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Five Things to Avoid in the Horror Genre

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Five Things to Avoid in the Horror Genre

May 20, 2013
By Matt Molgaard - Staff Writer

Troma Toxic Avenger Poster

These days we’ve all got to watch our funds. The economy isn’t what it once was, and it sure isn’t thriving. A whole lot of us are stuck in cutting binds these days, and that means we’re monitoring the money we spend. If it’s possible to avoid a bad transaction, we do so. Hopefully this specific piece will aid you in the future, and prevent you from dumping your hard earned cash in places it shouldn’t be dumped.

Welcome to the wasteland of horror cinema. These are the territories to be ignored.


There was a time in which Troma released fun, low-budget flicks that showcased obvious passion. Audiences are required to travel back quite a few years to find that time. In fact, you’ve really got to head all the way back to the 1980’s to catch the company’s serious gems. The Toxic Avenger likely stands as the brand’s finest moment, but Igor and the Lunatics was a fun ride of insane violence, Class of Nuke ‘Em High was an absolute riotous blast and Combat Shock had an extremely dark charm going for it. But the 1980’s are long gone.

Troma has gone the route of cutting low-budget efforts down to ultra-micro-budget films. We’re talking pictures that appear to have cost little more than $1000 to put together. And even when you spot a contemporary Troma flick with a few more bucks behind it, it’s not exactly entertaining. Ever seen Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell? It’s miserable. The same could be said for the majority of Troma titles to land in our laps.

There was a time to pull for Lloyd Kaufman and Troma. That time has passed. The passion has faded from the brand, the product now clearly reflects this. There’s some irony here, as Kaufman has made a career of saving bucks in the production process, and today, genre fans are savvy enough to know to steer clear of anything Troma related, in order to save a few bucks!

Uwe Boil House of the Dead

Uwe Boll

While many would leap to point out the fact there are some entertaining qualities in Bloodrayne, it’s doubtful anyone would argue the fact that Uwe Boll is one of those directors to avoid like the plague. His work appears rushed, lazy and uninspired. Virtually everything the man touches feels obscenely cheap.

If you have your doubts about Boll and his work, look into the infamous House of the Dead. It’s a film that summons nausea and perplexes due to sheer neglect. Not only is this most likely the worst zombie film you’ve ever seen, it just might be the worst film in general. That’s not the kind of reputation you want to carry around Hollywood. Just the same, Boll has rightfully earned it, shooting himself in the foot time and again.

Asylum Paranormal Entity

The Asylum

If creativity means absolutely nothing to you, and you’re comfortable with subpar production values, The Asylum may be your bag. If you’re extremely anti-Tinsel Town, and insist on boycotting every major release and summer blockbuster to hit the market, this is without question a brand for you. These guys make a living creating cheap carbon copies of nearly every major cinematic release to crawl out of Hollywood.

Interested in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters? Asylum’s got Hansel & Gretel for you. How about Snow White and the Huntsman? Asylum has you covered with Grimm’s Snow White. You missed Paranormal Activity? Asylum’s got your back: they’re offering forth, Paranormal Entity. That’s the way this vampiric company functions. They yank every quality idea they spot, change a few names, shoot a micro flick and try to fool careless consumers into grabbing the wrong DVD cover at Blockbuster. It’s a damn shame.

Uile Lommerl Zodiac Killer

Ulli Lommel

Ulli Lommel fits the same mold that houses the Uwe Bolls of the world. This guy empties a clip, and every shot is a misfire. Splitting time in front of the cameras and behind, Ulli Lommel just doesn’t turn out quality efforts. His films are not enjoyable, on any level, by any stretch of the imagination.

There’s no point in wasting too much of your time: if you read the Uwe Boll portion of this piece, and mash that right up with the above breakdown of The Asylum and their wretched penchant for unoriginal works, you’ve got Lommel’s career in a capsule. Passionless, devoid of imagination and generally lazy, you simply don’t want to bother with Ulli.

Remakes Fright Night

CGI Heavy Remakes

It’s probably safe to assume everyone saw this coming. The horror community is exhausted, spent from entertaining miserable remakes that pop up as frequently as the common cold. It feels as though cinematic big wigs are cowering in fear of original works. They’re after the safe bucks, and the safe bucks are often offered up by familiar brands. Shoot a new Halloween film for $20 million, and a $35-plus million theatrical return is almost guaranteed. Look beyond the rainbow at home video figures and there’s safe money there. Why step out on a limb for a John Dies at the End when you’ve got a new Nightmare on Elm Street in the barrel?

Here’s the deal, we’re learning to accept remakes for what they are: persistent bastard (typically) films that aren’t going anywhere any time soon. But here’s a word to studios who’re determined to force-feed crowds something they have no desire to absorb: cut the crap with the excessive CGI. You’re really killing potential here.

Craig Gillespie’s retelling of the now iconic Fright Night had a dark humor to it that was rather enjoyable. Colin Farrell turned in one of his strongest performances to date, and brought a new level of sinister sexuality to the character of Jerry Dandridge. Hell, even Anton Yelchin did a decent job as Charlie Brewster. But, then came… the “special” effects! Horrible cartoon-like, completely unrealistic and funny in that way no genre fan finds real humor in, digital work sunk a ship that could have sailed with flags raised in pride. How about the ill-advised remake of The Fog? That was one of the most embarrassing debacles in recent memory. The Thing prequel? Could have actually been reasonably entertaining… if not for those laughable visual effects.

This is a nasty trend that Hollywood seems determined to cling to. It’s not paying off. Fright Night made $18 million domestically at the box office. Somehow The Fog yanked down $29 million, and The Thing did a severely underwhelming $16 million. It’s broken. Fix it.



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May 27, 2013
By: Jerry Chandler
I'd disagree with you on your Troma timeline. I thought that Poultrygeist was actually pretty good and I know a lot of people who thought it was one of the better Troma efforts.
May 27, 2013
Uwe Boll
I hate Uwe Boll's work like I hate stepping on nails\, but if you haven't seen his movie Rampage\, you are doing yourself a disservice. It's seriously the best thing he ever did.
May 27, 2013
By: CW Prather
POULTRYGEIST, TERROR FIRMER and TOXIE 4 (the last three Troma releases Kaufman directed) are all great additions to Troma's 40 year catalog. Just a cursory look at the reviews POULTRTGEIST received during its Fest and commercial run from a few years back (B+ from Entertainment Weekly) sees its inclusion on this list as out of touch.

Then peel back and see the making of documentaries for all three of the examples, some which have also played fests and all are as good as the wonderful BEST WORST MOVIE, and couple that with recent distribution acquisitions as the popular cult flicks like FATHERS DAY, and a stronger case can be made that Troma is more relevant than it ever was.
May 29, 2013
avoid troma?
By: the b-movie avenger
tromeo and juliet\, terror firmer\, citizen toxie\, poultrygeist:Night of the Chicken Dead\, Dario Argento's masterpiece the Stendhal syndrom\, Seriousy\, avoid Troma? because of a single title you didn't like? Wow\, yes Troma does put out some stinkers and always has but virtually all the in house productions (besides tales from the crapper that should be disregarded as even being a movie at all) were instant cult classics. Here is a primne example of a mainstream horror fan crapping on the independents. He claims to like the toxic avenger and igor and the lunatics but are any of us suprised at all that he named the two titles that are trendiest to like? bet this guy absolutly loved the scream films and saw tortur porn series. Oh and the asylum does occasionally pop out a good one case and point Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies\, it spanked the hell out of Abe Lincoln vampire hunter. one more thing a parting note. House of the dead is celebrated by b-movie lovers like myself as one of the best bad movies ever made. it's ludicris\, badly acted not thought out and damn fun to watch. And Micheal Bay doesn't get a mention here? are you serious? Troma but not Micheal Bay for shame for shame

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