Tuesday, June 24, 2014

1986: The Worst

The end result of having a ton of films released?  Eventually, you gotta sift through some crap.

This might be the worst thing I've ever seen from Wes Craven.  Ostensibly a sport of re-working of Frankenstein mixed with a little Romeo and Juliet, this is a rather crummy tale about a nerd who brings his dead girlfriend back to life, only for her to come back not exactly "right".  Dumb script, less than great acting, really the only thing in this film worth mentioning is the scene where the girlfriend (played rather nicely by Kristy Swanson) tosses a basketball as mean old lady Anne Ramsey's head so hard it shatters into a million bloody pieces.  Outside of that, this is one is easy to skip.

With a little more energy and imagination, this Indiana Jones cash-in could have made my guilty pleasures list.  As it stands, Firewalker is a fitfully amusing piece of schlock starring Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett as would-be adventurers on the search for gold in Mexico.  The film is intended to be a comedy (though most of the laughs come from stuff that wasn't intended that way) but the problem is that Chuck Norris is about as adept at comedy as he is at acting in general.  This would be fine is the humor worked but it's just one thud after another and we only get one good martial arts scene from Chuck to boot.  I applaud him trying something sort of different but this just stinks.

The second Cannon feature on this list is this quite dull Charles Bronson movie that sees him playing a tough cop on the trail of a vengeful killer played by Carrie Snodgress.  He ends up teaming (unwillingly, naturally), with a young woman played by Kathleen Wilhoite in a truly annoying role and there is absolutely nothing surprising about anything in the film.  Just a complete waste of time.

While I tend to enjoy Dino DeLaurentiis productions in general, this one just stinks like death.  An incredibly stupid premise (it's a sequel to the 1976 King Kong that sees Kong surviving his death via an artificial heart, falling in love with another giant ape and then having to protect her as well as his new child), bad acting from everyone involved and some really bad f/x make this one a real chore.  Even the sheer hilarity of some of the plot elements can't save this one from being a bore.

The big reason this lands on the list is that honestly, it could have been real good.  The materials are there for a really good sequel to the 1982 classic: most of the cast is back, some great f/x, an interesting premise and a creepy as hell villain.  The problem is that the film is compressed into a scant 90 minute running time and feels really, really rushed.  The Freelings, having survived the horrors of the first Poltergeist, find themselves once beset by evil spirits as their new life is torn apart by an insane ghostly preacher named Kane who wants youngest daughter Carol-Ann.  There's some stuff about the youngest daughter and her mother being clairvoyant and some mystical crap here and there but nothing is really developed enough and the film seems more interested in getting to the f/x sequences than giving you interesting characters.  To be fair, they're quite impressive but when you sell your movie as being a look at what's in the other side of our reality, you had better deliver and this one bobbles the ball quite badly.  You can have all the f/x in the world, but if the viewer can't give a damn about what's going on, you're screwed.  It's a damn shame as there is an interesting movie somewhere in this mess.  Wasted potential is, to me at least, far worse than just being bad.

Coming Soon: The Guilty Pleasures of 1986

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.