Coons! Night of the Bandits of the Night (2005)

They come for your food...they stay for your FLESH!
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Coons! Night of the Bandits of the Night - They come for your food...they stay for your FLESH!

You have to give credit where credit's due, so fair play to Troma Entertainment: they have been trolling the mainstream Hollywood model for an impressive 35 years now. Whatever industry values, or suggested budgets, or base-line values of any kind mainstream cinema has tried to instill, Troma have been right there – quick to show that not only do you not need any of that stuff, but you can have a better time without it. Admittedly their output has been variable, from laugh-out-loud funny (Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD - genius) to false advertising (A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell – she's no nympho!) but if you have a tolerance for silly, childish and self-deprecating low-brow genre film then Troma are generally a fail safe bet. As for the film in question – Coons: Night of the Bandits of the Night – yep, as you might expect, it ticks all of those boxes, and adds some faeces-hurling taxidermy for good measure.

I'm not sure if a plot synopsis is really necessary given the film title, but what the hell. When a mysterious disembodied pair of lady's bosoms are found near the Raccoon Creek campsite (mission statement right there), the head ranger, Rick Danger soon realises that a dangerous animal or animals must be on the loose, and an old hippy who has taken up residence in the woods insists that it's raccoons which have gone rogue, getting a taste for human blood. What then follows is a pitched battle between man and beast, as an oddball band of jocks, Bible thumpers, scientists and the sexually-inexperienced must all take up arms against the coon menace. Sure, they look like stuffed animals, the blood they spill is almost certainly raspberry sauce and their "voices" sound suspiciously like they're being played on a kazoo but these fuckers are mean...

To a large extent then, you know exactly what you're going to get here. Bad joke adds to bad joke. What I will say is that Coons shows that America is more than able to take the piss out of itself more successfully than you'd ever get in a mainstream movie. It has nothing to prove and nothing to lose, so it's pretty comfortable with making fun of... well, everyone. Its stereotypes are drawn so heavy-handedly that you could probably see them from space, it's loud and trashy, and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. In fact, large swathes of this film have “drunken decision-making” written all over them. For instance, deciding to name a character Dick Weener? That's funny sober but you can imagine this being the best idea ever after a few shots of vodka, can't you? The same goes for many of the rest of the film's more notable elements, like putting the head raccoon in a tiara and a string of pearls, creating the “scatapult” as a concept (and yes, it does what it sounds like it does) and of course making wigs and false moustaches such an important element of the film. Without these, they'd have had to hire some extra actors or something but thanks to the magic of stick-on facial hair, one man can play two roles! That's the sort of clever budgeting know-how which you just wouldn't get in Hollywood.

It's essentially an array of poor taste jokes pegged haphazardly together with a raccoon motif, but it's oddly soothing to watch a film like Coons. It seems to have no pretensions to anything beyond being amusing to the people who worked on it, and if it makes other people laugh as well then this seems to be a bonus, and I couldn't help but laugh. It's cheap, crass and gloriously terrible, but come on: when a film is this straightforward then all you can do is go with it.
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