Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Very Worst Movie Ever

Many years ago, when I was a young semi-naive new member of the faculty at my college, one of my colleagues came up to me at lunch and said, "I need you to take my husband on a date."

I was a wee bit discomfited by this open invitation to sin and perversion.  I'd seen movies about South Carolina, but I had it on good authority that you had to live here at least two decades before you would be invited to the really good parties, let alone the kind where people offered you their spouses.  I believe my response was an articulate "Um?"

It turned out that this colleague's husband, Dennis, who is a frighteningly well-educated and sophisticated person, had an incomprehensible fondness for science fiction movies, even bad ones.  His wife, having no desire to sit through another bad blockbuster, had heard the rumor that I, too, was willing to pay good money to see people blow up aliens.

Thus, a disappointingly sin-free relationship was born. 

Dennis and I--and sometimes other colleagues of our ilk--have seen some pretty bad movies over the last fifteen years.  But the worst one we've been to together is, by far, Dark Shadows.  The fact that we were, literally*, the only two people in the threatre should have been a clue, but we're Ph.D.s, you see, and accustomed to going where no one has wanted to go before.

Sometimes there's a good reason for a road to be less taken.

Later, tucked in with my gin and tonic, I reflected that it could have been worse.  Dark Shadows is very, very bad.  But it is not Modern Vampires.

Modern Vampires is the worst movie ever made.  This is not an opinion.  It is a cold, hard, worse-than-every-single-film-on-Mystery-Science-Theater-3000 fact.  Wikipedia claims that the film recieved "mostly positive reviews," which is why you are not allowed to cite Wikipedia for my courses since clearly they have confused "reviews" with "the opinions of raging morons."

(This is the point where I usually go back and erase what I've written to "moderate my views" so that I don't get threatening e-mails or large intimidating letters  accusing me of libel, so just let me be clear:  I do not know for certain that any specific person or group who enjoyed <shudder> Modern Vampires is actually a moron.  I'm simply using hyperbole which is a legitimate literary device, as is satire, which is what I will claim this is should anyone actually confront me claiming to like <shudder> this movie.  I will also back away slowly and speak in very, very small words while making placating gestures.)

Ways in which Modern Vampires is bad:  bad acting, bad gore-filled-slaughter scenes, bad gore-filled vampire rape scenes, bad dialogue, bad pacing, unknown genre, incomprehensible plot, offensive to all humans ever born or ever yet to be born, even nazis.

(I acknowledge that this summary--excluding the nazi part--might apply to the HBO series True Blood, so let me be even clearer:  True Blood is gory and violent and sometimes badly acted and yet very cool.  Modern Vampires is...not.)

Now, I fully realize that some of you reading this may accept my excoriation of this film as a challenge.  It's happened before.  My friend Amy once claimed that no matter how bad a film is, you can find something redeeming in it.**  Then I showed her Modern Vampires.  She no longer makes such claims.***

How bad could it be?  Oh, dear.  Have you seen WaterworldSuperman IVDark ShadowsHoward the DuckGigli?  Probably not, because most of the people who read this blog are smarter than me, but trust me, all of those films are better than Modern Vampires.

Those films, you see, are just plain bad.  Modern Vampires is irredeemably, stunningly bad.  Plus it's offensive.  Now, someone is thinking, "Oh, well, I loved Blazing Saddles and people are so politically correct now that that movie could never be made and Americans should just chill and laugh at things and maybe I should go see this so-called offensive movie."

No.  You shouldn't.  It's not funny.  In fact, you can't tell, when watching the movie, if it's even supposed to be funny.  I suspect this is the case, but well, if you took a satire of a vampire movie, the film industry and urban gangs and then very carefully removed all of the funny lines, any semblance of a coherent plot, and added lots of gratuitous sex and violence...not the kind that is stimulating or thoughtful or funny or likely to make you pump your fist in joy...then you would have the first half hour of Modern Vampires.

And then it gets worse.

This may be the most astonishing thing about the movie.  Just when you're thinking, "Wow.  This is pretty bad.  And also, incidentally, offensive," it gets worse.  And then, when you're thinking, "Wow, I didn't know that I could even be offended this much. I'm a South Park fan.  And, dude, what's with these accents?" it gets worse than that.

This is the kind of film, in other words, that will make you feel sorry for the dvd case.

Can you imagine the pain of being one of those dvd cases?  Having Modern Vampires emblazoned on you for everyone to see?  Longingly gazing at the Plan 9 from Outer Space dvd case, knowing that at least he'll get invited to the office Christmas party, even if he does lurk behind the rubber plant the whole night.  What a miserable existence.  It's a good thing that dvd cases aren't sentient because humans would have a lot to answer for.

Still, in spite of this rampant abuse of innocent plastic, someone is reading this blog and thinking, "Really, I'll bet she just has a weak stomach or no sense of humor," and to that someone I say:  Fine!  I give up.  I own a copy of Modern Vampires, and I will lend it to you and prove that it is the worst movie ever made.

But you are under no circumstances allowed to give the damn thing back.

*When I say "literally," I mean "There were two people in that theater and no one else."  It's my clue to you that I am not exaggerating.  Probably.
**Or that might have been Amy's ex.  If I got it wrong, I apologize.  I'm pretty sure that memory loss and confusion is one of the symptoms of having watched Modern Vampires.
***Or her ex doesn't.  Whichever.

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