Perhaps you’ve heard or read me mention how Exterminator City is the worst film ever made. (The preceding sentence has an Amazon link to the DVD, but you should not buy or watch Exterminator City. Trust me.)
But now that I’ve been hearing about it, could After Last Season actually be worse? Well, let’s take a look at the official trailer, shall we?
Wow. 93 minutes of footage to chose from, and that’s what they thought would entice people into theaters? “C’mon, honey, we have to see this! It has people talking about directions, a fake MRI scanner covered in paper, and bad CGI circa 1985! What are we waiting for?’
OK, maybe they just didn’t know how to make a trailer. Maybe some movie reviewers have found it an undiscovered gem.
“This isn’t just the worst film of the year, this is the worst theatrically released film of the decade” raves Ain’t It Cool News’ movie critic Massawyrm. “I will even go so far as to say that it is the worst theatrically distributed film of the modern era. Terrible lighting and sound is just the beginning of this fetid, painful, epic wonderland of suck. A truly unbelievable experience. It’s almost adorable how hard they try to convince you that an unfinished basement, sheets, cardboard and printer paper is a medical facility of any value. It’s kind of like a kid wearing a towel and a bucket trying to convince you he’s a knight. If you watch this, and I know some of you will, do not, I repeat, do not watch it alone. Get friends. You’ll need them when the movie slips into screensaver mode. And beer. Lots of beer. Trust me. Sober is no way to experience After Last Season.”
“After Last Season is as bad as it looks,” opines Hammer To Nails’ David Lowry, “but its badness is of such a quizzical sort that it transcends mere incompetence. It is formally engaging, because it is so formally incorrect. It is not at all unlike its trailer, in that it primarily consists of a series of choices that seem to have been made entirely arbitrarily, in service of a plot that is buried in non sequitur. To watch the film is to take in the vision of someone with a severe case of disconnection: what is most consistently striking about the film is that the gap between conception and realization is irreparably wide. The most direct example (even moreso than the cardboard MRI scanner) occurs when a character reads a story in the newspaper – and that newspaper is represented by a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, fresh from the inkjet printer, upon which has been printed the words ‘Morning News.’”
“From a technical standpoint, After Last Season is an abysmal entry,” says Picture Show Pundits’ Nate Zoebl. “It fails not just because of its lack of funds but it fails because [Director Mark] Region lacks any filmmaking ability whatsoever. Sure, apparently the man was able to pose actors, have them recite lines, and keep the cameras running, but I expect more from my movies than the same criteria I have for family vacation videos. Region’s directorial style is, ostensibly, to have no discernible visual sensibility at all. Actors will routinely be cut out from the camera frame or the spatial relations will be completely out of whack, allowing for tremendous space above heads or showing the actor’s complete body except the upper half of the face. Characters will be bunched in one tiny section of the screen, or Region will suddenly cut back and forth between two different shots that conflict from a geographic standpoint; they don’t visually match up. There isn’t a single shot anywhere in After Last Season that couldn’t have been credited to a tripod for complete creative inspiration….the movie is technically inept on every level of filmmaking with a bad script, bad actors, bad pacing, bad direction, bad sets, bad sound coverage, bad ‘special effects,’ and really bad editing. If Region was dreaming of creating a midnight-movie sensation like The Room then he missed the mark. This movie isn’t any fun whatsoever to watch because there’s not enough going on to laugh at. With The Room, every scene had like eight things wrong with it; that film was a 1000 brushstrokes of bad. With After Last Season, it’s the same forehead-smacking flaws repeated ad nausium. There’s no derisive joy to be had here, folks.”
And my favorite theory about the movie, from Nick Nobel at Your Stupid Minds: “My theory is that Mark Region was in group therapy for a mild social or psychological disorder. As part of his treatment, one assignment involved a creative writing project dealing with his disorder in some way. Region wrote a short screenplay and, compared to the others, it wasn’t too shabby. Ego boosted, he expanded it into a feature and spent the next 10 years hounding friends and family for money to produce it….The way the lines are written, again, feels like someone with a social disorder imitating how normal people interact. I’m sure that was part of the assignment as well.”
Keep in mind one theoretical advantage After Last Season should have going for it: Exterminator City was a low-budget direct-to-DVD release, while After Last Season actually had a theatrical release. Granted, it was only four theaters (one of which was Austin; dodged that bullet), and theater owners were actually instructed to burn the prints afterwords rather than sending them back. (No, really. This is not a late April Fools Joke…)
And here’s a pretty amused video review:
Need one final bit of evidence? On the film’s official site, the first favorable quote is from a random Amazon customer review, while second is from a random IMDB user review. (Danger, Will Robinson!)
For the record, for those of you I regularly view movies with (you know who you are), do not obtain this movie and inflict it on me. After Exterminator City, I’ve come to realize there are limits to how bad a film I’m willing to sit through. After Last Season sounds like it could very well exceed those limits.
On the other hand, reading about it did accomplish one thing: I think I may now be ready to see The Room…
And just for the sake of reference, here’s the robot swordfight scene from Exterminator City. Remember: This is the best scene in the entire movie.