My Year in Movies: 2013
I usually start off a New Cheese Magnet Year with a “My Year In Movies” post and, as you see, this year is no different. Sorry I took so long this time around, but I was behind in compiling my notes. I saw 163 new (to this list) movies last year. I’m taking a different tack with this opening post. I usually start with the best and promise to cover the worst, but I get wrapped up in other things, and usually forget to present the worst. So this year, as a public service, I will start with the ten worst movies I saw, so you can avoid them at all costs. Seriously. Avoid them. Actually, there are a lucky thirteen movies on the list, because of ties. The number to the left is their rating on my usual 1-10 scale.
3+ Bride of the Monster, The: Ed Wood’s cautionary tale about nuclear power with Bela trying hard as the mad scientist. Ed’s heart is usually in the right place, his movie-making capabilities, not so much. Tor Johnson emotes mightily as Lobo, Bela’s crazy assistant. It contains the most pathetic octopus fight sequence ever, as poor Bela wraps the obviously inert rubber arms around him and flails about desperately trying to maintain his grip on the rubber monster.
Headless Ghost, The: This bloodless offering can’t decide if it wants to be a comedy or a drama, and so ends up being neither. The dramatic parts aren’t dramatic, the funny parts aren’t funny, and the scary parts aren’t scary. Strike three, you’re out.
Captive Girl: I have a nostalgic fondness for jungle movies, so I’ve been watching the Jungle Jim series, which Johnny Weissmuller signed onto after he outgrew his loin cloth. Most aren’t bad, except for a couple of things. 1: Especially in the early ones, Jim does in an awful lot of mostly innocent animals with his knife. 2. About a third of the way through the series his dog and bird disappear, and are replaced by a chimp named Tamba. No explanation is ever given, though I suspect they were eaten by crocodiles. 3. All the natives are WHITE. This is very disconcerting. I haven’t been able to decide if this is worse than the treatment normally reserved for the native people in jungle movies. This film is the worst of the ones I’ve seen so far, by far. It concerns the totally uninteresting adventures of an orphaned white jungle girl and her pet tiger in Africa. She’s possibly the most vapid white jungle goddess ever. Semi-gratuitous Buster Crabbe as the evil treasure hunter.
Lost Missile, The: If you love stock footage of 1950’s airplanes, missiles, and other retro-techno stuff, you’ll love this movie as more than half of it consists of same. Meanwhile, the lost missile is utterly unexplained. (Must be alien!) Which renders the whole exercise kind of pointless. Ottawa is destroyed, but New York City is saved, so who cares?
3 Black Mask 2: Sequel to the perfectly adequate Black Mask 1 with Jet Li. I love me some Tsui Hark films, but this one is utterly incoherent and much too cartoonish for its own good.
2+ Flying Saucer, The: Fairly excruciating “thriller” about a scientist in Alaska who builds a flying saucer and the Russian spies who are out after him. It’s basically an extended travelog of stock footage of salmon swimming upstream interspersed with scenes of the main character stalking around smoking, or having picnics. He solves the mystery of the flying saucers by getting soused and blabbing abut them in a bar. No one will be seated during the exciting bear climbing backward down a tree footage. I gave it an extra point for the scenery, but even that loses interest after a bit. Also, one of the worst soundtracks, ever. Sappily inappropriate.
2 Creature of the Walking Dead: A Jerry Warren fantabulation wherein he takes what looks like a perfectly reasonable Mexican film called La Marca Del Muerto and butchers it terribly. All the added scenes are of poor (or worse) quality. He also removed much of the dialog and told the story in voice-over narration. (Cheaper, I guess, than trying to synch the dubbing.) It gets a “2″ because of the glimpses of fine Gothic scenes that survived from the original. No one will be seated during the horrifying fifteen minute opening sequence of a fat guy in a toga getting his arm massaged.
Naked Witch, The: About seven minutes worth of story is crammed into 59 minutes of movie. There is indeed a witch (though a falsely accused one; still, that doesn’t prevent her from coming out of her grave to wreak semi-havoc on an isolated community of German settlers in central Texas). She is, indeed, naked, though when first shown as she arises from the grave, her nakedness is coyly covered by some rather unbelievable patches of shadow. Later, during the de riguer swimming sequence, they let it fly (as far as breasts are concerned, anyway). She also has magically appearing panties and a shape-shifting negligee, so I guess she does have some magical ability after all. Reportedly shot on a budget of $18,000, and looks like it. They were so cheap that they couldn’t even buy the leading man a name, so he is known only as “The Student.”
Phoenix the Warrior/She Wolves of the Wasteland: A post-apocalypse film that sucks under either title. Most porn films have more believable acting. Persis Khambatta, god rest her soul, emotes like a rabid raccoon while wrapped up in a black muumuu as they ride through the desert. Tons of fairly good-looking women also run around the desert in short-shorts. Even the nudity is disappointing, as there’s one totally gratuitous scene where a couple of the she-wolves lounge around a waterfall, posing with their shirts off. The preposterous male lead just kind of drops out the plot at the end and the action sequences may be the worst I’ve ever seen. Worse than Gymkata, and that’s saying something.
Womaneater: One of the most misogynist movie I’ve ever seen, with a poor screenplay, poor monster, and poor acting, besides. It’s too depressing to think about again, so go read my solo post on it if you want the details.
1+ Fire Maidens Of/From Outer Space: Tedious and pointless movie about the first interplanetary voyage (which for some obscure reason is to the 13th moon of Jupiter) where the astronauts discover a long lost Atlantean colony which, also for obscure reasons, consists mainly of nubile “Fire Maidens,” who speak English and dance a lot. The opening scenes consist of the dullest interplanetary voyage ever with long, lingering, tedious scenes of people staring at each other. Special effects consists of a rocket cut out of paper moving across a paper background. About as bad as it can get without being in some way offensive.
Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla: One of the most witless movies, ever. I don’t care much for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin movies, so you can imagine how I feel about Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin impersonator movies. Jerry didn’t like it either. He sued their pants off. Bela is tired and sad in this, though he gives it his all. Saved the tiniest bit by an out of left field WIZARD OF OZ ending that (while not exactly original) exhibits a smidgeon of humor.
1 Kekko Kamen Returns: I’d been wanting to see this for awhile and I’m so glad that I only rented it. It’s without a doubt the worst Japanese movie I’ve ever seen. The notion of a pretty much naked super-heroine fighting crime is, I admit, intriguing, but the awful script is not funny at all. The movies basically consists of adolescent jokes and sniggering camera shots of girls bending over. Not that I expected it to be high art, but…Also, one word: fogging. So what’s the point?