does tie together – although see my comments under the “Timeline” heading for how they don’t – but the movie just stops. It’s painfully abrupt.
Ok, let’s move on to dissecting the timeline.
- Thomas and Travis’ parents die.
- Travis gets into substance/alcohol abuse and self-harm. He goes to the bar where Morbius works at least once.
- Elizabeth and Hagen start seeing each other behind Morbius’ back. She gets pregnant.
- Approximately seven months into the pregnancy, Elizabeth and Hagen decide to murder Morbius. Hagen proposes, but the murder must take place first. [JC: Seven months?! I did not notice her looking that far along at all! Fail on my part, or fail on the movie’s part?] [Dove: She’s mostly shot from the boobs up, but on some of the murder scenes, you can see a very pronounced bump. There’s no confirmation on the seven months, but I recall it was a number that kept coming up on the boards at imdb.]
- Morbius and Elizabeth die, probably the same day as the proposal. Elizabeth goes straight to hell to rot for eternity. Morbius is granted revenge, but will become a monster after.
- Travis uses ketamine and meets Morbius. Thomas dies very shortly after his first ketamine hit. Travis agrees to find Hagen.
- 11 months later, Travis and Morbius-in-Silent-and-Dead-Bob’s-Body find Hagen. He is keeping his dead “wife”, Elizabeth, in his home. There is no way they can be married.
- It took 11 months to find Hagen, and we don’t even know how long the gap was between the deaths of Morbius and Thomas. It could be longer. Despite all this, Elizabeth has not decomposed. At all.
- Travis cut Hagen up and sends him to hell.
- Morbius returns to hell and becomes Big Zip.
- Travis arrives in hell before Hagen wakes up. Despite doing precisely what is required of him, the demons decide he has not fulfilled his bargain, and he is killed by Big Zip.
Grade: B+ overall.
It gets an A+ on set design, A+ on weirdness, A+ on soundtrack, but a D for actual plot, and a D for the script. I know this averages out a bit higher, but plot is kind of important.
That said, this movie is gorgeous to look at, if you’re into the Clive Barker/Silent Hill aesthetic, which I am. The soundtrack is awesome, the characters are… fine, I guess. Pretty much everyone sucks in some way, except maybe Travis and Thomas, although Travis does appear to have boundary issues when drunk. The plot is… well, I guess we could summarise as “demons are petty as fuck” and good advice would be to just walk away. Don’t get involved.
tl;dr: Demons are dicks. Humans don’t decompose. Don’t trust lawyers. Singing pigs are massively dodgy. And I hope JC is still talking to me.
[JC: Well, this was quite the ride. I probably won’t watch it again, but I didn’t hate the time I spent with it. I think it’s trying to do too much and play around with the timelines too much. Definitely deserves the trigger warning for terrible dialogue. Anyway, today I learned that Hell is a hallway, I wanna ride it all night long, if you’re killing my way, I wanna cut you all night long. Or something. Oh, also that everyone turns into a demon; deaf/mute people are suddenly speaking/hearing in hell, but if you’re in a wheelchair fuck you, you’re stuck in that bitch in hell, too. At least, I’m assuming Gas Mask Wheelchair demon was Thomas? I think I’m left with more questions than answers here. Anyway, the movie looks cheap as fuck, but I can’t argue that the atmosphere is pretty good. The filmmakers are clearly Stans for Clive Barker; this might be the biggest atmospheric rip-off of Hellraiser I’ve ever seen. I felt some hints of Nightbreed in there, too. Basically, let’s be monsters/demons just because . . . reasons.
Dove and I have discussed what movie she’s returning this favor on, but after watching this, I may have to reconsider my tentative choice. Not out of vengeance, but simply because this movie raised the ante and now I feel like my previous suggestions were far too tame and mainstream. Cheers!]