Okay, it’s a sad fact that it is far easier to make a list of bad horror movies than good ones. So we tried to make it a bit harder by choosing the absolute worst horror movie from each decade for the last ten years. Keep in mind, this list is only of movies that we’ve actually seen. So, while we’re certain there are some far worse movies out there, these are the stinkers that stood out to us. (And because we’re nice ladies, we also gave you a list of movies to watch instead from those years as well.)
Broke and Bookish are taking a break until August 15th with their topics for Top Ten Tuesday, so we’re going to fill the slot with some movie related lists until they’re back at it!
The Top Ten Worst Horror Movies of the Last Decade
Synopsis: 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone.
I still remember how annoying the characters were. Just thinking about this movie makes me hunch up my shoulders and shudder.
Synopsis: When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.
Honestly, I know that I watched this one, but I’m pretty sure I was reading a book at the same time, it was so blah.
GracieKat: I generally don’t get sick from the found footage style of movie but this one made me a bit queasy and headachy. The main actress was kind of blah and they really didn’t make as much use of the catacombs as they could have.
Synopsis: A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others’ rectums.
“You know what would be so disgusting? If a bunch of people were trapped ass to mouth.” “Disgusting means scary, right, dude?” “Yeah, man. Totally means scary!” “Oh, okay. Well, here’s some money. Make the scary film, dude!”
GracieKat: I never wanted to watch it and the pictures that popped up definitely does not make me regret that decision.
Synopsis: Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, The Girl Next Door follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt…and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime.
Torture, brainwashing, child abuse, torture, brainwashing, child abuse. Oh gee, look, more torture, brainwashing, and child abuse. With a side of murder, rape and all that lovely stuff. *eyeroll*
Are there any movies you guys found absolutely uninteresting that we missed? Drop a comment down below. You’re free to try and defend a favorite that we tanked, nicely of course or we will have to sic Coolthulhu on you.
Do these posts really need any introduction at this point? You know what to expect and you know you’ll be entertained. I give the floor to JB Rockwell, author of Serengeti, Dark and Stars, and most recently, Hecate.
Let me start off by saying I love Kurt Russell. Seriously. Love him. From The Thing, to Captain Ron, to Stargate and Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2, the man nails it every time.
Um, well, except for Big Trouble in Little China, maybe. That…wasn’t so good.
Of all his roles, though, Snake Plissken has to be the most iconic. I mean, c’mon! The eyepatch! The hair! THAT OH-SO-SUGGESTIVE BELLY TATTOO! I mean, yeah, I admit, Escape from New York isn’t the best dystopian sci-fi flick out there—far from it, actually—but it’s a classic. A must-see for Russell’s surly, snarling Plissken character alone.
Not convinced? Alright. How about this: Escape from New York is the American Road Warrior. Seriously! It is! Look. They’re both post-apocalyptic, humanity falling apart movies, right? They were both released in the same year (1981) movie released in the very same year, and yes, the setting is different (Road Warrior takes place in an Australian desert, Escape from New York on a single island in New York City), but take a close look at the main characters in the two movies: two gruff, angry, not-exactly-good guys forced into doing something heroic not because they want to, but because it’s the only way to get themselves out of a mess. I mean, look at these guys!
Tell me they don’t look like they hang out at the same biker bar together. Granted, Snake’s got a quasi-phallic, serpentine belly tattoo and Max doesn’t, but that’s why Escape from New York is better. Plus, Kurt Russell. Nuff said.
Still don’t believe me? Fine. Keep reading. If you get to the end and your still not convinced, drop me a comment and we can duke it out.
Alright *cracks knuckles, gets down to business* let’s do this thing.
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.
Note: This the future, in this movie. 1997. Um, yeah…
Taglines (Because They’re Awesome)
The world’s greatest leader is a hostage in the most dangerous place on Earth. Now only the deadliest man alive can save him.
1997: New York City is now a maximum security prison. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking in is insane.
New York City has Become the Only Maximum Security Prison for the Entire Country. Once You go In, You don’t Come Out… Until Today.
Kurt Russell (Known for…sheesh what isn’t he known for?) as Snake Plissken: a good guy gone bad who must do bad things to bad people to restore the good…or something.
Lee Van Cleef (Star of a bazillion spaghetti westerns, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) as Bob Hauk: The US Police Force Commissioner (evidently, in addition to having just one prison the US has settled on just one police force?) tasked with retrieving the president—at all costs!
Ernest Borgnine (Best known as Ernest Borgnine) as Cabbie: an off-kilter and possibly bat-shit crazy cab driver who rolls around Manhattan prison with his big band music blaring, randomly popping up now and then to give Snake a ride in his classic yellow taxi.
Donald Pleasance (The bad guy you know, but don’t know. Has appeared in too many things to list, including most of the Halloween movies) as POTUS: Dumped in Manhattan prison with his precious, precious tape, promptly taken prisoner and turned into the Duke of New York’s bitch.
Isaac Hayes (Best known as the voice of Chef from South Park) as the Duke of New York (AKA, the Duke): The Tina Turner of this particular Bartertown, decked out with a swank cavalry hat, gold-braided epaulets, and a shiny Caddy with chandelier headlights. And yes, Tina Turner and Bartertown were in Thunderdome, not Road Warrior. Sue me.
Harry Dean Stanton (Another guy who’s played a ton of roles, my favorite of which was Brett: the teamster who gets munched in Alien) as Brain: Manhattan Island prison’s resident smart guy. Pulled some heists with one Snake Plissken back in the day, so they’ve got history. Bad history.
Adrienne Barbeau (Her resume’s impressive and all over the map, ranging from roles in Creepshow and Maude, to a stint on General Hospital and voicing Catwoman, AKA Selena Kyle, in Batman: The Animated Series) as Maggie: Brain’s main squeeze and sometime bodyguard, not named Pinky (disappointingly) but struts around in a pink dress.
Budget & Box Office Info:
Release Date: 10 July 1981
Box Office Sales: $25M US
Sequels, Crossovers, Tie-Ins & Other Good Stuff:
A sequel, Escape from L.A., was released in 1996 with Kurt Russell returning in the lead role. There’s also been talk of rebooting the original over the years, with film rights bought and sold and traded between various production companies without ever actually producing a film. At one point, Gerard Butler was tagged as the next Snake (Mc)Plissken, and another Jeremy Renner, but so far nothing seems to have stuck. Carpenter himself tried to get an anime spin-off going, but that never materialized either.
Note to Hollywood: Don’t reboot the original, make the prequel with Snake’s backstory instead.
As for non-film crossovers and tie-ins…well, there’s plenty:
In 1981, Bantam Books published a movie tie-in novelization that included scenes cut from the film, as well as backstory for both Snake and Hauk. Take note Hollywood—someone already wrote the story for you, you lazy sods.
Marvel Comics released the one-shot The Adventures of Snake Plissken in January 1997, with a story that takes place sometime between Escape from New York and before the ‘Cleveland escape’ Snake mentions in Escape from L.A..
Videogame director Hideo Kojima has referred to the movie frequently as an influence on his work, in particular the Metal Gear series, with the game’s protagonist (Solid Snake) partially (I’d argue heavily) influenced by Snake Plissken. So much so, in fact, that in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Snake actually uses the alias “Pliskin” to hide his real identity during most of the game.
Escape from New York (in a Nutshell):
Warning: Spoilers. Proceed with caution.
1997: Crime rates in the US have increased 400%, prompting the government to turn Manhattan Island (New York’s trendiest zip code) into a maximum security prison.
That’s right, the whole damn island—lock, stock and barrel—cut off from the rest of the world by mined bridges and a 50-foot containment wall. And since they’re a lazy government, they sort of just…left things after that. No guards, no security force keeping things under control, just prisoners left to run riot, organizing themselves into roving gangs.
Oh, and supposedly the rest of the world outside the prison has gone all dystopian and crappy thanks to the US, Russia and China getting pissed at each other and launching World War III.
Sound familiar? Gangs, lawlessness, everything gone to hell in a handbasket—sound an awful lot like the post-apocalyptic set-up in Road Warrior? Thought so. *acts smug, is smug*
Right. The movie. POTUS is on his way to a summit with China and Russian when Air Force One is hijacked by domestic terrorists. Well, a domestic terrorist who evidently got on board by pretending to be a flight attendant.
Side note: I’m continually amazed how people think the Government is cunning enough to fake the entire moon landing and yet stupid enough to let a terrorist onto Air Force One. Also, you’d thinkthat, given the violent and chaotic nature of this, the US’s one and only prison—a whopping big island far from Washington, DC—that Air Force One would go well around it to wherever it’s going, but nope! Flies right over. What a buncha chumps.
Anyway, back to the plane. POTUS and his briefcase of super-secret, nuclear fusion information on cassette—oh, 1980s, your high-tech was so not high-tech—are loaded into an emergency pod and spat out over Manhattan Island mere seconds before Air Force One crashes. Unfortunately, the ponds lands inside the prison—Really? With all that nearby landmass they couldn’t have shot him a little bit further and not stuck him inside the prison?—where he’s taken hostage by a badass calling himself the Duke of New York. The police go in after him, but quickly retreat (something about threats, and a severed finger, and if they show their faces P-OTUS-Trumpsalot is gonna end up a deader) scratch their heads for a while after and finally decide to call in the big guns, enlisting the services of a scruffy, one-eyed, special-forces-turned-federal-depository-robber by the name of S.D. “Snake” Plissken.
So, here’s the thing about Snake: he’s gruff, he’s surly, and as far as I can tell, he doesn’t like anyone. Not even that gerbil his mom got him when he was eight. He’s also got a huge chip on his shoulder when it comes to police and authority, so you just know he ain’t gonna help out POTUS Pinky Loser unless there’s something in it for him. So how, you ask, does Police Commission Hauk convince him to save Prezzie-Wezzie and retrieve his magic, end-of-society-as-we-know-it stopping tape? Well, he offers a carrot, of course. And then screws him over with a stick.
The Carrot: A full pardon for Snake’s crimes. Sounds good, until…
The Screw You Stick: Snake has just 24 hours to complete the mission (because the summit Prez and Tape were headed to starts in, you guessed it, 24 hours). Come back after that—with or without POTUS and his info—and Snake’s screwed. Well, more than screwed, actually. He’s dead. Because Screw You Stick #2 from Hauk involves microscopic explosives injected into Snake’s carotid arteries that will explode in 24 hours. Oh, and just to screw him that little bit more, those same explosives can’t be defused more than 15 minutes before they’re scheduled to explode.
Nice, eh? Yeah. Hauk’s a really nice guy.
Lacking other options, Snake reluctantly and gruffly agrees. He does pretty much everything gruffly in this move when it comes right down to it. And scruffly. And one-eyed. ’Cause he’s Snake Plissken, and that’s what a Snake Plissken do.
Road Warrior Note: Max was pretty gruff, and scruffy, and generally pissed off. Granted he had use of two full eyes, not one, but from what I can tell, he hated pretty much everyone in that movie but his dog. Okay, so he liked his dog and Snake didn’t like his gerbil. Sheesh. I never said these guys were exactly alike.
The Rest of It:
Snake sneaks into Manhattan via glider—yup, glider; first time for everything—lands it atop the World Trade Center and leaves it there so he can come back and use it to escape later. (I’m not a pilot, nor a glider enthusiast, but I’m pretty sure his idea of ‘tipping it over the edge and gliding to freedom’ would probably end in a big ’ol splat of death, but what the hell. Let’s go with it.) Using his vintage, 80s tech (a box with some not-at-all helpful lights), Snake marches into the ramshackle, garbage strewn, used-to-be-a-city prison to track POTUS down. Along the way, he runs into a gang called ‘the Crazies’ gets rescued by Ernest Borgnine, err, Cabbie (a slightly off his rocker cab driver whose pastimes include listening to big band music and slinging Molotov cocktails), and meets up with an old chum called Brain (real name Harold).
Road Warrior Equivalency Note: Cabbie = Gyro Captain, Brain = Pappagallo, and Maggie = Warrior Woman. Oh yeah, I haven’t mentioned her yet. She’s Brain’s main squeeze.
So, turns out Snake and Brain have history (bad, of course, since we already established that Snake hates everyone and everything in the known universe, including gerbils, though possibly not snakes), but they still kinda, sorta, but never really agree to help each other out. Because, plot and stuff.
Anywho, Brain’s a big ’ol wealth of knowledge, and very kindly informs Snake that the Duke of New York (AKA, the Duke, AKA POTUS Taker, AKA leader of The Gypsies—the largest and most powerful gang in Manhattan prison) plans to lead a mass escape across the heavily mined 69th Street Bridge using Prezzie as a human shield. Oh, and Brain is the only one with a diagram of the bridge and said mines so, ya know, that’s gonna be important at some point.
Brain also points Snake to the Duke’s compound, where he finds POTUS trussed up in an old railroad car, frees him and promptly gets captured by none other than the Duke himself: six feet of cavalry hat and gold-braided epaulet wearing Isaac Hayes, cruising the streets of broken down Manhattan in a 1970s boat of a Cadillac decked out with chandelier headlights.
Also, for Road Warrior equivalency, the Duke = Lord Humungus who, as I remember, liked to roll around in a pretty over-the-top vehicle himself.
Right, back to the movie. Snake is forced into a gladiatorial match with a simply charming bruiser named Slag (think Blaster from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome—okay, they hadn’t made that movie yet). The two combatants beat away at each other while a bloodthirsty crowd looks on, trading blows with baseball bats, then spiked baseball bats, using trashcan lids as shields. Blaster, I mean Slag gets the better of Snake at first (he’s bigger after all, and has the crowd on his side) but in a surprise move, Snake rallies to victory, smacking the Slagster from behind, leaving him dead-dead-dead.
Meanwhile, Brain and Maggie have been busy, tricking the Duke’s men into giving them access to the President so they can steal him away. And it works…until the Duke discovers their treachery and calls his gang thugs from the gladiator match to track them down.
Snake escapes in the confusion when no one’s watching—whatever, guess he wasn’t really a prisoner or something—finds Brain, Maggie, and POTUS, jumps into Cabbie’s taxi and heads for the bridge.
Oh, right. The glider. They went there first but some other gang knocked it off the top of the building. See? Told you the damn thing would crash. Also, Snake gets a crossbow bolt in the leg somewhere along the way, giving him a very Road Warrior like limp. Just wanted to mention that.
Back to the taxi. Using his mine diagram, Brain guides them across the bridge with the Duke and his chandeliered Caddy in hot pursuit. Unfortunately, the cab hits a mine (Snake’s fault, not Brain’s) and gets split in two. Cabbie dies, then Brain, Maggie gets killed when she stays behind to shoot out the Duke’s Caddy, only to get killed herself when said Caddy crashes into her, leaving Snake and POTUS alone with a now-afoot Duke still in hot pursuit. They reach the containment wall and the police lower a rope to pull them over, the Duke gets dukified—i.e., killed with extreme malice—by a slightly-crazed, PTSD and revenge-driven POTUS, after which point he calmly heads off to hair and make-up so he can address the international community.
Snake, meanwhile, receives his pardon and has the mini-explosives implanted in his neck defused with seconds to spare. Spits in Hauk’s eye (and Prezzie’s while he’s at it) refusing an offer to work for the government on secret missions to head off into the dark of night.
Because he’s a lone wolf…err, snake. And lone Snake don’t work for no one but himself.
The final scene shows the President delivering his summit speech via televised broadcast. He cues up the cassette tape—remember, the information on it is super-secret and will somehow bring about world peace—only to stare in horror as Cabbie’s rancid big band music spews out.
Snake, looking extremely pleased with himself, saunters off into the darkness, smiling as he tears POTUS’s peace tape to shreds.
Road Warrior Note: Remember the switcheroo with the gas and the sand at the end of Road Warrior? Yeah, like that. Except cassette tapes. And Snake does the switcherooing. ’Cause he’s Snake Plissken: Ultimate Badass.
Bonus Material from Escape from New York:
Bob Hauk: You going to kill me, Snake?
Snake Plissken: Not now, I’m too tired. [pause] Maybe later.
Bob Hauk: Plissken? Plissken, what are you doing?
Snake Plissken: Playing with myself! I’m going in.
Snake Plissken: I don’t give a fuck about your war… or your president.
The Mummy was a completely awesome movie! Filled with perfectly timed comedy, a strong female heroine, a somewhat sinister Mummy, and great lines! I’m talking, of course, about the 1999 version of The Mummy. The one starring Brendan Fraser and the wonderful Rachel Weisz.
The one that I went to see on Friday tried to be a great movie and slid in somewhere around “mediocre at best”. As one might expect, this was Tom Cruise playing Tom Cruise. (Does the man ever actually try to play someone other than himself? Serious question.) Sofia Boutella is blandly proficient as the scantily clad mummy who couldn’t ooze menace or evil if her life depended on it. Given that we’re supposed to accept that this chick killed her baby half-brother and her father, you’d think there’d be something in the way of evil there. Instead she just comes across as your typical vengeful, wanton female. Annabelle Wallis was about as good as Boutella was. And I did not buy Crowe’s Jekyll/Hyde at all.
Why was there a wet white t-shirt scene in The Mummy? Did not a single person making it go “You know, maybe we should have her put on a different color shirt?” Because it’s not like the wet white t-shirt is a blatant aim to give guys something to beat off to or anything. Between Boutella’s outfit and the “Lookit! Boobies!” of that particular scene, it was obvious that the film crew wasn’t exactly confident of their success in the movie being popular on it’s premise or the actors’ abilities alone.
Now, I do give them credit for the hiring of Sofia Boutella. She looked right for the role. However, why did we have to do the contrast of the evil foreign female against the stereotypical white female again. (Blonde hair, blue eyes, etc. etc. You really can’t get more white.) This is, admittedly, more predominant in my mind since seeing the criticism that Wonder Woman got for the very minor role African Americans played in the film. I couldn’t help but think “Really, how hard would it have been to hire an African American female for Jenny’s role?” And then it would have avoided the white girls vs the other girls thing. But, yeah, no, that’s too difficult a concept for the people making the casting decisions to understand.
(On a lighter note: A blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jenny meant every time she was on screen, I kept expecting Forest Gump to yell for her from off screen.)
The action was fine, with nothing new thrown in. Some of the scenes are recognizable from the better The Mummy. The dialogue was acceptable, but nothing to write home about.
Do yourself a favor and just watch The Mummy movie from 1999. It’s by far the better film experience. This one wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t very good.
Wonder Woman Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
I had no desire to see Wonder Woman. I have been less than impressed with most of the superhero movies released, and didn’t want to waste my money on another one. However, my munchkin had asked me early on if I would take her to see it, and I had said yes. When I found out my mom wanted to see it (who only gets to see Miss L about once every 3 months) as well, and was visiting for the week, I was had. I restrained my sighs, played the good sport, and took them.
Twenty minutes into the movie, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t wanted to see it.
Holy crap! Wonder Woman was awesome. It wasn’t perfect, but the parts that weren’t perfect were fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I clapped, I wiggled in my seat. I teared up. You probably did a double take at that last sentence, didn’t you?. When I had read about women tearing up watching the movie, I rolled my eyes. Over-emotional females, diehard feminists, yadda yadda yadda. But no, it’s not any of that. It’s this disbelief that you are seeing a woman on the screen kicking ass. When men say she can’t, she says “Why not?” and does it anyways.
And it’s not this sort of butch “I will prove it to you! Grr. Argh.” and it’s not this “My curves will see me through” that you see in these types of movies either. She’s not depending on her looks, she’s not dressed in a skintight suit and talking all sexily. Yes, her outfit is gorgeous, but when you’re watching Gal Gadot play Diana, you really aren’t looking at her outfit. (Trust me on this. Not a single lusty thought flittered across my brain during this movie.)
The action scenes were typical, but the (not mere) fact that a woman was suddenly the centerpiece of them made them a game changer. All the typical shots that are supposed to show a character being super character-y normally have me rolling my eyes. These ones had me doing a mental snoopy dance. The dialogue is solid, and the humor doesn’t feel forced in with all the grace of a college boy making the moves on a swimsuit model. If you’re taking a kid to see it, beware there is some adult humor though. There were a few scenes in Wonder Woman I had to explain in appropriate ways to my eight year old.
Overall, taken at face value, Wonder Woman is better than the average superhero on a few levels.This was refreshing to watch simply because nothing in it felt like they were trying too hard. The movie flowed smoothly from start to finish, and the ending gives middle-age racist white men a reason to quake in their boots. It’s a fun popcorn flick that has the ability to make any little girl watching it feel empowered.
Ghost in the Shell Synopsis: In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.
Release Date: 03/24/2017 | MPAA Rating: PG-13 | Skulls: 4 out of 5
Power Rangers Review
I have to admit. I was a Power Rangers addict in my early to late teens. I first got hooked on it when I watched it with my nephew…and then without. When I had my son I refreshed my love of it. I don’t pretend to be a Power Rangers expert but I have an abiding affection for it. So, it set my geeky little heart all a-flutter when I saw the trailer for it. It was also a good trailer. It showed just enough to make you want to see it and not too much.
Power Rangers started in the early nineties (1993), ran for quite a few seasons and with different variations. The show itself was pretty basic. Some kind of monster would show up, the Rangers would morph, kick some bad guy butt, rinse and repeat. They did start adding a bit more story as the show went on but the formula remained pretty much the same. It caught some flack because some kids were trying out the moves on each other and it was “extremely violent”. Never mind the fact that the show stressed teamwork, friendship and loyalty.
I really wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, even with the cool trailer. I was very pleasantly surprised. More than pleasantly surprised.
I loved it.
The story starts out normally. The usual detention Breakfast-Clubbers are thrown together by chance and after a mis-guided explosion at a gold mine they find the Power coins. That’s when the fun begins. Afterwards they start noticing they’ve changed. They discover a buried spaceship, which tells them their purpose and what they’ve become. They are now the Power Rangers and have approximately eleven days to save their town (and the world) from Rita Repulsa, who (coincidentally) has also been re-awakened. Then the fun really starts
The acting was quite good, much better than I expected. The relationships were pretty realistically portrayed. They weren’t instant friends nor instant antagonists. There was also no insta-love or love triangles for which I was profoundly grateful. There was also no petty bickering or cattiness between the two female leads which was very refreshing.
There were a few cheesy moments but I expected a little cheese and it was good cheese. The difference between generic slices and real chedddar.
There were some very unexpected twists and parts that actually surprised me. I mean, really surprised me. I’d love to say more but why spoil it for you?
One thing I’d also like to mention is that the PG-13 guideline is well-earned. There were some moments that were very intense and one or two made me cringe a bit. Not cringe, as in it’s terrible and hokey, but a cringe as in it was a little hard to watch.
And the villain? I’m not going to say much but don’t go in expecting the doofy Rita Repulsa of old. This chick is scary. And pretty awesome looking.
There were many a part that made my geeky little heart flutter. There were a few in-jokes here and there that were balanced perfectly. Not too many, so as to make it nothing but referential humor. The dramatic parts were balanced quite well with the more comedic and action parts. I was afraid it would go ‘Godzilla’ on me. Too many people, not enough action.
I was a tad bit leery early on with the way a couple of the car chase scenes were shot. They were very choppy and quick so I was worried that the action sequences would be the same. I needn’t have worried. They were great! I loved The Zords. If there hadn’t been people sitting in front of me I may have squeed a bit.
In wrap-up it was an awesome nostalgia to indulge in with my son. It’s always nice to have a nerd-out together every now and then. For some younger viewers some of the scenes might be a bit too intense, though.