Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Decade of Dreck #9: House of the Dead

Charge Shot!!! is celebrating the end of the decade in the most masochistic way we know how - by watching and writing about the 100 worst movies of the last ten years as defined by film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Click here to see RT's complete list, click here for more about the Decade of Dreck project, and click here to see all of the movies we've done so far.

I'm faintly flabbergasted when game reviewers gush about the "movie-like" storylines in video games. I remember reading an EGM (back when my best friend was Link and I read EGM) when Metal Gear Solid 2: Femmy Wienerface came out. Even at the time, I called bullshit on their enthusiasm for the game's "gripping," "complex," "not completely fucking insane" story. But I loved the game. I couldn't tell you why I did most of the shit I did, but I know I had fun breaking peoples' necks and shoving them into lockers.

But if you have truly awful taste (or if you're in middle school), I can see how you could be sucked in by certain games' flimsy (or predictable or incomprehensible) narratives. I was engrossed by just about every Final Fantasy (except for 8, which was super-minty) until I became un-fat, and I thought Max Payne was super-sweet. But the (alleged) ball-lickingness of the Max Payne movie shows what happens when you subject a video game storyline to actual Hollywood standards. What sufficed to motivate you to kill dudes in slow-motion doesn't keep you from seeing a less shitty movie with Marky Mark in it.

I can't see even middle-schoolers or people who like The Covenant, however, singling out House of the Dead for its intricate plotting. I love light-gun games as much as the next homicidal American, but I couldn't tell you why I was killin' zombies (other than that they was zombies to be killed, and they wasn't gonna kill theyselves).

But it's not really perplexing that poop-sculptor Uwe Boll optioned an arcade game with no discernible back-story for his first (sorta) high-profile American film (which is really only sorta high-profile because it's based on a videogame). Uwe (I'm going to call him "Huey" from now on because Huey sounds more American, and this guy clearly wants to be an American) likes making movies, and nothing's going to stop him. Except for a 2005 change in German tax law which stopped letting investors in German-owned films to write off the entirety of their investment as tax-deductible. That way, Huey could continue to make shitty movies that didn't turn a profit.

I was going to argue that he was a sort of modern-day Ed Wood (he loved making movies even if he wasn't particularly good at it), but Ed Wood never called his peers "fucking retards."

Ah well. I still find his delusion sorta cute; he thinks he's people!

Was I supposed to talk about the movie? Oh yeah.

It was fucking awful, naturally. An ungodly script (never funny, mostly nonsensical, and always absurdly stupid), unforgivably bad performances (although they didn't have much to work with), and porn-quality direction made this a House I wouldn't want to live in. Thanks to Boivin and Patton Oswalt for that one.

I'll pick out some of my favorite moments:

- When asked why he wants to become immortal, head zombie/stitch-face guy Castillo (naturally an evil Spaniard exiled hundreds of years ago for being too evil) responds, "To live forever!"

- A character refers to a house (maybe the House?!) as being built a millennia ago. One of the characters points out a mistake in his phrasing but, naturally, not the correct one. "It's centuries, idiot."

- The fact that Uwe Boll, if he were making an everyday, non-movie budget, would spend all of his money on Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and hand-jobs. In a movie setting, he spends all his money on explosions and a fifteen-minute, bullet-time action sequence in the center of the movie in which all of the central characters have inexplicably become experts at gun- and sword- (?!) fighting.

- The central characters end up on zombie island because of a giant rave sponsored by none other than Sega.

- The actually-fine female protagonist (or the most prominent female character) gets stabbed at by stitch-face (fuck you if you care about spoilers for a Huey Boll movie) at the end of the movie, is mourned by the main character/Ash rip-off, and then FUCKING WALKS TO THE HELICOPTER that whisks the heroes away from danger.

There's some other shit that happens, but suffice it to say that you'll enjoy this in a "so bad it's good" kind of way. My mom actually watched the end with me and laughed her ass off.

Plus, there were some boobs, which is cool.

House of the Dead is ranked #42 on the Rotten Tomatoes Worst 100 list with 4% freshness. Its RT page can be found here.