Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween Festival Of Lists: October 9: NINE Guilty Pleasures

At some point I had to admit it, right?  Which movies that are, for the most point, fairly awful - and yet still have a way of making me tune in.  It's hard to imagine why some of these films are being watched by anyone, but it's rather humorous when horror fans discuss what movies they love and hate - and which ones are decidedly awful no matter who's watching them.  But the following films are the ones that I still pull out (because yes, I own all of them on DVD!) and throw in the DVD player when I'm feeling nostalgic.

 House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

A while back, when I was busy getting into Rob Zombie's music, I thought 'Hey! This guy's making movies, too.  Should so check that out!' 
And I did.  Bought it sight unseen.  Was under ten bucks I'm sure or I wouldn't have been that brave. 
Let's just say that while watching it, my eyes were wide open the entire time, my jaw dropped as well.  I can remember after finishing it thinking, 'what the hell was that I just watched?'....and you know what?  I still have no idea what I watched.  But I liked it.  In a perverse, sick kind of way.  It's like watching an overly long, extended Rob Zombie music video.  But I love Dr. Satan and Captain Spaulding.  And that Firefly family? They are cuckoo for CoCo Puffs. Wow.  But something in that hour and a half 'video' keeps me coming back.  And no, I still have no idea what.

  Queen of the Damned (2002)

I get a whole lot of grief for this one.  And I'm aware why.  It sucks.  Big time.  And I know this. 
I'm a big Anne Rice fan, and when they cast Interview with the Vampire and chose Tom Cruise (!!) for Lestat, well let's just say that was worse than yellow jackets at a picnic.  So when they chose Stuart Townsend for Lestat in this picture, I have to say I was a bit relieved.  Not that he's awe-inspiring in it, or even decent, to be honest.  I just hated Cruise in that role so bad. 
And though it's not really nice to speak ill of the dead, I disliked Aaliyah here as well.  The whole film is pretty ridiculous, really.  But Townsend is pleasant to look at and I love the scenes in the cheesy vampire club, as well as the music - the soundtrack (both score and songs) is one of my favorites.

 Dracula 2000

Speaking of vampires, here's one most people hate as well. 
With Gerard Butler playing the Count and the storyline merging the story of Judas Iscariot with the Dracula storyline,  it really is one of the most ridiculous vampire stories out there. 
But did I mention Gerard Butler is playing Dracula?  Um, I don't care if he can't act his way out of a paper bag, he's freaking sexy.  Exactly what one would want if indeed they were trying to score with the tall, dark, and undead.
I'm also a huge fan of Christopher Plummer (though I bet he could kick himself in the Canadian ass for this one), and having him play the descendant of the famous Dr. Van Helsing..well, the casting department got lucky there, eh?
Even more prone to self-ass kicking should be Wes Craven, who has his name above the title for producing this stinker.  But hey, he's done that before (Cursed, I'm talking to you!).
All in all probably one of the worst vamp films in the last couple decades, but hey - the music was decent, it was fairly stylish, and again I say: Gerard Butler. Damn.

The Return (2006)

Here's a movie nobody saw.  But I did, and for an unknown reason I liked it.  First things first, the music score is by one of my favorite composers, Oscar winner Dario Marianelli.  It is one of my favorite movie scores and is still in stock on Amazon and at iTunes.
The movie itself surrounds the story of a young woman (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who has avoided going home to her small Texas town because she is haunted by something in her past that she can't quite remember.  She's troubled by it, plagued with nightmares, and sees visions of people and places she can't explain.  Finally having to go home due to her work, she has to confront the past head-on, and is surprised by what she finds out.  It can be confusing and quite slow at times, but I'm still drawn to it.  Maybe it's just the music and Gellar's presence, I don't know.

House of Wax (2005)

The original 1953 House of Wax with Vincent Price can never, EVER be topped by this worthless sequel.  There, now that I have that out of the way, I have to explain the reason this film is on this list.
The cast, sans Paris Hilton of course, is actually pretty strong here. I'm a fan of Supernatural's Jared Padalecki, and also think Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray pull off a reasonably good job here.
But the film itself isn't great.  It's known mostly for Paris Hilton's graphic death, of course. 
Besides watching Padalecki get his wax on, I loved the ending when the titular house of wax is burning down and all that goop is everywhere, melting gruesomely to the ground.  Pretty gross, and that is why I still consider it a guilty pleasure.

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Ha! It's true! I love this movie!  I shall not tell a lie. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze are....well, shall we just say you can tell that Ryan Phillippe was going to be the actor of the bunch.  Gellar gets by okay but her character is so unlikeable that it doesn't count for much.  Anne Heche is in here too, in a bit part that screams 'yep, I'm totally as certifiable as you think I am!'
My favorite part of the film is the opening.  It's very stylish, with the cover of Summer Breeze (Type O Negative) playing as the camera sweeps over the dark ocean, then the winding seaside road, and on to the poor chap on the cliff....wait...what's that I hear??  Hey, that's pretty good stuff.
And yes, I know the movie morphs into a teen slasher flick with nothing but a reason to showcase Hewitt's ample bosom, but I have a soft place in my heart for the fisherman with the hook.  Perhaps the old urban legend about the guy with the hook for a hand weighs in here, marring my judgement, but either way, I'm in for the long haul.  And I freaking love this soundtrack, passionately, which in case you didn't notice, means a great deal to me when dissecting films.

Mary Reilly (1996)

This film is critically panned, and with very good reason.  It's pretty darn awful.  This bizarre take on the classic story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is nothing if not peculiar. 
Julia Roberts was totally miscast, can't get her accent right to save her life, and is truly at her most unattractive here.  John Malkovich, as the enigmatic Dr. Jekyll and his creepy counterpart, is actually rather painful to watch.  He emits such a kooky and somewhat repelling vibe that it's almost frightening in and of itself.  The guy is weird (Malkovich), I get that. 
But this film is just a hot mess.
So why on earth do I not only like it, but own it?  Because I love bleak period films.  I thrive on them.  They make me happy on a rainy afternoon.  And this crap-fest fits that bill. 
Here's a trivia tidbit.  Tim Burton was originally set to head up this film.  I can only guess how much better it would have been.
But then again, I think perhaps I could have made a better film.

 Rest Stop (2006)

I get a heaping load of grief for this one, too. And truth be told, it's also pretty bad.  But I've always loved road horror.  I realize movies like Joy Ride, The (original) Hitcher, and even Duel are far better examples of this sub-genre.  But sue me, I like this piece of dreck.
Plot:  Guy and girl stop at rest area.  Guy is kidnapped by crazed serial killer driving a yellow (yep, yellow) pick-up.  Girl can't find guy. Girl desperately tries to keep yellow truck killer from doing his worst.
The acting is substandard, to say the least.  The killer never really does anything except drive a yellow truck and show up every now and again to terrorize the girl in the rest area.  There's a wacky family in a camper that have no point whatsoever. The twist ending isn't twisty at all and falls really flat.  And shan't we forget...freakin' Joey Lawrence plays a cop!  Wow, there really isn't anything right with this picture. 
But still...I own it.
I think the only thing worse than the fact that I own it...and actually enjoy that they made a sequel!  Ahhh!

Soul Survivors (2001)

Simply the worst.  Really, really bad. 
But hey!  Eliza Dushku is in it!  As is Wes Bentley and Casey Affleck, both known to be decent actors on occasion!  So what happened here? 
In the plot, a young college girl is responsible for the death of her boyfriend in a car accident after driving drunk.  Even though her friends try to help her through the depressive funk she is in, she starts having hallucinations and believes she is being stalked by masked killers. And oh yeah, Luke Wilson plays a priest.
There is very ominous and bleak imagery in this film, and I suppose that is what has always attracted me.  There is a gothic dance club that is in the ruins of a church and I have to say is darkly delightful.  I would have loved that kind of place as a teen.  So basically, the script is senseless but I can't stop staring at the sets. 
But I have to say I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone.  Sadly, it is utterly dreadful.


Pax Romano said...

I loved that back story in Dracula 2000 using the myth of Judas (silver bullets anyone?). Tacky, but creative.

The Rob Zombie movies? I sort of enjoyed the feel of The Devil's Rejects (that whole 70's vibe), but that humiliation/rape bit in the motel room really turned me off.

As for Rest Stop...I just watched it last night. WTF was that all about?

James Gracey said...

I totally have to agree with you on House of 1000 Corpses, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Mary Reilly and House of Wax. All guilty pleasures of mine too! As are Urban Legend, Blade 3 and Ghosts of Mars...
Aside from Dracula 2000, I haven't seen any of the other titles you mentioned. I'm sure I'd love 'em though. Just don't tell anyone! ;)

iZombie said...

totally on the same page!
thank you for being an open-minded movie watcher!

The Mike said...

I got your back on a few of these. I never understood what people didn't like about Dracula 2000, and I have fond memories of being the only person in a theater watching The Return. I Know What You Did Last Summer has grown on me too.

I was curious about Rest Stop because of the road horror aspect, too. Maybe I'll give it a whirl at last.

Good stuff ma'am!

It Came From The Man Cave said...

I liked House of Wax not sure why people dog it. In fact your list looks pretty good. House of 1,000 is great dirty gritty movie until the end. The last 10 to 15 minutes the movie will lose me. But I still like it. Cheers

Budd said...

I just felt wrong after house of 1000 corpses. It was just a bit too much for me.

Christine Hadden said...

Pax: Yeah, I'm still not sure what the hell Rest Stop was all about...and I have even less of an answer about WHY I like it!

James: You and I have similar taste, for sure...but I'm really not sure I could recommend Soul Suvivors, you'd disown me for sure!

Jeremy: Not sure if I'm open-minded as much as I am just stupid for liking some of these!

The Mike: Well if you do watch Rest Stop, I can't be held responsible for whatever you might throw at the tv!

Man-Cave: I do agree with you about the last 15 minutes of House of 1000 really did kind of get more WTF!? than usual...

Budd: Yeah, I pretty much needed a shower after House...