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
Commando (1985, Dir. Mark L. Lester)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: John Matrix is all that is Man.
His tears are made of testosterone. Pain is nothing to him. And unless he’s related to you or sticking his dick inside you, to know him pretty much means you stand a good chance of expiring painfully.
This, moreso than Dutch or even the T-800, is the quintessential Arnie role for me. When you think of the definitive Arnie – nigh bulletproof killing machine with an endless supply of one-liners – no film allows him to shine in this fashion more than Commando. His daughter is kidnapped by one of the best cast of bad guys imaginable, featuring an overacting Dan Hedaya and a roid-rage-stricken Aussie version of Freddie Mercury that’s more into knife-fighting than sodomy, though the homoeroticism just beneath the surface of his contempt for Matrix might have you thinking about that for a bit. Rounding up the gang is the overconfident Bill Duke and the infamous David Patrick Kelly, who we’ll get to in the Signature Moment section.
But what are these guys – or any assembly of villainy, for that matter – in the face of a walking oak of death like John Matrix? He obeys the laws of physics when he feels like it, and when he doesn’t, even inanimate objects must yield to him (In a desperate rush to start up an uncooperative small plane, he actually exclaims “Come on, you piece of shit. Fly or die!”
Just so I’m clear here, this motherfucker threatens an airplane…and it starts.
How do you top that? How about having him singlehandedly extinguish all carbon-based life on an island filled with useless soldiers? We’re just biding time until Arnie and Vernon Wells meet for some carnage anyway. And after blowing through the mini-bosses like tissue paper, Arnie gets his chance. Vernon thinks he has the upper-hand being that he’s armed and has Arnie’s daughter (Alyssa Milano) in hand. But soon, we’re treated to a perfect mindfuck speech where Arnie talks him into thinking they’re equals. And if they’re equals, why does Wells need a gun, right?
The steampipe bursting through his chest a few spare moments later disagrees. Wells loses the debate. And coroners everywhere bow to their knees and give thanks. As should we all. If you ever wanted to see a Superman movie where there’s no Kryptonite in sight, Supes likes to end lives, and there aint no fucking Doomsday or other power-lifting aliens around who can touch him…well, this is that shit right here.
Signature Moment: Who doesn’t fondly reminisce about David Patrick Kelly’s final fate hanging over a long drop with nothing but John Matrix’s mercy standing between him and a plummet to Oblivion? Oh, fuck…John Matrix doesn’t have any mercy!
“Remember when I said I would kill you last? I lied.”
What It’s Missing: An editor to cut down Rae Dawn Chong’s part to a cameo. It’s not like she’s providing sex as a counterpoint to the megaviolence. But at least you can make sure the FWD buttons on your DVD remote still work…
My Personal Connection To It: I actually saw this before The Terminator, and while he’s made plenty of other films that are objectively better, none are as immediately gratifying for me.
Watch It With: A steak. Make it a porterhouse. And get a decent beer to go with it.
– Micah Robinson
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Dir. Tommy Lee Wallace)
Why It’s a Guilty Pleasure: The idea of making a third Halloween film that had nothing to do with the first two and didn’t feature iconic slasher Michael Myers was a ballsy one. Too bad it wasn’t a better one. Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a bizarre little movie that straddles science fiction, supernatural horror and techno thriller while doing none of them successfully. But the film’s oddball audacity – and the casting of bruiser Tom Atkins as a soused doctor hero – make the movie work in a strange, off-kilter way.
I still don’t really understand the plot of the movie, mostly because it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Silver Shamrock Novelty Company has mass-marketed a trio of Halloween masks with a hidden microchip that contains a piece of Stonehenge. Somehow those masks, when worn while watching a special TV broadcast, melt your head, turning your noggin into a mass of snakes and bugs. This has something to do with returning Halloween to its old Celtic origins as Samhain’ and with replacing people with robots, but I’ll be fucked if I can actually figure out what the actual point of any of it is.
In a lot of ways Halloween III, which was only produced by John Carpenter, plays as a precursor to his They Live, except instead of aliens using consumerism to their evil ends, it’s sinister, druidic Micks. The basic idea of a TV show-toy tie-in literally destroying your brain is pretty great, especially in this day and age of megablockbusters based on nothing more than toy lines. But like a lot of our Guilty Pleasures, Halloween III ends up being better in concept than execution, with its boring stretches of “investigative” work by Atkins and relatively low number of kills. There is one thing that will make this film immortal, though!
What It’s Missing: It certainly isn’t missing a self-referential commercial for the original Halloween. And it isn’t even missing Dick Warlock, who shows up as an android assassin (what a weird movie). It is missing compelling pacing, good acting and decent camerawork. Then again, compared to Rob Zombie’s upcoming remake/abortion, it’s a perfect film.
My Personal Connection To It: Season of the Witch was the first Halloween I saw in theaters, tragically enough. To this day my dreams are haunted by the Silver Shamrock song.
Watch It With: John Carpenter’s accountant. Rob Zombie in a Silver Shamrock skull mask.
– Devin Faraci