A light salty crust covered the blackened iron door handle, due no doubt to it being subjected to centuries of sea air. I wrenched downward on it, the bolt screeching backwards as it gave way. Cautiously I swung the door inward, and stepped out into the cavernous night. The dark was absolute, the light from my torch barely a spark in the midst of this hallow abyss. Muttering protective incantations, I started forward.
Suddenly, the moon peeked from behind some clouds; a jaundiced, sickly disc that hung low in the sky, like a leper’s shriveled testicle. The scene around me now bathed in a yellowish light, I continued. What my slippered feet now trod on was composed of the crushed remains of millions of bones from various exotic, and extinct, animals. Blackened trees, their bark endlessly weeping sap, stood as silent sentinels along the path, their grasping branches seeming to reach forward in an apparent attempt to slow my journey.
Twisted, hulking shadow-shapes fled from my torch light, hiding further back in the darkness. Their small eyes glittering like black diamonds, the glint from their metallic fangs quickening my step. Suddenly a large crash sounded to my right. I turned in time to see two giant trees topple some distance away, a bestial roar issued forth, and I caught a glimpse of something that made the blood in my veins run cold: a pebbled shoulder, reptilian, huge fangs, longer than a man’s arm, jutting from a lower jaw. Only the most evil of gods could have brought such a beast onto this earth.
Finally, rounding a bend, I had reached my destination. I reached my hand forward, grasping the magnesium alloy handle, and pulled open the door to….. my privy! Glancing back, I saw that I had left the backdoor to my keep open. I walked back the 5 or so steps, closed it, then hobbled back to the outhouse to do my business. Dearest readers, please lament along with me the fact that I have chosen to inhabit a castle with only a single outdoor toilet!
As I sat on my, um, other, throne, my mind drifted back to film that holds a special place in my heart. It may not be the best movie I’ve ever watched. Nay, in fact it is one of the worst movies in my collection in terms of production values and acting. At last inquiry, it didn't even have an IMDB entry, let alone a poster! However, it more than delivers where it counts, and that is in massive quantities of SHEER AWESOME: The Hungan, aka The Horror of the Hungry Homongous Hungan!
The movie opens with a hapless couple driving out in the country for a bit of a walk. The narrator (Jack Palance himself, who obviously woke up 3 days later, now sober, and asked his agent “I narrated WHAT?!”) lets us know that various voodoo rituals in Haiti, by priests known as Hungans (we don’t’ know yet whether they are hungry or humongous), resulted in the creation of zombies. The girl tells her boyfriend that she’s scared and wants to leave when suddenly a demonic howl issues forth from the woods. This kicks off what will be a running theme of this movie, that of the awesome bit of dialogue. The boyfriend says, “I don’t want to alarm you, but that sound came from that cemetery up on the hill!”
Instead of leaving, they continue on, only to be ambushed by a zombie, who’s wearing a white wig and affects the flannelled shirt look of a lumberjack. His right hand is deformed into giant talons. The boy grabs the girl’s arm in preparation for flight, when a quick swipe from the zombie severs his arm at the shoulder! The girl runs away, the boy’s arm still gripping hers. The zombie then proceeds to disembowel the boyfriend, and by “disembowel” I mean gently pat the boy’s stomach that has a bunch of ketchup and sausages on it.
Fleeing, the girl runs straight into the cemetery, which for some reason has a lot of fog and skulls adorning it. She grabs a nearby shovel, pivots, and neatly decapitates the zombie! Suddenly, she is waking up in bed, the previous scene having been nothing but a nightmare…. Or a portent? We shall see!
As I said before, the production values are sorely lacking. The movie literally has about 2 or 3 sets, one of which is the interior of a house, and the other is an office building that the crew quite obviously rented out for the night, as all of the shots take place during that time. The office in question is set up to be a research facility that seems to employ just two doctors, a fat security guard, and a gigantic black dude as a janitor.
Apparently one of the doctors has stumbled upon the secret of resurrection; one would assume employing the same ways used by the aforementioned and titular Humongous Hungans. You’d think that “Hungan” would be referring to the zombie itself, but you’d be wrong! Having gone rogue against the wishes of the other doctor at the facility, the would-be Hungan resurrects yet another white-haired, blue jumpsuit-wearing, claw-gloved zombie.
The short-sighted doctor busts in brandishing a gun, just as the zombie is rising. Shooting the zombie, he is tackled by the other doc, who turns the gun on the doc holding the gun and blows a lot of blood out his back! The shots alert the janitor, who gets the security guard’s attention by dumping a trash can on his head! Leading the way, the security guard heads out along with the janitor to investigate. The doctor, having just murdered his contemporary, re-ressurrects the zombie, who then begins the glorious rampage we have all been waiting on.
After impaling the janitor with a mop, and then bashing the security guard’s head in with a fire extinguisher, the zombie sets off out into the big cruel world. Meanwhile, the girl who had the dream has hooked up with her cadre of friends, all of whom are going to a large party, which is to celebrate the fact that they are going camping the next day. Hey, I guess when you gotta party, any excuse is good enough! While the zombie is out on a rampage, these kids boogey down!
“Boogey” isn’t quite the right word, however. I’d say “RAWK!” would be more appropriate, for the band that they have playing is the legendary CRY WOLF! Cry FUCKING Wolf, people! Started as a garage band in 1978, Cry Wolf was quickly signed to Enigma Records and soared to the top of the charts in 1980 with their hit single “I Want You Inside Me,” followed by the hits “Enough, I Can’t Get It” and “Glory Trail.” With their sophomore effort, aptly entitled “Liquid Sex,” Cry Wolf achieved international stardom, opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones and Duran Duran before finally headlining a tour in the summer of 1987.
Despite the dizzying heights that they attained, their humble beginnings as a party band in HotHHH are not to be understated. Cry Wolf pioneered the dual-guitarist-headbang-dropping-down-onto-the-knees style of awesomeness that was then copied by so many mainstream bands in the 80s, and here we get an early glimpse. Lead guitarist Chet “Throbber” Watkins and rhythm guitarist Billy “Chet” Harvison with heads bobbing and guitars wailing, look like the gods that they will become while they slowly lower themselves to their knees and then back up again. It sends shivers up the spine, it does. To see such a godly technique already perfected in its infancy is just phenomenal.
As he should have for such badassery, the director devotes an inordinate amount of time to this party sequence. On and on it goes, while chubby, fan-haired 80’s chicks shake and jerk to the music. Hunky guys are interspersed through the crowd, sporting muscle shirts and Camaro mullets. The piece-de-résistance, however, comes when an honest-to-Lucifer Pee Wee Herman impersonator crashes the party! The sheer audacity at play here left me gob-smacked.
All too soon, the Cry Wolf spectacle is over and we join the teens as they head home to rest up for their camping trip on the morrow. We are treated to sweaty, box-fan-fueled make-out sessions and assorted mid-80’s gayery. Soon morning has come, and off they go, zombie in tow! How exactly the zombie tracks them is best left unanswered, for a zombie who uses MapQuest is so horrible to dwell upon that the brain can barely conceive of the notion.
What follows is a massacre, with the teens (having set up their tents, with Cry Wolf playing on the cassette deck) pairing off to couple in the woods, only to be mauled by the raging, white-haired revenant. In what can only be described as one of the most epic zombie killings in cinema history, the zombie is shot by a firecracker mortar which is fired by a foul-mouthed 10 year old out the window of a truck that somehow found its way into the woods! While the zombie writhes in pain on the ground, one of the mulleted teens runs over, utters the immortal line “You lose, asshole!” and impales the zombie with a tree limb he found lying on the ground nearby.
In all honesty, this movie wouldn’t have been watchable except for the inclusion of Cry Wolf and the Pee Wee impersonator. The fact that they are in, however, compels all among us to seek this movie out and add it to our collections. The fine folks at Troma have seen fit to unleash this, the least we can do is bask in its glory from time to time. I must give this movie 2 Thumbs Up, for it represents all that I enjoy in cinema.
When the Vicar and I started this site, movies like HotHHH were exactly what we wanted to bring to the awareness to the masses. A “glorious failure” indeed, let the Hungan live on, and CRY WOLF, BITCHES!