Killer Kountdown – 10 REALLY Guilty Pleasures

In my previous Kountdown, I stated that horror is a subjective genre and that tastes – however eclectic – will always, at some point, generate disagreements. While it’s certainly possible for someone to dislikeany horror film they come across (it’s just not for everyone), it’s nearly impossible for someone to loveeverything the genre churns out. There is some horror out there that is lazy, uninspired, and made for the sole purpose of generating revenue for a fledgling company, or a big one that might not be in the black anymore. Some are so outrageous that they ignore common sense, taste, or logic and focus simply on the basest of elements, like shock value, gore or sex, with no regard whatsoever for the intelligence of its audience. And then there are some that, for whatever reason, seemed to give it the old college try and were simply ignored, cast aside, or generally disliked by just about everyone.

But what about the movies you enjoy that EVERYONE hates? There have got to be some. A movie or two that you almost catch yourself from admitting you enjoy because of the near-certain parade of “WTF” looks you’re about to receive? A film that even in our genre, where just about anything goes, you’re still looked at like you grew a third eye in your forehead by even your best of friends? Movies people don’t just dislike, but they just can’t believe you would sink to the depths you’ve sunk to by admitting that you not only gave it a fair shot, but enjoyed it! And you don’t dare take to the internet – the world wide web – where everyone can see you (!), and share your love for this film, for fear of the dreaded “unfriending” or public ridicule. Good-fucking-heavens, no!

Well, guess what? I’m inviting you, the true, die-hard horror fans out there to step forward, raise your head high and say, “Hey, I love that movie. You got a problem with that?” Someone will and you know what? Who cares? I thrive on going against the grain, don’t you? I’ve never liked a film just because “everyone else does”, nor have I hated one for the same reason. We’re horror fans, not sheep! There’s nothing “hipster” about defending a poorly received film, just as there’s nothing “sell-out” about digging a film that’s caught mainstream success!  This shit isn’t going to come up during a drug test or job interview! Horror is the rock star of film genres – the cinematic middle finger that says, “I’m here to fuck shit up. Enjoy it or hit the bricks!” And what’s more metal in the horror genre than standing by your tastes – however unpopular – and saying, “Yep! I dig that shit even when no one else does. I’ll rock it all day!”

So to get you amped up (and likely incur a plethora of hate mail) I’ve provided a list of 10 horror movies that I stand completely alone on my own private island of “Questionable Tastes” (as some have called it), and admit proudly that they, for whatever reason, hold a special place in my heart as films I enjoy that nearly everyone else seems to hate. And I’ll even back up my titles with – what I consider – valid reasons why I enjoyed the movies in question, so it doesn’t just look like I threw a basket of snakes into the room for knee-jerk reactions! I genuinely like these movies! Give them a look and see if you agree with any! I’d love to hear back! This island gets lonely sometimes!

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10.) The Thing (2011) – It’s a prequel! It’s a remake! It’s a prequel! It’s a remake! It’s a re-quell! It’s a pre-make! We can go in circles all day with this, slapping each other around like Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. OR we can agree that Universal wanted a remake of John Carpenter’s a-fucking-mazing 1982 hit (which was, itself, a remake of the Howard Hawks’ 1951 film The Thing From Another World), and that producers fought to meet them half-way. What we get is a none-too-scary ride through familiar territory that treads dangerously close to being derivative more than once. But take a closer look. Better still, watch it and Carpenter’s back-to-back. A lot – and I mean A LOT – of research, care and a maticulous attention to detail in the continuity department are at work here. For the things you could bash the film for, the only real thing going against it that it never recovers from is a lack of suspense. Yes, the movie delivers some hair-raising sequences, and it’s fun to play “who do we trust?” with the cast, but in the end, Carpenter’s film already told us what we needed to know – these folks are dead come end credits. Knowing the characters are doomed from the jump off definitely hinders any real concern you might have generated in the characters otherwise. But you still get a fun creature feature with some grisly effects, some wonderfully clever nods to Carpenter’s film, Mary Elizabeth Winstead echoing Sigourney Weaver in all the best ways, and a hell of a fun time watching all the fun little lead-ins and foreshadowing the film gives us to finally see what horrible events befell the Norwegians before Macready and his crew found the camp. Better planned, better executed and with a far better respect to its source material than most remakes (or sequels), 2011’s The Thing will likely never become the classic Carpenter’s 1982 version has, but damned if they didn’t clearly give it their best shot in their attempts to stand along side it. I found the movie to be one of the more honest attempts to expand a classic’s legacy, rather than wipe its feet on it.

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9.) I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) – When Scream was released in 1996, it spun the genre – namely the slasher subgenre – on its head. A massive box office hit, it often divided serious horror fans right down the middle. Some found the movie to be a clever homage to the genre, often ribbing some of the more short-sighted clichés while maintaining a grim, gruesome atmosphere that was, indeed, quite serious. Others took the film as a smarmy slap in the face to the unapologetic genre we’ve grown to love. It might have been both. Regardless of what side of the line you stood in regards to Scream, its imprint on the genre changed the game forever. So when Scream scribe Kevin Williamson adapted the script for I Know What You Did Last Summer from Lois Duncan’s novel, cast with another team of hot young stars (this time Neve Campbell’s “Party of Five” co-star Jennifer Love Hewitt, and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Sarah Michelle Gellar), I think that audiences expected another quick-witted slasher yarn with movie-savvy teens and buckets of blood. What they got instead was a film with dumb characters, completely inexplicable situations (the crab-covered corpse in the trunk trick was implausible at best), little, if any real gore, and – the most inexcusable offense (to me, anyway) was a “surprise ending” reveal that rendered any red herrings pointless. It’s admittedly a difficult movie to defend. Why after changing the genre as we know it with Scream would a writer take two steps backwards and pen a script that falls into every cliché he had previously called to the carpet? Whatever the reason, the film never made a big dent with its core audience. But somehow, for me, the movie worked. It felt like a throw-back to films like 1986’s April Fools Day or My Bloody Valentine. Another walking killer who catches people literally sprinting from him. It was predictable and played like an R-Rated “Goosebumps” book, but it somehow felt “like home” to me. The cozy, sea-side community reminiscent of Amity Island in Jaws, some dark and sleek photography, a couple of nasty kills and some solid performances by Hewitt and Gellar, the film really wasn’t all that bad, and continues to work for me as a late-90s nod to an undeniably 80s style.

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8.) Howling V: The Rebirth (1989) – While most horror film franchises continue with varying degrees of quality, I think it’s pretty safe to say that after Joe Dante’s 1981 adaptation of Gary Brandner’s novel, the Howling series as a whole is probably one of the most poorly-maintained series in the genre. An odd franchise that went in a number of strange directions, the continuity between films was near-nonexistent, forcing you to basically take each “sequel” on its own merits – of which there weren’t many. However, one sequel always stood out among the others to me, and while its certainly not without its faults, Howling V: The Rebirthactually seemed to strike me as a truly honest attempt to salvage something from the wreckage left behind by Howling II – IV. A group of tourists visit a Hungarian castle in Budapest, and are snowed in by a blizzard. When one of the castle’s guests disappear, the rest begin to search the castle’s cavernous tombs, secret passages and dungeons to find them. It becomes apparent that a werewolf is stalking them one-by-one, and worse yet, the werewolf might actually be part of their group. But who? Despite it being written by (and co-starring) Clive Turner, who penned the not-so-greatHowling IV and the “so bad it’s unbearable” Howling: New Moon Rising in 1995, Howling V is a pretty straight-forward murder mystery that wisely avoids showing you too much of the beast (after the first film, the werewolf effects nose-dived as hard as the stories), set against a wonderfully Gothic backdrop, with an appropriately haunting score by The Factory. Surprisingly engaging and fun in a classical horror kind of way, Howling Vremains the only other watchable chapter in the franchise after the original.

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7.) Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995) – 1992’s Candymanremains one of the most genuinely chilling films to tackle the “urban legend” concept of repeating a mythical figure’s name into a mirror a specified number of times, and conjuring the evil spirit to appear in the reflection. No matter how many years pass, the film retains a power and an almost nauseating sense of dread.Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh wasn’t going to fill the original’s shoes. Just being a sequel, it was already going to be met with trepidation. Plus, like most sequels, we get the gimmick now. We know the gag, we’re familiar with the set-up, so the only logical course of action is to try and bring something new to the proceedings that can continue the mythos without spoiling the original film. While many wrote the sequel off as a lazy retread of the original, I actually enjoyed the film’s knack for eerie set designs, the understated performances by Kelly Rowan, William O’Leary, Bill Nunn, Veronica Cartwright and Timothy Carhart, and, of course, the cold menace of Tony Todd as the Candyman, who is actually presented with a little more to do here than be the film’s villain. A brutal backstory is played out regarding his origins, a troubled family lineage is revealed, and all of it shot beautifully against the backdrop of a Mardi gras setting that has a tendency to lull you into a false sense of comfort. I realize that a good portion of the film’s power lies in its set design by Barry Robison, and the strong performances, but the film still has a creepiness within it that people tend to ignore. And to me, the wonderful elements surrounding the so-so frights and over-reliance on gore make up for miles in this often overlooked sequel.

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6.) Leviathan (1989) – The horror genre is definitely one of the most guilty perpetrators of “recycling” ideas – and I’m not just talking about remakes. I mean, taking an already tried and true formula, and rehashing it – albeit usually cheaper and with less focus. After the groundbreaking release of Alien, everyone wanted to catch that same lightening in the bottle. So we got a ton of Alien-knock offs. Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination, Norman Warren’sInseminoid, Sean Cunningham’s DeepStar Six, and William Malone’sCreature – just to name a few – were there to “borrow” some ideas from the Ridley Scott masterpiece. But one seemed to emulateAlien with slightly more success than the others, and while many consider it shameless…I always found it hilarious and kind of fun. Directed by George P. Cosmatos, who helmed the exciting Rambo: First Blood II and the awesome Kurt Russell western Tombstone, Leviathan plunges us into the depths of the Atlantic with a group of deep-sea miners who encounter a deadly genetic mutation from a sunken Soviet wreck that sets to work killing and mutating the crew. A completely unapologetic blend of Alien and The Thing,Leviathan is a blast of gruesome fun from start to finish. Whether it’s Peter Weller trying to learn how to be more assertive with his crew, Amanda Pays and her completely gratuitous crying fit in the shower, Home Alone’s Daniel Stern’s boozing, borderline rapist behavior, Richard Crenna’s questionable ethics as the ship’s doctor, or the icy-eyed Meg Foster as the crew’s heartless top-side boss with a secret, Leviathan does everything it can to remind you of Alien with a far gorier, sleazier mindset. Understandably overshadowed by the massive success of James Cameron’s The Abyss later that summer, Leviathan is one of the few Alien ripoffs that works in spite of itself. In fact, if the print were a little beat-up and scratched, it could be easily re-released today as a sleeper “grindhouse” style hit.

You guys still with me? Because it’s about to get worse. Hang on tight!

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5.) Stay Alive (2006) – No doubt created to cash-in on the wave of J-Horror that was sweeping the States, with movies like The Ring, Pulse and One Missed Call, Stay Alive continued the tradition of technology serving as a conduit for paranormal forces. In this instance, a video game called Stay Alive – a typical shoot-em-up ghost and zombie survival game, like “Silent Hill” or “Resident Evil”. Here’s the kicker – you die in the game, you’re killed in similar fashion in real life, so you better be a Grade-A, G4 game geek, or the entity that haunts the game will get you one way or the other.Stay Alive was a resounding box office flop upon its release. What happened? Video game-themed movies like Resident Evil and Silent Hill did respectable business, and both were clearly influences toStay Alive, so why the hate? Simple. Stay Alive‘s bad rap came from studio interference. Once originally stocked with all the necessary ingredients for a good, gruesome horror film (gore, nudity, drugs, sex), the film was edited to an almost unrecognizable PG-13 hodge-podge. De-fanged, de-caffeinated, and de-clawed, Stay Alivewas barely a shell of its intended self when it hit theaters in early 2006 and was met with understandable hostility. An Unrated cut was released that fall with nearly 15 minutes worth of footage that was trimmed out for theaters, and the differences are as stark as night vs. day. I didn’t catch Stay Alive in theaters, so it wasn’t until after I had seen the Unrated cut that I realized just how much was cut out. Almost every key scare in the film is filled with gore, and in one instance, nudity. Seeing a PG-13 cut would have almost certainly have caused the film to feel like an edited-for-television affair, and I would have felt cheated too! And yet with an infinitely better “version” out there, Stay Alive still remains largely ignored or blasted by horror fans. Sure, it’s kind of simple and in a couple of instances the movie doesn’t exactly play fair within the rules it sets up for itself, but the performances are solid, the special effects are fun, and the game vs. reality plot – while not entirely original – is written cleverly and respectful to its core audience – namely gamers and horror fans. Far from perfect, Stay Alive is still a fun, dark-humored tech-horror film…if you choose to watch the right version, of course.

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4.) The Amityville Horror (2005) – The original Amityville Horrorfrom 1979 isn’t exactly “beloved” by the genre either, as both critics and audiences tend to take their pot-shots at the relatively slow boiled pace and a couple of over-the-top performances. To be honest, I love the original, and it almost made this list. But the fact is, even with its naysayers, it’s still far more respected than its 2005 remake starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and a young, pre-Kick-Ass Chloe Grace Moretz. Directed by Andrew Douglas, who had only one credit to his name (a documentary called Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus), The Amityville Horror was the second remake featured under producer Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes label, following the box office success of his new take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003. Following the same story, and hitting the same key notes as the 1979 film, this new adaptation of the Jay Anson novel did away with anything that slowed the original down, and went straight for the throat. What resulted was a film with a lot of “typical” scares, and an over-abundance of gore and gruesome make-up, that frankly, was more of a technique employed by the many Amityville sequels of the 80s and 90s. Fans of the original were put off by the “modern take”, and non-fans of the original pretty much just ignored it all together. However, the film has a slick, dark look to it, and likeCandyman: Farewell to the Flesh, mentioned above, a good amount of credit has to be given to its eerie production design, done by first-time production designer Jennifer Williams, who managed to not only make the iconic house immediately recognizable, but far more menacing and creepy as well. But what truly made The Amityville Horror work for me, was the amazing performance by Ryan Reynolds as George Lutz. At the time, known primarily for his comedic roles in Van Wilder, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and a 4-season stint on ABC’s “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place”, Reynolds hadn’t really been cast in anything dramatic – the closest being Blade: Trinity, and even then, just a tougher version of his normal smart-ass persona. Here, not only did Reynolds prove he has the chops to be serious, he was downrightmenacing when he spiraled into possession-mode. Like James Brolin before him, Reynolds goes from lovable family man to glowering, red-eyed maniac with all the ease and effectiveness of a horror movie veteran. A scene where he’s forcing his step-son to hold a log steady for him to chop is evidence enough that Ryan Reynolds can make you completely forget anything even remotely comedic about him, and revealed a darker side to his acting that I personally didn’t know he had in him. I’ve actually been a fan of his ever since. Watching Reynolds plummet into madness is actually THE biggest reason to revisit theAmitvyille Horror, and is actually such a saving grace, it elevates the quality of the entire film.

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3.) Dracula 2000 (2000) – Dracula and maybe Frankenstein might be two of the most over-exposed movie monsters of all time. For the better part of the century, these two guys have had their stories done justice…and, well…sometimes they’ve been shoehorned into plots that had nothing to do with them for sake of exploiting their iconic status. Unfortunately, the latter has occurred so often that when a film actually tries to give an iconic character a fresh take, we seem, out of pure instinct, to dismiss it almost automatically. I truly feel that in the case of Dracula 2000, horror audiences did just that. Released at the tail-end of 2000 and produced by Wes Craven, the film attempts to pick up the Dracula mythology for modern times. What would the most blood-thirsty and ruthless of all vampires think of our technologically advanced and violence-warped generation? A group of thieves break into the hidden vault beneath Van Helsing’s museum of antiques, hoping to find millions of dollars worth of treasure. Instead, they re-awaken the Count who sets to work destroying the last of the Van Helsing lineage, and seducing himself a trio of new brides in modern-day New Orleans. Written in the vein (har har) of theScream series, Dracula 2000 didn’t try to beat you over the head with pop-culture references or witty movie banter – though it’s definitely self-aware and sneaks in some clever dialogue. No, instead, it wisely works within the vampire mythology without changing much, and even adding some fun new questions to it as well, such as, “along with casting no reflections, can a vampire appear on video?” Or, “do crosses work on vampires who are atheist?” Sure, a then relatively-unknown Gerard Butler wasn’t exactly a menacing choice to play Dracula (with his mane of crazy black hair and crooked grin, he reminded me more of a Fly-era Jeff Goldblum). And sure, some people might take issue with Dracula’s origin departing from that of a psycho Romanian impaler who denounced Christ, and rather saddle him as Judas Iscariot, Biblical Backstabber to the son of Christ! Tomato, tomato (I now realize that idiom works better when said out loud, but…I digress). The point is, what was so wrong with Dracula 2000 to incur the wrath of horror fans? It’s sleek, smart, dark, sexy, and really doesn’t have even the slightest hint of condescension toward its source material, so even people looking for that angle (namely those not crazy about the Scream franchise) shouldn’t find one. And as far as just being a good, old-fashioned vampire movie, we’re set! All the standard weapons, trappings, rules and vampire lore are in place. Dracula morphs into mist, bats and wolves, and he and his “turned” victims attack with all the gruesome ferocity of the vampires in From Dusk Till Dawn. For the life of me, I’ve never understood why the film failed to reach its audience, as it hits all the right notes, and served the Dracula mythology with respect. It could have been so much worse, I mean…have you seen Dracula 3000?

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2.) Jaws III (1983) – Hey, wait! Wait, where are you going? Aw, come on! Come on back, please? Look, you’ve been with me this far, what’s a couple more, huh? Just hear me out, okay? I know that finding anything of value in a Jaws movie released after Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster is borderline film-lover blasphemy. I KNOW this, and believe me when I say, I agree! For my money, the original Jaws is the end-all, be-all of “animal attack” movies. There’s nothing better than Jaws, it’s the blueprint for what every “animal attack” horror film should strive to follow. But that’s not to say that other films can’t at least be fun, right? So why in the hell would I useJaws III (or Jaws 3-D) as my example? Why not Cujo? Why notPiranha? Why not Alligator, Man’s Best Friend, Monkey Shines or blah, blah, blah? Okay, let’s not get crazy here. The thing is (aside from the fact that most of those examples were actually quite well-received and wouldn’t have a place on this list), Jaws III is loathed by most people I know. And to be quite honest, I used to hate it too. I mean, for a time, I used to give Jaws 2 a pass simply because Roy Scheider (albeit begrudgingly) returned, and a few other familiar faces, but beyond that, I remember III being “eh” and Jaws: The Revenge gave me vague memories of ejecting the VHS from my VCR, and literally wanting to travel from Martha’s Vineyard to the Bahamas to throw the tape into the Atlantic in the hopes that it would land in a well-traveled Great White Shark’s mouth, never to be seen by anyone ever again – or is that too specific to be vague?

Where was I? Oh! Jaws III.

Okay, so a couple of years ago, when Universal Studios decided to close their famous Jaws attraction, I got the mopes about it and thought, to see it off, I’ll have a Jaws-a-thon. Just pop in all four, one after the other, and get lost in the sea and teeth of the series for the first time since I was a kid. Watched Jaws – cinematic perfection, as usual. Watched Jaws 2 – “hey, the kid from Christine was in this, holy shit!” Moving along. I watch Jaws III and with a small chuckle Jaws: The Revenge – and it, of course, remained the proverbial nail in the Jaws coffin that I remembered it to be.

But something magical happened during Jaws III. I had a lot of fun. Dennis Quaid being a young bad-ass before any of us knew who Dennis Quaid was! A pre-Back to the Future Lea Thompson acting flirty and cute as a Sea World skier. Louis Gossett Jr. filling in perfectly for Murray Hamilton as the greedy park owner who still sees dollar signs through the bloody water. Greedy shark hunters, mutilated shark victims, brave rescue dolphins, all at Sea World and all in wonderfully cheesy 3D! That meant severed limbs, fish-heads, and…fuck, opening credits were gonna zip inches past your face!

Basically Jaws III is Gorgo meets Revenge of the Creature. A massive Great White gets into the theme park, stirs up some trouble, is caught and put on display as the first Great White in captivity! The shark hunters don’t get to blow anything up, and Sea World has a high-end new attraction. Everyone wins! Until the shark goes belly-up…and “mama shark” gets pissed, crashes the gates and starts chowing on stunt performers and tourists.

Written by legendary horror writer Richard Matheson and Jaws alumni screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, Jaws IIIis actually a pretty smart, fast-paced story that has a lot of fun with its new surroundings. No longer limited to the quaint sea-side town of Amity, a couple of sharks terrorizing a theme park is a nice change of scenery and offers up some fun, exciting set-pieces. The performances by Quaid, Bess Armstrong and the supporting cast are all honest, intense and on-point. No one is chuckling behind their script pages – it’s all played relatively straight…however when the sharks are charging glass windows (in 3D), severed heads are rearing up into port windows for tourists to freak out over (in 3D), skiers are stalked by quickly gaining fins (in 3D) and lovable dolphins are helping their trainers avoid being turned into seafood (in 3D), you start to realize that the film’s motives are definitely leaning further from “let’s make the biggest, baddest Jaws movie ever”, and closer to the garish, wonderfully over-the-top sensibilities of a Saturday afternoon B-movie. I think tagging Jaws to a title, you automatically assume that someone was going to attempt living up to the original’s genius, but come on. Are you crazy? The best you could do is write something funny, exciting, shamelessly gory, somewhat mean-spirited, completely gratuitous and just go for broke and create something so overboard that people will either love it, or hate it.  I used to hate Jaws III. God help me, I’ve done a complete 180, and now think it’s absolutely hilarious, and actually have a blast watching it.


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Funny, right? Don’t judge me.

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1.) Godzilla (1998) – Unless you’ve been under a rock, you might have heard rumblings of a new Godzilla on the horizon. And it looks amazing, it really does. It looks dark, kinda scary, and dare I say it, are they trying for tear-jerking? I sense potential tear-jerking, is it me? Anyway, at the very least, the trailers alone have seemed to appease the millions-upon-millions who disliked – nay – detestedthe Roland Emmerich Godzilla from 1998. The film featured our favorite Japanese behemoth trouncing about Manhattan. That’s basically it. I mean, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I attend a Godzilla film, I expect giant dinosaurs, some fire-breathing, and lots and lots and lots of large-scale destruction. That’s it! That’s all you have to give me! Yes, they changed upGodzilla‘s look a bit (which pissed people off), but they kept the signature roar we all know and love, and that was really all I was concerned about. The movie was a colossal failure, and fans theworld over cried outrage over the movie. Why? Seriously, I’m asking! You take to the internet or ask your friends, and you know what I hear?

“There’s no way a monster that size could hide under the streets and tunnels of Manhattan.”
“When Godzilla jumps into the river, the splash would have been a tidal wave that swept the city.”
“The military destroys more of the city than Godzilla does – how can he evade buildings so easily?”

To which I say…”are you fucking serious?”

First of all, the movie stars “Ferris Bueller” himself, the bad-ass from The Professional, and not one, not two, but three key cast members of “The Simpsons” make an appearence – two of which are main characters. The mayor and his aid are named Ebert and Gene! Baby Godzilla dinosaurs have a hankering for popcorn! They get into a car chase, in a New York taxi cab…and manage to outrun a dinosaur that likely could have nailed them in one step!

People…it’s a Godzilla movie. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the noise already! The film was made to be a good time at the movies. The trailer that people went bananas over in ’98 featured Godzilla’s foot smashing a Tyrannosaurus skeleton in a museum! I think out the gate we were being told that this was made to be a big-budget fun-fest from beginning to end. When I sat in the theater in ’98, that’s what I expected, and that’s what I got. No more, no less.

Yet, Godzilla fans from all over the globe cried foul. They acted as though the film was a personal attack or something – a mustache painted over the Mona Lisa. Guys, I love the Godzilla films. LOVE them! I’ve watched them all – every single one. In ORDER! That fire-breathing monster was a staple of my childhood, a huge part of my Saturday afternoons! Seeing him rise from the sea and duke it out with another crazy monster was how I got my Saturdays started. And I’ve been revisiting them with my young daughter whoalso thinks they’re a blast.

But guys – they’re still movies about a giant, atomic lizard that goes rock-em’, sock-em’ with other monsters – whether genetically mutated, flown in from space or hopping off of some prehistoric island. They’re still movies that had Godzilla’s kid, Minilla, a talking – yes, TALKING – little dinosaur with dopey eyes who blows cute little smoke rings. They’re movies that suggest Tokyo can stand to be rebuilt one or twice a year, or that it’s worth the wreckage to summon a giant moth to convince Godzilla to fight something with three heads that came from space and is way scarier.

They are movies where something as ridiculous as THIS can happen!


The point is, I love Godzilla. With the exception of the original 1954 film (moreover, the Japanese version), which actually served as a warning against atomic weaponry and its effects, none of the Godzilla movies were made to be anything more than entertaining.

Some were better than others. Some were a little more clever in their storytelling, and as the years went on, the special effects got better and better. But it was the same old Godzilla, doing the same old shit we always loved. And that’s why I’ve never had a beef with 1998’s Godzilla, and still can’t see the hate behind it. It’s a movie about a big lizard, knocking over some big buildings, and that’s it. Nothing deep, nothing meaningful, no points to be made, or messages in the fine print. Just good, old-fashioned popcorn fun, and if I stand on my own island by enjoying it, so be it.

You can bet come May I’ll have my ticket, and my popcorn ready for the newest version of Godzilla. And I’m sure it’s going to be one hell of a fun ride and will likely be a much better film than 1998’s.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll like 1998’s Godzilla any less. I’m damn cool with that, too.

So there you have it folks. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Admitted to thoroughly enjoying a handful of movies that people just can’t stand. You’ve got to have some, too! Whether you agree with any on my list or not, there’s got to be a few that you get the dreaded “WTF” from your friends and fam, and I’d LOVE to hear it. Sound off! Are they worse than mine? Hit the comments here or on Facebook or Twitter and let me know what YOUR “guilty pleasures” are!

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