Eric's Bad Movies

Weekly columns written 2008-2014 -- the first 245 for Film.com, the last six for GeekNation. The point was to be funny rather than fair, and they're full of spoilers, so I don't consider them "reviews." What do I consider them? Delightful.

Eric's Bad Movies

Weekly columns written 2008-2014 -- the first 245 for Film.com, the last six for GeekNation. The point was to be funny rather than fair, and they're full of spoilers, so I don't consider them "reviews." What do I consider them? Delightful.

.com For Murder

As soon as the Internet started being used by mainstream society, people began looking for ways to make it terrifying and dangerous. This led to such horrors as the hamster dance and Geocities, as wel...

Mask of Death

Despite the impression given by movies and TV, most police officers go their entire careers without having to shoot anyone. That's fairly common knowledge. But did you know that it's also rare for a c...

Give My Regards to Broad Street

Paul McCartney was an extraordinarily wealthy man, one of the most successful songwriters in history and a charter member of rock 'n' roll's greatest, most influential band (Wings). Yet this was not e...

Carnival of Souls

"Carnival of Souls" was a low-budget horror film from 1962 that developed a cult following and influenced other directors in the genre. Since it was so well-regarded, the only reasonable thing to do w...

Children of the Corn

Since the dawn of cinema, filmmakers have strived to convey the important truth about kids, which is that they're evil and should not be trusted. Yes, "children are our future," as the great prophetes...

Jaws of Satan

In the olden days, if you wanted to make a horror movie about animals killing people, you basically had two options: the animals could be bigger than they're supposed to be, or there could be too many...

Case 39

"Case 39" has an interesting story behind it. Not in it, behind it. The story in it is stupid. The story behind it is interesting in that the movie was made in 2006, but then it fell behind a desk or ...

The Minis

The message of "The Minis" is that you can accomplish anything if you believe in yourself. I know this is the message because that platitude, or some variation of it, is spoken by the characters at le...

Abduction

As soon as plasticine llama-human hybrid Taylor Lautner became a household name in households where teenage girls live, the young "Twilight" star set out to prove that he can do more than take off his...

Terminal Velocity

A good way to come up with an action movie if you don't care whether it's any good and it's the '90s and Charlie Sheen is going to star in it is to just think of a cool-sounding title and hope for the...

The Phantom

The Phantom was a popular comic strip and movie serial in the 1930s and '40s, so it makes sense that Hollywood would produce a big-budget feature in 1996, after the target audience was dead. Making a ...

Wishmaster

For a horror fan, watching a movie that begins with the words "Wes Craven presents..." produces the same sense of despair that a comedy fan feels when a movie starts with "National Lampoon's." In both...

The Apparition

"The Apparition" marks a bold step forward in filmmaking. After decades of stubbornly resisting the influence of lobbyists and special-interest groups, Hollywood has finally made a movie about people ...

Lock Up

Throughout the 1980s, whenever Sylvester Stallone wasn't busy making a "Rocky" or a "Rambo," he would dial his agent's phone number, hold the receiver up to his mouth, and make a series of unintelligi...

King of the Camp

You probably remember the first time you saw "High School Musical," the way it thrilled you and changed your life and filled your heart with Hudgens. Some people in Canada saw it, too, and were inspir...

Chill Factor

A lot of people have joked about Cuba Gooding Jr.'s post-"Jerry Maguire," post-Oscar career, and how he's made almost nothing but bad movies since then. In the interest of fairness, I should point out...

Double Trouble

One of several grudges we have against Arnold Schwarzenegger is that his success in Hollywood made a lot of bodybuilders think that they, too, could be movie stars without being able to act or pronoun...

The Mod Squad

Something that used to happen a lot in the 1990s is that an executive at a movie studio would be rummaging around in the studio's attic and find an old trunk with some keepsakes in it, and one of thes...

Theodore Rex

Whoopi Goldberg is best known today for being one of the hosts of "The View," a show you never watch yet somehow keep hearing about. Before that she held the coveted center position on the political d...

Hot to Trot

John Candy did a lot of funny things in his life, like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and "Uncle Buck," in addition to the many sad and tragic things he did, like "Nothing But Trouble" and dying. Bu...

Cherry 2000

Of all the post-apocalyptic films made in the 1980s, only "Cherry 2000" dared to explore the effects that the collapse of civilization would have on the supply of sex robots. The prognosis is grim, my...

Ice Cream Man

One of the ways that unimaginative people come up with ideas for horror movies is to take something normally perceived as harmless and have it start killing people. That's why there are movies about k...

Karate Dog

When parodying bad movies, no intentionally terrible idea is so absurd that there does not already exist a real movie that is worse. I had known in this in my heart for a long time, but it was only re...

C Me Dance

One of the problems facing modern-day Christians is the fact that so many of their fellow modern-day Christians make them look bad. For every humble soul who genuinely tries to do good to others, care...

The Initiation

The stereotype about 1980s horror movies is that they're all about horny, dumb teenagers who get stabbed to death by psychopaths, and that the movies are full of gratuitous female nudity that was clea...

Ringmaster

Did you know that "The Jerry Springer Show" is still on the air? It is! The syndicated trash cavalcade is just wrapping up its 21st season and is contracted for two more. This surprises me -- not beca...

BMX Bandits

Today Nicole Kidman is known as a translucent ice-based life form who occasionally stars in movies and briefly pretended to be in love with Tom Cruise. But in 1983 she was just a frizzy-haired 16-year...

The House on Haunted Hill

Among the many disappointing things about "The House on Haunted Hill" is that it promises a haunted hill and doesn't deliver one. Oh, the house is haunted, sure. The house is haunted from here to next...

Color of Night

"Color of Night" begins with a pretty woman in a nice dress sobbing while she applies her makeup. She looks like she's getting ready to go out on a date. But then she smears on her lipstick in a comic...

Spellcaster

Back in the 1980s, before there was YouTube or the Internet or electricity, a major way for young people to amuse themselves was to watch "music videos" on a basic-cable channel called "Music Televisi...

Slappy and the Stinkers

Not to judge a book by its cover, but when you write a column about bad movies and you stumble across something called "Slappy and the Stinkers," you tend to feel like half the work has been done for ...

Tentacles

"Tentacles" is a cheap "Jaws" rip-off about a giant octopus. It was made at a time when everybody was trying to think of which giant sea creatures other than sharks could theoretically terrify moviego...

Bulletproof

Today's moviegoers know that Adam Sandler stars almost exclusively in unbearable comedies that are devoid of wit, humor, and all that is good, and that these movies are always "written" (to the extent...

The Dungeonmaster

So there was a cheesy sci-fi/fantasy movie in the mid-1980s called "Ragewar," but when it was released in theaters they changed the title to "The Dungeonmaster" to capitalize on the current popularity...

Hard Target

A lot of bad movies star Jean-Claude Van Damme, and a lot of bad movies are ripoffs of "The Most Dangerous Game," but "Hard Target" is the only bad movie that is both of those things. It's also one of...

Lisa

You kids today are spoiled. If you want to watch a dumb movie about women being terrorized by men, you can just turn on the Lifetime Movie Network. But such conveniences did not exist in the ancient t...

Double Dragon

Here's a good example of how the movie business is an unpredictable crapshoot. On Nov. 4, 1994, an adaptation of the video game Double Dragon was released in theaters. It was terrible, and it only mad...

Standing Ovation

I almost feel bad making fun of "Standing Ovation." Not that it isn't terrible. It is terrible. Sweet merciful mangos, is it ever terrible. It's about a bunch of screeching New Jersey tween girls who ...

Hunk

There is an actor you have not heard of named John Allen Nelson who appeared in the TV soap operas "Loving" and "Santa Barbara" in the early 1980s, playing such men as Duke Rochelle and Warren Lockrid...

Under the Cherry Moon

Prince's 1984 film "Purple Rain" was successful with audiences and critics because they accepted it for what it was: a 110-minute music video featuring music they liked. It didn't matter that the stor...

Steel Dawn

One of our favorite pastimes is imagining what things will be like after the inevitable breakdown of society and the annihilation of most of the world's population. It is fun to speculate about our do...

The Net

One of the things Hollywood is really good at is rushing movies into production to capitalize on hot new trends. In the late 1970s, for example, there were tons of movies about disco. The 1950s had a ...

Body of Evidence

Pop superstar Madonna has always been more interested in maintaining a provocative image than in singing songs or using her real accent, but her emphasis on sex became especially pronounced in the ear...

Roller Boogie

In the past, when people have asked for suggestions of movies they should watch to satisfy their cravings for roller-skating, disco, bony teenagers, and the girl from "The Exorcist," I've been at a lo...

The Gate

One of the reasons for those "call before you dig" signs is to keep people from inadvertently cutting through power lines, but the main reason is to keep people from accidentally opening portals to he...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Within the category of adolescent reptilian comic book characters who are horrifying freaks of nature and skilled in ancient fighting arts, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are by far the most importa...

The Allnighter

I have nothing bad to say about The Bangles, the '80s rock group that consisted entirely of women and wasn't The Go-Go's. "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Manic Monday," and "Eternal Flame" are perfectly acc...

Molly

After being nominated for an Oscar for her performance in "Leaving Las Vegas," Elisabeth Shue called her agent and said, "Now is the time for me to play a retarded woman who falls in love with her bro...

Solar Crisis

"Solar Crisis" bravely assigns itself a plot with the highest possible stakes -- the destruction of every living thing on Earth! -- and addresses it by having a lot of men stand around a spaceship bri...

Happy Birthday to Me

Slasher films were all the rage in the early 1980s, probably because of the pent-up hostility left by Jimmy Carter and disco music. Some of the entries in the genre were scary and entertaining, like a...

Hercules in New York

Some of our younger readers might not be aware that Arnold Schwarzenegger, famed governor of California and impregnator of maids, was once a movie star. Yes! It may be hard to believe, given his trick...

Top Dog

When I heard that Chuck Norris had made a movie about a loose-cannon cop who gets partnered with a dog, I thought: Well, sure. They made a lot of cheesy movies like that in the 1980s. Then I found out...

Cyborg

What's that you say? You've got a brutally violent movie called "Cyborg" that stars famed oily Belgian Jean-Claude Van Damme? Count me in! I'd love to see Van Damme play a cyborg! Oh, he's not the cyb...

Butterfly (1982)

Give the people what they want! That is Hollywood's mantra. In 1982, what people wanted was a gross story about a teenage harlot using her feminine wiles to seduce her own father. Goodness knows why t...

Magic in the Water

Every year, Hollywood produces several hundred family-oriented movies about workaholic fathers who vow not to neglect their children anymore after something zany happens, often involving an animal. Th...

Furry Vengeance

Tragically, "Furry Vengeance" is not a movie in which people who derive sexual pleasure from dressing up as animals execute deadly revenge on their oppressors. I think we can all agree that such a mov...

Lost in Space

Remember your favorite science-fiction TV show from the 1960s? No, not "Star Trek" or "The Twilight Zone" or "The Outer Limits" or "The Time Tunnel" or "My Favorite Martian" or "The Jetsons" or "It's ...

Freejack

Remember Emilio Estevez? Where has that guy been? If "Freejack" is any indication, he may have disappeared because he went to the future to have Anthony Hopkins' brain put in him! (That is probably no...

Hawk the Slayer

"Hawk the Slayer" begins with the following title card: "This is a story of Heroic Deeds and the bitter struggle for the triumph of Good over Evil and of a wondrous Sword wielded by a mighty Hero w...

Teen Wolf Too

Do you remember how you felt in the summer of 1985? I can tell you. You had Michael J. Fox Fever! (Unless you were not alive.) He was the breakout star of "Family Ties," a top-10 TV show about a dog n...

Thrashin’

Skateboarding was invented in the 1960s, when surfers got bored with endangering the lives of swimmers and decided to start annoying pedestrians, too. Soon, no matter where you went in California, whe...

Cutthroat Island

If you're Renny Harlin, the problem with being married to Geena Davis is that she might suggest you direct a pirate movie starring her as the lead pirate. If you're Geena Davis, the problem with being...

Bats

A lot of people find bats creepy, not just because they turn into Draculas, but also because they are basically rats that learned how to fly. So it's surprising that bats have been the subject of so f...

Above the Law

People who have watched Steven Seagal movies -- "victims," as they are known -- have often wondered how the humorless, dough-faced goon managed to make so many films when nearly all of them were terri...

Can’t Stop the Music

You probably know the Village People as a popular Halloween costume or the punchline to a joke, but there was a time in American history when they were an actual group of recording artists who perform...

Johnny Mnemonic

"Johnny Mnemonic" presents a grim vision of the future. It is set in 2021, a time of unimaginable horrors in which corporations run America and people die in the streets while pharmaceutical companies...

Empire of the Ants

Bert I. Gordon is an American success story. He grew up during the Great Depression, and in Wisconsin, where everything is always a little more depressing. Then he made his way to Hollywood and became...

Invasion U.S.A.

One of our favorite pastimes in the 1980s was fantasizing about what would happen if Russia invaded us, and how awesome it would be to teach those Commie bastards a lesson. Thanks to hilarious comedie...

A*P*E

Today, South Korea is best known for two things: being the right answer when you're trying to remember which of the two Koreas isn't run by a lunatic, and producing bloody films about obsessed men see...

The Saint

You might think that stealing money for a living would be a fulfilling occupation, but no! No sir or madam! It is actually lonely and sad. Another thing that is lonely and sad is Val Kilmer. This is a...

Hocus Pocus

Children love Halloween! This has been proven by scientists. It stems from children's natural fondness for candy and evil. And you know what else children love? Bette Midler! The li'l tykes can't get ...

Bolero

When you think of creepy old men, the name John Derek should spring obscenely to the top of your mental list, like a peeping Tom springs from the bushes when illuminated by a police officer's flashlig...

Solarbabies

"Solarbabies" takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which water is a scarce commodity, but no one in the movie ever gets very thirsty, not even when they have to walk across vast deserts. From an...

Buddy

"Buddy" is disappointing for a number of reasons, chief among them the fact that no one in it ever gets torn apart by an angry gorilla. Very few movies do feature such incidents, of course, and while ...

Fluke

Parents of small children are often stymied as they search for a movie to watch with the kids. You want something with cute puppies, sure. But you also want something that has dogs being shot by cruel...

Sssssss

What is it with mad scientists and animals? It seems like most mad-scientist-based movies (which comprise about 75 percent of all movies) focus on the crazy doctor's efforts to turn a person into an a...

Fortress

Christopher Lambert must lie awake at night and wonder, in French, why other men became action stars and he didn't. He's as stone-faced as Steven Seagal and as hard to understand as Jean-Claude Van Da...

Mr. Nanny

We used to have something in the United States called "professional wrestling," in which beefy men would fight each other publicly, using an array of fanciful maneuvers and following a scripted formul...

Only the Strong

Almost every movie about martial arts has focused on karate or kung fu. Meanwhile, enthusiasts of capoeira, the graceful system of fight-dancing from Brazil, are frustrated. "When will our peculiar me...

Godzilla (1998)

As far as I can tell, the 1998 American version of "Godzilla" is about a contest between the U.S. military and a giant monster to see who can destroy more of New York. And honestly, Godzilla is hardly...

Flowers in the Attic

There was once a very popular young-adult novel called "Flowers in the Attic," about a teenage brother and sister who get locked in their evil grandmother's attic for three years and have sex. There's...

DOA: Dead or Alive

Do you like it when attractive young women fight each other while wearing clothing that does not cover very much of their bodies? Do you imagine you could watch 85 minutes of this without getting tire...

Double Team

When you're an actor who's not very good at acting, one strategy you can use to camouflage your deficiencies is to find co-stars who are even worse than you are. It appears that oily European kickboxi...

3 Ninjas

You know how sometimes when you're a little kid you have a Japanese grandfather? And how sometimes he teaches you the art of ninja warfare, which you then use to defeat an international arms dealer? 3...

At the Earth’s Core

You know what I like? A bad movie that's cheerfully stupid. Well, maybe "like" is a strong word. I still prefer movies that aren't stupid at all. But if a movie HAS to be stupid -- and one could argue...

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Uwe Boll is a German filmmaker working almost exclusively in the fertile medium of terrible crap based on video games. Movie fans -- who generally refer to him by his full name, "that damn Uwe Boll" -...

Firestorm

At first I was hesitant to use "Firestorm" as a subject for this column because it stars former football player Howie Long, and I was pretty sure I already did a Howie Long movie, and I don't want to ...

Cool As Ice

Among the many obscure and demanding clauses in the typical recording contract is one that requires the performer, once he or she has sold a certain number of records, to star in an irredeemably crapp...

Wing Commander

There have now been a couple dozen terrible movies based on video games, but that wasn't the case in the late 1990s. Back then, there had only been a few terrible movies based on video games, so the i...

Babylon A.D.

Readers of a certain age might recall a time when Vin Diesel was poised to become the next major action star. He had a deep voice, and it was usually hard to understand what he was saying, and those a...

Piranha II: The Spawning

Is there a more fearsome aquatic creature than the piranha? Yes! The shark. And also the killer whale. And Ursula the sea witch. But after those three, the piranha is definitely the most fearsome aqua...

Conan the Destroyer

I didn't think that not having seen "Conan the Barbarian" would put me at a disadvantage when I watched its sequel, "Conan the Destroyer." Surely any plot threads left over from the first film would b...

976-EVIL

Before scientists discovered the Internet, the easiest way to get a stranger to talk dirty to you was to dial a special phone number that started with 1-900 or 976. Your phone bill would be charged $2...

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Do you love the music of The Beatles but wish you hated it? Then have I got the thing for you! The 1978 film "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" accomplishes what many scholars believed was imposs...

Gooby

Canada is a magical, faraway land that few people have ever seen. Some scholars believe is mythical, like Narnia. The "Canadians," as they are known, have many fantastical customs, such as putting the...

Bangkok Dangerous

In 1999, a pair of Hong Kong-born twins, Danny and Oxide Pang, made a film called "Bangkok Dangerous," about a deaf-mute Thai assassin. After the Pangs came to Hollywood, they remade "Bangkok Dangerou...

Sleepwalkers

You can tell Stephen King was losing his touch when he wrote "Sleepwalkers." It's a story about shapeshifting vampires who require the life force of young virgins to stay alive, and what does King cal...

The Manitou

Another week, another cookie-cutter piece of junk from the Hollywood assembly line. Can't they ever come up with anything new? No, of course not. Instead, we get "The Manitou," about a woman who has a...

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory

After Steven Seagal's first movie, "Above the Law," was a hit, he quite reasonably assumed he could continue to make the same film over and over again without anyone getting tired of it. Even the titl...

Virus

Ever since man first gazed heavenward and sought to explore the outer reaches of space, he has been troubled by one forbidding thought: What if an alien life form commandeers our spacecraft, uses our ...