For nearly four hundred episodes, the gut-busting, New York cinephiles (Andrew Jupin, Chris Cabin, Stephen Sajdak, and Eric Szyszka) in WE HATE MOVIES have been doling out some of the most outrageous, brilliant comedy the podcasting world has to offer. Upon discovering the podcast in 2016 – the first episode I listened to was the WE HATE MOVIES ranking of FRIDAY THE 13TH and I hungrily devoured the catalogue available on iTunes (which is now known as WHM PRIME since the launch of their Patreon). Though their episodes covering a wide swath of genres is imminently enjoyable, I’m a little more predisposed to loving their horror episodes (once a year in October they drop their Spooktacular), especially because they lean towards picking the movies that I’m fond of, and they have a killer song remix, using audio clips from famous horror films like THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, ZOMBIE, and SCREAM.With all that being said, I’m picking five of their best horror episodes in catalogue that is readily available for consumption.
Since I saw BRAINSCAN in the halcyon VHS days, I can’t help but love it today. But it’s dated as hell these days and as such, it’s rife for ribbing. The boys at WE HATE MOVIES headquarters hopped into the ring in to wrassle with John Flynn’s 1994 techno-horror that’s lousy with techno-babble and the resultant humor that springs forth is absolutely terrific, from highlighting the obvious age difference between Michael and his best bud, Kyle (“say you’ll never kill me, Michael!”) to the Trickster’s impatience with Michael’s poor BRAINSCAN playing skills (“the peppers again!”). Or how they riff on the increasingly poor detective work and personal life of Frank Langella to the perverse nature of Edward Furlong’s voyeuristic Michael all the way through the comical ineptitude of Brainscan LLC’s hapless intern Jeremy and his frustrated boss, The Trickster, a voice which hosts Andrew Jupin, Eric Szyszka and Stephen Sajdak tackles with gusto — (yeah, their impersonations come off sounding like Hamill’s Joker and that’s quite all right), it’s all but guaranteed that you’ll be busting a gut throughout the episode’s run-time.
CAT’S EYE is not Lewis Teague’s best effort at the helm of a film (try ALLIGATOR or CUJO for better results), or even the best King involved anthology there is — but it’s still an enjoyable feature nonetheless based on the strengths of its two opening segments, “Quitters, Inc” and “The Ledge,” and serves as a peak example of the lunatic riffing that WE HATE MOVIES is best known for. Where do we start? Perhaps with the immortal Louie Anderson impressions and the constant riffs on “cat hot dogs.” That would be cat food shaped like hot dogs, in case you were wondering. Do you love a good Alan King riff? Look no further than the “Quitters, Inc.” portion of the episode with tangents on The Shock Box Room, the fictional nightclub where King’s comedy got him into hot water(it’s a little too uptown!). Their reimagining of King as a crass, brutish enforcer is rib-tickling. And we mustn’t forget the immortal monster-chocked BROADWAY DANNY DRACULA!
“Fred Krueger, how you doin?”You know you’re in for a great treat when you get Stephen Sadjak’s hilarious Freddy Krueger impression and FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE delivers by the bucketful. From the great improv on display here like the increasingly mundane nightmares by Freddy (“you’re getting audited!”) to the legendary Chris Cabin joke (“BUTTERBISCUIT!”), which inspires infectious gales of laughter. Frankly, the whole discussion about Mr. and Mrs. Tom Arnold (“he’s got a mullet to beat the band!”) And a discussion of the gorgeous Lisa Zane leads down the path to a discussion where Rose in TITANIC cannot even quit the eternally good-looking Billy Zane despite his shitty behavior. And good lord, Larry the Cable Guy in THE MATRIX is fantastic. Hey, did you know the key to unlocking TWIN PEAKS season three is right inside FREDDY’S DEAD? It’s all true! And Sassy John Saxon is the goddang best! Look, I love FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE but I love it when talented folks can still take it to task.
You folks know that I love PET SEMATARY II round these parts, so it’s always a nice feeling to know that the gang feels the same way about the film they’re riffing on. From the comments on the cast like Clancy Brown’s inappropriate villainous buffoon or the young Drew (“Roger Podacter”), who Steve swears sounds like Lorne Michaels (Jesus, nothing makes me laugh more than Steve uttering the phrase “fat Dracula,” with regards to the young lad in PET SEMATARY II). And look, the Drew’s mother does look like “Amy Yasbeck’s stunt double.” You all know it’s true! Or Chris Cabin’s bone-deep hatred for the whininess of Edward Furlong (“hey, Terminator, where’s the bathroom?”) and the tangent where they presume that Anthony Edwards’ veterinarian is keeping track of all the animals that he’s put to sleep ensures you’re going to have a great time revisiting this 1992 horror film.
“Jason Tries to Get His Shit Together … Unsuccessfully.” Yes, the WHM boys took on the unfairly maligned JASON GOES TO HELL: THE FINAL FRIDAY (Andrew’s war with Crystal Lake townies continues!) back in 2014 and though they disliked the film a lot more than I did, they still made magic out of the film. They take the illogical stuff in the film to task like the film taking place in Connecticut when we all know it’s truly New Jersey. They do give the opening scene the respect it deserves – because it’s fantastic. To begin, there’s the ingenious riffing of Macho Man Randy Savage (RIPD) as Jason Voorhees, which stems from the early comments about Jason having a cabin full of enormous, mentally challenged uncles to body morph into throughout the sequels (since Jason has to morph into a blood relative to be reborn). Also, Eric’s tangent of Jason taking the Replicant Test (“Why wouldn’t I help the turtle? I mean, I’d like to kill teenagers. Never saw a turtle smoke a doobie.”) There’s the hilarious tack of Obama ordering a drone strike on Jason (in relation to how Jason gets blown up at the beginning of the film). Also, nothing makes me laugh more than actor comparisons, so my apologies for the hearty guffaws I had when John LeMay is compared to Earthworm Jim – which, yeah, he does. Also, there’s Andrew’s great story of getting so drunk during a screening of FRIDAY THE 13TH ’09 that he fell asleep. That’s probably as good a place to end the whole thing.
Also, We Hate Movies kindly took their time out to answer my ghastly questions about Spooktaculars past and present, their favorite horror films and much more:
Daily Grindhouse: What’s the criteria for a film that you choose for a Spooktacular?
Andrew Jupin: I think like all picks on WHM, the first— and most important— question we ask ourselves is, “Can we talk about this movie for 90 minutes?” And I think from there, we make sure there’s some kind of horror element in there. Like doing ERNEST SCARED STUPID last year, which I guess is a horror film in its own right, but yeah, there was spooky stuff in there, so we allowed it.
Chris Cabin: The intent of the movie should be to scare people or creep them out extensively, and it should have mostly failed in that goal. Good death set-pieces are always a major plus but not necessary. We also tend to try to stick to the ’80s and ’90s for the fact that there’s more practical effects and genuine oddities, and that newfangled computer blood/gore hurts my eyes.
Eric Szyszka: Sort of like how we pick things for the rest of the show. Is it kinda silly? If not, can we make it silly?
Stephen Sajdak: We try to look at the month holistically and aim to have variety week to week to keep it interesting. We’ll always try to have a big slasher franchise title in there, and then the rest is always a grab bag. We like to have a Stephen King if we can squeeze him in (we’re clearly very busy). Also, just sheer insanity will always work for us, like CHOPPING MALL (robots that kill …. for some reason), BRAINSCAN (haunted video game? I’m in) or TRICK OR TREAT (I can’t even explain this movie in a parenthetical).
Daily Grindhouse: What’s your favorite Spooktacular you’ve done and why?
Andrew Jupin: For me, it’s gotta be the episode when we covered FRIDAY THE 13TH V: A NEW BEGINNING. I’m a huge FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise fan, so when we tackled one of my beloved “Jason” movies, I realized I could have a whole lot of fun making fun of stuff that I love. It also gave birth to all the “Roy” appreciation. Gotta love Roy — he just wanted to avenge his murdered, chocolate bar-eating son!
Chris Cabin: This would be a tie for me. I was really happy we did SAW last year, and the episode came out great. It’s a movie that I’ve despised since it was released, and I think is really the Rosetta stone for a lot of the cheap, unthinking, and stylistically dull horror movies we see these days. That being said, the one I’ve re-listened to the most is THINNER, partially because I’m not on it and I just get to listen to Andrew, Eric, and Steve riff without cursing at myself for every bad or botched line I deliver. It’s also one of our better forays into Stephen King adaptations.
Eric Szyszka: My personal favorite is BRAINSCAN, because it’s a movie my brother and I always watched growing up. I think it was because we were massive gamers in 1994. Which means MYST. We played MYST. And The Return to Zork. After we did it for the show I had no idea that episode in particular would connect to people. Last year my brother and I saw a repertory screening at the Metrograph in Manhattan. That movie, that episode, seeing it on the big screen. I think my life’s work is done. BRAINSCAN’s back, baby!
Stephen Sajdak: I think my favorite would be HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, because I think its kind of the best of what we try to do, which is take you through a movie’s plot and find a totally innocuous and benign detail and dedicate twenty minutes of improv exploring it. A good example of that is the Doctor Loomis’ Shock Jock morning show “Loose Loomis” which I think came out of the fact that Loomis inexplicably is listening to a raunchy radio show for no reason. It’s one of those bits I definitely didn’t even see coming the night before when I watched the movie, but sure enough someone in the room says something, someone picks it up and it keeps going and going and then all of a sudden there’s this voice, and sure enough Doctor Loomis is hosting the afternoon drive time slot being a total pervert.
Daily Grindhouse: What’s your favorite horror film and one that’s so bad it’s good?
Andrew Jupin: My favorite horror film of all time is Peter Medak’s THE CHANGELING, starring the legendary George C. Scott. If you haven’t seen this, get hip immediately. Scott rides a horse at one point, and the film features the best séance scene in all of cinema. And I think, just due to sheer number of re-watches I’ve already undertaken alone, my “so bad it’s good” go-to is C.H.U.D., starring Daniel Stern and the late, great John Heard. I’m a sucker for on-location filming during New York City’s scuzzier years, and this film lovingly captures it all. It’s a fun one.
Chris Cabin: My favorite would be a (another) tie between THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and Cronenberg’s THE FLY. The first is horror at its primordial apex — savagely political, consistently unsettling (even today), and openly hostile toward overused and popularized modes of storytelling. The second is arguably one of the most personal horror films ever made: extravagantly debauched and grotesque but also wildly empathetic, sorrowful, and angry in ways that most horror movies and dramas fail to impart. It’s an operatic tragedy that just so happens to feature an inside-out baboon and acidic vomit.
Eric Szyszka: THE SHINING will be my normie-ass answer. I love how atmospheric it is and how it hammers in that sense of isolation. Also THE EVIL DEAD for the same reasons. In the so bad it’s good department, I like a lot of these horror movies that are intended to be funny but are bad all the same such as DR. GIGGLES.
Stephen Sajdak: My favorite horror movie has to be THE EXORCIST, which I guess is a boring answer, but it’s a classic for a reason. It’s kind of a desert-island movie for me, here’s so much to unpack — I will always forget that movie starts in Iraq — so you wind picking up on new stuff every time. Oh, and it’s still fucking terrifying.
Daily Grindhouse: What can we expect from the 2019 Spooktacular?
Andrew Jupin: Hopefully a couple of scares, a few shrieks, and, if we’re lucky, some horror-related laughs! We’re touching on a two franchise films — one franchise we’re covering for the first time — and the Patreon bonus episode is going to be… well, let’s just say it’s a long-awaited title we’ve been asked to cover since Day One.
Chris Cabin: Well, we’re finally going to venture into the HELLRAISER Cinematic Universe, which is something we’ve been putting off because none of us like the series. Beyond that, I’d expect a number of Trump impressions, whether you like them or not. Mwuhahaha, and so on.
Stephen Sajdak: We’re actually visiting two major horror franchises this year, one we’ve been to before and one we’ve somehow neglected up to now.
Thanks to WE HATE MOVIES for taking time out to speak with us.