Welcome to the next CHUD List.
tackled our our disappointments, our essentials list and slowly exhumed
our Kills List from 2003, and now that we’ve begun the beguine, we must
The CHUD.com Top 50 Guilty Pleasures.
all got those little flicks that we know are wrong, but feel so right.
And after our preceding list of disappointment, we decided to cleanse
the palate by honoring our favorite guilty pleasures. These are films
that are flawed and often completely indefensible, but we can’t help but
love them anyway. As before, from a master list of over 100, the
involved parties (Devin, Jeremy, Micah, Russ, and Nick) all killed
off a choice for each one we claimed. As a result, we’ll run a big list
at the end of this of the ‘ones that got away’. So, here are the Top 50
Guilty Pleasures. Two a day, every week day for five weeks. In no
(1977, Dir. Michael Anderson)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: It’s a Death Wish knock-off with a vengeance-obsessed marine mammal playing the part of Paul Kersey. Predating Jaws: The Revenge by a full ten years, Orca comes on like grand opera, with Ennio Morricone’s brilliant score wringing great feeling out of the central tragedy, wherein fisherman Captain Nolan (Richard Harris) accidentally harpoons a pregnant killer whale (you’ll be fighting back tears as the stillborn calf drops out of the gutted mama!). The beast’s mate is understandably peeved over Nolan’s fatal faux pas and decides to make something of it, which bodes bad, bad things for the captain’s crew (including Robert Carradine, Keenan Wynn, Will Sampson and Bo Derek) and a marine biologist (Charlotte Rampling), who inexplicably warms to Nolan after he’s done the deadly deed. Guess it’s one of them Carville/Matalin deals.
Produced by the perhaps literally immortal Dino De Laurentiis and written by Luciano Vincenzoni (whose entire filmography, save for his Leone collaborations, is a guilty pleasure), Orca keeps promising to pole vault into high camp: the POV shots from the whale as it stalks Nolan’s ship, the jarring cuts from location photography to obvious tank footage, Harris overacting like he’s getting paid by the decibel, etc. But Michael Anderson’s direction is too workmanlike to blow the film into something gloriously overwrought or drag it down into Jess Franco-ish ineptitude. I’ve shown it to friends, and it elicits nothing more than resentful boredom. Even the great Morricone score (a must-own for anyone who loves film music) isn’t enough to get them through to the end. Actually, I wrote about the movie when it first hit DVD, and couldn’t give it better than a half-star! (If you read the linked review, you might notice some poached prose. Blow me.) But ask me how many times I’ve watched it over the last few years. Or better yet, don’t. This is definitely a nostalgia-fueled selection (hopefully, my only one), so please be gentle.
Signature Moment: This is a coin flip between the whale beckoning Nolan into icy waters with its flipper or Bo Derek getting her leg chomped off by the persistent predator. I’m going to go with the latter, especially since it’s a flimsy excuse to inflame Nolan’s whale-hatin’ rage.
What It’s Missing: A USS Indianapolis-length soliloquy from Will Sampson recalling his soul-stirring escape from an Oregon mental institution.
My Personal Connection to It: My dad was the first guy in our neighborhood to own a VCR (he bought Beta, natch), and he was tickled by the novelty of recording sporting events and movies of the week off of network television. Out of everything he taped, my favorites were Jaws (the ABC premiere!), The Omen, an awesome, now-impossible-to-track-down two-hour CBS special on horror movies (hosted by Anthony Perkins) and Orca. As I used to throw these on every afternoon after school, there is a distinct possibility that these four features are my most-watched anythings of all time.
Watch It With: Elizabeth Taylor. Hey-o!
- Jeremy Smith
Jason X (2001, Dir. James Isaac)
Why It’s A Guilty Pleasure: All overextended franchises tend towards self-parody, but none ended up there quite as spectacularly as the Friday the 13th series. What began as a quick and cheap exploitation slasher movie ended up, nine films later, hundreds of years in the future with a cyborg Jason hunting down dumb teens and their android friend. Leprechaun got to space first, but Jason X takes the concept to a whole new level.
Normally I hate films like Jason X; I find knowingly tongue-in-cheek bad movies to be boring. I like bad movies that don’t know they’re bad, but Jason X is interesting because it isn’t aware of the ways in which it’s bad. When the film thinks it’s being clever it’s actually just being buffoonish; in a lot of ways watching Jason X is like watching a guy with a lisp make fun of a guy with a stutter.
But when Jason X is firing on all silly cylinders it’s almost sublime. The scene where Jason gets caught up in a holodeck recreation of Camp Crystal Lake circa the 80s is delicious, as is his first kill in the future, aided by some handy liquid nitrogen (where did Jason learn about liquid nitrogen anyway?). And of course there’s the David Cronenberg cameo. The thing is that it’s a movie that doesn’t appeal to the hardcore fans of the series and which seems ultra-stupid to outsiders, making Jason X in many ways one of the ultimate guilty pleasures.
Signature Moment: Distracted in the holodeck, Cyborg Jason sees two nubile young hotties smoking pot and taking off their clothes before getting into sleeping bags. He of course beats them to death! with each other.
What’s it Missing: Jason X is severely lacking in the nudity department. Almost tragically so.
My Personal Connection To It: Essentially none. I saw Jason X for the first time last year on a whim – the DVD cost 5 bucks new. I found myself loving the hell out of the movie, and wondering why it was so widely hated.
Watch it With: Sexualized robots, time-lost babes and a hardcore Friday fan who will be foaming at the mouth by the end.
- Devin Faraci