Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five Awesomely Awful (and free) Horror Movies on YouTube

The Absolute Best of the Worst the 'Tube Has To Offer This Halloween Season

A few months ago, YouTube introduced a new service for users that allowed them to “rent” movies for a small fee. As part of the new program, users also have access to “free movies,” most of which are genre films that are either in the public domain or have been shown on cable TV about a million-billion times already. And also, they are loaded with annoying ads that pop up at random intervals, but since we’re talking about a tally of $0.00, I guess we really don’t have that much room to bicker and complain here.

With Halloween right around the corner, I decided to comb through YouTube’s selection of free horror films, and surprise - surprise, the listing contains some of the most amazingly awful movies ever filmed. In fact, these movies are SO bad that no matter your interest in film, you probably need to see them anyone just because the represent the NADIR of cinematic “achievement.” Be warned, however: once you’ve seen these five films, your life will forever be scarred.

Director: Jerry Warren 

                This movie, in a nutshell, demonstrates just how messed up the late 1950s were. In a decade defined by Soviet paranoia and the Corvair, it’s always fascinated me as to why there was just so much emphasis on teenage capers during the time frame. I guess you could make the argument that they had the most disposable income and were most likely to hit up the local drive-in, but this movie brings up even MORE questions about the Eisenhower generation than just those pertaining to contemporary demographics.
                For example, what was up with all of those gorillas? If you check out a b-horror movie produced pretty much anytime up until Night of the Living Dead, odds are, it’ll have a gorilla in it somewhere. Keep in mind that this is a movie about shipwrecked teenagers getting gassed by a sort of hot Goth chick out in the bayou, and somehow, it still manages to throw in a gorilla subplot. I have sort of an idea as to why this is the case, but I’ll allow the viewers to make their own deductions after screening it.
                Teenage Zombies is pretty much your typical bad horror movie, the kind where you do not feel as if anyone is in any sort of real danger at any point throughout the film. The dialogue is clunky, the special effects are stupid, and if there’s a plot in there, I probably sneezed and missed the totality of it. Even so, I’ll give the screenwriter some credit for one particular line: “We’re stuck on this deserted island, and neither one of us can swim!” Hey, you can’t say these guys DIDN’T know how to paint themselves out of a corner, if so need be. . .

Director: Edward D. Wood, Jr.

                Most people consider THIS film to be the absolute worst motion picture ever made. While I don’t think it’s that bad, it still think that it represents the ESSENCE of what Ed Wood - once proclaimed the worst director of all time by a panel of prominent film analysts and critics - was all about.
                The story behind the movie is probably more famous than the film itself. To finance the film, Wood agreed to have the entire case “baptized” so as to comply with the wishes of the movie’s primary financiers, and just a few days into the shoot, the lead actor (a way past his prime Bela Lugosi) kicked the bucket. Wood, ever the pragmatist, decided to remedy the little quandary of having a dead lead actor by hiring some dude to walk around with a cape over his face for the rest of the movie. I, for one, never spotted the difference.
                The movie itself is this weird jumble of crappy special effects (the UFOs in the film are just paper plates) and random stock footage, with the added incentive of having this truly indecipherable message about “world peace” tacked on to the end. Although it probably isn’t the “Citizen Kane” of bad movies so many make it out to be, it’s definitely a lackluster feature you need to see at least once before you die…or after you get resurrected by grave robbing aliens. Whichever happens first.

Director: Coleman Francis

                Poor, poor Tor Johnson. Not only was the dude born with the genetic setback of having a face tailor made for Jack O Lanterns, the dude also has the unfortunate honor of appearing in not one, but two of the movies on this countdown.
                In Plan 9, Tor played an irradiated zombie mutant that strangled people. In this movie, Tor played an irradiate zombie mutant that strangled people. But let’s not typecast the fellow: in this movie, he played a left handed killer, whereas in the earlier film, he played a right handed one. It’s two totally different roles, when you really think about it.
                The Beast of Yucca Flats clocks in at a little under an hour, and believe you me, it has to be one of the longest hours I’ve ever experienced. Despite having some suspiciously great looking cinematography, the film is bogged down by a number of issues, like the fact that it doesn’t have a soundtrack. Instead, we have this really out of place narration going on instead, and just TRY and keep up with the utter lack of continuity in this picture - in one scene, day and night switch about three or four times, and bullet-riddled clothing just so happens to repair itself though some unmentioned means. But then again, there are some pretty quick knitters out there, so. . .

Director: Ray Dennis Steckler

                Ray Dennis Steckler was the undisputed king of no-budget film-making, going to often extreme lengths to produce his films at ridiculously low costs. . .even if it meant excising a couple of inconsequential superfluities, like a sound track or special effects. Legend has it that due to budget restraints, Steckler decided to replace a planned “spook scene” in the film by having hired hands literally run through theaters screening the film instead. The only problem was, Steckler had this bad habit of NOT tellingtheaters that he was doing so, which resulted in Steckler himself donning thezombie garb and doing run-ins at screenings of his own motion picture throughoutthe 1960s.
                At around $38,000 dollars, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? was Steckler’s magnum opus, the equivalent of his Ran or Fanny & Alexander. The movie itself was actually a bizarre mishmash between your standard horror fare and, you guessed it, a variety show. That’s right, Steckler marketed this film as the world’s first “horror musical”, beating the Rocky Horror Picture Show by well more than a decade, and if you ask me, THIS movie ought to have been the one that became the definitive “cult film” of the 20th century.
                What’s the film about, you may ask? Well, it’s a little difficult to tell, honestly. One minute, you’re watching a zit faced voodoo queen throwing acid on the faces of roustabouts, and in the next, you’re watching a solid ten minutes of roller coaster footage. There’s a plot somewhere between all of the stabbings and cabaret numbers, but I’ll leave that task up to you to uncover.
Director: Ted V. Mikels

                Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are so bad they’re just plain awful. Clearly, The Corpse Grinders is one that fits into the latter categorization and not the former.
                It’s difficult to address why this movie sucks so much, because one could very easily just say “everything about it” and be done with the matter altogether. Certainly, that is a most valid stance to take: the effects, the writing, the acting, the dialogue, the pacing - yeah, pretty much everything about thismovie sucks, all right.
                Even so, there’s at least one glimmer of light in this thundercloud of a motion picture: the titular corpse grinder. You see, the movie is about a couple that starts digging up graves and using the bodies as cat food filler, which in turn, causes cats that eat the man-meat nip to turn into psychotic killers. I assure you, the movie is still nowhere near as awesome as it sounds, though. The thing is, the people processor is probably the laziest looking prop in movie history - it’s supposed to be this gigantic, bone crunching industrial machine, but it’s clearly made out of cardboard and tinfoil. Better yet, the “processed people” looks just like Tapioca, and apparently, the crew could only afford one bottle of it, as every time someone gets “eaten,” we get to watch the EXACT SAME scene of people paste being spewed out over and over again.

                So there you have it, five easily accessible B-horror films that any and all adventurous YouTube users ought to give a try for this year’s Halloween festivities. Just don’t blame me when you punch out your monitor in awe-filled disbelief while watching them, though. . .


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