It's no secret that I like bad movies. I will often go out of my way to find new and interesting bad movies to bring into my collection, in the hopes that they will in some way exceed my expectations. I suspect this comes as a result of watching way too much cable as a kid, but that's a topic for another day.
The key to a really good bad movie is that it will simultaneously make you wince or shake your head and still remain entertaining. Tango & Cash, for example, is so far removed from any remote sense of realism as to be laughable. A movie that makes you laugh (regardless of intent) and has lots of explosions and stuff is entertaining, so therefore Tango & Cash is a good bad movie.
It should be noted that, unlike most bad movie connoisseurs, I don't have a particular genre that I stick to. A lot of people go for just slasher movies, or eighties movies, or movies starring former members of the cast of The Facts of Life, or whatever. I tend to be more open minded, because if you're looking for gems in a pile of bad movie rubble, why limit yourself to just diamonds or rubies? Cubic Zirconium is pretty too.
So I watch bad movies, and being the masochist harboring some delusional martyr fantasies that I am, I don't limit myself to just the bad movies that I think may have redeeming value. Sometimes I'll dig deep into the rotting carcass of backwater distribution deals to try to find my white elephant, my holy grail. I try to find a movie that is so completely unknown or reviled that even the unemployed actors that were in it a decade ago try to distance themselves, but unbeknownst to anyone has some sort of subtle genius that had heretofore remained unappreciated.
Hangmen is not that movie.
Instead, Hangmen is what I'd characterize as an occupational hazard for people that review movies on the same order of magnitude as land mines for Vietnamese farmers. I would even go as far as to say that the only thing even close to a redeeming feature that this movie has is that, unlike the spawn of Satan influenza strain featured in The Stand, it's something that can be easily contained and destroyed given sufficient military intervention. Watching this movie is not unlike being a character in The Ring, except that instead of dying a mysterious death, it makes you want to kill yourself. It's entirely possible that the madness that ensues in people that watch this movie was the inspiration for The Ring, but the world may never know because if it was, the person who had that idea probably had just enough time to describe it to somebody else before blowing his or her own brains out.
I watched this movie several months ago, and I'm just now getting to the point where I can talk about it. Just thinking about it long enough to write this caused me to do that whole arms around the knees, rocking back and forth, banging my head against the wall thing that I perfected back in college when I was forced to read Chekhov plays all the time.
Anyway, what's a review without giving a sense of the script, direction, acting, and editing, right?
Let's see... "trite and uninspired", "awful", "abysmal and/or nonexistent", and "could've been done better by a three year old armed with construction paper, safety scissors and paste... oh yeah, a blind three year old."
There are precisely two reasons that this movie even rates anecdote status. The first, and most obvious given the DVD packaging (yeah, I said DVD), is that it was Sandra Bullock's first movie. The second, and this one can't be overstated, this is the only movie I've ever seen in my entire life that had absolutely no redeeming value. Given the kinds of movies I tend to watch, and the overall generosity that I have when describing them, the fact that I describe this movie that way makes it unique.
Overall, I'd say that this movie should come with a Surgeon General's Warning, and when you take it back to the rental place, you won't just want your money back, you'll want to burn the store down.
I, of course, own it.