Movies That Came In Like a Lion and Left Like a Lamb – By Brian Morton

Well, it’s March and you know what they say? You don’t? Well, to me they usually say ‘You’re renting that? Hey, Bob, this guy’s renting that movie that we all said would never be rented by anyone.’ Don’t they say that to everyone? Sure, it’s just me! Anyway, they do say that March ‘comes in like a lion and out like a lamb’, so I wondered how many movies I could think of that followed that same pattern. Movies that had a huge build up and then let us down so vary badly after we saw them.

First on my list is The Blair Witch Project. This movie had the most hype I have ever seen. If you were alive in 1999, and didn’t hear about The Blair Witch Project, then you were either in a coma or, honestly, maybe a little slow. This was billed as the most frightening movie ever made. People read about it on the internet, some people thought that it was a documentary and people didn’t want to go into the woods after they saw it. This very well may have been the most hyped movie of all time and then it was released and, let’s just admit it, we all went to see it. I even went to see it TWICE…Stop Laughing!!! I saw you there in the theater too, so don’t laugh at me. But once you saw this, unless you’d never been in the forest before, this was one of the most boring things ever put on film. In fact, about half the time, not much is even on the film, most of the time, it’s just a dark screen with people breathing heavy or screaming about something that’s apparently very scary, but the filmmakers forgot to take the lens cap off or something because all we, the audience, gets to see is a dark screen! And then, just as the movies getting good, we’re in the basement of a creepy house that’s out in the middle of nowhere, the movie’s over. Just like that. Now, I’ve seen a lot of horror movies in my time, so I thought that maybe I was just jaded and this was a lot scarier than I thought it was. So, after seeing it once, I took my wife to see it. After all, she’s not a horror movie fan and she’s a girl, so I thought that maybe this would be scary to her and I might be wrong about this movie. So after the movie was over and the theatre lights went up, I’ll never forget my wife’s initial impression of The Blair Witch Project, it was and I quote here “What a piece of shit” endquote. So, it wasn’t just me, this was one of the most over-hyped and under-done movies of the summer of 1999. In short, the Blair Witch Project came in like a lion but went out with a flush.

Now, how about the summer of 2003 and The Hulk. Yet another Marvel comic hero brought to life on the big screen with computer effects and a big name director. And after a hit the previous summer with Spiderman, we all thought Marvel could do no wrong..boy, were we wrong. Personally, I liked this movie, but even I have to admit that it was waaaay toooo looong, and had a whole lot more of the Bruce Banner stuff than we needed and a whole lot less of the ‘Hulk Smash’ stuff than we expected. The Hulk was supposed to be the summer blockbuster to be reckoned with; instead it turned out to be one of the summer’s biggest duds. Even the geeks, like myself, who might’ve gone to see this movie more than once never returned after the initial suckage. And, yes, suckage is a word I made up especially for this movie. So, when it comes to The Hulk, remember bigger and greener is good for vegetables, but not so much for movies apparently.

Finally, how about House Of 1000 Corpses in 2003? Even I got sucked into this one, I have to admit the idea was good, just the execution lacked. When I heard that Rob Zombie was going to make a horror movie, I thought it might be okay, but when they reported that he wanted to return to the horror of yesterday, without any of the humor that’s infested recent horror movies, I thought, this could be a great horror movie. And when you see the trailer, you think that this is a cool new version of something like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and if you’re not aware TCM is my favorite all time movie. I waited for months for this movie and was one of the first in line on opening day to see it. Now the lines weren’t that long to see this movie, but I remember being part of a crowd. A crowd made up mostly of guys in cowboy hats and long black trench coats, it was alot like a Goth cowboy convention that I had wandered into, and me in my T shirt and jeans, it was one of the few times that I felt both normal and an oddball…if you know what I mean. Well, I got my popcorn and got my seat and was prepared to have the crap scared out of me, and it built up like it was going to be a great movie. Four teenagers lost in the middle of nowhere, a crazy family living in a farmhouse that seems to have been decorated by a team of schizophrenics, all the elements are there, but something just goes horribly wrong. In fact, if you’ve seen this movie, then first, my apologies, and second you’ll remember the scene when Otis shoots the deputy behind the house. First the scene is shown from about a mile away, second Otis holds the gun to the deputy’s head for what seems like five minutes. Five Minutes! There’s not music, no sound, NOTHING! Just five minutes of Otis holding the gun to this poor guys head. It lasted so long, that, in the theatre I saw it in someone behind me yelled ‘For God’s sake, just shoot him already!’ And after that scene everything just falls to pieces. There’s an underground tunnel system that has a bunch of weirdoes down there and then there’s some kind of crazy funeral scene, it’s like Rob forgot he was making a movie and started making a music video right in the middle of things! And the sad thing is that this summer the sequel The Devil’s Rejects is due and I’ll probably stand in line for that one too. Am I a sucker for punishment or what?

There are so many movies like this that I’d love to hear about the ones you’ve seen, so drop me a line at brian@badmovieguy.com and tell me about the movies that let you down the most. Tell me about the movies that shook your faith or just tell me what an idiot I am, I’m a man, I can take it. But, before we adjourn here, let’s have a moment of silence for the movies that have passed that were hyped from here to eternity and then just died a quiet painful death at the box office……….. There, the moment has passed, now, back to the theatre with you!