Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

There was a time once, and not so very long ago either, when a chainsaw-wielding psychopath in a Madea film would have been Madea herself, as was so memorably, dispiritingly seen in the character’s very first big-screen appearance, 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. But times change, and with Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, […]

On paper, almost nothing is actually good about Happy Death Day. And yet, almost certainly, it gave me more pleasure to watch it than any other 2017 horror movie. On such paradoxes is a love of art founded. Although I’m being a bit dismissive. While most everything about Happy Death Day can be accurately predicted […]

There’s absolutely no reason to expect much of The Ice Cream Truck, and maybe it’s for that reason that I found it to be such a fetching affair. In at least two very noticeable respects, the film flagrantly boasts the limitations of its teeny-weeny budget: the dialogue, particularly in outdoor scenes, has the unmissable, overly […]

29 years ago, when Child’s Play was young, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed if you suggested that the movie would even be remembered in a decade, let alone three; and I would laughed all the harder if you suggested that there it was going to birth the strongest movie franchise of all […]

There aren’t too many slasher films as scattered as Curtains. When I put it that way, it sounds like it’s not even a compliment. And I suppose it probably isn’t a compliment, at that, given how much the movie at the end feels like a collection of scene ideas tacked to a board over the […]

From among the Video Nasties There will never come a time when the career of director Tobe Hooper isn’t sad: the fella makes one timeless all-American cinematic masterpiece in the form of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and then never comes within leagues of the same quality ever again. To be frank, most of his post-TCM […]

I’m not sure that Motel Hell “works”, but just on sheer chutzpah, it’s got to be one of the most wholly worthwhile American horror films of the early 1980s. Simply nobody was doing this kind of thing in 1980, the year the film was released as part of the first wave of slasher movies, in […]

A third review requested by K. Rice, with thanks for contributing three times to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Of the many pop culture heavy-hitters in the 1980s, two of the heaviest were the Andrew Lloyd Webber & Charles Stilgoe stage musical The Phantom of the Opera, which premiered in the West […]

At a certain point fairly early in Urban Legend, the character Damon Brooks (Joshua Jackson) turns on the radio, and a couple of bars of the 1997 Paula Cole single “I Don’t Want to Wait” play, at which he becomes overly flustered and scrambles to turn it off. The younger of you among my readers, […]

So you’d have to be such an idiot that there’s not a word for it in English to expect a film titled Nail Gun Massacre to be even a little bit classy. Still, the speed with which it reveals the incorrigible depths to which its not-classiness reveals itself caught me by surprise – it’s not […]

Look at that poster and despair! Every aspect of it – the purple, the lighting, the woman’s pose, the woman’s deeply inefficient clothing, and every last piece of text – promises a sultry erotic drama. The only thing, and even then it’s questionable, that tips us off that it’s anything even near to the vicinity […]

As this final Summer of Blood arrives at the slasher boom of the 1980s, it feels like a homecoming. For this is where we belong, truly: in the gutter trash world of miserably formulaic thrillers, propped up only by their most exploitative element and frequently by nothing at all. And while it’s surprisingly willing to […]