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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Jim Varney alone is worth the viewing...

Author: markbond from Rochester
16 September 2001

The only reason that the movie is considered to be part of the Ernest P. Worrell series is because the character of Ernest appears for 2 minutes at the beginning and end of the film. But you should not track down a copy of the film only to see Ernest. The best part of the movie is the very dark, very funny characters that come right out of Jim Varney's imagination.

This is a very dark comedy about an evil, dispicable, deformed guy named "Dr. Otto Von Schnick-ick-ick-ick". He had a horrible childhood which he blames on his parents (whom prayed nightly that Otto would run away), and on his days in High School. Now, he hates everyone and everything, and hopes to destroy the world with his "gloom beam". He is heard to remark, 'my gloom beam will level entire cities, and maybe, hopefully, take out a couple homeless orphans and their puppies as a bonus!!'

Varney also plays 4 other characters in the film. A stuttering Australian mercenary that runs a Day Care Center for teaching children how to become militia. A Pirate with a parrot permanently on his shoulder who calls everyone "Jim". The old woman with the neck brace (who appears in every Ernest movie) who complains about her sons who no longer care for her. And 'Jim Dandy'- the richest man on Earth.

this is a must for any Ernest fan, and for everyone else, watch the movie, but fast forward whenever Jim Varney isn't on screen.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Two thumbs up!

Author: TKTuttle from Illinois, USA
24 February 2004

This movie is strangely surreal, and if you're an Ernest/Jim Varney fan in the least, you'll really enjoy it. The film starts a bit slow, but really starts to come together when we learn the connection between bumbling hero Lance Sterling (great name!) and pussy-willow-adorned, third-hand-on-his-head villain Dr. Otto. Willie the Robot is also a hoot, what with his changing smiley-face expressions, and Lance's assistant Doris is the brains behind the hero. Auntie Nelda is fall-down funny, especially when she's discussing her "dear, departed nephew Hymie" or clubbing creatures on the floor with a toxin-laden ladle.

There are a lot of little clever bits and dialog that make the movie enjoyable. It may be hard to find, so good luck!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Very Funny Movie

Author: spiff42 from Orem, Utah
9 September 2002

A dark comedy, a twist that is somewhere between Ernest and Tim Burton, very cheaply made but well done, surrealistic plot with very cool characters made especially by the man Jim Varney. This movie is like watching a dream and then waking up not having any idea what to think, what a great flick.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Clearly a lesson in weirdness

Author: Agent10 from Tucson, AZ
22 May 2002

Jim Varney's first real movie is quite a delight, but don't come in expecting to see Ernest P. Worrel any time soon. I felt the wide array of characters Varney depicted were great, but without being said, the rest of the movie should be put into a mulcher or something. A rather odd beginning for a movie icon.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dr. Otto is Out to Rule the World--Unless Bumbling Lance Sterling Can Stop Him!

Author: (robocoptng986127@aol.com) from U.S.A
4 August 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


Ernest P. Worrel (Jim Varney) shows his ol' buddy Vern an odd machine he has purchased. It's called a Changing Coffin. When one steps inside it, they can turn into anything, like a pirate or something. Vern turns down trying it so Ernest steps inside and--changes into his evil alter ego, Dr. Otto! The naive, semi-mad scientist!

Dr. Otto, with a third hand on top of his head, unveils his latest creation: The Gloom Beam. A machine that zaps computer all over the world and makes bank accounts and credit cards useless, making money useless to everybody, except Otto himself. Otto's assistant is Slave Willie the Robot (Daniel Butler). It looks as though Dr. Otto will rule the world. He poses a riddle to everybody of the world and tries to make sure nobody will solve it. And nobody does. Well the people of the world would not sit around and let another Depression happen, so they call upon someone to help them. Somebody of great wisdom and courage to stop this crazed lunatic! Unfortunately, who they got was Lance Sterling (Myke Mueller), who's a few beers short of a six pack. He's a bumbling, somewhat Inspector Gadget-esq man. Sterling has a knack at looking at the bright side of EVERYTHING! He and his sidekick Doris (Jackie Welch), go to Dr. Otto's neon-lit lair, but run into car trouble.

Lance and Doris encounter many strange people, all Dr. Otto in disguise. They encounter Rudd Hartact, then Laughin' Jack the Pirate who was looking for a monster called The Dump, who happened to be an old friend of Lance's. Next they encounter complaining Auntie Nelda and fast talking Guy Dandy. But finally, they make it to Otto's lair. Doris takes out Slave Willie, but Otto escapes. He jumps into the Changing Coffin and emerges as Ernest who meets up with Lance and Doris pushing their car to his gas station and informs them that they haven't had gas since the money went bad. "No denero, ne Petro. Comprendo?"

What can I say about this movie? It's weird. The ending gives quite a twist. This was a movie that allowed Jim Varney to do what he liked: to play many different characters with many different personalities. Can you believe this movie was released by KnoWhutIMean? Home Video? Along with The Ernest Film Festival, also good! So if you liked Jim Varney as much as I do, you'll enjoy this movie and all his other Ernest adventures.


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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Bad Movie, Great scenes

Author: John Langbein (medrjel) from Dixie, USA
20 February 2002

As far as stories go, it seems that the writers here could only pass a kindergarten story writing class. Plot? Dr. Otto wants to destroy the world! That's all.

However, what you get is the Brilliance of Jim Varney, not as Ernest for 90 minutes (I'll be the first to admit that to be a hard challenge), but Jim portraying a variety of other Characters that we only get glimpses of in other movies and his TV series. He is brilliant as he throws himself into these wild, wacky characters. Think of it as a bunch of 10-20 minute short films each with a different lead character by Varney, and each around a central theme that were spliced together, each short fairy self contained. It's much easier to watch this movie then.

If you want to see some great character acting (or at least Jim Varney not playing Ernest), definitely watch this movie if you can find it.

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Wacky '80s sci-fi comedy

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
24 April 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

DR. OTTO AND THE RIDDLE OF THE GLOOM BEAM is an odd and wacky children's comedy of the mid 1980s, one replete with science fiction staples and more than bizarre costumes. The dialogue is a waste of time and most of the reason to tune in is to see Jim Varney, the future comedy actor, playing a crazy megalomaniac complete with a hand attached to the top of his head. It's a cheap costume for sure, but somehow effective. The rest is a mix of exaggerated acting and a campy tone; it's fast paced and has lots of action and humour, even if it is really cheap.

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Two Thumbs Way DOWN!

Author: dungeonstudio from Canada
19 October 2015

I think Jim Varney is a great talent for sure. And I love zany, cheesy B flicks by the likes of Corman, Meyers, Waters, et al. But this movie is just BAD! The only redeeming thing is Jim Varney, and is so convoluted and painful to get to his numerous characters, I just lost patience. Not sure if this was to break him out of his Ernest type casting, get a little more T&A involved, or make a political statement while trying to be goofier than Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes? (which I agree is a classic in itself!) Aside from some cute funny lines here and there, this movie is just BAD! And to add insult to injury, it is available in 'The Best Of Ernest' box set. BUT - is a direct video transfer to DVD. No effort was made to enhance or remaster it in any way. Possibly if it was clearer and cleaner, it may have got one more star from me. But I kinda doubt it.

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I loved it. I give it 3 thumbs up

Author: bug76 from United States
13 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I bought this movie on DVD. This movie was one of the zaniest I've ever seen. I loved it!! I find Dr. Otto Von Schnick-ick-ick-ick strangely attractive. I couldn't help but side with Dr. Otto because of how awful his parents treated him. Lance Sterling, IMO, was a pathetic hero. He really didn't know all that much but he was born to a wealthy family so I guess money talks. Dr. Otto and Lance are total opposites. Otto wants to destroy the world by making money worthless. He demagnetizes credit cards, damages bank accounts, scrambles the stock market. The government has no idea who owes who and how much. In a way, this movie wasn't far off the mark. This was ahead of its time. It reminds me of how the economy is today: In a huge mess. I love the 'Changing coffin'. Dr. Otto becomes Rudd Hardtact with a lizard on his shoulder, Auntie Nelda, Laughin' Jack and Guy Dandy. What I liked as well was that Bill Byrge actually had a speaking role as the gas attendant. We all know Bill as 'Bobby' on other 'Ernest' movies. This is not an Ernest movie per se. It had a darker theme to it. But, of course, I cracked the hugest smile at the end of the movie when none other than Ernest P. Worrell stepped out of the changing coffin. Gotta love Ernest. I recommend this movie and not only because of Ernest. But because it's also pretty crazy. But seeing Ernest is a bonus!

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A strange little film

Author: bluedragon2999 from United States
6 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first saw this movie when I was very young. I loved Jim Varney and Ernest at the time, and still do, and having recently come across this movie again I must say. The plot is strange and only mildly existing and the hero is a bumbling fool, who is not Ernest, but all that being said I really like the movie. It is corny but if you like Varney it is great. Dr. Otto is an over the top villain and its worth watching just for him, and the thing you will find if you like the movie is that you are routing for him. This character was later used in other Ernest shorts, especially his Saturday morning kinds show but this is where he came from. We get to see Varney do many characters and many of his voices. I find the movie very enjoyable.

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