Movies & TV / Columns

A Bloody Good Time 01.05.12: Old Horror Shame

January 5, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)

Welcome to the A Bloody Good Time.

Last week I concluded the year with a look at the very best. In case you missed it, Tucker and Dale vs Evil won. I think this is one of the first years where there wasn’t really any argument. Of course that’s because a lot of people still haven’t seen it! It’s on Netflix Instant now, so you really have no excuse. Get to it!

Anyway, let’s look at the feedback.

Drew said: From what I’ve gathered, Human Centipede 2 seems more like Tom Six saying “So you had more disgusting visuals in your head that my first movie didn’t give? Well, I’ll give those images this time!” and that’s all he went on for the sequal.

Pretty much, yeah. And the latest one didn’t even benefit from a fun performance from Dieter Laser.

Andy replied: Insidious is exactly my kind of horror movie. My favorites are always the films that strive for a creepy atmosphere over blood and guts.

I agree, but gore certainly doesn’t hurt when used right.

The Great Capt Smooth added: I’m waiting for a PA movie set in an office or on Skype.

I’m surprised they haven’t made one based on security footage. It would eliminate the need for a dumb protagonist to be carrying around a camera all the time. However it might eliminate close-ups or very many different shots.

Oh! Lymping Hero complained: Can’t believe anyone liked Scream 4. It took tired cliches to new heights, and there was nothing clever about it. No suspense, no scares, no good characters. Just telegraphing the same old ghostface scenes. Neve Campbell, Courtney (Plastic Face) Cox and the girl who played the niece seemed to be competing to be the worst actress on the movie, and the script was useless. Utterly laughable explanation by one of the killers: “Do you know how hard it is being me? What was i supposed to do, get a job?! WORK?!” Jesus. 0/5.

The rest is mostly your opinion, but I do want to comment on your bit about the motive. The idea is that she really doesn’t have a reason to kill anyone, and just wants to get famous in today’s society where it’s very easy to do so. I don’t find it any sillier than Mickey’s motive that he wanted the “trial of the century” in Scream 2. At least that’s what I got out of it.

This week I was going to do a bit about what directors I wanted to see try horror, and I’ll get to that eventually, but something gave me an idea. Or rather, someone. Rooney Mara has decided that now that she’s the big thing in Hollywood, she’s going to slam everything she’s ever been in before that, including the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

She said: “You kind of learn to self-sabotage with things you don’t want to get. Sometimes you don’t want to get something but you do a really good job and you get in anyway. That’s kind of [what happened] with A Nightmare on Elm Street – I didn’t even really want it. And then I went in [to audition] and I was like, [whispering] ‘F**k. I definitely got that.’ I didn’t want to act anymore. I was like, This isn’t what I signed up for. If this is what my opportunities are going to be like, then I’m not that interested in acting. So I was very discouraged and disheartened. And then I got the Social Network script. That kind of inspired me.

Let’s get this out of the way, I’m not really a fan of the remake. I find it okay, Jackie Earle Haley is great and…that’s about it. Mara just happens to be the absolute worst part. Now that we know she didn’t want to be in the film, it’s easy to see why she was so disinterested the entire time. So let’s get this straight, because you didn’t want to be in the film, you auditioned. Then you got the role and instead of let someone who could have done a better job be in it, you sleepwalk and ruin the experience for fans of the series who were hoping for a good movie?

I don’t care how good Mara may or may not be in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I’m not a fan of hers. I have no need of people who are snobs towards the horror genre. Did you ever think that without being in Nightmare, you might not have been noticed by David Fincher? Then no Social Network and no Lisbeth Salander. Even if the film is going to be bad, I tend to think an actor should at least try to entertain. That’s what you’re being paid to do. Say what you will about Nicolas Cage, but I’ve yet to see a performance from him that’s boring.

Ranting over, because this week we’re going to talk about early beginnings for many actors. The kind that they should probably be ashamed of appearing in. Ten films certainly worse than the Nightmare remake ever thought about being.

There are some actors who have plenty of old shame in horror. I’m not talking Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun, either. That movie was dumb, but it was funny and a guilty pleasure. There are some movies that celebrities that have been in that are so bad, they probably should be ashamed. But even then, that at least they tried. At least they looked like they were awake.

These movies aren’t in any particular order, just showing off some of the worst of the starts for celebrities.

Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

I hate this movie. I absolutely loathe it. So do McConaughey and Zellweger, as they actually tried to block its release when they got more famous. It’s a weird pseudo-remake with dumb characters, stupid plot twists and a cross-dressing Leatherface. It involves the Illuminati (maybe), the CIA (probably) and maybe even aliens (possibly). I really can’t figure that movie out even to this day. I don’t think Sherlock Holmes could solve that movie. So yeah, I can kind of see why someone would not want anyone to know they were in it.

But at the time? Man McConaughey was having a great time. You can see it in the movie, and in what little behind-the-scenes footage there is. I hate this movie, but you can’t help but laugh at how manic and over-the-top McConaughey is. He doesn’t just chew the scenery, he devours it. He eats so much of it that I’m surprised they aren’t just filming in a field for the entire film. And to Zellweger’s credit, she tries to keep up. But when you’re in a movie that bad, there’s no saving it.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Troll

Hey, it’s just too bad she couldn’t have been in Troll 2. People actually remember that one. Before she was Elaine in Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus played Jeanette Cooper in Troll. This movie also has Sonny Bono in it too, if you were wondering. Louis-Dreyfus doesn’t really do much in the film, but there is a moment where she sorta kinda gets naked. She gets “Garden of Eden” naked, as in she’s covered with leaves. But hey, there’s that.

The film isn’t as bad as Troll 2, but that’s exactly the problem. There’s nothing worth remembering about the film except that main character is Harry Potter, Jr. I think maybe I’d want to say I was in Troll 2, given the cult following and recent surge in popularity thanks to Best Worst Movie. George Hardy has a lot more to be proud of than Julia Louis-Dreyfus, at least in regards to the Troll franchise.

Jeffrey Donovan in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

His name is Jeffrey Donovan. He plays a guy that used to be a spy. But before that…Blair Witch 2. When you’re in a bad movie, you’ve got nothing. No credibility, no pride, no fans. You’re stuck with whatever money you were paid when you signed on. You do whatever the script tells you to do. You rely on a better opportunity to come along so this film can be forgotten. Bottom line, when you’re in a bad movie, you’re going to regret it.

This movie is pretty close to Chainsaw 4 in terms of not making any sense. Sure, it tries to explain everything, but it doesn’t earn its ending and none of its “explanations” really make the ending work. Donovan plays the main character, which means he has the most to do! It also means he has the most screen time, and it’s hard to forget his face. But hey, he’ll always have that scene with the orgy and murder of a group of people. That happened.

George Clooney in Return to Horror High and Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

Two bad movies and only one of them is a sequel. George Clooney at least has a positive attitude about the bad horror films he was in. He’s joked about it in the past and doesn’t shy away from questions. It doesn’t change the fact that they were some pretty awful films. It just means that when you’re as good as Clooney is, you can get away with joking about that kind of thing. Return to Horror High is a spoof of horror sequels and Clooney has a small role. Not only that, but he dies in the movie!

Then there’s Return of the Killer Tomatoes, another spoof, but this one actually is a sequel. It’s not nearly as good as the original, and is almost only famous because Clooney happens to be in it. But these movies were way before ER. They were even before Roseanne. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? Why not in a film about tomatoes that kill people? This is an example of a man that will do anything to get into legitimate acting.

Jack Black in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Okay, this is slightly pushing it. There are some who like Jack Black, and there are some who don’t. And maybe once you’ve starred in Nacho Libre it’s okay to not be ashamed of some forgettable horror film you did in the 90s. But hey, he was in it, and I’m counting it. Because in a sequel that no one was asking for, Jack Black was the absolute worst part in it. This is a case of the actor trying, but being so unforgivably annoying that he should be ashamed of himself.

Once again, I’m not saying this film is good. It’s bad, yes, and very bland. But at least the Jennifer Love Hewitts and Brandys of the world can say they were better than Jack Black. Luckily his character dies halfway into the movie so we can continue being bored. But Black will always have this performance on his resume. That is, if big name actors actually need resumes. I would assume their work speaks for itself. I’m going to shut up before I start rambling.

Paul Rudd in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

I’ve said this before (although I can’t remember if I said it here), but I’m convinced to this day that Paul Rudd thinks Halloween 6 is a comedy. Watch this movie again with that in mind and watch how he acts. That is not a serious performance. He is not trying to be a dramatic actor. He acts weird, he has random moments of smiling or chuckling and his entire presence in the film just feels off. To me, that actually makes the film slightly more entertaining than it would be otherwise. Halloween 6 has its problems but Rudd is not one of them.

I think this is a case where, like McConaughey, Rudd just saw a mess of a script and decided that someone somewhere should get some entertainment value out of it. Or perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe he was really green as an actor and it’s just a bad performance. Maybe he was directed to act like that. Either way, at least he looked like a bad ass beating down Michael Myers with a lead pipe. I’d buy that over Busta Rhymes crane kicking The Shape.

Brad Pitt in Cutting Class

I’ve read in places that this was meant to be a comedy, and there is enough dumb material to believe it. The problem is that the jokes always misfire and that leaves just a bland slasher with some lame moments of levity. Anyway, before he was one of the biggest actors in Hollywood, Brad Pitt was the hero in a slasher movie. He’s supposed to be the good guy, but he plays a jerk the entire time. Pitt is completely indistinguishable from every other lead male role in a slasher film in the 80s.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with playing what the script gives you. He’s not boring, he’s not bad, he just sort of does what he’s supposed to do. It’s not his fault the film is bad, it’s just a forgettable slasher that probably only has any fame today because he’s in it. Well, it also has Roddy McDowall and Martin Mull. This is one of the unique slasher whodunits in that the red herring is not only the killer, but they never make any attempt to convince you otherwise. It sort of made me wonder what the whole point of the “whodunit” even was.

These are just some of the films that early actors have appeared in, as I know there is a lot more, I just don’t have time to mention them all. Some I just haven’t seen. Like the Eva Mendes and Naomi Watts slumming it in the Children of the Corn sequels.

That’s it for me. Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week I’m going to continue this little look, but change it up. I’m going to look at bad horror movies that have stars while they’re already famous.

Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)

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Joseph Lee

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