Clinger (2015)

Okie doke.  It’s the end of March.  It’s also the point to which I have to take a break from all these Amazon Prime horror movies.  I wish I could say that Prime is the gift that keeps on giving, but man…  Each one of these is like I’m gambling.

Like I’m flopping my dickbag onto a little guillotine and then betting on Black on a Roulette wheel and hoping it doesn’t land on Red.  And if it lands on one of the green spots, well…  I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about where they’ll shove my newly severed saddle bag.

In my butt.  That’s where they’ll shove it.

I kinda feel I’m batting .500 this month.  Sleepover and Spirit Camp were fairly decent attempts at a spooky ghost movie and an 80s style slasher, respectively.  On the other hand, Die Die Delta Pi and The Beckoning were short on capturing the charm of an 80s style slasher and a spooky ghost movie, respectively.  One of those downers was really bad.  Like REALLY bad.  But I digress.

Everything that is good on this planet is resting on Clinger – a 2015 horror/comedy.  The box sorta says it’s “Fucking Amazing” so I guess that’s something.  But what is it really about?  Amazon Prime says: “After Fern’s overly affectionate high school boyfriend, Robert, dies in an embarrassing accident, he returns from the dead as a love-sick ghost and plots to kill Fern so they can be together forever.  Fern now has to fight to stay in the world of the living.”

I think Robert might have meant to bet on Red but accidentally bet on Black and the resulting shock from seeing his scrotum disconnected from his crotch caused him to faint and his head landed on a rake that was, for some reason, lying next to the Roulette table with the raky bits up.  So he bet his beans, lost by accident, fainted after having them taken from him, and he passed out where he landed on a rake that killed him.

What’s this?  How do I survive the near unending Roulette game that often lands on me getting my balls cut off?  Don’t worry about it.  I have my secrets.

My terrible, terrible secrets and shame.  Utter and complete shame.

The movie starts with a high school girl practicing for her track meet.  A guy sits down in the bleachers and plays his guitar, distracting her.  She runs into a hurdle and falls, dislocating her shoulder.  He helps her pop her shoulder back into place.  This is Robert and Fern.  They decide to hang out on Friday.  They talk themselves up in the mirror and clearly have had something of a crush on each other for a while.  They have a little picnic in his front yard and talk and flirt and he plays guitar for her and sings her a song.  They are fairly adorable as a couple.

We’re off to a fairly nice start.

At school, Fern’s friend, who apparently is a Bible-carrying good girl, says a bunch of stuff that is suggestive but not about sex – a recurring joke that actually never gets old throughout the rest of the movie.  Seven weeks pass and Fern is starting to show some fatigue with Robert.  He’s a bit clingy and…  Oh.  That’s where the title of the movie comes from!  Mystery solved!  Come back next week for the next installment of B-Movie…

What?  There’s still like 75 minutes left?  Oh.  Well, this is embarrassing.


Fern, sweetheart, your sister makes sock puppets.  She has solid advice.  Also, probably the perfect woman.

Anyway, so Fern’s friend thinks he’s sweet and perfect, but Fern is unsure of what’s going on with her feelings about him.  Fern’s sister, Kelsey, says she should dump him because she has her own aspirations that will lead her miles and miles away from Robert.  While he works on a giant contraption that acts almost like a guillotine for their first Valentine’s Day, Fern is trying to figure out how to break off their relationship in the right way.  She goes over to his house where everything is utterly decked out for the big holiday.  He takes her outside to show off his giant, scary contraption he built to tell her he loves her.

I should make an aside here and say that when I made that joke at the top of this review about putting my dickbag onto a tiny little guillotine and that even played into my joke about Robert’s “embarrassing death”, I literally didn’t realize how close I was to that being what actually happens.

As he tells her he loves her, she tells him she wants to break up.  This causes him to fall in surprise and his big guillotine thing cuts his head off and causes it to fly across the yard and land in her hands.  Bravo movie…  You are definitely winning me these first ten minutes.

Also, good effects.

Everyone is super sad about Robert (whose last name is Klingher by the way – again, well done, movie).  Even people who hardly knew him or Fern are sitting around telling stories.  Fern’s sister is stuffing her purse full of stuff from around the Klinghers’ house which is legitimately funny.  A week later, everyone is still pretty bummed out about Robert’s death.  Kelsey suggests Fern just needs a rebound to help her get over him.  She tries to focus on running and getting ready for college, but things are seemingly falling apart around her.  She keeps seeing ghastly images of people blaming her for Robert’s death, or her mac and cheese turning into a heart, or having her stereo mysteriously play Robert’s music he wrote for Fern, or actually seeing a Robert ghost.

This movie is definitely not without some fun characters.

She seeks help from a paranormal investigator that terns out to be her sassy black lady track coach.  I wish I could take the time to explain everything about this character that makes her fucking brilliant, but I can’t.  Just know two things.  First, before realizing that Fern is dealing with a “love ghost”, she warned about a demon that will borough into Fern’s asshole.  Second, she also gives us the rules of a love ghost in a neat little animated sequence.  Rule #1 is in order for Fern to summon Robert, she must say his name multiple times while standing on her head.  Rule #2 is that a love ghost literally cannot move too far away from where the person was killed.  Rule #3 is that only Fern will be able to see Robert so any interaction with him in public will probably make her look crazy.  Fern is told to ignore Robert and he will eventually be drug into Hell and to be careful not to piss off a love ghost as they can literally be deadly.

Fern summons Robert and he isn’t upset with her at all for seemingly being at some fault for his death, but that’s because he also doesn’t realize he’s dead at this point.  Later, Robert sits at the dinner table with Fern and her family and tries to interact with everyone but no one else can see him.  So she has to break it to him later that he’s dead.  He looks in the mirror and doesn’t see his reflection so he initially believes himself to be a vampire.  He also doesn’t know how to walk through walls yet so he just runs into them.  He returns to the cemetery where all sorts of dead people are roaming about.  He learns about other people’s deaths and what he can do now that he is dead.  It definitely reminds me of Beetlejuice.

This movie is actually kinda amazing.  Robert is a bit silly and just sulks around the cemetery with other dead people.  There’s all sort of weird other dead people, some flappers, some wild west guys, a zombie, etc.  At school, Kelsey is brought in with her sock puppets to counsel the kids who may be grief-stricken over Robert’s death.  I think I actually love this movie a lot.  It’s cute, charming, and well made for the, surely, limited budget.  Most importantly, it’s really funny.

After acting out a skit with Kelsey and her sock puppets, Fern realizes she wasn’t fair to Robert.  She tries summoning him again, but he blows her off after saying he wanted some time to himself.  She eventually convinces him to come back by saying she wishes there was a cute musician around who could teach her how to play piano.  He comes back and they have a sweet little dance together and a kiss.  She lets him hang out with her at school.  After he hears that the MIT track coach will be there to watch Fern, he worries she is going to leave him behind and forget about him.  When he calls MIT overrated, she realizes his old tendencies of being overbearing are returning.

He invites her to a picnic at the cemetery, but she tries to tell him that she has to work on her chemistry lab project.  She decides to stay at school despite their date, but he keeps distracting her and ruins her lab assignment causing her to get a C-.  Even though she is upset with Robert and even goes so far as to start deleting their pictures together off her computer, she makes up with him and says that whenever she wants time to herself, he has to understand and give it to her.  They start to have sex, but Kelsey and her boyfriend walk in on her – which simply looks like Fern is masturbating.  After they leave, they get back to it.  As they do it, his head falls off and sprays blood all over her and the bed.

Boy, have I been here.

I can’t imagine what that is a metaphor for, but she had sex and blood went everywhere and it’s funny!

In the aftermath, Fern breaks up with Robert and says they don’t fit into each other’s life plans (or death plans for Robert).  This gives Robert the idea that since she is the only one who can see him and he loves her, he decides to get back at her.

This plan is furthered by Fern going to a party and getting drunk. To get back at her, he turns some booze into blood which causes her to spit it on the host of the party.

The next day, Fern continues to practice and train to cut time off her laps to impress MIT.  There’s another guy, Harlan, though, who has been hanging around Fern.  He’s not exactly a love interest, but he’s close to her.  When she helps him blow some steam off  after he broke up with his girlfriend, Robert decides he needs to do something about it, so he attacks Harlan in the locker room with a pair of scissors.  Harlan, not being able to see Robert, has no idea what’s going on and is understandably freaked.

Fern goes to see her coach who gives her a book about getting rid of a ghost, a toy gun that supposedly is a ghost laser, and a bottle of pills so Fern can see all ghosts.  When Fern asks what’s in the pills, her coach just says, “Ghost science so shut the fuck up!”.  Taking that to be all the encouragement she needs, Fern takes one and can see the coach’s dead grandma who haunts the porch.  There is some significant comedy in this script, and Alicia Monet Caldwell who plays Coach Kingsley is killing the jokes.  If I could hand out an award for Best Supporting Actress for the movies I watch on this blog, she’d have one for sure.  In fact, I’d say fuck off to even having a category of nominees because no one has been anywhere near as good as her in any of these goddamn movies I watch for this bullshit blog.

Robert’s first attempt to show Fern how much he loves her is to smother her with teddy bears in her car.  She mentions that it’s not that he’s dead as much as it is she’s alive.  That’s twice now that I think she might have chosen her words better because, finally, Robert realizes that if he kills Fern, they can spend all eternity together.  Worse, a classmate in Fern’s chemistry class got an email saying he was accepted into MIT, which Fern did not get.  Now, more than ever, she has to impress the MIT track coach.

That night, Robert comes to Fern and asks her to kill herself for him.  She wakes Kelsey up and gives her a pill so she can see Robert too.  They are then attacked by the ghost of a woman whose grave is next to Robert’s while Fern tries to keep a trio of demonic teddy bears from getting into Kelsey’s room.  When they get into the room, they kill Kelsey’s boyfriend.  When the teddy bears are defeated, the ghost lady friend of Robert’s axes Kelsey in the throat.  Robert comes in and backs off when Fern threatens him with the ghost laser gun that lasers ghosts.  Kelsey’s boyfriend comes back as a ghost and takes off with his body when Kelsey doesn’t want anything to do with him (he admitted before being killed he cheated on her with a big tittied Waffle House waitress).

Fern realizes that Robert can’t possibly love her because he would rather kill her than see her happy.  So she goes to get help from Coach Kinglsey, but she’s packed up and leaving town.  She tells Fern that she moved to this town to get away from ghost hunting and tells her how she lost her mother and grandmother in a car accident.  She had to vanquish her mother by making her believe she doesn’t love her anymore.  So she has to do everything can to convince Robert she doesn’t love him even if a part of her still does love him when he was alive.

Fern arms herself with some weapons she made from the book Coach Kingsley gave her.  Robert gathers his cemetery pals and comes to the track meet to attack Fern.  Fern ultimately loses the race, but the ghosts start to attack and her family and friends take the ghost pills to be able to fight back.  Insanity breaks out as these different ghosts battle Fern’s friends and family – which to everyone else at the track meet, looks like Fern’s family and friends have gone absolutely insane.  Eventually, Fern is able to finally tell Robert that she doesn’t love him and it’s time for him to go.  He finally apologizes for trying to kill her and she tells him she’ll remember the good times when she does think of him.  He leaves the world and goes into the afterlife.

Fern may not have gotten that MIT scholarship, but she got rid of Robert and she gets kissed by Harlan.  But she turns him down for a date because fuck relationships after being haunted by your dead boyfriend, amirite guys?

There isn’t a single thing I can think of to say bad about this movie.  I really enjoyed every moment of the movie and dammit if everyone in it isn’t charming as fuck.  I’ve already raved about Alicia Monet Caldwell and how she played Coach Kingsley, but that’s not all.  Julia Aks, who plays Kelsey, is also very funny as the somewhat vapid, directionless older sister.  Fun fact: Julia Aks is an opera singer.  Clinger is bringing some class to this motherfucker.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take some time to talk about Jennifer Laporte (Fern) and Vincent Martella (Robert).  This is the type of scenario in which this entire movie rests on their chemistry.  If they don’t work, nothing else will regardless of how funny some of the other characters are.  Think about it like this.  You have a tub of Neapolitan Ice Cream, right?  I mean, vanilla, chocolate, AND strawberry together in one tub?  Yessir.  But what happens if the vanilla and chocolate is gross and poorly made?  Then it doesn’t matter what the strawberry is because most of your tub of ice cream is fuck.  No matter how much you like strawberry, it can’t make up for most of the tub being bad.  Period.  End of story.  So you have to have a foundation in which all the rest of the great stuff just adds to.  Laporte and Martella are phenomenal and you almost pull for them to work out right up to the moment that he wants her to kill herself for him.  You feel for him because she did indirectly kill him.  You understand she’s a bit burdened with that, but she is the glue that holds every single piece and crumb of this movie together.  If she’s not great, and she doesn’t work with him, everything sucks.  There’s not a single other person in the movie that doesn’t work and there are so many little minute ideas that range from fairly brilliant to absolute genius that this movie is a complete success.

All of those other elements are just the strawberry bit of your tub of Neapolitan Ice Cream.

That puts the lid on my month of Amazon Prime suggestions.  I probably should quit while I’m ahead because the good ultimately won the month 3-2.  100% Clinger made up for the shit start to March with The Beckoning.  So, let’s shift focus, shall we?  Starting next week, I’m gonna spend a month watching some movies starring 80s heartthrob Phoebe Cates.  So come back next week for the musical treat that is Shag: The Movie!

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