Soul Survivors Preview

Jamie, Patrick, Kyle and little Baby Niles race through the streets of New Jersey trying to evade the powerful enemies that Kyle’s son Niall has made. They Tokyo drift everywhere and a bullet shatters the back windshield. Baby Niles wails in terror as Kyle does his best to calm him. Suddenly a car pulls up to the side of them and a guy in a real dopey plastic mask stares back at them. “What thuuuuuuu…” Jamie says, transfixed by the dopiness of the mask. But he’s soon snapped back to reality as Patrick screams out, “watch the road you dumbo!” Jamie’s eyes dart back in time to see an oil slick ahead, seeping out from an overturned sardine truck. Oh woe is them! Unless Jamie is some kind of El Diablo behind the wheel, ready to set fire to the road in pursuit of justice and fambly, then there’s no way they can get out of this jam. Psych! Jamie is exactly that kind of El Diablo and he drifts right through that sardine oil and splashes it all over that weirdo mask guy to boot. They all high five a bunch as they make their escape. But as they are high fiving they fail to realize the dopey mask guy has pulled out a sniper rifle. With a loud pop their back tire explodes and they start spinning out of control. Thinking fast, Jamie furiously turns the wheel in time to put the car into a semi-controlled spin. He aims for a nearby tree that could stop their momentum and save them from certain death. With a crash everything goes black.

4 weeks later

Jamie, having miraculously survived the crash, cries softly as he looks at the only picture of him, Patrick, Kyle and Baby Niles. That’s right! We are watching Soul Survivors… that movie that everyone remembers. You know, the one… where they are sole survivors… anyway, it got really terrible reviews and it’s probably about time we watched it. Let’s go!

Soul Survivors (2001) – BMeTric: 62.7; Notability: 24

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.0%; Notability: top 74.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.5% Higher BMeT: Glitter, Jason X, Freddy Got Fingered, Driven, The Animal, Ghosts of Mars, Black Knight, Valentine, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles; Higher Notability: Pearl Harbor, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Monkeybone, Hannibal, Ghosts of Mars, Impostor, Not Another Teen Movie, Bubble Boy, Swordfish, 15 Minutes, Town & Country, The One, Scary Movie 2, The Affair of the Necklace, America’s Sweethearts, I Am Sam, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Along Came a Spider, Chelsea Walls, Joe Dirt, and 58 more; Lower RT: Texas Rangers; Notes: My god, sub-4.0 is so low, no wonder this film I’ve never heard of has a 60+ BMeTric. And holy crap, this rounds out the top-10 as far as BMeTric for 2001 and I have definitely seen nine of them (although I don’t think we’ve officially watched The Animal for BMT, I think I’ve just watched it multiple times by myself …))

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  A young woman and her three friends have one last night of celebration before going their separate ways for college. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong. Supernatural, horror, teensploitation, reality/fantasy grab bag set to pulsing music, this movie shamelessly steals ideas from good movies – and bad ones too. So-called “Killer Cut” is rated R.

(Uh oh … this sounds suspiciously like it is going to be trite nonsense. Which can be fun, but usually isn’t very fun for horror. For horror you want absurdity like Lindsay Lohan with a robot arm and a robot leg for example.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gLy7dks4GI/

(Uh oh … I think this might be trite nonsense like Maltin suggested. Like … she’s dead or almost dead or the only one alive right? It is one of those three, it can’t be anything else. Also the acting looks dire. Only Dushku looks like she’s doing anything special in this. And the soundtrack!! There is a lot to digest with this terrible terrible trailer.)

Directors – Stephen Carpenter – (Known For: The Dorm That Dripped Blood; The Kindred; The Power; BMT: Soul Survivors; Notes: Ultimately probably most well known for creating the hit television show Grimm (and some of the spin off mini-series and such).)

Writers – Stephen Carpenter (written by) (as Steve Carpenter) – (Known For: The Dorm That Dripped Blood; The Kindred; The Power; Future BMT: The Man; Blue Streak; BMT: Soul Survivors; Notes: Allegedly created the first draft for the Ocean’s 11 remake, although he ended up not being credited obviously.)

Actors – Melissa Sagemiller – (Known For: Get Over It; The Clearing; Standing Still; Love Object; Future BMT: Sorority Boys; BMT: Soul Survivors; Mr. Woodcock; The Guardian; Notes: Her father played for the NFL, and he mother was Jimmy Carter’s campaign finance manager. She began as a model and now mostly does television, for example she was briefly the DA during a later season of Law & Order: SVU.)

Wes Bentley – (Known For: Interstellar; The Hunger Games; The Best of Enemies; American Beauty; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Knight of Cups; Pete’s Dragon; Lovelace; The Four Feathers; Final Girl; Broken Vows; Beloved; Welcome to Me; The Claim; The Game of Their Lives; Rites of Passage; Unconscious; There Be Dragons; Dolan’s Cadillac; Pioneer; Future BMT: Gone; P2; We Are Your Friends; Underworld: Awakening; BMT: Jonah Hex; Soul Survivors; Ghost Rider; Notes: Was discovered during an open casting call for Rent, and was nominated for a BAFTA for his supporting role in American Beauty.)

Casey Affleck – (Known For: Interstellar; Gone Baby Gone; American Pie; Good Will Hunting; Ocean’s Eleven; Our Friend; The World to Come; Every Breath You Take; Manchester by the Sea; American Pie 2; Tower Heist; Ocean’s Twelve; Ocean’s Thirteen; Triple 9; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; A Ghost Story; To Die For; Out of the Furnace; The Finest Hours; The Old Man & The Gun; Future BMT: Drowning Mona; 200 Cigarettes; Race the Sun; BMT: Soul Survivors; Notes: Won an Oscar for Manchester by the Sea (and was nominated for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford). You know Affleck, he’s Ben’s brother. Notably got called out during the Me Too movement for hostile set environments on some of his films.)

Budget/Gross – $17,000,000 / Domestic: $3,111,545 (Worldwide: $4,299,141)

(Oh wow, even on the usual shoestring budget for teen horror films this still didn’t even get close to breaking even. Even if the budget was inflated after it was clearly not a success (likely), there is no way this would have cost the $2 million it would have needed to even get close. A huge bomb.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/48): Soul Survivors’ stock characters and utter lack of suspense gives viewers little reason to attempt deciphering the confusing plot.

(Wow, the film continues to grow in cred. I basically had never heard of it, but sub-10% on RT is nothing to joke around about. And … I doubt the plot is all that confusing, if we are being honest. Reviewer Highlight: Blatantly cannibalising every horror movie it can think of in the attempt to produce some patchwork Frankenstein’s monster. – Jamie Russell, BBC)

Poster – Sklog Survivors

(I like the cool blue, but the font isn’t great and it fits perfectly into the “generic horror film poster” set up. Reminiscent of the Scream Franchise. The most interesting aspect is the ordering of the actors. Melissa Sagemiller is way in the back. She’s the main character! Look at this alternate poster… she’s not even on it! Luke Wilson’s name appears instead! My god. I think it’s a C.)

Tagline(s) – The World of the Dead and the World of the Living… are About to Collide. (D)

(Boooo. I get the idea but poor execution… which is probably what you can say about a lot of this film. I can’t in good conscience give this even an OK grade, even if the cadence is fine for the length.)

Keyword – hallucination

Top 10: Midsommar (2019), The Little Things (2021), The Father (2020), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Game (1997), Joker (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Inception (2010), Chaos Walking (2021), The Big Lebowski (1998)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 67.8 Poltergeist (2015), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 65.6 Pulse (2006), 63.0 Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983), 60.9 Darkness Falls (2003), 60.7 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), 60.3 Brahms: The Boy II (2020);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), Fantasy Island (2020), Sucker Punch (2011), Batman & Robin (1997), Friday the 13th (2009), Event Horizon (1997), The Bodyguard (1992), The Mummy (2017), The Covenant (2006), After Earth (2013), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Safe Haven (2013), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Seventh Son (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Truth or Dare (2018), The Golden Child (1986), Slender Man (2018), 10,000 BC (2008), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Max Payne (2008), Son of the Mask (2005), The Forest (2016), The Number 23 (2007), The Lawnmower Man (1992), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Flatliners (2017), Dreamcatcher (2003), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Dracula 2001 (2000), Ride Along 2 (2016), The Wicker Man (2006), The Rite (2011), Solarbabies (1986), Rings (2017), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), The Ring 2 (2005), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Toys (1992)

(The keywords falling off a cliff is so common I have to think it is because it takes a bunch of years for anything but the biggest films to gain enough edits to cover them all. Nonsense keyword in realist, but The Unborn I think is, at least, a real one. Mostly horror films as you would expect, with probably The Unborn being one of the biggest ones we haven’t watched yet.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Wes Bentley is No. 2 billed in Soul Survivors and No. 3 billed in Ghost Rider, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch 200 Cigarettes, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – James Marsden turned down the role of Sean in favor of the part of Scott Summers/Cyclops in X-Men (2000). (Good choice)

Casey Affleck has gone on record to reveal that this movie and Drowning Mona (2000) were his two least favorite films on which he has worked.

The Roommate Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Others might say we just want to see Cam Gigantic, Lyla Garrity, and Insane Leighton Meester fight it out Single White Female-style. Enjoy!

The Roommate (2011) – BMeTric: 68.0; Notability: 25 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.6%; Notability: top 65.1%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.5% Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night 3D, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Cars 2, Jack and Jill, Battle: Los Angeles, Hop, New Year’s Eve, Your Highness, The Smurfs, Immortals, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Johnny English Reborn, I Am Number Four, The Hangover Part II, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Larry Crowne, Priest, and 38 more; Lower RT: Jack and Jill; Notes: It has actually been going down in IMDb rating recently! That’s fun. A sub-5.0 is a guarantee of a solid BMeTric, so it is no wonder that it fits into the “small film which both critics and audiences hated” category.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Young woman (Kelly) moves into her dorm at an L.A. college. At first, she likes her shy, somewhat disturbed roommate (Meester), but soon discovers the young woman has become frighteningly attached to her. Trivial, trite would-be thriller shamelessly copies Single White Female. You’ve seen this before and done much better.

(Incredible energy from Leonard here. He is usually pretty forgiving of trite films I feel like, but apparently it is such a rip-off of Single White Female that it doesn’t get that pass? I should probably watch Single White Female, huh?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NX30f8b1Oo/

(The trailer looks a lot more like a horror film that it actually is. All of the creepy night stuff isn’t really in the film, it seems like it was kind of post production nonsense. Weird trailer. If I saw that I would be like “cool, a horror film” and then what you get is actually a thriller version of The O.C.)

Directors – Christian E. Christiansen – (BMT: The Roommate; Notes: Nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action, at the 2008 Academy Awards. He is from Denmark and this was his one and only foray into the Hollywood system.)

Writers – Sonny Mallhi (written by) – (Known For: Anguish; BMT: The Roommate; Notes: Was a producer for years, this was his first writing credit. He almost exclusively writes / produces horror films.)

Actors – Minka Kelly – (Known For: The Butler; 500 Days of Summer; The Kingdom; She’s in Portland; The World Made Straight; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Naked; Night Hunter; Papa Hemingway in Cuba; BMT: The Roommate; Just Go with It; Notes: This was one of her only major starring roles after Friday Night Lights ended. She is now starring in the television series Titans. Is the daughter of Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay, and was briefly engaged to Derek Jeter.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Life Partners; By the Gun; Future BMT: The Oranges; Hangman’s Curse; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; Brothers in Arms; BMT: The Roommate; Monte Carlo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for That’s My Boy in 2013; Notes: Was a huge star in Gossip Girl at the time. These days she’s in the shoe Single Parents. She is married to Adam Brody from The O.C. Released an album called Heartstrings in 2014.)

Cam Gigandet – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Magnificent Seven; Easy A; Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; The Unborn; Dangerous Lies; Schlong Story; Priest; In the Blood; Plush; Free Ride; Never Back Down; Pandorum; 4 Minute Mile; BMT: The Roommate; Trespass; Burlesque; Notes: I know him mostly as Volchok on The O.C., but he is still a pretty busy film actor these days. Has a black belt in Krav Maga. We almost exclusively refer to him as Cam Gigantic.)

Budget/Gross – $16,000,000 / Domestic: $37,300,000 (Worldwide: $40,492,652)

(That is pretty solid actually. Where is my The Roommate 2: Fashion Week in Milan? I need more Billy Zane in my life!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/86): Devoid of chills, thrills, or even cheap titillation, The Roommate isn’t even bad enough to be good.

(Yeah that sounds about right, although I obviously disagree with the idea that is isn’t so bad it ends up being good … because it is in the Hall of Fame, by definition it was so bad it is good (in it’s own way). Reviewer Highlight: Kelly and Meester hit their marks and look pretty doing it, while supporting players Cam Gigandet, Billy Zane and Aly Michalka fade into the background so blandly that viewers will never remember they were there. – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post … how dare you suggest I would ever forget Billy Zane is in this film!)

Poster – The Roomsklog

(What I like: a little bit of weathered interest on the font, and the feel of the college campus atmosphere nails it. What I don’t like: The crazy time lapse effect in the middle, and only featuring Leighton Meester. It also feels a bit too bright maybe? Not a very thriller-y poster. C+. I think if it was more sinister it would be in the B range.)

Tagline(s) – 2,000 colleges. 8 million roommates. Which one will you get? (D)

(I don’t like it. It is too long, and there are too many numbers. The answer to the question being posed is: very likely one of the 7,999,999 roommates who aren’t Crazy Leighton Meester.)

Keyword – psycho thriller

Top 10: Inception (2010), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Seven (1995), Zodiac (2007), Split (2016), Shutter Island (2010), Ex Machina (2014), The Sixth Sense (1999), Don’t Breathe (2016), The Gift (2015)

Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 58.8 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 56.7 See No Evil (2006), 53.5 The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 49.5 Unforgettable (2017), 44.5 The Purge (2013), 40.2 Gothika (2003), 39.1 The Forgotten (2004), 37.8 Never Talk to Strangers (1995);

BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Friday the 13th (2009), House of Wax (2005), Perfect Stranger (2007), The Number 23 (2007), The Roommate (2011), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Jade (1995), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Twisted (2004), Godsend (2004)

(The days of the big budget, big Hollywood star psycho thriller certainly seems to have passed. You can even see it in the box office numbers. A $40 million return is fine, but you can’t have stars with those types of numbers, and you certainly won’t make a ton of cash like Blumhouse if you are wasting money on things like actor salaries. I’m not super excited about any of the Future BMT films listed.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Cam Gigandet is No. 3 billed in The Roommate and No. 4 billed in Trespass, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Leighton Meester was originally cast as Sara but then opted to take the role of Rebecca instead.

When the audience first meets Sara, a drawing of Leighton Meester as her character Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl (2007) can be seen in the background.

Minka Kelly was 30 while playing an 18-year-old in this movie. (Jesus, that means she was 28 playing a senior in high school in Friday Night Lights)

The college and ominous looking stairs leading to it on the movie poster is an actual college in Winfield, Ks. Southwestern College and its 77 steps are frequently used as backdrops in photos and used for exercise. (And they got sued for it)

In the original script, Sara’s favorite film was Coyote Ugly. In the finished film, it’s The Devil Wears Prada. (Why Coyote Ugly?!)

The name of the cafe Sara works at – Råzone – is the title of one of director Christian E. Christiansen’s movies. It’s in his native Danish and means raw zone. It’s design even matches that of the movie’s title design.

The two leads have pancakes in the same “Quality Cafe” seen in Se7en (1995) with Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ghost World (2001), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Catch Me If You Can (2002). (So it is a distinctive looking cafe in L.A., I guess at least all of those are set in L.A. rather explicitly)

The original script had Rebecca have a fight with Irene in the nightclub bathroom before killing her with Sara discovering her dead body during the final confrontation at Irene’s apartment. This was rewritten to have Rebecca seduce Irene and kiss her before kidnapping her. (I like the way they did it. Even the one death seemed a bit overboard in that it doesn’t make much sense that she would kill Sara’s ex-boyfriend as a favor to Sara)

The Skulls Preview

Poe shields his eyes against the blinding lights of the club and taps the glass of a giant aquarium filled with semi-nude women. The disguises worked like a charm to get into the club, but now what? Suddenly a mermaid lady swims up and after looking from the ghost back to Poe, winks and tilts her head towards a table in the back. Poe whispers softly to the sassy ghost, trying to make sure no one can hear them in the deathly quiet club. “Good,” murmurs the ghost, “that’s my contact. Seems like the key to getting to the book is already here.” The group sashays their way towards the back of the club, careful not to spill their flirtinis and Poe doing his best to wink dramatically at every guy that passes by. They are stopped by a security guard before reaching the table, but a voice behind them demands that the man let them through. A big man (let’s call him Mr. Big) gets up from the table and ignoring everyone else he extends his hand out to Poe. Poe smiles coquettishly and, channelling all the Samantha possible make a winking comment about the size of his hands, much to the embarrassment of the rest of the group. The man smiles devilishly, “My my, you are a sultry minx. What are you doing in a club like this? It’s so… 2000’s, am I right? Allow me to take you someplace a little more… exclusive,” and leaning in he whispers softly, “You ever hear of a club called The Skulls?” Poe titters shyly and Mr. Big takes Poe by the hands and leads him away. Alarmed, he looks over at the sassy ghost who nods her head and urges him forward. Looks like it’s all up to Samantha now. That’s right! We are watching the true classic of Dawson’s Creek era college thriller in The Skulls released 20 years ago. Much like Swimfan I can’t wait for this to both be incredibly stupid and yet my favorite thing ever. Let’s go!

The Skulls (2000) – BMeTric: 42.8; Notability: 25 

(Delightfully low IMDb rating there. I feel like this is often exactly the right spot you want to be in. A 25 notability is right in the ranger where the film is a wide release film, but there aren’t so many people involved that a disaster can be averted by throwing money at it. And a 50ish BMeTric is a genuinely bad movie that a bunch of people still managed to see when it was released to theaters. I wonder if I collected 40+ BMeTric and 25-35 Notability whether we’d end up finding a bunch of hidden gems. I bet so.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – I would give a great deal to be able to see “The Skulls” on opening night in New Haven, Conn., in a movie theater full of Yale students, with gales of laughter rolling at the screen. It isn’t a comedy, but that won’t stop anyone. “The Skulls” is one of the great howlers, a film that bears comparison, yes, with “The Greek Tycoon” or even “The Scarlet Letter.” It’s so ludicrous in so many different ways it achieves a kind of forlorn grandeur. It’s in a category by itself.

(I had never really heard of The Greek Tycoon, but that is quite a deep cut by Roger. And this review is just a delight. A “forlorn grandeur” … that is absolutely the perfect word for what we have been ever striving for at BMTHQ. I love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B03lvL3pVp8/

(Hoooooooweeeee that rocking soundtrack? The dutch angles! The punctuated close up shots. I have to say … that is basically my dream BMT trailer. You know this thing is a melodramatic trash triller, which is the best type of thriller.)

Directors – Rob Cohen – (Known For: DragonHeart; Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story; xXx; The Hurricane Heist; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; BMT: The Boy Next Door; Stealth; Alex Cross; The Skulls; Daylight; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Was a producer in the 70s, and also ran Motown Records at the age of 24. He moved into television production and direction in the 80s, and then film directing in the 90s. Was considered a “baby mogul” in the 70s.)

Writers – John Pogue (written by) – (Known For: Quarantine 2: Terminal; Future BMT: The Quiet Ones; U.S. Marshals; BMT: Rollerball; Ghost Ship; The Skulls; Notes: Graduated from Yale and claims to have been part of a secret society, which is part of the inspiration for this film.)

Actors – Joshua Jackson – (Known For: Cruel Intentions; Scream 2; Bobby; Apt Pupil; Andre; Muppets from Space; One Week; Battle in Seattle; Sky; The Safety of Objects; The Shadow Dancer; Aurora Borealis; Americano; Future BMT: Cursed; Shutter; Lay the Favorite; Racing Stripes; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Gossip; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Inescapable; I Love Your Work; The Mighty Ducks; Magic in the Water; BMT: Urban Legend; The Skulls; Notes: You might also know him as Pacey in Dawson’s Creek, or his leading role on Fringe. A rare child actor who has managed to transition from a real deal kid actor through to teen soaps, to now adult television roles.)

Paul Walker – (Known For: Fast & Furious 7; She’s All That; Furious 6; Pleasantville; Fast & Furious 5; Flags of Our Fathers; Varsity Blues; Running Scared; Tammy and the T-Rex; Eight Below; Hours; The Lazarus Project; Future BMT: Vehicle 19; Brick Mansions; Meet the Deedles; Into the Blue; Hustlers; Takers; Noel; Brokedown Palace; BMT: The Skulls; Timeline; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Fast & Furious; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Sadly passed away in 2013 as a passenger of a supercar which crashed in California. Was also something of a kid actor having a role in the tv show Throb in his teens.)

Hill Harper – (Known For: Concussion; He Got Game; The Sun Is Also a Star; Beloved; An Interview with God; 1982; Get on the Bus; Premium; Love, Sex and Eating the Bones; The Visit; Future BMT: The Breed; All Eyez on Me; For Colored Girls; In Too Deep; The Badge; Hav Plenty; Loving Jezebel; Destined; BMT: Steel; The Boy Next Door; The Skulls; Notes: Mostly a television actor, he had a major role in both CSI: NY and currently is in the main cast of The Good Doctor.)

Budget/Gross – $35,000,000 / Domestic: $35,046,120 (Worldwide: $50,802,120)

(Not great. I imagine the budget was inflated after it was clear it wasn’t going to do very well though. $35 million just seems way to high for a schlocky teen thriller. Still not a huge success though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (8/85): The Skulls is full of nonsense and empty of good script and plot.

(Always love sub-10%. And I’m always down for films that are “full of nonsense.” Yes please. Reviewer Highlight: If there was an Oscar for the Silliest Movie Category, then The Skulls might be in with a good chance of winning. – Ben Falk, BBC)

Poster – The Sklogs

(While the poster is not good from a scoring perspective I have to say it tugs a bit at my heart. Give me a thriller set in college and I’ll be pretty excited. But really, it’s a little drab and the font is terrible. I do like the artistic spacing of the whole thing and I’ll give a little shoutout to the tiny skull emblem at the bottom. So that saves it a little and gets it to a C+.)

Tagline(s) – A secret society so powerful, it can give you everything you desire… at a price. (D-)

Getting in is easy. Getting out is a killer. (B+)

(The first one is on the poster and is so long it’s almost unbelievable. What is this, school? It’s not even clever… just kind of straight forward. The second one… now that is kind of amazing and should have been on the poster. Just one note, shouldn’t it be “Getting in is hard. Getting out is a killer.”? Cause getting in was, like, incredibly difficult. Just seems weird once you watch the film.)

Keyword – secret society

Top 10: Hereditary (2018), Fight Club (1999), Get Out (2017), Spectre (2015), Glass (2019), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Future BMT: 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 55.7 An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), 42.4 Darkness (2002), 41.7 Blood and Chocolate (2007), 19.3 Now You See Me 2 (2016), 19.0 Killer Elite (2011), 18.6 Mona Lisa Smile (2003), 18.5 The Hunted (1995), 18.0 Malone (1987), 17.0 The Da Vinci Code (2006);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Mummy (2017), Hellboy (2019), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Vampire Academy (2014), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Queen of the Damned (2002), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), The Wicker Man (2006), The Skulls (2000)

(These are genuinely all films about secret societies. Maybe at some point I’ll need to look through all of these and rank all of the secret societies. It’ll be a two axis ranking. One by how secret it is, and one by how powerful it is. The Skulls are more powerful than secret. The Wicker Man cult is more secret than powerful. The Hellboy secret society is both. This is already great. And as should be obvious, secret societies boomed in the 00s. I have a feeling such things will crater over the next decade or two. With QAnon and other weird conspiracies seemingly in real world news, people might not want to hear about such things in their escapist fiction.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Paul Walker is No. 2 billed in The Skulls and No. 1 billed in 2 Fast 2 Furious, which also stars Eva Mendes (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 2 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Into the Blue we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The Skull-and-Bones Society (on which this movie was based) actually gives out watches to each class of skulls, though not necessarily with the whole branding ceremony. After the movie was filmed, Joshua Jackson acquired one of the actual watches and gave it to director Rob Cohen. (Well .. obviously they don’t brand themselves on their wrists. That’s insane).

Hill Harper’s character, Will, who plays Luke’s roommate in the film, is modeled after director Rob Cohen’s real life Harvard roommate.

When the Skulls members are heading out to the island, the castle in the background is Singer Castle on Dark Island. The island that the Skull and Bone Society owns is called Deer Island. Both islands are in the Thousand Island of the St. Lawrence River. (The amount of this that is already real is insane)

Yale is never mentioned by name during the film, but there are plenty of references: – At the boat race, every team is mentioned by its school name, except for “The Bulldogs.” (They’re the Yale team.) – The characters wear Ys on their sports uniforms. – The Skulls are said to have “322 alumni worldwide.” The Yale secret society Skull & Bones uses the number 322 as an identifier on many of its symbols. – The characters are seen celebrating at a pizza parlor they refer to as “Mory’s,” drinking from a big golden cup. Mory’s is an actual place, and the tradition with the song and the big golden cup is accurate; however, it’s a formal restaurant, not a pizza parlor, and actual Mory’s cups are traditionally silver. – The new Skulls are sent to raid “Snake & Skeleton.” There is a Yale secret society called “Book & Snake.” – Some campus shots seem to purposefully mimic Yale buildings. There’s a tower that looks a lot like Harkness Tower, and the dining hall looks like the one in Saybrook College.

The wristwatch that each new member of the Skulls is given is the Breitling Old Navitimer. (This is what I come for right here, these fun facts)

The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

Urban Legends: Final Cut Preview

“Hey Poe, what’s wrong? Looks like you saw a ghost.” Rich’s mouth has run dry at the sight of none other than Helmut Gruber. He leaps to his feet and tackles him to the ground, handcuffing him to the desk. “What the hell are you doing Poe?” the captain asks incredulously. “Let DETECTIVE Heinerich Gruber up and get to work.” Detective? Heinrich? Rich needs to get out of here and fast, but before he can leave the chief grabs his arm and stops him. “I know this is hard, but do this for Rich. The fact is that we no longer think his death was a freak dressage accident. We think it’s… murder.” Everyone gasps. Murder? But why? “For this,” the chief says and turns on a projector. On the screen is the Obsidian Dongle. Gasps ring out again. “That’s right,” the chief says, “Rich had gotten close to a seller of the Dongle. You think you can keep it cool and get this done?” Rich stops rubbing his chest and nods his head. In the car he and Gruber discuss the plan. A quick karate chop to the neck should do it. When they enter the abandoned cement factory where the deal is supposed to take place they are greeted with a gruesome scene. “Is that… the seller?” Rich asks. Gruber nods and gulps, taking in a man pinned to the wall by an arrow, his blood smeared on the wall, “Sincerely, The Sparrow.” Rich ponders for a moment. Sparrow… arrow… he turns to Gruber and asks again how Rich was killed. Gruber sighs, “Like you heard, a freak dressage accident. He got tangled in the reigns of his horse and literally rode until he couldn’t anymore.” My god, Rich thinks, we’ve got a serial killer on the loose. That’s right, we’re doubling up and crushing the Urban Legend(s) franchise. While the first is totally bereft of twins (mistake), the sequel is twin centric. Hopefully the twins are used for good instead of evil. But there’s only one way to find out. Let’s go!

Poe looks at the twin dragons circling the smoking mountain. If that’s the way back to help Rich then that’s where he will go. “How?” he asks his twin protectors. They look at each other and nod, “To defeat the twin dragons you must have strength.” Poe thinks for a moment, “So like a killer workout routine?” But the twins laugh. “No,” they say, still shaking their heads, “food… it’s munchies time.” That’s right! We’re pairing up our horror cycle with the Gremlins super-knockoff Munchies where they literally hired the editor of Gremlins and told her to make another one. Let’s go!

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) – BMeTric: 68.8; Notability: 31 

(Brutal rating. It floated sub-4.0 for years prior to a more recent inexplicable uptick. I think I finall have a good grasp on the notability. A film with 50+ means they are pulling out all the stops on the budget and pretty rare for bad films. 30-50 are normal theatrical releases. Some odd tweener films are from 20-30 where it is released to theaters, but they are going with a smaller budget or skimping on the cast. Anything in 10-20 might be independent, or some straight-to-video with recognizable faces, etc. Anything below 10 is a nothing movie. There you have it.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – I don’t know if you’re tired of terrified girls racing through shadowy basements pursued by masked slashers while the soundtrack pulses with variations on the “Halloween” theme, but I am. Real tired. This time the killer wears a fencing mask, and at the end no one even thinks to say “touche!”

(I can’t believe he gave this a 2, that’s so crazy. By all accounts this is much worse than the first, and yet he just shrugs and is like “all the same to me I suppose”. If he’s so tired of the genre why give it a two out of four?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmSvqfwFWDI/

(Oh shit, the scene where they fake the girl’s death they clearly had to color the blood black to get around issues with putting the trailer on television. It is the only explanation. Immediately a much worse concept than the first film … basically just a rip off of the cooler concept of Scream 2. Seriously, what is wrong with the people making Urban Legend that they are literally just copying Scream beat for beat?)

Directors – John Ottman – (BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Notes: Mostly a composer, he is the notorious editor for Bohemian Rhapsody, a film most critics seemed to think was poorly edited, but evidently the mere fact that he cobbled together a film from what was apparently a pile of nonsense earned him accolades in the editor community (who are the ones who vote on the award).)

Writers – Silvio Horta (characters) – (Future BMT: Urban Legend; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Notes: Didn’t seem to actually write this, this is just a character credit. Executive produced The Chronicle a one and done workplace comedy set at a tabloid newspaper.)

Paul Harris Boardman (written by) – (Known For: The Exorcism of Emily Rose; Future BMT: Deliver Us from Evil; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Devil’s Knot; Notes: Appears to have only written horror films in his career. Wrote Hellraiser: Inferno, the fifth Hellraiser film.)

Scott Derrickson (written by) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Sinister; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; Land of Plenty; Future BMT: Sinister 2; Deliver Us from Evil; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Devil’s Knot; Notes: A major director and producer now for Disney, he not only wrote Doctor Strange, he also directed it and is involved with the Labyrinth sequel.)

Actors – Jennifer Morrison – (Known For: Bombshell; Star Trek; Warrior; Star Trek into Darkness; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; The Report; Assassination Nation; Stir of Echoes; Superfly; Miracle on 34th Street; Back Roads; All Creatures Here Below; Sun Dogs; Some Girl(s); Future BMT: The Darkness; Amityville: The Awakening; Surviving Christmas; Intersection; Big Stan; Knife Fight; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Grind; Notes: You’d know her from the first few seasons of House, and she was one of the main characters in Once Upon a Time. Started modelling as a child in things like JCPenney.)

Matthew Davis – (Known For: Legally Blonde; Blue Crush; Tigerland; Below; Heights; Future BMT: BloodRayne; S. Darko; Pearl Harbor; Finding Bliss; Seeing Other People; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Waiting for Forever; Notes: Briefly a star in the early 2000s, he was the bad guy in Legally Blonde. Starred in Vampire Diaries and the spinoff series Legacies.)

Hart Bochner – (Known For: Die Hard; Carrie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; For Your Consideration; Rules Don’t Apply; Breaking Away; Bulworth; Anywhere But Here; Making Mr. Right; Rich and Famous; Islands in the Stream; Apartment Zero; Future BMT: Supergirl; Spread; Liberty Stands Still; Terror Train; Mr. Destiny; The Innocent; BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Notes: Was the yuppie asshole Harry Ellis in Die Hard, and has always been juuuuuust not quite a star throughout his career. Directed PCU and High School High, and is the son of Lloyd Bochner who was all over television and film in the 60s and 70s.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $21,468,807 (Worldwide: $38,574,362)

(Ehhhhhh this would be considered a pretty bad haul by most standards just because it relies on worldwide take to recoup a 2x on the budget. So definitely not surprising they didn’t go for a third. I have to assume at some point you’re running on fumes with some mediocre urban legends.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (7/82): This teen horror movie brings nothing new to an already exhausted genre. And it’s bad. Really bad.

(Yeah, that’s a rouch sub-10 percentage there. It is pretty sad how exhausted the slasher genre got only a few years after Scream revitalized it. Reviewer Highlight: It delivers bald-faced variations on devices that were originally deployed, albeit with a redeeming glint of irony, in the Scream films and in Scary Movie. – David Chute, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Karl Urban Legends: Ghost Ship with the Most Ship

(I really appreciate that they went all in on a Jason style mask even before the mask premiered in the franchise. As if we are supposed to know what a fencing mask is supposed to mean in this context. Like the orange, but needs that sweet sweet font and feels very crowded. C+.)

Tagline(s) – Legends never die (A)

(I think… I think I like it. It’s very short and sweet and gets to the point. It’s also a little double meaning mixed in and lets you know you’re in for some thrills and chills. Yeah, I like it. Weird to use a word from the title in the tagline, but OK.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Despicable Me 3 (2017), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 52.0 The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 17.3 Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)

(We are getting there. We have at least three more of these on the docket, so we are moving through them. Came in right before the big twins boom of the Harry Potter franchise it looks like.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eva Mendes is No. 6 billed in Urban Legends: Final Cut and No. 2 billed in Ghost Rider, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 6 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Originally set to film on the campus of the University of Western Ontario, it was turned down by the administration, because of its violent nature.

The opening sequence in the film was originally supposed to take place on a boat. During a location scout, they found the airplane set, and decided to revise the script. As it turns out, the original boat sequence was originally inspired by the airplane sequence in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

The character of P.A. Kevin was based on an actual student at USC, where John Ottman, Paul Harris Boardman, and Scott Derrickson attended. (Ha)

The snow storm seen in the film was unintended.

Since the campus used as Alpine University in the film didn’t have an actual bell tower, a one hundred fifty foot tower was built at an estimated one hundred fifty thousand dollars. All of the interiors were done on a separate stage and the bell was papier-mâché. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)

The campus used during filming was Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

Anson Mount originally auditioned for the role of Travis/Trevor. (I think he would have been better honestly)

Reached number one at the box office opening weekend with a mere gross of $8,505,513. The film was a moderate financial success, but only grossed about half of what the original made, leading to the third film, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005) being released straight-to-video.

The ice in the bathtub during Lisa’s death scene was actually made of silicon, and very heavy. The kidney used in this scene was actually a goat’s kidney.

The sequence with Lisa (Jacinda Barrett), Trevor (Matthew Davis), and Toby (Anson Mount) at the bar shortly before her death was a reshoot. It was filmed several months after principal photography was completed. It was decided after the film was done, that a death scene needed to occur much earlier in the film to add a sense of danger. This is why the character is never mentioned before or after her appearance. Mount had to wear a wig during this sequence, because he had cut his hair significantly since. (Ahhhhhh this makes so much sense! Because there is no logical reason for the murders to have started occurring until the idea of an Urban Legend film was pitched, but that happens after the first death)

While the killers are different (as was the studio that produced it), this film picks up on the same urban legend where the first movie left off, The Kidney Heist. (Yeah I find that a bit odd actually)

The character of Vanessa being revealed to be a lesbian with a crush on Amy was a holdover from the original draft of the first film, where Reese was originally going to be a lesbian.

Urban Legend Preview

“Hey Poe, what’s wrong? Looks like you saw a ghost.” Rich’s mouth has run dry at the sight of none other than Helmut Gruber. He leaps to his feet and tackles him to the ground, handcuffing him to the desk. “What the hell are you doing Poe?” the captain asks incredulously. “Let DETECTIVE Heinerich Gruber up and get to work.” Detective? Heinrich? Rich needs to get out of here and fast, but before he can leave the chief grabs his arm and stops him. “I know this is hard, but do this for Rich. The fact is that we no longer think his death was a freak dressage accident. We think it’s… murder.” Everyone gasps. Murder? But why? “For this,” the chief says and turns on a projector. On the screen is the Obsidian Dongle. Gasps ring out again. “That’s right,” the chief says, “Rich had gotten close to a seller of the Dongle. You think you can keep it cool and get this done?” Rich stops rubbing his chest and nods his head. In the car he and Gruber discuss the plan. A quick karate chop to the neck should do it. When they enter the abandoned cement factory where the deal is supposed to take place they are greeted with a gruesome scene. “Is that… the seller?” Rich asks. Gruber nods and gulps, taking in a man pinned to the wall by an arrow, his blood smeared on the wall, “Sincerely, The Sparrow.” Rich ponders for a moment. Sparrow… arrow… he turns to Gruber and asks again how Rich was killed. Gruber sighs, “Like you heard, a freak dressage accident. He got tangled in the reigns of his horse and literally rode until he couldn’t anymore.” My god, Rich thinks, we’ve got a serial killer on the loose. That’s right, we’re doubling up and crushing the Urban Legend(s) franchise. While the first is totally bereft of twins (mistake), the sequel is twin centric. Hopefully the twins are used for good instead of evil. But there’s only one way to find out. Let’s go!

Poe looks at the twin dragons circling the smoking mountain. If that’s the way back to help Rich then that’s where he will go. “How?” he asks his twin protectors. They look at each other and nod, “To defeat the twin dragons you must have strength.” Poe thinks for a moment, “So like a killer workout routine?” But the twins laugh. “No,” they say, still shaking their heads, “food… it’s munchies time.” That’s right! We’re pairing up our horror cycle with the Gremlins super-knockoff Munchies where they literally hired the editor of Gremlins and told her to make another one. Let’s go!

Urban Legend (1998) – BMeTric: 45.7; Notability: 34 

(While it is rising, this has a much lower rating that I would expect. Considering how 90s nostalgia works I would have expected people to eventually get over the comparisons to Scream and embrace it as a silly send up of Horror tropes as well. It might eventually reach mediocrity, but it still seems like the consensus is the film just isn’t that good.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “Urban Legend” is not art. But for its teenage audience, it serves the same purpose, which is to speed the meeting of like minds. Everybody knows how it works: The guy puts his arm casually around his date’s shoulders. Onscreen, Natalie/Brenda, etc., goes poking around in the abandoned campus building where the massacre took place years ago. The Creep Chord blasts out of the Dolby speakers, everyone jumps, and if in the confusion his hand slips south, well, who says cable will ever replace the theatrical experience?

(Oh Roger, you rascal. Much like a lot of critics it feels like Ebert might have mixed feelings on the slasher as the genre. But this review truly sounds like Ebert is at the very least game to learn the tropes of the modern slasher. And it sounds like he mostly understands the purpose of something like Urban Legend, and also how it is an inferior version of the truly fun / interesting slashers of the time.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4d1_D90BwU/

(Really good concept for a slasher film. It is actually a little bit amazing it hadn’t been done in the slasher heyday of the 70s and 80s. I have to say, playing up the Englund appearance was solid, I would have easily been sold for this film just from that, as silly as it looks.)

Directors – Jamie Blanks – (Future BMT: Valentine; Long Weekend; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Pitched for I Know What You Did Last Summer, but the directing jobs had already been filled. Producer Moritz then tagged him for the next slasher in Urban Legend. Is now a composer for film in Australia.)

Writers – Silvio Horta (written by) – (Future BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy as a writer for Ugly Betty. Was a consultant for P-Valley this year, although he sadly passed away last January.)

Actors – Jared Leto – (Known For: Fight Club; Blade Runner 2049; Requiem for a Dream; American Psycho; The Thin Red Line; Dallas Buyers Club; Girl, Interrupted; Panic Room; Mr. Nobody; Lord of War; How to Make an American Quilt; Lonely Hearts; Prefontaine; Future BMT: Alexander; Black and White; Suicide Squad; Chapter 27; The Outsider; Switchback; Basil; BMT: Urban Legend; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Suicide Squad in 2017; Notes: Was mostly a star in the late 90s despite winning an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club in 2014, and playing the Joker in 2016. The lead singer and songwriter for the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, which amazingly had a number two album in 2018 and several number one singles on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart.)

Alicia Witt – (Known For: Dune; Mr. Holland’s Opus; Two Weeks Notice; Citizen Ruth; Last Holiday; The Upside of Anger; Cecil B. Demented; Liebestraum; Bodies, Rest & Motion; Fun; Playing Mona Lisa; Future BMT: Bongwater; Peep World; Four Rooms; I Do; BMT: Urban Legend; A Madea Christmas; 88 Minutes; Vanilla Sky; Notes: Did a bunch of Hallmark Christmas movies in the mid-2010s. She’s also a musician, although there is little information about whether she’s charted in any meaningful way.)

Rebecca Gayheart – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Scream 2; G.B.F.; Pipe Dream; Future BMT: Urban Legends: Final Cut; Jawbreaker; Harvard Man; Nothing to Lose; Shadow Hours; BMT: Urban Legend; Notes: Was a model and at one point engaged to Brett Ratner. Is married to Eric Dane, although they filed for divorce in 2018. Convicted of vehicular manslaughter in 2001 and sentenced to probation in the accidental death of a boy in Los Angeles.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $38,072,438 (Worldwide: $72,527,595)

(Not exactly a Scream performance, but it still shows why pretty bad slasher schlock can be such a draw for production companies. $14 million in young actors and fake blood and you can make money hand over fist.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (12/56): Elements of Scream reappear in a vastly inferior vehicle.

(Ah interesting. Perhaps this is a little hindsight creeping in, but I guess it is understandable to view this as merely a copycat of Scream as that had temporarily resurrected the teen slasher genre. Both I Know What You Did Last Summer and this seem to have a pretty distinct premise though. Reviewer Highlight: It’s just a weary sigh over how Scream’s juicy archness has already turned into boilerplate. – Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Keith Urban Legend

(There is just a lot going on here. I appreciate the effort and the artistry on this one, but it’s very busy. Some nice color and spacing. Needs a distinctive font. FInally, is this somehow a play on breaking a mirror gives you bad luck? Anyway, interesting but not necessarily in a good way. C+.)

Tagline(s) – What You Don’t Believe Can Kill You. (C)

(I was trying to figure out whether this was a play on a phrase and apparently yes. “What you don’t know can’t hurt/kill you,” which is probably more commonly heard in reference to like “What Mom doesn’t know won’t kill her.”. A phrase so entrenched that cultural touchstone Murder She Wrote played on it for Episode 22 of Season 12 What You Don’t Know Can Kill You… what I’m saying is that this is taking mediocre to an entirely different level.)

Keyword – slasher flick

Top 10: Truth or Dare (2018), Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Candyman (1992), Halloween (2018), Scream 4 (2011), Hostel (2005), Scream 2 (1997), Happy Death Day (2017), Child’s Play (2019)

Future BMT: 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 72.6 Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 61.7 My Soul to Take (2010);

BMT: Truth or Dare (2018), Urban Legend (1998), Friday the 13th (2009), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

(The genre has certainly been relegated to things like Shudder in recent years, although Blumhouse has busted out a few (which would also mean low notability as they operate on a shoestring budget). The big bump around 2004 I think might be things like Hostel where there was a flurry of torture porn all of a sudden. You can also see how it died in the mid-90s before Scream.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 7) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Alicia Witt is No. 1 billed in Urban Legend and No. 2 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 = 7. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – When Paul and Natalie walk into the hidden room in Professor William Wexler’s office, a puppet of Freddy Krueger can be seen just before they see the axe. Robert Englund, who played Professor William Wexler, played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

The killer’s outfit is based on the fact that the film was originally planned to be set in the middle of winter. When the weather was too warm, it was decided to drop the winter aspect of the storyline, rather than fake snow in all the outdoor scenes, and dress all of the extras in winter outfits, but they kept the killer’s costume. (Well it certainly was initially supposed to be winter because one of the characters goes on a ski trip to Vermont, but yeah, the date is supposed to be around April 27th during filming. Weird they didn’t change the ski trip at least)

The SUV driven in the beginning, was originally supposed to be a Land Rover. It was changed to the Ford Expedition (the largest 4×4 available at the time), because the filmmakers discovered they couldn’t swing an axe inside of a Land Rover. (I don’t believe it, this had to be product placement, that is ludicrous)

Brenda is seen wearing a blue ribbon around her neck at the end of the film, as this is a minor reference to another urban legend about a girl whose head falls off if she removes the ribbon around her neck.

Joshua Jackson (Damon Brooks) cranks his car before he takes Natalie to “that” spot in the woods. When it cranks, the radio plays Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” from Dawson’s Creek (1998) also starring Jackson. (Booooooooooooooooooooooooo)

The book sitting on the desk in Professor William Wexler’s desk in his class, is “The Vanishing Hitchhiker”, which is one of the seminal texts on urban legends. (He is an urban legend professor after all)

Danielle Harris (Tosh) was a smoker at the time and thrilled to be allowed to smoke while working. She quickly realized that shooting scenes while smoking meant that she was going to have to smoke cigarettes for hours all day while they shot. She eventually got sick of it and quit smoking.

Rebecca Gayheart got sick after eating Pop Rocks all day for the classroom scene.

Julian Richings who plays the “Weird Janitor” later had a recurring role as “Death” on “Supernatural” (2005), the first season of which was mostly based on urban legends.(Huh … I might have to check that out actually)

At the end when students are recounting the events and one comments “Yeah and Brenda was the girl from the Noxema commercial ” – Rebecca Gayheart (Brenda) WAS the Noxema girl in the commercials at that time. (This is all very Scream which is pretty dumb)

Filmed at the same university as “Killer Party” (1986), another campus-set slasher. Incidentally, both films feature a costume party at a fraternity, characters being targeted by a masked killer, and an urban legend about murder at an abandoned dormitory. (Huh, now I REALLY have to watch that one)

The film was inspired by the huge success of “Scream” (1996), and whereas that film was a self-aware satire of horror film tropes, this one is a self-aware satire on urban legends. The film’s negative reception was a result of many critics finding the film to have been an imitation of “Scream”.

The film’s fictional location is Melbourne, New Hampshire. Director Jamie Blanks home city is Melbourne, Australia.This film co-starred two of Hollywood’s most iconic mass murderers. Brad Dourif, who portrays Chucky in the “Child’s Play/Chucky” films, and Robert Englund, who played Freddy Krueger in the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” films.

After Preview

Adam Banks is horrified by the latest demands by Jamie and Patrick. “They are monsters,” he whispers in shock, “I can handle them being proud of what they’ve made. But this is just greed. We need something on them, Rod. Some scandal that will let us fire them.” With that he orders Rod back to the set with a scandalous new member of the cast.

Jamie looks deep into the eyes of Leighton Vanderschmidt, cast opposite him as the Ghost of Christmas War. Apparently when Banks heard about the demand for a ghost he insisted that Leighton be cast, which was fine by them… she is by all accounts boffo box office. The spooky character is meant to evoke the fleeting nature of life and love, but Jamie isn’t yet sure the message is getting through. Mostly they’ve just done a whole bunch of kung fu and made out. Nice. Looking around Jamie starts to think that perhaps it is getting through because everyone on set looks truly horrified. Likely due to existential dread. With shooting done for the day he turns and runs directly into Patrick, who spills a half-eaten cake onto his costume. “Jeez Louise, my costume is ruined,” Jamie snaps, stamping his foot. “Here let me help with that,” Leighton chimes in. How charming. She escorts him to her trailer and proceeds to help clean up all the cake. Jamie notices just how scandalous this must look, them alone in Leighton’s trailer, him pantsless, ruined cake everywhere. Gee, he sure does hope that no one is conveniently taking pictures at this moment through the open window, because that would be quite the scandal. But he waves off the eerie feeling… he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it. That’s right! We’re watching the 2019 teen romance After, based on a book that started as One Direction fanfiction. It tells the story of a goodl girl who just can’t resist the mysterious bad boy in town (who also can’t resist her). Oooo, forbidden love. It had me at One Direction fanfiction. Let’s go!

After (2019) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 18 

AfterIMDb_BMeT

AfterIMDb_RV

(Tumbling quite nicely. Didn’t open that high as well. On a nice streak for the Notability. Shows how a lot of the bad movies you find in the late 2010s end up being those films with relatively few famous crew. Makes sense from a business perspective, throw a flier out there using a shoestring budget.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “After” opens with some narration about how certain moments in life seem to define a person, and from there, the clichés pretty much don’t stop. If there’s a defining moment in the life of Tessa Young (Josephine Langford), it’s either meeting, initially being annoyed by, falling in love with, being heart-broken by, or reuniting with Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin).

(Ha! Pretty solidly destroying the entire concept of the film there. I am not looking forward to this though. Seems like it is going to mostly be frustrating.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZAdcWHuCmY/

(DRAMA. That is what they should have called the movie: Drama and Rain: The Movie. So much rain and drama. It is making me all excited, but in that special BMT kind of way.)

Directors – Jenny Gage – (BMT: After; Notes: She produced and directed a documentary called All This Panic about girls coming of age in Brooklyn. Makes sense she would be tapped for this adaptation.)

Writers – Tom Betterton (screenplay by) – (BMT: After; Notes: Gage’s husband. I’m sure this was part of some rewrites, but he seems to have worked alongside her quite closely throughout her career.)

Tamara Chestna (screenplay by) – (BMT: After; Notes: Seems to be working on a similarly themed film for Netflix called Moxie. Was an assistant to a producer (I think) on Last Holiday. Seems to have bounced around across a bunch of production studios.)

Jenny Gage (screenplay by) – (BMT: After; Notes: The director. Her and her husband probably were able to rewrite the script once she was put on board.)

Susan McMartin (screenplay by) – (Future BMT: Son in Law; BMT: After; Notes: A very successful television writer, she wrote 58 episodes of Mom and 15 episodes of Two and a Half Man along with being a producer on both shows.)

Anna Todd (novel) – (BMT: After; Notes: This film was created as a fanfiction involving One Direction. It was the first book she ever wrote.)

Actors – Josephine Langford – (Future BMT: Wish Upon; BMT: After; Notes: Younger sister of Katherine Langford who we have not seen in a BMT film yet.)

Hero Fiennes Tiffin – (Known For: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Private Peaceful; Bigga Than Ben; BMT: After; Notes: Nephew of Ralph Fiennes which is why he was hired to play a young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter. Went to school nearby where I currently live in London which is amusing.)

Khadijha Red Thunder – (BMT: After; Notes: Doesn’t seem to even have a wikipedia page … well she’s slated for the sequel, so maybe she’ll get one soon. Very weird.)

Budget/Gross – $14,000,000 / Domestic: $12,138,565 (Worldwide: $69,497,587)

(Solid worldwide success. Much like horror films it is pretty easy for teen romances to make money since you don’t have to pay much to make them.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (6/35): Tepid and tired, After’s fun flourishes are let down by its generic story.

(Uh oh. Usually I like something like “An unmitigated disaster that is more laughable than sexy” … those are usually more entertaining. Hopefully it is indeed very laughable and not very sexy. Reviewer Highlight: The real problem with After is that it’s a lifeless slog of thinly written clichés, one that’s missing the charismatic spark of the actual One Direction boys. – Caroline Siede, AV Club)

Poster – Teen Romance Sklog-daption (2019) (A) 

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(My god, it’s beautiful. Not only is it actually a fine example of a poster (interesting font, overall color scheme, and sexy spacing to really let us know we’re in for a steamy ride), but it’s like a romance novel front cover on steroids. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.)

Tagline(s) – After Your First, Life is Never the Same. (B)

(First… love? God I hope they mean first love. But you know they’re implying virginity. I think this is fine. Could be more clever, but it has a cadence to it and it feels right.)

Keyword – high school senior

After_high school senior

Top 10: After (2019), Superbad (2007), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Varsity Blues (1999), Central Intelligence (2016), The Girl Next Door (2004), 21 Jump Street (2012), Project X (2012), 17 Again (2009), The Spectacular Now (2013); 

Future BMT: 27.4 Senior Trip (1995), 17.6 Varsity Blues (1999), 15.8 Inventing the Abbotts (1997), 13.2 Tuff Turf (1985); 

BMT: After (2019), Project X (2012)

(Not much here, and honestly not many good keywords for this one yet. Project X is a very high school senior thing, but this one … aren’t they in college in After? Whatever.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 22) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Selma Blair is No. 3 billed in After and No. 3 billed in Down To You, which also stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (No. 1 billed) who is in Summer Catch (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Biel (No. 2 billed) who is in Valentine’s Day (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 22. If we were to watch Feeling Minnesota, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 18.

Notes – Hardin’s copy of Wuthering Heights is the copy that Anna Todd has had since she was a teenager.

Was originally a One Direction fanfiction on a website called Wattpad. (Oh my, that’s excellent)

The original After trilogy gained over 1 billion reads on Wattpad. (No!)

Josephine Langford admitted in an interview that she read the first few chapters of After on Wattpad several years before being cast as Tessa. (Oh don’t admit that! Say you tried to read it, but it was incomprehensible trash. How are we going to have seen multiple fan fiction adaptation for BMT. How did this happen?)

The rights to the film were originally sold to Paramount. However, Anna Todd wanted more freedom when it came to adapting the film. The rights were then given back and eventually sold to Aviron.

Josephine Langford only had about a week or so to prepare for her role as Tessa Young. She read the book(s) and the script while on a plane. (Cheap as ffffffff)

Before being a novel, After was a fan fiction on the website Wattpad where some of the characters’ names were based on the members of One Direction: Hardin = Harry Styles; Zed = Zayn Malik; Landon = Liam Payne; Nate = Niall Horan; Logan = Louis Tomlinson.

The full After series includes After, After We Collided, After We Fell, After Ever Happy, and Before (HA! Before takes the cake)

First Daughter Preview

I know what all of our faithful readers are thinking and it rhymes with Geostorm, but slow your roll. At the time that we had to choose the films for this week we just didn’t know what the reviews for Geostorm would be like… … … OK, so we did pretty much knew what the reviews for Geostrom would be like, but we couldn’t risk it getting “good for what it is” bullshit reviews that propelled it to 41% on RT. So this week we stayed the course and moved to our Games category where we aimed to get a Mockbuster friend to tag along. A Mockbuster is a film released with a similar title and concept to a major blockbuster hoping to ride the hype to minor profits. In the end there was only one Mockbuster that would do. That’s right! We’re watching TransmorFirst Daughter! Transmorphers is obviously a play off of Transformers and makes me sad to even think about… should be excruciating. As for First Daughter, the Katie Holmes vehicle is both on the Calendar and is an abstract part of the Periodic Table of Smellements (for #1). An unexpectedly important film in the BMTverse. Let’s go!

First Daughter (2004) – BMeTric: 56.5

FirstDaughter_BMeT

FirstDaughter_RV

(Sub-5.0 is a brutal IMDb score, but that isn’t a surprise, the film has brutal reviews. Other than that you have the regression to the mean and 2011 inflection, but not much else interesting. In other world, these plots take after this movie (boom).)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Fairy-tale romance for wholesome teens centers on the sheltered daughter of the U.S. President who goes off to college to get away from her omnipresent Secret Service detail and falls for a hunky student whose true identity holds a big surprise (not really). Chasing Liberty was bad enough; did we really need another formulaic, juvenile variation of Roman Holiday the same year?

(The answer to the last question is no. I’ve never seen Roman Holiday (I know, a travesty, I have too little experience with film prior to 1980 I admit), but maybe I’ll check it out now. How can I properly assess this purported retelling if I never experienced the original telling?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKpawyuyuGY

(That looks … generic. Honestly they kind of give away the twist hinted at by Leonard Maltin … just look at what Marc Blucas is wearing in certain scenes and you’ll get it. The soundtrack for this trailer is also bonkers.)

Directors – Forest Whitaker – (Known For: Waiting to Exhale; Future BMT: Hope Floats; BMT: First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Notes: Wait wait wait wait wait … the Forest Whitaker directed this? Weird shit. He’s enjoying a bit of a career resurgence with Lee Daniel’s The Butler and the most recent Star Wars films.)

Writers – Jessica Bendinger (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bring It On; Aquamarine; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Stick It; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: A former model turned novelist turned screenwriter/director. She hasn’t done much after her directorial debut Stick It, but she certainly had a burst of success in the mid-2000s.)

Jerry O’Connell (story) – (BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Yuuup, that Jerry O’Connell. Derisively known as the fat kid from Stand By Me, he ultimately had a very successful career in film. He is currently married to Rebecca Romijn with whom he has twin daughters. We. Love. Twin stories. Especially because Jerry O’Connell seems like a cool cat.)

Kate Kondell (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: There isn’t much about her, but she’s written multiple pixie / fairy direct-to-video films including the Tinkerbell pirate fairy film I remember seeing a million advertisements for at one point in my life.)

Actors – Katie Holmes – (Known For: Logan Lucky; Batman Begins; Phone Booth; Woman in Gold; The Gift; Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; Go; Thank You for Smoking; The Ice Storm; Wonder Boys; The Unbeatables; Pieces of April; Muppets from Space; Touched with Fire; The Extra Man; Future BMT: The Son of No One; Teaching Mrs. Tingle; Abandon; The Romantics; Disturbing Behavior; Mad Money; The Singing Detective; Miss Meadows; The Giver; Days and Nights; All We Had; BMT: Jack and Jill; First Daughter; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2006 for Batman Begins; and in 2012 for Jack and Jill; Notes: Most famous for her role in Dawson’s Creek. She subsequently became famous after marrying (and divorcing) Tom Cruise. She’s worked steadily throughout her career and is in the cast of the upcoming Ocean’s Eight.)

Marc Blucas – (Known For: Brawl in Cell Block 99; Sleeping with Other People; We Were Soldiers; Knight and Day; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Pleasantville; Red State; The Jane Austen Book Club; I Capture the Castle; Mother and Child; Sunshine State; Prey for Rock & Roll; Future BMT: Meet Dave; They; Summer Catch; View from the Top; Eddie; Thr3e; Stay Cool; The Alamo; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: First Daughter; Notes: Most well known for having a super fake sounding name. He’s had moderate success in television most recently, and will be in a new Nic Cage film coming out next year, exciting stuff.)

Michael Keaton – (Known For: Spider-Man Homecoming; Beetlejuice; The Founder; Spotlight; Batman; Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance); Cars; Batman Returns; Minions; Jackie Brown; Toy Story 3; The Other Guys; RoboCop; Much Ado About Nothing; Out of Sight; Herbie Fully Loaded; Mr. Mum; Night Shift; The Merry Gentleman; Multiplicity; Future BMT: Jack Frost; White Noise; Post Grad; Desperate Measures; Speechless; Gung Ho; One Good Cop; Inventing the Abbotts; The Squeeze; American Assassin; The Last Time; BMT: First Daughter; Need for Speed; Notes: He’s originally from Pittsburgh (all the way down to starting his career working on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). He had a few minor roles before landing in Ron Howard’s Night Shift where he and Henry Winkler famously swapped roles (or at least characteristics) to much critical acclaim.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $9,055,921 (Worldwide: $10,592,180)

(Disaster. If you look at the notes there is a whole thing about moving the release because Chasing Liberty flopped so hard … didn’t help.)

#26 for the President genre

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(The thing I think I like the most about this genre is that is really is a recent phenomenon. There is a kind of Blockbuster aspect to representing Presidents and speculating about their lives. And this is despite that fact that political cartoons have been skewering presidenting for literally hundreds of years! We love fake presidents (so much we once considered a whole mini-game concerning it), so it is great to see Keaton put on the suit and try out the role.)

#260 for the Romantic Comedy genre

firstdaughter_romanticcomedy

(Why do I remember speculating about this … anyways, comes right in the long plateau of a peak for the genre which has had a rather sudden downturn. I probably guessed this last time, but: romantic comedies aren’t tentpoles and are simply getting less screens I think in the new franchise era. Probably doesn’t help that of all film types this one might actually benefit the least from the big screen experience. VOD here we come!)

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

firstdaughter_teenromance

(Just below Here on Earth (be still my beating heart!). That giant peak? You guessed it, the Twilight Saga. The John Hughes era of the 80s were the heyday, but the late 90s saw a small resurgence. With The Fault in Our Stars and other YA novels starting to find an audience it is possible we might be entering a new post-Twilight bump as well. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (7/85): First Daughter is a bland and charmless fairy tale that fails to rise above the formula.

(Wow. Sub-10% is nuts, and I’m stunned a film like this gets a coveted position like that. Especially when the consensus might as well be: Blah. I’m getting intrigued.)

Poster – First Sklog-hter (D)

first_daughter

(Gah! I’m blind! Why is this poster sooooo white? Jesus. It’s also just a poster for Katie Holmes: The Movie… there is nothing First Daughter in this at all. Font is shit too. Boooo. Not an F because it doesn’t actually hurt my brain, only my eyes.)

Tagline(s) – The girl who always stood out is finally getting the chance to fit in. (B)

(I like the effort and the construction. Just too long and still doesn’t work in the whole “daughter of the president” thing.)

Keyword(s) – college; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 71.3 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 67.4 Pulse (I) (2006); 66.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987); 65.6 Bodyguard (2011); 64.1 The Roommate (I) (2011); 63.3 The Comebacks (2007); 62.7 Smiley (2012); 60.3 Soul Survivors (2001); 59.9 Flubber (1997);

(Top one is fake, but this does remind me we need to watch Teen Wolf Too at some points. Probably the only one that I really want to see from that list.)

Notes – Vera Wang designed all of Katie Holmes’ ballgowns for this film. (Her originals usually retail for over $10,000 each.) (That last bit is not a comment by us, the parentheses are in the IMDb notes. No comment otherwise)

The release date for the film was pushed back after the similarly themed Chasing Liberty (2004) flopped at the box office. (Ha! I think I’ve seen that one at one point …)

The movie James and Samantha are watching in the movie theater is The Girl Can’t Help It (1956). Director Forest Whitaker was originally set to direct a remake of the 1956 comedy after the release of “First Daughter”.

This film is dedicated to Michael Kamen, the film’s composer.

The book Katie Holmes is reading in the library is Hermann Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’. (It’s on the BMT Not-Necessarily-Bad Book List!)

In the scene where Katie Holmes and Ameriie are sliding down the slope on the slip-n-slide, Katie Holmes inadvertently pulled down Aneriie’s sweatpants while struggling to climb over the hay bales, exposing Ameriie’s bottom in view of the camera. The director chose to leave this in the final cut of the film, since it was a spontaneous event and quite in line with the carefree nature of the scene. (The director being Forest fucking Whitaker)