• Evil Bong 777 (Full Moon Features) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Full Moon Features
    Release date: January 1, 2018
    Directed by: Charles Band
    Cast: Sonny Carl Davis, Robin Sydney, Jessica Morris, Mindy Robinson, The Don, Caleb Hurst, Adam Noble Roberts, Circus-Szalewski, K. Harrison Sweeney, Tonya Kay, Elina Madison, Michelle Mais
    Year: 2018
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    The Evil Bong series began life as a solo outing, simply titled Evil Bong, in 2006. Ostensibly a horror comedy, it was produced and directed by Charles Band and distributed directly to the home video market by Full Moon Features. The film’s primary selling point was star Tommy Chong (yes, of Cheech and Chong), who had an important part was by no means the lead. The plot revolved around a group of college students who preferred spending their time getting high to studying. To that effect, they employed a living, demonic bong, which sent them to a kind of hell—a strip club where they were killed in fulfillment of a voodoo curse. The film became a sleeper hit in the format, and as with most Band/Full Moon productions, it proved a durable franchise. (Full Moon’s other franchises include the Puppet Master, Subspecies, Trancers, Killjoy, Demonic Toys, and Gingerdead Man series, several of which cross over). The initial outing was soon to be followed by six more films and this, the final outing to date, though it’s likely that more will follow as finances allow.

    For Evil Bong 777, Band utilized an Indiegogo campaign to fund the production in much the same way as the most recent Puppet Master film. The campaign raised over $25,000, a small budget by any standard but especially in this day and age. Despite that, the final film features some interesting effects, mostly a mix of optical and practical effects. Superimpositions are surprisingly effective, probably a result of both directorial skill and the hi-def video format in which the film was shot.

    Running just shy of an hour (and opening with a pre-credits recap sequence), the film picks up pretty much where the previous film left off. Lucy Farr/Phoebe (Mindy Robinson) wants out of Sexy Hell—a version of the infernal regions that contains lots of giant female butts, breasts, and vaginas as backdrops, presided over by Lucifer himself—but finds that she can’t escape because the doorway (essentially a flaming pussy) isn’t strong enough. (The doorway also queefs when it closes.) Meanwhile, Eebee (Michelle Mais), the evil bong on which the series is based, wants a night on the time. She and her ‘friends’ skip Venice, California and drive through the night to get to Las Vegas, Nevada. There, they ride around the Strip before stopping at Versnatchy’s XXX Fuppet Theater (a fuppet is a puppet that fucks). It’s kind of amazing how long, despite the short running time, it takes for the action proper to begin (about a quarter into the movie), and it’s even longer for the horror to come. The main fuppet is Hellvis, a giant, hellish version of Elvis that likes to fuck hot chicks for the entertainment of onlookers.

    There’s lots of footage of the group driving around Vegas in a limo, and characters from past films return in one form or another. It’s when the group finds itself in Tom Devlin’s Monster Museum in literally the last ten minutes of the film that the action finally kicks in. The first gory death takes place around… Oh wait, there are no gory deaths. Just as the gettin’ promises to get good, the movie ends abruptly! After all, there are more installments to make and sell.

    There are plenty of young women who show off their shaved naughty bits, but the humor is simply too broad to elicit many laughs, and the horror is too toned down to be particularly effective. Performances are pretty good, though. As far as Full Moon’s long line of films go, this is far from its shining hour, yet it could have been a whole lot worse. The problem may be that by this time, there’s simply a dearth of creativity on display, and this particular franchise has never been the studio’s best. All that said, contributors to the campaign know exactly what they’re getting, and Band is good on delivering his promises. So, it’s doubtful that fans of the series will be disappointed by the results. As for those who aren’t fans, this isn’t the place to start. Try, and the film won’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Start at the beginning and work your way forward.

    In the end, the film feels like an episode of a television series—a very adult episode, but an episode nonetheless—rather than a standalone film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Evil Bong 777 comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Full Moon with a sterling image. Presented in 1080p high definition, Full Moon has utilized an AVC encode at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Detail is sharp, particularly a single black-and-white shot, though the color segments that make up the rest are almost as sharp. The colors of the Vegas strip are a stunning mix of neon blues, greens, reds, and yellows; and the detail attendant to such colors can be seen in all its glory. For example, take a look at the scene in which our heroes walk down the corridor of an old hotel. It employs special optical effects yet never drops in quality, and there is ample detail in the characters’ clothes, the patterns in the carpet on the floor, and in the innumerable framed pictures that adorn the walls. As with Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017), the image looks digital (it was, after all, shot in a digital format), but there’s a distinctive lack of artificial grain to give the movie a more filmic look. Instead, it comes across as exactly what it is: the modern-day equivalent of the shot-on-VHS horror films that went straight to home video in the 1980s. Not being on film, the movie has none of the problems with come with the film format, such as heavy dirt and debris or scratches and print damage.

    The English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is really quite good, with zero negative issues. Unfortunately, there are neither optional English subtitles nor a commentary track (both no doubt due to budget restrictions).

    When the disc is popped into the player, it begins with the usual ad for Full Moon’s Amazon streaming channel, which is available by paid subscription. There are four featurettes, which include the following:

    “What Happens in Vegas (Stays in the Bong-Verse)” (24:53): This is a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the movie. It’s almost half the length of the main feature, and it features short interviews with stars Sonny Davis, Mindy Robinson, special effects creator Tom Devlin, the makeup artists, and others. There’s also plenty of footage of Band directing individual scenes.

    “The Devlin Made Us Do It” (24:22): This is an interview with effects supervisor Tom Devlin, who also takes viewers on a tour of his Monster Museum, which features many of his own creations. This is the most interesting and easy to watch of the disc’s extras.

    “When Bongs Meet Babes” (12:52): This is a look at and interviews with the porn stars who make up the secondary cast of Evil Bong 777. (You knew they had to get these hot babes somewhere, right?) It’s both interesting and entertaining; perhaps the best aspect of it is that it humanizes women working within the porn industry.

    “Hellvis Unchained” (4:03): This is the alternate hardcore version of the scene in which the Hellvis fuppet pucks (or, rather, fucks) a porn star. What this means is that it’s a little longer and more graphic than the scene that appears in the film.

    Rounding out the extras are trailers for the entire Evil Bong series, which includes Evil Bong (2006; 1:31), Evil Bong 2 (2009; 1:11), Evil Bong 3 (2011; :59), Gingerdead vs. Evil Bong (2013; 1:25), Evil Bong 420 (2015; 1:24), Evil Bong High Five (2016; 1:32), Evil Bong 666 (2017; 1:18), and Evil Bong 777 (2018; 1:26).

    The Final Word:

    Evil Bong 777 is a little too episodic in its approach and comes across as somewhat cynical. Fans will likely enjoy it, though it won’t be for most. The image looks fantastic, however, and the sound is great. There are also nice extras.

    Christopher Workman is a freelance writer, film critic, and co-author (with Troy Howarth) of the Tome of Terror horror film review series. Horror Films of the Silent Era and Horror Films of the 1930s are currently available, with Horror Films of the 1940s due out in 2019.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!