What makes a truly horrible movie?

Hi there…

This weekend I had to review a movie that I wish I hadn’t. I’ll post the review in a few days once I’ve digested it a bit, but I have to say that it was one of the most messed up films I’ve seen in quite a while. That said, I did make it to the end, but I’m not sure how. And it took multiple sittings (thank goodness for pause on the DVD player) to get through its length…

Bubba Ho-tep
Image via Wikipedia

But it made me really stop to think about what makes a film truly horrible.

I’m a huge fan of “good” B-movies. Some of the ones on the SciFi channel on Saturday nights are horrible, but have some redeeming features. They’re not theater-quality, they’re definitely made for TV. Bubbahotep with Bruce Campbell is a solid B-movie meant for theaters. I loved it. Many people hated it. Such is the power of movies.

But what makes a truly horrible movie isn’t the lack of production quality or the deliberate dumbing down of subject matter or taking a look at truly absurd issues in the world (like Elvis not dead, living in a retirement home in the south)… it’s shooting for a mark and missing it so completely that you want to run away screaming.

This movie combines a Shakespearean plot with The Godfather, sprinkles in a ton of unnecessary swearing, gratuitous violence, far too much gore, some really bad dialogue and acting… and you end up with a trainwreck. I can’t tell you what this movie is yet, but I will. I promise I’ll post my review in a few days.

But unlike Bug, which I thought was a totally useless piece of celluloid… this movie managed to overdo every aspect of production. So whereas nothing actually happened in Bug, this movie had things happening for no reason. It makes Uwe Boll and Guy Ritchie‘s worst movies look like brilliant pieces of art.

So I ask this question… What for you is the unforgiveable sin when it comes to movies? What’s the thing that makes you walk out of a theater (I’ve only done it once, for The Truman Show) or turn off a DVD (done a few times)?

I want to hear from you… Please — let me know!


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  1. No dialogue.

    Wall E sucked so bad for me. Sorry Disney and Pixar, you made one sucky movie.

    Other than that, there is no taboo for me. I will sit through anything…except Wall E what a load of crap.

    Then again, I liked Nosferatu, so I’m an idiot.

  2. I wasn’t a fan of Wall-E either. It was pretty good, but not worthy the praise it has received. I, like sir jorge, will sit thru anything…and I mean anything. I sat thru D-War in theaters and that film was dead in the water after the first 30 minutes.

    My biggest peeve is horror-thrillers that get too twisty with a cast or crew that can’t pull off the twist. ‘Craptivity’ comes to mind immediately. If they think they’re smarter and more poetic than the audience, in most cases they won’t be. Max Payne was like that, full of artsy fluff yet no actual substance, tension or surprise.

    Reel Whores last blog post..MMM: The Sweetest Cream Puff

  3. Please review a horrible movie I made called “Happy Halloween trick or treat”. I could really use a negative slap in the face. As a director, actor, and a lame producer I could really appreciate being knocked around. Also I will send a free copy as I would not expect you to spend one dime on my horrible movie.
    Thank you
    bruce Oh, it is available nation wide. send your address and I will mail.

  4. @Bruce – Let’s chat offline, but sure. I might be able to take a look.

  5. Thanks for responding Fitz. It is a movie about a Vietnam Marine Veteran being hit in the head with a beer bottle thrown from a bus full of teenagers being hoolagons on Halloween. They all start playing trick or treats on each other but it soon becomes a deadly game. The editing could have been much better. The picture quality is very good. The down side is the high resolution camera footage is compressed from 18 gigs to 4.7 gigs. I spend 17 thousand for a hd camera and I end up selling a compressed movie. Hello blu-ray knock knock. Anyway as my wallet and disgust overtake my patience I crank er out before the warts are sanded off. Hey I am really a script writer gone bad. I suck at certain things like learning my people skills. Any way I would like to get a review and my skin has grown thicker than an African Rhinoceros’s. I am about the only person stupid enough to try to produce a movie of dramatic works in Alaska. Talk about working in a vacuum. Any way love to send you a finished copy as I have cases stacked to the roof. My telephone number is 907-354-1898. I am dumb enough to try to make another movie. I built a camera crane that actually works quite well. Well let me know where you want the disc sent and I will mail the poor old dog off.

  6. @Bruce – Drop me an e-mail at fitz (at) fitzbiz (dot) org and I’ll reply with my address. Sounds like an interesting project.

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