Travis: Welcome back to VagrantFox Presents all of you loyal readers. I know it has been some time but we were without Fox due to “Real Life” as he calls it. If you wish to judge his excuse for yourself check out Final Approach for the HTC Vive, available on the Steam store.
Tonight we are watching “He Never Died” starring Henry Rollins. A 2015 Comedy? Thriller? About a geriatric cannibal annoyed that people keep interrupting his bingo games.
Todd: This is a documentary of Henry Rollins life, as I imagine it to be.
Travis: This is a documentary of Henry Rollins life, as I want it to be.
Todd: Jack, or in reality, Henry Rollins, is sleeping in the middle of the day, dreaming of horrible noises like the sounds of hell (see, this is totally a documentary of Henry Rollins) when someone knocks on his door and we begin the motif of “Henry doesn’t give a damn about anything”.
Travis: I found the PTSD dreams a bit confusing. Notable by the later revelation of who he really is. At first I thought he was some sort of Angel, implied by the wing scars on his back, and what he was hearing was the war in heaven. Oh, by the way. He has “cut off his wings” scars on his back.
Todd: Also, he has wings on the poster for the movie.
His landlord needs her monthly payment, and he gives it to her from a chest he keeps at the foot of his bed that is filled with money and “things”. Then he promptly shuts the door in her face.
Travis: With some prescience granted by the poster and trailer we know he is ancient. I appreciate that he has gone from complete mastery of human interaction and etiquette to “to hell with all of this” over a long enough time span. If I was immortal, I imagine I would reach that level much faster than he did.
Todd: We don’t know exactly when he reached that level, but he has mastered it. After paying off the landlady he gets dressed, goes “somewhere” and buys “something” from the back of a car from “a guy”.
Travis: With my extensive knowledge afforded by hollywood movies it totally looks like a random body part. Assisted by the fact that the guy he is buying from is an intern of some sort from somewhere. But he’s wearing medical scrubs and he’s both male and not doing it ironically so probably med student of some sort.
Todd: Also, that guy is played by someone named “Booboo Stewart”, which I did not just make up.
Travis: Booboo attempts to bring Henry into random conversations about how his life is progressing but Henry is having none of this polite interaction nonsense.
Todd: My favorite part of it was that Booboo was asleep when Henry knocked on his window and asked Henry, “How long have I been asleep?” To which Henry correctly responds: “I don’t know how I would know that.”
Also, apparently Booboo was in the Twilight movies as a werewolf, so I was kind of hoping he was still a werewolf, just also a med student.
Travis: Henry is constantly having trouble keeping track of time which works on two levels. As an Immortal he measures time in the span of “All of it” also the future consists of “All of it”. Additionally he was around before clocks or the calendar for for that matter were even a thing.
Todd: He’s also the audience surrogate for giving us a movie timeline. It’s apparently Tuesday.
After getting his “package” and going back home he again answers a knock on his door to a young girl who runs off when he answers. Which is the correct response when you knock on a door and Henry Rollins answers.
Travis: When he sees the girl and she promptly runs off he just shuts the door and calmly goes back to sleep. The Henry abides.
Todd: This of course leads to someone else knocking on his door, and oh look, it’s two thugs. This won’t go well for them, and it doesn’t. They try to intimidate him, but he doesn’t seem to care, and when they pull a gun on him he just calmly beats them down and throws them out, and then once again goes back to abiding. During this exchange he is both shot in the hand, and has pepper spray sprayed in his eyes. He doesn’t seem to mind either.
Travis: He is appropriately annoyed that his hand is bleeding; probably because he’ll have to clean that later. After surviving a run in with these thugs he does the responsible thing and ambles off to his favorite diner where the specials are fresh baked Apple and Banana Cream pies.
Todd: Where he orders oatmeal.
Travis: In the early scenes he is still on good terms with society and is a vegetarian. A noble if not pointless effort considering.
Todd: This is also where we meet Cara, our love interest, and he explains that he was pepper sprayed by his landlady because she thought he was breaking into his own apartment and he cut his hand on a glass. So he’s at least trying to “sound” like a normal person.
Travis: While throwing his landlady under the bus as some paranoid vigilante.
Todd: Well she’s old, so it probably wouldn’t matter to her.
Travis: True story. If this movie teaches us nothing it is that old people don’t care about anything.
Todd: Then he returns to his apartment where he gets a phone call from what seems to be an ex-girlfriend? Wife? Who he hates (he tells her that straight out) who wants him to pick up his daughter. This is apparently a surprise since he didn’t know he had a daughter, but he easily surmises this is the girl who was at his apartment.
Or did he know? It’s hard to tell.
Travis: So, a couple of things here. 1) He had to have fallen in love with someone in the past. All of human history is his time frame and this can’t be the first. 2) By that logic is probably isn’t even his first child considering how recent reliable birth control is in terms of his sexual history. But both events seem to be throwing him into some sort of loop.
Todd: He agrees to make sure she gets home safe, and heads to a bar where the bartender, after making sure he was actually her dad (by asking repeatedly if he was her dad) tells her she went home with Tim, the mailman. Henry uses a phonebook in a phone booth (the two most ludicrous things in the movie, do those things even exist anymore?) to find Tim’s apartment, where he finds his daughter and agrees to let her come with him. He takes her to the diner, where Cara is also surprised to find out the creepy guy who comes to the diner and never talks has a daughter.
Travis: Whoa sir, let’s be careful throwing around creepy. You had to have seen us at some point.
The Summary of his interaction with his newfound daughter. “We just met a couple of hours ago; knock it down a peg.” The girl does have a surprising amount of energy; or I’m just too old to remember what 20 year olds are like.
Todd: He agrees to let her stay with him a couple of days. Then the next morning he wakes up at 6, wanders off to the diner, where he sees a guy in a black hat, gets spooked and promptly returns home.
When daughter asks him where he’s been he just says he went for a walk. So apparently the black hat guy is important, but we’re not sure why yet.
Travis: He just “Goes for a walk” or “Is Out” quite often. I would also surmise that by now he would have mastered the off the cuff excuse; or like many other thing he has progressed past the point of caring.
Todd: He seems to be past the point of caring. When he wakes up later she’s on the phone with her mother, he takes the phone and hangs up for her. Then he goes for another “walk”.
This walk consists of finding Booboo, and the guys who were at his apartment the day before, and they’re taking Booboo with them, but not in a nice “let’s go get ice cream” way, but more of a “we’re about to start breaking kneecaps” way. So when they drive off with Booboo, he does the only logical thing: He steals a mail truck from a mail carrier and follows them.
Travis: I was disappointed at this point because the bartender made a point of calling Tim the mailman yet the person he stole the truck from was not Tim. Also, why did he go through the trouble of following the thugs and their victim instead of just interrupting the interaction at the meeting place?
Todd: I suspected he was going to interrupt them as well, but the mail truck thing was funny. He follows them to a warehouse (you know the kind) where they have Booboo tied to a chair and they’re doing bad things to him.
After yesterday’s fracas you’d think these guys would know better than to mess with Henry, but they don’t seem to have gotten the message yet, and he easily dispatches them, very violently, before taking Booboo to his car, and then dropping Booboo off at a parked ambulance.
Travis: He pokes out one thugs eye which I felt to be a bit unnecessary. Unless they thought that for us to recognize him in later scenes the eyepatch would help. Otherwise, that’s just not cool man.
Todd: He heads back to his apartment where he puts a wrapped “thing” in the fridge, then goes back to bed. After a bit of pestering from daughter he decides it’s time to go to Bingo.
This is his only vice. Bingo.
Travis: We see a group coming out of a church very early in the movie and I had assumed it was some sort of AA meeting. I had surmised by this point that the thing in the wrapper was a human body part and guessed he was attending AA meetings to get over his “Eating People” problem. But no, it’s really bingo.
That throws up stark relief later when he mentions “Going off the Wagon” in terms of eating people. I wonder if something wasn’t left on the editing room floor.
Todd: One of the things i really liked about the movie was that they didn’t go out of their way to over explain everything, so I don’t know that it necessarily means something was cut, maybe they just wanted us to put it all together ourselves.
At any rate they head back to the diner, where someone causes a commotion with one of the other waitresses in order to put something in Henry’s water. This was apparently some kind of sleeping draught, but it barely affects him. They finish dinner, he gets daughter safely back to the apartment, then goes out, where our intrepid thugs along with sleeping draught guy watch him pass out.
Sleeping draught guy can’t believe he’s still walking. But then he falls over and they drag him off.
Travis: Before we move on, the special today was Cherry Pie.
So our hapless thugs from earlier bring in a super thug of sorts who gets the knockout on Henry so that they can chain him up and throw him in the river… as you do… but he naturally wakes up, grabs super thug and pulls him over the edge into the river to drown.
Eye patch has been nervous this whole time, suspecting Henry to be some sort of boogeyman, and as such is totally not surprised when driving away they see Henry out of the river struggling out of his chains obviously not drowned.
Todd: They just drive right up on him, with the other thug telling eye-patch it can’t possibly be him, until Henry comes over and rips the guy’s throat out, Roadhouse style. Eye-patch has had enough and bails.
Travis: After ripping out said throat Henry is momentarily conflicted, then eats the throat. Waste not want not I guess. This is him officially falling off the wagon. I guess eating cadaver parts is Kosher?
Todd: After this he heads back to the apartment where he scares the shit out of daughter to get her to leave, because he’s going into full on “I need to eat people” mode, and I guess he doesn’t want her in the line of fire (or maybe just not as a witness to the gruesome display he’s planning).
This is followed by him going to the diner, and walking out when Cara comes in, then going home and seeing his across the hall neighbor arguing with the landlady (and being kind of a dick) so after she goes back in her apartment he eats the neighbor, then going to the bar and trying to start a fight, and then my favorite part of the movie, where he walks around town trying to get people to be assholes so he can eat them guilt-free, but everybody is super nice to him.
Until some kids show up.
Travis: Henry is hunched over on a chain link fence puking and does in fact puke up some blood on these guys shoes.
A few thoughts on this.
How long was he there puking / pretending to puke? That’s a lot of puking while just waiting for someone to wander by.
Also, he did in fact puke on that guys shoes. I do believe these rascals had legitimate beef with Henry and he probably isn’t in the moral clear for killing and eating them…. Allegedly since it is not shown.
Todd: But unlike everybody else he tried to get to be mean to him, the kids were assholes. This is a lesson kids, always be nice.
Henry heads home to take a bullet out of his shoulder (presumably from the kids), and get a voicemail that apparently someone has kidnapped daughter and has her at the docks and he has to be there by midnight or blah, blah, blah. Actually, I think that’s the exact text of the message.
Travis: Henry give this call the attention it deserves and instead goes to the diner. Perhaps he meant to be at the docks later and just wanted a bite to eat first; but he is obviously not sweating this meeting too hard.
Todd: Also, he orders steak, rare. So I guess meat’s back on the menu, boys.
At this point Cara gets a phone call at the diner that her manager seems annoyed about. It’s her ex, he’s being an ass, he’s outside, and she has to go take care of it. The other waitress wants to call the cops because it’s a scene out there, but Henry helpfully hangs up the phone for her and says he’ll take care of it.
Oh, and guess who Cara’s ex is?
Travis: It’s Tim the mailman! I’m still miffed it was not Tim the Henry stole his truck mailman, but still… callbacks are nice. It does give us a nice “You two know each other” afterward between Henry and Cara.
Henry injects himself into the argument between Tim and Cara are having about who gets the car. They aren’t married, or even exes so the status of car ownership is confusing. Tim is angry at this interruption and throws some punches which Henry just takes. One punch ok, the second punch still no reaction and then Henry spits some blood into Tim’s face at which point Tim gets the hell out with the car.
Firstly. Tim gets the car which is what he wanted. And second yeah, i’d peace out of someone spit blood into my eyes too.
Todd: Cara is annoyed with him at first, but then remembers he’s Henry Rollins and he ends up walking her home, during which time he tells her all the jobs he’s had (which we know is over thousands of years, but to her just sound ridiculous).
Travis: No sir, let us not confuse our readership into thinking Henry is suddenly a person. He asks Cara if he lives near by to which she answers “About 12 blocks” and he says “OK” and starts walking himself home. It’s only after realizing that she is walking in the same direction that he joins her for the rest of the trip.
Todd: He’s still Henry, after all. After leaving her abruptly at her apartment door (no kiss?) he heads back to his place where we find his package from Booboo was apparently an IV blood bag from the med school/hospital where Booboo is interning. He rips it open and spills it all over the floor. He first drinks it from the floor, then later uses a sponge to get some of it in a glass to drink.
He clearly likes blood.
After this it’s another jaunty trip to the warehouse district to see some old friends of his. I guess they own a club or something in the warehouse.
Travis: After splitting open the blood bag and licking it off the floor he comments “This could be bad”. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
The next morning after he is supposed to meet random caller about his daughter, Henry works his way down to the docks. Obviously nobody is there as he is well past the designated meeting time but he knows that nearby is a speakeasy of some sort that he is both familiar with and known by.
Todd: It’s made subtly clear that Henry used to work for these speakeasy guys, or at least one of them, who is now dead. The new guy in charge (the old boss’s son) chats with Henry for a bit, Henry asks about Andrea’s kidnapping, Alex (the new guy) says he has no idea who that is, and Henry leaves.
Then he goes to play some Bingo, but his heart doesn’t seem to be in it.
Travis: Let’s not gloss over his super hearing. While in the meeting with old boss’s son he hears whimpering behind a bookshelf on the far wall. He makes no move at this point; I guess the Henry is still abiding.
Todd: True. I was surprised he didn’t do anything. I guess he wanted to prep for that. At any rate, back at the diner he walks in to find the manager dead on the floor and a bunch of people chilling like it ain’t no thang.
Cara comes to give him some coffee and she’s freaked out. I guess it’s clear all these people have taken the diner hostage and they’re here to kill Henry.
He seems not to care, because he always seems not to care.
Travis: I can no longer forgive the shoddy workmanship on this film. Entering the Diner on day three the special is still Cherry Pie. So either this crappy diner can’t be bothered to have a new special of the day (script fail) or they forgot to change the sign (production fail). I’m so angry I can’t even remember what I was going to say about the scene.
Todd: Give them a break, their manager’s dead and they’ve all been taken hostage. Changing the pie of the day was probably the last thing on their minds.
Henry heads to the bathroom (like you do) and one of the bigger thugs follows him in, and produces a weapon. We don’t even see this fight, just Henry rolling back out of the bathroom a minute later alone.
He goes to sit down and Cara gasps at his back, and he pulls out the weapon like, “Oh yeah, forgot about that”, looks at it and says, “Ice pick.”
Cause that’s what concerned her.
Travis: I had wondered what sort of Immortal warrior he would be at this point. Because he has either had enough martial experience that getting stabbed in the first place is inexcusable or he is so reliant on his immortality that he cares not for pesky things like ice picks in the kidney.
At any rate one of the thugs that isn’t wearing an eyepatch calmly walks up to Henry and shoots him in the forehead point blank. Which for the first time in the whole movie appears to have gotten Henry’s attention.
Todd: Not that it seems to bother him. He simply stands up and then we miss another fight scene. We just get to see some flashes of light and then someone (not Henry) being thrown through the front window.
Cara is freaked out, and telling him he needs an ambulance. He just got shot point blank in the forehead and then won a fight. What’s an ambulance going to do?
He wants a ride but first he wants to take something with him. Eye patch guy. Cara is 100% against this until he offers her a million dollars.
Travis: Which reminded me of a joke:
Guy: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?
Guy: Would you sleep with me for ten dollars?
Girl: What kind of girl do you take me for?
Guy: We’ve already established that, I thought now we were just haggling over the price.
After depositing eye-patch in the trunk Henry returns with a toolbox. Why does she have a full toolbox in her trunk? Who actually carries a full toolbox in a trunk?
Cara: Is that my toolbox?
Henry: Yes. Can I borrow your toolbox?
Well first Henry, it’s a bit late to ask now. But also, this is the first time you’ve paused for human consideration. Hooray, character building.
Todd: I like that the reason he wants to pull the bullet out is if he doesn’t it scars over and he gets terrible headaches. He’s clearly had this problem before.
Travis: There is also all of the weird things that happen and he just plays them off or plays it cool. If he is calm enough then everyone else has no choice but to be calm and go along with his madness. I have to imagine he has had practice with this sort of thing.
Todd: He’d be great at raising kids.
Next they make their way back to his apartment to interrogate Eye-patch, but they’re interrupted carrying in the body by the landlady, who doesn’t seem to notice the body, but is curious about the asshole neighbor that Henry ate the day before.
Once they get Eye-patch inside he opens the box to take some things out, tells Cara to take her money and she can go and she’ll never see him again.
Cara starts looking through the box and finds a picture from 1914 that has a suspiciously Henry looking guy in it. This is where he tells her the truth.
Travis: She asks if this is his dad or his granddad and he says that no it is him. Cara is dubious as this would make him over a hundred years old and tells him that she does not believe what he is saying to wit his reply: “Ok”.
Henry explains that he does not know how old he is, which is legitimate since he is older than the calendar, but if it helps he is in the Bible. He says his name is Cain, though it is not clear if he is “The” Cain of Cain and Abel fame though it both fits and does not. Cain is cursed to wander the land subsisting on the flesh of humans which gives rise to the Vampire mythos; But Cain was a son of Adam so Henry having scars from removed angel wings conflicts with this idea.
Todd: He is totally the Cain from Cain and Abel, as he will mention Abel (or as he calls him Hach-Bel) later, but also, there’s a myth that Cain was actually the son of Eve and a fallen angel, and not Adam’s son, thus his penchant for killing.
Travis: Angels don’t have dicks Todd. Duh.
Todd: Well, not in Dogma, but yes, they do. They totally do. They totally have sex with people. It’s in the Bible.
Travis: The Cinemax bible doesn’t count. For that matter, why does Adam have a belly button?
Also, we appear to have wandered a ways off topic.
Todd: I’m going to point you to Genesis 6:1-2 and let it go from there.
Back to Cain, he’s now interrogating Eye-patch in the bathroom when Derrick calls Eye-Patch’s phone. He wants to talk to Eye-Patch but Henry just keeps asking where Andrea (the daughter) is. Finally he lets Eye-Patch talk and Eye-Patch tells the guy that it’s a bad idea to come over here, but Derrick is sending dudes anyway.
Henry will take care of that. In fact he walks past Cara into the hallway, a gunshot goes off, Henry walks back in, Cara sees the blood on the wall outside, looks at Henry and just says, “Again?” To which he responds, “I know.”
Things aren’t going the way he planned them.
Travis: That’s why he replies to everything with “OK”. After millennia he has come to realize that plans are for fools.
He gets all of the answers that he thinks he is due from Eye-Patch. And on a hunch he goes to the hospital to visit his medical intern pal, Booboo to get confirmation on a hunch that the person who sent thugs to collect from him are working for the speakeasy boss. This turns out to be affirmative and now he has a name for his pain.
Todd: He gets Cara to give him a ride to the speakeasy, even though he told her earlier she’d never see him again. She goes all “so you’re a vampire” on him and he shuts her down because who wants to talk about that? Then he tells her he needs her to take care of Andrea, so wait for him and he’ll call her.
At the speakeasy he kills the bouncer, lets the bartender shoot him with a shotgun, then has an amusing conversation with the two thugs nearby who have no idea what’s happening. Then he tells the regulars they should go (and two guys wisely nope their way out of the speakeasy). Then he kills everybody else in the room.
Then he goes to take care of Alex, the speakeasy boss.
Travis: I am going on record that I did not appreciate that he killed the doorman. Dude was just doing his job as far as I could tell. Also that new door they are so proud of is 0 for 2 at keeping people out.
When he was walking into the boss’s office and the bartender took exception to this; when Henry finally turns around the bartender shoots him. Wait, you just got the dudes attention and your next step is murder? Not cool man.
During the ensuing fight Derrick stabs him in the back with a fork which is a bit of style I can approve of.
Todd: He stuck a fork in him, but he’s not done.
Travis: You were waiting to write that all night.
Todd: It was right there!
Now on to Alex’s office, where Alex tells him it wasn’t supposed to play out like this. Henry throws him across a desk, grabs him and knees him in the groin, then tosses him to the ground.
Alex’s only response to this is to say, “Oh, right, you’re strong.”
Henry checks behind the bookshelf, where he finds Andrea handcuffed to a chair with a video camera pointed at her.
Travis: The bad guy’s plan, since Henry didn’t show up the night before at the docks, was to tape them beating Andrea to death and sending it to him. When was this plan made though? Before or after they decided to kill him in the diner? It seems over engineered.
Todd: Also, we find out the reason they’re so pissed at Henry is he used to be Alex’s dad’s bodyguard, but when he found out Alex’s dad was like a real bad guy he quit his job then ran him over with a car.
So this whole thing was Alex getting revenge for his dad’s death.
Which in hindsight seems a little contrived. Especially since the thug’s original plan was just to get Booboo, and went to see Henry to find out where Booboo was, because he owed them money, but lo and behold the guy they went to question is also their boss’s least favorite person in the world, so I guess those two things just sort of spiraled into each other.
Travis: Henry goes into the secret room and manually rips the handcuffs apart freeing Andrea. Determining that she isn’t ambulatory he goes out to call Cara. Alex is making a break for it but wounded as he says “I didn’t get anywhere”. Not willing to take additional chances Henry grabs one of Alex feet and twists it until breakage all Misery style. Was not pleasant to watch.
Todd: No, that actually hurt me. I have bad ankles. Henry takes Alex out to the speakeasy to continue beating him to death, but then, hey, black hat guy shows up.
Henry starts talking to him, but apparently Alex can’t see him. Henry is all up in black hat’s grill, telling him he doesn’t deserve all this and that they should just let him die. He’s either supposed to be God or Satan. I’m going with Satan because when Alex says, “Who are you talking to?” Henry tells him, “One day you’ll see who I was talking to.”
Travis: Honestly, that statement could still go either way.
Todd: Mostly that’s based on the last line of the movie, but go on.
Travis: Cara comes in ending the rant saying that she needs Help with Andrea. Alex is on board with this “Henry goes away and doesn’t kill Alex but instead helps his daughter” plan all for naught as at the end he finally sees the man in the black hat who I actually believe to be the angel of death since when he greets Alex after Henry leaves the “HI” is in all caps.
That’s the end of the movie. Henry chooses his daughter over killing a dude, so maybe all is right in his world now.
Good, Bad and the Ugly.
Travis: I really enjoyed Henry Rollins portrayal of an immortal. It is a different take than some others I’ve seen in media and more to what I would expect.
Todd: Agreed. Henry is the best part. His “I don’t care” attitude perfectly sums up what someone who has been alive for thousands of years would probably have. Life’s little problems seem so small in comparison to ALL OF HISTORY.
Travis: For serious, what is up with the wing scars? First off, he has no other scars of any type. But secondly, Cain and all of the first generation, sons of the Angels or not (Where did all of the women come from? Did Adam and Eve have all daughters) he should have been human and not had angel wings.
Todd: I’m going to go with the convolution of the bad guy’s plot. There’s some holes there. Did they also want to kill Henry early on because he killed Alex’s dad and just didn’t realize who he was when they went to question him about Booboo? Or did they forget? Also, after not showing up at the docks they both simultaneously send a hit squad to kill him at the diner and plan to send him a video of them beating his daughter to death. Those two things seem mutually exclusive.
Travis: The bad guys plan got my ugly. Seriously, what was Alex’s plan? Did he know about Henry? Henry didn’t go far, if Alex wanted revenge there were easier ways. Alex says that shooting Henry was out of the question, and knew that Henry was special and strong so why was his plan “Hey, let’s anger this immortal killer”.
And if the only thing stopping him from going after Henry was not knowing where he was, then how did Henry stopping the beating of Booboo get him on Alex’s radar? Did Eye-Patch mention how tough Henry was and this got all the way back to Alex? Just… just so much wtf in that part of the plot.
Todd: It’s never made clear whether Alex knew who or what Henry was, or if he just thought he was some kind of badass when he worked for Alex’s dad. Either way, that’s not a guy to screw with.
My ugly, though, is just two words: “Twisted Ankle”.
Travis: Yeah… we cringed irl when that happend.
Ok, well there is “He Never Died” we watched it, so you don’t have to.
Todd: But you should.