All of these films were made in 1999 or later, which really only means that all the older films I've bought I was already positive I liked or had seen prior to purchase. In fact, much of my collection is from before 1999 - so what does that mean for the state of horror in the 2000's? Hmm...
So here's my list of embarrassments.
The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) ~ Truth be told, this one's on VHS, but I didn't want to leave a dud such as this out. Though I think I may have bought this one in the VHS bargain bin years ago, I'm still wondering why. Wasn't one Carrie enough? I think so. And though I'm a fan of Emily Bergl, I definitely can't say this is a shining moment in her career. The story was ridiculous, the acting sub-par, and the ending a jump-scare cop out that tried too hard to emulate its predecessor. It they'd have just played this as a stand alone film and not linked it in any way to the actual Carrie, they may have had a tolerable movie on their hands. But this is bad enough that it is not even currently available on DVD. That's saying something.
Dark Water (2005) ~ You'd think having Jennifer Connelly, Tim Roth, and John C. Reilly in your movie would give it some credibility. Hmm... not so much. This American remake of a Japanese thriller was not only somewhat dull and without a real scare to speak of, but it reminded me too much like the script for The Ring. All that was missing was the well. It tries pretty hard to be creepy, and while there are a few moments where they just might have gotten there, the rest of the movie certainly cannot make up for it. There is a blurb on the outside cover of the DVD that states (and I quote) 'Even Hitchcock could not have done it better'. I really beg to differ.
Death Tunnel (2005) ~ This movie should have been awesome. Mind-bendingly spooky and atmospheric. Beyond bloodcurdling. When I first heard this film was being made, I was truly psyched, couldn't wait for it to be released. Then of course the wait was a long one, and finally - direct to DVD. That was hint #1 that the film would fail miserably. And it does. A film made within the confines of Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky - an insane asylum used as a tuberculosis hospital back in the early 1900's? Sounds great, no? The title was taken from the "death chute" that transported the dead to the graveyard so that the dying couldn't see. And it boasts the infamous label of being one of the 'Most Haunted Place in America'. This film should have been legendary! What did we get instead? Five utterly annoying co-eds rambling around the hallways and rooms in nothing but their underwear. Without question the dumbest purchase of my life. Actually, it came in a set with another film for five bucks, so I wasn't out much. Thank heavens.
Dracula 2000 ~ Gerard Butler as Dracula. A girl's wet dream, right? You'd think so, wouldn't you? I guess I thought so. Until I saw it. With the absolutely preposterous notion that Dracula was originally Judas Iscariot as its plot, this film just sunk to new lows in the vampire genre. What was Wes Craven thinking, attaching his name to this project as a producer? But you know what? There are several people out there that actually like this film, maybe even love it. A guilty pleasure perhaps? Of course I think two words sum that craziness up: Jennifer Esposito, who makes a fetching bride of the fanged wonder. But I must have been on a total Gerard Butler kick when I bought this baby. How else to explain the momentary loss of reason I must have had to purchase this trash? As for the Scottish looker though, I'll still can't totally rescind my obsession - he did look ffff-fine in 300. But this one? Bad, not Vlad.
The Hole (2001) ~ Thora Birch and Keira Knightley star in a movie about getting stuck in a hole. Seriously. There was so much press about this film when it came out - "a sleeper hit" and "disturbing" - well, I'm here to tell you there's really nothing disturbing about being stuck in a hole for several days. I felt like it was literally several days that I was watching this thing... blah!
And there are a few vomiting scenes I could have certainly done without. It was basically like watching several people fall apart mentally and physically after several days underground in an abandoned bomb shelter. It seemed like fun and games at first - hang out, party, maybe get a little nookie... till they find out someone locked them inside, on purpose. Hours turn into days - and there's where they lose me. There just wasn't enough going on. Oh yes, of course they started turning on each other - isn't that always the case? But seriously, this felt like an after-school special on the terrors of picking the wrong friends. Gah!
Masters of Horror: Imprint (2005) ~ First let me say that apparently 2005 was a banner year in horror debris. Lots of refuse here. On to the show... So, who wouldn't want to see anything and everything Takashi Miike does? I do. But oh my lord, this Masters of Horror episode was utterly trashed by the horrific acting skills of Billy Drago. Not only do I hate that dude (with good reason, he can't act his way out of a paper bag!) but he pretty much ruins everything he touches with his over-the-top bullshit thing he calls a "performance". Imprint fares no better, utterly collapsing under the weight of Drago's drivel. The subject matter itself rendered the film "too graphic and disturbing" to be shown at all. So it was only on DVD that fans of Miike were able to witness this...debacle. We have prostitutes, theft, venereal disease, hideously disfigured whores, unbelievable torture, rape, alcoholism, incest, abortion, floating dead fetuses, molestation, curses, murder, ghosts, and OH - really really bad acting. I regret this one big time.
King Kong (2005): One of the few movies I've bought sight unseen, and yet another "gem" from 2005. Normally, I don't buy without seeing first, because inevitably I'm disappointed. I was happily surprised when I did that with Sideways, but with this near-stinker I was less than happy after sitting through three god damned hours (!) of CGI and Jack Black's babbling. Oh, how I love Peter Jackson. I really really do. But WTF was he thinking? This wasn't a bad film, in fact it was quite tolerable. But I guess it's my fascination with the original 1933 version that has me in a tizzy over this one. It was about an hour & a half too long, and had me pressing the pause button on my DVD player more than just a few times just to get some caffeine to keep me awake. And so I think the '33 version has yet to be duplicated with any true flavor. Sorry.
Mortuary (2005) ~ It used to be when I saw the name Tobe Hooper, I got a shiver up my spine about the good stuff that might follow. I mean, the man's early career included three staples of horror (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem's Lot, and Poltergeist). However, as of late, Mr. Hooper has had to ride on the coattails of his early fame after not be able to duplicate his previous success. Mortuary is the story of a widowed mother who, with her two children, moves into a neglected funeral home to take over the mortician job. Naturally, the run-down old place holds secrets that the older teenage boy discovers. Honestly, the actor (Dan Byrd) playing this teenager is actually quite good, but nowhere near ace enough to carry this entire piece of debris.
A local legend about the former occupants of the home having a disfigured child they kept hidden and who then supposedly went missing after the violent deaths of his parents sounds like it would be a great premise, but it ends up digressing into mediocrity quickly. Underground tunnels, an oozing, inky black creeping crud, the mother's fall into insanity, and your typical run-of-the-mill deaths of random teenagers complete the circle of inferiority.
Oh, and it's from 2005 as well. Go figure.
Pulse (2006) ~ Another Japanese horror redeux thrown into the already crowded arena of remakes, a trend started by the 2002 version of The Ring and 2004's The Grudge (both far superior films), Pulse should have been good. The cast was beautiful (namely Ian Somerhalder and Kristen Bell) and the atmosphere creepy enough, but the film itself completely fell flat. The utterly preposterous notion that spirits 'from beyond' are pissed off that they are dead and in limbo and that we're still alive - and that lining your windows with red tape will keep the evil out was just SO DAMN BORING! That certain frequencies are able to allow these demon-spirits to pass through cables and suck out your life-force, causing you to want to commit suicide....well, that just didn't fly with me. For the life of me, I cannot remember buying this movie, and wonder if it came in a package deal with something else. Either that, or I'm just too embarrassed to admit I bought it. I'll never tell.
The Unborn (2009) ~ So I totally thought this movie might be a creepy little gem. I'm always stupidly deceived by movie trailers. Then I learn better. Also, observing the gratuitous ass-shot on the poster quickly gave me the heads up that this was just another PG-13 piece of junk with no redeeming qualities. What Gary Oldman was doing in this one is beyond me. Megan Fox look-alike Odette Yustman is harassed by a dybbuk. Um, yeah. A dybbuk. And oh yes, I had to look that one up. I wonder who sits around, surfing the internet looking for random evil spirits native to various countries and religions just so a really bad, uninspired film can be knocked off to get horny teenagers into the theaters on Friday night. I didn't see this at the theater (thank goodness!) but I was senseless enough to buy it. Sometimes, my brain just doesn't function.
So I'd love to hear about other fans' big movie purchase errors, so I don't feel all alone here in my lunacy.