Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gnome Alone (2015)

There are a few homes in the movie landscape for actors who are on the last legs of their careers, and actors who never really had careers.  Lifetime and Hallmark will always take in actors whose stardom has faded.  SyFy and The Asylum will do the same.  Then there is low budget horror in general, where you can find pretty much anyone you can think of.  If you took any actor who had one famous role, then disappeared off the face of the Earth, chances are good that they ended up in low budget horror.

One such actor is Verne Troyer who was in a 2015 horror movie called Gnome Alone.  A long time ago, a witch stole some gold coins from a leprechaun (Travis Eberhard).  The leprechaun branded the witch for her misdeeds.  To get revenge for the branding, the witch summoned a gnome (Verne Troyer).  Now in the present day, the gnome is tied to any person with that brand on them.  It will kill anyone that the person feels bad about.  A woman named Zoe (Kerry Knuppe) ends up with the brand and her life is thrown upside down because of her new guardian.  If you want the basic story without all of that background, it is that there is a gnome killing people.

Like any other movie I’ve watched for this blog, Gnome Alone had some wacky moments that you would only find in a movie of this caliber.  The movie isn’t high art of any sort.  It’s a low budget horror flick that has problems that other low budget horror movies have, while being uniquely its own.  It has moments within it that you wouldn’t find in most mainstream movies.  I feel that it is my duty to point these things out for you so that you can make the decision for yourself about whether or not to watch this movie.  So, without stumbling over my words and thoughts any longer, I will give you five things that make Gnome Alone into the movie that it is.

The Casting
In the introduction to this post, I mentioned actors whose stardom was rather short lived.  Two such actors appear in Gnome Alone.  The first, and the biggest star of the movie, is Verne Troyer.  The guy is known primarily as Mini-Me.  He was the miniature version of Dr. Evil in the sequels to Austin Powers.  Outside of that, he was in The Love Guru, and nothing else that is memorable.  Gnome Alone is a starring role for Verne Troyer, and one that he takes every opportunity to relish in.

The other actor of note in the movie is an actor named Ross Bagley.  You might not recognize the name.  Surely you’ll know who I’m talking about when I tell you he was in Independence Day.  No?  He was the kid.  He was also Nicky in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  And he played Buckwheat in the 1994 film version of The Little Rascals.  Ross Bagley was a child actor prominent in the mid-1990s.  He hasn’t really done much since then, with Gnome Alone being his first film since Independence Day and one of the only two acting jobs he has had since a 2004 episode of Judging Amy.  His star is long faded.

The Opening Story
Gnome Alone begins with a ten minute segment telling the story of what happened with the leprechaun in the past.  It shows the witch taking the leprechaun’s gold.  It shows the witch being branded.  And it shows the witch summoning the gnome in order to get some sort of revenge.  That summoning occurs while two naked women sort of wrestle and sort of make out while standing in a muddy pond.  You know, start your movie off with some good old fashioned dirty fun.  That will surely keep the guys watching the movie during the introduction.

The opening to Gnome Alone suffers from the same problem that many movies with this kind of introduction suffer from.  A few things are shown, but most of this part of the story is told.  It is much more interesting for an audience to be shown an unfolding story than to be told what happened.  When you don’t get to experience it happening before your eyes, you disconnect from it.  You have no investment in it because it is essentially a legend.  It is a story within itself.  The writer felt the need to tell the story without getting into the story.  It is the difference between book summaries and the actual books.  It’s not the same, will never feel the same, and makes for a less enjoyable journey.

The Rampant Female Sexuality
There are a lot of scenes in Gnome Alone that involve the sexuality of women, both with men and other women.  The opening sequence, as I have already stated, featured two naked, mud covered women.  It was completely unnecessary to the story of the movie.  The two women could have been excised completely and not changed the movie in any way whatsoever.  It was a little bit of titillation added in to get the male viewers hooked in the movie.  Or it was the director getting his rocks off because he wanted to see two naked women in front of him.

Later in the movie, there is a professor at the college who takes sexual advantage of her students.  She’ll call the students to her office then start feeling them up in the hopes of getting sex from them.  It’s wrong in many ways and the professor ends up dying because of these actions.  We get to see her make out with one of her students and we get to see her get denied the sexual gratification of another.  The thing that makes these scenes acceptable is that they factor into the story.  They aren’t as superfluous as the gnome summoning scene that didn’t need the women.

The final third of Gnome Alone features some more sexually influenced scenes.  The first is the death of two characters who are about to have sex.  The man goes to his bedroom, which is basically a sex dungeon, to get a toy and please the woman he left tied up in bed.  He ends up being beaten with a dildo and electrocuted before the gnome heads off to kill the woman.  I’ll get back to that in a second.  The final sexual moment in the movie is when Zoe retaliates against her abusive stepfather.  This ends up involving Zoe and her mother hanging out in the living room in nothing but their underwear.  I’ll get to that in a few minutes too.

The Laugh
I brought up the scene in which the man is killed with a dildo and electrocution.  What about the other half of that, where the woman is killed?  The gnome showed up while she was tied to the bed and blindfolded, and began frisking her.  It got to the point where the gnome gave the woman an orgasm before taking off her blindfold.  She freaked out and screamed while he scalped her and played with her brains.  Then she died.

What followed her death was one of the most ridiculous things I have witnessed in a movie in a long time.  As she was dying, the gnome complained about how she wasn’t dying.  When she finally did pass on, he mercilessly laughed for about fifteen seconds.  He pointed his finger at her and giggled.  He said how she was dead and he kept laughing.  It was a very strange fifteen seconds of laughter at the expense of a now dead person.  All I could do was sit and watch with my mouth agape.  As I did with the ending of the movie.

The Ending
Yes, there will be spoilers in this portion of the post.  Gnome Alone ends with Zoe murdering her abusive step father after he attempts to have sex with her.  Well, that’s not the ending.  There’s still one scene after it.  But I consider this the ending.  When the police show up to the crime scene that is Zoe’s house, she and her mother are in their underwear.  Zoe stands up, holding the severed head of her step father.  The imagery is solid, yet it’s another instance of the movie sexualizing the material more than it needs to.  The sexuality adds nothing to the movie except for eye candy.

The ending also involves no resolution to the problem that the movie set up.  Absolutely zero resolution.  The gnome never goes away.  Zoe gets shot numerous times, survives, and the gnome is still there.  The final moment of the entire movie is the gnome about to fight with the leprechaun.  So, not only did it not resolve anything, the movie also started a final fight that it never followed through on.  The movie has no real ending, even though the credits start.

Gnome Alone is a crazy movie.  I’ve only scratched the surface through this post.  It brings some faded stars back into the limelight for a low budget horror slashfest.  It doesn’t stand out as a great movie, but it is semi-entertaining at least.  There are interesting moments that are worth watching.  The movie as a whole isn’t.  There are many, much better things that you could spend your time on than this movie.
You should spend your time with these notes:

  • Gnome Alone was suggested by @Mimekiller, who also suggested Gymkata.
  • Kerry Knuppe played Zoe in Gnome Alone.  She was also in a movie called The Craigslist Killer, which I watched a long time ago.
  • Have you seen Gnome Alone?  What did you think about it?  What do you think about actors going into low budget horror?  Use the comments section below to talk about this stuff.
  • Want to suggest a movie for the Sunday “Bad” Movies?  Suggest away in the comments or on my Twitter page.
  • Next week’s movie is a movie called Alone in the Dark.  It was directed by Uwe Boll, and it was based on a video game.  So I’m basically going to be reliving the House of the Dead week.  I’ll let you in on my experience next week.

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