Hall of Fame Speech #15: Here on Earth

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. The one film in BMT history that every other film is compared to, every other film dreams of being a mere shadow of, is Here on Earth. Never heard of Here on Earth? Don’t worry, neither have most people it seems. Oh ho ho … you are in for a treat! I’ve posted a preview, but also a very special original recap for the film. I would very much recommend it, I think it holds up incredibly well nearly six years later. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Here on Earth

When the Bad Movie Twins were young lads we saw a vision. A vision of a film that would come and teach us the way of bad movies. For years we searched in vain, certain that Battlefield Earth, or Norbit, or Jack and Jill could teach us the bad movie gospels. But we were wrong. Only St. Josh, St. Leelee, and St. Chris could show us the way. The other day I wondered how we even chose to watch Here on Earth. The only real explanation is that we had seen The Wicker Man, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, 88 Minutes, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li and loved all of them. And the constants there? Leelee and Chris. And what a fortuitous viewing it was. The current long-form recap probably gets most of its DNA from the very impromptu recap I made for this film, which will have been posted just prior to this speech. We’ve shown this film to multiple people and no one understands our love for it. Sometimes we don’t even understand it … but we are drawn back to it. It is BMT. Let’s get into it.

It has been five years … fine I’ve watched it more recently than that. But let’s still try and list what we remember:

  • What don’t I remember? Robert Frost valedictorian speech. Chris Klein acting like a sexual predator in Mable’s Table. Chris Klein’s rock hard abs. Harnett built like a scarecrow. Harnett acting circles around everyone. Leelee’s terrible running. The baseball date. Fuck cancer. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
  • This film defined what we dreamed of in bad movies. It basically created the email.
  • And yet no one else that watches it seems to find it as enjoyable … that’s weird. No, it isn’t us that is weird, it is everyone else, surely.
  • Leelee Sobieski and Chris Klein are the BMT power couple. There are only two other people who have influenced it more: Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell in Tango and Cash.
  • Hell … we have an entire game in the email called Welcome to Earf based on connecting all of the bad movies back to Here on Earth!!!! What more is there to say.

How do you parse out the most important aspect of a film that has it all? I think this is more about just re-experiencing it than anything else. If I was going to choose one thing about the film I was excited to re-experience it would be the context of Leelee and Chris Klein’s relationship. Much of the original recap was devoted to how Leelee doesn’t come across too great in the film. Her disregard for Harnett does, as some characters point out, seem cruel. But has that changed with age, experience, and one fresh rewatch?

So how did the rewatch go? Besides the fact that we seriously discussed making a podcast where we would watch the movie ten times and did a full deep dive dissection of the film? So yeah, I think it went pretty well. For me the thing that really popped this time was just how top tier certain aspects of the film are. You can break this into three different pieces, monologue-montage-monologue, that provide you with a little meat to sink your BMT chompers into. Conveniently these are also found early, middle, and late into the film. The first is Klein’s solid Robert Frost inspired valedictory speech spoken from a hilltop overlooking the graduation he has been barred from attending. Leelee looks on with awe as the complete asshole she just met also turns out to be insufferably pretentious. How could she resist? Later Klein is barred from the local Fourth of July fair (probably because he kinda sucks) and we are treated to a cow-dancing, heavy-drinking montage of our boy contemplating the consequences of attending the fair. Happy Fourth of Jooooly to us. Finally, after Leelee has seen the errors of her ways she accompanies Klein on a short jaunt to his mansion in Boston. Once there Klein lays down his masterpiece. His pièce de résistance. One of the original Monosklogs (and in my opinion the greatest of all time) where Klein talks at length about his mother and the roses that she used to grow before running into the rain to makeout with Leelee. In my youth the cow dancing montage was my favorite. With age comes wisdom and I think the final monologue is the guy. It’s the single moment of the film I would put in a time capsule so that future generations could see the beauty that is Here on Earth.

I was also quite surprised at how much differently I interpreted Leelee’s various relationships in the film. Leelee can, to put it kindly, kind of come off as a dick. Which is fine, Chris Klein is a stone cold dick for like 75% of this film. But in the first few viewings I distinctly remember thinking that Leelee was being an asshole stringing Harnett along like that (there are entire swaths of the original recap devoted to just that!). In the Hall of Fame viewing though, I saw through it all to the core of Leelee’s being. She had cancer. She feels certain this cancer will reoccur and kill her someday. She’s floating slowly through life, her best friend as her boyfriend, and they seemingly have no real plans. And then someone exciting enters her sleepy little town. A boy who despite all of his bluster seems terribly alone. And a boy who, for the first time in a long while, makes her want to really live! She explains this to Harnett: you’ll always be my best friend, but don’t you see, we were never in love. We were just there for each other, and you can still be there for me as a friend, but I’m in love with Chris Klein. *Sniff* You see why we love this terrible amazing movie so much?

If you want to understand BMT. Like … truly understand BMT, there really is only one film to watch. Here on Earth. Maybe you won’t really get it the first time. Or the second. But eventually I think anyone will start to realize that with every earnest dramatic monologue by Chris Klein, every stumbling run by Leelee, and every pained awkward stare by Hartnett, you’ll understand. You’ll understand why we are such bad movie weirdos.

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Hall of Fame Speech #14: Cobra

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the fourth installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. There was a time in this world in which Sylvester Stallone was the biggest star in Hollywood. And one of his most iconic character was a tough as nails cop who took down the baddest of bad guys. No, not Judge Dredd, this one acted as judge, jury, and executioner for super criminals who terrorized innocent civilians. No, still not Judge Dredd. This guy was the law! NO STILL NOT JUDGE DREDD. We’re talking about Marion Cobretti, aka Cobra! Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Cobra

Cobra fits into the Battlefield Earth mold of BMT films. If someone came to me and said “Hey, I’m trying to create a fun bad movie night for my friends. What do you recommend?” I would have Cobra on the list of solid choices. You’re not diving deep with something like Here on Earth where your friends and family will watch with concern as you roll on the floor laughing at Chris Klein dancing and stripping off his shirt. That’s our specific bad movie disease. This is the cure.

The top things I remembered from our first viewing:

  • It opens with a crazy 80’s super criminal grocery store hostage situation that basically sums up the film.
  • Sly Stallone cuts his pizza with a pair of scissors for reasons unknown.
  • Sly Stallone talks about other people’s dietary choices at least five times throughout the film. Lest you think this is a quirk of the script he also does this in the film Over the Top… so it’s all him, baby.
  • Brigitte Nielsen does a photo shoot or music video involving robots and it’s the most 80’s thing that has ever been created.
  • It is as far as I know the earliest example of a Secret Holiday Film as it very noticeably takes place during Christmas. Great answer for the question “What’s your favorite holiday film?”

I like to think that the most important aspect of the film is the Super Criminal idea. This is a pretty rare big budget film that allowed some of that grindhouse flavor leak into the stew. I specifically recall my mind being blown about what I was seeing on screen. The bad guy is an Unstoppable Force (complete with murderous crime spree through a hospital a la Halloween 2). He even speaks like the crazed student in Class of 1984, declaring himself the future, which is sure to be a bleak dystopia rules by super criminal sociopaths that cannot be controlled by normal cops who play by The Rulez. But Cobra don’t play by no Rulez. It has informed a huge part of the Bad Movie Twin lore.

As far as how the rewatch went this film really is special in that Tango & Cash kind of way. So earnest in what it set out to do. No sense of irony at all. Sly Stallone is cool. People step to him and he calmly rips their shirt and they’re like “oh shit, right. I respect this guy.” He lets people know that their diet is shit and they won’t ever be as ripped as he is even though he eats ‘za cut with scissors because he doesn’t have time or patience for a pizza cutter, bro. Brigitte Nielsen dances around with some robots and we aren’t supposed this think “ha, that’s funny.” We’re supposed to be like “that’s cool and hot and I have no chance with her, but Sly does.” The bad guys bang axes together, clench their teeth until sweat is popping out of their already popping veins, and look like crazed serial killers at all times. This wasn’t the age of the broken, damaged antihero. This was the age of Sly Stallone perfection against a gang of ruthless cult members overrunning a city.

Speaking of that it’s hard to talk wistfully about the age of the dystopian crimescape film, particularly when we’ve had to endure some particular horrid (and racist) examples of this like Death Wish. Once again we are treated to a hero who believes that you gotta shoot to kill to rid the streets of subhuman filth. Did they deserve to die? Of course. Didn’t you see how they were being criminals? This is obviously problematic on a whole bunch of levels. At least in this case you can cut Sly a little slack since the criminals he’s after are actually an insane cult and not just an extreme portrayal of gang crime run amok. In fact this cult seems to accept all ages and genders and the such. They simply believe themselves to be the next step in evolution. Unbeknownst to them they are simply a parasite and Sly is the exterminator.

Finally, as noted in what I remember about the film, this is a prime example of the Secret Holiday Film. Pretty much started that trend for us and it’s even more noticeable on a rewatch. Everything points to it being Xmas. What I didn’t totally remember was the extreme product placement. Sure we have Sly swigging a Coors in a grocery store before blowing away a bad guy. Make sense. He’s in a grocery store and cleaning up the streets makes one thirsty (I imagine). But why does our hero also endure a gigantic neon Pepsi sign glowing just outside his apartment? And being such a Pepsi head why doesn’t he say something when his partner sates his own thirst with a refreshing Coca-Cola. Need a place to rest? Lean against these boxes of 7up. You got time, right? Let’s treat you to an entire commercial for Toys-R-Us. It’s pretty impressive just how much they pack into a svelte 87 minute run time.

In conclusion, this film is fun. It is every Stallone film distilled into an easily digestible package. It’s like Tango & Cash except that film is actually good and this is for dumb people (and everyone needs to be dumb every once in a while). Battlefield Earth, Cobra, and The Wicker Man. That’s the trinity. In the name of John Travolta, Sly Stallone, and Nic Cage. Amen.

Cobra Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Cobra (1986) – BMeTric: 42.3

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Cobra_RV

(This is a movie which I think is becoming more popular as the years go on. I can say this straight out: the movie is nuts, but in a very 80s “this is nuts, but maybe also brilliant” kind of way. To be honest, I’m a little surprised the film hasn’t reached 6.0 yet.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Once more, Stallone wraps himself in the American flag and fights for the greater glory of mankind by going after criminal vermin; this time, he’s a cop. Typical low-grade action fare, where all the other cops are stubborn dummies, and all the bad guys are repellent creeps. Some good action sequences.

(The last throwaway line of “Some good action sequences” feels like an insult. Like Leonard is pitying them and throwing them a bone after this complete evisceration. Also, Leonard … you know I love semicolons. Don’t tease me like that, you devil.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoGoSu4NEyo

(I’m in. Although I have to say that the trailer is way too serious for its own good. Like obviously the film took itself too seriously, that’s the fun of it, but you can at least make it seem like it’s not just Sly mumbling to people the whole time and slamming Coors. Also, his license plate says AWSOM 50. Gotta mention it because it’s so stupid.)

Directors – George P. Cosmatos – (Known For: Tombstone; Of Unknown Origin; Future BMT: Shadow Conspiracy; Leviathan; Rambo: First Blood Part II; The Cassandra Crossing; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Rumor is that Sly actually directed the film and Cosmatos ended up as more of a producer. No info as to whether the same might be true of Rambo II.)

Writers – Paula Gosling (novel) – (BMT: Fair Game; Cobra; Notes: Fair Game and Cobra are adapted from Gosling’s novel A Running Duck. Cobra is crazier and better, Fair Game might as well not exist.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay) – (Known For: Creed II; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; First Blood; Homefront; Cliffhanger; The Lords of Flatbush; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rambo III; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Notes: From ‘82 to ‘88 Stallone didn’t star in a film he didn’t also get a screenwriting credit for. And a ton of the films are brilliant. And then he stumbled and is basically just an old man action star at this point, although he is writing Rambo 5.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Creed II; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Escape Plan; Rocky II; First Blood; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Cliffhanger; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Cop Land; Death Race 2000; The Lords of Flatbush; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Rambo III; Daylight; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Backtrace; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Rhinestone; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Notes: Still smashing the gym at the age of 72, this time to prep for Rambo 5. A bad movie legend if there ever was one.)

Stallone Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999;

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Rocky IV; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Married Sylvester Stallone a year prior to this film, likely around the time Rocky IV came out. The Great Dane, she was Danish and noted for her height.)

Reni Santoni – (Known For: Rain Man; Groundhog Day; Can’t Hardly Wait; Dirty Harry; The Brady Bunch Movie; Private Parts; Doctor Dolittle; Bad Boys; Bright Lights, Big City; The Package; Dr. Dolittle 2; The Pick-up Artist; The Pawnbroker; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Cat Chaser; Enter Laughing; The Battle for Anzio; Future BMT: 28 Days; Summer Rental; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Cobra; Notes: His IMDb claims he was a professional baseball player prior to becoming an actor, although there are no stats concerning his career (which makes it unlikely it would have been in the United States at least). Played a cop in a Murder She Wrote episode centered around a baseball team though.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $49,042,224

(Basically broke even I would think. Makes a bit of sense it didn’t get a sequel, although that would have been fun.)

#19 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre

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(Vanilla Sky, Cobra, The Marrying Man, Gigli, and Shanghai Surprise are the BMT films that fit the bill. Stunt casting might have become more of a thing in the late 90s with the advent of the 24-hour news channel, and again in 2010ish although that was just Twilight basically. Nowadays it seems to more likely be couples just deciding to do it instead of an actual stunt, like with A Quiet Place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (3/18): No consensus yet.

(The film is structured around an idea of super criminals which has since, rightfully, become a dirty word. The criminal which claims that they are the future, and that the justice system cannot stop them, and the cop who says “I am the law” and murders them all the same, screw due process, the process is broken! It is pretty disgusting if the entire thing didn’t play out like a joke half the time. Reviewer Highlight: The film trades on the same technique used by books that attack pornography by printing examples of the dirty pictures. Cobra pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it’s really the apotheosis of that violence. – Nina Darnton, New York Times)

Poster – I AM THE LAW (A)

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(I kind of inexplicably love this poster. Something about the matte colors. It feels like a painting, and a painting I want in my house … like, this represented America in all its macho super-violence, this represents something terrible and loveable about us in some way.)

Tagline(s) – Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure. (A)

(Again, I love it, but in a kind of psycho ridiculous way. Like for reals, people used to think super criminals were going to be a thing forever, and that we needed Judge Dredd (for reals) in our lives. That was a thing. And this movie represented that on a mainstream level, and this tagline perfectly conveys this. Somehow it works in both 1986 and 2019 in two totally different ways.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.2 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982); 62.8 The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961); 60.4 Space Mutiny (1988); 59.4 Red Sonja (1985); 57.7 Ghoulies (1984); 53.7 Casino Royale (1967); 52.9 Faces of Death (1978); 52.8 Starcrash (1978); 52.7 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964); 52.7 The Green Inferno (2013);

(What the f-in f! Anyways, that is a crazy keyword. Psychotronicdenoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. This isn’t that really, although it does have the vibe. Not surprisingly most of these are Mystery Science Theater 3000 films and do not qualify.)

Notes – A very rare workprint of the movie is available amongst fans. Although most copies are in poor quality, it has approximately 30 to 40 minutes of footage not available in any other version. It also has all of the X-rated material removed from the final release. (Huh … I’ll just put this here to remind me to check this out later)

When Sylvester Stallone was signed to play the lead in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), he did a lot of work on the screenplay, turning it into an action extravaganza that the studio couldn’t afford. He eventually left Beverly Hills Cop and channeled his ideas for that project into this movie.

Body count: 52, and 41 of them are killed by Cobra. (Jesus Christ!)

Most 1980s action heroes were called John (ex. John Rambo, John Matrix, John McClane). The hero of this film is named Marion, after John Wayne, the epitome of the cinematic tough guy.

Some of the cuts made to avoid an X-rating include: the first murder victim having her hands severed; an extended autopsy scene, including lingering shots of naked and mutilated bodies; a longer death for Ingrid’s photographer Dan, including a shot of him slipping on his own blood while trying to escape; more deaths of the townspeople during the climax, including a person getting hit in the face with an ax. (Wowza, and here I thought it was going to be a 20 minute hardcore sex scene starring Sly)

The film was considered a box-office disappointment at the time, especially compared to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Rocky IV (1985). However, it grossed $12,653,032 on its opening weekend, which was the largest opening weekend in the history of Warner Brothers and The Cannon Group at the time. It also earned over $160 million worldwide, against a budget of $25 million dollars (along with marketing costs). That opening weekend was the 2nd best for any film in 1986, trailing only that for _Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)_. It also got lumped together with Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), which also opened wide on May 23, 1986. (That worldwide number is pretty nuts considering it apparently only make $50 million domestically. I can’t imagine it was very common for the international yield to outstrip the domestic yield in the 80s)

At one point during filming Sylvester Stallone complained to cinematographer Ric Waite that they were falling behind and that he and his crew needed to work harder. Waite responded by saying that maybe if Stallone “gets his hands off Brigitte Nielsen ass and stops showing off to his bodyguards maybe they wouldn’t have problems with time”. Although Stallone was shocked that somebody would talk to him that way he did tone down his ego but after a few weeks he returned to his old egotistical behavior. In the same interview where he mentioned this, Waite also said that despite his huge ego Stallone had a great sense of humor. He also confirmed a rumor that Stallone was the true director of the film, calling credited director George P. Cosmatos a good producer, but a bad director. (Oh shit)

The original rough cut was over two hours long. Due to concerns it might not be a hit, the final cut was 87 minutes, thereby increasing the number of screenings per day. Some of the more violent scenes were also cut to avoid an X-rating. A great deal of plot detail was either removed or sped up while most of the violence and nearly every death was edited or depicted off-screen, resulting in numerous continuity errors.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn is a huge fan of Cobra. In Refn’s cult movie Drive (2011), the main character has a toothpick in his mouth in some scenes. This is Refn’s homage to the opening scene of Cobra where Cobretti has a matchstick in his mouth. (The first part sounds correct, the second part sounds like there is a toothpick in someone’s mouth which is totally normal and not usually a “homage”)

The custom 1950 Mercury driven by Cobretti in the film was a car actually owned by star Sylvester Stallone. The studio produced stunt doubles of the car for use in some of the action sequences, such as the jump from the second floor of the parking garage. (Cool)

The movie was based on a novel “Fair Game” by Paula Gosling. In 1995, William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford made Fair Game, which was based on the same novel by Gosling. Just like Cobra, Fair Game was re-edited by Warner Bros. in post production, but in Fair Game’s case it was due to the test audience disliking the original cut. (Because it is a garbage film)

The knife used by the Night Slasher character was made for the film by knife designer Herman Schneider. Sylvester Stallone had asked Schneider to create a knife that audiences would never forget. (I don’t recall what it looks like, so … didn’t work)

Brian Thompson auditioned seven times for his role before he was hired. On his fourth audition he met Sylvester Stallone and both he and the director thought that Thompson was too nice to play the role of Nightslasher. But after a screen test he immediately got the job. Thompson repeatedly asked Stallone about his character Nightslasher, like how Stallone would want Thompson to play him, character’s background, his reasons for doing what he’s doing, but Stallone wasn’t interested in explaining Thompson’s character and he basically told him that he is evil because he is evil. In an unfortunate surprise for Thompson, when filming of the movie was finished, director George P. Cosmatos told Thompson, “You could have been good if you had listened to me.” (He is right and wrong. Sly was correctly reading the times with the psychopath killer and the fascination the public had with such things. It is seen in slashers like Michael Myers, and rolled into some of the erotic thrillers in the early 90s as well. But Cosmatos is ultimately correct, a psychopath is a psychopath which is pretty boring.)

The first draft of Sylvester Stallone’s script had lot of differences from later drafts and the film. These include opening shootout taking place in movie theater instead of a grocery store and lot more people getting killed, Cobra mentioning how some psychopath he was trying to catch killed his girlfriend, additional big action sequence taking place during night on a boat where Cobra and Ingrid are hiding when they get attacked by Nightslasher’s cult members but Cobra and Gonzalez manage to kill them all, and different ending in which it’s revealed that Monte was actual leader of the New Order cult and when he tries to kill Ingrid he gets shot and killed by Cobra.

The Stan Bush song “The Touch” from The Transformers: The Movie (1986) was originally written for this film. (Whaaaaaaaa?)

The Paula Gosling novel ‘Fair Game’ on which “Cobra” is based is also called ‘A Running Duck’. When the movie came out Sylvester Stallone allegedly wanted the novel reissued with himself credited as the author. Ms. Gosling declined the offer. (Oh, I can’t imagine why …)

Sylvester Stallone was a fan of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band and approached them about doing a song for the film. The song “Voice of America’s Sons” was written for the film, and John Cafferty had contributed to the Rocky IV (1985) soundtrack as well. (Jam out to this)

Sylvester Stallone said he got the idea for the LAPD’s “Zombie Squad” from a real-life Zombie Squad in Belgium, comprised of cops who go out at night and handle crazed criminals on their own terms. (WHAT. I can’t find anything about that shit online)

The submachine gun used by Marion Cobretti in the final showdown with biker gang is a Jati-Matic. Cobretti uses a custom Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 in 9mm using Glaser Safety Slugs, a frangible bullet.  (These notes were much much longer before I cut them down, look up the details yourself if you are interested)

Santiago Segura has claimed that this movie was the inspiration for his well-known character Jose Luis Torrente, main star of Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley (1998) and sequels, that he conceived as a parody of the 80s action movies. In fact, the title is a spoof of Stallone’s movie, since then in Spain Cobra was titled as “Cobra, el brazo fuerte de la ley” (Cobra, the strong arm of the law). (Huh, this would be a great homework opportunity. According to wikipedia, José Luis Torrente is an ugly, bald, overweight, dirty, corrupt, lying, fascist, racist, and chauvinistic retired cop … sounds about right.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Hall of Fame Speech #12: Ghosts of Mars

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the second installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. Sometimes when directors get real old they decide they’re going to really show everyone that they still got it! And then you realize sadly that the industry passed them by and the movie is instead just really hilarious. That’s Ghosts of Mars. For reals, it’s hilarious. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Ghosts of Mars

Back in the day John Carpenter was a Hollywood legend. He created The Thing, Halloween, and Assault on Precinct 13 among countless other horror and action classics. So naturally when he came up with the story for Ghosts of Mars he knew he had done it again! It had it all, the three B’s: Boobs, Big Guns, and BANANANANANANANAS! … What’s that? That’s the sounds the zombie leader makes in the film. What’s that? Yeah, Ghosts of Mars, it’s a zombie pic, was that not clear by the title? What I’m sure started as a straightforward sci-fi flick starring Ice Cube, quickly spirals into a madness of flashbacks within flashbacks with flashbacks … literally. At one point there is a flashback within a flashback within a flashback, John Carpenter thought that making this film a rats nest of flashbacks was a coherent way to tell a story. And that’s the kind of forward thinking the Bad Movie Twins look for in a Hall of Fame film. Batshit crazy nonsense that elevates what would otherwise might be a sad testament to how time takes even the best of us in the end. Let’s get into it.

It has been over five years since I watched this thing, so what do I remember?

  • BANANANANANAANANANAS! The main antagonist of the film looks like someone from a mid-90s heavy metal music video and sounds like that. And no joke … his name is credited as Big Daddy Mars. It is infinitely hilarious.
  • The movie looks like trash. It was made in the 2000s! I can’t quite remember if it is all bad CGI, but I do remember the makeup choices don’t age very well.
  • This is one in a series of Ice Cube on a train films. At the time we were on a kind of kick of Ice Cube films, we had watched Ice Cube save the President of the United States on a train not even three months before in xXx: State of the Union.
  • For some reason I always think of them as zombies even though that doesn’t make sense. I do think it is considered a zombie film of sorts, which is interesting. But for the life of me I can’t remember why the film is called Ghosts of Mars … That is probably what I’m interesting in most on the rewatch.
  • Flashbacks baby! The first few years of BMT were marked by a few films having dreams within dreams. This takes that idea to the next level. There is at least three levels but possibly four? It is absurd even to consider.

As usually I put the first and last points as the most important. BANANANANANANANANAS is the more obvious of the two important points. The aliens can’t really talk properly and thus the neverending speeches by Big Daddy Mars doesn’t exactly translate to the audience in the end. Instead … well, he sounds like he’s asking for a bunch of BANANANANANANANANAS? Over and over and over again he wants BANANANANANANANAS. Once you hear it you will never unhear it, you’re welcome.

The second most important note is obviously the flashbacks. Around that time in BMT’s history there was a natural obsession with the quirks of directorial choices. We were still mowing through some of the bad movie classics and there was a veritable bounty of such things. This movie stands out for just the sheer amount of such choices: the flashbacks, side wipes, dutch angles, strange fades. He really did go all out. But the flashbacks, it is what I would remember more than anything else. The madman did it! He did a flashback within a flashback within a flashback! It is brilliant.

So how did the rewatch go? Better than I could have imagined. Not only was everything I remembered there, but with my boundless BMT knowledge I felt a deeper understanding of the true madness of the film. Initially I thought Carpenter’s choice with the flashback was some sort of ill-conceived attempt to get in on that non-linear storytelling bandwagon. Memento came out the year before after all. But nay! The film is somehow the most linear way to tell a story that can possibly be done!

The entire film in itself is told as a flashback by Natasha Henstridge explaining what happened during the ill-fated trip to a remote Mars mining outpost. As the group member split up and then rejoin you are told the entire story via a series of flashback IN THE ORDER HENSTRIDGE HEARS THEM. They’ll split up, you see Henstridge’s story, she meets up with the other party and asks “hey what happened?”, they respond “Well let me explain”, and bam! You’re in a flashback. It happens without fail. And within flashbacks the same rule applies. Hey Statham, what happened? Oh let me explain *flashback*, so I met these weirdos as asked “hey, what happened”, and they were like “oh let me explain” *another flashback*. Etc. etc. etc. etc. It is one of the most incredible things you will ever see.

The rest of the film is just John Carpenter doing weird John Carpenter things. He decides his synth-heavy soundtrack won’t really work, so he makes some punk rock soundtrack with a little help from his friends. He then dresses up the bad guys as punk rockers, and does a ton of not-very-good-looking practical effects. All of this results in BANANANANANAS being yelled a lot and a ton of blood. Which could all kind of be excused if the film wasn’t told in a batshit insane way.

I would highly highly recommend this film for any bad movie lover out there. It really will just melt your mind. And in the end I feel fine needling John Carpenter a bit. He’s an amazing director, and my love for my work only makes it all the more amusing to see it go wrong on occasion. Congrats Ghosts of Mars, you are truly BANANANANANANANAS!

Hall of Fame Speech #11: A Sound of Thunder

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the first installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. One of America’s greatest science fiction writers brought us a tale of time unravelling due to a few flaps of a butterfly’s wing. And with the tiny problem of bankruptcy, the film adaptation unravels becoming a quintessential example of what happens when you run out of money for CGI in the middle of post-production. A true blue embarrassment. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for A Sound of Thunder

What would happen if a film was made that should, by all accounts, be buried or released direct-to-DVD was, instead, released to 800 theaters? The answer is, oh what’s that? It’s a SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! What I’m sure started as a perfectly fine plan to adapt a Ray Bradbury classic quickly turned into a debacle as the production company went under in the middle of post-production. So what do you do when half your CGI isn’t complete and you have no money? Pay interns to fill it with 90’s era video game cutscenes I guess. As The Bad Movie Twins, we have to keep our standards, we can’t just go watch any old piece of garbage. Lucky for us, some people decide to release their garbage to theaters. This is possibly the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a wide release film, and that is plenty to get it into the Hall of Fame. Let’s get into it.

It has been over five years since I watched this thing, so what do I remember?

  • The CGI is literally insane. From what I remember the cars are like … blocks, and the dinosaur looks like an Adventure Company cutscene. The entire thing should have been shelved for a few years while they got an extra million together because …
  • At times the movie isn’t all bad. It is at the very least an interesting idea. Obviously. I mean, it is a Bradbury story after all.
  • Not all the CGI is terrible, the monkeys I remember at one point were okay.
  • There is a specific scene in which the main character walks into a building holding a bag of dirt over his face … I don’t know why, but I need to see this scene again, because the way I remember it is crazy.
  • OH IT’S A SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! For years we have said this to each other. This morning when I mentioned to my brother that I was doing the rewatch he said it to me. He said it to his roommates back in the day. It’s what we remember.

As has become tradition I put the most important one first and last. The first because honestly that is why this is here. This is the worst CGI in an otherwise wide-release and genuine film I’ve ever seen. It is unfinished and somehow the production company thought that it was better to release than just wait to get more funding together. It is very very weird obviously. Have we seen others since? Sure, Atlas Shrugged Part II comes to mind. That was also a film that was barely released to 1000 theaters and looked like garbage. But this was one of those very Hollywood stories. These people weren’t fanatics who needed to release their film to satisfy their pride. They went into bankruptcy and somehow this film just kind of … got released. That is amazing.

The last is just something to mention about how BMT films can have a very profound impact on our lives. For years we’ve said “oh … it’s a sound of thundaaaaaah” to each other. Things like that is why I love BMT, and why this movie belongs in a personal Hall of Fame. As much as the astonishingly bad CGI which really sets it apart. It is arguably why we created the Hall of Fame, to remember the films that have shaped BMT through the years. And this one certainly did.

So how did it go? Let me start by saying that I was concerned about this rewatch. I was concerned that the CGI wouldn’t be as terrible as I remember, that the story would be fine, and all the weird bits I loved at the time just wouldn’t pop now that I have more bad movies under my belt. I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the cars look a little better, but nearly everything else looked as bad or worse than I remembered. The CGI is not only terrible, but it is unrelenting. It is constant. Every scene that takes place outside it just complete green screen and looks very bad. I genuinely saw better CGI in video game cutscenes. It really is truly insane.

The story doesn’t make much sense, and I think with having watched more bad movies since I can also tell what the director went for (and ultimately failed). There is a very strange set of characters, the two assholes who mess up the past, where you can see him tip his hand. The entire film takes place in 2055, but it is supposed to, basically, be 1955 but kind of updated in a fun way. They are wearing fedoras, they slag on their wives, and they talk about their big brass balls a lot. It is really an interesting idea. Whether that is all in the original short story, I don’t know, but I think it was an interesting idea either way. That would be both a good and a bad for me. It is an interesting idea, but it is sloppy and weird, but I don’t remember noticing it way back when.

And the bag scene? Not that weird. The only weird bit is that he walks into the apartment and just kind of … hangs the bag of soil on his shoulder. It is a weird choice by Edward Burns, but I’m pretty shocked we both noted it at the time. Clutch note in my opinion.

So there you have it. If you are ever in the mood for watching a genuine movie with bar none the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a wide release, you now know the movie. And I honestly think that is plenty for the Hall of Fame. Some films just deserve it. They’re unflashy, but they check those boxes. Congrats A Sound of Thunder (oh, it’s a SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAH), you put in the work and it was all well worth it.

A Sound of Thunder Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

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(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

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

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

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(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

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(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

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(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

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(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.

Hall of Fame Speech #10: I Know Who Killed Me

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a second class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly seven years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last installment leading up to the fifth (seventh?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. We close with the Lindsay Lohan redemption story (er … strike that, this turned out to be the final nail in the coffin … whoops!) I Know Who Killed Me. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for I Know Who Killed Me

If there is one thing the Bad Movie Twins love it is twin films. A classic in its own right this serial killer thriller was meant to be a redemption story for its star Lindsay Lohan, an actress who, at the time, was haunted by stories of outrageous behavior and drug use. Instead, the exploitative film turned out to be the last thing studios needed to see to confirm Lohan’s career was, for all intents and purposes, dead. The Bad Movie Twins pride ourselves in finding the wonderful badmovieness in even the most non-thrilling of thrillers, but sometimes you have to recognize greatness. This is a bad movie fan’s bad movie, the kind you just marvel at, so consider its induction more of a victory lap if anything.

As was the case with all of the Hall of Fame movies it has been over five years since we saw the film, so what did I remember?

  • The ultimate twin film! That’s right, Lindsay Lohan plays two girls who are, in fact, stigmata twins. She answers the age old question “if I hurt your twin do you feel it?” with a resounding YES.
  • The entire film is colored blue and red. It is quite in your face, which is basically because the director was not very experienced.
  • The killer is super telegraphed. Like it is obviously her piano teacher, he cuts off her hand and leg … which she is using to play the piano earlier in the film.
  • Yet another Neal McDonough film! He is just a jewel, savor him, he only has so many movies left to watch.
  • ROBOT ARM AND ROBOT LEG. That’s right, in the film Lohan almost inexplicably receives a futuristic robot arm and robot leg. You may wonder: wait? When does this movie take place? The near future I guess. It never quits, and it is almost entirely for budgetary purposes and it is awesome.

As usual I tried to keep the first and last entries as the most important. The twin film aspect of it is legendary. At the time we watched this we didn’t really have an idea of Twin Films or even that we were the Bad Movie Twins. We just had Bad Movie Thursday. We didn’t even have an email let alone a full-blown website. The stigmata twin aspect of the film is probably foundational to identifying elements of films that we couldn’t help but love. Black Eyed Peas, the Calendar, the Smellements, possibly all ultimately came from us personally identifying with twin films and trying to recapture that moment of just loving something in a profoundly illogical way.

The robot arm and robot leg on the other hand is completely unparalleled in bad movie lore. There is no other set piece in a bad movie that is as delightful as this (definitely budgetary) choice to give Lohan a robot arm and leg to drag around after getting them stigmatically removed by her sister’s torturer. They have to be plugged in and thus slow her down at times, it allows her to have a kind of super strength in other instances, and best of all it sets the film in some near future where this stuff not only exists, but is accessible to a high school student. For all I know it does exist! It leaves so many more questions than answers it kind of saves the middle of a film from being just boring as Lohan tries and figure out why she is hanging with this family she doesn’t know.

So how did the rewatch go? As you can kind of tell by my excitement above, it obviously went super well. Is the movie a bit slow at times? Yes. Is it gross and exploitative and make you feel terrible? It does! I actually did forget about that bit. The idea that this was supposed to allow Lohan back into the limelight by having her strip and show her “adult” side is just so misguided considering her main issue at the time was drugs and alcohol. But overall the film has to be the worst major serial killer film you can watch. As a plus you get to hang out with Lohan and McDonough in the slow bits, so it is still pretty fun even when it is a run-of-the-mill mystery thriller.

And there were some great bits I totally forgot about. Just how gross the film is is hard to describe. It is fully in the body horror genre at times, which is possibly my least favorite genre (maybe torture porn, but who can choose?). And there is an aspect of the direction I also forgot about: the mirror shot. We’ve watched a few films which use this conceit. Torque I think used mirror shots somewhat ironically, and Color of Night very earnestly. This is closer to Color of Night and kind of shows that the director just wasn’t really ready for a major motion picture, he was using directorial stylings from early-90s erotic thrillers. Might as well have shown us some Bruce Willis dong while you’re at it.

This film is the quintessential twin film and the quintessential bonkers set piece film. For the twin film aspect and the robot arm and robot leg the movie would easily slide head first into the Hall of Fame. But add that mirror shot directorial choice and it solidifies its place as the top of the serial killer bad movie genre. Congrats I Know Who Killed Me, you did it.