Overview: An alien made entirely out of fossilized shark teeth and beef jerky crash lands on the world's darkest backwoods porno set, and decides to work out his intergalactic road rage by blasting everyone with disco lasers and slap-chopping their limbs off. Instead of calling the National Guard or declaring a state of emergency, the mayor decides to celebrate by throwing a gubernatorial pool party instead, and the governor places the single greatest drink order in human history: "vodka and water, mild".
Directed By: Don Dohler, 1982
The Case For: With a name like "Amazing Film Productions" behind it, what could possibly go wrong?
The Case Against: ...Everything. Everything goes wrong.
It's crazy to think about, but it's been 15 years since this column was originally kicked off and spit-balled into one of the oldest and most infamous focal points of awful movie reviews/dumb movie-related humor online. Looking back over the years, both the feature itself and its writers have seen some highs, some lows, but mainly a lot of gourd-fucking, carnie-shithouse-on-salvia madness in-between. In spite of that, we've somehow managed to survive long enough to make it through 100 of these goddamn things, so to mark the occasion, we wanted to take you behind the scenes and give you a rare glimpse into the careful, meticulous, 110% scientific, and totally not arbitrary or made-up scoring system that allows us to rate the worst of the worst the shit-encrusted bargain bin bowels have to offer, and ultimately to determine which movies truly live up to that most coveted of Awful Movie Review distinctions: the fabled -50/50.
Enter Nightbeast. But what does a -50 look like, really? And just what the fuck is a Nightbeast, anyway? The answer to both is a simple, resounding this guy:
That's already a pretty strong case for a -50 right there, but let's break it down and see how the little things all congeal into a horrible slurry of cinematic failure.
Considering the average writing/literacy level of most shit that comes across our desk - which generally falls somewhere between 'bad story-porn parody' and 'Mrs. Harrison's special needs 3rd graders make their very own superhero comics' - this category is usually kind of a no-brainer. The real challenge is trying to have any variation in Plot ratings at all, because when your standard fare includes movies about evil sentient pinatas dismembering college co-eds, renegade cops with fanny packs running around beating up guys in Jamaican blackface, and alien oppressors trying to conquer the world by making people really depressed while shopping for produce, the lines between bad/worserer/even more worserer start to get pretty blurry.
In these situations, it often helps to focus on specific events or moments that stand out, like, say, the gripping drama that ensues in Nightbeast when the Mayor literally refuses to evacuate the town/call in the National Guard to deal with the invincible alien Rambo massacring every living thing in sight just because he's having a pool party and it would be a real bummer if he had to cancel it. Or the baffling and totally unnecessary subplot the writers randomly decided to shoehorn in between the 'showdown at the laser tag corral' scenes, in which the town scumbag and official Grease cosplayer who isn't an actual character in the movie strangling his girlfriend (who also isn't a character in the movie) to death.
The music/soundwork of Nightbeast is actually one of the least remarkable things about it. Fortunately, it more than makes up for what it lacks in quality with sheer quantity. Every possible moment of attempted dramatic tension is instantly killed by OG Star Trek arena music, alien death squad chamber string quartets, and Barber's Adagio for Fleeing in A Minor. The four (four!) people credited with scoring Nightbeast definitely earned their paychecks, which were hopefully in the form of nearly-expired Burger King coupons, or else they were drastically overpaid.
The less said about sound effects, the better - especially any of the alien-related noises. We'll just point out that despite having an actual fucking cop car for the better part of filming, the crew of Nightbeast somehow couldn't even manage to fake the sound of a cop radio.
"Oh, look, it's me from the future! And there's another me, made of anti-matter! All three of us are reaching out towards the exact same point in space, our fingertips on a collision course."
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