Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

1992’s live-action/animation hybrid Cool World is the most juvenile kind of edgy Nineties nonsense, the kind that takes something wholesome and something sordid and self-consciously mashes them together just for the same of having done it. In this case, it is a movie whose animating principle (as it were) is to ask the question, and […]

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 […]

1950’s This Can’t Happen Here (first released in English under the much less meaningful title High Tension) is certainly not the only film directed by Ingmar Bergman that he would later describe in unflattering terms as an artistic failure. But it is the only one of his films that he hated so much that, for […]

It’s almost certainly just random noise and not real evidence of a greater trend, but as I spend these weeks diving into the thrillers and horror films of the Australian film industry, I’m finding a lot more dead children than I’d expect to see in a similarly arbitrary sampling of Hollywood horror films. And with […]

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 […]

There has been many a horror film to be completely saved through the intervention of nothing other than a really terrific, atmospheric location. You Should Have Left is not one of these. To be sure, the location is terrific, an ultramodern McMansion with razor-sharp clean lines, tastefully austere appointments, and a profoundly inorganic hostility to […]

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 […]

The cumulative directorial career of New Zealand-born Tony Williams consists, near as I can tell, of one short film, seven made-for-TV documentary shorts, two narrative features, and (thirty years later than the rest), three documentary features. Of that entire list, the second feature, 1982’s Next of Kin, is the only thing that is even remotely […]

Upon its release in the summer of 1981, Roadgames, the second (and final) collaboration of director Richard Franklin and writer Everette De Roche after 1978’s Patrick, became the most expensive Australian film ever made up to that point (a title it would hold only for a few weeks, until the opening of Gallipoli). That is, […]

The Ozploitation cycle of the ’70s and ’80s was one of several exploitation film booms during that period, and like most of them, it was focused on genre films that could be made quickly and cheaply. This is, indeed, baked into the idea of “exploitation cinema”, which is all about identifying profitable trends and hungry […]

Author’s note: I’m going to be treating this like you already know the story, and after a quarter of a century, you really ought to. Still, probably best to hold off on reading this if you haven’t seen the film – and also, I strongly urge you to see the film. There are so many […]