November 29, 2012

Lucy's Scary Movie Round-Up

Once again, it's time for my Friday night horror buddy, Lucy Anderson, to offer her insightful opinion of several films we've recently watched together during our traditional weekly Horrorfests. 

Halloween (1978)
Lucy says: "It's surprising!"

Halloween III: Season of the Witch 
Lucy says: "It's stupid." (no argument here)

Lucy says: "It's scary and awesome." (She enjoyed it more than Dad did)

Dead Alive 
Lucy says: "It's gross and funny and people get kicked in the balls."

Dawn of the Dead (1978) 
Lucy says: "It's too weird." (she liked the remake a lot better)

The Car
Lucy says: "It was funny and it makes you wonder why the Devil would drive a car."

Lucy says: "It was too weird and over dramatic."

The Ring
Lucy says: "It's so scary that I almost died of scaredness, but Insidious is still better."

Lucy says: "It's pretty cool." (Dad agrees)

November 28, 2012

TWILIGHT'S LAST GLEAMING: The Stars Have Finally Aligned

Starring Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Charles Durning, Paul Winfield, Burt Young, Joseph Cotten, Melvyn Douglas, Richard Jaeckel, Gerald S. O'Loughlin. Directed by Robert Aldrich. (1977, 146 min).

This was a milestone day for me. I finally got a copy of 1977's Twilight's Last Gleaming on Blu-Ray. Okay, so it ain’t like I conquered Mt. Everest, but I’ve been looking to own this goddamn thing for years. This is a big deal because now I finally own every single movie I ever loved growing up (just in time for DVDs and Blu-Rays to go the way of the Dodo...oh, the irony). From here on out, all that's left for me to collect is new stuff that happens to be worth watching more than once...which occurs less and less as I get older.

Right now, I know a lot of you are saying, "What the hell is Twilight's Last Gleaming?" I know because when I learned it was finally available on disc, I sped over to Best Buy and asked one of their resident geniuses if it was in stock. Unfortunately, she appeared stunned there was something with twilight in the title that wasn’t about Edward and Bella. I probably should have realized that before I wasted the gas to go there; Best Buy - and most other stores, for that matter - is pretty worthless these days to any die-hard movie fan. For the most part, unless a movie is universally considered a classic, if you‘re looking for anything more than twenty years old, you’re shit out of luck.

Like a lot of movies I loved growing up, Twilight's Last Gleaming is one of those obscure, forgotten relics few people have ever heard of, and even fewer have actually seen. Burt Lancaster plays disgraced (and slightly unhinged) Air Force officer Lawrence Dell, who, along with two thugs, escape from a military prison, infiltrate a missile silo and take control of its arsenal. Then Dell threatens to launch its missiles at the Soviet Union unless the powers-that-be in Washington make-public the real reason the U.S. continued to wage war in Vietnam long after it was declared unwinnable. Dell also wants a hostage - the President of the United States - to ensure his demands are met. The movie's premise is somewhat outrageous (one prays taking over a missile complex isn't quite this easy), but it's a conspiracy-theorist's wet dream, and that's part of what makes it fun. It's the kind of paranoid movie that could only have been made in the 70s, post-Watergate, when our overall faith in the government was at an all-time low. We start off thinking Dell is the film's villain, but by the end, it's the White House advisors surrounding the president (most of whom would rather see their Commander-in-Chief die than reveal their secrets) we grow to despise. What's kind of ironic about this one, considering our tendency to use presidents as de facto symbols of everything wrong or right about certain eras, is that this president (played by Charles Durning, who is terrific) is probably the second-most sympathetic character. In the end, he actually begins to feel empathy for Dell, and is painfully aware he can no longer trust those around him.

Even for a conspiracy thriller, this is dark stuff. By the final reel, the viewer is pretty certain things will not end well...and they don't. This movie definitely has a sobering anti-government agenda that wasn't prevalent in the novel it’s loosely based on (Walter Wager’s Viper Three), which was totally lost on me as a kid, when I first watched it on HBO a couple of years later. It must have been lost on a lot of people, because Twilight's Last Gleaming sorta came-and-went in theaters back in '77, when interests turned to more light-hearted fare like Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit. With Luke Skywalker saving the Rebellion from the clutches of the galactic empire, or Burt Reynolds making sure a truckload of illegal beer makes it to its destination, who the hell wanted to be reminded of the horror that was Vietnam, much-less an awful theory why the war was so painfully dragged out?

"Mom...I'm kinda busy right now."

Again, any agenda the movie had was lost on me at the time. I simply loved it because there was a possibility the world could end, and back then, when the threat of nuclear annihilation was one of the more realistic doomsday scenarios scaring the shit out of people, Twilight’s Last Gleaming was especially fascinating.

The movie stuck with me for a long time, but apparently few others. Over the years, despite its big cast of well-known actors, it became a forgotten relic from another era. Hell, it even stopped showing up on cable after awhile, and when such stores as Suncoast began popping up in malls across the country, seemingly teaming with VHS tapes of every movie ever made, Twilight’s Last Gleaming was never among them. Sure, you could special-order it...for ninety bucks. I’m sorry, there’s never been a single movie worth paying ninety bucks of my hard-earned cash for.

But my parents’ hard-earned cash? Well, that was different, so I put it on my Christmas list, not realistically thinking they’d actually buy it for me. So imagine my surprise when they did. My God, I was ecstatic, and to this day, I think it was one of my all-time favorite Christmas surprises. I treasured that thing, the shining beacon in my VHS collection. That is, until my VCR ate the tape a few months later. Of all the shit in my collection, that fucking machine chose to dine on the one tape I couldn’t replace! Why the hell couldn’t it have munched on the Sister Act video my grandmother thought to buy me that same Christmas?

Over the years, I eventually managed to acquire DVDs of most of the movies I grew up on, even the more obscure titles. All except one, which wasn‘t available anywhere...not even online (unless I wanted one imported from Portugal, where it was titled O Ultimo Brilho No Crepuscolo). Some guy  did manage to post Twilight’s Last Gleaming in its entirety on YouTube last year (bless his copyright-infringing heart), and I was able to watch it once before it was removed. But the picture was terrible and sitting in my office watching it on my tiny computer screen isn’t the same as owning it.

Then it was officially released on disc a couple of weeks ago. I usually know the street dates for most movies I'm interested in well in advance. This time I had no idea. I simply had stopped looking for it, and the assholes at Best Buy or Target sure as hell didn’t have it on their shelves. I only found out because I was Googling for Twilight’s Last Gleaming pictures to use for one of these blog entries, where ironically, I was going to piss and moan about the movie’s unavailability.

And the stars must have aligned themselves that night, because I had also just purchased my first HD Blu-Ray player the day before. I know Blu-Ray was a big deal a few years ago, and the picture quality was awesome, and people like me were supposed to develop big red boners for it, but being able to see Kevin Costner’s pockmarks didn’t seem worth the expense. The only reason I broke down and bought one the other day is because my old DVD player finally crapped out. Anyway, what better way to break in my new toy than popping in a movie I’d been waiting to own for 30 years?

Of course, I had to order it from Amazon, and wait at the mailbox for two whole days before it arrived, but the clouds parted and the angels sang when I ripped open the package and beheld its wonderfully cheesy cover. Twilight’s Last Gleaming is finally mine...all mine.

All is now right with the world, even if someone like General Dell blows it up tomorrow.

November 14, 2012

JACKASS THE MOVIE: Another Modest Proposal

Starring Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Dave England, Jason "Wee Man" Acuna, Preston Lacy, Ehren McGhehey. Directed by Jeff Tremaine. (2002, 87 min).

I would not presume to waste time discussing the artistic merits of Jackass, even though this movie (if you can even call it that) made me laugh harder than any other in recent memory. It also has the dubious distinction of being the only movie ever that made me physically gag, and I'm not easily sickened by what I see on screen. So no, the last thing Jackass would ever be mistaken for is art.

I will, however, waste time discussing its social merits, and why Jackass: The Movie should be considered one of the most important movies released so far this century. If we'd only take time to look beyond its visual grotesquery, the potential positive impact this film could have on our society is enormous.

Jackass, of course, started as a show on MTV, each episode consisting of little more than a bunch of guys filming themselves performing stupid, dangerous, painful and often disgusting stunts. Of course, it was a huge hit with teenagers who weren't even alive when MTV actually stood for Music Television. And of course, even though the show always began and ended with a warning that the stunts should never be attempted by viewers, many of them were attemtped, resulting in cases of severe injury or death. And of course, that made a lot of older folks angry (most notably Senator Joseph Lieberman), who clamored for MTV to take responsibility and pull it off the air. The network eventually did cancel it after less than three seasons, despite the fact it was their most popular show.

The short-sightedness of both Jackass detractors and its network's knee-jerk reaction to yank the show threatened cast a dark shadow over our entire society for decades to come.

Wouldn't we have been better off if it had stayed on the air, and shown as often as possible? Short of euthanasia, has anyone else come up with a more effective way to cleanse the gene pool than the creators of Jackass? Think about it...for every dumbass douche bag who tries and fails to imitate what they watch on TV, that’s one less dumbass douche bag able to spawn future dumbass douche bags. That would eventually result in fewer dumbass douche bags wasting oxygen that could be put to better use in the lungs of someone with a cancer cure, fewer dumbass douche bags behind the wheels of automobiles who could potentially kill the guy who develops a clean-burning alternative fuel, fewer dumbass douche bags eating the food that could nourish the guy with a solution to world hunger.

Without all these douche bags, as a society, we could become collectively more intelligent, perhaps someday  evolving into the cerebral beings we envy in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But such a society will never happen as long as we continue to stand in the way of folks clamoring to shove a lit bottle rocket up their ass.

With the release of Jackass: The Movie (which is funnier - and nastier - than the series ever was), there may be hope for us yet. The original series may only live on in reruns, but with every new Jackass movie, we are offered an increasing variety of methods through which to cull the herd.

With a nod (and an apology) to Jonathan Swift, I humbly propose we nurture the inner-jackass in our youth. If, like Senator Lieberman claims, most young people are impressionable idiots willing to imitate whatever they see on TV, then let them. Maybe Jackass: The Movie should be federally-mandated viewing in all middle schools (roughly the age when some develop the idea that acting as painfully stupid as possible is somehow cool). Those who appear impressed by what they see in the film would then be allotted a shopping cart filled with lighters, fireworks, beer, a dangerous animal or two, mousetraps, vials of bodily fluids, skateboards and other various objects which, if they tried real hard, could fit up their asses. Let these kids legally drop out of school at age fourteen to pursue their destiny (they aren't likely to get much out of To Kill a Mockingbird during their freshman year anyway).

Everyone else would move on to high school, secure with the knowledge of being part of a brighter future, a collectively-smarter society with the capability to find a cure for AIDS, venture to other worlds, or at the very least, explain how guys like Senator Lieberman ever got elected to public office. Within just a few generations, we could be totally cleansed of that portion of the population whose last words are usually, “Hey, watch this.”

When you think of it in those terms, doesn’t it make sense for a copy of Jackass: The Movie to be in every home right now? Sure, some of us might lose a beloved child or two, but to quote a pointy-eared fellow,  much wiser than me, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” If you think otherwise, you are being selfish and not looking out for what’s best for your species as a whole. How dare you.

November 11, 2012


Starring Mickey Rourke, Don Johnson, Chelsea Field, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Sizemore, Vanessa Williams, Giancarlo Esposito, Tia Carrere. Directed by Simon Wincer. (1991, 98 min).

I was talking to a fellow film buff at work the other day. During our breaks, we often discuss movies we love or hate, or debate the merits of others we don't agree on. He’s put-off by the fact I hated Blade Runner, while I am stunned he didn’t like Inception.

This particular day, the subject of guilty pleasures came up, and I mentioned that awesomely bad cinema suppository, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. He scoffed, which I find interesting considering his favorite John Carpenter movie is Big Trouble in Little China, and both movies are whacked-out, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink exercises in stupidity.

I guess the main difference between the two is Big Trouble is stupid on purpose, while Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man’s isn’t. At least I don’t think it is. Still, I love this movie.

This is one of those things where you repeatedly find yourself staring slack-jawed at the screen, incredulously saying, what the hell were they thinking? It’s one of the dumbest, most blatantly-pandering and shallow movies any major studio wasted millions to make. Aside from an admittedly great title (probably created  before a word of the screenplay was written), Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is similar to that dorky, awkward guy we all knew in high school who tries real hard to fit in with the popular kids by speaking and dressing the part, but fails miserably because he’s actually pretty clueless.

Try to think of someone you’ve known in your life you would define as cool. What is it that makes them cool? Is it the way the look, the way they act, the way they speak? Is it the overall vibe they give off, which tells others “This is how I roll...who gives a damn if you follow me or not”? I think we’d all agree that truly cool people never feel compelled to constantly remind others how cool they’re acting.

One gets the impression that the makers of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man were high school dorks as well. They’ve seen other movies with cool characters, cool dialogue, a cool plot, but had no idea what made them cool. They simply thought, “bikers are cool, cowboys are cool, gunfights are cool, sexy girls are cool, our title is cool...put ’em all together and we can’t lose!”

Well, they did lose, because Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is so busy reminding us of how cool it is that it’s compulsively watchable because of how uncool it is...

First, there’s Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson, looking like two-fifths of the Village People. I can't help but think these two actors had a lot of say in how they looked, as if this was how they pictured themselves in real life. But back in 1991, Rourke had gone from being the coolest dude in Diner to soft-core nastiness in 9 1/2 Weeks and Wild Orchid. In those films, he looked perpetually-sweaty, probably reeked of Old Spice and enjoyed shoving cucumbers up women's asses. And in this movie, he looks like he hasn’t showered in a month.

For most of us, Johnson stopped being cool roughly 10 minutes after Miami Vice was canceled. In Johnson’s defense, although never a great actor, he does give the best performance in this movie, mainly because he’s the only one who seems aware of how fucking stupid it is. Still, these are the coolest guys the producers could get?

Second, the movie takes place in the near future for no reason whatsoever! Released in 1991, the events in Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man take place in 1996. Aside from the inflated gas prices shown on a service station sign (which we’ve since-passed in the real world), the year is 100% irrelevant to the story. This is undoubtedly the most WTF aspect of the entire movie.

Third, nearly every bit of dialogue uttered by Harley (Rourke) or Marlboro (Johnson) consists of cliched sound-bites you might see on the bumper sticker of some douchebag’s pick-up truck (“Better to be dead and cool, than alive and uncool”) along with the prerequisite naked lady mudflaps. These guys endlessly philosophize with each other about how awesomely cool it is to be themselves, yet we get the feeling they are trying more to impress us than each other. 

Fourth, even though these two guys are more-or-less shiftless bums, women repeatedly throw themselves at them because all women love guys with no discernable future, so long as they look good straddling a Harley.
"Don't ever ask us to sing 'YMCA' again."

Fifth is the story itself. The bar where Harley and Marlboro used to hang out is facing foreclosure. The reasonable solution? Rob an armored car, of course, which gets them into hot water with a mob of drug-dealing killers, hilariously portrayed as non-emotive, slick-haired henchmen all sporting bullet-proof trenchcoats (and standing out from the crowd like Waldo at a nudist colony). Cool, huh? But not as cool as Harley and Marlboro, who take on this army (led by Tom Sizemore) without expressing even an iota of fear...that would interfere with their wisecracks during the numerous loud, violent gunfights.

The whole movie simply reeks of superficial cool, made by people who think they know what they’re doing. One gets the impression that the very word ‘cool’ was scrawled on a banner on the wall during script development matter what, this movie has got to be cool.

These blatantly feeble attempts to turn its two main characters into instant icons make Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man wonderfully entertaining, but it’s simply not a movie anyone with a shred of dignity will ever fess-up and admit they enjoyed. But it is fun. What’s great about a film like this is that you can view it as a camp classic made with a nudge and wink (and there are several moments when you are convinced the movie is supposed to be a joke). Or, if you are one of those folks who take everything seriously, it’s one of the worst films of all time.

But most likely, you’ll watch incredulously, hypnotized by its ham-fisted shallowness, unable to look away...kind of like that high school dork trying to make an impression by crashing a weekend keg party he wasn’t  invited to and getting totally hammered for the first time, thinking he’s finally fitting in, when in reality he’s just making an ass of himself. Everyone else at the party is laughing at him, not with him. After he passes out, they’ll take a Sharpie and draw penises all over his face.

We get the feeling everyone involved with Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man were trying way, way too hard to fit in. Their effort is entertaining, but not how they intended. Ultimately, they are so out-of-touch that they're the butt of the joke. If that isn’t a guilty pleasure, then I don’t know what is.

November 6, 2012

DAYLIGHT: Too Much Mr. Nice Guy

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, Jay O. sanders, Karen Young, Claire Bloom, Barry Newman. Directed by Rob Cohen. (1996, 115 min)

I sort of missed the Sylvester Stallone of the 80s, when he gave up all pretenses of acting and commenced blowing people away, when his characters (like Rambo and Cobra) were indestructible sociopaths. Those movies are stupid, to be sure, but a lot of jingoistic fun. Stallone was Hollywood’s version of our subconscious Id, making Dirty Harry look like a spokesperson for civil rights. I’m glad he’s since returned to killing without mercy lately in his recent movies.

But back then, the 80’s Stallone was replaced by one who seemed hell-bent on playing “nice” guys. In subsequent action movies like Daylight, so much care is put into making sure Stallone is likable that he ends up being the kind of pussy that kids taunt during recess, simply because they know he won’t retaliate.

Daylight is another entry in the disaster movie revival of the 90s, sort of a cross between The Poseidon Adventure and Cliffhanger. Stallone plays Kit Latura, a disgraced Emergency Medical Services expert, now working as a cab driver (essentially the same character he played in Cliffhanger). When an explosion traps several annoying characters inside an underwater commuter tunnel, Latura springs into action to help save them. Of course, all his former colleagues are there; of course, his superiors hate him; of course, they poo-poo his ideas for saving the people inside, even though they come up with no good suggestions of their own.

"Goddammit, who flushed all that toilet paper?
Anyway, Latura manages to infiltrate the tunnel to reach the survivors, and most of them remember the tragedy which disgraced him (I didn't know local EMS fuck-ups were worldwide news). Even though time is running out, and the water level is rising, these ungrateful assholes verbally berate Latura every five minutes. But because this is the “nice” Stallone, he just stands there and takes it like I did during my divorce from my first wife. The Stallone of the 80s would have kicked the shit out of them and told them to find their own fucking way out (even in The Poseidon Adventure, Gene Hackman stopped putting up with Ernest Borgnine’s shit after awhile).

Despite the fact the character of Latura is pretty much a kiss-ass wimp when it comes to confrontation, he is selflessly heroic and reasonably well-acted by Stallone (well, at least he doesn’t suck). And Daylight is actually one of the better disaster movies of the 90s, with a plot lifted right out of the 70s and above-average special effects. The initial collapse which traps most of the cast is pretty cool, with a shitload of violent explosions that barbecue poor saps as they sit behind the wheels of their cars. There’s even some honest-to-God suspense to be had as the tunnel slowly caves in, while Latura does what he can to buy them more time. Of course, unlike Hackman in The Poseidon Adventure, we’re always 100% certain Stallone will survive to redeem himself, even though he does so by saving a lot of folks who probably deserve to drown.

November 5, 2012

THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW: Wes Craven, The Matchmaker

Starring Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Paul Winfield. Directed by Wes Craven. (1988, 98 min.)

I have fond memories of this one, even though it's one of Wes Craven's shittiest movies. And considering the guy has made a lot of shitty movies, that's saying something. He's not a bad filmmaker, but he is extremely overrated.

Craven is like a MLB power hitter who manages to make the highlight reel on ESPN by knocking a game-winning, grand-slam homerun out of the park, but we never see his previous walks and strikeouts. If the occasional well-timed homerun is all you're really famous for, then maybe you ain't such an awesome ballplayer after all. Still, fans may love you enough that you might think you're more important to your team than you really are.

As a filmmaker, Craven has hit a few out of the park as well. Though it's a little overpraised, 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street was so huge it saved a studio and had folks dropping Craven's name among horror's big guns, like Carpenter and Romero. But really, Craven hadn't done shit until then. Anyone arguing in support of Craven's first film, The Last House on the Left, either hasn't watched it lately or has a fucked up idea of entertainment.

Craven also directed Scream, arguably the first slasher movie since Halloween most legitimate critics liked, mainly because it was a straight-faced satire. As with most horror film franchises, Scream 2, Scream 3 and Scre4m naturally followed. All were directed by Craven, and because of the self-aware nature of them, he actually became somewhat respected in Hollywood on a level Carpenter & Romero never were.

But the thing is, he also made a slew of dated, schlocky shit nobody remembers or talks about (Swamp Thing, Deadly Friend, Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, The Hills Have Eyes II, Cursed, Vampire in Brooklyn, etc.); you know, the strikeouts in between homeruns. There's also been a few truly good Craven movies nobody talks about either, which could be considered RBIs (Wes Craven's New Nightmare & Red Eye, which, in my humble opinion, are his two best).

Then there are the 'foul balls.' Those misguided swings that, while technically considered strikes, at least got a piece of the ball. These would be the Craven movies where he a got the bug up his ass to take himself seriously. His lone attempt at straight drama, Music from the Heart, is the most obvious foul ball (like a decent hitter facing a superior pitcher from a different division).

Which leads us to 1988's The Serpent and the Rainbow, a foul ball in more ways than one. First, it was Craven's attempt at a 'serious' horror film, one which should not have been lumped in with the slice & dice flicks he was renowned for, but his name was used to market it to the same teenagers who made A Nightmare on Elm Street a hit. Second, and more importantly, The Serpent and the Rainbow is the most boring movie Wes Craven ever made. Until this one, no matter what Craven's overly ambitious intentions were, at least his other movies moved.

The Serpent and the Rainbow, based on Wade Davis' non-fiction book about an ethnobotanist's adventures in zombification, is a turgid, slow-moving affair, so wrapped up in its own pretention that it forgets horror movies are supposed to be entertaining. This movie had to be an unpleasant surprise for Craven fans at the time, and although I wasn't necessarily a Craven fan, I liked A Nightmare on Elm Street enough to give this one a shot, especially since I was dating at the time.

This was in 1988, about a year since my divorce from my first wife. The reason for my divorce was irreconcilable differences, which, roughly translated, meant we got married way too young. Anyway, after four rough years, I was a free man for the first time since high school, but hadn’t matured a hell of a lot since then. So I more-or-less nailed anything that moved, mostly without involving the ritualistic courting required for any long-term relationship. Eventually, though, I met a girl I actually liked beyond her physical attributes. This meant, of course, if I wanted any chance with her, we’d have to go on an actual date, not just get hammered in a bar and sleep together.

I had two problems with this. First, even though I was 23 at the time, my definition of a date was the same as when I was 17, buying pizza and going to a horror movie. Second, I was in the process of flunking out of college, with no personal income to speak of; most of my discretionary cash came from shoplifting VHS movies and selling them to a pawn shop. Still, this girl seemed impressed enough to take a chance and go out with me (but since I had no car - just a skateboard - she had to drive).

A few days prior to our date, I managed to steal enough videos to afford a movie and dinner at Red Robin afterwards. In my state of stunted adolescence, I chose the only horror movie playing at the time, Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow. Chicks dig horror movies, right?

Bill Pullman is forced to rewatch Independence Day.

That may or may not have been true, but I wouldn’t have known it from The Serpent and the Rainbow, which was more like a long-ass travelogue than a horror film. Yeah, there were a few cool scenes (one involving spiders, the one creature most likely to make me piss myself), but nothing like the cheap thrills I hoped my date would enjoy. The movie ended up being a dull, unintentionally-funny, badly-acted snoozefest, made by a guy who obviously wanted to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, but didn’t yet know how.

And thank God. It gave me and my date a lot to talk about during dinner afterwards. I still wasn’t used to going back into the dating game; before we went out, I was pretty nervous, praying there wouldn’t be any dreaded stretches of uncomfortable silence where we struggled to engage in small talk. Thanks to the pretentious shit that was The Serpent and the Rainbow, I didn’t need to worry; we had a lot of fun at the movie’s expense, something I do not think would have happened if we watched a good film.

We both laughed a lot that night and had a great time, and I eventually ended up marrying this girl, even after she informed me she doesn’t like horror movies at all. 

So maybe I have Wes Craven to thank for my current marriage, now going on 24 years. Who knows...if The Serpent and the Rainbow was actually a good movie on par with The Exorcist, me and Francie might have been forced to create phony conversation about other subjects during dinner, then gone our separate ways. But because Serpent sucked hard, we had a lot of fun stuff to talk about on that first date, and we got a feel for each other’s sense of humor, not to mention our quirks and interests.

Now that I think about it, maybe The Serpent and the Rainbow, despite how shitty it is, is another homerun...just one that’s hit during Spring Training, when it only matters to those watching that game at that time. Such a homerun may not matter to most fans, just like horror films don’t matter to my wife, or most Wes Craven films don’t matter to me. But at one moment in my life, this one mattered.