Oh man. Last thing I remember I was watching Cape Fear, Basic Instinct, and Fatal Attraction all at the same time. I then fell and bopped myself on the head, and now I can’t keep the film straight, they’ve all smushed together in my mind like some sort of … parody film. Do you remember what happened in Fatal Instinct?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) We meet our hero Ned Ravine at a carnival where he’s staking out a sneaky criminal. What is Ned Ravine’s job?
2) We also soon meet Ned’s wife Lana who is, let’s just say … having sex with the mechanic played by Shooter McGavin. What is the mechanic’s excuse for hanging around all the time?
3) Under what conditions does Ned’s life insurance policy pay out?
4) Why did Lana’s twin, the smouldering blond Lola, not look at all like her sister?
5) The story of Lola is very much a play off of two early 90s erotic thrillers. What are the two films? Bonus if you can name the movie the life of Laura the secretary is based off of.
Dr. Summersly shakes out her long luxurious hair. “Wha-wha-whaaaaa…” Gruber exclaims. The killer is a… woman?! “And not just that,” explains Rich helpfully, “she’s also the inventor of the Obsidian Dongle.” Now Gruber is floored. A murderer and an inventor? What can’t this woman do? Dr. Summersly shakes her head ruefully. The Dongle was her greatest invention and yet also her most terrible. She’s roamed the earth searching for it. Here she had hoped to finally take it from the dead hands of whoever had bought it from Cock Robin. “But instead I just found you, Poe.” Rich steps towards her, extending his hand to let her know that he’s there for her. She recoils, “No, Poe, you know I love him… loved… him. Your friend, your brother. But now he’s dead and I’m…” she bites her lips, stopping herself from uttering that final, painful word. This is all so confusing. The chief, now Dr. Summersly, they both think he’s Poe and that Rich is dead. And yet if only they knew that likely the opposite was true. He’s living a lie in order to get what he wants. But what is it he wants? Is it the Dongle? Does he truly want to save the world? Or perhaps what he’s been searching for has been love the whole time. Something tugs at the back of his mind. Something is wrong. His instincts tell him to run. To find Poe and stop… something? Someone? Dr. Summersly collapses into his arms and pounds her fists into his rock hard abs, his shirt soaked with the sweat of a humid night in the city. “Cheer up, kid,” he says lifting her chin, his instincts screaming that he is making a fatal mistake. And with that they kiss. That’s right! We’re watching the long forgotten spoof film Fatal Instinct. Obviously a play on Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. Given that this appears to be a spoof of erotic thrillers this should be right up out alley… but probably isn’t. It also is our Chain film as Rosie O’Donnell plays a bird salesperson in the film. Let’s go!
Every corner he turns the woman seems a step ahead. With his runner’s physique and endurance for days, this should be impossible. And yet she seems to always be ahead of Poe. Suddenly he rounds a corner and there are two of them. Identical twins! Egad. Two’s company, three’s a crowd and this is a little too rich for Poe’s blood. But as he backs away he bumps up against his twin protectors who eye the women warily. “Dragons,” they say and Poe looks at the women in astonishment. That’s right! We were actually going to watch this as a main film until we realized that a) it was never widely released to theaters in the United States and b) only has Banderes pretending to be twins. We relegated it to a Friend for the Chain. Let’s go!
(Completely inexplicable that people are still watching this film and, weirdly, thinking it is underrated somehow? Whatever it is it is moving towards the mean IMDb rating, which is just bizarre. The Notability is huge … I wonder if parody films tend to have high Notabilities because of the ensemble cast.)
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – It was inevitable that the genre of erotic thrillers would be given the “Airplane!” treatment. Movies like “Basic Instinct,” “Body Heat,” “Sleeping with the Enemy” and “Jagged Edge” offer themselves to parody like a steak to the barbecue. Sometimes, indeed, it’s hard to tell the put-ons from the movies with straight faces; I didn’t much like the recent thriller “Malice,” for example, but some of my correspondents assure me it was all meant as a joke. … Some of these movies work (“Airplane!,” “Top Secret!) and some don’t. And you can’t say why, except that sometimes you laugh, and sometimes you don’t, and the reasons for that are not arguable.
(Maybe some of the truest words about parody films I’ve read. That’s it isn’t it. Sometimes those films work, and it must have something to do with the director/writers and the actors they work with because otherwise people like Mel Brooks wouldn’t have been able to do the genre so well for so long. But most don’t. Apparently this one didn’t.)
(Without the music the trailer would be … well it wouldn’t be funny. That is not at all how I would describe it. But at least it would be tolerable. It is a very who’s who of early 90s barely-stars which is also rather interesting. Unlike something like Men in Tights where you at least have Elwes with the Princess Bride connection.)
Directors – Carl Reiner – (Known For: Summer School; The Jerk; All of Me; The Man with Two Brains; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Oh, God!; Where’s Poppa?; That Old Feeling; The Comic; Enter Laughing; Bert Rigby, You’re a Fool; Future BMT: Sibling Rivalry; Summer Rental; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: Just died in June. Long time collaborator with Mel Brooks, he won 11 Emmys in his career for Caesar’s Hour and The Dick Van Dyke Show mostly. A huge comedy director in the 80s.)
Writers – David O’Malley (written by) – (Known For: Hangar 18; Future BMT: The Boogens; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: Seems like an odd choice considering he mostly made thriller (the non-erotic kind), and some horror films prior to writing this film. Wrote a Corey Feldman and Don Swayze film called Edge of Honor which seems intriguing.
Actors – Armand Assante – (Known For: American Gangster; The Road to El Dorado; Dead Man Down; Little Darlings; The Lords of Flatbush; Private Benjamin; Hoffa; Paradise Alley; Q & A; The Mambo Kings; I, the Jury; California Dreamin’; Looking for an Echo; Belizaire the Cajun; Future BMT: Prophecy; Two for the Money; Trial by Jury; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Unfaithfully Yours; Goat; Breaking Point; Citizen Verdict; Animal Behavior; BMT: Striptease; Judge Dredd; Fatal Instinct; The Marrying Man; Notes: Bizarre career in that he has been mostly a TV / video actor for over 40 years now, but was briefly a leading man in the early 90s. Won an Emmy for the miniseries Gotti which I will be watching once we get around to John Travolta’s Gotti.)
Sherilyn Fenn – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; Wild at Heart; Of Mice and Men; Raze; Three of Hearts; Ruby; Just Write; The Scenesters; Future BMT: Wish Upon; Boxing Helena; Two Moon Junction; The Wraith; The United States of Leland; Outside Ozona; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: If you recognize her it is almost definitely because of her role in Twin Peaks. She also appeared in the Psych episode Dual Spires which was a send up of the series and is amazing.)
Kate Nelligan – (Known For: The Cider House Rules; Wolf; The Prince of Tides; Dracula; Frankie and Johnny; Eye of the Needle; How to Make an American Quilt; Shadows and Fog; Without a Trace; Eleni; Margaret’s Museum; Future BMT: Premonition; Up Close & Personal; U.S. Marshals; BMT: Fatal Instinct; Notes: Was nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Prince of Tides. Was apparently almost the Canadian Junior tennis champion.)
(Unfortunately, despite lacking data, I have to imagine due to the set pieces and ensemble cast that parody films often demand, I wouldn’t be surprised if the budget was quite high. I suppose the counter is you can usually get away with television / cheaper actors … so who knows.)
(Consensus time: Rarely funny, Fatal Instinct instead just reproduces famous scene from other movies while burying its wit under layers of set pieces. Reviewer Highlight: It’s a real pity, because Reiner has certainly been funnier and more inventive on other outings and Sherilyn Fenn makes a winsome gal Friday. – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)
(This is fine. Clever in a cheesy, cheap kind of way. Doesn’t scream “Wide Release Film” to me, though, which is in line with me being shocked that it was a wide release film. I do like the fallen over A. Adds a little pizzazz. C+.)
Tagline(s) – Sex, murder and revenge were never this funny. ()
(I like this one quite a bit. It makes a lot of sense for what they are trying to portray. Takes the three ingredients of the erotic thriller and spins it around. A little long, but all in the name of getting where they want to go. Solid. B+.)
Top 10: The Green Mile (1999), A Simple Favour (2018), Constantine (2005), Sin City (2005), Snatch (2000), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014), Grease 2 (1982), What a Girl Wants (2003), The Snowman (2017)
Future BMT: 87.3 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003), 75.4 Grease 2 (1982), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.9 The Watch (2012), 42.7 The Sitter (2011), 40.3 Suburbicon (2017), 38.8 What a Girl Wants (2003), 13.5 Nothing to Lose (1997);
BMT: The Snowman (2017), 88 Minutes (2007), New York Minute (2004), Fatal Instinct (1993)
(Oh yeah, in this case it is hard to give the film the patented “twins” keyword because really you don’t get the antagonist is the twin sister of … the other antagonist (?) until relatively late into the film. Looking at these other films though … uh, did Grease 2 have a twin in it? One second we might have to redo the Romance category of this cycle … ah, its a bit part. Still would count once we launch our podcast Twinsmersion.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Armand Assante is No. 1 billed in Fatal Instinct and No. 3 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 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 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.
Notes – Sherilyn Fenn was originally considered for the role of the femme fatale Lola, eventually played by Sean Young. Fenn opted for the role of Armand Assante’s lovesick secretary Laura and suggested director Carl Reiner cast Young as Lola. (Yep, good choice. It is incredible to me that Sherilyn Fenn didn’t have a bigger television career at least, she’s great.)
A scene was filmed with Dudley Moore appearing in drag as Max Shady’s mother, testifying at Lana’s trial. Although the scene was cut from the movie, it is included on the DVD release.
When Max Shady adjusts the setting on his silencer while planning to kill Ned Ravine on the train you will notice a volume setting that goes up to 11. This is a nod to Carl Reiner’s son Rob’s mock rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984) which stars Christopher Guest. Guest’s character (Nigel Tufnel) proudly displays his amp that also goes to 11.
This went straight to video in the UK after a disastrous marketing campaign led to a shortened run at the US box office. (ha)
Laura makes a reference to Ravine as a “Mambo King type” a reference to his starring role in the film, The Mambo Kings (1992).
DIRECTOR CAMEO: The man standing next to Ned in the bathroom. (Yeah it is actually really in your face and obvious)
In 2018, when rerun on MoviePlex, the songs In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Brown Eyed Girl are not played during the bathtub scene and end credits. Instead you hear music from the movie sound track. (Ah makes sense, they probably lost the license. It was a wild time the early 90s for tv and movie music apparently.)
Connie Doyle is down on her luck and pregnant. As if things couldn’t get worse she gets in a train accident and is mistaken for the wife of a prodigal son of a wealthy family. Taken in by the eccentric mother and grumpy identical twin brother, she’s in quite the pickle. Can she set things straight (and also maybe get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in Mrs. Winterbourne.
How?! Connie Doyle comes from a troubled background. At a young age she runs off to NYC and finds herself pregnant. The father, Steve, is a con man asshole and so wandering alone around the city she finds herself mistakenly on a train to Boston. A nice man named Hugh helps her and while palling around with his similarly pregnant wife they get in a terrible train accident. Connie wakes up in the hospital having been mistaken as the wife of Hugh Winterbourne, the prodigal son of an intensely wealthy New England family. While she tries to escape the Winterbourne’s and set things straight, she is also amazed at the wealth and comfort they live in as they pamper the new “Mrs. Winterbourne” and the new grandson. Hugh’s mother, Grace, is particularly taken with the pair, while his identical twin brother Bill is suspicious and cold. Connie is different from the typical Winterbourne ilk and Grace kinda digs it, so she forces Bill to spend time with her. This is wildly (almost unbelievably) successful as Bill falls in love with Connie after spending approximately two hours with her. At the same time he discovers her dark secret and the guilt weighs heavily on him. Connie attempts to leave several more times until Bill makes it clear that their hours together have been the happiest of his life and that he wants to marry her. Through the publicity of the wedding, Steve tracks down Connie and attempts to blackmail her. Distraught, she decides to kill him, but in a truly farcical manner both she and Bill converge on Steve’s hotel room to discover he’s dead. At the wedding the police show up and more farcical things happen, but ultimately it’s made clear that Steve’s new girlfriend was the killer. Having resolved that, Bill and Connie get married and wink at the screen to prepare us for the sequel Meet the Doyles. THE END.
Why?! It’s quite the farce as no matter how hard Connie tries she can’t seem to make it clear that she’s not part of the Winterbourne family. The reason is made pretty clear. While she wants to be truthful, she also wants what’s best for her son (which is wealth and privilege). What is a mother to do? Probably the weirdest motivation is Bill, who seems sullen and distant until he spends a single day with Connie after which it’s love and marriage. Why? I actually don’t know.
Who?! There is an amusing scene where the father of Connie’s baby is watching TV and is laughing at Bobcat Goldthwait and he is being predictably weird in his standup and Steve is laughing at it and I think the point is character development to be like “he’s the kind of guy who laughs at Bobcat” and I kinda love it. Bobcat of course goes uncredited. Connie’s nurse after the accident is played by Paula Prentiss who was a prominent actress who hadn’t made a film in 15 years and her performance is predictably weird… and uncredited.
What?! I’m sure there were some weird semi-50’s props from this film that found their way to a Toronto area dumpster. The only thing that stuck in my mind a bit was the Winterbourne ring representing a special type of prop… one that holds some kind of power over Connie’s transformation in Mrs. Winterbourne. But really it’s just because it’s what seals a connection to the film Two Much which is startlingly similar to this film and yet we decided to watch it next week for some reason. Maybe to enjoy Jeff Fahey having sex on a motorcycle for this week.
Where?! Really fabulous Massachusetts film. We know Connie is heading MA way on the the train and then she is delivered to the Massachusetts manor of the Winterbournes. This would just be OK, but they add in a Tour de Boston in the middle of the film where Connie and Bill walk by Paul Revere’s home and through Boston Common not once but twice. That deserves at least a B+.
When?! I don’t know when this takes place. My guess is Spring and that Connie and Bill rush to a Spring wedding, but hard to say. The film doesn’t really take all that much time really because, as I mentioned, Bill falls in love with Connie in a matter of days and insists on getting married in just a couple weeks… even though this is apparently the widow of his estranged identical twin brother who just gave birth to his nephew. It’s all very bizarre. Would have made more sense if the film took place over a much longer time period while Connie recovered from being in a terrible train accident.
This is certainly a film. It has charm at times, but suffers a little bit with a lead that is a little overmatched by Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser. It also has one of those weird production design choices that makes most of the film feel like it’s set in the 1950’s, while whenever they venture away from Winterbourne manor you realize that it’s the present day. Overall I think I would have said this was just a meh film except that I actually did like the character of Paco. A gay Cuban who was persecuted by his government, he found a place in Mrs. Winterbourne’s household and knows that no matter what problems Connie has she will be accepted there. It’s very sweet and so I’d say this is slightly better than nothing. As for Woman of Desire, phew… hose me down. Jeff Fahey having sex on a motorcycle. Uh yeah, yes please. Yes for sure. You’re saying The Lawnmower man is having sex on a motorcycle? Yah. Add in some truly humorous 90’s concepts of DNA technology in regards to identical twins and I very much enjoyed Woman of Desire. Did I mention Jeff Fahey has sex on a motorcycle? Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Somehow we keep on watching films which would have been pitch perfect for the US Mapl.d.map. First Urban Legend for New Hampshire, and now Mrs. Winterbourne for Massachusetts. We’re on a tour of New England! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I had literally never heard of this film prior to building this twin cycle. It looks like … Change of Seasons? A film that was made. It exists. It has a really famous cast. But it seems impossible anyone actually watched the film at the time. I know that’s wrong because this style of rom com was huge, so obviously there had to be bad versions that were released. You just rarely hear of them I guess. What were my expectations? To be bored. There aren’t many reasons a film like this is slammed by critics, the most common reason is because it is boring.
The Good – Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser are both quite good, especially MacLaine. I also really liked Miguel Sandoval’s storyline as Paco, the Winterbourne’s valet. Great Massachusetts film. And finally, the film is more interesting than I would have immediately given it credit for, it is not nearly as boring as you would expect. If not for a really weak leading actress I think this would have been well received based on MacLaine’s performance specifically. Best Bit: MacLaine.
The Bad – Ricki Lake is so bad in the lead role that it completely sinks the film, it is only saved a tiny bit by how genuine the romance that anchors the plot feels, and I think if the story was better Lake’s performance could be forgiven. The main issue is the storyline is just a huge downer. You bookend the film with two lovely and generous people tragically dying in a train wreck, and a murder of a dirtbag blackmailer. Everything in between is poisoned by just how depressing the core of the story is. Unfortunately there isn’t much to be done, it isn’t quite so easy to just put everyone in comas and call it a day, and I suppose all of this comes from the book. Fatal Flaw: Downer story.
The BMT – Slightly higher that you would think. It is definitely one of the better Big Wedding type garbage rom coms I’ve seen. If someone wanted to watch Mrs. Winterbourne I wouldn’t flat out refuse like with a lot of other films. But the BMT cred is mostly just as a twin film as usual with this cycle. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them by not merely being a boring mess of a film. The fact that there were some truly heartfelt moments, and a whole lotta weird choices made it at least a bit interesting to watch, even if it isn’t a particularly good-bad film.
Roast-radamus – A fantastic Setting as a Character (Where?) for Massachusetts and Boston in particular complete with a walk along the Freedom Trail. And throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for the incredibly obvious twist that Steve’s new pregnant girlfriend murdered him. So obvious in fact that they literally show the woman leaving the motel in the scene before. I think this is closest to Bad … although I could be convinced this is actually a good movie if you ignore Ricki Lake’s performance.
StreetCreditReport.com – I actually did find a blog / old website list from 1996 with Mrs. Winterbourne on it which is kind of amazing. Otherwise I think you throw this on a top 10 worst films set in Boston list. I imagine it could make a list for the worst mistaken identity films. Almost all of its credit, as is usual, is because the film is a twin film, and we love twin films.
Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we curled up with our old friend Jeff Fahey for what I would consider a rare instant classic for BMT Bring a Friend, Woman of Desire. In the end it shouldn’t be too surprising that most of the friends we watch aren’t actually particularly fun to watch, they are mostly just amusing disasters. This film from a zoomed out perspective is no different, messy, weirdly almost set in South Africa, and kind of dull. But then you get not one, but two Jeff Fahey / Bo Derek sex scenes one of which (wait for it) is performed on a motorcycle parked in Jeff Fahey’s living room. Wait a tick, that can’t be right … but oh, it is so so right. I will remember this film for one thing and one thing alone: Jeff Fahey and Bo Derek have sex upon a motorcycle sitting in Jeff Fahey’s living room. You can’t ever take that away from me. A. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, I would watch that entire film again just for that sex scene. I only wish Jeff Fahey played smooth jazz on a saxophone afterwards. Maybe that’s in the director’s cut.
Twin Analysis – In this case our two movies have the connection that one of the twins is deceased for the vast majority of the film. In the case of Mrs. Winterbourne we have Brendan Fraser playing Bill and Hugh Winterbourne which fall into the Opposite Twin trope with Bill being a straightlaced businessman, and Hugh clearly dressed as a kind of Bohemian hipster type. No split screen, but the fact that they are twins is a huge part of the story, so I’m going to give it a solid A-. Just wish we could have seen Brendan Fraser act opposite of Brendan Fraser. As for our friend Woman of Desire we again have the Opposite Twin trope with Steven Bauer playing Jonathan and Ted, where the eeeeeevil twin has murdered his own brother with the help of his brother’s lover Bo Derek. The twin energy is real here, and incredibly important. As the defense attorney says at the end “the government overlooked one little known fact: twins have the same DNA.” Wait … they did what?! Is that a little known fact? I guess in 1994 you might have to explain to a jury that indeed, the two people who look identical have the same DNA, but that sounds like a screenwriter thinking he’s about ten times more clever than he actually is. I wish Jeff Fahey was the twin though, Bauer actually wasn’t really in the movie as much as you would think. B+, great twin energy, but in a supporting role.
This time its for real, I got into a crazy train crash and now legit can’t remember a thing. I do have this baby though and am hanging with a rich family, so that’s fun. Do you remember what happened in Mrs. Winterbourne?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) After getting the boot from her lowlife boyfriend Connie Doyle is on the streetz. How does she accidentally end up in a wealthy Boston suburb and possible heir to a fortune?
2) Paco is a very funny butler / driver for the Winterbourne family originally from Cuba. Why did he leave Cuba?
3) And Bill Winterbourne runs his family business and has long resented his now dead identical twin brother Hugh. Why does he resent Hugh?
4) After falling in love Bill and Connie are to be wed. But baby Hugh’s baby daddy, Steve, is back and ready to blackmail Connie. How much money does he demand of Connie, and what is ultimately his blackmail plan?
5) Who killed the dirtbag baby daddy in the end and why?
“What do you mean ‘nursery rhymes’?” asks Gruber incredulously. But Rich nods his head, he means just that. The man they were meeting, Robin, killed by an arrow, and signed “The Sparrow.” And to drive home the point he tosses a classic Tommy Thumb book into Gruber’s lap. He flips through the pages and raises his eyebrows. “It’s pretty spot on… same with Rich, riding a horse until he can’t no more. Alright, I buy it. It’s super lame, but I buy it. So where are we going now.” Rich stops the car and points to his apartment. “Oranges and Lemons. Starts with a candle putting me to bed, ends with a chopper chopping off my head. But that’s not gonna happen… you won’t let it,” and he looks straight at Gruber who’s eyes grow wide. It’s a terrible plan for a terrible serial killer, but they have no choice. They must get the Dongle. Hours later Gruber is hiding in the closet and Rich is in his sleeping cap with a glass of warm milk in his hands. He’s quite cozy in his cozy clothes and slowly… slowly… slowly his eyelids begin to droop… when suddenly *creeak* a step is heard on the stairs. Gruber stiffens, Rich blows out the candle and the room goes dark. Suddenly a scream rings out and Gruber leaps from the closet. Was he too late? Did he miss his chance? When he flips on the light the murderer is standing over the bed with an axe plunged deep into the sleeping Rich. Gruber prepares to blow him away, but suddenly Rich has the killer in a headlock, the figure in the bed having been quickly crafted from some nearby papier-mache. Rich smirks, “Drop it, dirtbag… or should I say, Dr. Summersly.” That’s right, we are jumping straight into what is likely the best twin-centric romantic comedy that is truly just good clean fun (I presume there are some… less savory twin-centric “romantic” films out there). It stars Brendan Fraser and boy, does it seem not that exciting. Let’s go!
Slurping down his third Dr. Pepper infused pork rind sandwich, Poe is starting to feel a bit sick. But if this is the only way to defeat the dragons then he must. “Is this enough munchies? Are we ready” he asks queasily. But his twin protectors chuckle and keep eating. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye he sees a glimmer of jade. A woman in green is fleeing and there is something… familiar. Something… irresistible about the glimpse he just got. Dropping his pork rinds he begins pursuit. That’s right! At least we can have some fun with the Friend as we are taking in Woman of Desire, a steamy Jeff Fahey classic tale of seduction. Jeff Fahey… steamy… a little redundant. Let’s go!
(Pretty high rating. This is a normal bad 90s film I think. Around 30 notability. A low 6.0s IMDb score. It actually is just barely off from perfectly average for a qualifying film I would bet. For BMeTric that’ll be 20-25, and for notability I’ve mentioned 30 is very much what you expect for a bad film in general … maybe means this will be bland, average, and boring.)
RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Brendan Fraser is solid as the lover who sees through deception and out the other side. And there are some nice moments with Paco (Miguel Sandoval), the gay Cuban chauffeur, who considers himself a Winterbourne of sorts, and tells the weeping Connie, “If bad things are going to happen, let them happen here.” “Mrs. Winterbourne” has the kind of plot that might have distinguished an old Hollywood tearjerker, and in fact, it did: “No Man of Her Own” (1950) with Barbara Stanwyck. It is an old-fashioned, manipulated romantic melodrama, where coincidence is a condition of the universe. Because it is light and stylish and good-hearted, it is quite possible to enjoy, in the right frame of mind. But I am not sure it is worth the effort of putting on your shoes and going out to the theater. This is more of a movie to see on video, on an empty night when you need something to hurl at the gloom.
(Nice I guess. Yeah, that is probably the best we could have hoped for a film like this. I would take melodrama ten times out of ten, over “this film is aggressively boring, I fell asleep during it.”)
(The music!!! The voiceover!!! This trailer is incredible. Also, how the hell don’t they go with a coma, how do they start the film with two people and an unborn child perishing? Also, I distinctly remember McLaine doing the cigarette trick … it is either from this trailer when I was ten, or something she does in other movies.)
Directors – Richard Benjamin – (Known For: Mermaids; The Money Pit; Racing with the Moon; Little Nikita; My Favourite Year; Future BMT: Marci X; Made in America; My Stepmother Is an Alien; City Heat; Milk Money; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Basically his last hurrah as a director, he was also a pretty big actor in the 70s. Was nominated for a Golden Globe for The SunShine Boys in 1975. His wife appears uncredited as the nurse in this film.)
Writers – Cornell Woolrich (novel) – (Known For: Rear Window; Phantom Lady; Cloak & Dagger; The Bride Wore Black; Mississippi Mermaid; The Window; The Leopard Man; No Man of Her Own; Union City; Future BMT: Original Sin; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Kind of a sad story. Lived with his domineering mother for much of his life. After taking care of her during a lengthy illness he was burned out after she died and basically just drank himself to death in the subsequent 10 years or so. His funeral went unattended, and he bequeathed a scholarship to Columbia named after not himself, but his mother.)
Phoef Sutton (screenplay) – (Future BMT: The Fan; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: A producer and writer on Cheers, he has written a bunch of Darrow & Darrow mysteries for the Hallmark Channel more recently. He won two Emmys for his work on Cheers.)
Lisa-Maria Radano (screenplay) – (BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Hosts a podcast called the American Fashion Podcast which appears to be a weekly podcast about the fashion industry.)
Actors – Shirley MacLaine – (Known For: Steel Magnolias; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Apartment; Terms of Endearment; Ocean’s Eleven; Being There; In Her Shoes; Bernie; Noelle; Two Mules for Sister Sara; Around the World in 80 Days; The Trouble with Harry; The Children’s Hour; Sweet Charity; Postcards from the Edge; The Last Word; Irma la Douce; Defending Your Life; The Turning Point; Some Came Running; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Little Mermaid; Wild Oats; A Smile Like Yours; The Evening Star; Closing the Ring; Bruno; Elsa & Fred; What a Way to Go!; BMT: Cannonball Run II; Rumor Has It…; Valentine’s Day; Mrs. Winterbourne; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Cannonball Run II in 1985; Notes: Amazingly nominated for six Oscars, and is the older sister of Warren Beatty (she changed her name because people had trouble pronouncing it).)
Ricki Lake – (Known For: Hairspray; Cry-Baby; Working Girl; Hairspray; Serial Mom; Gemini; Last Exit to Brooklyn; Cabin Boy; Cecil B. Demented; Where the Day Takes You; Inside Monkey Zetterland; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Cookie; Park; BMT: Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: Had her star turn in Hair in the 80s, and then transitioned into a television talk show host in the 90s amid attempts to break into film (while also having a bunch of weight loss/gain issues if I recall).)
Brendan Fraser – (Known For: The Mummy; Crash; The Mummy Returns; George of the Jungle; Bedazzled; Journey to the Center of the Earth; Blast from the Past; School Ties; Gods and Monsters; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Dogfight; The Quiet American; A Case of You; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Still Breathing; Twenty Bucks; Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy; The Twilight of the Golds; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; Eye for an Eye; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; The Nut Job; California Man; Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; The Scout; Son in Law; Inkheart; Airheads; Hustlers; HairBrained; Extraordinary Measures; The Last Time; Gimme Shelter; The Air I Breathe; With Honors; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Dudley Do-Right; Monkeybone; In the Army Now; Escape from Planet Earth; Mrs. Winterbourne; Now and Then; Notes: A huge star in the 90s, his career was somewhat waylaid by his divorce in the late 00s combined with just generally being an aging action star. Has revived his career somewhat with a few good television turns in The Affair and Doom Patrol.)
Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $10,082,005 (Worldwide: $10,082,005)
(Wow, how was this film made for $25 million? I don’t get where the money could have went. Surely not to the cast. It is literally just to rent a mansion for two months? I don’t understand. Big bomb if true.)
(Noice, I get to make a consensus: The type of film that relies on the lead actress to keep the it afloat … Ricki Lake is not that actress. Reviewer Highlight: The plot remains joyless in its contrivances. – Janet Maslin, New York Times)
(This is not a movie I want to watch. Did they paint a picture and just put it in the middle of the poster. This whole thing is pretty terrible, but at least they gave it a little pop with the color and the font. Still… C- at best.)
Tagline(s) – The story of a girl who is going from filthy to rich (B)
(I appreciate this. I appreciate the effort. A little mean to refer to Ricki Lake as filthy… I mean, she was perhaps down on her luck, but not covered in filth or anything. But I think I like it despite the fact that it’s probably twice the length it should be.)
Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), 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), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), The Great Outdoors (1988), House of Wax (2005), Despicable Me 3 (2017), A Cinderella Story (2004)
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), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995);
BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)
(Let’s see. We have The Astronaut’s Wife, Double Impact, and House of Wax coming up. So by the time we are finished here we would have gone from two “twins” films to nine. Beyond those nine actually the rest are rather dubious twin films as well.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Shirley MacLaine is No. 1 billed in Mrs. Winterbourne and No. 5 billed in Cannonball Run II, which also stars Burt Reynolds (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 5 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 12.
Notes – Despite having already lost 125 lbs, Ricki Lake was required to lose an additional 20 lbs before filming could begin.
Matthew McConaughey was considered for the role of Bill/Hugh Winterbourne. (Would have been his second twin film in BMT at the very least)
The Urban Legends Killer is back, Jack! And boy… does he still like to use urban legends. Amy Mayfield is a film student looking for a new story. When she gets wind of the events of the last movie she thinks she has her subject. That is until her movie seems to be coming to life. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend: Final Cut.
How?! Amy Mayfield is a promising student in an elite film school. Competing for the coveted Hitchcock Award, she knows she’s gotta have a pretty great story to beat out Travis and other talented classmates. One day while out walking she meets Officer Reese who tells her about the events at Pendleton. Eureka! Time to make a movie. But before she can things start to go sideways almost immediately. First a hyperrealistic scene of one of the actresses ends up among their film, but with the girl now out of town Amy can’t be sure whether she should be concerned. Then Travis ends up tragically killing himself. Everyone is shocked, but no more than Amy who ends up meeting his identical twin brother Trevor who is hoping to figure out what happened. When her cinematographer disappears she asks Reese to get her the security footage of the area. On it she sees his murder but can’t act on it when she is chased by the murderer! Somehow this is all brushed by the wayside and she prepares for her next big scene, recruiting Trevor to hopefully catch the bad guy in the act. This… doesn’t go well as two more of her crew are killed. Distraught Amy and Trevor hole up in her room, but upon waking up alone Amy heads to investigate some suspicious activity. There she finds her friend Vanessa… and the murderer! Oh no! Amy is able to get away, but not before Vanessa is killed. Realizing that everyone who was killed worked on Travis’ film they investigate and realize it was tampered with and suspicion falls on Toby, the only crew member still alive. Kidnapping him, they soon realize he’s not the killer but it’s actually one of their teachers! He’s ready to take his rightful spot in Hollywood by taking Travis’ film and killing all those involved. In a final climactic showdown he is killed and everyone is safe. We end with Amy becoming a big shot director. THE END.
Why?! Amy just wants to get out of her father’s shadow, who was a big documentary filmmaker. The more interesting thing is the bad guy’s plan. So he watches Travis’ film and is like “magnifique” and decides to steal it. But alas… how to deal with all those pesky kids on the crew. I know! I’ll give Travis a bad grade and he’ll commit suicide. Then I’ll murder all the other crewmembers and… pin it on Amy maybe? Because she’s making a film that’s mimicking reality. Uh… sure? And then I’ll take the film to Hollywood and present it as my own! But what if they ask where all the great actors in the film are? Ah yes, well they all tragically died… all of them… coincidentally… no big deal… air tight, man.
Who?! Rebecca Gayheart does show up again in a cameo at the end of the movie, which is an interesting twist given that they had her live at the end of the last film (setting her up as the monster), but then jettisoned her… but then doubled back and brought her back. I guess it wouldn’t make sense for her to come back and start prowling around a random film school, but if they really wanted a franchise they probably would have had to figure out how to do just that.
What?! I do like to point out in horror films the aspects of our “monster” and how it changes. This is an interesting franchise as the murderer is changing, kinda like a Scooby-Doo episode, and must be unmasked. Surprisingly rare when you think about it. In this case they jettison the lame-o puffy winter coat in favor of the fencing mask and they really could have had something there. And at the end they teamed up Brenda and our new baddy so voila, you got this franchise cooking. After that all you’d have to have is a good movie.
Where?! This time they don’t give us that sweet, sweet New Hampshire action. In fact they give us no action at all! Booooo. They just have it set in a random school (really a university in Canada) and expect us to be satisfied. Well I wasn’t. Where is this school? How am I supposed to engage with the narrative if I don’t know where I am. Booo. F.
When?! This is a little clearer than the location as we see that it’s quite cold and there is some implication that they are coming off of Christmas vacation. This is confirmed by a large January calendar in the police station. C+.
This is probably one of the worst horror films I’ve ever seen. They lean even harder into the meta (isn’t it cool?) aspect of the Scream horror revival going so far as to end the film with the filming of “Urban Legends.” But that’s all fine if they had good actors… or anything in the film made sense… or there was a single scare in the entire thing. The most memorable aspect of the film is the killer wearing a fencing mask (good choice, actually), but that plays pretty much no role in the film at all. Everything else is g-g-g-garbage. And just to reiterate… nothing in this film makes sense. Amy sees a murder on security tape and then gets chased by the murderer… and then nothing. She literally goes back to making her movie. At times it seems like they just forgot a horror movie was going on. As for Munchies, it’s a silly movie for silly people, but it had surprisingly fun actors and stuff involved. It wasn’t a total loss given that it more or less came about with someone seeing Gremlins, picking up the nearest phone, and telling whoever was on the other end “Get me a Gremlins.” Then this appeared by magic… and yet it was actually not the worst. So kudos to that. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! More Urban Legends to spookify me around the campfire? Pass some more s’mores! Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – The thing that stuck out to me illogically was that the film doesn’t have the same name as its predecessor. Urban Legend versus the plural Urban Legends: Final Cut? Bizarre choice. Why not Urban Legend 2: Final Cut? Or just Urban Legend 2? Whatever. In this one we have a bunch of television actors for the most part. The woman from House, Joey Lawrence of all people, and Anson Mount (who is now headlining a new Star Trek series as Captain Christopher Pike). All interesting actors at the time, but television actors galore usually doesn’t bode super well for a film’s quality. What were my expectations? After using most of the good urban legends I had heard of I expected to see them already scraping the bottom of the barrel with this guy. Worst acting and somehow less scares than the original to boot.
The Good – Really not much this time! The school they chose to film at was quite cinematic. And I guess it is a fine thing to try and give your killer a slightly more versatile and distinct look than the winter jacket from the first film. And they probably made the right decision trying to spin off into a more anthology style horror franchise with small connections (in this case the security guard from the first film is the only returning cast member). I also just generally like Jennifer Morrison. Given her leading role in both House and Once Upon a Time I’m a bit surprised she hasn’t been at least nominated for an Emmy for something. Best Bit: I like slasher films.
The Bad – No scares. Somehow negative scares. It actually made me less scared as I watched it. The acting was really bad as well, the kills were cheap and cheap looking, the twist was amazingly obvious (so obvious it was not obvious since the murderer had a real motive which is fairly abnormal for slashers). You’d think they would take a sequel which was designed around a film school to you know … do some film based urban legends. The tape that kills people for example would actually have been a pretty decent main plot for the film, although I suppose it is asking a lot for them to manage to come out the same year as Ringu and predate the original Ring … still there must have been some video tape based urban legends! Some film based urban legend, a cursed cast, etc. What we got was so light on urban legends it was weird. Fatal Flaw: Not scary, bad kills.
The BMT – The one two combination of Urban Legend and Urban Legends: Final Cut I think might surpass I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer as far as quintessential late-90s bad slashers. The two films are pretty explicitly carbon copies of the vastly superior Scream and Scream 2 (all the way does to the play on them effectively adapting the first film within the second film…). Just not at all tense or scary. Did it meet my expectations? Perfectly. After grasping at some tenuous urban legends in the first film it was obvious they were going to be grasping in the second. I think I would reiterate my main point: pick a single urban legend and just expand that for a sequel. The more diverse kills you try and invent / play off of the worse the franchise as a whole was going to be. And they managed to blow it up after only two films.
Roast-radamus – The original was clearly endorsed by Pepsi. This one though? A very in your face Product Placement (What?) for the Coca-Cola produced Fruitopia! I haven’t thought about that in years. I’m definitely giving a Worst Twist(How?) for the motivation of the very obvious killer: I didn’t get an award like 20 years ago so I’m going to kill a bunch of people now to become famous (better late than never I suppose…). And this one I think is closes to BMT just for being insanely, perplexingly bad for a slasher. Kind of like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
StreetCreditReport.com – This doesn’t appear on any lists I could find. A little late maybe (late September), but I imagine the choice was so obvious that a lot of mainstream critics just didn’t bother to see it. I do think this might be the worst slasher film of the late-90s / early-00s, although I would have to mull over the candidates for such a prestigious honor. Most of its cred, in reality, is from the film being a blatant rip off of Scream 2. Somehow they went right back to that well despite it making little sense.
Bring a Friend Analysis – We had a spot of trouble this week with Jamie watching Killer Workout and realizing … wait, this isn’t a twin film (despite what IMDb suggested). So we audibled to Munchies, a Roger Corman film that is quite explicitly a knock off of Gremlins. Like literally, Roger Corman wanted to make Gremlins, the editor of Gremlins wanted to direct a movie, so he was like “hey, can you make a Gremlins for me?”. She did, and the rest was history. Actually, a really fun movie in my opinion. It had just the right amount of self-awareness to make everything pretty entertaining. Also Harvey Korman, Charlie Stratton, and Nadine Van der Velde were all really good in the film I thought, which was shocking. Really cheap looking, but in a funny charming kind of way. And a lot of “that guy” energy with both Robert Picardo, and Paul Bartel in bit parts. Would definitely recommend it if you want to see what Roger Corman was doing in 1987. A. Shockingly fun creature feature.
Twin Analysis – Let’s start with Munchies first I think. In this film, due to budget no doubt, you only see Cecil and Simon Watterman (one a good hearted archeologist with some kooky theories about aliens, and the other an eeeeeevil 80s businessman) interact once. The kicker is Cecil is just Harvey Korman in a bad wig and mustache … and I’m here for it, I love it. Give me more of that evil twin with a mustache trope directly in my veins. It is a really funny idea to probably just get Harvey Korman more screen time (and save some money on paying the main actors in the film), but I think it works really well. They are pretty coy about him being a twin a lot of the time (which is funny and odd). But still a solid A- I think. The twinness is not a necessary part of the film, which would have bumped it up. As for Urban Legends: Final Cut again you never see the films on screen at the same time because one of them dies prior to the introduction of the other. In the end it felt like a giant wasted opportunity. They only vaguely head fake towards the twin being the killer, when that is by far the most interesting option for a fake twist available. If they had really committed to it I think you maybe start getting into A range, but as is I think it is a solid B. Weirdly not at all integral to the plot (he could have just as easily been an estranged brother or best friend), and too many wasted opportunities. But the twins are identical, and ultimately the twinness is at least a part of the film in the end.
Natalie and her gang of college friends are just a bunch of normal college kids. That is until people they know start getting killed and, weird, they all seem to have something to do with urban legends. Despite her warnings, no one believes her and her friends get picked off one by one. Can she stop the killer before it’s too late? Find out in… Urban Legend.
How?! Natalie and her friends at college are shocked when a classmate is murdered. Little do they know that Natalie has a dark secret connection to that classmate (bum bum bum) and soon finds herself amidst a series of bizarre deaths that seem to mimic the urban legends she’s learning about in her urban legends class (you know, that class you take in college… the one all about urban legends). No one believes her though and she begins to suspect everyone. As she tries to shake off the feeling that she’s going crazy her reporter friend Paul starts to take interest in the story when he finds that all the information about their school’s very own urban legend has been scrubbed from the records. Whiffing a conspiracy, he helps Natalie try to make headway, but is soon kicked off the newspaper for his efforts. Despondent and scared, Natalie goes to a party only to have the murders kick up a notch. She attempts to escape with Paul and her friend Brenda but soon starts to suspect Paul and they run away. This all leads back to the school’s spooky abandoned dorm where it’s revealed that Brenda was behind it all! She was the girlfriend of the guy who Natalie and her friend ran off the road with an urban legend prank (who among us…). For revenge she has killed everyone around Natalie and saved her for last. But just as she is going to do it Paul shows up (and really doesn’t do much) but then the school security guard shows up and saves the day. In the end we see Natalie and Paul rushing to get help, only to have to subdue a still-not-dead Brenda (or do they? Bum bum bum). THE END.
Why?! Eventually the motive for the crimes are made abundantly clear through an exposition scene that I think was supposed to play as satire. Brenda even has a projector there to help her explain her motives to Natalie/The Audience. Natalie isn’t purely an audience surrogate, though, she has that whole backstory about killing someone that explains why she’s so paranoid. It’s actually a wild plot point considering you are shown the flashback of their “prank” where they literally are laughing and laughing and laughing like crazy people as they run a dude off the road. It’s weird. The whole film is bizarre at times.
Who?! I think the most notable thing about the cast of this film was the inclusion of Robert Englund aka Freddy Krueger. It’s more than a cameo considering he’s one of the main suspects throughout the film. Interesting inclusion here since unlike what he was famous for this film never spawned a “Jason” or even a “Ghostface.” Kinda botched the monster/killer really.
What?! For any horror film you have to look to the motif. Jason has his mask and machete. Freddy his knives and striped shirt/fedora combo. Mike Myers has the mask. And Urban Legends has the… weird winter coat that everyone seems to own? It’s super lame and the closest thing they got to a distinctive weapon was an ax. Yawn.
Where?! New Hampshire! Where were you when we were doing What Goes Up for that one on mapl.de.map? This is delightfully set in the Granite State and I loved it for it. It’s very clear, but doesn’t play a huge role in the plot other than the note that the types of urban legends that are discussed in the film often start with “At a college in the Northeast…” B+
When?! We do get an exact date on this one as the date of the big party. It’s April 23rd or thereabouts… oddly clear in the film and yet noted no where on the internet (and while crazy, I won’t be renting the movie again to get the exact date). Trust me, though, it was not really all that important of a date other than the fact that it was exact… oh so very exact. B.
This movie is traaaaaash. The acting is terrible and the writing seems like they fished a dusty old slasher script out of a drawer and rewrote the bare minimum to make it a “super cool meta” Scream knockoff. The best that you can say is that they seemed to be having fun while they made it and it’s way better than the sequel. I really didn’t like this movie, but after watching the second one I was getting a bit nostalgic for all the great times I had loving, learning, and learning to love again with my dear friend Urban Legend. But don’t be tricked! This movie is terrible. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We watched not one, but two Urban Legends. Did I ever tell you about the time I was driving home and then it turned out there was an escaped serial killer in the back seat? True story, he chopped my head clean off. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – This one has been kicking around for a while (not least of which because it stars Pacey from Dawson’s Creek), and it is nice to complete another slasher franchise, albeit only two films, in the course of BMT. The only thing I think I ever really knew about it is it’s a knockoff of Scream. And the preview … yeah, it seems like that was the consensus at the time, that this is a knockoff of Scream and therefore bad. Well guess what? As long as I’m spooky scared, I’ll be happy. What were my expectations? A knockoff of Scream. The trailer also looks super late 90s, so I was hoping for a bit of amazing 90s fashion. If it is at all scary I think its a success.
The Good – Uhhhhhhhhhhh. Hm. I think there is a place for the true blue teen slasher film. I like the setting of the college campus, and even recently that ends up as a solid setting for a slasher film (and likely the reason Happy Death Day uses it as a setting as well). I think despite the film becoming a bit of a muddle in production, I really liked the look of the killer with the big winter coat. Something about killers and winter storms (a la Whiteout) works real well for me. Additionally, unlike the sequel they at least drew on some real urban legends, so some of those were good to see on film at least. And finally, I think this is probably the best I’ve seen Tara Reid in a film, she was surprisingly good considering she became somewhat of a punchline soon after. Best Bit: The killer’s design.
The Bad – The film is maybe the least scary slasher I’ve ever seen. And they completely telegraph the killer’s identity to boot. It is like an episode of Psych (or choose some equivalent generic murder mystery show), the main character has a dark secret, she killed a high school boy by accident in an urban legend prack gone wrong. Do you see it? Can you guess who the killer is? That’s right, the high school boy’s girlfriend! And of the cast only one person fits the description and voila, you have your killer 45 minutes into the film. As one would expect, the acting is really bad, and it isn’t well served by the muddled production, plus most of the characters are just garbage humans, making them hard to root for. Fatal Flaw: Predictable and not scary.
The BMT – I think as a twosome the Urban Legend franchise has a lot going for it in BMT history. You have the one-two punch of knocking off both Scream and Scream 2. You have a great concept completely ruined by half-assed production. And you have maybe the least scary two slasher films I’ve seen in a long while. Throw in the sequel being a twin flm and you’re cooking with fire! Did it meet my expectations? For enjoyment? No, the film is not scary and sucks. For a bad film? I guess … it is really bad. Like I-want-to-paint-a-portrait-of-this-film bad. So there is a lot of BMT-ness, just not a lot of “hey watch this movie, it’s hilarious”-ness.
Roast-radamus – Very nice Product Placement (What?) for Pepsi. Just wait until you see this section for the sequel, can anyone say trouble in paradise? Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for the fictional college town of Melbourne, New Hampshire. And a pretty awful Worst Twist (How?) for oooooh nooo my BFF turns out to be a psycho ex-girlfriend of the person I accidentally killed! I think this is closest to Bad in the end.
StreetCreditReport.com – It doesn’t make a huge impact on lists. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure, seems like at least some critics would just hate slashers in general. This probably makes so expanded lists for worst 90s slashers. But overall the credit is fully from that Scream knockoff genre that popped up in the late 90s. This series, unlike I Know What You Did Last Summer, is unabashedly a Scream carbon copy, all the way down to a meta narrative playing off of slashers in general. And in the end if you are at all a fan of the Scream franchise this is worth checking out in that context.
I’ll have to leave that here since the Bring a Friend and Twin Analyses will be for the main film watched this week in Urban Legends: Final Cut.
Oh boy. This is embarrassing. Because I’m again involved in some urban legend murders, and for the life of me I can’t (again) remember who the murderer was! Do you remember what happened in Urban Legends: Final Cut?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Again, just sock it to me, what urban legends do we see in the film?
2) Where does our main character get the idea for an urban legend film?
3) After Travis Stark supposedly kills himself his twin brother Trevor shows up to try and solve what he thinks must be a murder. Why didn’t anyone seemingly know about Trevor?
4) In the end what is the connection between all of the murder victims, and how do they figure it out?
5) So who was the murderer and why did he kill all of these people?
Whoa! Last thing I remember I was chilling on campus while a bunch of gnarly urban legend murders were happening. Scary! But I don’t remember if they caught the guy or anything … do you remember what happened in Urban Legend?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Right up top, can you name the urban legends featured in the film?
2) Our second victim (Joshua Jackson aka Pacey from Dawson’s Creek) isn’t recognized as a victim initially because he is thought to be on a trip. Where was he supposed to be going?
3) On campus there is a closed down dorm due to a spooky event that happened there that was covered up. What was the event?
4) It is revealed that Robert Englund got his professorship through not-so-academic means. How?
5) In the end, why did the killer do what the killer did?
“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?)
(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.)
(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)
(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.)
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.