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
House of the Dead
(2003, Dir. Dr. Uwe Boll)
It’s a Guilty Pleasure: Of all of the choices for this list, House
of the Dead is the one I feel least guilty about by a country mile.
That’s not to say that it’s “the best” of my selections, but it’s certainly the
most pleasurable. That pleasure is derived from the oh-so-special way that the
film takes hold of one of the basest human instincts – our attraction to
trainwrecks – and gives a loving tickle or two before donkey punching it.
of the Dead
isn’t your average stinker that can be taken lightly. Oh, no, no, no. This is a
movie so thoroughly infused with anti-good in every frame, it takes a few
viewings to comprehend the scope of director DOCTOR Uwe Boll’s achievement
here: nothing less than the virtual resurrection of one Edward Wood Jr.
claim to that deed rests with his unique combination of hubris, ignorance,
ambition, and a complete lack of skill. As you watch this cheapie video game
flick, you can almost hear Boll next to you patting himself on the back for “innovative”
touches like editing in footage of an ancient, blocky, low-resolution videogame
as a plot device for a modern,
live-action movie or “managing” to stage a rave – by definition, a packed,
frenetic nighttime event involving lots of mind-altering substances – in a sunny,
beer-soaked daytime island setting with about as many extras as you’d get with
the purchase of a base model Xbox 360. You get the feeling he understands the
world in which we live much as Bizarro perceives Superman and Metropolis.
the film’s entertainment factor doesn’t rest solely on Boll’s shoulders. He’s
aided and abetted by a cast of 30-looking nobodies trying desperately (and
failing) to pass themselves as crazy college kids. In the midst of their
non-acting maelstrom, a sort of eye exists in the oddly authentic performances
of Jurgen Prochnow (he doesn’t get an umlaut in the billing of this film, so he
can’t have one here) as the unforgettable Captain Kirk (see, more of that Uwe
wit!) and Clint Howard as’ whatever the hell his cowardly sidekick was named.
the proper actors, crappy script, and no adult supervision, Boll takes us on a
thrill ride where the descent seems to have no end. Every time you think he’s
shot his load, you get a signature moment like this exchange:
protagonist captured by bad guy: You did
all of this to become immortal – why?
bad guy: To live forever!
stuff. Anyway, you may find yourself tempted – if you haven’t already – to check
this out via the odd TV viewing on The Sci-Fi channel or whatnot. Don’t. If you’re
going to dare to immerse yourself in the essence of Uwe, it can’t properly be
done without enjoying his films again on DVD, where his commentary tracks take
the whole shebang to a whole new level. Here, Dr. Boll dazzles you with gems
such as “The film eees redolent of
Signature Moment: At least in Dr. Boll’s mind, the centerpiece of skill
here is his endless, pseudo-Bullet Time action sequence where dem crazy kids
get lots of guns and pointy things and decide to “kill” oncoming zombies with
them. For the next several minutes we get the poor ma’fuck that, the hobo‘s version of Matrix-style action, as Uwe keeps spinning the camera around static
fight poses that you’ll have to do your best to make out through your tears of
What It’s Missing: Anything
considered a rudiment of competent filmmaking.
My Personal Connection to It: I remember the first Boll film I watched in a
theater like I remember my wedding day and the first time I finished Metroid.
Shit’s special like Lowenbrau.
Watch It With: Film school students if you’re in the mood to recreate Scanners.
The Secret Of My Succe$s (1987, Dir. Herbert Ross)
It’s a Guilty Pleasure: Like Highlander 2, this is less a movie I love than one I’m fascinated with. It’s the age-old question: Stifler’s mom, or Brantley’s aunt? The crucial difference being, Stifler didn’t fuck his own mom, while Brantley most definitely hit it with auntie, and built a movie on it to boot.
The Secret Of My Succe$s (properly spelled with the dollar sign) is subversively trashy and materialistic. Ostensibly the tale of a farm kid who makes good because of his head for business and moral code, it’s really just a thinly disguised ode to all the things that made the ’80s what they were: consumerism, duplicity, greed and sexual exploration hidden behind a veneer of society. It’s like a ’70s/’80s Euro sex comedy without the nudity or comedy.
Having Richard Jordan (I just watched him in Solarbabies, and there’s that Hunt For Red October appearance) as the obviously snide corporate villain is all the justification we need to enjoy the shenanigans as Brantley Foster becomes Carlton Whitfield, a sort of suit and tie Tyler Durden. Through more than one musical montage, Whitfield seduces both his company and the chaste Christy (Helen Slater, still not topping The Legend of Billie Jean) while indulging himself with Aunt Vera, who luckily isn’t actually a blood relative. That’s just enough remove to provide some grotesquely titillating thrills to a film otherwise content to rely on pratfalls and near-miss identity gags that the Marx Brothers wouldn’t have even let progress far enough to be rejected.
The goofy action all builds to a point where Aunt Vera takes control of her lousy husband’s company and hands it over to Brantley. And while it’s his infidelity that she uses to fuel her anger, we all know that she made her move because her nephew is a good lay. 1987, I miss you. I miss you so much!
Moment: Our young capitalist hero is assigned to drive an older lady — his aunt — home, and is comically seduced by her as he plays chauffer, to the tune of Yello’s ‘Oh Yeah’, recycled without a smidgen of guilt from the previous summer’s hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Then he porks her.
What It’s Missing: A sense of shame. This is all from the guy who made The Seven Per Cent Solution and The Last Of Sheila…even Footloose was more respectable than this.
My Personal Connection to It: Back To The Future and Teen Wolf were all I needed, at 14, to cement the purchase of a ticket to a new Michael J. Fox flick. The Secret Of My Success was all I needed to realize that it was a terrible mistake. Even as a youngster, I felt dirty watching this movie. Excited, but so dirty.
Watch It With: Your shrink.
- Russ Fischer