We finish up our Bring a Friend cycle by transitioning to the final cycle of the year, our traditional year-end Smaddies Baddies year in review cycle. It’s where we get to watch many of the worst films of 2017 that we didn’t get to watch in one of our BMT Live! events. Now that we are BMT horror fans and aspiring aficionados it’s only fitting that we start by pairing one of the worst reviewed horror films of 2017 with one of the worst films of all times. That’s right we’re watching The Bye Bye ManOs: Hands of Fate. The Bye Bye Man has been on our radar ever since it’s pretty ridiculous trailers (and even more ridiculous name) that seemed to air constantly during last football season. In quite the coincidence I was also watching a past Survivor season (yes, I watch past seasons of Survivor for fun in my spare time. So what?) that happened to feature a contestant by the name of Jonathan Penner. Why is it a coincidence? Because Penner also wrote The Bye Bye Man. So it was literally seared into my brain that we must, must, must watch this film in the future. As for Manos: Hands of Fate, while it’s considered one of the worst films of all time it doesn’t fit traditionally into BMT because of its pre-1980 release. Shot in 1966 on a super low budget by a random Texan businessman/amateur theater actor I have no more expectations for this than I would a film like Birdemic. It’s just an amateurish film made by a delusional person that should never have seen the light of day. Will likely be a bore, but that’s what this cycle is all about. Finding out whether these categories are as boring as we assumed when we precluded them. Let’s go!
The Bye Bye Man (2017) – BMeTric: 63.4
(That VOD bump though! This looks like a classic in the making. It ticked up a bit after the VOD release, but staying steady at 4.4 is very impressive indeed. Looking very promising for staying above 50+ BMeTric for its career.)
RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – Both as a straightforward horror exercise and a look at the perils revolving around off-campus housing in Wisconsin, “The Bye Bye Man” is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
(Oooooooh yeah. Don’t tantalize me like this RogerEbert.com, my heart can only handle so much. This movie is either going to be hilarious, or an unfortunate mind-bending disaster like The Devil Inside. I’m excited to see which.)
(It’s …. The Bye Bye Man. Looks ridiculous. Like funny ridiculous. Like the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, and my mind can only accept one thing: this is a steaming white hot pile of garbage. I’m excited.)
Directors – Stacy Title – (Known For: The Last Supper; Let the Devil Wear Black; Future BMT: Hood of Horror; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Directed her husband Jonathan Penner in this, The Last Supper, and Let the Devil Wear Black. He also wrote The Bye Bye Man.)
Writers – Jonathan Penner (screenplay by) – (Known For: Let the Devil Wear Black; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Multiple time contestant on Survivor. Despite being on three seasons he never made it all that far into any season but was a fan favorite. Also husband of director Stacy Title.)
Robert Damon Schneck (based on “The Bridge to Body Island” by) – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Guy who specializes in writing about urban legends and supernatural phenomena. His books sounds kind of fun for maybe a future read.)
Actors – Douglas Smith – (Known For: Miss Sloane; Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters; Blast from the Past; Antiviral; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Ouija; Sleepover; Stage Fright; Hangman’s Curse; Terminator Genisys; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: Brother of Gregory Smith who we saw in previous BMT films The Seeker: The Dark is Rising and American Outlaws.)
Lucien Laviscount – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Notes: British actor knew to American film, but in so much British TV that I’m guessing Patrick has inadvertently seen him before in something.)
Cressida Bonas – (BMT: The Bye Bye Man; Tulip Fever; Notes: British actress just on the scene. Already making a BMT splash with this and Tulip Fever that also got terrible reviews this year.)
Budget/Gross – $7.4 million / Domestic: $22,395,806 (Worldwide: $26,667,197)
(Like many horror film this wins largely by being made for next to nothing. This makes me wonder whether we’ll be treated to The Bye Bye Man 2, even if it is straight to DVD. I would watch it. Gotta keep up with the development of the lore of the Bye Bye Man.)
#90 for the Horror – Supernatural genre
(The chart is a tiny bit deceiving. It might look like the genre isn’t growing because the money is mostly stagnant, but given that year over year more and more theaters show a supernatural horror film that money does indeed translate to more and more profit. Kicked off by The Blair Witch Project the claim to fame and fortune for the genre is simple: like the slashers of the 80s you can make these on a dime and there is a built-in opening day audience for $10-20 million for anything even remotely coherent. Strike that: anything that promises a jump or two will turn a profit given the business model. It is incredible.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (16/69): The Bye Bye Man clumsily mashes together elements from better horror films, adding up to a derivative effort as short on originality as it is on narrative coherency or satisfying scares.
(Lack of narrative coherency? Sign me up. As for lack of scares? I’m indifferent. While I’m not scared by many older horror films, the jump scares that are sprinkled throughout modern horror still make for an uncomfortable watch even when other people say it’s not scary, so I’m skeptical. I bet that Bye Bye Man is popping up all over the place.)
Poster – The Sklog Sklog Man (A-)
(I actually like a lot about the poster. Nice font, nice coloring, and I like the artistry that makes it look kinda like an old photo. I wish there was a bit less detail on the main monster. Should be even more of a dark silhouette. But that’s just my opinion.)
Tagline(s) – Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. (Ha. Not a tagline.)
The evil behind the most unspeakable acts has a name (D+)
(The first is not a tagline. It’s just an artistic use of text on the poster for effect, but I like how many times imdb wrote it out. So exact. The second is just not a good tagline and should just be thrown out. Just let those “Don’t think it. Don’t say it” sets of text do their job. No need for this extra shit.)
Keyword(s) – supernatural; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 75.5 Ouija (II) (2014); 72.7 The Apparition (2012); 71.0 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013); 70.6 Cell (I) (2016); 70.5 The Gallows (2015); 70.4 Devil’s Due (2014); 67.6 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 67.2 666: The Prophecy (2011);
(We kind of now need to see Ouija, and perhaps we will for an upcoming cycle (SPOILER ALERT!). Man, there are some shit supernatural films out there, I feel like all of these will be watched, and would probably represent a final completion of the Sklog’s horror film education.)
Notes – Previously rated R by the MPAA for “bloody horror violence, language and some sexuality.”
Filmed in November and December 2015, but not released until January 2017.
Doug Jones, who plays the title character, previously played Slender Man (who has similar abilities) in Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.
The story on which the film is based, “The Bridge to Body Island,” has a much more complex mythology for the Bye Bye Man: He was an albino born in New Orleans in 1912 who ran away as a child and became a derelict who lived in a train yard. After going blind he began murdering people and cutting out their eyes and tongues, which he sewed together and brought to life using voodoo. The resultant creature became the Bye Bye Man’s literal seeing-eye dog, helping him hunt his prey. Several elements from the story- notably the dog and the motif of trains– were retained for the movie, though their purpose is left more elliptical. (Spooky)
The Bye Bye Man is the 2nd collaboration between Carrie-Anne Moss & Douglas Smith. They played doctor and patient in the film, Treading Water.