Before we move on to my top 10 films of the last year, I feel that a little air clearing is in order. I need to get my thoughts about these five cinematic atrocities out of my system so I can get back to being positive. 2013 was by no means a bad year for horror, but there were certainly some flicks that just plain pissed me off and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let my loyal and beloved readers wander into these pitfalls uninformed, now would I? I would never do that to you. So, here are 5 shitty movies that I watched so you don’t have to. Cellmates, I present to you The Five Worst Horror Flicks Of 2013.
#5 - Texas Chainsaw 3D
For the record, I did enjoy the way Leatherface was portrayed in this flick. He was exactly what I would imagine an older Bubba Sawyer to be – a wiser, slower, and more deliberate killer. It made perfect sense. Unfortunately, that’s where the “making sense” stops. In the interest of brevity, I’m going to skip the acting non-skills of pop stars and the much touted but completely unsatisfying cameos and get straight to the two most glaring, unforgivable screw-ups. The movie opens with a scene that supposedly takes place shortly after the first TCM flick ends. That would make it 1973. Then we flash forward to “20 years later.” That would make it when, class? That’s right, 1993. Yet gas is almost 4 bucks a gallon and people are using Facetime on their iphones. That would make it 2013. Maybe the “20 Years” was a typo. Nope. We saw the heroine as a baby in the first scene, so in that case she would have to be 40. She’s obviously in her mid 20’s though. If they were playing at some kind of time shift nonsense it would be stupid but semi-logical. In actuality, it’s just plain ‘ol sloppy writing that should have never made it out of the first production meeting. That may seem like a nitpick, but when it’s the entire setup for the flick, it’s kind of a big deal. Inexcusable. Then Leatherface runs through a Carnival full of people and doesn’t kill anyone. Read that last sentence again. Need I say more? This flick earns its place on the list for blowing an opportunity for one of horror cinema’s all time classic bloodbaths and assuming that no one in the audience could do math.
#4 - Dracula 3D
It really does hurt to put this one on the list, ‘cause I do love me some Dario. I remember being psyched when I heard about it. But, just like The Misfits, Argento continues to drag his legacy as a master and innovator of the craft through the mud. Where to start with this one? Maybe the fact that it took four screenwriters to pen crap like “I am but an out of tune chord in the divine symphony?” Or we could discuss just how awful the CGI is. That credits sequence where the camera is zooming around an animated village looked like it was lifted directly out of Tenchu: Stealth Assassins for the PS1. That’s right, Rikimaru, bitches! I can’t imagine how bad it looked in 3D. Then there’s the godawful acting. It’s like they just said “Keanu Reeves was great as Harker! Go find us a Spanish version of him.” It also seems that working with Argento these days drags other greats down, because the score might be the worst work of Claudio Simonetti’s career. Even Rutger Hauer looks like he’d rather be anywhere but on that set, and he’s what I was looking forward to the most. The only things that keep it from being a total loss are the ample glimpses of Asia Argento and the gorgeous Miriam Giovanelli in all of their undressed glory and a completely batshit scene where Dracula turns into a giant praying mantis. Yes, you read that right. Dracula 3D makes the list for making me weep for what could have been. Can you imagine the badassery of a Dracula flick directed by the Argento of the early 80’s?
#3 - Apartment 1303
There are very few things I dislike more than American remakes of J-horror. I’m not big on J-horror to begin with (I love Japanese gore flicks but their ghost movies don’t do it for me), but in American hands they’re atrocious more often than not. I haven’t seen the original, which I’ve been told is a bottom of the barrel Grudge clone. The remake, however, is about as bad as it gets. All of the clichés are here; from the creepy kid as harbinger of doom to the wet-haired, jerky CGI ghost to the “young woman in peril must figure out what happened to the last young woman in peril” setup. There’s no creep factor at all. No gore. No scares. That’s the problem, there’s just nothing to this movie. Well, there is the unintentional comedy of Rebecca De Mornay’s performance and Julianne Michelle’s hilarious lip quiver thing whenever she cries, but that’s about it. It’s just a paint-by-numbers generic ghost rehash. Apartment 1303 makes the list as a recipient of the “Cold Creepy Feeling” award for boring me to tears.
#2 - Embrace of the Vampire
This flick is number two in more ways than one. You knew we weren’t gonna get through this list without a remake, and this may be the most unnecessary remake of all time. The main purpose of remakes is to draw casual horror fans in with name recognition, but how many casual horror fans (aside from the Mr. Skin aficionados with a hard-on for Alyssa Milano) even know that movie exists? Why remake it? Just… why? As for the movie itself, it reminded me of those commercials I see for CW dramas; slickly produced but utterly vapid. The boring cinematography refuses to make the most of a quite picturesque backdrop. It does that irritating “oh, things are speeding up so something scary must be about to happen” thing that insults the audience’s intelligence. The vampires look hokey. Do I need to mention the CGI? The vampire lore is slightly interesting, but comes into play way too late to save the proceedings. Hell, even the ample gratuitous nudity couldn’t save them considering they’re all dime-a-dozen anorexic starlet types. I know that it’s a matter of personal preference, but if you’re gonna watch an awful flick just for the boobs this year, make it Dracula 3-D. That’s your public service announcement. This flick is an absolutely braindead exercise in tedium. Embrace of the Vampire makes the list for sucking more than all of its on screen vampires combined.
#1 - The PurgeSorry folks, but this is gonna be one angry rant. How in the name of green dystopian hell do you take a premise that damn good and make a movie this damn bad? Let’s put aside the fact that the main idea here is completely implausible. If THAT’S your quibble with this movie, I fear that you have missed the point. So much fun could have been had with a night of lawlessness, but all they gave us was a mix tape featuring the dumbed-down greatest hits of Straw Dogs, Panic Room, The Strangers, and a dozen other much-better home invasion flicks. I’m normally pretty forgiving of horror characters doing dumb stuff. Sometimes it’s necessary. Not only did the things the characters in this one did not make sense in comparison with what an actual person with an IQ higher than their handgun caliber would do, they didn’t even make sense for the characters as written. I lost count of the times I thought “there’s no way they’re gonna…” immediately before they did. Stupid and predictable is a horrible combination. Anyone that used the word “suspense” without preceding it with “not a shred of” when reviewing this obviously has never seen a horror movie. There’s even plenty of shaky cam during the action sequences just to make sure we can check off almost everything on my “things I hate about modern Hollywood horror” list. I think writer/director James DeMonaco had two goals with this film; beat the audience over the head with ham-fisted social commentary and see just how many times a character can be held at gunpoint and saved at the last second. Seriously, I lost count of how many times they re-used that one. Oh, and any flick with a 3 million dollar budget and Michael goddamn Bay listed among the producers that tries to pass itself off to the horror press as “the little low budget indie that could” before its release can kiss my ass. Michael Bay's name should be considered a massively offensive expletive. In fact, his name should just be a multi-use replacement for ALL expletives. The Purge makes the list for being a predictable, dumb as Bay, suspenseless, nutless piece of Bay that squandered a Baying fantastic premise and made me want to beat Ethan Hawke, who I usually like, with a Baying crowbar. What the Bay were they thinking? Bay this movie. Bay it up it’s stupid Bay.