There are times to be politically correct and there are times to write things about midget movies, and I’m afraid that sharing Ankle Biters with the wider world is an impossible task without taking the low road, so to speak. There are horrible reasons for this, all of them the direct result of the midgets that this film contains, which makes it sound like I am blaming midgets for my inability to regulate my own moral temperament but I like to think I am a…big…enough person (geddit?) to admit that the problem rests with me, and not the disabled.
So, I suppose I should genuinely apologise for my part in bringing Ankle Biters out of the hole it lives in and into the wider world, and yes I am being serious: I am sorry for all of this in advance, and I honestly did try to review Ankle Biters without denigrating myself and poking fun at people with physical abnormalities, but there was only so long I could stare at an empty Word doc. before I had to write something. Yes, this may in fact be the only proof ever needed that I am a HUGE asshole, but if it makes anyone feel better, I happen to be a hideous looking human being and no one likes me.
Okay, here we go.
It’s the little things…
Ankle Biters is a 2002, independent movie about a bad-ass vampire hunter, whose principle concern in life is hunting vampire dwarfs. Which, as you might imagine, is a difficult topic to morally steer around. And you’d be right, as Ankle Biters can’t even spell the word ‘dignity’, never mind apply it to itself.
This is a tough watch to be sure, and not just because the phrase ‘political correctness’ is a vampire’s only weakness in Ankle Biters. It also happens to be an embarrassingly dreadful excuse for a film, full of the kind of sloppy amateurism of a director who was never given adequate careers advice. It’s shit, in every way. But unlike actual shit, the closer you look at Ankle Biters the more perversely fascinating it becomes. It’s like driving past the proverbial car crash, if the car crash itself involved the main act of a traveling circus and a garbage truck full of used camera equipment.
Ankle Biters opens with footage of a randomer who is running from something (spoiler – midgets). The quality of the footage is about as exceptional as their attitude towards the disabled however, as everything looks like it is – namely, a cheaply produced pile of crap that someone created despite at no point having the funding to do so.
The unfortunate gentleman is indeed fleeing from a group of assorted little people, and before anything of any note has taken place, I am already asking myself how the hell did this movie round up so many midgets and dwarfs? And not only that, but how did they convince them to play the roles of vampires in a movie called Ankle Biters? The answer evades me, but I would expect these actors were either desperate to break into SAG or the casting director was an utter shithead/hypnotist.
The…bite-sized…vampires (geddit?) catch their prey and begin to eat his legs (remember, the title and the theme is Ankle Biters), and therefore, because the movie is ripping off Blade in the most morally dubious way possible, a wanker appears with a shotgun and a trench-coat.
This dickhead (the protagonist of the movie) is obviously a cheap Wesley Snipes knock-off, but he looks more like his name should be Floyd or Larry or something. His name is actually Drexel Vennis but fuck that shit. From now on he’s Bloyd. Obviously, Bloyd’s entrance into the movie is accompanied by diabolical action-hip-hop (which as we all know is the go-to soundtrack for introducing trench-coat wearing dickheads) however the effect is dulled somewhat by his side-kick…
…who is a (spoiler) dwarf.
‘Disability Awareness: The Movie’ then presents a painfully embarrassing fight scene in which three midgets attempt to beat up a 6ft tall guy in sunglasses, and honestly, it is truly dreadful in every conceivable sense. Everything from the framing to the editing, the choreography, the sound effects, the props, everything is fucking appalling. The scene even includes something I am not likely to forget for a while, namely one of the midgets, who after putting to use 30 seconds of off-screen martial arts training, attempts a high kick that doesn’t even reach knee level.
It was at around this point that I started a ‘Dwarf Count’, praying that this movie would contain exactly seven of them so that they could be named accordingly. I already said I’m sorry.
So, despite Bloyd being of full stature and possessing martial arts training, a shotgun, and the element of surprise, he still manages to let the three dwarfs escape. He does however, get to say the line “Next time…” in a husky voice, which is neither original nor enough to Polyfilla the fist shaped hole that just appeared in my living-room door.
With the heroes established, we are shown Bloyd’s preferred mode of transportation, which is obviously a cool looking motorbike. Except it would be cool looking if he didn’t (no shit) ride around with his dwarf-wife in a dinky little side-car. And lets be as honest as possible here, he could be driving around in a solid gold monster truck but if you attached a side-car to it you would immediately look like a tool, especially if it contained a dwarf.
Meanwhile on a bridge, the director’s uncle and unemployed neighbour await the arrival of the dwarf vampires in what looks to be some dodgy dealings. The dwarfs appear behind them out of nowhere (spooky) and dialogue happens. The reason the group of dwarf vampires have appeared on top of a rail bridge in the middle of nowhere is to purchase a sword, which is fortuitous considering the other two guys on the bridge happen to have brought one with them.
Some fiercely incompetent, one-take-only, Z-grade acting happens, along with plot shenanigans, as the sword sellers are jumped by the gang of ravenous midgets, who go straight for the ankles.
Somehow this is enough to kill one of them in seconds, while the other guy runs away and jumps into the river to escape. I’m assuming this is what’s called a ‘premise’?
What is hero?
As things lurch forward, we are soon shown a bizarre establishment shot of the interior of a bar set to fucking bagpipes, and yet another of the director’s unemployed friends appears in the movie. This shaggy-looking man…
…addresses the camera, and a bar fight ensues with Bloyd and his wife assaulting a random bystander lady who just happened to be there, but who gets punched in the face by Bloyd who I should remind you is supposed to be the good guy. But of course, this movie is cheap and shit, which means the only way the director knew how to make the protagonist cool and edgy was to dress him up like a weirdo, wear sunglasses indoors, and have him break a woman’s nose.
During all of this, Bloyd’s wife is up on the bar kicking faces and smashing bottles, and at one point dances a drunken little jig. All of this frantic mayhem is set to cheery, plinky, guitar strumming mixed with heavy metal bullshit, which yet again produces a combination of images and sounds that can fuck off.
Whenever you’re ready, film
We see that the bar owner has borrowed Bloyd’s plastic shotgun from earlier for this scene, but it’s as useless a weapon as it is a prop, as Bloyd for no apparent reason slices his hand open (remember – ‘Good Guy’) and threatens to kill him. The bar owner is unusually calm about events, mostly due to being an actor in this movie who presumably wasn’t informed about it in advance.
Cut to the gang of vampire dwarfs, who are accosting yet more randomers for reasons unknown before chewing away at anything below waste height. Oh, and they also hiss and bear fangs which is adorable!
Following this pointless filler we are shown (again, for reasons unknown) people milling around a house of some kind, presumably belonging to someone who never gave permission to film there to begin with, and it’s becoming obvious that not one ounce of effort was put into anything past gathering up as many assorted dwarfs as possible, keeping them in frame, and praying to God that they don’t figure out how insulted they should feel before kicking the director to death.
Meanwhile, Bloyd and his wife are engaging in something-or-other, and Bloyd is told off for parking in a disabled bay, which as easy targets go, is one I’m going to pretend I’m too sophisticated to acknowledge.
Again, I’m bigger than that
Let me just explain something now in all seriousness. I did a bit of research on dwarfism and little people whist taking notes for this stupid film, and the definition of disabled is, amongst other things, ‘someone who has their daily activities impaired due to a physical or mental condition‘. For this reason, dwarfs are often considered disabled. Were the creators of this film aware of this? I doubt it as evidenced by the aforementioned scene, and I would like to hope they weren’t, otherwise what the fuck movie?
Anyway, they dismount their dwarf-mobile and make their way inside what appears to be a social security office (again, I highly doubt they were allowed to be there), and after shot after shot of walking through corridors and listening to the same hip-hop drum-loop over and over…
Tension building 101
…they arrive at someone’s office to deal with the menace within. Obviously this is yet another midget, who they inject with something I don’t care about, and then leave. And yes, every single agonising second of the entire scene serves no purpose to the overall plot and is entirely pointless in general, much like my evening so far.
Eventually we are introduced to someone who I assume is some kind of vampire hunter, as evidenced by his trunk full of weapons…
…which again, makes no sense as that’s essentially what Bloyd is supposed to be, right?
Wait a second.
Every single scene in this film has so far taken place during the day time, which surely means Ankle Biters has the same regard for vampire mythology as it does for inclusion in the workplace. Everyone should be on fire or melted to death by now. MOVIE RULES!
Cut to some random fuckers in a makeshift car garage, where the following dialogue is spoken;
Stupid, stupid film
So, when extra #7 fucks off to drink one of Jimmy’s burgers, Shoulder Height, Elbow Height, Waste Height, and Nibbles pounce out of some…
…changing room lockers (no need for ‘why’s and ‘how’s’) and do what they do best. Namely eating and stabbing the shit out of extra #3. This unfortunate fellow has a sister who, listening from an adjacent room, calls the police and describes a fairly accurate picture of events.
“I need help! There are some dwarfs attacking my brother with a sword!”
But her cry for help is to no avail, as the brother himself is turned into a vampire.
Cut to even more annoying filler, featuring some fairly avant garde film making techniques as shots begin fading to black within the scene, while everybody stares straight into camera.
Some police have cordoned off a crime scene where everyone is under the impression that a wolf has mauled someone to death. To be fair to the police this does seem much more likely than the perpetrators being a gang of dwarfs, but whatever. Meanwhile, Bloyd and his wife are marriage-bickering…
…and I get to see a close-up of Bloyd’s weirdly proportioned training moustache, suggesting that his character may have been played by someone with acromegaly, which would at least have helped me empathise with the monstrous wank-bag that is supposed to be the main character in this pile of shit.
By now the cops have arrived at the garage, where they find the squad of deadly midgets and their new non-vertically challenged pet vampire. The cops dish out the usual “Freeze!” rubbish, but are set upon instead. So, in what would surely result in a lengthy investigation by Internal Affairs, the cops open fire on an unarmed man and four dwarfs, making sure to miss every single shot given this movies special effects budget. The vampires run forward and enjoy some light brunch (ankles) before piling on to a motorbike and driving away.
The pack of vampires, Mr and Mrs Bloyd, and the hunter person all show up in the middle of nowhere, where one of the most eye-gougingly retarded excuses for an action scene then yanked angrily at my blood pressure. Describing it in words would surely mean the violent end of my laptop keyboard, so you’re going to have to just watch it instead.
What follows is my favourite part of the movie: A three minute montage of abandoned buildings! But all too soon, we are shown two moron teenagers who have ventured deep into what looks like redneck Chernobyl to smoke weed. The girl fires up her spidey-senses and insists they “go home” (they’re too young to own their own house so I’ll assume they are incestuous) as she’s decided that hanging around with a trainee paedo in an abandoned factory is something she now finds creepy.
As can be expected, vampire midgets appear out of nowhere, and I have a headache. The movie quite possibly expected this, as no sooner have I began rubbing my temples than the film starts with more poorly mixed guitar chugging set to a woman’s orgasm noises, and I begin crying.
Obviously the girl throws herself to the ground instead of running away and is therefore pounced upon by the midget troupe, and because this film has been produced by a deaf and blind man, the audio of her screaming is 1000db louder than anything else in the film. This of course blows my headphones right through my brain and I pause the film so I can book a flight to the closest country that has legalised assisted suicide.
Only press play if you have life insurance or permanent hearing loss
As can be seen (and heard), the two kids get eaten and covered in red food colouring, and YET AGAIN the entire fucking scene was for no reason WHATSOEVER other than to simply pad out a stagnating piss-scented film.
There goes the casting budget
Bloyd and his wife go back to bickering with each other, only to be interrupted by the sister from earlier who hilariously slaps Bloyd’s wife to the ground and demands to know where her brother is.
Where’s a slide-whistle when you need one?
Bloyd somehow knows exactly what this complete stranger is talking about so he takes her to yet another abandoned building, where he explains the plot of the film to the impatient and confused woman.
During this floppy excuse for exposition, we have it agonisingly explained to us that dwarfs can only turn other dwarfs into vampires, but because there are not enough dwarfs in this part of America they need the sword to blaa…blaa…blaa. In the middle of this verbal aneurysm Bloyd mumbles this expository gem…
“If you inject vampire blood into a vampire, his blood will ignite, and he will die.”
Really? And there was me thinking that having your blood ignited inside your body would give you +10 resistance to not being a human sack of shit, but what the hell would I know? This movie has indeed re-written whatever vampire rules came into the script-writers head shortly after being decapitated, so maybe I should just shut up and accept it. Eventually Luke Skywalker decides to show up and make friends with The Bloyd’s, because of reasons, and so-forth.
Exterior Establishment Montage: The Movie!
Guess what happens next? Some more cutaways of abandoned buildings and countryside! And where does the movie eventually cut back to? THE SAME FUCKING SCENE WE JUST WATCHED!!!
God damn it.
After an extended gun loading montage, and Bloyd and Luke Skywalker promising not to kill each other, the film cuts to……some nightclub montage filler!
To be fair, they seem to be enjoying things as much as I am
To be fair, they seem to be enjoying things as much as I am
After 20 years of booty-shaking and horrible techno, the evil vampires appear and start necking the clientèle. Thankfully, Bloyd and Luke Skywalker show up in slow-mo, say something that is buried underneath the terrible audio mix, and start shooting (and slapping and shoving). And… yet again…the scene has no relevance to anything other than to heighten my temper and give me chest pains. Cut back to Bloyd’s ‘house’, where one of the vampires goes for Mrs Bloyd’s neck…
…because for him to have eaten another dwarfs ankles would have divided the concept by zero, shut down production for at least three weeks and destroyed the entire universe. When Bloyd returns home, he finds his wife is a little more crabby than usual…
…and after Bloyd injects the rabid dwarf with blood, he gurgles and dies.
A quick glance at the running time and I am relieved to see that this is almost over. But not before the group of heroes…
…await the arrival of a guy on a (no shit) ultralight helicopter.
No, his character is not in any way explained, at least in any dialogue loud enough to hear, but he does come with a lovely hat, so go him.
Let’s finish this
You can come to your own conclusions
Once the vampires are defeated and the heroes have fucked away off (in slow-mo) the film slow-fades to black. Cut to 9 months later…
Bloyd, who for some reason has waited exactly 9 months (pregnant?), sneaks up on a dwarf and shoots him in the face.
A Learning Experience
I was already aware that there are physiological differences between dwarfs and midgets, but I was a little surprised to learn that midgets (who differ from dwarfs in that they have ‘normal’ proportions, whereas dwarfs can have shorter limbs etc) apparently abhor the term ‘midget’, instead preferring the term ‘little people’. Which is 100% okay with me, but a bit late considering this is the end of the review. Yes, I’ll put my hands up and admit that I poked more than a little fun at those I shouldn’t, but I’m not the bad guy here, honestly. The true face of evil as far as Ankle Biters is concerned is the degenerate that created it.
But what kind of emotionally distant and socially unaware person could be responsible for this festering mess? Was it a conglomerate of dwarf-hating film studio executives with gigantism? Or is Ankle Biters yet another example of a vanity-turd painfully squeezed out of one persons self-absorbed rectum? I know which answer I would have preferred, but unfortunately it’s all option ‘B’ here, as yes, Ankle Biters is the product of one man’s utter disregard for decency and self-awareness. I wonder who it is…
That’s right! Adam Minarovich is the writer, producer, director, and lead star of Ankle Biters, so if you’re having fun calling me a prick then you’re going to fall off your chair with this guy. I’m well aware that I’m sort of an asshole asshole, but if you’ve ever wanted to see what a truly monstrous fucktard looks like, then here’s his IMDb. Yup, this is the guy who, as recently as 2002, saw fit to make a movie about disabled vampires and then star in it himself as someone called Drexel Vennis, whose job it is to kill them.
There are some grossly primitive ideas about dwarfs and little people out there, and that’s surely fed into Adam Minarovich’s assumption that making a film like this is an okay thing to do. I know, I sound like a hypocritical turd here, but there really are some dumb-ass questions being asked of little people. Don’t take my word for it, look at the Google search suggestions for ‘Can dwarfs…‘ and get ready to either laugh your ass off or frown with moral indignation, depending on where you sit on the shithead scale.
I must admit however, I did learn a lot during the process of watching and reviewing Ankle Biters, not least of which how easy it is for assholes like myself to revert to pointing and laughing at unfortunate people like they are some primitive form of 18th century travelling carnival show entertainment. But I did also become aware of some of the intricacies surrounding a disability, so once I’m done breaking the speed limit at the local drive-thru confessional I might just give myself a pat on the back for being great.
Above all else though, I learned that there are no depths to which certain film-makers will sink to if left to realise their own dreams. And that Adam Minarovich can bite my fucking ankles.