A Review by Noah Antwiler
Tonight I will watch Cabin Fever -- a movie which has produced some of the strangest, bipolar reactions from viewers and critics I've ever seen. Either they loved this movie and hailed it as the next Evil Dead (down fanboys!), or they panned it as one of the worst horror movies of all time. Before I watch the movie and go into my proper rant, I'll do a bit of pre-ranting on this topic.
It appears to me that the people who love Cabin Fever, love it because of it's extraordinary level of camp. Not the actual camp as in "summer camp", but the campy-goofy stuff where the movie is admittedly stupid, utterly predictable, and you're really just watching to see some T&A, over-the-top gore, and the actors winking at the camera. You watch camp and share a little joke with the cast and crew. The Evil Dead movies attained a cult status by camping it up, but at the same time making it a quite effective horror movie.
This is very hard to do. When it's done wrong, it comes out looking like House of the Dead-- a movie I fully intend to rant on later.
That being said, campy movies are somewhat immune to ranting against. Freddy vs. Jason was not intended to be a scary movie. It was campy and knowingly terrible. And you KNEW walking into that movie that half the joke was on you for wasting your time with it. I can't rant on Freddy v. Jason, because you already KNOW it sucks-- it was intentionally done that way. It's self-deprecating humor. There's no sport in insulting someone who's already insulted himself.
And so I sit here with a rental copy of Cabin Fever. Never before have people private-messaged me demanding a rant on this film, and so I feel duty-bound to oblige you. Still, I can't help but wonder if there's any sport in this one. If it's campy-- intentionally lousy-- I'm not sure I can beat up on it.
I can tell you this with relative certainty, however: I have seen many bad movies. And I have seen many people proclaim a film to be the "worst...movie...ever!" Movies like Gigli, Cabin Fever, and Battlefield: Earth are recent contenders to that title. Cabin Fever may be good, and it may be bad. But trust me, until you've seen such horror movies as The Creeping Terror, MonsTURD, It Conquered the World!, or Jaws IV: The Revenge, you have never seen the horror of truly, truly abyssmal movies.
Currently I am preparing my Bad Movie Emergency Kit. It's my kit used to keep me in the seat and make the pain endurable. Its contents:
One (1) Bag of Act*One Microwave Popcorn
One (1) cereal bowl to contain above
One (1) "Pounder" size bag of Tostitos dipping-size tortilla chips
Twelve (12) ounces of Macayos' Hot Picante Sauce
Twelve (12) ounces of Mountain Dew in one (1) serving-size can, well-chilled
Twelve (12) ounces of Pepsi in one (1) serving-size can, well-chilled
One (1) set of professional quality soundproofed headphones, attached to the TV
Two (2) Chinese worry-balls, stainless steel
When I dedicate myself to watching a bad movie, I *NEVER* get up and leave until the film is completed. No matter how bad it gets, no matter how much it hurts, there has only been one time that a movie has literally driven me to such agony that I succumbed and had to leave. One movie only. But not to worry, I will survive and report back with what I find!
Tonight, I will be reporting live on the film Cabin Fever. I've got my laptop hot and hooked up with the cable stretched dangerously across the hallway. If anyone comes through the corridor with the lights off, death is certain. The only pauses I will make in the film are necessary typing breaks and drink refills. Several people have called me mad, MAD to dare to tackle this movie. Nonsense I say! No movie will ever defeat me again!
And what was the movie that bested even The Spoony One, you ask? Of all the years of movie watching and collecting, of all the pain I have endured, and with all of my hardened senses from watching endless hours of Mystery Science Theater 3000, what was the movie that could send EVEN Tandem the Spoony off weeping? Only two movies have literally made me cry and attempt to leave. The first was called The Last Broadcast, a movie shot on tape stock that takes the form of a documentary about some recent slayings in a wooded New England area. The creators of this movie reportedly claim that the makers of The Blair Witch Project ripped off their story. And believe me, there's nothing in this story even the Blair Witch writers would want to rip off. I watched this with some old high school buddies. This movie hurt so bad I actually tried to leave, but was forced to stay as two of my friends physically restrained me and tied me to the couch until the movie was complete.
But my one failure, the only movie I failed to complete occurred in a completely empty theater several years ago. It was 7:00 PM on a Saturday night, one of the busiest times for movie audiences all week. Even a van Damme movie pulls a respectable crowd at 7 on a Saturday. But not this one. I lasted 70 minutes into the picture until, leaning against the wall for support, I stumbled out of the theater pale and trembling. I felt physically ill. I had actually torn hair from my scalp in an attempt to force myself to stay in that chair. I'm not kidding. Blood was under my fingernails. I had actually picked open a massive scab on my forearm and bled all over myself in an attempt to block out the pain of what I was seeing on screen. I have NEVER, EVER had to endure a movie like this. It's not the worst movie ever, but that night, it was enough. I was beaten.
Corky Romano had slain the legend. I have never recovered. In fever dreams and food poisoning do I recall Mango and Mr. Peepers holding me down and forcing me to watch Corky Romano. Truly, if there is a hell, I have a daily appointment in that theater waiting for me.
I understand if this makes me seem less a hero in your eyes. But even Superman loses a fight or two. Truly my honor is tainted by fleeing from Corky Romano. Were I to follow Bushido, I should have disemboweled myself on the spot. And at that time, you would have done well not to tempt me with a wakizashi.
But I'm clawing my way back up to fighting form. I am still researching the possibility of creating my own DVD commentaries so that I can rant live, in person, and distribute them somehow on the Internet. In that event, I will require two wingmen to join me, either in person or on some voice chat program. I have such ideas that I'm considering ways to even make a living doing this kind of thing. If you have any insight or help, I'd be infinitely grateful.
But now...my Mountain Dew is frosty, my headphones plugged in, and the lights are off. Cabin Fever begins.
Cabin Fever opens on a pristine white background, which slowly becomes more and more soiled as time passes. It's sort of like My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance's bedsheets on a time-delay. The film stars someone known as Rider Strong, which has to be one of the best porno names I have EVER heard in my life. Ehm. Not that I watch any pornos. I mean, I wouldn't know. Chicks dig The Spoony One. Really.
A grizzly ugly man carries a dead bunny and a chain across a forested area. Obviously he stalked down and clubbed a bunny to death with his loggin' chain. I don't know why, but he offers the bunny to his obviously very, very dead dog which is laying on the ground. I don't know a whole lot about medicine, but I know a dead dog when I see one. Anyway, Grizzly Weird Guy promptly does everything which you should never do to a dead-looking dog. He sticks his hand in its mouth, nudges it violently, and lifts it up by the front foreleg. The dog has been sliced from throat to anus and hollowed out for reasons which I believe will never be made clear. The gore from the vivisected dog conveniently sprays all over GWG, landing squarely in his eye.
We cut to a group of cannon fodd--I mean, spunky, vibrant college youths who are heading up into the woods to drink, boink, and smoke various herbs. At the same time if they can. Midterms are over, and Pretty Brunette proceeds to tell a little kid not to bother with college just before the group drives off. Cabin Fever sets a new record, as it's been 2 seconds since I've known her, and I already wish a main character dead. Even Jar Jar Binks got through about 3 lines of dialogue before I wished him dead. The script here has also dropped about 5 F-bombs in the 60 seconds of dialogue, in a very juvenile move by the writers who are writing an R-rated feature anyway, so they might as well sprinkle enough profanity that would make Quentin Tarantino blush. This movie is liberally dosed with the rare double-F-bomb which you never hear except when someone has been stabbed or crushed their hand in a car door. Such as, "What the f***ing f***?" First rule of dialogue, guys, it has to sound like real people actually say these things. People are profane, but already the dialogue has the maturity of a second grader who says the word "Ass" as much as possible away from the ears of his parents.
The group in brief consists of The Slut, The Jerk, The Blonde, The Wank, and The Dude. I find it saves time in most of these horror movies if I just give them an immediate label rather than try to remember their name. It's best not to get attached to them since most of them are psycho fodder and will die very quickly. The Dude's main job is to look perpetually stoned, and he does this well. So well in fact, that I'm not sure if he's "acting" stoned at all during this movie shoot. The Promiscuous Duo-- The Slut and The Jerk-- fondle each other's naughty bits the entire trip, and make out like idiots as soon as the car stops at a gas station right out of Deliverance. The Timid couple (The Blond and The Dork) just sort of look sheepishly at each other since they're not the "touchy-feely" couple just yet. Well I suppose "touchy-feely" is a mild way to describe the behavior of the other two. "Grind Pelvises and Suck Face In As Many Public Areas As Possible" is the more proper term for their behavior. I wish them dead now. The Wank sits next to a little blond kid on a porch swing and immediately offers his hand in friendship. The kid bites it. Hard. Interesting, but I strangely approve. The gas station owner comes out and chides them never to sit down next to Dennis. "Everybody knows not to sit down next to Dennis!" he shouts, "That mongrel will give ya tetanus." WELL THANKS, ya silly cracker! "Well why don't you make a sign?" The Wank demands. Well hyuk, that would be dern sensible of yer. But eh, ah can't read er write, yuh see. How could EVERYBODY know not to sit next to Dennis? It's a gas station! You have to expect that every once in a while someone will happen past and wonder what a kid is doing unattended at a gas station. They may not stick their stupid fist in front of his mouth, but come on! The Jerk threatens a lawsuit, which is actually sensible. But of course, it is sensible, which is why it never gets done.
The Wank goes out back to wash his hands in a filthy lake out back. Yes, you read that right. He washes his hands in a muddy, cruddy lake with more bacteria than the floor of Grand Central Station's bathroom. He also proceeds to touch the two unfamiliar dogs out back and hangs out near a seemingly endless field of rusted car chassis and lawnmower parts I lovingly call The Tetanus Farm. Yes, this is where I would wash off my infected bite wound, and promptly grope the two mangy junkyard dawgs out back. Good job. Inside, The Dude discovers bottles of animal musk and wonders if he could huff them. The store manager, Gay Santa, gives a very odd performance here and explains all of the odd country fixtures in the store, including a giant rifle behind the counter. "What's the Fox Piss" for, The Dude asks, hoping the answer will be "to huff it." But duh, Gay Santa answers "That's for foxes!" brilliant. "What's the rifle for?" asks another. "That's for n---" eh, he means black people. Ahhhh very charming. Not. Anyway, we learn that the kids are up here on vacation here in the armpit of the world, and are renting a cabin miles away from help with no phones or convenient highway access! Neat, huh! Oh and I bet it's near a lake, too. I'll bet you anything that it is. Crystal Lake? Oh, we'll see. (chee-chee-chee-chee----cha-cha-cha-cha...)
Naturally, the kids are taking a crappy Chevy truck that won't start when they need it to. But I don't need to be a prophet to know that. The house is straight out of Evil Dead, but I can't look at a cabin anymore without thinking it's straight out of Evil Dead. The Promiscuous Duo are not in the cabin 8 seconds when they IMMEDIATELY start stripping down and having sex. You think I'm kidding? I'm not. They get in the door, head instinctively to the bedroom, and get horizontal. I bet you it's really short, unfulfilling lousy sex, too. I don't even really want to think of these two doing it. Ugggggghhh. The Dude gets his BB Rifle and goes to shoot some squirrels "because they're gay." Unbelievable. There is nobody in this movie that I DO NOT HATE. The Timid Couple fawn at each other and head for the lake. (I told you there was a lake.) The Dude proves to be a menace to all life and I'm horrified to see in a sudden cut-away, the Promiscuous Duo in full horrifying coitus which lasts a full 15 seconds before they're done. T&A galore here, with tons of nasty squishing noises and a "finale" which I guarantee will haunt your nightmares for years to come. I can't even describe it here.
The Timid Duo share some gooey (no, not like that) sentimental moments together and share a weak kiss with all the romance of kissing your grandma. The Blonde inexplicably breaks off from the embrace and dives into the lake, leaving The Wank looking confused. "Where are you going? We were just kissing," he says, as if wondering if that really happened. "Does that mean you like me now?" I admit, I'm getting confused by her weird signals, too. "Don't be gay," she says. WHAT? Gay? What the hell are you talking about? You just kis--he's...what does that have to do with anything? What's wrong with being gay? And he's not gay! Who wrote this?? Women don't talk this way!
The Dude hasn't been a danger to anything in the last 2 minutes, to he sprays some gasoline in a circle and lights the undergrowth on fire. Yes kids, forest fires are fun. He then goes off with his BB Gun to kill a woodchuck that eluded him and ends up busting a cap in the same Grizzly Weird Guy from earlier in the movie. GWG is very sick and is begging The Dude for help. The Dude freaks out and runs away as quickly as possible from the Grizzly Weirdo, despite the fact he just shot the guy and he clearly needs help. Okay he's crusty and weird, but he's puking blood. Interesting. Anyway, The Dude rejoins his fellows and completely fails to mention the man that he shot, and the fact that he looked like he had the advanced stages of EBOLA and a freaking case of flesh-eating bacteria. He doesn't even look worried by it. He just acts stoned like nothing happened. I mean the guy was vomiting BLOOD. He's crawling around screaming for help not 200 yards away and he just ignores him?
That night around the campfire, the group exchanges scary stories that would have made much more intersting movies than this. Out of the woods crawls Stoner Man, a strange skater dude who claims he was in the X-Games and has a block of hash that would get you sentenced for trafficking to COLUMBIA. And he has a dog named Dr. Mambo. I swear. Of course, the college kids welcome the bearer of this mighty chunk of hash with open arms. I have no idea where this random Stoner Man just appeared from, and I have no idea where he goes off to. What's a stoner doing out in the woods just in the area? There's nothing around for miles! He just shows up! WHO ARE YOU?? Someone brings up a bet that he once had to spend days drinking nothing but beer. Nobody believes him, so all the guys enter a bet where they agree to drink nothing but beer for the duration of the trip. Which, if I know most college guys, isn't really that much of a bet. Most of the frat guys I know would have beer on an IV drip if they could. These are the people who invented the beer helmet. Stoner Man claims he has to cover an even larger cache of ganja from the rain, and disappears back to wherever he came from.
The group then starts sharing sex stories that nobody would ever admit to. The Dude shares a story that manages to put him atop the list of People I Want to See Die, Slowly. This story involves a hand, a dog, and a dog's tongue. Use your imagination, but nothing you have in your demented heads will do this story justice.
Grizzly Weird Guy shows up at the front door, and he's not looking so good. He wasn't looking very good before, but now he's really looking like he got run over by a zamboni four times. He's very displeased at The Dude for not seeking help and for...y'know, SHOOTING HIM, and goes mental. The Grizzly guy runs off and somehow hotwires the crappy Chevy. I do wonder how a crazed, starved, diseased blood-vomiting forest-hermit cracker learned how to hotwire a car, but I'm beyond caring at this point. The Dude uses his BB gun, shoots the truck, and cripples the engine. Good job Dude. Seriously, to completely disable a car with one BB is a one-in-a-million shot. Even a Chevy. Grizzy Guy starts vomiting blood and gore all over the truck interior. Amazingly, the men continue to attack him with their baseball bat and BB gun. Closing to melee range with a man projecting viscera from his mouth seems a profoundly stupid tactic, yet they men try to wrestle him to the ground. In a complete rout, the diseased weirdo manages to overpower the combined might of the Stoner and the Boner and approaches the girls, who actually manage to fend him off with their Aqua Net hair spray. The Wank uses a torch (yes, a torch) and sets the attacker aflame. He runs off into the woods to die a horrible death. Not the best way to have handled it, but hey, they didn't have many alternatives. Having The Dude on your team is a major handicap in battle.
They wonder what to do now that they've immolated a plague victim. Of course, the logical thing to do would be to walk immediately to the highway and get to a police station as soon as possible. Of course, this makes sense, so they stay in the cabin and argue. I don't know why this decision is so hard, since they have NOTHING to worry about. The Grizzly guy was diseased, insane, and he was literally projectile vomiting everywhere. Sort of like Ozzy Osbourne. He was a dead man anyway, and any look at the corpse would back their story up with no room for doubt. This is NOT exactly a moral dilemma even on the level of "I Know What You Did Last Summer." Conveniently, we learn that the flaming plague victim managed to successfully put himself out...in the lake that serves as the cabin's water supply. Of course, this serves as the cue for one unlucky sap (in this case, The Blonde) to guzzle a pint of the nasty water without really looking at it. Despite the fact that it has a chunk of flesh the size of a Chiclet floating in it. I don't know if I'm just a paranoid soul, but yes, I do actually look at what I'm drinking every once in a while. I don't know why. I can't help it! I hold a glass inches away from my eyes, I'm gonnna take a peek at its contents out of reflex. But if my beverage had floating chunks of flesh in it, I'd most likely see it. I've seen several movies with gross-out scenes where some dope manages to drink something horrendous (like a spider pureed in a blender) without really looking at the glass. How do you MISS a dessicated lump of flesh the size of a popcorn kernel in your water?
If only they had the Pur water filter on their faucet, this whole incident might have been averted. Well, I suppose not.
Oddly enough, the owner of the truck doesn't blame The Dude for crippling it with his stupid BB gun. Rather, he blames The Wank who did nothing but smash the side window with a stick. The rest of the group decides to seek help at the nearby cabins. So they split up and go in random directions. BRILLIANT. The boys encounter a clearly insane woman butchering a hog in her shed. She's very angry that something's been going around infecting the animals, and she clearly can't eat this one. "What am I supposed to do with this hog??" she screeches. *I* know what you can do with it...stupid movie...The woman lets them use her radio to signal for help. Inside the house, they learn that the man they immolated was Henry, Insane Woman's cousin! Horrified, the boys promptly excuse themselves and flee from the cabin as quickly as possible, WITHOUT USING THE RADIO. Even though this is awkward, Insane Woman has no way of knowing they've killed Henry. There is literally nothing keeping them from using the radio so long as they keep their stupid mouths shut about setting Henry on fire. But this makes sense, so of course, they leave without explanation.
The Slut has crossed the lake in a canoe to seek help. I don't know anything about cabin-life, so I'll just assume that it came with the cabin rental. She approaches a house, allowing the camera to do a slow-motion focus on her ass for a full 20 seconds. It's not even all that impressive as badonkadonk booties go, but the director milks the slo-mo for all it's worth before freeing us of having to stare at her butt. She runs into The Dude and The Jerk who are already ransacking the house for munchies. Die, all of you. Of course, the house has no phone, no radio, no motorcars, not a single luxury. This would make sense, hence the house has none of these things. Although we have discovered that The Dude has the power to fold space and appear on the other side of the lake inside a house in the direct opposite direction that The Slut went in.
Meanwhile, everyone's ditched The Wank at the cabin (you would too). A knock at the door reveals The Cop, named Deputy Winston of the Bunyan County Sheriff's Department. The Cop claims he heard reports of a lot of commition last night, and he's here to investigate. This seems unlikely, since the cabin is out in the middle of the woods, a long way from any neighbors or observers. And we know by now that the nearest neighbors have no means to report any disturbances (no phones). The Insane Lady registers no knowledge of any disturbance, so how did this get reported? This is one of the oddest performances of a cop character I've ever seen. He talks at length about chicks and partying, and lies greatly about all the babes he's scored with, sort of like that guy everyone knows who exaggerates his love exploits beyond all reason. He also talks about this for around five minutes, AND. HE. WON'T. SHUT. UP!! The Wank tries to explain about the attack on the cabin, but oddly leaves out the part where they burned him alive. I told you, you silly Wank, it's completely justifiable. Just tell him! The cop seems oddly mellow and inquires more about the events of the party. Even stranger, for a cop, he seems incredibly unconcerned with the destroyed Chevy that is absolutely covered in gore from all angles. It looks worse than Halle Berry's car after a hit-and-run. The only real comment this sight draws from The Cop is a somewhat unimpressed "Hm. I'll put out an APB on this guy for ya."
An APB? With who?? The other two cops in Bunyan County? Yeah, Billy Bob and Jimbo will seal off the highways. No criminal could escape the dragnet laid down by Deputy Winston & Gang. You're a real crack squad. The Cop says getting a tow truck out here will be his top priority, but you can tell this guy is about as reliable as MSN Technical Support.
The boys return and they start hosing down the car, as if that will cleanse the flesh-devouring plague from the naugahyde interior. The Dude seems to be in charge of fixing the car. This is logical, since Stoner Dudes are usually the best mechanics and carpenters from their extensive experience at crafting bongs out of various unlikely materials. But even The Dude seems unsure that he can fix the truck. How so? You shot it with a BB gun! How much damage would that possibly do at it's worst? Puncture a hose or something? Just patch it up! It's not like a BB punched through the engine block or something.
The Blonde isn't feeling well after gagging down her tainted water glass, so she and The Wank cuddle up in bed to get some rest. During the night, The Wank finally makes his move and, let's just say, offers her a special amorous love massage while she's sleeping.
Anyone who knows anything about women knows that any nookie-related behavior while she's sleeping is a SERIOUS faux-pas, yet he's quite content to grope and have his way with her without even checking. Worse, she claimed she was feeling ill. Expecting romance out of any woman who's feeling sick is extraordinarily chauvanist and very insensitive. And so, my opinion of this young man slips several dozen notches. Obviously the screenwriter lacks my stunning insight into women and simply writes that The Blonde is very much into this assault! Guys, DO NOT practice this move.
In an amusing twist, it turns out that she's covered in bleeding sores and the boyfriend is greeted with a very messy sight when he looks at his handiwork (ha ha! pun!). Upon looking at these horrible bleeding sores, I wonder why she wasn't howling in complete agony at having some dork scrape his hands all over them. Everyone does their best to raise as much panic as possible by acting irrationally, shouting, cursing, and shoving each other around howling about how she's going to die. Everyone strips down and examines their body for sores, as if that will prove anything. John Carpenter's "The Thing," this is not. But they proceed to rip off The Thing even more by locking The Blond in a nearby shed "for her own safety".
Now, even though I keep harping on the fact that the cabin is a long way from help, they're not exactly beyond all rescue. They're not being chased by any psycho killer. There is no Jason Voorhees tonight. The truck doesn't work, but nothing's stopping them from just hiking to the road and walking the distance. Instead, most of them just split up again and wander the woods at random.
While seeking help, The Wank runs across a house inhabited by a foxy blonde lounging on a bed. He proceeds to peep on her like a fool, allowing her husband to sneak up behind him and demand "What are you doing on my property?" The Wank tries to explain that he has a friend who's dying and that they desperately need some help. Of course, the angry husband has none of this and chases the guy off with a shotgun. I admit, finding someone peeping on my wife would make me considerably angry. But the guy's reaction makes little sense. First, we're in the wilderness with no real neighbors to speak of. Anyone coming to your house this far out in the woods this late at night is either (a) someone who depserately needs help or (b) Jason Voorhees. This kid is obviously not Jason Voorhees, and his explanation for being here is actually quite logical. The odds of J. Random Peeper coming to your house in the city could be quite common. In the rat's ass of the world where they are? Nonsense. This also does not explain how Angry Husband somehow produces a shotgun out of his ass. In the 20 second timeframe this confrontation occurs, Angry Husband had to be already pacing around his home, armed already with a loaded shotgun on a whim, for absolutely no reason. Well, maybe I'm beeing too rough. If I lived where they live, I'd probably be armed in case of Jason Voorhees too.
Our teen hero returns to the cabin and NEVER MENTIONS THE INCIDENT TO ANYBODY. Bro, Angry Husband chased you off because he thought you were a stalker. If SEVERAL of you returned with a GIRL, and knocked on his front door, I'm willing to bet he more than willing to at least let you use his phone. Come on man, use that brain of yours. You could get out of here!! URRRGGH. Anyway, the teens gather and immediately grow paranoid of becoming infected. In a sudden, fleeting moment of brilliance, The Jerk suggets they do everything they can to avoid infection. You know, like not touching each other, not swapping fluids, and not vomiting blood on each other. Of course, this makes sense, so the teenagers immediately rebel against this idea and get into a fight arguing over it. Brilliant, guys. Hit each other, open up some wounds, and spray blood and saliva on each other. Surely you will never contract this disease!
The Wank finally manages to chill everyone out. The Dude relaxes and lets his concentration lapse (which happens easily), and breaks his All-Beer Diet by sipping down some of the chunky water. The Dude is now officially a Dead Man Walkin'. But by the next morning, he *does* have the truck up and running against all odds. Unfortunately, by this time he's coughing up blood and his groin is covered in sores. Yes, he checks. We see it. I am blind. Naturally, he hides this from everyone else. The others collect The Blond, who looks like a walking blood clot. They grab her gore-soaked clothes and blanket with their bare hands, carry her along, and stay within close proximity as she spews blood from her mouth. Any hope of remaining uninfected is now officially shot, despite all their paranoia earlier about preparing their own meals and not touching each other. Then they spontaneously just pick up up barehanded and let her puke on them. Well done.
She pukes all over the car, so naturally nobody's willing to ride in it anymore. The Dude is already sick, so he drives off alone as flesh sluices off of him in appetizing chunks. The Jerk is the only sensible one. He takes the only known clean source of water (the beer) and goes off alone to camp away from the plague nest. I mean it, he's the only smart one here. The Slut and The Wank hold down the fort back at the cabin in the feeble hope The Dude will bring back help. In a strange plot twist, The Slut mentions that since they're all going to be dead soon anyway, they might as well have sex. Oh yeah. Seeing a man burned alive and my best friend turned into a puking diseased walking infection just makes me OH-so-horny too. Without a second's hesitation, they proceed to actually DO it on the spot! "You don't use condoms?" the guy says, as if even he can't believe what a monumentally stupid thing he's doing. Wow, it's taken about 3 minutes for The Slut to get over her old boyfriend completely. It's also charming to note how dedicated The Wank was to his blonde girlfriend since the 7th grade. Truly this is a sensitive, caring man. "Don't worry, I'm healthy," she says. Well! Good! That's all it takes to convince him that everything here's squeaky clean and safe. I mean really, when was the last time a slutty brunette carried anything communicable? It's not like we have a wildly infectious flesh-eating epidemic on our hands that we should be constantly vigilant against. Oh...oh right. We do. The most laughable moment in this scene is the post-coital moment where the guy liberally douses his groin with Listerine. Since we all know, this is the way to safe sex. If only scientists had known this solution long ago, this whole HIV thing would never have been a problem. Swab with Listerine, folks, remember that.
Some people I've consulted believe if there was any real message to Cabin Fever, advocacy of safe sex was it. Rubbish, I say, as I contend the writer of this movie isn't smart enough to whip any real meaning into this shlock. These character simply aren't behaving rationally! They're not even behaving as intelligently as a pack of drunken college kids high on weed would. It's so wildly inconsistent and illogical that it wouldn't even make a passable storyline for She-Spies.
The Dude manages to reach the Deliverance Gas Station, looking like he's just come off a week-long bender of hemp, shrooms, and twinkies. The Gas Station attendant, we see, HAS actually put up a sign reading "Do NOT sit next to Dennis!" which thusly relieves him of any reliability when idiot tourists stop by and stick their hands in Dennis' mouth. The Dude explains that he and his friends have some funky disease and that they need a doctor. He's a little creeped out by The Dude, but everyone is. He tells The Dude to wait outside while he calls the cops, leaving him alone with Dennis.
"Pancakes!" Dennis says, oddly excited (I'm not kidding). Pancakes? Where? "Pancakes!" Dennis says again with great pleasure. Even The Dude seems weirded out, and I'm sure he's seen some weird stuff in his frequent purple haze encounters.
"No pancakes." The Dude says, as if the actor can't even really believe he just said that line.
"Pancakes!!!" Dennis howls, looking at The Dude like he were made of pancakes. Come to think of it, some pancakes DO sound good right about now, but I'm left puzzled as to what in the name of Christopher Walken's Obscure Dialogue PANCAKES has to do with ANYTHING we've seen so far! Dennis begins approaching The Dude doing a surprisingly good martial arts/dance routine (I'm still not kidding), runs up and now bites The Dude's hand! Well that just makes the whole "Do NOT sit near Dennis" sign pointless, doesn't it. He put a lot of time into it, and now Dennis just runs up and chews on people. Bad Dennis! What's funny is that if you look at the shot, Dennis doesn't even really come close to actually biting his hand.
Now begins one of the most nonsensical moments of the movie. The Attendant is furious at The Dude for infecting Dennis with this disease. "You're sick, that's YOUR problem," he says, "If Dennis gets sick, that's MY problem. And if *I* get sick, that's Lucille's problem!" Who the HECK is Lucille?? The Attendant summons an extra named Fenster to bring his rifle, the The Dude once again runs away as quickly as possible. I mean look man, your kid chews on everyone in sight! Stop blaming The Dude, you whacked out gap-toothed nutbar! It's just getting more and more insane at this point. The Attendant summons his posse, which I dub the Magnificent Inbreds, to help exterminate the carriers of this strange disease. So they load up with rifles and CHASE AFTER The Dude in their truck. It occurs to me here that the entire orchestral score is merely a ripped-off Jaws theme played faster in a minor chord.
The Slut is curled up in a bathtub covered in sores, but she was probably crawling with enough social disease that such an experience is not unusual for her. The Wank is exploring and finally discovers the diseased dead guy floating in the water supply. He climbs down towards the corpse to poke it with a stick. I swear it. In the attempt, the ladder breaks and he careens into the hideous corpse and rancid water. You already knew he was infected from before, but even the target audience of this film has figured it out with this scene. The Slut meanwhile staggers out of the cabin in a full panic at discovering that she's infected (big shocker for her, eh?) and gets torn to pieces by some insane dog. In the meantime, the director manages to rip off the Evil Dead-style point-of-view shot of a low camera rushing along the ground to a fleeing victim, only with a red filter on the lens. Brilliant. I'd call it an homage if I thought this movie capable of actual intellectual development.
The Wank, who is miraculously dry at this point, hears The Slut screaming and arrives too late to save her. He kills the dog with his trusty BB gun and checks on The Blonde, whose face has been chewed/melted off. She sorts looks like Callista Flockhart at this point, or maybe Michael Jackson in the right light. So he pounds her skull in with a shovel. Thanks, movie! The Dude crawls back to the cabin and explains the Magnificent Inbreds are chasing him from the gas station. For some reason, these three hicks have taken it upon themselves as God-fearing crackers to hunt down and exterminate this threat to mankind. If it wasn't for hillbillies and psychotic militia members, what *would* keep this nation safe? I just don't know! They reach the cabin and see the virtual abbatoir that's taken place outside the cabin. At this point, it's not pretty. It's sort of like what you'd see after a riot at a Scottish soccer game. It ain't pretty. "This ain't Christian," Anonymous Cracker #3 says. Armed with their shotguns and the power of righteousness, they boldly march up to the door to do some killin'. I hate these kids anyway, so fire away boys!
They open the door to find The Dude sitting in a chair with a gun aimed at the doorway, ready to fire. Despite having complete surprise on them, The Dude fails utterly to get a shot off and gets gunned down messily. The lead attacker gets a shovel in the face, wielded by The Wank. He stumbles backwards and accidentally shoots the Gas Station Attendant with his shotgun. Oops. The Wank finishes off Anonymous Cracker #2 with a screwdriver in his right ear. Even he seems surprised to have been killed in such a profoundly silly manner and takes a few seconds to collapse, thankfully out of this movie. Still, this scene did hold more suspense than most of the movie. You know, where did he find the screwdriver...was it Philips or Standard head, or even Torx? This is a question that, much like the mystery behind pancakes, I don't think will ever be fully answered.
The Wank runs stupidly off into the woods howling "Don't drink the water!!" Which is sorta good advice no matter where you go, really. I had a bout of Montezuma's Revenge one time, and WHOO! Ehm...well, I guess you didn't want to know about that. Anyway, he stumbles across a massive cave by pure chance out in the woods. He sees a pair of legs sticking out behind a bend in the passage ahead, and assumes it's The Jerk hiding there. Someone shoves him down from behind...or he falls over, I'm not sure, and he finds the corpse of Stoner Man from way eariler in the film. He's been torn in half at the waist, for no adequately explained reason that I can find. Oooookay. He gets out of there and finds the Hickmobile idling outside with the keys still in it. He takes this car (his first sensible move all day) and drives down the road.
While staring at a sore on his wrist, he manages to totally nail a deer standing in the middle of the road. This scene is hilarious as it features goofy puppet deer legs smacking the actor in the face. In desperation, he grabs up a shotgun and blasts the struggling deer in the gut. Against all physics, this catapults the deer off the hood of the car. The Wank is splattered with a comical amount of gore, and we're treated to a shot of a very fake, very un-heavy deer hitting the road. Naturally, this truck is rendered useless from the impact with the wayward deer. COME ON, this whole incident is just delaying the movie out of SPITE at this point! End!!
By sheer dumb luck, The Wank stumbles upon an extraordinarily lame party out in the woods, populated purely by some disinterested-looking extras, a terrible folk medley band, and Deputy Winston. "What happened to the tow truck, Winston??" The Wank whines. At this point, he's covered head to toe in deer goo, and looks like he's just beat three people to death with a shovel. Which he has. Winston still seems un-disturbed by seeing such obvious signs of violence and death and apologizes dumbly, "Sorry about the tow truck, man. I called for it, and it broke down, and I had to get a tow truck for THAT tow truck..." and then he offers him a ride. Try to understand that he's offering a ride to a guy *dripping* in bodily fluids, without a question as to his health or what happened. Good job, writers! I'm guessing that a lot of reefer was consumed in this entire film making process, most of it during the shoot. Because none of this acting makes any sense.
The sheriff radios Winston that some mad killer has slaughtered about 9 people up at a cabin. Winston slowly, very slowly, starts putting two-and-two together. Hmmm...multiple murders, dismemberment, bloody disease...and there's a guy covered in it in front of me. What CAN this mean? HMMMM...Thinker HURTS. Anyway, the Sheriff gives a very un-police-like order not to hesitate, and shoot the kid on sight. Yeah right. Of course, the ineffective cop left his gun in the car, so he can't shoot him even if he wanted to. Against all logic, the crummy folk singer takes it upon himself to act the vigilante and swings his guitar at The Wank. He ducks this, resulting in the harmonica player getting belted in the face. The fellow swallows his harmonica horizontally in a sight gag that utterly failed even to draw a smirk out of me. I saw it in a Loony Tunes bit, and it was barely funny then. I'm wondering by now if even the screenwriters are trying anymore to be scary, or if they've just decided "to hell with it" and pumped up the dumb campy humor until the knob fell off.
All of the party guests flee in their car, leaving the deputy alone with The Wank. "You IDIOT!" the deputy shouts, "You just f***ed up the whole party!" What?? A harmonica player probably just got killed by injesting a haromica sideways, and he's mostly upset that the party's been disrupted? What kind of cop is this? Why am I here? WHY? The Wank poses as studly as he can (which isn't very) and utters probably his favorite badass line (again, which isn't very), "Party's over, Winston," and cranks him over the head with a stick. We cut away just after seeing the punchline to the harmonica gag, which is the dying man wheezing and his death rattle making disjointed harmonica sounds. God, I envy him right now.
The Wank stumbles blindly down the highway and passes out in the middle of the road. And we see a semi-truck coming! YES!! Finally! This movie will end! KILL HIM! KILL HIM!! Awwww damn, the truck stopped. We cut away to find him laying in front of the hospital, which leaves the character of Wayne the Friendly Trucker implied only. Doctors wheel The Wank down the corridor. He looks feverishly left and right, wondering where he is. He looks into a room at his left and sees the psycho nibbler child Dennis there laying on a bed. Standing over him is a man in a bunny suit and apron, holding a plate of pancakes on it.
I'll say that again, because it's that stupid.
He sees a man with a giant bunny suit on, who is holding a plate with a high stack of PANCAKES on it. Once again, the pancakes return in some whacko leitmotif that I just don't understand. What's with the pancakes? Is that giant bunny man actually there? What does this have to do with him? What's even stranger is that The Wank wasn't even there when Dennis first shouted "Pancakes!" He was nowhere near that scene! So if this is some hallucination, then by sheer chance, he fantasized a bunny wielding a pancake platter BY SHEER CHANCE. The odds are just incalculable. For the love of all that's holy, please let this movie end. No mas pancakes. No mas!
The Wank wakes up in a bed in the hospital, and is promptly interrogated by the police, who want to know where he got this disease at. The Wank is, of course, totally useless and just utters gibberish. The doctors say that they're unequipped to deal with this kind of disease, so the sheriff simply says "Put him in the car, and I'll take are of him." We cut to Deputy Useless, now sporting a bandage on his head, driving The Wank to his certain (and long overdue) death.
The Jerk, meanwhile, is shown stumbling amidst the post-slaughter carnage at the cabin. Why he ever bothered to return to this hellhole is beyond me, and even the dimmest viewer knows that this particular movie is the stupidest, and of course, last move he will make. The cabin is so covered in gore at this point you couldn't have saturated it more if you'd sprayed corn syrup out of a garden hose all over the walls. The Jerk is elated at his own survival and celebrates his genius at remaining separate from the plague victims by shouting "I MADE IT!" as loud as possible. Of course, if he was really that smart he'd have headed far away from the cabin and never looked back. He steps outside, still celebrating his genius and promptly gets jackhammered to the ground by about five cops blasting him with their guns. Sayonara, bro. The cops load all the bodies onto a pyre.
The movie wraps up with the cops celebrating their sweep-and-clear by drinking contaminated lemonade drawn from the river. It's always good to know that the American south is painted in such a positive light, eh? You know, Deliverance, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses, and so on...yep. Know this, folks: everyone in the South is a psychotic inbred villain, and the cops are trigger-happy morons that shoot first, and ask single-syllable questions later. Why is the river contaminated, you ask? The river is now contaminated because Deputy Useless had the brilliant insight to dump The Wank's body there, even though he knew that everyone at that cabin was infected with a hideously contagious disease. A group of African-American folk head up to the store, where Gay Santa (the store clerk) ominously stands up to get his rifle behind the counter. He then hands the rifle to them and everyone's happy and friendly, talking weird ebonics, in what has to be the most drawn out setup to a joke in movie history. And the punchline wasn't even that good. But I was laughing anyway, because the credits finally started to roll. I'm FREE!