Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Nobody who ended up in Director Jail has ever deserved it less than Joe Dante. Out of the first six features on which he received sole directorial credit – Piranha (1978), The Howling (1981), Gremlins (1984), Explorers (1985), Innerspace (1987), and The ‘Burbs (1989) – only Explorers lost money, and of the remaining five, Innerspace […]

It only took nineteen years, but with Lake Placid: Legacy, a 2018 made-for-Syfy thriller that could be retitled and made a standalone project at the expense of absolutely nothing other than two lines of dialogue, the franchise quit beating the odds. This is every bit the piece of inane dogshit that one would expect from […]

To begin with, the title of the 2015 made-for-Syfy epic Lake Placid vs. Anaconda gets the hierarchy exactly right: this is very much a Lake Placid sequel in which an Anaconda sequel makes a substantial guest appearance, not the other way around. Given the uniform superiority of the first three Lake Placid sequels to the […]

Of all the deadly animals on the Australian continent, none of them is more impressively terrifying than the massive saltwater crocodile, 20 feet of territorial ambush predator honed by nature to have the primordial look of some ancient devouring evil. And here we have what is, to the best of my knowledge, the earliest Australian […]

I find myself in the ridiculous position of having approached a made-for-Syfy killer crocodile movie, that’s also the fourth film in a franchise, with sufficiently high hopes that it was capable of disappointing me. This is, to be clear, entirely a me problem, and not much at all a problem with Lake Placid: The Final […]

Given the incredible number of Australian animals that can kill a human in a variety of unpleasant ways, it’s absolutely no surprise that there are horror films about such creatures. The only surprise is that there aren’t more. As far as I can tell, the first killer animal film in the country’s history was 1978’s […]

I can think of no reason for Lake Placid 3, a made-for-Syfy movie from 2010, to be the best Lake Placid movie up to that point; I can think even less of a reason for it to any good at all. And yet. Now, is it really three-stars good, as I have indicated on yonder […]

1999’s Lake Placid does have its fans, and I’m certainly not going to try to take it away from them. Lord knows I don’t want it. That film was directed by slasher expert Steve Miner, but much more importantly, it was written by television auteur David E. Kelley, then at the absolute height of his […]

I will say this for 2009’s Anacondas: Trail of Blood – it’s not much, but I’ll say it – it’s surprising that a film made directly back-to-back with Anaconda 3: Offspring isn’t much worse. Comparing the two films, there’s absolutely no contest: the fourth movie in the Anaconda franchise (and the last one, barring a […]

There is  point in the lifecycle of many franchises where they are truly lost, beyond the hope of salvation. In the ’80s, it was going direct to VHS; in the ’90s and ’00s, it was going to direct to cable; in the ’10s, it was going direct to streaming. Same thing in different clothes: the […]

2004’s Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid is pretty fucking dumb. So what? 1997’s Anaconda is also pretty fucking dumb, and is nevertheless one of the most entertaining creature features of its decade. But there is one extremely important difference between the two films: Anaconda had Jon Voight giving one of the most unapologetically […]

Anaconda begins with a text crawl so deliriously full of bullshit that I cannot possibly resist quoting it in full: Tales of monstrous, man-eating Anacondas have been recounted for centuries by tribespeople of the Amazon Basin, some of whom are said to worship these giant snakes. Anacondas are among the most ferocious – and enormous […]