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Monday, June 29, 2009


Bad movies are one of my life's most fervent passions, and I relish them in the way my buddy Jared worships at the altar of the Superbowl. Flicks like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, SORCERESS, THE OSCAR, and the incredible DEATH WISH 3 make me glad to be alive thanks to their simultaneous staggering stupidity and through-the-roof entertainment value. But then there is the other kind of bad movie, namely total and complete wastes of celluloid and the audience's time and sanity. I'm talking about movies that do not entertain one iota, not even with their own ineptitude, and leave the viewer feeling drained, bored, and possibly irate at the end of the running time. To me a true "bad" movie is one that offers a moviegoer nothing whatsoever by way of entertainment, and whose visual thrills may as well be those of an airport hangar wall that had just been hit with a coat of gray primer and was being left alone to dry.

With that in mind it's time to ask a question I periodically break out in social gatherings, and the resulting answers are often enlightening and downright amusing. What I wanna know is this: what is the absolute most rock-bottom unwatchably bad movie you ever paid money to see and endured in a movie theater? It can be totally obscure or a Hollywood blockbuster, but I would love to see a detailed answer that fully conveys the pain and suffering you went through while experiencing said film, so please write in. I'm beggin' ya!!!

By now you may be wondering what movie holds this less-than-lofty place of dishonor in my own personal moviegoing experience, and I can tell you without hesitation that that film is 1984's projected endurance test, FLESHBURN.

It's about an Injun Viet Nam vet (Sonny Landham, who, if you ask me, would have been a letter-perfect Wolverine) who got sent to prison for some reason or other, and once released he kidnaps the people who convicted him and strands them in the middle of the desert, proclaiming they must survive by the ways of Injun survival techniques or something, after which he disappears for the majority of the movie's running time.

Sonny Landham, the man who should have been Wolverine, as seen in PREDATOR, a film immeasurably better than FLESHBURN.

What follows is a boring-as-death exercise in hopeless attempts at survival as the kidnapped folks slowly roast alive in the shelterless desert heat. One of the guys in the group is half-Injun, so he of course knows exactly how to survive and does his bland best to aid his fellow victims. If this sounds in any way tense or exciting, I assure you it isn't, and when the 'Nam vet returns near the end to fight the ostensible hero, you just will not care. The only interest the film manages to generate involves pondering just how long until the damned thing finally, blessedly comes to an end, and long before that welcome moment of surcease arrived I felt like I had been put into a drug-induced coma. I will never sit through FLESHBURN again for any reason, and I dread the day when I encounter a film that outdoes it for sheer, utter boredom.

There. I've shown you mine, so now I wanna see yours.


Satyrblade said...

Dungeons & Dragons, althoughn the Walt Disney version of The Three Musketeers would be a close second.

Yeah, I saw Sorceress in the theatre, and although it's batshit insane, I can't say I was not entertained!

John Bligh said...

"Surf Nazi's Must Die", which we saw together. Utterly boring Troma piece of shit (is there any other kind)... I've seen worse movies, but not in the theater. Although two movies came very close: "Eating" about whiney neurotic woman who complain for 2 hours and eat. Guaranteed to make you wish you were gay. I walked out on that one.... And "Destiny Turns On The Radio", which was so boring I thought time and space had stopped.

Kevin M. Hagerman said...

The Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. Walked out before they ever left the island, got some lunch, and went to my local comics shop, where I slapped down my ticket and asked if anyone wanted to see the last third (by my estimation) of the movie.

The part that completely sucked me out of the film is when every single creature in the jungle just has to drop EVERYTHING (including their current meal, for Christ's sake) and Get Ann Darrow. The apogee of this mess was the T Rex "battle", where three highly territorial dinosaurs decide to let a giant ape beat the holy fuck out of them in the hopes that they can share a tiny little woman who seems immune to physics by this point. Maybe they needed a toothpick. If you're that hungry guys - EAT THE GIANT APE! He's right there, beating the holy fuck out of you. And I don't know about you, but if I drop my tuna sub and end up chasing it over the edge of a cliff - I tend to lose my appetite. Something something Maslow something.

Then we get the big dramatic showdown, which I like to call "You've seen him fight three T Rexes, but he he handle just one? Of the three. T Rexes." Utterly lacking in build-up AND pay-off. That's when I left; when the entire jungle had to have itself a white woman. Peter Jackson: worst Dungeon Master ever.

Jim Browski said...

House of the Dead

Hands contest...the balls out absolute worst zombie movie (and a strong contender for worst in any category) I have ever wasted good money on.

I consider myself somewhat of a zombie connoisseur. Granted, it is a highly risky genre when it comes to quality. Believe me, I've sat through many a micro-budgeted mish mosh to satisfy my zombie cravings.

But for overall ineptitude...for sheer contempt for the very genre it seeks to cash in movie beats House of the Dead. Shat out of Uwe Boll's ass, like so much digested wiener schnitzel, this stinking pile of crap left me angry....yes, angry...that I had wasted 85 minutes of my life and a few hard earned greenbacks.

From the moronic cut aways (featuring shots of the video game), to the (usually amusing) Clint Howard's scenery devouring, to poor Jurgen Prochnow (as a character named Captain Kirk) cajoled by his Teutonic co-hort into prostituting his talents...this film has not one redeeming virtue.

Even the zombie action never rises above the level of second rate. This film also gets special mention as having the most overused, nausea inducing, "Matrix" style camera movements during the combat scenes.

Zombie fans, AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!

I have many zombie dvd's, from major studio releases, to backyard shot on video fare...but I would not let this abomination near my dvd cabinet, lest it's putrefaction infest the rest of my collection.

czelous said...

I do believe I saw it with you:
1986's ever popular "Band Of The Hand"

Bunche (pop culture ronin) said...

Tey may not be what most folks would consider "good" per se, but Troma has released four passable/entertaining films in my estimation:

THE TOXIC AVENGER (the first film, not the sequels)
WHEN NATURE CALLS (a stoned, stream-of-consciousness feature-length parody of the forgotten and awful 1970's children's film THE WILDERNESS FAMILY)

John Bligh said...

House Of THe Dead was bad, but not close to the level of an awful Troma movie. And I think MOTHER'S DAY was actually pre-Troma, but that's nit-picking.

Bunche (pop culture ronin) said...

Technically speaking, MOTHER'S DAY is pre-Troma, but it was put out by Lloyd Kaufman's company and is now considered by said company, since renamed "Troma," to be a Troma film.

martin said...

I've seen an assortment of cruddy “B” pictures, but by definition, I believe none is capable of achieving bad-ness like a bad “A” picture. It's a simple question of resources and scale: it takes a big beast to lay a colossal turd. I suppose I'd have to nominate Jean-Jaques Annaud's "The Lover" (L'amant). Oy!

Dan said...

"Pearl Harbor" wins this one for me. Every single thing about it is utterly inept, from the witless script ("I think World War II just started!") to the terrible, terrible acting (Seriously, how did Josh Hartnett or Kate Beckinsale ever land a role bigger than a Wendy's commercial?) to the direction (Michael Bay at his absolute worst). I think the studio and the filmmakers were trying to make another "Titanic," with a flat love story played against the backdrop of a big, FX-worthy historical event. They didn't get it.

Glenn said...

Highlander 2: The Quickening

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (which I saw on opening night with you, Bunche Man!)

Jimmy Hollywood - First and only movie I ever walked out on halfway through

Honorable Mention:

On Deadly Ground (the only Steven Seagal film I ever saw)

Deacon Blue said...

For me, it's a tie between "Horror Planet" (a cheap rip-off of "Alien") that even at my youthful age at the time I could find nothing redeeming about and "House of the Dead." As for the latter, any movie that makes "Resident Evil" look like high-minded cinema of the five-star variety (mind you, I actually enjoy watching the Resident Evil flicks, but I enjoy them for what they are: action schlock and an excuse to see sexy Mila Jovovich do kick-ass shit) is pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

That wonderful piece of crap THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN just beats VAN HELSING as the most horrible cinema-going experience I ever had.

A dire film! It didn't help if you had read the source material, either.

Makes you understand Alan Moore's concern for his work.

Scott Faulkner said...

I second HIGHLANDER II. I should have walked out 15 minutes in and asked for a refund but I stuck it out. That movie went back in time and killed my enjoyment of the first film.

firefly said...

Let's see...

Highlander 2 was awful. At the end of Ninth Gate the entire theatre I was in booed, so I guess I wasn't the only one desperately disappointed.

Oh, and I hated Tropic Thunder -- mostly because I can't stand Ben Stiller -- but what can I say my girlfriends talked me into going.

Deacon Blue said...

As crappy as they might be, I don't mind a flick like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Van Helsin (as long as it's a cheap rental or from my local library), simply because they at least might have semi-pretty effects, sets, etc. to look at. I can tolerate a lot as long as it has something to look at. The problem for me is movies that look sloppy AND have absolutely no engaging storyline.

C said...

Worst movie ever in a theater? The movie that has made every "worst of" list I've ever seen "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." I saw it when I was in fourth grade, it was the entire elementary school's X-mas present. We all got sent by bus to the local theater, saw a few cartoons and then watched the steaming pile of movie. Even at nine years old I knew I had suffered a horrifying fate. I don't recall the school sending us to another X-mas movie after that. I can only hope they didn't pay much for showing it to us.

Satyrblade said...

>I've seen an assortment of cruddy “B” pictures, but by definition, I believe none is capable of achieving bad-ness like a bad “A” picture. It's a simple question of resources and scale: it takes a big beast to lay a colossal turd.

Agreed, Martin. Had I seen it in the theatre, I would unquestionably vote Batman and Robin as my Worst Ever. I still consider it the worst I've ever seen anywhere because of the factor you described, plus the added feature of it being unrelentingly lame and yet also boring.

Now that C mentions it, though, I have to change my vote to a close tie between Son of Godzilla and Santa Claus Conquers the Martins, both of which I saw as a kid in Hawa'ii. Forgot about that. Bad as D&D is, Santa Claus pretty much sweeps all comers. Without an MST3K backing track, that one's pretty much unwatchable. My poor Dad - he had to suffer through those two plus Five Kamen Riders vs King Dark, a tokusatsu steamer that punished the unwary with optical damnation.