Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust is a far more interesting film than its predecessor. This isn’t meant, by any stretch, to be perceived as a recommendation for the film, but, more to say, it has more on its mind. Like its predecessor, I watched this film using the free TubiTV streaming service. I also own a copy of the film on DVD.
Gingerdead Man 2 is a rarity in Fullmoon Features, a rarity that’s very peculiar to see, because it’s a film that shows self-awareness (cue a surprised Macaulay Culkin from Home Alone) and is referential to Fullmoon overall. The story follows a man named Kelvin Cheatum, the heir to Cheatum Studios, his father’s movie company that specializes in low-budget cult films, and his efforts to save it. His efforts have yet to yield positive results, leaving cast and crew members angry over long hours, lack of pay, and bad screenplays. An online film critic (those are the worst) has even been blasting his films and is trying to stage a boycott. Meanwhile, a terminally ill man brought over by The Rainbow’s End Foundation shows up and Kelvin provides him a tour of the studio, including their production for the ninth installment in the Tiny Terrors franchise (a play on Fullmoon’s flag-ship Puppet Master franchise).
For slasher films, it isn’t uncommon for characters to feel like fodder for the killer to slice and dice, meant as a wraparound for the “good stuff,” so to speak. What’s interesting about this film is that I was able to offer a thorough description that accurately shows the film as it is presented, and yet, I didn’t mention the titular antagonist a single time. This is because, interestingly enough, Gingerdead Man 2 feels more concerned with its self-referential commentary on itself than the central conflict of the film. Gingerdead Man is the aspect that’s wedged in, with occasional scenes wedged in, comprised of bad puns, serving no other purpose than reminding us he exists.
The approach is out-of-character for Fullmoon Features, although, it isn’t completely unappreciated. Directed by Silvia St. Croix (a pseudonym. I’m unsure if it’s like when Charles Band used a pseudonym for himself or not), the film can’t help but feel self-indulgent, feeling like a rebuttal to naysayers and yet, a confession to suffering from what’s being accused. The film acknowledges the weaknesses of its own movies, and yet, holds a cynicism directed at the online critics who’ve made the same discovery. The philosophy is paradoxical and riddled with holes, but beneath its flaws, there’s something endearing about the love of what they’re making I believe shines through also.
The take is unique, as suggested, and one of my favorite aspects about Fullmoon Features, particularly in the early-90s, is the way it doesn’t laugh at itself. Sometimes we laugh when a movie-company shoots for the moon, but doesn’t even break orbit, but I’ve always appreciated the way Fullmoon loads up at all. A lot of similar films, many seen on the SyFy channel, are dealt the same hand, but opt to try for a sillier, absurdist approach. This film is more akin to them, which, is a mixed-bag, but, contained to this film in-particular, it makes Gingerdead Man 2 a better film than Gingerdead Man, even if only slightly.
The humor isn’t the best, nor is the acting, and the Gingerdead Man character (this time, not played by Gary Busey) is relegated to an inconvenient prop. For casual-viewers who saw the first film and laughed at its audacity, I think you’ll find the novelty of the titular character has run thin. In its place, you’ll still find absurdist comedy and atrocities to spare, but only you will know if it’s worthy of seeking out.