Every now and then I check out the trailers for upcoming movies on imdb.com and occasionally I will find one that shocks and amazes… for all the wrong reasons. Here are a few films which may have to be seen to be believed… but then again, no. Will these get a straight-to-DVD release in Australia? Will they get released here at all? Only time will tell…
Bad Johnson (Huck Botko, 2014)
The synopsis: “A charismatic womaniser receives his comeuppance after his penis mysteriously leaves his body and takes human form”. I’M NOT EVEN JOKING. After his penis gets him into trouble one too many times, Rich Johnson (Cam Gigandet) laments: “I wish my dick would just leave me alone!” Cue thunder and shooting stars, and ABRACADABRA his wish comes true! But the catch is, that his penis turns up at his door AS A PERSON. And it turns out his dick really is a DICK and keeps trying to steal his women (who, of course, Rich is now treating with the utmost respect). Cue scenes of Rich slicing bananas. Moral of the story: when men are arseholes it is only because their dicks made them do it. This film is Jeff Tetreault’s screenwriting debut and his parents must be so proud. Except for the fact that the idea was apparently stolen from musical theatre group Starkid, who I think just did it as a ridiculous skit for about five minutes. Is this idea worth stealing? IS IT? This movie will either bomb or be a huge hit. Your move, society.
God’s Not Dead (Harold Cronk, 2014)
The premise of God’s Not Dead is that an evil atheist philosophy professor condemns any of his students who believe in God and threatens to fail them unless they can prove his existence. So basically some good old religious propaganda. Because obviously universities don’t have discrimination policies that would make this impossible. But they must get the message out! Those liberal academics are ruining the world! It might have been more plausible if they hadn’t got a known devout Christian (Kevin Sorbo) to play the atheist, whose character is clearly only a non-believer because something terrible happened in his past, but by God’s power WILL BELIEVE by the time the credits roll. The Christian hero (Shane Harper) comes out with some great lines such as “Science supports his existence!” Um… maybe you should have taken a science refresher course instead then. This is currently 3rd at the US Box Office*. God help us all. (Or not).
*I assume this will not get an Australian cinematic release.
Zombeavers (Jordan Rubin, 2014)
The title says it all really. Zombie beavers. And lots of girls in bikinis, obviously. It seems pretty apparent that the whole concept was derived out of a desire to make beaver jokes (I counted three in the trailer). While you could attempt to do a psychoanalytic reading and argue that the film portrays castration anxiety and a fear of the ‘vagina dentata’, the fact that half of the victims are women makes this pretty unlikely, and somehow I don’t think we’re meant to read that deeply into it. But maybe the director/writer has a subconscious fear of menstruating females…or something. I think it’s pretty safe to say this is just aimed at the same audience as Sharknado (Anthony C. Ferrante, 2013) and other quality films (note sarcasm).
Stage Fright (Jerome Sable, 2014)
This has some minor potential, but I’m not at all hopeful. The synopsis: “A snobby musical theatre camp is terrorised by a bloodthirsty killer who hates musical theatre”. Director, Jerome Sable reportedly studied piano and music theory, and has worked in theatre (although I am yet to find any of his theatre credits). He has also made a short film The Legend of Beaver Dam (2010) which is billed as a horror musical. So I guess it’s plausible that Sable is trying to bring his love of musical theatre to the masses by luring them with the promise of musical theatre performers being brutally murdered. HOWEVER, considering that that IS the premise of the movie, and given the horrendously stereotypical presentation of musical theatre as seen in the trailer, I am inclined to think he is just one of those tools who hates musicals and loves making fun of them. Obviously this film will appeal to jocks who think that mocking musicals is a way of asserting their manhood, but films aimed at jocks tend to SUCK. Also, Meatloaf is in it. Case closed.
Maybe I’m being too harsh on the creative teams who have slaved over these scripts and productions. Maybe Zombeavers really does deserve a psychoanalytic reading. Maybe Stage Fright is a genuine attempt to convert the jocks to musical theatre lovers. Maybe God’s Not Dead is merely trying to present a balanced piece on believers versus non-believers. Maybe Bad Johnson is providing commentary on… yeah I have no idea. Maybe they’re all just shit. I don’t think I’ll waste my time finding out.