Surveillance (2008, Jennifer Lynch)
The attraction here was Bill Pullman standing on a (lost) highway in a Lynch joint, but now that I’ve seen Boxing Helena I’m being more selective about my Lynches. On fast-forward the movie looks like 100% conversations in rooms and cars. Something has gone down in one of those cars as Julia Ormond (Inland Empire) dumps a body, then a rough-looking Pullman is explaining the murders we missed to cop hostage Kent Harper, we see them in slow-mo flashback with Bill in a gruesome mask. “You probably read the end of a book first, don’t ya? That is no way to live” – Bill is casting aspersions on the entire Last Ten Minutes project here! His girl Julia arrives and gets very turned on by murdering the remaining hostages. I think the twist is that FBI Agent Ormond was a serial conspirator all along. David Lynch sings over the closing credits.
Chained (2012, Jennifer Lynch)
Another serial killer/hostage story with another past-his-prime actor, yay. Vincent D’Onofrio is hiding Angie in the crawlspace, her would-be rescuer is a vampire-looking boy in the garage. I think he’s Evan Bird of Maps to the Stars – these two turn the tables on Vincent and bury him down there. Evan was presumed dead, looks up his dad Jake Weber, but dad apparently did something dark relating to the kid’s disappearance so he has to die, then I guess the vampire boy goes home to the late serial killer’s house. No David song over the credits, just footsteps of the boy walking through the house. Between these Jennifer made an Indian snake-woman movie, and she has a couple of new things out, but let’s just act like she doesn’t.
Saw VI (2009, Kevin Greutert)
Where we left off in volume 15, “bland-looking Costas Mandylor” was the only known survivor of whatever traps Dead Jigsaw is still laying. Big climax here with too many people and a minute left on the countdown clock. Amanda and Deathbed Tobin Bell both get flashback cameos, giving new context for stuff from part 3 which I haven’t considered since 2007. Peter Outerbridge is our man here, being taught a lesson in front of his wife and some business client he was cruel to. Jigsaw appears on VHS to explain how the client’s survivors can melt Peter with acid, which they promptly do. Costas barely, bloodily escapes from his head-smooshing trap. And I’m afraid Jigsaw’s voiceover was telling us the meaning of all this, but the mixing was bad and it got lost under the music. It’s hard to understand the titles, but next comes Saw 7: 3D: The Final Chapter, then Jigsaw, then Saw X (pronounced “socks”) which is part nine but numeral ten, what am I missing?
Pulse (2006, Jim Sonzero)
They remade Pulse, which seems like the worst idea, but I’ve always wondered… co-adapted by Wes Craven and a writer on Greta. This is “free with ads” so it ain’t really free. Kristen V-Mars Bell has reached the server room, but reality around her is melting and she’s violently assaulted by the editor and the vfx, but before she can be drag-me-to-hell’d, Ian intervenes and uploads a killer virus to crash the system, but the ghosts reboot and the couple flees into an ugly 2006 apocalypse, when everyone was using CG but before it was good. Computer ghosts can break car windows and get punched in the face, ok. After this Sonzero crawled off to video games, but Craven must not have held Kristen Bell responsible since he cast her in Scream 4.
Child’s Play (2019, Lars Klevberg)
While the Chucky sequels hadn’t even run out of steam they rebooted the original with Aubrey Plaza for some reason. Chucky is ugly now, and has the power to control all toys so he sends an army of quadcopter drones and teddy ruxpins after a toy store full of kids and parents. Or is it not a toy store – there’s a refrigerator section, and the kids fight back with a hedge trimmer. Aubrey is being held hostage so Andy lets his badly dubbed friends escape and goes on the attack, whacking Chucky with a RoboCop toy then stabbing him through the heart. Chuck is then shot by Brian Tyree Henry (where’d he come from) and decapitated by Plaza. I didn’t get to hear Mark Hamill say “give me the power I beg of you!!” Andy was already a veteran of Annabelle and Lights Out and went on to The Fabelmans, not a bad career. The director made another bad movie the same year, and the writer is already hard at work on next year’s bad movies.
Renfield (2023, Chris McKay)
This year’s first Dracula movie reportedly had a fun Nic Cage performance and nothing else to recommend it. Oh no the music’s too loud again, and I came just in time to see Nick Hoult kill rival Jean-Ralphio then confront a wooden Awkwafina. Cage has no lines here, explodes into a CG batstorm, then during the big showdown we get flashbacks to Ren’s group therapy sessions. Then Nick and Hoult triumph and chop up Drac. Good tumblr joke, but then they repeat it, and the movie peters out. This is my tenth Nick Hoult movie and I have never once recognized him. McKay made The Tomorrow War, the writers are from Walking Dead and Rick and Morty.
Alone in the Dark (2005, Uwe Boll)
I once thought it would be funny to watch some movies by Boll, with his reputation of being the worst to ever do it, but I checked out House of the Dead and it did me damage. Now every Shocktober I see his follow-up’s title pop up, so let’s consider its ending then put Boll’s name behind us forever. Christian Slater and gang are held at gunpoint by doomed Prof. Matthew Walker then they escape into a hell of CG beasts which is honestly no worse-looking than Pulse. Stephen Dorff has to sacrifice himself to blow up the beasties while Slater and Tara Reid escape to… the front yard of a nice large house, which they wander through, finding only a dead nun. All these movies just wish they were Resident Evil.
C.H.U.D. (1984, Douglas Cheek)
Ever since the early video store days I’ve known I need to see this one – the trouble is that everyone says it’s bad. The chuds are gross mutants with flashlight eyes, but trapped Kim Greist (Brazil) has got a sword and starts choppin. Chris Curry (Starship Troopers) is radioing Daniel Stern (Home Alone), and I dunno which guy is John Heard, maybe the hero threatening this goverment flunky who’s risking/losing his life to cover up the waste disposal/mutant development project. Feels like if Larry Cohen’s idiot brother did an urban Swamp Thing reboot.
All today’s movies found on amazon prime, which is a wasteland: searched titles appear multiple times, as free-to-watch, pay-to-watch, and unavailable, just like Amazon’s main store and its utter catalog confusion. Canceling plans to watch the endings of The Howling parts 2-6, because that’s an entire hour I can spend on a Tod Browning movie. I also made a Disney Plus list with both Haunted Mansions, both Hocus Pocuses, recent Marvel crap, Wrinkle in Time, Black Hole, Black Cauldron, etc, but gotta remember to stick to the mission and not watch bad movies for the sake of watching bad movies.