Oh man. So here’s what happened, I was in this insane induction ceremony at Yale (because I’m great at rowing, natch). We were all drugged and put into coffins, you know, normal induction stuff. Well when I woke up I sat up in m’coffin and bopped my head! And now I don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in The Skulls?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Luke McNamara is just a normal New Haven townie who through guts and grit managed to make his way into Yale. But as a gross townie, why is he considered for the elite of the elite secret societies, The Skulls?
2) Describe the induction ceremony for The Skulls. It has three parts occurring on three different days.
3) How does Will Beckford (Harper Hill) die? And what initially tips Luke off that everything is not how it seems about his suicide?
4) Name three of the gifts Luke receives as part of being a part of The Skulls.
5) What was Ames Levritt’s (William Peterson) plan to take over The Skulls in the end and how/why did it involve Luke?
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.)
(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.)
(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)
(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.)
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.
Our gals are back, Jack! And they are ready to hit the road and spice up their lives with a little trip to the Middle East. Given a free trip to Abu Dhabi for business, Samantha brings the whole gang along for the ride. And boy howdy do they need it with married life hitting some bumps in the road. Can they straighten out their lives before it’s too late? Find out in… Sex and the City 2.
How?! Two years after Carrie and Big’s wedding and things are starting to get bumpy for everyone. Carrie fears they are turning into an old boring couple that will slowly drive each other crazy, and a suggestion by Big to spend some days apart each week doesn’t help. Miranda has a new boss who hates her and has to quit when he takes it too far. And Charlotte is going through the terrible two’s with her kids and things are getting overwhelming (including the hot nanny who never wears a bra). Only Samantha seems to be riding high, coasting through menopause with the help of hormones. When Smith returns to her life for his big film premier he puts in a good word for her with a powerful Middle Eastern businessman. He asks Samantha to come to Abu Dhabi and discuss taking over his account and she accepts… on one condition. Soon all the ladies are heading to Abu Dhabi for some very necessary R&R. Unfortunately Samantha immediately gets her hormones confiscated and is on the prowl for a guy to relight her spark. Meanwhile Carrie gets more bad news with some bad reviews of her new book. So despite Charlotte’s empathy and Miranda’s zest for tourism, Carrie is soon looking for her own spark and finds it with her old flame Aiden. Meeting him for dinner, they briefly kiss and in shock she runs away. She decides to tell Mr. Big and he responds coldly. Already down in the dumps they are soon in a panic when Samantha is picked up for breaking the law when she is caught canoodling with a hot Danish architect. This turns everything sour as the businessman revokes the trip and the ladies are soon heading for the airport (but not before meeting a few Middle Eastern ladies with a flair for fashion). Back home Carrie awaits Mr. Big anxiously only to find him more in love with her than ever and ready to give her a big ol’ diamond. Hooray. Everything works out great for everyone per usual and life is grand. THE END.
Who?! It’s hard to match the full Liza Minnelli music video in the beginning of the film. She performs a full cover of Single Ladies. It’s actually even a little explainable why she is there (she’s performing for the hottest gay wedding of the year), but even the characters ask each other why she would really accept the gig. Cause it’s in a movie, dum dums.
What?! This is mostly one long commercial for Abu Dhabi… you know up until their conservative way of life crashes headlong into Samantha’s way of life and it becomes a living nightmare. In reality the amount of product placement in the film is a little overwhelming but my personal favorite was a very nice 1968 Rolex 1601 that Carrie gives Big for their wedding anniversary. Would have run her maybe 5K and it’s a very nice and specific watch that gets to shine.
Where?! Inexplicably Abu Dhabi for the majority of the film. Truly a mystery as to why this is the direction that the film takes the franchise not only because it seems almost unnecessary for a franchise with such a fanbase to veer so far off course, but also because it is not really even appropriately advertising the location. It is, in fact, quite the opposite by the end of it. They really kinda dig in against Abu Dhabi to the point where it seems like it’s more of the vehicle used to deliver some statement about how women can embrace traditional values while also being thoroughly modern and rebellious. A.
When?! The great thing about a franchise like Sex and the City is that there are people even more insane than use taking care of a lot of these details. The same often goes for horror franchises (coincidence?). According to one site we see that the wedding at the beginning of the film takes place in July. Big and Carrie’s two year wedding anniversary takes place the next month and the trip at the center of the film takes place the week of August 26th. Ahhh. It’s nice. B.
Oh boy, I did not like watching this film. It is almost unbearably long and requires first sitting through a somewhat offensive start where they trot out all the marital cliches in the book. Working too much, afraid the husband will cheat with the nanny, are we a boring couple watching TV in our PJs, etc. etc. etc. They even shoehorn a rude couple in there to stare in disgust when Big and Carrie tell them they aren’t having children. I thought we were living in modern NYC with our modern gals? Never heard of a couple of uber-rich insufferable selfish people not having kids? Then we get an hourlong commercial for Abu Dhabi. Really the only thing I kinda liked was that Miranda gets to shine after quitting her job and turning into fun Miranda while on vacation. Oh and it’s pretty inclusive with some sweet storylines for some of the smaller characters. But overall glad we are past it and ready to watch SatC3 in theaters in shame. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! After a long hard journey I finally … didn’t watch the television show, we just decided it was time to watch the Sex and the City movies. It was time. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – So after watching the first film I was convinced that the decision to make the second a “destination sequel” had to be some British writer-director’s idea (British series love to make destination / road trip films, like The Inbetweeners) … but nope. The sequel has the same writer-director as the first, who is also the creator and the writer-director of dozens of episodes of the original HBO show. That was a stunning revelation that begged far more questions than it answered. What were my expectations? Every review says it is a vapid consuming-obsessed garbage film. So … that I suppose. Somehow more so than the original.
The Good – If you are obsessed with the television show I can’t imagine you aren’t somewhat pleased to have these four women back in your life one last time. I think if you can see beyond the bad messaging the show and films have about money, relationships, and consumerism … there is a solid message for women buried deep within there. Something like, everyone is different, women are powerful, and to forge your own path in your career, love, and motherhood. Something like that. It is best done with Miranda and Charlotte I think. The film is also surprisingly hard hitting towards the UAE. It’s a bit confusing on that front because it feels like a commercial for Abu Dhabi for a chunk of the film right up until they slam them on their general treatment of women and then bounce. Best Bit: The four main characters.
The Bad – The writing is horrendous. Just one bad joke after the other just serves to remind you that the style of comedy Sex and the City thrived in in the late 90s / early 00s really passed them by by the time this film came out. Carrie and Big’s relationship continues to perplex. He’s an unabashed asshole, and they both seem rather unwilling to significantly change their ways. I guess I can see why the message of “we are going to do our thing, society be damned” is tempting, it just seems like Mr. Big’s general assholery in both movies bodes poorly. I just don’t see how Mr. Big well and truly screwing up their wedding in the first film, and then seriously suggesting they take a two day break every week (every week!!!!) is anything but lunacy. Finally, the film is just a series of five different stories, all about 30 minutes long, to fill up their ludicrous 150 minute runtime. I’ll get into that more in the You Just Got Schooled section. Fatal Flaw: Big is the worst.
The BMT – This film has one of the highest BMeTrics ever recorded, and it takes place in the UAE. It’s a double dose of BMT magic. It’ll be remembered for those two things, and really should have been done earlier, but I wanted to at least try and watch the series beforehand (I got through two seasons and then quit). Did it meet my expectations? No. I was expecting more UAE ridiculousness if I’m being honest. I wasn’t quite prepared (despite having seen the first film) for it just being another season-disguised-as-a-film and it ended up being absolutely brutal to get through.
Roast-radamus – I’m going to give a shoutout to Celebrity Cameo (Who?) for Liza Minnelli looking real old singing and dancing to Single Ladies by Beyonce. It was terrible. There are too many Product Placement (What?) to count, but Rolex plays a particularly important role throughout the film. Huge Setting as a Character (Where?) for the UAE and Abu Dhabi in particular which plays a central role in the middle hour of the film. And this is closest to BMT by sheer cred alone.
StreetCreditReport.com – Speaking of cred. This makes all of the major lists of 2010. Indiewire and AV Club lead the pack, with the film getting second on the latter. The Indiewire review I think is particularly poignant as it points at that at least some of the vitriol towards the film seemed to be a commentary on the aging of the main stars. I mostly agree on all counts with that one, especially the bit concerning that the major issue was the running time. I have to imagine this is the worst sequel to a film based on a television show? There can’t be too many of those.
You Just Got Schooled – I have watched a few seasons of Sex and the City. In my opinion it is worse than people would remember, mostly because many prestige shows that have come after have done what it was doing better and without slipping into many of the tired cliches the show relies on (like Carrie like shoes amirite? Carrie be shoppin’!). But I did feel the need to watch the original Sex and the City movie. It is … actually kind of okay. If you can get past just how horrible Big inexplicably is, the movie is basically just another season of the show condensed into five short 30 minute episodes all stuck together. And as a season of the show I think it kind of works. If they had done that as a 10 episode show I think it would have been hailed as a surprising comeback for a show that had been off the air for a few years at that point. I think watching the two films back to back (a brutal five hours of Sex and the City) makes the issues of the sequel much more apparent. Even as a season of television that movie would have been horrible. A season filled with inconsequential melodrama and dumb excuses to foist the gang onto exotic locales. In the end I think the original is a cool B-. It is better than you would expect, but the run time makes it a no go for anyone without a decent reason to give it a watch.
Oh boy. So I was hanging with the gal pals in Abu Dhabi, soaking up that sun (and buying some shoes, natch) in the spice market, when I tripped and bopped my head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Can you remember what happened in Sex and the City 2?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) What song does Liza Minnelli perform at the wedding at the beginning of the film?
2) What gifts do Big and Carrie give each other for their anniversary?
3) Why are Samantha and the girls invited out to an all expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi?
4) In the spice market of Abu Dhabi Carrie sees her old beau Aiden. Why is Aiden there?
5) Why is Samantha arrested at the hotel, why do they have to leave the hotel, and why are they rushing to the airport?
“You gotta help us!” Poe wails and he, Rich and their new BFFF Kilgorn follow close behind the fleeing ghost. But the ghost is having none of it. “Uh uh. You better back on up. I ain’t no Casper the Friendly Ghost and you ain’t no Ghostbusters and if it wasn’t for the good Lord Jesus I’d punch you square in the faces.” They all can’t help but smile at the ghost and how sassy she is. Suddenly Poe has an idea, “But that’s just it,” he explains, “we are doing this for the good Lord Jesus.” Suddenly the sassy ghost is listening. “You see the Book of Secrets is the devil’s book and we’re going to destroy it.” The ghost ponders for a minute and eventually relents and nods for them to follow. Soon they reach a brightly lit club with a neon sign blinking the words “Hollywood Badass.” Progressive psytrance music blasts each time the door opens and the group knows they have no chance at getting in. Unless… Rich and Poe leap to put their masters of disguise skillz to the test. “Alright, keep cool, I know this club” the big sassy ghosts says, “These disguises have got to be tight. So let’s go over our backstory. I’m Carrie, a gal about town looking for love. You three are my friends. You’re prim and proper Charlotte,” she says pointing to Kilgorn, who beams. “You’re the overworked voice of reason, Miranda,” she says pointing to Rich who acts upset (but is secretly thrilled). “And you’re Samantha,” she growls pointing to Poe. Poe frowns and starts to explain why the ghost is really more the Samantha of the bunch, but stops when he sees the scowl on the sassy ghost’s face. He gives a reluctant thumbs up. That’s right! We’re finally hitting up the classic squeak-quel Sex in the City 2, the one where they go to the Middle East for some reason and their old and married pretty much. We’ve been reluctant, and let’s see if it was for good reason. Let’s go!
Sex and the City 2 (2010) – BMeTric: 79.6; Notability: 67
(An incredibly low rating. And an incredibly high Notability. I should check, but is that because of cameos, or literally just because the IMDb cast list is just enormous. I bet there are a lot of cameos. And now I’m excited.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of “Sex and the City 2” are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.
(I mean, while true that “consuming things” wasn’t necessarily the crux of the show (Carrie has a thing about fashion and shoes, and Samantha works in that industry, but most stories were about, you know … sex and New York City), that definitely was a very obviously strange part of the first film. It is interesting to see how much more it seemed to grate on critics this time around.)
(Wow that really doesn’t show much huh. I guess that is good. Somehow the fact that it is getting more obviously about worshiping consumerism and rich people in general does make its shininess seem … dirty. Also the more I look into this film for the preview the more perplexed I am that they chose Abu Dhabi. It seems like it could have just as easily been Paris, or Morocco, or Tokyo, or Sydney. Tokyo would have probably made the most sense since I think they went to Paris in the later seasons of the show.)
Directors – Michael Patrick King – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Directed 10 episodes of Sex and the City, and both movies. Won two Emmys for his work on the series.)
Writers – Michael Patrick King (written by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Wrote 31 episodes of the series. Ultimately went on to create 2 Broke Girls.)
Candace Bushnell (characters from the book by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Has had two of her books made into television series, the other being Lipstick Jungle.)
Darren Star (television series creator) – (Known For: Sex and the City; Future BMT: Teen Agent; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Notably created and produced Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Sex and the City. His current show is Younger which is in its 7th season.)
Actors – Sarah Jessica Parker – (Known For: Footloose; Mars Attacks!; The First Wives Club; Sex and the City; Ed Wood; Flight of the Navigator; The Family Stone; L.A. Story; Honeymoon in Vegas; Extreme Measures; Strangers with Candy; State and Main; Smart People; Miami Rhapsody; The Substance of Fire; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; If Lucy Fell; Striking Distance; ‘Til There Was You; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Blue Night; Spinning Into Butter; Hocus Pocus; Moving In; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Dudley Do-Right; Failure to Launch; New Year’s Eve; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 2010 for Did You Hear About the Morgans?; and in 2012 for I Don’t Know How She Does It, and New Year’s Eve; Notes: Won two Emmys for played Carrie in Sex and the City. Had been married to Matthew Broderick since 1997.)
Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; The Return of the Musketeers; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT: Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Live Nude Girls; Unforgettable; Turk 182; The Tiger’s Tail; Rosebud; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy five times for her role in Sex and the City, but never won. Is somewhat notable as one of the last actors to have been part of the studio contract system.)
Kristin Davis – (Known For: The Knight Before Christmas; Sex and the City; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Shaggy Dog; Deck the Halls; Couples Retreat; Nine Months; Holiday in the Wild; Sour Grapes; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy once for her role in Sex and the City. She was in Melrose Place for one year, but was written out, reportedly because viewer hated her character and they didn’t know what to do with her.)
(That’s a success. I can see why you would look at the reviews and think that they really stretched the concept too far and should quit while they are behind. Also I bet at least one of the actresses would just have no interest at this point.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (34/217): Straining under a thin plot stretched to its limit by a bloated running time, Sex and the City 2 adds an unfortunate coda to the long-running HBO series.
(Uh oh. A bloated running time, how long are these films … they are both 2.5 hours. Shoot. I have to watch 5 hours of Sex and the City this weekend? Reviewer Highlight: It’s an almost avant-garde adventure in aimlessness. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
(While I do not personally find the poster aesthetically pleasing and question the need for a Dutch angle, I also cannot fault them for this poster. You have your four glam girls up front and a little desert and sky to give a taste of that desert heat. Throw in some fine font work and I think it’s doing a job. B.)
Tagline(s) – Carrie on (D)
(I’m glad to see this tagline isn’t on the poster and in fact this is probably one of the few times where I don’t think it needs one. Besides the tagline is trash. The only thing that would make it good is if the person who wrote it revealed that he was actually playing on the desert theme and the fact that they all will carrion for vultures one they succumb to the heat.)
Top 10: The Addams Family (1991), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), Addams Family Values (1993), The Addams Family (2019), Star Trek Beyond (2016), Fantasy Island (2020), The Avengers (1998), Dark Shadows (2012), Brüno (2009), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);
BMT: The Avengers (1998), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Lost in Space (1998), Æon Flux (2005), Garfield (2004), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Garfield 2 (2006), I Spy (2002), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)
(This is a rare instance where I think the plot actually is suggesting this filmmaking trend is well and truly dying. I think it is entirely due to television becoming prestige enough that television series don’t merely have to dream of becoming a major motion picture anymore. When you want to redo a series or make a sequel to a series you just make another series a la Twin Peaks. So I do imagine that in the future we’ll just stop seeing feature films based on television shows and instead we’ll get little 2 or 3 episode seasons instead.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sarah Jessica Parker is No. 1 billed in Sex and the City 2 and No. 2 billed in Dudley Do-Right, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 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) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 11.
Notes – Kim Cattrall occasionally came to the set wearing a wedding dress for the benefit of the paparazzi photographers, to trick the public into thinking that her character Samantha Jones would get married in this film.
The dress Carrie wears to dinner when Mr. Big picks her up from her old apartment is the same one she wore when apologizing to Natasha, Mr. Big’s ex-wife, for her and Mr. Big’s affair in Sex and the City: What Goes Around Comes Around (2000).
The government of Abu Dhabi did not allow filming, calling the film “too sexual”.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Penélope Cruz mentioned that she shot her cameo in two hours. She said that she wanted to do it because she was a fan of the series and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The airport, when the ladies arrive in the Middle East, is not the Abu Dhabi airport. It is the airport of Marrakesh, Morocco, famous as well for its architecture.
In May 2015, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a teasing photo of her with a shopping bag, in order to promote her collaboration with Bloomingdales. However, the photo went viral, when it proved so ambiguous, that several fans believed the photo teased a potential third “Sex and the City” movie. Several online outlets reported the announcement, and an unaware and puzzled Cynthia Nixon, co-star of the show, was asked about it during a live interview. In the end, Warner Brothers Studios had to make an official statement that there was no plans for a “Sex and the City 3”.
“Sex and the City 3” has been discussed, but not yet confirmed. Sarah Jessica Parker went a bit into detail in an interview on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003), but in 2017 confirmed that it’s “not gonna happen”.
When Samantha makes a comment about Charlotte’s Irish nanny not wearing a bra, she says, “you mean Erin go bra-less”. “Erin Go Bragh” is an Irish saying that means “Ireland Forever”.
Jennifer Hudson’s character didn’t return for this film. Hudson herself still featured in the film, as she recorded the original song “Love is Your Color” for the production.
The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.
The blue Manolo Blahnik pumps that Carrie leaves in the penthouse and that Mr. Big uses as the “diamond to seal the deal” are visible over her left shoulder when she’s in her closet packing for Abu Dhabi.
Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, 2011)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble (2011)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liza Minnelli, 2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Patrick King, 2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2011)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Patrick King, 2011)
Jeff is a Blair Witch superfan (who isn’t?) who takes a tour group into the woods only to find his own night of terrors. Returning to the real world they soon find they’ve brought the witch’s powers back with them. Bum bum bum. Can they stop the witch and get their sanity back before it’s too late? Find out in… Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.
How?! Jeff is a local of Burkittsville, Maryland who becomes obsessed with the Blair Witch legend (and all the money it can make him) following the smash success of The Blair Witch Project (ooo, very meta of you). Expanding on his business he organizes a tour of key sites for Wiccan Erica, goth Kim, and Stephen and Tristan who research mythology. They tromp into the woods and set up a whole bunch of cameras at one of sites while directing another group away. After a night of partying the group awakens to find all their equipment and research destroyed with some tapes hidden away. Tristan, who is pregnant, begins to have cramps and they rush her to the hospital. Stephen and her are clearly upset and decide to temporarily crash at Jeff’s while Tristan recovers. When they get to Jeff’s house he pores over the tapes they found, but a huge chunk of time is missing and it reveals very little. Tristan begins to act erratically and everyone is JUST A LITTLE ON EDGE, OK. This goes on for a while as everyone hallucinates children and witches and shit. Soon things get really nuts when they see on TV that the other tour group was gruesomely murdered at Coffin Rock. The main suspects? You guessed it, Jeff and the gang. Oh no! They are freaking out when suddenly they realize they need to play the tapes backwards. There they see footage of themselves in a fugue state engaging in a night of debauchery and mayhem. Tristan is totally off her rocker at this point and more or less goads Stephen into killing her. The film ends with the three survivors getting arrested for murder and all the tapes they have revealing their guilt all through the power of the Blair Witch. Bwahahaha. THE END.
Why?! Hmmm, I didn’t consider this question. Clearly our protagonists mostly want to get paid and laid and see some spooky Blair Witch action. The Witch herself though? My interpretation is this: she was falsely persecuted by the townspeople for being evil (not for being a witch, mind you, as she was a witch, but the townspeople wrongly assumed that she was evil because of the religion she practiced) and so her revenge for this wrongdoing is to manipulate innocent people into committing crimes. You do have to credit her tenacity in this case in also providing manipulated footage so that the people involved are arrested/committed. Really took to technology pretty well for a witch from the 18th century.
Who?! There are a number of archived news stories about the smash hit Blair Witch at the beginning of the film (including Roger Ebert), but two newscasters showed their acting chops by filming original news segments for the film. That is Chuck Scarborough (who seems to do that somewhat often) and Kurt Loder. Really showing a sign of the times with that classic MTV News segment.
What?! I really love when there is a product in the film that really says something about the people making it or the setting. This time it’s almost immediately apparent that someone involved in production really loved their Pete’s Wicked Ale. The characters in this film literally can’t get enough of that dang Wicked Ale and even head out on a liquor run to specifically pick up another delicious six pack. Must have been the curse of the Blair Witch because unfortunately they closed in 2011 and so we can’t enjoy our own Pete’s Wicked Ale while enjoying Blair Witch 2.
Where?! Clear A setting in this one as Burkittsville, Maryland became larger than life with the first film’s release. It’s a super tiny town (~100 people) and so it’s kinda weird to think how traumatic and weird it must have been to have the film make things go crazy. They had a lot of trouble with signs being stolen and then when the newest film was released not that long ago they preemptively blocked off roads and took down signs to deter the tourists.
When?! This takes place in November 1999, which makes sense with the film being released in 2000… assuming that it was supposed to also be a found footage film. Kinda funny in that this would mean this would have occurred only two months after the film left theaters… Jeff truly was ahead of the game there. Too bad it ended in murder and mayhem. B.
It feels like we’ve been searching for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and finally found it. This film is so terrible that it feels like we’re finally home (and what better way to celebrate that special Halloween/Thanksgiving interlude). It is a misguided effort to capitalize on a smash hit and single-handedly destroyed any chance of a franchise. I’d even argue that the first film was a perfect set up for a franchise a la Paranormal Activity and yet they dropped the ball. On top of that they have all this backstory for exactly why there would be cameras everywhere ready to catch each moment of terror and yet… nope, not even a found footage film. Seems like someone (or something ooooo spooky) removed that at the last minute. It is scarily terrible in a perfect BMT way. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Remember when you could make a sequel to a film that was orders of magnitude worse than its predecessor and riddled with perplexing decisions and it didn’t just get hidden away on some niche streaming platform? Those were the days, let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I don’t think the preview does justice to the film at all. If you read the preview you could be forgiven for incorrectly assuming this film, like the original, is found footage. The director is a famous documentary director, and there is oddly not very much indication in the reviews either. Only by watching the trailer do you then go “oh … I’m watching actors walking around on a set this time.” That’s when I started to get excited and understood why this film is so reviled. What were my expectations? Pure lunacy. What producers take a successful found footage film and then make a non-found footage sequel? There is no explanation for this.
The Good – I think there is a tiniest kernel of a good idea hidden in here. The idea of a group of people getting haunted by a ghost and (very obviously) being made to murder people all while the events they experience themselves feel like a normal haunting. That feeling of “wait, am I losing my mind?” That is it though. I really was wracking my brain trying to think of anything else I enjoyed in the film. It doesn’t help that literally every actor in the film was really really bad. Best Bit: The idea of franchising a popular found footage horror film.
The Bad – Oh boy. It is hard to even think about where to start with this. Why not make this a found footage film? The original is quite effective with maybe the best ever raison d’etre for found footage ever (more on that in a later section). This seems like it was definitely supposed to be half found footage, and then the producers pulled the rug out from under it. In the end it ends up being a very generic horror film, with three separate scenes that rival Slender Man Goes to the Library for unintentional comedy. Not only did I not find this movie scary, I actively thought it was amusing. The acting top to bottom is just really really terrible, and the flashbacks destroyed any tension the film could have had since, you know … you see that most of the cast survives to be prosecuted for several (off screen) murders. This is, and I’m not exaggerating, one of the very worst horror films I have ever seen. Fatal Flaw: So not-scary it went around and became a comedy.
The BMT – I think this might go down in history as the greatest example of a production company taking something that should have produced a near unlimited supply of money, start running with it, step on their own dick, and destroy the franchise with one catastrophically bad sequel. It is actually genuinely amazing how little money the people who owned the rights to Blair Witch managed to make off of that franchise in the long run. Just look at Paranormal Activity for what could have been. In that way it is a huge milestone in bad movie (and thus BMT) history. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. Never have I seen such a bad attempt at a sequel and even weeks later it continues to boggle the mind.
Roast-radamus – Pretty good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Maryland because the original movie exists in the world of the sequel and so the forest there has become a tourist attraction of sorts. Is it a MacGuffin (Why?)? I think so. The ghost of the original film is very much the goal of multiple groups of people, and the arrogance in not respecting the power of the witch is their downfall. That’s a classic MacGuffin trope in my opinion (very Raiders of the Lost Ark). This is probably one of my top BMT films of the year. It is just too funny not to consider.
StreetCreditReport.com – I don’t even need to look at the lists to know this has crazy cred. But I will anyways. It is mentioned (alongside Battlefield Earth, prestigious) in this list by CNN (now on a janky website). And then it just had to make this list of the worst sequels! Very nice Vox, I very much enjoy those graphics. That I think makes the case for why this film is one of the worst of all time: it takes something that was pretty great, and then almost immediately turns around and ruins it. That’s impressive stuff.
You Just Got Schooled – It may be shocking to learn I had never seen The Blair Witch Project before … or maybe not, I have mentioned that I find horror films spooky scary in general. Anyways, I finally got around to watching this. And it is, even for a person who doesn’t generally enjoy found footage films, amazing. As mentioned above, it has a great raison d’etre (they are filming a documentary), and they continually address that and explain its continued legitimacy (the main character gets so spooked and ashamed at getting her friends killed that the camera is the only thing tethering her to reality). The tension in the back 20 minutes is incredible. The only complaint I have in general is that the end of the film is kind of a let down. I expected to at least get a bit of the witch at the end. Obviously, they thought it was better with the cliffhanger, but I would have preferred at least a little bit more. The acting is astonishingly good as well which was a huge surprise. B+, if you don’t like found footage you won’t necessarily enjoy it, but it is a good tense horror film and something you should watch if you have any interest in modern versions (like the Paranormal Activity franchise).
Man, this is embarrassing. So I, a Blair Witch super fan, went on this spooky tour in the woods of Maryland and wouldn’t you know it? I tripped and bopped myself on the head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Who goes on Jeff’s haunted tour of the Blair Witch and Why?
2) Later on, in the first evening, another tour group shows up at Rustin Parr’s house claiming that they have the right to camp there. How does the group trick them into leaving, and what happens to them?
3) The next morning they end up leaving after Tristan, unfortunately, having a miscarriage after having a spooky dream. Prior to leaving Maryland though they need a place to crash and head off to Jeff’s house. What was Jeff’s house originally and how did he get it?
4) While reviewing the footage from the night before they realize there is a missing chunk of footage. How do they end up seeing the footage and what was on it?
5) Ultimately how many people die during the course of the film and how?
“Ghosts shmosts,” scoffs Poe, walking boldly into the forest. “Yeah, ghosts… uh.. Shmosts,” says Rich hesitantly and both he and Kilgorn cling to each other as then more slowly creep their way forward. The forest is dark and their breath comes out in white puffs. When did it become so cold? “Poe?” Rich whispers urgently. Suddenly they bump into the back of Poe. Rich begins to explain how he and Kilgorn weren’t scared, per se, it’s just that with the forest being so cold they felt like they needed to stay close for warmth. But Poe doesn’t even react to the totally believable story (and why shouldn’t he believe it? It’s true), instead he stands frozen with a look of horror on his face. Shakily he raises a hand and mouths through lips white with terror, “gh-gh-gh-ghost.” Egad! For in front of them is indeed a ghost of a terrifyingly huge lady. Oh woe is he who grapples with such a monstrous phantom. Rich and Poe are ready to put their famous quick twitch muscles to the test when suddenly the ghost speaks, “Hellur.” Rich and Poe chuckle and even Kilgorn is amused because, as he says, “the ghost said hellur when saying hello.” Suddenly they are at ease, as if they’ve been reunited with an old friend, “Hellur to you, too,” says Rich but the ghost just looks cross and starts to lay into them about their general behavior. Daaaaang, this ghost got sass. Just as it’s finishing a story about prostituting themselves and running from the fuzz back in the day Poe is able to quickly interject and ask about Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved) and the Great Nut. The ghost recoils and crosses herself. “We don’t speak about the Book of Shadows in these woods.” That’s right! We are watching the follow-up to the 1999 smash hit The Blair Witch Project which was turned around so fast that they couldn’t even figure out whether they wanted to try to capture the magic or do something totally new. By all accounts they instead made a garbled mess that destroyed what could have been a franchise. Nice one. Let’s go!
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) – BMeTric: 83.7; Notability: 29
(Holy crap, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so slowly creep downward over time! That is really a new one. Like people just became more convinced of it over time that this was a generic piece of trash. The notability is also off the chart. That is huge for a found footage horror film I think … I suppose because everyone involved in the original became famous afterwards.)
RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “The Blair Witch Project” was perhaps one of a kind. Its success made a sequel inevitable, but this is not the sequel, I suspect, anyone much wanted. The opening scenes–the documentary showing the townspeople affected by the first film–is a more promising approach, because instead of trying to cover similar ground, it goes outside the first film and makes its own stand.
(This review is a bit better and more forgiving than I would have expected. In the context of the original, everything I’ve read is that it is just a regular horror film, so maybe this review is more right than the general consensus. Should the film be compared to the original? Maybe not, maybe it is fine to be fine on its own merits.)
(Forget everything you’ve heard … like if you’ve heard this film is a generic piece of garbage, just go ahead and forget that … like it might not be, right? This does look like garbage though, what a perplexing decision.)
Directors – Joe Berlinger – (Known For: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Famous documentary filmmaker for the Paradise Lost series about the West Memphis Three. Won an Emmy for the first one, nominated for an Emmy for the second, and nominated for an Oscar for the third.)
Writers – Daniel Myrick (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Skyman; Future BMT: The Objective; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Developed the lore and screenplay for the original film in 1994 (which is when the original film was set) directly out of film school.)
Eduardo Sánchez (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Lovely Molly; Future BMT: Exists; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Born in Cuba. Reportedly him and Myrick were paid $4 million as a result of the success of the original film.)
Dick Beebe (written by) – (Future BMT: House on Haunted Hill; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: His last film credit. He created the television series The Lazarus Man starring Robert Urich, which appears to be notable because TNT cancelled it because Urich was diagnosed with cancer and there was a lawsuit filed concerning the scandal.)
Joe Berlinger (written by) – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: This is the only non-fiction film he has a writing credit on.)
Actors – Jeffrey Donovan – (Known For: Honest Thief; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; Sicario; Changeling; Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Sleepers; Shot Caller; Hitch; J. Edgar; Villains; LBJ; Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; Come Early Morning; Believe in Me; Future BMT: Lucy in the Sky; Vegas Vacation; Extinction; Bait; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Has a black belt in Shotokan karate. Probably most notable as the main character in Burn Notice.)
Stephen Barker Turner – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Seems to have mostly done one off episodes in his career, including single episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The trifecta!!)
Erica Leerhsen – (Known For: Magic in the Moonlight; Anything Else; Hollywood Ending; Little Athens; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Seems like she’s mostly stopped acting at this point. Had a recurring role on The Guardian in the early 2000s.)
(Obviously not what they would have been expecting. But also not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It probably turned a profit just because the budget was small.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (15/108): This sequel to Blair Witch Project is all formula and no creativity, mechanically borrowing elements from the original and other horror movies.
(There it is. Yeah this is the consensus I heard. That it is just another horror film. Given that I’ll be watching the original directly before I suppose I will actually find out. Reviewer Highlight: Even formula-slasher-pic fans are likely to find this hectic, unfocused effort a letdown. – Dennis Harvey, Variety)
(I like the font and I kinda like the boldness of the tree ring motif of the whole thing. I just think it looks a little cheap. Like I look at it and go “that’s not a good movie” so if that’s what they were going for then I guess it’s a success. B.)
Tagline(s) – Evil Doesn’t Die. (C)
(I don’t see a tagline on the poster which is a ding, but this one is on imdb so I’ll go with it. I guess I kinda like the vibe and the shortness of it, but a little generic.)
Top 10: Sinister (2012), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Doctor Sleep (2019), The Conjuring (2013), Poltergeist (1982), Insidious (2010), The Lost Boys (1987), Final Destination (2000), The Sixth Sense (1999), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 76.2 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 64.3 The Darkness (2016), 64.1 The Grudge 2 (2006), 64.1 The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008), 61.9 Poltergeist III (1988), 61.6 Soul Survivors (2001), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.9 Darkness Falls (2003);
BMT: The Haunting (1999), Ghost Ship (2002), Silent Hill (2006), Hellboy (2019), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Rings (2017), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), The Fog (2005), The Ring 2 (2005), An American Haunting (2005), Troll (1986), One Missed Call (2008), The Gallows (2015), The Devil Inside (2012), Bless the Child (2000)
(I think it is fairly obvious Blair Witch Project helped kick off the big boom in the 2000s. And man they were huuuuuge in the 00s. I bet the drop more recently is just that they started not involving as many famous names as they did in the 2000s.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Erica Leerhsen is No. 3 billed in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and No. 3 billed in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), which also stars Jessica Biel (No. 1 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 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Next we can get the HoE Number down to 18.
Notes – Unhappy with Joe Berlinger’s version of the film, Artisan opted to re-shoot certain scenes to add more “traditional” horror movie elements and re-cut the movie to make it more commercial. Berlinger repeatedly states on the DVD commentary that he doesn’t like the changes that were made and that they ruin the ambiguous tone of the plot.
Artisan Entertainment, who distributed the original movie, was keen to produce a sequel quickly, to take advantage of its predecessor’s popularity. However, Haxan Films, the producers of the first film (which included original directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez), weren’t comfortable working on a sequel so quickly, and preferred to wait until the hype had diminished a bit. Artisan (who had the rights) then decided to produce the sequel without Haxan Films. Myrick and Sanchez were given an executive producers credit, but both men later stated that they had very little creative input, and disliked the final film.
The film was to originally open with Frank Sinatra’s song “Witchcraft” to give off a lighter atmosphere before the plot unfolded but Artisan Entertainment forced Berlinger to instead include Marilyn Manson’s “Disposable Teens” for the opening scene for a punk rock feel instead. (The soundtrack is an abomination BTW)
When the tour group picks up Kim Diamond in the cemetery, she is lying on a tomb marked “Treacle.” According to the companion mockumentary Curse of the Blair Witch (1999), Eileen Treacle was one of the Blair Witch’s alleged victims who was drowned in a creek in Burkittsville in August 1825.
When Erica Leerhsen had originally auditioned for Kim Director’s role, she went to the audition with short blonde hair and as director Joe Berlinger described “completely Gothed-out”, but ultimately was given the supporting role of “Erica”. It was Joe Berlinger who decided to make her a longhaired redhead.
In the scene in which Jeffrey is sitting at a table in the madhouse and the camera moves towards him you can see an old s/w photograph hanging on the wall. This is a photo of Kyle Brody, the 8th kid kidnapped by Rustin Parr and the only one who wasn’t killed by him. Kyle Brody was the main witness in the Rustin Parr trial and he described how the children were killed. He spent most of his life in a madhouse. So the madhouse in which Jeffrey lives could be exactly the one in which Kyle Brody spent his life. As the photo shows Kyle Brody as a grown-up, it was shot in the madhouse, too.
The symbols referred to as “The Witches Alphabet” are actually Norse runic symbols known as The Elder Futhaark.
One of the Symbols written on the walls of the Rustin Parr Ruins, the one that looks like ‘Þ’, is the Celtic Symbol Thorn. The Bringer of Death (Somewhat famous in horror circles because the Cult of Thorn because a big part of the Halloween franchise and a reason Michael Myers is effectively immortal in the original series).
In the dream when the baby is submerged in the water, watch the lower right-hand side of the screen. You’ll see the shadow of a stickman emerge and come higher into the frame.
Unlike its predecessor, this film is not presented in a found footage format. It is also the only film in the series not filmed in found footage as Blair Witch (2016), the third film, is presented in this format.
Joe Berlinger: appears as Burkittsville resident “Joe” during the documentary opening sequence.
Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (Bill Carraro, 2001)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2001)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (2001)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joe Berlinger, 2001)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Dick Beebe, Joe Berlinger, 2001)
After her family is killed by the eeevil Queen Gedren, Red Sonja trains to become the warrior destined to kill her. Unfortunately, Gedren has gotten her hands on the Talisman and it’s world destroying power. With the help of her friends Falkon, Tarn, and Cona… I mean, Kalidor, can she stop Gedren before it’s too late? Find out in… Red Sonja.
How?! It was Red Sonja’s destiny to destroy Gedren after she was bestowed with the powers of a warrior by a wizard… you tuned out yet? All you need to know is Gedren was hot for Red Sonja and she was like “no thanks” so Gedren killed her family and thought she killed but, nope, she just made her all the more powerful. Later Gedren steals The Talisman (bum bum bum) from its protectors after they determine it’s too powerful and must be destroyed. Fortunately one escapes and finds Cona… I mean, Kalidor, and tells him to go get Red Sonja. Sonja is a super badass now after years of training and is informed that Gedren has The Talisman (bum bum bum) and she must go after it. She spurns Kalidor’s offer of help and sets off on her own. In the ruins of a city she finds a petulant young prince Tarn and his servant Falkon. She sizes them up as pretty lame and continues on her way. She comes to a gate owned by Lord Brytag, who demands she pleasure him and she’s like “definitely not” and kills him in battle. With the help of Kalidor (who is kinda growing on her) she escapes through the gate and continues on towards Berkubane (I could be making this all up and you wouldn’t know). On the way she rescues Prince Tarn and Falkon and are trapped in a cave by Gedren. There she unleashes a Killing Machine on them and it’s looking pretty dire except that Kalidor swoops in looking fly and helps them defeat it. When they finally get to Gedren’s castle they all split up and methodically kill everyone. Confronting Gedren in a climactic battle, Red Sonja shows that she is the ultimate warrior and kills her and destroys the talisman. Escaping the collapsing castle, the whole gang moves on to their next great adventure (and maybe a little smooching too). THE END.
Why?! Did you not hear me? Gedren has The GD TALISMAN!! It’s a talisman… it’s got great power. Duh. So get off my back cause that’s pretty cereal and needs Red Sonja and our Conan knockoff characters to be pretty focused on it. Oh and Gedren wants to control… or maybe just destroy the world? Even her cronies are like “yo, she’s getting a bit crazy with this talisman business.”
Who?! We got a bunch of options here. Obviously Arnold is a former athlete and Ernie Reyes Jr. and Pat Roach dabbled in professional kickboxing and wrestling, respectively. Pat Roach is probably the most interesting as he was nicknamed “Judo” and “Bomber” and held the European Championship at one time.
What?! MacGuffin alert up in here. The Talisman has all dem powers. It can make lightning and earthquakes and basically destroys everything using the power of light. And not even like a whole bunch of light. Just fill a room with candles and The Talisman is off the hook. Image what it could do nowadays with new light technology. Fuggetaboutit. Alas, Red Sonja destroyed it.
Where?! Where? Where?! In the general vicinity of Hyrkania, Hilidor, Hablock and Berkubane. And no, those are not places I made up on the spot (OK fine, I did make up one of those). It does seem like some of those were made up for the film, but others were seen throughout the series. Still, this is a solid Fictional setting, which is always appreciated here at BMTHQ.
When?! It’s the Hyborian Age from Robert E. Howard. Scholars place it roughly from 30,000-10,000 B.C. (seriously, they do) although I think that’s all balderdash. It clearly exists in a time outside of history and to attempt to place it in reality is a fool’s errand. Also that would be like a D at best if it was supposed to be real.
Not gonna lie, I kinda enjoyed watching this movie. It’s real silly, sure, but I can dig me a little sword and sorcery action and this delivered on both swords and sorcery. Obviously the weakest point, and why you can’t really seriously consider this anything but a disastrous movie, is the acting. It is not good, to put it kindly. But still, this ain’t no Sorceress and is more than just boring or anything like that. Our boy Arnold even battles a mechanical brute, so I feel like we’re getting some fun in there. I don’t know, I feel like I would be pretty satisfied if every bad movie we watched was on the level of this. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We are well on our way to finishing up all of the Conan films. Just a technicality left: Kull the Conqueror which was, by all accounts, originally a Conan film. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – The trailer makes this look very much like Conan the Destroyer which was a terrible cheap looking trash film. So until further notice I have to imagine this is the same thing. Everything will hinge on exactly how bad the effects are. Because what really sank Conan the Destroyer was the room of mirrors fight against the wizard Thoth-Amon, once you see that nothing can redeem the film. What were my expectations? The wizard Thoth-Amon fight version two. I have little hope this was anything but a cash grab on that sweet IP with just the laziest possibly execution.
The Good – Watching these old sword and sorcery films is always fun in their own may. The dumb looking puppets. The bad wizard effects. The beautiful Italian vistas. This film is no different. I also think I liked this film more than Conan the Destroyer, which came across as more of a cheap cash grab. This film seemed like it was actually trying to do something. And finally while Brigitte Nielsen was bad I expected her to be terrible, so she actually exceeded expectations. Best Bit: Beautiful Italian vistas.
The Bad – The film. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a Dino De Laurentiis film from the 80s is terrible, but here we are. The effects are bad, the plot is stupid and predictable. I don’t really know what else to say. While I like Arnold his appearance as a totally different character also threw the entire film off kilter. I was sure he was going to eventually reveal that he is, in fact, King Conan, and this was, in fact, a third Conan film for real. But nope. Just really odd decisions, but that’s what happens when you create a movie to cash in on a trend I suppose. Fatal Flaw: Bad acting and effects.
The BMT – If not for the fact that we are going to eventually watch all of the Conan films for BMT I actually doubt we would have watched this film just because it is small and cheap and doesn’t bring much to the BMT table. I do enjoy being able to rank them though: Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, Conan the Destroyer, Conan the Barbarian (2011). Easy peasy. Did it meet my expectations? It was slightly better. Throughout the film the effects (with the exception of the mechanical sea serpent I think) weren’t as bad as Thoth-Amon. But it was a cash grab on that sweet IP.
Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – Prince Tarn and Falkarn are something. At times Falkarn seems like a Planchet. At others Tarn it. Sometimes they are a bumbling odd couple. I’m going to give it a Planchet (Who?) in general though. Definitely a huuuuuge MagGuffin (Why?) for the Talisman the … thing that created the world and … uh, it going to undo it? Closest to a Bad film in my opinion.
StreetCreditReport.com – This film was big enough at the time to be spoofed 5 years later on on In Living Color! That’s fun, and naturally Jim Carey is amazing. The Hanna Barbarians joke is still solid. … Honestly that’s it though, there isn’t much actual identifiable cred. I was considering doing some analysis of our various cred metrics (BMeTric, a new critic analysis I’m working on, and Notability), but it doesn’t quite feel like we are there yet. Maybe next week.
You Just Got Schooled – Once again this week I had a delightful cartoon to fall back on as far as schooling myself. Conan the Adventurer was a 1992 animated television series produced by Sunbow Entertainment who did many of the Hasbro productions in the 80s (like G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Jem and the Holograms) and was later bought by Sony. I, again, only watched the first episode was created a markedly different origin story for Conan compared to either the original pulp novels (where he is a barbarian wandering around, not much to it) or the movies (where his family is massacred). That is a bit dark for a kids’ television series, so here his family is turned to stone, and he wields a sword made from shooting stars against the evil lizard people (who are I think aliens? That is what it sounded like to me). The show is pretty amusing in how terrible it is at points, specifically the incredibly annoying pet phoenix Needle. And the character of Conan is not a barbarian at all! Rather he is an extremely kind (almost naive) young warrior just trying to save his family (aw shucks!). I vaguely like the ideas with the lizard people from another dimension, but I kind of wish it didn’t involve Conan. Conan could be a cool cartoon given the extensive comic book history he has, but probably not a children’s cartoon. C-. Not a good adaptation in the end.
Oh boy. So hear me out. I was battling Red Sonja in order to win her heart (you see, any woman I bed must defeat me in battle first … you know what the explanation is boring, nevermind), when she bopped me on the head and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Red Sonja?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) After her entire family is murdered Red Sonja is left for dead. A god appears before her and grants her super powers. What powers?
2) Years later a group of faithful women congregated for a ceremony around the mystical Talisman. What is the intention of that ceremony?
3) The ceremony is rudely interrupted by Queen Gedren who steals the talisman. Escaping the massacre is Varna, who enlists Kalidor to find Sonja for her. How is she related to Sonja?
4) Sonja decides she must confront Queen Gedren and destroy the Talisman before it destroys the world. While on this journey she stumbles onto Falkon and Prince Tarn. Why was Prince Tarn’s city destroyed?
5) In the end Sonja defeats Gendren and destroys the Talisman leaving the evil queen’s castle in ruins. How does Gendren die?