Review: The Gingerdead Man (2005)

Review: The Gingerdead Man (2005)

I have a place in my heart for the Full Moon films. They were a big part of me becoming a horror fan, with their cool premises and quality productions. I might not love the film, but at least it was well-made, which made sense as it spawned out of Empire Pictures which was also responsible for a lot of good low-budget horror and sci-fi. PUPPET MASTER? Genius. DOLLMAN? An instant classic. SUBSPECIES? Amazing. I watched every one I could get my hands on.

Sadly, the output as of late hasn’t really been my bag, so I haven’t been as faithful a viewer as I used to be. That’s why I missed THE GINGERDEAD MAN until Joe Bob showed it on his Creepy Christmas special.

Well, I can’t say I was missing much.

It opens with a man named Millard Findlemeyer (Gary Busey) murdering most of a family in a diner in Texas. He leaves the daughter Sarah (Robin Sydney) alive but is later caught by the cops and imprisoned. Two years later, Findlemeyer is executed and Sarah, who is working at the family bakery with her mom, feels she can start to move on. A mysterious person drops off gingerbread spice mix at the shop and thinking nothing of it, Sarah and her co-worker Brick decide to use it. Brick manages to cut himself opening it and nobody notices him bleed into the spices. 

Sarah’s mom Betty is drunk and shooting at buildings across the street where a developer is opening a new bakery so Sarah sends her home with their other employee Julia. After that she has an encounter with the developer himself, Jimmy Dean and his model daughter Lorna, but refuses to sell him the store.

After that, Sarah sends Brick home so he can go be an amateur wrestler while she works on making a big as heck gingerbread man. However, there is something weird about the dough and after baking it, she finds that the cookie has come to life, possessed by the spirit of Findlemeyer as apparently his ashes were in the bag, not just spices. Now she has to find a way to defeat her diminutive nemesis or he will finish what he started years ago. 

THE GINGERDEAD MAN is a mixed bag. It starts off strong with an unhinged performance from Gary Busey, who for all of his faults is a good actor. The rest of the cast is decent but you never hit the highs from the beginning where you feel legitimately terrified of what he is going to do next. Robin Sydney is pretty good and the others do what they can but they aren’t really given a lot to work with. It’s a short movie to begin with and feels like it is padded out with scenes that don’t do much to move the plot along. They sure didn’t pad it with kills, as the movie is a relatively bloodless affair. We have two murders in the prologue and the two more once the movie gets going. 

Some of that might be due to the location. You can only fit so many people in the bakery and if you aren’t heading out into the town, there isn’t a big victim pool to play with. We kind of care about most of them but they’re never in any real danger. Someone gets conked on the head and another person gets a finger cut off but that’s it. There is one last kill that is spoilery but that isn’t done by the Gingerdead Man so you can’t count it as his even though he is involved. It’s more the result of plot-induced stupidity in how the stop him in the first place. For a movie that is basically JACK FROST but with a cookie, they don’t hit nearly the highs or the insanity of that film. Busey is pretty restrained as the voice, probably due to only having him for a day, so the cookie doesn’t have much character. 

The effects are decent for the budget, no doubt in thanks to John Carl Buechler, who was an effects genius. He also directed CELLAR DWELLER, which will give him a pass for everything ever because I love that movie so.

At least it is a quick affair so you aren’t wasting a lot of time. It doesn’t make me want to check out the sequels though from what I have read they are a bit better. Doesn’t quite count as a Christmas movie but it is a gingerbread man and they are sort of a staple of the holiday so I’ll allow it. Also, if you’re going to watch it, check it out as part of Joe Bob’s Creepy Christmas like I did. Robin Sydney is on there and is an absolute delight. I want to check out more of her movies just because she has such a great sense of humor.

Also, I want to go to Cracker Barrel now.

Anyway, I’ve seen worse things in life so if you want something a little brainless but fun, check it out.