Charles Band’s latest foray into his favorite horror subgenre, the miniature plastic macabre, has exactly two things going for it: supporing players Stacy Keach and Karen Black, both of whom ought to be embarrassed for their participation in this backward-minded, meanspirited, wilful negation of racial realities aimed at all two angry young black men who wait with bated breath for every new Full Moon release. “Beyond Django” is the film’s tag line, but “Beyond Gonzo” might be more appropriate. Ooga Booga, a slapdash horror hash of make-believe relevance, is the sort of idiotic movie in which characters make such witty observations as, “If this thing electrocutes me, I’m gonna be pissed.”
Devin (Wade Forrest Wilson), a hardworking black medical student, is unluckily gunned down by a racist cop (Gregory Niebel), appropriately named Officer White, after being mistaken for the culprit in a convenience store robbery and murder – the 1960s Deep South of liberal mythology apparently having merged and melded with modern Los Angeles in Ooga Booga‘s bizarro world – only to be reincarnated as a revenge-seeking stereotypical bone-in-the-nose African warrior doll. No racist is safe from the bug-eyed, reefer-puffing wrath of this spear-chucking pigmy!
The concept might have been worth a few chuckles if, like Chucky or that pesky Leprechaun, Ooga Booga had been endowed with the power to spout corny one-liners as he dispatches his quarry; but until the doll inexplicably acquires the power of speech in the final scene, he carries out his simplistic regimen of vengeance (which more than once includes the extraction of eyeballs) with an unimaginative reticence, communicating with his girlfriend (Ciarra Carter) only by nodding or gesturing with his spear. The scene in which Karen Black – cast as an ode to her role in Dan Curtis’s excellent Trilogy of Terror, in which she also finds herself pitted against an angry doll – is boringly pursued by Ooga Booga through her trailer is only an unintentionally poignant reminder of how far this film falls short of its forebear.
2.5 out of 5 possible stars. ICA’s advice: see Trilogy of Terror instead.
Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Ooga Booga is:
8. Anti-slut. A prostitute’s rash illustrates the wages of sin.
7. Anti-Christian. Tacky trailer park manager Karen Black has a kitschy picture of Jesus on her wall. “Jesus H. fuckin’ Christ,” Officer White exclaims angrily in another scene. Judge Marks (Keach) refers to “puttin’ nigras in the hole” as being “God’s work”.
6. Un-p.c. Despite its anti-racist social (i.e., socialist) message, Ooga Booga would like to have its crap and eat it, too, engaging in racial stereotype-based humor under the flimsy pretext of satirizing it, but succeeding only in confusing its tone and intentions from one scene to the next. Hambo (Chance A. Rearden), a Krusty-like, hog-nosed, haggard, and sordid children’s show host, displays an Asian hooker doll and gives it voice: “I’ll suckie-suckie for crackie-crackie.” Devin is annoyed by the poor taste of Hambo’s jokes, which, however, are presumably supposed to be funny for viewers. Likewise, an unappealing gang rape scene’s seriousness of purpose is rendered suspect when it is immediately followed by a superfluous scene of the victim complacently showering with her breasts exposed to the camera while Ooga Booga watches and masturbates.
5. Pro-miscegenation. The doll and his moll decide not to kill White’s wimpy partner (Corey MacIntosh) after seeing a photograph of his black wife and kids.
4. Drug-ambivalent. The gang of losers working for White represents the drug trade and drug use poorly, but Ooga Booga appears to suffer no consequences from his frequent marijuana smoking.
3. Anti-police. Cops are corrupt racketeers, racists, and lusty killers.
2. Anti-white. Ooga Booga is one of those sad, tired exercises in flagrant fraudulence in which white bums beg blacks for handouts, packs of vicious whites rape black women, and whites as a race are generally stupid, mean, dishonest, criminal, and violent drug dealers, users, and pimps who inconvenience the law-abiding minorities. The LAPD might as well be the KKK, and White’s non-racist partner, though he objects to the bigot’s recklessness and killing of innocents, is too wimpy ever to intervene. A Confederate flag on the drug gang’s wall reminds viewers of the hackneyed formula according to which states’ rights and secession equal racism and sexism, which, of course, equal mental retardation, rape, and murder.
1. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn). A specter is haunting America: the specter of racism! Nearly every racial smear applicable to blacks is included at some point. Even Devin’s landlord is a bigot and in one scene barges into his apartment to complain about noise and calls his tenants jungle bunnies. “I want you to remove that stain from my world,” Judge Marks says, exposing the genocidal flame that burns in every white man’s heart. Ooga Booga personifies hate and stereotyping reappropriated as deadly emancipatory weaponry leveled against their masters and originators.