Hilariously Bad II: Laughable Moments in Film
February 16, 2015

...And now that I'm back, it's time for me to gab about things I enjoying doing. Originally, I planned to talk about my experiences playing Dying Light. Unfortunately, that game turned out to be pretty meh, so there really isn't much to talk about. Here, I'll condense my playthrough for you.

I scaled a building.

I got bit.

Being on the street after dark sucks.

Jade is a boring, unrealistically flawless character, and Crane's apparent attraction to her isn't romantic so much as creepy. It smacks of socially awkward high school infatuations, where the class gomer latches on to the first pretty girl who speaks to him.

Now that we have that out of the way, I thought I'd take a minute or two to explore a few more ridiculously awful/awfully ridiculous moments in film. Consider this a sequel of sorts to my original blog post on the subject of comically bad movie monsters.


1. House by the Cemetery (1980): Attack of the Rubber Bat
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A couple relocate to New York with their child, purchase a dirt cheap house, and hire a psychic babysitter. Ah, the good life... Unfortunately, their newly found paradise is about to be spoiled by a killjoy in the form of a deformed, semi-immortal, homicidal mad scientist hiding in their basement. Hilarity inadvertently ensues...

There are a couple of accidentally funny moments that crop up in Lucio Fulci's fine film, mostly due to its poor English dubbing. One such scene involves the aforementioned babysitter literally losing her head when she meets the antagonist. Following that, the young boy Bob sees the aftermath of his sitter's gruesome demise, but is later convinced by his mother that it was just a trick. Yeah, I'm not sure how you would fake your own decapitation either... Anyway, regardless of witnessing her head rolling down the stairs, Bob returns to the basement and calls out: "Ann, mom says you're not dead. Is that true?" You couldn't write better dialog if you tried.

The "best" moment, though, occurs when Bob's father, Norman, opens the basement, disturbing a rather bitey and apparently fake bat. The creature, which appears to have been purchased at a Halloween store, latches on to the man's hand. Regardless of his efforts, including shaking the creature violently and attempting to smack it off, the bat remains firmly in place. Norman even impales the thing with a screwdriver and the indestructible winged beast refuses to relinquish the hold. You even get a shot of Norman waving his hand violently as red cherry sauce splashes across Bob's face. The kid's reaction is priceless: a dead, unaffected stare, as if his brain had crashed at that moment.


2. The Brood (1979): Tapped to Death
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I'm not going to argue against The Brood's position as a classic horror flick. It's pretty much been cemented, owing to its great script and horrifying closing act. The movie, inspired by writer/director David Cronenberg's messy divorce, revolves around a man's attempt to expose a psychotherapist who has been utilizing innovative methods on his estranged wife, which has led to the physical abuse of their daughter. Coincidentally, deformed, child-like creatures manifest and begin to bump off anyone his wife holds responsible for her erratic behavior. Among them is her mother, who is the first to perish...

The last thing the first death scene in a serious horror movie should be is cheesy. The Brood almost succeeds by building a wonderful amount of tension and through the usage of its spine-tingling score. However, it fails right after the first creature pounces on the old woman and commencing lightly tapping her on the head with a mallet. My guess is that the scene actually lasts about nine days, which is roughly the length of time needed for someone to die from repeated negligible head trauma, but Cronenberg condensed the period down to feel like only a few minutes. Thankfully, the rest of the movie is pretty brutal, and the conclusion is unforgettable.


3. The Grudge 2 (2006): Got Milk?
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The Grudge 2 is yet another vapid Hollywood horror film based on prior source material. There's a fair amount of accidental comedy throughout the movie, so much that it seems to be poking fun at itself. During one scene, a girl who is under the influence of the curse greets her friend at the door and begins chugging milk while ambient music attempts to build tension. Yes, they really want you to find flipping drinking milk terrifying! The girl then barfs the milk back into the jug while her friend gives her a lightly disturbed look, seeming to not realize that this deviates greatly from standard human behavior. I mean, the guest even answers her phone and casually walks off in response, as though the milk drinking thing were just another day at the office and she wasn't impressed. She also just misses the moment when the possessed girl tips the milky vomit back into her mouth and recommences chugging.

I dunno. Maybe it's just me, but the scene is such a pathetic attempt at horror that it's laughable. Even Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? managed to crank out scarier material than this. I would embed the scene so you can see it for yourself, but that option seems to be out. I can still hyperlink it, though


4. Hercules (1983): Lou Ferrigno vs. Randomness
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Little known fact: Lou Ferrigno starred in not one, but two Italian Hercules movies in the early '80s directed by Luigi Cozzi. To say that these flicks deviated from their source material would be an understatement.

The original Hercules featured a good number of groan-worthy changes, including the usage of King Minos as the primary antagonist, the presence of a villainous feminine version of Daedalus, who sends a trio of giant robots to kill Herc; and the inclusion of Hercules's female sidekick, Circe (played by the lovely Mirella D'Angelo). There are a buttload of hilariously awful scenes throughout the film, including an altercation between a baby Hercules and what appears to be vemon-exuding turds with eyes.

Herc's greatest battle, though, involves a grizzly bear who kills his father. After witnessing his old man's demise, Hercules springs into action and commences punching the bear to death, with each blow emitting a sci-fi-ish PEW PEW PEW! to emphasize his amazing strength. Because getting punched by Lou Ferrigno is not convincingly painful enough... After gazing upon his father's blood corpse, the enraged demigod then throws the bear into outer space. There we see what appears to be a poorly sewn teddy cartwheeling in the vacuum, where it inexplicably explodes and forms the constellation Ursa Major. Afterward, a superimposed image of the bear appears over the collection of stars and gives off one last irritated roar into the emptiness of space.

Though not quite as comical, Herc's scuffles with the aforementioned robots are memorable as well, mostly because of how ill-fitting they are. I mean, I remember the Greek mythology unit we had in junior high, and I don't recall stories in which Hercules fights off a mechanical bee, destroys a laser-shooting clockwork dragon, or beats an enormous robotic centaur with a huge ship anchor.


5. Inferno (1980): Death by Stupidity
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In 1977, director Dario Argento released a visually beautiful, artsy terror flick that would come to be regarded as a classic: Suspiria.

Three years later, he put out the movie's sequel, which polarized horror fans: Inferno.

Both flicks deal with a trio of witches referred to as the Three Mothers. The second installment takes place in New York City, where the Mother of Shadows, Mater Tenebrarum, resides. As with its predecessor, Inferno is heavy on lavish scenery, colorful lighting, surreal architecture, and a narrative that plays out in an illogical fashion similar to a nightmare. The movie succeeds for the most part, save for a few ridiculous scenes that almost demean the movie's punch. One moment, for instance, stars an old woman in the employ of Mater Tenebrarum who intends to skip town along with one of her cohorts after robbing the old witch. While looking for her partner in crime, it becomes obvious that the Mater has discovered their treachery and thus tore the man's eyes out. Upon finding his corpse, the woman drops a candle that she was holding, which sets a nearby curtain ablaze.

Somewhere in an alternate universe is a group of gamers huddled around a table, playing a table top game. The DM asks one of them what she will do about the building conflagration, and she bravely decides to extinguish it.

She then rolls a 1...

Desperate to quench the flames, the woman tries unsuccessfully to stomp it out. The fire rages up the curtain, and the servant decides to try pulling it down. In this effort she succeeds, only to have the burning drape fall on top of her. In a panic, the woman begins to flail in a cartoony manner. Her bad luck only gets worse when she falls through a window. As if that weren't enough, she also plummets through the glass ceiling of a plant nursery, setting the vegetation inside on fire as well, which later consumes the building and leads to the antagonist's demise. The moral of the story: uh... don't have idiotic minions? Don't rip your minions' eyes out? Don't let stupid minions use candles in a time when frickin' flashlights exist? Take your pick.


6. Troll 2 (1990): OMGGGGGGGGGG!
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Troll 2 has sometimes been called the "best bad movie." Personally, I find it so bad that it's almost unwatchable, and that's saying something coming from a man who adores the last film on this list. Troll 2 was a collaboration between an Italian crew, including infamous director Claudio Fragasso, and a cast of independent American actors who were asked to stick strictly to the script. The movie involves a family who enrolls in a "family exchange" program with a small town called Nilbog, in which they temporarily trade houses with someone from the town. As if the premise didn't sound moronic enough, it features the tired old plot device in which only the annoying young protagonist notices that deadly forces are afoot, but everyone writes his warnings off as products of an overactive imagination. It turns out that trolls goblins plan to devour the family by convincing them to eat their poisonous food, which transforms humans into a vegetable mush that the vegan creatures can digest.

There are numerous scenes that I could have used as the placeholder here. One occasion involves the boy, Joshua, standing up on his chair so he can piss on his family's food to prevent them from eating it. Another moment has Joshua fighting off a swarm of goblins by procuring a boloney sandwhich that his spectral grandfather magically placed in his backpack. Eating it causes the goblins to throw up, thereby allowing Joshua to escape.

I settled on one legendary exchange, though. Remember when I said that the actors had to stick to the script? Well, the result is the following anti-classic line:

They're eating her......and then they're going to eat me........OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

One of the YouTube commenters in the above hyperlink also noticed that a fly landed on the actor while he was screaming and said: "His acting was so shitty a fly landed on it." This is why I'm ultimately glad Troll 2 exists.


7. Don't Go Near the Park (1979): The Whole Frickin' Movie
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Remember the previous Hilariously Bad, where I mentioned the movie Blood Freak? That one had an absolutely ludicrous premise, but was an otherwise tame film. Video nasty wanna-be Don't Go Near the Park, on the other hand... Geez, where do I begin?

The movie starts off with a pair of Neanderthal siblings who look precisely like homo sapiens. The brother of the pair, Gar, has even apparently been to Super Cuts recently, and speaks perfectly English eons before England even existed. The two of them are charged with the crime of noshing on the innards of a youngster, which Neanderthals supposedly did to steal youth and essentially live forever. Which is why they're extinct, right? Anyway, Gar and his sister Tra are cursed with immortality by their matriarch. This might not sound like much of a curse, but when you take into account that they still age while never dying, well.... The old woman also stipulates that if one of them manages to produce offspring, they can then sacrifice the kid on the night the planets align to not only undo the curse, but receive full immortality and unlimited youth.

Wait, what the hell kind of punishment is that?

Tra and Gar find that they can still gain their youth by dining on the guts of children, a plot device that was obviously intended to give the picture notoriety. During one of the opening scenes, Gar approaches a kid who has wandered too closely to his hideout, strikes up a conversation with the boy, then snaps his neck mid-sentence. Uh, why did you talk to the kid in the first place? Wouldn't it have been wiser to just stealth kill him without saying word? You could have easily done so... While Gar goes to work on the youngster's organs, an elderly Tra walks into the shot and yells something to the effect of: "What are you doing? You're supposed to go impregnate a woman in the town so we can have a child to sacrifice! Quit eating kids and get your act together!"

Gar then follows a woman home, notices she has a sign outside her house advertising a room for rent, breaks into her abode, and enters the bathroom while she's showering. After scaring the living crap out of her, he explains that he desires the room. The woman then instantly forgets about the fact that some creeper has just walked in on her bathing and slips into business mode. From there, Gar hypnotizes her--another handy Neanderthal trick--marries her, bangs her, impregnates her, and then runs by her side as doctors rush her into child birth.

The writer desperately needed to emphasize that their relationship went to seed, but figured he didn't have time for subtle implications. During one scene, Gar plays with his daughter in the front yard while his wife tromps out and basically yells, "You don't pay attention to me anymore!" She then quietly walks back into the house. Nailed it!

I could go on and on about Don't Go Near the Park and why I think it should be remade into a musical, but I think I've gabbed a bit much about the flick already. Hence, I shall give you the remaining highlights: telekinesis, telepathy, clumsily acted kidnapping, eye lasers, an annoying shirtless child, a van that bursts into flames after taking a ten foot spill, and zombies at the film's conclusion for absolutely no reason. Clearly, the Academy snubbed someone in 1982.

Most recent blog posts from Joseph Shaffer...

overdrive overdrive - February 16, 2015 (06:40 AM)
Have you seen Twitch of the Death Nerve. Italian giallo from the late 70s; some of the kill scenes were completely "appropriated" for Friday the 13th II.

Very good movie overall. Intriguing beginning. The next part is kind of slow, with all the important characters doing stuff to either solve the mystery posed by the beginning or doing stuff to make themselves look suspicious. Four expendable meat kids enter in order to have a body count during this time. Over the final half hour, everything gets resolved, so the plot makes sense and people can die horribly.

And then: the end. Oh lord, the end. I can definitely say that I did not see that coming.
Genj Genj - February 16, 2015 (07:15 AM)
I love Inferno and that scene never struck me as any stranger than other deaths in vintage Argento films. Mother of Tears has plenty more wtf moments like Asia Argento's ghost mom. Fuck that movie.
EmP EmP - February 16, 2015 (09:31 AM)
The hell with you: Troll 2 is the best thing ever and I love it and everything it has to offer.

I actually watched it before I learnt of all the clamor behind it because the first Troll film is kinda great in a wistful way.
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - February 16, 2015 (09:45 AM)
I've wanted to see Twitch for some time. I think I may have to bump it up in my priority list, as you have me intrigued about the ending.

I dig Inferno as well, but I had to pause the movie to laugh at that scene. It's probably not hilariously "bad," per se, but I still found it comical.
Mother of Tears had loads of bad moments, but they were more depressingly bad that hilariously so. Ugh, that movie...
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - February 16, 2015 (09:50 AM)
I've watched both multiple times. I still kinda get a kick out of Troll 2, but it hurts to watch all the same. The first Troll was somewhat creative, plus it had Michael Moriarty as Harry Potter sr. and a musical scene with singing trolls.
joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - February 16, 2015 (04:10 PM)
You should write a piece on the Child's Play sequels. Don Mancini's entire career seems to be built on Suspension of Disbelief.
honestgamer honestgamer - February 16, 2015 (04:41 PM)
I actually saw the first Troll movie when I was a kid. My dad randomly brought it home on VHS. I'm not sure what possessed him to buy it, since that was the sort of film he usually went out of his way to avoid. I was happy to watch it, because my friend had seen it and told me about it. Then, afterwards, I was sad that I had watched it because I didn't really care for it much at all. I was just young enough that it freaked me out...
EmP EmP - February 16, 2015 (04:59 PM)
I have no doubt I over-analyzed the hell out of the first Troll. Even as a kid I liked the fact that it wasn't just this random force of poorly written evil like every other horror flick ever. Troll 2, on the other hand, is something a bunch of us will try to get together to watch every year or so. Sometimes it will draw in people we'd not had the chance to see since the previous Troll 2 night. That's not bad for an awful film.
overdrive overdrive - February 17, 2015 (08:03 AM)
The greatest thing about Troll 2 is that it in no way is related to Troll 1. But because the first movie had some degree of success, they decided it needed a sequel, so they just got some random hilariously bad film and slapped the Troll name upon it.

Reason #43875 why B horror/sci-fi/fantasy films are the bestest!
JoeTheDestroyer JoeTheDestroyer - February 17, 2015 (08:46 AM)
Hell, it doesn't even technically have trolls. In fact, isn't it call Goblins in Italy? I think I recall Cinema Snob saying as much.
EmP EmP - February 17, 2015 (09:19 AM)
Well, Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards, after all.

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