Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Twice isn’t enough to make a trend, but it’s maybe cause for hope: apparently any animated franchise, no matter how crappy, can reach its third entry and simultaneously hit the “we don’t give a fuck” point, and suddenly become good. In 2012, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted succeeded in being the first Madagascar film that […]

The Mummy’s Shroud, Hammer Films’ 1967 entry into their continuity-free mummy franchise, is typically regarded as pretty damn bad – or at least, pretty damn run-of-the-mill and boring, which is surely worse. I can’t help but feel like that’s a pretty unfair way of looking at it; if we want to compare to Hammer’s earlier […]

In 1964, Hammer Films was in the midst of its most prolific era of making popular genre films – at a glance I’d set the golden years between ’62 and ’67, with the balance favoring the middle of that window – having turned the early Gothic horror successes into a brand name in virtually no […]

The transformation of Hammer Films into the world’s most prominent home for edgy, brutal, sexy genre films was completed almost entirely on the backs of 1957’s The Curse of Frankenstein and 1958’s Dracula, released in America as Horror of Dracula (the fuse was, however, lit by the violent sci-fi/horror film The Quatermass Xperiment). And as […]

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy has the personally unfortunate distinction of being the first movie starring that celebrated comedy duo that I ever saw, and the direct reason that it was many, many years until I saw a second: when I finally caught one half by accident, well into my 20s, the discovery that […]

A mere four years after the adventures of Kharis the mummy (played here, for the last time, by the resentful and alcoholic Lon Chaney, Jr.) began with The Mummy’s Hand in 1940, they slammed to an end with The Mummy’s Curse, the last Universal mummy picture that was actually aiming to be horror: they’d trot […]

Without exception, every single Universal monster franchise hit a point where it was uncomfortably obvious that the people making them had entirely stopped caring. For the films starring Kharis the mummy, that point was The Mummy’s Ghost, the first of two mummy films from 1944, and that fact alone tells us of the estimable “crank […]

If your stereotypical notion of a mummy movie is an undead corpse in moldy bandages scraping its feet along as it stalks terrified victims who really only need to walk at a brisk pace to keep well ahead of a monster that they could destroy with a matchbook, you should know that not all mummy […]

With the benefit of hindsight and the tendency of time periods to compress as we get further from them, it’s not uncommon to think of Universal Studios initial wave of monster movies as comprising a boom that stretched from 1931 to 1945, but it was nothing of the sort. There was an initial flurry of […]

The rise of horror as a real thing in American cinema was not an uncontroversial process; concerns over propriety and morality kept the genre from ever taking hold in the States during the silent era the way it so vitally did in Germany. When the dam finally broke in the early sound days, with Universal’s […]

At the very least, Hotel Transylvania, the years-in-Development-Hell cartoon about classic movie monsters all gathered together in a remote castle built by Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) to shelter them from the probing eyes and torch-wielding fists of humans, has pretty fun character design. This I take to be characteristic of director Genndy Tartakovsky’s work, consisting […]

An acquaintance of mine once developed a Naked Maria Bello Theory, that goes something like this: if Maria Bello is in a movie and appears naked, topless or in a sex scene, it is a good film; if she does none of those things, it is a bad film. This wasn’t meant to be a […]