Category: 2010


I Heart Mega Sharks

 

A highly-realistic depiction of the Mega-Shark-pocalypse.

A highly-realistic depiction of the Mega-Shark-pocalypse.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for this pretty tired formula involving ridiculously large fish attacking ridiculously long passed their sell-by date pop culture icons in ridiculously silly ways. Lest you think I’ve jettisoned all standards, I’ll have you know I’m a purist: sharks must only have one head, not three; must be in the water, and not travel on land; and not be confused with weather or mountain phenomena; and the sharks must be based on real species, not mashed up fucked up shit. 

Who am I kidding? I love it all! Bring it.

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009)

Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (2010)

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014)

Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (2015)

mega-shark

Movie-Matrix-Morpheus

Twilight gets 5.2 out of 10, according to user ratings on IMDB. You can do far, far worse than this.

So, I’ll cop to enjoying–actually enjoying–watching horribly made, low-budget, inept, misconceived, and altogether stupid horror movies. It’s the main reason I’m a terrible at reviewing movies–I can always suspend disbelief and see the good in even the silliest films. So, trolling through the IMDB for some new material to get into, I started to keep tabs on the absolutely lowest rated horror films.

Before we get into the films, maybe a note of caution is in order about using IMDB’s numerical rating system for anything like assessing the quality of films–mainly, that it’s pretty arbitrary. Not every film is rated, some films are rated more than others, and there’s no standard way of arriving at a user’s subjective rating. So no real conclusions should be drawn from this at all. But this is about finding new films to watch, not making actual important decisions from–so I’m not going to too wrapped around the axle on research designs or justifying methodologies.

Looking at all the films that IMDB classifies as horror–although that is a slippery definition in some cases–and then filtering down to only those films with a user rating of between 1.0-1.9 stars of a possible ten, we get a little more than 100 nominations for the worst horror movie ever.  To show how bad these can get, consider that Twilight is a 5.2; Fifty Shades of Grey and Plan Nine From Outer Space–both are touted as contenders for worst movie ever, and both rate a whopping 4.0. We’re going all the way the end of the rabbit hole here.

alice murderland

Speaking of rabbit holes, check out this 1.9-rated film, Alice in Murderland (2010).

Starting with the highest rated of these–scoring a 1.9–we have 35 films. I don’t have time, inclination, or space to go film-by-film, but this cohort includes gems like Manos, the Hands of Fate (1966), Birdemic 2: Resurrection (2013), and Biker Zombies From Detroit (2001). Note that Manos, often derided as “the worst film ever made,” is in the highest rated cohort here. There are films worse than Manos–all the way to the end of the rabbit hole, indeed.

dead box office

2005’s Dead at the Box Office, also a 1.8

19 films received a rating of 1.8, with the standouts being Bimbos B.C. (1990), Sleepaway Camp 4: The Survivor (1992–IMDB says this is a 2012 film, clearly an error); Sorority House Vampires (1998), the original Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010).

Jaws in Japan (2009) and 12/12/12 (2012) are the only films of the ten that received a 1.7 that seem in any way noteworthy.

Likewise, the of the next ten films that rated a 1.6, only Ring of Terror (1962)–because it is the oldest on the list–and O.C. Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown (2008)because of the ridiculous title–are ones that I’ll be trying to track down.

Zombies Gone Wild (2007) also lives in One-Point-Five-Land.

Also not porn: Zombies Gone Wild (2007) also lives in One-Point-Five-Land.

Coming in at a star-and-a-half we get 14 more films, including the I-don’t-think-its-porn-but-I-could-be-wrong Barely Legal Lesbian Vampires: The Curse of Ed Wood (2003). It’s not porn, since the whole film is available on YouTube. Also here is a remake of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven (2006), but something must have gone horribly, horribly wrong for such a classic tale to end up on this list.

Vapid Shallow Models Must Die! (2006) seems the only highlight of the eight films rating a 1.4. Note the trailer is posted to Myspace. The creators of these low-budget movies might be accused of being stuck in their own world.

Finally, with films rated 1.3 and lower, we are getting close to the proverbial bottom of the barrell. Ankle Biters (2002), and Curse of the Zodiac (2007), a riff on the Zodiac Killer by the prolific horror/exploitation director Ulli Lommel. Lommel also directed The Raven.

adam-minarovichIn Ankle Biters, we get midget vampires, from director Adam Minarovich, whom you’ll remember as Carol’s abusive husband from season 1 of The Walking Dead. 

Ax ‘Em (1992) and Kracker Jack’d (2003), are coincidentally, both African-American-themed slashers, and both come in at 1.2 stars. Treatment of race is an interesting question for low-budget horror–and in horror reviews–but I’ll have to leave these for another time.

Scott Shaw appears in many of the posters for his own films.

Shaw appears in many of the posters for his own films.

Nearing the worst of the worst, as rated by that mass of humanity that rates films on the IMDB, are Scott Shaw‘s Crimes of the Cupachabra (1998) and Frozen Flesh (2008). Shaw is noteworthy, or something, in that he is highly prolific, directing 7 films last year alone and believes in “zen filmmaking” that doesn’t bother with confining elements of the craft, like written scripts. Justin French brought us Frozen Flesh, a cannibal flick apparently filmed entirely through a red filter.

This brings us down to the lowest rated horror film–2010’s vaguely titled Deception. This is a pretty amateurish affair directed by one Vitaliy Versace, in which cameras shake, mic stands are occasionally visible, and behind-the-scenes crew can be heard over the cast. Deception was remastered in 2012, so maybe some of these errors are dealt with. In any case, this is what I love about low-budget films these days–seeing advanced amateurs plying their craft, errors and all. Some hit the big time, like Adam Minarovich, but that’s not always the goal. Some revel in the silly premises of their films like Scott Shaw, and others keep on pumping out their visions on film, like Vitaliy Versace.  Regardless, there’s a lot more to understanding and enjoying bad films than Manos.

These are a little too contemporary for me most days, but these are worth checking out.

It’s that time of the week again! Time for results and new contests to find some of the more popular B-movies, as voted on by my 7 loyal followers.  First, a wrap-up of last week’s contest:

Battle of the Crazy 70s Cult Leaders!

  • I Drink Your Blood (1970)–6 votes (67%)
  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973)–2 votes (33%)

A Troma Classic v. Vengeful Christmas Trees

  • The Toxic Avenger (1984)–8 votes (89%)
  • Treevenge (2008)–1 votes (11%)

Horror: 1960s v. 1970s

  • Black Sunday (1963)–7 votes (78%)
  • The Abominable Dr. Phbes–2 votes (22%)

Sci-Fi: 1950s v. 1960s

  • Them (1954)–5 votes (56%)
  • Godzilla vs. The Thing (1964)–4 votes (44%)

Now that we have two sets of results, we need to start charting who’s advancing on from the original 32 films into a Sweet 16. For those following along at home, here’s where we’re at–and you can start to see what upcoming match-ups will be.   And now, on with the countdown!

This week, four more matches, notable for how very different each match-up is, but all these films are worth a re-watch.  Here are the matches for this week:

1960s Horror Pioneers

These represent some groundbreaking horror film making whose styles and tropes remain with us, even after half a century. Both are top faves of mine: Carnival of Souls (1962) vs. Blood Feast (1963). The latter is Herschell Gordon Lewis’s second entry into our little contest, after She-Devils on Wheels won its first contest handily.

John Carpenter Bake-Off!

Every rightly-brought-up fan loves John Carpenter, but which of his films are his best?  Here, we must make a hard choice: The Fog (1980) vs. The Thing (1982)!

Contemporary Zero-Budget Nightmares

I love zero-budgets (z-movies) almost as much as the classics, and we are indeed in a new golden age for this end of the swamp.  I’ll unilaterally give an honorable mention to Bong of the Dead (2011), but for this week make your choice between these two new classics:

Blaxploitation Still Rules

Love me some classic blaxploitation! For whatever reason, this is a genre that I cannot tire of.  Two more faves, though I really wanted to get Dolemite or Bucktown in for this year–these might be a good match-up for next year’s edition of the Grindhouse Brackets. But for this year, puzzle me this: Blacula (1972) or Shaft (1971)?

Next week, we’ll finish up the initial contests where each of the 32 starters has an initial shot at advancement–after next week things will start getting interesting as winners take on other winners.

 

 

 

Here, Mrs. I Love Terrible Movies and I put together a fun little 32-team bracket featuring bad guys/monsters/villains of horror and exploitation films I’ve seen in the past year or so.  In case you forgot who’s who, I’ve embedded the film trailers below.

Tweet me or comment on this post by a week from today (1 April) for your faves to advance to the Sweet 16.

Yeah, yeah, I know this is going to finish up well after “March Madness” will–sue me.

Klaatu vs. Gill-Man

From Outer Space … A Warning and an Ultimatum

Clawing Monster From A Lost Age strikes from the Amazon’s forbidden depths!

Asa Vajda vs. Dr. Phibes

The Undead Demons of Hell Terrorize the World in an Orgy of Stark Horror!

There are two sides to Dr. Phibes…..both of them EVIL!

Jaws Ripoff-a-Thon!

They’re waiting to slither you!

18 Feet of Man-Eating Terror!

The Man vs. Fuad Ramses

She Escaped Death. Now It Wants Her Back!

A Weird, Grisly Ancient Rite Horrendously Brought To Life In Blood Color!

 John Carpenter Face Off!

Man is The Warmest Place to Hide

It is night. It is cold. It is coming.

Birds vs. Lepuses

…And remember, the next scream you hear could be your own!

How many eyes does horror have? How many times will terror strike?

Mothra vs. Them!

SEE the armies of the world destroyed! SEE the BIRTH of the world’s most terrifying monster! SEE the war of the GIANTS!

A horror horde of crawl-and-crush giants clawing out of the earth from mile-deep catacombs!

Jeff Morrow Slapfest!

PLANET ROBBER TRAMPLES EARTH…STEALING ENERGY FOR OTHER WORLDS!

Flying beast out of prehistoric skies!

Cars vs. Houses!

Body by Plymouth. Soul by Satan.

Houses Don’t Have Memories

Battle of the Nihlistic Cult Leaders!

Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid head.

You’re Invited To Orville’s “Coming-Out” Party…It’ll Be A Scream…YOURS!!!

Recent Zero-Budgets!

Why did the eagles and vultures attack?

Gobble, Gobble, Motherfucker!

The Devil You Say?

The beauty of woman, the demon of darkness, the unholy union of “The Devil’s Bride”

Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world. The world of darkness.

Vampire Madness!

His bite was outta sight!

It will cost you sweat and tears, and perhaps… a little blood.

Badass Bitches!

The most dreaded Nazi of them all!

Russ Meyer’s ode to the violence in women

Treevenge vs. Troma

The first Super-Hero… from New Jersey!

Badass Biker Babes!

They’re Looking for a Few Good Men.

See! Female Hellcats Ruling Their Men With Tire-Irons As Their Instruments Of Passion!

Films I’ve Seen Lately #2

This time around, I thought I’d just keep track of everything I’m watching over the past month or so.  No rhyme or reason, as usual–just stuff I run across on YouTube, Netflix, my cable on-demand service, and stuff I see refs to in Twitter and elsewhere.

Christine (1983)

Fun flick from John Carpenter adapting a classic Stephen King tale about a murderous car.  It was one of three of King’s yarns to be put on film that year, the other two being Cujo and The Dead Zone, making this period his heyday, more-or-less.  We don’t get to see in this film how the car came to be possessed or haunted or whatever, which was my biggest disappointment.  But well acted; note a young Kelly Preston as “Roseanne,” and the nerd Keith Gordon (“Arnie”) went on to become a decent film director, if Dexter is any measure.

They Call Me Trinity (1970)

I came across this one from the premier episode of A Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema podcast.  I’m not as familiar with Spaghetti Westerns as I’d like to be, but this seems like a pitch perfect way to meld them with comedy.  That opener with Terence Hill coming into town on that horse carriage doohickey seems clearly inspired by the 1937 Laurel & Hardy classic Way Out West.

Shaft (1971)

If you haven’t seen this one, you really owe it to yourself to do so . . . now.  This is one of the most developed and successful blaxpoiltation films. According to Melvin Van Peebles, director of the original blaxploitation film, Sweet  Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, also from 1971, Shaft  was originally written as a white character, and “they threw in a couple ‘motherfuckers’ and it became a black film.” There are also some great vintage shots of New York’s 42nd Street grindhouses throughout, so do look for those.  Richard Roundtree only made $13,000 starring as Shaft.

She Gods of Shark Reef (1958)

This baffling film is an early Roger Corman cheapy, shot in ’56, along with Naked Paradise (also known as Thunder Over Hawaii), about lost criminals washing ashore on a reef in the Pacific and then one falling for the beautiful natives who forsakes her cruel native ways to run off with the white savior, or somesuch.  The leading lady was played by Lisa Montell, who ended her film career in the early 60s, and became a large name in the California Bahai community, even authoring a book on the faith, under her married name, Lisa Janti.

Rattlers (1976)

A clear Jaws knockoff, like a Piranha below, in which every sort of animal that is harmful to humans is going to feature in their own horror movie, in this case, rattlesnakes.  A fun B-horror film, and what was most jarring in this one was the unexpected presence of gender in the first half of the film.  Our scientist-snake investigator (played by Shark Week narrator Sam Chew, Jr.) turns out to be a real misogynist, thinking the job too dangerous for his “liberated” war correspondent female partner (played by Elisabeth Chauvet).  They end up agreeing to disagree–and end up in the sack, of course–and this contrived way of developing conflict among the characters to keep the film interesting is mainly forgotten as the body count starts to rise.  Also, the bathtub scene is just classic.

American Grindhouse (2010)

A nice overview documentary of exploitation cinema.  I was glad to see the interviews with Eric Schaefer (author of Bold! Daring! Shocking! True! A History of Exploitation Films, 1919-1959) and Eddie Muller (author, with Daniel Faris, of Grindhouse: The Forbidden World of “Adults Only” Cinema).  I was not so taken with the photogenic Kim Morgan, who seemed more fluff than informative.  Also, this film seemed to not give David Friedman enough attention, but these points aside, this is an excellent primer on exploitation film, and should be a starting point for those new to the subject.

Piranha (1978)

Blatant Joe Dante ripoff of Jaws, starring Heather Menzies (“Louisa” from The Sound of Music) in the completely unbelievable role as a bounty hunter, who finds a secret military experiment to breed piranhas as an apparently failed weapon system that was to be deployed against. . .  North Vietnam.  That much-out-of-place reference deserves its own unpacking, but I was too busy having my childhood warped (further) by seeing Louisa flash her boobs at a soldier.  The late, great Kevin McCarthy was much underutilized in this epic, but no worries.

Dinosaur Island (1994)

Fred Olen Ray (writer of such fun faire as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and who has more than a dozen aliases in the industry) romp that rips off Jurassic Park in a silly way.  io9 a few years back called this one “the closest thing to mainstream dinosaur porn in the universe” while profiling some truly disturbing shit.   I think my favorite part was how the Dinosaur Islander vixens, who’d never seen modern civilization, not only spoke English, but sometimes English with a soft Texas twang.