Pop Culture

Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Glorious

Title: Glorious

Describe This Movie In One Rick and Morty Quote:
RICK: You gotta be careful, Morty. If that guy catches you with a box of his eyeholes, he comes bursting in through a window and just starts kicking the shit out of you.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Lovelorn dude experiences the worst hangover of all time.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3 Tommy Tutones out of 5.
Tagline: "The universe has a favor to ask."

Better Tagline: "Just when you thought rest stop bathrooms couldn't get any worse."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Wes (Ryan Kwanten) isn't having a great day. Unceremoniously shown the door by his girlfriend, he does what any rational dump-ee would do: gets drunk and and burns a bunch of her stuff. After heaving his guts out in a rest stop bathroom the next morning, he makes the acquaintance of Ghatanothoa (J.K. Simmons), or "Ghat" for short, the demigod in the next stall over who claims Wes is the only one who can stop his father from annihilating all life on Earth.
"Critical" Analysis: We're kind of in a Renaissance era of Lovecraft-inspired horror: The Color Out of Space, the collected works of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, The Lighthouse, Ron DeSantis's Florida. But unlike many of these more expansive efforts, Rebekah McKendry's Glorious sticks almost wholly to a single location, concentrating on dialogue and some well-placed gore.

A rest stop john is also an inspired choice for a plot with dreadful implications for mankind, especially one as gross as the one depicted here. Those of us in Texas who've gotten spoiled by the restrooms at Buc-ee's tend to forget what the norm often is, and McKendry (formerly of Fangoria) makes this one even more horrific.

Sharp-eyed readers/H.P. Lovecraft nerds will recognize Ghatanothoa as part of the Cthulhu Mythos, and not many actors besides Simmons could deliver dialogue from an eldritch being from beyond time and space without sounding like a complete goof, but he's the perfect choice for this. Meanwhile, Kwanten (best known for playing True Blood's Jason Stackhouse) is serviceable as the hapless dude finding himself at life's low ebb.

There's a humorous moment when Ghat's pitch for humanity's salvation sounds like the logical cosmological endgame of every time some dude used the doomsday potential of the Cuban Missile Crisis/Cold War/9-11 to get laid. Fortunately(?) for Wes, the request is (somewhat) less debasing than the presence of a gloryhole implies.

Funny thing about the beings offering these bargains is that they never seem to learn. Be it allegedly benevolent aliens (The World's End), Satan (Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny), or other ancient gods (The Cabin in the Woods), none of them ever grasp until it's too late that humans are often petulant assholes.

Are the exchanges between Ghat and Wes believable? Always a factor to consider when it comes to humans interacting with Elder Gods, who are historically prone to disguising their true motives. Events crescendo out of Wes's control when an unsuspecting Parks Department employee (André Lamar) happens upon the scene, leading to ... unpleasant consequences.

Which reminds me, lot of color palette similarities between this and Mandy/Color Out of Space. Who knew red/purple would be the go-to for indie horror?

Glorious is amusing enough for what it is: a rather rare amalgamation of horror, comedy, and pathos that comes together well enough to forgive the rehashed plot and disappointingly mundane money shot (sacrifices to the Elder Gods ought to be a little more creative).

Glorious is now streaming on Shudder.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar