The Gingerdead Man
Dir. Charles Band (2005)
A convicted killer comes back to life as a gingerbread cookie, seeking revenge on those who sent him to the electric chair.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
One does not exactly think “stability” when talking about Gary Busey, who has as many scandals and bizarre life choices as he does hit movies, but the man was a bona fide star in Hollywood. It would be easy to view The Gingerdead Man as a huge step down for his career, but… well, ok, it pretty much is. But that doesn’t make it not worth a watch, because if you’re a fan of Full Moon films and the other stuff Charles Band has made, odds are you’re going to enjoy this one as well. It’s a film that only Full Moon could make, and it’s an entertaining watch that tickles your funny bone as much as your taste buds. I can’t think of another movie where the main villain is defeated because the good guys eat him.
Busey’s character Millard Findlemeyer imparts his essence into the evil gingerbread because his ashes were mixed into a gingerbread recipe by a local bakery, the unholy concoction solidified by one of the bakers’ blood being mixed into the batter after cutting his arm. This happens because Sarah, the other baker who is the star of the film, seeing that he’s cut himself, holds his arm directly over the mixture that they’re making while examining it, neither noticing that he’s bleeding into the batch because they’re both horrifically bad at their job. After baking for a bit, the killer gingerbread man is off to the races, lopping off fingers and running people down in cars that he can somehow drive as the fun ratchets up to 325 degrees. Cheesiness abounds as the characters stumble their way through the plot, trying their best to escape from the cookie while exploring a potential love triangle that, believe it or not, works pretty well in the film. By the time they stumble across their coworker’s nude body, which is covered in frosting with cherries for nipples, the movie becomes even more nuts than it already was, and we’re here for all of it.
Let’s be honest with ourselves about something, something that we don’t often talk about here. While this is not an indie movie, being directed by Charles Band with the full weight of Full Moon Pictures behind it, there’s a certain indie sensibility that runs throughout their filmography. That being said, 99% of their movies are dumb as hell, made on the cheap with the hope of making just a little bit more than their budget to finance the next cheapie, gaining legions of fans along the way through the magic of cinema. You don’t go into a Band film thinking that you’re going to be enthralled, you just expect to be entertained for the length of the film and then move on to the next one. The acting is below subpar, the cinematography is cheap and reminiscent of 90’s Cinemax, and the jokes are juvenile at best. The most that the film can hope for is to make a batshit crazy film with some fun moments, enough to draw the fans the company has already attained and to snowball from there. What’s interesting (and different) about Gingerdead Man is that the effects are actually pretty rad (or at least as rad as you can get with like $27), with John Carl Buechler, who directed Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood and did the effects for Hatchet, running the vfx in the film, and the film is fairly funny throughout, something that can’t always be said about the other films produced by Full Moon.
Busey’s frenetic energy is perfect for the title character, and his cheesy one-liners with a delivery only Busey can give work like a charm. The puns are nonstop, and even the character names are references to something in the food industry, from the couple Amos Cadbury (a double whammy reference of cookie and candy) and Lorna Dean to “final girl” Sara Leigh. It’s all dumb fun, which might as well be the tagline for Full Moon itself. The only downside of this film, for our purposes, is that it’s hardly a Christmas movie. There aren’t really any references to the holiday, but it’s about a gingerbread man on a rampage, so it wound up in this list regardless. If you lack even a modicum of good taste and don’t mind listening to a little more than an hour of food puns, give this one a shot. It’s well worth a watch, and if “Gary Busey plays a killer holiday cookie” didn’t win you over already, I don’t know what will.
Who this movie is for: B-horror lovers, Horror comedy fans, Butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers
Bottom line: While it hardly fits the bill as a Christmas horror movie, I can’t really think of a better time of year to watch a movie about a killer gingerbread cookie. Gary Busey is the star, but all of the actors are entertaining despite their poor performances and there are some great cheap kills and gags throughout. I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout the film, and it’s a short enough watch that that’s all it takes to make it worth checking out. This one won’t find it’s way into your holiday rotation, but if you’re a fan of Charles Band and Full Moon Pictures, you’re gonna love it like I did.