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Old 04-10-2014, 10:58 PM   #1
DVD-fanatic-9
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Horror Movies You Think Are Bad... but You Enjoy Them Anyway?

A counter to the "Famous Horror Movies You Don't Like" thread. To me, this isn't a "So Bad It's Good" thread.

(Spoilers, by the way)


Saw this last month and... wow. It should really be painfully overbearing that we're almost expected to forget that our entire group of protagonists did something as deeply shitty as they did to the killer, yet they're getting this kinda Graduation Train Party as though they've earned it. I don't exactly know why I had so much fun with this movie. But, I didn't groan when it was bad. And the ending really tests that theory, that I won't- with Jamie Lee even bothering to try and talk her way out of being blamed for what happened. That wasn't the only thing wrong with the ending but, I forgot the rest. I was clapping too hard when the killer was epically dispatched. That was... beautiful. Almost poignant. That drop into the icy river. It's not a winner, as a movie. It's melodramatic and unrefined. There's nothing interesting or daring or memorable about it. But something about it kept me enjoying it nearly the whole time.



I think it's impossible not to enjoy this one. Except for the rape scene, this seems to have been made from my wishlist of things I think more horror movies should have in them: dreamlike elements. Especially the stuff about the broken window and the prismatic witch's light. It's, of course, made so cheaply and with whatever the filmmakers could slap together. And it's been badly preserved, too- the audio is shrill, washed out, and sounds like it's being held in a box and for whatever reason, it's been chopped into widescreen... cutting off several pieces of the opening credits text. But it's so easy to sit through. Hildegard Knef is actually really effective casting, Linda Blair is almost really scary in that Adult Exorcist thing they did on her, and for whatever reason, I really liked the guy they got to play the estate firm owner's son. I can't recall a more delightful male monotone.



More absurd supernatural shenanigans. I think I enjoyed this one more than I expected to because there is such a minimal amount of Fulci's terrible gore effects. Sorry, guys, but they never worked. Ever. They always looked like shit- Zombie, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, House by the Cemetery, you name it. And I saw this after that run of first-watches, desperately needing some fresh air. This was it. I know it's the weakest of that bunch. I think I knew it then too. But this is sort of the best excuse for Fulci's narrative to not make any sense. It's his most blatant, unequivocal rip-off. And, it's bad, but it's so batshit crazy that I can't help but enjoy it. After "those pills your baker prescribed," this has Fulci's funniest, most insane dialogue. Especially "lousy lesbian!" and "that's easy for you to say, YOU'RE NOT THE ONE WHO'S BLIND!" (I adore Christopher Connelly in this film.) And it's so beautifully shot. It's the first Fulci film that didn't try to be ugly. Which I do think worked for his previous films but I love all the comparatively brighter day scenes here. It drags in the last 40-something minutes, but the first half is a lot of fun.



This movie, to me, is a balancing act between lame and entertaining the entire time. It's definitely not as clever as some claim it is. It's just using a "fond remembrances" look at old theater gimmicks as a thoughtful twist on the tired old slasher killings (since slashers at that time had nearly all turned to the supernatural). Which here are pretty dull. And the movie looks dull. And most of it plays out pretty dull. But you can't fault the actors for that. Not only are they playing fairly likable characters (especially Kelly Jo Minter, never anything less than a beaming bright spot in any movie she's in) but their energy overpowers some of the lameness. Especially Tom Villard, who both gives a bit of a powerhouse performance at the end and also just looks surprisingly creepy in his metal-pins face. He's so human that you get how horrific that burning must have been. Then, Derek Rydell playing the anything-but-heroic boyfriend who keeps getting accidentally beaten up or foiled by doors, dogs, and dumpsters had a truly amusing subplot. And the music was... interesting. So, this was shot in Jamaica?



First of all... the trip-hop soundtrack. Hooverphonic, Esthero, AND Lamb? The person in charge of this thing had some serious taste. Though the rest is padded with very iffy rnb (Reel Tight? Methinks someone's playing a joke on me), nu...industrial (Orgy), and some passable, gummy electro-pop (Deetah, Bijou Phillips, yes the same Bijou Phillips later to play a victim in Eli Roth's Hostel: Part II). Anyway, this film is a pure no-brainer. Literally: there's nothing but air here. Watching it is kind of like floating, unless you unlike me hate dreary-looking locales. I like overcast skies and rainy, stormy slashers. We don't see too many of them. In a way, this is like an action film. Something like Eraser or Passenger 57 or any number of natural disaster flicks. Since there just aren't enough picturesque slasher films (like the opening to Argento's Phenomena), it's either this or nothing. It's also extremely well-shot and there's no depressing story thread about how the guilt of the stupid accident caused them to fail all their goals in life. One of the things that almost has given me this bad reputation for being a Teeny Bopper Slasher Apologist is that there were so few sexual hangup motivations for these killers, as there were so often in the 80's. So, formulaic or not, and 20 minutes longer than the 80's slashers were or not, this one gets its business done with less baggage.



Beyond the ending, where Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott both make the most bone-headed decisions imaginable, I can't think of any legit criticism to launch at this movie. I had a ball rewatching it last month. It's bloodier than you'd expect, the settings are rich, the music is sappy (just like I was hoping it would be), it's moody, the death scenes are fairly outrageous. I liked it more than The Omen... But, yeah, that ending. How is it empowerment to get to live 20-25-30 years as a satanic power player before dying horrifically and cursing 5 people (one of them probably being her boyfriend) to get it even worse?



Actually, I'm splitting hairs majorly with this. I enjoy a few pieces of it. And they're pretty small. The main problem is that I don't think the actors playing the creepy society are actually that effective. Especially the guy playing Billy's therapist, the woman playing Billy's mother, the guy playing the chubby friend, and a few others. Or maybe I'm not being fair. I don't like most of the actors but even worse is that there seems to be a lot they could've done with this and didn't. It's not surreal enough. As a conspiracy thriller, this is awful. As an FX film, it's awful. What I like about the film... and this shocks the hell out of me... is Devin DeVasquez. Except for the thing with the tea ("would you like me to pee in it?"), she did - and was - everything interesting in the film. The way the film plays the story, there should have been more with the high school students making him suspicious rather than his family. In fact, this would also have made the reveal of "the party" at the end a bigger surprise if it hadn't been at Billy's home.

I dunno- I just don't like this story. Who cares if it's about "the anxieties" of realizing you're adopted? There was a lot left unexplored about Ferguson, Clarissa, etc. And, sure, Jenny the sister. Just imagine what something like Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and 5 would have been if 20% of the film were focused on Greta's psychoticuptight mother and Mark's patronizingbloated dad. And another 15% on Alice's dad's recovery from alcoholism. And another 15% on Dan's mother. And, of course, they'd all been above-averagely suspicious.

HOLY SHIT: Ferguson and Clarissa are the siblings' names on the 1990's Nickelodeon show, Clarissa Explains it All!! In this film, they're dating and they're slug-people. Did anyone else ever notice that? That's one hell of a coincidence!



I've only seen it twice but both times I was actually pretty impressed that I got through it. It's as shot-on-video as a film can get but it doesn't pretend not to be, like Shatter Dead (indescribably bad, physically unwatchable for longer than maybe 25 minutes at a time). It's just a breezy little movie- scenes come, scenes go. Nothing gets stuck in the gears. And, every now and then, there's some decent imagery (the hitchhiker and the shower scenes) or an amusing schlocky little scene (Doug Jones in a slasher death before anyone knew who he was; 1987) or the lead actress running for over a minute while every individual footstep is the same exact sound effect. Terrible makeup effects on the zombie but... I didn't care. It's bad but it's easy to watch.



Yeah, I mentioned this being pretty bad while praising (to an extent) Hellgate. It is bad. Too many long stretches of the film are, in very The Churchian fashion, spent gazing at bad dimestore-quality creature gags. Pit of severed body parts, people with eyes in their foreheads, etc. Crappy stuff. As the only way to freak us out. The rest of it is endless scenes of the 5 characters winding their way around underground catacombs. And, yet... I didn't dislike the characters. I didn't want to see anything bad happen to them. In a way, the film gave me what I wanted. For that, I have to give it partial praise. The set-up is fine if not above average. The character writing is little-to-nothing special at all and yet, somewhere along the line, they endeared themselves to me. Oh, and the dialogue was a bit funny. One of the lines even got its own YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg5MRmo4H34 (0:26)



I'm still closer to giving it a 6/10 than a 5. Which means it edges out A Tale of Two Sisters in my book. But, this time, I can't hide: Dennis Miller and Erika Eleniak are terrible here. If they sink the film in your eyes, fine. Somehow, Angie Everhart keeps it alive for me. The effects are way better than they should be and the energy level never drops. Not once. And, every now and then, it crosses the border and becomes interesting. Either way, it's still the kind of film I'll go back to after I watch something like The Ward, John Dies at the End, Rubber, or American Mary (all of which I saw this week) and spend most of the time watching kicking myself, going, "Why am I always right?!" about millennial "horror."



Between this and Doctor and the Devils, I'll take this. It looks so much better, more stylish, and more lush and expensive than I expected. Maybe I don't have an eye for picking out what's cheap (which is why The Church bothers me so much- that was cheap to me, so it must be even cheaper to anyone else yet I scream foul the loudest over that one). I really thought this was extremely well-shot. So, it's probably the best Robert Englund thing he's really done after Nightmare and Dead & Buried. This kind of role really fits his bizarrely crude sophistication.



The whole franchise is an absurd guilty pleasure to me, with the exception of certain moments that make me furious. Especially in the 3rd and 6th films. But these 3 films especially are a lot of fun. The second film is the silliest but the acting was great (again, I liked the characters and didn't want them to die). The 5th film is the kind of hollow, technical-wonder that only really worked in the 90's (remember: I say 2003-2014 in horror is mostly just copying the style of 90's thrillers, a good deal of 90's horror films did that too) but it again keeps things lean and keeps everything moving. I like it a lot more than The Gathering. Pretty much the same story with Revelation. Except for the ending and the CGI, it's just a breezy film. But, again, I liked the actors and the characters. This could all change on another rewatch, considering how Hugely I've flip-flopped last year on Nightmare on Elm Street 5, Freddy's Dead, and Halloween 5 (which I used to fucking HATE, now I give it a bit more credit).

Last edited by DVD-fanatic-9; 04-10-2014 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:24 PM   #2
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I've seen most of these and enjoy them.

Except COTC 7. I hated both 6 & 7.
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Old 04-10-2014, 11:30 PM   #3
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Personally, I'm partial to "Jack-O"('95). It's got it all! Cheap looking effects, bad acting, casting by nepotism, awkwardly inserted stock footage, Linnea Quigley doing a nude scene well past her prime, everything you could want on a bad movie! It also has the single funniest commentary ever recorded. Seriously, I don't generally bother with commentaries but it's a MUST on this shit pickle!
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:00 AM   #4
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I recently watched Hansel & Gretel with Dee Wallace and Hansel & Gretel Get Baked with the hideously deformed Lara Flynn Boyle whose face is so malformed that it takes you right out of the movie every time she's on screen. The Dee Wallace version was great fun in an early '90s direct to video sort of way. The Lara Flynn Boyle one just made me sad, longing for the Donna Hayward days of yore.

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Old 04-11-2014, 01:15 AM   #5
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I know Get Baked is on Netflix. I doubt the Dee Wallace version is.

I freaking love the 80's version, with Cloris Leachman. (It's not good, not really, but I love it. Pure nostalgia.)
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:27 AM   #6
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:52 AM   #7
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Children of the Living Dead
Mr. Boogedy & Bride of Boogedy (Disney Channel)
The Midnight Hour
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:25 AM   #8
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If I was to be honest for a second, I think that most horror movies are pretty "bad" in the conventional sense, so listing all of the ones that I enjoy would be a pretty long winded and ultimately pointless endeavor.
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:04 AM   #9
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I'm pretty odd in that way- if a year (pre-'92) has 30 horror films I've seen, I'm apt to think something like 24 of them are recommendable. Anything around 4/10 or higher, I typically recommend.

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Old 04-11-2014, 04:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maybrick View Post
If I was to be honest for a second, I think that most horror movies are pretty "bad" in the conventional sense, so listing all of the ones that I enjoy would be a pretty long winded and ultimately pointless endeavor.
There has been countless people who think my collection of horror movies are "all bad". Such comments as "why do you own so many bad movies" are commonplace. People think that if it's not a mega budget Hollywood movie or it's a certain genre it's a bad movie.
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Old 04-11-2014, 07:18 PM   #11
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Most horror movies ARE bad, though. A lot are cheesy, campy and poorly made, badly written, have mediocre to terrible acting and directing. There's a reason a lot of people think they're bad. Most are. I love Prom Night and Terror Train, Friday the 13th and a lot of the stuff other horror fans also love. But they're not good films. Horror is by far my favorite genre, but let's be honest, most are pretty shitty films.

But I love bad movies.

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Old 04-11-2014, 08:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt89 View Post
Most horror movies ARE bad, though. A lot are cheesy, campy and poorly made, badly written, have mediocre to terrible acting and directing.
Depends on your criteria, though. What you list above is correct, but on the other hand, a lot of horror movies have clever cinematography and fantastic soundtracks. I'll say this to my dying day: Madman has some shots that are downright elegant. John Carpenter's Halloween is an extremely pure film - the way that it's shot, lit, and structured, the way the music is written, it has one single purpose. And I can appreciate that.

Now... There are movies I enjoy without being able to make a case for their artistic merrits:

Monster Shark aka Devilfish (1984)
The Incredible Melting Man (1977)
Aerobicide aka Killer Workout (1987) - mainly for the silly workout music
Neon Maniacs (1986)
Honeymoon Horror (1982)

You get the picture.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:36 PM   #13
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Think of the purpose of films being made. Films aren't made if they don't sell. Selling a movie is marketing, marketing is filling a genre demand. The public demands the genre and has been considered the dictators for what genres should be based on paying to see a movie they thought fit that genre per what they wanted to see multiple times and spread word-of-mouth to get their friends to see once.

So, good is relative to what the public pays the most to see. At least, before the internet was invented.

This is the only working definition of good if we assume horror films are bad as a given. I hope you can tell I personally think it's bullshit.

Horror and comedy are widely considered to be the two most difficult (therefore, troubled) genres of film because they're made to calculate the reactions of audiences. But, frankly, if you know them better- you understand that they don't actually sink or swim based on how many times the audiences shrieks or laughs. Filmmakers can't make films this way, audiences respect the artform too much. They used to also like variety though they don't anymore. (Independent film is non-existent, everything is either mainstream or direct-to-streaming. Therefore, nearly everything in every genre has become decidedly homogenized.) Films have to focus on concept or characters, using situations for the value of humor and terror. Let the audience find the scares and amusement in themselves instead of token moments trying to force a reaction.
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:40 AM   #14
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I don't think films are generally "made to sell". Not all of them, anyway. The art cinema movement definitely didn't care much about whether their films sold. The horror genre itself, I believe is made to sell. Cheap thrills, etc. It operates on a different level than the films of other genres and styles, like the films of Bergman, Antonioni, Godard (who realllllyy didn't make films for profit - just watch Tout va bien).

I remember a professor saying to think of film using the "pen analogy" - you can write a novel with a pen, draw a picture, design a building. This is the way I view films. Some genres were certainly designed to make a profit (largely the classical Hollywood system, for example), others to convey a message or political stance, others are experimental, some focus solely on imagery alone.

And Kim Bruun, while I do agree Halloween is masterful (it's one of the few exceptions) and Madman may have some stylish shots (and you really have to watch the Anchor Bay DVD to fully appreciate it, the Code Red DVD takes a lot of that away) it's also wildly inconsistent. I think it's hampered by the cheesy tone of the film. And the movie takes itself completely serious, which brings it down even more. I do enjoy Madman, though, always have. But I think it's part of the "bad" pile for sure.

That being said, Terror Train has great cinematography in some places (I mean, John Alcott was the cinematographer). But on the whole, again, it doesn't hold together well the way films like Halloween or Texas Chainsaw Massacre do.

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Old 04-12-2014, 02:01 AM   #15
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Well, I'll tell you what: when I made my top 100 list from 1968-2002, I have to make an honorable mentions list. And I'll put as many there as I feel comfortable announcing I believe are actually better films than Re-Animator (which everyone here knows I don't like), Day of the Dead, Maniac (again, everyone knows), Carpenter's The Thing and Prince of Darkness, the cult favorite films I'm actually rather proud to own because they'll always be worthwhile rewatches where 99.99999999% of the acclaimed crap from 2003-2014 (which later will be whatever year it is when this year has come and gone) are barely watchable the one time. I quickly run out of 5.5, or higher, out of 10 films but I still want to make sure to list 5/10 films because they still have something that makes them worth seeing.

So, to me, the effort in films I think are failures endear those films to me despite their flaws.

Oh yeah, the point? Whether they're bad or not, what seems to matter in the longrun is how much people care about them. Without that passion and enthusiasm, the studios and Hollywood and whoever would erase the "old" films and leave us with nothing but new crap.
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