Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Awesomely Awful (and FREE) Horror Movies on YouTube (2013 Edition!)

Our Third Annual Round-Up of the Best of the Worst Horror Flicks Available for Instant Streaming on YouTube Movies!

A couple of years back, YouTube started offering streaming movie services, which unlike a good 99 percent of the streaming movie services already on YouTube, were legal. The films, broken up by genre, varied in price, with some of the newer movies costing a fairly reasonable $2.99 to catch, and some costing $10.00 USD to view, for some stupid-ass reason.

Far and away the best thing about YouTube's movie streaming services were the inclusion of a "Free Movie" section, which, as the name implies, allows YouTube users to watch full-length, virtually unedited movies for a grand total of no dollars and no cents. It was a great idea, and as such, has provided many a cheap-o hours of frugal entertainment.

Naturally, MOST of the films on the Free Movies channel are either public domain offerings OR really, really lame Z-movies filmed by maniacs in their backyards for two nickels. With that in mind, it's probably not all that surprising that I spent a good amount of time in both 2011 AND 2012 detailing the best of the worst free horror flicks on the service. As we approach our THIRD ANNUAL round-up of the best of the worst (or the worst of the best, depending on your perspective), I noticed something a little peculiar about the kind of films offered on YT movies this All Hallow's Eve season. Yeah, there's a lot of crud and junk, but believe it or not, they actually managed to throw in a few REAL (but not necessarily good) horror movies alongside the usual cheapies and aged Bela Lugosi features. So yeah, you COULD spend your Halloween watching legitimately great movies like "The Evil Dead" (the one that doesn't blow, if you were wondering) and "Night of the Creeps," but why not make things a bit more challenging and switch up your Hallow-viewing to include both enjoyable bad yet good horror movies and some straight up cinema shit (or as we like to call it, "shitema?")

YouTube jockies, horror aficionados, and general connoisseurs of cheap stuff, take heed: if you're looking for a really cost-efficient way to "Halloween-ize" any weekday evening -- but you don't own a DVD player and don't want to pay actual money for stuff -- here's five completely charge-less, instantly watchable genre flicks  that you definitely need to check out...

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

I've heard of "sucking face" before, but this is ridiculous!
Ever the contrarian, I was never really that big a fan of the first “Hellraiser” flick. I mean, it was cool and all that it was trying to do something different at a time when everybody else was just making by-the-numbers slasher flicks, but alike the first “Elm Street” and “Child’s Play” movies, I thought it was just kinda’ OK, whereas the wackier sequels -- despite being lesser films, structurally -- were much more my cup o’ tea.

“Hellraiser II” is an inferior film to “Hellraiser” in most (read: all regards), but ultimately, I think it’s a much more entertaining movie at the same time. “Hellraiser” is one of those movies that doesn’t really have any iconic scenes that spring to mind (outside, maybe, of Frank’s gooey “rebirth” sequence) but there’s about three or four moments in “Hellbound” that remain pretty vivid in the back of my hippocampus. I mean, it’s pretty hard to forget a British dude open mouth kissing a skinless mummy woman, after all.

The biggest problem with the film, I guess, is that there just isn’t enough Pinhead in it. He really doesn’t show up until the last thirty minutes of the movie, and even then, he has to play second fiddle to the film’s true villain, this S&M neurologist guy that turns into a Freddy Krueger-wannabe with clay-mation scalpels shooting out of his hands. The dialogue is pretty stupid, and nobody in the film really acts like normal human beings would act like, at any single point in the picture (so, yeah, in other words, its your typical late ‘80s horror flick.) The special effects are pretty good, but the “horror” sequences really don’t hold up all that well -- there’s a lot of blood and exposed ligaments and people getting carved up, but none of it really feels spooky, or even disturbing. And that dénouement, where Ashley Laurence LITERALLY slaps on her step-mom’s skin to fool the evil demon doctor? That is some lame stuff, even by typical genre standards. Still, it’s a mostly enjoyable movie, and a great, fairly uneventful way to kick off your Halloween horror movie watchin’ season. Now, if you want some stuff that’s TRULY atrocious, though…

It Waits (2005)

Betcha' didn't know the monster from "Jeepers Creepers" has made appearances in other horror flicks, didja?
The non-descript title alone should pretty much tell you that what you’re about to encounter here is pure crap-a-roo, but this mid-2000s Canadian “monster in the woods” flick is pretty darn bad, EVEN when compared to such contemporary heavy hitters as “Monsturd,” “Goth,” and oh yes, “Violent Shit 3.0.”

I will give the film dap in two categories, at least: for one, the cinematography is quite good, and the EARLY dialogue, while a bit CW-sounding, is mildly better than your standard no-budget monster movie script. That said, as soon as the movie goes from being about a generic blonde living in the woods and fretting over kinda’ killing her best friend in a Jeep accident while simultaneously building a blooming romance with a park ranger to a straight up supernatural-beast-killing-people movie, the movie just swan dives into a pool of mediocrity, from which it never feels the need to resurface.

For me, one of the big problems with the movie was the monster itself -- this lanky, half-cat demonoid First Nation Wendigo thingy. More or less, the thing just LOOKS cheap, as if the crew broke into a prop closet, Ed Wood-style, and stole the original Pumpkinhead costume, glued some werewolf fur to it, and called it good. Furthermore, the lead actress is just painfully boring, delivering lines with all of the liveliness of a Styrofoam brick. And then, there are the gore effects, which are really, really bad. I mean, you know the guys that made this thing didn’t spend any dough on anything else, so they could have at least sprung a couple of extra Benjamins (or whatever the Canadian equivalent of a Benjamin is) and tried to make the fake blood look a little less fake. Ultimately, “It Waits” is the worst kind of bad horror movie -- the bad horror movie that has a few glimmers of decency, that could’ve have potentially been passable, had the filmmakers made the effort and at least TRIED to implement a few fresh ideas into the mix. All in all, it’s very forgettable film, but as a bonus? The blonde chick is kinda’ hot, I guess.

Suburban Sasquatch (2004)

As you can see, the producers of this film spent at least both of their dollars on the flick's costuming budget.
I've always sorta' liked examining bad movies on a continuum that's really no different in design than the Richter Scale. If you ever want to seduce a math major, we call those types of measurements base-10 logarithmic scales; so, if an earthquake measures a 5.0, it's approximately ten times more powerful than an earthquake that measures a 4.0. Using the Jimbo X scale of shitty moviedom, if "It Waits" scores about a 4.0, than "Suburban Sasquatch" would score about a 5.0 -- meaning that this film is roughly ten times shittier than the already quite shitty afore-mentioned film. 

I think most people, who haven't had the same amount of exposure to pure cinematic crap that I've had, would call "Suburban Sasquatch" one of the worst movies ever made. Hell, for most folks, "Suburban Sasquatch" may very well be the worst movie they've ever watched, although for a well-trained shit-cinema connoisseur such as myself, it's actually not even bottom 100 material. That's not to exonerate the film completely from sucking like the soulless vacuum of space, however -- the film is indeed REALLY, REALLY bad, and it deserves having its' ass kicked, regardless. 

Really, all you have to do is look at the photo above, and you'll instinctively know that you're dealing with something spectacularly sucky. The special effects in "Suburban Sasquatch" make the effects in "It Waits" look like some James Cameron shit, and the acting, dialogue, pacing and editing is about as awful as you'd expect the acting, dialogue, pacing and editing in a film called "Suburban Sasquatch" to be. The entire thing looks like it was filmed on Windows Movie Maker, and the storyline is so structurally inept that you really can't tell if it's supposed to be seen as a parody or an actual attempt at horror. Either way, it's a really, really dumb movie with about four billion subplots going on; there's a small town journalist trying to get a big(foot) scoop on the creature, and there's a sheriff' who had ha wife already kidnapped by a Sasquatch (really), and this one kid who has his mom abducted by a Yeti, and this one bow and arrow carrying Native American warrioress played by a painfully white chick that serves as a romantic foil to the reporter. All of that seems really congested and hard to piece together as a coherent film, and it is; if you can sit through all one hour and 39 minutes of this one, consider yourself in the top ten percentile of sadomasochistic filmgoers.

Cadaverella (2007)

That's probably not the kinda' scalp massage she had originally planned for...
Now here's a movie that surprised me -- for a change -- not because it was unfathomably stupid, but because it was almost...ALMOST...a decent genre picture. Granted, with a name like "Cadaverella," it's hard to get excited about the material, but beyond that superficial goofiness, it turns out to be a mostly enjoyable B-movie offering, with just the right amount of dopey humor and shockingly decent gore effects. 

When the movie kicks off, you're expecting sheer suck for the next hour and ten minutes (it's barely a feature-length film, obviously), with a generic redhead narrating her own burial with the sort of painfully tart tongue that sounds like it was scripted by Joss Whedon, if Joss Whedon replaced all of his commas and periods with the words "fuck" and "dick." After that, we get a re-telling of the Cinderella mythos (only this time around, the evil queen is a wicked step-stripper and Cinder -- her actual name in the movie, I might add -- is a gothy library dweller that routinely third bases her paraplegic best friend), and we're introduced to a subplot about this Mexican Voodoo genie that grants the main character all her wildest dreams -- which, mostly, consist of her getting boned by the gardener she has a crush on and making her coworker have her eyelids yanked out by fish hooks. And so, Cinder ends up being killed off by her evil step-mama so she can receive her trust fund, but of course, she comes back from the dead to exact revenge on those who wronged her (and also, whack off her wheelchair bound best friend one more time.)

It's stupid, it's a bit sleazy, and there's really not all that much in the way of originality here, but at the same time, that's what ALMOST makes the movie enjoyable. It's amateurish and really low-budget (pretty much everybody in the cast is forced to play at least two roles), but some of the jokes (especially a bit about a user-car salesman) and definitely the special effects are surprisingly effective. It's not a great genre picture by any stretch, but for a film with such lowly aspirations, it does a commendable job of nailing just about every lowly thing it sat out to do. Great cinema, it ain't, but at least it won't bore you while you watch it. 

Deep Red (1975)

Ventriloquism: from the Latin "quism," meaning "The art of", and "ventrilo," meaning "scaring the dogshit out of children."
I tend to go back and forth concerning my feelings about Dario Argento's oeuvre. On one hand, he's the dude that gave us "Suspiria" and "Tenebrae," so he's obviously awesome in several regards, but at the same time, when you look at his filmography as a whole, it appears that Mr. Argento is responsible for far more mediocrity than excellence. "Deep Red," one of the filmmaker's earlier forays, is a flick that would lump in with some of his lesser works -- comparatively, it's probably on par with "Trauma" or "Inferno," if not a little bit worse. 

The plot line here is fairly goofy; a world-renowned psycho gets killed, so a reporter and a pianist(?!?) team up to find the leather-glove sporting spree murderer before he (or is it a she?) stabs half of Rome to death. In that, "Deep Red" is your standard giallo flick, with lots of psycho-babble and red herrings leading up to the film's sorta'-kinda'-but-not-really twist ending. The gore quotient is OK, i suppose, but it lacks the overall omph that contemporary proto-slashers like "Twitch of the Death Nerve" had -- the trouble here, I am afraid, is that Argento is so wrapped up in trying to imitate Hitchcock that he forgets that his own strong suit ISN'T classy suspense, but techno-color, phantasmagorical splatter.

That said, once the film FINALLY gets moving, it's fairly enjoyable -- even though the flick doesn't kick into high gear until the last twenty minutes, unfortunately. There are some decent scenes throughout -- I especially liked the scene where that one dude gets dragged behind a garbage truck, and the especially strangle-y grand finale ---but the real reason to check out the movie is its score: not only is Goblin's thumping disco-horror soundtrack the best thing about the film, it's probably one of the best soundtracks you'll hear in ANY horror film, for that matter. So yeah, even if you don't actually like the movie itself, it's probably worth a view (or more accurately, listen) at least once. 


So there you go, folks: no matter what kind of bad horror you are into, there's probably something out there on YouTube-Land that will satiate your genre needs, whether you're into skinless S&M demons, Navajo Chupacabras, dudes running around in gorilla costumes, undead voodoo princesses or Italian people walking around, saying really unnatural-sounding dialogue while spooky techno music plays all around them. All in all, it's not a bad crop this's hoping to more awesome and awful (and of course, free) horror films of the like showing up on the service in 2014, no? 

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