It has been quite some time since I paid my Bottom 10 films on Flickchart any mind. It’s so rare that a movie sinks to such depths that I am not regularly reminded of what dwells down there. Much to my horror, a recent movie I watched has once again pulled me into the abyss. For the longest time, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs was my lowest-ranked film. Now a new abomination has taken its place. In honor of this tremendous low point in my cinematic journey I am going to look at my Bottom 10 and try to remember why I despise them so. Come with me into the darkness… (Not all trailers and links are safe for work.)
2607. Diary of the Dead
I’m not a huge George A. Romero fan. If I had to pick my favorite of his work, it’d be Creepshow. There are other zombie films that I prefer to anything Romero has directed regarding the walking dead. Diary of the Dead was just plain atrocious, though. I didn’t really care for Day of the Dead, but at least it had the “Choke on ’em” scene. Diary had nothing memorable about it. I’m even having trouble remembering why I hate it. Maybe I was irritated by its heavy-handed social commentary? This review from the AV Club agrees with my assessment:
Zombie-movie legend George Romero is rightly acclaimed for injecting humor and social consciousness into horror films. But there’s a big difference between making a kick-ass zombie movie with a trenchant sociopolitical subtext, and making a dreary, didactic film about the ethics and politics of journalism and non-fiction filmmaking that just happens to have some zombies in it. With his latest undead opus, the self-consciously low-fi Diary Of The Dead, Romero set out to make the first kind of film, but ended up making the second.
Yes, didactic. One definition is, “in the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a patronizing way”. That’s how I felt. Like I was being talked down to. Apparently, the critics over at Rotten Tomatoes didn’t feel that way, since they gave it a Fresh 62% score.
This one I recall pretty well because of its ire-raising misogyny and general cruelty. There is sexual violence in Morituris that managed to make me feel sick deep in my psyche. I’ve seen the original I Spit On Your Grave as well as the remake, and I still thought Morituris went too far. There is one poor woman in particular who is treated with such brutality that I wanted to give up on the film entirely. I wish I had. Rarely am I so disgusted morally and physically as I was this monstrosity. Pure nastiness.
I found a review from Bloody Disgusting that utterly savages Morituris. The author, Brad Brist, writes, “Morituris might just be the most vile movie since, maybe ever?”. He goes on to give the film a rating of “Negative 100 million out of 5 Skulls”. If that’s not scathing, I don’t know what is. In fact, his review was so harsh that the the director of Morituris, Raffaele Picchio, felt the need to defend himself in an interview. The Rotten Tomatoes audience score sits at 25%’
2609. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Patton Oswalt talked about this movie in his stand-up act. To be honest, I don’t think Death Bed is all that awful. It doesn’t belong with the other movies in my Flickchart Hell. There is no doubt that it is utterly nuts, but I have no idea why I ranked it so harshly.
Wikipedia defines Death Bed as a surrealist horror film. Pop Matters, which ranked the film #2 on their 10 Weirdest Horror Movie of All Time, says that it is “… too insane for words”. Psychotronic Review just comes out and calls it, ” …a work of art. And despite its low budget, it is technically competent. You don’t need to like it, of course. But you really are a philistine if you don’t respect it for the idiosyncratic art that it is”. It is possible that I, and the audience over at Rotten Tomatoes who gave it a 30% score, are philistines. Maybe we simply don’t get it. Death Bed is definitely surreal and insane, but it very well could be a work of art.
2610. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)
There are a handful of movies that I acknowledge for making a sissy out of me. They aren’t merely offensive or gross or disturbing; these films broke me. They tore me up. They ripped through my jaded movie-viewer armor like a rabid beast. Dancer in the Dark is one such film. Human Centipede II is another. I have diligently sought out messed-up films from the beginning of my cinephile awakening. There is a certain feeling of pride in being able to say I have been able to endure some of the most gnarly of cinematic offerings, but Centipede II showed me what my limit was and rubbed my nose in it. I don’t think the movie is utterly without merit, mind you. There is just no way in Hades I ever want to see it again.
Critic Kim Newman from Empire Magazine said of Centipede II, “The shocks will be familiar to anyone who enjoyed the first film”. WTF? movie was this guy watching? From the Front Row more accurately describes The Human Centipede (First Sequence):
I’ve encountered many people who either refuse to see it or talk about it in hushed tones, as if it were the epitome of cinematic depravity, like the mere mention of its name is unspeakably dirty.
But The Human Centipede is not the film they say it is. The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is that film, and more.
Damn straight! It is heartening to see that Centipede II is quite unpopular with both critics and audiences at Rotten Tomatoes.
(NOTE: Not long ago, I sat through the third installment of the series and felt pleasantly surprised that, though severely twisted and outrageous, the movie did not make short work of me. I could pretend that I was once again a disturbing movie-watching badass.)
2611. Motel Hell
Here’s another one that might not deserve being consigned to the pit. I remember being disturbed or irritated or both by Motel Hell. I vaguely recall a scene where people with slit throats are running around making duck noises. That may not be exactly what happened, but I know there’s something similar. Regardless, I know I felt queasy during the movie. That’s probably isn’t good enough reason to banish it like I did. Though, in my defense, Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews did point out, “It’s meant to be weird, campy and funny but settles for being tasteless, gruesomely awkward and moronic”.
Over at Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave Motel Hell a Fresh rating of 65%. Audiences were less generous with a 49%.
2612. Wristcutters: A Love Story
This is a quirky indie film about people who commit suicide and end up in a dreary afterlife where everything is slightly worse than on Earth. I sometimes enjoy quirky indie films if they are not intrusively quirky. Wristcutters got on my nerves something awful. The characters were annoying and there was a sappy ending that strained credibility with me. I found an Orlando Weekly review that shares my feelings about Wristcutters. Here’s the opening:
The witless Wristcutters holds all the fascination of a train wreck. You’ll stay in your seat just to see if it’ll get any worse, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds better girl in the afterlife, with the promising concept of its bland hero’s (Patrick Fugit) quest through a post-suicide purgatory undercut by a romantic formula so conventional it might as well have been taken from a CW drama.
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a CW drama, especially from the year the movie came out (2007), but I assume that comparing Wristcutters to one is not a compliment. Overall, though, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Fresh rating. The critics are at 67%, while the audience score is currently 82%.
2613. A Better Tomorrow II
I remember seeing acclaimed Hong Kong action director John Woo’s The Killer as a teenager and being blown away by the lunatic gunplay. Later, I saw Face/Off and had a rollicking good time. Imagine my surprise when A Better Tomorrow II turned out to be nearly unwatchable. Not much of the film is present in my memory, but I do recall one segment where Chow-Yun Fat is attempting to console his crazy friend. It went on too long and seemed too silly to be in the movie.
This is John Woo’s least favorite of his films. Woo and the film’s producer, Tsui Hark, argued over the editing of the film. Neither Woo or Hark were happy with the disjointed end result. The only part of Tomorrow II that Woo hasn’t washed his hands of is the final shootout.
The film currently holds an 80% critic score and an 83% audience score at Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently, other folks see something that John Woo doesn’t.
2614. Nude Nuns With Big Guns
If you want some idea of the mentality behind this movie, look no further than the scene where a topless, buxom woman is racking up pool balls. A guy says, “Nice rack”. Yeah. I’ve mostly scrubbed my brain of the rest of this travesty, but this excerpt from a DVD Talk review probably explains at least some of my disdain:
Nude Nuns with Big Guns doesn’t just deliver just about everything you’d expect out of that title; it never stops delivering, so you’re lookin’ at an hour and a half straight of sex, drugs, and big-ass guns.
…and yet I’m sitting here scowling right now. See, the problem is that Nude Nuns with Big Guns is a title in search of a movie. It doesn’t feel like anyone on either side of the camera is really having any fun, and even with all the tits and gunplay that get heaped on, it just feels so…workmanlike.
So, basically it’s a film without a soul. Not that one would expect a motion picture entitled Nude Nuns With Big Guns to have a soul, but still… Right now it holds a 28% audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Looks like I’m not alone in my hatred this time around.
This used to be my most hated film that I had ranked. A lot of people like this movie because the aliens are scary or something. There are even those who believe it to be a profound film about religious faith. I will sum up why I loathe Signs with two words: Swing Away. I do not wish to be controversial or offend anyone’s beliefs, so I will not go into detail as to what Swing Away signifies to me. I will just say that I find Signs to be a philosophical horror show. Nothing about its supposed meaning rings true and the contrived path to Swing Away makes me want to chop wood or bang my head against the wall in order to quell my rage. (NOTE: The Happening is my favorite Shyamalan movie. That may or may not affect how valid my opinion of Signs is to you.)
HA! LA Weekly offers a review of Signs entitled “Crap Circles“. The review itself appears to be erudite and kind of went over my head. But that’s a great title. This review from Slate provides a glimpse into my thoughts on the movie, though it only scratches the surface:
As a scare picture, Signs is good enough. As a religious parable, it’s scarier—and I don’t mean that as a compliment. The story of an alien invasion met with faith, its invaders are symbolic of what happens to people—and their children—when they become cynical unbelievers, writing off both the bad and the good as the product of chance. Shyamalan is saying that when you reject God, you kill your kids. The idea that an atheist or agnostic parent could be good parent—could instill values of skepticism and intellectual rigor—is outside this movie’s purview.
Much to my chagrin, Signs, too, received a Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Also, there is a movie called Jeff, Who Lives at Home that was inspired by (at least part of) the philosophy of Signs. That just adds insult to injury.
2616. American Guinea Pig: The Song of Solomon
Unfortunately, this nasty excursion is still fresh in my tortured memory. I’ve seen many gross and sadistic motion pictures in my day, but this soul-crushing offal has redefined unwatchability for me. The American Guinea Pig series, for those lucky enough not to know, is based on the earlier Japanese Guinea Pig series. You may have heard the story about actor Charlie Sheen viewing Guinea Pig 2: Flower of Flesh and Blood and believing it was a real snuff film. Sheen became so alarmed that he called the FBI. I have never watched the Japanese films because I want to retain my sanity and self-respect. For some reason, I thought that partaking in one of the American flicks would not be punishing to my very being. How wrong I was.
American Guinea Pig: The Song of Solomon is yet another tale of exorcism. I enjoy exorcism movies, so I keep watching them despite many not being all that good. Solomon went places far less palatable than even the most execrable possession disasters I’ve witnessed (Before Solomon, the movie Exorcismus was the lowest ranked exorcism movie I’d seen. I can’t recall the reason). Why is Solomon so unbearable? I would point to one scene toward the middle. Sure, the acting is deplorable, though that made me laugh. There’s some brutal gore that caused me to raise an eyebrow. None of that, however, equaled the devastation I experienced when the possessed woman vomited out all her internal organs. Now, keep in mind that I’ve seen Lucio Fulci’s The Gates of Hell. If you are familiar with that movie, then you know about the scene where the girl vomits up her intestines. That didn’t really bother me. In Solomon, the woman spends a mind-numbing, stomach-churning length of time expelling her insides. It goes on seemingly forever. But that’s not all. When she finally completes the arduous task, she tells the horrified priest, “I’m gonna need these back.” Right then, I knew I’d be ranking this sucker straight to the bottom. I never want to see what she does after uttering those words again. Never.
Honorable Mention – Powder
For years this was the worst movie I’d ever seen. I don’t have it ranked on Flickchart because I saw it over a decade before Flickchart existed. I do not want to watch it again in order to rank it properly. I had free tickets for Powder when it was released so I figured I had nothing to lose by checking it out. Even with the free tickets I felt as though I was owed compensation for not fleeing the theater. The experience was made worse when I found out the director, Victor Salva, was a convicted sex offender. (NOTE: I do not necessarily believe that the sins of the artist taint the artist’s work. But, in the case of Powder, my hatred of the film was looking for any reason to hate it more. Salva went on to create the Jeepers Creepers film series that made a considerable amount of money. Somebody must be watching his films. Not me, but somebody.)