Jul 28, 2012


Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis.

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.

Once upon a time, a fat woman named Priscilla Alden met an auteur named Nick Millard.

"I could put you in the movies!" he cried. 

Priscilla made a slight gurgling noise. 

"That's a good idea," whined Nick, and they made a movie called Crazy Fat Ethel aka Criminally Insane.

Thirteen years later, Nick ran into Priscilla at a pie eating contest. Priscilla was in the lead, whereas Nick had attended just to steal all the leftover crusty pie plates to snack on until his next unemployment check posted to his account. Their eyes met and they knew what they had to do. Nick hastened to his mother's bedroom, where he wrote 20 pages worth of a screenplay on the walls.

In crayon.

Making a trail of chicken wings up to the bedroom, Priscilla followed. He then showed her the screenplay, circled with barbecue sauce. The rest, as they say, is history. The two became one for a second time with another film: Crazy Fat Ethel 2.

After Ethel’s first bout of fatting and killing, she was shipped back to her former home: the Nappa Mental Institute, where she now resides in a room, sullenly leaning against a wall as she dreams about the first movie. After a couple rounds of that, Ethel feasts on some bread, sopping up some plate sauce and stuffing it in her fat hole, working it around as Nick Millard becomes acquainted with the zoom function.

Crazy Fat Ethel 2 is comprised largely of footage from the first movie, and it should also be noted that while the first film was shot on 16mm, this movie was shot with someone's borrowed VHS home video camera. The two mediums, when combined, are glaringly different, and it really shows just how pedestrian this sequel looks in comparison to the first film. This also produces a strange realization: as bad as the first movie is, it's nothing when compared to this movie. If Crazy Fat Ethel 1 was a ball of shit, then Crazy Fat Ethel 2 is a ball shit that the previous ball of shit somehow shit out.

 Sure, working sixteen-hour days was a daunting task,
but those old truck parts she was promised was a
treasure well worth earning.

In the hospital, a very real doctor named Dr. Stephens sits in his very real doctor's office, complete with a desk lamp and framed inspirational picture of whales, as he establishes with another very real doctor how the state has cut funding to the hospital and the less dangerous patients (which includes Ethel, despite her murderous and cannibalistic past) must be transferred to halfway houses. Other doctor only nods in agreement and is probably never seen again.

Ethel, meanwhile, snacks on a small glass jar of pudding, and as long as it takes for her to eat it, that's how long we're forced to watch it. Then she throws down the glass jar and spoon upon its completion and farts, "It's too damn little!"

This is when we meet Hope Bartholomew, who is wearing the skins of a recently deceased zebra. She fields a call from Dr. Stephens, who requests that she agree to take in Ethel to her home, which she does, proclaiming, “You know my motto! We must never lose hope!”

Ethel is dropped off at Mrs. Bartholomew’s, wearing her signature fat body and brown duds.

“Welcome to Bartholomew House, Ethel," says Mrs. Bartholomew. "I trust you’ll be happy here.”

Ethel’s poorly lit face remains emotionless, signifying the same lack of interest in her life that I have in this movie. Mrs. Bartholomew’s attention to Ethel will cause her to believe that she is actually her Granny, and she’ll refer to her that way for the rest of the movie.

Once inside, Ethel freaks out upon seeing a particular patient, insisting that he is the cop that put her away at the conclusion of the first movie. As the camera zooms in on her fat face over and over, the man disinterestedly stares back at her, sniveling his mustache.

A close up of an intercom (brought to life by a woman obviously shouting off-screen) informs us that it’s lunch time. Ethel eagerly slimes off her bed and thunders downstairs, only to stop and see the wall groper, Greg. After watching this groping man for far longer than is necessary, Ethel sits down to a nice hot bowl of black water, all the while giving the evil eye to the mustachioed man she still believes to be the cop.

Greg at first refuses to sit down to lunch, but mustachioed man placates him, telling him that he would give him “some of that special seasoning” he likes: dead flies.

Say, these guys really are crazy!

After a while, Greg grows tired of eating fly soup and begins to play an imaginary piano.

Later, Mrs. Bartholomew tries to give Ethel her medication, but she reacts negatively, flinging the tray from Mrs. Bartholomew’s old hands and pooing, “I don’t want any damn pills! I want a snack, Granny!”

Mrs. Bartholomew leaves the room to rat Ethel out to Dr. Stephens, who continues to be a real doctor by sitting behind a desk in a white room and wearing a lab coat.

"Hello, I am a real medical doctor. I would like to order
some pill medicine, and some of those brown medicine
jars with the lids that are hard to get off. No, I will not
hold. I am due in a brain surgery meeting."

An extremely Jewish looking man plops down the steps, an alarmingly accurate clone of Parenthood’s Tom Hulce. He proudly states that Mrs. Bartholomew had to go into town, and has left him in charge. When Ethel demands to know when dinner will be served, he responds that he “doesn’t want to hear any complaints about the corn-beef hash.” And then we cut to see him prying open cans of dog food and divvying them onto several plates.

Let's all laugh together, shall we?

As the other members of the halfway house debate over the quality of the meat, Ethel laughs absurdly for absolutely no reason.

Later, as Ethel is washing dishes, she catches Tom Hulce sexily eating a candy bar in the kitchen. She longs for it from afar, biting her lip and dreaming of its chocolate nuts, and how good it would feel inside her.

After what feels like two weeks, Tom Hulce states, “This candy bar is SO good! It’s so chocolaty and sweet inside!" As Tom Hulce withdraws another from his pocket, I can’t help but wonder: why can’t I be dead?

Ethel, not one for letting sleeping hot dogs lie, procures a length of rope from the curtains and jimmies a booby-trap on the banister that wouldn’t have even trapped the Wet Bandits. But no worries, because it works almost instantly, as Ethel drops the noose around Tom Hulce’s neck and somehow lifts the man off his feet with her flabby arms, killing him. Mustachioed man slowly shuts the door, having witnessed this horrible crime, setting in motion his dastardly plan.

Ethel then replaces the length of rope, because why not? I've shat out better things than this movie.

Priscilla just kept laughing, hoping the crew would forget
they had asked what happened to the entire table of day-old bagels.
Later, Mrs. Bartholomew talks with a cop in her living room. The cop soon turns his sights on the very large bastard that is Ethel Janowski as he questions her about the strangling of Tom Hulce

“I was watching 'Gunsmoke' on TV!” cries Ethel, staring at her fat feet. She runs into the kitchen and is confronted by mustachioed man, who tells her he will rat her out to the cop unless she “gives up [her] dessert for the next month.” The horrified look on Ethel’s face as the camera zooms out is almost priceless.

Ethel, so distressed by this recent development, takes yet another nap, where she dreams of the first film—more specifically, murdering Rosalee, her atrocious-looking sister, and John, her atrocious-looking pimp.

At dinner, Ethel begrudgingly hands over her pudding to mustachioed man, who eats it slowly in front of her. Ethel stares back in slight curiosity and utter desire, trying to understand the man’s intent. Wishing she could smush the chocolate deliciousness into her own mouth, she quickly tends to the whistling tea kettle in the kitchen and pours a healthy dose of rat poison (courtesy of a large white box with ‘rat poison’ written in unrealistically small letters) in mustachioed man’s tea.

As Ethel sips apprehensively from her pig mug, the two attempt to ignore the fact that they're outlandishly insane and make idle chatter about tea, and how they like it “hot”or how they like it “good and hot.” The oddly sexual undertone of the scene comes to a mercifully quick close as he puts down the mug, deciding not to drink it. Ethel rolls into the kitchen, where she bangs pots and eats an apple. Mustachioed man busies himself at the sink as Ethel withdraws a very small blade from the drawer and stabs him in the back, the knife flopping immediately to the side. She withdraws several more knives, applying them sloppily to his back. She pauses for a moment to snack off her apple, and then continues stabbing, laughing as she does so.

"What? No, Ethel, you can't suck on the fucking ham bone."

As the cop “discovers” the body in the kitchen, stating, “I might as well set up shop right here,” without the least hint of horror, Ethel snacks on forbidden pretzels in her room. She then hides them as Mrs. Bartholomew enters to explain that her house had never seen such horror, miles from the realization that this only happened once Ethel came to live there.

“You know my motto: we must never lose hope!” she restates.

As Ethel sticks her hands in her mouth, Mrs. Bartholomew spots the pretzels and attempts to leave with them, but Ethel shouts, “You give me those pretzels, Granny,” and chases her into the hallway where she beats her to death with a tiny candle holder.

“I guess I just lost hope!” Ethel says to no one, spraying the room with pretzel crumbs as she cackles.

Dr. Stephens, the real doctor, decides to take a trip out to the Bartholomew house after not being able to get in touch with her over his doctor phone. Ethel panics and lunges at the good doctor with her large knife into the sitting room where she chases him around the couch three full times, grabbing at random pieces of furniture as she runs for some support, lest she wipe out and beach herself like a fat ass whale waiting for a mouthful of warm, dead meat. The very fit-looking man opts to make a break for the front door. Thanks to the power of editing, the extremely old, fat, and feeble Ethel catches up and stabs him in the back, burying her fake knife into a pillowcase of ketchup. Does it matter that he falls on his stomach and his white shirt is stabbed, but a different cut shows him on his back and wearing a blue shirt?

Yes, yes it does.

It really does.

But not in this movie.

Ethel then wanders into the back yard and pulls a Julie Andrews, spinning around with her arms spread and doing some killer prancing, content that she has murdered the entire household and probably eaten large quantities of buttered steak.

Ethel, now having finally lost everything in her mind, answers the knocked door to see the cop. “Hello, I am Hope Bartholomew,” she moos. “Welcome to Bartholomew House. I hope you’ll be happy here.” She then laughs as the cop looks as disgusted and annoyed as I feel right now.

Ethel tries to distract herself with some television as a
plumber performs some monthly maintenance on her vagina.

After the end of Crazy Fat Ethel 2, Nick Millard and Priscilla Alden felt they should say farewell to their exploitation horror films featuring a wide-assed woman eating eclairs and committing heinous murders. And then, Nick Millard wrote a screenplay about a wide-assed woman who commits heinous murders (while dressed as a nurse). In keeping with his style, this particular screenplay was scrawled on the side of a tractor trailer at a truck stop that Millard visits to get peed on by road-weary truckers who are into that sort of thing.

What I Learned From Crazy Fat Ethel 2:
  • Watching a stationary shot of a fat woman eating pudding for three real-time minutes is as unappealing as it sounds.
  • No, seriously, using footage from the first film of a series in the second installment is a great way to save money while also being a lazy douche bag. (See Death Nurse; Death Nurse 2; Silent Night, Deadly Night 2).
  • Standing/facing walls and quivering took off as the national pastime in America in 1988, just below baseball and sex.
  • Always make sure to pay your taxes, or else mental institutions will lose funding, close down, and seriously let the insane wander the streets.
  • Flies in soup taste really good if you're batshit insane.

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