PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #216  (Vol. 5, No. 20)  This edition is for the week of May 10--16, 2004.

Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960s to the 1980s: Part Three
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
"Van Helsing"  by Nolan B. Canova
Horrible Horror
 by Andy Lalino
Photos of Tortured Iraqi Prisoners....Kerry vs Bush....Terri's Law
 by Joshua Montgomery
The Return of the Monsters....Van Helsing
 by John Lewis
Who's In Charge Here?....Eat All You Want--That's Enough....Tank You Beddy Much....Radio Edit....Meet The Beatles, Part 16
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR
Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Horrible Horror

Horror fans are notorious for digging ALL horror films; the good, the bad, the mediocre; the sick the silly; big-budget, low budget, no-budget; CGI, Special Make-Up Effects - you name it. But are there horror films out there that, to you, just suck? Perhaps you feel that they're over-heralded or are simply a bore. Send in your comments to 'Oddservations' about Horror Movies that just don't appeal to you, and I'll post them in a future edition. Send the e-mails care of Nolan or myself.

Here's my list:

The "Child's Play" films: Perhaps I haven't given this series a fair shake, but at present, and despite my adoration for ventriloquist dummy movies, I just can't seem to give 'Chucky' a break. My initial thoughts were that Chucky was puppeteered too well, and that a toy that neat-looking couldn't possibly do the things it did. To this day, I still have never seen a "Child's Play" film. Ironically, the fourth film in the series, "Bride of Chucky" was released at a time when most other horror 'franchises' had hit bottom (that is until "Freddy vs. Jason" arrived), yet the film was a modest hit.

The "Exorcist" sequels: It goes without saying that the original is probably the best Horror Film ever made, but the sequels in the series are another story, and brace yourselves, because Part 4: The Beginning is on the horizon and it's looking like it may follow the pattern of The Curse of the Exorcist sequels. I think most fans would agree "Exorcist 2: The Heretic" went bust (in the '70s, however, I remember how bad I wanted to see it - glad I was too young...), despite having a great director (John Boorman) and a solid cast (returning Linda Blair and famed thespian Richard "The Medusa Touch" Burton). To me, the overall story was the culprit. "Exorcist III: Legion" is more well-respected by horror fans, and certainly does have some excellent shocks - the nuns crawling on the ceiling still gives me willies. However, and I'm sorry about this, George C. Scott was a bore in his role. E3 is definitely worth watching, though.

"Demons 2": Okay, okay, I have the DVD, but it's way inferior to the stunningly good original. The "Demons" series has a rather complex sequel system; after "Demons 2" in '86 (the end of Horror's Platinum Age) a movie was released direct-to-video in '89 called "The Church", which was a great film (despite it being made in the late '80s) and was considered to be an "unofficial" sequel to "Demons". Then, years later, videos/DVDs started popping up with the title "Demons 3: The Ogre", which was directed by Lamberto Bava, the director of D1 and D2. To add to the confusion, there is a lesser-known horror series out there called "Night of the Demons" (the original starred Linnea Quigley) which is frequently mistaken for L. Bava's "Demons" films.

"Abbott and Costello meet The Mummy": Even as a kid I couldn't stand the great comedy team battling that lame-looking mummy. After the Karloff classic and sequels, they had some nerve putting a mummy that looks like that on celluloid. I could have done a better job with Scotch tape & a first-aid kit.

"Revenge of the Dead" (aka "Zeder"): Here's a classic example of a movie poster that's better than the movie - in fact, despite that I hate the film, I have the poster hanging up in my den! The poster is truly awesome - it features a gruesome zombie bursting out of the earth (a sidewalk) with the catch line "The Dead Shall Rise" floating above it. Sure...'The Dead Shall Rise' means the audience will wake back up after the credits roll. Dull, almost gore-less, and chock full of missed potential, this one is to be avoided, unless you're an Italian horror completist. I recall dragging a buddy to this in 1985 (ROTD actually played in theaters back then), and it nearly brought an end to our friendship! I have to admit, though, that the poster is so good, I'll watch the film from time-to-time just 'cos I love the artwork (this was before all movie posters were Photoshopped).

"Return of the Living Dead" sequels: Hard to believe Ken Weiderhorn, who did such a great job helming the 1977 horror film "Shock Waves", directed a sequel so mind-numbingly bad. In a desperate attempt to be funny, the sequel retains none of the original's innovation and charm. The second sequel is a Brian Yuzna film. That's all that needs to be said.

"Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning" and "Jason Goes to Hell": Both films are low points in this great horror series. This is what cracks me up; Tommy Jarvis, the character that 'killed' Jason in "The Final Chapter" (my favorite Friday) was approx. 13 in that movie. Then, a year later (1985) he was approx. 18 years old! He aged pretty quick, huh? It was an attempt to create a human nemesis for Jason (actually a good idea) that didn't quite stick, although I liked Thom Matthews as Tommy in "Jason Lives!". "Jason Goes to Hell" was pure cinematic agony, and I never felt more suckered than I did in 1993 when I saw the trailer for the film which looked so good. When you saw the movie, however, it was a letdown of catastrophic proportions.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors": At the time I wouldn't see it 'cos "Dokken" did a single for the soundtrack.

Selected "Frankenstein" films: Not that I don't like them, but none of the "newer" Frankie films, including Hammer's "Curse of Frankenstein" and its sequels, have been able to top or even come close to Jack Pierce's classic creature design (I have to admit I like Glenn Strange's Frankenstein make-up better than Karloff's). Let's be honest; even to this day, the week when "Van Helsing" was released, most movie Frankensteins are outright forgettable. That's surprising for Hammer studios, who contributed very lame Frankenstein monsters and instead focused on Victor Frankenstein himself.

"Anaconda": This came along during horror's dry season (which lasted for years) and is basically a modernized nature-run-amuck flick. It stars ghetto denizens "Ice-T" and "J-Lo", so you know I won't be a-watchin'.

Anything by John Carpenter since "Christine": JC has never returned to form since his glory days directing some of my favorite films of all-time ("Escape from New York", "Assault on Precinct 13", "Halloween", "The Fog"), and most all of his movies since '83 have been time-killers. Sure, some of them have Fanboy followings ("They Live"), but most agree that since he became a 'director for hire' that thing just haven't been the same and don't look like they're going to for a long time to come.

"The Lost Boys": A horror film of the *groan* late '80s. Slick, stuffed with pretty boys, '60s-tinged - a total disaster.

"The Monster Squad": Another late '80s boondoggle. Hard to believe this juvenile attempt actually has a small following on message boards.

"C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D.": The late '80s disasters just keep comin'. Rock-solid proof that after '86, horror just wasn't being taken seriously anymore, and was dying an agonizing death.

"Jaws of Satan": An unwatchable '70s horror movie? Hey; it can happen.

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics (unless otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.