I’m not sure why, but “Ooga Booga” is apparently in the same universe as “Zombies vs. Strippers.” Not only is the strip club mentioned in passing, but Charles Band shoe horns the woefully unfunny and poorly created recurring character Hambo, a dysfunctional children’s show host in to the movie for reasons I can’t possibly fathom. Perhaps these last two films have been produced by the same person who feels the need to jump start their own Hambo movie somewhere in the future, I can only imagine. This isn’t the first time Charles Band has indicated these movies are all in the same universe, but I’m shocked that Band and Full Moon would rely on a recurring character like Hambo. I’d far more expect Full Moon to create a more enigmatic and interesting character to appear in their films to bridge stories from time to time than a perverted clown with a pig nose who hosts a kids’ show. But lo and behold, that’s what “Ooga Booga” feeds us.
“Ooga Booga” is barely ninety minutes in length and takes twenty minutes to really get its story in motion and introduce us to the actual main characters. After ten minutes of the set up featuring Hambo and his busty sidekick Peggy Suey (played by the insanely sexy Amber Strauser), we’re finally introduced to young African American Devin who is relieved he’s becoming a doctor and not something stereotypical like a basketball player. For some reason he bears an unusual attachment to Hambo who calls Devin to his studio to show him his line of humorous racially offensive dolls he plans to sell. I was never sure why, but Devin has a deep loyalty to Hambo, but the relationship is there to basically provide a reason for Ooga Booga to be introduced.
Hambo adorns Devin with his large model of his doll Ooga Booga, and Devin accepts in spite of his speech about racial equality minutes before with his girlfriend. When Devin stops off at the store for a drink, the teller is shot by a bunch of racist robbers, and Devin comes to the aide of the teller. When the police arrive (only two, mind you) the officers are convinced Devin killed the teller and murder Devin in cold blood. Devin’s soul mysteriously binds with Ooga Booga thanks to the… magical juice machine (?), and Devin returns as Ooga Booga to avenge his death. The movie has its intentions completely confused and never seems to know how to handle its content which is pure exploitation. While we have to basically suffer through an unfunny barrage of racist jokes, we also have to endure a scene with Devin’s girlfriend gang raped in an alleyway. Devin as Ooga Booga spends all of his time smoking weed, and never actually rends to his girlfriend who was sexually assaults and instead masturbates as she showers.
Stacy Keach hams it up as a racist judge trying to keep the racist murder of Devin quiet, and Ooga Booga really doesn’t garner enough screen time. Sure, Full Moon plants him on the posters, and he gets to pull in a few murders, but really this movie is based around doing whatever it can without using Ooga Booga and all of its budget up. Karen Black has a walk on role, as a weak attempt to link her to her former role where she battled a killer native doll, and “Ooga Booga” never really takes advantage of its premise or ability to sell itself as a sleazy revenge picture. I think the writers seriously wanted to comment on racial intolerance and police corruption. But that’s kind of difficult in a movie called “Ooga Booga,” so it’s ultimately a misfire. For a movie that seems intent on offending and being as exploitative a film as possible, it really doesn’t take advantage of its screen time. The title character barely has anything to do, the revenge story is tame and lacking in tongue in cheek humor, and I’d like to know who thinks the character Hambo is even remotely interesting. It had potential to be so much better.