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Rated R
Copyright 1989 Lightyear Entertainment LP
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 28 December 2007

The Characters:  

  • Norm - His last name is Median, in case you didn't get the joke.
  • Candice - French foreign exchange students always give it up to nice guys who are underappreciated by their classmates; just ask John Cusack.
  • O.D. - In the battle of man versus marijuana, he lost by winning.
  • Mel - This poor guy constantly has nightmares involving death or dismemberment.
  • Dume & Glume - A pair of clumsy alien criminals. See, they are so stupid that their names are misspelled. It's funny. Laugh.
  • Slisa Beealzeberg - She is the narrator. I fantasized about tracking her down and stuffing a sock into her mouth. That is all, nothing sexual, simply a fantasy about shutting her up.
  • The Monsters - A gargoyle, a mummy, a huge mutant marijuana plant, a budget cyborg, and a reptoid wearing Keds.
  • Mr. Armageddon - The master of disaster wears a jacket that most Vegas performers would die for, sports fingernails which would preclude him from being a good typist, and pees Miracle Grow out of his palms. Maybe he is the very rare, often spoken about but never seen, King Lounge Lizard.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

When the shadowy "Monster in Charge" (no way am I attempting to type his name) notices that the destruction of the Earth has been postponed, he loses his temper. Since the individual in question is a white collar executive, that means he orders a full report on why the Earth still exists. Business managers are like that if you annoy them. They give you more work to do. Plumbers, on the other hand, are dangerous. Do not piss off a plumber; they regularly carry heavy tools capable of causing serious injury. Not to mention that plumbers are always angry, and who would blame them? A pipe does one thing: it carries water where it is supposed to go. Pretty basic. When pipes stop functioning, thus ignoring one of the basic rules of the universe, you call a plumber and tell him to fix it. "Look, physics has gone all wacky. Restore normalcy to this part of the space/time continuum." No wonder that plumbers are always a hair's breadth from chucking a wrench at something (and I have yet to meet a plumber who looked like Einstein).

Maybe the head monster was surprised by Earth not being destroyed, but I can honestly say I was relieved. If the world ever ends, I'm going to be one of those people wandering around asking, "Now, how did this happen?"

The video report about Earth's unexpected continuance arrives on the CEM's (Chief Executive Monster) desk immediately. For the most part, the movie is the video report. The trouble begins when Dume & Glume steal a wooden crate with markings that designate it as a doomsday weapon. Folks, if you are the keepers of a doomsday device, do not write that on the outside of the box. Mark the contents "Extra beanie babies" or some other such worthless junk. In any case, the two inept alien crooks teleport away before security can vaporize them.

Dume & Glume's hasty escape delivers them to Earth. Actually, it delivers them, and the crate, approximately fifty feet above the front lawn of Montgomery Sterling High School. Gravity then takes over. The crate lands atop a small dog and the extraterrestrial criminals make lawn angels nearby. When they open the crate, Dume & Glume find that it contains an antigravity basketball that explodes and releases Mr. Armageddon.

Hence the phrase "Pandora's Basketball."

Montgomery Sterling High is one of those centers of learning where the basketball team is worshipped like pagan gods. Players are driven to work in a limousine and skip class all day to watch game replays with the coach. Other members of the school faculty are the type of one-dimensional characters you expect to find wandering the halls of a public high school (in a bad movie - all of my teachers in high school were eccentric fruitcakes). Norm does his best to stay under the radar, except he has a serious crush on Candice. Whenever he tries to talk to her, something bad happens.

The awkward flirting between Norm and Candice is what annoyed me the most. The romance angle is needed later on, but couldn't the writer find a less dreadful way for the pair to interact? Armageddon is roaming the hallways and randomly eliminating people or animating monsters; have a monster begin chasing the couple before they start with the mooning eyes.

One unfortunate victim of Armageddon's rampage is Egbert, the computer nerd. He spends his school day in front of a computer, frantically playing a video game. To be precise, he is addicted to a game very much like "Space Invaders," except the player is a male genitalia that shoots sperms at bibles and milk-squirting breasts (I swear that I couldn't make this stuff up) descending from the top of the screen. Absorbed in his electronic world, the computer fanboy is easy prey for one of Armageddon's lethal pranks. Poor Egbert ends up as a cyborg with a computer monitor for a head.

I have no idea who created a rudimentary arcade game based on shooting bibles with a monochrome penis. I had enough problems with Ghosts 'n Goblins as a kid. Every time an enemy hit me in that game, my armor flew off and I had to continue fighting zombies wearing only boxer shorts. What the heck?

Along with animating a mummy that some bonehead brought to school for show and tell, Armageddon blesses O.D.'s little horticulture project. The result is a huge mutant pot plant that roams the halls, eating everyone it encounters. I think we can all agree that marijuana is bad, especially when it is actively carnivorous.

As the movie progresses, Norm accidentally stumbles into the same room as Mr. Armageddon. The fiend does not liquidate the young man; instead, he gives Norm a job as the official doomsday prophet. Unfortunately, nobody believes Norm's crazy stories about king lounge lizards, earthquakes, and the end of the world. Even the computer nerds snicker at Norm when he tries to warn them. The only person that believes the useless prophet is Candice, and that is partially because Armageddon has a sexual interest in her. She meets up with the gaudily-clothed devil and nearly loses her virginity before Norm manages to ruin the mood (fire axes and prybars do not a romantic dalliance make).

Norm was put down by overweight computer nerds and responded by meekly scurrying away! How are we supposed to identify with this loser?

While fleeing from Armageddon (and the pot plant monster, which carries off a serenely blissful O.D.), Norm and Candice seek shelter in the advanced sex education classroom. It looks like one of those hotel rooms! Heart-shaped pillows, a big plush bed, and other accoutrements are in evidence, but my favorite is the sign that says "Keep this room clean." This is Norm's lucky day, because Candice does not want to die a virgin. Both of them tumble onto the bed and the camera pans up into nothingness as the deed is done. Gosh darn it! Those two finally have sex and we don't see anything? Even worse, they continue acting like lovers with the moon in their eyes afterwards. Movie, why dost thou mock me so?

A short time later, Armageddon makes another go at screwing Candice. That is the last straw for Norm. He challenges the catastrophe (both literally and in a fashion sense) to a basketball game. If the high school team wins, Earth will be given a one-thousand-year reprieve. If the monster team wins, well, the cockroaches will have lots of evolutionary niches to fill.

This one came pretty close to being a fun, dumb movie. Part of the failure is that the story feels more like a series of skits strung together, but the largest burden of the blame lies in haphazard executions of what are otherwise interesting ideas. Take the scene with the handgun-brandishing zombie, which I have not mentioned before. When it bursts in, the characters scream, "Look out! It's a zombie and HE'S GOT A GUN!" I busted up laughing. Armageddon providing the zombie a pistol to kill the protagonists is absurd. The zombie is of the same poorly-coordinated type as seen in Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." There is no way that it can hit anyone with the handgun. The only thing accomplished by equipping such a zombie with a firearm is generating mass chaos as the zombie fires wildly and everyone runs for cover.

Anyway, there were a lot of funny ideas like that. It is just that not all of them were carried through quite right. Such a pity.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Humanity's keyboard technology is far below the galactic norm, but at least our CRTs have Truecolor.
  • The worst thing about an overcrowded universe is the surnames.
  • Basketballs are modeled after a doomsday weapon.
  • A gargoyle's horn is actually the on switch.
  • Improperly applied, a super magnum condom can be fatal.
  • Computer monitors are filled with sweet and sour sauce.
  • Public high schools are built over bottomless pits.
  • Mummies are immune to laser beams, but particularly susceptible to hairspray and a lighter.
  • In a head-to-head match, your penis will not defeat a piano.
  • Never, ever microwave your Keds.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 9 mins - Notice the man who immediately cuts the lock and steals Norm's bike. As if you could miss that.
  • 16 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT! Or was it?
  • 24 mins - They front loaded all the kids wearing shirts with horizontal stripes.
  • 39 mins - Eh, Southern California...what are you going to do?
  • 59 mins - Stop playing super atomic napalm loogie baseball with the villain.
  • 68 mins - What demented bastard wrote this script? Will it ever end?
  • 76 mins - Stop teasing me and end, damn you! End!
  • 84 mins - Mel, I feel the same way.


  • Narrator: "Unaware of the deteriorating state of reality around them, the students continued their school day. In science sciences, Mr. Doe was short of guinea pigs, so he used Norm as a test subject."
  • Game Announcer: "Would someone please bring a body bag to the scorekeeper's table?"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note monsterhigh1.wav Glume: "It's not very impressive, is it?"
Dume: "No."
Glume: "How does it work?"
Dume: "How should I know? No one's ever survived it."
Glume: "Oh, great. How are we going to take over the universe if we can't even operate the thing?"
(I could have Dume & Glume mixed up here. One has a single mark on his forehead, the other has two marks, but I don't think the movie ever told us which is which.)
Green Music Note monsterhigh2.wav Mr. Armageddon: "What I mean is, 'Today is the end of the world!'"
Norm: "Today's the end of the world? Why?"
Mr. Armageddon: "Why not?"
Green Music Note monsterhigh3.wav Paul: "You guys! You guys! I almost died back there."
Candice: "Did you run into those outer space guys?"
Norm: "Or the zombie?"
O.D.: "You guys saw a zombie? Woooooowwww!"
Paul: "What zombie?"
Norm: "What do you mean, 'What zombie?' Is there more than one zombie?"
Green Music Note monsterhigh4.wav Norm: "Look, while you and your team have been watching movies, reality's been going to Hell. Now, I'm the prophet of doomsday and I can give you and your team a chance to save the world."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmonsterhigh1.mpg - 3.3m
O.D. encounters the mutant pot plant. Notice that he seems strangely serene as it drags him away.

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