When I first began to seriously watch movies, I tended to listen to both film critics and generally, anybody else's opinions. If someone said that this movie was an awesome classic or if that was a piece of junk or if this was just okay, I took their word for it and never really judged for myself (in the case of the ones that were bad, I didn't even watch them and still called them bad). That led to me trying to force myself to like some movies that didn't really grab me but I felt I should love and vice versa. I won't say I completely turned against every movie that I loved but everyone else hated but for a while, I did tend to follow the herd. But as I matured and started to think for myself more and more, that attitude began to change. The breaking point was Psycho II, a movie that I had heard negative to mixed reviews on. Being a huge fan of the original film, I felt there was no way that a sequel made twenty-three years could even come close to rivaling Alfred Hitchcock's immortal classic. And yet, after I watched Psycho II, I realized that not only was the movie good but it was damn good, one of the best sequels you could hope for to a classic film. From then on, I stopped buying into everybody else's opinions and judged for myself on whether a movie was good or not.
That brings me to the topic at hand. Everybody has those movies that the majority of viewers hate to death and yet they, for one reason or another, get some enjoyment out of them. The movies I'm about to list happen to be mine. Believe me, there are some real doozies on here too, movies that might make some viewers doubt my credibility.
Before we get started, I have to explain what my criteria was for making this list. Each of these movies fall into three categories: they're either almost unanimously hated by the general public, have a mixed general opinion but the bigger half of the split is negative, or were once quite well liked but over time, people's opinions on them soured. They can't be movies that were once hated but are now revered as classics like John Carpenter's The Thing or The Shining and they also can't be movies were the opinion is mainly just "meh." A lot of these movies are sequels, some of which are among the most hated of their respective franchises, and there are a few remakes in here as well. Finally, this isn't a top 100 list because, frankly, I couldn't think of 100 movies that fall into this category. That said, as we go further down, my love for the particular movie does grow stronger, eventually leading to my number one. So, there are my guidelines for this list. In any case, let's get started.
The Loch Ness Horror (1981): We're starting off with a real doozy. This little known Z-grade monster movie from Larry Buchanan (the Ed Wood of the 60's and 70's) is one of the few attempts at making an actual horror film about the Loch Ness monster. This film is not available officially on DVD so few have seen it and those who have really hate it, saying that it's an unbearable watch. It has one of the lowest scores on IMDB (2.3 at my last check) and was one of the last movies Buchanan ever made. Yes, it is a really bad movie, with horrible acting (the Scottish accents are ridiculous, especially this old man who sounds like Scrooge McDuck), a clusterfuck of a plot (involving the theft of Nessie's egg, an old Nazi plane at the bottom of the loch, a romance between an American scientist and a young Scottish lady, a crazy old man living in a castle on an island in the loch, and others) and really pitiful, fake-looking mechanical Nessie (the head, neck, and a little bit of the back are the only things you see of it). But, to me, it's a hoot and anybody who loves bad movies should really get a kick out of it. I enjoy it a lot more than The Crater Lake Monster, which I just think is boring. If you love cheesy, bad movies in the Ed Wood style, hunt this movie down because it's right up your alley.
Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005): In the 2000's, famed Italian horror filmmaker Dario Argento started making movies which even most of his die hard fans consider to be below the standards set by his earlier films like Suspiria and Deep Red. This made for cable film is one of them. I do agree with the notion that it's not on the level of his early work and it is clearly made for television but I still enjoy this flick. The idea of a master of horror like Argento paying tribute to another master of the genre is an interesting idea and I thought he did it very well, combining the concepts, as well as ideas, from Strangers on a Train and Rear Window together. The murder mystery is interesting to watch unfold and there is some good suspense for my money. As with most of Argento's stuff, the acting isn't too good and the music isn't the best but still, I think it deserves a pass (unlike Mother of Tears).
Daylight (1996): Not one of Sylvester Stallone's biggest hits of the 90's, this old-school style disaster flick is often overlooked whenever Stallone's filmography is discussed. Personally, I think it deserves a little more respect than it gets. Stallone himself is in top form as Kit Latura, who risks life and limb to rescue the people trapped inside a New York tunnel by an explosion. There are also some good supporting actors like Viggo Mortensen and Dan Hedaya in the film (although the former gets killed too early on for my taste), the actual explosion that traps the commuters inside the tunnel is very well done and exciting, and the film, overall, is a great story of human survival. The only downside is that the majority of the people trapped inside the tunnel are unlikable douchebags who constantly give Latura shit despite his busting his butt and putting his neck on the line to rescue them. It kind of makes you not care whether he gets them out or not. But despite that, you want to see Latura himself make it out alive and that, coupled with the other good points I've mentioned, is enough reason for me to give this flick props.
Torn Curtain (1966): One of Alfred Hitchcock's least popular flicks, this was made in the twilight of his career where people felt he was beginning to fall behind the times after being ahead of them for so long. I don't know if I would call it one of my absolute favorite films from him but I've never felt that it was as bad as people made it out to be. It's a pretty good adventure in the style of North By Northwest, with Paul Newman playing an American scientist who use his supposed defection to East Germany as a cover in order to find a solution for a formula resin and then bring it back to the West. Newman is very good and charismatic in his role and even though she almost ruins his mission by being so nosey, Julie Andrews is someone you to grow to care about as well. There are some memorable sequences, the most famous of which is the drawn-out death of the character Gromek. The sequence with Newman and Andrews using a fake public bus to make it to their next destination is also well made and suspenseful when the military, ironically, gives them an escort through bandit country. The music score by John Addison isn't too bad either. It may not be one of Hitchcock's absolute masterpieces but it's still an enjoyable Cold War flick and much better than his follow-up film, Topaz (even though I have warmed up to that movie slightly).
The Card Player (2004): Another one of Dario Argento's latter films, this one gets a lot of flack because it's one of the most, if not the most, conventional movie he's ever made. It's a simple story about a Rome policewoman and an Interpol agent teaming up (and, of course, falling in love in the process) in order to stop a serial killer who kidnaps people and challenges the police to cyber games of poker where the stakes are whether or not the abducted goes free. I do agree that you would never guess that this was directed by Argento because it's so straightforward, with none of his trademark visual zeal or fractured continuity but that doesn't bother at all. I really enjoy this flick. I liked Stefania Rocca and Liam Cunningham as the two leads, I got enthralled by the poker games where a life is on the line, and I liked the climax. This movie also has some gruesome and cringe-inducing (in a good way) moments. The one that gets me is the scene where Cunningham's character examines the body of the most recent murder victim. God, that is gross! I know I'm in a minority here but I do like this film.
Starship Troopers (1997): I'm kind of cheating with this one in that this currently has a 7.1 rating on IMDB but when it came out, it was met with a lot of mixed feelings and even today, there are still some critics towards it. Like most of Paul Verhoeven's films, you either love it or hate it and while I don't like the supposed Nazi symbolism that's present here in terms of the military and the government, I like everything else about this film. I thought the entire cast was great. Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, and even Neil Patrick Harris, as brief as his presence is, were all great in their roles, and Michael Ironside is absolutely bad-ass as the one-armed sergeant who takes command of the unit in the final act. While the actual action scenes are a long time coming, they're well worth the wait in that they're huge, impressive, all-out war sequences between the soldiers and the Klendathu insects that are amazing to behold. Speaking of the Klendathus, they're brought to life through a great mix of animatronics (which I believe were designed by Kevin Yagher's company) and believable CGI. As with most of Verhoeven's movies, you also get a skillfull mix of smart satire (this time towards the military and its recruiting strategies) with horrific violence (the scene near the end where the "brain bug" sucks a guy's brain out is particularly gruesome and disturbing). Add to that a rousing score by Basil Poledouris and you've got another great sci-fi flick from Verhoeven that's definitely worth your time.
RoboCop 3 (1993): All right, all right, I know what you're thinking: "Seriously, Cody?" Yes, I do like this movie. In fact, I will go as far as to say that I prefer it to RoboCop 2.
That film felt like a clusterfuck with too many plotlines, some of
which don't go anywhere, and besides, why the hell would you put the
brain of a psychotic drug lord inside the deadliest robot ever created?
That said, I do know that this film has a lot of problems. There's no
Peter Weller, the film was neutered in order to get a PG-13 rating which
was not a good idea, it's very low budget, the robot samurais and
RoboCop flying with a jetpack are ridiculous, and it killed Fred
Dekker's directorial career. But I still like it. I can't put my finger
on why but I have fun with this movie. It does suck that Weller begged
off this one but honestly, I thought Robert Burke was a good substitute
because he looks so much like Weller and I don't think he did that bad a
job. The villain is kind of lame and I do miss Dan O'Herlihy but I do
like the action sequences, like RoboCop saving his cop friends from
those drugged up gang members and the climax of the movie. Besides that,
they brought back the original RoboCop theme by Basil Poledouris, which
was missing from RoboCop 2. It may not be a great movie by any means but I enjoy it and always will.
Volcano (1997): I'm a big fan of disaster movies and while this one isn't perfect, it's still very fun and enjoyable. For me, a big part of these movies is the cast and you've got a great one here. Tommy Lee Jones is awesome as the take-charge head of the urban safety department and while I normally don't like Anne Heche (I've hated her ever since she shamed Janet Leigh in the Psycho remake), I didn't mind her that much here. Even though he doesn't get to do much, I thought Don Cheadle was good as well. But just as important in a disaster flick is whether or not you believe the actual disaster and here, I did. The scenes of the volcano erupting and destroying Los Angeles are very convincing and exciting and some of the deaths associated with, including this guy who's slowly burned alive inside of a subway tunnel, are pretty gruesome (PG-13 gruesome, mind you, but still effective). The climax, where Jones and his crew have to divert the lava flow from a hospital full of injured people, is very well done and satisfying. It's a shame that this film doesn't get enough credit because it's a fun time.
Death Proof (2007): The second half of the Grindhouse double feature film, the general consensus is that this is a major letdown when compared to Robert Rodriguez's immensely enertaining Planet Terror. The first time I saw it, I didn't exactly like it either but after another viewing, I started to really enjoy it. While I do get annoyed at Quentin Tarantino's habit of having dialogue scenes that go on for nearly twenty minutes and that is a huge problem with this movie, there are many other enjoyable elements to it. The best part of the movie by far is Kurt Russell as the psychotic Stuntman Mike. I'm a big fan of his anyway and I thought that he was awesome at playing a villain, which he should do more often. I also really enjoyed Zoe Bell who's basically playing herself and for someone who's mainly a stuntperson, her acting isn't half bad. There isn't much action in the movie for a while but the climactic car chase between the second group of girls and Mike has to be one of the best ever put to film. It's just so exciting and well-done. I like the music as well, particularly the song Down in Mexico that plays when Mike is getting a lapdance and that crazy song that plays over the ending credits (I honestly can't remember its name). While it may have been a mistake to have it be the second part of Grindhouse, when taken by itself, it is an enjoyable flick.
Bug (2006): This later film from William Friedkin got a lot of flack from people when it was released because the marketing basically tricked them into thinking it was creature feature. That couldn't further from the truth. This is a slow-paced, psychological thriller/drama that takes almost entirely inside a confined hotel room and is a movie that you must pay attention to in order to get. It was not what I was expecting when I first watched it but I liked what I got instead. This is a well-made, interesting little movie. Ashley Judd gives a good performance as Agnes, a woman who's hiding out from her abusive ex-husband and so does Michael Shannon as Peter, an eccentric, paranoid drifter who gets into a relationship with her. Like I said, this isn't a creature feature. Even though Peter, and later Agnes, claim that the room as well as their bodies are infested with blood-sucking, microscopic insects, you never see them. Therefore, the point of the movie is for you to figure out whether the bugs do actually exist and Peter's story about having been experimented on by army scientists is true or if he's just crazy and his delusions have infested Agnes' damage mind as well. With no music, one real location, and few makeup effects (although those that are here do make you wince and cringe), this film depends solely on the performances of the actors and I think it succeeds on that score for the mos
The Exorcist III (1990): After the laughably bad mind-rape of a movie that was Exorcist II: The Heretic, nobody was expecting a second sequel to one of the most famous horror films of all time to be anything but another misfire. But when you've got the original author William Peter Blatty directing an adaptation of one of his own books, the result could be quite special and what do you know, it was. While this isn't one of my favorite horror films of all time, it's still a very well done little horror film. It's a shame that Blatty hasn't directed anything else apart from The Ninth Configuration and this because he knows how to build a creepy atmosphere. There are some scenes in this film that are very tense and, in the case of the scene involving the nurse (if you've seen the film, you know what I'm talking about), flat-out crap your pants scary. George C. Scott gives a good performance as Lieutenant Kinderman (although I find it a little hard to believe that he's the same character that Lee J. Cobb played in the original Exorcist) and Ed Flanders is also good as Father Dyer but the real stars are Jason Miller and Brad Dourif in the dual role of the possessed Damien Karras and the Gemini killer. The scenes between them and Kinderman are bone-chilling to say the least. The film isn't perfect, with its connection to the original film being shaky at times (Kinderman saying Father Karras was his best friend is hard to believe since the two of them only had one scene together in the original) and the climactic exorcism feeling tacked on (which it was) but it's a very eerie little gem of a movie nonetheless.
The Mangler (1995): If you've read my 101 Favorite Horror Films list, then you already know how I feel about this flick. For those who haven't, let me just say that I know what you're thinking. Yes, the movie is about a killer laundry machine, which is one of the most ridiculous ideas ever, but you know what, the movie itself knows that too and decides to go balls out with it. While I normally think that Tobe Hooper is a talentless one-hit wonder of a hack, I think he pulled off a silly, enjoyable film here. Like I said, he goes full speed ahead with the concept, having the evil energy that has possessed the laundry machine infect other things, such as a refrigerator at one point. By the end of the movie, the damn thing sprouts legs and starts chasing the main characters. How could you still be taking that seriously to the point where you hate it? The gore effects when the machine chews people up is very well done and quite sick actually. Also, the film has some good actors, including Ted Levine as the cop investigating the murders (even though I'm sure he's not proud of this film, it was nice to see him as a good guy) and Robert Englund is wonderfully over the top as the old man who owns the mangler. Silly? Yes. One of the best horror films ever made? No. Entertaining? Hell-freaking-yeah!
Abominable (2006): Sci-Fi Channel's original movies usually suck ass, being the lowest form of horror/creature features. But this film is the rare golden nugget in a sea of crap. This is basically Rear Window except with a bad-ass, flesh-eating Bigfoot as the antagonist but it's done quite skillfully. Matt McCoy, whom I really like as an actor, is a great, sympathetic lead as a wheelchair-laden man who lost his wife in a climbing accident and has now returned to the cabin they once shared together as part of his rehabilitation. The teenage girls who movie in next door and become prey for the Bigfoot are basically just cannon fodder but you do grow to care for Haley Joel, who ends up being the last one left alive. There are also some nice cameos by Dee Wallace, Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen, and Paul Gleason, who died not long after filming his scenes for the film. The best thing about the movie is that it's all practical. The Bigfoot itself is a man in a suit instead of a crappy CGI creation and he looks pretty good and menacing. There are also some great kills and instances of gore, including Tiffany Shepis getting pulled through a small window and a guy's face getting bitten completely off. The film does look obviously low budget and TV-oriented at points, though, and the character of Otis (Christien Tinsley) is really loathsome and dies far too late in the film for my taste, but other than that, it's simply a fun monster movie. If Sci-Fi Channel's original movies were more like this, it would be in a lot better shape.
Graveyard Shift (1990): One of the most overlooked Stephen King adaptations ever, this is basically a monster movie crossed with a slasher film. David Andrews is a fairly likable lead and Stephen Macht (who I swear I thought was Fred Ward the first time I saw the movie) is a perfect example of a villain you love to hate as the sadistic owner of the cotton gin. The other workers at the mill are not very likable save for Kelly Wolf as the love interest of Andrews' character John Hall. They're very assholish towards Hall but they didn't annoy me that much. Brad Dourif has a small role as a exterminator who really despises rats and he's so awesome to watch that I wish to God he was in the movie more (his death is also lame). The setting inside of the mill is a perfect setting for the story, unpleasant with how grimy and filthy it is, particularly in the basement, and how there are rats everywhere. Speaking of which, the monster, an enormous cross between a rat and a bat, is a very gross, slimy creation and very well done in terms of its makeup effects. The score by Brian Banks and Anthony Marinelli is also very creepy at times. Is it one of the best Stephen King adaptations? No, not by a long shot. But it is an enjoyable monster flick nonetheless.
The Last House on the Left (2009): In my humble opinion, this is a remake that is superior to its parent film. I don't hate Wes Craven's original film but I'm not a big fan of it either, due to its scattered tone and unnecessary slapstick placed in-between extremely brutal scenes (those cops especially). This film, however, knows exactly what it is from the get go and never lets up. For a mainstream film, it's very brutal and unapologetic (the rape scene here gets to me much more than the one in the original). Except for David Hess and the other villains, I didn't think the acting in the original was that good. Here, the acting is good all-around. I really liked Sara Paxton and Martha MacIsaac as the two young females who fall victim to the criminals and I thought Garret Dillahunt was great as Krug. Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter also do good as the parents who take brutal revenge. Speaking of which, the climax is brutal and satisfying as all hell. The death of Krug at the very end maybe a little over the top but other than that, I thought director Dennis Iliadis did a great job with this flick and it deserves more credit than it gets.
Over the Top (1987): Another one from Sylvester Stallone, this movie flopped hard when it was released because it seemed like nobody was interested in a movie about arm-wrestling. That is not what the movie is actually about. It's about the bonding between a father and son who haven't seen each other in years and I thought it was pulled off well. Stallone is very sympathetic and likable as Lincoln Hawk, who regrets leaving his son behind when he was very young and now wants to reconnect with him. I thought David Mendenhall as good too as Hawk's son. I never found him to be bratty or annoying in the slightest. It may sound mushy but I thought the bonding scenes between Hawk and his son were well done and touching. I really liked the music and the climactic arm-wrestling match was good because it meant something. It's not one of my favorite Stallone movies but I don't think it deserves all the hatred that it gets. It's a nicely done, enjoyable little movie to me.
Virtuosity (1995): This is the film in both Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe's filmographies that no one talks about and that's a shame because it's a hoot. The first time I saw it, I didn't exactly get it (mainly because I didn't see it all the way through) but after seeing it again after many years, I can call it an enjoyable sci-fi/action flick. Washington is great as a disgraced cop who is given one more chance at redemption in a Total Recall-like futuristic world. Crowe is off-the-walls entertaining as a virtual reality killer used to train new cops who manages to enter the real world and goes on a savage killing spree. Great action, a very fast pace, some good effects, and a satisfying ending make for a criminally underrated flick that more people should appreciate.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982): While this film has gained a much deserved cult following in past years, it's still one of the lowest rated Halloween film on IMDB. It was dumb for them to give this movie the Halloween title instead of just calling it Season of the Witch (although there are no witches in this film either) but if you can put that aside, this is actually a more than decent horror film. Tommy Lee Wallace, the production designer of the original Halloween, made his directorial debut with this film and he does a good job at creating an eerie and dread-filled atmosphere, perfect for the Halloween season (in fact, you would swear that John Carpenter himself directed the movie). Tom Atkins is a great lead, Stacey Nelkin does good as the lead female (although her love affair with Atkins' character seems to come out of nowhere), and Dan O'Herlihy is a very threatening figure as the evil mask-maker Conal Cochran (that speech he gives to Atkins' character about Samhain is bone-chilling). The makeup effects for the mutations that happen to the wearers of the masks are very gruesome and made even more horrific by the fact that it's happening to kids. The music by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth adds to the ambiance of the film. Finally, it has a great cliffhanger of an ending. It's not a classic or anything but it captures the spirit of the season perfectly and is a great watch on Halloween night.
Rambo III (1988): This is the Rambo film that everyone hates on and once again, I'm in the minority that doesn't understand it at all. To me, this is just as good as the other ones. It's the most popcorn action movie of them all, even more so than the second one, but it's so fun that I don't get why so many people hate it. Sylvester Stallone once again gives a great performance as John Rambo, who this time has to go rescue his best friend and mentor, Colonel Trautman, from the Russians. Speaking of which, Richard Crenna is actually a part of the story this time as Trautman rather than just being someone on the sidelines. There's a whole lot of action here, I'd say even more so than Rambo: First Blood Part II, and it's great, particularly the all-out war that breaks out in the desert at the end of the film. Finally, Jerry Goldsmith is still on the ball in what would become his final score for the series. It does have its faults, in that I don't find the villains here as compelling as those in the previous films or as evilly sadistic as the Burmese Army in Rambo and it is dated with the Russians being the bad-guys and the middle-Easterners being the good guys (no disrespect) but I can easily pop this movie in and enjoy it. This is another case where I think this movie is hated on just because it's not as popular as the others in its franchise.
The Thing (2011): I have never had more mixed feelings about a movie upon my first viewing of it than this prequel to my favorite horror film of all time, John Carpenter's The Thing. When I left the theater after this, I wasn't sure what I felt about it. After seeing it a couple of more times, though, I can honestly say that I do enjoy it for what it is. It doesn't reach the levels of tension and paranoia that Carpenter's film did, nor does it have as memorable characters or special effects. But I can still watch this film as a time-waster. I really like the way it's shot (very similar to Carpenter's film to me), Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton are fine leads (my favorite character, however, was Jorgen Langhelle as Lars), and I really like the music by Marco Beltrami. The ending, which leads directly into the beginning of the Carpenter film, gave me chills as well. While it is a shame that they used so much CGI for the thing effects (even overlaying it onto some great animatronic and practical effects) as well as messed up some continuity with the Carpenter film, and overall, it's not as memorable as its parent, it's not a chore for me to get through.
Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992): Many feel that the first two Hellraiser films are the only ones worth watching but in my opinion, it's the first three. This is the last good entry in the franchise to me. The main reason I like this film so much is because this is the film where Pinhead gets to do a lot. He was mostly a background observer in the first two films but here, he really is front and center and the main antagonist. And since his former human self is separated from him completely here and also because he's not tied to Hell due to the events of the previous film, Doug Bradley is able to play Pinhead with much more tenacity and energy. I love the scene in the club where Pinhead goes postal and slaughters people left and right with the chains he can summon. The last half of the movie is also very exciting and nonstop to the very end, leading to a confrontation between Pinhead and his human self, Elliot Spencer. I didn't think the rest of the cast members weren't that bad either, especially Terry Farrell as the lead. The new Cenobites may not be as classic as the originals but I thought they were well designed (I especially like the CD one) and the makeup effects were well done as well, particularly the scene where Pinhead feeds on a woman by ripping her skin off. Some may still hate this film but I'll take it over the dull Bloodline any day.
Tales from EarthSea (2006): This is one of the few films from acclaimed Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli that was met with much hostility from critics and still is now. I've never read the books or even heard of the story before this film but being a big anime fan and of the works of Ghibli, I decided to check it out. I agree that it's not perfect and pales in comparison with stuff like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and most of Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki's works for that matter but I don't think it's horrible. I thought it was a nicely done story that's ultimately about learning to accept death so you can live your life to the fullest of its ability. It doesn't hurt that the English dub had some great voice actors. Timothy Dalton is great as the wise wizard Sparrowhawk, Willem Dafoe is also acceptable as the villain Cob (whose gender I still can't figure out), and Matt Levin and Blaire Restaneo are likable as Prince Arren and Therru respectably. The animation is fairly standard but it's still Ghibli's typical level of quality so it gets a pass. The music score is okay and the song that plays over the ending credits is very touching even if you don't know what's being said. Therru's song is also very heart-jerking. I do see the problems with the film, in that it tries to cram too much stuff into a two hour movie and because of that, a lot of stuff is left unexplained (Therru suddenly turning into a dragon at the end of the film really threw me off). It may not be a masterpiece or one of Studio Ghibli's best films but for his first film as director, I didn't think Hayao Miyazaki's son Goro did that bad of a job.
Friday the 13th (2009): In a slew of awful remakes throughout the 2000's, along comes this which, while not perfect in the slightest, is actual watchable. It's basically the first four films crammed into one movie and while I had enjoyed some of the most recent Friday the 13th films, it was nice to see Jason Voorhees go back to basics and stalk teenagers in the woods again. The best part of the movie is Derek Mears as Jason, playing him extremely and actually being intimidating as well (it was cool to see him run again too). I thought Jared Padalecki was a good, likable lead and I didn't mind Danielle Panabaker either. The kills are okay but not that inventive, mind you, with typical machete-slashings and the like (although it was cool to see Jason use a bow and arrow at one point). Some parts of the music I liked but for the most, I missed the sound of Harry Manfredini's score. It's not one of the best films in the franchise, though. Most of the characters are either forgettable, annoying, or hateful and the attack scenes by Jason are done in such shakey camerawork that it's annoying and hard to see what's going on half the time but I do think the movie is watchable and any fan should enjoy it.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) (1971): The Godzilla movies had been fairly straightforward monster mashes up to this point but when series overseer Tomoyuki Tanaka had to enter the hospital for an operation and left this film completely in the hands of director Yoshimitsu Banno, Banno set the series squarely on its head with this flick. Not only is this the most bizarre Godzilla film by far, it's one of the strangest movies period. It took a simple story, Godzilla battling a hideous monster spawned from pollution, and injected all sorts of bizarre crap into it. There are animated sequences that come out of nowhere and are never explained; strange narrative devices like photos of different planets and an animation bit portraying atoms that looks like something you'd see in elementary school; moments where there's suddenly no sound; a scene where a guy is tripping balls in a bar and sees everybody with fish and eel heads; and Godzilla actually flies near the end of the film! Hedorah itself is a pretty freaky creation, basically a walking blob of sludge that can fly, shoot acid, eye lasers, and makes some of the most bizarre sounds ever uttered by any creature in the history of cinema. This movie is so freaking weird that when I was a kid, I didn't watch it much because it disturbed me, particularly the scene where Hedorah flies over a group of fleeing people and they proceed to melt into skeletons due to the sulfuric acid Hedorah belches out of its body. To this day, I will occasionally have a dream about Hedorah. Nowadays, however, I'm able to appreciate and enjoy the movie just due to how freaky and bizarre it is. If you want to see something unlike anything else that you're likely to see, you should check this out. It's one of a kind, that's for sure!
Twister (1996): Like a lot of these movies, this one is on the last purely due to nostalgia. They played this movie a lot on NBC Sunday night movies when I was a kid and even though the film got pretty intense for me at that age, I always watched it and enjoyed myself (although, to be fair, I never saw it all the way through until just a few years ago). Even though I've never found myself actually in a tornado, for someone like me who lives in the South where tornadoes occur a lot during the spring, this film is quite frightening because it's something that could happen. The special effects used to create the tornadoes and the destruction they cause are quite convincing and very intense (the CGI tornadoes do look real). Everybody complains about the cast but you know what, I thought Bill Paxton handled himself well as the lead and so did Helen Hunt (although I could have done without the subplot of them trying to finalize their divorce). I also liked Cary Elwes as Bill's selfish rival (although I like Elwes period) and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the wildly energetic storm chaser Dustin. There are also some great disaster sequences, like when the drive-in is destroyed and the finale where Paxton and Hunt are forced to take cover from the enormous F5 tornado. Not being a weather expert, I don't know if their science in the movie is accurate or not but even if it isn't, I couldn't care less. This is a fun popcorn disaster movie, plain and simple.
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990): I've heard so many people call this the worst entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise but I don't see how anybody could think the abysmal Next Generation is worse than this. Those who know me may also think that I'm biased simply because the director, Jeff Burr, is a good friend of mine but to be honest, I liked this movie long before I first met him. It may not be as intensely frightening as the original or gory, campy fun like the second film but there's something to it in my opinion. I thought Kate Hodge was a decent lead and I liked William Butler as well. Ken Foree is always a plus in any movie and he's great here as the survivalist who ends up saving the day (although the fact that he survived getting a chainsaw to the head is ridiculous). R.A. Mihailoff is quite intimidating as Leatherface (I'll take him over the pussy Leatherface that Robert Jacks played in The Next Generation any day) and it's interesting to see Viggo Mortensen in an early role as a member of the cannibal family. I like the nasty, gritty feel to the film, I thought the production design of the house and the photography of the landscape was done well (although it's clearly not Texas), and I kind of like the music score as well (though I'm not a big fan of the song that plays over the ending credits). The downside is that the "unrated" cut on the DVD is nothing to write home about because I think a lot of the actual really gruesome footage was destroyed after it was trimmed so it's unlikely that we'll ever see what this movie was intended to be. That said, as it stands, I think this film is fairly solid.
Scream 1-3 (1996-2000): In the horror genre, I don't think there any movies that are bigger examples of films that used to be loved but are now generally despised as the Scream films. I can remember back in the day when everybody was talking about these movies and everything I heard tended to be positive. But nowadays, all I ever hear is hatred towards these movies, mainly towards their notion of pointing the finger at the conventions of the genre and so forth. Honestly, is that idea really that annoying? I know these movies weren't the first ones to do that but because they popularized the idea, everybody hates them for it and also because they ushered in similar horror films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend. I know that gimmick got very stale in movies after a while but I think it's high-time that everybody quit giving the Scream movies shit because they're not bad movies. I thought they were well-directed and exciting, I liked Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette in them as well as Jamie Kennedy in the first one (and I didn't like that he got killed in the second one), I thought the idea of Ghostface being a persona that these killers adapt rather than an actual character was a good idea, and I liked the music score for all the movies. I thought the original Scream was a genuinely good horror film and that the opening scene with Drew Barrymore was quite tense and disturbing, Scream 2 was a fun sequel, and I even liked Scream 3, which even fans of the films thought was bad. I do agree with the notions that the sequels adding stuff to the original's backstory made it very convoluted, that they do think they're smarter than they really are, and that they are kind of dated but I don't agree with the sheer hatred heaped on them nowadays. 2011's Scream 4 was pretty lackluster but I think the original trilogy is genuinely good and I will always enjoy it.
Curse of the Fly (1965): The second sequel to the 1958 The Fly, this movie was hard to come by for a long time. I don't think it was ever released on VHS and it didn't come to DVD until 2007. I had always heard mixed opinions on this film, mainly for the fact that there is no fly monster in it and there's no Vincent Price either. That does suck but after watching the movie, I don't think it's that bad. Price may be sorely missed but I thought Brian Donlevy did a capable job as Henri Delambre, who is determined to prove the disintegrator-integrator machine a success no matter what. George Baker is not too bad Henri's son Martin, although his romance and marriage to Carole Gray's character is very sporadic and hasty. The black and white photography and the setting give it the feel of a Hammer film, in particular their Quatermass series. The opening title sequence is very strange and surreal, with Gray escaping from a mental institution and running through the woods in slow-motion. The frightening main title theme from the original that was missing from the previous film, Return of the Fly, is brought back here and is used very well. Finally, there are some mutants, created as a result due to horrible side-effects that the disintegrator-integrator tends to have on humans, although, again, none of them are fly related. It is an odd film in The Fly series but if you give it a chance, you might enjoy it, particularly if you're a fan of old sci-fi monster movies.
The Evil of Frankenstein (1964): Nearly everyone considers this to be the absolute worst of Hammer's Frankenstein series but I really disagree with that notion. I've always enjoyed this one. I know some may find it odd for Baron Frankenstein to be portrayed as sympathetic here when in all of the other ones, he's an absolute bastard who will do anything to further his experiments but Peter Cushing pulls it off well enough to where I can overlook it and enjoy it (although isn't odd that they made him sympathetic in a film with that title?) I thought Sandor Eles was likable as Han, Frankenstein's devoted assistant, as well as Katy Wild as the deaf beggar girl who befriends them. Peter Woodthorpe is absolutely slimy as the hypnotist whom Frankenstein uses to snap his monster of his comatose state and then uses him to his own selfish ends. Some may not like how Kiwi Kingston's monster looks an awful lot like the classic Karloff monster but I didn't mind it. As with most of Hammer's films, the production design and photography are beautiful to look at and the music by Don Banks is absolutely wonderful. The climax as Frankenstein's laboratory as it burns down around him while he tries to save his monster is very well executed. If you don't like it, that's fine, but I don't get why this isn't as well loved as the other films in this franchise.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003): Believe me, I agree with the notion that there should not have been any more Terminator movies after Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But, history is history, and we're just going to have to deal with it and I don't think Terminator 3 is that bad. The plot is nothing new, granted, but Arnold Schwarzenegger is still on the ball as the Terminator and I didn't think Nick Stahl and Claire Danes were that bad (although Danes isn't given much to do). Kristanna Loken is very sexy but I didn't think she was as menacing as the T-X as Robert Patrick was as the T-1000. There's some good action in this movie, like the car chase that involves the Terminator hanging onto an enormous crane, the battle with the machines when Skynet is activated, and the final fights between the Terminator and the T-X. I really like the ending because it's so ballsy and un-Hollywood. The special effects are also very good, both the animatronics and the CGI, and you can see the budget that was put into the movie. It may not have been necessary but I can enjoy this movie, especially when Terminator: Salvation is taken into account.
M. Butterfly (1993): One of David Cronenberg's most uncharacteristic films, having no ties to his body-horror films or graphic thriller-dramas, this is an overlooked gem in his filmography for me. Cronenberg proves that he can tell a real-life story just as well as he can make you squirm or become paranoid about your body, weaving the tale of a French diplomat who falls in love with a Chinese opera singer in the 1960's only to eventually discover that she's not what she seems. Jeremy Irons is fantastic as Rene Gallimard and John Lone actually had me fooled the first time I saw the film, to the point where the twist did shock me. The locations in China are beautifully photographed, Howard Shore's music is very good and fits the story well, and overall, I can't see how you wouldn't be swept away by this film. Like most of Cronenberg's work, I think this film's true brilliance was overlooked when it was originally released but hopefully, I've inspired those who haven't seen it to check it out and those who have and didn't care for it to give it another chance.
The World Is Not Enough (1999): Bond fans to lump this movie in as being as bad the previous film Tomorrow Never Dies, which is one of my least favorite Bond films by far, but I think this is a vast improvement over that movie. Pierce Brosnan is on his A-game as James Bond, finding out that the woman he has been trying to protect is really behind the terrorist plots that have forced MI6 to retreat to another headquarters. He's also really tough and great in the action here. I thought Sophie Marceau was great as said woman, able to jump from seeming innocent to psychotic and scheming with ease and even though they don't do much with his character, I liked Robert Carlyle as Renard, the terrorist who can feel no pain. I also enjoyed the return of Robbie Coltrane as Valentin Zukovsky from Goldeneye and that they gave him more to do. There's some great action in this film as well, like the opening boat chase, the ski chase, the scene in the caviar factory, and the final battle aboard the nuclear submarine. While I think the title song by Garbage is just okay, I really liked David Arnold's exciting remixes of the Bond theme as well as the instrumental versions of said theme song. The movie is also kind of sad because this ended up being Desmond Llewellyn's final performance as Q before his death in the winter of 1999, although I didn't mind John Cleese as R. I do admit that the film has faults, chief among them being Denise Richards, who isn't a very good Bond girl, but the movie entertains me so much that I can overlook them.
Piranha 3-D (2010): Here's another movie that I wasn't too keen on the first time I saw it. What made me hesitate about seeing it was that it's directed by Alexandre Aja, whom some see as a great horror filmmaker but I personally think is a big hack. I hated High Tension, I thought the remake of The Hills Have Eyes was pointless and silly, and I never even bothered seeing Mirrors. So this was his last chance with me and after watching this movie again, I think he delivered a very fun B-movie. Like Anaconda, this is very much in the style of those killer animal movies of the 70's and not only does it know what it is but it goes balls-out. The gore in this movie by KNB is insane. The best part of the movie by far is when the piranhas go postal on the lake party and just massacre everyone, ripping them to shreds, biting body parts of them off, and so on (plus, Eli Roth gets killed, which is a plus). Bottom line, when the piranhas start killing people, it is entertaining as hell. Speaking of the piranhas, I like the way they look and this is an instance where I didn't mind the CGI (in fact, I thought it added to the enjoyable cheese factor of the movie). There's also a lot of nudity in this movie, which I'm sure will make many people happy. The film is very well shot and gorgeous to look, especially in high-def. Michael Wandmacher's music is also enjoyable, particularly the theme for the piranhas themselves. The biggest problem with the movie is that, other than Elisabeth Shue and Ving Rhames (who are given nothing to do) and Christopher Lloyd in an enjoyable cameo, the characters range from forgettable to downright annoying. Jerry O'Connell is sort of fun but he's still playing an unpleasant character in the form of this asshole porno director who gets very high on drugs and puts everyone else in danger due to his behavior. So that is a major bad point but the rest of the movie is so fun that I can overlook it.
The Game (1997): Other than Alien 3, this seems to be the David Fincher that most aren't too keen on. The reason for that is simple: the ending. Everyone says that the ending is bullshit and completely negates everything that came before it. Even though I did think that the ending was questionable, unlike High Tension, it didn't completely destroy the movie for me. I thought the movie, overall, was a very well-made, tense thriller, which Fincher is undeniably awesome at. Michael Douglas and Sean Penn both give good performances, there are many tense and surprising scenes, and the very idea of the movie, that the whole world is against you and out to get you, is quite frightening. Again, the ending is lame but to me, the rest of the movie is so well done that I can overlook it.
Bambi II (2006): Most of the time, Disney's direct-to-video sequels tend to be cheap, uninspired cash-ins on the name of the original. However, this one has a feeling of sincerity about it, that the filmmakers truly wanted to make a good film. For the most part, I think it succeeds. The animation is better than average for a low budget, animated movie, the colors are bright and beautiful, the voice acting is pretty good, it keeps the feeling of the woods that the original had, keeps man as a force rather than a character, and the story is fairly well told and to me, doesn't create continuity errors with the original. There are also some genuinely touching moments, like when Bambi has a dream about his mother, and the song There Is Life is great. Now, I will admit that there is some slapstick and childish humor that isn't necessary but other than that, I really like this flick. It's worth checking out in case you avoided it because of the Disney sequel stimga that it had.
Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973): Most Godzilla fans absolutely despise this entry in the long-running franchise. It's often considered the worst of the lot. But to be honest, I can't fault it because it was the first Godzilla movie I ever saw. In fact, it was one of the first movies I ever saw period, way back when I was five years old. I watched it again and again at the young age and it was the film that made the huge Godzilla fan that I still am to this day. Having said, I know that it's really bad: very, very cheap, with a lot of stock footage, as was common for the series around that time, no city destruction save for one scene made up entirely of stock footage, really bad music, Jet Jaguar is ridiculous, and Godzilla isn't even in a good deal of the film until the final battle. So, yes, I realize it is an uninspired and cheap entry in the series but hey, it was my introduction to Godzilla. If I hadn't seen it when I was five, not only would I not be the person I am today, but I might not even be doing this blog.
Spider-Man 3 (2007): A lot of Spider-Man fans, both of the comics and the movies, really detest this film. Let me say that I understand why. It's the definition of a clusterfuck. There are too many storylines and villains crammed into this one film (Venom should have been saved for another movie). Speaking of Venom, he was touted as being in this film in all of the marketing and yet, he doesn't come around until the last quarter of the film (Topher Grace, also, was not the best choice to play him). Finally, the way Peter Parker acts when he puts on the black suit is ridiculous to say the least. I cannot defend that and I have no clue what Sam Raimi was thinking. So, yes, I get why many hate this film... but I still enjoy it. I've always liked Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as Peter Parker and Mary-Jane and I still do. Even though I wish they had saved his plotline for another movie or at least developed it better, I liked James Franco again as Harry, who turns against Peter but then loses his memory. Cliched, I know, but I liked that concept, that he gets amnesia and becomes friendly with Peter again but you know that, eventually, it will come back and they will be enemies again. Thomas Hayden Church is an awesome Sandman: not really a villain, just a guy who got a raw deal and became a victim of circumstance. The effects are pretty good (the birth of the Sandman is great) and there's some great action, like the first fight between Peter and Harry, the battle with Spider-Man and the Sandman in the subway, and the climax where all the main characters come together. I do find Harry's death at the end to be very touching and Christopher Young's music for that scene, as well as the rest of the movie, is really good. It may have been a letdown after the slice of awesomeness that was Spider-Man 2 but I still have fun with this flick.
Jason X (2002): Jason Voorhees in space? Sounds like a winner to me! Seriously, though, I hated this movie the first time I saw it. I couldn't believe that in this day and age, they still could not make a Friday the 13th movie better than this. But it grew on me as I watched it more and more and now, while I can't exactly call it a good movie, I can call it a fun one. This is definitely the best of the "horror icons in space" idea in that, other than the setting, it's what you would want from a Friday the 13th movie: Jason hacking up horny teens. It's a shame that this ended up being Kane Hodder's last outing as Jason but he still does good, even if his look is strange. Lexa Doig is an okay lead and I liked Lisa Ryder as the cyborg Kay-Em and Peter Mensah as the tough Sgt. Brodski but the rest of the cast is a bit forgettable. David Cronenberg even has a brief role at the beginning of the film! There are some good scenes and kills, like when Jason goes postal a big group of people at the very beginning of the movie; Jason putting that girl's face into a vat of liquid nitrogen and then smashing it; Jason taking out these Aliens-style marines; and the scene where the characters use a virtual reality simulation of Camp Crystal Lake to distract Jason. The film also just has a fun campyness factor to it as well with a lot of energy. The problems, though, are that most of the supporting characters are either annoying or forgettable, Harry Manfredini's score isn't the best (although I do like the techno music that plays over the ending credits), they don't do anything with Uber-Jason, and the CGI effects are cringe-inducing. But, those problems aside, I can have fun with this movie and I give director Jim Isaac (who, sadly, died in March of 2012 from cancer) credit.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008): This is an instance where I really get tired of whiny fanboys complaining that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas raped their childhood with this film (even South Park did a skit that made that idea literal). I will never understand why everybody waited so long for this movie to be made and yet when it came out, they crapped all over it. In my mind, this is just as enjoyable as the original trilogy. Harrison Ford kicks ass in his return to Indy and he looks really good for a guy in his 60's, Cate Blanchett is a great, over the top Russian villain, Karen Allen makes a welcome return as Marion from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I didn't mind Shia LaBeouf as Mutt (although his attitude about the film in real life irritates me). Yes, there's a lot of CGI in the film but it looks as good as it possibly could and the action scenes are still thrilling. Granted, there was no reason for there to be monkeys with greaser haircuts and John Williams doesn't make any memorable new themes but that said, I really don't get the hatred for this film. And don't get me started on the "nuking the fridge" thing because I hate the uproar over that (like the stuff Indy did in the other films was realistic). Bottom line, quit whining and just enjoy the movie because it's a fun two hours.
Event Horizon (1997): Normally, Paul W.S. Anderson is one of the biggest hacks when it comes to filmmaking but with this, his second American film, he actually stumbled upon something very enjoyable (although he didn't write it so that could be part of it). It's fundamentally a haunted house movie in outer space, with a salvage team in the year 2047 sent to bring back a ship that disappeared seven years earlier but has now suddenly returned and when they board the ship, they discover absolute horror. Simple and not exactly an original concept but I don't mind that as long as it's pulled off well and here, it is. You've got a good cast, with Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill especially providing some great performances, good production design of the ship, some real suspense and very horrifying images, and gruesome makeup effects by Bob Keen, who did the effects for Hellraiser (in fact, this is what Hellraiser: Bloodline, the film in that franchise where the last section takes place in space, should have been). If Anderson would make more movies like this or at least let someone else write his screenplays, I might like him a lot more but as it stands, this is the only film of his that I do enjoy.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992): Everybody, and I mean everybody, craps all over this movie for the exact same reason: it's the exact same plot as the first movie except carried out in a different setting. I agree. It is basically a photocopy of its parent, with the same story beats and character types. That said, I like this movie quite a bit, though not as much as the first. This is one of the few sequels where not only does the director come back but so does basically the entire cast, even the minor characters. Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern are once again in top form and the best part of the movie (although Stern acts much goofier here than he did in the first movie). I also liked the new characters, including Tim Curry as the concierge of the hotel and even Rob Schneider, whom I normally can't stand, was fine as the bellhop. The slapstick in this movie honestly makes me laugh harder than the slapstick in the original, mainly because it's much more over the top and cartoonish (I know some critics frowned on that but they're not doing anything here that The Three Stooges did and were beloved for). I thought the setting of New York City was put to good use, both in just the visuals of it to it being used in the comedy. Finally, John Williams contributes another beautiful score that captures the Christmas season well. It may not be as good as its predecessor and I do agree that at times, it is a little too, "second verse, same as the first," but to me, it's still a nice, charming movie to watch at Christmastime.
The Mummy (1999): I believe that this falls into the used to be loved but is now generally hated category. This is the only Stephen Sommers that I've seen that I like (Van Helsing blows ass!) Yes, there are some dumb parts to it and the CGI is really dated but on the whole, it's just a fun, rousing, deliberately campy movie. It's not even really a remake to the 1932 film but is instead an Indiana Jones-style adventure story mixed with horror. The cast is great (Brendan Fraser is really likable and so is Rachel Weisz), there are a lot of great action and spectacle sequences, the film has a fun, campy vibe to it, and Jerry Goldsmith's score is wonderful. Bottom line, if a movie is simply fun and entertaining, then it's good enough for me.
The Blair Witch Project (1999): Another movie that was once popular but is now generally hated, this was a movie that I avoided for a long time because I heard that it was stupid and not scary at all. But when I finally broke down and watched it, I was mad at myself for not seeing it sooner because this flick is awesome. I know it got very overexposed due to the hype and all the parodies and many of you are probably tired of the myriad of found footage horror films that have come out since this movie (although I blame that more on Cloverfield personally) but this movie is still very effective to this day. Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, and Mike Williams all give very believable, likable performances, really seeming like three kids who are at their absolute wits' end because of what's happening to them. The sense of the unknown in the film really works in making it so terrifying. You never find out what's going on, who or what is stalking them through the woods, or why it's happening? The scenes of them hearing bizarre crunching noises in the woods in the middle of the night are very creepy and the one where they hear childlike sounds outside the tent gives me chills each time. The "found footage" subgenre may be a bit cliche now but this film made it popular for a reason: it did very, very well. I highly recommend rediscovering it if you haven't seen it in a while.
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985): If Halloween III is the black sheep of that franchise, then this is the black sheep of the Friday the 13th series. To this day, many despise this movie for the simple reason that, at the end, it is revealed that Jason Voorhees is not the killer. I can understand why a lot of people were annoyed and felt cheated the first time they saw the movie but if you go back and give it another look, it's actually one of the more enjoyable films of the series. Since the director, Danny Steinmann, was a former porn director, this ends up being the sleaziest of the franchise, with a lot of nudity and a real exploitation feeling to it. The kills themselves, and there are a lot of them, even though they were drastically censored by the MPAA, have a much more mean-spirited feel to them than most of the kills in the other films. You've also got some memorable and colorful characters about them. John Shepherd plays the adult Tommy Jarvis and is very convincing as a disturbed kid. Melanie Kinnaman isn't a bad leading lady either and I actually liked Shavar Ross as young Reggie the Reckless. The most memorable characters by far are Ethel and Junior Hubbard (Carol Locatell and Ron Sloan), particularly Ethel, who's such a foul-mouthed redneck stereotype that she's hilarious. Harry Manfredini's score for this one may not be one of his best but it's passable. It may not be my absolute favorite Friday the 13th but it's still a fun, sleazy slasher film with a big body count and that's all you could ask for.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995): I know a lot of Halloween fans hate this sixth entry in the franchise and while I do admit that it has problems and the theatrical cut is a mess due to the constant re-shoots, I've always enjoyed it. It's another instance where I can't explain why but to me, there's something to this movie. Like I said, though, I'm aware that it has a lot of problems. The whole Thorn cult concept is very stupid and was not a good idea, especially in giving Michael Myers a motive; not only does Danielle Harris not return as Jamie Lloyd but she's killed off in a disrespectful way; and it sucks that the great Donald Pleasence made his last screen appearance in a film where he does nothing and is just there. But there's other stuff in this movie that I do like. I really like the lead girl Marianne Hagan and I honestly don't think Paul Rudd was too bad as the adult Tommy Doyle. One of my favorite moments in the entire Halloween series is the scene where Mrs. Blankenship tells young Danny about the history of Halloween and what it means. I think Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur and A. Michael Lerner) is intimidating here and I like the mask here a lot more than the ones he wore in the previous two films. This is also one of the goriest films in the series, with great kills like when Michael stabs the hateful father of the Strode family and slams him against a fusebox, eventually causing his head to explode, and during the climax at Smith's Grove where Michael goes postal and slaughters all of these people in the operating room. While I like some of the added dialogue and bits in the producer's cut, I like the climax in the theatrical cut much better, as opposed to the one in the producer's cut where Michael is revealed to have raped his niece and is stopped by rocks! I know it's not a perfect film but I do enjoy it so take that for what it's worth.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971): Believe me, I know why a lot of people, including most Bond fans, are usually put off by this film. When I first saw this movie, I hated it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It's without a doubt the least serious film in the franchise. It's so goofy and slapsticky that it feels more like a parody of the Bond films. It was hard for me to believe that this was directed by Guy Hamilton, who directed arguably the best Bond film, Goldfinger. Also, if you don't count the unofficial film Never Say Never Again, then this is Sean Connery's final performance as James Bond and for me, his performance here is mixed. Sometimes he looks like he's enjoying himself, other times he looks like he's just going through the motions so he can do this last film and leave the character behind once and for all (although, he doesn't seem as indifferent and bored here as he was in You Only Live Twice). However, upon further viewings, this movie becomes a lot of fun. The cast is a big part of that. Jill St. John is a great Bond girl, feisty and hot, Putter Smith and Bruce Glover are off-beat and fun as the two gay henchmen, Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, I also like Jimmy Dean as the Howard Hughes-like millionaire, Willard Whyte, and Charles Gray makes a nice Blofeld. The setpieces are really fun as well, particularly the battle between Bond and Peter Franks in a confined elevator, the chase through Las Vegas, and the climactic battle aboard Blofeld's oil-rig hideout. The music and title song aren't some of my favorites but other than that, I now really like this film. It's a fun two hours.
The Guardian (1990): Truly a Grimm's fairy tale, this later effort by William Friedkin was laughed off the screen in 1990 and considered by many to be one of the worst films of that year. I, however, think it's an underrated, creepy little flick. The very idea, about a Druid-creature that comes into people's homes as a nanny and sacrifices their infant children to a tree that lives on their blood is a horrifying idea and it's pulled off well. Jenny Seagrove is both beautiful and frightening as the nanny Camilla and Dwier Brown and Carey Lowell are likable as the new parents whose baby the evil woman is eying as her next victim. The film has an atmosphere to it that I can't quite put my finger on but it is effective in its creepiness, aided by the music by Jack Hues. It's not one of Friedkin's best films but it doesn't deserve the scorn it gets. I'd recommend checking it out, although it's presently very hard to find.
The Giant Gila Monster (1959): Another cheap little monster movie, this public domain creature feature doesn't get much credit but to me, like The Blob
the year before, it's a charming little time capsule of a movie with
hot-rodding teenagers as the main characters. The film's pace is slow at
times and the monster is clearly a normal-sized lizard (not even a real
Gila monster but a beaded lizard) on a miniature set but I find it to
be fun overall. In fact, there are sections of it that are genuinely
creepy, with the idea of something stalking the dark woods enhanced by
the eerie whistling score. Even though you know what the monster is, I
still find it enjoyable to see the characters (particularly the lead
teenager and the sheriff) try to figure out the cause of all the
mysterious accidents that have been happening around their small town in
New Mexico and if you put yourself in their shoes when they come to the
conclusion that it's likely something large and monstrous roaming
around the woods, you can see how it would be an eerie notion. I've
always loved this little monster and I enjoy it a lot more than director
Ray Kellogg's other low budget monster movie of the same year, The Killer Shrews.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984): Until Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came along, this was considered the worst of the Indiana Jones franchise due to its dark tone and the characters of Willie Scott and Short Round. At first, I wasn't too fond of it myself but, as with many other movies, it grew on me. It's still a rip-roaring adventure with the same great stunts, action, and cliffhangers that we love Indy for. Harrison Ford is great as always as Indy, Amrish Puri is an intimidating villain, and to be honest, Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) don't annoy me that much. Many complain about the dark tone of the film, even Spielberg kind of regrets doing that, but I think it suits this story well. The final act with the battle in the actual temple leading up to the climax on the bridge is awesome and John Williams' main theme for this particular film really gets the adrenaline pumping. I know there are still haters for this film out there but I recommend giving it another shot.
Psycho III (1986): Even though Psycho II was the film that
ultimately made learn to judge for myself, I didn't put it on the list
because I think that now, most people realize that it is a good film.
The general attitude towards Psycho III, however, is much more
generally negative. I will admit that the first time I saw the film, I
wasn't too impressed. It was a big letdown after the awesome previous
installment. But after watching it more and more, it's grown on me. Besides still being on form as Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins manages to do something interesting things as director, putting vibrant colors in the film's lighting as well as doing interesting scene transitions. The film also benefits from a nice supporting cast including Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell, and Hugh Gillin. The music score by Carter Burwell is well done, particularly the theme that plays over the opening titles and there are some nice, gory kills to satisfy slasher hounds. The letdown with the film though is that it's trying to be similar to the original Psycho in terms of plot but for the most part, despite Perkins' good intentions, it comes across as a typical slasher film. Still, it is an entertaining watch.
Jaws 2 (1978): Almost everybody craps all over this first sequel to Steven Spielberg's immortal classic but it's actually not that bad of a film. It does suffer due to three points: it borrows too many elements from its parent, the teenage characters are forgettable for the most part (I can't even remember all of the characters' names), and the shark, whose face is burnt on the side throughout the latter half of the film, looks fake in some shots. But you still have Roy Scheider and Lorraine Gary, who are still great, along with Murray Hamilton, Joseph Mascolo, and Jeffrey Kramer, competent direction by Jeannot Szwarc, a pretty exciting third act involving the teenagers being attacked by the shark and Martin Brody's final battle with it, and another good music score by John Williams. It's nowhere near the level of the original but that was a tough act to follow. Besides, it's way better than Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge.
Freddy vs. Jason (2003): Many seem to give this pairing of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees a lot of grief but it's one of the most fun horror movies of the 2000's in my humble opinion. The teenage characters do suck (with the exception of Brendan Fletcher) but everything else is so great and well done that I can overlook them. Robert Englund brings his A-game to his final performance Freddy, still having a campy sense of humor but not being as overly goofy as he had been in the later Nightmare on Elm Street films. Ken Kirzinger may not be the best Jason (it really should have been Kane Hodder) but he does what he can and honestly, I was just happy to see the two monsters fighting each other so I didn't care who was behind the hockey mask. The actual battle between Freddy and Jason is a long time coming but it's so awesome and gory as all get-out that it's well worth it. It really is amazing how much gore there is flying everywhere during the climax of the battle at Crystal Lake. The film looks really good and I like how director Ronny Yu plays with the color scheme, making everything deep red for Freddy and deep blue for Jason. The dream sequences and special effects are also very well executed, particularly when Freddy and Jason actually fight each other in the dream world. It's not perfect by any means (the score isn't that memorable and Jason should not be afraid of water) but it's just gory fun and in my opinion, was well worth the long wait that it took for the movie to make it to the screen.
Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996): Direct-to-video sequels usually suck big time but this is one of the rare exceptions that manages to be just as entertaining as its predecessor. While Kevin Bacon is sorely missed, you still have Fred Ward, who manages to hold the lead very well. Christopher Gartin may be a poor substitute for Val, but I thought he was funny and I dug the chemistry between him and Ward. This film has my favorite performance by Michael Gross as Burt, who really comes into his own as the character, rather than being a supporting player as he was in the first movie. Helen Shaver wasn't a bad love interest for Ward either. The graboid effects are still convincing and well done and I didn't mind the new creatures, which are eventually dubbed in the third film as shriekers, because they remind me of the raptors from Jurassic Park, one of my favorite movies of all time. The film moves at a very good pace and the music is bouncing and exciting throughout. This a prime example of the 90's creature features that I absolutely loved growing up and I still do to this day.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): Along with Moonraker, A View to a Kill, and Tomorrow Never Dies, this is considered one of the worst Bond movies ever (I'm sure I've heard it referred to as the absolute worst more than a few times). But again, I'm biased because this was the first "classic" Bond movie (that being one made before the Brosnan era) I ever saw and it introduced me to Roger Moore as Bond, whom I like a lot. It may not be big in the action department but it has a campy charm to it that I find irresistible. I love the locations of Beirut, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Scaramanga's private island hideout and think they're beautifully photographed. Plus, you have a good cast. Christopher Lee is the villain. You can't get much better than that. While she doesn't do much, I didn't mind Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight; I thought Maud Adams was good as Scaramanga's tortured lover; Herve Villechaize was fun as Scaramanga's midget servant Nick Nack; and you know what, I like Clifton James as Sheriff J.W. Pepper (I'm from the South, I can't help it!) As for Moore, many say that this is one of his worst performances as Bond but I like it a lot better than his performance in Live and Let Die, where he didn't look like he knew what he was doing half the time (that's my least favorite Bond film, by the way). It may not be one of the most exciting Bond films but I always enjoy watching it.
The Fly II (1989): This sequel to David Cronenberg's excellent remake of The Fly abandons the deepness and themes of its predecessor in favor of a straightforward monster movie but it's done well. Chris Walas, the effects man behind the Oscar-winning makeup for the previous film, made his directorial debut with this flick and although he may not be anywhere near the level of filmmaker that Cronenberg is, he delivers the goods in terms of gory monster fun. I thought Eric Stoltz was great as Martin, the son of Seth Brundle who soon begins to mutate into the same monstrous insect his father did; Daphne Zuniga was a very sweet and pretty love interest; Lee Richardson played an awesome bad guy as the evil head of Bartok Industries; and Gary Chalk was so wonderfully loathsome and evil as the head of security who has it out for Martin. The makeup and animatronic effects used to portray Martin's transformation into the new fly-monster are just as awesome as those in the previous film, particularly the full-body creature he becomes near the end of the film, and there's also some great disgusting gore, like the fly vomiting on a guy's face which causes it to melt as well as a head being crushed in an elevator. To top it off, Christopher Young's score is so great, particularly the main theme as well as the music for the more touching moments and the horrific scenes. It may not be as thought-provoking or disturbing as Cronenberg's film but, just as Return of the Fly was to the original, it's a fun sequel that's purely and simply a monster movie.
Die Another Day (2002): Pierce Brosnan's final Bond film and the last film in the franchise before it was rebooted with Casino Royale, I've always thought that this was pure turn your brain off, popcorn movie fun, which is why a lot of people hate it. It is silly and ridiculous and, technically, not a good film, but, as I've said many times before about similar movies, it's so enjoyable for those very reasons. This one excels at great action, like the opening sequence in Korea, the chase through the clinic at Honduras, the great action scenes at the ice palace in Iceland, and the climax aboard the villain's plane. I thought Toby Stephens made a great bad guy, I like some of the gadgets such as the invisible car, and I think it's a shame that this is the only time John Cleese really got to be Q because I liked him. I also like the setpieces (that aforementioned ice palace is a knockout of a set), the opening title sequence being played over scenes of Bond being tortured at the North Korean prison, and the music. So sue me, I really enjoy Madonna's title song. I know everyone hates it but I love it. The biggest problems that I have with the movie is the acting. Brosnan seems a little bored throughout the movie and was probably ready to stop being Bond at that point; Halle Berry is ridiculously sexy but her acting as Jinx is kind of, "meh"; and why Michael Madsen is in this movie I will never know because he does nothing. I will also say that the references to the fact that this was the twentieth Bond film and the series' 40th anniversary do get tiresome after a while. Overall, it's just fast-paced, fun, popcorn movie of escapism, which is what the Bond movies are about.
The Relic (1997): Talk about a creature feature that doesn't get the respect it deserves. I have friends who are huge horror fans like me that I hate this movie. I will never understand that. This is one of my favorite horror movies of the 90's (if you read the list of my 101 favorite horror films, you would know that it was on there). It's creepy, well-shot, has a great location in the museum, emphasizes the less is more angle to horror films perfectly, has some great acting by Tom Sizemore, is very thrilling when the monster attacks, the monster itself is a very cool design, and the score is nicely eerie and exciting when it needs to be. I really don't understand why this film doesn't get more credit (and I know lovers of the book tend not to like it but I've never read the book so I don't care). I always stick up for this one.
Cowboys and Aliens (2011): I was really surprised to find out
that this movie bombed because I assumed it was a hit due to the people
involved. Watching it, I don't get why this didn't do well because I
thought it was great. Jon Favreau proves once again that he's an awesome
director comic book adaptations, mixing great action and horrific
sci-fi with an old-style western setting. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford
are at the top of their game here and Craig, as usual, is a real
bad-ass. The film is beautifully shot, with the western landscape
looking gorgeous in the bright sunlight, the music by Harry
Gregson-Williams is good, particularly the main theme which is very
western, and the aliens themselves have a good design to them. Speaking
of which, even in the PG-13 theatrical cut of the movie, there are some
bloody, disturbing moments involving people being examined and
experimented on by the aliens. For me, this is a movie where all the
elements came together and worked very well. At my last checking, this
movie gets a 6.2 on IMDB and to me, it deserves much higher.
Hollow Man (2000): Not one of Paul Verhoeven's most popular films (in fact, he hasn't directed much since this film). When compared to his ultra violent sci-fi/action movies like RoboCop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers, this feels very mainstream and straightforward. It's basically a slasher movie except that the killer is invisible. Not very ambitious but it's done well. Some have argued that Kevin Bacon's character Sebastian Caine is not a likable person before he becomes invisible and while that's true, he wasn't so hateful that I couldn't stand him. The invisibility is what actually turns him into a villain. I really liked Elisabeth Shue as Caine's ex-lover and John Brolin as her new lover. The underground laboratory where they work I thought was designed very well and is put to good use when Caine snaps and goes on a rampage throughout it. Speaking of which, that last quarter of the movie is very exciting and fun and so is the rest of the film. The invisibility effects are very impressive and believable, particularly when Caine or one of the test animals goes from solid to transparent to completely invisible and also in the reverse process. Jerry Goldsmith also contributes a score that's eerie at times and thrilling at other times. It may not be one of Verhoeven's best films but it's a lot of fun nonetheless and that's good enough for me.
Outbreak (1995): While some critics liked this movie and it did well at the box-office, it seems that the vast majority think very little of it. Ever since the movie Contagion came out in 2011, this movie has been looked down upon even more. I don't get it. This is one of the best medical thrillers ever made and one of the best thrillers of the 90's period in my opinion. It has a spectacular cast: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Donald Sutherland (not to mention Patrick Dempsey in an early role). Good God, the star power of this movie and the fact that all of these actors do their job well should be enough to warrant some respect. It's very well-directed by Wolfgang Petersen, particularly in the sequence where you see the virus spreading throughout the town theater and later when a bunch of infected people are brought into the local doctor's office. There's also some great dramatic moments when this mother is forced to leave her house in order to get tested for the virus and her kids aren't allowed to go near her, as well as the moment when General Ford (Freeman) gives the order for the town to be bombed in order to destroy the virus. The music score by James Newton Howard is pretty good as well. Finally, how is this just a stupid action movie, as I've heard others describe it as? There isn't really that much action in this movie (it feels like it though due to its brisk pace) but when it does happen, it has a lot of meaning behind it. Ultimately, I have and always will enjoy this film.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003): My buddy the Creepy Kentuckian over at Deadpit.com has said that he will argue until his dying day why this movie sucks. CK, I love you man, but I will argue to my dying day about the exact opposite. Even though I should hate this movie because it ushered in the myriad of unnecessary horror remakes that blighted the 2000's, I think it's one of the absolute best. It's intense, well-made, and has some great sequences. It may be a cliche now but I like the muted color scheme of the movie because at that point, I had never seen a movie that looked like that. I didn't mind the cast, including Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, and Jonathan Tucker. Many have said that they only saw him as playing a more sadistic version of his iconic character from Full Metal Jacket but I liked R. Lee Ermey as Sheriff Hoyt. I thought he was really evil and sadistic and knew how to make you uncomfortable. Andrew Bryniarski may be a roided-up, drunk asshole at conventions but I thought he was a very intimidating, imposing, and vicious Leatherface (his mask looks a little funky though). There are some great sequences in this, like when Leatherface attacks the two girls in the van; when Mike Vogel's character is hung on the meathook; and the climactic chase, ending in the slaughterhouse, which I loved. Finally, I thought Steve Jablonsky's music fit it well. I do agree that the family members were too numerous and spread out randomly but other than that, I really, really like this movie.
Lakeview Terrace (2008): I may get hated on for liking this movie but I think it's a good drama/thriller. Before I say anything else, I just want to make it clear that I am not racist in the slightest. I'm all for interracial couples and the like. However, I'm glad that a movie like this came around that shows that white people aren't the only ones that have prejudices but that said, the film itself never looks down on the interracial couple. It simply shows that prejudice exists in people of all races and in some cases, it can be taken to dangerous extremes. That aside, the film is well directed by Neil LaBute and well acted. Samuel L. Jackson is very menacing and threatening as Abel Turner, the LAPD police officer who will do anything to get rid of the interracial couple that has moved next door to him. Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington, I thought, were believable and likable as said couple. I don't know why but I really like the setting of the small cul-de-sac neighborhood in the heat of the Los Angeles summer. I always like those type of settings anyway but I especially liked it here. I liked the way the music by Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna sounded as well, particularly the main theme. I'm expecting a backlash for liking this movie but I have to be honest.
Anaconda (1997): My main reason for liking this movie is nostalgia. Growing up in the 90's, this is the kind of creature feature I was used to. It's basically Jaws only with a giant snake instead of a shark and it manages to an entertaining flick with that concept. This is the type of movie that I don't understand why people get angry at because I wonder what they were expecting from a movie about a big snake. It is what it is and it does it well. I'm not a big fan of Jennifer Lopez or Ice Cube but I thought they were fine here and I didn't mind Owen Wilson much either (although the fact that he gets eaten helps). The real star for me is Jon Voight, who is such an over the top, fun bad guy, much like Robert Shaw's character in Jaws except more demented and sadistic. As for the snake effects, the CGI is dated but the animatronics look really good (although the snake's constant screaming gets on my nerves a little bit). The film moves at a brisk pace at just 89 minutes, the climax at that old facility in the jungle is exciting, the Amazon jungle is very well shot, and the music by Randy Edelman ranges from menacing to downright beautiful. It may not be a classic but it's a fun B-movie in the style of the killer animal movies of the 70's and it works well in that aspect.
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990): Everyone loves the original Gremlins but I usually don't hear much praise for this sequel and that's a shame because this movie is a hoot and a half. It is a movie that simply doesn't care, that breaks all the rules and entertains you the entire time. It takes a fairly simple story, the gremlins getting loose inside of a completely automated office building, and using it as an excuse to satirize nearly everything to with movies, eventually turning the movie into a live-action cartoon. The fourth wall is just demolished, particularly in a sequence where the gremlins seem to invade the very theater that the film itself is playing in and forcing the usher to get Hulk Hogan to make the gremlins restart the movie as well as when they attack film critic Leonard Maltin for bashing the original film. The gremlin and mogwai designs by Rick Baker are very believable (I like Gizmo's look here better) and well executed, especially the Brain Gremlin (voiced by Tony Randall) and the spider gremlin that Mohawk becomes. Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates make welcome returns in their respective roles from the previous film, as does Dick Miller, who gets much more to do here, along with great new characters like John Glover as the childlike owner of the building, Robert Prosky as a Grandpa Munster-type horror host, Robert Picardo as the asshole chief of security, and Christopher Lee as the mad scientist who runs the research laboratory upstairs. Jerry Goldsmith provides another fun score and I like the way the main theme sounds here better than the way it did originally. It's just a zany, wild, hilariously fun movie that more people should appreciate.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985): Even though this film has grown in popularity in recent years, there are still a lot of people who consider it to be the worst of the series. First off, those people obviously haven't seen A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child or Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (shudders). Second, this movie is awesome. Yes, Freddy does spend too much time in the real world and not enough in dreams and there are some things that don't make sense (those baby-faced dogs and that monster cat and mouse that pop up during the climax or why Freddy is able to bring his dream powers into the real world) but hey, it was only the second film in the series and they were testing the waters. Cut them some slack. The film's story is, in many ways, even darker than that of the original, with Freddy trying to reenter the real world through the body of Jesse, the kid now living in the house that once belonged to Nancy. Robert Englund also plays Freddy in the most evil way he ever would, never once cracking a joke and brutally slicing people up without any of the playfulness he usually displays. There are also some great makeup effects (the scene where Freddy literally comes out of Jesse is a knock-out), good acting by Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Russler, and Clu Gulager, a feeling of dread that permeates the entire film, and a good score by Christopher Young. If you saw it way back when and didn't like it, I'd recommend checking it out again. It's actually one of the best and most unique films in the series.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989): This could possibly be the most hated entry in the Friday the 13th franchise. Both die-hard fans and casual viewers always say that this movie sucks big time. This is another instance where I can sort of understand why it's not well liked. It doesn't deliver on the promise that the title gives but that should be blamed on Paramount reluctance to fork over the money rather than the movie itself or director Rob Hedden, who had planned to deliver on that title very much so. By this point, the MPAA had it out for the series and like Part VII: The New Blood, this ended up being very dry in terms of gore. The scenes with the lead girl Renny having visions of Jason as a young boy are derivative of A Nightmare on Elm Street. And the ending, where Jason is drowned in toxic waste which somehow reverts him back to a little kid, doesn't make any sense whatsoever. So, I do understand people's hatred for this film but it's still my second favorite entry in the franchise. I have a personal connection to it because when I was young, my friends always told me about it because it was the one they always rented. When I finally saw it myself, I really enjoyed it and I still do. I like Jason's look (not his actual face, mind you) and Kane Hodder plays him well again; I liked Jensen Dagget as the lead and I didn't mind her boyfriend either; I thought the major part of the film aboard the cruise ship was done well as well as the last forty-five minutes that do take place in New York; and I like Fred Mollin's music. I also just like the vibe and tone of the film as well. If you hate it, that's fine, but I really enjoy it.
Hulk (2003): This was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer of 2003 but I don't think anybody was expecting what they got. Many came out of the theaters absolutely livid and even I admit that when I first saw this movie, I didn't know what to think after it was over. But, as I've said many times in this list, this movie grew on me to the point where it's become one of my favorite comic book movies. Many feel that 2008's The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton was what this movie should have been but I get way more out of this than I do that film. I like the cast, especially Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross, and Sam Elliot as General Ross. I think the CGI Hulk is one of the best computer-generated characters ever created. He looks totally real to me. I love the visuals, from the basic look of the film to the unique editing such as the comic book split-screens and the interesting scene transitions. The icing on the cake is Danny Elfman's beautiful score. It's a real treat for the ears. I don't deny that there are faults, in that the film does drag at points, Nick Nolte looks lost and his character isn't well defined, and the final battle isn't what the final battle in a Hulk movie should have been. So, I do think director Ang Lee made some mistakes, but I think he did some things right as well. You may not like it but I will always love this movie.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002): I know I'm pissing off a lot of people by putting this on the list but I have to be honest, this is one of my favorite Halloween. Yes, the explanation of how Michael Myers survived getting his head chopped off at the end of H2O is complete bullshit, ruining what could have been the perfect finale to the series, and it's a shame how Laurie Strode finally went out but I can enjoy this film simply because it's a dumb slasher movie. I didn't think Brad Loree did that bad a job as Michael and I enjoyed his look, although I have mixed feelings about the mask. Busta Rhymes may be playing a selfish douchebag but I thought he was funny, in particular when he's dressed up as Michael Myers and gives the real one shit because he thinks it's a buddy of his. I didn't think Bianca Kajlich was a bad lead either. I thought the location of the Myers house was used very well considering that this is the film in the franchise that uses it the most. Finally, I love how John Carpenter's classic Halloween theme sounds here as well as Danny Lux's additional music. I know I'm in a huge minority here but I really like this film and will take it over Rob Zombie's abominations any day.
King Kong (1976): I am so sick of this movie getting hated on so much. I almost never hear any good reviews on this movie at all. I can understand why people hate King Kong Lives, the ill-advised sequel to this (although that's kind of a guilty pleasure for me) but this? Really, you think this is that bad? It seems to be another example of a movie that used to be really liked but now is hated on all the time. This movie was a hit in 1976 and it got pretty good reviews at the time from what I can tell but since it didn't outgross Jaws, as Dino De Laurentiis hoped it would, everyone assumed over the years that it flopped and that it was bad. And I'll be honest, this was the King Kong movie I grew up with. I saw this long before I saw the 1933 original. That said, there's no denying that the 1933 original is a true classic and is by far the better film but this still has a lot of good points. Yes, the movie is a tad campy, there are no dinosaurs on the island other than a pathetic looking giant snake that randomly shows up at one point, and the relationship between Kong and Dwan is silly, and the effects-work is questionable at points, but there's so much good stuff here than I can overlook those aspects. Jeff Bridges is awesome as Jack Prescott, the hippie-like nature photographer who wants Kong to be sent back home, and Charles Grodin is such a slimy villain as the selfish oil-man Fred Wilson. I do agree that Jessica Lange's performance as Kong's girl, Dwan, is a bit cringe-worthy but I don't think it's awful and unlike Ann Darrow in the original, she actually forms a relationship with Kong. A lot of people bash on Kong's look (Rick Baker in a suit that he helped design) but I always thought he looked good, although his not walking on his knuckles does hinder the believability slightly. The film is also beautifully shot, John Barry's score is excellent, and there are some great sequences like Kong trying to smash his way through the giant wall into the village, his rampage through New York, and his final stand against the helicopters on top of the World Trade Center. It may not be as classic or as legendary as the original but it doesn't deserve so much hateful criticism (5.3 on IMDB at my last checking).
Moonraker (1979): I've heard few good reviews for this, Roger Moore's fourth Bond film. From what I can tell, most of the complaints come from the film being so over the top in terms of its plot, which eventually leads Bond into outer space. First off, that's not until the last half hour of the film and even then, it's done in a plausible way. Second, that, along with the rest of the movie, is a lot of fun. Roger Moore is still on form as Bond and Michael Lonsdale makes a good villain. Plus, you have Richard Kiel returning as Jaws and this was the last time Bernard Lee would play M. There are some great action scenes like the opening skydiving sequence, the gondola chase, the battle between Bond and Jaws aboard a couple of cable cars suspended high in the air, and the boat chase through the Amazon. I don't care what anybody says, I think the title song by Shirley Bassey is really good, particularly the disco-mix that plays over the ending credits, and the actual score by John Barry is enjoyable to me as well. Yes, it's over the top, but over the top Bond films can be fun and to me, this one is.
Predator 2 (1990): Here's a sequel that has always been hated, from the time of its release to this very day and I don't get it. This movie is a hoot and a half. It's a fast-paced, balls to the wall, violent as hell sci-fi/action film that does not let up for a second and doesn't feel like it's 108 minutes long. I don't get why people hate on Danny Glover so much as Lieutenant Mike Harrigan because I thought he handled himself very well as a short-tempered, bad-ass cop who will do anything he can to keep his town safe. I also liked Gary Busey as Peter Keyes, a supposed FBI agent who turns out to actually be hunting the predator, as well as Ruben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Bill Paxton as Harrigan's partners. Kevin Peter Hall is still awesome as the new predator, who has a great look to him and some devastating new weapons. The location of Los Angeles is put to good use, giving a picture of a city that is literally hell on Earth with sweltering heat and is a very dangerous place to live with the violent feuds between drug gangs. Like I said, the movie doesn't skimp on the action. In fact, the last thirty minutes just goes full steam ahead, with an awesome attack on the subway, a great all-out fight between Harrigan and the predator, which leads to a chase that ultimately ends inside the predator's spaceship. Finally, Alan Silvestri's score is still enough to get your adrenaline pumping. If you don't like this movie, that's fine, but I don't understand and never will because this movie is awesome.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974): This has always been one of my favorite Godzilla movies. It's one of the most energetic, campiest, explosion-filled entries in the franchise and, as you can guess, it's a whole lot of fun. Since this was the twentieth anniversary of the franchises, the people at Toho Studio came up with an ingenious way to call back to Godzilla's original role as a destructive force and yet keep him in the hero role that he had acquired by that point. Godzilla apparently goes on a rampage through Japan but it's eventually revealed that it's actually a cyborg double called Mechagodzilla. There are some great monster battles in the film. Mechagodzilla gets into a battle with Godzilla's longtime friend Anguirus and brutally beats him, breaking his jaw and forcing him to retreat. Godzilla and Mechagodzilla's first confrontation is a spectacular battle at an oil refinery where Godzilla eventually reveals the robot hiding behind the fake skin. The climactic battle involving Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and a new monster named King Seesar is just awesome and will blow you out of your seats with all of the incredible pyrotechnics and lightning-fast pace. The bouncing, cheesy music just adds to the excitement and fun of this great flick. Director Jun Fukuda may not have liked any of his Godzilla movies but he sure went out with a bang with this one.
A View to a Kill (1985): Many James Bond fans consider this to be one of the lowest points in the franchise, mainly due to the age of Roger Moore (58), who ended his twelve years as Bond with this film. I do get that. It does not seem feasible at all that Moore would be able to pull off the stuff that he does in this film due to the way he looks (although, personally, I thought he looked worse in Octopussy) and Tanya Roberts is one of the worst Bond girls but for me, there's so much other great stuff in this movie than I can overlook those problems. Christopher Walken is awesome as the villain Max Zorin and you can tell that he was having a ball when making this flick; Patrick Macnee is enjoyable as Bond's partner during the first bit of the movie, Sir Godfrey Tibbett (too bad he gets killed); there is some great action, such as the opening sequence in the snow-covered Soviet Union, the firetruck chase through San Francisco, the scene where Zorin betrays and massacres his men in the mine, and the final battle between Bond and Zorin on top of the Golden Gate Bridge; and the music by John Barry, I think, is one of his best scores for the franchise. Speaking of the music, let's not forget Duran Duran's kick-ass title song (if you don't like that song, I don't what to say to you). Also, I think of this as the last of the classic Bond period starting from the series' inception in the 60's. I can't put my finger on it but after this, the series never felt quite the same. I know I'm the only one who thinks this but I always love A View to a Kill.
The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985) (1984): The number one movie on the list, this entry in the Godzilla franchise is almost always met with a lot of hatred and criticism and I simply do not understand it. This, along with the 1954 original film, is probably my favorite Godzilla movie and, therefore, one of my favorite movies ever. The plot is simple, Godzilla returning to terrorize Japan after being presumed dead for thirty years, and some may call it a rehash of the original film but it's done very, very well. First off all, it's the darkest entry in the series by far. There's an overwhelming atmosphere of doom and gloom, even more so than the original movie. Before Godzilla appears, there's a scene aboard an abandoned ship that is straight out of a slasher film, with dead bodies strewn everywhere, similar to the scene at the Norwegian camp in John Carpenter's The Thing. Second, Godzilla himself is very terrifying and intimidating here, seeming bigger than he ever was before, with red eyes, two long fangs, and a frightening, deep roar. The moment after he's destroyed the Super-X aircraft and turns to look at the two leads and actually snarls at them has to be the scariest he's ever looked. The scenes of him destroying Tokyo with hundreds of people running for their lives are absolutely incredible. The music adds even more to the seriousness and frightening feeling of the movie. For the film's American release, New World Pictures actually shot new footage of Raymond Burr reprising his role from Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the Americanized version of the original film. His scenes may be useless in the overall plot because all he does is look at video screens of Godzilla destroying Tokyo in the Pentagon and contributes nothing to help stop him (neither does the actual American military, for that matter) but it was cool that they thought enough of his character to bring him back. I have always absolutely loved this movie and it's a damn shame that it doesn't get any respect, not even getting an official DVD release (although DVD-Rs with both versions are easy to find). Anybody who loves Godzilla and Japanese monster movies in general should definitely check this out and not listen to the asshole critics (Roger Ebert, go to hell).
So those are the movies that I enjoy but everyone else seems hate. Hope you liked it and remember, don't judge too harshly because this is simply my opinion.