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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Five Movies I Wish they Hadn't Made

Welcome to another installment of Throwback Thursday. Lists are always a fun way to start a conversation and sometimes an argument. When I was running the Gutmunchers website I published several of them and this might be my favorite of the lot. I caught a lot of heat for my inclusion of the Saw franchise, but that made for some great disagreements. I hope you enjoy.

Five movies that I wish they hadn’t made
So here I go again making lists. I’ve said in previous articles that I’ve written for the site that I do like a good list. They are a fun way to organize your thoughts and I love how my list will get others thinking about what theirs would be. Sure I know that many of you out there don’t like this sort of thing, but bear with me on this one because I think that it is going to be a good one. This time around I asked myself the question, “What movies do you really wish they hadn’t made.” 

Just to be clear on this these aren’t the worst movies that I’ve ever seen. I thought about doing that list, but it seemed too easy. What I’m thinking about here are the movies that have some kind of pedigree that made them interesting to me. So something that I had hope for that totally let me down.  

I know you guys probably are thinking to yourselves, ‘He is going to have a list of remakes.’ There are some remakes on this list. When you think about cinematic missteps who doesn’t have a bad remake pop into their head? I know that I sure do. But I’m proud to say that when I boiled my list down to five I had sequels, just plain bad movies, as well as remakes on the list. This isn’t just me beating that same dead horse again. Then again the movie that “tops” the list is what really started my remake hate.  More on that later now it is time to dig into the motion picture abominations that made me want to turn off the DVD player and leave the room.

5.  Jaws 3 in 3D

I actually saw this one in the theater in glorious 3D! It is really cheesy and makes use of what is some pretty bad gimmicks to shoot all sorts of stuff at the audience. Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset Jr. chew up tons of scenery while the rubber shark chases down Sea World Employees. But I don’t consider these to be bad things. 

Jaws 3 is on this list for one big reason, no Chief Brody. What were they thinking? That character and the actor that played him, Roy Schieder, were the heart and soul of the first two movies. I hate it when a movie series decides to dump a major character, even when it is just the case that the actor doesn’t want to return. I know that most consider the shark to be the “lead” in Jaws. But let me ask you a question. How good where the movies after they got rid of the Chief Brody character? Think about that one.

Moving on let’s get to the next movie on my list. A terrible remake of a classic movie with a great actor that chose to inexplicably appear in….

4.  Night of the Living Dead 3D

Why? Why? Why? I realize that the original is in the public domain and is considered fair game. But seriously what were they thinking? This is a terrible movie in so many ways. 

To begin with this is the first of two examples of an inferior filmmaker thinking they can improve a classic. Here the filmmakers decided that it would be fun to take Romero’s legendary film and totally change the story, toss in some pointless additional characters, create some lame zombie make up, and totally screw up what should be a simple gimmick, shooting in 3D. Well that just has to be a recipe for success. This is also an example of casting a legend in a smaller role just so you can plaster his name on the DVD cover. Is it a surprise I didn’t like this one?

If I’m going to be fair this is one that I probably could have avoided. I had heard that it was a terrible movie. But it was a version of Night of the Living Dead and starred Sid Haig, so I eventually broke down and had to watch it. Call me an optimist, but I figured that just had to be something going for it.  I was wrong.

Sadly this isn’t the only zombie movie on this list.  Next up I give you…

3.  Children of the Living Dead

This is a terrible movie. It starts off pretty good with Tom Savini kicking some butt. Sadly, his appearance is brief and with him goes any momentum that the movie had generated. After his exit we get some convoluted plot about a serial killer and cemetery being moved that never makes sense. The whole thing is just a mess that is painful to sit thru. Even a cinematic masochist such as myself has only seen this once and hope to never to do so again. 

Savini isn’t the only familiar name involved. I guess it was a clever attempt to involve the children of those who made a much more famous and infinitely better zombie flick than this one. Considering that this is the only credit for most of them that wasn’t a great idea.  Adding to the warning signs John Russo is an executive producer. Considering his track record after his famous collaboration with George Romero how could anyone think this was a good idea?

Any time that those involved in a much better movie try and recapture that magic again it hardly ever works. The next entry on my list is going to surprise and anger a few people, but it belongs here. 

2.  The SAW franchise

The original SAW was an interesting movie. Though I’ve never been too enamored with it’s oppressive tone and need to just generally be depressing. It just isn’t my kind of movie I suppose… Then again, I do like the up-lifting tale of Cannibal Holocaust.  Maybe it is the washed out cinematography that bugs me.

The first movie does have an excellent twist ending that makes it memorable. Unfortunately, that is the one big asset that is missing with the sequels.  What we get with the follow-ups is one more disturbing kill scene after another. I’m not a big fan of how these movies were tagged with the “torture porn” label, but it does fit here. There isn’t anything at all redeemable about these movies. Instead of character development or story we get one character after another screaming as they meet their messy and inevitable end. 

Now I’ve had many people call me out and say that the slasher movies that I enjoy are the same thing. But are they? Show me one goofy trickster with an endless supply of goodies from his gym bag. How about Crispin Glover getting down with his bad self? Hell, there isn’t even a goofy love scene in a hot tub. While slasher movies might be filled with kills the characters are memorable and the proceedings silly.

In the end I wish they hadn’t made Saw because then we wouldn’t have to sit thru the sequels. The next entry and the top of the list shouldn’t surprise anyone.

1.  Halloween remake

Okay I feel the need to make something clear right from the start. I know that it has been trendy lately to hate director Rob Zombie. I’m not one of those people. While I didn’t initially like his first movie, House of One Thousand Corpses, it has grown on me over time. I also think that Devil’s Rejects is amazing. And I’m not exaggerating about Rejects, it is genius and manages to capture the spirit of the ‘70s grindhouse movie like no other modern flick has. 

Now that is out of the way lets talk about Halloween, the remake. Here we have another director that thinks he needs to update or fix something that is perfect. In doing so he manages to eliminate everything that made the original a classic movie. Carpenter’s Halloween was all suspense and anticipation. I consider it a cinematic foreplay of sorts between the director and audience. 
Zombie’s Halloween is far cruder. It is loud, obnoxious, and spends far too much time trying to explain Michael Myers then it does entertaining the viewer. Hey Rob, as a huge fan of the original movie I have to tell you that I really don’t care how Michael learned how to drive a car! Zombie’s version of Halloween assaults the audience and leaves you wanting to take a shower afterwards.

Up until this movie I wasn’t fond of Hollywood’s need to remake old movies. But I figured what was the worst that they could do? The Dawn of the Dead remake wasn’t great, but I didn’t mind it so much. It wasn’t until Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake that I got angry. Leave the classics alone and make your own damn movie!

Final Thoughts:

I think that this is a fair breakdown. I feel good that we only have a couple of remakes on the list and only one sequel. It would have been really easy to toss a few sequels on the list because there are a lot of them that have been franchise killers (Jason Goes to Hell comes to mind). To me that would have been too easy and I really wanted to think about this list. 

My honorable mentions for this list that just didn’t make the cut are the Friday the 13th remake, Hostel (not an Eli Roth hater I like Cabin Fever), and any of the Chainsaw sequels after part II. 

There you have it, my top five movies that I wish they had never made. I hope this gets you guys thinking. If you want to argue with me over my list or add to it then feel free to email me at gutmunchers@gmail.com  I’m always happy for the feedback. 

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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