Film Review: Anonymous (dir. by Roland Emmerich)

Earlier today, I saw Roland Emmerich’s new film Anonymous and wow.  I don’t even know where to begin with just how thoroughly bad a film Anonymous is.  Yes, I know that this film has gotten good reviews from mainstream sellouts critics like Roger Ebert.  And yes, I heard the old people sitting behind me and Jeff in the theater going, “So, do you think Shakespeare really wrote those plays?” after the movie ended.  I’m aware of all of that and yet, I can only say one thing in response: Anonymous is the worst film of 2011 so far.

In its clumsy and rather smug way, Anonymous attempts to convince us that the plays of William Shakespeare were actually written by a boring nobleman named Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans, giving a very boring performance).  De Vere, you see, is obsessed with writing but as a member of a noble family, he cannot publicly do anything as lowbrow as publish his plays himself.  So, he pays playwright Ben Johnson (Sebastian Armesto) to take credit for the plays.  However, Johnson has moral qualms about taking credit for another man’s work.  However, Johnson’s sleazy (and, the film suggest, sociopathic) friend Will Shakespeare (Rafe Spall, who at least appears to be enjoying himself in the role) has no such qualms and, after murdering Christopher Marlowe, Will is soon the most celebrated “writer” in England. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave, giving a performance so terrible that you know she’ll probably get an Oscar for it) is growing senile and De Vere starts to realize that he can use his literary talents to attempt to determine who will sit on the English throne after Elizabeth dies.

However, before we can even start in on that plot, we have to sit through the film’s opening sequence.  Taking place in the modern day, we watch as actor Derek Jacobi (and not Malcolm McDowell, I’m sad to say) delivers a lecture on why he thinks that Shakespeare didn’t write a word.  His argument basically comes down to the fact that Shakespeare was “the son of a glovemaker” and therefore, how could he have become the world’s greatest writer?  How could he have written about royalty when he himself was a commoner who didn’t go to a prestigious university?  How could he have been a genius when we know so little about his life?  And blah blah blah.  I understand that Jacobi actually frequently gives lectures like the one we hear in this film and I, for one, will make sure never to attend one because, quite frankly, Jacobi comes across like something of a pompous ass here.  It doesn’t help that Emmerich films Jacobi’s lecture in much the same way he filmed the world falling apart in 2012.  Seriously, a boring old man ranting on a stage is still a boring old man regardless of how many times the camera zooms into his boring, old face.

This introductory lecture pretty much sets the tone for the entire film to follow and, by screwing this up, Emmerich pretty much screw up everything that follows.  However, Jacobi is not entirely blameless for the film’s failure.  Number one, he delivers the lecture with all the righteous fury of someone talking about something … well, something more relevent than whether Edward De Vere wrote Shakespeare’s plays.  Secondly, Jacobi comes across as if he’s sincerely convinced that he’s telling me something that I haven’t already heard from a high school English teacher, a college creative writing instructor, and a drama professor.  Seriously, guys — the whole idea that some people claim Shakespeare was a fraud is not that mind-blowing.  Thirdly, and most importantly, Jacobi’s main argument seems to primarily be an elitist one.  Shakespeare is not “one of us” so therefore, Shakespeare must be a fraud.  In short, Derek Jacobi comes across as a snob, a bore, and an upper-class twit.  He’s the type of blowhard that you secretly dread will end up moving in next door to you.   I can imagine him now coming over and saying, “Hi, my name’s Derek Jacobi.  Might I borrow some salt and while you get it, I’ll explain why I hate glovemakers so.”

Both the film and Sir Derek George Jacobi reveal next to no regard for the wonders of imagination when they argue that Shakespeare couldn’t have written about royalty because he himself was not of royal blood.  But, I wonder — how hard is it to write about royalty, really?  Is Hamlet really a play about a prince or is it a play about a man who is struggling to maintain his idealism in an increasingly harsh world?  Is Henry V really about royalty or is it about a formerly irresponsible boy who is being forced to grow up?  To take Jacobi’s argument to its logical conclusion, why could Shakespeare not write about royalty but apparently De Vere could write about gravediggers and loan sharks? 

The answer to that question is not to be found in Ifans’ glum, humorless performance.  As played by Rhys Ifans, Edward De Vere is a blank slate who seems to be incapable of the joy and the love of life that is apparent in some of the plays that Jacobi credits him with.  The film’s version of Edward De Vere doesn’t seem to be capable of telling a good joke, let alone writing one.  Yet, we are to believe that he is the author of Much Ado About Nothing?  It’s enough to make you wonder if anyone involved in this film has ever bothered to read Shakespeare or do they just use his work (and a wikipedia-level understanding of British history) as a roadmap for their own conspiracy theories?

Once you get past the whole Shakespeare-as-fraud thing, it’s a bit difficult to really talk about the plot of Anonymous because there really isn’t much of a plot.  There’s a lot of people plotting things and there’s a lot of scenes of distinguished looking men standing in ornate waiting rooms and either whispering or yelling about who deserves to succeed Elizabeth as ruler.  I’m an unapologetic history nerd and I usually love all the soap opera theatrics of British royalty (both past and present) so I should have taken to these scenes like a cat pouncing on a bird but I didn’t.  All of the palace intrigue left me cold and bored, largely because it all just felt as if they were being randomly dropped in from other, better films about the Elizabethan era.  The plot of Anonymous doesn’t so much unfold as it just shows up uninvited and then refuses to go home.

Storywise, Anonymous tells us the following (and yes, these are spoilers):

1) Queen Elizabeth, the so-called “virgin” queen, was apparently something of a slut and had a countless amount of illegitimate children who apparently all ended up living next door to each other as if they were all in the cast of some sort of renaissance sitcom.  “This week on Tyler Perry’s Meet the Tudors…”

2) Her first bastard son was none other than Edward De Vere who several years later — unaware of his true parentage — would become Elizabeth’s lover and would end up impregnating Elizabeth with the Earl of Southampton.  The Earl of Southampton would eventually grow up to become De Vere’s ward though he would never realize that he was also De Vere’s son and half-brother.  (And all together now: Ewwwwww!) 

3) The Earl of Southampton would then go onto to become an ally of the Earl of Essex, yet another one of Elizabeth’s unacknowledged sons and when Essex would attempt to claim his right to succeed to the English throne, De Vere would attempt to aid in his efforts by writing Richard III

4) Oh, and finally, William Shakespeare personally murdered playwright Christopher Marlowe.  In real-life, Marlowe was murdered in 1593.  The film takes place in 1598 so I’m guessing that either the filmmakers are just stupid or else they “embellished” the story in order to give us another reason to hate Shakespeare.  However, seeing as how Emmerich and Rhys Ifan and Derek Jacobi have been out there bragging about how authentic and scrupulous this film is, it’s hard to really forgive the “whole embellishment” argument when they’re essentially accusing Shakespeare of committing a very real crime against a very real contemporary.  It’s especially odd that the film pretty much drops the whole Shakespeare-as-murderer subplot right after bringing it up.  It’s hard not to feel that the filmmakers assumed that nobody would either bother or be smart enough to catch them on this.

Needless to say, this material is all so melodramatic and over-the-top that it should have been great fun, a so-bad-its-good masterpiece of bad dialogue and tacky costumes.  Well, the film is full of bad dialogue and the costumes are tacky but yet, the film itself is never any fun.  The film’s sin isn’t that it’s ludicrous.  No, this film commits the sin of taking itself far too seriously.  This is a film that has fallen in love with its own delusions of adequacy.  In short, this is a film directed by Roland Emmerich.

Indeed, there’s many reasons why Anonymous fails as a film.  John Orloff’s screenplay is ludicrous, the film’s premise is never as interesting as it should be, the film’s version of 16th Century London is so obviously CGI that it resembles nothing less than a commercial for Grand Theft Auto: The Elizabethan Age, and the film is full of overdone performances.  (Vanessa Redgrave might get an Oscar nomination for her performance here but seriously, she’s beyond terrible.)  Ultimately, however, all of the blame must be given to Roland Emmerich.  As a director, he is just so damn literal-minded that he doesn’t seem to be capable of understanding just how stupid this movie truly is.  At first this film might seem like a change of pace for Emmerich but after watching just a few minutes, it quickly becomes apparent that we’re dealing with the same idiot who had arctic wolves running around New York City in The Day After Tomorrow

I’ve seen a few interviews with Emmerich in which he has said that the question of Shakespeare’s authorship is something that “many people don’t want to discuss.”  If I remember correctly, he said the same thing about the Mayan prophecy that the world would end in 2012 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he trotted out that line in regards to climate change back when he did Day After Tomorrow.  Sadly, what Roland Emmerich doesn’t seem to get is that people are willing to discuss all of those topics.  They just don’t want to discuss them with him.

Quickie Horror Review: Frailty (dir. by Bill Paxton)

Every year there are always films of every genre and stripe which fly under the radar of most film-goers. Every film fan knows of several such films and always like to believe they were one of the few who actually saw it in the theaters when it came and went. In 2002, one such film was the psychological thriller/horror film Frailty by veteran actor Bill Paxton. This was to be his directorial debut on a feature-length film and for a first time it was a home run right from the start.

Frailty was done mostly through flashbacks as told to an FBI special agent by a man (Matthew McConaughey) and how this man knows the true identity of a particular serial killer around the Texas region who has dubbed himself the “God’s Hand”. It’s through this man’s retelling of the origins of the “God’s Hand” that we see the lives of a father raising two young boys as best he can until a sudden “vision” of divine nature changes their lives forever. The father begins to believe that he has been given a divine purpose to find and destroy demons who have taken on human form. To do this deed he has an axe he’s dubbed “Otis” to assist him. The reaction of the two young boys differ as their father goes about his new work. The older brother in Fenton Meiks believes what his father is doing to be illegal and makes him a murderer. On the other hand, the younger brother in Adam Meiks has taken on seeing their father as the hero that he sees him and supporting him in his new endeavor.

The film doesn’t inundate the viewer with much gore and violence. This is not say that the film lacked for killings. The father finds and “destroys” the demons given to him on what he calls “God’s list”, but the film doesn’t linger on these scenes of violence. It instead focuses on the reactions of the father’s two sons and the growing rift which gradually begins to grow between the three. It would be this rift which plants the seed of who would ultimately become the “God’s Hand” killer.

The film also manages to turn the theme of a father’s love for his sons and vice versa become a taut and disturbing study on the concept of faith. The film also does a great way of twisting the story in a way that we never know who the “God’s Hand” killer was until very close to the end despite everything being told by the man to the FBI pointing to specific individual. This was one of the few films which used the twist to the narrative properly and not as a crutch to make the film better than the source.

It’s this source, the screenplay in other words, which makes Frailty such an under-appreciated and great film. There’s rarely any instances where the story takes on leaps of logic that would break the audience from the world they’ve become invested in. In fact, I would say that the film was quite traditional in how it handled the story and characters. There’s wasn’t any special character and narrative quirks to make them stand out from the rest of the other roles. It’s from the performances by all involved, especially the very convincing ones from the two young actors playing the young Fenton (Matt O’Leary) and young Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), that sells the film. Matthew McConaughey as the man telling the story of the Meiks does a great job in a role that others might have gone overboard with. His restrained performance in concert with the young actors in the film would be another reason why Frailty became such a great film.

Performances, as great as they were in this film, required for a filmmaker to have a deft handle on his cast and the screenplay. This film was lucky enough to have a first-time filmmaker in Bill Paxton who played to the strength of the screenplay and trust in his actors. He didn’t try to be too cute or direct like someone with something to prove. I know that saying one directed a film with efficiency would be seen as a negative. In this instance I’d say that Paxton’s efficient direction helped the film stay focused on the story and the characters instead of trying to be flashy.

Frailty was, and still is, a film that seems to fly under most people’s radars, but it’s also a film that has gained quite a loyal following since it’s initial 2002 release. It’s a rare film that has continued to live up to it’s growing cult status not because of what people might have heard of it, but because it’s a rare film that stand on it’s quality. A film which, from top to bottom, made for a smart thriller with some horror aspects through in that didn’t try to fool it’s audience (even the twist in the story was a true genuine surprise instead of a story cop-out). If there ever was a film that needed to be seen by more people it’s definitely Frailty.

Opeth and Summoning: Music for October (part 7)

October has always been my favorite month. It marks the beginning of a seasonal reclamation of man by the world, in which civilization’s mask of sensibility begins to slip away. Tasteless architectural symbols of control over nature digress to their more appropriate forms, as frail refuge against forces beyond our control or comprehension. It is, to misappropriate Agalloch, “a celebration for the death of man… …and the great cold death of the Earth.”

Last year I posted a six part series on some of my favorite black metal, folk metal, and related genres for the season. I had intended to do something similar this year, but time just did not allow for it. I never got around to coming up with a central concept on which to focus. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the two bands I have listened to the most this month, Opeth and Summoning, both defy all standards of classification.

I would like to showcase both, but I can’t imagine doing so properly without embarking on a project way beyond the scope of my time and desire to write at the moment. So I will keep this short and sweet, featuring only Opeth’s Orchid (1995) and Summoning’s Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (2001), and perhaps in the process still introduce you to some amazing music you had not heard before.

Opeth – The Apostle in Triumph

Everyone has heard Opeth, right? Their fame is fairly unprecedented among metal bands that are actually worth a damn. Yet, out of touch with what is and is not popular today as I am, I still get the impression that what I think of as Opeth is just as relatively obscure as it had been when I first heard them well over a decade ago.

Opeth as a popular band, in fact, is entirely foreign to me. Their first album to make the US charts, Damnation, came out right around the time I stopped listening to them altogether, and long after my interest had begun to wane. I was introduced to Opeth, like everyone around the turn of the century, via Demon of the Fall. My Arms Your Hearse was one of the most emotionally charged and breathtaking albums I’d ever heard. At the time, if you wanted to hear more, you had to look backwards, to Orchid and Morningrise, both of which were very different beasts. With them, if no one reminded you of the distortion and growled vocals, you might forget, amidst Akerfeldt’s soft, subtle lamentations, that you were listening to metal at all.

It took both a long time to grow on me. It’s not that they were inaccessible, but that peculiar teenage ability to focus in on a single masterpiece with no appreciation whatsoever for its surroundings had hold of me. There I was covering My Arms Your Hearse from start to finish on my new guitar (sure wish I could still do so now), and I’d listened to Morningrise maybe five times. Orchid never broke through the cellophane. I finally turned to them just barely in time to soak them up before history left them in the dust, a last minute love affair I was conscious of at the time. They ended up becoming my two favorite Opeth albums, and still are.

Even though My Arms Your Hearse was, alongside Blind Guardian’s Nightfall in Middle-Earth, easily the most influential album in my life, Orchid and Morningrise are the two I look back on most nostalgically, and their melancholy beauty always reverberates the sensation.

Opeth – The Twilight is My Robe

So maybe Orchid isn’t really Opeth’s best album. Perhaps I am biased beyond reconciliation. But at any rate, my obsession with it certainly isn’t some subconscious desire to show I am an “old school” fan–the sort of accusation I tend to see on those rare occasions that the album is mentioned at all. Whether you find my placement of it at the top of Akerfeldt’s discography unjust or not, I encourage you to give The Apostle in Triumph and The Twilight is My Robe long hard listens. Agalloch being a decidedly winter-oriented band, I have experienced no music which captures the melancholy side of the autumnal season better than this.

Summoning – A New Power is Rising

I obsessed over The Hobbit as a child, the Lord of the Rings as a teen, and The Silmarillion in my earliest adult years. J.R.R. Tolkien pretty well haunted most of the formative years of my life, and I am forever indebted to him. A few months ago I picked up one of his books for the first time in perhaps a decade, committed to reading them all, but time simply did not allow for it. As with all undertakings though, it influenced my taste in music for the time at hand. I spent much of the summer re-exploring Summoning–a band I’d never actually encountered until Oath Bound in 2006. Thus they were readily at hand at the start of October, and since then they’ve comprised over half of everything I have listened to.

I dare say no single author has had more impact on music than Tolkien, and while I will always regard Nightfall in Middle-Earth as the greatest relevant triumph, Summoning’s discography is a close second. The one band I know of which has taken Tolkien as their lyrical and musical muse pretty much exclusively, they have forged an entirely new style of music over the years that captures that feeling I always got reading him to perfection.

Summoning – South Away

Summoning emerged from black metal, but from the very beginning they stood apart. By Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame in 2001, my favorite album of theirs, this connection had dwindled to little more than the vocals and some tremolo guitar. The constant use of keyboards (often set to replicate brass) and the heavily reverberated, slow drumming are what characterize them best, along with frequent spoken vocal loops.

Perhaps they intend to sound fairly sinister, with lyrics focused more often than not on the darker forces of Tolkien’s tales, but the effect for me is nothing of the sort. The drums paint a vast, diverse landscape of mountains, forests, rivers and plains that are entirely neutral–dangerous to be certain, but more enticing than aversive. They beckon you out to explore the unknown, steeped in mystery–a fantasy world which is here Middle-Earth, but could just as soon be your own back yard on an autumn day, when the changes at hand call on you to leave humanity behind and wander off into the amoral wilderness.

Summoning – Runes of Power

I love black metal, horror, and everything of the sort, but I think the word “neutral” best describes what I have been tapping into this Halloween season. No real glorification of evil for its own sake, nor any embrace of bygone cultures and values here. Orchid and Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame both tap into the individual’s relation to the world absent civilization’s presumptions and impositions–to the mystery of nature and the manifold possibilities within it which mundane daily life denies–be the experience melancholy or thrilling.

Scenes I Love: Orphan – “Max’s Silent Bedtime Story”

The snow has me stuck inside today, so we’re going through different horror movies today. While going through some of the movies that were on, a Twitter friend mentioned the movie “Orphan”, which was reviewed here at the Shattered Lens a year ago. I know we’re doing horror this month, but I’ll get back to that a little later. This reminded me of my favorite scene in that movie, one that is neither scary nor fitting for Halloween, but still stayed with me.

In this scene, Vera Farmiga and Aryana Engineer, play a mother and daughter who share a bedtime story. Farmiga and the cast learned sign language in the film, and Engineer helped them along the way (who is hearing impaired herself). This ended up with what I felt was a very sweet scene. The sound is cut for the audience as well, but it’s really not needed. The message between the two is quite heartfelt. Enjoy.

Unfortunately, embedding isn’t allowed for this particular video, but it’s worth seeing.

Horror Film Review: An American Werewolf in London (dir. by John Landis)

I resisted seeing An American Werewolf in London for quite some time because 1) I kept mixing the film up with its “sequel,” An American Werewolf in Paris (which is seriously one of the worst films ever made) and 2) werewolves scare me in a way that vampires and zombies don’t.  Seriously, what is a werewolf other than a really big pit bull and to say that I’m not a dog person is an understatement.  However, this Halloween season, several people on twitter suggested that I give the film a chance so, reluctantly, I watched it and I’m glad that I did.  Good call, twitter.

Originally released way back in 1981, An American Werewolf in London starts with two nice guys from New York (played by David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) backpacking across England.  They stop in one of those proverbial, fog-drenched English villages where they are told, by the secretive town folk, to stay off the moors.  Naughton and Dunne promptly wander into the moors.  “Whoops,” they literally say as the full moon shines behind them.  Suddenly, they are attacked by some sort of wild animal.  Dunne is killed and a severely wounded Naughton wakes up days later in a London hospital.

While recovering in the hospital, Naughton meets and starts up a tentative romance with his nurse (Jenny Agutter) even as he finds himself haunted by disturbing graphic nightmares in which he sees his family being massacred by humanoid wolves dressed up like storm troopers.  (Seriously, these genuinely disturbing nightmares were so seamlessly worked into film that they took me totally by surprise.)  Even worse, Dunne’s progressively decaying corpse keeps popping up in his hospital room and telling him that 1) they were attacked by a werewolf, 2) Dunne’s spirit is trapped on Earth until the werewolf’s bloodline is extinguished, and 3) that bloodline is currently being carried on by Naughton.  Fearing for his sanity, Naughton moves into Agutter’s flat after he’s released from the hospital and, for a brief moment, it actually seems like he might actually be okay.

And then, inevitably, a full moon rises and soon, there’s an American werewolf in London…

An American Werewolf in London is an oddly succesful hybrid of genres that don’t always mix well: it’s scarier than Paranormal Activity, funnier than Scream, and ultimately more romantic than any of the Twilight films.  David Naughton and Jenny Agutter are both so appealing in this film that you actually get invested in their relationship and, as a result, the inevitably of the film’s conclusion becomes all the more tragic.  As this film was pre-CGI, Naughton actually had to act out the process of transforming into a werewolf and, as a result, An American Werewolf in London feels real in a way that most werewolf films do not.

Director John Landis manages to maintain a perfect balance between the horror and the comedy and, as a result, I found myself both laughing out loud and hiding my eyes throughout this entire film.  For me, the scariest scene in the film comes when an unfortunate commuter finds himself being tracked through a nearly deserted tube station by our werewolf.  Landis  wisely draws the sequence out, with the camera taking on the point-of-view of the prowling werewolf.  Seriously, this growls heard during this whole sequence reminded me of why I’m so scared of big dogs.  The other stand-out sequence comes towards the end of the film, in which Naughton takes refuge in a filthy porno theater and talks to Dunne (who, by this point, is just a skeleton).  Dunne, it turns out, has brought with him the spirits of all the people who Naughton killed during the last full moon.  So, while Dunne and his new friends encourage Naughton to commit suicide and Naughton starts to painfully transform into a werewolf, the worst porno film ever made is playing in front of them.  The scene — with its perfect mix of tragedy, comedy, and horror — epitomizes everything that makes An American Werewolf in London work as a film.

One final note: one of the problems that I have with a whole lot of horror films is that they rarely make good use of their setting.  Whether it’s that old deserted building or that piece of wilderness that’s not on anyone’s map, horror locations often feel as a generic as horror plots.  However, Landis makes good use of both London and the English countryside here and this is a film that really should serve as a lesson for aspiring horror filmmakers todays.  Of course, it helps that the location in question happens to be London with all of its gothic traditions and old school horror heritage.  Let’s face it — An American Werewolf in St. Louis* just doesn’t carry the same punch. 


* Or, God Forbid, Vermont.

Horror Film Review: Dementia 13 (dir. by Francis Ford Coppola)

For today’s excursion into the world of public domain horror, I offer up the film debut of Francis Ford Coppola.  Before Coppola directed the Godfathers and Apocalypse Now, he directed a low-budget, black-and-white thriller that was called Dementia 13.  (Though, in a sign of things to come, producer Roger Corman and Coppola ended up disagreeing on the film’s final cut and Corman reportedly brought in director Jack Hill to film and re-film additional scenes.) 

Regardless of whether the credit should go to Coppola, Corman, or Hill, Dementia 13 is a brutally effective little film that is full of moody photography and which clearly served as an influence on the slasher films that would follow it in the future.  Speaking of influence, Dementia 13 itself is obviously influenced by the Italian giallo films that, in 1963, were just now starting to make their way into the drive-ins and grindhouses of America.

In the cast, keep an eye out for Patrick Magee, who later appeared as Mr. Alexander in A Clockwork Orange as well as giving a memorable performance in Lucio Fulci’s The Black Cat.  Luana Anders, who plays the duplicitous wife in this film, showed up in just about every other exploitation film made in the 60s and yes, the scene where she’s swimming freaks me out to no end.

(One final note: I just love the title Dementia 13.  Seriously, is that a great one or what?)

Trailers for Halloween, Part One

Welcome to Part One of the Halloween Edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers!  Watch for Part 2 tomorrow and Part 3 on Monday. 

1) I, Madman (1989)

I love this trailer for the title alone.  Anything called I, Madman is automatically going to be great.

2) Dark Forces (1980)

This is one of those trailers that I just happened to wander across on YouTube and the main reason it’s here is because I just like the kitschy, pop art feel to it.  How scary can anyone named Harlequin really be?

3) Boardinghouse (1982)

“In Horrorvision!”  Judging from this trailer, Horrorvision apparently is another way of saying, “Shot on video tape.”  I actually own this film on DVD.  I bought it solely because it was a Code Red DVD and I needed to complete my collection.  I managed to watch about 10 minutes of it before the extreme tackiness of the whole thing overwhelmed me and I just had to turn it off and watch some Degrassi instead.  Still the trailer has a certain deam-like quality to it.

4) Tourist Trap (1979)

This trailer gets to me because mannequins get to me.  Seriously, they creep me out and once when I was like nine, I saw one move by itself in the mall.  True story!  Plus, the last time I went to Victoria’s Secret, there were headless, lingerie-clad mannequins in the display window.  Seriously!  Where were the heads?  It was so creepy and serial killer-like.  Don’t even get me started on Dexter this season.  Seriously, mannequins suck.

5) Motel Hell (1980)

Honestly, I would never stay at a place called Motel Hell.  Especially if there’s a Comfort Inn nearby.

6) The Funhouse (1980)

This trailer actually really scared me the first time I saw it.  Once again, mannequins suck.  (You can spot a few in this one.)