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The Haunted World of El Superbeasto – 7

Director – Rob Zombie

Cast – Tom Papa, Paul Giamatti, Sheri Moon Zombie, Rosario Dawson, Brian Posehn, Ken Foree, April Winchell, Dee Wallace, Danny Trejo, Laraine Newman

Release Year – 2009

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Rob Zombie has become a household name in the horror genre these days, finding himself in a love/hate relationship with genre fans who have seen his films (I’m more love than hate), and what really intrigued me about his work was this film, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. I have always wanted to view more animated horror films, and this one coming from a veteran genre director of the live-action variety captivated me given I would get to see his transition from live-action to animation. Coming off in a comic book-esque feel regarding its characters, storyline, and overall feel, this under-appreciated animated effort from Rob Zombie makes for one of his better films and a unique entry into the genre that was highly overlooked when it debuted.

The title says it all as we follow El Superbeasto, a washed-up Mexican luchador still eager to leave his mark on the world, as he and his sultry sister Suzi X battle against Nazi werewolves and the evil Dr. Satan.

Right from the get-go I felt the one emotion that I’m sure Rob Zombie aimed to deliver to his viewers: joy. We are immediately thrown into the fun antics of Superbeasto, now a wannabe porn star and frequent spokesperson for any product that will pay him money to promote it. He does however still harbor some of the same qualities leftover from his wrestling days: extreme ass-kicking ability, charisma/charm, and a strong weakness for the opposite sex. His character was superbly well-written, providing great dialogue and loads of fun that I expected to see but found had surpassed my expectations. It does not take long before we are introduced to Dr. Satan, a man who will soon become Superbeasto’s arch-nemesis as his yearn to “save the day” aka “save the hot stripper he just met” eventually brings him face to face with Dr. Satan. Superbeasto’s sister, Suzi X(Sheri Moon Zombie) was also used in a positive fashion, delivering a good amount of ass-kicking as well while donning skimpy spandex and often finding that it is hard to slay Nazis without her breasts popping out. Now that we are on the subject, I must say that this is a fairly “raunchy” film for an animated non-hentai (hentai is actually mentioned in the story) flick, giving us lots of breast action, a few penis shots, but mostly breast action. Some may be turned off by this, but I honestly feel that this being shown in an animated fashion definitely makes it less raunchy compared to being shown live-action, which my perverted brothers will find much disappointment in. Rob Zombie’s story, which comes aided by 7 additional writers, is an awesome one that gives much more than what I mentioned above, including many more enjoyable characters who each added their own awesome positives and laughs to the experience, and coming in at a brisk 77 minutes this is one experience that takes off quick and never slows down.

So how is Zombie’s direction for this animated piece? I must say he did a fantastic job executing it on every level. As mentioned earlier, there is a heavy “fun” feel throughout this piece, and it comes due to him giving us a visually striking experience complimented with many great positives. For starters, the acting performances are incredible, especially that of Tom Papa as El Superbeasto. His ability to voice this dynamic character is amazing given Superbeasto is a brooding yet charismatic jackass who expertly employs both heavy and soft tones to his dialogue and mannerisms, both brought to screen greatly by Papa and Zombie. I was very surprised to see that Suzi X came voiced by the ever-annoying Sheri Moon Zombie, and I am glad that I noticed this after the film as I made the revelation all the more surprising and enjoyable. We are also given a few “names” providing voices in Paul Giamatti as Dr. Satan and Rosario Dawson as one (yes there are many) Superbeasto’s love interests, stripper Velvet Von Black. The action scenes are fun and Zombie makes great use of sound effects to sell the scenes as well as the rest of the film, with the only thing missing being the outlandish gore that I expected given this is a Zombie flick, but nonetheless I was pleased with the end result of his direction.

Overall, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is a great animated horror film from a veteran horror director who mixes his usual schlock with a fun comic feel and delivers a great experience in the end. The performances are fantastic and Zombie’s execution is as good as ever, making for a flick I would suggest you check out if you want an animated horror film and do not mind a few somewhat raunchy (it’s animated) scenes.

Rating: 7/10

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