Posts Tagged ‘THE WORST

27
Sep
15

The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984)

Right before I start writing a blog post, I always go through my list of tags to make sure I don’t miss anything. I always pass over Tawny Kitaen’s name, wishing and hoping that one day I’ll be able to tag her in something other than Witchboard. Well, who would’ve known, this would be my lucky day! Q read something recently about The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak and it reminded him hey, I’ve been wanting to see that movie for awhile! He showed me the back cover and I was sold.

Unfortunately, the old adage “don’t judge a film by the stills on the back cover of the DVD” holds true. No amount of highly-stylized, half-naked, leather-bound, sex-starved gladiatrices can save this movie. There were so many moments throughout this stupid thing that I really, truly wanted to like, but every single time it failed to deliver. But I suppose I’ve put the cart before the horse; what is this stupid piece of crap movie about, anyway?

Tawny Kitaen as the innocent, naive and virginal Gwendoline.

Tawny Kitaen as the innocent, naive and virginal Gwendoline.

Gwendoline has traveled from France to China in a large, wooden box to find her long, lost lepidopterist father. She and her maid Beth quickly find themselves at the mercy of wacky Chinese thieves, who sell Gwendoline into servitude for a quick buck. Luckily Gwendoline’s new owner owes a muscle-bound asshat named Willard a bunch of cash, and when he can’t pay up Willard goes apeshit and tears the place apart, inadvertently saving Gwendoline and Beth.

The charmless Willard

The charmless Willard

Unfortunately for Willard, this means he’s inherited the two ladies for the foreseeable future, and they want to go to the Land of the Yik-Yak. Through a series of whatevers and blah blahs they discover Gwendoline’s father is dead. Willard thinks his time with the girls is over, but oh no, Gwendoline’s journey has just begun! She is now adamant that she will find the elusive butterfly her father died searching for, so his death might not be in vain.

On the way to Yik-Yak, the trio are confronted by a band of cannibals and a hidden society of women who mine some kind of diamond or some shit and only get to fuck when the leader tells them it’s okay, and even when that happens they have to fight over the guy and then after they fuck him they kill him. So that’s a great story line, right? Oh yeah, and along the way Gwendoline has of course fallen in love with Willard, despite the fact that he’s a complete piece of shit utterly lacking in charisma, and I guess he’s fallen in love with her too, even though he bounces from being a complete asshole to being silly putty in her hands. Whatever.

Gwendoline and Willard in those outfits, on that chariot, still don't make this movie worth watching.

Gwendoline and Willard in those outfits, on that chariot, still don’t make this movie worth watching.

This movie can’t decide what it wants to be. Is it campy? Is it a comedy? Is it an adventure flick? A soft-core porno? I guess it wanted to be all of these things, but since it couldn’t do any one thing well enough it ends up being none of these things. Continuing the theme of what-the-fuck-is-this-movie-going-for, the characters also have no grounding; they bounce from having one personality to another within the same scene so many times there is no point in trying to distinguish what their actual motivations are.

But damn, it does look cool doesn't it?

But damn, it does look cool doesn’t it?

So you might be saying why does it matter? This is obviously a stupid movie, why would I expect so much out of it? Well, even stupid movies have to work on some level to be enjoyable and watchable, and I’m telling you even if you’re only watching this movie for the tits you’re going to be dissatisfied. Halfway through I suggested perhaps it might be better to watch the movie in a different language, at least then we could feast our eyes upon the costumes without being distracted by the awful, terrible acting and dialog. Too bad there are no other audio tracks on this disc. This movie did teach me a valuable lesson, though: I used to think that as long as a movie looked cool, it didn’t matter what the plot was, or even if there was one. Alas, Gwendoline has proven me woefully wrong. Sorry, Tawny. Maybe we’ll have better luck next time.

22
Oct
14

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Note: Hi! This is Mike Q, and I’m not the one who usually writes here. I got this guest-spot because Katy’s fallen behind in writing up movies of late, so I’ve been called in to do some of the titles she doesn’t especially want to deal with.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave has such a good cover, we bought it twice.  Maybe that’s not true; maybe my pal Grant had given me a copy at some point in the past, and I’d forgotten about it. But, whatever the reason, we ended up with two copies right around when we figured out what we’d be watching for this Fall’s 31 Days of Horror, and into the running it went. We watched it as title 20 of the series.

the-night-evelyn-came-out-of-the-grave-3Before I tell you about how it fared, check out that cover! It’s great! It’s got most of what you’d want in horror packaging: a scantily-dressed lady–a scantily-dressed lady with a skull head — holding an almost tasteful severed head. When I was a kid (much like Panos Cosmatos) I was fascinated by the jackets to the VHS horror films my parents wouldn’t let me watch. Because of my rather limited frame of reference, I often imagined them as more intense Scooby Doo episodes — lots of pursuit by monsters. When I was older and able to pursue such things myself, I realized that most weren’t like that (the closest I’ve gotten to that platonic childhood sense is Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse). Why am I sharing all of this? Because the jacket art to Evelyn is really great, and looks exactly like the sort of movie I’d like to watch.

Unfortuntely, the movie itself isn’t much to write home about.

To cut right to the chase, Evelyn in practice isn’t too far from Scooby Doo in the broadest strokes of its plot — I’m going to be spoiler-y here since I don’t think the reveals are all that shocking — we’re in territory that was well-explored, and better, by the likes of Dominique is Dead or, perhaps most exceptionally, by Henri Cluzot’s Les Diaboliques: a plot to frighten a lightweight into being scared to death. We get there in Evelyn by way of a by-the-numbers ’70s giallo, with all of the misogyny that entails.

Killing some braod, like you do. Though it's not impossible to have a libale protagonist who is also a conflicted killer, this flick doesn't even try.

Killing some broad, like you do. Though it’s not impossible to have a viable protagonist who is also a conflicted killer, this flick doesn’t even try.

In this case, the movie begins with our “hero,” the decadent and troubled Lord Alan Cunningham, bringing a comely redhead to his rotting Gothic estate somewhere outside of London. He takes her down to his torture chamber and tortures and kills her. Hey! Wow! Can’t wait to see him get his comeuppance! (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t). Seems sometime in the past, Lord Alan had a redhead — his late wife Evelyn — cheat on him, and he killed her for it. Now, he’s trapped in a terrible cycle of finding and killing more redheads to somehw assuage/amplify his guilt. Everyone in his life — his psychiatrist/childhood best friend, his playboy cousin, his crippled, very young aunt, his lawyer — knows he’s got this problem, and while they’re all troubled by it to varying degrees, the only one who seems to hold him at all accountable is Albert, the estate’s groundskeeper and Lord Alan’s brother-in-law. Albert is always there, watching Lord Alan’s murderous dalliances, sneeringly taking Lord Alan’s pay-offs to keep quiet. It seems only a matter of time before he gets his revenge…

Meanwhile, Aunt Agatha holds a seance to bring back Evelyn’s spirit — and it works! This is all too much for Alan. The doctor says he needs regularity in his life — he should consider marriage. Maybe that will let him work his issues out.

His cousin takes him to a fancy-dress party where Alan is immediately smitten by yet another redhead, whom he proposes to before they’ve even left. Everyone in Alan’s life takes this in stride; they think she’s awfully well-mannered indeed. That, i guess, is the only qualification that need be had to marry the lunatic patriarch.

Evelyn's come out  of the grave! THIS is the night they were talking about!! ...Or was it?

Evelyn’s come out of the grave! THIS is the night they were talking about!! …Or was it?

Strange things start happening — the new wife discovers Evelyn isn’t in the family crypt, Albert is killed by a venomous snake by a mysterious assailant, Aunt Agatha gets up and walks without explanation, and then is killed and thrown to Alan’s pet foxes by a mysterious assailant… Some one, or some group of someones has something afoot, though damned if any of the pieces seem to fit together (Spoiler alert: they don’t).

This movie does have some wonderfully atmospheric locations and sets to play with — the aforementioned torture chamber and fancy-dress party both look stellar, as does the rotting family crypt and gardens around it. The fashions and hairstyles of both sexes are top-of-the-line mod/psychedelic, and reflect a vision of Swinging London that we here at Schlockwave find almost irresistably alluring. That’s not to say exactly that the movie looks good — the camera placements are a mess, and a series of bad decisions were made in the editing room that manage to squander what seems to be this movie’s only real resource. It’s hard to believe this movie was handled behind the camera by folks who’d  made anything professionally before.

I’d say that’s a pity, but this movie left me awfully frustrated. Beyond the first act, we seem to have been meant to view Lord Alan sympathetically… which is awfully hard to do once he’s mercilessly killed a few redheads. When he’s driven to madness and death, I wasn’t sad at all to see him go. And, when his death turns out to be a ruse to expose the plot that had been cooked up by the new wife, one of the redheads we thought was dead (?), and the playboy cousin, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Their “sins” pretty well pale in comparison to his… and in the reactionary logic of horror generally and giallo specifically, doesn’t that emminently qualify Lord Alan for a really juicy bit of narrative justice? Not here, it doesn’t.

So, should you run across a copy of The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, take a moment and drink in that cover art. It looks so good! But, you can safely skip watching it, not to mention buying it — let alone buying it twice.

09
Oct
14

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

Up to this point, this year’s iteration of 31 Days of Horror has offered up a pretty darn good list of horror flicks. It’s about time we had a real stinker, and Day 9 more than delivers that. Remember when I warned y’all that I was going to intentionally make the mistake of watching the rest of the Hellraiser series, even after Hellraiser: Inferno insulted my intelligence? Well, I’m a woman of my word folks; when I saw Hellworld on sale for $3 I figured it was time to bite the bullet. After all, Lance Henriksen is in it, so it can’t be that bad, right? Sigh… sometimes my optimism needs a reality check.
This computer game's menu is a little outdated, even for 2005.

This computer game’s menu is a little outdated, even for 2005.

So, this is when Hellraiser attempts to go meta, sort of. The film takes place in a world where the Hellraiser movies are a thing that everyone knows and loves, and there’s a computer game and everything! I’m not exactly sure what the stupid game entails, but I do know that some kid named Adam “took it too far,” doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. All of his friends are on a major guilt-trip, because they watched him get consumed by the game and sat back and did nothing. The only guy who seems to really feel super bad about it is this little twerp named Jake who freaks out on everyone at Adam’s funeral. Jake and his asshole friends consider themselves to bet he only “family” that Adam had, since his father was pretty much absent for most of his childhood, and I guess the mom is crazy or something? Whatever, within the first five minutes it is already apparent that we aren’t going to care about any of the characters.

Anyway, whatever, the four jackasses obviously didn’t learn their lesson and two years later are still hung up on Hellworld. If you can solve a particular puzzle with the puzzle box online, you get a special invitation to a Hellworld party! Despite our heroine (if you want to call her that) Chelsea’s reservations, she agrees it would be totally awesome to go to a Hellworld party, and so the  foursome head on over to some scary old house, where surprise, surprise, their old pal Jake shows up, too!  Looks like our host (Lance Henriksen) knew how to target all the right Hellworld fans. As the group convenes in the hallway, Henriksen invites them into a special room where he serves them questionable beverages and shows them fetuses in jars and stuff. So spooky. So edgy. Let’s party!

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, this party isn’t just fun and games. One by one, each unlikable asshole meets a pathetic end, seemingly at the hands of Pinhead. These fools stroll around the house, opening

Ladies and gents: your edgy host.

Ladies and gents: your edgy host.

doors you obviously shouldn’t be opening. Their curiosity kills them in the end, and the only two we are left with are Chelsea and Jake. When they set their feeble minds to work at figuring out just what the hell is going on at this “party” they start putting the pieces together. What they find results in one of the most unsatisfying and stupid endings to any horror movie I’ve ever seen, except, perhaps, Hellraiser: Inferno. Turns out, Henriksen is actually Adam’s father and is seeking revenge on all the kids whom he blames for his child’s death, even though he didn’t give a shit about his kid while he was alive, or even after he died; the scumbag couldn’t even make it to the kid’s funeral. Makes a whole lot of sense, right? But it gets better: he drugged the kids and then buried them alive, and everything we watched was nothing but a hallucination! Pinhead didn’t kill them, see, they killed themselves! Seriously. Wow. That is lame. Really, really lame.

It is truly amazing how easily dumbed down a great premise like Hellraiser can be. I know all too well that, usually, the quality of a franchise plunges the higher the sequel number, but holy bejeezus, I’ve never

Oh, if you care, Henry Cavill is in this.

Oh, if you care, Henry Cavill is in this.

seen anything quite as bad as the plummet from Hellraiser’s best films to the last two (maybe even three, Hellbound wasn’t so hot, either, but at least it wasn’t a total wreck) I’ve watched. The folks writing these films are literally given a premise and world in which to work, and they still can’t come up with anything worthwhile. There are many directions Hellworld could have taken, and a lot of them would have been a lot more interesting than what they decided to go with in the end.

While watching the movie, I have to say I was wondering why the hell Pinhead was using such lame methods to kill these kids. I thought the whole premise of Pinhead and the Cenobites is that they enjoyed bringing pain by way of torture to their victims. That’s not what we’re presented with here; instead we get a simple slashing of the throat or, perhaps the most egregious knock at Pinhead yet: decapitation by way of cleaver. Seriously? Even the kids in this movie should have known better than to think that Pinhead would use a cleaver to kill them. There is just no imagination whatsoever in this movie. And it looks like shit. And the characters are assholes, so who gives a shit if they die anyway?
This is wrong on so many levels. For the same reasons Captain America shouldn't use guns, Pinhead shouldn't use cleavers!

This is wrong on so many levels. For the same reasons Captain America shouldn’t use guns, Pinhead shouldn’t use cleavers!

Another thing I wondered while watching Hellworld: does Doug Bradley actually read the scripts of these sequels, or does he just show up, do a few takes, and leave? How much are they paying him to act in these films? It must be so sad to remember what it was like to have an interesting, meaty role in a horror film and then have to turn around and say a few cheesy lines as the same character just to take home a paycheck. His screen-time is probably shorter than the time it takes for him to get all that make-up on. On a related note, if I were Clive Barker I’d politely ask to have my name removed from such films. If you are considering, even for a second, that this movie is worth your time, please think again. It isn’t. It isn’t worth the plastic it’s printed on. It’s probably not worth the time I spent writing this post, either. Just say no.

15
Dec
13

Puppetmaster (1989)

Sexy puppets! Be careful, she's probably gonna nibble on ya...

Sexy puppets! Be careful, she’s probably gonna nibble on ya…

Some time ago, I committed to watching all of the Puppetmaster movies. I did this not knowing exactly what I was getting into. I had heard that Puppetmaster and its sequels had left something to be desired, but I still pushed forward, insisting this is actually a goal I should pursue. I mean, there are like 11 sequels to the first Puppetmaster, it has to have something going for it, right?

Um, no. Wrong. Dead wrong. Puppetmaster was one of the most boring, disappointing movies I’ve ever seen in my life. The characters are stupid, the plot is thin, the acting is incredibly poor, and considering we have murdering dolls on our hands, the special effects don’t pull their fair share of the weight either. 

I don’t even know if it’s worth summarizing, but since I’m here I’ll do it anyway. Andre Toulon (William Hickey) is an amazing puppeteer who has unleashed an Egyptian spell which brings inanimate objects to life. The Nazis (of course) want this technology and just as they’re beating down Toulon’s hotel door,

Yawn.

Yawn.

he blows his own brains out to avoid being used as a puppet (heh, heh, get it?) by the evil Nazis. 

Fast-forward fifty years. A jerk named Neil Gallagher has also unleashed the same Egyptian spell, staged his own death, and invited a bunch of his psychic friends to the old hotel to kill them, or something, I guess. Whatever. 

I must say I’m still curious to see if these sequels actually offer anything more interesting, exciting or worthwhile than the first film. It’s not unheard of to have a sequel outdo its predecessor, I’m just not sure the folks at Full Moon are where I should be looking for such a thing. Ugh. The worst. 

01
Dec
13

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

But, see? He loves kids? He can't be all bad, right? Wrong!

But, see? He loves kids? He can’t be all bad, right? Wrong!

I cannot say for certain that Hellraiser: Inferno is the absolute worst of the Hellraiser franchise, but that is only because I have not seen the ones that come after it. Honestly, I am afraid to. This one is just so terribly, head-shakingly bad, I’d hate to devote more time to movies like this. Unfortunately, I’m sort of a completist when it comes to these things, so I know I will inevitably delve deeper into the world of Hellraiser. I just hope the rest of them are better than this.

This time it’s a dirty cop who gets dragged into Pinhead’s underworld. Detective Joseph Thorne (Craig Sheffer) is a pretty despicable guy: he cheats on his wife with prostitutes, steals money from

The first finger.

The first finger.

dead guys, and sets up his partner for a crime he didn’t commit. His one positive characteristic, and what is supposed to be his redeeming quality, but isn’t at all, is that he really cares about kids.

Anyway, an old classmate of his is found torn to pieces. The only evidence is a disembodied finger and, you guessed it, a strange puzzle box. And, yes, you guessed it again, Thorne spirals downward into the world of hell once he gets his hands on it. Seems some underworld boss called simply “The Engineer” is probably behind this and a whole bunch of other shit. Thorne cares not about the bodies that pile up throughout his investigation, he cares only to save the life of the child whose fingers are found at every crime scene.

He's a sucker for the ladies.

He’s a sucker for the ladies.

Despite the ten-or-so minutes of internet research I did to find out why anyone bothered to write this movie, I couldn’t really find out much about it. It seems to me, though, this was never meant to be a Hellraiser movie. Pinhead is in it for maybe 10 seconds, and while there are Cenobite-like creatures in the film, they could have just as easily been any other type of creepy crawler. No, I think this is a movie that really aspired to be more like Seven or some other gory cop psychological thriller. The problem is, it doesn’t do that job well, either! Thorne is so completely unlikable, why should we care what happens to him? And that “twist” at the end? Lame, and quite stupid. This might be one of the most frustrating movies I’ve ever seen. I am absolutely stunned when I read reviews saying this is one of the better of the Hellraiser movies. That just simply isn’t true! It’s the least Hellraiser of any that I’ve seen, and it is just plain bad besides that. And what a shame to see Craig Sheffer, the underworld hero of Barker’s Nightbreed, return to his world with such a shit show.

07
Jul
13

Cool World (1992)

Want to see acting at its worst? Here you go. It ain't pretty.

Want to see acting at its worst? Here you go. It ain’t pretty.

Everyone makes mistakes. Mistake # 1: Ralph Bakshi made Cool World. Mistake # 2: we watched Cool World. An uglier train wreck of a movie would be hard to find. Usually, train wrecks are fascinating to watch, keeping its viewers asking the question: how bad can it be? Cool World is different. Cool World is the kind of train wreck that begs you to turn it off and forget you ever even tried watching it. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with Brad Pitt’s atrocious stab at acting, but I’m leaning towards quite a bit.

Brad Pitt, of course, is not the only reason why this movie sinks

And that dress. Really with that dress?

And that dress. Really with that dress?

like the Titanic. Cool World can’t decide what it wants to be about. There’s no focus; the plot is all over the place. We start off with young Frank Harris (Pitt) coming home from the war in the 40’s. He gets into a motorcycle accident and ends up in Cool World, the place where the doodles live, seemingly indefinitely. What the first fifteen minutes of the movie have to do with the rest is anyone’s guess. Years pass by and I guess Harris becomes a doodle detective, and he’s always finding out sneaky crap Holli Would (Kim Basinger) is up to, and I guess Holli’s penned by Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne) a guy who’s been in jail for a while. Holli’s aspiration is to end up in the real world and she keeps pulling Deebs into doodle world and WHATEVER, MAKE IT STOP!

Like I said, some of this movie looks almost kind of "cool."

Like I said, some of this movie looks almost kind of “cool.”

Undeniably, some of this movie looks cool. The sets and the “doodles” are not bad. Unfortunately, they’re not good enough to keep this movie from making its viewers want to cry. Not even a brownie sundae, which I insisted on making in the middle of this movie to survive the task of watching it, could save me from hating it. To be fair, Bakshi didn’t get to make the movie he wanted to make. He was forced to make one with more “mass appeal,” which is hilarious, because I’m pretty sure this movie appeals to absolutely no one. Filing this under THE WORST.

13
Apr
13

Breakfast of Aliens (1983)

Pizza's here!

Pizza’s here!

To be honest with you, dear reader, I have no idea how I ended up with Breakfast of Aliens in my Netflix queue. I knew nothing about it when I added it; it must have been during one of my indiscriminate queue-building sprees. Despite the fact that I’d put a different movie in the #1 slot, it still showed up in my mailbox (damn you, Long Wait!). 

Breakfast of Aliens is Troma-esque in the least-offensive sense of the word, but that doesn’t do any good. It’s low-budget, gross-out humor, and it’s very, very poorly done. The movie revolves around a guy named Walter Clydepepper (Vic Dunlop), a fat, broke loser with nothing going for him at all, until he eats an alien for breakfast. 

Wally ain't no pizza-peddler no mo...

Wally ain’t no pizza-peddler no mo…

The alien he consumes changes Walter very profoundly. Instead of the lovable oaf he once was, Walter becomes someone’s idea of funny (though, I’m not really sure whose). So funny, in fact, that he’s a smash-hit at the local comedy club. His rise to fame is a nasty one, complete with drugs, alcohol and women, and ends, predictably, in an Elvis-like tailspin. 

Aside from a short appearance by Donald Gibb of Revenge of the Nerds and Bloodsport fame, Breakfast of Aliens doesn’t really have much to offer. This film is a train wreck that is not worth your time. Of course, I probably didn’t have to tell you that. 




Categories

Old Wave